From [Typed by Linda Fluharty.]
THE HISTORY OF WETZEL COUNTY
by John C. McEldowney, Jr.
[Typed by Linda Fluharty.]
A book was written in 1874 on the Jennings gang, but of course contains a great deal of fiction, to make a book of its size, although it was based on facts; and the writer by many has been accused of being one of the gang, and it is a fact that he served two terms in the penitentiary for forgery. Whether John Jennnigs was the chief of the Jennings gang, as has been stated, I will leave it to the reader to decide. It is said that he at one time ordered Jack away from the house, upon which he was shot upon by him, and merely escaped with his life. They often had long combats, in which he would beat his father up wonderfully, and when the old man would get on top of him, be would hallow that he was killing him. That shows what an inhuman creature he was, and we shall describe him later as one of the gang and the most treacherous of their number.
[NOTE FROM LINDA FLUHARTY ABOUT JOHN JENNINGS.]
John Jennings and wife, Catharine, & family are found in the 1860 census of Wetzel County: Birth Year: abt 1820; Birthplace: Virginia; Home in 1860: Wetzel, Virginia ; Gender: Male; Post Office: New Martinsville; Value of real estate: - Household Members: John Jennings 40; Catharine Jennings 37; William H Jennings 18; Thomas Jennings 16; Martha Jennings 15; Frances M Jennings 12; Jackson Jennings 10; Mary E Jennings 8; Cassa A Jennings 5; Adeline Jennings 3; Louisa Jennings 1. -- Frances would be Frank; Jackson would be Jack. William drowned in Feb 1861 and his parents are listed as John and Catharine. Catharine died before 1870.
The family is also found in the 1870 Census of Wetzel County, at which time, John had a new wife, Sarah (Huff). - Name: John Jenings; Age in 1870: 50; Birth Year: abt 1820; Birthplace: Pennsylvania; Home in 1870: Magnolia, Wetzel, West Virginia; Race: White; Gender: Male; Post Office: New Martinsville; Value of real estate: - Household Members: John Jenings 50; Sarah Jenings 38; Mary E Jenings 18; Cassa A Jenings 15; Adaline Jenings 13; Louisa Jenings 11; John M Jenings 10; John S Huff 20
According to the 1865 West Virginia Adjutant General's Report, John Jennings, 44, Company "C" 15th W. Va. Infantry, deserted 5 times. His service record was obtained from the National Archives. -- SERVICE RECORD OF JOHN JENNINGS, Company "C" 15th West Virginia Infantry. - Joined for duty and enrolled 21 Aug 1862 at New Martinsville, Wetzel County, (W) Va. Mustered in at Wheeling 8 Sep 1862 and was paid Bounty and Premium, amount not stated. - Company Muster Roll to Oct 1862, ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE. - Nov & Dec 1862, ABSENT ON ACCOUNT OF ILLNESS. - Company Muster Roll for Jan & Feb 1863, ABSENT SICK HOSP. - Company Muster Roll for Mar & Apr 1863, ABSENT SICK CUMBERLAND. - Company Muster Roll for 10 Apr 1863, ABSENT, HOSP SICK. - Company Muster Roll for May & June 1863, DESERTED 15 June 1863; list of deserters says he deserted at Alpine, Va. - Company Muster Roll July & Aug 1863, DESERTED 15 Jun 1863. - Descriptive List of Deserters, Romney, W. Va., 1 Oct 1863: Deserted 15 June at Alpine, B & O RR. Returned under Guard 28 Sep 1863. - Company Muster Roll Sept & Oct 1863, DESERTED 11 Oct 1863. - Company Muster Roll for Nov & Dec 1863, DESERTED 11 Oct 1863. - Descriptive List of Deserters, Romney, W. Va., 4 Nov 1863: Deserted 1 Oct, 1863. Has deserted 5 times. - Company Muster Roll for Jan & Feb 1864, ABSENT IN CONFINEMENT NEW CREEK, W. Va. - Company Muster Roll for Mar & Apr 1864, ABSENT IN CONFINEMENT. - Company Muster Roll for May & June 1864, ABSENT IN CONFINEMENT WHEELING, Va. - Company Muster Roll for July & Aug 1864, ABSENT IN CONFINEMENT NEW CREEK, W. Va. - Company Muster Roll for Sep & Oct 1864, ABSENT IN CONFINEMENT NEW CREEK, W. Va. - Company Muster Roll for Nov & Dec 1864, ABSENT IN CONFINEMENT NEW CREEK, W. Va. - Company Muster Roll for Jan & Feb 1865, ABSENT IN CONFINEMENT NEW CREEK, W. Va. - Company Muster Roll for Mar & Apr 1864, ABSENT IN CONFINEMENT NEW CREEK, W. Va. - Company Muster Out Roll, dated 14 June 1865 at Richmond, Va.: Bounty paid $25; due $75. Remarks: Deserted at Romney Va Oct 17/63 returned May 15/65 under amnsty proclamation. Clothing settled to Aug 31, '63 $6.20 for Transportation. [Obtained by Linda Fluharty from the National Archives.]
[Continuing with the article by John C. McEldowney, Jr., 1901]
We will first give the life of John Jennings. He was a native of Monongalia county, W. Va., and at the time of his death was fifty-two years of age. He bore the reputation of being an honest man, up to the time of the civil war. When the war broke out he took very ardent sides with the Union cause, and denounced with bitterness the principles of secession. He enlisted in the 15th W. Va. infantry, and remained in the service but six months, when his devotion for his wife and children, made him desert his regiment and come home. But he had no more than got home, when he found that he had been followed by a military officer, with a company of soldiers. He succeeded in escaping them. Squads of men were sent, from time to time, with instructions to arrest him, but he always succeeded in escaping. He knew the hills of Wetzel county as well as he knew the hills around the old homestead, and could easily escape hundreds of men. He also had so many relations throughout the locality which was searched, that it was almost impossible to secure his arrest. Owing to the determination of the military authorities to capture him, he was compelled to abandon the comforts of home, and become a wanderer, and sleep in the woods, or at the home of a near relative. Hunted from one place to another by squads of soldiery, he began to be looked on by many as an outlaw. When he was about to be driven into desperation by the home guards President Lincoln came to his rescue, and issued a pardon to all deserters, who would come back to their respective regiments. He at once rejoined his regiment, and, it is said, was treated like a dog by his comrades. They would not speak to him, only in a commandng way, and would make him set his tent off by itself, when in camp. On the way home, after the disbandment of the army, he was forcibly seized, and thrown overboard of the steamer that was carrying them home. He was then compelled to walk to his destination. He was twice married, both of his wives being good, respectable women, and devoted to their husband. His first wife died, it is alleged, from exposure and fatigue, incurred by her in carrying him food and clothing while he was a fugitive. After he had been discharged from the service of the government, he married one Mrs. Sallie Huff, a woman of good reputation, and of considerable intelligence, who was devoted to him during his long and weary trials. He had by his first wife nine children, five sons and four daughters. All his sons, except one, who was called little John, and William, who was drowned accidentally long before the gang broke out, were members of the gang, and on or before that John Jennings was one of our best citizens and was often selected as a juryman. One of the girls married Alfred Spicer, a respectable farmer and good citizen, living in this county. One of the other girls was less fortunate, eloping with a married man. Jennings was a man of energy, courage and indomitable will, and a man who would sacrifice anything necessary for a friend, but who would shoot down whom he considered his enemy as he would a dog. His residence, which was the headquarters of the gang, was situated in a quiet place between two streams, Dulin and Big Fishing creek. It was situated on an isolated piece of ground some distance from the main road, surrounded with heavy timber and dense underbrush. The woods contained secret paths, known only to the members of the gang. If John Jennings was not the chief of the Jennings gang he harbored them, as most fathers would have done, when it came to the time of driving them away from home. It will be impossible to give a life of all of the members of the gang, but of those whom were known to be members of the gang, we will first give a sketch of Frank Jennings.
One of the most desperate and reckless criminals the State has ever been cursed with, says Stienmetz, in his sketch of him. He was a young man not more than twenty-four years of age. No less than a half dozen, if not more, have been spent in criminal pursuits. He had little intelligence, and a common school education. Tall, strong and athletic, of a pleasant expression; he was as straight as an Indian, and was the most feared of the gang when a boy. He bore the reputation of a dare devil, but nothing criminal was imputed by him until the years of 1864-65. He did more criminal business than did any other member of the gang, with the exception of Benjamin Barcus. He was in all of the deeds committed by the gang, but was charged of but one, on which he was sentenced to five years in the penitentiary at Moundsville, but succeeded in escaping before more than one-half of his term was out. His daring recklessness was shown on that occasion. The building of the penitentiary was not completed yet, and the walls of the same were inclosed by a stockade of two-inch plank, sixteen feet high. A side of the stockade; in each of these a guard was placed who was armed with a seven shooter. This stockade, having been exposed for a number of years, was beginning to decay. On one occasion a severe rain storm, followed hy a violent wind, was seen approaching, and the guards were beginning to fear that the stockade would fall down, and that was all that stood between over one hundred convicts, and many of them fearless desperadoes. These convicts knew that they were to face the seven shooters, and freedom was their own. As the storm neared them they gathered in groups discussing plans of escape. All eyes were turned toward Frank Jennings, as their leader. Not since the death of Woodford L. Crews had the penitentiary received a more daring criminal than Frank Jennings. He willingly consented, but they must swear to follow him. He knew that many would, when the trying moment came, fail. He knew that he could rely upon but a few, if any. But he told them that as soon as the stockade fell that a rush must be made, and that no regard must be paid for orders, and not to pay any attention to their seven-shooters. All consented and professed eagerness to follow, and congregated unller one of the large sheds in the yard, anxiously waiting the coming storm. The officers saw the movements of the men and knew what those movements meant, and stationed all of the men they could spare at that place. The storm came on and raged with terrible fury, the rain falling in torrents, and the wind blowing a perfect gale. The decaying stockade trembled and swung back and forth, eagerly watched by guards and officers without and by a band of excited convicts within. Yielding to the force of the tornado, it at last fell with a crash, and the barrier between them and liberty was down. With a shout, a rush was made, Frank Jennings at the head of the column. They were valiently met by the little squad of guards armed with carbines and ordered to halt and desist. Not heeding their admonitions, they continued to advance and the guards were compelled to fire. Every man halted, and turned back save one, and that was Frank Jennings. Running at the top of his speed, he cleared the fallen timbers at a bound, regardless of the shouts and threats of the guards, and though half a dozen shots were fired at him, he succeeded in effecting his escape, and in forty-eight hours was received with open arms at the headquarters of the gang, but he did not remain there, for he knew that officers would be after him in a few hours. His confederates had a score of hiding places for him, and he well knew where he would be safe. In the course of a few days two of the officers of the penitentiary came to New Martinsville and engaged the services of several citizens to aid them in their efforts to capture Frank Jennings. They waited patiently until after dark before they made known the nature of their visit, or before they undertook to solicit the services of others, thinking that they would succeed in locating his retreat and capture him without difficulty. Foolish men! Their arrival had been expected long before they left the county seat. Frank had been informed of the fact, and of their plans and intentions. The spies of the gang were near them, conversing with them, denouncing the course of Frank Jennings and all who bore the name, and then they told tales of how much danger there was in seeking such men; that Coal Run was especially unsafe; that the villains would be within four feet of the road, shoot down the officers in the darkness and effect their escape. So misled, deceived and terrified were they, that they actually returned to Moundsville without having accomplished their object; in fact, without attempting it. So this ended the chase after Frank Jennings. He remained in the county unmolested until the death of his father. He did not at all times keep himself concealed. He was frequently seen on the Doolin road and scores of times escaped from his father's house by secret paths, to the opposite side of the hills, among his friends. The next thing would be news of his robbing a house or some other crime. A portion of the time his retreat was in a small cabin, from which he had an outlook in every direction, with a subterranean passage of nearly two hundred yards, ending in a ravine, from which he could escape in any direction. The entrance to the underground channel was effected by raising a board or plank in the floor, which, after descending, he could draw after him and securely fasten it to its original position. Should his foes even succeed in forcing their way into his cabin, which was impossible without loss of life, for he always was armed, he could be in the ravine long before they could discover his way of escape or explore the passage when once found. He could well adapt himself to his surroundings, and when necessary could easily put on the mask of hypocrisy and profess religion. None could be more devout than he; none could shout louder, sing more vigorously, or pray more earnestly, and such feeling addresses - how ungrateful he had been; but thank God, the scales have fallen from his eyes; he could now see how good God had been to him, and an hour later he could have been indulging in quite a different strain. He was no doubt the leader of the gang, and was always on the alert.
There is another of that family in the gang worthy of mention. It is Frank's brother, Thomas Jennings. He was older than his brother Frank. He became about as notorious as the other members, but probably his notoriety was to be attributed largely to his connection to the Jennings family, more than his criminal exploits. Like his father, he was not naturally a criminal, as were his other brothers. He was engaged in fewer criminal transactions than any other member of the gang. He was young, not being more than twenty-seven years of age at the time of his death, which occurred at the penitentiary hospital in 1872. Like his father, he entered the military service of the United States and deserted therefrom, but unlike his father, did not return to his regiment at the time of Lincoln's proclamation. His most prominent action was iu the shooting of Geo. Forbes, of Wheeling. He had been arrested and tried for grand larceny and sentenced to an imprisonment in the penitentiary, which term he served. He was not out of the prison twenty-four hours until he was among his old confederates in crime, and roamed the country with disreputable females, such as Beck Craig and Mollie Vanhorn, indulging in conduct so disgraceful as to be unfit for publication. He was again indicted with Rebecca J. Craig upon the charge of grand larceny, breaking into the house of one George Alter. For this he was sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. This sentence was terminated by his death, which occurred while there. A fearful epidemic was raging in the penitentiary, to which he fell a victim.
Thomas Jennings was so much like his brother Frank that there is no use to rewrite his history.
There is another who was one of the most cruel and inhuman men that ever stood upon the soil of Wetzel county. His name is Jackson Jennings, commonly known as Jack Jennings. He was a brother to Thomas and Frank, and younger than either. He was the most unscrupulous member of that family. Like his brothers, he was ready at any time to commit a robbery. He was less intelligent than the others, and equally illiterate, without a redeeming trait about him. He was not capable of planning or carrying out any plan, as was Frank, without a leader, and it was necessary that he should act in a secondary capacity. Jack could not play the part of a hypocrit, as could Frank. While Frank would never betray a friend, Jack would for the sake of money, or for the purpose of escaping punishment. He would betray his best friend. For female virtue he had no respect whatever. The language that he has used in the presence of his own sisters and mother dare not be repeated here. He did not know what the sacred words of mother or sister meant. In this respect he was the opposite of his brother Thomas, and it is pleasant to the writer to bear this testimony in behalf of the latter. Jack Jennings was hostile toward his father, disliked to acknowledge his authority. On several occasions he threatened to take his father's life, and made an assault on him, and it was some time before the breach between the two was healed. So depraved was he that his father stood in fear of his personal safety, and on two occasions sought the aid and advice of the authorities, taking the necessary steps to have him arrested. It was at these times that people were beginning to think that the old man had nothing to do with the gang. He frequently stated that he had no control over him; that he would pay no attention to his orders or requests; that he would, contrary to parental wishes, bring to the house disreputable persons for him to lodge and feed, and that when he ventured to remonstrate the son would seize a revolver or rifle and threaten to terminate the old man's existence. He complained bitterly of the conduct of his son and frequently remarked that he was being accused of harboring bad men under his roof, when in fact, he was opposed to such proceedings, and would often warn his son not to repeat these offenses, but that he was only threatened with his life. He complained that it was hard that he should have the enmity and ill will of his neighbors for acts done by his son. Bnt enough has been said of the ill-fated family, so I will give a sketch of the next member of the gang.
Benjamin Barcus was a native of Marshall county. It is extremely difficult to give the reader a correct and full sketch of him, says Steinmetz. In his life he managed to make himself notorious as a criminal. In early life he was afflicted with kleptomania, with an equine tendency. He frequently engaged in horse dealing of a peculiar nature. He would sometimes be seen traveHng through the country as a peddler, selling dry goods at rates that wouid have been ruinous to ordinary retail dealers in dry goods, but not ruinous to him, having the good fortune to obtain his stock of goods without giving any consideration. This was a slow way to make money in Ben's eyes, and besides, it required labor to carry his pack from one house to another. Dealing in counterfeit national currency was an easy and genteel business, but where could he get his material? To Ben this was a great difficulty. At last he became acquainted with Frank and Jack Jennings, and they told him glowing tales of Wetzel, and how many families were there who had money in their possession, and then the country stores, filled with dry goods, with no person remaining in the building during the night; how easy to enter and carry away with them the entire stock. Such glowing accounts did he receive of the many golden opportunities Wetzel afforded such men that he concluded as soon as his time of imprisonment expired, to report for duty at the Jennings headquarters.
"Upon a warm summer day in the year of 1872, a rather tall man, with brown hair and beard, gray eyes and an awkward gait, passed the residence of Nelson Garner and inquired the way of him to the residence of John Jennings, and received the desired information." That man was Benjamin Barcus, just discharged from prison, and then on his way to the headquarters of the Jennings gang. In less than thirty days thereafter the breaking into of the house of and brutal assault upon John Burrows, an old disabled citizen, by himself and Jack Jennings, proved how ready he was to begin his infamous work. Like Frank Jennings he was possessed of a rare line of human nature and could act the hypocrite to perfection, and was a power at a meeting. He could shout, sing, pray and exort to anything that was required in that line, except to the shedding of tears. He could not quite adapt himself to that. He served a term out in the Ohio penitentiary, upon which he was convicted of a felony. He has also served two terms out in the West Virginia penitentiary and was pardoned the first term by Governor Boreman, who was deceived by the representations made to him.
Mollie Vanhorn, another member of the Jennings gang, has quite a history, and if published would create quite a sensation. Her history is still imperfectly known to the people at large. She was a woman of remarkable beauty and more than an ordinary share of intelligence, and her connection and acts with them must be deeply regretted. She was in point of intelligence and education the superior of many in the county, who would not tolerate her presence socially among them. She was capable of adapting herself to their surroundings. Her physical beauty was equalled by few in Wetzel county. Immorality was her first offense, and, of course, the downward path speedily followed. She was a niece of John Jennings, being an illegitimate daughter of his sister, Ortha, who afterward married one Nicholas Cross, a harmless and inoffensive man. Most people knew her reputed father, but it dare not be put in print. She was married to a man by the name of Vanhorn, who after their marriage entered the military service of the United States, and during his absence it was reported that she was guilty of adultery. Her mother-in-law witnessing these proceedings, wrote to her son and told him of her actions, and he immediately disowned her as a wife. There are people now who are thought to be respectable, and who have large families, who have spent whole nights with Mollie Vanhorn. She herself declared that there were those who claimed to be respectable and deemed themselves aristocratic, who were nevertheless, on very intimate terms with her, having traveled together in different localities as man and wife, and afterwards endeavored to effect her capture. At one time fifty dollars was offered for her arrest, but she always escaped the hunting parties. She was arrested with Thomas Jennings at the time he was sent for a year to the penitentiary, but escaped trial. One of the things that always enabled her to escape trial is that she has been intimate with so many respectable men in Wetzel county, that if she once got on trial would disgrace them as well as their families. She kept going downward from time to time. She became as notorious as her cousins, the Jennings boys. After the breaking up of the Jennings gang she joined a house of ill fame at Pittsburg. She was married to one Frances Sheppard, a discharged soldier of the Union army. He was so unfortunate as to become involved in a fight with a German at Hannibal, O., in which the latter lost his life, and Sheppard was indicted and found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to the Ohio penitentiary for ten years. He was pardoned, and notwithstanding Mollie's infamous actions, he went back to her and became reconciled, and lived with her for a long time. The last account the author had of her whereabouts, was at Sistersville, where she applied for a place of employment in a respectable family, in which she was hired, and upon being asked her name, she replied Mollie Vanhorn. She was immediately discharged. Thus is a life which could have been passed in happiness. With her beauty and refinement she could have been surrounded with everything that made life dear, and it was spent in misery and disgrace. Her last husband, Frank Sheppard, was not a man of bad reputation. He was not a member of the Jennings gang, but a hard working man, whose trouble originated from intoxication.
But little is known of the next member of the gang, more than that he was known by the name of Charles Cannon, and was introduced to different parties by John Jennings as his nephew. He was convicted in one of the counties of West Virginia as Charles Willard, of grand larceny. He had a peculiar expression of countenance. He was ready at any time to do anything that was criminal. There was not a crime known that he was net ready at any time to commit. He claimed to have been a soldier in the federal army, and was at the battle of Pittsburg Landing, but was unable to give his organization. He was lame in walking, which he claimed was caused by a bullet shot which he received at the battle of Shiloh. He was fortunate enough at an early age to acquire a common school education, of which he frequently engaged in reading stories of noted highwaymen, such as Dick Turpin, Jack Sheppard and others. But little is known of his connection with the Jennings gang, more than that he was a member.
There is still another member of the gang who is worthy of mention. That man was Jim Parker. This man is more noted in his connection with the shooting of Mr. Forbes, of Wheeling. He was pleasant and agreeable and one whose sociable manner would win the confidence of most anyone. Even in prison he was cheerful and obeyed prison orders, endeavoring to yield a pleasant and implicit obedience to the discipline of the prison. While serving his second term he openly denounced the Jennings boys, and claimed that he was now suffering for a crime that was committed by the Jennings boys, and both Frank and Tom said that he was not guilty. While the great revival was in progress, the officers were surprised to see such depraved as wretches as Frank Jennings and Luther Cremeens suddenly become converted. Parker was strongly urged to join in the movement by those who were making professions, for the purpose of fraud, but he bitterly denounced those whom he knew to be hypocrits. Among the number was Frank Jennings. He accused him of making those professions for the purpose of making the officers believe that he was going to do better, and thus escape the punishment he too often deserved. These actions on the part of Parker made him honorable in the minds of the officers and he gained the sympathy of those who came in contact with him. It was believed by a number of people throughout Wetzel and adjoining counties that he was innocent of the shooting of Mr. Forbes, of Wheeling, and Parker said that he believed that Forbes was honest in making his statement that he was the man that shot him, and that he could not in the excitement of such a thing identify his attempted murderer. It is believed that his connection with the Jennings gang had more to do with securing his conviction than Mr. Forbes' testimony.
The next member of the gimg is Luther Cremeens. Cremeens was a native of Kanawha county. He was one of the worst dare-devils that West Virginia has ever produced. Ready at any time to commit a crime (no matter how bad it was) for the sake of money. He formed the acquaintance of the Jennings in the West Virginia penitentiary, as did most of the members of the Jennings. He was convicted in Kanawha county of manslaughter and sentenced to a term of ten years in the State penitentiary. His first object when reaching prison was to discover what opportunities were afforded for escape, and watched closely, but he had not long to wait. On the 22nd day of August, 1867, the inmates at that time being allowed to purchase any luxuries that they were able to pay for, and on the morning of that day groups of mell were scattered here and there discu,ssing plans of escape. At their head were J. L. Graham, Chester Crawford and Luther Cremeens, and on that morning Graham arose as he had done numbers of times before and started toward the gate with a small tin bucket. Knocking on the gate it was opened by tllt~ keeper. Graham then told him that he wanted some milk, on which the keeper took the bucket and started after it, holding the bucket in one hand! and trying to shut the gate in the other. At that moment Graham suddenly swung back the gate and shouted: "Come on, if you want your liberty!" Out marched twenty-seven men, who seized the arms of the guards and compelled them to surrender, and marched in good order toward the hills, with Luther Creemens at their head. For a long time Creemens remained at large and what crimes he committed during that time are not known. He was again captured and taken back to prison and succeeded in affecting his excape in 1868, and it was while he was in the second time that he became acquainted with the Jennings boys, but he was with them but a short time when he was again captured and taken back to prison. He was captured the last time by Thomas H. Snodgrass.
We will not introduce a new character, well known to the people, Frank Goddard. None of the Jennings gang was more despised than he by the people of Wetzel county. He was not a thief or a robber, but a spy, and gave the necessary evidence in court needed by the defence in the trials of the Jennings boys. He would visit the prosecuting attorney's office and try to find out the mode of the procedure in the capturing of the Jennings gang, and would often denounce the Jennings boys for the purpose of securing something that might prove useful to them. There was a difficulty in proving his connection with the Jennings gang, but it was evident that he was a member. It is also evident that he received money for his services, for he had a family to keep, who were provided for. Yet he never worked.
We will now introduce to the reader Frank Goddard's son, Reason Goddard. This man did little actual service for them. He was too cowardly and worthless, says Steinmetz, who if all reports were true, ought to know. He was one who bore dispatches, and, like his father, a spy. His stealing, if any was done, was on his own responsibility, and of a petty order. There is no use taking up space in this book speaking of such a worthless character.
There is another who should not be overlooked, James Berry. His house was often visited by the Jennings gang, and was used by them as one of their headquarters. His home was the stopping place for disreputable women. It was the headquarters of the notorious Susan Hopkinson. She was the most infamous of her sex in the country, and it is to be regretted that the term of woman can be applied to such a creature. She was so abandoned and so utterly lost to every sense of the word that sympathy was beyond her reach. Among the Jennings gang she was the almost constant companion of Cannon and the whole house of Berry was a rendezvous of a lot of women whose honor had gone beyond recall, and those who were intimate with the members of the Jennings gang, such as Beck Craig and Mollie Vanhorn. The latter cannot by any ways be compared with Susan Hopkinson. Though Mollie could have been respected, it is doubtful if the former could ever have been. Had it not been for the aid that Berry received from the gang, he would have hardly been able to support his family.
REBECCA J. CRAIG.
Another disreputable female who was connected with the gang was Rebecca J. Craig, familiarly known as Beck Craig. She was as abandoned as was Susan Hopkinson, but while the latter escaped indictment for a felony, Beck did not, there being for a long time on file at the clerk's office an indictment for grand larceny. She was for a while the constant companion of Thomas Jennings, and roamed with him night and day, camping in the woods and preying upon peaceable and unoffending citzens and committing crimes more annoying than criminal. Not being satisfied with operating on so small a scale they committed a crime more serious, on which both were indicted, and Thomas convicted and sent to the penitentiary. After his conviction he was succeeded by Frank and Jack Jennings, while after their conviction, Reason Goddard, abandoning his wife and children, would accompany her; but we will now leave her to give a sketch of one who was thought to be one of the gang.
Freeman Whipky, was a brother-in-law to John Jennings. His principal offense in the eyes of the people was harboring the gang and securing such information as they might need. He was not recognized by the people as a good citizen. He was addicted to drinking and gambling, harboring women of ill fame and occasionally made a visit to a near neighbor's smoke house.
There is still another member of the gang of considerable importance. This was Henry Goddard; whether a relative of Frank it is not known by the author, but it is probable that he was. He was a natural born thief, and a man without honor or conscience. He would steal the last cent from those who had gained it by charity. His wife was equally as bad. They would often steal from those who had done them a favor. They richly deserved the fate so nearly meted out from the hands of the red men.
There is another member of the gang, who if a description were given, it would be a repetition of the sketch just given of Henry Goddard. Jerry Bondine was a neighbor of Henry Goddard, and between the families, in their low and petty crimes, it is difficult to find a difference.
There is still another member, and the last we shall mention, as there are a number of families through the county who were connected with the gang through fear, and probably some we have mentioned were connected with them with the same excuse. It may be we have spoken too harshly of them, but we will now take up the sketch of the last man we shall mention,
Frank Jackson, alias Burns. It is not probable that Burns, or Jackson, ever had the opportunity of participating in any of the serious offences committed by the gang. He was a native of Virginia (not West Virginia). He was convicted of larceny and sent to the penitentiary, where he served his time, and was again sent to the same place and made his escape with Luther Cremeens. Like the latter, was captured by Thos. H. Sheppard and James Sheppard and taken back to prison, where he remained until not long ago, after which it is thought that he concluded to seek an honest livelihood.
CRIMES COMMITTED BY THE GANG.
We will not dwell largely upon the crimes committed by the gang more than to mention them. The first crime known was the robbing of one Nicholas Hitch, who owned a store in the place known as Stender's. Another outrage committed by the gang was the shooting of one George Forbes, a cattle dealer, of Wheeling, in which he was wounded severely and laid for a long time with the wound he had received. The robbing of Stephen Howell was another outrage committed by the gang. The robbing of Lemaster's store, in Tyler county, also the robbing of John Burrows, John Clark, Mr. Grossenbaucher, Mr. Butcherm, and others too numerous to mention. Nearly all of the members of the gang had served terms in the penitentiary, and at one time very near all of the gang, yet outrages were still committed. The people by this time were trying every way to find means of breaking up the gang, but could accomplish nothing. At last a secret organization was formed under the name of the Redmen, what the law so far had failed to do. Jennings was warned of the storm that was near by a piece published in the Labor Vindicator, and it was Jennings' own obstinate ways that shortened his life. On the night of June 12th, 1873, while lying in bed at his home in slumber, and little dreaming that that night would be his last on earth, he was awakened by a shot, doubtless fired at the faithful watch dog, and on looking out beheld the members of the Redmen, who were more than a score in number, and their faces painted with red paint. He at once knew what it meant. He was no coward, but when he thought of his past life and of the widow and the youngest son, his limbs began to tremble, but he was going to face death like a man. He was ordered to surrender. This, of course, he refused to do. He was then commanded to follow them, and again he refused. An attempt was then made to fasten a rope around his neck. His wife seeing this, and knowing the meaning, handed him an axe, on which Jennings was shot by one of the Redmen and fell lifeless to the floor. His wife also received two bullet wounds, though testifying before tbe coroner's jury that she did not believe the shots were intended for her. She afterward remarked that she believed they were. It is the opinion of the writer that they were not thus intended. The Jennings gang, Jack and Frank, were in the South the last time they were heard of, but the other members of the gang disappeared, as did the Jennings boys, and not since then, with but one exception, has there ever been a person unlawfully hung or shot by a mob.