Rust Cemetery Story

This is a story of two friends that are buried side-by-side in an old, forgotten family cemetery overlooking the confluence of the Coal and Kanawha rivers.

The stone reads: Henry W. Gregory, Born April 29th, 1839 Killed in the Confederate Army, August 23rd, 1863. His friend that he is buried beside is James W. Rust, Son of Samuel Rust.

These two young friends (Rust 16 and Gregory 21) joined the Confederate Army when Capt George S. Patton came to Coalsmouth (present day Saint Albans) recruiting volunteers.

They both lived on Ferry Lane, which is now Walker St. in Nitro. In addition to being best friends, they were also brothers-in-law. Henry Gregory had married James' sister Sarah.

They both enlisted the same day and were assigned to Company A of the 22nd Virginia Infantry.

Before he left for the Army, James Rust told some family members that if he were killed in the war he would like to be buried on the mountain top that overlooks the mouth of the Coal River.

A year later, James Rust was killed during the Battle of Fayetteville. After that battle the Federal troops started a massive retreat that went all the way back to the Ohio River.

Henry Gregory was given permission to bring James' body back home as the troops made their way back toward the Kanawha Valley.

Less than a year later Henry Gregory was killed in the Battle of White Sulphur Springs and his body was brought home to be buried beside his friend.