Sunday, March 31, 2013

So passed Easter Day, 1869

The Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches
Observance of the Sacred Festival

Easter morn broke bright and beautiful.  Nature was wreathed in smiles.  The trees were budding, the young shoals and flowers of spring peeped out to greet an almost summer sun, and the tender grass looked fresh and green.  The birds carolled, it would seem more blithely, responsive, as it were, to the effect of nature.  The weather so propitious, so delightful, so appropriate to the glad season when the Church commemorates a risen Lord, was taken advantage of by the people, who flocked upon the streets and filled the churches.  these were literally packed, especially those of the Catholic and Episcopal faith, where the observance of Easter festival was celebrated with more than usual fervor, much of which manifested itself in the decorations of the several edifices in a style of beauty that could not be surpassed.  Crosses of every conceivable size and shape, and of flowers of every hue and name that the season could afford, were called into "equisition, and the result was, in nearly every place of worship belonging to the sects named, a success in decoration that, as we have said, could not well be excelled. This was especially the case at St. Lazarus Church, where we noticed, among other tasteful emblems of our common religion a large white marble cross near the chancel, entwining which was a garland of flowers, the whole making up a perfect picture in itself.  We also noticed two cromocrosses beautifully enwreathed with flowers.  Elsewhere throughout the church there were wreaths and boquets, the whole completing a coup d'oeil of the sweetest and most appreciable character.  The services were those incidental to the day, but rendered with more than usual fervor.  Prof. Tepe presided at the organ, and with his efficient choir added much to the solemnity of the occasion by the character of the music, especially the Easter anthem, which was finely rendered.

At Calvary Church the decorations were not quite so ornate as those of St. Lazarus, but were becoming and appropriate.  They partook of flowers and evergreens in wreaths and boquets.  The musical part of the services were as usual very fine, Prof. Schultz, organist, presiding.  The anthem of the day was given in very fine style.  The congregation was, as at St. Lazarus, comprised largely of ladies, who generally appeared in bright and beautiful colors appropriate to the season.  The number of communicants at either place of worship was notably very large.

At Grace, St. Mary's, and the Church of the Good Shepherd there was more or less of decoration, all of it of the character described above.  All three of these edifices were filled, the ladies being especially in great numbers.  The services were the same as those at Calvary, but the music was especially fine.

At the Catholic churches at St. Patrick, St. Peter and St. Mary's the services were of the imposing character, usual to the magnificent ritual of Rome.  The decorations at either place were simple but appropriate.  Of the music it is only necessary to say that Prof. Winkler presided at St. Peter's, and Prof. Sebaizky at St. Patrick's, to assure the readers of the Appeal that it was magnificent that it was all they could make it with superb material.  At St. Peter's, the grandest church edifice in the State, or, perhaps, the Southwest, the mass for the day was rendered in a style that fully sustained the reputation of the choir and the cultured, Mr. Winkler.

At the Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches the services were those usual to every Sunday, there being no special regulations or rules in their articles of faith for the commemoration of Easter.  They were all well filled, and by attentive and devout listeners.  So passed Easter Day, 1869.

Posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal March 29, 1869

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Memphians Among the Brave

Beside the company of Sons of the South, whose services have been tendered to and accepted by the Southern Confederacy, there are many Memphis gentlemen enrolled in the ranks of the defenders of the South; among others we may mention Frank Foster of the Avalanche office, and E.R. Scruggs, son of Judge P.T. Scruggs of this city, who left on Thursday to join the Florence, Ala., Home Guards, now on their way to Pensacola.  This latter gentleman is the third son of Judge Scruggs who has joined the volunteers.  Major Fisher, of this city, also has a son and grandson among the southern troops.  The whole of the above, we are certain, will give a good report of themselves; when brave deeds are to be done they will not be behind.

Originally posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal March 30, 1861

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Highly Esteemed & Much Beloved, Sarah Jane Davidson

  In the city of Memphis, Tenn., on the 12th day of March, 1857, in her 20th year, Mrs. Sarah Jane Davidson, daughter of Obed and Elizabeth Nicholson.

  Mrs. Davidson made a profession of religion at the tender and early age of thirteen.  She was highly esteemed and much beloved by those who knew her best.  Her sudden death is a sore bereavement to her husband, and an irreparable loss to her dear little babe.  Yet, while we deplore her early death and profoundly realize our loss, we trust and believe her loss will be her eternal gain.  And while we are left to breast the storms and tempests of life, she has gained the peaceful shores of everlasting bliss.  "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."
  Memphis.  March 14, 1857

Posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal, March 14, 1857

According to the death records Mrs Davidson died of pneumonia.  Her newborn infant followed her in death a short time later on March 23, 1857.  The child was one month old.  Having died so soon after the birth of the child it's possible in addition to pneumonia that Sarah may have also been suffering from child bed fever.  Her husband was Benjamin Davidson.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Charles H. Jackson, Boy Hero and Casualty of Shiloh

Charles H. Jackson's headstone lists no birth nor death date.  There is no "Beloved Son of" or "At Rest" engraved there either.  What you see, should you wander the city of the dead known as Elmwood, are the things that his parents felt were important about his life; his name,  his ultimate sacrifice to the Confederacy, and his age.

Charles H. Jackson
Killed at
Battle of Shiloh
Aged 15 Years
From the Memphis Appeal:
A Boy Hero--We this morning announce the death of Charles H. Jackson, son of Capt. D.F. Jackson, of this city.  The boy was only fifteen years and eight months old, yet one year ago he entered as a private in his father's company.  Young as were his years, his actions showed a manly heart.  His fearless bravery won for him the admiration, and his amiable traits attracted the affection of all who knew him.

We have been permitted to see the leave of absence granted him by the surgeon of his regiment, of which the following is a copy:  "Charles H. Jackson, private in Company K, 2d Confederate regiment, had his right thigh fractured in the battle of Shiloh while gallantly fighting by the side of his father, Capt. R.F. Jackson. (His father was misreported as R.F., he was D.F. Jackson)  This gallant boy is hereby granted an indefinite furlough." During his agonizing sufferings he always expressed the deepest regret, because, as he said, he could not help his father to raise enough men to take the place of those who feel with him in battle.  He bore the suffering from his wound with a hero's patience, and frequently he asked of his physician, Dr. Keller, who paid every possible attention, "Urge my father to hurry back to camp and be ready to fight again; I do not want him to mind my sufferings and lose time here."  The boy is dead.  Though but a child, there never was a braver heart or a truer soldier.

This funeral notice appeared in the Memphis Daily Appeal on May 2, 1862:
Died, yesterday, in the city, of wounds received at the battle of Shiloh Charles H. Jackson, aged 15 years and eight months, son of Capt. David (Should be Davis) F. and Eliza S. Jackson.

The friends and acquaintances of the family of the deceased are requested to attend the funeral from Capt. Jackson's residence, on main, near Beale street, This Friday Afternoon, at 3 o'clock.  Services by Rev. J. Davis.  Carriages in attendance.

In reality Private Jackson didn't die at Shiloh. He was brought back home to Memphis and died there from the wounds he received in battle.  Perhaps his parents thought it sounded grander and more noble to die upon the field of battle than to die at home from his wounds.  Whatever their beliefs, they were proud of him and thought it important enough to note their sons participation in the war between the states.

Research shows that Charles H. Jackson was born about 1846 in Indiana to Davis F. Jackson and Eliza S. Cunningham.  The family was still living in Indiana at the time of the 1850 Census.  By 1860 they were living in Memphis.  In addition to Charles, their other children were Anna, Clara Maria, Eliza, D.F., Kate and Rufus.  Capt. Jackson was the City Jailer with a personal estate valued at $400.  Interestingly enough he and his family lived at the jail as did others who were employed there including the baker, cook, bookkeeper, launder and machinist.  By 1880 Capt Jackson's position was that of Health Officer.  His son Davis was a Quarantine Officer and Rufus was also a Health Officer.

Charles' parents and at least one brother, Dr. Rufus Jackson, are interred in the lot with him at Elmwood.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fatal Explosion Kills Memphis Graduate Student 1922

Located in Elmwood Cemetery is the headstone of William Eastman Spandow.  Unlike most headstones that proclaim the loved one has "Gone Home", is "At Rest" or perhaps is engraved with a Biblical saying the monument that Spandow shares with his mother tells the story of an accident beyond his control.   

1897   -   1922
1865   -   1959

But, is that really what happened or was it a grieving mother looking to find someone to blame for the grisly death of her son?  Reports say that when the explosion occurred that Spandow was leaning over a steel autoclave attempting to read the gauge when the autoclave exploded.  The top was blown off and he was hit in the head.  The force of the hit crushed his head.  He died instantly.  His  lab partner, Reginald Gordon Sloane, was burned by the chemicals and cut by the flying debris.  They had been under the direction of Dr. Arthur W. Hixson with this being a popular class at Columbia.  

The following article states that Spandow had been in charge of the experiment that day and disregarded instructions making him at least in part, responsible for the accident. 

Laboratory Explosion Kills Student
An accidental explosion in a laboratory used by graduate students at Columbia University, on Nov. 17, caused the death of William Eastman Spandow, a graduate student, of Memphis, Tenn., and the serious injury o Reginald Gordon Sloane, a Harvard graduate and son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles William Sloane.

The students were experimenting in the manufacture of intermediate compounds for aniline dyes.  The lives of at least seven other graduate students in the laboratory were imperilled by flying steel missiles which were hurled in all directions as a highly explosive compound shattered the lid of its steel container.  The detonation was heard several hundred feet away.

The general opinion among the investigators for the university and the city was that Spandow, who was in charge of the apparatus for the day, in part at least had disregarded instructions given to him by the professors who direct the work in chemical engineering. He opened a valve on the side of the heavy steel apparatus before a gas flame had died out of the gas heater underneath, and a tongue of flame darted in to the chamber and ignited the imprisoned gases.
Volume XI, number 21 of  Drug and Chemical Markets, Nov. 22, 1922


1859 Fire Consumes 5 Newspaper Offices in Memphis

When you read articles like the following, it becomes clear why there are no complete runs of certain newspapers.  It makes one wonder how much of history was lost in the flames.  Estimates placed the damage at $150,000.

Eagle and Enquirer Building Destroyed!
One Block Consumed!
The Fire Still Raging!

At half-past one o'clock this morning, a fire commenced in the printing house occupied by the Eagle and Enquirer and Avalanche newspapers, which spread to adjoining buildings and consumed the whole block, destroying the warehouses and offices occupied by the following firms, viz.:  Saffarrans & Stratton, stove and tin warehouse; W.N.Hunt, wholesale china establishment; Eagle and Enquirer and Avalanche printing offices; N. Stillman & Col., millinery and fancy goods; ----Henriech, confectionery; Gilkey & Warren, jewellers and goldsmiths; Hutton & Clark, job printing house; the Methodist Christian Advocate, and the Presbyterian Sentinel; Jos. Teufel, wine and lager beer saloon; J.W. Watson & Co., gas fitters, plumbers and bell hangers.  The wind drifted to the West and the Front Row block across the Bank Avenue was in great danger at the time of writing, and the fire was raging with great fury. The fire is supposed to be the work of an incendiary, as several attempts have been made to fire this block within the past three or four months.

It is impossible to tell how far this conflagration may extend, as (strange to say) the water is very scarce in the public cisterns, in the vicinity of the fire, and the devouring element seems to have the complete mastery, though our gallant firemen are working hard and faithfully.

Posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal
March 2 1859

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Death of Dr. James M'Coul, 1837

The 1837 death of Dr. James M'Coul reported in The Columbia Democrat, January 20, 1838:

The Memphis Enquirer of Dec. 15, announces the death of a valuable and most estimable citizen, Dr. James M'Coul; who was suddenly killed on the evening of the 11th ult. near St. Francis, Arkansas, by the fall of a limb from a tree, while discharging his duties as a surgeon to a body of emigrating Chickasaw Indians.  He was dressing the wound of an Indian at the time the distressing casualty happened.  The deceased was a native of Fredericksburg, Va. and had been a resident of Memphis, Tenn. but a few months.  The deceased is said to have been much beloved and respected, not only by the agents, but by the Indians, who manifest great sorrow at his death.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Capt. J. Harvey Mathes, He's not in Elmwood

The brouhaha surrounding the renaming of three Memphis Parks continues.  This time descendants of Captain James Harvey Mathes want his bust, which has been in Jefferson Davis Park since 1908, removed if the parks name change goes through.  The family indicated they might donate it to the Rendezvous, a local restaurant.

Capt. J. Harvey Mathes
37th TENN.
Or they might just take it to their backyard in Georgia.  Or, they would have it placed at the Captain's gravesite in Elmwood Cemetery which seems like the best idea. Except there's only one problem with that last scenario, Mathes is buried at Forest Hill Midtown.

J.Harvey Mathes died in California in 1902.  When his body was returned to Memphis he was originally interred at Elmwood Cemetery in plot 377 1/2, space 3, of the Turley section.  However, he was moved to Forest Hill February 16, 1918 to reside next to his loved ones.  "Love leans on memory, until the touch of God makes it immortal" says the Mathes family monument.  Perhaps it will be the Memphis City Council that helps lend that touch of immortality to his name as well.

Elmwood Record of Mathes' Interment