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-

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

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.

Friday, May 31, 2013

T.W. Almond Photographer, Bowling Green Kentucky

Many Moran ancestors hailed from Kentucky.  We don't know who he is but we do know he was photographed by T.W. Almond in Bowling Green Kentucky on Frozen Row.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thomas Southworth, Memphis Photographer

Thomas Southworth Logo

Thomas Southworth was born in England in 1877.  He came to the United States and made his home in Tennessee where he was a photographer/artist. In 1901 he married Gertrude Dyer in Smith, Tennessee.  The 1910 - 1930 Census records show him living in Union City and Memphis with his wife Gertrude and their children Elizabeth, Luther, Thomas, John, Margaret and William.  The 1940 Census lists his wife as Edna.  He died on April 1, 1960.

This undated article was among the papers of Virginia Shumate Moran.  There are two connections that come to mind. The first is that the Southworth's lived in Union City and the second is the photography connection..  Marion Moran and her husband C.H. Cobb lived in Union City as well and their son-in-law Joseph Linton Godown was a photographer. In the small world of photography I'm betting that Joseph and Thomas new each other and they both ended up owning their own photography studio's in Memphis.

At the end of the article I've included a photograph of a young girl taken by Mr. Southworth.  We don't know if she's a relative or friend of the family.

Strolling with Eldon Roark Down an English Lane of Memory

Don't let anyone tell you time can't be turned backward in its flight.  It can be, all right.  And when it is done artfully--done as Thomas Southworth did it--what mellow, nostalgic happiness one finds in the process.

For several years Mr. Southworth, Memphis photographer had been promising himself that if he ever made another trip to his native England, he would go to the town where he lived as a boy and visit the school of his earliest remembrance.  And recently he started out to keep that promise.

The long-anticipated day came; and as he approached the little school he once more became a lad of 10, tense and a bit panicky, sitting in a class that was being quizzed by a Mr. Bostick, assistant inspector of public schools.  The official had dropped in unexpectedly, and had decided to find out how good they were at mental arithmetic.

One problem he presented, expressed in terms of American money, was :"divid $12 between two boys so that one boy will get $3 more than the other boy.  How much will each get?"

Five or six hands went up.  One boy said $3 and $9, another said $6 and $9, and still another said $3 and $6.  They were just guessing wildly--and embarrassing their teacher.

Young Tommy sat in his seat, his head a-whirl.  Then, all of a sudden, an idea hit him.  He followed it up in his mind:

"Pull off $3, lay it aside, split the $9 and back up the $3 laid aside to either of the halves and that must be it."

Up went Tommy's hand.

Mr. Bostick, the assistant inspector, gave him the nod.

"One boy got $7.50 and the other boy got $4.50," Tommy said.

"That is correct," Mr. Bostick said.  "Come forward, Tommy."  And he presented Tommy with half a crown, a coin slightly larger than half a dollar.

Ah, that was a day of great triumph!

He Makes History Repeat Itself

Small boys were playing in the school yard where Mr. Southworth had played 60 years ago.

"A charming young lady advanced on me, and I told her my story," he says.  "Then I asked permission to talk to the boys.  She immediately rang the bell, and all formed in lines.

"Next thing I knew I was in the same old classroom of my youth, facing those boys at their desks.  I sprang my problem on them, and the incident of the long ago was repeated.  Several boys made wrong guesses, and finally one boy gave the right answer and won the half crown I had promised them."

In presenting it to him, Mr. Southworth suggested that when he is 70 he should come back to the old school and pop the same problem to the 10 year olds.  The young man thought it was a good idea.

Spelling of Time and the River

As Mr. Southworth thanked them for the happy privilege he had enjoyed and turned to leave, the teacher said please stay and talk to them a little longer.  He was glad to entertain them further.

"Well boys," he said, "as you probably know, I now am an American.  In America we have one more division of land than you have.  While you jump from counties to all of England, we have counties, then states, and then the entire country.  My state is Tennessee, and it's on the banks of the Mississippi.  If there is a boy here who can spell Mississippi, raise your hand."

Several hands went up.  The teacher designated one to spell.

"And he didn't hem or haw or ah," Mr. Southworth says. "He just started spelling without the suggestion of a surplus sound.  But he took his time.  He must have been a full minute in spelling the word, but he didn't make an error."

Mr. Southworth gave him a "tanner" (12 cents in silver) as a prize.  That made the boy proud and happy.

As Mr. Southworth left the school, he stood and gazed at the old church adjoining it.  It looked just the same as it did when he was a lad.  Not so much as a single brick had changed as far as he could see.

The teacher and some of the boys waved to him as he turned and walked on down Brook Street.  He felt both sad and happy.  Memories surged thru him--and then came quiet, mellow satisfaction.

"Tommy," he said to himself, "you kept your promise.  Now you can add this event to others, drag 'em out in your lonely hours, and have a good time."

Unknown girl
Thomas Southworth Photographer

Randolph-Macon Women's College, Unknown Woman

We don't know who she is but we know she was at Randolph-Macon Women's College because it's written on the back of the photograph.  The college opened in 1893 with a class of 36 students and 12 professors.  In 2007 they changed the name to Randolph College because they began admitting men to the college for the first time.

The photographer was Adam H. Plecker of Lynchburg Virginia.  Plecker was the leading photographer in the area and is most well known for his portraits of Confederate Army Officers.  In addition to documenting Lynchburg and Confederate Army Officers he also photographed students at nearby colleges.

Here's an advertisement for the college that appeared in the August 1906 edition of the Confederate Veteran.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dresden Enterprise Apr 24 1896 - The Illustrated Edition Part 4 "Hon. Rice A. Pierce"

This is the fourth in a multi-part series featuring the April 24 1896 edition of the Dresden Enterprise.  If you missed the previous posts you can find  part one herepart two here and part three here.

Hon. Rice A. Pierce.

A history of Union City and Obion county would be incomplete without reference to Hon. Rice A. Pierce, the distinguished statesman and lawyer, whose popularity just now is overshadowing nearly everyone else in his congressional district.  Mr. Pierce has made a reputation for consistency of which any man should feel very proud.  He has stood before those who denounced him for his financial view and defied them, and now sees them coming over and joining hands with him.

It was in 1892 that Mr. Pierce, then a member of Congress, began his fight for free silver.  He and land were alone in that fight.  Mr. Pierce made a speech which those who heard it remember well, because some of them who oppose him then are repeating the same speech now.  He made a strong speech, but free silver was not considered the hope of Democracy then, as it is by some Democrats now, and he went down in defeat, both in his fight for the free coinage of gold and silver and for his re-election to Congress.

In ninety-two Mr. Pierce positively refused to support the gold plank in the Democratic national platform.  this caused a bitter fight on him by those in his district who favored the gold plank.  He was assailed all over his district for free silver views.  He was denounced by leaders of his party, but he stood firm and said he could not be driven from his position.  He said that the free coinage of silver was the hope of the country and the Democratic party must solve the question.  But he was
defeated.  Another candidate took his place in Congress.  But during the past four years Mr. Pierce has stuck to his views and now finds the very men who opposed him and who compassed his defeat declaring that free coinage of silver is the hope of the nation and the slogan of the Democratic party ?ends of Mr. Pierce claim that his record in Congress and before the people is unassailable.  They point to his public acts. In February ninety-three, when Sherman tacked onto the civil sundry bill the 3 percent bond amendment, it passed the senate, but when it reached the house Mr. Pierce at once detected it and alone and single handed opened a fight against this amendment.  It was a hard fight and there were big odds against him, but he never flagged and kept up his struggle until he gained recruits and defeated it.  In this case as in others he was assisted first by Mr. Bland.  Many will remember the fight.  Mr. Richardson of Tennessee, was in the chair when it took place.  But it was a great victory for Mr. Pierce, and his friends point to it as a triumph for which they intend to reward him.  In the fifty-first Congress he introduced the only bill to bring about a graduated income tax and made one of the only two speeches delivered on this bill.

In ninety-four Mr. Pierce was asked to canvass the state for the Democratic party.  He consented and it cannot be denied that he did excellent work.  He is credited for this work by his friends, and Chairman Carroll said he did more for the ticket than any man in the state.

Mr. Pierce is now a candidate for Congress again.  The selection of a candidate is to be made by a primary at the regular August election.  It is no trouble to find his friends in Union City or Obion county.  He is the head and front of the free silver Democrats They are wildly enthusiastic for him. They declare he cannot be defeated for the nomination which is equivalent to an election.  They claim that he is the only consistent free silver Democrat in the party; that he has won the right to claim anything he wants.  They say that those very men who opposed him and defeated him are now falling over each other trying to get on Rice Pierce's platform.  He stands out pre-eminently as the original free silver advocate in Tennessee and it looks very much like he will take his old seat in Congress again.  These views are obtained from men who were both for and against him his last race.  As to his record on the financial question, even his enemies and political opponents are agreed and say that it "fits in mighty well with the present times."--R. Christopher in Nashville American.~~~~~

Additional information about Rice Alexander Pierce:

PIERCE, Rice Alexander, a Representative from Tennessee; born in Dresden, Weakley County, Tenn., July 3, 1848; attended the common schools in Tennessee; during the Civil War served in the Confederate States Army with the Eighth Tennessee Cavalry; after the war attended school in London, Canada; studied law in Halifax, N.C.; was admitted to the bar of the supreme court in Raleigh, N.C., in 1868 and commenced practice in Union City, Obion County, Tenn., in 1869; served as mayor in 1872; elected district attorney general of the twelfth judicial circuit in 1874; reelected in 1878 and served until 1883; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-eighth Congress (March 4, 1883-March 3, 1885); unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1884; elected to the Fifty-first and Fifty-second Congresses (March 4, 1889-March 3, 1893); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1892 to the Fifty-third Congress; elected to the Fifty-fifth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1897-March 3, 1905); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1904 to the Fifty-ninth Congress; resumed the practice of law in Union City, Tenn.; chairman of the Democratic State campaign committee in 1929; died in Union City, Tenn., July 12, 1936; interment in the City Cemetery. 

The complete list of links in this multi-part series:
part onepart two, part threepart fourpart fivepart sixpart sevenpart eightpart ninepart tenpart elevenpart twelvepart thirteenpart fourteenpart fifteenpart sixteenpart seventeenpart eighteenpart nineteenpart twentypart twenty-onepart twenty-twopart twenty-three.