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.