Monday, November 4, 2013

Mrs. Cornelia Honeyman Oldham, 1793 - 1867

The Oldham family doesn't seem to have much, if any connection to Memphis, except for the obituary that appeared for Cornelia in 1867.  Nevertheless her story is fascinating from losing the family wealth during the Civil War to an ancestor removing the rib of James V, King of Scotland!

She was born in Virginia in 1793 to Robert Bruce Honeyman and Mildred Brown.  According to Goodspeed's Biographies of Lauderdale County TN, her father was a noted physician and member of the British Royal Navy serving as surgeon on the "Portland".  He is also supposed to be a direct descendant of Dr. Honyman "who extracted by command the fifth rib from the side of James V, King of Scotland!  She married Dr. Samuel Oldham in Virginia, a graduate of the Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia.  They moved to Lauderdale County around 1835. Depending on the source Dr. Oldham died either in 1860 or 1862. Once again, depending on the source they had three or four children, James, Samuel, Algernon and Robert.  Their magnificant home, known as Eylau, was built around 1835 most likely by the slaves on the plantation.  It's unknown where they are interred but it's very possible that Dr. Samuel Oldham was interred on Eylau Plantation at his passing. Cornelia died in Hot Springs and her place of interment is unknown as well.  Many of their descendants can be found at Maplewood Cemetery in Ripley Tennessee. 

OLDHAM--Died at Hot Springs, Arkansas, on the 24th September, 1867, Mrs. Cornelia Oldham, relict of the late Dr. Samuel Oldham, of Eylau, Haywood County, Tennessee.

The deceased was born July 30 1793, in Hanover County, Virginia, the daughter of Dr. Robert Honeyman, an Eminent Scotch physician; was married in April, 1816, to her late honored husband, with him resided several years in King George County, Virginia, and removed thence to Haywood county, Tennessee, in the autumn of 1833, where they settled permanently at Eylau.  Here they had acquired a large estate, erected an elegant mansion, and adorned their home with every convenience.  Possessed of very considerable wealth, they had accumulated around them great abundance and luxury that a cultivated taste, united in industry and prudent economy could procure, and with generous, liberal, elegant hospitality, dispensed its comforts to all who came.  The subject of this notice presided over this establishment with a grace, kindness and dignity that were the admiration of all, and few persons of any note in West Tennessee have not participated in its munificent enjoyments, as well as many from a distance.

After the death of the late Dr. Oldham, the subject of this notice continued to dispense the same generous hospitality, and although deprived by the ruthless Vandals of the North, during the late civil war, as well as the rest of her family, of her large property, her house pillaged, robbed and insulted, she bore it all with Christian meekness and fortitude, and continued to receive her friends at her hospitable mansion with the same cheerful kindness as in days of prosperity.  The deceased was an exemplary christian, devoted to the Episcopal Church, of which she was a member-a dutiful, affectionate wife and mother, a humane and indulgent mistress, a faithful friend and charitable to the poor.  all in all she combined so many virtues, graces and amenities, that we shall never look upon her like again.
Nov. 12, 1967.  L.  
Originally posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal, Nov. 19 1867

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