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WVRHC Hidden Gems: Captured Pants, Poison, and Masons

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
July 22nd, 2013

Some of the WVRHC’s Archives and Manuscripts collections are so large and multifaceted that each visit brings to light something new and interesting.  One such collection is A&M 1561, the Roy Bird Cook Papers.  Cook was a Lewis County native and Charleston pharmacist who, in his role as historian, researcher, and author, was a pioneering and effective advocate for the preservation of West Virginia history.  He collected a wide variety of items on many subjects.  A few interesting tidbits are below.

From the Confederate Army’s 31st Virginia Infantry Regiment, we have this receipt for a pair of pantaloons which Captain Jacob Hill “captured from the enemy”—he sold these Unionist pants for $5.  You can view more digital images of documents relating to the 31st Virginia Regiment of the Confederate Army here.

Receipt for captured pants

Cook was a pharmacist, and he collected material on the history of West Virginia pharmacy.  The labels below were pasted into a scrapbook about James H. Rogers Drug Store in Charleston and Dr. Henry Rogers, First Druggist in Charleston.  Two are product labels, two indicate poisonous items, and one label asserts that the Act of West Virginia Legislature (passed February 21, 1881) requires all pharmacists to put a Poison Label on Alcoholic Liquors.

Pharmaceutical labels

Cook was very interested in Thomas Jefferson “Stonewall” Jackson.  He collected a wide variety of secondary sources on Jackson, his life, and his family, as well as letters and personal items that once belonged to Jackson and his relatives.  This beautifully decorated masonic apron belonged to William L. Jackson (possibly T.J. Jackson’s cousin).

Masonic apron

You can read more about this collection here, or stop by to take a look in person!

Blog entry by Jane Metters.

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