|HENRY AMICK was born in 1824 in Pendleton County, Virginia, to Jacob and Rachael Amick. The family
was raised to a strict moral code and was deeply religious. Henry was slight, blond, and handsome. He could sing louder, run faster,
climb higher, shoot straighter, and get mad quicker, than anyone else. He
delighted in feats of hardihood, for instance, when other young men took a
ten-mile walk, he would run the distance. Of course, with that kind of
spirit, life at home could not satisfy him for long. He decided that first
of all he should acquire some "larnin".
In those days going to school, even to learn readin', writin' and 'rithmatic, was a gentleman's business, and folks dressed in their best. When he entered the Academy, he wore striped pants, a swallow-tailed coat, patent-leather boots, a high stiff collar and a plug hat. He said that his collar was so high that he had to stand on a stump to spit. One of the trustees of the academy was Tyree, and that family owned the Old Stone House Inn, near Amick homesteads.
In those days it didn't take long to acquire an education. Along with it one was supposed to absorb a lot of polish and prestige, so when Henry returned home, he was very popular. He did not lack for social life. The meeting house was the community center, where the elders discussed problems, such as discipline of the youth. It was also an opportunity for courting, or "sparkin" as it was called. Henry met Jane, who was from a fine English family named Nichols, and married her June 1, 1848. He settled down on his farm near his folks home at Runa, where life went on pleasantly. Henry, with sisters Racheal and Catherine, and brothers, Samuel and Big John, farmed the subsistent land. They felled trees to build homes, barns, and mills. Henry moved to Wirt County. It was a good life, until the outbreak of the Civil War.
Henry, riding with the Smith's Rangers (Mocassin Rangers), was captured by Union forces soon after the outbreak of war, and spent several months in prison. He was released in March of 1862. Henry was recruited into the Night Hawk Rangers, a CSA cavalry company by Alderson, also of the Academy. Having enlisted as a private in the Greenbrier Cavalry, James Crawford, another popular recruiter, had been elected captain of the Night Hawk Rangers on August 1, 1862. The Night Hawk Rangers were reassigned to the 17th Virginia Cavalry by Richmond in January of 1863.
In spring of 1863, all available Confederate cavalry, including Jenkins Brigade and the 17th Virginia Cavalry with Henry, was sent to Gettysburg. When he arrived back at home at Runa, there was some violence. Henry sold his farm to his brother Jacob Jr and moved his family to Wirt county before the war, and now moved to southern Indiana. His new farm was on the banks of the Ohio River, across the river from the Kentucky Emmick's home, about 100 miles west of Evansville. The little quiet cove in the river there is still called Emmick's Landing.
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