• A visit to Union 2013. If you grew up in Union, West Virginia and you have not been able to return to Monroe County recently, chances are you will enjoy a little tour of Union and the area.

    View a Picture Tour of Union & Monroe County.


The Historic Echols House in Union owned by Dr. James Banks

The Echols House

The Echols House

The General Echols House at Union, Monroe County, West Virginia, is significant for its association with John Echols, A Brigadier General in the army of the Confederate States of America. The house possesses additional distinction as one of Monroe County’s oldest and best preserved examples of Greek Revival architecture.

John Echols, of Monroe County, is remembered for his loyal service to the Confederate
Army for the beginning to the end of the Civil War. He enjoyed prominence in other life endeavors including support that helped Collis P. Huntington build the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad to the Ohio River. Echols played another historically significant role as a pioneer in the development of higher education in Virginia.

John Echols, son of Joseph (1789-1824) and Eliza F. (Lambeth) Echols of Halifax County, Virginia, was born at Lynchburg, Virginia on March 20, 1823. In 1843, he graduated from Virginia Military Institute and in 1844, he married Mary Jane Caperton, the daughter of Hugh and Jane Erskine Caperton. Hugh was the builder of “Elmwood” at Union, now in the National Register of Historical Places. Mary Jane was a sister of Allen T. Caperton, who was born at “Elmwood” on November 21, 1810 and served in the West Virginia State Senate and the United States Senate. Allen T. Caperton married Harriet Echols, a sister to John.

In 1845, the Echols’ moved to Union and this remained their home for twenty years. In 1848, he bought this property, Echols House, from John W. Lanius for $2,400.




John Echols







Echols was a large man, six feet four inches tall, weighed 260 pounds, very commanding in appearance and an avid public speaker. By 1860 he had won distinction as a lawyer, orator and statesman. He was President and Director of the Bank of Virginia Branch Bank in Union, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He was public spirited and a firm believer in higher education and was interested in good schools for both sexes. In Monroe County he was active in the establishment of a female seminary and tried to secure for it the best teachers. In 1851-53, he was a Delegate to the Virginia Assembly, and in 1861, he was a member of the convention that passed the ordinance of succession.

Before the war began he organized the Monroe Guards, of which he was the first captain. He entered the Confederate Army as Lieutenant Colonel of the 27th Virginia Infantry of the famous Stonewall Brigade. The Monroe Guard was the first company from Monroe County to enter the service of the Confederacy.

In the fall of 1865, General Echols made his home at Staunton, Virginia and lived there until his death May 24, 1896. Echols’ son, Edward, attained a great prominence in business and political life and served a term as Lieutenant governor of Virginia. He had a cordial feeling for Monroe County where he spent his boyhood, and was by far the heaviest subscriber to the fund for the Confederate monument at Union, which was a pledge of his father.

The Echols house is historical and architecturally significant in the town of Union. Although the Echols House has been occupied by several owners through the years, it is now owned and occupied by James Banks, a medical doctor and author of several books.