Civil War-era Bible inscription adds greater mystery to Hupp family history

By Josette Keelor

STRASBURG — Sally Hupp of Strasburg did not expect to find anything special in a Bible her great-grandfather Luther Hurn passed down through her father’s family. Looking through some family documents on Memorial Day weekend, she found the travel-sized Bible she had seen many times before but never thought to open.

There on the inside cover was an inscription written by Hurn in 1864. It listed Civil War battles fought near Strasburg, but the rest of what he wrote isn’t as easy to decipher.

Sally Hupp showed it to her brother, Judge Dennis Lee Hupp of Strasburg, surprising him too.

“Dennis and I have two interpretations of this,” she explained.

“It says ‘on Mary Stover hill above her House and captured by Hite & Chris Crabil from a Yankee Corporal near Middletown Va.,'” she read from the book.

“Some of the civilians the Yankees captured,” she said. “I read it as they had captured that woman and that Hite and Crabil rescued her, you know, and maybe Luther was with them, I don’t know.”

“Dennis thought maybe that they’d stole the Bible from the Yankee,” she said, laughing, “but we don’t know.”

All they know for certain is that in 1864 C.J. Hite presented the Bible to Hurn, who kept it.

Hurn joined the Calvary when he was about 18, Sally Hupp said. “He came out of the Army in 1865, so we think he only saw about two years [of war.]”

She and her siblings had grown up with stories about Luther Hurn and his father and daughter. She figures the Bible was in her childhood home on Queen Street since the 1930s before she inherited it.

“This stuff’s been in my mother’s possession, and she lived to be 91,” she said. “I don’t think she ever bothered even to look at it.”

It was fitting Sally Hupp found the Bible when she did — a Memorial Day 150 years after her great-grandfather wrote about the Civil War.

“Memorial Day years ago was called Decoration Day,” she said. As a child, her mother would walk with the women of Strasburg to the cemetery on Decoration Day. They wore white and carried mountain laurel in their arms to honor the soldiers’ sacrifice.

On a recent evening in Sally Hupp’s kitchen, the Hurn Bible sat beside another one, almost as small and passed down from Hurn’s granddaughter Bessie Lee Hurn.

“Isn’t that something?” she asked. “[Bessie Hurn] wrote about when she married Granddaddy and when Daddy, my daddy, was born, she wrote back here.”

“We’d heard those stories all our lives, you know. You just grow up with your history,” she said. “I’d seen these little Bibles. I hadn’t paid any attention to them.”

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or

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