Thursday, February 28, 2013

1860 - Memphis Absolutely Needs a Vigilance Committee

Nashville Union and American
August 1, 1860

"Memphis Overrun with Scoundrels"--The picture which the Avalanche of the 30th ult. presents of the morals of Memphis shows that place to be in a deplorable condition.  The following is the article, sensation heading and all;

An Intolerable Outrage!--  
Memphis Overrun with Scoundrels! -- 
A Lady Insulted and Shot At! -- 
A Vigilance Committee Absolutely Required!

There is no place in the Union where lawlessness, murders and villainies are carried on with a higher hand than in our own city, and no place on the face of the earth where the law is less efficacious in reaching the perpetrators of outrage and crime than here on this goodly bluff of Memphis. The cry, "Let the law take its course," has become almost synonymous with "Open the doors of the prison and let the criminals go forth."  We are opposed, to the bitter end, to anything like mob law, and would be among the first to step forth and suppress it; but we do think that when the time comes in which the life and property of no one is safe from destruction and violence, when people are not screened from insult and assault within the precinct of their own homes; when rowdies and scoundrels stalk about doing open-handed villainy in the very face of what is termed the "law," it is time for good and honest citizens to wake up, rid the community of the worthless vagabonds, cut-throats, thieves and the like characters, that  themselves and their neighbors may live in peace and security.  That time is now upon us; Memphis abounds with outrage and crime, thieves, house-burners and scoundrels of the deepest dye.  Not a day's record but what proves the truth of this statement.

During the last two months we have been called upon to record instances of riots, homicides, and murders, but we know not of a more aggravated case of outrage and violence than the one which took place between the hours of eleven and twelve o'clock last Saturday night, upon the premises of the Rev. Samuel Watson, editor of the Memphis Christian Advocate, who resides in the vicinity of the State Female College, near the Hernando road, and in hearing of the church bells of Memphis.  A party of some twenty-five or thirty scoundrels, from this city, marched into that vicinity at the hour named above, whooping and yelling like so many fiends, carrying terror to the heart of every one who heard them. They attacked the garden premises of Mr. Watson, tore down the fences there, as they did at many other places, and destroying everything they could lay hold of.  Not content with this, they fired several pistols at an old negro man, who was the only protector of the place--for Mr. Watson had gone to Mississippi--because he attempted to remonstrate with them, and told them his mistress was alone and frightened almost to death.  They then chased him, yelling and cursing, to the house, when they left him, on seeing Mrs. Watson standing on the porch, and attacked her, discharging several pistols at her as she retreated into the house--the bullets rattling around her on the boarding of the building.  After laying waste all they could, and setting the women and children to frightful screaming, they came back towards the city, howling, dancing and screeching.

Can the people of Memphis--will the people of Memphis--permit such scoundrels to go unpunished and that summarily, too, in their midst?  If such an inoffensive, quiet, Christian family as the Rev. Mr. Watson's is not safe from such villains, whose can be?  No description can give an idea of the horrid proceedings of this cut-throat gang.  They should be, and can be reached, if the people of Memphis know what is orderly and right, and dare carry it out.  Who will be the first movers in ferreting out these rascals and all like them, and forcing them to leave the community?  We repeat the heading of this article, "Memphis absolutely needs a vigilance committee."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

1863 - Not All Died on the Field of Battle

Lucius M. Walker
The death of Brigadier General Marsh Walker was reported in the Memphis Daily Appeal, October 9, 1863.    Marsh died of injuries received in a duel in Arkansas against General John S. Marmaduke.  Walker was a nephew of  President James K. Polk.  He was a graduate of the US Military Academy and was a successful officer.  In Memphis he operated a successful mercantile business.  The Civil War saw his return to military service on the side of the Confederacy.  He was commissioned as a Colonel, after his death he was promoted to the rank of Major-General.   The duel came about when Marmaduke accused Walker of cowardice and as they say, satisfaction was demanded for this effrontery to Walker's honor.  However, it was Lucius Marsh Walker who died that day from Marmaduke's deadly navy revolver.

He is interred in Elmwood Cemetery.

John S. Sappington
Death of Brig-Gen. Marsh Walker Confirmed--We learn from a gentleman who was present at the duel fought between Gens. Marmaduke and Walker, on Sunday, the 6th ult., that the latter was shot in the right side on the second fire, from the effect of which he died on the Tuesday morning following.  The weapons used were navy revolvers, at fifteen paces, to fire and advance.  After Gen. Walker's death, his commission arrived promoting him to the rank of major-general.

His death was extremely regretted by an immense number of friends in Arkansas.--Mobile Tribune.  Reposted in the Memphis Daily Appeal 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

1865 - The Revolution, Liberty, & the Press

During the Civil War John Reid McClanahan, the editor-in-chief of the Memphis Appeal, took his newspaper on the road to escape the censorship enforced by the Union occupation of Memphis.  He traveled throughout the south always a step ahead of the Union forces.  After the war he returned to Memphis only to die under mysterious circumstances in June, 1865.

The Norfolk Post reported the following on July 11 1865:

"The Memphis Argus says the city was startled on the morning of June 25th by a report that Col. J.R. McClanahan, one of the editors of the Memphis Appeal had been killed by falling from the window of the Yazoo House.  About five o'clock in the morning the form of a man was discovered lying in the alley behind the hotel.  Upon examination it was discovered to be that of Colonel McClanahan, who, although horribly mangled and weltering in his blood, and was still alive.  Both arms and both legs were broken, the latter near the knees.  His chin was badly crushed, and he was otherwise badly bruised.  Then discovered consciousness had been restored, and the sufferer, in the intensity of his agony, begged the attending surgeon to kill him, and thus put an end to his sufferings."

The White Cloud Kansas Chief posted an interesting article entitled "Travels of a Rebel Press" on November 23, 1865:

"A correspondent of the St. Louis Democrat gives the following interesting item in relation to the Memphis Appeal:

The Memphis-Grenada-Jackson-Atlanta-Montgomery Appeal has been revived.  The first number of volume sixteen was published in Memphis on the 5th inst.  It is the same size and appears in a similar dress to the St Louis Republican.  It is printed on the identical press which left Memphis in 1862, and which was kept out of the hands of the Federals during the war, though it had to do some traveling to do this.

It is worked by the same pressman, Andy Marman, who was shelled out of Jackson when Grant made his famous move from Brownsburg.  The press has made many narrow escapes, and not withstanding its peregrinations, prints a beautiful paper, the columns of which gave an interesting account of its adventures, closing as follows:  "The Appeal, being now perfectly ironclad with paroles, amnesties and pardons, is on its feet again in robust and vigorous life."  Its columns are draped in mourning for Col. John McClanahan, one of its former publishers, who was accidentally killed in Memphis in June last."

Like so many Memphians, John Reid McClanahan is interred at Elmwood Cemetery in lot 128, Fowler.  His headstone proclaims the following:

Born in Laurens District, SC
Died in Memphis, June 29, 1865, Aged 46
Leader of the Memphis Appeal's Great Civil War Run, 1862-1865
Sole Proprietor Editor-In-Chief
April 23, 1851 - June 29, 1865
'The public actions of public men are public
property and those who would censure the press
for a candid scrutiny and a fair criticism of those
actions has lost his allegiance to liberty and
has a forehead ready for the pressure of the
despot's heel' (March 30, 1862)

The quote on the headstone comes from McClanahan's opinion piece on the front page of the Memphis Daily Appeal, March 30, 1862.  It is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it.

The Revolution, Liberty, and the Press
Our country is at this moment in the throes of a revolution; it is in a period of deadly struggle; it is suffering the baptism of blood; it is agonizing with pangs that are the germs of future destiny.  Periods of revolution are periods of danger; minds are excited, cool judgment is comparatively rare, and vigilance is required to preserve intact the true principles of liberty at the moment when their possession is endangered by the animosity of the common enemy.  Times of public excitement and public danger have been the graves of ancient republics.  When the existence of a free nation is endangered by the occurrence of a serious war, the people find it necessary to temporarily abridge the individual liberties of the citizen, and to clothe with unusual power the chief governers of the nation.  In far too many instances, liberty thus weakened has ceased to exist.  The temporary dictator has become a permanent despot; the forms of republicanism have been retained, while the sacred rights of holy liberty have been banished.  We need not enlarge upon this topic: history is full of such instances, and "history is philosophy teaching by example."  It is this weak point in the republican form of government that has given rise to the watchword, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty!"

If this position is true, we at this moment should have all our energies awake, all our tact and judgment standing sentinels by the sacred jewels of our freedom.  The foe is pressing upon us with his utmost power, and we must not only fight the foe in the field, but we must watch against the traitor and the spy by the fireside.  These necessities compel us to give extraordinary powers into individual hands, and to submit to infractions of our personal rights.  While trusting generously, and submitting cheerfully, we must never forget to watch sleeplessly and scrutinize jealously.  Not because we have reason to believe that ambitious schemers in our midst are deliberately plotting to rob us of our birthright, but because experience teaches that, in a republic, a time of hazardous war is a time when liberty is liable to be lost.  We must never be led to accept an infraction of our personal and political rights as anything else but as an evil, and one to be got rid of as soon as happier circumstances will permit.  Martial law, for instance, is an evil--it is the arbitrary submission of the rights, liberty, and property of the people to the imperious dictation of the Provost Marshal.  If we adopt martial law as a means of being delivered form sedition, incendiarism, and pillage, we have simply accepted the lesser of two evils that we may be rid of the greater.  Let us always, then, remember that martial law is an evil, and as such is to be got rid of as soon as the danger from the greater evil that is behind it disappears.  We might mention many other evils necessarily admitted among us during the present derangement of public affairs, many infractions of our personal liberty, but the instance of martial law clearly illustrates what we mean.  All these necessary encroachments on personal and constitutional rights, all these concessions of unusual power, must be watched, or mischief ensues, our republicanism is endangered, and liberty is on the eve of flight.

But who in the community is to practice this sleepless vigilance, and to exercise this jealous scrutiny?  The people, in general, are intent on the conduct of the war; they are either actually in the field or are watching closely its operations; their eye is on the enemy; all their faculties are concentrated on the great labor of conquering the foe, and saving life, property, and national existence.  "With every faculty engaged and every felling excited, how can the majority of the people coolly scrutinize acts, nicely weigh consequences, and narrowly investigate the future results of present actions?  The case looks hopeless that the people, in a struggle of life and death, should preserve their liberties, while the very moment those liberties are endangered is the moment they are unable to guard them; and the case would be hopeless, as it proved in the old republics, but for one engine of modern civilization--the press.  It is the business of the press to weigh, and sift, and investigate, and test, and compare the present with the past, and ask the bearings of the present on the future.  It is the press that points out abuses, denounces reckless ambition, exposes covert danger, warns the careless, awakes the sleeping, animates the languid, inspirits the fainting, and gives the meed of praise to the hero.  The press is the expressed mind of the people, it is not what the individual will, opinions, notions, or peculiarities of the editors make it; what the people think, and judge, and prefer is found there.  A press that does not express the will and sentiments of the people cannot maintain existence; that only lives which the people support, and the people support only that which is the reflex of their own minds.

If the considerations we have presented are just,--and the reader can judge how far they are so--with that determination we should maintain a free, outspoken, unshackled press!  We need not quote the burning sentences of eloquence, nor the glowing paragraphs of literary genius, all are familiar with the terms in which the world's greatest and wisest have spoken of the press; with what religious care they have cautioned us never to permit its liberties to be abridged.  Here is the safeguard of liberty, let us keep it free, and our proudest achievements, and dearest treasures are safe; let the warning voice of the press be hushed and all that has made us great and enviable in the eyes of the world, all that has shed on the pages of American history a halo no other nation possess, is gone!  The liberty of the press must not, of course, be allowed to degenerate into licentiousness; the press, like individuals, must be held responsible for avoidable errors and intentional wrong.  At a moment like the present, the press must not employ itself in giving information that would injure our cause and help the enemys nor, on the other hand, must it be restrained from imparting such facts as will enable the people to judge intelligently of passing events, and to weight truthfully the actions of those whom they have deputed to do their business. Things the press ought not to do, must not be made a pretense by which it is to be prevented doing those things which it ought to do.

The well-conducted, honorable portion of the press, should be treated with confidence by those in authority. when matters of importance require concealment, it is wiser to caution beforehand than to suppress after the mischief is done.  We are aware the men of the camp are apt to look upon editors as persons unscrupulous in obtaining intelligence, and reckless in imparting it.  If they will be at the trouble to make themselves acquainted with the manner of doing business in a good newspaper office, they will find this notion to be a groundless prejudice, and find that a respectable member of the press scorns to do professionally what is beneath his dignity as a gentleman personally.  The press claims, and must be upheld in exercising, the right to criticize the public actions of public men, however high their position; indeed the higher the position, the more need of calling for a rigid accountability.  The public actions of public men are public property, and those who would censure the press for a candid scrutiny and a fair criticism of those actions has lost his allegiance to liberty, and has a forehead ready for the pressure of the despot's heel.   To curb the press is to curb the expression of the people's will, and to subserve the interests of those who have schemes opposed to the public weal.

While our armies are in the field, they look for those remaining at home to preserve for them intact, their birthright of full personal and political freedom.  The sacred duty confided to us we must perform religiously, and it must be performed by the instrumentality of a free press.  We may submit to necessary privations, to mean clothing, to poor food, to being called from our homes, and being taxed in our property, but we cannot submit to have the press silenced, or subjected to censorship--that is an arc too sacred to be touched with profane hands, an interest too important to be endangered by the meddling of either designing craft, or shuffling imbecility.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Memphis Today in 1866

Memphis Daily Appeal
February 25 1866

CRAZY MARY--This poor woman who has been for months wandering about the streets half starved and illy clad, was yesterday sent to the Asylum at Nashville, by Judge Leonard and some other charitable gentlemen.

BRIDGE WASHED AWAY--We regret to learn that the bridge on the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad over Nonconnah, was swept away by the freshet, on Friday night.  The trains run to that point and connect, until the bridge is again put up, which will only be a few days.

FATAL AFFRAY--About half past nine o'clock last night, Thomas Welch and Thomas Ford got into a difficulty at the foot of Adams street, during which Welch drew a knife and cut Ford in the left groin, severing the femoral artery, and causing his death in a few minutes.  Esquire Creighton held an inquest upon the body, and the jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to his death from a wound, inflicted with a knife, in the hands of Thomas Welch.  The murderer was arrested and lodged in jail.

EGGS-Demand increased and stock looking down--prices firm with an upward tendency.
FISH-Lent has brought a very good demand without changing rates.
SODA CRACKERS-Northern Made are selling at $9.

Weather and Business--There is no accounting for the weather in this latitude.  That is for certain, for yesterday morning we had every reason to believe that we would have a repetition of the weather of last week, but by 10 o'clock it cleared away, and we had a beautiful day.

GRAND ASCENSION From Top of Irving Block to Express Building--MR. JOHN DENIER,
The King of the Tight Rope Performers, whose miraculous feats have so astonished the public will make two grand tight rope ascensions on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, Feb. 28 and March 1, at 3 o'clock, and perform all his daring feats for which he has received three massive gold medals and the highest recommendations of the press wherever he has performed.
fe25     W.A. Ayres, Manager

ELECTION NOTICE--On the first Saturday in March next, being the 3d day of said month, there will be a regular election held at all the precincts of this, Shelby County, Tenn., for Clerks of the County and Circuit Courts, Sheriff, County Trustee, Justices of the Peace, Constables, and all other officers for said county, wherever vacancies are to occur on that day.
feb3 ta   F. Erickson, Coroner Shelby County

The citizens of Noxubee county, Miss., contemplate raising a fund for the erection of a monument to the memory of the Confederate soldiers from that county who were killed in the late war.

There are now 799 male and 31 female convicts in the Illinois penitentiary, at Jolliet, Ills, about 300 more than there were a year ago.

Three young ladies, living in Morton county, Minnesota, while on their way home from singing school, a few days ago, were frozen to death.  The three young men attending them were so badly frozen that they will loose their limbs.

PRIVATE SCHOOL-- J.A.M Robert, who taught in this city from 1850 to 1855, has returned, and will open a private school at the residence of Mr. S. A. Wilson, near the commencement of Adams streets on the 26th instant.
~~TUITION: $50 Per Session of Five Months, one-fifth payable monthly.

GEN. ROBT.E.LEE--Wanted, Agents to canvass for A.L. Scovill's celebrated oil portraits of Gen. Robert E. Lee and other distinguished men.  Gen. Lee's portrait is in a beautiful gold leaf, oval framd, 22 inches long, and is a very handsome and appropriate parlor ornament.
~~Good Canvassers will find it to their interest to call immediately
fe02-1w     O'HARA   66 1/2 Jefferson Street.

INFORMATION WANTED--I will give Ten Dollars for any information of the whereabouts of Mrs. Elizabeth Blackburn.  She left Hernando, Miss., on or about the first of November for McMinnville, Warren County, Tenn., and has not been heard from since.
fe10 2w     T.J. COUCH, McMinnville, Warren County, Tenn

Saturday, February 23, 2013

1868 - Let Not Death Surprise You

Memphis Daily Appeal
June 15 1868

A Voice from the Noisome Pestilence

The Angel of Death has for some months past hovered its dark wings over our city--the pestilence has breathed its fatal breath upon the face of many a familiar friend, and their bodies rest now in that beautiful "city of the dead," Elmwood.  Their voices still linger where once their countenances smiled, and they speak to us in tones too solemn to pass unheeded.  My friends, my relatives, let not death surprise you as it has overtaken me and snatched me from the walks of men. Prepare for the hour no less certain to you than to me, though it hath placed its seal upon my brow."

It is a momentous question--that thought of transition by a way that we know not into another state of existence.  None save the foolhardy or visionary can say they dread not the the terror of initiation into the great unknown.  Surely times like these visitations are sent, among other reasons, to bring us to study the problem of our present life, and to search for light upon that state of being which lies beyond the grave.  While the idea of annihilation in modern times is nearly ignored, still, outside of revelation there are few satisfactory answers given to those who discard the promises and knowledge that Christ left with his followers.  If they read and trust they have naught to fear; but how few the number, even of Christians, who realize an understanding of his victory over death and the grave.

The unfinished development of the mental faculties, and their ever grasping for something "they have not and cannot obtain," is one proof that here the life of mind is incorruptible, or else a wise Creator has mocked his creatures with torturing aspirations.  The stretch of the moral sensibilities to attain to a proper and permanent code of action, is another proof that we are working onward to some stage a great way before us.

And as a future existence seems to await the noble aspiring, the perpetrator and enactor of crimes is unable to design or execture in proportion to his desire and will to sin; for the same reason there must be a stage of action upon which his powers for working evil may expand, and scope for their display.  But evil or good brings its own reward to the actor.  Our sensibilities to feel will be intensified, and the wicked will be miserable in proportion as the good are happy from their deeds if, indeed, we live a life to come.  This what concerns you and I to settle, "whether if a man die shall he live again," where, and how.  Is there not light somewhere that can extricate us from this mystery and suspense.  Let us seek the aid of revelation, reason, and the testimony of those who, dying, left a parting word, and decide at once what we are and whither we are tending.  Heed the kindly voice of the pestilence and delay not to await another fearful warning.  When the dread devourer comes again it will be for you and I to go, and not our friends.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Memphis Today in 1873

Memphis Daily Appeal
February 22, 1873

A special communication of Desoto Lodge No. 299 will be held SUNDAY afternoon, at 1 o'clock, to attend the funeral of our late brother, C.F. Mollitor, at Germantown.  A special train will leave the depot of the Memphis and Charleston railroad at 1 1/2 o'clock, and will return to the city at 5 o'clock.  The members of city lodges, as well as all other Master Masons, are Fraternally invited.  Any friends of the deceased, or his family, are also invited to meet us at the depot, and go out with us to Germantown.
By order of Bun. F. Price, W.M.
R.W. Shelton, Secretary

Notice to Young Men.
The undersigned has discovered a simple and perfect cure for Spermatorrhea or Involuntary Discharges, the only remedy known for that disorder which is daily undermining the health of thousands and sapping the mental and physical strength of the country.  No charge unless a perfect cure is effected.  Office hours 1 to 5 p.m., 6 to 9 p.m.  Patent rights for sale.  Call on or address Dr. John D. Cannon, 111 Adams St.

Notice to Steamboatmen
Captains of steamers are here cautioned about landing their steamers at levee above Jefferson street, as there are steamboat wrecks lying at that portion of the wharf.
fe18    R.W. Lightburne, Wharfmaster

Colonel G.W. Alexander having resigned his position as Business Manager of the Appeal Publishing Company, C.G. Locke has been elected by the stockholders as his successor.  Any contract made by Mr. Locke will be recognized by the Company.

Reception of Governor Brown
The committee of gentlemen appointed to make arrangements for the reception of His Excellency, Governor Brown, are hereby respectfully requested to meet at the Mayo's office at three o'clock this afternoon.  A full attendance is earnestly desired.
John Johnson, Chairman

Spalding & Pope ,Proprietors
P. Short, Treasurer
Engagement for Five Nights and Saturday Matinee of the most accomplished young actress, MISS ADA GRAY.

Residence-Owing to my loss by the late fire at my shop, I wish to sell my residence, at 41 Avery street; house new, with four rooms and hall, side and front porches, basement and kitchen, good well and cistern' title perfect and terms liberal.  Apply to Trezevant & Co., or to H. Lemon, 41 Avery street.

The President has signed the act authorizing and directing the Secretary of the Treasury to cause plans and estimates to be made and a suitable site provided for a public building at Memphis, Tennessee.

Mr. Moffatt, erstwhile Coroner of Shelby county, goes to Raleigh on a sanitary tour.

The Tennessee Legislature adjourned yesterday for our Mardi Gras.

Memphis Mardi Gras 1873


From the Merry


For the Good Government of our

Bully Carnival





Ye Brawlers and Boisterers,
The Mask Balls will commence at nine 
o'clock precisely.
None but Maskers will be allowed upon 
the floor until twelve o'clock at night.
Masks have the liberty of the Halls, and
can roam at will.
No Dancing will be permitted in the 
galleries of the Exposition.
Dancers will form single set.
PERSONS OF COLOR will not be admitted,
and the Committee will satisfy themselves
that the order is strictly enforced.
Parties entering the Ballrooms will be 
subjected to being searched.  Swords, clubs,
weapons of any kind; lanterns, lights, obstructions
of any kind, will not be permitted in the
Persons found with concealed weapons will
be apprehended and prosecuted.
No forfeits will be taken at stationhouses,
day or night, irrespective of persons.
Throwing Flour or Eggs, and all acts of
mischief, are stringently interdicted, and will be
Aside from merriment, order and decorum, 
as far as the above is concerned, is the
rule and will be maintained.
Unruly spirits must govern themselves 
Persons not en masque will be assigned 
comfortable places in the various Halls.
Non-Resident members of the Press, and
Chairmen of the various delegations from 
adjoining cities, can procure their Badges by
calling upon the Secretary before ten o'clock,
Tuesday 26th.
All Parties, Societies, Clubs, Companies,
Bands, Crews, Delegations, and others desiring 
to have positions assigned them in the Grand 
Procession and Pageant, must report to G.C.
in Chief, Theo. Hoerner, corner Beale and
Second Streets, before ten o'clock on Tuesday
Line of March will be duly announced.
The streets after one o'clock will be given up 
entirely to the Masquers.  Street-cars 
and Hacks will govern themselves accordingly.
All the Schools will close, to give our 
little-ones a merry feast.
Our Courts are hereby commanded to turn
off steam.  Should any losses occur to the
State on account of this order, just charge it
to the Legislature.
The closing of stores at 1 o'clock p.m. Such 
as the Exigencies of the Service Demands
have we intrusted to our trusty and quiet
Cowbellonians, and they will do it.
Trust that our mandate will be truly
honored, and that our Chronicler may Records a
Page full of Happiness, Joy, and Mirth untarnished
by a single blot- a fit companion for the last.  
Then shall we deem it a privilege to
reign over our merry kingdom.
Witness our hand and signet,
Rex Carnivali

Mardi Gras, '73
Attest: L.C.D. De and Count De Noses.   feb.22

Memphis Daily Appeal 
February 22 1873

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Memphis Today in 1857

Memphis Daily Appeal

On Friday night, a negro was found secreted in the wood car of the passenger train, and was arrested and lodged in jail.  He proved to be a slave owned by Mr. Samuel Whitney, of Haywood county.  He was endeavoring to make his escape to this city, and from here to Cincinnati.  He had laid in a supply of corn-bread, and had a bottle of whisky in his pocket

Owing to the non-arrival of Miss Eliza Logan, there was no performance at the Theatre last evening.  She will appear to-morrow night in "Love's Sacrifice."

The river continues to rise, and from telegraphic reports received from the Ohio last evening, we may expect it to rise for several days to come.  Business was brisk yesterday at the landing.  The weather was quite cool during the day, but in the evening it moderated considerably.

FOR SALE.  The subscriber offers for sale the tract of land which he now resides, in Haywood county, Tennessee, through which the Memphis and Ohio Railroad passes.  Said tract contains about four thousand acres.  The improvements consist of a one frame dwelling, with ten rooms, negro quarters, gin house, stables, a fine steam and grist mill, good orchards and all the necessary improvements for a large farm, or can be conveniently divided into several small ones.  For health and fertility of soil this place is unsurpassed by any in the country.  For further particulars apply to the subscriber on the premises.   Thos. Shapard

A likely Negro Boy, a tolerable, good Plasterer.  Apply to J.L. Verser.  No. 17 Front Row.

Services at Calvary Church this morning at 11 o'clock, and at 7 1/2 this evening.  The Right Reverend Bishop Otey will officiate in the morning, and the Rector, Rev. C.T. Quintard, at night.

Charles N. Erich - A Self-Made Man

Charles Nicholas Erich was born in 1831 in  Germany.  He emigrated to Memphis in 1854 where he apprenticed at the Memphis Appeal under John R. McClanahan and B.F. Dill.   He saved enough money during this time to enter into the grocery business.  From this humble beginning his next step up the ladder was a small glass and queensware retail business.  Queensware was developed by Josiah Wedgewood and named after Queen Charlotte.  He did so well that in 1862 he was able to buy out T.J. Hunt's interest in the Hunt & Lloyd firm which became Erich & Lloyd.  In 1867 there was a split between Erich and Lloyd.  Lloyd went into business forming the company of Eastland, Lloyd & Gilbert at 321 Main St. with Mr Erich's popular business continuing in the opposite building at 323 Main.

Being a merchant and needing to fill his store with wares, Charles Erich traveled quite a bit.  Thanks to his travels we have a description of him from a passport application dated 1872.  He was 41 years old, five feet five inches tall with blue eyes, medium forehead, a straight nose and natural mouth.  He was blonde with a fair complexion.  

He was married to a woman named Elise or possibly Eliza and they had at least three children: Charles, Victor and John.  Unlike their German parents the sons were all born in Tennessee.

Charles Nicholas Erich was a successful businessman.  However, success in business does not always equate to success in life.  The Brooklyn Union reported on July 19, 1886 that he shot himself in an attempted suicide.  The bullet entered the forehead and was lodged in his brain. He was not expected to live.  "Domestic infelicity" was reportedly the cause.  He was interred at Elmwood on July 23, 1886

Memphis Daily Appeal
February 8, 1874

A Self Made Man
What has been Accomplished in Twenty Years in Memphis, by Energy, Enterprise, Etc.
Memphis can boast as many of this class of businessmen, now prominent in their branches of trade and industry, perhaps, as any city in the world in proportion to population and advantages, and we venture to say more than a vast majority of inland cities of this continent, but we know of no one individual to whom the caption of this article more significantly applies than to Charles N. Erich, the importer and dealer in glass and Chinaware.  mr. Erich was liberally educated in commercial pursuits in Germany, the land of his nativity, whence he emigrated to this city in 1854.  Arriving here when Memphis was in comparative infancy, a stranger and in a strange land, he conceived the idea that he would bend his efforts to the acquirement of a trade, and entered regularly upon a term of apprenticeship in the Memphis Appeal printing establishment, then under the management of John R. McClanahan and B.F. Dill.  By close application to business, at the end of the first year he had acquire a wonderful proficiency in his chosen profession, and up to the year 1857, by careful husbanding of his small earnings, he had accumulated a little capital which he invested in the retail grocery business, to which he applied himself closely and with marked success until 1859, when he was enabled to change from the small business, which was really the beginning of his commercial career in this city, to that of retail dealer in glass and queensware, in which he rose gradually, and step by step, until in 1862, he bought out the interest of Mr. T.J. Hunt in the firm of Hunt & Lloyd, in the same business, and under the style of Erich & Lloyd continued to do an extensive and increasing business until 1867, when the firm of Erich & Lloyd was dissolved, the latter gentleman associating himself with Messrs. Eastland and Gilbert, under the firm of Eastland, Lloyd & Gilbert, who fitted up, at great expense No. 321 Main street, and set up a most formidable opposition to Mr. Erich, who continued in the adjoining building, No. 323.  The latter's growing popularity as a business man and well substantiated character for integrity and fair dealing insured for him a successful competition, and by inaugurating the feature of importing his wares directly from the manufacturers, and by keeping up the largest and most complete stock in his line in the south and southwest, his business has grown to a magnitude requiring more room and better appointments to facilitate in supplying the increasing demand.  This he has succeeded in acquiring by "buying out" his neighbors when, with the beautiful arrangements made by his predecessors, and the additions making and to be made by himself, Mr. Erich will soon have fitted up the best appointed and most magnificent glass and queensware establishment in the world, eclipsing in point of elegance anything either in Paris, London or New York.  The fixtures for Mr. Erich's new establishment cost originally twenty thousand dollars, which give some idea of its magnificence.  he continues to import, as he has done since 1869, directly from European factories, making a trip each year himself, and superintending in person the selecting, packing and shipping of every article for his immense establishment here.  He expects to make a trip the coming spring, and on his return will have replenished his already large stock with the most complete assortment ever exhibited on the American continent.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

1873, As Long As Memphis Lasts His Memory Will Live On

According to the Register of the Members, Both Graduate and non-graduate of Phi Delta Literary Society, Oberlin College, published in 1901, Charles Canning Smith was born "on the sea" in the month of August, 1830.  He began his career as a teacher in Memphis, 1857-1862.  He later became Assistant U.S. Assess. of Internal Revenue and Assistant U.S. District Attorney for West Tennessee,  He married F.M. Wood on August 1, 1860.  He died in Memphis Tennessee on October 12, 1873.  What the entry fails to mention is his valor during the 1873 yellow fever epidemic in Memphis.  He closed his office in order to nurse the sick.  In June of that year he was a pallbearer for another member of the Memphis Bar, Judge Haynes Emmons Hudson.  On October 12, 1873, like so many before him, Charles Canning Smith became a victim of yellow fever.
Register of the members both Graduate and Non-Graduate of the Phil Delta Literary Society
Oberlin College, published 1901

From the Memphis Daily Appeal, October 13, 1873:

C. Canning Smith, a lawyer of repute, a former public school teacher, and a gentleman of great personal refinement and culture, fell a martyr to the cause of humanity, a victim of yellow fever, and will be buried to-day.  When the fever first made its appearance he volunteered as a nurse, and told the writer of this he intended to close his office and give himself altogether to the good work.  He did so, and the result, after nursing several cases, severe cases, is his own death.  Memphis has, happily for her reputation, many such men as Mr. Smith, but not so many that she could spare him.  A willing and cheerful worker; a man of a high degree of intelligence, he brought to all the work given him in life the most pains-taking and laborious investigation, and a will of iron.  He knew nothing but duty.  As a United States commissioner he was found to be judge without passion or prejudice and as deputy auditor and State's attorney he was known to be a faithful, discreet and conscientious officer, doing exact justice between the government and those whom he was called upon to prosecute or oppose.  He was a ripe scholar and an earnest student, and had collected, perhaps the finest library in the city.  A Republican in politics, he had earned the confidence of her fellow-men of all parties, and goes to his grave deeply sorrowed for by a large circle of friends.  To his widow, one of the best women in Memphis, we extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences, and assurances that as long as Memphis lasts her husband's memory will live in the heart's of our people.

In addition to the Memphis Daily Appeal his death was mentioned in at least two other state newspapers, the Knoxville Weekly Chronicle and the Bolivar Bulletin.   The bells at Elmwood Cemetery tolled for Charles Canning Smith on October 13, 1873.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The McKinney Family, Physicians and Soldiers

Alexander Finley McKinney, was born about 1800.  He received his medical degree in 1830 from the University of Pennsylvania Medical College.  In 1837 Dr. McKinney married Grizzell Taylor Lane in Williamson County Tennessee.  The 1840 census lists 18 people in the McKinney household, 13 are slaves.  The family next appears in the 1850 Shelby County Census.  Their children are: Samuel age 11, Courtney age 9, Robert age 7, Findley/Finley age 5 and John, age 3.  In addition to the family there are 34 slaves  on the McKinney place.  Total valuation of property was $43,000.  The McKinney's owned a large tract of land in the Forest Hill area of Shelby County.

During the Civil War at least three of the McKinney sons enlisted in the Confederacy, Samuel, Robert and Findley.  Samuel and Robert died during the war.  Findley would go on to marry and become a physician like his father. Findley inherited the property in Forest Hill. When he died in 1918 he was buried on the property and supposedly his favorite horse and dog are interred with him.

John may or may not have participated in the Civil War but he most certainly became a soldier afterward. He enlisted with the US Army and attended West Point where he graduated in 1871.   Lieutenant John A. McKinney, was assigned to the 4th cavalry and sent to Texas.  He took part in many actions with the regiment against the Comanches and Kiowas.  On November 25, 1876 McKinney was part of a large expedition at Crazy Woman Creek in the Dakota Territory. He led Co. M of the 4th Cavalry into action against the Indians.  He was shot and killed while attempting to dislodge a Cheyenne party from a ravine.  Reports say that Yellow Eagle's bullets were among the first to hit McKinney and that Yellow Eagle was the first to "count coup" on the downed man.  Bull Hump reportedly took a saddle bag full of ammunition from McKinney.

National Republican Nov 29 1876
A Cheyenne Camp Captured
Chicago, Nov. 28 --General Crook, under date of Camp on Crazy Woman's Fork, November 28, reports that Colonel Mackenzie, with the cavalry, attacked a Cheyenne camp consisting of one hundred lodges, on the west fork of Powder river, on the 25th instant, capturing the village and the greater portion of the Indian herd.  The loss on both sides is thought to be considerable, but has not been definitely ascertained.  Lieutenant McKenny(sic), 4th cavalry was killed.  When the courier left the weather was very severe.

McKinney was hailed for his bravery, his horsemanship, his generosity and his devotion to the service.  Once word was received back in Memphis about the death of Lieutenant McKinney a campaign was started by his friends to have his remains brought back from Cheyenne to Memphis for interment.  Telegrams went back and forth between Generals Sherman, Sheridan and Crook regarding the disposition of the body and obtaining authorization from the Secretary of War.  Permission was granted and the body was returned to Memphis at "public cost."  On August 30, 1877, Camp Cantonment was renamed Fort McKinney in honor of Lieutenant John A. McKinney.

The funeral for John A McKinney was a huge event in Memphis.  His good friend and soldier in arms, Rev. Charles Carroll Parsons, preached the eulogy.  Rev. Parsons would become a hero in his own right just two short years later when he helped care for victims of yellow fever during the huge epidemic of 1878.  He would succumb to the fever on September 6, 1878. But for now he was called on to speak words of comfort to McKinney's mother and friends  and to send his friend to glory in a spectacular fashion.  After the service the cortege made its way from St. Lazarus Church to Elmwood.  The flag draped coffin was escorted by  the Chickasaw Guards, Bluff City Grays, family and friends.  The service ended with the firing of three volleys.

From the Memphis Daily Appeal dated December 25, 1876:

Our Soldier Dead.
Funeral of the Late Lieutenant McKinney
U.S.A., Killed in Action
with the Indians in the 
Black Hills.
His Eulogy by an Old Comrade in Arms,
Now Known as Rev. Dr. Parsons,
Rector of St. Lazarus.
The remains of the late John A. McKinney, U.S.A., who was recently killed by the Indians in the northwest, were interred on Sunday in Elmwood cemetery, near the city.  The funeral was largely attended, both the old and the young joining their sympathies and tears for the honored dead.  Around the metallic casket containing the corpse was wound the flag of the Union, and upon this was the brave soldier's sword, a wreath and a cross of evergreens and immortelles.  Four white horses drew the hearse, and behind was led the dead soldier's horse, saddled and bridled.  The Chickasaw Guards and Bluff City Grays acted as a military escort, and when the funeral train moved slowly down Madison street to St. Lazarus church every one of the many who gazed upon the mournful pageant felt a keen pang at the consciousness of the fact that one of the nation's noblest men had so early sunk to rest.  The band in front of the hearse played sweet, sad music, whose strains were in accord with the feelings of the mourners.  Upon reaching St. Lazarus the two companies formed open ranks, through which the coffin was carried into the church, and place in front of the chancel by the pall-bearers, Major G.G. Hunt and Lieutenant L.P. Hunt, United States army; Major W.H. Benyard, United States Engineer corps; W.C. McNutt and Lewis S. Frierson, of the Chickasaw Guards; and Sinclair Arnold,  of the Bluff City Grays.

The funeral services were of the most solemn character, and there was not a dry eye among the many who had assembled and filled the church to overflowing.  The choir, in solemn and plaintive tone, rendered Pelton's touching chant.  Rev. Dr. Parsons read the funeral service, after which he announced hymn No. 512, which was sung by the choir as follows:

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
   Lead Thou me on.
The night is dark and I am far from home,
   Lead Thou me on.
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou
   Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
   Lead Thou me on.
I loved the gorish day; and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power has blest me, sure it still
   Will lead me on
O'er moor and few, o'er crag and torrent, till
   'The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

The Eulogy
Rev. Mr. Parson, rector of St. Lazarus church, feelingly and gently said, as he advanced toward the coffin:

My friends--You must bear with me patiently if I try to speak to you to-day.  The young man that lies in his coffin there was more to me than a friend--he was rather as a brother or a son.  In the years that seem to me long gone, I knew him by the cordial grasp of his firm, strong hand-by the winning look of his clear, bright eye, and by the generous tones of a voice that never spoke in falsehood or in guile.  And then; I knew him well in later days, when there were ties between us so honorable to him and so tender to me that I dare not trust my heart to speak of them now.  But, dearly as I loved him, and dearly as they loved him who have a greater claim upon his love than I assert, I do not hesitate to say that I am proud of him as he lies there locked in the rigid clasp of death, and taken away in what men call the opening of a brilliant career.  I am prouder of him, even, than if his name were still upon the roll of living men--than if he stood and spoke among us now.  If you will listen, I will tell you why.  Sometimes, when you go into the cities of the dead, you will see here and there a broken shaft, lifting itself above a grave as if it were meant to mark the last resting place of one whose life on earth was not complete.  It is not a christian symbol, but, on the contrary, altogether opposed to the idea of a God who governs and directs the destiny of every man.  In the better view, in the true faith, every life in time is complete when the God that gave it to be has use for it in eternity and calls it hence.  I think of a little life that was given back to its divine source but a month ago, and I know, and believe, that it was complete, though few but the holy angels knew how noble and beautiful it was.  But, in my view, the life of this man is well-rounded, full-proportioned and finished, and he goes to his honored grave, not on the threshold, bu in the zenith of his career.  If you ask how this can be, seeing he was yet only in the first blush of youthful manhood, and so full of ardent hope, and kindling aspirations, I reply, because the boy had built up for himself and realized his ideal of a soldier's character, in preparation for a soldier's death if need be, and when the form was made it was inevitable that the mould should be broken.  I chance upon something else when I say this, and not to keep back anything in this solemn presence.
I go one step further to say that the perfect soldier, in all that relates to the symmetry of moral manhood, is the complete man.  I do not wish to be misunderstood.  I shall neither here nor elsewhere be so faithless to the integrity of my vocation, or so dazzled by the luster that shines out from the center of imposing military figures, as to class the moral above the religious nature of man; but leave me here and now to speak of my dead and your dead as he was, conspicuous for the illustration of the three great qualities of his calling  The first of these was obedience--the ready, cheerful, thorough yielding of his own will to the exactions of duty or the requirements of discipline.  It was natural that to the case of one like him, of fiery nature, quick impulses and an almost stubborn tenacity of purpose--it was natural in his case, I say, that the development of his soldierly character in this direction should be slow and even painful.  I watched it myself with what degree of sympathy it was proper for me to show, in the time when he was a cadet in the academy that in other days nourished us both, and I was glad for his sake when he was found worthy to receive the choicest military gift in his class while he wore the grey, and one of the marked compliments that were to be bestowed when he went out to take his place among the number of those
Upon whose ear the signal word
  Of life or death is hourly breaking;
Who sleep with head upon the sword
  Their fevered hands must grasp when waking.
From that precept of obedience, wrought into the form of undeviating habit, flows the fortitude that lifts the soldier above all the contingencies of change and chance.  It is not servile, it is not sullen, it is not passive, but is intelligent, actie, real, and it makes of compact bodies, moving or resting, under the direction of one will, to be irresistible in the charge and unconquerable in defense.  And this virtue linked itself naturally into the second of which I speak, namely; that of entire self-consecration.  That, my friends, is the quality that separates war from all its terrible associations, and the battle-scene from all that would otherwise render it and repulsive.  I mean, of course, the spirit in the man that makes him look at himself in two opposite ways--as being, at one and the same time, all-important and of no importance--that tells him his self-sacrifice, his personal consecration to a great act of daring, will give victory or decisive help to his ranks and flag, and, with the thought, bears him up in the tide of a grand, passionate swell of being, until the instant of devotion comes, when, with his life in his hands, he casts himself into the perilous post, there is a quick report, a piercing musket flash, and you, O noble, well-tried soul! You are ours no longer, but your country's and your God's.  Not without witness at the last, in the dying words that broke upon the quivering air--too sacred to be repeated now, in the stillness of this sudden grief--not without witness to the third of those qualities that belong to my theme.  Tenderness of heart, united to those that have gone before.  Some of you may remember the story told of himself by one of our American poets--how he stood among the camp-fires of the Crimea, what time  hey were lighting up the hostile battlements that frowned around Sebatopol, and heard the English, Scotch and Irish regiments singing the simple songs that came across land and sea from their cottage homes; and how, sitting awhile afterward, by the flickering fire-light, he sang his own thoughts in that touching lyric, from which I glean a double line:
  "The rarest are the tenderest, 
        The loving are the daring."
And this fallen hero--I shall not say fallen again--this risen hero, he was so much of both--so impetuous by nature that the thought of a wrong to be resented set his heart in rapid throbbing, and snet the blood thrilling through his veins, and yet so magnanimous that he forgave more quickly than he punished, and when he forgave, forgot also, and never, like a mean soul, cherished the memory of a misdeed against himself.  So indifferent to his own safety or interest, but so thoughtful of all that concerned the welfare or comfort of others.  So penetrated with a glorious and absorbing love of his profession, but so willing to turn his mind and heart, by day and night, back to the home that had sheltered him and the loved ones clustering there.  So grand and true and great hearted in all that becomes a man, and with it all, as it should be so gentle and considerate, that it was a delight for all to say they knew him and that he loved them.  There is one thing more that I think I can wisely and justly say--because he gave part of the thought to me, although we little knew for what a purpose.  You all remember what was fourteen or sixteen years ago, and that I need not tell you.  Well, after that time had just passed, and while its sad memories were fresh in grieving hearts, this man, a mere boy then, but with a man's heart beating in his fearless breast, went out from the midst of a community, nay, even from the bosom of a family that had suffered much for the perpetuation of the idea of a separate political existence for a portion of these States.  He entered the national military school of the republic, and from that time he seemed to regard himself, as indeed he was, in a peculiar manner, the representative of a community who offered him to the republic as a pledge of the sincerity with which they accepted the restored order of civil affairs, and the fidelity with which they would abide the oath he should swear upon the altar of his country and his God.  In this sense he toiled and studied, and disciplined himself, and it was God's will to give him, and you, such earnest of reward from year to year, that now we have to say that he, in whose veins coursed the purest and richest of your blood, and whose kin have been, and are, among the most distinguished of your fellow-citizens, for titles they have well earned and uniformly borne, that he should be the first from a large section included within the view I have taken, to graduate from the military academy with signal military distinction; to bear the military commission of the general government faultlessly for five years, and then, to add, by one act of fatal but necessary heroism, another page to the volume of the nation's imperishable renown.  It was the dear name and fame of his native city, his native county, his native State, that he bore with him down into that dark and treacherous ravine, and the soil from which he sprung has sprinkled these far-off rocks and sands with the life-blood of her own gallant son.  It is well, therefore, that you take him back to-day; that your press should render him the eloquent tributes he has earned; that your young men should give him the honors due to his rank; and that Elmwood, receiving him to her sacred care, should mould her dust with his own. Let her leafless oaks stand for a time in mournful silence around his grave, until spring-time shall come again, and cover it with green.  Dear soldier, comrade, brother, friend!  I give you the salutation, old as the story of noble deeds--hail and farewell!  You leave no braver, truer heart behind you here on earth.  But you leave hearts braver and truer, because you have lived and died, and hearts warm with the love which your generous soul inspired.

During the delivery of this very beautiful and graceful eulogy deep silence pervaded the congregation.  So touchingly, so gently, and yet so grandly did the good man speak that all listened attentively and each heart responded to his words.  After the sermon the coffin was replaced in the hearse and escorted by the Chickasaw Guards and Bluff City Grays to Elmwood Cemetery for interment.  A long train of people followed and were present to pay the last sad rite to the dead.  No funeral has ever aroused more interest in Memphis, for Lieutenant McKinney was a native of this county, and fulfilled every expectation and every hope of friend, father and mother.  Upon reaching the grave, Rev. Dr. Parsons read the Episcopal burial-service, and all that was mortal of the gallant soldier was laid to rest, the military companies firing three volleys above the grave.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

The John Gatti Family

Their Careless Use--A Little Boy Shot by His Brother
Yesterday, while two little boys, sons of Mr. John Gatti, were playing with an old revolver, the older, a boy of about fourteen years of age, pointed the revolver at the younger, and it in some manner exploded. The ball, aimed with terrible accuracy, struck him on the temple, and entering, came out of the left eye, making a terrible and perhaps fatal wound.  Medical attendance was immediately provided, and at last accounts the little sufferer was doing as well as could be expected.
Source: The Memphis Daily Appeal
September 19, 1868

According to the 1860 Census John Gatti's sons were James Paul, age 6, and John L. who was age 4.  In addition he had a daughter Alice Victoria Gatti.  His youngest son wasn't born until 1861,  Joseph.  After the death of his first wife he married Mary Ayre.  They had no children.

John Baptiste Gatti was born in Italy.  By 1853 he had made his way to Memphis and married his first wife Alice.  His worth in 1860 was valued at $30,000.  Gatti appears in the Memphis Daily Appeal in January 18, 1868 as the owner of a confectionery shop on the northwest corner of Court and Second Streets.  It seems a burglar had broken in and stolen $50 worth of merchandise and it was the 6th time this had happened. He died October 26, 1873.  Another victim of yellow fever.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Judge J.E.R. Ray & the 1879 Yellow Fever Epidemic

When compared to the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878 the one occurring in 1879 was minor with just 2000 cases and 600 deaths reported in 1879.

The first victim fell on July 9th.  He was Frank Mulbrandon, an Irish shoemaker.

As Memphians began to panic, the trains leaving town filled to overflowing and the Board of Health issued a proclamation "recommending those who could to quietly remove their families to a place of safety."

The Board of Health Issue A
Sanitary Order.
Yellow Fever Scare.
New York, July 10---A Memphis special says:
The case of death from yellow fever reported.  
Last night the trains which left on the Louisville
railroad and the Memphis & Charleston road 
were crowded with flying citizens,
although the death was not generally known
at that time. 
--Lockport Daily Journal
July 10, 1879

J.E.R. Ray's Pardon
Newspaper reports about the Ray family differ somewhat from information gleaned from other sources such as Census and burial records.  The Iola Register, dated July 18 1879,  reports that the second victim, who died on July 10, was the infant child of Judge J.E.R.Ray but Elmwood Burial Records say that it was his 12 year old son Charles. After this second reported death other cities took quick action and New Orleans, Vicksburg, Norfolk and Holly Springs issued quarantines against Memphis by land and by water. Local businesses declared that action had been taken too soon in proclaiming quarantines since there had been no new cases in three days.  However, another death occurred the very next day, July 13th, with the death of Judge J.E.R. Ray.  Many people would fall in the coming days, among them would be 11 year old Harry Ray on July 22 and Mollie S. Ray on July 25.  Like so many other families the Ray's had been devastated within a few weeks.

But who was J.E.R. Ray?  His first name is John, born about 1826 in South Carolina according to Census Records.  He moved first to Henry County Tennessee but by 1850 we find him living in Weakley County Tennessee in the home of J.W. Hays.  He was 24 years old and working as an attorney.  Between 1850 and 1860 he moves to Memphis, finds a wife, has two sons and is working as an attorney in Memphis.  It's possible that his parents were John Ray, born about 1794 in South Carolina, and Nancy Ray.  John appears in the 1840 Henry County Census.  His is the only name listed but in the household but a male son between the ages of 20 and 29 is listed and that could be John E.R. Ray.   John's wife Nancy Ray appear in the 1850 Census for Henry County. 

Isham G. Harris, the only Confederate Governor of Tennessee, appointed Ray as his Secretary of State for the years 1859-1862.   The 1860 Census shows the Ray family living with another Memphis attorney and his family, George Dixon.  Ray listed his occupation as "lawyer former Secretary of State".  His wife Mollie and two sons are listed, Eddie age 3 and Willie age 2.  These are not the names of the children who died in 1879.  In 1865 Ray receives a pardon for his participation as "Reb Secretary of State of Tenn" during the Civil War.

In 1870 Shelby County established the first probate court in the state.   J.E.R. Ray was the first Judge to preside over this newly formed court. In addition he was the Judge for the Bartlett Circuit Court.    In 1878, Judge P.T. Scruggs was appointed as the Criminal Court judge but before he could take office he died of yellow fever.  Judge Ray was appointed to the position left vacant by the death of Scruggs.  The court reopened in the fall of 1879 with Judge Ray seated on the bench but he soon perished as had his predecessor to yellow fever.

Grand Catalogue of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, 1922
J.E.R Ray, his wife Mollie and their children Charles, Harry, William, Maud and the unknown infant are interred at Elmwood Cemetery.

There was at least one other child, a son.  In the 1860 Census Eddie is three years old and appears with his brother William, age two.  I believe Eddie is the same J.E.R. Ray Jr that appears in Memphis City Directories and later moved to Washington D.C.  In 1879 John Jr was ill but survived the yellow fever epidemic that took most of his family. He attended Cumberland University and graduated with a law degree in 1877.  He appears in Memphis City Directories till about 1882 and then appears in Washington DC directories in 1896.  In 1903 he was the Acting Deputy Auditor at the Treasury Department.  In the DC Census for 1900 and 1910 he appears as single, born in Tennessee, a lawyer and then a clerk at the Treasury department.  In 1920 and 1930 he appears in the DC Census widowed, age 63 and 73 respectively born in Tennessee. His name also appears in the 1920 American Kennel Club Stud Book as a breeder of Collies.  He probably died between 1930 and 1940 as that's where the census trail disappears.

J.E.R. Ray Jr married Sallie E. Woodward  in Washington DC on August 6, 1910. Interestingly enough, Sallie was first married to Charles Henry Harris, a son of Governor Isham Green Harris the very man that appointed Ray Sr. Secretary of State!  The Alexandria Gazette, January 28 1897 reported that Sallie Harris divorced Charles H. Harris in January 1897 on a ground of desertion.  Mrs. Harris received custody of their son and the court ordered her ex-husband to pay $75 in alimony each month.  The following announcement appeared the the Washington Times about her wedding to J.E.R. Ray.  One of the attendees was Edwin K. Harris, Sallie's brother-in-law during her marriage to Charles Harris, and also a son of Governor Isham Harris.

Sallie's obituary appeared in the March 21 1918 Washington Post:  The funeral of Mrs. Sallie E. Ray, wife of John E. R. Ray, chief clerk in the office of the auditor for the Interior Department, will take place from Lee's undertaking establishment Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock.  Mrs. Ray died at Casualty Hospital early yesterday morning from burns.  Her clothing caught from leaves she was burning Tuesday at her home, 3103 Monroe street, Woodridge.  She was a native of Memphis, Tenn, and was Mrs. Charles H. Harris prior to her marriage to Mr. Ray eight years ago.  There are no children."  Sallie was the daughter of Oliver C. Woodward and Sallie A. Woodward.  The Woodward family, including young Sallie, fell victim to yellow fever during the Memphis epidemic of 1873 while J.E.R. Ray's family fell victim to epidemic of 1879.  It's interesting to note that the couple shared a connection via the Harris family and the tragedies of the Yellow Fever Epidemics.

But back to Judge J.E.R. Ray.  The following obit comes from the Public Ledger July 14 1879.
Death of Judge Ray
All that was mortal of Judge J.E.R. Ray was consigned to earth at Elmwood last night, by the Masonic brotherhood, of which he was a worthy member, having been associated with the DeSoto Lodge, the Cyrene Commandery, and the Knights Templar of the city.  Judge Ray died at seven minutes after nine o'clock in the evening, on the seventh day of his illness.  Judge Ray was attacked while occupying the bench in the Criminal court room of the Shelby county courthouse, on Monday last, and adjourning the court, he went home to take to his bed, never to rise again in life.  His sickness from the start baffled the skill of our best physicians, and in spite of the most careful and watchful nursing on the part of numerous friends, the death monster forced him to succumb.  It was on the third morning of Judge Ray's illness that his medical adviser discovered the case had developed into yellow fever, his son Charles, a boy of 12 years, dying on that day of the same malady.  As soon as it was known that yellow fever was really his ailment, every possible exertion was made to carry him through successfully, but without avail.  Skilled nurses were engaged by the Masonic fraternity to attend his sick-room; the wife of the Rev. Dr. Landrum, whose sad experience has rendered her a most accomplished and tender nurse, participated in administering to the stricken and distressed family; Miss Mary Boddie  took part and shared in the bedside vigils, while General G.W. Gordon and numerous other friends, including his fraternal brethren, gave unremitting attention to the demands of the occasion.  Nothing was left undone, even to calling in consulting physicians.  Death had marked Judge Ray as his victim, and for more than forty-eight hours previous to his demise the case was regarded as hopeless.  His life went out calmly and peacefully in the presence of his sorrowing family and others.  A committee of the Masonic fraternity at once took charge of the remains and during the night conveyed them to their final resting place in Elmwood.  Prudential reasons caused the master of his lodge to omit calling the fraternity to the funeral, but at the proper time Masonic honors will be paid to his distinguished memory.

Judge Ray was a native of Henry county, Tennessee, and at the time of his death was fifty seven years of age.  He resided for a period at Dresden, and represented Weakley county in the State legislature for several terms.  He came to this city in 1855, twenty-four years ago, and began the practice of law in company with the late Judge W.L. Harris.  Under the first gubernatorial term of Isham G. Harris, Judge Ray was secretary of State, and in this capacity he acquitted himself of the delicate duties involved with marked ability, winning encomiums from all classes of citizens throughout the State.  During the war he served in the Confederate army, and at its close he resumed the practice of law in this city in company with the late --- Smith.  In 1870 he became identified with the Bartlett polotical movement, and was chosen as a candidate for the position of judge of the Probate Court of Shelby county, to which position he was elected by a decided majority.  This position added largely to Judge Ray's distinction.  The judge was known to the community as one of the most conscientious and upright judges that ever wore the ermine.  A man of mild temper, generous disposition and extreme tenderness of heart, at the same time firm and able in his opinions, he won an enviable reputation in all circles.  General regret was openly expressed last fall when Judge Ray was defeated by a combination of the opposing elements of the Democratic party, of which he was always a consistent and honored member.  In the race referred to Judge Ray ran far ahead of his ticket, but the ground swell was too formidable for even his great personal popularity to overcome.  Judge Ray was subsequently appointed to the Criminal Court bench by the then Governor James D. Porter, in place of Judge P.T. Scruggs, who died of yellow fever in October last, a position for which he was not an applicant.  It is believed by some that the judge owes his death to the foul odors arising with-in the walls of the Criminal court, added to the stench without.  The evil was often mentioned by Judge Ray and was a source of constant annoyance to him, as well as others who are obliged to frequent the hall of justice, over which he presided with so much dignity, honor and probity.  Throughout all of the relation so life, public, private and social, Judge Ray was a man in the true sense of the word; honest, kind and intelligent, a good husband, a tender father and a wise judge.  to his bereaved and sorrowing family, the tenderest sympathies of legions of admirers are extended.  May he rest in peace.

Ray Family Plot at Elmwood Cemetery

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

1869 - We Have it in Our Power

Replace the antiquated verbiage with today's language and the same issues are relevant.

Memphis Daily Appeal
June 11, 1869

Because we have not built as many houses in '66, '67, '68, and '69, as in '56, '57, '58, '59 and '60, many of us had come to regard Memphis as struck by the evil eye, conjured or hoo-dooed out of all the spirit that in the latter years characterized her.  We lost in 1865-6 a large floating surplus and vagabond population, and therefore deemed the glory had departed from Israel, and that thereafter we were to be a prey to misfortunes and decay.  Misfortunes did come, but, happily, were of short duration.  

In '67 we were utterly prostrate; bankruptcy was the order of the day, and an almost settled gloom pervaded the community.  Out of this we emerged on the cotton bales of 1868, the number and the price of which enabled us to fully recuperate and prepare to engage in a healthy contest with the city owned by the Louisville Courier-Journal, and with St. Louis, both of which have since the outset of the war occupied much of the territory once tributary to us, and enjoyed a trade upon which we formerly prided ourselves as a course of wealth.  The organization of a barge company, and the removal of the Marine Ways from Cairo are significant that we are about to engage in that contest, that our merchants are alive to its importance and extent and the results likely to follow to us by persistency and the right use of our forces of men and means. By the proper and successful management of the one our city will become more and more noted as a steamboat center and by the other will be enabled to embark, conjointly with New Orleans, in the grain trade, so promising of results for the Mississippi Valley.  

The establishment of an elevator would to a still greater degree indicate our determination, and we hope ere long to be able to announce such in process of construction.  With this our city, as a corporation, should initiate desirable improvements.  The Nicolson pavement should be extended, the park, in danger of being wrested from us, be farther improved and rendered accessible by a well constructed roadway; the water-works and a proper system of sewerage, should be immediately commenced, and a new, sightly city hall be built that would at once be creditable to our people, and worthily suggest our great future.  The more we beautify our city the more attractive it becomes, not alone to us but to visitors.  What we have of street improvements was the theme of much favorable comment by delegates to the late convention, and doubtless will be the means of introducing to us many good citizens,.  Double or quadruple these improvements and we double or quadruple the number who, with capital and credit, will make Memphis their headquarters and sphere of future commercial operations.  

We must not rest upon our oars, content with what we have done.  It is demanded of us that we must toil incessantly and unremittingly and in every conceivable way, taking advantage of everything at all likely to inure to our benefit.  We have it within our power to make Memphis all that we have ever dreamed.  The concentrated effort of all hands will do it.