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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Past Meets Present in West Chester


     Three years ago I wrote an article describing the dramatic events that occurred at Oakley, the farm of Leroy Wonderful Dobyns, during the battle of the Wilderness. Based on a letter written by Leroy's daughter, Maria, to my great grand aunt, Nannie Row, this remains one of my more popular pieces, as Maria describes in cinematic detail the level of suffering and violence experienced by one family on the the periphery of the major fighting that took place in Spotsylvania in May 1864.
      One of the actors in that drama was Major William B. Darlington of the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry, who was shot off his horse near the Dobyns' house. Major Darlington was taken to the nearby home of William Shelton Buchanan, where his leg was amputated by Dr. Taylor,  the surgeon of General Wade Hampton. He survived his ordeal, and after the war  was appointed postmaster of West Chester, Pennsylvania.
     Recently it was brought to my attention that Malcom Johnstone, executive director of the West Chester Business Improvement District, wrote an article on the history of the West Chester post office, in which he cited Spotsylvania Memory's article. His piece can be read here.
     It is always satisfying when events from the past can be utilized to amplify our understanding of the present.

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