Descendants of Bilharz, Hall & Company's Workers Sought

By Herman E. Melton, published as a letter to the editor in The Star-Tribune, Chatham, Virginia, September 19, 2001, p. 5.

To the editor,

The purpose of this letter is to assist the Pittsylvania Historical Society in locating descendants or close relatives of those men who were employed at the Bilharz Hall Gun Works in Chatham during the Civil War.

It is the Society's wish to recognize the descendants and families of these employees at the dedication ceremony for a Civil War Trails marker in the pavilion at the Town of Chatham Welcome Center at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 20, 2001.

The designation of the old gun works as a Civil War Trails site comes by virtue of the fact that several hundred carbines were manufactured here between 1862 and 1864. More than a dozen of the carbines are in existence.

Those members of the public who can trace their ancestry back to the following list of gun works employees are urged to be present at the ceremony and to notify the Society ahead of time at Box 1148, Chatham, Virginia 24531.

The list of employees comes from the minutes of the Board of Exemptions for Pittsylvania County in 1862 and reads as follows:

Thje public is invited to the ceremony and in order to add interest, a Civil War reenactment concerning the Bilharz Hall facility is planned with participants in appropriate costume.

Local public officials and representatives of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will be on hand for the dedication. Further details concerning the event will be announced later.

Your response to this request will be appreciated.

Herman Melton
Civil War Trails Committee
Pittsylvania Historical Society

Herman Melton's online articles are posted by Mitchells Publications and the Sims-Mitchell House B&B as part of an effort to document Pittsylvania County, Chatham, and Danville, Virginia.