Friday, July 8, 2011

Why Be A Quitter, Abraham Lincoln's Life

I'm not sure which Moran family member to attribute this too but I can say that it was written on the top portion of the backside of a piece of stationery from The Bobbs-Merrill Company- Inc.  The letter was dated September, 1951 and says: "Presenting Reid's Branson Instructions to Juries". 

A transcription follows the image.

Why be a Quitter?
Abraham Lincoln's 
life (1809-1865) is a
notable example of
final victory surmounting 

Observe this chart:
 Age        Year       Occurrence
22 -         1831       Failed in business
23 -         1832       Defeated for Legislature
24 -         1833       Failed in business
25 -         1834       Elected to Legislature
26 -         1835       Death of Sweetheart
27 -         1836       Nervous breakdown
29 -         1838       Defeated for Speaker
31 -         1840         "      " Elector
34 -         1843         "      " Land Officer
34 -         1843         "      " Congress
37 -         1846       Elected to "
39 -         1848       Defeated for "
46 -         1855         "      " Senator
47 -         1856         "      " Vice President
49 -         1858         "      " Senator
51 -         1860       Elected President

In the course of 29 years 
Lincoln experienced:
Two business failures; a grievous
heartache; a physical breakdown;
nine political defeats; and only
then political success: the last
Yet, at the age of 51, was elected
President of U.S.A.
Verbum Sat Sapienti (translated: A word is sufficient for a wise man)

Turkish Inspired Cast Iron Woman, ca. mid 1800's

As a young boy living at the family home, my husband would go out into the woods and wander the property. And dig.  He did his own version of archaeology and this is one of the items he found many years ago.  He said the woman was always referred to as Amelia Bloomer because it appeared she is wearing bloomers.  I think the cast iron image bears a striking resemblance from the top of her head to the tips of her curl toe shoes to an illustration that appeared in Graham's Illustrated Magazine in 1858.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Victorian Hair Art, ca. 1890's

I had seen Victorian jewelry made from human hair but this was the first time I had seen a decorative picture made of human hair. The leaves, flower petals, stems, stamens etc are all composed of Moran hair.  There are touches of colored thread and seed pearls as ornamentation as well.  

Hair was often used during Victorian times to commemorate the passing of a loved one, given as love tokens and also to record family history which is probably the case of this rather large, elaborate piece of hair art from the Moran home.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

J.W.Moran & Sophia Riley Gunn Wedding Portrait, 1871

John W. was 31 and his bride, Sophia, was 18 when they were married.  
The photo was taken by C.C. Giers in Nashville, TN.

Weakley County Courthouse Burns, CA 1948

Four Units Unable to Save Courthouse--Fire fighters of Dresden, Martin, Greenfield and Gleason, Tenn., battled all Thursday morning without avail, as the Weakley County Courthouse burned. The fire started in or near the cupola atop the roof, burned downward.  Most of the county records were saved.  Photo by Nick Givens, Greenfield

Flames Devour Nine Decades as Weakley Courthouse Burns by Paul flowers, Staff Correspondent

DRESDEN, Tenn., Feb. 19--Fire of undetermined origin early Thursday destroyed the 90 year old courthouse here.

Breaking out soon after dawn, the flames raced downward from cupola to ground floor of the West Tennessee landmark leaving only four crumbling walls on the square where Weakley County official business has been transacted since 1858.

Most of the records were saved, County Judge Cayce Pentecost said.  Some were stored in fireproof vaults and others were carried out by volunteer residents.

By a twist of irony, electric wires leading to the town's fire siren, perched in the cupola atop the neo-classic structure, were believed to have been responsible for the fire, but there was nothing certain Thursday night as the last smoldering embers, having resisted streams of water all day, finally yielded to the misty rain which began falling in late afternoon.

Ancient Hall of History
This was the ancient hall of justice and place of records where Caruthers Ewing,
West Tennessean who achieved international renown as a lawyer, first started practice.  The building which went up in flames Thursday housed the court in 1891 in which Mr. Ewing, then 19, brought his first action in court, a suit against his own father.

Likewise, this was the courthouse about which the legend of the Yankee cavalryman came into, in the late months of the Civil War, a Northern soldier rode his horse into the courthouse, up several flights of stairs to the cupola, and perched there as high as he could go, to sound taunts and defiance against Dresden and Weakley county and the whole Confederacy.

That was the story as passed on by L. P. Moore, former county trustee, as he stood with fellow townsmen in the shadow of the Confederate monument at one corner of the square.  On the stone steps, hewn from stone brought by yoked oxen from quarries along the Tennessee River almost a century ago, still were marks left by the horse's shoes, Mr. Moore said.  

In the second floor courtroom, Caruthers Ewing launched his campaign for attorney general, the time he was defeated by Bill Lewis of Paris.

Martin Man Built It
The Weakley County Courthouse had its beginning in 1858, although the county, first settled by white men in 1819, was organized in 1825.  A contractor from Martin, named Cowardin, erected the central section.  In 1919 the wings were added by L.E. Wingo.

Fire companies from Greenfield, Gleason and Martin were called in, but the fire had gone  beyond control before they could get into action, and the best they could do was prevent its spread.  Flying embers did ignite the roof of the negro Methodist Church, a block away, but damage was only slight there.

County Judge Pentecost said the building loss was partically (sic) covered by insurance, amounting to about $75,000.  Thanks to fireproof vaults, installed in 1913, most of the land records were saved, but at noon county officials were still thumbing through boxes of charred papers on the high sidewalks.

Emergency offices will be set up in buildings around the square as soon as possible.  C.P. Taylor, tax collector, said he would be ready to do business again by Monday morning.

Landmark--This is how the Weakley County Courthouse appeared since 1919, when the two wings were added.  the center section has stood since 1858.  Photo by R.L. Ervin, Dresden, Tenn.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Florence Irvine Dies from Burns received in House Fire, March 1895

Florence Irvine died tragically at the age of 27 in March, 1895, due to burns she received in a fire at home. By the time her mother (Agnes Moran Irvine) found her, her upper body was engulfed in flames.  There was little that could be done except to give her morphine injections to make her comfortable till she passed away. It is assumed that Florence was trying to put out a fire started by having quilts on a rack too close to the fireplace in her bedroom.  

Florence was the daughter of Agnes Moran and Benjamin D. Irvine of Dresden, TN.  This clipping was found in the personal papers of the Moran family.  I presume that it was published in the Dresden Enterprise soon after the death of Florence in march, 1895.  J.W. Moran and Sophia Riley Gunn Moran were Florence's aunt and uncle.  

1895 was going to be a very sad year for the Moran family culminating in the death of Sophia Moran in October 1895.

A Lamentable Affair.

Once again is a Dresden home in sorrow on account of the ruthless hand of death, caused by an accident that brought sorrow not only to them, but to their many friends as well.  May God in His infinite wisdom and mercy turn away from any of our homes again such a sad and awful visitation.Wednesday morning about eight o'clock Mrs. B.D. Irvine, who was in an adjoining room to her daughter, Miss Florence, heard an unusual noise and rushed in to find her a mass of flames from her waist up.  The horror- stricken mother, assisted by others who soon reached her gave as immediate relief as possible, and Dr. A. Finch was soon on hand to administer as much ease as possible to the dying girl.  For about twenty minutes, until morphine administered hyperdermically could take effect, she suffered much, but after that she became easy and died at 12 o'clock, quietly, surrounded by parents and brothers, who loved Miss Florence most devotedly.  The entire family is heartbroken, especially the loving, Christian mother, who has ?? unusual degree of earth's sorrows ?? which,however she has ?? a woman can who draw  her consolation from a Diving Father. There is not a heart in Dresden today that does not go out in sympathy to them in their bereavement, but in such hours God alone can comfort and sus-tain.

Miss Florence has been afflicted since a small child with convulsions. And? her mother has all these years ?? day and night to prevent ??? such it is not ?? she had a spell.  She was making the beds there being two in the room, the quilts from one lying on a chair in front of the fire, and partly burned up when discovered.  The supposition naturally is that Miss Florence tried to extinguish the flames and ??? fire, as the lower extremeties were not burned.

The Youth's Companion 1891, Calendar