PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — A local woman believed to be the last surviving child of a West Virginia veteran of the Civil War will turn 100 this month.
The Wood County Commission approved a proclamation Monday designating March 8 as “Rachel Perine Day” in honor of Rachel Smith Perine’s 100th birthday.
Perine’s father, Harvey Smith, served in the Civil War, joining the Union Army in August 1862 in Wheeling. Less than two years after he enlisted, Smith was captured at Cloyd’s Mountain, Va., on May 9, 1864. He spent six months as a prisoner of war, including a 20-day stint at the infamous Andersonville prison in Georgia.
Perine’s mother, Virginia Elliott of Ritchie County, married the 70-year-old Civil War veteran in 1915. Elliott, who was 25 when she married Smith, died in 1972.
Smith, who fathered 11 children from his first marriage, had four children with Elliott. Rachel was the oldest, born in 1916. The family lived in Arnold’s Creek in Doddridge County where Smith ran a large farm that included gas and oil tracts.
Perine was 13 when her father died in 1929 at age 83.
Perine is the last living child of a Civil War veteran in West Virginia. She and her husband, Benjamin, settled in Parkersburg in 1952, raising two sons. Benjamin passed away in 1980.
In addition to Perine, there are three sons of Charles Parker Pool, a Ritchie County native who served in the 6th W.Va. Infantry. Pool moved to Missouri following the war, marrying twice and bearing several children. Pool died in 1933, at age 89.
Perine remains a life-long West Virginian.
The Doddridge County Historical Society has requested birthday cards for Perine be sent to the society so they can be presented on her birthday. The goal is to have at least 100 cards.
The cards can be sent to Rachel Smith Perine, c/o Doddridge County Historical Society, P.O. Box 444, West Union, WV 26456.
Cards for Perine also can be sent c/o Carlin’s Battery, 1 Court Square, Parkersburg, WV 26101. Those cards will be hand delivered to Perine on her birthday.
A small private event is planned for March 8 when several letters from state and area officials will be presented to Perine.