The Morgan Messenger must be read carefully by some. A couple people have asked about a word – secesh — that cropped up in an 1861 letter from a Union soldier, which was part of the Civil War spread in last week's paper.
No, secesh wasn't a misprint or a word we made up, though both misprints and made-up words have crept into The Messenger on occasion.
The soldier wrote: "We meet some few secesh, and the female portion are very particular to let you know that they are such." He also said the local postmaster "had turned secesh and run off."
The secesh people were those who favored secession – the right of Virginia and the other Confederate states to leave the Union. So if they were secesh, they were Southern sympathizers, though not necessarily Confederate fighters.
Berkeley Springs was not as strongly secesh as, say, Charles Town in Jefferson County, and the Southerners often got rough treatment. One of your editor's great-great's was on the local list to lose his vote after the Civil War. There was great bitterness well into the 1870s and beyond.
Luckily, the secesh folks didn't get their way or the history of America (and West Virginia) would certainly have been quite different.