Reuben Kite’s story

Not that I’ve found a great deal about Kite, but, I do know that he was one of four men from Page County, Virginia to actually be bold enough to vote against secession during the referendum.

Kite, a 34-year-old farmer, with $6,000 in real estate, not only voted against secession, but stuck it out in his home county after the referendum. After living in fear for better than a year before the first Union soldiers entered the county, in the spring of 1862, ironically, Kite was arrested by Union scouts who were in the advance of Gen. James Shields’ army. Fortunately, another local Unionist, James Lee Gillespie, who had also voted against secession in Page, was then serving as a guide for Shields, and vouched for Kite’s loyalty. Following the battle of Port Republic, in June 1862, Kite continued to exhibit his sentiment and opened his home for the body of a dead Union officer. In the days that followed, Kite also hosted several Union officers, and for giving the “enemy” comfort, was soon living in the county on borrowed time. Realizing the precarious state of affairs for Kite and his family, Shields offered to convey the family North.

Reuben took Shields up on the deal, and by 1880, we find him, his children, and his wife, Lydia Ann Koontz Kite, a third great grand-aunt of mine, living in Nebraska. Three of Lydia’s brothers, by the way, had served in the Stonewall Brigade, one being killed at First Manassas.


4 Responses to “Reuben Kite’s story”

  1. […] say, these fellows were tough. I’ve documented at least two by name, James Lee Gillespie, and Reuben Kite. Gillespie rode through the county with my third great grandfather, speaking out against secession. […]

  2. Ronald Bunch Says:

    Reuben Kite’s home in Page County VA was originally built about 1720. In May 1862, the Battle of Somerset Heights was fought on Kite’s land and the adjoining land of my GGF Rev George Brown. That’s why there would have been a dead Union officer there in June 1862. The stories of occupancy by Union and Confederate are family legend. When Reuben Kite went to Nebraska, the house was occupied by a Mary Kite and then Jack Nipple and his family. My mother’s oldest brother, Ashby Raymond Brown Harlow, purchased the Kite house about 1950. I remember being on the front stairway (now gone) when I heard the Korean War armistice announced in July 1953 and have precious memories of times there as a child with my parents and with my own sons in the late 1900s. Raymond lived there until his death in 1998 at age 92. I have many photos I intend to share as soon as possible. reuben Kite’s house really is haunted by Jack Nipple. Raymond had told me about Jack Nipple’s ghostly visits and I experienced my own about 1990. My GGF Andrew Jackson Brown used to grow strawberries and haul them to Shenandoah in his horse drawn wagon for rail shipment to Baltimore and Philadelphia. Raymond often rode with AJ Brown in the wagon and they’d stop to talk with “Old Man Nipple”, before World War 1. I have the last one of AJ Brown’s wagon wheels and intend to have it covered with tempered glass to make a round coffee table.

    • Ronald, I read your comment with great interest as Reuben Kite is my great great grandfather. I would treasure any other stories or photos or his home.

      • Susanne: I really want to share the photos with all interested and ask that you keep in touch. I’ve been having to deal with recent painful losses in the family, but it means a lot to me to share what I can because the loved ones lost were both there. Bug me MONTHLY until I post the photos. If I make notes, I know I’ll lose them. There are other tales from Uncle Raymond’s time there I’d also like to share.

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