Saturday, June 1, 2013

Oh Shame! O Disgrace! McGavock Letter January 17 1871


This is a letter written to James Gunn, the brother of Sophia Riley Gunn who married John Williamson Moran, from Mrs. J. McGavock dated January 17 1871.

The McGavock's are an old and wealthy family that settled in the Nashville area.   This letter is specifically about Dr. Felix Grundy McGavock, Jacob McGavock and his wife Louisa Grundy McGavock and a lot of land at Shawnee Village Arkansas.  

There was apparently a dispute regarding the McGavock holdings at Shawnee Village and the writer of this letter, a Mrs. J. McGavock is relaying her dismay to our relative James Gunn of Edgefield, Tennessee but who was living in Arkansas for a time.  I believe Mrs. J McGavock is Sally D. Martin.  Sally married John Jacob McGavock in 1865 in Lowndes County Mississippi.  In the 1870 census they are living in Pecan Point Arkansas with their daughters Mary T., age 4, and Nannie, age 1.  

These are the children of John and Sally McGavock:
Mary Todd, b. June 21 1866
Nannie Martin, b. March 11 1869
Louise, b. November 8 1870
Randal William, b. December 12, 1872 - d. June 21, 1950 Los Angeles CA

Mrs. J. McGavock's perception of the character of the other McGavock's is different from what has been passed down in history books.  According to Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas by Goodspeed Dr. F.G. McGavock "is one of those rare characters now so seldom met.  A real Southern gentleman, in his veins flows the best blood of American."   Yet period newspapers indicate that he wasn't above fighting with his neighbors about hogs.  A Dr. Green Bennett, who owned land adjacent to McGavock's, was rounding up his hogs and inadvertantly some of McGavock's hogs were in the group.  Words were exchanged and the result was McGavock receiving a head wound, the loss of a finger and gun shot wound through the mouth.  Amazingly he survived but would endure several years of medical attention to the wounds.

Jany 17, 71

To James Gunn-

Sir,
I was always your Family Friend.  I show'd it on your mother's (Caroline Matilda Morehead Gunn) death bed & since to you,

Now you are returning my friendship by writing such as this up here.

The Sheriff has just taken an inventory of all the property at Shawnee Village.  The Supreme Court of the State of Arkansas has decided that F.G. McGavock, Jacob McGavock, Louisa McGavock did fraudulently, Oh shame! O disgrace! Take advantage of the Bankrupt Law.

Pickett has knocked Dr. McGavock's plan in the head, when it bursts up.  Warren may get some of the money.

What must I think of this return for my kind feelings?

Mrs. J. McGavock
answer

I like to include death information when possible but so far I've not been able to find out when John and Sally passed on.  I did see John McGavock listed in the Memphis Daily Appeal on July 5 1872 which said "of Pecan Point Arkansas is summering in the "native heath" with old Nashville acquaintances."   His wife Sally last appears in the 1900 Census records for St. Louis Missouri.  She is living with her daughter Mary Todd Baker and her husband James E. Baker and their children Maud, Harry E., George S. and James E.

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