History of Burnt Books
A day or two before the General Sheridan’s first campaign against General Early up the Valley, Dr. A.M. Newman had his Negro Teamster to load the records with the intention of taking them east of the Blue Ridge. On the road leading from Port Republic to Mt. Vernon Forge and the Brown’s Gap Road, a tire came off the hind wheel and the wheel broke down. The Teamster unhitched his horses from the wagon, leaving it in the road when a squad of Sheridan’s cavalry came along and set fire to it. Only for the persistence of Dr. A.M. Newman and a County Official, who wanted to make expenses for refuging his four horses and Newtown Wagon, and the poor judgment of Judge Allen, who ordered the records be taken away, they would have been safe in the Courthouse with other papers and records that were not moved.
Mrs. Mary Nicholas Keezle, Mother of Charles M. Keezle, and Stephen Harnsberger, Grandfather of Charles D. Harnsberger, put the fire out so that it did not completely burn all the books by covering the fire with new mown clover and carrying water from the well.