Chronicle of Deeds

of Adventurous Woman

and the Manner

in Which

She Came to This State,

Dying at Kilbourn *

Associated Press, Kilbourn, Wis. -

Each year at Kilbourn, members of the Grand Army of the Republic, on Memorial Day, place a wreath of flowers and a flag on the grave of the most famous spy of the southern confederacy, Belle Boyd, actress, who died among strangers, on northern soil, July 11, 1900.

In the Kilbourn cemetery on the broad flat top of a stone marker, the brief inscription above the grave bears no epitaph, nothing but a simple statement of fact embracing the words, "Belle Boyd, confederate spy, born in Virginia, died in Wisconsin. Erected by a comrade."

The chronicle of the deeds of this adventurous woman and the manner in which she came to Wisconsin and of her passing beyond the borderland, will be related by a Wisconsin historian, H. E. Cole, of Baraboo, in a forthcoming issue of the Wisconsin magazine. This account will say in part:

"Born in 1844 in Martinsburg, Virginia, now West Virginia, in the lovely Shendoah Valley, Belle Boyd was a girl in her teens and just out of school when the civil war cloud gathered. Her mother was the daughter of a confederate officer and her father entered the army of the south at the opening of hostilities, becoming a member of Stonewall Jackson’s Brigade.

Martinsburg was on the border between the north and the south and naturally the city was a bone of contention during the years of the struggle."

Beginning with this setting, the historian then takes up step by step the progress of this girl’s espionage career, beginning with the slaying of a Union soldier when a detachment attempted to raise the Union Flag over the Boyd home. In the War Department in Washington, Mr. Cole will say is a pistol bearing this label: "a trophy captured from the celebrated rebel, Belle Boyd."

By intriguing Union soldiers and officers, the woman spy is said to have gleaned much information of the federal forces. She devised means of transmitting these to confederate headquarters. Arrested several times, this daring woman each time was restored to her freedom.

According to the account of Mr. Cole, Belle Boyd married in turn Lieut. Wylde Hardinge, an officer of a British blockade runner, The Greyhound, an episode which created an international sensation, Col. John Swainston Hammond and Nathaniel P. High of Toledo, Ohio.

In later life, Belle Boyd entered the theatrical profession and delivered in various parts of the country. It was while touring with a theatrical company she was taken ill while the company was playing Kilbourn. She died there July 11, 1900.

In London in 1865, Miss Boyd, or Mrs. Hardinge, as she was then known, published a book entitled "Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison." Each year members of the Grand Army of the Republic at Kilbourn place a wreath of flowers and a flag over the grave of their former foe.

*Kilbourn City was renamed Wisconsin Dells

She is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Rt. 23, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin