Col. Thomas McCallous was the grandson of
Allis McCallous, an immigrant from Scotland. Allis was one of the earliest
settlers on the Poca River. The grandson, Thomas, joined the military at an
early age and quickly moved up the ranks. Just as Thomas McCallous achieved
the rank of colonel, the War Between the States had begun. Even though
McCallous’ sympathies were with the Confederacy, he honored his commission
and continued to serve in the Union Army.
McCallous was given command of a regiment of soldiers in western Virginia in the area of the Poca River. This was a fortuitous assignment since McCallous had grown up in the area and knew the terrain like the back of his hand. His assignment was to prevent Confederate troops from advancing northeast past his station. In July a group of Rebel soldiers moved by canoes across the Kanawha River and proceeded east to the Poca River. McCallous recognized many of his friends and kin as the troops faced each other across the river. The date was July 4th, 1861.
McCallous developed an ingenious plot. He shouted across the river to the Confederates that this was the 4th of July, and that they should cease hostilities to celebrate the Nation’s Independence Day. It was agreed that a celebration was in order. McCallous, and his troops ferried across the Poca with an ample supply of moonshine. In short order, spirits were lifted.
By evening, "Johnny Reb" had drunk his fill and was, to the man, asleep. McCallous ordered some of his men to go down to the river and scuttle the boats. They obeyed to the letter, but in doing so, sunk all of the boats. Of course, this left McCallous and his men no way to return to the eastern shore of the Poca. However, at dawn, McCallous came up with another plan. He told the "Rebs" that Indians has destroyed their boats, and it was important that they get away from the area. The Confederates withdrew to the southwest, and McCallous was hailed as a hero. While it is not certain, it is believed that this "victory" emboldened the politicians in Wheeling to secede from the Commonwealth of Virginia and form the State of West Virginia in 1863
The stamps was issued on 5 August, 2002 in a pane of 16 stamps in the denomination of 3 poca units.