After the Luray-Carlisle, Blue-Gray Reunion of July and September 1881, the next largest Page County Confederate reunion to reach outside the county took place in October 1896. One of the veterans of this reunion, signing his letter to the Page News & Courier (Luray, Virginia) simply as “Crocket,” wrote of the details:
Dear Courier: – One of the most enjoyable and pleasant trips that it has ever been our privilege to ‘take in’ was that of the recent excursion from the famous Shenandoah Valley conveying ex-Confederate soldiers to Canton, Ohio. To give a graphic description of this memorable trip would fill your entire paper – ‘and then some,’ therefore, we shall endeavor to condense as much as possible. The morning of the 8th being as bright and serene as nature could make it, we in company
WITH 160 PAGE BOYS
left the grand little Page Valley and crossing the Massanutten were soon in the ‘bright Shenandoah Valley,’ making our way to the New Market depot, where we boarded the first section of the excursion train at 5:40 p.m. for Canton. The first section, containing 12 coaches, being densely crowded, many of us got off at Mt. Jackson to take the second section, composed of 10 coaches, which was about one hour behind the first section. That also being crowded, we waited for the third section, also containing ten coaches, which furnished ample accommodation for all. The third section left Mt. Jackson at 8:30, throwing us three hours late – but that added greatly to the enjoyment of the trip, as we passed through the principal part of the Alleghenies in the day time, which was a sight to behold, and one that time will never efface. The scenery was simply grand! The long train as it descended the mountain side at the
RATE OF 40 MILES
an hour was sometimes making a perfect U. We arrived at Canton on Friday, the 9th inst., at 5 p.m. We were met at the Valley depot by the ex-Confederates who had preceded us on the first two sections and several hundred Union veterans. A line was immediately formed, headed by the Union veterans. The famous Stonewall Band headed the ex-Confederates. Several other bands were also in the procession. Words fail to describe the scene along the route to
MAJ. McKINLEY’S HOME.
Thousands of people line the way and cheer after cheer was given by the crowd. The scene was one continued ovation. Just before reaching Major McKinley’s home the Stonewall Band struck up ‘Dixie,’ at which the cheering was beyond any thing of the kind we had ever heard before. Upon arriving at the home of Maj. McKinley the large iron gates were thrown open, and the ex-Confederates occupied his beautiful lawn. Rev. A.P. Funkhouser, General John E. Roller and Capt. Warren S. Lurty, all of Rockingham county, spoke on behalf of the ex-Confederates. Maj. McKinley was then introduced by General Roller amid deafening cheers and shouts. His speech captivated every man who heard it. We have every reason to believe that Maj. McKinley is a devout Christian, as his countenance and expression plainly show, and is the ‘right man in the right place.’ We all had the pleasure as well as the honor, of shaking hands with the
of the United States. One could plainly tell that his heart was filled with joy as he grasped the hand of each Southerner. We then repaired to the Tabernacle where five long tables seating one hundred each, were laden with everything that heart could wish to refresh the inner man. We left Canton at midnight for Pittsburg, where we arrived at 11 o’clock Saturday morning, where we again met a hearty reception. Dinner was served to all in the big City Hall, after which a grand parade took place through the streets of Pittsburg, and Allegheny City. The streets were thronged with over
Bands played, men cheered and ladies waved their handkerchiefs. The women up in that country manifest great interest in McKinley’s election. They say it is meat and bread with them, and so it is with all of us! We left Pittsburg for home at 2:30 Saturday evening, each one m more than pleased with our trip, which will be remembered as long as time lasts. We never saw such hospitality; it reminded one of
A FAMILY REUNION.
We all desire to return our sincere thanks and gratitude to the ladies of Canton, Pittsburg and Allegheny City for their generous hospitality, and hope to repay the kindness extended to us by the Union veterans and their wives and daughters by adding to the list of Republican States the grand old State of Virginia, and with a free vote and fair count we’ll do it!”