Parks and Memorials
Favorite thing: There is a small bandstand, a memorial marker for the Onancock citizens that were killed in WWI and WWII, and a marker commemorating General Edmund R. Bagwell in the old Town Square and across the street from that is the Robert Lee Custis Memorial Garden. Robert L Custis was born in 1866 in Accomack County, Virginia, and died in 1890. I don't know anything else about him.
But Bagwell is a local name in Onancock. There are various businesses in town with the family name on them, and also there is a Bagwell bridge. So I ought to be able to find something out about Edmund.
According to the internet page for Onancock, "The larger of the monuments in the square is to Confederate General Oddment Bagwell of Onancock (1840-1876)." There are three mistakes in this short sentence beginning with the misspelling of Edmund's name. His name was NOT "Oddment". He was born in 1839 and not 1840. And then there is the problem with his rank of General.
Edmund R. Bagwell was one of two sons of Dr. Thomas Bagwell and Sarah Wise. He was born in Accomac, Virginia. After he graduated from William and Mary, he returned to Onancock, opened a school and married Margaret Douglas Bagwell. They had two daughters.
During the Civil War, he enlisted on March 10, 1862 as a private as one of the "Eastern Shore Refugees", organized as a company in Norfolk, Virginia, on February 5, 1862, by Captain John H. White. The company consisted of nearly 80 men, many of whom had served in the the 39th Virginia Volunteer Infantry. The "Refugees" took their name from the fact that the Eastern Shore (Accomack & Northampton Counties in Virginia) had been taken over by Union troops so that the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia should not secede. Anyone who wanted to fight for Virginia had to enlist on the western shore.
The "Refugees" served under various unit designations. Edmund was "elected" a 2nd Lieutenant on July 24, 1862. Of 139 men who had served in this unit, only nine were present at Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 and 2nd Lt. Edmund R. Bagwell was one of them.
Fondest memory: When did he attained the rank of General that is listed on the monument since he was only a Lt at the end of the war? There was speculation that he might have been made a general in the Virginia Militia. But there was no Virginia Militia after the CIvil War. There were the Virginia Volunteers from 1871-1920 which became the Virginia National Guard was also known unofficially as the Virginia Militia but Lt. Bagwell was not a General of the Virginia Volunteers.
The roster of commissioned officers during the Civil War listed him as a "General and Staff Lieutenant". Edmund R. Bagwell's obituary reads in part, " At the breaking out of the late war he promptly responded to the call of his native State, and entered the army as a lieutenant. He was soon promoted and made Adjutant General of Wise's Legion, which position he held at the close of the war, ...." But this is incorrect as he enlisted as a private. He was made Adjutant General in August 1864 during the Siege of Petersburg. Perhaps the meaning of "general" as applied to his administrative position was misunderstood.
After the war, he was awarded an honorary A.M. degree by William and Mary in 1868. He was already a Mason when he became a charter member of Ocean Lodge No.116, Drummondtown, on 15 December 1869, and he served as Master of the Ocean Lodge in 1875. In 1869 he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and was re-elected in 1871 and 1873, and 1875. He was also one of the commissioners from Virginia at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. He died at his home after a brief illness.
There is a monument to him in the center of the old town square of his home town of Onancock. His body is buried in a family plot a short distance from his memorial and near his father's home
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
150 year old Church
Favorite thing: Cokesbury Church in Onancock is celebrating its 150th Anniv.
The still have holiday services here as well as a Christian Coffee house with live music.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
Visit the town Square
Favorite thing: You can sit and have lunch at the picnic table, enjoy a sunny day and people watch.
If you happen to be in town on the right day you might get to hear a local band play at the gazebo.
- Historical Travel
- Sailing and Boating
- Arts and Culture