Friday, April 08, 2011

Civil War Damage at Makemie Presbyterian Church

From “OFF 13, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Guidebook” by Kirk Mariner
In 1861 when the Eastern Shore of Virginia was occupied by the Union army, Drummondtown was chosen as the headquarters of its commanding officer, General Henry H. Lockwood. Thought the town survived the Civil war with little physical damage – except to the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, which the union soldiers used as barracks and stables …. Not until the early 1870 did the townfolk see the last of the army of occupation.

As Kirk Mariner said, during the Civil war the Presbyterian church in Accomac (at that time called Drummondtown) was occupied and used as a barracks for Union Troops. In 1907 the church finally filed for the great damage that was done and for rent in the amount of $1,370, they received $400. This is the bill that authorized the $400.


The following bill was introduced in Congress:
A bill for the relief of Makemie Presbyterian Church
“Be it enacted by the senate and House of Representative of the United States of America in congress assembled, that the secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby authorized and directed to pay out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to the trustees of Makie Presbyterian Church , at Accomac Court-house, Accomac County, Virginia, four hundred dollars, the same being in full for, and the receipt of the same to be taken and accepted in full and final discharge of, its claim for the occupancy of and damage to the church building by the military forces of the United States during the late war between the states, and for which no payment has been made.

That by resolution of the Senate of the Fifty-Seventh Congress, first session on the 31st day of March, 1908, the claim was referred to this court for a finding of the facts in accordance with the provisions of the act of March 3, 1887, entitle “An act to provide for the bringing of suits against the Government of the United States.


The plaintiff in its petition makes the following allegations; Tht the church building was occupied some time in 1861 until the close of the war by United States troops as follows; Company A, Purnell’s legion, Maryland Cavalry; a troop of Delaware Cavalry; a troop of Pennsylvania Cavalry, commanded by Captain Skelly , and a part of a negro regiment, and that while so occupied by said military forces, all the interior fittings and part of the walls were removed and used for the benefit of the United States, and that in consequence of the destruction of the pews and windows and damage to the walls by said military forces, the building was not again occupied as a place of worship until 1869. That the value of the occupation of said building by the troops and the amount of damage to the building was as follows;

Damage to church and interior fittings….$770
Use and occupation for four years, at $150 per year…600

That no claim was ever presented to the United States for the use occupation and damage to the said church property except as hereinbefore stated but the church edifice was partly repaired by the claimant and used as a place of worship some time in 1869.

The case was brought to a hearing on the 6th day of May , 1907 , George A & William B. King appearing for the claimant and Malcolm A. Cotes, esq. Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General and by his direction appearing for the defense and protection of the United States.

The court, upon the evidence and after considering the brief and argument of counsel on both sides makes the following

I. The Makemie Presbyterian Church, of Drummondtown, Va., as an organization was loyal to the Government of the United States throughout the late war.
II. During said period the military forces of the United States by proper authority took possession of the church property described in the petition and used the same at various times for general military quarters and damaged the same. The reasonable value of said use and occupation together with damages in excess of the ordinary wear and tear, was then and there the sum of four hundred dollars ($400).
III. The claim herein was never presented to any department of the Government prior to its presentation to congress and reference to this court under the provisions of the act of March 8, 1887 as hereinbefore mentioned and no reason is given therefor.
By the Court
Filed May 13, 1907

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