Volcano home to lively characters

Late J.L. Showalter was hero of romantic adventure during the war

It is not generally known that John L. Showalter, whose death occurred a few days ago at his home in Volcano, figured in one of the most daring and exciting episodes during the Civil War.

Mr. Showalter and one of his brothers enlisted in the confederate service, both very young, and were members of the famous McNeill’s Rangers, the company which was composed of the most daring spirits of any company in either army who won the admiration of all by their exciting exploits all during the war.

Mr. Showalter was one of the band of eleven men from the Rangers who bravely rode into Cumberland, and going to the hotel, captured Generals Crook and Kelly, and carried them to the mountains, while Cumberland and the adjacent territory was teeming with several thousand Federal soldiers. It was a memorable event in the war and is a part of the history of the great conflict, but it was only one of the exciting episodes in which the Rangers took part, and Mr. Showalter was in all of them.

From The Parkersburg Sentinel

June 2, 1908


About a gold-headed cane

The other day a certain Democratic candidate of this county, went out to Volcano on a little electioneering expedition, spent some money during the day, had a good time, and night coming on he began to feel the need of a little repose. He accordingly went to the house of a friend near by and retired for the night. It happened however, that on that particular night the man of the house was not at home at the time of the arrival there of said Democratic candidate. But a little thing like that was not supposed to disturb the enjoyment of the hospitalities of the occasion. All went merry for a while but the male member of the household put in an appearance just when least expected, and then – well there was Hades to pay. There was a fight then and there, and in the melee that ensued a gold-headed cane that the D.c. was in the habit of carrying was broke in several pieces, and the end with the gold on was through a window. The D.c. finally got out of the house alive, but scratched up considerably, and he proceeded to the village of Volcano and gave two young fellows whom he met five dollars each to go and search for the head of that cane, which they accordingly did. After considerable searching around they found the much prized article and returned it to its owner. He received it graciously and came home happy – or as happy as the circumstances would admit.

From The Parkersburg Daily State Journal

September 28, 1888


Two thousand dollars has been subscribed towards building an Episcopal Church at Volcano, in this county, and the contract has been made for erecting a twenty-five hundred dollar church. The lumber has been purchased, and the work will be vigorously pushed forward, as Messr. Wm. C. Stiles Jr., D.C. Mudge, and others of our enterprising oil producers, are interesting themselves in this good work. We are pleased to know that another building for the worship of God is to be erected.

From The Parkersburg Daily Times

January 17, 1871


The Wood County Historical Society works to preserve yesterday for tomorrow. For more information, contact P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102