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Sippin' Some 'Shine

          Mosby Spring Bus Tour

Saturday, June 24th , 2017


Please arrive at 8a.m. at the Truro Rectory (at 10520 Main Street, Fairfax City) to sign in. The bus will leave promptly at 8:30a.m.  Fairfax County will be celebrating its 275th Anniversary so we will be visiting the Fairfax House (or Fairview), Fairfax Station, the grave of Lewis Woodyard, the grave of Laura Ratcliff, Mosby’s Rock and more.


Tour Leaders will be

Don Hakenson &  Eric Buckland


Special Guest will be noted Mosby Author & Historian Tom Evans.


Price:  $65 for members of the Stuart-Mosby Historical Society or $75 for non-members.


To Sign-up for the tour please contact:

Don Hakenson – Phone:  703-971-4984 or email: Your seat is not saved until we receive payment.

Send a check made payable to:

Don Hakenson, 4708 Lillian Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22310

Sorry, no refunds after June 10, 2017


We will be stopping for lunch around noon….Unfortunately; lunch is not a part of the fee.


We are proud to proclaim that this tour is the longest continuously running Mosby Tour conducted in America today!


                          75th RANGER REGIMENT HISTORY


Ranger history predates the Revolutionary War. In the mid 1700’s, Capt. Benjamin Church and Maj. Robert Rogers both formed Ranger units to fight during the King Phillips War and the French and Indian War. Maj. Robert Rogers wrote the 19 standing orders that are still in use today.


The Continental Congress formed eight companies of expert riflemen in 1775 to fight in the Revolutionary War. In 1777, this force of hardy frontiersmen commanded by Dan Morgan was known as The Corps of Rangers. Francis Marion, “The Swamp Fox”, organized another famous Revolutionary War Ranger element known as Marion’s Partisans.


During the War of 1812, companies of United States Rangers were raised from among the frontier settlers as part of the regular army. Throughout the war, they patrolled the frontier from Ohio to Western Ill. on horseback and by boat. They participated in many skirmishes and battles with the British and their Indian allies. Many famous men belonged to Ranger units during the 18th and 19th centuries to include Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln.


The Civil War included Rangers such as John Singleton Mosby who was the most famous Confederate Ranger during the Civil War. His raids on Union camps and bases were so effective, part of North-Central Va. soon became known as Mosby’s Confederacy.


After the Civil War, more than half a century passed without military Ranger units in America. However, during World War II (1941-1945), the United States, using British Commando standards, activated six Ranger infantry battalions.


Maj. (later Brigadier General) William O. Darby organized and activated the 1st Ranger Battalion on June 19, 1942, at Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. The 1st Ranger Battalion participated in the North African landing at Arzeu, Algeria, the Tunisian Battles, and the critical Battle of El Guettar.


The 3rd and 4th Ranger Battalions were activated and trained by Col. Darby in Africa near the end of the Tunisian Campaign. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th Battalions formed the Ranger Force. They began the tradition of wearing the scroll shoulder sleeve insignia, which has been officially adopted for today’s Ranger battalions.


The 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions participated in the June 6, 1944, D-Day landings at Omaha Beach, Normandy. It was during the bitter fighting along the beaches that the Rangers gained their motto, “Rangers, lead the way!” They conducted daring missions to include scaling the cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc, overlooking Omaha Beach, to destroy German gun emplacements trained on the beachhead.


The 6th Ranger Battalion operated in the Philippines and formed the rescue force that liberated American Prisoners Of War from a Japanese POW camp at Cabanatuan in Jan. 1945. The 6th Battalion destroyed the Japanese POW camp and evacuated more than 500 prisoners.


The 75th Infantry Regiment was first organized in the China-Burma-India Theater on Oct. 3, 1943 as Task Force Galahad. It was during the campaigns in the China-Burma-India Theater that the regiment became known as Merrill’s Marauders after its commander, Maj. Gen. Frank D. Merrill. The Ranger Battalions were deactivated at the close of WWII.


The outbreak of hostilities in Korea in June 1950 again signaled the need for Rangers. Fifteen Ranger Companies were formed during the Korean War. The Rangers went to battle throughout the winter of 1950 and the spring of 1951. They were nomadic warriors, attached first to one regiment and then to another. They performed “out front” work – scouting, patrolling, raids, ambushes, spearheading assaults, and as counterattack forces to regain lost positions.


Rangers were again called to serve their country during the Vietnam War. The 75th Infantry was reorganized once more on Jan. 1, 1969, as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. Fifteen separate Ranger companies were formed from this reorganization. Thirteen served proudly in Vietnam until inactivation on Aug. 15, 1972.


In Jan. 1974, Gen. Creighton Abrams, Army Chief of Staff, directed the formation of a Ranger battalion. The 1st Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry, was activated and parachuted into Fort Stewart, Ga. on July 1, 1974. The 2nd Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry followed with activation on Oct. 1, 1974. The 3rd Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger), and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 75th Infantry (Ranger), received their colors on Oct. 3, 1984, at Fort Benning, Ga. The 75th Ranger Regiment was designated in Feb. 1986.


The modern Ranger battalions were first called upon in 1980. Elements of 1st Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger) participated in the Iranian hostage rescue attempts.

In Oct. 1983, 1st and 2nd (-) Ranger Battalions spearheaded Operation Urgent Fury by conducting a daring low-level parachute assault to seize Point Salines Airfield and rescue American citizens at True Blue Medical Campus.


The entire 75th Ranger Regiment participated in Operation Just Cause. Rangers spearheaded the action by conducting two important operations. Simultaneous parachute assaults were conducted onto Torrijos/Tocumen International Airport, Rio Hato Airfield and General Manuel Noriega’s beach house, to neutralize Panamanian Defense Forces. The Rangers captured 1,014 Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW), and over 18,000 arms of various types.


Elements of Company B, and 1st Platoon Company A, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment deployed to Saudi Arabia from February 12, 1991 to April 15, 1991, in support of Operation Desert Storm.


In August 1993, elements of 3rd Battalion, and 75th Ranger Regiment, deployed to Somalia to assist United Nations forces in bringing order to a desperately chaotic and starving nation. On October 3, 1993, the Rangers conducted a daring daylight raid with 1st SFOD. For nearly 18 hours, the Rangers delivered devastating firepower, killing an estimated 600 Somalis in what many have called the fiercest ground combat since Vietnam.


On 24 November 2000 the 75th Ranger Regiment deployed Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment (RRD) Team 2 and a command and control element to Kosovo in support of TF Falcon.


After the events of September 11, 2001, Rangers were called upon to lead the way in the Global War on Terrorism. On 19 October 2001, 3rd Battalion and 75th Ranger Regiment spearheaded ground forces by conducting an airborne assault to seize Objective Rhino in Afganistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On 28 March 2003, 3rd Battalion employed the first airborne assault in Iraq to seize Objective Serpent in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Due to the changing nature of warfare and the need for an agile and sustainable Ranger Force, The Regimental Special Troops Battalion (RSTB) was activated 17 July 2006. The RSTB conducts sustainment, intelligence, reconnaissance and maintenance missions which were previously accomplished by small detachments assigned to the Regimental headquarters and then attached within each of the three Ranger battalions. The activation of the RSTB signifies a major waypoint in the transformation of the Ranger Force from a unit designed for short term “contingency missions” to continuous combat operations without loss in lethality or flexibility.


Today, Rangers from all four of its current Battalions continue to lead the way in the Global War on Terrorism. The 75th Ranger Regiment is conducting sustained combat operations in multiple countries deploying from multiple locations in the United States, a task that is unprecedented for the Regiment. Rangers continue conducting combat operations with almost every deployed special operations, conventional and coalition force in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Ranger Regiment is executing a wide range of diverse operations that include airborne and air assaults into Afghanistan and Iraq, mounted infiltrations behind enemy lines, complex urban raids and rescue operations.


The 75th Ranger Regiment continues to train in the United States and overseas to prepare for future no-notice worldwide combat deployments. The Regiment also continues to recruit, assess and train the next generation of Rangers and Ranger leadership.




The cavalry-camp lies on the slope
Of what was late a vernal hill,
But now like a pavement bare--
An outpost in the perilous wilds
Which ever are lone and still;
But Mosby's men are there --
Of Mosby best beware.


Great trees the troopers felled, and leaned
In antlered walls about their tents;
Strict watch they kept; 'twas Hark! and Mark!
Unarmed none cared to stir abroad
For berries beyond their forest-fence:
As glides in seas the shark,
Rides Mosby through green dark.

All spake of him, but few had seen
Except the maimed ones or the low;
Yet rumor made him every thing--
A farmer--woodman--refugee--
The man who crossed the field but now;
A spell about his life did cling --
Who to the ground shall Mosby bring?

The morning-bugles lonely play,
Lonely the evening-bugle calls --
Unanswered voices in the wild;
The settled hush of birds in nest
Becharms, and all the wood enthralls:
Memory's self is so beguiled
That Mosby seems a satyr's child.

They lived as in the Eerie Land--
The fire-flies showed with fairy gleam;
And yet from pine-tops one might ken
The Capitol dome--hazy--sublime--
A vision breaking on a dream:
So strange it was that Mosby's men
Should dare to prowl where the Dome was seen.

A scout toward Aldie broke the spell. --
The Leader lies before his tent
Gazing at heaven's all-cheering lamp
Through blandness of a morning rare;
His thoughts on bitter-sweets are bent:
His sunny bride is in the camp --
But Mosby -- graves are beds of damp!

The trumpet calls; he goes within;
But none the prayer and sob may know:
Her hero he, but bridegroom too.
Ah, love in a tent is a queenly thing,
And fame, be sure, refines the vow;
But fame fond wives have lived to rue,
And Mosby's men fell deeds can do.

Tan-tara! tan-tara! tan-tara!
Mounted and armed he sits a king;
For pride she smiles if now she peep --
Elate he rides at the head of his men;
He is young, and command is a boyish thing:
They file out into the forest deep --
Do Mosby and his rangers sleep?

The sun is gold, and the world is green,
Opal the vapors of morning roll;
The champing horses lightly prance --
Full of caprice, and the riders too
Curving in many a caricole.
But marshaled soon, by fours advance --
Mosby had checked that airy dance.

By the hospital-tent the cripples stand --
Bandage, and crutch, and cane, and sling,
And palely eye the brave array;
The froth of the cup is gone for them
(Caw! caw! the crows through the blueness wing);
Yet these were late as bold, as gay;
But Mosby -- a clip, and grass is hay.

How strong they feel on their horses free,
Tingles the tendoned thigh with life;
Their cavalry-jackets make boys of all --
With golden breasts like the oriole;
The chat, the jest, and laugh are rife.
But word is passed from the front -- a call
For order; the wood is Mosby's hall.

To which behest one rider sly
(Spurred, but unarmed) gave little heed --
Of dexterous fun not slow or spare,
He teased his neighbors of touchy mood,
Into plungings he pricked his steed:
A black-eyed man on a coal-black mare,
Alive as Mosby in mountain air.

His limbs were long, and large and round;
He whispered, winked--did all but shout:
A healthy man for the sick to view;
The taste in his mouth was sweet at morn;
Little of care he cared about.
And yet of pains and pangs he knew --
In others, maimed by Mosby's crew.

The Hospital Steward -- even he
(Sacred in person as a priest),
And on his coat-sleeve broidered nice
Wore the caduceus, black and green.
No wonder he sat so light on his beast;
This cheery man in suit of price
Not even Mosby dared to slice.

They pass the picket by the pine
And hollow log -- a lonesome place;
His horse adroop, and pistol clean;
'Tis cocked -- kept leveled toward the wood;
Strained vigilance ages his childish face.
Since midnight has that stripling been
Peering for Mosby through the green.

Splashing they cross the freshet-flood,
And up the muddy bank they strain;
A horse at the spectral white-ash shies --
One of the span of the ambulance,
Black as a hearse. They give the rein:
Silent speed on a scout were wise,
Could cunning baffle Mosby's spies.

Rumor had come that a band was lodged
In green retreats of hills that peer
By Aldie (famed for the swordless charge).
Much store they'd heaped of captured arms
And, per adventure, pilfered cheer;
For Mosby's lads oft hearts enlarge
In revelry by some gorge's marge.

"Don't let your sabres rattle and ring;
To his oat-bag let each man give heed --
There now, that fellow's bag's untied,
Sowing the road with the precious grain.
Your carbines swing at hand -- you need!
Look to yourselves, and your nags beside,
Men who after Mosby ride."

Picked lads and keen went sharp before --
A guard, though scarce against surprise;
And rearmost rode an answering troop,
But flankers none to right or left.
No bugle peals, no pennon flies:
Silent they sweep, and fain would swoop
On Mosby with an Indian whoop.

On, right on through the forest land,
Nor man, nor maid, nor child was seen --
Not even a dog. The air was still;
The blackened hut they turned to see,
And spied charred benches on the green;
A squirrel sprang from the rotting mill
Whence Mosby sallied late, brave blood to spill.

By worn-out fields they cantered on --
Drear fields amid the woodlands wide;
By cross-roads of some olden time,
In which grew groves; by gate-stones down --
Grassed ruins of secluded pride:
A strange lone land, long past the prime,
Fit land for Mosby or for crime.

The brook in the dell they pass. One peers
Between the leaves: "Ay, there's the place --
There, on the oozy ledge -- 'twas there
We found the body (Blake's you know);
Such whirlings, gurglings round the face --
Shot drinking! Well, in war all's fair --
So Mosby says. The bough -- take care!"

Hard by, a chapel. Flower-pot mould
Danked and decayed the shaded roof;
The porch was punk; the clapboards spanned
With ruffled lichens gray or green;
Red coral-moss was not aloof;
And mid dry leaves green dead-man's-hand
Groped toward that chapel in Mosby-land.

They leave the road and take the wood,
And mark the trace of ridges there --
A wood where once had slept the farm --
A wood where once tobacco grew
Drowsily in the hazy air,
And wrought in all kind things a calm --
Such influence, Mosby! bids disarm.

To ease even yet the place did woo --
To ease which pines unstirring share,
For ease the weary horses sighed:
Halting, and slackening girths, they feed,
Their pipes they light, they loiter there;
Then up, and urging still the Guide,
On, and after Mosby ride.

This Guide in frowzy coat of brown,
And beard of ancient growth and mould,
Bestrode a bony steed and strong,
As suited well with bulk he bore --
A wheezy man with depth of hold
Who jouncing went. A staff he swung --
A wight whom Mosby's wasp had stung.

Burnt out and homeless -- hunted long!
That wheeze he caught in autumn-wood
Crouching (a fat man) for his life,
And spied his lean son 'mong the crew
That probed the covert. Ah! black blood
Was his 'gainst even child and wife --
Fast friends to Mosby. Such the strife.

A lad, unhorsed by sliding girths,
Strains hard to readjust his seat
Ere the main body show the gap
'Twixt them and the rear-guard; scrub-oaks near
He sidelong eyes, while hands move fleet;
Then mounts and spurs. One drops his cap --
"Let Mosby find!" nor heeds mishap.

A gable time-stained peeps through trees:
"You mind the fight in the haunted house?
That's it; we clenched them in the room --
An ambuscade of ghosts, we thought,
But proved sly rebels on a bouse!
Luke lies in the yard." The chimneys loom:
Some muse on Mosby -- some on doom.

Less nimbly now through brakes they wind,
And ford wild creeks where men have drowned;
They skirt the pool, avoid the fen,
And so till night, when down they lie,
Their steeds still saddled, in wooded ground:
Rein in hand they slumber then,
Dreaming of Mosby's cedarn den.

But Colonel and Major friendly sat
Where boughs deformed low made a seat.
The Young Man talked (all sworded and spurred)
Of the partisan's blade he longed to win,
And frays in which he meant to beat.
The grizzled Major smoked, and heard:
"But what's that -- Mosby?" "No, a bird."

A contrast here like sire and son,
Hope and Experience sage did meet;
The Youth was brave, the Senior too;
But through the Seven Days one had served,
And gasped with the rear-guard in retreat:
So he smoked and smoked, and the wreath he blew --
"Any sure news of Mosby's crew?"

He smoked and smoked, eyeing the while
A huge tree hydra-like in growth --
Moon-tinged--with crook'd boughs rent or lopped --
Itself a haggard forest. "Come!"
The Colonel cried, "to talk you're loath;
D'ye hear? I say he must be stopped,
This Mosby -- caged, and hair close cropped."

"Of course; but what's that dangling there?"
"Where?" "From the tree -- that gallows-bough;
"A bit of frayed bark, is it not?"
"Ay--or a rope; did we hang last? --
Don't like my neckerchief any how;"
He loosened it: "O ay, we'll stop
This Mosby -- but that vile jerk and drop!"

By peep of light they feed and ride,
Gaining a grove's green edge at morn,
And mark the Aldie hills upread
And five gigantic horsemen carved
Clear-cut against the sky withdrawn;
Are more behind? an open snare?
Or Mosby's men but watchmen there?

The ravaged land was miles behind,
And Loudon spread her landscape rare;
Orchards in pleasant lowlands stood,
Cows were feeding, a cock loud crew,
But not a friend at need was there;
The valley-folk were only good
To Mosby and his wandering brood.

What best to do? what mean yon men?
Colonel and Guide their minds compare;
Be sure some looked their Leader through;
Dismounted, on his sword he leaned
As one who feigns an easy air;
And yet perplexed he was they knew --
Perplexed by Mosby's mountain-crew.

The Major hemmed as he would speak,
But checked himself, and left the ring
Of cavalrymen about their Chief --
Young courtiers mute who paid their court
By looking with confidence on their king;
They knew him brave, foresaw no grief --
But Mosby -- the time to think is brief.

The Surgeon (sashed in sacred green)
Was glad 'twas not for him to say
What next should be; if a trooper bleeds,
Why he will do his best,as wont,
And his partner in black will aid and pray;
But judgment bides with him who leads,
And Mosby many a problem breeds.

The Surgeon was the kindliest man
That ever a callous trace professed;
He felt for him, that Leader young,
And offered medicine from his flask:
The Colonel took it with marvelous zest.
For such fine medicine good and strong,
Oft Mosby and his foresters long.

A charm of proof. "Ho, Major, come--
Pounce on yon men! Take half your troop,
Through the thickets wind--pray speedy be--
And gain their read. And, Captain Morn,
Picket these roads--all travelers stop;
The rest to the edge of this crest with me,
That Mosby and his scouts may see."

Commanded and done. Ere the sun stood steep,
Back came the Blues, with a troop of Grays,
Ten riding double--luckless ten!--
Five horses gone, and looped hats lost,
And love-locks dancing in a maze--
Certes, but sophomores from the glen
Of Mosby--not his veteran men.

"Colonel," said the Major, touching his cap,
"We've had our ride, and here they are."
"Well done! How many found you there?"
"As many as I bring you here."
"And no one hurt?" "There'll be no scar --
One fool was battered." "Find their lair?"
"Why, Mosby's brood camp everywhere."

He sighed, and slid down from his horse,
And limping went to a spring-head nigh.
"Why, bless me, Major, not hurt, I hope?"
"Battered my knee against a bar
When the rush was made; all right by-and-by. --
Halloa! They gave you too much rope --
Go back to Mosby, eh? elope?"
Just by the low-hanging skirt of wood
The guard, remiss, had given a chance
For a sudden sally into the cover --
But foiled the intent, nor fired a shot,
Though the issue was a deadly trance;
For, hurled 'gainst an oak that humped low over,
Mosby's man fell, pale as a lover.

They pulled some grass his head to ease
(Lined with blue shreds a ground-nest stirred).
The Surgeon came --"Here's a to-do!"
"Ah!" cried the Major, darting a glance,
"This fellow's the one that fired and spurred
Downhill, but met reserves below --
My boys, not Mosby's -- so we go!"

The Surgeon -- bluff, red, goodly man --
Kneeled by the hurt one; like a bee
He toiled the pale young Chaplain too --
(Who went to the wars for cure of souls,
And his own student-ailments) -- he
Bent over likewise; spite the two,
Mosby's poor man more pallid grew.

Meanwhile the mounted captives near
Jested; and yet they anxious showed;
Virginians; some of family-pride,
And young, and full of fire, and fine
In open feature and cheek that glowed;
And here thralled vagabonds now they ride --
But list! one speaks for Mosby's side.

"Why, three to one -- your horses strong --
Revolvers, rifles, and a surprise --
Surrender we account no shame!
We live, are gay, and life is hope;
We'll fight again when fight is wise.
There are plenty more from where we came;
But go find Mosby -- start the game!"

Yet one there was who looked but glum;
In middle-age, a father he,
And this his first experience too:
"They shot at my heart when my hands were up 
This fighting's crazy work, I see!"
But no one is nigh; what next do?
The woods are mute, and Mosby is the foe.

Save what we've got," the Major said;
"Bad plan to make a scout too long;
The tide may turn, and drag them back,
And more beside. These rides I've been,
And every time a mine was sprung.
To rescue, mind, they won't be slack --
Look out for Mosby's rifle-crack."

"We'll welcome it! Give crack for crack!
Peril, old lad, is what I seek."
"O then, there's plenty to be had --
By all means on, and have our fill!"
With that, grotesque, he writhed his neck,
Showing a scar by buck-shot made --
Kind Mosby's Christmas gift, he said.

"But, Colonel, my prisoners -- let a guard
Make sure of them, and lead to camp.
That done, we're free for a dark-room fight
If so you say. "The other laughed;
"Trust me, Major, nor throw a damp.
But first to try a little sleight --
Sure news of Mosby would suit me quite."

Herewith he turned -- "Reb, have a dram?"
Holding the Surgeon's flask with a smile
To a young scapegrace from the glen.
"O yes!" he eagerly replied,
"And thank you, Colonel, but -- any guile?
For if you think we'll blab -- why, then
You don't know Mosby or his men."

The Leader's genial air relaxed.
"Best give it up," a whisperer said.
"By heaven, I'll range their rebel den!"
"They'll treat you well," the captive cried;
"They're all like us -- handsome -- well bred:
In wood or town, with sword or pen,
Polite is Mosby, and his men."

"Where were you, lads, last night? -- come, tell!"
"We? -- at a wedding in the Vale --
The bridegroom our comrade; by his side
Belisent, my cousin -- O, so proud
Of her young love with old wounds pale --
A Virginian girl! God bless her pride --
Of a crippled Mosby-man the bride!"

"Four wall shall mend that saucy mood,
And moping prisons tame him down,"
Said Captain Cloud." God help that day,"
Cried Captain Morn, "and he so young.
But hark, he sings -- a madcap one!"
"O we multiply merrily in the May,
The birds and Mosby's men, they say!"

While echoes ran, a wagon old,
Under stout guard of Corporal Chew
Came up; a lame horse, dingy white,
With clouted harness; ropes in hand,
Cringed the humped driver, black in hue;
By him (for Mosby's band a sight)
A sister-rebel sat, her veil held tight.

"I picked them up," the Corporal said,
"Crunching their way over stick and root,
Through yonder wood. The man here -- Cuff --
Says they are going to Leesburgtown."
The Colonel's eye took in the group;
The veiled one's hand he spied -- enough!
Not Mosby's. Spite the gown's poor stuff,

Off went his hat: "Lady, fear not;
We soldiers do what we deplore --
I must detain you till we march,"
The stranger nodded. Nettled now,
He grew politer than before: --
"Tis Mosby's fault, this halt and search:"
The lady stiffened in her starch.

"My duty, madam, bids me now
Ask what may seem a little rude.
Pardon -- that veil -- withdraw it, please
(Corporal! Make every man fall back);
Pray, now I do but what I should;
Bethink you, 'tis in masks like these
That Mosby haunts the villages."

Slowly the stranger drew her veil,
And looked the Soldier in the eye --
A glance of mingled foul and fair;
Sad patience in a proud disdain,
And more than quietude. A sigh
She heaved, and if all unaware,
And far seemed Mosby from her care.

She came from Yewton Place, her home,
So ravaged by the war's wild play --
Campings, and foragings, and fires --
That now she sought an aunt's abode.
Her kinsmen? In Lee's army, they.
The black? A servant, late her sire's.
And Mosby? Vainly he inquires.

He gazed, and sad she met his eye;
"In the wood yonder were you lost?"
No; at the forks they left the road
Because of hoof-prints (thick they were --
Thick as the words in notes thrice crossed),
And fearful, made that episode.
In fear of Mosby? None she showed.

Her poor attire again he scanned:
"Lady, once more; I grieve to jar
On all sweet usage, but must plead
To have what peeps there from your dress;
That letter -- 'tis justly prize of war."
She started -- gave it -- she must need.
"Tis not from Mosby? May I read?"

And straight such matter he perused
That with the Guide he went apart.
The Hospital Steward's turn began:
"Must squeeze this darkey; every tap
Of knowledge we are bound to start."
"Garry," she said, "tell all you can
Of Colonel Mosby -- that brave man."

"Dun know much, sare; and missis here
Know less dan me. But dis I know --"
"Well, what?" "I dun know what I know."
"A knowing answer!" The hump-back coughed,
Rubbing his yellowish wool-like tow.
"Come -- Mosby -- tell!" "O dun look so!
My gal nursed missis -- let we go."

"Go where?" demanded Captain Cloud;
"Back into bondage? Man, you're free!"
"Well, let we free!" The Captain's brow
Lowered; the Colonel came -- had heard:
"Pooh! pooh! His simple heart I see --
A faithful servant. --Lady" (a bow),
"Mosby's abroad -- with us you'll go.

"Guard! Look to your prisoners; back to camp!
The man in the grass -- can he mount and away?
Why, how he groans!" "Bad inward bruise--
Might lug him along in the ambulance."
"Coals to Newcastle! Let him stay.
Boots and saddles! -- our pains we lose,
Nor care I if Mosby hear the news!"

But word was sent to a house at hand,
And a flask was left by the hurt one's side.
They seized in that same house a man,
Neutral by day, by night a foe --
So charged his neighbor late, the Guide.
A grudge? Hate will do what it can;
Along he went for a Mosby-man.

No secrets now; the bugle calls;
The open road they take, nor shun
The hill; retrace the weary way.
But one there was who whispered low,
"This is a feint -- we'll back anon;
Young Hair-Brains don't retreat, they say;
A brush with Mosby is the play!"

They rode till eve. Then on a farm
That lay along a hill-side green,
Bivouacked. Fires were made, and then
Coffee was boiled; a cow was coaxed
And killed, and savory roasts were seen;
And under the lee of a cattle-pen
The guard supped freely with Mosby's men.

The ball was bandied to and fro;
Hits were given and hits were met;
"Chickamauga, Feds -- take off your hat!"
"But the Fight in the Clouds repaid you, Rebs!"
"Forgotten about Manassas yet?"
Chatting and chaffing, and tit for tat,
Mosby's clan with the troopers sat.

"Here comes the moon!" a captive cried;
"A song! What say? Archy, my lad!"
Hailing are still one of the clan
(A boyish face with girlish hair),
"Give us that thing poor Pansy made
Last year." He brightened, and began;
And this was the song of Mosby's man:
Spring is come; she shows her pass --
Wild violets cool!
South of woods a small close grass --
A vernal wool!
Leaves are a'bud on the sassafras--
They'll soon be full;
Blessings on the friendly screen --
I'm for the South! Says the leafage green.

Robins! fly, and take your fill
Of out-of-doors --
Garden, orchard, meadow, hill,
Barns and bowers;
Take your fill, and have your will --
Virginia's yours!
But, bluebirds! Keep away, and fear
The ambuscade in bushes here.

"A green song that," a sergeant said;
"But where's poor Pansy? Gone, I fear."
"Ay, mustered out at Ashby's Gap."
"I see; now for a live man's song;
Ditty for ditty -- prepare to cheer.
My bluebirds, you can fling a cap!
You barehead Mosby-boys -- why -- clap!"

Nine Blue-coats went a-nutting
Slyly in Tennessee--
Not for chestnuts -- better than that--
Hugh, you bumble-bee!
Nutting, nutting --
All through the year there's nutting!

A tree they spied so yellow,
Rustling in motion queer;
In they fired, and down they dropped --
Butternuts, my dear!
Nutting, nutting--
Who'll 'list to go a-nutting?

Ah! Why should good fellows foe men be?
And who would dream that foes they were --
Larking and singing so friendly then --
A family likeness in every face.
But Captain Cloud made sour demur:
"Guard! Keep your prisoners in the pen,
And let none talk with Mosby's men."

That captain was a valorous one
(No irony, but honest truth),
Yet down from his brain cold drops distilled,
Making stalactites in his heart --
A conscientious soul, forsooth;
And with a formal hate was filled
Of Mosby's band; and some he'd killed.

Meantime the lady rueful sat,
Watching the flicker of a fire
Where the Colonel played the outdoor host
In brave old hall of ancient Night.
But ever the dame grew shyer and shyer,
Seeming with private grief engrossed --
Grief far from Mosby, housed or lost.

The ruddy embers showed her pale.
The Soldier did his best devoir:
"Some coffee? --no? -- cracker? --one?"
Cared for her servant -- sought to cheer:
"I know, I know -- a cruel war!
But wait -- even Mosby'll eat his bun;
The Old Hearth -- back to it anon!"

But cordial words no balm could bring;
She sighed, and kept her inward chafe,
And seemed to hate the voice of glee --
Joyless and tearless. Soon he called
An escort: "See this lady safe
In yonder house. -- Madam, you're free.
And now for Mosby. -- Guide! With me."

("A night-ride, eh?") "Tighten your girths!
But, buglers! Not a note from you.
Fling more rails on the fires -- ablaze!"
("Sergeant, a feint -- I told you so --
Toward Aldie again. Bivouac, adieu!")
After the cheery flames they gaze,
Then back for Mosby through the maze.

The moon looked through the trees, and tipped
The scabbards with her elfin beam;
The Leader backward cast his glance,
Proud of the cavalcade that came--
A hundred horses, bay and cream:
"Major! Look how the lads advance --
Mosby we'll have in the ambulance!"

"No doubt, no doubt: -- was that a hare? --
First catch, then cook; and cook him brown."
"Trust me to catch," the other cried--
"The lady's letter! -- A dance, man, dance
This night is given in Leesburgtown!"
"He'll be there too!" wheezed out the Guide;
"That Mosby loves a dance and ride!"

"The lady, ah! -- the lady's letter --
A lady, then, is in the case,"
Muttered the Major. "Ay, her aunt
Writes her to come by Friday eve
(To-night), for people of the place,
At Mosby's last fight jubilant,
A party give, thought able-cheer be scant."

The Major hemmed. "Then this night-ride
We owe to her? -- One lighted house
In a town else dark .-- The moths, begar!
Are not quite yet all dead!" "How? how?"
"A mute, meek mournful little mouse! --
Mosby has wiles which subtle are --
But woman's wiles in wiles of war!"

"Tut, Major! By what craft or guile --"
"Can't tell! but he'll be found in wait.
Softly we enter, say, the town --
Good! Pickets post, and all so sure --
When -- crack! The rifles from every gate,
The Gray-backs fire -- dashes up and down --
Each alley unto Mosby known!"

"Now, Major, now -- you take dark views
Of a moonlight night." "Well, well, we'll see,"
And smoked as if each whiff were gain.
The other mused; then sudden asked,
"What would you doing rand decree?"
I'd beat, if I could, Lee's armies -- then
Send constables after Mosby's men."

"Ay! ay! -- you're odd." The moon sailed up;
On through the shadowy land they went.
"Names must be made and printed be!"
Hummed the blithe Colonel. "Doc, your flask!
Major, I drink to your good content.
My pipe is out -- enough for me!
One's buttons shine -- does Mosby see?

"But what comes here?" A man from the front
Reported a tree athwart the road.
"Go round it, then; no time to bide;
All right -- go on! Were one to stay
For each distrust of a nervous mood,
Long miles we'd make in this our ride
Through Mosby-land. -- Oh! with the Guide!"

Then sportful to the Surgeon turned:
"Green sashes hardly serve by night!"
"Nor bullets nor bottles," the Major sighed,
"Against these moccasin-snakes--such foes
As seldom come to solid fight:
They kill and vanish; through grass they glide;
Devil take Mosby!"--his horse here shied.

"Hold! look--the tree, like a dragged balloon;
A globe of leaves--some trickery here;
My nag is right--best now be shy."
A movement was made, a hubbub and snarl;
Little was plain--they blindly steer.
The Pleiades, as from ambush sly,
Peep out--Mosby's men in the sky!

As restive they turn, how sore they feel,
And cross, and sleepy, and full of spleen,
And curse the war. "Fools, North and South!"
Said one right out. "O for a bed!
O now to drop in this woodland green!"
He drops as the syllables leave his mouth--
Mosby speaks from the undergrowth--

Speaks in a volley! Out jets the flame!
Men fall from their saddles like plums from trees;
Horses take fright, reins tangle and bind;
"Steady -- Dismount -- form -- and into the wood!"
They go, but find what scarce can please:
Their steeds have been tied in the field behind,
And Mosby's men are off like the wind.

Sound the recall! Vain to pursue --
The enemy scatters in wilds he knows,
To reunite in his own good time;
And, to follow, they need divide--
To come lone and lost on crouching foes:
Maple and hemlock, beech and lime,
Are Mosby's confederates, share the crime.

"Major," burst in a bugler small,
"The fellow we left in Loudon grass --
Sir slyboots with the inward bruise,
His voice I heard -- the very same --
Some watch word in the ambush pass;
Ay, sir, we had him in his shoes --
We caught him -- Mosby -- but to lose!"

"Go, go! -- these saddle-dreamers! Well,
And here's another. -- Cool, sir, cool!"
"Major, I saw them mount and sweep,
And one was humped, or I mistake,
And in the skurry dropped his wool."
"A wig! go fetch it: -- the lads need sleep;
They'll next see Mosby in a sheep!

"Come, come, fall back! Reform your ranks --
All's jackstraws here! Where's Captain Morn?--
We've parted like boats in a raging tide!
But stay - the Colonel -- did he charge?
And comes he there? 'Tis streak of dawn;
Mosby is off, the woods are wide--
Hist! there's a groan -- this crazy ride!"

As they searched for the fallen, the dawn grew chill;
They lay in the dew: "Ah! Hurt much, Mink?
And -- yes -- the Colonel! "Dead! but so calm
That death seemed nothing -- even death,
The thing we deem everything heart can think;
Amid wilding roses that shed their balm,
Careless of Mosby he lay -- in a charm!

The Major took him by the Hand --
Into the friendly clasp it bled
(A ball through heart and hand he rued):
"Good-bye" and gazed with humid glance;
Then in a hollow reverie said
"The weakness thing is lustihood;
But Mosby" -- and he checked his mood.

"Where's the advance? -- cut off, by heaven!
Come, Surgeon, how with your wounded there?"
"The ambulance will carry all."
"Well, get them in; we go to camp.
Seven prisoners gone? For the rest have care."
Then to himself, "This grief is gall;
That Mosby! -- I'll cast a silver ball!"

"Ho!" turning --"Captain Cloud, you mind
The place where the escort went -- so shady?
Go search every closet low and high,
And barn, and bin, and hidden bower --
Every covert -- find that lady!
And yet I may misjudge her -- ay,
Women (like Mosby) mystify.

"We'll see. Ay, Captain, go -- with speed!
Surround and search; each living thing
Secure; that done, await us where
We last turned off. Stay! fire the cage
If the birds be flown. "By the cross-road spring
The bands rejoined; no words; the glare
Told all. Had Mosby plotted there?

The weary troop that wended now --
Hardly it seemed the same that pricked
Forth to the forest from the camp:
Foot-sore horses, jaded men;
Every backbone felt as nicked,
Each eye dim as a sick-room lamp,
All faces stamped with Mosby's stamp.

In order due the Major rode --
Chaplain and Surgeon on either hand;
A riderless horse a negro led;
In a wagon the blanketed sleeper went;
Then the ambulance with the bleeding band;
And, an emptied oat-bag on each head,
Went Mosby's men, and marked the dead.

What gloomed them? What so cast them down,
And changed the cheer that late they took,
As double-guarded now they rode
Between the files of moody men?
Some sudden consciousness they brook,
Or dread the sequel. That night's blood
Disturbed even Mosby's brotherhood.

The flagging horses stumbled at roots,
Floundered in mires, or clinked the stones;
No rider spake except aside;
But the wounded cramped in the ambulance,
It was horror to hear their groans --
Jerked along in the woodland ride,
While Mosby's clan their reverie hide.

The Hospital Steward -- even he --
Who on the sleeper kept this glance,
Was changed; late bright-black beard and eye
Looked now hearse-black; his heavy heart,
Like his fagged mare, no more could dance;
His grape was now a raisin dry:
'Tis Mosby's homily -- Man must die.

The amber sunset flushed the camp
As on the hill their eyes they fed;
The picket dumb looks at the wagon dart;
A handkerchief waves from the bannered tent --
As white, alas! The face of the dead:
Who shall the withering news impart?
The bullet of Mosby goes through heart to heart!

They buried him where the lone ones lie
(Lone sentries shot on midnight post) --
A green-wood grave-yard hid from ken,
Where sweet-fern flings an odor nigh --
Yet held in fear for the gleaming ghost!
Though the bride should see threescore and ten,
She will dream of Mosby and his men.

Now halt the verse, and turn aside --
The cypress falls athwart the way;
No joy remains for bard to sing;
And heaviest dole of all is this,
That other hearts shall be as gay
As hers that now no more shall spring:
To Mosby-land the dirges cling.


HEMPHILL COUNTY - On an end table in the comfortable parlor of a ranch house 12 miles south of Canadian is a box containing a Wilson-brand volleyball with an imprint of a smiling reddish-brown face on one side of the ball. Fans of "Cast Away," the 2000 film starring Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt, will immediately know that face; it's "Wilson," the only friend of Chuck Noland (Hanks), a FedEx systems engineer stranded for four years on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific. Finding the ball in an unopened FedEx package that drifted ashore, Chuck names it Wilson, and the ball becomes his boon companion.

          Screenwriter Bill Broyles Jr. - Texans know him as Texas Monthly's founding editor - told me earlier this week about Wilson's origin. For research, he said, he camped for a week on an isolated beach on the Seri Indian reservation, on the Sea of Cortez, doing all the things that Chuck does in the movie: trying to open a coconut, making a spear, teaching himself to fish, eating raw crab and making a fire (unsuccessfully, until "Mormon hippie survivalists" camping a few dunes over taught him how).

          "I got really, really lonely," he recalled. "Then one morning I went down to the beach to spear a stingray for breakfast and there was a volleyball, washed up. So I decorated it with seashells and seaweed and started talking to it. And that's when I realized the movie wasn't just about physical survival but about what makes us human: that we have a primal need to connect to someone, that we are social beings."

          After 15 years, maybe spoiler alerts aren't necessary, but Chuck is rescued and resolves to deliver the FedEx package he had with him on the island. After buying a Wilson volleyball, he drives from Memphis, Tenn., to the recipient's home in Canadian, Tex. No one's home when he arrives, so Chuck leaves the package at the door of an iconic Texas ranch house that, in real life, is owned by an iconic Texas ranching family, the Arringtons, who now run it as a bed-and-breakfast.


Legendary sheriff


          Actually, the Arrington Ranch and Lodge is more a bed-and-light-breakfast kind of place - cereal, bread, orange juice - but it's wonderful, nonetheless. A sturdy, two-story box of a house, simply furnished with comfortable ranch-style antiques and heirlooms, the house and nearby barn and corral sit amidst the rugged beauty of the plains near the head of the Washita River. The Arringtons, Mike and Debbie, keep horses and run a cow-calf operation on the 8,000-acre ranch, but their own home is a couple of miles away. Mostly, no one's around, other than deer and jackrabbits. Lately, a big black cat of some sort, maybe a panther, has been seen skulking about the rugged breaks near the river. The stars at night, as you can imagine, are big and bright.

"Cast Away" producer/director Robert Zemeckis gave the Arrington ranch house a peripheral role in the adventure tale he and screenwriter Broyles wanted to tell. Had Zemeckis so desired, he could have made a movie about the Arrington family, particularly Mike Arrington's great-grandfather. The legendary George Washington "Cap" Arrington was a Confederate soldier, Texas Ranger and Panhandle sheriff credited with taming Mobeetie, Old Tascosa and other rip-roaring Panhandle towns.

          Arrington was born John C. Orrick, Jr., in Alabama, in 1844. In 1861, the 16-year-old enlisted and then rode with John S. Mosby's guerrillas, often slipping behind Union lines as a spy. When the war ended, he ventured down to Mexico but arrived too late to fight for Emperor Maximilian as a mercenary. Back home in Alabama in 1867, he murdered a black businessman and fled to Honduras before ending up in Texas in 1870. Taking the name George Washington Arrington (his mother's family) as a symbol of a break with his past - and probably to throw the law off his trail - he caught on with the Houston and Texas Central Railway in Houston.


'Iron-handed man'


          In 1875, he enlisted in Company E of the newly organized Frontier Battalion of Texas Rangers. He worked in the Rio Grande Valley, at Fort Griffin and finally in the Panhandle, where he established the first Ranger camp in the region, east of present-day Crosbyton. Wiry and only 5-feet-5-inches tall, he was tough, fearless and handy with a gun.

          Arrington resigned from the Rangers in 1882 to become a rancher but was elected sheriff of Wheeler County and the 14 counties attached to it after helping break up a major rustling ring. Known as the "iron-handed man of the Panhandle," he lived with his wife and eight children inside the county jail at Mobeetie. In 1886, he shot and killed a suspected cattle rustler. Although the widow filed murder charges, Arrington was acquitted on grounds of self-defense. He laid down his badge in 1890 and resumed ranching.

           The Arrington ranch house was a Sears-Roebuck pre-fab Cap Arrington bought from a catalog and put together in 1919, after hauling it on a wagon and team from a railroad siding 10 miles away. The old lawman died of a heart attack four years later and is buried in Old Mobeetie.

          "He was a salty little bastard," his grandson was telling me as we sat with our morning coffee at a picnic table on a deck behind the house. George Arrington, 82, an oil and gas man who's still drilling, unwrapped a big cigar and placed it in his mouth unlit. "I never did know him," he said. "Allegedly, because he killed a bunch of guys - some legally and some not quite so legal - when there was a knock on the door here, he'd go out the side of the house and greet those people with a gun in their face. Because there was a bunch of people that didn't like him. Obviously, Grandfather Arrington thought if there was going to be a gun battle between him and somebody else, he was going to be the survivor."


Not complaining


          George Arrington's father, French Arrington, was stricken with polio at age 2 and was paralyzed from the waist down. A lifelong rancher, he rode a horse by using his strong arms to haul himself over the saddle, his head and shoulders hanging down one side, his useless legs on the other. George's son Mike, 57, and Mike's wife Debbie run the cow-calf operation and made the deal with filmmaker Zemeckis after a location scout discovered the ranch house. "They paid us $20,000," Mike said, "but I was hoping for residuals. I mean, here's Tom Hanks making $20 million, and they're paying me 20,000."

          He hired a lawyer but didn't prevail. He's not complaining - and not only because he got to meet Hanks and sit for a spell in a director's canvas chair. Glancing around the raw, unpeopled landscape of earth and sky where he's lived his whole life, it's easy to see why he's satisfied. Plus, if he and Debbie ever get lonely, there's always grinning Wilson on a table in the house.


George Washington Arrington (known as John Cromwell Orrick, Jr. when he was riding with Mosby's Rangers) is featured in my book "Mosby Men".



KALISPELL – The photographs on Gennifer Sauter’s computer, of rooms so filled with Lord knows what that it’s not only stacked on furniture, but furniture is stacked on it, are telling.

Alicia Ann Conrad Campbell “was a hoarder,” Sauter says. “She kept everything. And for us, that’s wonderful.”

          The mess – there’s no other way to describe it – was long ago gone through, piece by piece, and put back in place or stored away in the mansion Charles Edward Conrad built in Kalispell in the 1890s.

It’s quite a place one of the founders of Kalispell had built for his family. It’s a three-story, 26-room, 13,000-square-foot home with eight massive sandstone fireplaces, diamond-paned leaded glass windows, colored and clear bottle glass and – in case that wasn’t enough – Tiffany style stained glass.

          The Conrad Mansion was finished in 1895. By the 1970s, it faced an uncertain future.

That’s when Conrad’s daughter – who had lived most of her life in the mansion – tried to give it to Flathead County or the city of Kalispell.

          Neither government wanted any part of the aging mansion that hadn’t housed anyone since 1964, and whose rooms were by then buried under all that Lord knows what.

          “The city was the first to say no,” says Sauter, executive director of what is now the Conrad Mansion Museum, “and when she went to the county they said, ‘Nope, that’s not happening.’ ”

Desperate, Alicia Ann – the staff call her “Baby Alicia” or “Little Alicia” to distinguish her from other Alicias in the family who came before or after – went back to the city. Now in her 70s and living in a mobile home she had moved in behind the huge house that had become too much for her to keep up, Campbell in 1974 finally was able to give her family’s mansion away.

          “They created a board of directors to save the mansion,” Sauter says. “In the original agreement, the city said it would give some money to make initial repairs, but after that, you’re on your own.”

Forty years later, the Conrad Mansion Museum is a showpiece getting set to celebrate 40-year anniversaries for about the next three years when it reopens for tours on May 15.


          The agreement was reached in December 1974 with the city, which makes 2014 the first 40-year anniversary.

          Restoration work that saved the mansion began in earnest in 1975, which makes 2015 a 40-year milestone, and public tours began in 1976 – even though work wasn’t yet finished – making 2016 yet another 40-year mark for the mansion.

         “They had to start raising money for upkeep and maintenance somehow,” Sauter says, “so they started giving tours of parts of the house in 1976 for something like a dollar.”

          The city owns the mansion, but it is maintained and kept open to the public through the proceeds from tours, special events and donations. A 13-person board of directors that includes Charles Conrad’s great-grandson, Seattle attorney Chris Vick, oversees it.

          There’s a lot of history in the place. Teddy Roosevelt slept here. So did artist Charlie Russell.

Both were friends of Charles Conrad, a Virginia native who fought in the Civil War for the Confederate Army. It was the aftermath of the war that drove Conrad and one of his brothers West, first to Fort Benton, where they prospered as merchants and owned steamboats that transported goods on the Missouri River.

          Twenty-three years after arriving in Fort Benton, the coming of the railroad drove Charles farther west, to Kalispell, where he was involved in cattle ranching, banking, real estate and mining. He also famously helped to preserve the American bison, starting his own herd that would one day become the nucleus for the herd found today at the National Bison Range in Moiese.

          The mansion has remained an important part of the Kalispell landscape through the generosity of Charles Conrad’s descendants and lots of hard work by lots of people. Sauter says the late Sam Bibler, whose own Kalispell home and expansive gardens are opened for public tours twice a year, was one of the key players in saving the Conrad Mansion.

           Its four decades as a museum may have washed away some memories of how close it came to winding up … well, as Lord knows what.




           More than 8,000 people annually pay to tour the Conrad Mansion, which is open for five months a year.

          Like Alicia Ann Conrad Campbell, the people who run it now find it’s just too expensive to heat year-round.

          But from May 15 through Oct. 15, visitors can marvel at the stunning craftsmanship found in the home designed by architect Kirtland Cutter, who also drew up the plans for Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park, and the Davenport Hotel in Spokane.

          Back in the day, however, guests of Charles and Alicia Conrad may have been just as intrigued by the technology the house contained.

          Consider the kitchen alone. It has an “automatic” dishwasher, although tour guide Virginia Swan isn’t sure the tin contraption wasn’t as much work as washing dishes by hand. Large pots of water had to be heated on the wood stove, mixed with soap, and then dumped into the top-loading dishwasher before the lid was closed and an agitator turned on, she explains.

It did self-drain, but then more water had to be heated on the wood stove and poured in for the rinse “cycle,” and the dishes had to be dried by hand.

          Still, it was something you didn’t find in any homes back then.

          One of the kitchen’s iceboxes is a circular affair. Sure, you had to carve ice from the river in January and pack it in sawdust for months just to keep food cold in July, but you didn’t have to reach far to get to the food. Open the door and the icebox shelves spin like a Lazy Susan.

          On a kitchen wall, a wooden box contains what appear to be 12 small one-handed clocks. From many of the mansion’s 26 rooms, a press of a doorbell-like button would ring a bell in the kitchen to summon a maid. At the same time, one of the hands would click to a new position to alert the maid as to exactly what room she was being summoned to.




         In the formal dining room next to the kitchen, one of the radiator heaters has a built-in compartment for keeping food warm.

         The food itself was passed through from the kitchen via what looks like a built-in beer or whiskey barrel. The back end opened in the kitchen, the front in the dining room; Swan says the rule was the two doors could never be open at the same time so that dinner guests never had to hear or see the commotion in the kitchen.

         Out another doorway from the kitchen, in an anteroom, you’ll find the 19th century version of an elevator. It’s a hand-operated counter-balance pulley system that was used mostly to carry guests’ steamer trunks to the second floor, or firewood to its storage box on the third floor, then back down to the eight fireplaces.

        “We still use it to bring the Christmas decorations out of the basement,” Swan says.

The basement is the only part of the house closed off to the tours and Swan says there isn’t much to see down there anyway. The third floor was opened to the tours in the 1980s, when the addition of a fire escape gave visitors two ways to exit and brought it up to code.

        After the opulence of the first two floors, where you’ll find a fernery, billiards room, the Musician’s Arch, indoor balconies and a stunning stained glass piece of Christmas colors overlooking the staircase, the third floor will seem more mundane.

        It’s here that much of the commotion of running such a mansion was relegated to. The firewood box is up here, as is the laundry room. The children’s playroom is here, as well as extra beds for guests when the mansion’s eight bedrooms overflowed.

        But there are treasures here, too, such as a stuffed albino deer that Conrad or one of his hunting guests shot, mistaking it for a mountain goat.

        The third floor is also the location for Charles Conrad’s “sky office.”

        “The original man cave,” Swan calls it. “If he was up here, he was not to be disturbed.”

Although he also had a massive office-library on the main floor, Conrad could sneak away to his sky office as well, which included a hammock he could stretch from one wall to another.




         Charles Conrad lived in his mansion for just seven years. He died in 1902, at the age of 52, from complications of diabetes and tuberculosis.

         His widow, Alicia Davenport Stanford Conrad, lived another 21 years, and died in 1923 at the age of 63.

        Their three children inherited the mansion; the youngest, Alicia Ann Conrad Campbell, outlived her siblings by 40 years.

         It can be hard to keep track of who’s who in the Conrad family. Not only were there a string of Alicias – Alicia Ann Conrad Campbell, named for her mother, also named her daughter Alicia – there were also a flood of Charleses.

         So many, in fact, that Charles Conrad’s first marriage, to a Blackfeet woman named Sings-in-the-Middle, produced a son they named Charles Edward Conrad Jr. Later, after Sings-in-the-Middle returned to her tribe and died of influenza, he married the original Alicia, and their first son was also named Charles – Charles Davenport Conrad.

        That Charles also had a son he named Charles, and Alicia Ann Conrad Campbell also named her son – who just died last year at the age of 85 – Charles.

        So, for a long time at least, there wasn’t much problem with carrying on the family name.

        Carrying on the family home? That was a different matter.

        But this marks the 40th consecutive year that the Conrad Mansion has stood in all its glory. Some people may take it for granted now, but a look at the photos on Gennifer Sauter’s computer will tell you how easily the story could have had a different ending.


Both Charles Edward Conrad and his brother William George Conrad joined Mosby's rangers in 1864 and rode with them until the end of the war. Charles was 14 and William was 17 when they enlisted. Charles Edward Conrad is featured in my book "Mosby Men" and William is featured in "Mosby Men II".

SOME MOSBY MEN...................








Charles "Broadway" Rouss









Charles "Broadway" Rouss





Charles "Broadway" Rouss







Matthew Ferrell





Matthew Ferrell








Matthew Ferrell




Benjamin Sydnor "Syd"
















Benjamin Sydnor "Syd"








Clement "Clem" West





Edward Gilbert

"Bud" Edmonds



Benjamin Franklin

"Frank" Stringfellow







REV Benjamin Franklin

"Frank" Stringfellow



REV Benjamin Franklin

"Frank" Strngfellow





Chaplain REV Benjamin Franklin

"Frank" Stringfellow






REV Benjamin Franklin

"Frank" Stringfellow