Shepherdstown, WV Walking Tour 9 AM Friday March 24, 2023

The Station at Shepherdstown THE TOUR BEGINS HERE

111 Audrey Egle Drive, Shepherdstown, WV – Tour begins at 9 AM, going for about 2.5 hours. Bring quarters for your meter (25 cents/thirty minutes – Whale of a Wash at Maddex Shopping Center is a good place to get a lot of quarters.)
Stationmaster W. W. Waddy and his wife Julia Blackford Waddy with their children. Cootsie and Polly are in the front row.
Mr. Waddy in the 1920’s sitting in his office at the train station, (presently it is the kitchen).


Mr. Waddy & the Shepherdstown train station (created in mid-1990s) TRT: 29:48

Mrs. Needy’s Last Ride was Riding the Train’s Cowcatcher. No harm. The son of the undertaker took the hearse from the close-by Reformed Church, then over the tracks with Mrs Needy’s casket. The engine was loud and his windows were rolled up. Then the train hit. The frame of the hearse and the young Hoffman were thrown a hundred feet into the passenger station’s parking area. But the iron chassis lodged on the cowcatcher as the train headed towards the river. Mrs. Needy’s coffin rolled off to one side and, as George Knode told me in the 1980s when he himself was ninety-two – Mrs. Needy was found neatly laid out unblemished on the siding, still holding a rose before her on her chest. The young Hoffman’s injuries were minor.

“Why do people make such a fuss over bakin’ biscuits?” – Shepherd student Helen Hunter

Shepherd Freshman – 1914 (NOTE Part 1 dated Oct., 1914 is given after Part 2 dated January 1914 by Jim Surkamp (Originally mid-1990s) December, 2008
TRT: 7:49 Video link:

One Man Changes History July, 1861 & The Accursed Journey of the Silver Spurs

“Shepherdstown, September, 1921 – Even the Roma People Had A Car”

Our Next Gathering Place – German Street/Princess Street Intersection

The Billmyer boys – “Billy” on the right likely with a wad of tobacco, stand along German Street looking east standing in front of the Entler Hotel, which was a dormitory for Shepherd students beginning in 1921.

The History of the Entler Hotel (northwest corner) –

The “Entler’s Resident Ghost” – William Payton Smith: Upstairs there is a room furnished as an old hotel bedroom. It is in this bedroom that the hotel’s resident ghost, William Payton Smith is said to sometimes spend the night. Smith engaged in a duel in the summer of 1809 with a friend and was mortally wounded in the exchange of fire. He was brought to the Entler Hotel and died of his wounds in a few hours.
At this intersection, these are the two bldgs on the south side. At the southeast corner is how Matthew and Henrietta Tolliver’s ice cream shop and residence appeared around 1910. (courtesy Marie Blostone) Longtime resident Bud McCann once told me that William Rightstine, the longest surviving juror of the John Brown trial, left some land northwest of town to Matt Tolliver, once enslaved, to the Tollivers. Lawyer George M. Beltzhoover helped freedmen in acquiring capital by guaranteeing repayment by the Tollivers to their lending bank. Sadly during the Depression, persons of color went to Baltimore to find work and longtime resident Reva Copenhaver White told me in a recorded interview in the 1980s that locals would acquire their property while they were away and perhaps uninformed of taxes due.

The Great Sleigh Ride in Shepherdstown, WV – 1920s by Jim Surkamp (as told to him in the 1980s. Roaring down German Street the kids in the big toboggan made a terrifying hairpin turn left and north on to Princess Street, plunging out of control, heading towards the gate leading to the bridge across the river. (TRT: 2:47)

Currier & Ives

The Little House

Shepherd Picket
Shepherd Picket
Big Mustache Jones
Dr. John Dewey inspired Florence Shaw with the project. His motto was “Learn By Doing”

The Little House

This is about the best way to learn — learning by doing pushed by the philosopher John Dewey in the 1920s

in 1928 with professor Florence Shaw its mid-wife, the little house was born and continues for more than ninety years to charm thousands, reaching out to millions more as a color photo in the National Geographic Magazine. The little house is SOOOO Shepherdstown

She whipped her nineteen student teachers and twelve fifth and sixth graders into a work team – planning, measuring for a house and barn for livestock starting with a garden — with kid sized hoes.

But Shepherd college president William Henry Stout White jumped in and said
not just drawings of a house but a house

And the grown-ups would give it electricity and even a working fireplace and teeny furniture – pans and pots – Hobbit pots.

The kids cleared the land for the house and barn but carpenter “DC” James, Paul James great-great grandfather, and stonemason Charles E. “Big Mustache” Jones carried out their plans.

The grandson of President white – Hank White told me that Big Mustache Jones would hold, vise-like in his giant knotty hands, a raw stone. He expertly chipped it into final form and placed it perfectly into the facade

Worries grew when a few days passed and Professor Shaw didn’t see Jones, perhaps an issue over hours and money

When Prof. Shaw found him, she said: “Mr. Jones what will it take for you to finish my little house?”

“Well, Miss Shaw,” he said: “two bottles of hooch from Frog Holler wouldn’t hurt.” Professor Shaw went down the towpath along the Potomac to Frog Holler for the moonshine and the little house was completed even with the latest thing – shingles – for its roof.

James Rumsey, Shepherdstown inventor and father of modern steam based technology, met Thomas Jefferson, when he was the U.S. ambassador. After a full day of discussing scientific and engineering problems, Jefferson wrote his friend Harvard’s president, Joseph Willard:
Jefferson by John Trumbull

VIDEO: James Rumsey – “Most Original” – (part 1) by Jim Surkamp TRT: 12:57
Images script Part 1

VIDEO: James Rumsey “The Most Original” – (2) by Jim Surkamp July, 2019 TRT: 56:26
Images onlyt Part 2

Jack Britner – member of the Britner/Show family who lived on German Street between Mill and German Street. around 1900. Served in World War I suffered mustard gas injury. courtesy Margie Blostone.

Come the Civil War – Events Swirling around the Entler:

The Full-On Ring Tournament, 1857 in Shepherdstown

After the ring tournament held in front of the Lee’s home (on today’s Route 480 and adjacent to Elmwood Cemetery on its northern border)– contestants, the Queen, her maids and many repaired to the Entler for a ball.

VIDEO: The Ring tournament in 1857 in Shepherdstown that foreshadowed real war. A Chasm Under Our Feet (Night 1) – (Ring tournament begins around 1:31)

Henry Bedinger, our first ambassador to Denmark, negotiated a treaty. His family returned early. His Episcopal pious wife disliked the easy ways of the royal court. The king was the kind of guy who married a so called commoner for his wife. Henry, who returned to Shepherdstown in 1858 – played in Copenhagen nocturnal chess games in the king’s court with – Hans Christian Anderson.

Hans Christian Andeerson – famed writer of children’s verse and stories- played chess with his American friend, Ambassador Henry Bedinger from Shepherdstown.
The Bedinger family who returned early from Denmark. Caroline, mother and wife with Henry Bedinger IV (left), Mary, and Insert of Carolina of “Danske” meaning “Little Dane”) who was born in 1854 in Denmark.
photo courtesy Historic Shepherdstown Museum

Two years later, this young Mary Bedinger’s overhears first whispers of a great war approaching, over dinner with her grandparents in Flushing, New York

A Little Girl Sees The End – 1860 – (TRT: 2:50)

Mary Bedinger wrote: “It is true that I was then already 10 years old and had passed quite an eventful life for so young a person. But, one day, in the August of that year, as we sat at the dinner table in the north room at Willowbank, I heard my grandfather say that the Union was about to be destroyed. There was to be no American Union in the future. His tone was very gloomy.

My grandmother began to cry.

and my own mother’s gentle face looked flush and distressed; and through my childish heart there shot such a pang of bewildered dismay as I could never describe: No United States? No world? No life? No anything? – as soon might the sun’s light be withdrawn.

I remember how I looked around the familiar room for comfort. The dessert was on the table. Big melons that my grandfather was fond of raising in such perfection and that were certainly much appreciated by us youngsters. But that day, my slice went untasted and, in truth, I have never been able to see a watermelon cut at table without thinking of the extreme pain of that moment. But as children will, I kept my thoughts to myself.”

Andrew T. Leopold – The Avenger

Shepherdstown was rocked during the war by the murders of two civilians by Andrew Leopold of Sharpsburg, who hunted down any man he believed had deserted from the Confederate ranks. (Unlike like Charles Town that was deeply Confederate, Shepherdstown had at least households with 64 Union-voting adults mixed in with townspeople claiming to be Confederate. There were two postmasters, Elias Baker, the Union postmaster, and Mr. Rentch, the Confederate postmaster. Leopold was indeed captured and hanged in Union custody but when steps were taken to bring by canal boat his coffin for burial in the town cemetery (today’s Elmwood cemetery) an angry crowd of Unionists fought the effort as the wagon climbed up the hill on Princess Street.

Andrew Leopold From Bull Run To God Part 1 by Jim Surkamp
Andrew Leopold: From Bull To Run To God Pt. 1 TRT: 11:24


  1. “Little left to do – but die”
  2. 1859: Boy Leopold’s River of Peace;
  3. 1860: Leopold is transfixed on the god of war;
  4. Leopold – the “Reckless Invincible:”

Andrew Leopold: From Bull Run To God Pt. 2 TRT: 13:39


  1. He Murders A Man Swimming for Safety;
  2. Leopold’s Avenging Hand Strikes At Shepherdstown Deserters;
  3. Captured Leopold Makes a Deal;

Andrew Leopold: From Bull Run To God Pt. 3 by Jim Surkamp October, 2014
TRT: 11:42
Video link:

About a young man from Sharpsburg and Shepherdstown who war changed into an avenging angel of death but who, at the foot of the gallows, found God. With Steve French, author of “The Rebel Chronicles.”


  1. Leopold’s Trial: “We Don’t Believe You”
  2. On the Wings of A Prayer: He Flies
  3. His Body Brought Home Meets Uproar
  4. Leopold’s Bones Beside Burke’s

Andrew Leopold From Bull Run To God (4) – Conclusion by Jim Surkamp October, 2014
TRT: 3:16
Video link:

Moving up German Street to our next Gathering Place . . .

Grandma Mary Cookus and Connie White on German Street 1948 (courtesy Connie White)
Joe Cookus – courtesy Connie White
Joe Cookus – 1948 in front of his butcher shop next to today’s Lost Dog (courtesy Connie White)

The Day All The Town Came to a Black Man’s Funeral – Wednesday May 6, 1903 – Shepherdstown,WV


Courtesy Margie Blostone
Dan Tokar.who maintains the one-of-a-kind, hand-made, completely mechanical clock in McMurran’s Clock Tower

Dan Tokar Explains How He Keeps a 180-Year-Old Clock Running TRT: 35:12

Shepherdstown 1865


Farmer’s Market 1900 – two buildings on the left – Joe Welshans’ blacksmith shop and, further adjacent, A.S. Dandridge III’s farm implements shop, the scene of many games of the game of dominoes called “Muggins”. Beyond it, the two-story, still existing structure was a one-story building in 1862 called “the drill room.” It was said to have been the first building to take wounded from the Maryland Campaign, according to Mary Bedinger Mitchell’s essays “A Woman’s Recollections of Antietam” in Battles & Leaders, Vol. 2.

The Strange Story of John Wesley Culp

John Wesley Culp

Shepherdstown – John Wesley Culp by Jim Surkamp (Originally mid-1990s) December, 2008 TRT: 6:15 Video link:

Strange is Wesley Culp’s Way Home Part 1 TRT: 8:45

Strange is Wesley Culp’s Way Home Pt. 2 TRTY: 7:41

Strange is Wesley Culp’s Way Home Part 3 TRT: 9:49

In Stone Row on New Street, east of the intersection – there unfolded an account combining John Wesley Culp when he was alive and the hauntings of the home at Stone Row of the nearly impoverished Snyder family, that they rented after the war. All previous tenants left hastily after too many “goings-on.”

Shepherdstown’s Ghosts by Jim Surkamp (Originally mid-1990s) Written by H.L. Snyder, the extremely good editor of the Shepherdsdtown Register, whose ancestors lived in Stone Row on New Street near the Farmer’s Market TRT: 5:55
Video link:

Harry Smootz Commits the Most Unspeakable Murder in the Town’s Memory At the New Street/King Street Intersection in 1892.

Murder Most Foul – occurred at the corner of New and King Street in the winter with snow on the ground. A Harry Smootz, incensed with her rejection murdered with a pistol shot to the top of the head of the much beloved Susie Ferrell. As he awaited trial, Adam Stephen Dandridge confided to his daughter Serena K. Dandridge that he was the party who smuggled some opium to Smootz in jail with which he took his own life.

NEXT we turn right, going north up New Street . . .

Strother Athey with His Dog at the Shepherd Graveyard, Shepherdstown, W. Va.
IDNO: 013204 – Description: Gate to old Shepherd graveyard, and east end of Episcopal rectory. Strother Athey and dog.
Identifier: 013206 Title: New Street, Shepherdstown, W. Va. Description: Looking east on New Street to a home now owned by Mrs. A. S. Lucas. Formerly the home of Mrs. John S. Powell and her two daughters. Acquisition Source: Williams, H. H.
Eleanor Potts in the hammock on the front porch of the home of the Potts, Waddys and Thachers. about 1900. (note same iron fence from previous image.
Backyard of the same home with front porch andh hammock – Identifier: 013210 Description:African-American woman, Mary Moore, in the backyard of former home of Henry W. Potts, now owned by Dr. and Mrs. W. R. Thacher; on New Street, between Church and King Streets. Personal Names: Thacher, W. R., Potts, Henry W., Moore, Mary. Acquisition Source: Williams, H. H.
Identifier: 013208 Description:African-American woman, ‘Aunt Fanny’ taken in the backyard of William and Hannah Wells house, on the north side of New Street, between Duke and Church Streets. Personal Names: Aunt Fanny., Wells, Hannah., Wells, William. Acquisition Source: Williams, H. H.
Identifier: 013205 Description: Episcopal Rectory, built 1814, on south side of New Street, between Church and King Streets.

. . .to the intersection of New Street and Church Street.

Northern Methodist Church, Shepherdstown, W. Va. Identifier: 013133 Date: ca. 1900 Creator: Allen, Mrs. Hugh P., Pittsburgh Description: View of the Old Northern Methodist Church, on the corner of Church and New Streets; Acquisition Source: Williams, H. H.

Circus in Shepherdstown 1881 by Jim Surkamp (Originally mid-1990s) January 9, 2009 TRT: 7:29 Video link: This circus was most likely at Morgan’s Grove. But before Trinity Episcopal Church was built at its location, that and adjacent property was the customary circus ground up to the mid 1850s.

The True Story of the Elephant, Moved To Loud Grief Upon Seeing Again at Shepherdstown’s Circus Field Where His Mother Sickened and Died Many Years Before.

Grant’s Pump opposite Trinity Episcopal with Rachel Snyder. During the the 1862 Antietam battle with soldiers and wounded filling the town, the pump was being pumped so constantly that it was running dry. Locksmith Elijah Rickard, living nearby and the maker of part of John Brown’s irons, stepped in, placed his diminutive self between the pump and the shouting crowd – and locked the pump. The initial, huge roar of protest subsided because all realized water had to be saved.

At the southeast corner of Church and German Street is the home of Conrad Schindler, a coppersmith from whom Actress Mary Tyler Moore descended. She purchased the structure in the mid-1990s (then the Reformed church’s parsonage) and that led to its current role as the George Tyler Moore Center for Civil War Studies.

VIDEO: Shepherdstown Shindlers Pt. 1 by Jim Surkamp (Originally mid-1990s) December, 2008 TRT: 3:55 Video link:

VIDEO: Shepherdstown Shindlers Pt. 2 by Jim Surkamp (Originally mid-1990s) December, 2008 TRT: 5:44 Video link:

The earliest known photo of an African-American resident of the County (far left) at the house on the northwest corner of Church and Germans Streets.

About 1854 at the house on the northwest corner of Church and German Streets.Future banker Benjamin F. Harrison stands to the far left. Next to him is Mamie – the earliest known photo of a person of color I have been able to locate.
courtesy The Historic Shepherdstown Museum
Daniel Bedinger

OUR LAST STOP – The Biggest Historic Event On Our Tour – the fate of “Bedford” that Daniel Bedinger had built – takes us on a short walk from West High Street to left onto the King Street portion within Shepherd University – to the Byrd Center and to its auditorium.

Auditorium at the Byrd Legislative Center, Shepherd University
Shepherdstown is a Life-style Decision! (photo courtesy of Julia and Polly Hartman).