College Days & After (Volume III)
[Unnumbered page of printed photographs clipped, arranged and identified by R.T.W. Duke, Jr. as B.L. Gildersleeve, Francis H. Smith, Dr Cabell, Stephen O. Southall, John B. Minor] [III 1]
The Session of 1871-72
I was now a second year student & as mother was to accompany father to Washington it was determined that I should board at Morea. I needed a room-mate & at the same time wanted to get all the boarders I could for Aunt Mary: So, as the custom then was, I—with many others of the “old students”—used to frequent the depôt to look after the new men. There was only one depôt, in Charlottesville then—what is now the Chesapeake & Ohio. In those days & indeed up to 1880 the Southern Trains, then known as the Virginia Midland, ran on to the C & O trains track at what is now the Union Station—only a Switch then—& came to the C & O Station, whence they ran on the track of that road to Gordonsville, where they branched
off on their own track. Late in September or about the first of October—for the sessions did not open then until Octo first—I was at the depôt on the lookout for boys. That depôt was a busy place then. The old ramshackling building towards the east now used as a storage ware-house was the Central Hotel & it was a very popular & crowded hostelry, surrounded by a wide portico & always crowded. Across the way on the site of the present depôt and running in a triangular shaped row were several brick buildings adjoining the C & O depôt. The depôt was frame—these buildings brick & one was a bar-room which did a tremendous business— Indeed the profits of that bar-room paid the entire rent of the Hotel & its own rent beside. In those days large crowds of people used to meet the trains as an amusement— The C & O & the Midland trains passed each other at this Station, so it was quite
an animated and lively scene when the sight seers assembled & the trains came in: Especially was this so when the students came in. There were shouts of greetings from the “arrived” to the “arrivals”. There were numerous visits to the Bar & a general jollification. When new & unknown men came, they were generally kindly greeted. On the occasion I mentioned, I saw seated on the Hotel portico an exceedingly handsome young man—rather undersized, but with brilliant black eyes—very dark hair and a tiny black mustache. He had on a grey uniform with brass buttons & shoulder straps on which were in gilt braid, clasped hands. I was at once struck with him & walked up, introduced myself to him & found that his name was James E. Creary of Milton, Florida & that his uniform was that of Sewanee—now the University of the South— I recommended Morea to him, as a boarding house.
told him I wanted a room-mate & in an hour all was arranged.
Thus commenced a friendship which has lasted up to the present day. I loved Ed: Creary & he me— When his first child—a boy—was born he named it “Duke” after me. A beautiful child—who died when he was a few years old. I named my youngest son “Edwin Ellicott” after him & my friend of after years Eugene Ellicott.
That dear little boy joined the other in heaven when he was eighteen months old (Dear old Ed: died Aug lst 1924)
Creary & I established ourselves in the room at Morea which is now used as a kitchen. The kitchen of those days as in most Southern houses was some distance from the dining room on the North side & connected with it by a latticed covered-way.
We hung up pictures—got up our stove & made ourselves comfortable & made acquaintance with the other boarders.
These consisted of Tudor Jones—a friend of his from Bolivar Tenn: whom we called “Bolivar” Miller tho’ his real name was Charles—Allen J. Hooker a large Mississippian—whose favorite and only oath was “Great Science”—Edgar Ballard a cousin of ours studying medicine—Creary & I and one or two others whose names I do not recall. J.E.F. Mathews* (*Whom we called “Timothy Tugmuttar,” & Joe Simpson of Pensacola Florida.)
I took that year in addition to Latin—& German, History & Literature & Moral Philosophy. The Professor of History and Literature was Geo: Frederick Holmes—an Englishman by birth—a graduate of Durham College, England & quite an odd and eccentric character. He was tall & thin, a scraggy beard—a shock of hair, which looked as tho’ he never had a comb in it & decidedly careless in his dress. In some sort of way his face reminded me of Tennyson—tho’ his eye had a peculiar
stare in it which was entirely unlike the liquid eye Tennyson had. He taught History in the driest sort of a way; but his Literature class was a delight. He had a thorough acquaintance with all the great lights of English Literature & with most of the small & his lectures on that subject were illuminating & instructive. He was very fond of reciting bits from the poets & did it well, tho’ he mouthed his “o’s and a’s", in a very decided way. In his class and thro’ him I made acquaintance with phases of English Literature I had never dreamed of before. I had never heard of Swinburne until I heard him recite “Itylus” and tho’ the manner in which he recited it was somewhat comical, “Swallow! my Sister! Oh! my Sister Swallow”, yet it made me get what was then published of Swinburne & read it with avidity. I can yet hear his “Swallow, my
sister”, and the laughing reply we were tempted to give to it, “What a large swallow, it was”.
Of course the fraternity occupied much of my thoughts. We had to give up our room in the old “Midway building” and moved down town into a room over the building on the corner of what is now know as the Burnley block* (* Later No 1 Court Square Building—on the lower floor of which I now—in 1922—have my offices.)—the house in which the Mannonis had their confectionery shop, when I was a boy— We bought multitudinous yards of black calico & draped the room in the most funereal manner. Jack Frost Walker & I did most of the work.
The “old men” who came back were Walker & Charlton—Lilly; Harry Whitaker & myself. We took in that year R.M. Cooper of S.C. a brother-in-law of Dr Petrie & a splendid fellow. Saml L. Winston of Hanover Co who moved to Texas & died: Geo: J McCown of S.C & Jas L. Orr, Jr, of S.C. Son of the Governor of that State
who had also been Speaker of the U.S. Ho: of Representatives just prior to the Civil War, and J.C. Bush of Mobile Ala—a fine lot of fellows with whom my associations were most delightful. We met every two weeks & walked down to our meeting place very frequently stopping going or coming for a few “refreshers”. I neglected to note that amongst the “tickets” I took was that of Wm H. McGuffey (old Guf as we called him) Moral Philosophy.
In an article in the University Bulletin published several years ago I wrote describing Dr McGuffey, so I will not dwell upon him very much. He was the most wonderful teacher I ever knew. In Logic I do not think he was as able as in Metaphysics & Ethics, but he taught me how to think, how to reason, how to study & I believe had as much influence upon my modes of thought
as any teacher could have. He was a thin—smooth shaven man—very bald—about the average height, tho’ he impressed you as being rather undersized. He had a steel grey eye that looked you through and a rather pleasant voice in its lower notes. When he raised it, the timbre was decidedly shrill & unpleasant. His lecture came at 3 p.m. a very sleepy time of the day & as he spoke in rather a monotonous way, very often tapping with his pencil on his desk, it was sometimes very hard to keep from going to sleep. His lecture room was a model of neatness. He had benches & desks painted every year & woe betide the unfortunate youth who marred them with jack knife or pencil. His great skill as a teacher in my judgment consisted in the way in which he constantly repeated his subjects. I laughed and told him once that his last lecture had a little of the first one in it
“and why not?” he replied. The class looked upon him as a stern, unsympathetic man. He was just the reverse. One of the things I love to remember about him was the deep interest he took in the success of every man in his class & how eagerly he wanted to help the man who worked and showed interest in his work: And to stand well in his class made him your friend. One of his class was Idus L. Fielder—a peculiar, wild chap from one of the Southern or South-Western States. Fielder never missed a recitation or a class & so stood high in the Doctor’s favour. He was quite “lively” at times & one morning late in the session he got to the dining room of his “Hotel”—The Misses Ross’—after the door was shut. He kicked it open, went in & demanded breakfast. When it came there were no eggs,and he demanded eggs. He was told there were none—Thereupon he drew a large revolver &
laying upon the table cocked, simply said—“Bring me eggs”—and the eggs were brought. Of course this conduct was reported & the Faculty sat upon his case. It was resolved that Fielder had to leave the University, when old Doctor McGuffey spoke up: “Gentlemen!” he said, “Fielder is the best man in my class; He has never been absent or missed a single recitation. He will graduate very highly. I cannot permit him to be expelled.” And he was not. He apologized—promised good-behavior & kept his promise. He did graduate very highly. In his last illness the old Doctor’s thoughts were ever on “his boys”, and he would talk to Witherspoon—the Chaplain—who filled the chair during his illness & after his death to the end of the session & tell him what student needed pushing and encouragement. I look back upon
his teaching as one of the great influences of my life in my methods of thought and reasoning.
He generally graduated a large number of men. Indeed only one man failed in my class. It is said that the members of the Faculty once laughed at him at the large number of men who graduated in his ticket. The old Doctor smacked his lips: “In my opinion: he said drily, “the success of a teacher is shown—not by the men who fail, but by the men who succeed, and I would consider myself, but a poor teacher if the greater part of my men failed”. And I think he was right.
His readers & spellers were wonderful books. What a pity they do not use them in the schools now, instead of the “new method” books which do not teach children either to spell or read correctly. When I was about sixteen, the Doctor once called me
in his office & gave a me a complete set of his books, from his primer to his fifth reader. I lugged them home & had not enough sense to appreciate their value & let them be lost. I would give a large sum to have them now. The Doctor had one peculiarity: I might say two. One has since been adopted universally. That is limiting the time in which men should stand his examinations. At 9 o’clock in the morning he put up a section of questions. At 2 p.m. he rubbed them out. At 3 p.m. he put up the second and last section and at 5 p.m. rubbed them out & dismissed the class. This very wise and humane method was the exception. In all other classes a hugh array of questions was put on the blackboard & the students were allowed to stay as long as they chose. I have known men to remain until midnight, snatching
a little time for dinner & less for supper. We had no printed list of questions then—tho’ in my last year we raised the money to employ a lithographer. But of that later. Another peculiarity of the Doctor was to require each student to read to him his final examination paper. He called us in squads of four. Two were admitted to his sanctum & one listened to the other read. John Sharp Williams—the present Senator from Mississippi—was my companion. His paper was almost perfect. Williams had taken one of the three prizes the Old Doctor had offered for the three best students & was by far the best man in the class. I could see as he read how many errors I had committed, but when I read as I came to them, the old Doctor would stop me, “Did you mean that Sir?” he would ask. “Yes”, Doctor,” I replied, “I meant just what I said at the time. I see now
what a fool I was”. “Better late than never”, he chuckled, but when I concluded said “Pretty fair, Sir—pretty fair; but nothing to be overly proud of.” I graduated anyway—as did my room-mate Creary who was a far better student than I was.
I might say something here of the method of instruction in the University. We had text books, but the Professors lectured and we took down rapidly notes of their lectures— Sometimes they would pause & dictate slowly something they thought we should write out fully, but generally we had to get down what they said in the best way we could.
I find after writing this, that I have made a mistake in stating that I took History & Literature during this session. I did not—I took Latin—German—French & Moral Philosophy— In Latin I made very little Progress. The difficulty
was, I think, that Colonel Peters paid too much attention to construction & grammar & too little to the beauties of the Literature. I didn’t want to be either a philologist or a teacher of Latin: the gerund was nothing to me, but an ode of Horace or a line of Virgil or Ovid much more & I soon wearied of construction and the like & the time I spent in Latin at the University was practically thrown away.
German & French I enjoyed thoroughly—for we did much translating and old Schéle’s lectures were entertaining & instructive particularly on the literature of those languages.
I took much interest in the Literary Society and spoke often. I was elected President & appointed the Final Committee whose names all appeared on the engraved invitations & places upon which were much sought. I made many friends some of which I yet retain & many of whom have “gone West.”
While writing these last few pages I heard of the death of Robt M. Cooper of S.C. a club-mate whose friendship never ceased—a splendid gentleman—keeping ever the heart of a boy.
Father & mother spent the winter in Washington— My sister Mary went to School at “Edge Hill”, the home of the Randolph’s, presided over by the daughters of Col Thos Jefferson Randolph, Mr Jefferson’s grandson. A nobler set of women never lived. The literary head of the School was Miss Sarah—the youngest—Miss Harrison—a widow with two children—a son & a daughter—Miss Mary & Miss Carrie—the latter being the business manager & one of the best women of business I ever knew. The School itself had been in existence many years. The Colonel having a large family of daughters commenced the School to educate them & then kept
it up. My mother’s sister Aunt Maria—Uncle Lindsay Walker’s wife—went to School there in the 40’s. It was there I first met my dear wife. There were an unusually pretty lot of girls there. Mary Randolph—of California—who afterwards married Joe Kent of Wythe—who was at the University with me—Maydie May Marye—who was very pretty & a host of others I do not now recall. Of course I had to visit my sister very often & so met a great many of the girls & up to my twenty fifth or sixth year I was a regular visitor & a privileged character, as father was Counsel for the family & I as his partner went often on “business”. A friendship for these noble women then commenced & only ended with their death.
I was the Executor of Miss Carrie the last survivor & she bequeated me Mr Jefferson’s chair & couch & table which I still possess.
Col Randolph was a superb type of manhood. Considerably over six feet in height—he was largely proportioned. He very much resembled the portraits of Mr Gladstone taken in his old age, tho’ his expression was much more genial. I had known the Colonel from my boyhood. He had spent one or two nights at SunnySide & to him I owe probably the proudest moment of my life. I went to Edge Hill in the summer of my sixteenth year & was invited to stay to dinner—dinner hour being two ’oclock. Just before dinner the Colonel walked in the parlour where I was sitting & said, “Well sir;” its grog time: Come along”. So up I got & went with him to the buffet where I mixed my grog—whiskey & water—& who can express my emotions. “I am at last a man”, I felt—“Colonel Randolph invites me to take a
drink with him”. Verily I felt as a Roman youth did when he assumed the toga virilis, [attire of a man] and my “sublime head smote the stars”, tho’ to be honest the drink nearly choked me. I never cared for whiskey & water by themselves. How horrified the “Sisters” in the Methodist Church & the hypocritical tyrannical fanatical prohibitionists of today would have been if they had seen this. The whites of their “d-mned, sanctified” eyes (as Mr Garth used to say) would have been shown to the full. And yet I wasn’t hurt by it. Whiskey in those days was used by gentlemen in moderation & was used daily. Young men drank with their elders & did not abuse it. I verily believe that the fanatical prohibitionists had as much to do with the curse of drink as the Bar-keepers. They drove the respectable grocers out of the business. They abused those who sold whiskey with such violence respectable people
gave up the business and it fell into the hands of the lowest element who adulterated the liquor & who sold to anybody, at any time & whose only thought was to make money. When I was growing up nearly every grocer sold whiskey & wine. The Bars were regularly licensed & the character of the Bar Keepers enquired into & the Bars were well kept & law & order generally prevailed. I noticed the great change in all these things as the abuse of the “rum seller” commenced & by the time I was twenty five there was scarcely a respectable man who dared to be interested in a saloon.
But to return to our Randolphs & Edge Hill. I shall paste on the next page a cut of the old house as I knew it. This house was burned some few years since & has been rebuilt by the Harrises—charming people who
now—1919—own it—on practically the same lines—the porch on the west side of the house not having been restored & the roof of the present house being somewhat steeper.
[Picture of Edge Hill cut from printed publication inserted here]
“Edge Hill” as it was in my early manhood days & until it was sold by Cary Ruffin Randolph & myself as Executors of Miss Carrie the last survivor of the sisters—in [ ]
There were four sisters Mrs Harrison (Miss Ellen) Miss Mary—Miss Carrie & Miss Sarah. The latter was the
only one of the four who had the slightest pretensions to good looks—tho’ all were refined & fine looking women— Miss Sarah was of the highest intellectual order. A fine scholar—linguist & writer, her “Domestic Life of Thomas Jefferson” deserves reprint & her Life of Stonewall Jackson is an excellent piece of work.
Mrs. Harrison—the widow of one of the “Brandon Harrisons—was a very sweet kindly intellectual woman with two children—Randolph—a boy who was really mentally deficient & Jane who was as a girl one of the most peculiar girls I ever knew—she dressed as if her clothes had been pitched on her her hair was always disordered & her general manner caused her to be christened “Crazy Jane” by the school girls. She had lots of sense—was a jolly good girl & when she grew up
became a very exquisite in dress & manner & conducted a fine school in Baltimore— She married a Mr Randall & is about as far removed from the Jane of her girlhood as any one could be.
Miss Mary taught—chemistry amongst other things. Miss Carrie was the farmer & a splendid one too & Miss Sarah taught Literature & other branches of Belles Lettres. They had a french teacher & other teachers of course & the school was a superb one.
Contact with these four noble gentlewomen was an education in itself: Then no girls were admitted to the school except those belonging to the best families & a finer sweeter lot of young ladies I never knew than those who attended the school from the time I knew it until it finally closed. I had a sweetheart there every session for many years & sometimes
two. Being a sort of priveleged character I was allowed a little more freedom than most of the young men & so I visited a good deal & was allowed to see my sister & several “other sisters” whenever I went down.
Mrs Harrison I think died first of the sisters. Miss Mary next. Miss Sarah went to Patapsco & took charge of the almost moribund Institute there, making quite a successful school of it.
She gave that up & went to Baltimore & opened & conducted a very select & fashionable school there to which Mrs Duke’s sister Rosalie went & also Maymee Richardson of Monroe Louisiana who subsequently married Sam Slaughter—my brother-in-law & whom I have always loved very much, as a dear sister in some ways & a dear friend in others—and who is now—1924—my dear wife. [“and... wife.” inserted after his second marriage.]
Miss Sarah’s health broke down completely in Baltimore & after fighting for some years with that dread disease consumption she passed away. The former pupils of her school erected a monument over her grave in the burial ground at Monticello, on which occasion I delivered an address which will be found in the Charlottesville Progress of [ ] & in my scrap book.
Miss Mary died some years before Miss Sarah & Miss Carrie carried on the School for several years giving it up finally as advancing years compelled her to do so.
I with her nephew Cary Ruffin—who being adopted by her took the name of Randolph were her Executors & to me she devised the curious old Chair—couch & table which had belonged to Mr. Jefferson & which I still have.
And speaking of Cary I must say that he was one of the most
loveable & most utterly worthless men I ever knew. Very dissipated at one time, he went West as a cow-boy then came back & reformed completely. He had no more idea of the value of a dollar than a cat & ran thro’ every cent he had. All sort of wild schemes—Polo Ponies—this—that & ’tother. Miss Carrie idolized him & really ruined herself borrowing money to finance him in his fool schemes. She would not allow any one to criticize him, or remonstrate with her for borrowing money to give him & the only time she grew angry with me was when I begged her not to put another lien on “Edge Hill” for Cary to throw away the money. She broke down & wept finally as she said to me—“Can I not do what I will with my own property”? Of course she got the money & Cary
threw it away, as usual.
Cary’s sister—Eliza Ruffin—also lived with them. Col Frank Ruffin of Agricultural fame had married one of Col Randolph’s daughters & dying left several children. These two were taken by the Randolph ladies and raised as their own. ’Liza & I were great friends & continued so to her death. She could out talk any human being I ever knew & talked, I think, sometimes with no idea of what she was saying. But I was very fond of her in an absolutely friendly way. A few weeks before her death she sent for me & asked me to promise her that I would sing at her funeral— When I remonstrated she said very faintly “Oh! I don’t mean for you to sing by yourself, but to join in the hymns—for I always loved to hear you sing in Church.” And so in the old Monticello graveyard I united my voice with the choir & sang her favorite hymns.
Col Randolph—was—as I have said—a superb type of manhood. His devotion to Mr Jefferson was beautiful—“My grandfather—Mr Jefferson”—as he always called him. He told me many stories of his grandfather—most of which Miss Sarah has in her “Domestic Life”— When he came to die he had his bed moved into the parlour at Edge Hill & by the window thro’ which Monticello could be seen & his last gaze was upon that Mountain where he had spent his boyhood days & upon whose side he sleeps today. He was to have read the Declaration of Independence at the opening of the Centennial of that Instrument in Philadelphia at the Exposition. But he died in 1875.
The session of 1871-2 went on about as usual. I had a good time, studied just enough to keep up on my classes & in the early part of 1872 I paid another
visit to Father & Mother in Washington. Of course I enjoyed it. The Sawyer girls—Miss McClanahan & others made it quite pleasant for me. I attended debates in Congress & saw & watched men—some of whose names became famous like Garfield: Bayard: Blaine &c &c
In the Senate were Bayard: John A. Logan O. P. Morton. Han: Hamlin who had been vice President under Lincoln—Sumner & Wilson. In the house were Garfield: Blaine Frye & Hale: Carl Schurz—Jas: Brookes & Oakes Ames of Credit Mobilier “fame”. S. S. Cox: Roscoe Conklin—John Sherman &c &c The first four afterwards became Senators & Blaine Secretary of State under Garfield Wilson became Vice President under Grant Morton was a cripple with one of the meanest, most gloomy, lowering, scowling faces I ever saw. Sumner was, without any exception, the vainest & most egotistical looking man I ever beheld, with a mean cross look always on his face. Conklin was a strutting pompous looking man: very dressy: fond of red cravats, but one of the
clearest most convincing speakers I ever heard. Many years after I heard him argue a case in the Supreme Court of the United Sates & I never heard a more logical, clear presentation of a case. Logan was a very tall swarthy man with a huge black moustache. Garfield was a rather good looking man, with reddish brown hair & beard. My father always said he was as deep in the mire as poor old Brookes & Oakes Ames in the Credit Mobilier scandal, but too smart to be caught. He was not a high man—decidedly tricky & very fond of the ladies. The Assassin’s bullet de-ified him. His nomination for the Presidency was all that prevented his wife from suing him for divorce. It is said the papers were actually prepared, when his nomination came & his wife was prevailed on to hold off. No caricature could do justice to Ben Butler “the Beast”. Cross eyed—mean looking I have often thought
of him in connection with the German saying “When God has marked a man watch him”. He was a shameless brute—a theif—a low dog, but as smart as you please. I was in the House when he was attacked by Democrats & Republicans alike & he was so badgered & bedevilled he actually broke down & wept.
Frye & Hale were afterwards Senators from Maine & I knew them both fairly well—Frye particularly so, when I was lobbying for a Light House at Sabine Pass in the 90s. He was always very nice to me. Schurz was intensely German—tall—with dark reddish brown hair & beard—bespectacled & with an expression about his nose that looked as if it smelt something bad.
S.S. Cox & my father became warm friends & father always liked him.
Geo: F. Hoar of Mass was in the House too. At that time a tremendous South hater & abusive of all things Southern. He was not unlike Mr
Pickwick. Round faced—ruddy, smooth shaven, with large eyes behind gold spectacles— Father gave him a severe reprimand which caused a great roar in the House. Hoar had made a most violent attack on the South—spoke of the immorality of the Southern men with the negro women & the horrors of slavery. Whilst he was speaking Father sent a Page up to Speaker Blaine with a note, which Blaine read & nodded to Father. When Hoar sat down, Blaine said “The Gentleman from Virginia” and Father rose & in that clear penetrating voice of his, said that no doubt the gentleman from Massachusetts knew from personal experience—for he could not imagine how else he got such wide information—the immorality of the negro women. That he admitted Slavery like the Factories of New England had bad points, but he wished to call the Gentleman from Mas-
sachusetts’ attention to one remarkable fact as to Slavery, he had overlooked;” He paused a moment, walked out into the aisle & shaking his finger at the irate Hoar said, “We of the South took the negro when he was a very little removed from the ape & in two hundred years we made him the Equal of the Gentleman from Massachusetts”. He then sat down amidst roars of laughter & applause & old Hoar—who had been a great advocate of negro equality—got as red as a beet, but never opened his mouth.
I got to know the old man very well in later years & he repented very much of his South hatred. He was particularly nice to me in aiding me to get a Bill thro’ the Senate to buy the Jefferson Manuscripts from Miss Carrie Randolph for $50.000. We got it thro’ the Senate in one Congress & thro’ the House in another, but never could get it thro’ both
bodies in the same Congress. Thomas Jefferson Coolidge finally bought them for $5000—& gave them to the Boston Public Library.
John Sherman was also in this Congress. I only saw him once or twice Both he and his brother Tecumseh—the General—had decidedly unpleasant faces. John was undoubtedly dishonest— He entered public life poor & came out of it a millionaire— No honest man could have done that. General Sherman was one of the most infernal old liars in the Country. I never shall forget the amazement of a young lady—I have forgotten her name—who rushed up to me at a reception & asked me to come with her at once as she wanted to introduce me to General Sherman, when I declined “the honour” & stated that under no circumstances would I be willing the meet General Sherman. She gasped with amazement & did not ask “why”?
Thurman—the noble old Roman—was in the Senate. He was a splendid looking man. Thomas F. Bayard was a splendid type of a gentleman. Tall, handsome, with an intellectual kindly face. I little thought that in a year’s time, he and I were to speak from the same platform. He delivered the address to the Literary Societies in the Public Hall in July 1873 & at the same time I was presented by Prof Geo: Frederick Holmes with the Magazine Medal & made my first public speech after his.
Mat Ranson was in the Senate from North Carolina and his son Mat, Jr., was at the U of Va with me & in Washington with me in the Spring of 1872. The Doorkeeper of the House pounced on Mat: & me when we were making a good deal of noise in the Speaker’s Lobby one morning, to our great indignation, but he finally calmed us down by reminding us that we were only there “by courtesy” & “courtesy” required us to behave ourselves. We thereupon
very promptly apologized & quieted down.
Speaking of Oakes Ames & Brookes, I was in the house when Ames was expelled & heard Brookes answer the reprimand of the house, both on account of their participation in the Credit Mobilier frauds. Brookes who appeared to me a very old man was dressed in a blue swallow tailed coat with brass or gilt buttons & was very tremulous when he spoke. Father always said that Blaine and Garfield & several others were just as guilty as Ames or Brookes, but too smart to be caught.
This was in 1873, a month or less before the 42nd Congress ended, but I put it down now lest I might forget it.
I made many friends during the session of 1871-72. Spoke in the Washington Literary Society quite often & I am afraid enjoyed myself much more than I studied. Amongst
the boarders at Morea was Joe Simpson of Pensacola Florida, who was a great friend of Ed: Creary’s—tho’ as different from him as night is from day—Joe and I used to get on an occasional spree & one night he tried to drink me drunk, at Bowyer’s bar-room just outside of the University gate— We drank black-berry brandy & Joe got violently drunk & tried to jump in the University pond as we were coming back to Morea. I was so disgusted with myself I drank no more that session.
Amongst the friends of this session I recall John Sharp Williams—afterward the distinguished leader of the Democratic party in Congress & United States Senator from Mississippi. “Sharp” as everybody called him, was a brilliant fellow—rather dissippated—a habit he unfortunately never got over. Thos A. Seddon was received the magazine medal & was a man of exceedingly bright mind. He died young whilst teaching at
“Norwood”. He started to practice law, but gave it up in disgust because he did not at once leap into prominence— He was a fine fellow. Fergus Graham who was “Wash” medalist was also a friend, as was poor old “Ranny” Mason— Jeffn Randolph Mason was a descendant of Jefferson’s & a curious odd fellow. He & I were co-editors of the University Magazine in 1872—from Octo to December— Henry T. Kent—a brother of my Father’s adjutant & of C. W. Kent afterwards Prof of English—was “Jeff” Medalist for that year as “Henry A. McCollam of Louisiana was of the “Wash”. He beat Fergus Graham—but the latter was elected in 1873—I being his opponent— Henry McCollam had a younger brother with whom I was quite intimate, as indeed I was with Henry.
Allen McC. Kimbrough of Mississip-
pi—a Z.Y—was a great friend: A tall, dignified, quiet man—who has since been a judge in his native State. Julio Romano Santos of Bahia de Carracas [Caràquez] Ecuador, also became a great friend—a friendship which ran thro’ many years. He too was a Z.Y: Later on & the Fraternity helped to get him out of imprisonment & saved him from probable death in one of the Revolutions in his native land.
I made my first appearance as a poet in the early part of this session—my verses “Hidden Chimes” appearing in the first number of the University Magazine for the session of 1871-2. They were signed “Herzog” & dedicated to “Miss____ (Sally Knight) of Richmond Va.”
In the early part of December I went to Staunton to visit Maggie Stuart & with her went to Cousin Mary Baldwin’s School—the famous Baldwin School for girls.
As “Cousin Mary Julia”, as we called her, was a Cousin of my mothers she allowed me a good many privileges & I went several times to call on various & sundry girls. I was very much attracted by a very pretty one named “Emma Heard” & great was my delight when she told me she was going to visit her school mate “Annie Woods—the daughter of our Pastor Revd Edgar G. Woods at Christmas. Annie & I had been intimate friends for several years & both professed great fondness for each other—a fondness which was genuine on my part. So when “Emmy” came over I paid her the most devoted attention & so kindly did we feel for one another that we commenced a most vigorous correspondence. I sent her a handsome book at Christmas & all went “as merry as a marriage bell.”
Imagine my horror when I
on a fine morning I received a package with all my presents & a curt little note saying she had been under the impression “she was corresponding with a gentleman”. Finding she was mistaken she begged leave to return my correspondence & gifts & begged I would return her letters. I, of course, did it with a very stilted & solemn note saying I too imagined I was a gentleman & would like to know wherein I had failed. In the mean time I began to imagine one of my “deadly rivals” poor old Josh Green—was in some way responsible for “Emmy’s” ideas & I at once proposed challenging him to deadly combat. I was laughed out of the idea—as I had no proof & really old Josh was as innocent as an unborn babe. I knashed my teeth—tore my hair—I had hair in those days—but all in vain. Finally I received a note from my fair one saying I had
best ask Annie Woods— Now Annie had been the first person to whom I had gone with rage & grief in my bosom—asking the meaning of “Emmy’s” strange letter. I afterwards recalled a very peculiar look on her face, but she it was that made me think a “deadly rival” had told of some desperate escapade. The truth was I had, been on a rather conspicuous spree with some of the boys & had made a good deal of an ass of myself, but no more than a score or more of the boys did very often. This spree I thought “Josh” had “given away”. Hence I thirsted for his gore”.
But in getting Emmy’s last note I hurried off to my “dear friend” & asked what it all meant? To my horror & surprise, she burst into a flood of tears & said She & She alone was responsible.
That she had written “Emmy” I was showing her letters around to other young men & she must not write to me any more. “She was wrong” she knew, & “ought to have asked me first” & sob-sob-sob—would I forgive. “But there was not one word of truth in it”, I said indignantly. “No living soul but she & I ever saw one of her letters to me. How could you write such a falsehood?” “Oh!” she sobbed—“Bob Meade” (to whom it seems “Emmy” was also writing) told me he had seen you with a letter from Emmy”. That was true. Bob & I met at the Post Office each with a letter in hand. “I’ve a letter from Miss Heard,” he said. “So have I”, I remarked & that was all. Bob told Annie that I had had a letter from Emmy, as he had & he feared she was a flirt. I left Annie’s presence the maddest young man you can imagine, & the
probably—foolish part of it, was that I never spoke to her from that night until long after we both were married— She wrote me a note asking me to do something about Chinese Missions, but I replied very shortly saying I had enough Heathens at home—I then had two children. After that we spoke & once or twice she tried to be friendly, but I had no use for her & do not think I made any mistake in not wishing to be friendly with her again. She married John Sampson—a splendid fellow—who started & built up “Pantops School”, but his health broke down & the splendid School went out of existence. His brother—my intimate & dear friend Thornton Sampson—the missionary to Greece—once told me that Annie had much to do with the break down of Sampson & the School. She was a little “daft” on
foreign missions. “Domestic missions” might have made her husband a happier man.
I do not know why I write this foolish episode. Best to have forgotten it I suppose, but I had been exceedingly fond of Annie Woods & was quite épris [taken with] with Emmy & the two fold blow to my friendship & love “wrankled in my bosom” a long time. But here is the sad part of it. About four or five years after I was married I received a newspaper directed in a woman’s handwriting. In it was a marriage notice of a Mr. Thos Heard to Miss E.—something—Heard. I give you my honest word—I had forgotten—not only “Emmy’s” existence, but her very name & wondered over the notice until all of a sudden it flashed into my mind “Heard”—why it must be “Emmy”. And so it was: She & a cousin had become
engaged, but he was so dissipated her father would not let her marry him; but they remained faithful to one another & after her father’s death she married the cousin. She must have been several years over thirty when she did marry. I hope she has been & always will be happy. Just to think of it. I have never seen her since Christmas 1871.
Quite a sad trajedy broke into our college life in April 1872. Arthur L. Coleman—one of the hardest students & a most exemplary Christian man, who stood well in every way, had just received notice that his application for a teacher’s place had been favourably received. He hastily wrote the joyful news to his mother—a widow & hurried down to the train to post the letter. In those days the trains on what is now the Southern
Railroad, ran on to the tracks of the C & O at a place called the Junction—right where the Union Station now is. They then ran on the C & O tracks to Gordonsville, where they met their own track again. Coleman tried to jump on the moving train as it took the switch—missed his hold—fell between the cars & his body was cut in twain.
I happened to be at the lower Station when the train come in & helped to carry his body up to the “Meade’s where it was tenderly cared for. Of course this fearful trajedy cast quite a gloom over college & I do not believe there was a single student absent in the long procession that the next day followed his body to the train en route to Richmond, where it was buried in Hollywood
I took great interest in the Literary Societies—especially in my own—the Washington—& spoke
very often. I was a great politician also & took an active interest in the elections for Medalist—Orator—& Final President. All these were elected & politics ran very high. My friend & Fraternity Mate Walter G. Charlton was elected Final President of the “Wash” &C. A. Jenkins a Morea Boarder—Orator. Henry McCollam was Medalist in the “Wash” & Henry T. Kent Medalist in the “Jeff” Moses Langley Wicks was Final President of the Jeff & his campaign nearly led to a duel. Moses Langley Wickes imagined himself insulted by Kent & challenged him to deadly combat. Winchester was Wickes’ second & all arrangements had been made, when Col Peters got wind of it & would be combatants & seconds were hauled up & required under threat of arrest to give their word of honour that the affair would go
no further: And so the matter was ended.
The boarders at Morea were a very pleasant set of fellows: They studied hard & our only dissipation was a game of cards now & then—never for any stakes. Cards bored me then, as they have ever since & as they do now, but I used to make up a hand once or twice a week. I visited very little. Went to dancing “school” taught by a man named Carr, whose “school” was carried on in Massie’s dining room. I had much difficulty in learning to waltz: so much so that Carr said I never would learn—I got very angry at this & went to work & did learn & became one of the best waltzers in the University, so the girls said & as I afterwards lead many a “German”—as they called the Cotillion then—both in Charlottesville & at the White Sulphur, I believe the girls were correct.
I resume these long drawn out “Recollections” this 28th January 1922 when the snow is pouring down—having snowed steadily for over twenty four hours & lying upon the ground over two feet. I cannot explain the way in which I have procrastinated from time to time bringing these Recollections up to date. “Laziness” pure & simple—I think is the reason & a growing dislike to use a pen. But I am “house bound” & tired of reading, so I resume.
The session closed as usual with the Finals in early July in the old public hall, that hideous extension back of—north of—the Rotunda, which the fire happily cleared away. It was a long hall, with galleries on each side & in the front; a stage at the back end, behind which hung the “School of Athens” bright with colour & in my humble judgement far more beautiful—if not so absolutely a copy—as the present copy in Cabell Hall
“Finals” were great events in those days. To attend your “First Finals” was for the debutante in Virginia, very much what a presentation at Court was in England. These were three night affairs—the celebration of the Washington Literary Society—on the first night—of the Jefferson Literary Society on the second & on the third the Joint Celebration of the two Societies when some distinguished Orator addressed the large audience which then always attended. Pendleton: Thurman: Hendricks: Bayard & men of that stamp delivered address. Thursday was the Final Day when diplomas were delivered & after dinner a distinguished Alumnus delivered the address to the Alumni— At night was the Alumni dinner—tho’ sometimes held in the day & it was not a “dry dinner” either The Final Ball then took place & we always danced until day break & were fearful objects when we came out into the
light—powder all gone—hair dishevelled—dresses often torn & wilted with the ladies & the boys with shirts & collars & cravats wilted—for those July nights were hot—& looking as they had been drawn thro’ a keyhole.
The Board of Visitors & Faculty always attended these functions in a body— They were met at the Front—South door—by the Committee with rods wrapped with the colours of the Societies—white for the “Wash”, blue of the Jeff, & as the Band in the front gallery—that is the East gallery—played a March—first the Board of Visitors marched down & passed under the crossed rods of two of the Committee & took their places on the stage— Then the Committee marched back & brought down the Faculty in the same way. Then came the third Procession—consisting of the Society whose
night it was, the President & Orator & Committee being seated on the Stage & the Society in seats reserved for them in the front of the Hall. Invocation was offered & then music & then the Orator spoke & then the best debater’s medal was delivered by the President & then the debater delivered a short address. Then everybody went out on the lawn, which was brilliantly lit with long rows of Chinese Lanterns & in the centre a Band Stand ablaze with many coloured lights & whilst the Band played—happy couples paraded down the Lawns & crossed at the celebrated “Triangle” at the foot of the lawn. In those days the Lawn only extended about fifty yards beyond Prof Lile’s (then Minor’s) residence on the East & Prof Fitzhugh’s (then McGuffey’s on the West. From the end of the pavement by each house ran a
brick pavement to the centre of the lawn where there were steps running to the Public Road which then & up to the Fire in 1896, ran at the foot of the Lawn. There has been quite a fill made there now & all trace of the old road lost. These two pavements meeting as they did made a triangle & as the lights hung along each side of it, there was quite a shadow outside. So “Courting Couples” used to walk the “Triangle” & disappear in the shadows. Many a match, they say, were made in those same shadows. The promenading was very pleasant for awhile. Your first session you could not get enough of it: your second you did not enthuse & thereafter you “dodged,” if possible: For sometimes you were “tied” to the same girl & the tramp, tramp, tramp, for hours became fearful & always reminded me of the procession of the
damned in <Vuthek.>
The Professors then very generally entertained & the various classes were invited—with a few other favoured men—to receptions & dances, where refreshments--oh! tell it not in Gath”—often of vinous kinds were served. Schele—who lived then, in what is The Administrations Building now, generally had a dance every night of the Final & many envious glances were directed at the windows by which fair forms flitted by & out of which “music arose with its voluptuous swell”. Other Professors had receptions or dances & old fashioned Virginia Hospitality was the rule. I graduated in Moral Philosophy & with the class marched up to the sound of music & were handed our diplomas by the Chairman of the Faculty. Each graduating class in every school marched up & the Professional Schools after the last class & then the A.B’s &
A.M. these being very few—sometimes only one—of the latter. For an A.M. then meant to graduate in nine schools & no credit was given for work done elsewhere. A P.H.D of Oxford or A.M of Cambridge, Yale or Harvard had to attend the same classes & pass the same examinations as if he had never been either. This made scholars it is true, but as I come to look at it now, it sacrificed too much good material for too small a result. Many men actually broke themselves down trying to make this degree.
The session closed with Ball—& then the usual farewells. I have seen since very few of the men of those days. Some rose to prominence—some went into obscurity—many oh! so many now have passed beyond the river. Pray God they rest under the shade of the trees.”
The summer of 1872 was an unusually delightful one: For in it I accompanied my dear father in a trip thro’ Augusta, Bath & Highland— Whilst Father was in Congress the Virginia Legislature changed all the Congressional Districts & some of the ambitious & as I think unscrupulous members of that body, determined to work a plan which they hoped would get themselves into Congress. The plan was to so manipulate the Districts as to throw two of the members into the same district & in the rivalry of these two between each other, the valiant & shrewd Legislator would slip in. I am glad to say not a single one succeeded. But they threw my father & John T. Harris of Rockingham into the same District & the fight came up between them. It looked like a hopeless one, for they left my father only Albemarle
Green & Goochland on this side of the Mountain—all the other Counties being in the Valley & Valley Folk are notorious for sticking together.
Harris, was a tall oleaginous demagogue— Had been elected as a bolter from his party prior to the Civil War— Had dodged service during the Civil War—& was very nigh into a deserter at the close of the war Yet he defeated my father—he carrying all the Valley Counties & my father all of his old District—that is to say—all that was left, being the three counties mentioned. Harris was no more to be compared to my father than a Satyr to Hyperion, but he was elected & re-elected, which shows what politics amounts to.
But my father was a fighter & determined to go into the enemies’ country, so he made all of his preparation & to my great delight told <me> I should go with him.
He and mother—who was to visit Cousin Stuart & Tom Ranson—went to Staunton on the train. I drove a large raw boned sorrel mare—a vicious but fine animal—to Staunton, the longest drive I had ever taken up to that time. I remember father & mother waving to me out of the car window as the train passed me just a mile or so this side of Waynesboro. I never pass the spot to this day without thinking of it. We spent the night in Staunton & the next day started on our journey to Monterey the County seat of Highland. Our only luggage were the essentials in the way of clothing & toilet articles and father’s trout fishing tackle—for he expected & did combine some sport with his campaign.
I still remember the beautiful drive by Buffalo Gap & into Highland County. It was & is a beautiful County—very fertile—splendid farms & we were received very hospitably by
the people— Of course we did not hurry, as father stopped at the various house & “electioneered” & now & then chatted with men on the roadside and in the fields. There were many pretty streams & full of trout, but father did not fish any until our return trip. At Monterey, the County seat of Highland, we spent the night at the house of a lawyer named Stephenson—who was a friend and supporter of my father & my father the next day addressed a large crowd in the Court House and was very favourably received. Father was a splendid speaker—Had a fine voice—used clear, crisp, elegant English—embellished his speech with anecdotes & apt quotations & it did not take him long to enthuse a crowd. His manner was very pleasant—he spoke without effort & at times rose to the heights of eloquence. Indeed I do not think
I every heard a better—stronger and more elegant speaker & I have heard a great many of the best orators.
We came home by a little different route & spent one night at the Warm Springs. It was my first visit to that quiet, delightful old watering place & I recall to this day the shock I received, when I plunged into the clear beautiful pool—whose deep green water I expected to find cold—& found it almost hot. I do not think there is a more delightful bath in the world & there is a peaceful, sweet air about the place which has always made me wish to re-visit it. I never saw it again until after my first marriage, when my dear wife & I—attending a meeting of The Bar Association—drove over from “The Hot”. She enjoyed the Ladies Bath as much as I did the Mens: We too promised ourselves to come to it & stay awhile, but with the single exception of
another day’s visit when we were again at a Bar Association meeting at “The Hot,” we never saw the place again. Father fished in many of the Streams as we came back, but with indifferent luck. I used to laugh at him for many years at two of the incidents which took place as we made our way over the roads. One was on a Sunday—when of course—according to the strict rule of those days—& my dear mother was one of the strictest of Presbyterians—fishing was not to be thought of. As old man Gaujot used to laugh & say “Á pêcher c’est á pécher.” [“To fish, that is to sin”] As we crossed on a rustic bridge one of the streams we looked down & a pool beneath the bridge just swarmed with trout. Father reined up our mare—got out & leaned over the railing & fairly sighed as he saw the splendid fish lazily swimming in the deep water or lying at the end of the ripple—now &
coming to the top of the water & jumping out at a fly. Father looked long & lovingly— then finally walked to the rear of the wagon—got out his tackle—chose an attractive fly & started to work. But evidently the fish were Sunday observers also, for not one of them so much as looked at a fly—tho’ father changed a half dozen times. After half an hour of useless whipping—father returned his flies to their book—the rod to its case—got in the waggon—took the reins & drove silently away. I suppose we had driven three or four miles before he opened his mouth: Then he turned to me with a twinkle in his eye and said: “Don’t tell your mother.”
The other episode was a very unsportsmanlike one, but I think entirely justifiable under the circumstances. We drove some miles along a stream; I think it was a branch of Jackson’s river, when
we came to a beautiful pool filled with splendid trout. There was one fish—evidently the boss of the pool—which was—as we found out later—about fourteen inches long and beautifully coloured. He swam in the most dignified way in the pool as if he owned it. Again father stopped—got out his flies & pole & line & whipped the water for a good half an hour— Not a fish paid any attention to his flies— He then got a cricket & put on his hook. Then made me dig some worms. “Nothing doing”. “The old rascal” father said, actually shoved the worm away with his nose and winked at me”. Flesh & blood could stand it no longer: Hastily removed his light line from the rod, father put on a heavy line to which he attached a “dull”—a snare— Cautiously leaning over the bank he slipped the fatal noose over the fishe’s head and in a in-
[stant] had the fish out of the water & in his hand. He was a beauty & weighed nearly a pound. “The Colonel’s” blood was up & in the most murderous & unsportsmanlike manner he continued to “dull”, until we had a dozen, at least, fine fish in the creel. Then he turned to me—“A most outrageous, shameful thing, my son— Unsportsmanlike & to be utterly condemned: But confound ’em and especially that big fellow they deserved it. I gave ’em every chance to be caught accordingto rule, but they scorned me & I just had to have a few: But don’t you ever follow my bad example, for my conscience is hurting me now”.
I’m afraid my conscience did not hurt me at all when that night I feasted on the fine golden meat of these delicious fish.
We spend one night at Covington at the house of one of Father’s friends,
and I still remember the delicious “fricasseed venison” we had for supper.
Father left me the next day. I drove home in three days, passing under “Elliott’s Knob” & dining at the “Variety Springs” which at that time had a decidedly primitive Hotel. To this day I remember its “dried apple” pies.
The rest of the Summer passed uneventfully— The Democratic Convention for the 7th District nominated John T. Harris for Congress over my father. Father carried all of his old District; Harris all of his & so a common low politician—a skulker in war—a demagogue in peace was elected over a gallant soldier—a pure high minded gentleman of education—ability and learning. But such is politics.
I entered the University again in October 1872. I was now a full fledged “oldster” and as many of my friends came back I was very happy in my associates.
My fraternity was much in my thoughts & the selection of new men was attended with great care and secrecy. “Rushing” was unheard of & would have met with the most chilling reception. We elected our man: One of us then went to the “fortunate” man & in the most secretive manner told him of the great honour conferred upon him. If he accepted, it was kept quiet & no one knew of his initiation until he blossomed out with the pin. During the session we took in several new men & before the end the Fraternity consisted of Augustus Barnes of Alabama—Bob Cooper—a dear fellow—whose sister married Dr Petrie our beloved Presbyterian minister & so Bob & his two pretty daughters in after years came to Charlottesville more than once. He died only a few years ago.
A. H. Goelet became a distinguished Physician in New York. He too has joined the great majority. E. T. (Tiff) Hunt—who died in Florida a few
years ago. Allen T. Mc C. Kimbrough who became a judge in Mississippi & who is yet alive. M. P. Morrell yet living a physician in St Louis—Julio R. Santos of Ecuador—who is dead. Tom Vivion—who became a writer of some note, but who simply dropped out of sight—Sam Winston of Hanover, who moved to Texas & died there—the first one of the Fraternity of that year to go into the hereafter. They were a splendid lot of fellows & I loved each one of them: Kimbrough & I are the only ones now living (1922)
I took that year International &c Law, as I expected to study law the next year. The Professor S. O. Southall was a charming old gentleman—a good lawyer—but one of the poorest teachers I ever knew. I took also History and Literature & Political Economy. I graduated in all, but history which Prof Holmes made as dry
as one could conceive.
I had been elected Editor of The University Magazine from the “Washington” Society; J. R. (Ranny) Mason was my associate from the “Jefferson. We elected a business manager—Geo: R. Lockwood—a splendid fellow & then commenced a friendship which has lasted until today & which I trust will last all of our lives. Geo: married Miss Davis—Capt Eugene Davis’ neice & an adopted daughter of Col Thos L. Preston: This brought him back to the University very often & he was here this summer (1922)
I took very much pride in my editorship & wrote several articles & some inferior poetry. The printer’s devil was pressing me for copy & whilst he waited I hurriedly wrote an article called “Old Letters”—which to my great surprise took the “Magazine Medal” given for the best article published during the year. Its only competitor was a criticism of Tennyson’s Last Idyl by me. I almost thought Thornton’s Article on The Study of English—ought to
have taken that medal. And speaking of Thornton (Wm Mynn) recalls to me his present wife, my dear, dear, friend Gertie Massie whose acquaintance I made in the early part of the session & we began a warm friendship, which has grown with the years & which today is warmer & dearer than ever— Into that friendship, there never entered the slightest idea of love or flirtation. We were just, good honest friends in the highest sense of the word. A truer more loyal friend never lived & today we love to get together & talk about the old days & old friends of 72 and 73 & 74. She was a most enthusiastic “Zete” & was really in love with E.T. Hunt. Hunt, I am sorry to say was rather dissipated & the parents of Gertie frowned upon the match. Gertie’s mother was Mrs John L. Cochran—wife of Judge John L. Cochran and he was her third husband. By her first she had two children Tom & Gertrude. At the death
of this husband she married his cousin—another Massie by whom she had three children. Frank, Nita—now the wife of Archie Patterson of Richmond—and Jeannie the wife of Oscar W. Underwood—who died some time since. By Judge Cochran she had two sons & one daughter.
Both of her Massie husbands were very hard drinkers & so was the judge when she married him: But she thoroughly & entirely reformed him in a few years. She was absolutely insane on the subject of Temperance—who could blame her, poor woman—organized the W.C.T. Union & was active in all temperance movements. She was a fanatic on the subject & when her son Frank Massie was desperately ill with typhoid fever & Doctor Davis prescribed whiskey, she refused positively to let a drop come in the house. Doctor Davis told her the boy would die without it. “Then let him die”, she said. Dr Davis refused to continue in the case & told her she was a murderess. But she had her way, and Frank got well all
the same; He never was the same man again however. She was a good woman—a splendid woman all the same & I was very fond of her, as I think she was of me. I was the only person who ever dared to jest with her on the liquor question, so they told me.
I visited the girls a great deal that session & there were lots of pretty ones in Charlottesville & at the University & many came over from the Schools in Staunton to visit friends in & about the City. Mrs Cochran was very hospitable & Gertie had frequent “parties”, to which the Zetes were all invited. I made up my mind to “run” for medalist in the Washington Society & started out in the Campaign about December 1st. My opponent was Fergus R. Graham. The two great honours in the Literary Societies were the “Final Oration” & the “Medalist”. The latter was the greatest honour & highly coveted. It was given to
the best debater, presumably but was really given to the man who could muster the most votes. Graham, however, was an excellent speaker—logical—clear & forceful. I was a sky scraper: Very florid & disposed to oratory instead of logical speaking. But as I said the relative merits of the speakers had little to do with it. It soon ran into politics of the most violent kind & caucus were held & all the arts of the politician brought into play. These caucuses were held at the rooms of friends most remote from the University & were accompanied by much smoke & a great deal of “Hotopp” wine. Hotopp was a German farmer who had come to Albemarle & like Noah planted himself a vineyard & made an excellent wine. He bought “Pen Park” the old Gilmer estate & covered the hills with grape vines. He was the pioneer in grape growing & wine making in Albemarle. His example was followed by many farmers & grape growing became a popular and paying investment.
My brother Willie planted several vineyards at Sunny Side & shipped a great many fine grapes to the Northern markets. All of us helped to pack, & very often Mary’s friends, Lucy Shackleford, Jeannie Randolph & others came out & we had regular “packing parties”. It was easy & pleasant work. A gentleman told us he had seen boxes of grapes bearing the “Sunny Side” label on the station at Montreal Canada. It was a paying investment—sometimes yielding $50 to $100 an acre. With the establishment of the Monticello Wine Co: grape growing increased & soon Albemarle Clarets & especially its Norton’s Virginia became famous. My Father was one of the originators of the Company & the best people in the Country took stock. It was years before it paid a dividend, but it did a great deal for the County & strange to say for the cause of temperance. The old County Court days used to be
drunken orgies accompanied by fights & rows, so that no lady dared to go on “The Square” on Court days. When wine began to be drunk, it was only a year or two before Court Days began to grow quieter. Men drank Claret & White wine & no longer got violently drunk & the change was simply miraculous— Our wines were absolutely pure & as they grew older became so good, that at the Paris Exposition of 1878 (I think it was) a box of Albemarle Monticello Norton’s Virginia—very close kin to Burgundy—took the only silver medal given to America Wines, no gold medal being given.
When phyloxera attacked the finer varieties of grapes & communication with California became easier the cheap wines of California injured the wine industry very much. The Monticello Wine Company held its own, however, for the superior quality of its wines holding the market & its splendid brandy being used by physicians, kept it in fine shape. It was
paying well & improving in its products when the infernal fanaticism of prohibition gave it its death blow. In 1872, however Hotopp’s wines were very popular & quite in evidence at our caucuses.
I made several delightful friendships during that session. Dear old Westray Battle of N.C. one of the most charming of boys as he is of men was one of them. He was tall, thin & rather cadaverous. He always swore that he had consumption & used to beat his breast & in a hollow voice proclaim that one lung was gone & the other going— Prof Beck’s assistant was a poor old foreigner named “Folke”. He actually had consumption & was tall, lean & cadaverous. “Pig” (W.W.) Dancy christened Westray Battle, “Folke” & the name stuck. He was called “Folke Battle” all the time. Wes took very kindly to his “dram”—“for my lungs, you know,” he would say. He was—& is—a most
charming fellow—very brilliant & witty & full of “quips & oddities”. Along with Battle came Tom Brem, also of North Carolina—Raleigh—& who was one of the greatest oddities I ever knew. He was tall, angular, a shock of red hair over a freckled face. He dressed as carelessly as a field hand—seldom wore a cravat & to look at him one would have thought his intelligence would not have been very high—to say the least of it. He came with a letter to the Fraternity urging us to take him in, but when we saw him, we simply laughed at the idea. All of us met him as he lounged into our room, but all pronounced him “impossible” from a fraternity standpoint. What was our surprise to find that in a few weeks he was taken into the Delta Psi’s—one of the “high-brow” fraternities & composed of unusually bright & nice fellows. And what was our greater surprise to find him an unu-
sually brilliant man. Well read—a fine latin & greek & french scholar & a mathemetician of the first order. So well his ability in the latter study he had been offered a professorship in a College of first class standing— But he wanted to be a lawyer & so came to the University. Whilst a member of the Delta Psis, his affection grew for us & he was more with us than with his own fraternity. He and Wes Battle roomed together & we never had a supper—even a fraternity supper—that Brem was not a guest. He was a fine talker—full of fun & merriment & with ability to talk on more serious subjects than mere college gossip. His failing was drink. He loved it beyond any other love & drank a great deal—often to the extent of drunkeness. It became so apparent that the Faculty took notice of it—a rare thing in those days—& he was summoned
before that august body & given the option of “swearing off” or leaving the University. He “swore off” & pledged his honour not to take a drink during the rest of the session—a pledge he literally kept: But we saw every now and then plain indications that Brem was under the influence of liquor. We taxed him with his breach of faith, but he swore he had never taken a drink of anything in the nature of wine, beer or spirits. The mystery was explained when one morning as I entered the room I was greeted by a strong smell of whiskey & saw Brem—half dressed—with his face deep down over a washbasin. He looked up with a deprecating grin on his face as I said, “What’s the matter—nose bleeding?” and replied “No! I’m getting drunk”. He had taken a quart bottle of whiskey, poured it into his washbasin
& by inhaling its fumes had time & again got “comfortably drunk”. I am glad to say we persuaded him that this was in spirit if not in letter, a violation of his pledge & he gave up the habit & kept entirely sober the rest of the session.
W. W. Dancy also of North Carolina was another particular friend. From a supposed likeness to a pig, he was christened “Pig” Dancy and seldom known by any other name. He was a very handsome fellow all the same and very popular, despite a rather loose way of talking and very dissipated habits. It is curious the nicknames we gave each other in those days. Hunt was known as “Mule” Hunt. Clarke of Arkansas was known as “Spread Eagle”. Cooper of Delaware was “Horse” Cooper &c &c.
Two of my warm friends were Tom Raymond & “Sid” Lewis of New Orleans— Raymond has been
dead many [years]. A splendid Christian character. Sid Lewis was devoted to me & I afterwards helped to nurse him thro’ a severe attack of Typhoid fever.
One of my warmest friends & one of the handsomest men I ever saw was John [ ] Marshall of S.C Full of fun & devilment—charming in every way—a Z.Y. the next year. I met him in Richmond with his wife several years since—& once before that when he passed thro’ Charlottesville. He was, & is, the same jolly good fellow, tho’ entirely bald. There was an awful trajedy in his life, which saddened him for many years. His father & he were chums—their relations being very much like those of my dear Father & myself. Some years after he left college he & his father were out hunting together & as they rode, his father fell in behind him. John threw his gun over his shoulder & it was discharged—killing his father instantly.
Two odd characters from Texas—“Big” Huck & “Little” Huck, were also friends. “Big” Huck was one of the most eccentricmen I ever knew. They were very rich—spent money like water. Roomed together & always had in their rooms—Champagne & claret &c &c, tho’ Big Huck was very sober. He married Maggie Brown, who was “Cousin Betty’s” daughter. Whilst at the University the great tidal wave washed away the City in which they lived—Corsicana—& utterly ruined their father & themselves; They were rich one night—paupers the next morning.
All these men were supporters of mine & attended the caucuses— One caucus I recall very distinctly at what we called “Andersonville” now the home occupied by Mrs H.H. Williams (Fanny Berkeley) There was a huge crowd & several Kegs of Hotopp consumed. Billy Boaz was making a speech standing on a Beer Keg, when
some of the opposition rushed in & tried to break up the meeting. Billy deliberately fell off of his Keg on the chief offender & so smashed him that the crowd became good natured at the sight & amidst laughter & song the “enemy” came into the meeting & some were actually converted to our side. Billy Boaz—my life long friend was one of the most remarkable men I ever knew. Born and raised in Albemarle at Covesville, I happened by chance to sit next to him in the German class. I very frequently copied his exercises, but we never spoke to each other until nearly at the end of the session when we were formally introduced. Such was the absurd custom at the University then. That ceremony being duly performed we became friends & remained so to his death.
He was a brilliant man, but so quiet & unostentatious no one would have judged him above the ordinary. But he took his A.M.
degree—no easy thing in those days—graduated in law—& began practice about the same time I did. He drank hard—a habit inherited from his father—& was known in college as Billy Boaz—the Gittite—But it never interfered with his work. He moved from Charlottesville to Lovingston in Nelson County & there nearly drank himself to death: Came home—pulled himself together, was elected & re-elected to the Legislature—became Chairman of the Finance Committee & stood high in State Finance. He & my brother were in the Legislature several terms & the warmest friends. He was also a member of the Constitutional Convention. A splendid fellow—he died in [ ]. I shall never forget his first political speech—long before he obtained prominence & when he & I first came to the Bar. Tom Wallace of Fredericksburg—later of Orange was to be the chief speaker at a
big Democratic Rally held in the Court House, I think in 1875. Billy was to flesh his maiden sword & as the hour for the meeting drew nigh, proceeded to get up his courage by numerous libations; so when he walked into the crowded Court House at 8p.m he was decidedly high. Wallace was late, so Billy was put up to keep the crowd. He mounted the rostrum as solemn as an owl steadied himself against the railing & in a rather thick voice spoke as follows:
“Feller Citizens. We come here tonight in the intrests of the great Democratic party. Who is its opponents. The Publicans. Publicans are friends of rich men— Publicans got no use for poor man. Democrats is the party of the poor man. I’m a Democrat. I love the poor man. I don’t want to ’sociate with rich men. Am a poor man myself & I love to go around and grasp the hand
of the poor man—of the horny handed Sons of _______s” Billy intended to say “horny handed sons of toil” but unfortunately the other word had been rather too often used & instead of toil he substituted the word which designated the plural of female canines. The crowd roared & just then Wallace came in the door. Billy’s face lit up—“Genelmen”, he said, “I see the distinguished orator of the evening approaching & I am goin’ to sit down”. And so he did. It was a long time before Billy ever made another speech, but when he did he had no occasion to regret anything he said & neither did his audience.
Our Fraternity that year got in the habit of having a supper at Ambroselli’s every Club night: That is every other week: Ambroselli’s restaurant was situated on the North East corner of what is now fourteenth & Main Streets—only there was no Fourteenth Street in those days
Where the street is was then a field & the only house in it was The Blue Cottage a four room—or rather eight room house—four rooms on a floor—it having two stories with a porch on each floor. It was a very simple frame structure lime-washed blue: Hence its name. It stood on the site of the Peyton house—that is the second house from King’s Greenhouse on the West side of the street. Brem & Battle roomed in it on one side—the Hucks above.
Ambroselli had a restaurant and Bar-room, my first year at the University—but license was refused him & he had only the restaurant during the rest of his life. The cooking was very simple—but Mrs Ambroselli’s waffles were famous. Our suppers were very simple. Scrambled eggs & waffles & oysters in season. Each member of the Fraternity “set up” suppers in turn, so it did not cost any one very much. There being ten men in the Fraternity & each
one paying for a supper in turn, it can be seen that it cost very little And besides our suppers rarely cost over fifty cents a head. Whilst Ambro—as we called him—no longer kept bar—wine was easily obtainable at $l a bottle. Of course he had to send to town for it, but we always noticed that the messenger never took over three minutes to go & come the two miles necessary to be traversed. But we asked no questions & enjoyed our “Hotopp” as if it had come from the most respectable grocery. Occasionally one of our members “got wealthy” & “set up” a bottle Champage. Miserable stuff it was with a curious metallic “after taste”, & was not a popular drink, except with “fools.”
Our suppers usually took place about 11 o’clock & we used to raise a window in the rear of the dining room & yell for Tom Brem, who living in the “Blue Cottage” a very short distance
away, was in easy call. He always came & always insisted on “setting up” supper when his time came around. So Tom was almost like a Zete—of us, if not in us. It used to be said he was was a member of the ΔY, but belonged to the Z.Y, & that was practically the case.
These suppers were very delightful affairs: There was no dissipation—nobody got the slightest “under the influence.” We sang & talked—gossip some times—of course our girls were discussed—always in the most gentlemanly way—but sometimes graver questions were talked over & literary questions touched upon. Our noctes Ambrosellianae, as I christened them, were—if not equal to Kit North’s Noctes Ambrosianae—certainly very good & I often wished we had had a stenographer to take down the wit & humour—the sparkling talk & the pleasant discussions of men and things which took place in the plain
old dining room—now a thing of the past.
I boarded at Morea again this session in the front room to the South up stairs—Allen Hooker being my room mate. Two Jones boys from Tennessee—a man named Beaton from Texas—J.E.F. Mathews & several whose names I have forgotten. Not as congenial crowd as the year before, but we got on pleasantly. My campaign for the “Wash” Debater’s medal went on in a very lively way & I spoke often.
I paid numerous visits to my sister—of course—at Edge Hill & was invited to one or two dances. I went to Washington to visit Father once & I think twice & enjoyed the occasion very much. My brother went with me once & on that occasion something happened which will shock the <“onco quid”> I’m afraid. My Father asked us if we had ever been in a Faro Bank? On our answering in the negative he asked if we would like
to see one. We answered in the affirmative, so that night he took us down to a very noted Faro Bank on Pennsylvania Avenue on the block on which the Raleigh Hotel is now situated. A man from Albemarle—Tom Yates—was part owner & he greeted us as we entered the room. He was a large, stout—man, rather good looking & was a brother of Mrs Anderson our neighbour. “I brought the boys down to “see the Tiger”, Tom,” Father said & I am going to leave them in your charge.” Then turning to us he said, “Now boys you are old enough to be trusted: I want to tell you & Mr Yates here will tell you the same. Do not ever bet on a card or on anything else: But you have your own money. I do not tell you that you must not; only that I wish you would not. Look around & then say “good night to Mr Yates. “Not a bit of it Colonel” replied Tom—“You & the boys have got to stay to supper” and he would have no
excuse. Such a supper as it was I have rarely seen. Oysters in every shape—Old Virginia Ham: Wild Ducks: Terrapin: Venison: Damask table cloth—glittering cut glass—Champagne & Clarets & the finest whiskeys & brandies. The dining room was very handsome—as indeed every one of the rooms were. Velvet carpets—silk hangings, beautiful furniture. Well dressed servants moved noiselessly about & a throng of men—Senators—Congressman &c &c “sat down to eat & rose up to play”. Father ate a light supper & then left. Tom Yates made us sit down & had us served in the most royal way—took us to the Faro—& Roulette tables & told us all about the games—then let us peep in the Poker room where we recognized several men prominent in public life. Tom re-echoed father’s warning. “Keep away from cards, boys. I make my living by them, but only fools bet.” He introduced us then to a very
quiet, dignified, handsome man—“Col Black”. I got it in my head it was Jeremiah Black & watched him with much awe, which was changed into amazement when I saw him take the place of the dealer at a Faro table. He was one of the professional dealers.
At one Faro table was a handsome young man—who had a large stack of chips & was betting very high & it seemed to us losing. Yates told us his name & two weeks later we saw in the newspaper that he had shot himself after losing his fortune at the gaming table.
We stayed until twelve o’clock & later, but did not bet, tho’ we asked Yates if it was customary for guests to throw at least a dollar or so to pay for supper. He laughed and said: “Why for regulars, yes, but you boys are my guests & the old man left you in my charge: You should not bet even if you wanted to. Take my advice & never bet.
And we never did: We saw “the Tiger”, but he never got his claws into either of us. My Father never bet himself. I think he adopted a very wise course in doing as he did. He let us see a gambling house at its very best & trusted us. I do not think my brother or I would have violated that trust even if we knew we were going to break the Bank. Yates was a client of my father’s & afterwards of mine. He was said to be the best “Boston” player in the United States & used to play matches with noted card players at Saratoga—winning there once in one summer over fifty thousand dollars: He died however, not worth a nickel. I never knew a gambler who died with any fortune.
The session went on about as usual dances & caucuses and lectures & fun— I spoke often with Graham as my opponent & politics ran very high & very exciting, but in an absolutely correct & gentlemanly
way. I had a lot of friends & they worked hard for me. But when the election took place I was defeated by eight or ten majority.
I graduated in Literature—Political Economy and International Law.
Walking up Main Street in the morning a few days before Commencement I met Graham & two or three others & Graham hailed me. “Hello, Duke,” he said— “Do you know who got the Magazine Medal?” I replied that I did not, as I had spent the night at home & did not know the bulletin had been put up. “Well!” he said, it is up & they say a fellow named Duke got it on an article called “Old Letters”, and my late antagonist shook my hand most cordially. I never felt a greater surprise or a more delightful one & I literally trod on air. Absolutely unexpected & more delightful for that reason. I never had a greater thrill, excepting the time I saw my first poem in the old Scribner’s
The most important event of the Session of 1872-3 was my trip to Eastern Penna as a delegate to the Convention of the Zeta Psi Fraternity.
I left soon after Christmas—late in December & got to New York on the 31st of that month. I recall my amazement in Baltimore when we dropped the engine & the cars were pulled thro’ the streets over the tracks by a long string of horses. I had never been north of Washington & of course the whole trip was very full of interest & delight— I got to New York in the night I think & went to the St Nicholas Hotel. I do not know now where it was, except that is was on Broadway & what would be now very far down town. Then it was rather up town. To my eyes it was one of the most gorgeous structures imaginable—gilt & scarlet & immense mirrors— I remember the Barber’s Shop was one immense
mirror, sides & ceiling.
Some of the New York Zetes called on me New Year’s day & insisted on my going calling with them. I did so & visited home after home of people whose very names I never knew. My companions of course did know them. There was a very fine “collation” spread at every house & a great deal to drink—punch & champagne & all sorts of wines & liquors. At the door of some of the houses a basket was hung to the doorknob, which meant that the ladies of the home were not “receiving.” We deposited our cards in these baskets & went our way.
I recall very little of New York, but remember that the wooden scaffolding had not been taken down from the steeples on St Patrick’s cathedral. I expect I ate & drank more than was good for me for I woke up on the train going to Easton where I arrived that same night. I went to the Hotel where I was most enthusiastically received by the
boys. I think my coming was looked forward with much interest. There had not been a Zete from the South since the Civil War & I rather expected that they would be rather chilly to me. I think they expected I would be a sort of a wild man. But both were disappointed. They were enthusiastically friendly—in fact gushed over me & I was found to be a boy just like they were individually. Somewhere I have a collection of the photos of most of these boys. Amongst them was a very young fellow named T.A.H. Hay who sported huge side-whiskers. Dear old Tom Hay—who is now a cherubic rosy faced old man without a sign of a whisker, but with the old time boyish laugh & happy youthful spirit— Then commenced a friendship which has lasted up to the present time & his delight in seeing me & my children this August (1922) when we stopped for lunch in Easton (his home)
was very pleasant. We had met at several Conventions & I visited Easton twice since 1873 in addition to my lunch this summer. I spoke at the Convention Banquet & raised such an enthusiasm that they took me off my feet & put me on the table to finish. I went back to the Convention of [ ] stayed at the same Hotel (much enlarged) & spoke in the same dining room & was wildly cheered. I went back again in [ ] at the invitation of dear old Prof [ ] who was the Professor of Latin in Lafayette College. He had read my speech on the study of the Classics delivered at William & Mary in [ ] & asked me to deliver it to the students. I did so—staying this time with Fred: Drake a very enthusiastic Zete who also lived in Easton. I was most kindly received. I do not recall very much of this trip, except the Convention which was very enthusiastic & pleasant— There were delegates
from Maine & California. Hay is the only one of whom I have now any knowledge.
I graduated in International &c Law. in Political Economy & in English Literature. At the Commencement Senator Thos F. Bayard delivered the Address to Literary Societies: It was a magnificent speech & his tribute to General Lee was very beautiful & received wild applause. After he finished Prof Holmes read the report of the Committee on the Magazine Medal & then in a graceful little speech delivered the medal to me as “the hopeful son of a distinguished sire”. I made a very short speech in acceptance & as I had quite a carrying voice & could be heard I was much applauded. All the family were present & Sally Knight as well who had come up to the Commencement. She gave me a beautiful basket of flowers: But Gertie Massie captured the medal
and wore it that night.
Prof Holmes also announced that the Scholarship awarded the two Editors who had gotten out the three best numbers of the Magazine had been awarded to Mason & myself. This meant very much to me, as Father had told me that owing to the falling off of his practice—owing to his being in Congress—& some heavy security debts he had to pay he would not be able to send me back to the University. But the Scholarship enabled me to go back free of all charges & as I was to stay at home I was enabled to go back. The Summer of 1873 went by very rapidly. Dances & tournaments & parties took up a good deal of time & we had a series of tableaux at Rio & Hydraulic Mills (mere names now) and at White Hall which was very pleasant. We only danced the “Square” Dances at the Country Places then. Waltzing was confined to the University dances with some
rare exceptions. I do not think any thing can be prettier than the old Virginia Reel (Sir Roger De Coverly, as the English call it)
As I was older I made friends with the Charlottesville men—most of whom were older than I & some of whom had served in the Civil War: John Foster—who owned & edited the Charlottesville Progress. Wm Garth—“red Billy” to distinguish him from Wood Garth’s family—to whom, however, he was related—Bob Harris—a fine fellow—a great fiddler—& a valued friend & later on a client. Billy Garth—who is still living in a green old age—was desperately wounded in the Civil War. Bob also served—both in Cavalry. Rice Burnley an artilleryman—afterwards Sheriff & still living in the eighties Moran—a New Yorker—who bought the farm adjoining Sunny Side. Inloes—a Baltimorean, who served in the Civil War & bought the place adjoining Sunny Side on the west.
Bob Harris—Moran & Inloes have all “gone West”.
Foster was a very tall & large man: Full of fun, but in looks & appearance very grave & dignified. He—like most of us, was very fond of a drink & generally carried a quart “tickler” of good whiskey to every party to which we went. I remember in the winter of 1873, we had tableaux & a dance at Rio. It was very cold & cloudy & after the tableaux we had a dance. Bob Harris was the fiddler & got very tight I’m sorry to say. He played very well at first & shouted the figures in the liveliest way. Finally his playing became very unsteady & ceased: Bob was sound asleep. One of the young ladies—a great favorite of his—went up to him & woke him up. He roused himself & in a stentorian voice yelled “Change partners” & began to play vigorously—just where he left
off. It was only for a moment, however, & he was asleep again. Again he was awakened by the same girl & this time he yelled “I won’t play another d—nd drop until you change partners” & then we led him out on the porch & laid him down on a bench. We got another musician, & forgot all about Bob, until going out on the porch we found it had been snowing steadily & drifting over Bob’s inanimate form until it was completely covered. Some one suggested that it was a dry snow & the best thing to do was to let him lie there—and he did until the party broke up about 3.A.M & it was still snowing. We woke up Bob, who was then perfectly sober—gave him a drink & all drove off in the fast falling snow—as merry as crickets. Bob didn’t take cold & suffered no inconvenience.
Foster wore a very long Ulster overcoat & carried his Quart in one of the pockets. He
hung it up on a hook in the room in which we were dancing & in the midst of the merriment took it down for some purpose & the quart bottle fell out & rolled over in the midst of the dancers, who paused in the dance. Foster was unabashed. He picked up the bottle—& then looked at the overcoat. “Oh! me” he said “what a fearful thing. This is not my Coat, but that of dear old Uncle William ___’s” mentioning the name of a prominent Methodist Minister in Charlottesville, who was about as high as Foster’s shoulder “I took it off the rack in the Hall where we took supper together: I never thought he drank”. And gravely he replaced the bottle in the overcoat pocket & walked out on the porch, where he was followed by “many friends”.
John is long since dead—a fine fellow & charming gentleman—peace to his ashes.
It was determined that I should remain at home for the session & walk over to my lectures, dining at Morea when it was necessary: My lectures were nearly all in the morning, so I only dined at Morea probably twice a week. I walked across the fields to the railroad track & then down the track to McKennie’s bookstore. This way by the track was not the shortest, but it led me by the Blue Cottage, where I generally stopped for a short chat with Brem or Marshall or Battle—the first two being in the same classes with me. Sometimes I would stop at the Bookstore and “hae a crack with Dr McKennie—“old Doc” as we called him, tho’ he was then in his forties.
Dr Minor lectured in a large room under the Public Hall in the Annex. Only a small part of his Institutes had been published, so he got a student to write a portion
every morning on the Blackboard & we copied it. He adhered rigidly to his analytical method.
“A1 Contingent Remainders—Wherein consider—(abbreviated to W. C)
He was a very clear forceful lecturer—and great teacher. Like Dr McGuffey he taught his pupils to think & his constant repetition kept a given subject in mind. He was a strikingly handsome man, with a fine voice & very impressive: With a very high temper, which he kept, as a usual thing under good control, when he did give way to it his explosion of wrath was like lightning & thunder at once. He grew deadly pale, then red & with a fearful explosion fell upon his unfortunate victim with all the power of sarcasm & invective. He quizzed a great deal & used question and answer as a vehicle of continued dissertation upon the subject under dis-
cussion. His great fault—in my judgment—was a “fondness for the antique” & he frequently discussed & dwelt upon laws & customs belonging almost to the “age of the mammoth & mastodon”. And the difficulty was that he gave some prominence to these subjects on his examinations. “Old John tithed mint & rue” one of the brilliant members of his class,” once said, “and if he doesn’t exactly neglect the weightier matters of the law, certainly wastes a lot of valueable time, which ought to be given to it.” He was fearfully severe on any change in the law—attacked most vehemently “homestead & poor debtor’s” exemptions, and almost frothed at the mouth when the married woman’s law—“that abominable piece of legislation fathered by one Smith of Nelson” was mentioned. Tom Smith—who introduced the earliest married woman’s Act being from Nelson County in the Virginia
Legislature. Common law Pleading was to him the perfection of human reason & no pharisee ever saw a jew touch the Ark of the Covenant, with greater wrath & horror than Mr Minor viewed any change in that wretched system. He was a cold man, I think & somewhat narrow, but no more honest, upright and high minded man ever lived.
The other Law Professor was dear old Stephen O. Southall—about as poor a teacher as he was rich in all the elements that make up a gentleman. He came to teaching directly from the Bar & at an age when it was too late to learn the art of teaching. He had the important subjects of Equity and Evidence & the minor subject of International Law & Government. We used Vattel in the one & The Federalist in the other. It was a very easy subject under “old South’s” teaching & he made it a very uninteresting one. His lectures were dry & he seemed very indifferent as to
the whole matter. It is said he graduated a whole class once because the papers blew out of his window & he was too lazy to pick them up. Having graduated in that subject at the last session I did not have to take it & attended his lectures on Equity & Evidence passing my intermediate examination in both subjects. Why I did not graduate I will explain later.
Mr. Southall was, however, a most lovely character—a splendid gentleman & a most eloquent speaker. His farewell address each year to his class was a model of good taste & style as well as pathetic and eloquent. He was a bachelor & very quiet & rather solitary in his life. It is a rather strange thing that the Chair filled by Prof Southall never—until late years had a teacher in it. It had able lawyers & fine men, but absolutely poor as instructors. Prof Holcombe, Southall’s predecessor was a brilliant man—eloquent—strong as a lawyer, a member of the
the Confederate Congress—but a very poor professor of law. Southall was succeeded by Professor Gilmore—one of the ablest lawyers in the Southwest, but an absolute failure as a Professor. Indeed he resigned after some years of service, thus preventing a request for his resignation which was said to be about to be made. He was succeeded by my dear friend Walter D. Dabney, who was a most learned & brilliant man & who would have made his mark but for an excessive modesty. As it was, he was a decided improvement on any of his predecessors. I am unable to say anything as to his successors.
There were a fine lot of men in the class of 1873-4. Thomas Nelson Page sat next to me & then commenced a friendship which has lasted up to this day. Tom was an excellent student & stood high in the class, despite a rhyme I made on him in return to some verses on me rather inelegant it is true. In reply to them I
“There are Pages of wit & pages of Glee,
And pages writ over with maxims, so sage,
But when Tom Page is called on by old John B.
Why what is it then but a blank Page”
Edward Echols who failed on his final examination to the great anger of the whole class, was afterwards a Member of the State Senate & Lieutenant Governor of the State. He was a wealthy man & did very little out of Politics. [ ] Rector of Arkansas—who was afterwards Attorney General of that State—also failed on his final examination. The indignation of the class was caused by the fact that Echols & Rector used to write up Mr Minors syllabusses on the Blackboard in the class room, giving much of the time they might have spent in study to this work for the Professor. They ought to have known that Prof Minor was absolutely just & fair & “played no favorites. If Echols & Rector failed, they failed to answer the question & Mr
Minor saw the papers & no person behind them. But the boys, with whom Echols & Rector were great favorites, when the names of neither one appeared on the graduating list, went down en masse & “booed” under Mr Minor’s window—interspersing the “booing”, with loud cheers for Echols & Rector. Mr Minor paid no attention to the demonstrations. Jas M. Ambler now Associate Judge of the Supreme Bench of Baltimore was also in the class and others who have made their mark.
I commenced the session with the fixed intention of taking my B.L. in one year & I began to study hard & with some system. But fate was against me. I drove mother over to Morea to spend the day the latter part of October—a raw & chilly day. I drove the old sorrell mare I had driven down the Valley in the summer of 1872. She was an ill conditioned brute, but I took her out of the buggy—took off her harness & turned her out to graze. When evening came I attempted to catch
her, but she showed me her heels & it was a very angry young man who finally cornered her in the angle of a <worm> fence— As I came up behind her she threw up her heels & kicked me square in the face. Had I been three feet away she would have killed me. As it was she shattered the bones in my nose & I got up & rushed back to the house a very bloody youngster. I alarmed the household. Mother almost had hysterics. Dear Lucy Armistead was then on a visit to Morea & she dressed my wound—washing my face & laying me down on the bed & sitting by holding my hand until Dr Cabell came. He came very near not coming at all as the stupid negro who went for him informed him he must come at once to Morea where a horse had kicked a man & knocked out all of his brains. He did come, however, ran a pocket pencil up my nostril, put adhesive plaster on the injured mem-
ber & went off. Lucy was simply lovely to me & then commenced a friendship & affection that ceased only with her death. But the wound was a serious one. My face was blue & yellow & my eyes closed. I was not able to read until nearly Christmas & so I got behind my class and never caught up.
The wound was long & obstinate in healing & a great deal of what was called “proud flesh” came in it. Dr Cabell treated me with an electric needle, burning out the flesh, every other day. It healed about Christmas, but left a decided scar, which has not entirely disappeared. I suffered a great deal with it & was rather despondent & gave up studying almost altogether, only doing enough to keep from failing in the class. I did graduate—or rather pass—several of the intermediate examinations.
I am afraid my running for the debater’s medal in the “Wash” Society had a good deal to do with my failure as well, as my wound. Politics
ran very high & the Wash had the largest membership in its history. My opponent was a young gentleman from Alexandria named Brooks of whom I have never heard since he left the University. He could not speak but was very popular & defeated me by a tie vote—the President Richard H. Bell of Staunton casting the deciding vote in Brooke’s favour. But the contest was a hot one & canvassin[g] & speaking & caucussing took up a lot of time. I am sorry to say that my opponent or his friends played very dirty politics & in one case a dirty little jew from Norfolk actually forged some telegrams. My friends took the matter up to the faculty & the result was that this was the last contest for the debater’s medal on the old plan of election by popular vote. A committee of the faculty heard a certain number of debates and awarded the medal.
(whilst I was writing the page before this (Wednesday Novbr 1st 1922) dear old Thos Nelson Page was lying a corpse in his house in Hanover Co: He was walking in his garden & dropped dead yesterday—Nov lst— His wife & mine died within a week of each other.)
The Session passed rapidly to a close— The Finals were very pleasant & the Final Ball unusually pleasant. I was President of the Ball Association & very proud of our success. I took Mrs. Charles Goodyear, one of the handsomest women I ever saw— She was half greek—her father being a Presbyterian Missionary to Greece & her mother a Greek lady. We danced in those days “jusquá jour” [until day] & I never shall forget how well she looked as we came out in broad day light—Most women looked bedraggled—powder in streaks—gown torn & dishevelled. Daylight on any one who has danced all night in July is a terrible “dis-
illusioner”, but she looked very beautiful.
My opponent—Brooks—received the medal, but that rascal John Marshall persuaded him into getting a white vest about six inches too long for him & his appearance was rather ludicrous.
Old friends parted that July night never to meet again & my college days ended. Delightful days they were, full of joy & pleasure but in many ways I wasted the greater part of them. Had I studied as I should have done—& been less superficial I might have made my mark in life. But they were happy days & I learned one thing which has proven of great value to me; that is the ability to think on my feet & to speak readily.
I did little that Summer, but enjoy myself. Dear Lucy Armistead came to Morea to spend the summer & I saw much of her
there & at Sunny Side. Drove with her, walked with her & thoroughly enjoyed her company.
I was twenty one on the 27th day of August. I applied for a certificate as a man of “good moral character” at the September County Court & with it went with Father to Fluvanna Court at Palmyra, where Judge Henry Shackelford—who was holding Court there—examined me. His only question was, “When do they cut clover hay?” and when I answered, “When it was ripe,” said, “Hand me your license & I’ll sign it. If you are as d—nd fool farmer as that, I suppose you will make a lawyer— Why they cut it when its green”.
I did not get off as easy a week later when with Warwick Reade—an A.M. & B.L. of the University I went to Staunton & was examined by Judge [ ] Christian of the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The Judge made an appointment for late in the afternoon, so Reade & I got a handsome “double team” & drove around Staunton.
When we got to Judge Christian’s room we found [ ] Quarles—who had been a classmate & the Judge examined us & signed our licenses. Quarles was & is a remarkable man. Seemingly dull & stupid he was afterwards County Judge of Augusta Co & a member of Congress. I think he was “heavy” not dull. He had & I suppose has a good law practice, & was & is, an excellent gentleman.
I returned home & spent the next month having a good time. Dear Lucy Armistead & I drove a good deal & I went to dances &c &c making new friends & renewing old friendships.
The Circuit Court met in October and I qualified to practice law, Judge Henry Shackel-
ford being on the Bench. He immediately assigned me to defend a negro accused of breaking in a corn house & stealing corn from Col [ ] Northrop, who had been Commissary General of the Confederate States & whose general inefficiency contributed much to the downfall of the Confederacy. He was a South Carol[in]ian & was anxious—so I have heard—to feed our armies on rice. He had been at West Point with Mr Davis & it was probably a personal appointment. He was a bigoted Roman Catholic & a very strange sort of a man. Highly educated, but absolutely impracticable. He bought the farm on which Col Mosby was raised—now owned by Mr [ ] Harrison. His son Xenus & I were & still are good friends. Xenus lost a son in the world war.
Of course I was intensely interested in my case. Made a speech which was much complimented &
darkey was acquitted: So greatly disgusted was Col Northrop that he never spoke to me again. Said these young “springalds of the Law”, ought to be prohibited from taking such cases. The evidence against the negro was very slight & he ought to have been acquitted. Not quite as slight, however, as a case the Col had against a negro whom he had arrested for stealing a sheep. He stated to the Magistrate that he found where his sheep had been killed; He suspected a certain negro—went to his cabin—found what was “cold sheep’s grease” in one of the pots in the kitchen. “I, then sir”, he said to the Magistrate, “seized the negro firmly by the nose & chin, opened his mouth & smelt his breath. He had been eating sheep, sir & it was my sheep”. He never forgave the magistrate for not issuing a warrant on this
testimony. I recall that dining at home once, Mother taxed him with Roman Catholics denying salvation to any but of their own faith. “Not at all, Madame”, he replied— “We believe many of you will be saved by “invincible ignorance”. I never shall forget how Mother drew herself up & replied, “I do not think I would value salvation on such a plea.”
My father threw some little business in my hands & my first chancery suit was for partition in the case of Sandridge vs Lewis. Father declined to give me any help. “Work it out for yourself”, he said & I had to do it. He adopted this wise plan during all of our lives. I had to prepare papers without his assistance. He then looked over them & pointed out any errors. This made me self reliant, but was the best way to teach me the practice of the
Shortly before Christmas father told me that he was going to dissolve the partnership of Duke Jones & Hanckel & take me in as his partner. It was—I know—a hard wrench for him to give up Mr Jones. He loved Mr Jones as if he were a brother & Mr Jones loved him. He was a quiet, modest, unassuming gentleman—rather shy & never appeared in Court; but was a good draughtsman: But father really brought practically all of the business to the firm & thought I ought to help him. Father hated to write. He had some trouble with the nail on the thumb of his right hand which made the thumb tremble when he wrote, so his handwriting, which had at one time been very good, became decidedly bad, so he had his partners do most of the
writing. This was long before the stenographer was known in Charlottesville & the type writer had not been invented. I may say here—en passant—that I was the first lawyer ever to have a stenographer and a type writer—the old Caligraph. My stenographer was a Miss Conger of New Orleans & the older members of the Bar were very much horrified to think of having a woman employed in a lawyers office. Today a young lawyer gets his stenographer as soon as he opens his office. How many of them can afford to have them & pay them is a mystery to me.
But it was well on in the eighties before I had either stenographer or type writer & the amount of writing I did in long hand would look marvellous to the young lawyer
On January 1st 1875 the firm of Duke & Duke was formed & the old sign is in my office now (Feb:y 1923) I kept the name up to 1922 & then my son Eskridge & I took C.E. Gentry into partnership with us we kept the name, simply adding his to it.
From January 1875 commenced my real career as a lawyer. I do not think I have ever been a good lawyer. I have been a successful one, but I never cared to study law. My main strength has been as an advocate, tho’ I liked to work up for, & write briefs. Strange to say I have always hated the wrangle & jangle of the Court room—even with the superb lawyers who were at the Bar when I came to it. They were learned, courteous men, high men, disdaining chicanery & sharp practice
such a contrast to the set who now practice here— It is with a mingled feeling of disgust & contempt that I now have to cross—sticks—not swords—the latter being too noble a weapon—with the men at the Charlottesville Bar today, with a few honourable exceptions. Ignorant, pretentious—shysters,—but I must not go on.
I worked very hard for many years, helping my dear Father & as he told me in his last illness, taking the burden from his shoulders. I made up my mind that I would never marry until he was out of debt. He had no idea how much he owed & my first work was to get a statement of all he owed. It welnigh paralyzed me, for a hundred dollars in those days meant to me far more than a thousand does today.
The amount father owed would be to me now nothing extraordinary. Then it looked colossal: But each year saw it cut down & when Father was out of debt, he owned SunnySide, well stocked & had money in Bank. I might here say something of the Albemarle Bar in 1875 & future years, but I have written my reminiscences & a history of this Bar in Vols VII & VIII (new Series) of the Virginia Law Register to which I refer my children. It was a superb Bar of fine lawyers & splendid gentlemen. “Quantum mutatus ab illo”. [how much has changed from earlier time]
The year was a very busy one with me, but I had a good time. I went to the University a good deal to see my old classmates & friends & it was hard to realize that I was not still a student.
I attended all the dances—lead many of the Germans & visited the ladies in the City & at Edge Hill a great deal.
Col Thos Jefferson Randolph died at Edge Hill this year & I went to his funeral which was largely attended. After the grave was filled about six or eight of his old servants gathered about the grave & sang a very pathetic song— I recognized neither the words or the music, but the latter was very sweet & impressive. There were very few dry eyes in the crowd. Col Randolph was a kind master & much beloved by his servants. He was a strong believer in Emancipation of the negroes & introduced a bill in the Legislature, where he served several terms. He told me more than once that but for the rabid abolitionists in the North & their violence & abuse, slavery would have been abolished in Virginia long before the Civil War. A few months before
his death he spent the night at SunnySide & I recall with much pleasure his charming conversation & anecdotes of the old times. How I wish I had written them down, in their entirety: Somewhere I have notes of them. By the beginning of the year 1876 our practice began to be quite a large one & I was kept very busy. We practiced then not only in Albemarle, but in Fluvanna, Nelson & Greene & I went with my Father to the Courts of those Counties right often. We generally got a hack to go to Palmyra, the County seat of Fluvanna & with some of the other lawyers—Perkins or White or Judge Robertson or some other member of the bar drive down to Palmyra—staying as short a while as possible—as the so called Hotel at that village left much to be desired. Father and I sometimes drove down & spent the night at Mr Tom Clarke’s about halfway to Palmyra. He & Father were very
dear friends & his house was a very pleasant one. In after years his sister, dear old Mrs Tompkins, was a client of mine as well as friend. She was a genuine “Daughter of the Revolution”, her father having been a soldier in the Revolutionary War. The “Daughters” gave her a gold spoon. She married a Mr [ ] Tompkins who was at one time editor of one of the Charlottesville Papers. The old lady gave me his books & a picture of Thomas Ritchie under whom Tompkins worked awhile. He moved to Nelson & built the rather handsome brick house about a mile South of Shipman as it is now called & died there just before the Civil War leaving his widow, my friend, with one child. This boy entered the Confederate Army—was captured—sent to Point Lookout & died there a victim to the horrible Northern Prison System. Mrs Tompkins got a pass from the Confederate Government—went to Washington—saw Mr. Lincoln—got
a permit from him & brought her son’s body back with her & buried him by his father in the family graveyard at the place I have mentioned and where she now lies. She died at a very advanced age—somewhere in the nineties. I think she was over ninety five when she died.
The roads to Palmyra as well as to Lovingston—the County seat of Nelson—& to Stanardsville the County seat of Greene—were indescribably horrible in winter & whilst rough were not very bad in dry weather. There was no railroad to Palmyra then. The prominent figure at the Fluvanna Bar was Col Wm B. Pettitt a tall lank gentleman with long hair & who always wore a silk hat & when I first knew him a black stock. He was an unusually fine lawyer & his arguments in Moon v. Stone had the high compliment of being ordered to be printed in [ ] Grattan p[ ]
A.A. Gray, Esq was then practicing in Charlottesville in partnership with C.D. Fishburne, but subsequently moved to Palmyra & lived there & practiced at that Bar until his death. A very handsome, highly cultivated gentleman of the old school, courteous & kindly.
I cannot say I enjoyed my visits to Palmyra very much. The only thing that made them pleasant was the association with the other lawyers & the pleasant evenings spent together after Court was over, when we met on the Hotel porch or in the parlour & chatted—the older lawyers reminiscensing—and told stories & anecdotes. The cessation of “going on Circuit,” has done much to break up the cordial relations between members of the bar, or rather the intimate knowledge of each other.
Going to Nelson Court was a great pleasure, as the drive from the Railway station at what was then known as Lovingston Station was only five miles to the Court
House which was & is known as Lovingston. The Station has had its name changed several times in my knowledge. It has been known as Montreal, Oakridge, Lovingston Station & Shipman—its present name.
At Lovingston we met members of the Lynchburg Bar: C.M. Blackford, R.G.H. Kean—Maj. Kirkpatrick & others. The prominent lawyer at Lovingston was Mr Robert Whitehead one of the ablest lawyers I ever knew, & one of the keenest intellects with which I ever came in contact. A well read, cultivated gentleman, & a fine speaker. He had a vein of humour, sarcasm & wit I never knew surpassed. Full of anecdotes & fun & most delightful company. Why he chose to bury himself in an obscure little village I never could make out. With the exception of a term or so in the Virginia State Legislature he never entered public life, tho’ he was attorney for the Commonwealth
for Nelson County for many years, holding this office at the time of his death. He had a good farm about two miles from the County Seat & lived there with a fine family a very contented & happy man. His son Stuart Whitehead succeeded him as Attorney for the Commonwealth & still holds that office.
Our trips to Greene were rendered doubly pleasant from the fact that we generally left home in the afternoon & spent the night at Frank Durrett’s about fifteen miles from Charlottesville & about three or four miles beyond Earlysville. The roads in those days were inconceivably horrible & the trip which now takes a couple of hours was six or eight. Frank had a beautiful place & was the soul of hospitality. He had married a daughter of Samuel O. Moon who brought him a good deal of money. She was named “Samuella” after her father & was a short & very fat lady, kindly, pleasant
and a good housekeeper. Frank lived like a Prince & we enjoyed our stay with him & I believe he & his wife enjoyed our company. He very often went on to Court with us. Stanardsville is a picturesque little village situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge amidst charming scenery. Before the civil war some ambitious person, built a large brick hotel, rooms with high ceilings & of ample proportions & here old Mrs Saunders kept a hotel which would have done credit to a City. This was the other fact which rendered our trips to Greene doubly pleasant, for I never saw such a variety of delicious food served as in this old Hotel. Not only did she have three or four meats—chickens—beef—mutton & pork—but vegetables galore. She would send off & get the early vegetables before we saw them in Charlottesville & her desserts were delicious. I remember
yet her custard pies. Strange to say, her successors seem to have inherited her genius, for the Hotel is still well kept with good food.
There were only three lawyers at the Stanardsville Bar. [ ] Bray—Arthur Stevens & Reuben Thomas. The first from tidewater—of an old Virginia family drifted into Stanardsville during the war, fell in love with one of the girls there & returned & married her after the war, settling in the village & practicing law to the day of his death. He was a man of education & refinement & would have made his mark, but for his intemperate habits. He had studied at the University of Virginia, served well as a Confederate Soldier, but became a perfect sot. * (*Bray also entered Harvard College & was a student there at the beginning of the Civil War. He left & came home & entered our army.) In his old age he became blind & stopped drinking & was a very good Commissioner despite his habits. Old man Arthur Stevens was small man, a good quiet gentleman—not anything of a lawyer, but an
excellent Commissioner in Chancery. He was a very bright Mason & kept the Stanardsville Lodge in an excellent condition as long as he lived. The other member of the Bar was a burly, dark, stout man named Reuben Thomas. Reuben was “a case”: A good natured creature who practiced law “by ear” entirely; poorly educated and an awful shyster: He had been a good soldier and was devoted to my father. He had a very loud voice & when speaking simply bellowed. At first Reuben was very much disliked & treated with a good deal of contempt. Association, however with the gentlemen who come from other Bars, softened & civilized Reuben & before he died he had vastly improved & did the “best he knew how”, which was not much it is true. He served Greene as Commonwealth’s Attorney for a good many years and probably suited that County as
well as it deserved: For Greene—tho’ it has some splendid people in it & a few beautiful farms is a Mountainous County with as about a wild a class of population as one generally sees anywhere. People with many of the rustic virtues, but all of the rustic vices—uneducated, quarrelsome, moonshiners & fighters. Mayo’s School & the Mountain Missions of the Episcopal Church have done very much to improve the County & the Schools are now much better: But in the Mountain hollows are yet (1923) a wild & tough lot of people.
But to return to Reuben: He had a good deal of shrewdness & wit of a coarse kind & enough education to give him a knowledge of words without the knowledge as to how they should always be used. I remember in one case which was rather a cause célebre— Reuben was associated with ex-attorney
General Fields—who strange to say—entered into partnership in Greene & Madison with him—in a case of seduction &c &c. The offense was committed at a Sunday School picnic in Greene County & Reuben in addressing the jury said: “Gentlemen of the Jury, while the good honest people of Greene were serving their God in the capacity of a picnic this spelurious villyan was a’ roamin’ around a’ seekin whom he mought devour” I asked Reuben for the definition of “spelurious”, but he told me to look it up for myself. He once characterized an indictment to which he demurred, as “a useless piece of literature”.
As the years went by, Reuben softened down & whilst like the leopard he could not change his spots, he tried his best & people began to see that under all his faults there was a kind heart. He had a son, who promised to be a man
of parts. He became the editor of the little paper published in Stanardsville & gave promise of a bright future. Consumption carried him off whilst a very young man & poor Reuben never really recovered from the blow. At the time of his death he had become—if not respected—at least liked. I grew quite fond of the old man. Peace to his ashes.
There was a good deal of business in Greene & most of the members of the Charlottesville Bar attended the Courts. From Madison came General Kemper, who became Governor of the State. He was a stout, swarthy, black bearded man, very fiery & impetuous—rather disposed to bully, but a man of dignity & ability. He had been shot at Gettysburg, whilst leading his brigade in Pickett’s charge & limped walking with a cane, all the rest of his life. Maj Field—called General, as he
was at one time Attorney General of the State—came from Culpeper at times to Greene & when he moved to Albemarle practiced regularly at the Greene Courts. He had lost his leg during the Civil War. A fair—tho’ not brilliant—lawyer he had a good practice.
Greene Court day was unlike any day I ever knew. Large crowds of men—women & children attended the Courts & by dinner time half of the population of the town & visiting mountaineers were drunk: there were innumerable fights & cracked crowns & bloody noses were much in evidence. I heard Father say, that when a Judge & Alexander Rives were running for Congress—the latter as a Republican they spoke in Greene in 1870. At that time Greene was a very strong Democratic county. It has sadly fallen from its high estate—being now Republican.
But in 1870 there were very few white republicans in the County. A large crowd of whites & blacks attended the speaking. Most of them got drunk & had a regular battle—the whites on one side & negroes on the other. Father said that they formed a regular line of battle & the air was filled with stones which they threw with great dexterity. He & Judge Rives stood on the hotel & watched the battle. Many combattants were downed, but no one seriously hurt—cracked crowns meaning very little to a Greene mountaineer & less to a negro. Father said a lanky Mountaineer struck a negro on the head with a large stone & the fellows head resounded from the blow and down he went as tho’ shot. “God bless my soul”, said old Judge Rives—that was his favorite expression—“that man is killed.” But he had hardly
spoken, when the negro got up, rushed at the white man, clinched & a very pretty wrastling match took place. The negroes soon fled, however, & the war was over with no serious casualties.
I have neglected to mention one circumstance which took place in 1874-5 which was to have an influence on my life, little imagined at the time: And that was my becoming a member of the Ancient and Honorable Institution of Free Masons. I was initiated an Entered Apprentice on the 26th Novbr 1874—Passed in Fellow Craft 23rd December 1874 and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on the 16th January 1875. My brother had been an Entered Apprentice for several years, but had not studied the lectures at all, so he and I were “lectured” by J.W. Scribner who was a dentist & a good fellow & Willie & I took the degrees after Entered Apprentice on the same nights. As I
have said this had an influence of my life little imagined at the time. I took great interest in the Institution Was made Master of Widow’s Son’s Lodge No 60 in 1880 & served two terms. I began to attend the Grand Lodge in Richmond in 1876. It met in St Alban’s Hall on Main Street in those days & each night of the session we had a very good & very pleasant banquet, but with no speeches.
I made a speech, however, at this my first session of the Grand Lodge upon some resolutions in honour of Dr John Dove, who had been for many years Grand Secretary & who died—I think—in 1876. My speech seemed to make a great hit. I attended the Grand Lodge regularly until 18[ ] when I missed three sessions & strange to say was elected Grand Junior Deacon in 18[ ] & then went thro’ the chairs, being elected
Grand Master in 1897 & serving for two terms— My reputation as a Speaker having grown I was constantly called on to make addresses on Masonic Occasions, all over the State, literally from Mountains to Sea Shore & this gave me a wide reputation throughout the State & gave me an acquaintance with different sections of the State I could have gained in no other way.
In 1899 I presided in the month of December over what was up to that time the largest assembly of Free Masons in America. It was on Decbr 13th 1899, when the Grand Lodge met at Alexandria & went to Mount Vernon the next day where we commemorated the one hundredth Anniversary of the death of Geo: Washington. We had Grand Masters from every State in the Union, except Pennsylvania—& representation from Canada Belgium &c &c. It was a wonderful meeting. At Mount Vernon Bishop Randolph prayed & President
McKinley & I made addresses— It was a cold, raw, day & McKinley seemed to be very tired.
My Darling wife was ill in the Hospital & could not be with us. But Mary & Mamie Slaughter, Willie & his wife & Cornie Burleson went & we had a suite at the Ebbitt & were splendidly taken care of. We went to Mount Vernon in a special car with the President: John Hay: Senator Clarke, who had been Grand Master of Wyoming, Senators Daniel & Martin, Bishop Randolph—my own family & several others I do not now remember—Revd Harry B. Lee being with the Bishop—who was the most absent minded man on the earth. We kept the car waiting for him & finally Lee found him walking along the Avenue. When he saw Lee he ran up to him. “My Dear Harry”, he said, “I have a very important engagement today, but to save my life I cannot tell where it is”. Harry seized him by the
arm & hurrying him along to the car said “I’ve been hunting you, so you could keep it, Bishop” & so they joined us. That night we had a big banquet at the old Willard & a reception, at which I believe I shook hands with a thousand people. My hand was sore for days. It was a very beautiful affair & I have always felt proud of the fact that I was privileged to be at the head of the craft on the occasion.
But I have forged too far ahead in going into this & will return to 1876. This year was also memorable from the fact that I went to the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia with my brother & later—after a week there I went to New York—up the Hudson & to Niagara.
In Philadelphia we had a room on Arch Street—1000 was the number of the building—& we took our meals at various
Restaurants & at the various eating houses on the grounds— I never shall forget that at one meal I asked the girl who was waiting on us for some “tomâtoes” giving the broad sound of “a”. She looked very much taken aback went off & brought me back a bottle of Worchester Sauce. I pointed to the vegetable on an adjoining table & said “That’s what I want”. “Oh! tomatoes!” she said. It was the first time I had ever heard the word pronounced with a short “a”. I have often since been asked why not “potâtoes”, if you say “tomâtoes. I cannot say “Why not?” I enjoyed the Centennial very much & it was not only an enjoyment, but an education— My Fraternity had an annual Convention whilst I was in Philadelphia and it be-
in[g] “ante-Volstead” days we had what was called in those “mad, bad, glad” days a “high old time. One of the Philadelphia Zetes, a very large, solemn man attached himself to me and we had an uproarious time. I did not remember his name, & soon forgot him. When I was crossing the Atlantic in the Caledonia in July 1914, I met a large solemn looking man, who with his wife and child was going to England. We got to talking to each other & I found that his name was Hoffman from Philadelphia & that he was a Zete. On comparing notes I found he was the same man with whom I “celebrated” in 1876 at the Zeta Psi Convention. I will have something to say about him later.
The two things that impressed me the most at the Centennial were the pictures & the buildings. Of the latter I can only say that they seem to me to be handsomest and most dignified of any Expositions buildings I ever saw.
The collection of pictures was very good. Up to that date I had only seen the small collection of masterpieces at Farmington & the—at that time small—numbers of pictures in Mr W.W. Corcoran’s private house in Washington—the neuclius of the present splendid Corcoran Art Gallery. I cannot now say, whether the Centennial Collection was an unusually good one, but I do say that it was the beginning of a fondness for Art which has grown with the years & tho’ since then I have seen all the great Art Galleries of the world, save those in Germany & Russia, I have never experienced the same thrill of delight as I wandered thro’
the Centennial Collection & spent hours before one picture. From Philadelphia I went to New York, thence up the Hudson in a “day boat” to Albany & thence to Niagara. Of course I was carried away by the latter—which has always seemed to me more sublime each time I see it. I returned by way to Watkin’s Glen—stopped over in Philadelphia for a couple of days & then returned home a muchly travelled man—in my own opinion.
My Sister entertained a great deal that summer. Jennie Randolph: Margaret Randolph—Lucy Shackelford & Minnie Anderson—the latter of Savannah who spent practically the whole summer with us at Sunny Side—yellow fever having broken out in Savannah. All of these lovely girls are gone now—save Jennie (Virginia) Randolph now the widow of Geo: Shackelford. Minnie Ander-
son died only a month or so ago in New York having been married twice. Once to Willie Allen—to whom I introduced her—and after his death to a Music Teacher whose name I do not remember. Without being exactly beautiful—she was one of the most attractive & fascinating girls I ever knew. Absolutely heartless—not at all truthful—but who cares for either of those traits in a fascinating woman—she was greatly admired. For quite a time I was one of her worshippers, who were quite numerous. We had quite a happy summer that year. During it there was a large “ladies” barbecue at which George Shackelford one of Minnies’ most ardent admirers got <“unco fou”> & insisted I should read a letter Minnie had written him. The spirit of jealously was so strong in me I did what I ought not to have done & read it. I had its duplicate
in my pocket. It had been too much trouble for Minnie to think up two letters, so she had written one & copied it. As I had once done the same to two Sweethearts I had no right to complain. She subsequently married Allan—who was a rich man— They had a lovely house in Richmond, where I often visited. Allen after some years moved to New York—lost all of his money: got a good place in the Bankrupt Courts & they had one of the prettiest little bijoux of a house I ever saw, exquisitely furnished. I dined there once & never sat down to a more exquisitely served & finer dinner. Allen died & left her very badly off. She subsequently married a music teacher & died this year (1924).
I will always keep a kindly place in my heart for Minnie
but her life was not one to make one have really much more than a kindly feeling. Peace to her ashes, poor woman.
And this is a good place to tell about the Barbecue Club. About a half mile to the west of the SunnySide house a splendid spring issues out of a sandstone rock at the foot of the hill in the midst of the forest. It is in shade all day & facing the north is exceedingly cold. Laurel and ferns are all about it: moss covers the rocks about it & its bold branch runs into the larger stream not ten steps away. Its waters are so cold that from time immemorial it has been known as the “Cool Spring”, but known as well as “The Barbecue” Spring. This grew from the fact that old fashioned Virginia Barbecues were held there from “time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.” The Civil
War and its damnable successor, “Reconstruction” stopped Barbecues until about 1873 or 74 they were renewed by an organization known as “The Cool Spring Barbecue Club” composed of gentlemen of our neighbourhood whose names I shall mention hereafter. That piece of iniquitous, hypocritical, tyrannical & fanatical Legislation known as the 18th Amendment, State Prohibition & the Volstead Act, broke up Barbecues; for a Barbecue without something to drink was, as old Bazaleel Garth said about a Heaven with nothing to drink in it “a d-mn dreary place”.
I’m afraid our coming generations will know nothing about Barbecues, so I will describe them. The word is derived from two french words, “Barbe (beard) et (and) cue (tail) and came to us from the West
Indies where the sheep or ox was roasted from “head to tail”. The process was as follows: A pit about ten feet long—five feet wide and about 3 feet deep, was dug in the ground & filled with kindling & green wood & set on fire about 5 o’clock in the morning & allowed to burn until it became a mass of glowing red hot coals. In the mean time pigs—quite young ones—& lambs—had been prepared & tied with green withes to two green poles about 6 or 7 feet longer than the pit was wide. They were then stretched over the coals & basted with melted butter in which some boiling water—salt & pepper were mixed. Two men were assigned to each animal, one on each side of the pit & turned the carcass over & over whilst a “baster” basted it with the melted butter. In the mean time, over a fire was a huge pot, in which had been
put water, were placed squirrels—if obtainable—if not, chickens—a piece of bacon, “streak o’fat & streak o’lean” several pounds of butter—tomatoes—butter beans—potatoes—ochra—green corn—Worchester sauce ad libitum—a few pods of red pepper—& salt & pepper: This was allowed to simmer slowly & by the time the meat was ready—it was ready also. I have eaten many famous ragouts & stews—at the great restaurants in England & on the Continent, but never at Spiers & Ponds or Simpsons—never at Vefours or Voisins—Foyots—or Boeuf à la Mode, have I eaten as a divine a concoction as the “Barbecue Stew” made after my Father’s receipt. The only difficulty was, that you were tempted to eat so much of it, that it took away your appetite for the delicious barbecued meat. Had Charles Lamb ever eaten a piece of barbecued shoat, with cracklin’
on it he would have added an extra paon of praise in his essay “On Roast Pig”. Nor was the lamb far behind it & for those who had not the “stomacha viri” [strong stomach]—of Horace, there were a few young chickens “barbecued” also.
Nor was “wine that maketh glad the heart of man”, nor whiskey that rejoiceth his stomach or good old Apple Brandy lacking. Kegs of these too were brought & buried in ice & the day passed in song & merriment—a few short speeches—and eating & drinking galore. What days they were?—What glorious days? Oh! me, “Lochaber no more”. [work of Allan Ramsey 1686-1758]
It is true some of us did drink more than we ought to have done; some alas! retired to the kindly shade of the oaks and pines & dreamed away the afternoon. What of it? “Shall there be no cakes and ale” because a few poor fellows had
imbibed too freely? We played some pranks too. One of the most charming & witty Germans I ever knew—Dr Kratz—who spent a winter in Charlottesville & part of a summer. He attended his first barbecue at the Spring & he drank beer & wine & whiskey & brandy & offered a thousand dollars to the man who could teach him to make “dat divine soup”. He had ridden out to the barbecue. Some scamps led his horse into the bushes & put his saddle & bridle on a “muley” cow & tied her where the horse stood. Kratz came out—untied the animal—with great dignity & gravity, climbed into the saddle & stuck spurs into his “charger”, who immediately “bucked” & deposited the Doctor on the ground. He sat up, rubbed his eyes and yelled out “Oh! Bottom how thou art translated” & joined in the laughter
of the crowd, who soon brought back his “mount”, & aided him to “saddle & bridle and part”.
He was a charming fellow, full of keen wit & dry humour. I never shall forget when during that same summer we were at the “White Sulphur”. It was an intensely hot night & the ball-room was like an oven. Kratz was a most enthusiastic waltzer and went at it with a vim. After dancing probably half an hour, he rushed out on the portico where I was sitting & mopping his dripping brow spoke to me: “Mein Gott, Duke” he said “I haf never suffered as much bleasure in my life”.
Miss Ada Bankhead was a maiden lady of a “certain age”, who went with Kratz & his wife to Europe that summer. She was, without exception, the primmest, most precise, “prunes and prisms” lady I ever knew.
She carried herself like a ramrod, was fautlessly dressed—wore little gold pince nez, with which she surveyed the world will ill concealed scorn & contempt. Whilst they were at Strassburg, Kratz wrote to Mrs Willie Flannagan. “Here we are at Strasburg. Here is Miss Ada: She is inspecting the Cathedral with distinct approval—guide book in hand: The Cathedral is centuries old: It is older than Miss Ada, but not so stiff”. Dear old boy: He died quite suddenly about a year later.
“O! ihm ist Wohl.” [Oh! he feels well.]
Some time in the seventies the gentlemen of the neighbors formed the “Cool Spring Barbecue Club”. My father was its first President. Before me lies a photograph of the Club: Today (June 1924) Willie (“Red” Willie Garth[)], my brother & myself are the sole survivors of the Club. I am going to
describe the men in that picture commencing at my right hand. Standing just back of a little boy with features somewhat blurred was R. F. Harris several times Mayor of Charlottesville—who started the first Iron Foundry & works in Charlottesville. A bluff, good, honest, irascible man, but liked by every one. Next to him in a white coat was “Billy” McCraw, son of a distinguished physician in Richmond; Billy married money & did nothing thereafter. Rather disippated, but a good fellow. Next to him with whiskers around his lower face stood Judge Charles Goodyear, who had been a member of Congress & Judge in New York. He moved to Virginia in the seventies & bought the old “Jury” place adjoining Sunny Side—the place Senator Martin afterward owned & now the property of Louis T. Hanckel, Jr. Judge Goodyear named the place “Seymour” & Hanckel has retained the name. Judge Goodyear was
a Democrat & named the place after Horatio Seymour, who once paid him a visit there. The house was built by Addison Maupin some years before the Civil War. Bought from him by the Misses Jury. Sold by them to a German named Hase, who had a brewery on the site of where Bowles now lives about a quarter of a mile in the rear of the house. It was in this brewery that I drank my first glass of “Lager”. I can’t say I liked it then or since.
Hase sold the property to Judge Goodyear & after the Judge’s death it was sold to an Englishman—Frizell—& has repeatedly changed hands since. Senator T. S. Martin bought it & changed it entirely. He called it Monte Sano, not a happy name as his poor wife—the beautiful Lucy Day—died there of tuberculosis. Hanckel has, I think
very happily restored the old name. It was at this house I interviewed Gen Devins of Sheridan’s command & received scant courtesy.
Judge Goodyear was a splendid gentleman—intellectual, highly cultivated, courteous & kindly. He had two sons, Charles & Geo: G. whose wives were two of the most beautiful women I ever knew: Eirene—Charles wife—was the daughter of the Reverend Mr King a Presbyterian Missionary to Greece, who married a Greek lady. Mrs Charles Goodyear was one of the children of that marriage. Tall, graceful, sparkling black eyes—a splendid figure & lovely complexion, she was simply superb. They had two children—Charlie—who died at Mary’s house in this County a good many years ago—and Mary who a lovely child—pretty girl & beautiful woman.
She married first a fine Englishman named McNeil & moved to Minneanapolis—where McNeil died leaving her but poorly off. She came back to Albemarle, bought a little place near Rio Station: built a little—but charming—house—on it & with uncomplaining nerve lived there raising her two sons—Agnew, who was burned to death in the Brown School house fire & Don who now lives in Washington. After some years she married Lewis Smoot of Alexandria, who moving to Washington has made over a million, where Mary now lives in great style. She is sixteen years older than her husband, but does not look it as she is still a beautiful woman tho’ a little bit too stout.
She & my sister were great friends & she was at Sunny Side a great deal, as was
her mother & Aunt. As boy & girl we quarreled a great deal in a “friendly” way; but it was more in fun than anything else & the friendship of those days lasts until now. I usually stay at her house when I go to Washington.
The other daughter in law of Judge Goodyear—George’s wife was a Miss Briscoe of Philadelphia, whose name was Elizabeth—generally known as “Libby”—She too was exceedingly beautiful A “chataigne” [like a chestnut tree], tall, splendid figure, lovely hair & complexion with a pretty nose slightly acquiline. Being in some way connected with a family of Briscoes, I soon began to call her “Cousin Libby” & continued to do so up to the day of her death.
I owe many happy hours to the Goodyear family
Between Judge Goodyear & my father just in their rear was Henry Massie—son of Mr Henry Massie who at one time kept one of the Boarding houses at the University & was subsequently Post Master at Charlottesville. Henry was a very handsome man, but with very rude brusque manners. Quite disippated he died young. He was the brother of my dear friend Eugene C. Massie who died quite suddenly only a few weeks ago. My dear Father stood next to Massie. Of him I need say no more, than I have said. Beloved by his entire community—no nobler purer—braver—tenderer—true man ever lived. He was the life & soul of every party into which he went & his memory remains to me a benediction. Just back of him & between him & Mr J. Woods Garth who stood next to my father was Ned: Coles, who belonged to
the prominent Coles family of this County. The Coles were very much outraged at his marriage to a lady they thought beneath him in social standing & practically had very little to do with him. His wife was a fine woman & must have been a very handsome woman in her youth. She was in every way Ned’s equal, if not superior & there was no reason for any one looking down on her. She left me as Executor in her will. Ned: himself was a rough diamond. Living on a beautiful place about 5 miles from Charlottesville on the old Lynchburg road he was a splendid farmer.
The attitude of his relatives towards him embittered him very much & he affected a rude & coarse manner which gradually became second nature with him. I never think of the old gentleman without thinking of an incident which took
place as he was returning from a Barbecue & met old Colonel Northrop of whom I have spoken. Ned: was in Tam O’Shanter’s condition & when he met the Colonel greeted him rather boisterously. “Hello!” Colonel”, he said: “You ought to have been at the Barbecue: Plenty of good eating”. “Yes,” Mr Coles”, replied the Colonel, “but you know the Scripture says ‘Man cannot live by bread alone’.”
“Ha! Ha!” hiccoughed old man Ned” “Zat’s true Colonel, but we had plenty of whiskey too”. The Colonel rode on.
Next to my father stood his dear friend J. Woods Garth; Mr Garth then lived at “Birdwood” that splendid estate on the Staunton turnpike about four miles from Charlottesville—now owned by a Mr Fonda. Mr Garth was a descendant of the Garth family which had long been settled in Albemarle: They were
amongst the largest landowners in the County, at one time owning a stretch of land running from the Ragged Mountains to the Rivanna & about a mile wide. On this tract was situated “Chestnut Ridge” the original homestead on the “Garth Road” now occupied by J. Woods Garth the younger, & “Birdwood”.
Birdwood was built by Wm Garth, Mr Garth’s father & at his death was one of the finest places in the County—consisting of over a thousand acres. Wm owned a large number of slaves & was a wealthy man. The Garths were all high tempered & horses racers & fond of all sports—cards & cock fighting as well. Wm Garth was at one time a representative in the Legislature. Mr Woods Garth was a splendid, whole souled—gentleman. My father loved him & he my father, as if they had been brothers. He was a typical English squire—large boned—very
strong, florid complexion & was rather rough in conversation. He had as kind a heart as ever beat in a human bosom, & yet he killed two men: One a negro—whom he ought to have killed, and a man named Updike, a huge Valley “Dutchman”, who was a neighbour. They had some falling out over a plant bed & met on a March Court day on the corner of 5th & Main Street. They had some words & Updike knocked Mr Garth down & continued to knock him down as fast as he got on his feet. Whilst on the ground Mr Garth drew a small “spaying” knife & as he got up on his knees cut Updike across the abdomen; the edge of the knife piercing the bowel. In these days of anti-ceptic surgery Updike would have been quickly sewed up & cured; but he died in a few days of peritonitis. Mr Garth was arrested and
put in prison. Whilst there his old mother died & he went to her funeral under charge of the Sheriff.
My father & he had been bosom friends & he went—as soon as Updike died to father’s office for the purpose of engaging him to defend him. His hand was on the door knob of the office when he remembered that Father was Attorney for the Commonwealth & would have to prosecute him. He was tried before the old “examining” Court—three justices, who in those days enquired into the whole case & either discharged the accused or sent him on to the Grand Jury. The three Justices who sat in this case were Judge Goodyear; Jesse Jones and Jas Lobban. The case was heard at great length, my father prosecuting and Judge Robertson, Shelton F. Leake and I think Mr Southall defending. The magistrates discharged the
prisoner holding that killing was done in self defence—Judge Goodyear, however, dissenting. People who knew said my father’s speeches in the case were the finest ever made. I was present at one very dramatic episode. Whilst my father was making the concluding argument he happened to turn around & saw Mr Garth leaning over with a large bandana handkerchief held over his eyes & his whole frame quivering with emotion: Father stopped—walked out of the Court House; went behind it & cried like a baby for a moment or two & then came back & made one of the most superb perorations, which moved every man in the Court room to tears. The three justices on the bench sat with tears rolling down their cheeks, as my father pictured the man he loved so much, as a man worthy of punishment for his
crime & as an example to the community that neither wealth nor station should make the law vary one jot or tittle. The dramatic part of it was that during my father’s absence from the Court room not a soul stirred. The Court sat immoveable: Mr Garth remained with his face buried in this hands. The crowded Court was absolutely still. It was an intense moment & I never shall forget it.
The death of Mr Garth’s mother brought him into the possession of “Birdwood” charged with a legacy of $50.000 in gold, to his brothers & sisters. He had better have declined the legacy for it ruined him. He raised immense crops of tobacco & many cattle: but gold was at a premium & it was not many years before he failed making my father & his partner Jas D. Jones his Trustees.
They divided “Birdwood” into three parts, & sold it & the personal property. Out of their commissions on the sale they gave Mrs Garth $1500, with which she bought cattle & sent them to Richmond by Mr Garth who sold them at a good profit, but lost every cent of it at the faro table.
He moved to Chestnut Ridge—where his son J. Woods Garth, now lives, remodelled the house & lived & died there. At one time he ran one of the boarding houses at the University but ran it in his own style of living & lost money.
The friendship between him & my father suffered no change by my father’s prosecution. The two men loved each other like Brothers, tho’ absolutely unlike in character & characteristics. Mr Garth had some as fine characteristics as a
any man could have, but some unworthy of the man. He affected a roughness & ungramattical way of speech, which was meant to be jocose at first, but almost grew into a habit.
I still quote many of his sayings “Good enough for a dog”, he always said when anything to eat pleased him, & being a great sportsman & loving dogs he meant it for high praise. My brother & myself were dining at “Birdwood” once—both at that time bachelors. He was, with great vehemence, inveighing against matrimony, more to tease Mrs Garth—who was his second wife—than anything else. She spoke up with some asperity, “If matrimony is such a bad thing Mr Garth, why did you marry a second time?” “Because I was a d— fool”, was the reply, but said in such a way it provoked
laughter from everyone. It became and still remains quite a saying amongst the older people who knew him, when they wanted to be polite & yet to characterise the person who had done a foolish thing, to say, “He did it for the same reason Mr Garth married a second time”.
Old Mrs. Craven who lived at Rose Hill in the house still standing now occupied by Mr Sandidge, and which by the way was built for Wm Wirt & his bride, by her father Dr Geo: Gilmer, was one of the best of women & a very devout baptist. Mr Garth was dining there once & the question of religion came up. “Now Mrs Craven,” said Mr Garth, “there isn’t but one real good religion & that’s the Baptist religion.” Mrs Craven smiled & was much delighted. “But I’ve got one serious
objection to it”, continued Mr Garth, “there’s too many poor white folks & niggers in it”. “I think”, said the old lady, “You might have left that out.” Mr Garth became very much involved & died practically bankrupt.
His largest creditor—Warner Wood—who had a mortgage on “Chestnut Ridge” never disturbed him, but let interest run on unpaid for several years & never foreclosed until after Mr Garth’s death.
I have spent many happy days at “Birdwood”: Fine dinners, glorious dances & many flirtations. I remember a big ball in which not only young but old were invited. A good deal of wine & other spirits were consumed & some of the elderly gentlemen became “slightly in dram,” as Snowden Wood’s servant said. Amongst them was Mr B.C.
Flannagan, a very sedate & sober old gentleman—as a usual thing. Mrs “Libby” Goodyear was standing just inside of the parlour door en grande tenue, [in full dress] when Mr Flannagan came into the room rather unsteadily. As he entered he staggered & caught Mrs Goodyear by one of her beautiful white shoulders, which <Aitens,> Ut pura nocturna revidet luna mari” [<something affirmative>, if only that pure moon would shine once more over the night sea.]
She drew herself up in her most stately manner. “Mr Flannagan!!!” she exclaimed in her severest & most icy manner. “’Scuse me: Please ’scuse me” hiccoughed the old gentleman, “I took you for the wall”. “Tableau”! as old man Gaujot would say.
Mr Garth had one child Gabriella by his first marriage, and by his second two sons & one daughter. His eldest son Wil-
liam—“Billy” as he is usually known—now one of the most noted race horse trainers in the South was, of course, left quite poor at his father’s death. The old Wayt Farm just beyond Ivy Creek on the Whitehall road had to be sold. My Father was Commissioner to sell it. It had been a splendid farm but was so run down and neglected that it was a veritable eyesore. My father met Billy one day before the sale & advised him to buy it, telling him that in the hands of a good farmer it could easily be brought into fine condition. “Why Colonel”, said Billy, “I haven’t the money to make even the cash payment”. “Never mind that Billy”, said my Father, “My commission on the sale will equal that. I will lend that to you & you can pay me when
you can”. So Billy bought the farm, paid for it eventually & the other day refused the sum of $55.000 for it. It is now one of the most beautiful farms in the County. He paid $1500—for it at the sale. Humanity is a curious thing. Billy always professed & still professes the sin[ce]rest gratitude to my Father—who gave him his start in prosperity—& is unquestionably sincere; but he has always employed some other lawyer than our firm, when he had law business and he has had a good deal. “Gratitude is a lively expectancy of future favours” But we are warm friends & I am very fond of him. Its a strange co-in[c]idence. My father had to prosecute his dear friend Woods Garth for murder. I had this
year—1924—to prosecute J. Woods Garth, Jr, for very foolishly distilling brandy. He was convicted, but on account of ill health sentence was suspended.
But to return to our muttons—which can very well be said of the Barbecue. Standing behind Mr Garth is Wood Tinsley who was a grain & hay merchant in Charlottesville—good fellow who died of consumption. Next to Mr Garth was John Fry—the son of dear old cousin Frank Fry and a lineal descendant of Col Joshua Fry of Washington’s Regiment in Braddock’s army. Cousin Frank—whose mother was a Maury & grandmother a daughter of Dr Thos Walker of “Castle Hill”, hence the “cousin”—was a lovely old man— He was Commissioner of the Revenue for Albemarle
County for many years & one of the best beloved & respected men in the County. John was hardly worthy of his lineage. He was a sport & “gay boy” generally & his reputation not of the best. But he was a good fellow & very well liked.
Peeping over his shoulder was old man Geo: Crank—a great character. His father was a prominent & well to do farmer who owned a large farm just over the South West Mountains adjoining “Morven & Ash Lawn”. George was a good fellow, but worthy of his name. He was a member of the Monticello Guards and was with them at the hanging of John Brown. He said that Brown got on the scaffold: tossed away a straw hat he was wearing & seeing a negro woman in the crowd called out in a rather excited voice, “I am dying for your race”. George said he was
right at the scaffold when Brown said this, but no one else ever seems to have heard it as far as other accounts go. George lived to be a very old man as his father did before him. He had one brother—Wm H—who commenced the practice of law in Charlottesville, moved to Texas and become a successful lawyer. He had one son—that is Wm H. had—who was in the Navy & created quite a sensation in the Spanish American war by trying to go along with Hobson, but was detected & “returned to quarters”.
Next to Crank, with the tall silk on was Col Richard L. Crank, a prosperous farmer who owned a beautiful farm on the Hydraulic-Earlysville Road, now owned, I believe by Tayloe. Colonel—the title was militia—was quite a character. His silk hat—never brushed—was a part of him. His friends said
he slept in it. He was entitled to be called “Captain”, for at the beginning of the Civil war he raised a company & served with gallantry. He was an old bachelor and served one term in the lower house of the Virginia Legislature. Next to him was Captain Teel—a prosperous farmer who owned a pleasantly situated farm in the ragged mountains. He was a first cousin of Woods Garth & a splendid old man. He was Sheriff of the County several times whilst I was at the Bar & I was very fond of him—as I believe he was of me. He married his wife when she was fourteen years of age & they had fourteen children. Mrs Teel survived all of them, but four. His oldest son—Lewis—was a school mate of mine & a fine fellow. He moved to the Indian Territory & died there
His son—“Bootes” [ ] is a prosperous & respected farmer in the County &, I believe the only survivor of the fourteen.
Next to the Captain is your humble servant, hardly recognizable, however, as I moved just as the camera snapped. My brother—Wm R. Duke was next to me. Between—and just back of me was Slaughter W. Ficklin, who owned the beautiful farm which was called “Belmont” the name being perpetuated in the Belmont Addition to the City. But when Mr Ficklin owned it, it extended from the C&O Depôt to Moore’s Creek & from the Monticello to the old Scottsville Road. Mr Ficklin, who claimed kin with my father-in-law Mr J.F. Slaughter, was a man of means— He was quite a fortune for those days in running stages—in partner-
ship with Wm P. Farish from Richmond to White Sulphur Springs. He bought Belmont from the Winn Family & grazing it heavily it was a most beautiful place. It was the apple of his eye & he kept it in splendid order. He was a noted breeder of good stock: His stallion “Blackhawk” was a beautiful animal & very popular as a projenitor of fine horses. When he died at quite an advanced age Mr Ficklin had him buried in his garden & put up a handsome monument over his remains. I suppose it is still standing. He travelled extensively in Europe & in Switzerland met & travelled with Matthew Arnold. Some stories he used to tell of Arnold could not well be written for publication & whilst quite natural and not at all unusual in the average man, seem rather odd to
those who only knew him as the Apostle of “Sweetness and Light”. Mr Ficklin imported into this country & I believe was the first to import—certainly in the South—the Percheron horse. I remember the magnificent animals well—a stallion & two brood mares: They were immense, handsome iron gray animals and extensively bred from. A strange thing about them—they themselves & all of their progeny—as far as we knew it here became blind in their old age. Mr Ficklin was a large coarse man in person and coarser in conversation. His wife became insane a few years after her marriage & lived in seclusion. She with one son, Billy survived him. Billy was a school mate & friend. I was to have been his best man at his wedding to Mary Louise
Harrison—to whom at one time I had been quite attentive—but something prevented. I was subsequently her counsel in her suit for divorce against him—for what the fool newspapers call “statutory” Grounds when they should say “scriptural” grounds. Poor Billy, he was absolutely “unmoral”, not “immoral”. He ran thro’ a handsome estate & died in very reduced circumstances. I believe he was the first graduate—amongst the very few graduates of The Miller School of Agriculture in the University of Virginia, under Dr John R. Page, when that School really taught practical Agriculture.
Mr Ficklin was high tempered & used to get very angry with the boys who played ball in the streets near the C & O Depôt & frightened the fine horse he
always rode. He had about half a dozen of them arrested and brought before Dr A. Robert McKee who was a justice of the peace. The Doctor fined them each a dollar & then the boys turned around and swore out a warrant against Mr Ficklin for swearing—his language having been peculiarly “lurid” on the occasion of the arrest. So the Doctor fined him $1xx the amount the law assesses for profane swearing:
Which reminds me of Mr Ficklin’s father old Ben, who was a magistrate—very austere and a terror to evil-doers. He had a man up before him once for violating the Sabbath by doing some work on that day. The man employed old Mr V.W. Southall to defend him. In the course of his argument Mr Southall said that he himself was in the habit of going to his office on Sunday & working
behind closed blinds: “That being the case Mr Southall,” said old man Ben, “I fine you two dollars on your own confession, Sah!” and both Mr Southall and his client had to fork over.
Mr Ficklin had several sisters and one brother, Ben,jr, who was a remarkable character. He was a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute when the Mexican War broke out. He at once absented himself “without leave”, ran off joined the Army, fought thro’ it & came out a second Lieutenant. On being mustered out, he returned to the Institute, walked into the office of the Superintendant, Genl Smith, (old Specs) in his uniform, saluted & said, “Come to report for duty, Sir.” Old Specs looked at him over his glasses & returning his salute, said, “To your quar-
ters” and Ben resumed his studies. At the beginning of the Civil War he promptly enlisted in the Confederate Army: Was subsequently detailed & became a blockade runner & had many narrow escapes. After the war he went to Texas, got a contract to carry the mail & had many adventures: The Indians were quite lively then, & often the mail sacks—carried on pony back would come in with many arrows stuck in them. Had he lived he would have doubtless made a large fortune: But by the irony of fate he was choked to death by a fishbone whilst eating breakfast in a Washington Restaurant. After Slaughter Ficklin’s death I became his Administrator d.b.n. [de bonis non] & collected a good deal of money. He had put in before his death a large amount of claims for Indian depredations & I worked hard to do something with them
but as is the case in so many claims against the Government, red tape so enwound them and beaurocracy enmeshed them, that I was never able to do anything for them. Being his Administrator I was brought in contact with his two sisters, Mrs Hardesty of Washington & Mrs Ellen Brown, charming old ladies. Mrs Brown died in the Baptist home several years since & Mrs Hardesty, who left quite a large family, has been dead many years.
Next to Mr Ficklin is my dear Brother—who today, tho’ within less than a month of his 76th year is as young active & full of energy as a man of forty. A noble, upright gentleman, worthy of his father. God grant him many more useful years.
Next to them are the Scotts—the coloured fiddlers of Charlottesville
to whom I shall devote a page or so later on.
We will return now to the front row of seated men commencing on the right of the picture. The first man is John N.C. Stockton, one of the handsomest men I ever knew—a boy all his life, not very strong in intellect, but a jolly good fellow whom every one loved. A great favorite with the ladies—a beautiful waltzer—superb horseman & sport generally. He was the son of a Mr Stockton who came into Albemarle & went in the stage business with William P. Farish: He married the beautiful Miss Fitch by whom he had two children—John & Kate. He was drowned, I believe in Florida & after his death, his widow married Dr Cook, by whom she had three children, Maggie who married Maj R.F. Mason—Lula who married “Lye” Boykin of S.C.
and Willie who gave up his young life trying to save some negroes who were caught in a mine by fire damp. He was only seventeen when he so sacrificed himself & well deserved the epitaph on his monument: “Inasmuch as ye did it to the least of the these ye did it unto Me”. This monument, by a most outrageous piece of vandism was taken down & sold by his niece & his ashes taken from “Maplewood” to the neglected family graveyard at “the Brook”.
The Brook was owned by Mrs Cook & John Stockton inherited it & many a good time have I had in the old times in the old house built by the Carrs. The place was originally known as “Carr’s Brook”.
John was very much in love with Celestine Garth, the youngest daughter of Mr Wm Garth of “Birdwood”, but the family
on account of John’s dissipated habits refused to consent to the marriage, so Celestine married Genl [ ] Walker & had two children—Marcellus—known as “Marsh” Walker, who bought Uncle Bob Rodes old place “Walnut Grove” when it was sold out of the family: He still lives a prosperous farmer in this County.
The other child—Lizzie—by name—was a pretty girl & much admired. I used, with a great many other boys, to visit her a great deal at the “Brook” where her mother moved after her marriage to John Stockton. For John married his old Sweetheart after all. Gen Walker was killed in a duel during the Civil War & they say that when John heard of his death, he jumped up, clapped his hands and shouted “D-mn it I’ll get her now”, & he did. He was a devoted husband &
“Celly” as he called her was a devoted wife. Poor old John: He lost his mind before he died & died in the Western Lunatic Asylum in Staunton. He had one son.
Woods—named after his Uncle Woods Garth, who is a prosperous farmer in this County. Lizzie, married a student at the University named Albin & is still alive. She had one daughter—Rebecca—who is married, but I do not recall her husband’s name. Mrs Stockton was a very hospitable lady & she & John kept open house. As Lizzie grew up there were many parties & dances at the “Brook”— Lots of pretty girls, plenty of good things to eat & John—on the sly for his wife hated drink for many good reasons—furnished plenty of potables. He kept a fine pack of hounds, behind which I rode now & then.
Next to John Stockton sat Andrew Craven—dear old Andrew. A noble fellow whom I loved much. He was a splendid farmer—a wild reckless young man in his youth & early manhood, but died at an extreme old age an humble, sincere, Christian. He was reared at “Rose Hill” built for Wm Wirt by Dr Geo Gilmer—then a large farm kept in superb order by Andrew. It is now the “Rose Hill” addition to Charlottesville tho’ the old home is still standing owned & occupied by a man named Sandidge. Andrew’s grandfather & great grandfather were large land owners in Albemarle. He had one brother & several sisters—one of whom married a man named Wills. Andrew & Willie were bosom friends & I, tho’ much younger, was much with them.
Andrew loved my father as tho’ he had been his own
father. He went to School to him, & when the civil war commenced & my father organized “The Albemarle Rifle’s—Co “B” 19th Va Regiment— Andrew joined it & was a Corporal & served with gallantry thro’out the war. At the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, where poor Walker Rodes was killed—he was badly wounded & was taken to the Hospital & by some strange chance placed in the Bunk, out of which but a short time before had been taken the body of “Billy”—W.W.—Alexander. Billy was a member of Co “B”. Adjutant & a first cousin of Andrew’s.
He visited SunnySide a great deal & we often dined at his dear old mother’s hospitable home. He was a great sportsman, but a poor shot. We used to tease him a great deal about a remark he made when he, Father & my brother were
out shooting. Andrew blazed away right & left and as no bird flew into his shots he killed nothing. Father killed a bird Andrew missed & Andrew enquired what the rule as to the “division of spoils”. “Why! Andrew,” replied my father, “when gentlemen hunt together, they always divide the bag after the hunt is over.” Presently my brother brought down a bird & Andrew ran & picked it up & shouted like a school boy—“Hurrah! one more & there will be a divide”.
After the death of his mother & the Wills children came of age the farm was sold for division & Andrew accepted a position as Farm Manger at the Miller School. In the mean time he had married the widow of Dr [ ] George—née Keblinger who had one daughter— After being at the Miller School a year or so, he accepted a posi-
tion as manager of The State Farm & when he found that with advancing years the duties of the position were too onerous for him, he resigned; but so highly did the authorities think of him that they at once gave him a clerical position at the Penitentiary a place he most satisfactorily filled until a slight attack of paralysis & failing eyesight forced him to give it up. His wife dying, his step-daughter took the most tender & beautiful care of him & he died in Richmond at an advanced age. I loved him & he loved us & I believe meeting my dear Father in Heaven added to the joy of that place.
Next to Andrew was a man in many respects quite remarkable; Charles H. Harman. His father Peter Harman, of German descent was a butcher in Charlottesville—a most respectable & highly respected man.
He came to Charlottesville—from Alexandria in the early fifties and purchased from Shaaf—another butcher—the sweet little home on West Main Street opposite, what was once the Cabell House, now pulled down & a Garage built on its site. This place is noted for the beautiful box which borders the walk from the entrance to the steps & is kept in beautiful order by my dear old friend John P. Harman—Peter’s son by his second marriage. Judge A. D. Dabney—now lives there he having married Lilian Funkhouser—Mr Harman’s granddaughter. This place was at one time owned by my grandfather Richard Duke—who bought it from the Garland’s near kin to my dear wife Edith. Her grandmother was a Garland & at one time lived in this house. Grandfather only lived there a short while—but during which
time my father & mother came to the house on their honey-moon. “Morea” coming on the market grandfather sold the place for less than it cost him & moved to Morea, where he died.
Peter Harman was married twice. By his first wife, he had Mrs T.J. Williams: Mrs C. H. Birch and Charles H. By his second wife he had John P. & Lilian who married a student at the U of Va named Funkhouser and died when her first child Mrs Dabney was born. John P. & I desked together at Uncle William Duke’s school. We revelled in Indian stories & I would give much to have “Ten Nights in a Block House” to read once more. John is an eccentric old boy, but a noble upright Christian gentleman & we are still warm friends— But to return to Charlie: For awhile he pursued his
father’s calling & then branched out into the Cattle trade and made quite a fortune for those days. When the People’s National Bank was organized he became a large stockholder & when W.W. Flannagan moved to New York became its cashier. Much of the success of this Bank is due to him. He had charming manners & it was said of him that he could refuse to discount a note in such a way that the party refused thought Harman was doing him a favour. He made in his youth a unfortunate connection which practically ruined him from a Social Standpoint; but he subsequently married the woman in question after he moved to New York, which he did after the Southern National Bank was organized there by W.W. Flannagan & Orson Adams. It was a very unfortunate move for him, as
he got into several unfortunate speculations & lost practically everything he had. I was his counsel for many years & am still counsel for his children. One of his daughters—Bessie—is a very beautiful woman who would be taken for a Spanish beauty. He died several years ago. He was very popular—a splendid business man & a good fellow. Next to Harman, was F. Berger Moran, who was a New Yorker. His father was a Belgian & his mother a Philadelphia lady of fine family. Moran—who was a little “daft” about horses settled as a very young man in Texas looking after his father’s large interests in that State—the elder Moran being a Banker in New York, but an investor in Railroads & timber in Texas.
He and Luther Kountze had interests together in that State & Moran’s eldest brother, Dan,
was one of Mr Kountze’s groomsman. Moran came from Texas to Clarke County, where he farmed & met his future wife Miss Jennie Blackburn. He then came to Albemarle & bought, what we knew as the “Sinclair Farm”, adjoining Sunny Side across the road on the North. He added extensively to the house & after a year or so, married & brought his wife to the place. They had two children—Belle who married first a naval officer named Hudgins, who was killed in an explosion a a battle ship, whilst gallantly trying to save his men. They had one son who inherits his grandfathers love for horses & has spent several winters here. He boarded at SunnySide last session 1923-4 & is a fine fellow. Belle married secondly McFarland of Washington, who died a year or so since & Belle naively told
me at The White last summer that she only needed a chance to try a third venture into matrimony Nora a very handsome girl—married a Mr <McConniegie> of Washington & has several children.
Moran was a good fellow—a great sport—very eccentric & odd in many ways. He ran with “us boys” as young as the youngest—he was my brother’s age—& was much liked. At his father’s death—coming into a large fortune he moved into Charlottesville—-re-modelled the handsome dignified old Cochran residence on Park Street and made it into the present “roccoco” structure. His wife was a handsome woman—several years older than Moran—a hospitable, but decidedly curious character & when Moran became rich, she lost her head & made a great fool of herself. I really believe she has been
for many years a little “touched in the upper story”, but the irony of fate is that poor old Moran lost his mind & died in a Sanatorium some years since. She is still alive—tho’ in the eighties & cuts a wide swathe in Washington. Tho’ relations had been a little strained between us on account of her tongue—for she was a most reckless talker & “handled the truth rather keerless”, we met at the White Sulphur last summer (1923) & she insisted on becoming very friendly & in fact was somewhat “boringly” so.
Next to Moran was George Goodyear, son of the Judge & husband of “Cousin Libby”. George & his brother Charles had been brokers in New York & were caught in “Black Friday”. They not [only] were bankrupted themselves but their father lost all he had & came to Charlottesville where
he lived eminently respected, his wife having comfortable means. George was a good fellow, but did not amount to much. A most tremendous eater the boys of the Barbecue Club swore that on one occasion he ate eleven “roast’n ears of corn as an “appetizer” before “tackling” the dinner. He lived to an extreme old age, only dying in the last few years. He had two sons: Geo B. who lives in Charlottesville & John who is a railroad engineer. His one daughter, Lottie, married Broadus Flannagan & has quite a family. Some year or so ago, I held a granddaughter of Lottie’s in my arms & realized with a sudden start that this baby was the fifth generation of the Goodyear family I had known.
Sitting next to George Goodyear was one of the most remarkable men I ever knew. Andrew
J. Farish, for many years Treasurer of the County. He was a rather tall man, thin, very bald & with large whiskers. Exceedingly active & quick in his movements he generally walked very rapidly with his head bent over. Mr Woods Garth always called him “Lizzard Head”. He was a son of an old man named Stephen Farish, who was a brother of Revd Wm P Farish, but the two men were no more alike than if they had been born in different continents. Wm P. Farish was a handsome, dignified gentleman of fine manners—a man of education & refinement who—despite his profession of Baptist Preacher—made a large fortune in the stage business in connection first with Stockton & then with Ficklin. He built the handsome house on the beautiful estate of “Verdant Lawn”—the
mansion with a part of the farm now owned by Dr Paul B. Barringer—who calls it “Hill Crest”. I was Administrator d. b. n. c. t. a of Wm P. Farish & made a good deal of money out of it, as there was much litigation, one case, Rives vs Duke—winding up in the Supreme Court of the United States—that tribunal deciding in favour of Farish’s estate But that’s another story.
Stephen Farish was a little dried up, blear-eyed old man—very insignificant looking & not of a very savory reputation. Andrew in his early manhood was a very “gay bird”. He had “kerds and he played ’em; cocks and he fit ’em; liquor and he drank it. horses & he ran ’em”, & he had other faults needless to enumerate. He was married three times & by his first
marriage had four children: Thomas who died without issue: Frank who married twice leaving a son by his first marriage (with his cousin Emma Farish) and a daughter by his second marriage—Wm P. the eldest who still lives & a daughter who married Loffland. Frank died sometime ago. Andrew had no children by his last two marriages.
After a somewhat lurid career—he settled down & was elected County Treasurer, an office he held up to his death & no one could beat him, tho’ several tried to do so. He was a most wonderful electioneerer & never hesitated to promise anything & in some way managed to “worm out” of his promises. His son Frank used to tell a story on him as follows: During one of his campaigns for re-election he & Frank
were “working the “Flat Woods” in Buckeyeland—a section not noted for intelligence or education. Andrew would interview the inhabitants & several of them—some of whom could not read or write—expressed their willingness to vote for Andrew if he would give them the position of Deputy. Each one was told, “My dear boy; I was just mentioning your name to my son Frank here, as my first choice for deputy, when you came in sight.”
After he had told about a dozen this, Frank thought it was time to remonstrate: “Why, father,” he said you have promised about a dozen men a place as Deputy, when you can only have one in this District”. Andrew cocked his head on one side—a peculiarity of his, and said
“My Dear Son, you would never make a politician: Not a one of the creatures could give the security.” All deputy Treasurers—of course—had to give quite a heavy bond. So when after the election these men claimed the appointment, Andrew would say, “All right; All right, my dear boy, the appointment is yours, but you know you have to give a large bond with security to be approved by the Court; Now just run off & bring your security—who must be worth at least twenty thousand dollars—& we’ll fix it up”. This, of course ended the matter & the men went off, cursing the law, but satisfied with Mr Farish. In his old age he became converted at some revival held in Charlottesville —was first immersed, as his family were Baptists & then joined the
Methodist Church, of which his last wife was a member. Andrew had many good traits along with his bad ones & I believe, after his conversion tried to live a Christian life. For some reason—I do not know why he became very fond of me and gave me a great deal of business. At his instance I was appointed Admr d. b. n. c. t. a of Wm P. Farish. He lived to be quite an old man & died on Park St in the house now owned and occupied by Mr H.L. Lyman. This house was built by John A. Marchant, sold to Andrew Farish, who sold it to Shelton F. Leake: At his death Andrew bought it back & at his death it was sold to Mr Lyman who has wonderfully improved it.
Next, to Andrew Farish, sat “Vat” Daniel, who with his brother established & maintained the
“Eureka” Café & Bar in a wooden two story building which stood next to Smith & Beauchamp’s Office on Fourth Street. This was a very “fashionable” resort & I remember it very well as quite a respectable place. “Vat” was of good family & a good fellow. He eventually sold the place to “Lord” Pelham—a huge Englishman, a direct descendent of The Duke of Newcastle—who came to Albemarle—bought a farm on the Scottsville road & spent his money “like a Lord”. He soon ran thro’ his money—bought this Bar & “practiced” so much at it himself that he gave a deed of trust on it to Micajah Woods—who sold it out. Pelham went to New York, wrote for a sporting paper, got into Society & married one of the wealthy Miss <Ygnazas> & I believe has returned to England. He was a grandson of the Duke of Newcastle
& therefore not even a “courtesy” Lord—his father being a younger son; but he was always called “Lord Pelham Clinton by those who knew better.
Seated next to “Vat” Daniel was James F. Burnley, generally known as James “Seth” to distinguish him from another Jas F. who was his cousin & known as James “Nat”, being thus called after their respective fathers. He was a prosperous farmer, a kindly good man & had two or three very pretty daughters, one or more of whom married their cousins according to the old Virginia custom. I was standing just next to Mr Burnley, but I moved just as the Camera snapped & so my features are blurred. Next to me is my brother Wm R. Who today—July 1 1924—celebrates his seventy sixth birthday & is hale & hearty & vigorous—a noble upright gentleman universally beloved
and respected. Next to him is William A. Garth—“red” Billy as he was called to distinguish him from his cousin. Billy was born & raised on a farm near the old “Barracks”, about five miles from Charlottesville. He was a gallant Confederate soldier—badly wounded & “ran” much with us in the good old days. He married rather late in life, lost his wife & now lives in Alexandria with one of his sons. He spent his 80th and 8lst birthdays in Charlottesville & dined with me on both occasions. He is still a hale & hearty old man.
Standing next to Billy are the two Scotts—Bob & Jim, probably in the old days the best known and finest “fiddlers” in the Country. The small one next to “Billy” Garth was Jim Scott who is so bowed over as to be hardly recognizable. Next to him was Robert—Uncle Bob as every one called him—a very
tall handsome man whose resemblance to Mr Gladstone was remarkable. Micajah Woods had once in his office a large picture of Mr Gladstone & some one coming in & noticing it asked him what he was doing with old Bob Scott’s picture on his wall.
They were the sons of old man Jesse Scott & his wife who was a daughter of Col Bell, who lived on what I knew as the old Scott place—on the site where now stands our “sky scraper”, the National Bank of Charlottesville.
They were not negroes—tho’ they evidently had negro blood in their veins. On the Court records it was proven by the oaths of Col Thos Jefferson Randolph & other citizens that they were not negroes.
Jesse was a noted fiddler. He had three children—Bob
Jim & another son who went to France as Mr Wm C. Rives’ valet when Mr Rives went as Minister to France & has never returned or been heard of since.
Jesse raised his two sons, Bob & Jim to be fiddlers & they had a fine reputation: The three used to be the “Band” at the White Sulphur Springs in the old days “befo’ de war” & were widely known. “Jesse” died before I ever knew him, but his two sons & one of Bob’s sons “Buddy” who played the ’cello, made the music to which Charlottesville & Albemarle danced for many years. I have never heard or danced to better music in the “square dances, than when the Scotts played & old Bob in his stentorian voice called the figures. “Hands all round” “Turn your partners”, Dos à dos” “Change partners.”
Why! my old feet tingle yet with the recollection of it & memory recalls with tenderest feeling the old strains, from “Robert [le] Diable— <Manasiello>” & the old operas— Malbrouk se vat en guerre, [Malbrough s’en va-t-en guerre] was also a favorite number.
Jesse Scott married a woman of “mixed blood” who was a daughter of Col Bell. Colonel Bell built & lived in what I always knew as the old Scott house on the corner of 2nd & Main Street as I have heretofore mentioned. His “woman” was said to be of Indian descent with a very slight admixture of negro. With the rather “easy” morality of those early days no one paid any attention to a man’s method of living & Col Bell lived openly with the woman & had two children by her. One was Jesse Scott’s wife—the other a very handsome young man, of whom
Col Bell was very proud. He sent him up North to school and college & he came back a very elegant & charming fellow—tho’ of course with no social status whatever. At that time there lived in the house across the street from the Episcopal Church—now occupied by Rosa Williams Hildebrand & which was extensively added to by N.H. Massie a family of Schenks or Schenchs, who built the house & were large land owners. Schenk’s branch was named after them. They had a daughter “passing fair” who in some way became acquainted with young Bell. One fine morning the Schenks woke up to find their daughter had eloped with this young fellow. The Schenchs were “high flyers” as Cousin Jesse Maury, who told me this story, said and so mortified were they that they
(See Volume 4)