Friday, March 25, 2011

Civil War Symposium

The Rockingham County Historical Society Museum and Archives, the Eden Preservation Society, and the Eden Historical Museum are presenting a Civil War Symposium to be held in June.

Date: Saturday, June 25, 2011
Time: 9:30am - 5:00pm
Location: Eden City Hall, Eden, NC

Seating is limited, so register early!

The subject of the symposium is Capt. Thomas Robinson Sharp, who spent the last 30 years of his life in what later became the Draper section of Eden, NC. Under Stonewall Jackson, Sharp masterminded one of the great railroad heists of all time during the Civil War. On May 24, 1861, soldiers began to seize some 40 locomotives and nearly 400 railroad cars they had accumulated and relocated them 130 miles over land. Read more about The Great Train Raid of 1861 – Strasburg, Virginia.

Sharp was from a railroad family. His father was superintendant of several railroads in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Thomas R. Sharp was assistant superintendent and later superintendent on numerous railroads prior to the Civil War. Although born in Pennsylvania, during the war he became the military road superintendent of the Confederate States of America, achieving the rank of captain. During this time, General Jackson recommended to General Lee, and Lee to President Davis that Sharp become head of the Quartermaster Dept., although this did not happen. Sharp became the mastermind behind the Great Train Raid of 1861, the Confederates stealing of locomotives, cars, rails, telegraph wire, etc. from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and the building of the Centreville Railroad, the first Confederate government railroad. He also worked in the railroad shops in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Columbia, South Carolina.

After the war, Sharp continued in the railroad business along the East coast, and even worked for the B & O Railroad, the very line he had robbed of equipment during the war!

About 1879, he bought over 1400 acres of land in what is now the Draper section of Eden, NC, and developed a hamlet by the name of “Sharp, NC.” Even then, he continued working in the railroad business (including serving as president of the Danville, Mocksville & Southwestern Railroad Company), often leaving his wife and children to oversee the bustling plantation. He died in 1909 and is buried at Lawson Cemetery in Eden, and his wife, daughter and father-in-law are buried at Church of the Epiphany in Eden.

Cost of the symposium is $40 and includes lunch. Registration deadline is June 11, 2011. Limited seating so register early!

To register, or for more details about the CIVIL WAR SYMPOSIUM, visit our website:

Or call: Melissa Whitten at (336) 623-6393.

You may also send us an email at:
The Rockingham County Historical Society Museum and Archives

Eden Preservation Society

Eden Historical Museum

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