Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dr. Samuel Bond: Physician Farmer Legislator

Dr. Samuel Bond built this home in Shelby County Tennessee.
It was originally known as The Avenue because of the tree-lined
avenue leading up to the house.  Later, it was renamed Cedar Hall.
Probably in tribute to the many Cedar trees located on the property.

Samuel Bond was born in Knox County Tennessee.  His family moved to Limestone County Alabama where they were farmers/planters.  In 1824 Samuel was sent to Nashville to study at the University.  He returned to Alabama but was not happy with the practice of business and decided to study medicine instead.  In 1831 he and his wife moved to Shelby County Tennessee.  After practicing medicine for many years he decided to return to agriculture and in particular, the growing of cotton. He built a magnificent home which he named The Avenue in Shelby County.   In addition he served a term in the Tennessee General Assembly.  He traveled to London to enter his cotton in the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851.  He won a medal for his entry.  Bond mortgaged his holdings in Shelby County to purchase a plantation in Louisiana.  His desire was to make Longwood a successful cotton plantation and showplace.  However, Longwood would take most of his money and he suffered great financial losses during the Civil War.  Like many, he was destitute when he died. His magnificent home, The Avenue, became Cedar Hall.  It still stands today and is on the National Historic Register.

Obituary for Dr. Samuel Bond
Memphis Daily Appeal October 7, 1862

A great and good man has gone to his last reward.  The tears of those he loved in life have fallen on the marble brow.  The sable weeds of mourning clothe the widow and children of Dr. Samuel Bond.

Samuel Bond was born in Knox County, Tennessee December 10th 1804.  When about twelve years old, his father, Nicholas P. Bond, moved to Limestone County, Alabama.  Here Samuel grew to manhood--during which time he was engaged with his father and brothers in agricultural pursuits, spending a few months each year in attending school.  In the year 1824 he was sent to Nashville to attend the University at that place.  Here he distinguished himself as a student, applied himself assiduously to his studies, and stored his mind with general and useful information.  He remained at the University three years.  On his return home he entered for awhile as salesman in one of the stores in Mooresville, Alabama, then a thriving little town.  But not liking the business he entered upon the study of medicine under Dr. Bibb, of Mooresville.  His application and devotion to this branch of science is well attested by his success as a practitioner, for few have exceeded him in success and reputation.  After qualifying himself for the duties of physician, he married Miss Mary L. Tate, daughter of Rice Tate, September 3rd, 1829.

In the spring of 1831 he moved to Shelby County Tennessee.  In 1832 he settled the place where he died.  Here he entered the arduous duties of practicing medicine in a frontier country, for Shelby County was not then as now, a thickly settled district.  His energy and success soon gave him a wide spread reputation.  To keep up with his reputation required  immense physical as well as mental exercise.  Indeed, it may be remarked that few men of the present. or even of that day, could undergo the great labors of Dr. Samuel Bond during the first ten years of his life as a practicing physician in Shelby county.  He devoted himself exclusively to his profession to the neglect of farming interests, which was managed by others, until 1846, when he retired entirely from medicine.  He now began to devote his mind and time to agriculture.  It is needless to say with what success.  The history of agriculture in Shelby county, and of the south, would be incomplete without mention of Dr. Samuel Bond.  Being a man of mind, with enlarged views and great energy, he became identified with all the great improvements of the age, calculated to develop the resources and advance the interests of the country and the agriculturist.  But once did he quid the field and plow.  In 1847 he was elected to represent Shelby county in the general assembly of the State.  He discharged his duties as a legislator for one term with ability and credit to himself and his constituents.  This year's service satisfied him with public life.  From this time till his death he devoted his time and talent to agriculture.  His greatest object was to advance the cause of "king cotton."  He availed himself of every means to improve this great staple, that now wields such a vast and powerful influence on the legislation and commerce of nations, and which is essential to civilization and man.  Together with Colonel John Pope, he sent cotton for exhibition at the "Worlds Fair," in London, 1852.  To him was awarded a medal and an honorable notice.

Having visited the cotton growing regions of the south --in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana--and finding that further in the swamp lands made rich by the deposits of age, he could engage more successfully and on a scale commensurate with his desires to raise cotton, in 1854 he purchased the Longwood plantation, Carroll Parish Louisiana.  Here was a field for his talent and energy, clearing up the swamps and growing cotton, upon which he entered with enthusiasm, earnestly and with success.  Here he had formed the nucleus of a magnificent cotton plantation, and had life and health been granted him, in a few years he would have made "Longwood" a place to which he might have pointed with pride and wished no greater monument.  But the earnest devotion and ceaseless exertions made to improve "Longwood," clear away the primeval forest, drain it's marshes and lakes, and open these to the advance of "king cotton," broke the seeming iron constitution and wrecked the mind of Dr. Samuel Bond.  When near the goal of his hopes, for which he labored in summer heat and winter ?, the view was shut out by death.  On the 8th of August, 1862, in the midst of a great revolution, while war's rude alarms sounded all around, died Dr. Samuel Bond.  Died, as dies the good man, quietly, peaceably, as sinking to rest.  He was a good man.  Charitable to a fault.  A man of the kindest feelings, generous, frank and free.  Not a noisy, but a devoted Christian.  In all the relations of life--husband, father, neighbor, friend--he displayed his goodness--a noble heart full of generous impulses.  The poor and need sought not his aid in vain.  The suffering ever found him ready to relieve--he wept with those that wept.

Samuel Bond
Dec 10, 1804-
Aug 8, 1862
His first wife died in 1855. His grief for her was truly great.  In 1856 he married Mrs. Malinda Sanford, of Bolivar county, Mississippi.  By his first wife he had several children.  All but four died before him, none of them growing to maturity except one--Rice Bond--who walked before his father even to the grave.  Dr. Samuel Bond was a thorough Southern man.  He much desired to live to see the success of the Confederate States, for he believed they would succeed.  But this earnest desire was not granted him.  His life was one of usefulness--his death a great loss.
Green Bottom, Tennessee  N.P.B (Perhaps written by Nicholas P. Bond, Samuel Bond's nephew.)

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