David Hunter Strother was a journalist, artist, general, innkeeper and politician.
Before and after the Civil War, West Virginian David Hunter Strother was a popular and well-known magazine illustrator and writer, known across the country by his pseudonym, “Porte Crayon” (pencil or crayon holder).
Prior to the war, he helped his father operate the 400-room Berkeley Springs Hotel which was the only spa accessible by rail in the mid-Atlantic states.
During the war, his knowledge of the region (in 1853 he hiked a 500-mile loop through the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains) earned him the commission of topographer for the Union Army during a number of conflicts including the Second Battle of Manassas. At Antietam, Strother was assigned the hazardous mission of delivering messages from General George McClellan to other Union commanders. Though he was involved in 30 battles, Strother was never injured and ended the war as brevet brigadier general.
In 1878, Strother was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes as the General Counsel to Mexico. He served in the role for seven years before returning home to West Virginia.
The Strother family acquired this clock in 1803 from a Swiss clockmaker. And while the furnishings of their hotel in Berkeley Springs were damaged by Rebel raiders during the war, the clock was safe in the family home in Martinsburg.
The clock was donated to West Virginia in 2013 by David Hunter Strother IV.