On May 11, 2019, the Fincastle Chapter presented Edwin Lee McCoy with the UDC’s Judah P. Benjamin Award for his outstanding civic and educational endeavors through his historical writings, including in his role as editor of the Fincastle Herald. Over the years, Mr. McCoy has consistently provided historically accurate articles that link national events to local people and places. In particular, during the Sesquicentennial observance of the War Between the States, Mr. McCoy authored a series of articles pertaining to the 12 Botetourt County military units that served, battles, individuals, and industries and how they contributed to or were affected by the war. These articles were published in the Heraldbetween April 2011 and May 2015. In some instances, the articles were published on or within days of the actual events 150 years prior.  The first article in the series described the events of the Virginia Secession Convention, which met in Richmond, Virginia, and noted that the Botetourt Resolutions, authored by Botetourt County resident Judge James Allen, impacted the Commonwealth’s decision to join the Confederate States.

Mr. McCoy’s historical series, totaling over 50 articles, proved so popular that the Botetourt County Historical Society supported the publication of the articles as the booklet “Botetourt County & the War Between the States: Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War.” The articles drew on primary and secondary materials, including original material from Confederate and Union war records and personal accounts of the war that were often written years after the end of hostilities. These articles provide insightful, poignant, and accurate depictions of both civilian life and the lives of soldiers throughout the conflict, and serve as an educational text for all readers.

In 2011, Mr. McCoy’s article on the condition of the Botetourt Dragoons’ silk battle flag in the collections of the Museum of the Confederacy (MOC/American Civil War Museum, in Richmond ) persuaded the Fincastle Chapter to undertake fundraising for the conservation of that flag. Mr. McCoy followed the fundraising campaign and included articles in the paper throughout the process. He also was present at the Appomattox branch of the MOC when the conserved flag was unveiled (2016).

Mr. McCoy was born in Lexington, Virginia, and was born in the Stonewall Jackson Hospital (formerly Thomas J. Jackson’s home) and graduated from Washington & Lee University, also in Lexington. Mr. McCoy’s Confederate heritage includes his Great-Great Grandfather, Henry Clay Conner, who enlisted in February 1863in the Rockbridge (Light) Artillery, soon became a teamster, and survived through the war and was present at the surrender in Appomattox in 1865. Mr. McCoy’s paternal Great-Great-Grandfather was James Walkup McCoy, who was assigned to the 33rd Virginia Infantry in 1862, and was a prisoner of war who was exchanged at City Point, Virginia, in March 1865.

In presenting Mr. McCoy with the Judah P. Benjamin Award, the Fincastle Chapter acknowledges the impact his writings have had on the local community’s understanding and appreciation of the wartime conditions both in Botetourt County and on the battlefield. In addition, Mr. McCoy kindly provided coverage of the Fincastle Chapter’s historical, educational, benevolent, memorial, and patriotic activities and has run numerous articles and photographs reporting on these events.

On April 20, 2019, the Fincastle Chapter presented Marion Noel with a World War II Cross of Military Service, in recognition of his military service in the U.S. Navy.

Mr. Noel, a native of Eagle Rock, served on Landing Ship, Tank (LST) 779 in the Pacific Theater. His LST provided the American flag that was raised on Iwo Jima.

Mr. Noel is the descendant of Confederate infantryman, George Noel, Co. E 27th VA.

Photograph by Cathy Benson, Botetourt Bee

On March 2, 2019, the Fincastle Chapter celebrated the 10th anniversary of its re-chartering. The chapter reviewed its many accomplishments and projects throughout the years including the awarding of six Military Service Awards to American veterans, the placement of five Iron Crosses at the graves of Confederate veterans and the refurbishment of many more, the support of two UDC scholarship winners (at both the Division and General levels), a two-time essay winner, donations of books and magazines, numerous benevolent activities and the successful fundraising for the conservation of the Botetourt Dragoons flag that is located in the collections of the Museum of the Confederacy/American Civil War Museum in Richmond. The day was made special by the presence of four original re-charter members and the First District Chairman. Displays depicted the numerous chapter activities fulfilling all UDC objectives: Historical, Educational, Benevolent, Memorial, and Patriotic. A beautiful floral and pictorial display honored the four charter members who have passed away. The original chapter charter (1904) and the new charter (2009) also were on display. The day was made special by the presence of four original re-charter members and the First District Chairman.

2019-2020 Scholarships

January 8, 2019

Division and General Scholarship Applications are now being accepted for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Applications must be received by the Chapter by Friday, February 8, 2019, for review and any necessary revisions.

Division applications are due by March 1, 2019, and General applications are due by April 15, 2019.

See “Scholarships” tab for details on applications.

The Fincastle Chapter has sponsored several Division and General scholarship winners!

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2018

Members of the Fincastle Chapter gathered in early December at the Hotel Roanoke to share a Christmas lunch and to enjoy the beautifully decorated trees in the lobby. In observance of the holidays, members brought Christmas cards for veterans, donated filled Christmas stockings for a local veteran, and collected coats and other outerwear to donate to the Roanoke Rescue Mission.

This year has been filled with activities, meetings, awards, and projects that seek to fulfill all UDC objectives of Historical, Educational, Benevolent, Memorial, and Patriotic. We look forward to plans in 2019 to continue this work, to benefit all in our communities, and to recognize the sacrifice of our American veterans.  Warm blessings for the New Year!



My pipe is out, my glass is dry;

My fire is almost ashes too;

But once again, before you go,

And I prepare to meet the New;

Old Year! A parting word that’s true,

For we’ve been comrades, you and I –

I thank God for each day of you;

There! Bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!

Robert W. Service, “The Passing of the Year,” 1912