Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Death of Eighteenhundred Fiftyseven, Esq.

A Death and a Birth--Tonight, aged twelve months, a valuable and respected resident of this and other States, Kingdoms and Republics, Eighteenhundred Fiftyseven, Esq., attended by some mourners and many rejoicers, will be buried in Eternity Cemetery.  Our fast departing acquaintance was a member of the great family of Time.  He will be succeeded in the dating business by his offspring Eighteenhundred Fiftyeight, whose birth is expected to occur the first thing to-morrow morning.  It is confidently anticipated that his name will be closely connected, during the next fifty-two weeks, with a series of remarkable and important events, to attend to which occurrences with due punctuality, he will be at his office, with books open for business, day and night.  The respected party now near his latter end, is understood tearfully to have declared that his business was as bad as that of a newspaper office, and that no Year, however vigorous, could stand the wear and tear of his toilsome profession more than twelve months.
Originally posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal Dec 31 1857

Monday, December 30, 2013

Seventeen Years Ago, The Battle of Murfreesboro, 1879

To-morrow the 31st of December, will be the anniversary of the battle of Murfreesboro or Stones river as it is called by those who were on the Federal side, which was fought by the armies of Bragg and Rosencranz on the last day of the year 1862, seventeen years.  It does not seem so long to some of the survivors and yet more enduring history has been made in that period than in whole centuries of the early and middle ages.  the wounds of our war are healed and the time has come when the participants can with pleasure "shoulder a crutch and show how battles were won," and lost.  The war is over with them; its cup was drained to the dregs, and "out of the bitter cometh forth sweet."  We have entered upon a long and splendid era of peace, prosperity and national glory.  Grand civil displays, scientific discoveries, architectural triumphs and agricultural trophies occupy all the space and attention once devoted to the paraphernalia and the pomp and circumstance of war.  The martial spirit of our people finds vent in holiday excursions, sham battles, base ball and other physical exercises.  The rising generation reads of the war as a thing of history which occurred after the revolutionary war, but not much later than the Mexican war.  There is little to remind young people of this period except here and there crumbling breastworks, a national cemetery, and the few who carry an empty sleeve or walk on crutches.  Time has wrought great changes; we almost wonder that there ever was a war.  How impossible it would be in the next fifty years to stir up the civil strife of 1860-61.  Having fought well on both sides, we learned to respect each other and to admit that there are two sides to all questions.  A perfect understanding was secured between the great masses of the people, the rights of all are secure, and we feel that the blood of that great struggle was not shed in vain.  It solved speedily questions which otherwise would have retarded our growth, kept the people divided, prejudiced foreign nations and been a source of trouble and apprehension for, perhaps, a century to come.  The war was a continual vindication and patriotism.  these qualities were not confined to any section or state, and the credit is shared by the whole people, and history will divide the honors alike with those who wore the Grey those who fought for the Stars and Stripes.  It has been truly said that time makes all things even at last.  There is as much loyalty to constitutional liberty and the idea of a country with but one flag in the south as the north.  We bear cheerfully our share of the burdens of government and expect to enjoy its benefits in proportion.  No party can deprive us this; very few men of the north would if they could.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger Dec. 30 1879.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Funeral of Major Walter A. Goodman 1883

The death of Major Walter A. Goodman, which occurred on Saturday night last, at his residence on Shelby street, was a surprise to many of his most intimate friends, and the first knowledge many had of his illness was the announcement in yesterday's papers that he had passed away.  

Major Goodman was stricken while on duty at the Courthouse last Tuesday, and failing to obtain relief by a simple antidote, he went home and to bed where his medical adviser, Dr. Saunders, found him in great agony.  The application of various remedies appeared to be ineffectual, and opiates to deaden the sense of pain proved the only apparent comfort to the sufferer.  It was known from the beginning that the case was a desperate one, and some time previous to dissolution the propriety of performing a surgical operation to reach the seat of trouble was considered by his physicians, but it was decided to be unwise and not attepted.

Major Goodman passed quietly away on Saturday night, and his funeral occurred yesterday afternoon.  A large assemblage gathered at the family residence to attend the obsequies, which were conducted by the Rev. Dr. George White, rector of Calvary church, and despite the bitter cold weather many went to Elmwood Cemetery to witness the last earthly rites paid to his remains.  Among the rest was a numerous delegation from the Chickasaw Lodge, I.O.O.F., of which the lamented deceased was a zealous and respected member.  The beautiful burial service of the order formed a part of the ceremonies at the grave.  Each member of the brotherhood present dropped a sprig of evergreen upon the coffin lid, a regalia representing the rank attained by the deceased, that of Past Grand, was deposited in the grave, a burial hymn was chanted, a prayer read, and the benediction was next pronounced by the Very Rev. Dr. White, after which the grave was filled.  Then a number of beautiful floral tributes were laid upon it, and the sorrowing mourners returned to their houses.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger  January 22 1883.

Walter A. Goodman was born March 21 1830 in Ohio. He was the son of Walter and Anna Merrill Goodman.  In 1850 the Goodman's were living in Marshall County Mississippi.  His father was listed as a Land Agent born in Massachusetts in 1803 with a real estate valued at $7,000.  Anna, his mother, was 46 and also born in Massachusetts.  In 1860 Anna and Walter are living in Holly Springs.  His nativity is incorrectly listed as Ireland.   Walter's occupation is now that of President of the Mississippi Central Railroad.  

Walter died April 16 1866 and was interred at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester New York per Tombstone Inscriptions from Section I of Mt. Hope Cemetery. A death notice appeared in the Daily Union and American on April 26 1866: "Walter Goodman, First President of the Mississippi Central railroad, died in New York city on the 16th inst."   

In 1870, Anna Goodman is widowed, 66 years old and keeping house in Holly Springs Mississippi.  Her total estate is valued at $16,500.  Anna Merrill Goodman was born April 6 1800 in Pittsfield Massachusetts and died July 14 1876 in Holly Springs Mississippi.  She was buried at Hill Crest Cemetery in Holly Springs.  Her obituary appeared in the Memphis Daily Appeal July 18, 1876:  Died on Thursday, the 13th inst. at her residence in Holly Springs, Miss., Mrs. Anna Goodman, widow of the late Walter Goodman, of that place, and mother of Major W.A. Goodman, of this City.

On May 18, 1859, Walter A Goodman and Corinne Acklen were joined in wedlock at Madison County Alabama. 

During the Civil War Walter Goodman served as a Captain in the First division of Forrest's Cavalry as reported in the Public Ledger Dec. 16 1882 but also served as Captain and AAG, reporting to General Chalmers in Mississippi according to his Military records on Fold3.

In 1870 Walter, Corinne and their children were living in Memphis.  Walter was an Insurance Agent. Their children were Walter age 10 (mistakenly listed as female), Corinne age 6, Norma age 2 and Lulu age 8.  In 1880 Walter is a merchant and his son, Walter Jr is a clerk.  Corinne is still keeping house.  The children are Louise age 18, Corinne age 16, Norma age 12 and William age 5.

Walter Goodman and his family are interred at Elmwood Cemetery.  For more information about the Goodman family check out A History of Tennessee and Tennesseans.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

And lays the Shepherd's crock beside the sceptre, 1867

We present the customary compliments of the day to our friends and wish them "a merry Christmas."  This great anniversary of an event that gave spur to civilization, and implanted in the breast of man the seeds of Christianity, and the hope of resurrection and eternal happiness through the atonement of the Saviour, has been handed down through long generations as a day of jubilee.  It has not only had the sacred rites of the church, with the solemn exercises and sublime canticles provided for the celebration of the most marked occurrence in the march of Time, but it has been given up to festivity and general enjoyment.  The Yule log and the Christmas tree, and the foaming tankard and, the abandon, which dispenses with rank and caste,

"And lays the Shepherd's crock beside the sceptre,"

Were the observances of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors.  Different countries and people have had different customs, but they were all founded on the one great principle of honoring the day on which the heavens and earth were brought nearer together through Him who was sent as an example to mankind of meekness, of forbearance, of justness, and endurance under the most poignant suffering.  In our country the old paternal roof-tree bends over the gathered familiar clustered around the winter fire, or partaking of the feast at the old family board.  Alas! within a few years how many seats have been left without a tenant; how many tearful memories have been mingled with the once cheerful meeting when the old and the young were all there, and the cup of sorrow had not mixed its bitterness with the sweetened chalice of joy!  "Christmas gift!" is the first salutation of the morn, and the suspended hose are speedily examined by budding childhood to gather the gifts of the beneficent St. Nicholas, or "Santa Claus" as he is universally recognized by the young.  With the approach of dawn the busy housewife is up and stirring, and the music of spoon and dish, announcing the forthcoming egg-nog, is heard in lively clatter.  The mince pies and crulls and doughnuts have been the products of previous days, and crown the festive board.  There is universal glee, Old and young mingle in one stream of delight.  Who would deny this gleam of happiness?  We are entering on a fearful season, and "we have the poor always with us."  Should not those who have yet the gifts of fortune, remember that "whoso giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord?"  One of the rounds of the ladder to Heaven is Charity.  While the feast is spread and the glowing grate gives forth its genial warmth, let it not escape the memory that there are those on whose hearths the embers are cold, and whose humble tables may not boast of even a meager meal.  It is difficult to set aside old usages, and there will yet be squandered in trifles, much that might be converted to good, and what recollection could be more agreeable than to know that a gleam of sunshine has been thrown on a sorrowing heart, and the pangs of penury have been spirited away by a timely gift!
Originally posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal Dec 25 1867

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fatal Railroad Accident Kills One, Injures Another 1883

An unfortunate accident occurred at the Mississippi and Tennessee railway depot, foot of Main street, this
forenoon, by which a colored brakeman named Alf Martin lost his life, and another named George Stokes had his leg crushed and broken, which may result perhaps in amputation.  The two men named were residents of this city.  both were on a caboose car engaged in switching from one track to another where lumber was in course of loading, and by the oversight of a switchman in not moving a pin to change the rail quick enough, the caboose car ran down upon a timber car, the collision throwing the two men out so that Martin was killed outright and Stokes injured as described.  The man martin was a faithful hand who has worked for the railway for seven or eight years, while Stokes has also been an appreciated laborer.  The latter has no family, and it has not been ascertained whether or not Martin has, but at the inquest held by Esquire Galloway the dead man's mother was present.  A number of witnesses were examined at the inquest, but no blame attached to any person engaged on the tracks, and a verdict was rendered in accordance.
Originally published in the Public Ledger December 22 1883.

According to the Register of Deaths, Alfred Martin was single and 30 at the time of his death and a native of Mississippi. He was interred at Elmwood Cemetery.

George Stokes was married to Margaret "Maggie" Bland. George and Maggie appear in the 1880 Census for Garner, Yalobush County Mississippi.  His occupation, railroad laborer.  George died sometime prior to 1900 because Maggie is listed as a widow with four children: Walter, Ada, George and Mary.  In 1910 Maggie appears in the Census living in Memphis with her children: Walter age 29, George Jr age 25 and Mary E age 20.  Maggie died in 1923 and was interred at Zion Christian Cemetery.  Both George Jr and Walter worked in the railroad business just like their dad, George Sr.  George Jr died in 1931 and is interred at Mount Carmel.  Walter died in 1949, his wife Lizzie Stokes was the informant on the Death Certificate.  Walter was interred at Mount Carmel too.  Ada Stokes Moss, a daughter of George and Maggie, passed on in 1945 and was interred at New Park Cemetery. 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Draped in Purple & Black for Rev. Edgar Orgain 1883

The Rev. Edmund Orgain, rector of Grace Episcopal church, on Hernando street, died at his residence on McKinney street, near the Hernando road, a square south of the Selma railway crossing, between six and seven o'clock this morning.  The reverend gentleman had been suffering with malarial fever for about ten days past, and three or four days ago the malady, accompanied by hemorrhages, took a serious turn, ending in dissolution at the hour named.  Mr. Orgain was a native of England, and possessing agreeable manners with a genial temperament, together with a cultivated mind, he grew to be very popular with the parishoners he has served for some five years past, and was also much liked by the people of Calvary parish.  

The deceased leaves a young widow, formerly Miss Maggie E. Peyton, to whom he was married but two years ago, and it was but a few months since he erected the comfortable little cottage home near the southern suburbs of the city, where he died this morning.  The demise of Mr. Orgain will be deeply regretted by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and the sympathy of all will be extended to his grief sricken companion and her little eight months old daughter.  Mr. Orgain's parents are at Somerville, and have been notified of their sad loss.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger December 17 1883


 30th--Sunday after Christmas.  I officiated at Grace Church, Memphis.  The chancel was appropriately draped with purple and black in consequence of the death of its Rector, our beloved brother, the Rev. Edgar Orgain.  In the morning I preached from 2 Cor. i.3, 4, and celebrated the most comfortable Sacrament.  At 4 p.m. a Memorial Service was held.  The Rev. Dr. White, assisted by the Rev. Davis Sessums, officiated; and I preached from the words of our blessed Lord, " This day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
From the Diocese of Tennessee, Journal

The Standing Committee of the diocese of Tennessee met in this city on Saturday the 22d of December, 1883, for appropriate action on the occasion of the recent death of the Rev. Edgar Orgain, late member of said committee, the Rev. George White, D.D., President, in the chair, when the following report, presented by Judge Sneed, was ordered to be spread upon the minutes, and a copy thereof presented to the diocesan convention at its next annual meeting with the request that it be entered upon the journal thereof.

  Whereas, It has pleased Almighty god to call unto himself the spirit of our brother, the Rev. Edgar Orgain, late rector of Grace Church, Memphis and a member of this committee.  While we can but realize that in the death of such a man, "how beautiful to die like the watchworn sentinel upon the outer walls of Zion," yet we count it but a sinless sorrow to deplore a dispensation which, through a mercy to the dead, has left the living in tears.  An intrepid soldier of the cross he was yet affable, generous and just as a citizen, genial and entertaining as a companion and so harmoniously blended the grace of the true gentleman with a never faltering zeal for Christ, that the very symmetry of his Christian character, in and out of the pulpit, was an eloquent and continuous appeal to all men for a purer and better life.  As a church man, he fashioned his doctrinal polity after the maxim of Melancthon, unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, charity in all things.  As a clergyman, he made the pathway to the church inviting by repelling the spirit of intolerance, and bruising the head of the spirit of bigotry, too often found across it, and he charmed the people to the holy altar, not by priestly traditions of creed and doctrine, but by the all-sufficient pathos of the cross.   Flushed with a noble pride in his exalted mission--recognizing but one pre-eminent model for the Christian life--this young warrior, though fallen upon the skirmish line, had made a history especially in one respect, profitable not only for doctrine to all, but to some of us for reproof also.  He saw no appreciable difference in the value of human souls.  To the beggar and the millionaire alike he felt it to be his mission, as it was his pleasure, to carry the sweet manna of the gospel--and of all the tears now falling on his new made grave, none tell a more touching story than those of the poor widows and orphans, the homeless and the friendless he has succored in distress and consoled in misfortune.  the death of such a man is a calamity to the church, a bereavement to the community, a special sorrow to this committee, while to those who were bound to him by a tie more tender still it is a grief to which human condolence brings no fortitude, and nothing less than the grace of God can bring resignation.
George White, D.D., President.  
S. H. Lamb, Secretary
Originally posted in the Public Ledger Dec. 24 1883

Though the obituary indicates Rev. Orgain was a native of England, Census records say he was born in Tennessee.  The obituary also indicates his parents were living in Somerville, Tennessee. There is an "Organ" family listed in the 1860 Fayette County TN Census with an 11 year old Edgar in the household.  His parents are Thomas L. age 43, Elizabeth (Trotter) age 37.  Siblings are William age 13, Fanny H age 6, T.H. age 3 and "no name" age 7 months old.  By 1870 the census lists the name as Orgain.  William and Edgar have left the household leaving behind siblings Fannie, Walter, and Oscar.  In 1880 T.L. Orgain, age 62,  and his family are living in Haywood County TN and his occupation, which previously was that of farmer, is now Preacher.  In 1880 Edgar is living in Washington D.C.  Edgar moved to Memphis shortly after that and served as Rector of Grace Church till his death.  He married Maggie in 1881.

Thomas L. Orgain died prior to 1894 which is when Elizabeth begins appearing in Memphis City Directories as his widow.
Elizabeth Trotter Orgain died January 1, 1910 and was buried in the Stanton Cemetery.
Oscar Orgain died in Memphis Sept 23, 1919 and was buried in the Stanton Cemetery.
William Gregory Orgain died in Memphis May 5 1926 and was buried at Elmwood Cemetery.
Fannie Orgain Parker died February 14 1928 in Memphis and interred at Augusta Arkansas.  She married James H. Parker in Haywood County Tn in Dec. 1878.
Walter Orgain married Kate Chlore, date of death is unknown.  His son Thomas Edgar Orgain was interred at Memorial Park.
Rev. Orgain was interred at Elmwood Cemetery.  

His wife Maggie and daughter Louise moved to Texas where Maggie's mother, Virginia L. Eskridge Peyton, was living. Louise died in 1933 and Maggie followed her in 1938.  They are both interred at Evergreen Cemetery in Ballinger Texas.  Maggie's father was James Tate Peyton who died July 26 1869 in Monroe County Virginia.  He enlisted May 1861 in Maynard's Rifles, Memphis Tennessee and served as Major and Quartermaster in 1862.  His place of burial is unknown. 



Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Notorious Hans Margerum Dead 1883

Hans Margerum.
His death at 2 o'clock this morning from the Effects of a Blow on the Head Last Saturday Night.

This morning about 2 o'clock, Hans Margerum breathed his last at his parents' residence, corner of High and Poplar streets, from the effects of a blow on his head by a stone or rock at the hands of a man unknown, in front of "little George's" saloon, on Poplar street, last Saturday night, Esquire Quigley was notified and this forenoon held an inquest.  The testimony was confused and conflicting, but it seems that the deceased had an altercation in the saloon and was ejected by the man, it is supposed, who subsequently seized a piece of sandstone used to keep the door back and hurled it at Margerum, while the latter was being held by a man named Charles Uptonroe.  Margerum was taken home, where he remained until death came to his relief.  The man who threw the fatal missile immediately disappeared after the affair and has not since been seen by the police.  He boarded at "Little George's" house and had been there one week, having paid his board in advance.  Both the landlord and his wife disclaim any knowledge of the man's name or whereabouts.  All that is known of him is that he is a German, fairly tall and an engineer by calling.  The jury, composed of Messr.s R.C. Graves, John W. Currin, R.J. Morgan, H. Bensdorf, T. Keith, Wm Dean and Harlow Dow, returned a verdict in accordance with the statements presented.  Hans Margerum led a checkered career, the greater portion of which is well known to many citizens and over which the mantle of charity is drawn.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger, December 27 1883.

The Checkered Past
The checkered past of Hansell Margerum included desertion.  
He had been a private in the prestigious 154th Senior Regiment TN but on September 28, 1862 at Shelbyville, Kentucky, he chose a different path from his compatriots.  He left.

1873
"The criminal court yesterday convicted the notorious Hans Margerum of larceny, and sentenced him to three years imprisonment in the penitentiary."  Memphis Daily Appeal June 26 1873
1874
"Yesterday Hans Margerum, a noted rough and well known in police circles, licked a constable who sought to arrest him on a warrant for clubbing a citizen on Poplar street.  Officer Tim Hope marched out and took margerum in without trouble.  Hope is not a man to be fooled with."  Public Ledger June 18 1874
 
1875
Headline for January 14 1875 "Jail Delivery: Nine Prisoners Disarm a Turnkey, and make Their Escape from the Jail-Four of Them Recaptured"  Hans Margerum was among the escapees.  Memphis Daily Appeal

"This afternoon Hans Margerum one of the escaped prisoners from the county jail, was recaptured by deputy Sheriff Murphy in the suburbs of the city."  Public Ledger January 16 1875.

"Fannie Malone and Hans Margerum were committed by the Recorder to-day on the charge of assault with a knife upon the person of a white man whom Margerum held while the festive Fannie cut him a few times with a pocket knife."  Public Ledger May 3 1875

"Hans Margerum, who a few days since, with Fannie Malone, a soiled dove, was sentenced to the penitentiary for two years on the charge of malicious stabbing, possesses a charmed life.  He is a well-known rough who has been in scores of bad scrapes for which he has been arrested, tried and convicted, but has so far managed to escape on new trials and appeals to the Supreme Court.  The bright oasis in his worthless life is the Spartan-like devotion of his old mother (Laura A. Willingham Margerum), who sticks to him in all adversity, and begs and pleads for his release just as if he was a worthy citizen instead of a professional criminal.  There is a sublimity in the devotion of his good mother to her worthless son that commands the respect and attention of all who frequent the stationhouse and the Criminal Court." Public Ledger May 31 1875

"Complaints have been made at police headquarters that criminals from President's Island are permitted to come to the city on leave of absence.  Several penitentiary convicts were prowling around town last week on leave of aabsence.  Last night one of these President's Island prisoners, on leave of absence, Hans Margerum, assaulted a citizen and was arrested by the police."  Public Ledger Dec. 30 1875

1876
"Hans Margerum, the notoriuous youth, was actually acquitted of the charge of vagrancy on a fair and impartial trial in the Criminal court.  His lawyer, Colonel Turner, argued that Hans was not a vagrant, but had for a long time furnished business for the officers of the court, and thereby contributed to the support of their families.  It was a humorous speech, and hans was discharged upon the merits presented."  Memphis Daily Appeal Jan 26 1876
 
"Hans Margerum, a well-known boarder at the station-house, was fined and bonded on a charge of assault and battery."  Public Ledger March 9 1876

1877
Headline for May 2 1877:  "Outrage on Board a Train:  A Lot of convicts attack a passenger and rob of him of his watch and chain--Hans Margerum on the War-Path, with other Jail Birds"  Memphis Daily Appeal

The Jackson Sun for may 4 1877 referred to Margerum as "Handy Hans".

1878
"He (Jeff Logan) was engaged with Hans Margerum in the attempt to rob Martin Curry on the Louisville Train near this city, April 30th 1877.  Curry resides in Nashville."  Public Ledger February 4 1878

1880
He's listed in the 1880 Census for Nashville at the State Penitentiary as a prisoner, age 39, birthplace Georgia, occupation Engineer.




Friday, December 20, 2013

Col. James Howard Edmondson, A Southern man by Birth & Education




In obedience to a call made through the city press, a meeting of Confederate soldiers was held at the Peabody Hotel on Tuesday, the 21st instant, for the purpose of paying a tribute of respect to the memory of the late Col. James H. Edmondson.  Gen. A.J. Vaughan was called to the chair, and after the adoption of a resolution that the meeting move in a body to the family residence and attend the funeral, the undersigned were appointed a Committee on Resolutions and to prepare a memorial for the deceased, to be published at our option, which is herewith submitted:

James Howard Edmondson was born at Athens, Limestone county, Ala., on the 15th of July, 1831.  His father removed to Shelby county in 1850, and soon afterward the deceased located in Memphis, and at once took a conspicuous position in the affairs of business and the social circle.  In 1853 he was regarded as the leader of fashionable society, and in that year was married to Miss Mary Titus, and soon thereafter became associated with his father-in-law in business, Col. Frayser Titus, and was engaged in a prosperous and lucrative business when war's dread alarms were sounded in 1861. 

A Southern man by birth and education, all the sympathies of his nature were enlisted for his people and his section.  His whole being, heart and brain, and every fiber and ligament were absorbed in the cause.  He gave himself and his fortune without reserve to what he believed to be right.  He was the first to enlist in the struggle, and the last to surrender.  This is not the time or the occasion to give his brilliant career during the war.  Suffice it to say that he was a gallant soldier; the same lovable, brave character, whether on the march, in camp, or in battle.  His career as Confederate soldier is the picture of a man who, without noise or ostentation, devoted his life to his section and people, not through love of fame, not through a desire to distinguish himself, but simply because in his noble soul and generous heart he had worked out the problem, and believing his services were need, at every sacrifice, without hesitation he followed the call of duty, regardless whether it led up to fame and joy or downward to death and the grave.  How swift are passing away the royal band of Confederate soldiers of which our deceased comrade was the pride and ornament.  Col. Edmondson was devoted to the city of his adoption and his love, and was a zealous worker in all things which could contribute to its prosperity or the happiness of the people. 

In war he exhibited that courage which leads men into battle with as much serenity as if they were marching to a banquet, and in peace he exhibited that still greater and nobler courage and moral heroism which, inspired by a sense of duty and the sufferings of humanity, induced him to join the gallant few in storming the Balaklava of Yellow Fever, an unseen and insidious enemy more terrible than an army with banners.  During the Yellow Fever epidemics of 1878-79 he breasted the pitiless storm with a courage that was sublime.  He never faltered, never quailed--was ever on duty, illustrating the grandeur of his character.  The increase of suffering and death increased his sorrows and his tears; but they nerved his arm with strength, and he remained to the last, a faithful watcher, a weary vigil, ministering to the sick and dying. 

He too is dead, but the splendor of his deeds is imperishable and will be his reward in eternity.  In social intercourse Col. Edmondson was courtly, courteous, considerate, gentle and unobtrusive, but firm and immovable in his principles and purposes.  In his quiet and modest way he exercised a powerful influence for any cause he espoused.  Like the noble river that ever flows by our city, the stream of his life was quiet and placid, but strong, grand and useful.  His unselfishness in the social circle and in his intercourse with the world was a distinctive trait of his character.  He always forgot himself in his love and generosity toward others.  He was always prominent in originating and pushing forward every public enterprise, but in his unselfishness he would let others reap the public rewards in schemes of his own invention.  His virtues were his strength; he was a philanthropist; he was a patriot; he was a hero; he was a good man.
Therefore,
  Resolved, that in the death of Col. James H. Edmondson the surviving Confederate soldiers have lost a comrade who was true to the cause in war, one who was with us in all our joys and sorrows, our triumphs and disasters, and who has been prominent in our care for the dead and the living, and who in peace has been a true and loyal citizen.
  Resolved, that we desire also to bear testimony to his life as a citizen and friend--a citizen of unimpeachable integrity, ever alive to the calls of public duty, a friend who never failed in the hour of need, and always foremost in every good work for a higher civilization, and the material, moral and intellectual advancement of the people and the community which mourns his death with a sincere and profound sorrow.
  Resolved, that we tender our heart felt sympathies to his son, the only child of the deceased, and his other relatives in their irreparable loss.  His heart was a spring of loving tenderness for his relatives, and they should be consoled by the reflection that he left them rich in the valuable legacy of an honored and unsullied name.
Colton Greene
M.C. Gallaway
W.A. Collier
Originally posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal Oct. 26, 1884

Col. Edmondson, his wife Mary E. Titus and their son Frazor Titus Edmondson are all interred at Elmwood Cemetery. 

View Colonel Edmondson's picture on Pinterest.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ex-Confederates to Furnish Data, 1882

There was a rather full attendance of ex-confederates at the Cotton Exchange last night, the object being to collect and furnish data of the late war to Dr. John Berrien Lindsley, of Nashville, who is writing the Military History of Tennessee.

Colonel Luke W. Finlay was called to the chair, and Major C.W. Frazer was chosen Secretary.

Captain Beasley offered the following resolutions:

  Whereas, In order to carry out the wishes of Dr. Lindsley, to obtain the names and residences of all confederate soldiers, who were enrolled by the State of Tennessee, killed and wounded during the late war, it is
  Resolved, That each person present be requested to furnish the Secretary of this meeting with his full name, the name of his company and the number of the regiment in which he served.
  Resolved, that staff and other than line officers be requested to give their names and the commands to which they were attached.
  Resolved, That a suitable committee be selected from each regiment represented, to be known as ---- Regimental Executive Committee, to compile in proper shape mattes in trusted to them.
  Resolved, That each person furnish to his Regimental Executive Committee, in writing, all matters of interest in connection with the information sought for by this meeting.
  Resolved, That it shall be our pleasure, as it is our bounden duty, to have the names of our fellow comrades indelibly inscribed on Tennessee's roll of honor.
  The resolutions were adopted.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES
  James H. Edmondson moved that J.R. Flippin, T.J. Turley, B.J. Semmes, F.R. Brennan and John Waynesburg be appointed Executive Committee for the One Hundred and Fifty fourthe regiment. Carried.
  Captain Beasley moved that the representatives of each regiment present, or as many as may be selected therefrom, be constituted the Executive Committee of said regiment or independent commands.
  For the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, Messrs. W.F. Taylor, J.T. Lawler, J.T. Hillsman, W.A. Collier and R.J. Black were appointed a committee.
  For the Ninth Infantry, Messrs. L. B. McFarland, C.G. Locke and R.C. Williamson were appointed.
  For the Thirty-seventh Infantry, Messrs. Moses White, R. Dudley Frayser and J. Harvey Mathes appointed.
  For the Fifteenth Tennessee, Messrs. Charles Carroll, Fred Wolf, John Scheick, John Dwyer, of Millington, and W.H. Pipes of Clinton, Ia., were chosen.
  For the Fifth Confederate, Messrs. C.W. Frazer, Wm. Smith and R.J. Person were selected.
  Captain Beasley moved that Messrs. A.J. Vaughan, C.R. Barteau, J.R. Flippin, M.C. Gallaway, G.W. Gordon, W.Y.C. Humes, C.W. Frazer, T.W. Brown and Luke W. Finlay be constituted a committee to collect any information they may have or receive, and forward it to Dr. Lindsley.  Carried.
  The object of the meeting and subject of gathering and furnishing correct material for Dr. Lindsley's use were freely discussed and apparently well understood by all present.  The importance of promptness and correctness was especially impressed upon the minds of all.
  Captain R.J. Black called attention to the fact that the Confederate graves at Elmwood are yet unenclosed.  A handsome amount was subscribed and further action promised, after which the meeting adjourned.
  The following is a roster of those who participated in the meeting:
  
  THE ROSTER
  J.C. McDavitt, First Lieutenant, Bankhead's Battery of Light Artillery.
  Fred R. Brennan, Bluff City Grans, Company B, One Hundred and Fifty fourth regiment, McDonald's division.
  P.J. Kelly, company A, Second Tennessee (Knox Walker's) regiment.
  J.T. Jefferson, Company A, Fourth Tennessee regiment, (John T. Jefferson)
  J.E. Beasley, Company A, Fourth Tennessee regiment, (James Edward Beasley)
  J.A. Omberg, Company A, Fourth Tennessee regiment, (James A. Omberg)
  L.W. Finlay, Lieutenant-Colonel Fourth Tennessee regiment, (Luke W. Finlay)
  H.A. Field, Company A, Fourth Tennessee regiment,
  O.C. White, Company G, One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Senior Tennessee regiment,
  J.H. Edmondson, company B, One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Senior Tennessee regiment, (James H. Edmonson)
  Nat R. Nelson, first Lieutenant, First Tennessee regiment,
  R.J. Black, Lieutenant, Company B, Seventh Tennessee Cavalry,
  T.B. Turley, Company L, One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Senior Tennessee regiment, (Thomas Battle Turley)
  H.C. Evans, Company E, One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Senior Tennessee regiment,
  J. Harvey Mathes, of Company C, Thirty-seventh Tennessee,
  J.T. Hillsman, Company A, Seventh regiment, (John T. Hillsman)
  J.W. Cochran, Company L, Seventh regiment,
  B.J. Semmes, Company L, Seventh regiment,
  R.B. Spillman, Company L, Seventh regiment,
  Jake Wood, company L, Seventh regiment,
  Walter A. Goodman, Captain, First division Forrest's Cavalry,
  John A. Powel, Lieutenant, bluff City Grays,
  B. Richmond, Of Second Kentucky Cavalry,
  Thomas T. Taylor, of McDonald's battalion,
  Luke K. Wright, Lieutenant, of Phillip's Battery, Light Artillery,
  H.H. Avent, Captain, Company B, Fourteenth Infantry,
  Minor Meriwether, Lieutenant Colonel under General Dick Taylor,
  C.G. Locke, Company C, Ninth Tennessee Regiment,
  Pat Flannigan, private, Company E, Second regiment,
  W.H. Rhea, private, Company E, Second regiment,
  John W. Waynesburg, Company D, One Hundred and fifty-fourth Senior Tennessee regiment,
  J.T. Lawler, Captain, Company C, Seventh Tennessee regiment,
  O.H.P. Piper, Memphis Southern Guards,
  R.C. Malone Jr., Memphis Southern Guards,
  C.W. Frazer, Captain, Company B, Fifth Confederate Infantry.

CONFEDERATE DATA
One of the morning papers makes a slight error in its report of the ex-Confederate meeting of last night which we will correct, not because it is a matter of importance, but for the sake of absolute accuracy.  Mr. J. Harvey Mathes, though once offered a position, never served on General Bate's personal staff.  After General Bate was promoted to Major General and took command of Breckinridge's division Mr. Mathes, who had been absent on detached service for a time, was assigned to staff duty at Dalton with General  Bate's old brigade, then known as Tyler's, and composed of Tenth and Thirtieth Tennessee, Fifteenth and Thirty-seventh Tennessee, Twentieth Tennessee regiments and the Fourth battalion of Georgia Sharpshooters, and served with it up to the bloody 22d of July, 1864.  He was Adjutant of the regiment during a greater part of the war.  Both the Adjutant and Lieutenant Colonel, R. Dudley Frayser, kept copious diaries throughout the war, which are in existence yet, but have never been read even by themselves.  Each diary is a large book of several hundred pages of foolscap--enough of the raw material to make a larger book than Dr. Lindsley is likely to write.  The first Colonel of the Thirty-seventh Tennessee was the senior Wm. H. Carroll, of this city, afterwards Brigadier General, and finally a refugee in Canada, where he died.  The next Colonel was Moses White, of Knoxville, and R. Dudley Frayser was Lieutenant-Colonel.  he (Frayser) was in command of the consolidated regiment, if not of a skeleton brigade, at the surrender of Johnston's army in North Carolina.  Colonel White was taken prisoner in Georgia, sent north, and set apart as a hostage along with others.  He made one of the most daring escapes on record, and passed through the Confederate lines at Grenada, Miss, just before the surrender.  The regiment was composed of one Middle Tennessee company, one from Alabama, one from Georgia, near Chattanooga, and seven from East Tennessee.  It was composed mainly of good fighting material, but lacked coherency and harmony.  it was badly demoralized at Mill Spring, terribly cut up at Perryville, Murfreesboro and in other fights, which finally led to its consolidation with the Fifteenth Tennessee, raised about Memphis, and first commanded by Colonel Chas. Carroll.  this was as game a regiment as there was in the service, and some of the boys could go further and bring back bigger loads of poultry and well filled canteens between dark and daylight than any of their most envious rivals in other regiments.  Not many of them are left.  it would be a difficult matter to get twenty five members of both these old regiments together.

Originally posted in the Public Ledger December 16 1882

The Unfortunate Death of Emily Wimberly 1883

Mrs. Emily Wimberly, a poor seamstress, was burned to death yesterday morning in her room, over 201 Front street.  She was found dead near the door of the room, to which the poor woman evidently made her way after her clothing caught fire from some unknown cause.  The babe of the victim lay in a bed unharmed, while its mother was burned to death, and when the police entered the room they found it quietly sleeping while the mother's scorched and breathless body presented a ghastly spectacle on the floor.  the child, which is but three months old, has been taken charge of by a benevolently inclined lady named Case, residing on DeSoto street.  It is a fine, healthy little fellow.  For three years past Mrs. Wimberly has lived with a man named Walker.  those who knew her in life say she was a hard working and very worthy woman, reared in this city, and that her brother kept a wagon yard previous to his death here several years ago.  The poor woman was unfortunate in her early life, but, though she lived with Walker, yet was an honest and very deserving, as well as devoted, woman.
Posted in the Public Ledger January 2 1883

Emily Wimberly was interred at Elmwood Cemetery on January 2, 1883.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Young Tennessean's Experience During the Late Unpleasantness, 1883

The following story was on the front page of the Public Ledger for December 13, 1883.  Although not specifically about Memphis it shows that Memphians were interested in stories about other Tennesseans as well as stories of the "Late Unpleasantness." 

The reminiscing Tennessean is Hugh Stevenson, the son of Vernon King Stevenson and Maria Louise Bass. Hugh was born about 1855.  In 1880 the Stevenson family was living in New York City.  Hugh was an attorney and his father was listed in the census as president of a trust company.  V. K. Stevenson was also a railroad magnate and served as the Quartermaster General of the Army of Tennessee during the Civil War.  His tomb is located in Mount Olivet at Nashville and is a replica of Napoleon's tomb.



A New York Letter to the Cincinnati Enquirer says: You well know V.K. Stevenson, of Tennessee.  I lately met his son, who is one of our most enterprising real estate men.  Said he:  "When the war broke out I was a small boy, and was sent to the Confederate West Point at Marietta, Ga., where we had about 600 cadets.  My father subscribed to $100,000 of the Confederate loan at par.  He lost all his negroes, and I am glad of it.  Although I was on the opposite side, I am perfect satisfied with the result, and so is everybody else of good sense that I have talked to.  Our ladies in the South were so gallant for the war that they really made me believe I could go out with a wheat straw and whip every invader across the lines.

"My grandfather, after the Federals got into Chattanooga, became so patriotic that he wrote my father a letter that I ought to be taken out of the military school and sent to the battle field.  My father merely inclosed (sic) the letter to me without any remarks, and thereupon I went to the commandant of the academy and asked for my discharge, as I was going to enlist in the ranks to be sent to the front.  I enlisted in an Irish regiment, entirely composed of railroad laborers, and we started for the battle field of Chickamauga in box cars, every soldier being possessed of a canteen filled with New Orleans rum.  You can imagine what a diabolical scene was in that car--fighting all the way along; but I was regarded as quite a young hero.  We had a terrible battle, and in the excitement I had no time to think.  It got out, however, who my father was, and I was put on the staff of a man named Benton Smith, who was only twenty three years old and a General.

"Benton Smith," resumed Mr. Stevenson, "being called the boy General, concluded that he must have a staff entirely of boys.  He was a prodigy of audacity and courage, but his high, nervous nature at lost wore him out.  He always kept his aids right up to the front, and I saw that unless something happened I would be shot.  Just before the big battle at Atlanta, where McPherson was killed, Smith's brigade was reinforced by a Georgia regiment nearly a thousand strong.  I went to a hospital the morning of that battle where I saw a pile of legs and arms amputated, and it made me sick at the stomach, being quite another lesson of the war.  Finding one of our aids with several canteens of peach brandy, I asked him to let me have one to settle my stomach, and drank the whole of it.  Smith then ordered me to lead the Georgia regiment into the battle. I was blind drunk, and charged my horse right over the Federal ramparts.  He had both eyes shot out and both knees broken; and as I went up the rampart I could hear the Yankees cry all down the line, "Don't shoot that boy."  My life was really saved by my youth.  It was that charge, as I have understood, which led to McPherson's death.  I was twice promoted for gallantry on the battle field, and upon my soul it was nothing but that peach brandy."

"What other battles did you go into?"

"I was in the fight at Jonesborough, where we were badly whipped, and then went to Tuscumbia, Ala., and continued on with Hood's invasion of Tennessee.  At the battle of Nashville I had the good fortune to be captured, and was sent to Fort Delaware for a good many months.  There my mother's brother, Judge Catron, of the Supreme Court, sent me $100 a month.  Toward the close of the war my father, with R.T. Wilson, of this city, Mr. Evans, President of one of the Wall street banks, and one other, established the Bee Line of blockage runners from Wilmington to Liverpool, and they put their profits in bank in England.  So, when I came to New York I found my father quite comfortable, and I have been but 36 hours in Tennessee since the war closed."
Published in the Public Ledger, December 13 1883

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It All Went Like Tinder: Fire Destroys First Presbyterian Church 1883

The total destruction of the First Presbyterian church by fire last night is a heavy loss to the entire Presbyterian element in this city, and is a matter of general and sincere regret.  It is the more distressing because there is very little insurance.  There are a number of wealthy members in the church, but still it will be a heavy undertaking to restore the building.  Other churches and denominations, and the general public will no doubt contribute liberally toward the rebuilding of the edifice.  It is very surprising that business men, who manage the secular affairs of the church, would carry so little insurance.  Perhaps some will say in a spirit of levity or thoughtlessness that church officers trust to the Lord; but it is a practical fact that the Lord seems to give the preference to those who make a proper effort to take care of themselves.  Much church property might be classified as extra hazardous, the same as cotton gins, from the fact that at the end of services, night or day, the church is instantly emptied and left in charge of a janitor, who is usually a negro, often sleepy headed and always on small pay.  In this particular instance we are informed that a large fire was made in the furnace Saturday evening, so as to have the whole house comfortable by Sunday.  This fire was replenished and kept up all day yesterday, so that when some of the dry woodwork happened to take fire it all went like tinder.  Had there been a big congregation in the church at the time it caught there might have been a large loss of life.  Very few church officers make it their duty to remain after congregations disperse even though there is a roaring fire in the furnace or stoves.  We sincerely sympathize with Rev. Dr. Daniels and the members of his church, but hope they will be able to rebuild without great delay or inconvenience.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger January 15, 1883, page 1

In Ruins
Burning of the First Presbyterian Church Last Night
Public Ledger, Jan 15 1883


The First Presbyterian church, situated on the northwest corner of Third and Poplar streets was totally destroyed by fire, between nine and ten o'clock, last night.

It was but a few moments after the pastor, the Rev. Eugene Daniels, had dismissed his congregation, and while the gas lights were in progress of extinguishment by the sexton, that the fire was discovered, and the alarm sounded.  The wooden portion of the edifice was exceedingly dry and the flames made rapid headway, so that by the time the fire engines arrived, the upper portion of the structure was all ablaze.

An immense crowd of people gathered in the vicinity of the conflagration.  Third street, for more than three squares, was thronged, while Poplar street a crowd so dense that persons found it difficult to make a passage through, except in the vicinity of the fire, where the heat was too intense to be withstood.  The firemen worked with their accustomed energy and celerity, but the combustible nature of the material in the church was such that nothing could be done toward suppressing the flames until everything, save a few charred timbers was converted into ashes.  The organ, a favorite and very valuable instrument to which the congregation was very much attached, and situated in the basement of the church, together with all the furniture, books and other fixtures was totally destroyed.

The two towers situated at the front of the structure, one of which served as a belfry, seemed to act like the chimney or smoke stacks of a foundry, and a strong current of air passing up the massive flues, carried sparks and cinders high toward the skies, to be scattered in myriads upon the houses, the streets and the people as they descended, and affording a spectacle to be remembered by those who witnessed it.

The origin of the fire was supposed to be the furnace used to warm up the building.  The severity of the weather had caused orders to be given to the man in charge to have the church well warmed.  with this object he kept the furnaces in operation during Saturday evening and night.  Last evening the congregation met for worship at half-past seven, and the pastor, Mr. Daniel concluded an hour later, dismissing his audience.  A moment after he reached his residence next door, the sexton ran to him and said something over at the church was burning.  The Rev. Mr. Daniel, with the sexton at once ran to the rear door at the church, by which they entered the furnace room, and found a streak of fire above the brick work of the furnace.  The sexton hastened at the top of his speed to the Adams street enginehouse, and in a few minutes the apparatus arrived at the spot, but it was too late, and by nine o'clock the flames, which fanned by a brisk norther-east wind, made short its work of destruction.  the firemen did excellent and manful service, without avail.  The manse, or pastor's residence, next door, and other buildings in the vicinity all escaped uninjured. 

The First Presbyterian Church was a fine structure for devotional purposes, and was built nearly thirty years ago, either in '53 or '54, at a cost of something like thirty thousand dollars.  It has been kept in good repair all the time since then except for a short period, in 1873, when the inside ceiling tumbled down, a few minutes after holding the funeral services over the remains of its lamented pastor, the Rev. Mr. Bowman, who fell a victim to the scourge of '73 while administering comfort to the suffering and dying of that terrible period.  The pastor of the church preceeding Mr. Bowman was the Rev. M. Steadman.  After Mr. Bowman's death the church had no pastor for some time, but since 1875 the present talented and much respected pastor, the Rev. Eugene Daniel, has occupied the pulpit.

The estimated loss by last night's fire is $25,000 or $30,000, unless the brick walls, which are yet standing can be utilized in rebuilding, in which case perhaps $15,000 or $20,000 would replace it.  There was but $3,000 insurance on the church, all laid in the Manchester (England) Company, of which C.B. Welford & Co. are agents.  The congregation of the First Presbyterian Church is known as containing many of the wealthiest people in the community, and it is probable that the work of rebuilding the edifice will not be long delayed.  The church was free from debt, and the financial condition of the worshipers is such that they will not be without a church very long.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger Jan. 15 1883, page 4.