Nancy Hart, 1846/????
Flag of the ConfederacyConfederate Spy!
Rebel Hart
Civil War Heroine!
Flag of the 35th state
Stephen & Mary Hart, The Blue & Gray
Family The civil war divided this family and the nation.

Nancy Hart is a true story and there is a plaque about the civil war girl on Summersville Courthouse lawn, Summersville WV. Nancy Hart has become a legend in the history of the Civil War and to this day is idealized as a kind of Folk Hero......

This page is dedicated to the memory and spirit of Nancy Hart of Roane Co., West Virginia Rebel of the Hart clan following her heart and beliefs for the Confederacy.

This page is not sponsored by, or associated with any organization, but on behalf of descendants of Nancy Hart and myself. We also dedicate this page to the many people, past and present, who have worked hard to preserve and perpetuate Nancy Hart memory.

What is known is she was born abt. 1846 and her father was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and this info is from various historical societies and the Hart family resided in Boone County, Virginia 1850, this is on the 1850 U. S. Census. It must be remembered that Boone County was a part of Virginia before 1863 and after the Civil War it was a county of West Virginia..... Stephen and Mary was the only Hart family resided in the mountain districts of Roane County Virginia in 1860's and the names are on the 1870's and 1880's Roane census. Here they settled near the mouth of Triplett Run Creek which flows into the West Fork Little Kanawha River, which rises in southern Calhoun County and flows northwestwardly along the boundary of Roane County.

Stephen and Mary Hart were Christians and were trying to bring their family up right; Stephen always had family worship, no matter how busy he was. They were very firm in their family training, yet most loving and kind. They farmed and raised thirteen children to start a long line of Hart descendents.

In the Civil War, two of their sons would fight for the North and one daughter (Nancy) the South "Rebel of the Family". Despite some happy memories of Nancy the older siblings Jane, Martha, James, Charity, William, Kelly feels that their younger sister Nancy may have missed out on the sense of stability or belonging that she craved and so desperately needed as a child.

Nine years old and she got that excited look in her eyes when she carrying a musket and started to learn how to ride horseback, when she got older she squeezed in the time to learn to shoot, stalk, track, hunt, fish and look after herself. Nancy thought she may have been missing out on something cool when she did her un-enjoyable chores, help cook, clean,laundry,and look after her six younger siblings, Floyd, Catharine, Dolliver, Rebecca, Salina and John. At the beginning of her adolescence fourteen, Nancy impressions of her father and mother were that they were Christians and were trying to bring her up as a Christian and that she must obey them and girls need to learn how to cook, clean, laundry, iron, etc.

So Nancy as a teenage rebellion against authority, against her parents' pressure, religious, political beliefs and she didn't want to be like other young women who married and lived on farms. She felt that a girl's abandonment one's name upon marriage was clearly her loss of individuality and she wasn't going to take a husband and lose her individuality and anyway she wasn't sure a long-term relationship was for her. One day in 1861 she join a band of rebel raiders known as the Moccasin Rangers, they were pro-southern guerrillas in central West Virginia until 1862. The Daughter of Stephen and Mary Hart was prepared to die for her southern beliefs and even some Yankee old-timers said Nancy Hart was "Born to Rebel" with her rebel yell "Wahoo" and she was always saying to herself, Whoop! Hurrah! Yay for the president of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis..... Nancy Hart served as a Confederate scout, guide and spy, carrying messages between the West Virginia Confederate armed forces, collected intelligence, conducted sabotage and gathering contraband behind Federal lines for the southern guerrillas and Confederates Infantry Regiments and following her heart and beliefs for the Confederacy cause.

She volunteered to be a spy for General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson after learning the basics of nursing and sanitation from Ann Reeves Jarvis. She impersonates a nurse and Rebel Hart wore clothes that did not indicate any thing more than that she was a nurse. The information retrieved by Nancy spying on Union regiments was accurate and help General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson to offset their numerical disadvantages that the Confederacy faced that spring. The activities of Nancy Hart helped the Confederate General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson in his famous Valley campaign. He was one of the greatest fighting generals in the Confederacy, born in Clarksburg, Virginia on January 21, 1824. Stonewall Jackson was raised of Scotch-Irish ancestry just like Nancy. The Valley Campaign was a spring 1862 campaign through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia during the Civil War, the finest example of military strategy and speed of deployment from a civilian standpoint.

Hart family had strong feelings both for and against the Civil War and we the Hart family referred to Roane County as a struggle of "brother against brother" "father against son" "sister against brother" and "neighbor against neighbor." Nothing better illustrates this than the Hart family Stephen and Mary Hart of Roane County West Virginia.


Nancy Hart the daughter of The Blue and Gray Family, Stephen and Mary Hart of Roane County VA/WV. Born abt. 1846 and her father was born in Raleigh, North Carolina

Nancy was of Scotch-Irish descent a tall young girl who was not afraid of anything. She's got the Scotch-Irish look, she's got a pistol and musket and she's not afraid to use it! Ran away from Roane County and home at the age of 14 to join a band of rebel raiders known as the Moccasin Rangers, they were pro-southern guerrillas in central West Virginia until 1862.

At age nine Nancy being hunting wild game and at age 12 was quite a hunter which earned her a reputation as a sure-shot girl hunter and at age 13 she was an expert rider, an expert pistol and musket marksman and cook better then most women and resided in the mountain districts of Roane County Virginia in 1860's, never learned to read or write. Served as a Confederate scout, guide and spy and in the summer of 1862, the Union government offered a large reward for her capture.

Led rebels on several raids against Union Troops and led an attack on Summersville, (July, 1862) that resulted in some of it being burnt to the ground and captured Colonel Starr and other officers, and a large number of Federal soldiers. She was a young girl when she was captured by the Yankees and jailed in the Summersville jail or upstairs portion of an old building with a telegrapher person.

She was a tall girl in the 1800s, roving black-eyed, tender heart of a woman, her voice was quiet and soft, and the enchanting personality that is irresistible to most men. It was a sight to behold, the beauty and grace of Nancy ridding a horse in the wild West Virginia woods and it takes plenty of bravery and courage to take up the occupation of a Confederate Spy and she did not like her picture taken, there is only one known picture of Nancy Hart of Roane County W. Va/VA. Nancy bright roving eyes and the way she dispense charm and beauty she could charm any man and she was forced to rely upon physical charm to attract one of her Yankee guards and she escaped by killing the Yankee guard.

Union forces gained control of the county around Summersville after Nancy led an attack on Summersville making Nancy's escape impossible and she was captured by the Union Soldiers twice and the historical marker on the courthouse lawn in Summersville reads: Nancy Hart's Capture: Nancy Hart, noted, beautiful Confederate spy, was seized July, 1862, leading attack in which most of Summersville was burned. She killed her guard with his pistol and escaped. She was buried on Manning Knob.

The girl guerrilla Nancy Hart operated throughout West Virginia but were very active in Nicholas, Greenbrier, and others counties where loyalties were divided such as Braxton, Calhoun, Gilmer, Pocahontas, Roane and Webster counties.

The activities of Nancy Hart helped Stonewall Jackson in his famous Valley campaign. Nancy Hart Brother James Hart killed at Cloyds Mtn. Company G, Ninth West Virginia Volunteers Union from Roane County West Virginia.Nancy Hart is a true story and there is a plaque about Nancy on Summersville Courthouse lawn, Summersville WV.

Many unanswered questions remain:

Nancy Hart legend is extremely well known but has found no creditable evidence that these facts below are true......
(1) Nancy married a former or Confederate Ranger after the war.
(2) Nancy Hart Confederate Spy died in 1902.
(3) Union forces gained control of the county around Summersville, making Nancy's escape impossible and her hanging apparently certain.
(4) Nancy Hart's grave on Manning Knob, at the Manning Knob Cemetery also known as Nancy Hart Cemetery and is so listed on Williamsburg District Cemeteries List ... near the Nicholas and Greenbrier County line and near the town of Richwood, West Virginia bears a tombstone that reads Nancy Hart 1846 - 1902 Civil War Heroine, however, some sources also state that she was born in 1843 and died in 1913. ... Historically, there is actually no evidence to suggest that Nancy Hart the Confederate Spy was in fact born in 1843 and died in 1913. Some suggest that Nancy the Confederate Spy was hanged in late 1862 in Greenbrier County, West Virginia and hung by Unionist guerrilla.
(5) Some suggests that Nancy was still alive in 1907 when Joshua Douglas passed away, and some suggests that local oral history places Nancy in downtown Richwood, West Virginia during the 1907 and 1910 during the appearance of Halley's Comet. The memorial at her grave site point to her date of death as 1902 so who is buried at Manning Knob, at the Manning Knob Cemetery also known as Nancy Hart Cemetery.
(6) The researchers suggest her grave is in the cemetery where the Manning family buried their slaves, which could explain why there appears to be unmarked graves on the site. There is only one marked grave outside the fence where Nancy Hart is buried Ivan Morgan Hunter (1881/1965). Nancy is said to have married a Douglas but it appears there were no Douglas buried at Nancy Hart Cemetery. Does anyone know if The Confederate Spy Rebel Hart ever married and, if so, to whom?
(7) Does anyone know the exact death date for Nancy Hart, confederate spy?

Nancy descendants take great pride in keeping their family's traditions and legend alive.The legend began four generations ago and has been going strong in the Kelly Hart clan until the 1970's and today; we have entered a new era: the computer age keeping traditions and legend alive. According to Kelly family descendents, the Nancy legend began with her father Stephen 1866 after the civil war.

Per Nellie Bell: The legend has it that she was hanged on Cold Knob. The Yankee guard and troops knew the day of Nancy Hart execution would cause turmoil so the troops kept silence so the southern sympathizer didn't know about the hanging. Nancy was calm and self-possesses to a degree, being granted permission to speak, she said: with her rebel yell "Wahoo" and the hanging took place. Her body was buried in Greenbrier County near Richwood West Virginia it was a sad scene in late 1862. A Yankee scout present at or have personal knowledge of the hanging of Nancy Hart was a friend of a neighbor of Kelly Hart, Roane County, West Virginia the brother of Nancy Hart.... The legend of the hanging on Cold Knob Mountain - Greenbrier - Nov., 1862 of a lady Confederate spy forming part of an oral tradition of the Hart clan it began with Kelly Hart and pass on to Samuel Lruzla Hart and his daughters. The great granddaughters of Stephen and Mary Hart of Roane County West Virginia kept the legend alive in the Hart Clan.......but have found no creditable evidence that this was true or false. Nancy Hart great great niece believe the story is true and she is buried up on Cold Knob Mountain - Greenbrier County, West Virginia. My great great grandfather also said, "that's this story will keep marching thru time......." Nellie is my grandmother and her grandfather "Kelly Hart" fought in the Civil War and he is the son of Stephen and Mary Hart of Roane County, West Virginia.

Note: Historically, there is actually very little evidence to suggest that Nancy Hart was executed by hanging, but it is quite possible that she was. An article about the Civil War telegrapher Marion H. Kerner said the last glimpse at her was shortly after the Summersville raid and he never heard of her since. She may be dead. Most articles on Nancy Hart are basic on an article published in Leslie's Weekly in 1910.
Some old newspapers stories might lead one to believe that she turned to a life of crime, burning houses, slaughtering livestock, even killing. Much of the supposed activity might be blamed on bands of bandits and the unrest before and during the civil war that raged about, but it is suggested that the mayhem and the robberies ceased in the region after the civil war.
What story you choose to believe and every truth uncovered about Nancy only reveals a deeper mystery about the young "Confederate Spy" girl who made a difference.
Nancy Hart

pioneers girl
camping along the trails
A soldier cause - My loyalties lie with my family and country.
Jefferson Davis First and only president of the Confederate States of America 1861-1865.
General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson
Anna Reeves Jarvis  and  Anna Marie Jarvis - Mother and Daughter!
Americans gone West to avoid the draft, the War Between the States and claim free land, which open the door for  European immigrants to take up free land and fill jobs left vacant by the Americans.

The war in the United States between the Union and the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865. Also called War Between the States.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free!
Confederate Soldier!
Rebel Hart
Rebel Hart



Researcher:  Nellie Bell - We know from military records and books that frontier women served as spies in the south. Three of the South's most celebrated frontier agents were Rose Greenhow, Belle Boyd, and Nancy Hart.

Everyone's a historian now in the computer age and some computer age historian wonder if the Confederate Spy of Roane County was real or fictitious; we know she was a real person and the daughter of Stephen and Mary Hart of Roane County, West Virginia. The fictitious parts is after the civil war, virtually no proof of her exploits can be historically documented. Old newspapers, antique books, and lately some newer books documented Nancy through the years with a mixture of fact and folklore. However, as much of the life and death of Nancy Hart remains shrouded in mystery, and no other credible evidence has ever been put forward about "Nancy Hart Confederate Spy" the local legend has assumed a level of authority with the passage of time.

The War Between the States 1861/1865 was also a war between brothers, sisters, cousins, friends and neighbors - Nothing better illustrates this than the Stephen and Mary Hart family and the William Pool family of Roane County West Virginia. William Pool was a Union soldier and his son, a Confederate soldier.

Journalists usually love a good juicy Nancy Hart Story. Newspaper articles published during 1910 and to this day, there have been many versions of the same Nancy Hart Story. Even though most newspaper stories add something that they got from oral communication from Nancy descendants or old-timers, many unanswered questions remain after 144 years.

There were other Nancy Harts in the United States before Civil War. During the last few years, I've done research on those Civil War Harts family while trying to put some of them into the Nancy family group of relatives. Some researchers use census records of variant spellings of the Hart name, either in error, or where the descendents have preferred another form or could be another family. This would be guessing at best, with out other records in the county to show the original name of the family...... marriage, birth, or death records it would be week evidence of those descendants live in the county..

If any one has any creditable evidence or info on Nancy Hart Confederate Spy or any other stories handed down from earlier times, please let us know so we can add them to our Nancy Hart Genealogy project. Much thanks in advance.

NOTE: Once we receive your email and comments, we will consider them carefully. Public comments and emails become a permanent part of the Nancy Hart genealogy page, and may be available for public review.
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  • It is believed to be correct and has been obtained from sources we consider reliable. We do not represent, however, that it is 100% accurate or complete and it should not be considered as such. There are several other articles on Nancy Hart in the West Virginia old Historical Newspapers and Encyclopedias.
  • Deserving of a distinctive place in the Ancestry of the Hart Clan are those who kept the legends alive, known as storyteller, after the American Civil War (1861-1865), Irish Storyteller kept Rebel Hart legend and spirits alive and after a hundred and fifty years the legend is still alive in the Hart Clan and the earthly spirits of the West Virginia mountains, sparkling streams, and trees.
  • Anna Marie Jarvis (Born May 1, 1864, Webster, West Virginia - Died November 24, 1948, West Chester, Pennsylvania) adopted as the mother of the Mother's Day holiday in the United States of America. Her mother's in 1858, Anna Reeves Jarvis (September 30, 1832 - May 9, 1905) was the first woman to hold an official Mother's Day, in her home state of VA/WV. In 1912, West Virginia adopted an official Mother's Day; two years later, the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, signed by President Wilson, establishing an official national Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. Anna Marie Jarvis, daughter of Anna Reeves Jarvis, was a true inspiration behind the official establishment of Mother's Day and the first woman memorialized in the West Virginia Capitol and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
RichwoodTOPWest Virginia

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(1) Re-enactment of 1861 Battle of Carnifex Ferry

(2) First video is Civil war veteran soldier footage, captured between 1913 and 1938
(3) Second video is Civil war veteran soldier footage, captured between 1913 and 1938
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Last updated 09/24/2017

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