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February 5, 2010

Governor Joe Manchin

State Capitol Building
1900 Kanawha Blvd. E.
Charleston, WV 25305

Dear Governor Manchin:

I am Dr. Harvard Ayers, Archeologist at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. I conducted
the archeological field investigations of the Blair Mountain Battlefield over the last several years, finding over
1,000 well-preserved artifacts that related to the 1921 battle in 17 different sites along the 10-mile battle front.
My findings were instrumental in the decision of the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places to place
the battlefield on the National Register on March 30th of last year.

When the Keeper expressed intent to delist the battlefield, I immediately engaged title attorney John Kennedy
Bailey of Charleston to research the property owner records in Logan County, so that we might determine the
validity of the State Historic Preservation Officer's (SHPO) list of battlefield owners and objectors.

Amazingly, Mr. Bailey found two dead men on the list of owner-objectors, as well as two life estate holders
(not fee-simple owners) and one woman who had sold her property two years before. Also, we discovered an
additional 13 owners who had not been found by the SHPO's study. With these new data, and going from the
SHPO's list, we determined that there were 62 owners and 25 objectors, a finding that would reverse the SHPO's
attempt to have the Blair Mountain Battlefield delisted.

When Mr. Reid-Smith was told by the Keeper that it was his responsibility to take Mr. Bailey's analysis into
account, he refused. So he stuck with a list that had two dead people, two life estates, and one seller of her
property as evidence that the battlefield should be removed from the National Register. The Keeper, based
solely on Mr. Reid-Smith's research, delisted the battlefield on December 30th. (bold italics added for
emphasis -oc)

Why was our clear evidence to the contrary not reviewed and evaluated by Mr. Reid-Smith as requested by the
federal authorities? You can't "just say no" in those circumstances. Did Mr. Reid-Smith want to rob the many
men who fought and died at that historic battle the honor of their sacrifice?

I want you to know that Mr. Bailey and I are willing to testify concerning our property research, should there be
hearings on this regrettable matter before the West Virginia House of Delegates. Such hearings have been
recommended by Charleston Gazette Editor Jim Haught, and seem the only way out of this dilemma, given Mr.
Reid-Smith's intransigence.

It has also come to my attention that displays at the Museum are not at all accurately presented, an
embarrassment to all who know the history of those matters. A question I have is, was there adequate oversight
of those important historic displays?



Harvard G. Ayers, Professor Emeritus

Department of Anthropology
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608


Mike Caputo, Majority Whip

Jim Haught, Editor, Charleston Gazette
John Kennedy Bailey, Esquire