Samuel Carpenter was a son of Judge Samuel Carpenter and Margaret Bowie Slaughter of Bardstown Kentucky. After studying law in his father's law office he removed to Memphis in 1857. 1860 would be a banner year for Sam Carpenter but it would also be his last. In February he married Anna Lilly Merrill, daughter of the distinguished Ayres Phillips Merrill, author, physician and one of the organizers of the Memphis Medical College. In July, Carpenter was elected city attorney by Memphis Mayor R.D. Baugh and the city aldermen. One of the alderman was his father-in-law, A.P. Merrill. In November he began feeling ill and was diagnosed with Erysipelas, an extremely painful condition caused by streptococcus bacteria. Samuel Carpenter succumbed on November 19, 1860 and was interred at Elmwood Cemetery. For a period of 30 days after his death the council chambers were draped in black and members of the bar wore mourning badges.
"We have a sad and melancholy duty to perform in announcing the death of Samuel Carpenter, the city attorney of this city, who was called from his sphere of earthly duties yesterday afternoon. But a few days ago Mr. Carpenter was mingling among his acquaintances, and discharging his important duties, with his usual kindness of manner and energetic earnestness, and many who read this will experience a shock as they learn that the genial, courteous, generous souled Kentuckian, Samuel Carpenter, is no more. Several days ago he complained of not feeling well, and a bile broke out on his upper lip he continued, however, to attend to his duties; and his office until Thursday evening, when he remained at home and complained of feeling worse. The next evening he was better, and came down to supper. the bile unfortunately spread until the face was affected, and at length the throat. It was not until Sunday, however, that his disease was regarded as serious; then it became evident that he was suffering from the stubborn malady known as "malignant erysipelas." From that period he continued rapidly to grow worse. Yesterday morning he received baptism at the hands of the Rev. Mr. MacClure, clergyman of Grace, Episcopal, church. His mind after this time was frequently wandering, but at intervals he showed a sense of his condition and appeared resigned to leave his hopes and aims, and struggles for temporal success, and enter the world where higher aspirations and loftier longings are set before the enfranchised spirit.
His age was 28 years and 7 months. Mr. Carpenter was born at Bardstown, in Kentucky, in 1832. His father was the late respected circuit judge of that place. He was educated at St. Joseph's college of Bardstown, and on the completion of his collegiate course he studied law with his father. On entering the active duties of his profession, his industry, energy, unusual talents, and evident ambition, rapidly obtained for him the admiration of his fellow-citizens, who at an early period anticipated for him a brilliant career, and the ruling portion of them manifested their confidence in his powers, even at that early period, by making him a delegate to the convention that nominated Millard Fillmore as a candidate for the presidency. His name became widely known in Kentucky, and in Louisville especially he enjoyed a high degree of prosperity. On the occasion of his coming to this city, Mr. Prentice, of the Louisville Journal, spoke highly of him, and prophesied in that paper that he would "make his mark"--a prophecy that even in the short time he has been among us has been fulfilled.
At the age of twenty-five, Mr. Carpenter came to this city, three years ago. He set about making himself a citizen of Memphis in earnest, and the frank ingenousness of manners, his winning smile, his cordial warmth, and generous sentiments obtained for him access to the best society; in a very few months Sam. Carpenter became in Memphis what he had been in Kentucky, a universal favorite. Such was the "mark" he made, that in July last, although opposing a very popular candidate who had a strong influence on that body, the board of mayor and aldermen elected him city attorney. His victory was owing to his personal popularity, and to the high opinion entertained of his high talents and pure integrity. Nine months ago he cemented his relations as a citizen of Memphis, by marrying the daughter of the respected Dr. A.P. Merrill.
To praise the dead is too often a mere matter of course; in this instance if we ascribe high qualities of head and heart to Samuel Carpenter, we do so with an entire conviction of the truth of what we say. The honorable positions accorded him both in his native place and in this city, prove the impression he produced on the minds of his fellow-citizens. Sam. Carpenter abounded in those noble qualities which constitute our ideal of the Kentucky gentleman--he was generous, sympathetic, earnest, just and nobly ambitious. he was the especial favorite of his late father, who conceived the highest hopes of his career; he was the idol of his brothers and sisters. We linger over these lines, loth (sic) to finish the last sad mark of respect to the memory of one whom we shall ever think with a reverence gained for him, not so much by what he had achieved, as by the lofty future that lay before him. Memphis has lost an honest man and a good citizen. Requiescat in pace."
Originally posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal, November 20 1860
Resolutions on the Death of Samuel Carpenter Esq.
At a meeting of the members of the Memphis bar, on the occasion of the death of Samuel Carpenter, Esq., held at the common law court room on Tuesday morning, the 20th inst., on motion, Judge Wm. Thompson was called to the Caire, and G.P. Foute, Esq., appointed secretary.
On motion of Hon. George Dixon a committee of five was appointed to present suitable resolutions for the action of the meeting.
The chair appointed on the committee: Judge Dixon, T.S. Ayres, H. Vollentine, J.G. Finnie and G.P. Foute, who, through their chairman, Judge Dixon, made the following report, which was unanmously adopted;
The undersigned, appointed a committee to present resolutions expressive of the sense of the members of the Memphis bar at the recent death of Samuel Carpenter, Esq., recommend that the following resolutions be adopted, and spread upon the minutes of the court.
Resolved, that we have learned, with deep sorrow, of the death of our brother, Samuel Carpenter, Esq.
Resolved, that, in the death of our deceased brother, the bar has lost an upright, energetic and diligent member, and the community an eminent and respected citizen.
Resolved, that, as a testimony of our respect for the deceased, we will, in a body, attend at his funeral from the residence of Dr. Merrill, on this day, at 3 o'clock.
Resolved, that the family of the deceased have the sympathy and condolence of the members of the Memphis bar, in this, their and bereavement, and that a copy of these resolutions be delivered to his family by the secretary of this meeting, and that the same be furnished the city papers for publication.
George Dixon, T.S. Ayres,
H. Vollentine, J.G. Finnie,
G.P. Foute, Committee.
On motion of J.G. Finnie, Esq., W.K. Poston, Esq., was appointed to present the resolutions of the meeting to the chancery side of the common law and chancery court, and request that they be spread upon its minutes; on same motion Judge Charles Scott was requested to present the same to the criminal for same purpose. On motion of Hon. Chas. Scott, J.G. Finnie, Esq., was appointed to present the resolution to the law side of the court. On motion the meeting adjourned.
G.P. Foute, WM. Thompson
At an informal meeting of the board of mayor and aldermen, held yesterday at eleven o'clock--present, R.D. Baugh, mayor, aldermen Martin, Kirby, Robinson, Joiner, Selby, Vollintine, Fager, Morgan and Molloy.
Upon motion of Alderman Martin, Alderman Molloy took the chair and called the Board to order, when Mr. Martin announced the death of Samuel Carpenter, Esq., attorney for the city of Memphis, and moved that a committee of three be appointed for the purpose of drafting suitable resolutions, etc. The committee appointed by the chair were Aldermen Martin, Robinson and Morgan, who after a retiracy from the the board, presented the following preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, by one of those inscrutable dispensations of divine Providence which we cannot comprehend, yet which we have no doubt infinite wisdom intended for the best, Samuel Carpenter, Esq., our city attorney, has been stricken down by the destroyer, Death,
Resolved, That in the death of Samuel Carpenter, Esq., the city has lost one among her most intelligent, efficient and useful city officials.
Resolved, That the board of mayor and aldermen to Mrs. L. Carpenter, relict of the deceased, their heartfelt sympathy and condolence at her irreparable loss in the death of her beloved husband.
Resolved, That as a mark of our high appreciation of the character of the deceased, and for the respect with which we cherish his memory, we will wear a badge of mourning for the next thirty days, and that the hall of the mayor and aldermen be draped in mourning for the same length of time.
Resolved, That a copy of those proceedings be furnished to Mrs. L. Carpenter by our secretary, and that they also be published in the city papers.
His honor, Mayor Baugh, moved that a separate letter of condolence be written by the board to Mrs. L. Carpenter. Ald. Martin moved as substitute, which was accepted, that Mayor Baugh be requested by the board of aldermen to write a special letter of condolence to Mrs. L. Carpenter, relict of Samuel Carpenter, deceased, expressive of the sympathy of the board of mayor and aldermen in her sad bereavement. Adopted.
After a few remarks from Ald. Morgan, Robinson and his honor, the mayor, in relation to the merits of the deceased, bearing testimony to his worth as a gentleman and his high capacity as an officer, the board adjourned to meet this evening at 3 o'clock, at Dr. A.P. Merrill's, for the purpose of attending the funeral of the deceased.
W. H. Bridges, Secretary
Originally posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal Nov. 21 1860