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Monday, April 30, 2012

Colonel Elhanon Row

Appointment of Elhanon Row to colonel of militia, 1862

     Elhanon Row (1798-1874) of Orange County was the youngest child of my great great great grandparents, Thomas Row and Rachel Keeling Row. Among his more notable achievements, Elhanon was the first elected sheriff of Orange County, winning that seat in 1852. Previously the office of high sheriff was an appointed position, one to which Thomas Row had been twice named before his death in 1840. Elhanon's son John Sanders Row was the second elected sheriff of the county (1854).
     Last week while noodling around the Orange County Historical Society's reading room I happened upon the document shown above. I had no previous inkling that this artifact existed, so when I found it I was happily surprised. In May 1862 Lieutenant Governor Daniel A. Wilson appointed Elhanon Row colonel of the third regiment of the first brigade of the second division of Virginia militia.
     The following day I found this entry in the minute book at Orange Court House: [1803] "Thomas Row qualified Lieutenant Colonel of the third regiment in the first brigade and second division of the militia of Virginia taking the several oaths required by law."
     Of course, by the time Thomas Row's son assumed the colonelcy of his old regiment, it was part of the Confederate militia. Had he still been alive, I wonder what would have been the opinion of Thomas regarding that change of allegiance. Thomas had served in the 5th Virginia Infantry during the Revolution to help secure the nation that his son and many like him willingly rent asunder.

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