Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of David Hunter STROTHER


         David Hunter STROTHER was born in Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia, September 26, 1816, and died at Charles Town, Jefferson County, March 8, 1888. He was the son of Col. John and Elizabeth Pendleton (Hunter) Strother. He was married twice, first to Anne Doyne Wolfe, and second to Mary Elliott Hunter. By his first marriage, he had one daughter, Emily Strother, who became the wife of John Brisben Walker. By his second marriage, he had two sons. However, in Norbourne Cemetery, there are six little graves, all David Hunter's children who died in infancy.

         He was one of the most widely known U.S. authors of that time, adopting the nom-de-plume of “Port Crayon,” under which he wrote “The Virginia Caanan.” This work was illustrated with crayon, which at once won the public by their charming originality, terseness and grace. Soon, the Porte Crayon name was a household word wherever the monthly Harper's Magazine found its way, from Atlantic to Pacific Shores. One of his first teachers was Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the electric telegraph. He studied art with Morse in 1836; for two years in Rome, Italy, 1842-44; and in New York, 1845-49. He served in the Federal Army during the Civil War and rose to the rank of Brigadier-General. He was appointed adjutant-general on McClellan's staff, served on Pope's staff in the Virginia campaign; and was brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers. He was a war correspondent for Harper’s Magazine. After the war, he resumed his literary work, and his "Personal Recollections of the War," written from a notebook kept while at the front, was very popular. President Hayes appointed him Consul-General to Mexico in 1877, a position he filled for seven years. He was the author of "The Blackwater Chronicle" (1853) and "Virginia Illustrated" (1857).

         His sister was Mrs. James L. Randolph, whose husband was James L. Randolph, Chief Civil Engineer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad for a number of years.

         While traveling in France, David Strother saw a cemetery laid out to suit his artistic taste and, making a sketch of it, he devised plans for the Green Hill Cemetery in Martinsburg, precisely as he saw the one in France. Together with the surveyor, John P. Kearfott, he laid out the grounds with a mausoleum in the center, surrounded by lots, walks and drives arranged in a circular shape.


    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928.

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