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.
  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.

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