Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Koen & Gilbert's Memphis Nursery 1870

Memphis Daily Appeal Feb 26 1870

Back in the day if you wanted to buy plants and trees for your garden, where did you go?  You might have visited the Memphis Nursery which was owned by Robert Benjamin Koen and Jonathan Moore Gilbert Jr.

Robert Benjamin Koen was the son of James Harvey Koen and Lucinda Louisa Thompson.  He was born Oct 10 1833 in Humphreys County Tennessee.  Family trees show that he was married three times.  First to a woman named Jane, second to Anneliza Joyner in Marshall county MS, 1866 and last to Annie Boggan, also in Marshall County MS in 1872.  During the Civil War, Koen served in the 8th TN Infantry, Looney's Regiment.  He mustered in as a private and mustered out as 1st Lieutenant.  During his time in the military he was "slightly wounded" in the head at the Battle of Shiloh.  He served as the company quartermaster and acting Adjutant for a time.  He tendered his resignation on September 13 1864.  Koen died in Memphis April 18 1914 and was interred at Magnolia Cemetery in Collierville Tennessee.  His occupation was still listed as nurseryman.

I believe that J.M. Gilbert Jr was Jonathan Moore Gilbert Jr., the son of Jonathan Moore Gilbert Sr and Frances Busey of Weakley County TN.   He was born Dec 26 1833.  During the War, J. M. Gilbert Jr served with Co. G 5th Reg TN Volunteers.  He enlisted at Paris TN at the rank of private.  He was discharged on disability June 18 1862. His father, J.M. Gilbert Sr was known to be in Memphis in the 1860's and possibly early 1870's as was his brother Dr. Benjamin Busey Gilbert. J.M Gilbert Jr was the administrator for his brother Benjamin's estate as listed in the Public Ledger, Dec 6 1867.  A notice of dissolution appears in the Memphis Daily Appeal, April 16 1870, of the copartnership of the Gilberts with A.N. Edmonds and J.W. Todd who would continue the business under the name of Edmonds & Todd.  At the time of his death his occupation was listed as a retired tobacconist.  He died Dec 9 1917 in Paducah KY and was interred at Gilbert Cemetery in Weakley County TN.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Memphis, The Meanest & Stingiest City in the World 1874

Cairo Bulletin May 5 1874
When the pestilence was depopulating Memphis, the whole country sympathized with her misfortunes, and the hand of charity poured money into her lap; philanthropic men and women hastened to her assistance, and over-whelmed her by their kindness.

At that time Memphis was very grateful.  She then appreciated the beauties of charity, and her people were loud in thanks to the kind people who had remembered her in the hour of affliction.  She promised to never forget the kindness that had saved her from destruction.  but the lesson had no permanent effect, and to-day she stands disgraced as the meanest and stingiest city in the world.  The country around about her is submerged.  Thousands of people have been driven from their homes by the flood.  Men, women and children are houseless and foodless, are wandering in the hills back from the river, starving and exposed to the inclement weather.  Again the charity of the country is invoked for aid, and again the cities of the West and East are furnishing money, clothing and provision with a liberal hand.  Memphis refuses!  Her council by a formal vote refused to give a dollar to relieve the suffering of her neighbors and her customers; and the members of her council, justifying their despicable conduct, have the shamelessness to assert that the men, women and children who are perishing from hunger and exposure did not contribute anything to the relief of Memphis! The people of Memphis are shocked.  They are liberal--anxious to relieve the distress of the flood-afflicted people of the Mississippi valley, but they have a common council that stolidly refuses to vote a cent for relief, and has made that city a by-word in the nation--given it the title of the meanest of the mean.
Originally posted in The Cairo Bulletin, May 4 1874.