Monday, February 11, 2013

Alderman Hiram Vollentine

Memphis Daily Appeal
February 14 1861

Crazy Citizens.--On Tuesday night Ald. Vollentine introduced a resolution into council, the preamble of which states: "It frequently occurs that citizens of our city become diseased with unsound minds, so as totally to dement them." Poor Memphians!

The Alderman was Hiram Vollentine.   Vollentine was the son of Soloman King Vollentine and Mary E. "Polly" Lee of what was then Weakley County but is now a part of Obion County Tennessee.  He married Mary Eliza Jones from New York.  Vollentine was a member of the Memphis Bar and a practicing attorney.  He was in partnership with James Lee and John B. Luster forming the Vollentine, Lee and Luster Law Firm.

On March 19, 1864 he entered the Council Chambers.  Seated at the Reporter's table was Mr. Moffit, a reporter for The Memphis Bulletin which was a Union paper.  Vollentine accused Moffit of writing an unflattering article about him.  He approached the reporter asking for an explanation.  When none was forthcoming Alderman Vollentine conked Moffit on the head with his cane.  Moffit drew a gun and shot the alderman, mortally wounding him.

The Nashville Daily Union
March 24, 1864

Memphis, March 19, via Cairo, March 21--A sad affair occurred this evening at the meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which resulted in the death of Alderman Valentine (sic), an old citizen, and prominent member of the Memphis Bar.  He walked into the Council and saw sitting at the reporter's table an attache of the Bulletin named Moffit, whom he considered the author of an abusive article about him in that sheet.  Valentine stepped up to him and asked him to explain.  He refused, when Valentine (sic) raised a cane and struck him over the head, knocking him down.  On getting up Moffit drew a pistol and shot him in the groin, severing the artery.  He at once fell, when Moffitt beat him over the head with the butt of the pistol until he died.  Valentine leaves a large family.

Hiram Vollentine is interred in Elmwood Cemetery.

1 comment:

  1. I went to kindergarten at Vollentine School in 1946. What is its relation to the Alderman?