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Manhood’s Years (Volume IV)


[IV 1]
From Vol III
The Cold Spring Barbecue Club (contd)
at once sold out their possessions and moved West. They left so hurriedly that they could not sell all their outlying land & some of it was sold for delinquent taxes. I believe this family were the ancestors of Genl Schenk of "poker playing" fame, who was Minister to England.
James Scott died before Robert, leaving one daughter by a woman to whom he was never married but whom our Supreme Court of Appeals decided was his wife under the Act making the children of coloured people who lived together as man & wife prior to, during & at the close of the civil war legitimate, & this in spite of the fact that James Scott was not a coloured man (negro) as was clearly proven in the case. See Scott v Raub
[IV 2]
We were Robert’s counsel in the case & lost it, as was probably we ought to have done.
Robert lived to be over ninety seven years of age & dropped dead on Ridge Street as he was walking to our office. He was highly respected and a good man. I laughed at him once & said, "Uncle Bob, you are so young & vigorous in your nineties, I hope you will live to be a hundred". "I hope to do better than that," he replied very gravely, "I hope to live forever". And I believe his hope has been realized and will be. I was left Robert’s Exor and was also the Executor of his daughter Mary & his daughter Charlotte, and today we are the Counsel of his granddaughter. They were & are all respectable & respected people.
I cannot leave the Barbecue Club without an allusion to the coloured
[IV 3]
people in the picture. The two coloured men on the left were Willis & Bob Fortune. Bob is the one with the glass of whiskey in his hand & Willis stands just behind him. Both "white folks niggers" as they called themselves—that is they were respectable , willing, respected & obliging. The two women on the right were old slaves of the Garth family; the one facing us "Mandy" one of the best servants I ever knew—neat, respectable quiet—well behaved: Her husband Juba—whose face is blurred stands in front & to the side of her. With the death of these negroes the art of "barbe’cuing" has welnigh passed away, only Caesar Young—my servant—surviving to remember the art— He is one year younger than I am & when Caesar goes, as far as Albemarle is concerned the "barbecue" will practically go
[IV 4]
out of existence—that is the barbecue in its best form: But prohibition has killed it anyway as it has destroyed the old fashioned delightful convivialty of men & women & the dinner party is now a thing of "gobble, gabble, git" & in some respects a funeral is more cheerful.
Those were splendid men who constituted the old Cold Spring Barbecue Club—gentlemen of high standing—intelligent—kindly: Some of them were not all that they ought to have been & might have been, but where would you or could you find twenty three men assembled without one or two being not equal to the rest. Their like will never be seen again: There may be as good men: aye! better, but none of the type of that generation—for be its faults as great as they were—and they were many—slavery helped to produce a type of the noblest
[IV 5]
bravest, high minded, chivalrous gentleman & the purest and sweetest women in the world.
Of the old Club, but three survive today (July 3rd 1924) & by a strange coincidence they are all standing together: Willie Garth—my brother & myself. My brother celebrated his 76th birthday yesterday. Willie Garth is in the 80ties & I will be seventy one on the 27th day of next month.
I look back to my association with these men & the joyful days we spent at the old Spring with a smile & tear. How old they all looked to me then—how old must I look now to the young man in his twenties But I thank God I lived in their time. I thank God I associated with them & loved them as they loved me: All gone but the three:
"Lochaber no more!" [reference to work of Allan Ramsey 1686-1758]
[IV 6]
Associates
I will write down some memories of the friends—the younger friends—of the seventies & eighties—most of whom have now "passed over the river & I hope rest under the shadow of the trees". They were fine fellows & made life very happy—Not all of them were in the highest sense of the word "friends", but were friendly & much associated with in daily intercourse. Living in the Country, as I did, until I commenced spending my winters in town in the year, I did not see as much of them until I did so move into town for the winter months. But we were much together & as most of the entertainments then were in the old Country places we were much together & as Charlottesville was then quite a small place with no mail delivery, we used to meet at the Post Office—at the dep“t &c &c
[IV 7]
and visited the same girls.
I will not attempt to separate them by year, but speak of them in the years from 1874—up to my marriage in 1884.
For several years after I left the University I kept up my association with the boys there—especially the members of my old fraternity. I had & made many friends amongst those who were at the University long after I left, some of whom are warm friends yet. So much did I associate with the boys there, that I very often meet men who were at the University several years after I left, who say "Why that occurred when you & I were at the University together." One of my intimate friends whose friendship remained unchanged & sincere up to the time of his death was George Scott Shackelford—"Scott," as we generally called him in later years.
[IV 8]
George’s family came to Charlottesville in 1861 when the near approach of the Yankees to Warrenton caused the family to move to Charlottesville where they bought the Holcombe house on High Street—the house next to ours. Mr Howard Shackelford was an able & distinguished lawyer: He married Miss Rebecca Green a very bright—gay—lady—great society woman and fond of music & dancing & gaity generally. I never knew any one who played the piano better & she would play all night for the young folks to dance .
They had six children—Green—about my age—who became an Episcopal minister—Howard—George Scott—Lucy—Annie & Murcoe. All gone now but Annie & Murcoe. Being next to us Green & Howard were playmates & Howard & I had a fight when we went
[IV 9]
to school together at Uncle William Duke’s, in which I came off victor & strutted around in great fashion. After the war they moved back to Warrenton but Mr Shackelford dying soon afterwards they came back to Charlottesville & re-occupied their former residence. I was living in the Country then & saw very little of them. I forgot to say that early in the Civil War, before we had moved to Sunny Side, I saw Genls J.E.B. Stuart & Fitzhugh Lee on the front porch of their house. I remember Stuart’s big red beard & Fitz’ long goatee.
I did not become intimate with George until after I had commenced practicing law, tho’ I went to several dances at his mother’s house. They were in very
[IV 10]
straightened circumstances & George became a "runner" in the old Charlottesville National Bank. Despite the fact of their straightened circumstances their home was a gay one and their dances delightful.
Whilst I was at the University, one of my friends, Charlie Barnes, used to visit Mrs Shackelford’s a great deal & tho’ much younger fell violently in love with her—at which I do not wonder, as she was then both handsome and fascinating. She was then quite a flirt & let Charlie dangle at her apron string to the detriment of his studies. Of course it came to nothing. It was through Charlie I heard a great deal of the family & began to hear a good deal of Lucy, who was then a mere child, but her mother made her receive visits
[IV 11]
from the students & dance at her entertainments. I heard Lucy laugh once & say "Mother used to call me in from making mud pies, wash my hands & face, put on a clean dress & go into the parlour & entertain beaux". But it did not spoil Lucy. She was a splendid woman—loyal & true—very beautiful, with a complexion like lilies & roses & fine figure. In later years we became great friends—almost lovers—& that friendship remained unbroken & unchanged until she died: Dear Lucy
"May we not meet as heretofore
Some summer morning?"
in the land of eternal beauty. She married Charlie Walker my second cousin, who also has passed into the "great beyond". After I commenced practicing law I began to see a good
[IV 12]
deal of George & began to visit Lucy. They had a great deal of young company & it was a very enjoyable place to visit. Lucy & my sister Mary became great friends & she visited SunnySide a great deal. In those years the neighborhood around SunnySide was a splendid one. The Goodyears—the Browns, who lived where Rosser now lives—Maj Jones at Ivy Cottage, with his brilliant wife who was Sue Duke, a distant cousin, Inloes just across from Maj. Jones: the Garths—Stocktons and Morans Clay Michie’s & Mason Gordons. Willie & Capt Clay Michie are the only ones of these families now living in the old homes. There were many dances & dinners in those good old days & George & Lucy & other friends went to most
[IV 13]
of them: So George & I became intimates & friends. He was a rather "gay bird," drank much more than was good for him & was an inveterate poker player. The only game of poker I ever played—that is poker for money, was with George—& Blackstone—who was afterwards Judge in the Accomac Circuit—a brilliant man, but who became so dissipated he had to resign his Judgeship—for fear of impeachment— It was a great pity for he was one of the best judges in the State. I do not remember the other men in the game, but I do remember I lost a twenty dollar gold piece—a fee I had collected that day. This was my first & only game. I never cared for cards & I consider gambling one of the worst & most incurable of
[IV 14]
all the vices. I remember hearing my father say he had never known a reformed gambler. He had known reformed drunkards & reformed rakes, but never a reformed gambler. I have found that true & I have found another thing; i.e. that I have never known a gambler—no matter how much money he had made—to die rich.
George was a fine man & in one or two ways very remarkable. When the Charlottesville National Bank failed, he got other work: went to the University and studied law, being a member of my old fraternity—and en passant I may say the Chapter that year was the best I think we ever had. He commenced practice in Charlottesville, but later on moved to Orange where he went into partnership with Tom Wallace
[IV 15]
a partnership which did not last long: But George made a decided success of himself & in a year or so married his old sweetheart Virginia Randolph—of whom I shall write later on. He did well: Had four children: Two boys & two girls: Unfortunately he was elected to the Virginia State Senate & began to drink so hard, it was thought necessary to send him to a sanitorium. His wife—one of the finest women I ever knew—was appointed Post Mistress at Orange & saved their home & laid by a little money: But the remarkable thing about George was this: Altho’ it was supposed that his mind was hopelessly gone, he recovered both mentally & physically—returned to Orange & in a year
[IV 16]
or so recovered his old practice & added to it & began to make & lay by money. He was elected Circuit Judge—a place his Uncle Henry Shackelford occupied when I came to the Bar—tho’ George had only a part of his Circuit— He did not like the work, however, and resigned after a year or so—& soon resumed a splendid practice. He died a few years since of angina pectoris. A true & loyal friend—a man of the most charming manners,—we loved each other very much. His son Virginus—is a very successful lawyer in Orange & has been also a member of the Virginia Senate. His other son George is a lawyer in Roanoke & his daughters are well married. I have the sweetest memories of dear old George, who despite his faults was a splendid fellow.
[IV 17]
James Blakey and his brother Zack: Frank N. Barksdale: Frank Gilmer: & later on Richard W. Duke—son of my Uncle William J Duke—were amongst my intimates as well as Shelton F. Leake, Jr & tho’ a little older John B. Moon and later to be his brother-in-law Walter D. Dabney. James & Zack were sons of Mr Angus R. Blakey—who moved to Charlottesville just after the Civil War & in partnership with Oscar Reierson enjoyed a fine practice. James was very rotund & fat—lazy, good natured & with a fine intellect. He never did much with the law, but soon edited the Charlottesville "Jeffersonian" a newspaper which his father owned. He was a fine fellow, but unfortunately was too fond of his toddy. He married Bessie Bowcock, daughter of Wm H. Bowcock for many years Commissioner of
[IV 18]
the Revenue for one of the Districts in the County. She was a beautiful & fine girl & made Jim a good wife. By her he had one daughter, Letitia & several sons—all of whom are doing well.
Bessie died after the birth of her last child & poor Jim seemed to give up & did not survive her many years.
Zack was a little red-headed fellow—very shrewd & with the idea that he was much shrewder than he was. He was a great politician & when the town was made a City he was a Candidate for Commissioner of the Revenue. He made an active canvass & carried around a little memorandum book in which he wrote down the name of every man who promised to vote for him. On the evening of the election, some one asked him, "Well! Zack, how are things going?" "Well"! said Zack, "I am [IV 19]
elected by a large majority or there are twelve hundred of the d—nest liars in Charlottesville."
He did not get fifty votes, which shows that in politics as in many other things promises & performances are widely different things. He too has been dead some years.
Frank N. Barksdale, was a very distant relative, being a descendant of Dr Thos Walker of Castle Hill. He had good blood in his veins, being on his mother’s side (who was Cousin Frank’s daughter) a direct descendant of Col Joshua Fry; He was also a descendant of Parson Maury on the same side and on the Walker side a descendant of John Washington—George’s great grandfather. He was a large, quiet man who as long as he lived in Charlottes[ville]
[IV 20]
did not amount to much. He was business manager & associate Editor of the Jeffersonian. Thro’ Edward Hanckel, he obtained a position in the Advertising Department of the Pennsylvania Railroad & moved to Philadelphia. He rose rapidly & at his death was head of his Department & a most highly respected & reliable official. He married in Philadelphia, his wife dying with the birth of his only child—Lena—who was brought to Charlottesville—raised by her Aunts & is a fine woman. She and my daughter Mary are great friends.
I never shall forget the night he left Charlottesville. He was escorted to the train by Louis T. Hanckel Sr. John D. Watson: Horace Burnley—the County Clerk—the Blakey Boys—Dick (R.W.) Duke Frank Gilmer; & John Moon &
[IV 21]
probably one or two others. In those "bad, sad, mad" days there were several bar-rooms between the Court House Square—where we assembled—& the Union Station. We took a glass of beer in each one & on returning I am sorry to say took several drinks of whiskey to drown our grief at parting with Frank. We stopped at John Watson’s store & got a quart of good whiskey & the crowd adjourned to my room over my office, where we proceeded to empty the quart.
I am afraid all of us drank a good deal more than was good for us & we proceeded to take the town with laughter & song, fortunately the police were asleep or careless & we were not disturbed. Generally if I drank anything like ardent spirits—I do not mean wine—
[IV 22]
at night I awake with a fearful headache. But to my surprise I awoke the next morning feeling like a "three year old" & I made up my mind then & there never to get under the influence again & I never have done so since
My first Cousin Richard William Duke—called "Dick" by the boys to his mothers & sisters great disgust—to distinguish him from my brother William Richard was one of the most loveable of men. He was the only son of Father’s eldest brother William Johnson Duke— Uncle William was appointed some time in the forties to carry Aunt "Betsey" (Walker) Michie’s manumitted negroes to one of the free States. He passed thro’ Owensville Kentucky & there met a Miss Emily Anderson & was so fascinated by her charms, that he returned
[IV 23]
to that little town, wooed & wedded Miss Anderson & settled there. At the outbreak of the Civil War he came to Charlottesville with his entire family & remained at Morea until after the war. Uncle William was a gentle—yet high strung gentleman. He had the smallest hand & foot I ever saw on a man & had to wear ladies shoes. He was quite proud of this fact. Highly educated he was of a rather indolent disposition & much "bossed" I think by his wife & daughters—of whom he had two—Florence & Laura—very pretty girls who died unmarried not many years ago. Dick was the only son. Dick enlisted in Carrington’s Battery in 1863 & served thro’-out the war with great gallantry—being in many engagements—& was serving his <gun> at the Bloody Angle at Spotts-
[IV 24]
sylvania Court House, when it was captured. He said on that occasion he does not believe the fastest Kentucky thoroughbred ever out ran him, as he got away.
Uncle William after the war lived with us, until he was employed to take charge of a Slate Quarry in Buckeyland. After that he was offerred the position of Superindent of Schools in Charlottesville—a position he filled with eminent success until his death in 1878. At his death Dick returned to Charlottesville & was given his father’s place as teacher, James Lane being given the place as Superintendant. Dick taught with success until Colonel Taylor—Clerk of the Circuit Court appointed him as his deputy & subsequently resigning—Dick was appointed Clerk, then elected & re-elected holding the office until his
[IV 25]
death. When the "City" of Charlottesville was Chartered he was elected Clerk of the Corporation Court & held that & the Circuit Court Clerk’s place until his death. A rather curious thing took place in that Court. I was Judge, Dick was Clerk & Frank Gilmer Attorney for the Commonwealth. A prisoner was being tried & my father and brother were defending him. One of our friends came in the Court room & remarked "Now, if the prisoner was only a Duke what a family affair it would be." Frank Gilmer was father’s nephew.
Dick was one of the boys & a finer fellow never lived. He loved a glass & a lass—being a great ladies’ man and quite a beau. He married Miss Kate H. Hedges, who survives, with four children.
[IV 26]
Emily a brilliant designer, who works for Colgate & Co—Mattie—Walker, Elizabeth and Charlie. The family, with the exception of Charlie—live in New York & the girls are all fine, sweet girls & their mother a lovely woman. One daughter Katherine married a Mr. Campbell & died when her first child was born, the child not surviving.
Walter D. Dabney & I were school mates—college mates & warm friends. He was a man of brilliant intellect. Taught school awhile with Maj Horace W. Jones—then entered the University and graduated in law & commenced practice. John B. Moon married his sister & shortly afterwards he and Walter went into partnership. Walter became a member of the Legislature & soon became prominent in that body to which he was elected several terms. He was chairman of the Committee on Corpora-
[IV 27]
tions & wrote one the first and I think the ablest work on "Governmental Regulations of Railroads". This work attracted the attention of Judge Gresham & when Walter went out west to argue a case before him he was very much pleased with his argument & on finding he was the author of the work on Railroads, invited him to his home. When Gresham was appointed Secretary of State by Cleveland, he sent for Walter & offered him the position of third assistant Secretary of State which Walter accepted & moved with his family to Washington where he made an excellent reputation. He was elected Professor of International Law &c &c in the University of Virginia & retired from public life: All this time that insidious disease tuberculosis was sapping his strength & he died after a year or so
[IV 28]
in the Professional Chair. He married the beautiful Mary Douglas & had several children—one of whom Archibald Douglas Dabney is now Judge of the Corporation Court of the City of Charlottesville. He is a man of unusually fine intellect & had he his father’s industry would make his mark in the world.
Robert R. Prentis was another intimate friend, whose friendship I yet retain altho’ long separated. "Bob" as we always called him is now one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals & has worked his way by his own unaided efforts to that position.
His father Col Robt R. Prentis came from Suffolk Virginia to the University to accept the position of Proctor in that Institution. After the Civil War he resigned & began practicing law in Charlottesville. He had hardly gotten into practice when he died, leaving his family almost destitute. Bob had received a business
[IV 29]
education at Poughkeepsie & wrote a beautiful hand. He went into the Clerk’s office & for years was deputy Clerk & the main support of his family. They were desparately poor, but no man ever heard a complaint. There were two other sons & one or two daughters— The eldest son—Henning—went west & made a success of himself in the teaching line: When he died he was Superintendent of Schools in St Louis. Bolling—the youngest—became a brick layer & worked well at his trade. He is living in Washington & doing well. The girls married well.
Bob: was a splendid fellow, with a strain of melancholy in his disposition. I often laugh at him now & ask if he craves "respite and Nepenthe." as he used to do in the "sad, mad, glad, bad," days e’er prohibition & its attendant hypocricy had taken the joy out of life. For we used to indulge occasionally in "the rozy" and
[IV 30]
walk along the streets singing & having a good time, when Bob would pause & address a lamp post with "Give me respite & Nepenthe."
Bob moved to Norfolk & went into partnership with Hon John Goode & subsequently moved to Suffolk & obtained a fine practice. He was elected Circuit Judge & subsequently appointed a member of the State Corporation Commission & afterwards elected Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals, a position he still fills with honour to himself & the State. No better fellow ever lived.
Frank Gilmer—my first cousin, he was the son of father’s eldest sister Aunt Mildred Wirt Gilmer—was a very fine, tho’ somewhat eccentric fellow: very tall, very handsome & with a good deal of wit and humour. His father—Geo. Christopher Gilmer—generally called Kit, was a man of large means—before the Civil war. He was a descendant
[IV 31]
of the Pen Park Gilmers & a man of unusual intellect, tho’ decidedly eccentric & very apt to "fly of[f] the helve" occasionally. He was a splendid farmer & wrote a great deal on agricultural subjects & occasionally on political subjects.
He was a brother of Thos Walker Gilmer, who was a member of Congress—Governor of Virginia & was killed by the explosion of a gun, when Secretary of the Navy under President Tyler.
Aunt Milly was his second wife—his first wife being a Miss Lewis & by her he had three children—Lee—Walker & Bettie, who married a man named May—much beneath her. Both Lee & Walker were gallant Confederate Soldiers & both badly wounded . By Aunt Milly Uncle Gilmer (as we always called him) had two children—Maria—a beautiful & lovely girl, who my dear sister
[IV 32]
loved as if she were her own sister. Maria married a Surgeon in the Army—Dr [ ] Cunningham & had one daughter—Mildred. She died when Cunningham was stationed in one of the Dacotas—& he bought her body, as well as little Mildred, all the way back to Charlottesville a great deal of the way being in sleds. Maria sleeps in our section near Mary and I know they have long since met & are happy together in Heaven.
At the close of the war Uncle Gilmer—despite the loss of his slaves—was a rich man. In addition to two fine farms he had twenty thousand dollars in gold: Unfortunately he was taken with the fever of speculation & of all things in the world began to speculate in gold & lost a great deal of money.
Then a brother of his first wife Mr Daniel Lewis died & left all of his property to Uncle Gilmer. The
[IV 33]
other heirs tried to break the will & a long & expensive litigation ensued. At the end Uncle Gilmer prevailed, but his victory was an empty one. The entire estate was consumed in costs & lawyers fees & Uncle Gilmer came out of the contest poorer than when he went in: Then he undertook very expensive and extensive improvements on his farms & sunk so much money, that he became absolutely penniless & in his old age lived with his sons, whilst Aunt Milly came to SunnySide & lived with us until Frank married.
Old Mr Dan Lewis was an eccentric old bachelor & tho’ a rich man lived in a manner few poor people would have lived. He knew so little about the luxuries of life that when Aunt Milly sent him some strawberries with white granulated sugar on them, he threatened to whip the negro boy who bought them for having let them fall in
[IV 34]
sand & then putting them back in the dish. He had never used anything but brown sugar of the cheapest kind. Aunt Milly once sent him some very nice jelly, but he threw it away saying it shook so he was afraid to eat it.
But to return to Frank: He & I & Bob Carter went to school together to Uncle William Duke for about a month. Uncle William had charge of the large slate quarries near Buckeyland & taught school in the little log cabin on Uncle Gilmer’s place— This was just after the civil war. I spent a month at "Buckeyland" Uncle Gilmer’s Place & went to school to him during that time. Poor Frank had an awful time during that summer: He went in swimming & did not notice that he was near a large quantity of poison oak. The consequence was that he broke out with the poison all over his body & legs
[IV 35]
& for several weeks he had to go around clothed in an old dressing gown of his fathers, as he could not wear any clothes. Of course he didn’t go to school & lost much time. Frank never was a student, more’s the pity, for he had an unusually brilliant mind, which , however, was untrained & prevented him using his talents to the best advantage. When Uncle Gilmer lost his money Frank came to the University got a position as assistant Post Master under A.P. Bibb at the University—& whilst doing this work attended law lectures at the University of Virginia, living in the mean time on food his mother sent him from the farm, or which he walked out to get. He thought no more of a ten mile walk than most people do of walking a block. He commenced
[IV 36]
practicing law in Charlottesville & in a short while got an excellent practice; was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Charlottesville for several terms. He married Decca Haskell, a great-grand-daughter of Dr Carter of Charlottesville & of the prominent family of Singletons & Haskells of South Carolina, whose mother dying when she was quite a baby was raised by her Grandmother Mrs Singleton—a daughter of Dr Carter—who moved to Charlottesville just after the Civil War. Decca was & is a splendid woman & the two sons George & Frank have made their mark. George is a prominent lawyer in Charlottesville & was for one or more terms Commonwealth Attorney for the City. Frank was a Judge in South Bend Indianna & a successful lawyer there.
Frank—Sr was one of the most popular men I ever knew
[IV 37]
He was the greatest ‘hand-shaker’ any one ever knew. They used to say of him, that if he met you in front of the Court House he would shake hands with you—then if he met you in the Court House he would shake hands again & then if he met you outside he would "shake" again. It got to be a standing joke with his friends to refuse to shake hands with him at all. One of his nicknames was "Demagogue", and it grew out of an incident which happened in my room. I used a room over my office as a bed room. One horrible rainy winter night about ten o’clock Frank came into my room. He had been looking upon the wine when it was red & likewise upon the whiskey when it was yellow and was wringing wet. He had fallen
[IV 38]
down & had a good deal of red mud over his clothes. He started for my bed & declared that he would lie down for a few minutes. My bed had just had a nice clean white spread put upon it & so I remonstrated. "Dry yourself, first," I said," & then undress & go to bed. I will lend you a night gown". He glared at me a moment & then went to the fire place, sat down & was silent for awhile. Then he broke out into a sort of reverie talking to himself "People don’t like Tom Duke: He’s too d-mn stuck up: Puts on airs & thinks a whole lot of himself. He’s a d-mned aristocrat:" Then he paused & was silent, I suppose two or three minutes: "As for me", he continued, "I’m a d-mned Demagogue". After that I undressed him & put him to bed.
He was a fine fellow & in the celebrated McCue case his closing
[IV 39]
speech for the prosecution was said to have been the finest one made tho’ Micajah Wood assisted him in the prosecution & Jack Lee, Tinsley Coleman &c represented the defence. He died some years since of pernicious anaemia.
Another friend was Shelton F. Leake, Jr. a son of the distinguished lawyer Hon Shelton F. Leake, who had been Lieutenant Governor of the State, Member of Congress and was one of the finest criminal lawyers at our Bar.
Shelton was never known by any other name than "Bunny"—a nickname which stuck to him as long as he remained in Virginia. He had none of his father’s talent for speaking; was modest & unassuming. He went into partnership with his father, but after a few years moved to Texas where he died. I never saw him but once after
[IV 40]
he moved to Texas & that was at his father’s funeral in 1884. The train on which he was coming to Charlottesville was delayed & he rode up to the house just as the pall bearers were getting ready to bring out his father’s body. Of course everything waited until Shelton had a chance to see his dead father’s face. His grief was very touching, & we sympathized with him very much. I never think of Shelton, I do not think of an expression he used which became a sort of proverb with us. Several of us had been out to "The Brooke" to visit Lizzie Walker one Sunday. Four of us went in a covered vehicle, whilst Shelton rode on horseback. In those days of straightened circumstances we generally had one suit of nice clothes we reserved for Sunday wear, or for some occasion demanding a better appearance than our "every day" clothes.
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Of course, this being Sunday we had on our best suits. At "the Brook"—as usual John Stockton had "seen us apart", and we had had several drinks. So we drove along, Shelton close to the wheels, & we sang and "made merry". Presently it began to rain & then poured, but it had no effect on our merriment.
Shelton sang with the best of us, & presently broke out. "Oh! boys I’m having the best time I ever had in my life, if I just didn’t have on my Sunday Clothes". So it got to be a saying with us when there came some draw-back in our fun, "If we just didn’t have on our Sunday clothes.
Dear old "Bunny". He moved to Texas, married his old Sweetheart—a beautiful girl from Culpeper. She died of consumption a few years afterwards & Shelton did
[IV 42]
not long survive her.
John B. Moon lived & had his office in Scottsville, so we did not have him except as an occasional associate. He was one of the ablest men I ever knew, but one of the strangest in many ways. Decidedly reticent and when he did talk he was very involved in his methods. I once told him he carried out to its full extent Tallyrand’s idea that language was given man to conceal his thoughts. But he was one of the ablest draughtsmen I ever knew & his written papers were models of clarity, conciseness and strength. He married May Dabney—Walter Dabney’s only sister & I was his best man. He then moved to "Dunlora" & lived & died there. He represented the County in the House of Delegates several terms & became a most influential man. He was prominent in the West Virginia Debt
[IV 43]
settlement & made quite a handsome sum out of it.
One of the friends of a later date was [ ] Brown—a Singer Sewing Machine Agent who came to Charlottesville from Delaware in the early eighties. He was generally known as "Reddy" Brown from the colour of his hair. When he first came to Charlottesville, he of course had no social standing: Lines were drawn a good deal closer in those days: He felt it very keenly—for Brown was a gentle man—& was not at all ready to make friends; very soon, however we found out that Brown was a good fellow & just as good as we were & we took him up & bye & bye we made the girls receive him & he not only became very popular, but showed himself in every way worthy. He appreciated what we had done for him & was
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one of the most grateful men I ever knew.
Charles C. Walker was another later friend. He was the son of Uncle Lindsay Walker by his second wife—his first wife being my mother’s sister. Uncle Lindsay was my father’s first cousin, so Charlie & I were second cousins. He came to Charlottesville as train Dispatcher on the C & O Rwy. When he died he was Assistant Superintendent of that Road. As I have stated he married Lucy Shackelford.
I never think of Charlie I do not think of an outrageous trick we played him once. Whilst he was courting Lucy, she gave a very small dance to which none of our "gang", but Charlie was invited. Lucy told Charlie that the only refreshments were going to be ham sandwiches & Charles asked if he could bring over a dozen bottles of porter—a drink
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he knew Lucy liked very much. She of course consented & Charles brought the porter to the room he & Brown occupied on the corner of Fourth & High—a little brick "office"—now gone—on the corner of the lot, where Ben Dickerson handsome house now stands— Unfortunately "the boys" found it out & headed by George Shackelford, we went to the room & whilst the "sounds of revelry" were going on across the street the crowd—George, Dick Duke: Frank Gilmer: Brown & myself—drank up the entire lot. That would have been bad enough, but we carefully took off the tin foil & the wires & drew the corks, so that after filling the bottles with water, we recorked & rewired & re-wrapped the bottles, it would have taken very close observation to have seen that they had been tampered with. George’s description of the result was very
[IV 46]
amusing: of course we had all "vamoosed" before Charlie came for his "party". He brought over the bottles about midnight & was greeted with loud applause. He carefully drew the corks of several bottles, filled the glasses & handed one to Lucy. Enough porter had been left in the bottles to give "colour in the cup". Lucy tasted it & with a most scornful look put the glass down. "Its dirty water" said she & so—of course—all the contents of the bottles proved the same— They say that Achilles wrath was mild by that of Charlie’s, who swore he would kill the man who played this trick on him & I verily believe in the first ebullition of his anger he would have done so: But—tho’ he strongly suspected the guilty parties—he never had any proof & our lives were saved. I do not believe he ever knew who played the trick on him.
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Girls
Any account of my life would be incomplete without some account of the many sweet girls & women who were & thank God many are yet, my friends. I was always very fond of female Society. I really had as many pleasant acquaintances amongst women as I had amongst men & I was more fortunate than that witty frenchman who said he could never keep a female friend: That one half of those he knew fell out with him because he made love to them, and the other half because he did not.
My sister had many friends amongst the young women of Charlottesville & SunnySide was a favorite visiting place. In those days there was a very pretty little lake at the foot of the lawn & a boat on it, so we used to have "boating"
[IV 48]
parties, tho’ the limit of the rowing was quite small. There yet remained on the Lawn one or two belle fleur Apple trees & their truly beautiful blossoms in the Spring made Sunny Side one of the loveliest places I ever knew.
Mary’s chief friends were Lucy Shackelford: Virginia Randolph: Margaret Randolph: Sally Knight & our two cousins Maggie Stuart & Maria Gilmer. Sally Knight & Mary first met when Col Knight lived at Wilton on James River about nine miles below Richmond & father’s regiment being stationed near there & father visiting the place Mother and Mary were invited down there & a friendship between Sallie & Mary commenced which ended only with death. Sally was an exceedingly pretty girl & of course I fell in love with her when she came to visit Mary in 1870. We have been & still are
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warm friends. Of Lucy Shackelford I have written. Virginia Randolph was a tall girl with beautiful light hair & one of the finest figures I ever saw. She was a daughter of Dr W.C.N. Randolph & a great-great grand-daughter of Jefferson. A fine girl & splendid woman. She married George Shackelford & is still living in Orange— Margaret Randolph was Virginias first cousin—a splendid girl who died quite young: Very bright & smart, but not at all pretty. Maggie Stuart—dear Maggie—one of the smartest—wittiest—brightest women I ever knew was our second cousin & at her father’s house in Staunton I have spent many happy hours. She was the daughter of Hon. A.H.H. Stuart who was Secretary of the Interior under Fillmore—a very tall, handsome stern man—of whom I stood in
[IV 50]
great awe. Maggie’s mother—cousin Fanny—was a daughter of Hon Briscoe [ ] Baldwin, judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals & of Martha Brown—daughter of Chancellor Brown—the last Chancellor of the State—who was mother’s Aunt— Maggie was a regular Tomboy—devoted to horses & a suberb rider. My sister was one of the finest riders I ever knew & so she & Maggie, when they visited one another were constantly on horseback. Maggie had a superb horse & Mary a beautiful little bay mare "Ruby’, who survived her nearly ten years. Once or twice she rode to Staunton with some companions. I think she loved this little mare as if she had been a human being. Maggie married A.F. Robertson of lawyer of Staunton who had been a class-mate of mine at the University—a fine fellow, but Maggie’s opposite in
[IV 51]
every way—quiet—a little bit "slow" but of a fine sense. She has six children & still lives, tho’ now in very poor health. Her daughters & mine continue the friendship of their parents. Maria Gilmer our first cousin was another of the dear friends. I think Mary loved her as if she were a sister rather than a cousin. She spent much time at SunnySide. Was a beautiful quiet girl, of lovely manners. She married Dr [ ] Cunningham of the Army & had one child. She died out in Dacotah & her body was brought back to Charlottesville & buried in our section, not far from where my sister lies.
All of these girls were very much at SunnySide in the summer of 1870. During that summer yellow fever broke out in Savannah & Minnie Anderson of that City was afraid to return home: So Mary invited her to
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spend the summer at SunnySide— She came out & spent a month or probably six weeks with us.
She was not exactly beautiful, but with a lovely complexion, a nose "tip tilted like the petal of a flower" & splendid figure, she had a wonderful degree of charm and fascination. Of course I was much in love & I think she was quite fond of me in a flirtatious sort of way. Anyway we used to ride together, dance together & stroll in the woods. I introduced her to Willie Allen at a dance that summer & she subsequently married him. He was quite a rich man for those days, but drank entirely too much for his own good. I remember very well a ride we took together to Edge Hill & returned in a glorious moonlit night. Just as we stopped on "The Summit" (Pantops) we paused awhile to
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look on the beautiful view beneath us—the valley & the river below us—the twinkling tapers of the town & beyond the shadowy outlines of the Mountain: It was a lovely romantic night & I think we drew our horses rather close together & all of a sudden she said: "Tom I am going to marry Will: Allen." "I know it", I replied and we rode on home in silence. And marry him she did. They lived in Richmond and I paid them one or two visits in the beautiful little home they had on Franklin Street. Allen lost all of his money: moved to New York; got a fairly good position in the Bankrupt Court there. Minnie developed into a newspaper writer & on one occasion I dined at her house & went to the Theatre afterwards to see old George Fawcett in Blue Jeans. The dinner was one of the best &
[IV 54]
best appointed ones to which I ever sat down. I took into dinner a Mrs. Anne <Polhemus>—a Miss <Brell>—sister of James G. Blaines’s Jr wife & a very beautiful woman. I paid my visit de la digestion later on but Minnie was out. I never saw her again. Allen died & she married a German musician—who became very poor owing to the fall of the mark. She died last year—poor woman. I owe some very pleasant hours to her.
In August 1878 my dear friend S. Wertray Battle came to pay me a visit and spent several days. Wer: was now an assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Navy & wore a most gorgeous uniform. He proposed—after a few days that we should go to the White Sulphur Springs for a few days & I gladly consented. The trip over the C & O was a rather slow one & we got to the White at night. At that time the Hotel was much smaller
[IV 55]
than it was two years later—a large addition being made in the next few years. The "Greenbrier" was not then in existence & neither of the other Hotels are now standing, having been pulled down a few years since. The office & reception room was then in the basement & when we reached it—dusty & smoke begrimed it was filled with a crowd of handsomely dressed men & women—some of whom we knew. We were assigned quarters in "Broadway" a two story frame building some distance from the main Hotel & not very far from the C & O Dep“t. Accomodations were very primitive in those days: A room & a bed—a washstand bowl & pitcher—a high shelf behind & below which were a lot of clothes-hooks & from which hung a calico curtain. You were expected to bathe in
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the pool—if you bathed at all. The rooms in the big hotel were no better furnished, but there were bath rooms on each floor— There were two beds in my room, which a day or so later led to an amusing occurrence. Amongst the young men in Broadway were two from Charleston S.C, one of very stout man whose name I forget. The other was a handsome—aristocratic young man named Grimball. One morning just as I was dressing Grimball came in my room. "Duke", said he—"May I come in here & occupy one of these beds: My room-mate snores so I cannot sleep." "Why: certainly" I replied, so Grimball moved in bag & baggage. The next morning, very early, I was awakened by some one shaking me violently. I woke up & there was Grimball leaning over me with a most distressed expression: "Good Lord", he said "Are you alive?" I have
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been watching you for the last hour: You haven’t stirred: I couldn’t see you breathe: I thought you were dead". "Look here, my boy," I replied," I think you had better get a room to yourself. First you couldn’t sleep because your room-mate snored: Now you can’t because I don’t. " But he did not change & I found him a very pleasant companion. The old White was then and is now a most beautiful spot & the company a delightful one: As the old negro barber said, "Yaas Sah!" You’ll find every body what am anybody at the White this summer." The "Western invasion" had not yet come in & there were few Northerners. The young people were a very pleasant lot. Some I knew & a great many I knew afterwards. Many have gone over to the silent
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majority & all are old now.
Two of the girls were noted Virginia beauties: Mattie Ould—daughter of Judge Ould of Richmond was not exactly a beauty, but very handsome. She was one of the greatest wits in the State & I wish I could remember many of her bon mots. Two I do recall. She was engaged to General Young & her father entering the parlour rather unexpectedly, found Mattie with her head on Genl Young’s shoulders. "Run along papa", she said this isn’t the first time you’ve seen an old head on young shoulders."
The other witty speech in my judgment is much better than the celebrated "Quid <vides>". [ ] Pace was a tobacconist in Danville: He made a great deal of money and moved to Richmond, built a very handsome home on the corner of Franklin and Adams Streets
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and began an effort to get his family into Society, which then in Richmond was very much more particular than it was later. Somebody said to Mattie one day, "Do you know the Paces are going to have a carriage with a coat of arms on it?" "Well!," said Mattie, "I think I can furnish a motto for the coat of arms". "What?" said her informant. "Yes", replied Mattie, "it is ready made for him, ‘Ill weeds grow apace’." The Paces were good kindly people and later on were on as good terms with "Society" as any one could wish. The girls married well: One to Allen Dounan & one to Jackson after Bishop of Alabama.
The other beauty was Mary Triplett Haxall (n_e Triplett) probably one of the most beautiful women the State ever Produced. A decided blonde
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genuine golden hair—which owed nothing except to nature, an exquisite complexion & beautiful figure—tall, stately, dignified & serene. A little too serene because she lacked animation & behind her beautiful face very little but beauty was apparent. But she was beautiful & I do not think I ever saw a lovelier creature than she was, the night she took me to a ladies ball. For some reason—I do not now remember why the ladies gave a "German", but they did & came each one for the man of her choice in a carriage & brought him to the dance. Why Mary Triplett selected me as her choice was & is a mystery to me: But she did so & a more wondrously beautiful woman I never saw. She was dressed in a black velvet gown—d_collet‚e, of course, which just had a faint line of lace about the neck
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and shoulders. It was cut severely plain: She wore no jewels whatever, but needed none: With her exquisite skin, beautiful blue eyes, golden hair & exquisite figure she was a very queen of beauty. She has long since "gone over with the majority".
Mattie Ould married a man entirely unworthy of her and died when her first child was born. Another very beautiful woman was Nannie Leary—a lovely blonde—whose only fault was that she was a little too stout for her height— She had one of the loveliest, sweetest dispositions I have ever known. She married my friend Jas D. Patton, who died just a few days ago (Feb:y 1925). When she came to the White she was just over an attack of typhoid fever & had lost most of her hair. So she wore a
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pretty blond wig. She made no secret of it & indeed there was no necessity for so doing as her hair grew out again in all of its pristine gold. Some young fellow from the far South fell desparately in love with her (He was not alone in that) and when he was called away rather suddenly he begged for a lock of her hair. So Nannie gave him a little bit of it and when he said: "Oh! Miss Leary can’t you give me a little larger piece". "I would love to do it," replied Nanny, "but I cannot afford it. You see this wig from which I cut it, cost fifty dollars" As old Gaujot used to say "Tableau!" Another one of "our crowd" was "Lou Barksdale" of Richmond who was not pretty, but bright and handsome—full of spirit & fun & added much to our
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pleasure. There was another very pretty & sweet girl—Fanny Wickham of St Louis— one of our Virginia Wickhams who occasionally went with us: But Mattie Ould, Mary Triplett Haxall, Nannie Leary & Lou Barksdale were our particulars & went with "our crowd" most of the time.
The "boys" were my dear old friend S. Westray Battle of Tarboro N.C. now of Ashville, who was then in his glory as Assistant Surgeon in the Navy—one of the best, wittiest and most charming men I ever knew— He still lives at Ashville where he had a fine practice as a specialist in tuberculor diseases. J. Ritchie (Dick) Stone was another. A son of Lincoln’s physician in Washington—a grandson of Mr Thomas Ritchie the great Democratic Editor & a descendant of the Harrisons of Brandon, Dick was one of the most delightful of
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men: With plenty of sense—full of fun & wit & he was a good fellow in more ways than one—too good for his own good—but finally settled down into a physician of good standing in Washington. He married a young lady, whom he met as a child that summer at The White & has now long since gone into the unknown— I never think of him without thinking of my introducing him to old Mr Tom Wood who was a most bitter Whig and to whom Ritchie was anathema— Dick was studying medicine at the University & came to my office one morning & he & I met Mr Wood just in front of it. He was a large, stout, solemn old gentleman, very humourous & with a dry wit I have seldom known excelled. He was quite solemnly "tight" when I stopped him & said "Mr Wood, I want to introduce you to my friend Mr Ritchie
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Stone: I thought you would like to meet him, as he is a grandson of Mr Thos Ritchie." "I am delighted to meet you, my young friend ", said old Mr Wood, as solemn as an owl, "And you must not think, for one instant that I think any less of you for being the grandson of that d-mned old rascal Tom Ritchie." Fortunenately, Dick understood the situation & laughed along with Mr Wood in a very pleasant way.
Charlie Lathrop was with us a while. He afterwards married Lou Barksdale. Charlie Palmer a son of Mr Palmer of the "Salt Works" was making his first outing in the world of society . He was a fine fellow, but had seen little of the world. So he had a great time & I’m afraid visited the Bar much oftener than was good for him. One day after dinner we introduced
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Charlie to a Pousse Caf‚ that delightful mixture of liquers, now a thing of the past in America. The next morning as we went into breakfast we stopped for a morning julep and in the Bar we found Charlie in a glorious state of inebriation. "Hello! Hello!" he greeted us. "I’ve drank five of those d-mned "pussies" and they’ve made me drunk". The great beau at the Springs then, was my dear old friend Col Jo: Lane Stern, who yet flourishes in his pristine glory tho’ well on to the eighties. He is today one of the youngest looking men I know. He has never married, but his great success was in Society and in Military Circles in which he took the greatest interest, being at one time the very efficient Adjutant General of the State. Jo led all of the Germans &
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was a Universal Beau. In Richmond he became a "Junior Ward McAllister" as some one calls him & tho’ his day has well passed, is yet a "gay young bird" in Society circles. There was a rather odd old chap from the South, Col Spate, who tho’ well on in the seventies was quite a beau & danced & flirted, tho’ the girls laughed at him a good deal. He was very sensitive about his age & when Miss Matoaca Gay—the correspondent of the Richmond Dispatch—in one of her letters wrote that when the Spring was discovered Col Spate was sitting beside it, he got very angry & declined to speak to her. So in her next letter she wrote that in mentioning Col Spate sitting at the Spring she neglected to say that a Miss Matoaca Gay—a lady of no uncertain summers—was
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sitting beside him.
Life at the Springs was very gay as far as dancing & flirting was concerned. There was always a "Morning German" about eleven o’clock, which lasted until about one & then dinner at two. Generally a crowd met at the Spring before breakfast & dinner & drank the waters—some more—some less. We, who frequented the bar, used to go to the Spring, but did not indulge in Sulphur water, as there was a well founded idea, that Sulphur water and ardent spirits did not mingle very well. After dinner there was usually a siesta & about four p.m. the young folks walked thro’ the beautiful woods & to Lover’s Leap, or rode or drove— Dinner was at seven—& there was a great complaint about the quality of the food.
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I must confess that in my judgement the complaint was not well founded. I never ate finer mutton in my life & whilst the cooking of the vegetables might have been improved upon, taking it as a whole the food was above the average Watering Place. The service was slow, but as the dining room was the largest in the United States & the crowd of guests generally filled it & the waiters were negroes, I think on the whole there was very little reason to complain. Col Peyton used to say that he charged nothing for food & lodgings, so they should not complain. His only charge was for the water & the scenery and the good company. I must confess I think that his charges were very reasonable when you take these into consideration. The Col: was a fat chubby gen[tle]-
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-man. He was a client of ours & I found that he was exceedingly nice to me & overlooked one of our wild, noisy escapades one night when he found I was in the crowd. A week or ten days—I do not remember which—passed most delightfully & I came back home to work with many pleasant memories which I still retain.
I find that in writing of my White Sulphur visit in 1878 I have entirely overlooked my experiences in the year 1876—the year of the great steal of the Presidency by the Republican Party under Grant, who probably was ruled by the most corrupt gang of unscrupulous politicians which ever disgraced any nation.
The Republicans nominated an obscure politician named Hayes from Ohio & a man named Wheeler from [ ]. The Demo-
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crats nominated Tilden of New York & Hendricks, the latter of whom I knew slightly. I was requested to "take the stump" in our County & accordingly I prepared a very elaborate oration on the text "Tilden, Hendricks and Reform", which I delivered at a dozen precincts in the County. I never shall forget my first political speech in that Campaign, which I delivered in the dep“t at Keswick to a "large" and enthusiastic audience of at least twenty people. I was very nervous: My father who was to speak & did speak on the same occasion came up to me & said, "Tom are you nervous"? "Very much so", I replied. "Oh! well" my father said, "whenever you get up to make a speech just remember that two thirds of the people to whom you
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are speaking are just as big fools as you are?" "But what about the other third?" I replied. "Oh! well" said he, "if they have any sense they won’t listen to you ". This advice has always been of great assistance to me.
Wingfield & I spoke all over the County—that is to say at nearly every precinct & the speaking did me a great deal of good. It gave me confidence in myself: It made me acquainted with the people & the County. I have done a great deal of speaking—political & otherwise—over the whole State & thus made many acquaintances. I told one anecdote in this speech which I think I have used in every public speech since. "It is said of a french cusinier that he remarked once that he succeeded in making a palateable dish out
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of everything he cooked but the buzzard, "I have tried him, he said stew & fry & bouille [abbreviation for boeuf boulli meaning boiled beef] & fricasee, but he was the same damned old buzzard all the time". So with the Republican party. No matter in what guise you take it, it is the same corrupt & infamous party & this can be said now in 1925—as I am writing, as well as in 1876. Born in sin—conceived in iniquity. It first object was to destroy the Constitutional rights of the people. It was responsible for the war: for reconstruction:—the worst crime in the history of civilization—for the gradual destruction of States’ rights—the very corner stone of our republican form of government: For the whiskey fraud—the credit mobilier—the iniquitous tariff & even in the last year
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the oil fraud—the Teapot Dome scandal is but the "trail of the serpent" still dragging its slime & corruption into a new era.
It stole—under a specious guise of law—the Presidency in 1876. It has stolen ever since every thing it could steal & yet the people keep it in office. Why? I cannot say, except the power of its money & the unquestioned ability of its leaders—whose intellect is only equalled by their dishonesty.
I have hated the party with an inexpressible hatred ever since it attempted to perpetually disenfranchise my father & men like him & want my children & their children never to forget this monstrous attempted iniquity. After "District No 1" as Virginia was called after the Surrender—with General Canby as its military Satrap, the State was graciously allowed to hold
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a Constitutional Convention, which owing to the limitation put upon the suffrage by "our masters" was composed of what an old negro politician named "Brack" used to call "Niggers, mulatters and wuss"—that is to say Carpet baggers & scalawags. There were a few educated native gentlemen in it: For instance this County was represented by Jas C. Southall—a brother of S.V. Southall—one of the most intellectual & high men in the State [ ] and J.S.T. Taylor a mulatto—son of a most respectable old coloured man Fairfax Taylor who was a servant of the Meades & for many years Sexton of the Episcopal Church in Charlottesville. Jim—as he was usually called—was a shrewd yellow "nigger"—& a politician amongst his race all his life. He was about as
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useful in the Convention as the fifth wheel upon a wagon.
Of course the Carpetbagger, scalawag & negro constituted a large majority of the Convention & the Constitution was a mixture of that of a Northern State with no reference to our own system. In it was a clause perpetually disenfranchising every man who prior to the civil war held an office & who served in the Confederate Army. Under this clause my father & a large number of the best and most intelligent men in the State were disenfranchised. So outrageous was this, that even the corrupt & vindictive Government in Washington thought it best not to risk it & the Sovereign State of Virginia—then District 1—was graciously permitted to vote on this clause seperately. Every carpet-bagger—scalawag & negro in the State voted for
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it, but it was defeated by a slim majority. My father’s negroes—poor ignorant creatures—voted for it. He could not vote and when I asked him "why?" he told me that he was disfranchised & if the Republicans won in this election, he could never vote or hold office again. My brother who was twenty one in July & the election taking place in November the election officers—negroes & carpet baggers & scalawags— refused to allow him to vote & he had to telegraph to General Canby—our military satrap—who wired back, "This man is entitled to vote" & so he did vote. The clause was defeated, but it was no fault of the Republicans that it did. In all the history of the crimes against Nations there is none more damnable than Reconstruction & it
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was attempted by that poor mean spirited creature Senator Lodge of Massachusetts to put the South again under the heel of the negro by his "Force Bill," tried over & over again—there being fortunately even decent Republicans to defeat it.
The Nation was never nearer Civil War since 1861, than in 1876—but a compromise was agreed upon by which the Electrocal Commission was appointed & the steal carried out in law by the partizan vote of "Aliunde" [outsider] Joe Bradley who was put on the Commission knowing how he would vote. It seems, however, that there was some sort of an understanding that the Federal troops—who were put in Louisiana South Carolina & Florida to sustain by their bayonets—the hideously corrupt carpet-bag & negroe governments in those States—should
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be withdrawn & the people given a chance to redeem themselves. When Hayes was elected this was done & these miserable so called Governments fell like houses of cards. Probably it was worth allowing the steal. Hayes—with the exception of Harding—was the weakest President we have ever had in the whole existence of the Government.
Had I known as much at that time about Tilden as I did at a later day, I’m afraid I would not have been as enthusiastic for him. Col Thos J. Randolph Mr Jefferson’s Grandson & Executor had in his possession Mr Jefferson’s Law Docket: a book in which Mr Jefferson kept in the most careful way a list of all of his law cases. Carefully ruled, by his own hand, with nature of the case, interesses, cases to be referred to, fees &
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The Colonel brought it into Charlottesville to show the lawyers: unfortunately forgot it & it was stolen. Some year or so afterwards he saw in the papers that it was in the possession of Mr Tilden. He wrote to him, telling him all the circumstances; that the book had been stolen from him; that he was Mr Jefferson’s Executor & Grandson & that the book ought to be returned to him. Tilden replied, that he had bought the book & proposed to keep it. We advised Colonel Randolph to employ a Lawyer in New York & bring suit for it, but he replied he had no money to spend for the suit—which was a fact. We believe Tilden left the book to the New York Library. Of course he "stole it as much as the Presidency was stolen from him & I have had a very poor opinion of him after this conduct.
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1879 & After
In 1879 I commenced keeping a Diary, which at first was a very small affair. I have kept it up ever since & of course these rambling memories will have a little more consectutive & thorough relation of men & things. I may say here that I little imagined the great value these Diaries would be to me & my clients, not to speak of the pleasure they have given me. I will, at the risk of being a little out of order give two instances of it. When I was engaged by Mr Kountze to look after the purchases of land & mineral in West Virginia & Kentucky in the year 1888 & following, we purchased from a Wallace Williamson a large tract of land on Peter Creek & its tributaries in Pike County Kentucky. Of course William-
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-son’s title was based on a Kentucky Land Grant over which lay old Virginia Patents & probably half a dozen Kentucky Grants. Without actual possession his title was worth very little if anything, but under the Kentucky law if he had possession under colour of title for more than twenty years, that possession gave him title not only to the part he had in actual possession, but to his whole boundary. When he came to New York to close up the matter, with his lawyer, John F. Hager I was sent for & we had several long & tiresome "pow-wows" at Mr Kountze’s office in the old Equitable Building, 120 Broadway.
Williamson assured us that over twenty years before he had made a written lease of a part of this tract to a man—naming him—which lease had been put on record & the man had lived in a
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house on the leased land continuously ever since the lease was made & had looked over & after the whole property. Under that assurance we entered into a contract to purchase the property. When I got back to my Club where I was staying I entered in my Diary that we had closed the contract with Williamson for the "Peter Creek land" & that he assured us that he had had possession of the land by a tenant under a written & recorded lease for more than twenty years. When we sent our surveyors to run the lines, the squatters ran them out of Country with dire threats backed up by Winchester rifles & it was several years before we could get these squatters calmed down by the assurance that wanted nothing but the "mineral" coal &c—
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When we came to examine Williamson’s lease—why we did not do it at once I do not now remember—we found it was a deed of sale & not a lease & therefore was of no value to the boundary Williamson claimed. He & Hager came on to New York & insisted on our closing up the deal. We refused to do so, giving as our reason Williamson’s misleading statement. To our surprise he positivly denied ever having made any such statement. It had been several years since the transaction & both Kountze & I were fairly positive that he had made the statement but somewhat hazy as to its exact terms. Hager kept silent. All of a sudden it flashed over my mind that I had made a memorandum of it, so I got the date of the contract & asked that we should postpone further pour
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parlers [negotiations] for a day or so. I then wire Edith to send me my Diary of that year. It came by registered mail & I waited to open it until we got together. I then in the presence of all of us opened it & turning to the date on which the contract was drawn I found my entry, read it & told Williamson I was ready to swear he made the statement on the morning of the day I made the entry. We compromised the matter by Williamson reducing his price by a large amount & we took the risk as to the title & made a good thing of it. Hager afterwards told me that he remembered the statement Williamson made just as I had it, but as Williamson’s counsel he did not feel at liberty to say anything. In which I think he was wrong.
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The other transaction related to the very inception of our land transactions in West Virginia. As I hope to relate hereafter, in April 1888 Mr Luther Kountze of New York employed me to look after titles of land in West Virginia, he, with Mr Slaughter & others proposing to by coal lands in that State: So with him I went out to Catlettsburg Ken: & up a horrible so called Railroad to a place in Martin County Kentucky where we met Mr Rothwell of the Mining Journal, who had been employed to make a preliminary survey of the Country & had done so. With him was a man named Lowry in whose name a large number of "options" on the coal & other minerals in Logan County West Virginia had been taken. There was with them also a very pleasant man named Robinette. But of this trip hereafter. I entered in my
[IV 87]
Diary an account of this trip. Some good angel made me write "Lowry a S.W (South West) Va type. Doesn’t look a millionaire: says he has no interest in the matter." We bought a great deal of the mineral &c, which of course became very valuable & many years after & after Lowry’s death, his heirs set up a claim of ten percent, which they said Lowry had been promised as a Commission on all purchases. It would have amounted probably to over one hundred thousand dollars. We were in the midst of a negotiation of a sale of one half of our properties for $6.000.000—which eventually went through—& any litigation meant a probable loss of this sale. So we were in a hole. I distinctly remembered what
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Lowry had said & looking into my Diary I found my recollection was correct & I showed it to Lowry’s counsel. We finally settled the matter by paying $3000—rather than endanger our sale. So you can see my Diaries were of no small value.
The year 1879 was like my most of my years full of hard work. I had a severe spell of illness in February of that year & was in bed & "housed" until March 10th, when I went into my office for the first time since the former date. I have been sick oftener in February, I believe than in any other month of the year. I often laugh & say that it is—as I really think it is—the most disagreeable month in the year & if it had over twenty nine days in it, nobody could live through it. I once made this remark at a dinner in
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London in Feb:y 1919—to a stolid Englishman my neighbour at the table, who glared at me & replied "Oh! the calendar makers arranged all that, you know". I had to explain my joke and I think he grasped the point before the dinner was over. I made very few entries in the Diary I have of that year prior to April 14th, as I lost the first little book I had & all subsequent entries are very meagre. Enough is entered, however, to show that I had a good time & did a lot of very hard work. Dear Lucy Armistead came on & spent the summer & I saw much of her, both at Morea & Sunny Side & she added much to the pleasure of the summer.
One of two entries remind me of the Society now passed away & which brought into Albemarle a bit of English habits &
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sport. Early in the seventies quite a large emigration of English people came into Virginia & especially into Albemarle. Some of them were "remittance" men: Some who came with their families & spent all they had & left: Some who would listen to nobody, but bought farms, paid half down & expected & tried to make enough from the farms to pay for them. They did not know anything about farming: they lived extravagantly: they drank in our dry climate as they did in England & the result was disastrous. Some came with a shadow over them; some with a miselliance shadowing their lives: Some from motives of economy. Amongst them were some very good people & a few families remain with us yet. We had quite a good clientage amongst them & paying clients at that.
One of the best families who
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remained was that of Capt Jas Archer Harris. The Captain bought the old Frank Fry place "Azalea Hall" & his widow & children still reside there, Mrs Harris being a very old widow up in the eighties. The Captain & his wife had a good deal of money invested in England & Jersey—the latter being Mrs Harris’. It was in the hands of a trustee—a lawyer—& was only bringing in about 3 per cent. I suggested that it ought to be brought to this Country & invested here on the same trusts & so get 6 per cent. After some time the Captain told me to write to the Trustee & take steps to have the property transferred. I did so, and some time afterwards we heard that the Trustee on receipt of our letter had killed himself. He had stolen the trust fund twenty years before
[IV 92]
and was paying the interest at the low rate mentioned. This left the Captains own trust fund in England, which brought in a fair income; but his trustee there—an old—very old—Uncle invested it in an iron pier at Brighton, which a storm washed away & the fund was lost. He had a little invested fund in our hands, but against our earnest protest cashed it in & invested it in Price Maury’s Hotel & Railroad Scheme at Fry’s Spring & this "went to pot" & the poor old man was left with very little but his farm. Fortunately some old relative died in England & left him a small fund which pulled him thro’. He was a fine gentleman; one of the most cheerful men I ever knew, but a hard drinker and would bet on anything. Horse races—cards—trap shooting—anything which would command a wager.
[IV 93]
Amongst the other English was a very tall man named John Uppleby who bought a farm near North Garden: He was an immense man & when sober a fine fellow: Drunk, he was one of the vilest creatures I ever knew. He too was a great sport & used to win a great deal of money out of Captain Harris at cards & trap shooting. He married a beautiful girl the daughter of a Mr Betts an Englishman who came over & bought a farm near Uppleby. After her death he married a daughter of Captain Harris—Jessie—& dying left her all of his estate; She died shortly after her husband leaving her estate to her sisters, so a good deal of the money Uppleby won from Capt Harris came back into the family. I will, if I have the opportunity, have a good deal
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to say of Uppleby—whose Executor I was & whom I visited in North Carolina & in Scotland— The Mr Betts I mentioned had four or five of the most beautiful daughters I ever saw. Some of his grand-daughters—the Darrotts—yet live in the City.
Another Englishman—W.H. Barlow by name—who was a client & a very fine gentleman—was amongst the best who came over. He had been a barrister—engineer &c &c; was very excentric & at one time drank very hard. His father was a very distinguished Engineer & his family an excellent one. He married a Bar-maid—quite a handsome woman—& so left England. He bought a part of old Azalea Hall & built on it. They tell the story that he & his wife had a quarrel & he walked off to town. One of the servants ran after him & said
[IV 95]
"Mr Barlow! Mr Barlow! Mrs Barlow done gone up in the Attic & say she gwine jump out’n the window".
"Domn her," replied Barlow, let her jump". Needless to say, she did not— Mrs Barlow died & he married a fine woman—a Miss Worthington of an English family who had moved over here & had two fine boys. By his first wife he had three children—a boy & two girls—the latter of whom were & are fine girls—one marrying Dick Worthington—a brother of Barlows second wife & the other John Hopkinson—another Englishman.
Barlow was a highly educated man & an entertaining talker & one of the most upright men I ever knew. He had travelled a great deal: He superintended the building of the telegraph line from St Petersburg to Teheran
[IV 96]
Persia & made most of the way on horseback & camel back.
On one occasion his father sent him to St Petersburg (Leningrad) to look into the building of a Railroad & to close contracts. He took with him maps, profiles & estimates. On reaching St Petersburg he went to the best Hotel & got in touch with engineers, contractors &c. One day two Russian Grand Dukes called on him & told him they were deputed on the part of the Government to look after the building of the road & after a good deal of discussion finally enquired if Barlow had made an estimate of the cost. He replied that he had made it & gave the amount—I will say ten million rubles. "Well," said one of the Grand Duke’s "make it twelve million". "But", replied Barlow," We have made ample allowance for all contingencies in our
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estimate & ten million is ample & more than we think necessary". "Oh! that’s all right", replied the Grand Duke, "the two extra million are to be divided between you & ourselves". Barlow’s reply was to take the next train for London, "And my Dear Old Father", he said, "told me I had done exactly right:"
I always held Barlow responsible for the going into the ministry of my dear friend Bob Carter. Bob—as I have previously said was a very wild young man & a hard drinker. He & Barlow got on a drinking bout at Mark Eisenmann’s bar in Charlottesville & Barlow drank a toast to, "The President of the United States". Bob not to be outdone drank to the health of "Queen Victoria". Barlow, who was in one of his radical moods applied a vile epithet
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to the Queen, whereupon Bob smote him violently with his fist saying he would not let any man speak that way of a lady in his presence. They thereupon engaged in a fight. Barlow began to get the best of it & Bob drew a knife: Whereupon Barlow threw up his hands & said "If there is going to be any knife business I’m out of it"
Some one parted them & Bob went off to bed. He told me that he awoke the next morning & lay in absolute agony. That the last thing he remembered he was rushing at Barlow with an open knife & then being led away and he got it into his head that he had killed Barlow: So he said that as he lay there he made up his mind to turn over a new leaf & God helping him he would devote the balance of his life to the service of God. And he did so. The prayers of a good mother
[IV 99]
had long been directed to the same end & Bob became a consecrated, useful and lovely Minister of God. Always—at his worst—a high toned honourable gentleman he did not have far to go to become what he was to the end of his days.
Barlow was quite a radical & at one time a free thinker. He went to Church, however, with great regularity & Snowden Wood meeting him at Ivy Church once, said to him: "Why Barlow I didn’t think you believed in Churches". "Oh! yes, Wood," he replied, "the Church is a d—md good thing: Keeps the common people in their proper places, you know: And then Wood," he said quite confidentially, "There’s a d—med substratum of truth about the thing, you know." And that "substratum" became the basis
[IV 100]
of an abiding & comforting faith. I went to see Barlow on what was practically his death bed. He died of cancer of the stomach. After a pleasant talk with him just as I was leaving he said to me, "Duke: as I lie here I have found out there is only one thing in the world for a man in my condition, and that is the religion of Jesus Christ". And so he died in the full assurance of a "reasonable religious and holy hope." Peace to his Ashes. I liked him very much & no more honourable upright gentleman ever lived.
Amongst the other English was C. Agnew McNeale—a gentleman by birth—nephew I believe of Lord Cairnes—at one time Lord Chancellor of England. McNeale was a gentleman in every sense of the word, but with that strange idea so many of the English had, he
[IV 101]
believed that in this free country it made no difference what occupation he followed: So be bought out a livery stable on the site of Market & 5th Str, where the Ford Garage & Salesroom now stands & kept it for several years, giving it up in an evil hour when he went into the whiskey distillery business with his future father-in-law Chas A. Goodyear & failed most disastrously. He subsequently married Mr Goodyear’s only daughter—Mary my dear friend of today as of old, & moved to Minneapolis where he died. Mary with two sons, moved back to Albemarle & built a little cottage near Rio Station, where she lived very narrowly, but very bravely & subsequently married Lewis Smoot of Washington & Alexandria, who made a large fortune & Mary now
[IV 102]
lives in luxury (well deserved) Her eldest son, Agnew was burned to death in the fire which destroyed Brown’s school near Charlottesville in [ ]
Another English friend of mine (only he was Irish) was Charlie Moore who after keeping a livery stable in Orange moved to Charlottesville & built the house now owned by Mr Gochenauer on the Lynchburg road.
His wife was an exceedingly attractive woman: With a beautiful figure splendid suit of hair & one of the ugliest faces I ever saw. But the strange thing about it was that after you talked to her awhile, such was her mobility of expression & brightness, that you wondered how you ever thought her ugly. Charlie was a gentleman of a fine old Irish family of means & standing. He moved back to England & settled in Southsea
[IV 103]
where I visited him the winter of 1919. He died last year leaving his widow, who still lives, an invalid—at Southsea & one daughter Maybelle—who lives in Richmond, having been married twice—her last husband a very fine fellow named Loving.
These are a few of the English I knew well. Several families & single men came over later one of whom I might mention. A fine looking stalwart man—George Pelham Clinton—who was a grandson of the Duke of Newcastle & who was called "Lord" Pelham Clinton—tho ’ of course he was not a Lord his father being a younger son & only entitled to the "courtesy" title. But as it was he was much sought after by the English. He had some money; bought the "Dunkum" farm on the Scottsville Road & began
[IV 104]
farming on a most expensive scale— His plough harness was of yellow leather & everything of the most showy kind. He left the farming to the negroes & manager & the result was in a year or so he had to sell out root and branch. With what he had left he bought out the "Eureka" Bar—a very ornate bar room on what is now 4th St and just below Drs Smith & Beauchamps Dentistry. The building—a wooden one was burned a good many years ago & a brick building now stands on its site. Clinton moved into rooms over the Bar & became one of his best—or worst—customers & soon ran through all he had. He gave a deed of trust to Micajah Woods who sold out the Bar & Lease & a lot of possessions which Clinton left—his boots—clothing &c &c.
[IV 105]
He actually left his family Album which of course Woods did not sell, but sent to him.
I bought one or two sporting prints & the light frames now on my library shelves—substituting other pictures for the rather poor ones in them.
Clinton went to New York & made a living writing for the Sporting papers. He got into Society & married a wealthy girl & went back to England.
One of the best men who remained was a Mr [ ] Brown who bought a farm near Ivy & was a most successful farmer. He was an estimable man & did well. One of his sons graduated at the University & is now a Professor in a Western College. About ten years after Mr Brown had well established himself here there came to Ivy a decidedly excentric Englishman, who called him Mee-
[IV 106]
jer Bee-rown"—as he pronounced his name. He was a tall, odd looking man & I never saw him without a pair of ill fitting white cotton gloves on his hand. He always said when introduced, "I live at Ivy, Sir." but I am not "Ivy Beerown". He is a plain farmer. I am "Meejor Bee-rown". He soon drifted away. The English, who were rather plentiful around Ivy called an English clergyman to the pretty little Church at Ivy. A Mr Greaves, a highly educated gentleman who served the Church there many years. When he returned to England as he did finally he was succeeded by Revd F.W. Neve, who started the Mountain work in this County & has rendered invaluable service to the cause of Christ & to the neglected Mountain population. A good man
[IV 107]
who has here lately been compelled to give up his rectorship on account of failing health, tho’ he continues his work in the Mountains. During Mr Greaves’ ministry he always prayed for "her Majesty Queen Victoria & the royal family" along with the "President of the United States." These were a few of the English settlers & I mention them as typical. There were a great many more, but the majority drifted away or drank themselves to death—the latter of course being only a few. They did this for the County: Being fond of horses & dogs & sport, they soon got up races, encouraged fox hunting & the breeding of fine dogs. Such a thing as the sale of a dog had never been heard of in Albemarle until the coming of the English.
[IV 108]
I shall never forget the disgust of an old gentleman who saw a very fine setter bitch belonging to an Englishman & remarked he would like to get one of her puppies at her next whelping.
"With pleasure" the Englishman, I think it was Easton, "I will let you have one cheap. I will give it to you for $30: The price I generally ask is $50."
"By G—", the gentleman said when he met some of his friends afterward, "Don’t you think that d—ned Englishman, actually wanted me to pay him for a puppy".
Nous avons chang‚ tout cela ["We have changed all that" quoting from Moli_re,Le Malade Imaginaire ] now-a-days.
But we owe our English friends a great deal for the encouragement of sport. I remember a great many of the races—both cross country—steeple chasing & flat races. One at Birdwood
[IV 109]
in May was really a very brilliant affair. I got a drag I remember with Father—Lucy Armistead my sister Jennie Randolph & Margaret Randolph, and we took along a fine lunch with plenty of potables as well as "eatables" and enjoyed the day very much. I suppose there must have been nearly a thousand people present & the crowd was a good natured delightful lot of people. Captain Harris had several entrances & lost—as usual a good deal of money on his horse "High-flyer"—"Old Hi" as he always called him. The races were held where the present stone barn stands. This was but one of the many "events" our English friends got up & there is no question that they added much to the gaiety & sociability of the County. We had another big race at
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Birdwood a few months later, tho’ not quite so largely attended.
It was a pleasant year— We had dances at Edgehill & at the University & at various places in the town & a lovely lot of girls & fine fellows: Dear Lucy Armistead kept me busy, taking her for drives & walks & spent some time at Sunny Side.
The "Finals", as the University & Charlottesville people called what other colleges called Commencement were unusually gay & the Alumni Banquet quite an event, at which I am sorry to say I distinguishment myself in a way my old friends yet tell on me.
The Alumni Lunch in those days was ante and anti Volstead & there was a good deal of hard drinking. The President of the Alumni that year was the Hon Thos S. Bocock who had been speaker of the Confederate Con-
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gress and a distinguished lawyer. It was a large & distinguished group of men at the lunch & I was honoured by being called on to respond to a toast. I had drunk my fair share of wine but was in no ways unduly "elated". During my speech I picked up what I thought was a glass of sherry & tossed it off. It proved to be pure grape brandy. I took my seat amidst loud applause, but in the course of a few moments began to feel decidedly tight. In some way it "came wildering thro’ my aged brain", that Mr Bocock had not been called on to speak & that it was a great lack of courtesy on the part of the Alumni that he had not been. So when the regular toasts were finished I arose to my feet & stated that I thought the meeting ought to hear
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from our distinguished President & I therefore called upon the Honourable "Bogus S. Tomcock" to reply to a toast to his health. Of course there was a wild yell I took my seat with the consciousness I had made a hit—as I had. I do not know whether the "Hon Bogus" spoke or not. My next recollection was lying on the grass outside of the old "Annex" & feeling very badly, and I went to Morea & Lucy Armistead soothed my "fevered brow" & perturbed stomach with cracked ice & my brother & Dick Duke "paired my raiment" between them & took Virginia Henderson—to whom I had been engaged for the Final Ball—to the Ball.
I still hear echoes of this speech up the present day, but one of the most amusing things about it happened the next summer.
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I got on the train going to Lynchburg and a very pretty girl was in one of the seats with a vacant seat beside her. She smiled & spoke to me so I took the seat by her & we had a very pleasant chat en route. The trouble with me was, that whilst I knew her face I couldn’t for the life of me remember her name & the pretty scamp soon found out that fact & dodged every effort I made to find it out. Just before we got to Lynchburg she smiled & said, "Well! I’ve had a pleasant journey with you & wish you were going further." Then holding out her hand she smiled most bewitchingly & said, "My name isn’t "Tom-Cock", either". She was old man Bowcock’s daughter.
The Virginia Henderson I mentioned was a very beautiful girl with a "flower like" face & exceedingly
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sweet. She had been at Edgehill School & was on a visit to Jennie Randolph. I had several pleasant drives with her— I often wondered what became of her but only yesterday (March 27th l925) I asked George Young if he knew anything about her & he said he had met her in Florida some years ago & that she was happily married & living in Floriday.
The summer of 1879 was a very pleasant one, as I have said, only I did then what I had been doing for several years i.e. working exceedingly hard & playing equally as hard. There were no stenographers in our part of the world & the type writing machine had not come into use. Consequently I did everything in long hand & as we had a large practice I had to work exceedingly hard. I carried a great deal of work home with me
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& worked in the dear old octagonal "office", filled with books, in the yard at SunnySide—now a rotting shell. Sometimes I would notice my light growing dim & looking up from my books & papers I would find it was daylight which had dimmed my lamp. I would go to my room, snatch a couple of hours of sleep & be at the office in town by nine A.M. The next night I would probably lead a "German" and dance all night— I paid for this later on as we shall see—
In September of that year there was a great musical festival in Cincinnati & very attractive rates given on the Railroads: So a party of us, my brother—Frank Durrett: Lit Macon & one or two others determined to go. As the railroad only ran to Huntington W. Va
[IV 116]
in those days & we had to take a steamboat from that place, we determined to spend the night at the White Sulphur, which would allow us to make the boat & save either a night on the train or at Huntington. So off we went & after a night at the White, where I met one or two old acquaintances, we reached the Steamer in the afternoon. We found it crowded & the only accomodation we could get were cots on the deck. But we were young & did not mind & off we went a jolly crowd. We were scheduled to reach Cincinnati early in the morning & so after a good deal of "sky larking" turned in ". Daylight awoke us & the boat was at dock, so up we jumped & enquired of a passing deck hand. "No Sah," he replied, "We ain’t got no furder than Portsmouth, only
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a few miles from Huntington." We had run into a fog soon after leaving Huntington & tied up for the night. I was not sorry of it for it gave us a chance to see the Ohio River & we enjoyed our steamboat experience. There was one singular thing, which I would not have believed had I not seen it, in our way of getting over sandbars, which were rather numerous in the river: At the bow of the boat was a very stout mast or spar to which two equally stout spars were attached by heavy iron rings. At the end of each was an iron spike, about 6 inches long & quite heavy. I wondered what this apparatus was for until I felt the boat bump on something & then stop. Some of the deck-hands then went to the bow unloosed the big
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spars & pushed them over the bow into the sand bank on which we had bumped: the boat then started & the prow was lifted up until the spars had well passed it on each side. The process was then repeated & the boat literally "walked over" the bar.
We got to Cincinnati about dusk & went to the Burnett House— That night we met Henry Shawhan & Marion Lytel two University men & members of our Fraternity. Both were splendid fellows & Henry Shawhan one of the loveliest—I use the word deliberately—men I ever knew. He was a frequent visitor to SunnySide & very much in love with my sister. When she died I sent him a newspaper with an account of her death & it crossed in the mail one giving an account of his death of that dread scourge consumption. He was a very handsome
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Kentuckian & full of life & fun. His room-mate at the University and co-fraternity mate was Duncan Campbell of Frankfort, Kentucky who was also a splendid fellow, who predeceased Shawhan. Lytel was a nephew of Gen Lytel who wrote "I am dying, Egypt, dying." He too was a very handsome fine fellow & whilst rather wild was a brilliant & charming man. He got into a shooting scrape whilst at the University & came—with Charlie Barrows who was also a Zete & in the same trouble—to SunnySide & we pulled them out of their scrape. The negro got well & the Grand jury did not indict. Barrows & Lytel were "rusticated" for a month, but returned & remained to the end of the session. Barrows graduated in medicine, went to New York & became a
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prominent physician. He died some years since. Lytel bought a ranch out West, but I have lost sight of him.
But to return to our muttons. These two boys joined our crowd & we went to the Exposition, of which I remember nothing: That night we went to the Opera House & saw a Vaudeville & drank much beer. Lytel had to leave & Shawhan—who couldn’t get a room—went to our Hotel & they put a cot in our room for him. When we got in rather late, we found another cot occupied by an old gentleman—sound asleep— We awoke the next morning feeling the need of some refreshment & Shawhan called a bell boy & asked us what we would have. My brother said "I’ll take a milk punch:" "So will I", I said: "So will I" said Shawhan. Thereupon the old gentle-
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in the cot sat up: "Make mine a whiskey toddy Henry", he said. It was Shawhan’s uncle who by some lucky chance had been put in our room. So we all had a great laugh & made the old gentleman pay for the drinks. The next day we went to the very fine zoological gardens & later walked across the suspension bridge & had a fine view of the Ohio River. That night I mark with a white stone for We saw Joe Jefferson in Rip Van Winkle. I do not think I ever enjoyed anything in the play line more & I had a good laugh at myself: For all during the first act I felt a keen sense of disappointment: "Why the man isn’t acting at all", I said to myself & then it dawned on me that I was seeing the perfection of acting—the man was
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Rip Van Winkle himself & so he was in every way a man can personate another. I saw Jefferson very often afterwards: In Rip Van Winkle, several times: In Caleb Plummer in "The Cricket on The Hearth", in my judgment the finest thing he ever played: In "Lend me Five Shillings" & with Billy Florence in "The Rivals". I also saw him with Billy Florence in Hamlet when the twain played the Grave diggers in the wonderful testimonial to Wallack at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1888, Booth playing Hamlet, Modjeska Ophelia. But of that later on. I met Jefferson some years afterwards on the train coming from Lynchburg & had a pleasant chat with him. He promised sometime to stop over & visit Monticello, but never did:
The next day was Sunday & our entire party went to the Roman
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Catholic Church & heard some very good music. In the afternoon we went to the Highland House & then went into the Theatre there & heard a very good little comic opera called <"Fertinitza">. I never shall forget how curiously I felt in thus spending a part of the "Sabbath," in such a way. I had been raised in the strickest Presbyterian School: Sunday—always called the "Sabbath"—was a day of the gloomiest character. Sunday School, Church—goody books of the goodiest, dreariest kind. Even up to today I have hardly gotten away from the absurd & superstitious way in which the first day of the week was spent in my childhood. The one day in the week which of all others ought to be filled with joy & gladness & made the happiest day of the week: For its the birthday
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of the Christian Religion, for our Religion commences with the Resurrection not at the Cross. "If Christ be not risen then, is our preaching vain and our faith vain".
So we ought to keep Sunday as a festival—not as a fast, & I have tried to make it so in my own home.
Sunday night, we dined at The Crescent City Club with Genl Sam: Hunt, who had made an address at The University at the Commencement & I suppose thought he ought to entertain us, which he did very handsomely.
We left the next day at an early hour & were all that day on the steamer on the Ohio. We spent an hour "walking over" a sandbar. During the trip I got to talking to a very handsome lady with a beautiful daughter about fourteen or fifteen years of age. The
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lady was the wife & the girl the daughter of Robinson—owner of the John Robinson circus. They were exceedingly nice & refined people & made the trip very pleasant.
It was during that Fall I made a visit to "Enniscorthy", the beautiful home of Tucker Coles—whose daughter Lelia—now a widow—Mrs Bennett—& I became great friends. I had made one visit to "Estouteville", Peyton Coles’ magnificent place in my student days & thus became acquainted with the Coles family. Peyton Coles’ wife Mrs Isaetta—who was also his cousin—was a very tall, handsome, brilliant woman. They had a raft of children eleven I think. Peyton, Jr, & I became good friends. Poor fellow—today (April 8th l925) he is in the Martha Jefferson Hospital dying with cancer of the
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intestines. There were only two girls—Selina, who killed herself some years later & Julia who married an Englishman named McKensie & is now a grandmother. Capt Coles—as Peyton Sr was called—was a dull, heavy man. Judge Robertson, who taught him, said he was the dullest boy he ever knew. He could never beat into his head the fact that a half [fourth crossed out] was greater than a fourth [half crossed out and fourth inserted later], so one day he took an apple, cut it in half & said, "Peyton you see these two pieces, they are each one half aren’t they", "Yes", Peyton replied, "Now I cut each half into two pieces", said the Judge—"Now don’t you see each is a quarter & smaller than a half." "Yes:" replied Peyton, "but Mr Robertson four is certainly more’n two".
He was a wealthy man with a large number of slaves &
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so exempt from military service under the law of the Confederate States, which exempted large plantation owners with a certain number of slaves in order that crops might be raised to feed the Army. The captain, however, after the war was declared raised a cavalry Company, most of whom like himself were men of means. He called it "The Green Mountain Rangers". It was an independent Company—attached to no command. The Captain took it to Centerville—every member having his servant with him to take care of his horse & himself. When the battle of Manasses came on Capt Coles mustered his Company into line and took a vote as to whether they should go into line. Only one man—Peachy R. Harrison—who tells the story-
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voted in the affirmative. He went to Captain Coles & remonstrated: "What in the thunder did we come here for?" Capt Coles replied: "Why Peachy, my men are all—except you—men with families. What’ll become of their families if they are killed?" So the "Green Mountain Rangers" remained in the rear, whilst Peachy rushed off & joined another command & fought in the entire battle. The "Green Mountain Rangers" remained with rear guard, but after the fight gathered up much spoil left by the retreating foe & returned home to melt into oblivion.
Capt Coles after he was well advanced in life became very much interested in Free Masonry: Having a wonderful memory, he mastered the "work" & soon became quite prominent—finally rising to the dignity of Grand Master.
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Having ample means he visited a great many of the Lodges & after serving two terms he was appointed Grand Lecturer & traveled extensively. He died whilst filling this position.
One of the few times I ever remember the Grand Lodge of Virginia to forget its dignity & roar & yell with laughter, was when Capt Coles was re-elected Grand Master. In returning thanks for the honour he said he had spent a year travelling around & enlightening the City Lodges. He proposed to spend this year travelling around & enlightening the Country Lodges. Old Mayo B. Carrington who was Grand Junior Warden—a tall, lank, cadaverous old man, so ugly that when he was elected to represent "the pillar of beauty", made one of the wittiest speeches I ever heard on "ugli-
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ness" arose & solemnly said, "Most Worshipful Grand Master, if you in one year elighten the Country Lodges you will have accomplished the greatest task known in history since Sampson slew ten thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass." The yell that went up had to be heard, not described. I do not think Grand Master Coles exactly took in the joke. His place "Estouteville" is I think the handsomest place in the County. A large brick mansion beautifully set on top of one of the Green Mountains in a grand oak grove & commanding a superb view; The house with its Colonial porch, great hall & high pitched ceilings was the seat of a warm hospitality. In the rear was a large grapery—a stone and glass house with a huge black Hamburg vine in it. When I first knew the place
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old Mrs Coles’—the Captain’s mother was still living & took great pride in the place which was kept in beautiful order.
"Enniscorthy", Tucker Coles place was also a very handsome place, but not as large nor as superb in all of its appointments. I have spent very many pleasant days in both places. Only yesterday—April 14th—my friend—Peyton S. Jr. passed into the beyond. He was exactly one month younger than I.
He & "Bob" Carter & Allen Southall & I were very much together when I visited the Green Mountains. All gone now, but Allen & where he is I do not know. He went to the dogs & did not have far to go. Bob Carter’s home—"Redlands"—was another of the splendid Green Mountain residences. It is still kept up in beautiful shape by Bob’s sisters—splendid women—who made quite a fortune
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at the school at Catonsville. Sally the youngest sister & I are & always have been great friends. She & a lot of Edge Hill School girls once played a trick on me, which I did not appreciate then as I do now. Sallie had gone away either to go to school, or to teach school, I do not remember now which & came back to teach at Edge Hill. She was then a regular "dowdy"—didn’t care how she dressed or how her hair looked. After she went to Catonsville she changed entirely & became one of the best dressed & most stylish women I ever knew. But it was in her "dowdy" days when one day I was at the Chesapeake & Ohio dep“t and several of the Edge Hill girls came up to me & said; "Oh! Mr Duke, our new German teacher is here waiting with us for the train. She can’t speak or understand a word of English
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Won’t you come & meet her and look after her baggage?
Now these scamps knew I was very proud of my German, which I read & spoke fairly well. So I went along & was duly introduced to a young woman who did look very German—blonde, badly dressed—hair badly combed. So we exchanged a few compliments & I saw or rather heard that her German couldn’t have been improved upon. The girls crowded around us & some spirit of folly moved me to address
them in English. "Heavens! young ladies" I said, "When you get this to Edge Hill comb her hair & put her clothes on straight", & I continued in this strain—"Where did you find her? From what Mountain hollow in Bavaria did you bring her?" My facetious remarks were greeted with
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wild yells of laughter, which I put down to school exuberance.
The "German teacher" in the mean time kept a perfectly straight face & continued to speak in German—to which I replied in the same language, until finally she said in good plain English: "Here, Tom Duke, quit your foolishness & take my checks & attend to my baggage". It was Sally Carter. Of course I pretended I knew it all the time; but "no go". I must say she never seemed to mind it, but often teased me about the "German School" marm.
When Sally took charge of the Catonsville School it was about on its "last legs", but under the charge of herself & sisters it became one on the most fashionable schools in the Country & so high did it stand & so crowded was it that parents entered their girls for admission when they were
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babies. After making quite a fortune they retired & came to "Redlands", which they have restored to pristine beauty & spend their summers there—spending the winters in Baltimore.
During the Fall of this year quite an important campaign between the "Funders"—those in favour of paying the State debt and the "Readjusters" came on. Father was prevailed upon to become a candidate for the House of Delegates along with a Mr Lipscomb—a most estimable and intelligent farmer. The "Readjusters nominated Thos L. Michie & a creature named Bunch, who had been a Barkeeper & was about as low down a man as could have well been selected. For the State Senate they nominated John E. Massey who was a Baptist preacher & I think one of the most
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unprincipled old rascals I ever knew. Exceedingly smart—an unexcelled stump speaker—never hesitating to lie or make any statement he saw fit to carry his point, he rose by such means to a "bad eminence"—becoming auditor & later when be broke with Mahone—the arch devil of the whole shameless business, he became Lieutenant Governor being elected on the ticket with Fitz Lee. He was a demagogue in every sense of the word & only broke with Mahone because he could not control him.
Mahone was probably one of the worst men the State ever produced. Without morals or honesty, his ambition was a boundless as Satans & as bad. He had been a gallant Confederate Officer. A little bit of a man—one of the thinnest creatures I ever saw & one of the ugliest. He had a long
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beard—a wizened—much wrinkled face & an expression in which bad temper seemed to struggle with ugliness. He had been at the Virginia Military Institute when father was Cadet Professor of Mathematics & father taught him. After the war he went extensively into the manipulation of politics & railroads. He bought the old Richmond Whig & made it his individual organ & then went to work to consolidate the South Side & one other railroad. He carried his measure for this thro’ the Legislature and organized these railroads into the O.M &T. Railroad & ran it almost as his private property. Mrs Mahone’s name was Otelia & it was a favorite saying of the employees of the road that its true name was "Oll" mine and Otelia’s". He wrecked this road in the course
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of a few years & then became a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor. Being defeated for this by Col Holliday, he "ratted"’, organized the Readjuster Party & succeeded in carrying the State by aid of the Republicans. I knew Mrs Mahone, who was a large and handsome woman—quite a contrast to the General. It is said when during the civil war Mahone was wounded they brought the news to Mrs Mahone, but told her not to be alarmed, it was only a "flesh wound". "Then," said Mrs Mahone, "it is bound to be dangerous, for their isn’t enough flesh away from his bones to support a wound". The couple had one daughter—a very pretty girl & two sons Wm Jr. & Butler. The boys went to the University & I knew them both: The eldest was a very nice fellow & I liked him very
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much. The youngest Butler was quite wild, but I did not fancy him. When General Mahone was a Candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor, I was disposed to support him on account of my fondness for his son Billy. My Father happened to hear me say so & remarked to me: "My Son", of course if you have made up your mind to support Mahone I do not want to influence you: But I know Mahone well: I taught him at the V.M.I. I have watched his career since. He is a man without principle. His motto is rule or ruin & that & his dishonesty helped to wreck the railroads of which he was President. He is a bad man & will develop into something worse if he has any power". That settled it with me & I supported Holliday, who was
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nominated & Mahone at once started his campaign for the "readjustment" of the State debt. My father was right. Mahone developed—or rather now showed—a degree of demagoguery & vileness & contaminated the body politic with dishonesty & chicanery, from which I do not believe it has ever recovered. The best element—the most honest & upright people in the State took up arms at once in favour of the States’s payment of its debts. Had the fight been confined to the Democratic Party Mahone would have been overwhelmingly defeated but the Republicans jumped at the opportunity to disrupt the Democrats & coaslesced with the Readjusters. The fight became the bitterest I have ever known in the State. Abuse, lying, vituperation, misrepresentation became the order of the day & a great many otherwise honest people
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were led into the belief that Repudiation of the State’s honest indebtedness was not only proper but meritorious. Mahone’s organ the Richmond Whig, was sent gratuitously to nearly every voter in the State & its influence was immense. It was edited by a man named Elam—a brilliant, unprincipled man, of dissipated habits, but unquestioned genius—who never hesitated not only to "warp the truth", but to deliberately lie when it served his purpose. The paper was simply reeking with vituperation & falsehood. Elam was challenged by some one he abused—I have forgotten who—& in the duel which followed was shot in the hip and lamed for life. He had undoubted courage & wonderful ability & his paper carried an influence— especially with those who saw no other journal—far reaching & disastrous in its
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results. The fight became fierce & every man who could make a speech was called on to do so & the hustings was crowded with speakers & an intense interest was aroused throughout the entire State. Mahone, himself, took the stump & I remember an incident in the Court House in which my Father "sat down" upon the little General, or rather made him "sit down".
A joint debate had been arranged between Mahone & Mr Robt Coghill a very prominent lawyer of Amherst, who had also been a member of the State Senate. Coghill was a very frail man, who seemed never to be warm. In the hottest August weather he wore an overcoat or a shawl. He was very thin & weak & physically timid. An immense crowd filled the Court House. My father was elected Chairman of the meeting & it was arranged that
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Mahone should speak first Coghill next & then Mahone in a short speech to reply & Coghill to close. Mahone had a squeaky feminine voice & was a very poor speaker both as to matter & manner. Coghill was a very able speaker, tho’ his manner was poor. Mahone’s speech was mainly egotistical, boastful & full of platitudes as to the outrage of compelling Virginia to pay her bonds, when her slave property had been stolen from her—which was true—and one third of her territory taken from her by a "political rape". He gave Coghill an opening in some allusion to Railroads & when he came to reply Coghill taxed him with the wrecking of the South Side & another railroad of which he had become President on the consolidation—& the losses to the Bondholders & Stock-
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holders, of which the State was one of the largest & that the State would have been much more in condition to pay its debts, but for this loss for which Mahone was responsible. This raised a great shout, when Mahone jumping to his feet, his little frame quivering with anger, shouted, "You shall not say that. I defy you" & approached Coghill in a most threatening manner. Then chaos broke loose— There were yells, "Go on! Go on" & shouts of all sorts. My Father got up & said to Mahone, "Sit down Sir & take your medicine like a man". Mahone turned on him: "What the hell have you to do with it?" Now I very seldom heard my father utter an oath, but when he did it was spoken in a way that really meant something. "Damn you, Mahone", he said "Sit down this in-
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stant" and Mahone sat down immediately & the crowd was quiet. My father’s eyes were glaring & Mahone knew him. I asked my father what he would have done if Mahone had not sat down. "He was too small to hit", Father replied, "So I would have just taken him by the seat of his breeches & scruff of his neck & thrown him out of this window". The window was just back of the platform & about six feet from the ground. I believe father would have done it, for tho’ a quiet man, when he was angry his anger was something fearful to see. But there was no more trouble & Mahone kept quiet.
I "took the stump", in October & with Geo: Perkins, Frank Gilmer & one or two other young lawyers went over the County speaking. I was well received: enjoyed the trips & made many acquaintances. I
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spent the nights with friends old & young in different parts of the County & was received with the old fashioned hospitality of those days—now alas! a thing of the past. One night I spent at the home of Thos S. Martin who was then a bachelor—living with his mother, & commenced a friendship which was terminated only by his death. He was then a young lawyer, modest & retiring, but was winning his way at the Bar & laying the foundation of the eminence to which he subsequently rose. He was the most enthusiastic admirers of my father & my father was exceedingly fond of him.
I think he had one of the ablest minds with which I ever came in contact. It was a direct mind. He never allowed it to wander from the main & salient points in a case, but went
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immediately to that which was the most important point in the case & knew how to seize the chief facts bearing upon the case, & spread them, so to speak on the table, so that they could be best seen & appreciated. He was a profound lawyer & his acquaintance with the Statute Law of Virginia, was little short of marvellous. We teased him a good deal as a mere "Code Lawyer & I once wrote a squib which really vexed him for awhile:
"Legal Tom was a very shrewd boy
A great big Code was his favorite toy
He used it so much in all his suits
He beat other lawyers out of their boots"
which was a parody on the verses in Patience. After a few years of steady toil & rapidly increasing practice he began to take great interest in politics & became the right hand man of John S. Barbour the Chairman of the Demo-
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cratic party. He soon became Counsel for one of the Railroads & became so well known, that when he became a Candidate for the United States Senate, before the Legislature his election became almost a certainty—altho there was the bitterest sort of a fight, Fitz Lee being his opponent. Both Father & I went to Richmond & worked for him. Of course his defeating a man of Fitz Lee’s prominence & reputation made him a great many bitter enemies & he was abused & villified in the most outrageous way. In the end his selection proved the most fortunate thing for his State and Commonwealth & he and John W. Daniel made a pair hard to be excelled. Daniel a superb orator, & of very little practical sense. Martin a plain blunt able direct speaker—with no eloquence, but unexcelled in
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practical business sense and a Statesman in every sense of the word. I will have much to say of both when I come to my reminiscenses of later years—
I enjoyed this "stumping" through the country very much, as I have stated & it did me much good in that it gave me self confidence and taught me how to speak in the open air. We had one joint debate, between Tom Michie & myself, but I got the laugh on Tom & he declined further debate.
When the election took place in November, the Readjusters swept the State— My Father’s personal popularity elected him in Albemarle & Everett Early beat old Massie. Tom Michie was elected, so honours were a little more than easy in Albemarle.
It was during the summer of this year that Aunt Fanny Towles of Louisiana paid us a visit.
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She was mother’s oldest sister & had been an exceedingly beautiful woman. Indeed all of the Eskridge women had been noted for their beauty.
A young man Mr John T. Towles of Bayou Sara Louisiana—a descendant of the Towles family of Virginia—was a student at the University during the session of [ ] For some mischeivous prank he was "rusticated", that is ordered to go to Staunton & remain a certain number of months—a method of discipline long since done away with. He went and whilst there met Miss Frances Peyton Eskridge & his fate was sealed. Being under age he had a Guardian appointed—Chancellor Brown—the young lady’s Grandfather & the Chancellor of the Western District of Virginia—& the young lady & himself were married
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& went to the beautiful home "Weyanoke" near Bayou Sara Louisiana, where they lived a long & happy life.
The fruit of that marriage was four daughters & four sons. The daughters were Belle & Margaret—Susie & Fanny & the boys Wm Eskridge, John Turnbull—Robert Semple & Daniel Turnbull.
Cousin Belle & Margaret went to School at Patapsco Institute in Maryland & paid us a visit just before the war. I recall them as very beautiful girls. William & John came to Charlottesville as boys, boarded with us & went to school; subsequently going to Coleman’s School in Hanover & then to the University. Cousin William was a very brilliant man. He took A. M. at the University & subsequently B. L. He was very much like
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his great Grandfather Chancellor Brown—Aunt Mat used to say & was the only one of the Chancellor’s descendants who had red hair, as the Chancellor had. John was a superbly handsome young man—bright, happy & a joy to see & know.
At the outbreak of the Civil War they both entered the Confederate Service— William in the Washington Artillery & John in a Louisiania Regiment. When the army reached Centerville John was taken with Camp fever & brought to our house on High Street & died there. Just a short while after his death a young man came to the house & asked to see him. When informed of his death he went in to see his body & wept very bitterly as he stood by the bed. It was Barton Lyons—who afterwards moved
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to Charlottesville & bought the old Flannagan place on Park Street. He & I became great friends & he reminded me of the incident & told me how he loved John Towles: They had been school mates at Coleman’s. He afterwards moved to Birmingham Alabama, became a Judge there & on moving to Charlottesville he & I became good friends. He died some years ago.
Cousin William Towles was a brilliant man taking his A.M. & B.L. at the University as I have stated. He came to Virginia with the Washington Artillery of Louisiana & subsequently was taken on the staff of Gen J.E.B. Stuart who was his—and our—cousin. He was complimented for bravery several times. One act of his showed a coolness which saved him from capture. He became seperated
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from his command and rode upon a Yankee Sentinel, who leveled his gun & ordered him to halt. Fortunately Cousin William had on a dark overcoat: So when the man halted him he asked in a stern voice, "Don’t you know your own officer Sir? And how dare you carry such a dirty gun? Hand it to me". The man, perfectly astounded handed him the gun & Cousin William put spurs to his horse & rode to safety.
He became engaged to his and our Cousin Fannie Stuart daughter of Alexander H.H. Stuart of Staunton & in the early part of l863 got a furlough and started to his home to make arrangements for his marriage. The train upon which he was going ran over a broken trestle across "Chunky" River in Mississippi & Cousin William &
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a large number of passengers were drowned. His faithful body servant Bill, dived repeatedly until he recovered his young Master’s body & took it home to Weyanoke for burial. A strange thing was that Cousin William never learned to swim & it seemed impossible to him to learn. Father repeatedly tried to teach him, but it seemed in vain. Dear old Mat used to shake her head & say. "Don’t tell me about coincidences: William’s initials spelt "Wet"—William Eskridge Towles—Wasn’t that prophetic?". And speaking of coincidences I think the most remarkable thing I ever knew was the dream Aunt Towles had the night cousin William was drowned. She told me this incident herself, so there can be no question of it. Cousin William had not sent
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word to his family that he was coming home: He wanted to take them by surprise: So he neither wrote nor telegraphed. The night he was drowned, and as far as can be made out, about the same time, Aunt Towles waked up screaming & Uncle Towles asked her what was the matter: She replied, "Oh! Maj Towles, William is dead." He laughingly told her she had nightmare & to go to sleep, which she did: She again had the same dream, only this time she saw his body in water. She awoke again & was so nervous & disturbed he made her go into her daughter Belle’s room & get into her bed. She did so, & went to sleep, but the same dream came to her again & she awoke in tears and slept no more that night.
The next day when she saw
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a man riding up the long avenue of live oaks which led from the gate to the house, she said, "Well! you may laugh if you choose, but that man has a telegram telling us of William’s death". And she was right. It was a messenger with the sad news.
Now I have a theory as to this dream: How many dreams do we not have in a life-time? Thousands I suppose. Wouldn’t it be very strange if a dream & an incident did not sometimes come together? That is my theory as to such dreams and as good as any other.
Of Uncle Towles’ large family, four boys & four girls, only Bob survives & he has no children, tho’ Dan had several—keeping up the name & there are many grandchildren I sup-
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pose. We enjoyed Aunt Towles’ visit very much. She was bright & witty & showed traces of great beauty.
In the November election the "Readjusters" carried the State by a good majority: But in Albemarle my father’s personal popularity carried him through. He & Tom Michie (the Readjuster Candidate) were elected, but Everett Early beat old Massie. Father & Mother went to Richmond when the General Assembly met & spent the winter at the Saint Clair Hotel (then on the site of the Hotel Richmond of today) In this same hotel my father stayed when he taught school with Col Crozet in 1844-5. When the Legislature met a regular orgy of displacement took place. All the Judges in the State, whose elections came up were displaced & creatures of poor stuff put in their places
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Judge John L. Cochran, County Judge of Albemarle was defeated & Hezekiah Taylor who had been an iron founder & never opened a law book in his life was elected in his place. He was an honest man, however, & made a very respectable judge. He soon found that by listening to the lawyers he could get at the point & decide it by the aid of common sense. A very comical thing happened soon after he got on the Bench. Walter Dabney & John B. Moon—not then brothers-in-law nor partners were arguing a case before him & both drew elaborate instructions, exactly antagonistic. They argued them at great length & when they got through the old man waved his hands and very gravely remarked, "Gentlemen, you will have to settle this
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law between you. I know nothing about it." The case was compromised.
Taylor was not the first choice of the Legislature. Mahone—who ruled the majority of that body & selected every candidate—chose one Oswald W. Purvis as candidate for the place. Now "Os" was, without exception one of the most infernal scoundrels in the State. Absolutely without principle, very smart, unscrupulous & cunning, the records of the Chancery Court of Albemarle County in Siegfried v Purvis showed him to have been a thief. My father of course fought his nomination with all his might and did not hesitate to expose the villiany of the man. So strong a case did he make that a committee of the Legislature
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was sent to Albemarle to examine into Os’ character & found it so bad his name was withdrawn & Taylor elected. A very amusing thing happened during the fight. "Os" sent word to my father by one of his friends that if father continued his attacks on him he would challenge him to a duel. Father then sent him the following note by Uncle (Genl) Lindsay Walker—
"Sir:
Atho’ you are a common theif & unworthy of the notice of a gentleman—& much less of a character or standing to entitle you to meet a gentleman on the field of honour, I will waive all this & fight you at any time or place or with any weapons you may choose"
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No reply was ever received to this letter & the funny part of it was that "Os" never seemed to feel at all aggrieved, but continued to speak to both father & me in the most polite manner & actually tried some years after to employ us in a case—which employment we politely refused.
When Taylor got on the Bench his manner to my father was at first very "offish" & whilst he listened with courtesy one could see that it was very unpleasant to him. Father paid no attention to him but went on with cases in his Court as if the old man had been Chief Justice Marshall. In the course of six months everything changed & it finally got so that the members of the Bar used to laugh & say that my father led Judge Taylor "by the nose". He frequently came in and asked Father’s advice
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about cases before him, in which, of course we had no interest.
When the Democrats regained power in the State & Judge White was elected in Taylor’s place the old man came in the office & said, "Col Duke I want to tell you something". I know that the members of this Bar said you had too much influence over me. That was wrong! You did not have any improper or undue influence over me. But you did have great influence over me & rightly so. For you, unlike some members of this Bar, never tried to take advantage of my ignorance of the law. You dealt with me in every case you had before me in the fairest, most considerate way: Helping me to try to do right & justice and presenting every feature in the case so I could see my way clear to do
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the right thing. You have not only won my admiration but affection. I did feel rather sore when you told the Legislature of my ignorance of law; but you said I was an honest man. You were right. I was ignorant: But I have tried to be honest & just" The old man’s eyes filled with tears, as did my fathers as he arose & took the old man’s hand. "Yes! Judge", he said, "You have been just, upright & honest & have made an excellent Judge. You have listened carefully, considered fully & tried to do right. What can any Judge do more". I told my father, that in all his life he never had a higher compliment paid him.
The Readjusters expected fat "pickings" out of the Miller School over which the County Judge, had & has almost ab-
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solute control. They had already picked an old German to succeed Captain Vawter & were going to displace every teacher & employee and fill their places with creatures of their own. But old Taylor set his face like adamant against any change. He appointed John T. Randolph a good old Baptist Preacher on the Board of Visitors in the place of Col C.S. Venable & that was all. The politicians howled: Mahone raved: But the old man heeded them not and that great charity did not & never has felt the polluting touch of politics.
For Circuit Judge Mahone selected Geo: P. Hughes of Goochland: He was a dull stupid man—a poor lawyer: had never had any practice that amounted to anything & was, I think, the worst possible selection that could have been
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made. He was an honest man & tried to do right, & as the Bar was patient & courteous he did fairly well.
For the Court of Appeals Mahone selected Judge L.L. Lewis a Republican: Judge Lacey: Judge Hinton Judge Richardson & Judge T.T. Fauntleroy—or Faunt Le Roy as he wrote it.
Lewis was a gentleman & good lawyer: Hinton was a vain & conceited man with a fair knowledge of law and more than ordinary intellect: Lacey was a man of ability—a good lawyer—but such a bitter partizan he could neither see not do the right when his politics or prejudices came into a case before him. Richardson was a dull fool & much of the time under the influence of liquor. Fauntleroy was a gentleman by birth and breeding: Very exciteable and
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a bitter partizan. He had never had any law practice to amount to anything & knew no law and boasted of it. He met a lawyer soon after his election & remarked to him. "Burn your law-books, sir, The Court of which I am soon to be a member is going to pay no attention to law books. We are going to do right & justice whether it is law or not". The old gentleman & I had quite a clash when my first case came before the new Court. I interrupted Mr Southall, who was closing a case & made an absolute misstatement of the record—unintentionally of course. Old Faunt leant over the bench & said, "None of that Sir. You cannot do that in this Court no matter what you do in the Circuit Court". I, of course being young & foolish got
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wildly mad. Southall thanked me for the correction—acknowledged his error & took his seat.
I at once got up & tho’ Lewis tried to stop me I broke forth. "If your Honour’s please I have been rebuked by a member of this Court in an offensive & improper way. I want to say I am much better acquainted with the rules & manners of this Court & have had more practice in it in a year, than the Honourable member who rebuked me has ever had in his life." I sat down: Lewis said "We understand, Mr Duke" & said no more. Faunt said nothing, but after adjournment as I was standing on the Court green I saw old Faunt hurrying towards me: "Its a fight or a footrace," I said to myself—for the old man was very irascible
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and pugnacious: He came up however and held out his hand: "You shouldn’t get angry with an old man, Sir," he said, and we shook hands & were ever afterwards good friends. Both of his sons & I have been warm friends & his grandsons, the Balls, are great friends of Eskridge, who waited on one of them in Biltmore when he was married.
The opinion of this Court do not carry very great weight with the Courts which have succeeded them. Amongst the "basement" officers turned out was poor old R.M.T. Hunter one of the most distinguished men in the State. He had been a wealthy man—United States Senator &c &c, but was ruined by the war. He actually made a meagre living running a little grist mill on one of his farms. He was
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elected State Treasurer—an office giving him a living, but the "Mahonites" removed him. I happened to be in the House when my Father renominated him for Treasurer. He made a beautiful speech in which he compared the old man to blind Belisarius turned out to starve in his old age by a Country he had so well served. He actually bought tears to the eyes of many who voted against him.
In the House was a creature named Farr—who was elected Superintendant of Education: I do not believe he knew how to spell & was quite ignorant. But that made no difference to the Mahonites. He also "handled the truth very keerless" and when taxed with it made a very absurd speech in which he constantly alluded to his "honour", slapping a very
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rotund stomach as he did so. Catlett Gibson member of the House from Culpeper replied to him & every now & then would slap a very prominent and round stomach & allude to the seat of Mr Farr’s honour. Even the Mahonites roared, as they did when my father in another reply to Farr, said that now in Virginia men would understand the difference between "Farr" play and "Fair" play.
Massie was elected Auditor & Mahone & Riddleberger United States Senators. The latter was a second rate lawyer from the Valley who eventually drank himself to death. He disgraced the State by appearing drunk on the floor of the Senate & once in such an uproarious condition as to have be removed by force by the Sergeant at [Arms]
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struggling & yelling & fighting like a madman. The poor creature drank himself to death.
During that winter whilst Father & Mother were in Richmond I spent a very pleasant week there, visiting Willie & Minnie Allen & being very delightfully entertained by them. Mrs Oates was in the City at the time & there were several box parties. I heard then for the first time some of Offenbach’s comic operas & also "Girofl‚, Girofla". Several of the refrains of these operas linger with me yet & in connection with the last a rather curious incident happened when I was in Paris in 1924. Mrs Duke went to a dressmaker, Mme Steenlet, in the Rue des Mathurins, just opposite La Chapelle Expiatoire, Mrs Steenlet’s father, whose name unfortunately I never learned, was a most charming old
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gentleman—very neat, handsome quiet & elegant. During the hours of fitting he & I became very "chummy" & as he talked very slowly & aided my bad french by the nicest suggestions— He spoke no english— We got along very pleasantly. I happened to speak of my fondness for music & how certain foolish little airs would linger in my memory and I instanced by humming a little refrain Mrs Oates used to sing most charmingly: "Je suis en peu grise" ["I’m a little tipsy"] &c &c "Ah! Girofl‚ Girofla", the old gentleman exclaimed "Je le connais tr_s bien. Le composeur et moi _taient amis: J’ _tais … la premi_re de cet Opera avec mon ami. Il _tais tr_s nerveux: mais c’_tait un secc_s tr_s grand." [I know it very well. The composer and I were friends; I was at the premier of that opera with my friend. He was very nervous: but it was a very great success."]
I heard several of Offenbach’s operas afterwards in New York
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Lilian Russell in the leading role & her Grande Duchesse and Belle Hel_ne were very fine. She was an exceedingly beautiful woman & sang and acted well.
In the desultory way in which I have written these memoirs I of course overlook things which tho’ probably uninteresting to you, my children, I love to set down by way of remembrance:
I had a great deal of enjoyment out of dances & visits during this year. I remember with peculiar pleasure visits to "Sunny Side" as Hancock’s old Tavern just beyond Keswick was called by Mr J.B. Pace the wealthy tobacconist of Richmond. It is a beautiful place now (1925) occupied by Mr Barr. The Paces had delightful house parties at one of which I remember the Rev Mr Jackson—afterwards Bishop of Alabama—Coadjustor for awhile
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of my dear old friend Bishop Wilmer and I am afraid was somewhat of a trial to him. For Jackson was not a man of much dignity & I have heard became very unpopular & did not become his high office as he should have done. But at this time he was the very popular preacher of one of the fashionable churches in Richmond. He was a fine, if rather florid, preacher—a man of charming manners, who did not let his ministry set very heavily upon him. He was at this time courting Violet Pace—whom he afterwards married: Both are dead now. We had glorious times at these parties—juleps & delightful food—music & dancing and Mrs Pace a most pleasant kindly lady—did everything she could to make her guests
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have a good time, and they had it. I find a memorandum in my diary of that year of a party of thirteen at dinner & I remember Nannie Pace jumping up & declaring she would not remain at the table with that unlucky number. We laughed her out of it. Nobody died within a year, but Nannie was the first one of that dinner party who did die, several years after. The party consisted of—Violet Pace: Willie Grant (who had a beautiful voice) Otey Cullen Miss Jackson; Mrs Marshall: Tom Pace: Mr Marshall: Lizzie Cullen: Mary Duke (my sister) Jo Lane Stern: Nannie Pace: Lou Barksdale and myself: Violet Pace married her Mr Jackson of whom I have spoken: Lizzie Cullen married John Anderson: Nannie Pace married Alex Donnan: Lou Barksdale married [ ] Lathrop. My sister married
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Dr Charles Slaughter. I do not know what has become of Miss Jackson & Mr & Mrs Marshall, but Jo Lane Stern & I are the only survivors of that party I now know of. Nannie Pace died at the White Sulphur, of consumption. A grewsome thing was connected with her death. There was no undertaker at the White & no caskets: So—as her death was expected almost any hour a coffin was ordered from Richmond & the box with it in it, stood on the dep“t platform for several days before her death & was daily inspected by parties of gay young folks. Her death made no change at the White the day she died—Morning "Germans" & evening dances went on all the same—
"Et on danc‚ jus’qu’ a jour
Chez—le White". ["And one danced until day at home—the White"]
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Trout Fishing
In writing as I have done at odd times and in a desultory way I have neglected one of the greatest pleasures of my life & one which brought me, into the delightful companionship with my dear Father. And that is my trout fishing in Moorman’s River.
This River rises in what is known as "Sugar Hollow" in the North Western part of the County. It is a beautiful clear stream & in the "Hollow" runs over a very rocky channel—sometimes amidst great boulders, between which it plunges in a little cataract into deep bluish pools. I had spent many happy hours on its lower reaches at Walnut Grove—Uncle Bob Rhodes place. It was & is a beautiful stream, tho’ now much reduced in size and
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its loveliness impaired by the denudation of the forests.
It was not originally a "trout" stream, but in the late forties Mr Giles Rogers went over the Blue Ridge & netted a dozen trout & bought then over in buckets & put them in the stream. It suited them so well that in a few years they multiplied exceedingly & when my father commenced fishing with Mr. Rogers & a good friend Mr Rippetoe who lived on the stream some miles from its head, they were quite abundant & as fine fish as I ever saw. Father never missed fishing the stream in May except when he was in Johnson’s Island Prison in 1865—always getting a furlough during the war in that month & putting in a day’s fishing. Mr Rippetoe—who
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was a fine angler generally went with him, until his death just after the civil war. He lived with his daughters about a mile & a half below where we used to commence fishing & after his death his three daughters—one a widow & two spinsters—lived there until one by one they passed away. With them in a little cabin in rear of their home lived a faithful negro named George who practically took care of them & did all their work. He was a faithful old time negro—respectful & respectable—honest— industrious & of a kind the world will never see again. Mr Rippetoe was a deputy sheriff before the war & a splendid type of man. He died before I ever knew him. His daughters were fine women & devoted to my father. I think they
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looked upon his annual visit as the event of the year & he always stopped going and coming & had a good long chat sometimes stopping for dinner which was always a clean good meal—
We stayed during our fishing trips at Mrs Tommie Harris’ whose had two daughters one of whom married Rice Wood & the other Bettie—a handsome woman was single when I first knew her & did not marry until her mother’s & sister’s & brother-in-law’s death. Mr Harris kept a boarding house near the University prior to the Civil War in a large brick house—since burned—which stood on the left of the Fry’s Spring Road just this side of the bridge over the C&O Railroad. Three houses have since been erected on its
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site. I—in after years—recalled the first time I ever saw Miss Bettie. It was just after the state had seceded & Mr Harris had erected a tall flag pole in front of his house. On it a Confederate flag was to have been raised & was raised. A large crowd—students and town folks had assembled & Miss Bettie came out dressed as the flag: That is a bodice of blue with stars on it & a skirt of two white & one red flag. Old Mr Jimmie Alexander made the address. He was a Boston man a printer by trade & came to Charlottesville to help print Colonel Randolph’s edition of Jefferson’s papers. He was a most enthusiastic Democrat & owned & edited the "Jeffersonian Republican" His son Wm Alexander was the Adjutant of my Father’s Company "B" & was killed at
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the Battle of Hatcher’s Run. Mr Alexander was the Grandfather of our townsman Harry George. Of course I do not remember his speech , but I do distinctly remember his conclusion. "If Thomas Jefferson was here today", he shouted, "his soul would leap for joy", and as he said this he jumped up at least two feet from the ground. I do not think he had ever read Quintillian, but in this instance he certainly suited "the gesture to the word."
Mr Harris was one of the securities on the bond of Mr Keblinger who was post master in 1860-61. After the war, a large judgment was recovered—most iniquitously—against Mr Harris and Keblinger’s other securities for the money & stamps taken by the Confederate Government after the State
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seceded. Mr Harris then moved to the little farm on Moorman’s River where his widow & daughters resided when Father & I went fishing—
Mrs Harris was a plump, kind hearted, delightful old lady, who seemed to enjoy our visits. Bettie was still a handsome woman—well educated & pleasant— The other daughter who married Rice Wood was tall & angular & one of the best woman I ever knew. Rice was a gentleman in every sense of the word—one of nature’s nobleman whose bearing & conduct would have done credit to a palace—and whose instincts of courtesy & kindliness I have never known equalled by anyone. He worked with his own hands. Was a devoted husband & to his mother-in-law & her daughter Bettie all that a son and bro-
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ther could have been. He was a fine soldier— Brave without recklessness—cool under fire & was never known to fire his musket without taking aim Captain H. Clay Michie in whose company he was always said that it was a bullet from Rice’s gun which wounded General Hancock at Gettysburg. They were in Pickett’s charge & when in gun shot of the stonewall, Captain Michie noticed an officer on a fine horse who rode fearlessly in the rear of his men. "Can’t you hit that fellow Rice?" said the Captain. "I’ll try to put a bullet thro his sash" Rice replied & taking deliberate aim he fired & the man on the horse fell. After Captain Michie was captured he asked who this officer was &
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was told "General Hancock."
It was Captain Michie’s company that fired upon and killed Genl Kearney— whose son came to this County—built & now lives upon Lewis’ Mountain.
But to return to our fishing. Father’s preparations for his annual outing, commenced every year for the next, Mother used to say. He had a large wooden box made in which he kept some cooking utensils—his creel—fishing coat &c and numerous plates & glasses &c &c. His fishing rods—& he had some very fine ones—his flies &c all the angler’s paraphernalia—he put away very carefully in an upstairs room, occasionally taking them out to oil them & see that they were in good order— About two weeks before we started he had the gardener dig quite a
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number of fishing worms. He got a basket & filled it with wet moss in which he put these worms: Then every day he poured into the moss a little milk & water. At the end of the two weeks the worms were almost transparent and quite tough— He used worms as baits almost altogether as the Moorman’s River trout were "ground feeders" and very seldom rose to flies—no matter how tempting the ones we used—and I think my father & I used every fly we had in our books with poor success. The strange thing was that when we crossed the Mountain & got into the streams there, the trout rose greedily to the fly, but scorned the worms.
Father about a week before we started went over all of his tackle & saw that it
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was in good order & everything in "ship shape". We always drove up in a "spring wagon" & the trip—which is now made easily in an hour or less—took five hours—sometimes six. We always stopped at White Hall to chat for a few minutes father’s old schoolmate & friend Mr. Geo: Brown—whose very pretty daughter Mollie I knew well & saw her very often at our tableaux & dances. We stopped again at the Rippetoes to "pass the time o’ day", & went on to the Harris’ where a warm welcome awaited us. We rarely ever started to fish the afternoon we got to Harris’, tho’ Father would now & then go up or down the run & some back with half a dozen trout & chub which we had for supper. The drive generally tired me & we went to bed
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early. Our room opened on the porch & the river was not twenty steps from the house & as it tumbled over the stones with a most musical ripple I realized to the full what Byron meant when he said:
"Lulled by falling waters".
We were up early & after a delicious breakfast saddled our horse & I rode on up the run about two miles & tied the horse & then fished down the stream—father fishing up. When we met we compared "catches" & oh! mention it not in these days of cant & hypocrisy—took a drink & father fished on up to where the horse was tied & I fished down to the house, where he rode in later. I remember on one occasion when we met & had our dram, we compared our respective catches. Each had
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caught twelve fine trout and as we laid them out side by side they would have weighed almost the same. Then father with a twinkle in his eye reached down in his creel & pulled out one the finest fish I ever saw caught in Moorman’s River—with one exception—& that exception was in my creel. I too had kept back the best for the last & I do not believe any one could have told any difference between the two fish. So we had a good laugh: took another dram & parted. I may say that I very seldom took any fish in the water father had fished over, but he usually took several in that in which I had fished: But then he was one of the best anglers I ever knew.
Sometimes instead of staying at Mrs Harris’ we went on to Bazaleel Brown’s about two
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miles further up the stream.
Mr Brown was a most estimable gentleman— Son of Dr Charles Brown who died at the advanced age of 96—or 97 & of whom I may write later on. Mr Brown "Bazeel" as he was called—had married a daughter of "Bazeel" Garth—one of the greatest oddities I ever knew—and of whom "more anon". She was a splendid woman— They had one daughter who married Oscar Early—a great, big, lumbering good hearted, good natured fellow & the biggest liar I ever knew. Perhaps I ought to say "romancer", for Oscar never told a malicious or unkind lie in his life. He & his wife lived with the old couple & we enjoyed Oscar’s yarns as we did the kindly hospitality of Mr and Mrs Brown. I find in an old common
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place book the following—which from its place in the book must have been written in 1873 or 1874:
"Went on a trout fish with Pa June 19th. Stopped at Tate’s old saw mill & had dinner. Caught seven trout that evening. Spent the night at "Bazeel" Browns. Saturday we fished down the stream from a mile above the "Cool Spring" branch. Caught two dozen, the largest twelve inches. Came home at 11 1/2 at night. While fishing went up to the falls in Cool Spring Branch: They are most beautiful—about 30 feet high. At the top the rocks were piled together in picturesque masses: from between two boulders a stream creeps forth and falling two or three feet ripples down in lovely masses like waves over rocks nearly perpendicular, then shoots abruptly to the right
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and descends a rock slanting at about 80o and then spreads out like a a vail & shimmers over a slanting rock ten feet or more wide, then collects again in a narrow stream and falling a foot or so spreads out into a lovely pool clear as crystal about twenty feet long & fifteen wide, the whole embowered in a glen as lovely as a painters dream."
Father always wound up his excursion with a big fish fry & Brunswick Stew, to which he invited "the Hollow". He generally took along about five gallons of Monticello Claret, & brewed in a wash tub a claret punch which the Mountaineers called "Dog’s blood." This was the only "spirituos refreshment" allowed & so these parties never became hilarious. Each Mountaineer brought a
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a squirrel or so & failing a squirrel—a chicken & father prepared a big iron pot of his celebrated stew. Lest it be lost to a posterity hardly worthy of it, I give the receipt.
In a large iron pot in which water was simmering over the fire were placed, corn & ochra & butter beans & tomatoes and a few potatoes—a generous piece of bacon—and the squirrels & chickens cut in small pieces, and a big lump of butter. To that was added a bottle [of Worchester Sauce inserted later]—large or small according to the size of the stew & the pot was allowed to boil slowly until the squirrels & chicken were "all to pieces". Just before the stew was ready to serve the trout were put in the frying pan & by the time the stew was eaten the fish was ready. Generally the Mountaineers brought chubs—which
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they had caught & there was an abundance to eat & drink, "topped off" with cups of black coffee.
I never think of these fishing trips without recalling Col Fred: Skinner—who went with us on one of them & who spent his last days at Capt Fry’s on Park Street in Charlottesville. He used to visit at SunnySide a good deal & frequently spent at evening at my house, where I produced a bottle of claret & listened to the Colonel’s delightful reminiscences.
He was a tall man—over six feet—& must have been a very handsome man in his youth. He was my beau ideal of a beau sabreur [ideal of a fine officer]: Long white moustache—white hair—ruddy complexion and carried himself—despite his seventy odd years as erect as an Indian— His career had been a remarkable one. His father
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at one time postmaster at Baltimore had served with Lafayette in the Revolutionary War. When Lafayette was in this country he visited Mr Skinner & was very much taken with Colonel Skinner—then a mere youth. He insisted upon taking him back to France with him & did so and he spent his youth at La Grange and in Paris with Lafayette.
Of course he spoke French like a native. He told me of a funny incident which happened at La Grange, when he was about sixteen years old. A Marquis & his wife visited La Grange whilst he was there. Mme La Marquise was—Colonel Skinner said—one of the ugliest women he ever saw, but was much taken with this handsome young American. She accordingly made much of him & on one occasion when they were alone in the Salon, she
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insisted upon kissing him, which she was doing with much emphasis, when in walked M Le Marquis—who promptly made a most profound bow—apologized for his intrusion & left. Col Skinner said he left also with much rapidity by another door. During the balance of that day, he said he was the most unhappy man or rather youth—in France. Visions of duels or sudden murder were constantly before his eyes & he betook himself to the most secluded parts of the Castle. To his horror in one of the most obscure passages he ran plump into the Marquis—who took him by the shoulders, led him to a window & looked at him very steadily a moment. Colonel said he thought his last hour had come, when the Marquis with a pleasant laugh said: "Ah! ah! quel beau gar‡on: mais
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quel mauvais gout" ["Ah! ah! what a handsome youth: but what bad taste"] & walked off. The Colonel said he felt that death would have been a boon at that time.
He returned to America & bought with him a large cuirassier’s sabre—which is now in the Confederate Museum at Richmond. It did good service whilst the Colonel commanded the 1st Virginia Regiment C.S.A. & I learnt of its service in a rather curious way. On this trip we stopped at Whitehall & there came up to us Alex: Wood—a brother of Rice Wood & a very good fellow who lived in the hollow next to Sugar Hollow. When my father saw him he called to him: "Come here Alex: I want you to meet an old Confederate Soldier". Alex had been a very gallant soldier himself. "This is Colonel Skinner", Alex: stretch out his hand: "What!" said he, "Colonel Skinner
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of the "Fust" Virginia?" "Yes!" replied the Colonel: "Shake hands, Colonel" said Alex: "I never expected to see you again, after I saw you cut that Yankee in two at second Manassess." It was at Second Manassess that Alex was in a charge upon a Yankee battery & in line with the first Virginia Infantry which Colonel Skinner commanded. After firing a volley of grape shot all the men in the battery fled except two gallant fellows who stuck to their gun & had re-loaded it & one was about to pull the lanyard when Colonel Skinner—who was riding a splendid horse he called "Fox", in rear of his regiment, parted the line, dashed through it & raising in his stirrups actually cut off the shoulder & arm of the unfortunate man about to pull the lanyard: The other man fired at the Colonel, his pistol
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ball just grazing the Colonel’s ear— He then turned to run & the Colonel ran him through with his sabre. "I was so mad", he said "from the pain of that grazing shot, that I felt an unequalled joy, when I felt the point of my sabre enter the cloth of the poor devil’s jacket: I pierced him entirely through & as he fell the weight of his body drew my sword out & I fell off my horse almost upon him."
The marvellous thing about the matter was that at the time Colonel Skinner killed these two men a grape shot had pierced his body & he lay in the Hospital for months before he recovered & then was compelled to leave the Service permanently disabled; Father told me that whilst the Colonel was lying on the ground, some of his men staunching the wound, Genl Lee rode up and
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dismounting came up to the Colonel & leant over him, telling him of his admiration of his gallantry & expressing his deep regret at the Colonel’s condition. "Ah! General", the old Colonel, replied: "but didn’t Fox"—his horse—"make a magnificent charge?"
Whilst we were laying under the shadow of the trees on this trip, the Colonel’s shirt was open & I noticed the large hole in his chest, showing where the grape shot had pierced him. I commented on the wonderful strength he must have had to have been able even to sit on his horse after this wound. "I never felt it", he replied, "until I fell off my horse I was so excited & anxious about my men, I believe I would have ridden on if my head had been shot off". But the bullet which grazed my ear gave me
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far more pain than this wound".
The Colonel was an expert fly fisher, but could do nothing with any fly he tried, so—as he laughed & said, "These d— trout don’t know a good thing when they see it", & he was "humiliated" to use worms. It was he who told us the difference between "ground feeders" & "fly feeders" & said it was no uncommon thing. Father, however, eventually found a small white fly which they took greedily & I have an idea that the trout were "ground feeders" at one time of the year & took the fly at other times.
After the civil war Colonel Skinner went to Egypt representing an American Arms Company, & remained in that Country several years: He did not succeed very well as the English seemed to have a monopoly of selling to the Khedive. On his return he lived awhile.
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in Baltimore & then came to Charlottesville & boarded at Capt Fry’s (now Prof Wilson’s) on Park Street, where he died. I used to buy a good many french novels & the Colonel would borrow them & very often come down & take supper & discuss these books & also a bottle of Monticello claret which I always opened whenever he came down. He was a most delightful talker & both Edith & I used to enjoy his visits very much. In his last illness I used to visit him & take him books. I never shall forget my last visit to him. The old soldier was in bed & on a little table by him were two or three of the books I had lent him— One I remember was called "Crime d’Amour." "There are your books", my son,
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"I have read them, but I can’t say I have enjoyed them. I love the french. I love french literature; but I must say that of late years the french authors seem to think that there is only one kind of love in the world & that is love in its worst aspect, if true love can ever have any bad aspect". I never saw him again. I loved & admired the old man very much & it was a privelege to know him.
Father was devoted to him & accompanied his body to Baltimore when it was taken there for burial.
I look back on these trout fishing expeditions with a pleasure hard to put in words: The close companionship with my dear father & the joy I took in his joy are amongst the memories the sweetest of my
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boyhood & young manhood.
Only week before last I motored to Monterey (August 13-16—1925) & went over part of the ground over which father & I drove in the same month in 1872. His dear memory went along with me all the way. But then his memory is ever with me each day of my life. He was very fond of outdoor life. Fond of hunting and fishing & of garden & fruit trees. He used to graft a great deal & I have eaten many a fine pear and cherry from trees of his grafting. I loved his companionship more than that of any other man I ever knew. We walked a great deal in the "Barbecue" woods—often for an hour or so with hardly a word spoken. But we needed no words: Our companionship was enough & we understood one another & were happy with each other.
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1880 and Afterwards
The year 1880 was a memorable one in more ways than one. In it I heard my first series of Grand Opera and above all other things never to be forgotten I first met the woman who was to be my future wife—your dear mother. As I have written heretofore Father & Mother went to Richmond—Father to attend the session of the Legislature. I went down in April—of course after he & mother came back, the General Assembly having adjourned—& spent a most delightful three or four days—spending one night a Willie Allen— I called on many of my White Sulphur friends & made the acquaintance of Gay Thomas—a beautiful girl who afterwards married Pierson—Minister to Persia—she too has gone over to the majority. I lunched & dined at her Father’s house & we became good friends . During the week I saw Emma
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Abbots Opera troupe in Faust & took my sister, who was visiting Sally Knight to see Zelda Sequin in "Chimes of Normandy". I also saw Abbrett in "Romeo & Juliet" I have seen Faust & Romeo & Juliet several times since, sung by great artists, but do not think I ever enjoyed them as much as then. I last saw Faust at Nice in the Spring of 1923, most beautiful staged & sung. To this day Faust is my favorite Opera & the Italian School of Music is to me the perfection of music. Wagner is great, but there is too much "musical mathematics" in his work. When he has "harmony it is exquisite harmony but one has to wait too long for it.
But I anticipate & must mention the year from its beginning. It was a strange sort of January— Very mild weather for awhile
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and then quite cold with one or two snows: During the winter we had a great many dances & as I had moved into town & occupied a room I had built over my office I went to most of them. I also made a new & very dear friend—Harold Parker of Boston. His father took the contract to build the railroad from Orange to Charlottesville to connect up the Southern—then called the Washington City &c & Great Southern Railway. Up to the time of the construction of this road the Southern came to Gordonsville & from thence ran on the track of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway to Gordonsville leaving it at what was then known as the "Junction"—now the Union Station. It was a very inconvenient arrangement to both roads & the Southern was anxious to get a direct route of its own from Orange to Charlottesville. As its finances were in bad shape a corporation was
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formed known as the Charlottesville & Rapidan Railroad & a gentleman from Boston Mass—Mr Parker—agreed to build it & take bonds of the railroad in payment— His son Harold, came on to superintend the work & made his home in Charlottesville. He was a stout—red headed—florid faced young man & one of the finest fellows I ever knew. He very soon became "one of us" & was deservedly popular. He fell very much in love with Lizzie Walker—now Mrs Albin—who lived with her mother Mrs John N.C. Stockton at "The Brook". Mrs Stockton was a daughter of Mr Wm Garth of "Birdwood" whose first husband Genl Walker was killed in a duel during the civil war leaving her with two children—Marcellus & Lizzie. John Stockton had been her early lover & renewed his suit when she came back to her old home. By him she
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had one son—Woods—who died only a month or so ago—June 1925. "The Brook," originally called "Carr’s Brook" was a beautiful old place on the North Fork of the Rivanna about five miles from Charlottesville & was noted for its hospitality. John Stockton never "grew up:" He was always a great big overgrown boy—splendid company & one of the handsomest men I ever saw— He died in the Lunatic Asylum many years since.
Harold Parker got into the habit of going to the Brook with us & soon fell a victim to Lizzie’s charms. They were engaged to be married, but Lizzie was quite fond of flirtations & the affair was broken off to the great regret of Lizzie’s family. We were all fond of Parker & did our best to make him have a good time & he and his father appreciated very much our taking him up as we did. When the
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Hanlan-Courtney boat race took place in Washington Harold invited some four or five of us to go to the race as his guests & we did so and had a most delightful time of it, tho’ the race was a decided failure. His brother Herbert paid him quite a visit whilst he was here: A fine fellow who afterwards became Attorney General of Massachusetts. He is living still, but Harold died some year s ago. In 1909, my brother, Jack Eskridge & I took a trip to Boston & Harold made us have a good time. He was then Highway Commissioner of the State of Massachusetts & took us on Auto rides on one which we went to the "Wayside Inn" & met the owner a Mr Lemon, who for some inexplainable reason took a great fancy to me & when your mother & I went to the Inn some years later was exceedingly
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courteous—would not let us pay any fees—wanted us to pay him a visit &c. His sister & a friend came to Charlottesville & spent some days: So I took them to Monticello & on several drives.
In 1909 when with Mary, Helen Kathleen & Eskridge we took our automobile trip thro’ New England we went to the Wayside Inn. Mr. Lemon had died the year before, but his sister & widow were still at the Inn & were delighted to see us—refused any fees, gave us postals &c &c & it was very pleasant to know how they felt towards us. Henry Ford had since bought the Inn.
Harry also gave us a lovely dinner at his place at Winchester—near Boston. Harry died some years ago. In him I lost a good friend & his Commonwealth a splendid citizen.
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We had a great deal of snow during the winter months of 1880, some very deep ones, but it did not interfere with our pleasures & there was quite a round of gaiety amongst the young folks in which I had my share. I took much interest in Free Masonry & being Master of Widow’s Son Lodge No 60 I was very regular in my attendance. I was very devoted to Lucy Shackelford & saw a great deal of her—possibly too much & my dear Father—whose sense of the proprieties was as high as his sense of honour & justice told me one day I was paying her too much attention unless I intended to marry her. "You are probably keeping other suitors off & undoubtedly making her think you are a suitor for her hand: Now if you wish to marry I have no objection to offer, but if you do not, think over what I have
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said." And I did & had a long sweet talk with her which cleared up matters & I was not quite so attentive. She understood & we remained very dear friends up to the day of her death. A lovely sweet woman & very beautiful.
It was in the Spring of this year I met for the first time my dear wife Edith R. Slaughter. I had gone to Edgehill to lead a "German" given in the closing hours of the School & saw in the parlour a very beautiful rather small young lady. She had immense sparkling black eyes & a complexion so brilliant I thought she was very injudiciously rouged. So I said to Eliza Ruffin, "Who is that beautiful little girl & why doesn’t somebody teach her how to rouge herself." "Rouge?" said "Liza"—"Come over here & I’ll introduce you to her & you’ll soon see what sort of rouge
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she uses" & I was introduced to "Miss Slaughter" & saw her colour come & go & recognized that the scarlet on her cheeks came from old Dame Nature’s paint box. I asked her to dance, but she declined saying she did not dance "the round dances". I made some fool speech & went back to the dance. The next time I saw her was at the C & O Dep“t with another young lady to whom, fortunately for me, she introduced me to as "Miss Slaughter". I had forgotten her name, but when she introduced me to this cousin—who was Roberta Slaughter—afterwards "Bert Harker"—it recalled her name. She often used to laugh afterwards & say she always regretted calling "Bert’s" name, as she saw I did not know her. I did know her, but had forgotten her name. I knew her father—Mr J.F. Slaughter—
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very well, as he was on the Miller Board of which I was Secretary. I do not think I ever saw her again until she came to visit Mary at SunnySide & as I have related otherwise, Mary went to visit her & Charlie fell in love with Mary & married her—I fell in love with Edith & we became engaged in 1882, just about two years before our marriage. She did not wish to be married until she was twenty one & our wedding day for that day, was fixed about the time of our engagement.
No marriage was ever any happier & later on I want to tell you what a superb character your mother was—the dearest, truest noblest, most loving of wives. But this summer I went my way having a good time & little thinking I had met my fate & life’s great happiness.
Father & I took our usual trout
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fish & I had fine luck, but catching more chub than trout. On the 15 of May we had a fine fish fry & I find from a memorandum in my diary that Mother drove up & enjoyed the occasion very much. My brother Willie & Andrew Craven, Jarman: Alex & Rice Wood, Layman & Ballard: John Garth & Jim Dabney Garth were present. Willie & I alone survive Later in the month as Harold Parker’s guests, about half a dozen of us went to Washington to the Hanlan-Courtney boat race—as I have heretofore related.
I began this year to visit in the "Green Mountain" neighbourhood at Estouteville & Enniscorthy & in those fine old places I had much pleasure & made friends of the Coles’—boys and girls— I also paid a visit in July to the "Green Springs" neighbourhood in Louisa—that very beautiful & fertile section of that County—
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a section of splendid homes & charming people. George & Lucy Shackelford & Jennie Randolph & I made up a party. We stayed at Sylvania one of the Morris places & at "Hawkwood"—Mr Richard Morris splendid home—a brick mansion set in a lovely grove; The rooms octagonal shaped. Mr Morris had several sons & was a great friend of my fathers. It was a most delightful visit & the friendship I made with the Morris boys was a lasting one. Only two—I believe survive & Hawkwood has changed hands repeatedly.
In August of 1880 I went again to the White Sulphur & there found the same friends with whom I had had such a delightful time on my last visit. As we all met in the lobby there were exclamation of delight & we all predicted another glorious time. But alas! "the foam was off the glass". We
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went together a great deal & did have a good time, but the old merry jest & laughter & spirit of fun was not the same.
We had several other delightful people who joined "our crowd". A Miss Fanny Wickham of St Louis & a Miss Lizzie Webb of Baltimore. I never saw Miss Wickham after that summer, but I called on Lizzie Webb at her home in Baltimore several years later & some years ago I was at the home of Earnes[t] Ballard near Philadelphia spending the day & he told me he had a surprise for me at dinner. So just before dinner was announced three other guests came: One was a very stout lady of a "certain age", who came up to me rather enthusiastically & said: "Why I would have known you, anywhere! Now who am I?" I looked at the very
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gray haired & decidedly "plump" lady, searching in vain for something to remind me of some one but in vain: "Why I am Lizzie Webb," she said & of course I enthused. But that summer at the White, she was a very pretty girl with a very pretty figure. Ah! me how the years tell on us.
We had the usual round of gaiety at the White & a leap year "German", to which Nannie Leary took me. She looked & was very beautiful. We had one or two private parties which were very pleasant—one given by a South Carolinian Grimball Robinson, which was quite hilarious. At the end of the week I left for Chicago to attend the Convocation of the Grand Encampment of Knight’s Templar of the United States & again went down the Ohio on a little steamboat—spent the night in Cincinnati & was all
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night & part of a day on the train. I couldn’t get a berth on the Pullman & sat all night behind the Grand Commander of Knight’s Templar—Col Withers United States Senator from Virgi



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