CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Before the Civil War, the famous editor of the New York Tribune was indicted in Harrison County for sending "the treasonable sheet" there.Horace Greeley was one of the nation's most vocal abolitionists. His influential newspaper was banned in Virginia and only a few citizens in the northwestern section of the state subscribed to it.Joseph H. Diss Debar was one. A Frenchman by birth, he was opposed to slavery.In 1874, Diss Debar wrote that one friend, Maj. James Jackson, knew "my free-sail proclivities, but generally forgave me for sake of my other merits."
As for the merits of Clarksburg, he wrote, "Clarksburg was a moss green, aristocratic old town, Virginia to the core."When discovered, copies of the Tribune were taken out of the post office and burned.So it obviously amused Diss Debar when, after the war, the Clarksburg Fair Commission invited Greeley to lecture on what he knew about farming."Col. Ben Wilson, who penned the indictment, was invited to receive the ex-criminal," wrote Diss Debar.Wilson, though, managed to get out of the assignment and Greeley was met by Nathan Goff, a former Union general and later U.S. senator from the new state of West Virginia.