Thursday, July 31, 2014

Elizabeth Jane Whitsitt Whitsitt, The Last Interment at Winchester Cemetery 1888 Broke the Law

On February 11, 1879, the ordinances for the City of Memphis were published in the Memphis Daily Appeal.  The headline read "Ordinances. Offenses Affecting Good Morals and Decency, Public Peace, Quiet, Safety and Property, and in Relation to Misdemeanors and Nuisances Generally."   Under Article II "Offenses Affecting Public Peace and Quiet" the city fathers specifically addressed the issue of Winchester Cemetery which had become a nuisance attracting criminals and vagrants.  Not to mention that since the demise of the owner, William R. Smith in 1867, the cemetery had fallen into disrepair with headstones being broken, knocked over, stolen and the grounds overgrown.

"Winchester Cemetery.  Sec. 2. The burial of dead bodies in any portion of the grounds known as Winchester Cemetery be and the same is hereby prohibited."

It is commonly believed and even says on the sign at Winchester Park "The last burial there was in 1874." However, that's not correct.

On February 1, 1888, Elizabeth Jane "Eliza" Whitsitt died.  She was born about 1814 in North Carolina making her 74 at the time of her death.  Eliza Whitsitt and her family moved to the "Chickasaw Bluff" and shortly after purchased a lot at Winchester Cemetery.  Winchester Cemetery was founded in 1828 which means that the Whitsitt family came to the area prior to 1828.  The Memphis Appeal reported that the family was "wealthy, refined and cultivated, and ranked as the social leaders."  She married her first cousin William W. Whitsitt, also seen as Willie/Wiley, on November 28 1832 in Shelby County Tennessee making her Elizabeth Jane Whitsitt Whitsitt.    The couple had two children: William James Whitsitt and Wilie H. Whitsitt.    
The 1850 Census mistakenly identifies her husband as H.H. Whitsitt.  His occupation was printer and his personal estate was valued at $5000.  Eliza and the two children, William and Willie, are listed as well.  Her husband died October 28 1853 of apoplexy and was interred at Winchester.

In the 1860 Census, Eliza Jane and her sons are living at the boarding house of her mother-in-law, Jane Whitsit who is 72 years old.  Eliza's combined real and personal estate was valued at $29,200. The elder son, William, was working as a "butcher packer."  Eliza's mother-in-law, Jane Harden Whitsitt, died April 2 1876 and was interred at Winchester.

During the Civil War, son William James Whitsitt, was elected Lieutenant of the Memphis Light Guards of the 154th Senior Company CSA.  He was later promoted to Captain when then Captain Genette received a promotion.  According to the retelling of his death in 1888, he died from wounds received at the Battle of Belmont and that "wrapping the battle scarred flag around the form of the slain leader" his body was sent home and that later, when his mother became destitute she sold the flag to the Confederate Historical Association for the sum of $15.  I think the real story can be found in the obituary that appeared in the Memphis Daily Appeal on March 8, 1862, which said he died of erysipelas.  Sometimes memories of war and those that died gets embellished through the years. This may be the case with William James Whitsitt.  In addition to the differing cause of death for William, the 1888 article also says that Eliza Jane and William James were the only two surviving family members and then the war broke out.  But that isn't true either because son Wilie H. Whitsitt was alive and doesn't die until 1871!  After his death, Eliza Jane does seem to be alone.  In 1880 she has her own boarding house on Market Street.

Toward the end of her life she began to dwell on the family vault at Winchester and was concerned she would be buried away from her family due to the ordinance..  With that in mind she received assurances from David P. Hadden, President of the Taxing District and future mayor of Memphis, that when she died she would be interred with the rest of the family at Winchester.  True to his word, he wrote a letter to Chief of Police W.C. Davis requesting cooperation from the police in allowing for the interment of Elizabeth Jane Whitsitt at Winchester Cemetery.  The lady being destitute at the time of her death, contributions were given for a proper burial.  And that was the last burial at Winchester Cemetery.
--------
Transcription of obituaries and article:

The Memphis Appeal February 2 1888, page 3
GONE TO HER FINAL REST--The Estimable Mother of A Gallant Son Passes Away.--Mrs. Eliza Whitsitt and Her Reverses of Fortune--Her Persistent Wish To Be Interred in Winchester Cemetery Granted--Call for Contributions.

Old Winchester cemetery, as a burying ground, is a thing of the past, having been closed and condemned years ago. To make this new order of things more securely permanent, the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting burials in that cemetery, and in case of surreptitious violations, making it incumbent upon the president of the Taxing District and chief of police to have the corpse removed.  There has never been a violation of this ordinance or protest against the enactment.  On the contrary, public sentiment approved the course most heartily.  There is a wealth of tender memories clustered around the old city of the dead, which additions at this day would seem to disturb. Bones of pioneers rest there, sacred from every rude touch, and head and foot stones, bearing unpretentious inscriptions, mutely tell of the periods when a few struggling souls laid the foundation for the present city of acknowledged greatness and mammoth possibilities.

Among the foremost of this noble band were a family of several members named Whitsitt.  They were wealthy, refined and cultivated, and ranked as the social leaders.  Shortly after their location on the Chickasaw bluff, they purchased a lot in Winchester cemetery, built a substantial and commodious vault, and mutually resolved to make its walls their protectors in the final sleep.  One by one family ties were broken, and as the links fell from the chain, they were sorrowfully laid away within the vault.  At last they had all fallen but the mother and one son.  The war broke out, the latter responded to the call upon the south's chivalrous manhood, and in the sanguinary conflict at Belmont, fell while leading a company in the One-hundred-and-fifty-fourth regiment, Tennessee volunteers, to the thickest of the fray.  His company carried a flag which the loyal hands of the captain's mother had made, and after the battle a beautiful but melancholy departure was resolved upon by the bereaved command.  Wrapping the battle scarred flag around the form of the slain leader, they sent both to the heartbroken mother, that thus they might be deposited in the family vault. Doubly imbued with the spirit of patriotism, now that her last pride and support had been sacrificed to the struggle, the mother poured out her soul in tears over the remains, laid them away, but without the flag. This she returned to her deceased son's company, but again it came back, accompanied by the urgent request that she keep it as a cherished memento of the times and their tenderest devotion.

The afflicted but beloved woman's name was Mrs. Eliza Whitsitt.  To her the war brought severe bereavements and reverses, as it did to hundreds and thousands of others.  Slowly but surely her snug fortune began to slip from her grasp.  From affluence she gradually descended the scale of worldly possessions until a few years ago she struggled against oppressive poverty.  Reduced to the direst straits she was compelled to say farewell to the long cherished and, indeed, sacred relic of the bloody battle of Belmont.  Reminded of her poverty, the flag found its way to the local Confederate Historical association, and Mrs. Whitsitt realized $15.  This small sum was drawn upon as sparingly as the poor old lady's necessities would permit, and after it had been exhausted she subsisted chiefly on Christian charity's gifts. Being a member of the Court Street Cumberland Presbyterian church, that body of religious people took it upon themselves to supply every temporal want.

At last, and only a few days ago, Mrs. Whitsitt sickened, and on account of extreme old age knew her hours were numbered.  During the last illness her mind seemed to dwell continually upon the family vault in Winchester cemetery, and she impressed upon her faithful attendants that there she must be deposited after death.  Years ago she exacted a promise from President Hadden that the ordinance governing the cemetery should be violated to this extent, and with this fact she acquainted her friends.  Yesterday the good soul passed away, satisfied with the promises given and also with her future estate.  After her death two devoted ladies who had taken charge of her burial called upon President Hadden, informed him of the circumstance, and the following letter was written and given them:

February 1, 1888,
W.C. Davis, Chief of Police:
Dear Sir--many years ago the Whitsitt family built a large vault in old Winchester cemetery for the interment of themselves.  All save one of this family are interred in this vault.  This one, Mrs. Eliza Whitsitt, the wife and mother, died today. When I first went into office, six years ago, Mrs. Whitsitt exacted a promise of me, namely, that if she died during my term of office that I would permit her remains to be laid to rest in this particular vault--(she then expected to die in a few weeks).  I am well aware of the fact that the ordinances make it your duty and mine to prevent any interments in this closed and condemned cemetery, and that we shall remove any bodies buried there since it was closed.  None have been buried there during my term of office.  But in this particular case you will let the burial of this old and highly esteemed lady be not interfered with, and you and I will trust to the enlightened sentiment of our good citizens to approve our action in executing a promise made years ago to one of the mothers of our city.  Very truly,  David P. Hadden, President.

Such an interment as that granted the late Mrs. Whitsitt, in generous compliance with a longing desire felt by her for years, can hardly be realized in other than a metallic burial case.  She died, however, possessed of nothing wherewith this costly case could be secured, and it devolves upon the charitable people to provide it. The amount should not fall short of $100, and this should be promptly contributed.  All offerings to this eminently worthy cause may be left at the counting room of The Appeal, where it will be thankfully received and promptly applied to the purpose.
------

Memphis Daily Appeal March 8 1862
Death of Capt. W.J. Whitsitt--It is our sad duty to have to chronicle the death of Capt. W.J. Whitsitt, of the
senior company, "The Memphis Light Guards," of the senior regiment of the State, "The 154th."  Capt. Whitsitt was well known and highly respected in this community.  he had been secretary of the Butchers' Association and foreman of No. 3 Fire-engine Company.  he was also a member of the Sons of Malta and other benevolent societies in this city.  he was elected lieutenant of the Light Guards, and, on the promotion of Capt. Genette, he was promoted captain of the company.  So earnest and able was his discharge of his military duties, and so zealous his attachment to the cause of the South, that he was appointed to the very important post of provost marshal of the city of Columbus, which position he held up to the evacuation of that place.  He died on Wednesday evening last, at Union City, of erysipelas, and will be buried on Sunday. The funeral procession will start from the residence of his mother, at the southwest corner of Market Square. Capt. Whitsitt was a gentleman of kindly disposition and of many virtues.  He was greatly esteemed by a very wide circle of acquaintances and friends, and profound regret is felt at the loss of a citizen and soldier, whose future career promised to be so glorious to himself and so useful to his country.  He was born and always resided in this city.
----

Memphis Daily Appeal September 30 1871
DIED- Whitsitt-In this city on the 28th inst., in the 27th year of his age, Wilie H. Whitsitt, son of Mrs. Eliza J. Whitsitt.  The friends of the family are invited to attend his funeral, from the residence of his mother, Mrs. Eliza J. Whitsitt, No. 36 market street, on this (Saturday) afternoon, at 3 1/2 o'clock.  Services by Rev. Mr. Ransom.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Will Flynn, Long-time Zookeeper At Memphis

Will Flynn was born in Olive Branch Mississippi to Haden and Dora Flynn.  His death certificate spells his
name as Flynn but in Census records it's Flinn.  His father appears as either Hayden or Haden Flinn.

We first find the Flinn family in the 1880 Census records for DeSoto County Mississippi in dwelling 305. Hayden Flinn is 24 and born about 1856.  His spouse, Dora, 20 years old.  The couple have three children: Haywood age 4, Mary age 2 and an unnamed female infant age 1.  In dwelling 303 is the family of Glass Flinn age 35 and  in 308 is Nash Flinn, age 45 and his family.  It's easy to assume these three Flinn families are related but if you look at the place of birth for the parents, they are all different.  All of the Flinn's are employed as farm workers.

Skipping to the 1900 Census for Beat 1, Desoto County Mississippi, we find a 14 year old Will Flynn with his father and siblings.  Haden Flinn is now 45 with a birth date listed as February 1855, Mississippi. Dora has passed away.  In addition to Will we find his sister Ida was born July 1887, brother Tom in September 1893, and brother Earl Jones May 1896. A cousin, Joe Flinn, was also in the household born in Dec 1883. The elder Flinn was a farmer and Will a farm hand.  There is no mention of Haywood, Mary or the unnamed infant that appeared in the 1880 Census.

The next time we see Will Flynn is in the 1940 Census for Memphis.  He's 58 years old and working as a feeder at a park.  In reality he was an animal caretaker at the Memphis Zoo.  He also has a wife, Nannie, age 52 however it's probably correct to say that Will and Nannie were married in spirit because they weren't married physically until 1947.  The couple applied for a marriage license in Shelby County Tennessee and were married in Mississippi by J.W. Hall on April 26, 1947.

In Memphis City Directories he can sometimes be found as Will or William.  His occupation varied from laborer, feeder and attendant at Overton Park Zoo.  

Will Flynn appears in the September 3 1953 edition of Jet Magazine as "Zoo Keeper of the Week."  He reminisced about his time at the zoo including how in 1903 the Memphis Zoo had only one animal, a black bear named Nat.  More animals joined Nat including a deer named Jake and Coothey the monkey.  Will Flynn enjoyed his work so much that even after he retired he continued to volunteer his services to the zoo.

Nannie Flynn was the daughter of Crawford Williams and Harriet White.  She born in 1893 in Lucy, Tennessee.  Nannie passed away May 1 1957 and was interred at Mount Carmel Cemetery.  William Flynn joined her a year later when he passed away on November 25 1958.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

1870 - The Bluff is Growing Smaller by Degrees

Public Ledger
May 9 1870
Chelsea is about to quit Memphis and join Raleigh. In a few months the two little towns will be connected by bands of iron, over which steam cars will continually run.  The Raleighans are to have a Mayor and Town Council in a few days, and we expect soon to see the Chelseans with a Mayor and Corporation of their own.  Fort Pickering has passed into the hands of the United States Tax Collector.  Verily the Bluff is growing "smaller by degrees and beautifully less."
Originally posted in the Public Ledger, May 9 1870.






#Memphis #History #QuitMemphis #SomeThingsNeverChange #DeadMemphisTalking

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rev. Walter Davenport Buckner, A Man of the South 1869-1920

Walter Davenport Buckner was the only son of Robert L. and Mary Ann Buckner.  He had three sisters: Clara, Blanche and Estelle.  In the 1880 Census for Norfolk Virginia, his father Robert's occupation was carpenter.  His mother, Mary, had neuralgia and was listed as being sick or temporarily disabled.  Walter was 11 and attended school.  Before Buckner became an Episcopal priest he was a broker in Norfolk. The Tazewell Republican, January 14 1897, republished a nice article about his ordination to the priesthood:

"Rev. Walter D. Buckner, of this city, was elevated to the Order of Priesthood of the Episcopal Church at an ordination service held at St. Paul's Church at 11 o'clock this morning.  Rev. J.B. Funston, of Trinity Church, Portsmouth, preached the ordination sermon, in which he refered to the duty and office of the candidate; how necessary the priesthood is in the church, and also how the people ought to esteem the ministers in their office--the ordination followed the sermon.  Rev. Mr. Buckner was presented by Rev. D. B. Tucker, D.D. of St. Paul's, and Bishop Randolph ordained the candidate, reading the interesting service in a most earnest and impressive manner.  Rev. B.D. Tucker, D.D., REv. O.S. Barten, D.D., Rev. A. S. Lloyd and REv. J.D. Powell, of this city; Rev. J.B. Funston, of Portsmouth, and Rev. Mr. Lancaster of Berkley, assisted in the ordination.  During the offertory Miss Ethel Neely sang in a most charming manner "Holy City".  There was communion after services.--Norfolk Public Ledger, 6th Inst."

He married May Latimer September 19 1901 in Ft. Worth Texas. The following June, as reported by an article in the Norfolk Virginian dated June 4 1902 he gave his sister Blanche away in marriage to Arthur M. White.  After his ordination in 1897, he first spent time at the parish in Tazewell, Pine Bluff Arkansas and Little Rock.  He reached Memphis in 1911 and remained there till his death in 1920. He was interred at Elmwood Cemetery.

The following obituary appeared Men of the South: A Work for the Newspaper Reference Library by Daniel Decatur Moore, 1922.
The late Reverend Walter Davenport Buckner, LL.D., whose death in Memphis, Tennessee, on February 2, 1920, brought sorrow to the entire community, was distinctly a man of the South.  He was born in the South, reared in the South, educated in the South and died in the South, after he had lived a most useful life, ever upholding both by word and action the best traditions of the South.  Doctor Buckner was born in Norfolk, Virginia, March 1, 1869, the son of Robert L. and Mary Ann (White) Buckner.  He received his academic education at the Norfolk Academy and at the Norfolk College and then went into the business world. During the four years that he was so engaged he became a successful broker in his native city, and there was as bright a future assured for him in the world of commerce as he later attained to in the church, but he heard the Master's call and quit the busy marts for the Virginia Theological Seminary at Alexandria, where he took his theological course.  He spent five years in the seminary, coming out at the age of 27 years and on the first day of 1897, Bishop Randolph ordained him to the priesthood in the Episcopal church.  His first parish was at Tazewell in his native state.  His brilliance of mind, charm of manner and love for his fellowman were too conspicuous for so small parish and in a short time he accepted the call to Trinity Church, at Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  During the twelve years that Dr. Buckner remained there he became so closely interwoven into the religious and social life of the community that it was with universal sorrow that he accepted the call to Trinity Cathedral, in 1910, and moved to Little Rock, the capital of the state.  He had been there less than two years when old Calvary Church in Memphis lost its rector, the Reverend James R. Winchester, who became Bishop of the Diocese of Arkansas, and on October 11, 1911, Doctor Buckner succeeded him in that fine old parish.  From the time that he reached Memphis he was appreciated.  He sought no fame from sensationalism in or out of the pulpit, but beloved his fellowman, both in and out of the church, and loved to be with them.  They reciprocated.  He soon became chaplain of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and became the favorite at both the public and private gatherings in the city.  Ever a devoted priest to his flock, whether of high or low degree, these demands with those of his pulpit became too great for his frail physique and, on February 2 1920, he succumbed to a short illness from pneumonia, leaving the entire community mingling its sorrow with that of his widow, formerly Miss May Latimer of Fort Worth, Texas, and two children, Robert Latimer and Mary Sinclair Buckner.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Proposal to Move the County Court System to Bartlett, 1867

As early as 1867 people felt the need to move the county courts from Memphis.  This particular proposal declares that Bartlett is the center of the county and the perfect setting for a new County Courthouse.

The Proposed Removal of the County Court to Bartlett---
A few days ago we mentioned an effort on the part of prominent citizens of Bartlett Station to secure the erection of the County Court House at that place.  As a matter of general interest we subjoin the petition to the Legislature now in circulation:

To the Citizens of Shelby County:

We, the undersigned citizens of Shelby county, will apply to the Legislature of the State, at its next session, for authority to establish the county court house at Bartlett, on the Memphis and Ohio railroad, for the following reasons, to wit:

The town of Bartlett is the geographical center of the county of Shelby, and the most accessible point to the citizens of the whole county, situated at the intersection of the Memphis and Ohio railroad, Memphis and Somerville plank road, and Brownsville and Germantown roads.  

The great injustice to the citizens of the county who have business with the court to attend at Memphis, subjecting them to such enormous expense, requiring them to be away from their homes, while their business at home is neglected.  From this point persons having business with the court can return to their homes at night from every section of the county.

There are many violators of the law who go unpublished because of the great expense and inconvenience which the prosecutor would be subjected to in going to Memphis.  The cost of a court house in Memphis would amount to about $300,000.  One can be built at Bartlett for one-tenth of that amount.  In a point of economy the courts can be held at Bartlett at less than one-half the present expense of holding them.  The following courts are already held in Memphis:  United States court, Criminal, Common Law, Chancery and Municipal, which are a heavy burden upon the taxpayers, and considerable annoyance to the business men of Memphis.  The Common Law court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit court of the county.  The city of Memphis has, by an act of the Legislature, the Register's office and a Deputy County Court Clerk.

As an act of justice to the citizens of the county, we think they are entitled to the county court house.  It is well known to the citizens of the county, that for some years past efforts have been made, and with much encouragement in certain quarters, to annex a large portion of Shelby to Tipton, and if all the courts of the county are persisted in being held in the city of Memphis, it will result in the dismemberment of the county.

Establish the county site at Bartlett, the center of the county, and this will harmonize all opposition.  Grounds suitable to erect a court house upon will be donated to the county by the citizens of Bartlett.

This place is very healthy, free from epidemics, well watered, and very pleasant, and affords every facility to the masses to attend here at a trifling cost.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger, Memphis TN, October 8 1867

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Barney Hughes is Dead. Well-known Railroad Man Dies at Memphis, 1892

"No Eulogy of this man is necessary.  We all knew him--Some well, some slightly, none unfavorably." Those words are inscribed at the top of a very elaborate monument to Barney Hughes in Elmwood Cemetery and though true at the time of his death, not true at all today.  If you're like me you've never heard of Barney Hughes.  

Barney Hughes
"A handsome granite sarcophagus, erected to the memory of Barney Hughes, was unveiled at Elmwood cemetery, Memphis, recently. Hughes began life as a printer, but finding this an uncongenial pursuit, he entered and achieved distinction in the field of telegraphy.  He is the first who, by touching his tongue to the broken wire, could "take" the interrupted message.  For a time he was chief telegrapher in Gen. Bragg's army.  He identified himself with the fortunes of the south in her struggle, and on one or more fields was complimented for distinguished services.  After the war he assisted in establishing the overland telegraph line to Salt Lake City, and was the first man to operate a telegraph line from that far western city."
Originally posted in The Durham Daily Globe (Durham NC), October 20 1893

"Mr. Hughes opened the first ticket office in Chicago when it was a village." Los Angeles Herald, Sept 6 1892

Bernard "Barney" Hughes was born about 1839 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the son of Edward and Mary Hughes of Ireland.  In the 1850 Census his father's occupation was "laborer", his oldest brother Francis was a blacksmith as was brother Patrick and James was an Engineer.

1850 Census Louisville Kentucky
Edward Hughes, age 45, laborer, Ireland
Mary Hughes, age 51, Ireland
Francis, age 22, blacksmith, Kentucky
James, age 21, engineer, Kentucky
Patrick, age 20, blacksmith, Kentucky
Edward, age 15, Kentucky
Bernard, age 14, Kentucky

During the Civil War he served in Co. H Capt. Winston's Company, Light Artillery Tennessee, CSA and on August 19 1861 was appointed 2nd Lieutenant. During the war his skill came into play and he served as the Telegraph Operator for the Army of Tennessee during 1862-63.  He married Witt Eva Ellis Dec 5 1871 in Henderson County Kentucky.  

The 1880 Census for Shelby County TN lists the following in the Hughes household:
Barney Hughes, age 41, Railroad Agent, born in Kentucky, both parents born in Ireland
Witera (sic), age 28, wife, keeping house, born in Kentucky, both parents born in Kentucky
Eddy Hughes, age 6, son
Frank Hughes, age 5, son (Jan 14 1875-Feb 2 1930)
Mary Bates Hughes, age 4, daughter (married William Wyatt Evans July 4 1898)
Henry Hughes, age 2, son
Jenny Ellis, age 22, sister-in-law
Annie Gillespie, servant, nurse

"The late Barney Hughes, of Memphis, was a telegraph operator during the larger part of the Civil War.  At the outbreak of hostilities he entered the service as a lieutenant of heavy artillery, and in this service he handled a battery on the river front under the chalk bluffs at Columbus, Ky, when Belmont was fought on the opposite side, November 7 1861.  Later he served as ordnance officer on the staff of General Trudeau at Island No. 10.  In the summer of 1862 he was located at Chattanooga, where he sometimes whiled away a leisure hour by sending dispatches to the operators along the front telling them of a scarcity of forage and other supplies, so that he was confidential operator for General Bragg, the leader of one of the great armies of the Confederacy, and he was with him at Ringgold and Catoosa Springs, Ga.  At the close of the war he was at Montgomery, Ala., and later he went to the far northwest, where he operated for several years.  Then he came to Memphis, entered the railway service, married in 1872, reared a family, won the regard of the people, and died universally regretted by a host of people.  A beautiful monument now marks his resting place at Elmwood, and its inscription records the genial qualities of the man as well as the great esteem in which he was held by his fellow citizens."
Telegraph Age, volume 24, page 258




Public Ledger 3-20-1875
Barney Hughes was well known and well loved by the citizens of Memphis.  His name could often be found in newspapers of the day as "Prof. Barney Hughes" where he lectured on a variety of topics.  He seemed to be somewhat of a showman performing magic shows and seance's at the local theaters as well as being auctioneer at many functions. 

His first performance occurred at the behest of his friends in July 1872:  "Seance to-night.  The New Memphis Theater should be filled to its utmost capacity to-night by the fashion and intelligence of the city, the occasion being one of unusual interest--a lecture from Barney Hughes.  Everybody knows who Barney Hughes is, and everybody has read more or less of his Record of humor and drollery.  Having succeeded so well as a writer, Mr. Hughes' friends thinks he might likewise make a hit as a lecturer, and hence they have induced him to make his debut at the theater tonight.  Mr Hughes, who facetiously calls his lecture a seance, has chosen for his subject this evening "The Harp of a Thousand Strings," and possibly he may tell us something about the spirits of just men made perfect.  The numerous friends of Mr. Hughes will give him a hearty welcome tonight in this his maiden effort."
Public Ledger July 10, 1872

"Orthographical...The Theater Crowded Last Evening by the Elite of the City--Successful Result of the Spelling Match for Benefit of the Orphans...This evening the closing spelling match will take place, when the ladies' class will be introduced under the management of Prof. Barney Hughes."
Public Ledger April 28, 1875

"Barney Hughes will appear as an auctioneer on Tuesday at the Chickasaw Bazar (sic)." 
Public Ledger, October 25 1880

"Captain Barney Hughes will tell the young men how to catch a sweetheart, and the girls how to hold them."
Public Ledger, April 25 1882

"Remember the vocal and instrumental concert at Leubrie's Theater to-morrow night for the benefit of Leath Orphan Asylum.  Prof. Barney Hughes will startle the audience with an address on some international subject." 
Memphis Daily Appeal May 18, 1881

Hughes was also the editor and proprietor of the Railway Record, a monthly publication that was described as "witty and amusing, and its circulation large...delivered free of charge to any address."  (Memphis Daily Appeal April 29 1880).  But inside the pages of his publication he also tackled topics such as smoking and drinking which were picked up by the local newspapers and reprinted as in the following case:

"Smoking in street-cars is a common practice in Memphis.  It is wrong, however, and many of the men who do so admit that it is wrong.  Barney Hughes in his March number of the Railway Record, seizes the cigar question by both ends when he says:  'We hereby petition the abolition of smoking in the street-cars. The summer time draws near, and let the car horse do all smoking; but stop, by legislation, the sinner who puffs the villainous perfume of a villainous cigar through the entire car and its occupants.  He may think he looks well behind it, and perhaps suffering from the delusion that it is finely flavored; he will pardon us for conceding the former vanity, but as to the latter, we prefer the steady aroma from a goat. If he could only realize the sensations of his fellow smellers, he would conclude that his car companions would, if on a jury, hang him for the slightest indiscretion."

At the time of his death, Barney Hughes and his family were living at 218 Wellington next door to attorney and U.S. Senator Thomas B Turley and notary public Marye B. Trezevant.  Hughes died September 3, 1892, from an obstruction of the bowels and was interred at Elmwood Cemetery.

The will of Bernard Hughes was filed in Shelby County TN September 8, 1892.  He bequeathed everything to his wife and desired  that she "shall always retain the custody and control of the persons and estates of our children" and to that end he named her guardian of their children.  He named his friend W.H. Bates executor.

Witt Eva Hughes name appears in the Civil War Confederate Pension Applications Index, soldier name: Barney Hughes, state served: TN.  Application Number and place: W7250 Shelby TN

Witt Hughes moves to Centreville Illinois and appears in the 1900 Census:
Witt Hughes, Head, born June 1849, widow.  She listed a 29 year marriage with 6 pregnancies and 6 live children.
Edward,Hughes, son, born June 1874, age 26, single
Frank Hughes, son, born June 1878, age 24, single
Henry Hughes, son, born Oct, 1878, age 21, single
Barney Hughes, son, born Sept 1886, age 15, single

She died October 21, 1929 in El Paso, Texas and was brought back to Memphis for burial at Elmwood Cemetery.




Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4 1870 - North and South both Guilty of Adventurous Patriotism

In 1870 Congress passed a bill that officially recognized July 4th as Independence Day. The following editorial appeared in the Memphis Daily Appeal, July 4 1870.



To-day is the 4th day of July; the anniversary of the escape of Americans from one tyranny, only after a short period to fall into the power of another and a greater, which has sprung up from among themselves at home. Would to God our people, with one common impulse, and with a sense of justice combined with charity, magnanimity and deference to truth, might return to the national anniversary with a determination once more to fraternise, and in liberality one to another grow great and happy. They have twice struck for liberty and the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence--first against Great Britain; and last, with differing views, but the same object, against each other.  If the people of the north fought to "preserve" the institutions handed down to them from their fathers, so did those of the South, under a sense of wrong from their brethren, embody for their organic law and defend with their lives and property the same eternal principles for which mankind is destined to contend until liberty is enthroned and established throughout the earth. May we not hope that time, with reflection and reason, may mellow down our animosities and bring us to see that while it is human to err, it is divine to forgive and good to respect the dictates of that philosophy which has the warrant of experience?  If we tyrannise, section over section, how else shall it turn up but that we shall grow weak by divisions, and fall?  If we were to name all others the traitors to American liberty, we should select him who loved most to disparage and malign after the war in the name of justice and liberty. "Kicking the south out of the Union" was the theme on which a mass of orators and zealots disported themselves anterior to the collision which they thus provoked.  And now, trampling down and degrading a people, so as to provoke, instead of a union of heart, eternal hate, is the traitorous mission of which the few are capable who have set themselves to ruining the country.  Alas! that the spirit which destroyed pictures, statuary and music, burned schools, lodges and churches, robbed widows and orphans, and hung Wirtz, Mrs. Surratt and the brave Munford, should still survive. Alas! that the living hyenas, who courted no rebels at the cannon's mouth, should invade the sanctuaries of southern dead, and crown with garlands and with pensions those who murdered whom they might have spared.

It is time the honest heart of human nature in this land was speaking out in the language of philanthropy and sanity everywhere.  We have all erred--some more than others. But shall we not shake hands and be brothers again in sight of the fields of carnage and over the graves of our common and patriot dead?  Aye, and we will venture to go further, and ask shall we not erect our monuments in common, and distribute pensions alike among the survivors of all the martyrs who fell on one side and the other of the shield--one contending it was brass, who saw it from the south, and the other that it was iron, who saw it from the North. The time for governmental amnesty has passed.  If the American Government would escape disgrace more eternal than the everlasting hills, it will hasten with too long delayed magnanimity and stoop to conquer to the love of its people, without which it will speedily become powerless.  No distinctions are possible--the subordinate and the chief, the living and the dead, are alike guilty of adventurous patriotism.  But, while the living may be made to suffer, the dead are beyond the reach of their enemies, even though they still gnash their teeth with unappeasable rage, and trample in safety upon the graves of the heroes.

"They are become immortal, like the gods; for the gods themselves are not visible to us; but from the honors they receive, and the happiness they enjoy, we conclude they are immortal; and such should those brave men be who die for their country."

So spoke the great Roman orator of those who gave themselves for Rome; and so with equal truth may we speak of the brave defenders of the South, who laid down their lives for it, and yet live on forever.  He that can distinguish as to their "lost cause" between the living and the dead, can show distinctions without a difference and exhibit his malignity by the absurdity of his inventions.  And he who challenges the patriotism of the dead, embitters the hate which he deserves, and writes his name on a scroll of infamy for the contemptuous gaze of his own children.  There is no difference between the cases.  The time has come to blot out the past.  We are willing to accept and cherish the Fourth as our liberty day, if it may be counted in amity.  But if it is to be the mere gala day of malignants, and boast of Union-preserving miscreants as their own sole heritage over the liberties which have been handed to their keeping by the brave men of the sword, then we have done with it forever.  We shall curse it in our heart of hearts, and welcome the day when the avenging nemesis shall blot it from American annals.  The future is all before our young nation; and if it to bring prosperity and happiness to our children, it will be because liberty, equality and fraternity is preserved rather more in than in name.  may constitutional liberty survive unscathed and be reasserted by the people. "The Constitution as it was."