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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Artillery Duels and Cherry Picking- Forge Bridge 1862

Johann August Heinrich Heros von Borcke

The following day the work of saving, and destroying what could not be saved, out of the spoils at the White House, was continued, and then we moved off to join the army of General Lee, at that moment pursuing the enemy on his retreat to Harrison's Landing, on James river. We left behind one regiment as a guard over the property, estimated at millions of dollars in value, which we had collected to be transported to Richmond and the military depots of our army. While the operations I have just detailed had been going on under Stuart at the White House, General Lee had been very active-engaging the enemy and driving him further back every day. That we might regain the main body as speedily as possible, we marched for the remainder of the day without stopping in the hot sun, and encamped at nightfall upon the exact spot on the Chickahominy where, a few weeks before, we had made so narrow an escape. At daybreak next morning we received orders to move as rapidly as we might eight miles higher up the river, to ford it in the neighbourhood(sic) of Bottom's Bridge, and, falling upon the flank of the Federal army, to intercept its hasty retreat; but upon reaching this point we received counter orders, as the Federal army had already passed, and we rode back in full gallop to Forge Bridge, our starting-point. Here we found that the enemy, anticipating our movement, had posted artillery and sharpshooters in advantageous position on the river-bank, and we were accordingly received with a very determined resistance. Soon, however, Pelham came up with his horse-artillery, and, by a well-directed fire, opened a passage for us. The enemy retreated in precipitation, leaving their dead and wounded all along the course of their flight, and we were able to take but a very few prisoners. The sun was now pouring down with intense fervour(sic), and as our horses were wellnigh exhausted with our rapid marching and counter-marching, we were compelled to take a few hours' rest on the roadside. We lay down in a corner of the fence beneath the shade of some cherry-trees hanging full of their delicious fruit, the bunches unfortunately just a little too high to serve our parched mouths with grateful refreshment. Stuart and I were standing on the highest rail of the fence, trying with difficulty to pluck some of the cherries, when he laughingly said to me, “Captain, you charge the Yankees so well, why do you not attack this cherry-tree and bring it down?” Without hesitation I jumped from my elevated position, grasping the higher part of the trunk, and breaking down the tree, amid the loud cheers and laughter of the Staff and the soldiers around, who finished the spoil, now so easily to be gathered, in an incredibly short time.

-Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence, Heros von Borcke,

This was NOT during Stuart's famous ride around McClellan, but the later sweep through the county in late June of 1862 after McClellan's "change of base."

Saturday, June 8, 2019

He . . .


The Richmond correspondent of the Petersburg Index-Appeal, in the Sunday edition of that paper, says: A strange story was brought here to day from New Kent, the truth of which is vouched for. Last week Mr. J.H. Christian, an eccentric old gentleman, was taken very ill, and he thought he could not recover. He sent to Tunstall's for and undertaker to come and take his measure for a coffin, which was done. The casket was made and taken to Mr. Christian, who approved it. He is now much better and will recover, but will keep the coffin until he needs it.

 -Times (Roanoke)August 20, 1895

Interestingly, there are two "J. H. Christian"s buried at Emmaus Baptist Church. There is  John Harris Christian Jr. who died July 30, 1897 but who was only 42 in 1895 and so you would not think would qualify as "an eccentric old gentleman." The other is John H. Christian( John Harris' father?) who passed at 73 . . . on October 12, 1895.
So he was off by 50 days?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Bacon's Burial in the Pamunkey?

  . . .
As to Bacon's place of burial: When the writer was employed on the survey of the York River railroad in 1854 be heard from the lips of Mr. Cornelius Filbates, of New Kent, the tradition that the illustrious patriot's body was weighted with lead and sunk in the channel opposite the "White House," which is on the right bank. At a time when Bland and Chenoweth and Drummond, and a score of  others were hunted to their death., only a  secret grave could have protected Bacon's remains from insult and mutilation.                                                 F.P.L.

-Richmond Dispatch, 27 September 1891

A little investigating has led me to believe the author of this piece was Frederick Peabody Levenworth (1833-1920) who was a surveyor of the York River Railroad in 1854, and in 1891 was living in retirement in Petersburg.

Nat Bacon’s bones They never found,  
Nat Bacon’s grave Is wilder ground:  
Nat Bacon’s tongue Doth sound! Doth sound!. . . 

- "Nat Bacon's Bones" Archibald MacLeish

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Great Cock Match- 1755

William Hogarth, 1759, London. -Yale University

On Tuesday the 20th of this Instant, was determined at New Kent Court House, the great Cock Match between Gloucester" and New Kent, for Ten Pistoles a Battle and an Hundred the Main, there fell Eighteen in the Match, of which the New Kent Men won Ten and Gloucester Seven, one a drawn Battle: Some James River Cocks that fell on the New Kent Side, distinguished themselves in a very extraordinary manner.

-Virginia Gazette, May 23, 1755

A pistole was worth anywhere from 18 to 22 shillings at the time.

Here below is an account of cock-fighting during the time of the Revolution by the Marquis de Chastellux as he traveled through the state.

" . . .we arrived at one o clock at Willis inn or ordinary*; for the inns which in the other provinces of America are known by the name of taverns, or public houses, are in Virginia called ordinaries. This consisted of a little house placed in a solitary situation in the middle of the woods, not withstanding which we there found a great deal of company. As soon as I alighted, I inquired what might be the reason of this numerous assembly, and was informed it was a cock-match. This diversion is much in fashion in Virginia, where the English customs are more prevalent than in the rest of America. When the principal promoters of this diversion, propose to match their champions, they take great care to announce it to the public, and although there are neither posts, nor regular conveyances, this important news spreads with such facility, that the planters, for thirty or forty miles round, attend, some with cocks, but all with money for betting, which is sometimes very considerable. They are obliged to bring their own provisions, as so many people with good appetites could not possibly be supplied with them at the inn. As for lodgings, one large room for the whole company, with a blanket for each individual, is sufficient for such hearty country men, who are not more delicate about the conveniences of life, than the choice of their amusements. 
 Whilst our horses were feeding, we had an opportunity of seeing a battle. The preparation took up a great deal of time; they arm their cocks with long steel spurs, very sharp, and cut off a part of their feathers, as if they meant to deprive them of their armour(sic). The stakes were very considerable; the money of the parties was deposited in the hands of one of the principal persons, and I felt a secret pleasure in observing that it was chiefly French. I know not which is the most astonishing, the insipidity of such diversion, or the stupid interest with which it animates the parties. This passion appears almost innate among the English, for the Virginians are yet English in many respects. Whilst the interested parties animated the cocks to battle, a child of fifteen, who was near me, kept leaping for joy, and crying, Oh! It is a charming diversion."


* Willis' Ordinary was in Louisa County

A good article on the subject from the CW Journal of autumn 2008.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Pamunkey River. . . 1867 . . . Pirates!


A party of white men, consisting of the captain and four of the crew of a schooner from Baltimore, went a shore at Cumberland, on the Pamunkey river, Saturday evening, and breaking into the store of Colonel John C. Timberlake while he was absent, took from the moneytill about sixty dollars in United States currency. They also carried off with them a lot of wearing apparel and other articles valued at $100. They then returned to the schooner and sailed down the stream. The theft was immediately discovered, and a party of citizens, eight or ten in number, procured some small boats and gave chase. The race was a pretty close one, but the pursuing party overtook them about six miles below Cumberland, and boarding the vessel, arrested the whole party. They were lodged in the New Kent jail, and were to have had a hearing before a magistrate on yesterday, and as the evidence is direct and point blank, no doubt exists as to the decision of the court. 

-Daily Dispatch, 9 July 1867

Monday, March 25, 2019

A Colonial Relic on Ware Creek III: A Summing Up

We come to the present day (or there abouts) in our story of the Old Stone House on Ware Creek with a 1989 article in the Daily Press entitled, "Study Refutes Pirate Myths About Stone House."
Link here.

"It has been the stuff of legends and folklore for generations, but perhaps no more. 
Tales about the former Stone House overlooking Ware Creek took on such importance over the years that one of the county's election districts was named after it. Did Captain John Smith sleep there in 1608? Did Blackbeard the pirate ever store his treasure there? Who really built Stone House? When? Why?"

Monday, March 18, 2019

A Colonial Relic on Ware Creek II

Today we present a (rather laboriously transcribed) follow up to the March 13th posting, an article from the Daily Dispatch on the Old Stone House on Ware Creek This article was written as a response to the previous one and was published one week later. 

NB: Blisland is typically spelled with one 's,' that being the spelling of the original parish in Cornwall.

from Howe's Historical collections of Virginia(1852)


Something More About the Mysterious Old Stone House- The Devil's Wood-Yard-Some Interesting Points About Old Blissland Parish- Ancient Epitaphs.

To The Editor of the Dispatch:
In last Sunday's issue of the Dispatch your Williamsburg correspondent "W." writes of visit recently made by him to the Old Stone House in James City county, and gives an interesting description of this "mysterious relic of colonial days." His picture of the ruin and its wild surroundings has not been overdrawn. This writer has spent many hours on the wild, weird spot- not, however, in searching for Blackbeard's buried treasure, but in endeavoring to recall the traditions connected therewith, and in speculating upon the origin and history of the Old Stone House.

Before the war the "Devil's Wood Yard." surrounding the building, was a primeval forest, so dense and dark in its deep gorges that it was a favorite hiding place for runaway slaves. Local tradition made it the scene of many mysterious occurrences, and deeds of blood are said to have been enacted in its unexplored recesses.

The superstitious avoided the place where it was said the ghosts of Blackbeard's murdered victims walked in the dim daylight and held high carnival when the shadows changed to gloom.
In 1865 the north and east walls of the Stone House were in a state of preservation and the chimney end next to York river showed but little dilapidation. Many names, dates, and initials were carved in the the stones, but most of the dates were comparatively modern. One, however, over the fire-place, thus; "J. Mon--, 1775," left little room for doubt that it was carved by James Monroe, afterwards President of the United States, when he was a student at William and Mary College. The name was probably written out in full, but the stone containing the last three letters had been displaced. 
Your correspondent '"W." revives the tradition that the house was built by the famous, or rather infamous, pirate BlackBeard. This, however, is nothing more than tradition without a particle of historical authority to support it. This theory of construction robs the ruin of much of its credit for antiquity. Blackbeard "ravaged the seas" about the years 1717-18, and the Stone House probably antedates this period by fully one hundred year. 
 In Howe's History of Virginia there is a cut representing the house and it also contains several pages descriptive of the ruin. The author quotes from an article written by C. C. (Charles Campbell, Esq.), in which that writer adduces proof wellnigh conclusive that this "fort " was built by a Captain John Smith, as early as 1608-'9.* If his theory of its origin is correct, then the stone house is the only remaining material monument of the labor and enterprise of the "Father of Virginia." and it is the ruin of the oldest house built by English hands in America. Howe, in 1845, erroneously locates the ruin in New Kent county. As stated by "W.," it is on the lower side of Ware Creek, and consequently In James City county. It was in New Kent until the year 1766, when the eastern boundary of that county was changed from Scimino creek to Ware creek. And just here it will be observed that "W.," gives to this latter creek the spelling adopted in our recent statutes, The proper spelling is not Weir, but Ware. The creek was named for Robert Ware, who patented large tracts of land on both sides of the stream in the early days of the colony, and this spelling is uniformly employed in Henning.

There are many other objects of interest to the Antiquarian in this section of the state. New Kent, although not one of the original shires, was one of the oldest counties in the Old Dominion, It was created in 1654, and extended from Scimino creek, some distance below Williamsburg, to the heads of the Pamunkey and Mattaponi rivers and thence down on the north side to Poropotank creek, embracing within these bounds the land included in in its present limits, the counties of Hanover, King William, King and Queen, and a portion of James City and Caroline, The county was divided into three parishes. Bishop Meade says: "On the north of the York and Pamunkey rivers there was a parish called St. John's, and on the south one called St. peters. About the year 1684 or 1685 a parish east of St. Peter's, on Pamunkey and York rivers, was formed by the name of Blissland, which continued to have a minister until alter the Revolutionary war."

He further says, page 388:
"Of Blissland parish a few words will suffice for the little we have to say of this. No vestry-book remains to tell its history. What has become of its church. I am unable to say. Perhaps I may yet learn."
In the appendix on the last page of Volume two of the second edition of his work he continues:
"Since the first edition of this book I have received a fragment of the vestrybook of this (Blissland) parish * * *. The services of its ministers are supposed to have been divided between Warre church, so called from the swamp of that name about ten miles below New Kent Courthouse, which has entirely disappeared, and Hickory Neck church, in James City county, which is still standing."
It will be perceived that Bishop Meade gives the year 1684 or 1685 as the date of the formation of Blissland parish, and states that it was formed from St. Peter' s parish. Blissland parish certainly existed before the dates here given, as the following extracts will show, and it is probable that St. Peters was formed from it. 
In the 1st volume Calender of Virginia, State Papers, page 11, a copy of the following document may be found : 
"At a Gen'l Court held at James City April 29th, 1679- present, &c., * * *_ the Parish of Blissland petitioning yt, by unanimous consent of ye whole pariah a division by sufficient men by them chosen is made of ye s'd, p-'ish and praying that ye Division be confirmed, and ffowre of ye vestry appearing and affirming that ye Division was made by consent of ye parish, this court therefore confirmed the s'd Division. "
          Vcr. cop. teste: W. P. EDWARDS, e'l'k Gen'l C't."

That Blissland was the mother parish of the county is more than probable, and this view is strengthened by the fact that the first settlements were made in the lower end, or that portion of the county nearest to "James City" (Jamestown) and Williamsburg. While on a recent visit to lower New Kent the writer determined to ascertain, if possible, the exact location of the church alluded to by Bishop Meade, Accompanied by Mr. A. P. Richardson, who is probably better acquainted with the country than any other inhabitants, search was first made for Warren church. Its exact location is known to but few, and it was only after persistent questioning that Old Peter, an octogenarian darky, was "brought to his remembrance," and piloted by him through thick undergrowth, the spot was finally reached.

The site selected for the church is on a commanding eminence about two miles west of Eltham. On the brow of the hill, in a beautiful grove of oaks, were wen unmistakable evidence which marked the spot where, more than two hundred years ago, our forefathers met to worship God. Portions of the foundation walls still remain, and the form and size of the building could easily be traced. The church was built of English bricks, and was 36 by 60 feet, with a transept at the northern end 25 by 20 feet. 
The course of the wall which surrounded the church could also be traced, it enclosed something more than half an acre, which was the burial-ground, and two well-preserved granite slabs marked the spot where two sleepers slept.

There are probably other tomb-stones, but if so they have been covered by the leave and trees and debris of more than a century.

The epitaphs on these stones are as follows:
"Here lies interred the body of Mr. John Long, of Ramsgate, in the county of Kent, in Great Brttain, late commander of the ship John and Mary, who departed this life the 24th of July, 1736 aged twenty five years." 
Above this epitaph is the coat-of-arms, which the Writer will not attempt to describe in technical language, because he does not know how to do so. It represents a helmet with flowing plume resting on a shield, in the centre of which is a lion rampant. No motto or other device than that described can be perceived. The other is as follows: 
"Here lyeth interred the body of Doctor Thomas Arnott, who departed this life the 29th day of .January, 1745, aged thirtyeight years.
Here, as at the Stone House the work of the "vandal hand" may seen. The Old church has been entirely demolished, and all the whole bricks above the surface of the earth, even those supporting the tombstones, have been carted away. These bricks, imported from beyond the seas to serve the pious purpose of erecting a temple for the Lord, have all been "appropriated" to serve the "utilitarian spirit of the age" in paving a barnyard or erecting a kitchen chimney.

The church at Hickory Neck, in James City county, about twelve miles from Williamsburg, is still standing and well preserved. Around this church there are two tombstone of black marble containing the following inscription; 
"Here lies Interred the lindy of Col. John Taliaferro, of Snow Creek, in the county of Spottsylvania, who departed this life the third day of March, A. D. 1744,, in the 57th [or 87th] year of his age. He left issue 2 sons and 3 daughters.
The second reads:
"Here lies the body of Lawrence Taliaferro, son of Col. John Taliaferro, of Snow Hill, in Spottsylvania county, who departed this life the first day of May, 1748, in the 27th year of his age, He married Susan Power, daughter of Maj. Henry Power, of James City county, and left issue by her one daughter.” 
Much more might be written of other places of interest in this section of the state- of Eltham, the seat of the Bassetts, where George Washington and his charming bride were entertained by old time "dinging" on the day succeeding their marriage; of the Brick House opposite West Point, the seat of the Lewises and later of the Robinsons, with its desecrated family vault, and the solitary tombstone in a corn-field of Captain John King, who was buried in 1701: but this communication is already to lengthy, and probably is enough of the past to be of any interest to those of the busy, bustling present.                 
D. C. R.
-Daily Dispatch, 26 August 1883

*The conclusions about John Smith should be treated as skeptically as the claims in the previous article about Black Beard.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Colonial Relic on Ware Creek

Today we begin a couple of long nineteenth century newspapers pieces on the "Old Stone House" that used to sit on the James City side of Ware Creek not far from the York River. These articles are relevant for a New Kent blog not only because the site is directly on the border with New Kent, but because ill 1766 all that part of James City was part of New Kent. So the colonial history of "Stone House" is by and large measure also New Kent history.

A language warning for common nineteenth century racial terms

An Almost-Forgotten Locality- Was it a Haunt of Black Beard the Pirate?- A Treasure-Hunter Interrupted- Legends Speculations. 

[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.
                                                                            WILLIAMSBURG, August 17, 1883
Stone House is a magisterial district of James City county, situated in the Upper part, and it is bounded on the north and east by New Kent county and York River. Politically noticed, it is a Mahonite stronghold- so much so that during the spring canvas the cry of Stone House was considered a talisman of success; but its claim to celebrity can scarcely be attributed to that fact. The district received its name from an old stone house within its limits, concerning which little is known and less has been written, and although there is an account of an old house, supposed to be the one in question, in Howe's history, local records fail to furnish any clue whatever on the subject. Some wild and obscure traditions prevail about its construction and original uses, in which the superstitious negroes strongly believe, as will presently be seen. The knowledge of the exact location of his interesting relic is known to comparatively few residents of the county, being continued to the lumber-dealers, the hands in their employ, and hunters whose pursuit of game among the swamps and forest of that lonely section made them accidentally acquainted with it. In Williamsburg eighteen miles distant, many know not even of its existence. To visit this hidden fragment of the early settlement had long been determined on, and the proposal of a brother-enthusiast hastened the writer to gratify his curiosity. So on the morning of the 16th these kindred spirits were seen, fittingly mounted, en route for the land of is unknown- two most zealous searchers among "the misty shades of things that were." 


Along the main road, which is intersected at short distances by the railroad, there are plenty of objects to enliven a journey. Each station forms a nucleus for a store, blacksmith shop, and dwelling, All of the land is under cultivation. New houses peep out from the clearings in every direction, and the saw-mills rasping away down in the woods tell of more to come. But as the route diverges the stirring influence of the railroad gradually disappears. The houses are further apart, and the forest is deeper. Occasionally a single horseman is met, and the measured stroke of the woodman's axe, far down in the pines, alone serves to break the monotony 


Having at length reached Mr. R. P. Wright's, the gentleman who was to conduct us to the old ruin, and to whom the reader is indebted for the information obtained, we proceeded in company. Mr. Wright's home is some miles form the old house, and excepting a negro's hut in the woods is the nearest dwelling. Signs of life became now even less frequent, the long ricks of cord-wood being the only evidence of the vicinity of man. The county road was soon abandoned for a wood road, which, in turn, was left for one still more difficult, being involved among heavy ravines. Finally we tied the horses on the border a large swamp. and continued on foot. The stone-house tract contains 300 acres, and is the property of Mr. A. P. Richardson. Much of the timber has been cut, but there is still a fine body left, in which deer, turkey, and other game abound. The old ruin is situated on a bluff overlooking Weir Creek, about three miles, air-line from York river, and so difficult of access is it that our conductor, although he had been there several times before, at first missed the approach. 


This approach is a narrow ridge between two deep, impassable swamps. At one point it contracts to a width of ten feet. the sides falling away at a steep angle into the morass fifty feet below. The ridge rises at an easy grade until it expands into a small plateau full eighty feet above the waters of the creek at its base. Here, amid the tangled undergrowth, stands what is left of the old stone house, The situation, it will be seen at a glance, is of the strongest kind, and if properly defended, was well nigh impregnable to assault with the weapons of two hundred years ago. 


The walk over had bees enlivened by relating the received traditions connected with the place, which say that it was rendezvous of the pirate Black Beard, where he deposited much of his plunder and concealed his treasure. The negroes firmly believe these traditions, and from time immemorial it has been their habit to go there secretly and dig for the pirate's money which has resulted in the almost total destruction of the old house. Indeed we came near witnessing a money-digger at his work, a veritable realization of Irving's interesting legends of the treasures of Captain Kidd and its seekers along the shores of Manhattan Island. Just before we reached the spot a negro was seen to issue suspiciously from the bushes, and passing us with rapid step disappeared in the direction from which we came. Upon our arrival we found that be had just knocked off work, leaving three big holes in the ground and the freshly scattered stones of the only remaining wall as the existence of the faith that was in him. Could we have come suddenly upon him while digging there is no doubt that there would have been a real enactment of the scenes depicted in the "Money-Diggers," in which the darky, like Wolfert Webber, Dr. Knipperhauen. and the black fisherman,* would have run himself nearly to death, and fresh stories of the terrible Black Beard been added to the already haunted reputation of the place. 


The old house is much smaller than was supposed being only 14 feet wide and 16 feet long, but it bears the stamp of genuineness that cannot be mistaken. Our informant states that upon his first visit the wall just demolished was intact; it was 10 feet from the ground to the eaves and had a sharp gable. The material used is a coarse sandstone so strongly impregnated with iron that it bears that color. The stones are neatly hewn, mortar being used to cement them. 'I'he stone was procured near by, where it may still be seen cropping through the surface of the ground, The walls are two feet thick, with a narrow doorway, facing east, and the chimney stood at the opposite end. There were originally six apertures for firearms, the best preserved of which are just wide enough on the outside to admit the barrel of a blunderbuss, and enlarged within to secure wider range. 


The place was evidently a stronghold of some kind- most probably a refuge during the Indian wars- selected on account of it natural strength. The miry swamps on the inland side, proof even against the active step of an Indian warrior, prevented approach from the interior except by the narrow ridge, which was no doubt commanded other defenses than the house. 


On the other side is the creek, with the bluff rising from it. Besides the diggings of the last prospector the ground is pitted all around, where his numerous predecessors had delved in vain. One particularly large hole at the foot of a tree is the work of an old darky who dreamed that that was the location of the treasure, and he solemnly swears that he had actually struck the gold, when a terrific whirlwind arose, accompanied by such infernal manifestation that he fled for his life. Repeated failures had led to a cessation of the practice, when a solitary dweller in that region reported that a peculiarly-constructed and foreign looking craft had anchored off the creek, sent a boat up, and sailed again immediately on its return. 


This revived the treasure-seeking, which is still kept up. Mr. Wright states that about the time of the Yorktown Centennial a strange man came to his place and slept in an out-house one night. He was miserably clad, and had the appearance of being an ordinary tramp. But the shrew questions which he put about the old stone house and the knowledge of Virginia history displayed by him was utterly at variance with the assumed character. he disappeared as suddenly as he came. Sight of the excavations for his treasures recalls some of the history of the pirate Black Beard.† He was an Englishman by birth whose proper name was John Teach, the name of Black Beard being given from his tremendous beard of that color. His haunts were were the Chesapeake, its tributaries and the Carolina sounds, and a more ferocious scoundrel never robbed a ship or made its crew walk the plank. During Governor Spotswood's administration John Spotswood, the Governor's son, assisted by an English war-vessel, discovered the pirate in Albemarle Sound. A bloody fight ensued, and Black Beard, seeing escape impossible, determined to blow up his vessel, and destroy both friends and enemies, but was killed while making the attempt. While not probable, it is not beyond possibility that the traditions connected with the old stone house may have some foundation. The water in the creek below is still eighteen feet deep, and the present bat at its mouth may have been smaller in earlier days, in which case it would not have been very difficult to warp a narrow pirate vessel to the foot of the bluff where it was as secure from detection as the dead trees in the forest around.To one disposed to linger among the relics of the pioneer settlements, or in any way given to speculating over the unwritten pages of our early history, the old stone house in James City county is particularly interesting, While one is sitting on its loosened foundations the imagination soon beings to assert itself: everything is so melancholy and still, the very solitude seems to be swelled with some fearful secret, and so oppressive is the silence that the shrill chatter of the kingfisher as he plunges into the creek below and makes off with his scaly morsel is absolutely startling


Something extraordinary, either of wild revelry or deadly strife, must have happened there once. Possibly the fierce Black Beard and his lawless crew once used it as lurking-place, and fresh from murder on the high-seas laden with the wealth of some rich galleon, they made merry over their blood-stained spoils and passed the time in maddened debauch. Perhaps the bold pioneers, standing guard around their wives and children, there awaited the midnight attack, and as the waning moon sank behind the pines, the painted warriors, tomahawk in their teeth, came clambering up the steep banks and sent the curdling war-whoop echoing through the darkness; and then, amid the shrieks of women, deafening gun-shots, groans, and all the sounds of desperate resistance, was enacted the horrors of an Indian massacre. Long before the late war, in consequence of its well-preserved condition, it was more frequently visited than now, and many names of those visitors, with dates, are to be seen cut in the stone. The only clearly-defined date was 1849. and the fragments brought away by the writer contained the initials H. H. B. and W. E. B.

 -Daily Dispatch, 19 August 1883

* "Wolfert Webber, Dr. Knipperhauen. and the black fisherman," is a reference to characters from the Washington Irving story, "The Adventures of the Black Fisherman." The "Money Diggers" is an 1832 painting depicting a scene from the story.

† All the following information about Black Beard should be treated with caution.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Women's Day

On this International Women's Day (though it is a Marxist holiday, but enough about that. . .) it seems like a good idea to touch on some of the firsts in women's history that that took place in New Kent.

There is Mrs. Belle B. Turner of Lanexa, the first women in Virginia elected trustee on a county school board in 1920. 

There is Katherine Joyce Spivey, a Providence Forge attorney, who in 1961 was elected New Kent's Commonwealth's Attorney, the first woman in Virginia to hold that post. Hers is a story I haven't got around to telling here yet.

And then there is the odd case of the New Kent woman who was declared head of her household by a Federal Court.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Conclusion of Washington's Farewell Address

All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of our common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.
Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?
Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.
Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?
In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.
So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the  favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they  actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.
Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.
Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?
It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.
Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a  portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no  greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.
[43-50 omitted from some newspaper printings.]
In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.
How far in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.
In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my Proclamation of the 22d of April 1793, is the index to my Plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your Representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.
After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.
The considerations, which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the Belligerent Powers, has been virtually admitted by all.
The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.
The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his  progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

George Washington
United States - September 17, 1796

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Friendly Post . . .

. . . to remind you it is actually Washington's Birthday not some advertisers-day bastardization known as President's Day and that the Commonwealth celebrates today as George Washington Day. So for our edification, I serialize Washington's Farewell Address. Serialized because we seem to have rather short attention spans compared to the Eighteenth Century.

George Washington's Farewell Address
The period for a new election of a citizen, to administer the executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprize you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.
I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.
The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped, that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement, from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea.
I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty, or propriety; and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.
The impressions, with which I first undertook the arduous trust, were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say, that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the outset, of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied, that, if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe, that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.
In looking forward to the moment, which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; than, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it.
Here, perhaps I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.
Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.
The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.
For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.
But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those, which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole.
The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds, in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connexion with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.
While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.
These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of Patriotic desire. Is there a doubt, whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope, that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to Union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter may endeavour to weaken its bands.
In contemplating the causes, which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by Geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavour to excite a belief, that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren, and connect them with aliens?
To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions, which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.

To be continued tomorrow . . . Wednesday

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Another Bird Story


A New Kent Lady's Plan to Increase Energy of Lagging Hens.  
(Special to The Times-Dispatch.) 

ROXBURY, VA., Jan. 14.-There are not quite so many happy homes in New Kent as usual. The cause of all the trouble is nothing more than  that the hens been three months one general strike. Eggs at thirty cents wholesale.  No not more than three or four eggs per day out of a large flock is more than the housewife can stand. The verdict of death will be read to whole flocks of fowls in the near future unless they do
One lady near this place hit on a happy plan. Her fowls were well fed and sheltered but would not lay. She had a load of manure hauled. No sooner had the wagon been unloaded than the Whole bank of manure was covered with the fowls. The lady went out some time later,to her surprise she found thirty-two eggs laying nil around where the hens had been feeding. The lady was delighted, and the news soon spread all over the neighborhood. Then the husbands had to come out from their warm roosts, hitch up and go after manure.

 -Times Dispatch, 15 January 1904

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Bird Story


-Mr. S. J. Chandler, of this city, exhibited at the State office on Monday an immense gray eagle that was killed last week by his brother. Mr. O.M. Chandler, on the old Wm. Dandridge estate, in New Kent county. The bird was probably the largest ever killed in this section. It measured 7 feet 6 1/2 inches from tip to tip. The talons were 1 1/2 inches in length and the beak was of great size and apparent power. Those powerful birds of prey are reported as very plentiful in that county, and Mr. Chandler thinks this huge fellow has carried off at least a hundred lambs. He reports that eagles destroyed about 200 lambs in his neighborhood last spring. They are reported as being able to fly away with a young sheep as easily as a hawk with a chicken. Mr. Chandler, who is quite a successful hunter, was out with his gun and dog when the bird flew over him and he shot it. He killed another eagle the same day. The skin will be stuffed and preserved. -Rich. State

-Alexandria Gazette, January 31 1893

A brief review of present ornithological works as well as those contemporaneous with this article confirm that indeed "gray eagle" is another name for Bald Eagle.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Holly Fork Festivities - January 1892

New Kent Gayety. 

[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.) 

HOLLY FORK, NEW KENT COUNTY, VA, January 15.-The hospitable home of Mr. A. P. Richardson was the scene of conviviality and enjoyment last Friday evening. A most enjoyable leap-year party was given by Miss Lulu Richardson in honor of her guests. Misses Dele Richardson and Lula Atkinson, of Richmond. The spacious building was a blaze of  light from the hickory back-log in the fire-place and from beautifully-colored lamps. The guests assembled early, and until a late hour participated in the unrestrained but refined enjoyment of the pleasures to be found in an old-fashioned country home. Music, instrumental and vocal, lent its charms, amusing games were played with zest by young and old, and to the music of the piano, harp. and violin the younger of the guests danced until morning light.  
At 11:30 o'clock the party was invited to a sumptuous feast, where all the most tempting viands were spread. In accordance with the time-honored leap-year custom the gentlemen were escorted to the table by the ladies, and their wants supplied by their fair servitors. 
The genial host and hostess wore most assiduous in their efforts to contribute to the enjoyment of their guests, and the occasion was pronounced one of the most enjoyable ever known in old New Kent, a county noted for its hospitality. 
There were about thirty ladies and gentlemen present, among whom were Misses Richardson and Atkinson, of Richmond; Messrs. Woodward, Barnes, Frayser. and Wright, of New Kent; and Messrs. C.A. Branch, R. Henley, and N. Henley, of James City county; Farinholt, Woodward. Jones, Richardson, and others, of New Kent

-Richmond Dispatch, 17 January 1892

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Judson Knight: A Chase along the Pamunkey 1864 - Conclusion

Serg't Knight's Adventures In the Swamps of the Pamunkey.
(Continued from last week.)

THE tension on my nerves, which had been considerably strained for the last 24 hours, had become relaxed, and I felt more like having fun than anything else. When the Lieutenant said he would have to keep me until morning, it put a stop to all funny business, as far as I was concerned, and I told him it was his duty to either send or take me to Gen. Smith at once, and I also said that he would be very apt to get blamed for not doing it. A Sergeant in the party settled it when he said: "Yes, Lieutenant, you will get into trouble if you don't take him to Gen. Smith at once." 
A guard was detailed, who surrounded me, and we set off across the fields. I don't know how often we were tripped up by the running blackberry or dowberry(dewberry) vines, but as near as I remember every one of the party were down more than once before we made the mile that separated us from the "White House." On our arrival Smith's tent had been pitched, and he had just lain down, when the Lieutenant went in, mid told him who I said I was, and he ordered him to bring me in immediately. When I came in he said: "Who are you?" After rolling him, his next question was: "When did you leave Gen. Grant?" Upon answering this his next was: "When did you leave his Headquarters?"
"At noon yesterday." 
"What have you been doing since " 
I gave him an outline of my experience, and said I came out of the swamp since dark.
"I heard the first whistle about four miles up the river. Here are three dispatches for you; the remainder go to Yorktown; please to look at this," handing him Col. Ingalls's order on Quartermasters.
"Capt., roared he. Capt. come into the tent. Give this man the fastest boat you have got, and don't wait to unload anything." 
Then to me: "I trust the remainder of your trip will be much pleasanter then the first part. Good-night."
In a few minutes not to exceed 20, I think I was sound asleep on the steamer, and remained so until we reached Yorktown. The steamer landed me and went back immediately. Going first to the telegraph office I delivered the dispatches that had to be telegraphed; then to the post office and got rid of the remainder, together with the letters. The next thing in order was to find an eating house, where I ordered a breakfast regardless of expense. After breakfast I concluded to replenish my wardrobe. Socks, drawers, and shirt had suffered in the swamp, and they were replaced by new ones. The shirt was gorgeous, French cashmere. I could not burden myself with anything except what I could wear, consequently only one article of a kind was purchased, with the exception of paper collars.They were something that one had to make some sacrifice for, and I laid in a supply of at least a dozen of "Gray's patent molded collar." After going to a barbershop and getting my hair cut and a shave, I made my appearance in the streets of Yorktown. My wide-brimmed straw hat and purple coat made me a conspicuous object, even without the extra adornments. I had mounted, and I was immediately surrounded by a crowd of both soldiers and officers, all eager for news, Somehow they had learned from the telegraph office that one of Grant's Headquarters scouts was in town, and they picked me out immediately as the man. No certain news for some time had they heard, and I was literally besieged. It happened that I had seen most of the fighting at Spotsylvania Courthouse; had seen Johnson's Division when they were taken out of the works, and could give a pretty good description of the operations in that neighborhood for several days which culminated in the fight of the 12th of May, 1864. I entertained them to the best of my ability for over an hour. I never saw men in my life so eager for news. I was really glad about 2 p.m. when the Quartermaster came and told me he had signaled a steamer going up the river to run in. She came and I went aboard the steamer Wyoming, Capt. Lyttleton S. Cropper, of Havre De Grace, Md. Capt. Cropper was as whole-souled, genial a man as I ever met, and his boat, which had double engines, was fitted up as a hospital boat. When Capt. Cropper learned who I was, there was nothing on board too good for me. My name, as well as all of the scouts at Headquarters, was entered on his log-book, and a signal was agreed upon by which he would know any of the boys who might signal him from the shore, and he requested me to inform them that he would always be pleased to have any of them come on board and make themselves known to him at any time. 
Some of them did go aboard of the Wyoming later, but who they were I have forgotten now, but I can remember they were loud in their praise of Capt. Cropper. There was a number of soldiers on board who were detailed as guards and nurses, under the charge of a Surgeon, whose name has escaped my memory. I met the Surgeon afterward, several months subsequent to the close of the war, and one of the men who was detailed, and serving on board on that trip. His name was Jones, and he belonged in the town of Marcy, N. Y. 
The next day, early in the morning, I found the Wyoming fast to the wharf at the White House, and found that the Eighteenth Corps had gone forward the day before. Leaving the boat, I started on foot up toward Tunstall's Station. By the time I had gone three or four miles I came upon one of our cavalrymen, and from him learned that Gen. Gregg was not far away. Gen. Gregg was a man I was very anxious to see, and I took a good many steps in various directions, as I was told by several cavalrymen where they thought he could be seen. At last I found him. Showing him my pass, to let him know who I was, I asked him to loan me a horse, and to tell me where Army Headquarters were to be found.
"See here," said he, "I have loaned you scouts horses before, and never saw them again."
"Well, General, you never loaned me one, did you?" 
"No. I never did, and don't think I ever will. You people got a horse, and that is the last of him."I could see by a twinkle in his eyes that he intended to let me have one, and pressed the request, saying: "You acknowledge you never let me have one. How is it possible for you to say you will never see him again. I will promise that he shall he returned as soon as it is possible to do be in four or five days at the farthest."
"Well, I suppose I will have to try you. Now, if I don't get this horse back, it is the last time a scout over gets one from me." 
Calling a man he ordered him to furnish me with a certain horse that I thought to myself would be a small loss if he should never see again. On asking him where I would be apt to find Army Headquarters, he replied that he had no idea, but the night before they were at Old Church Tavern, which was several miles off. I saw no one that could give me the desired information until I arrived at the tavern. The landlord was very surly, and would scarcely give me a civil answer, until my patience became exhausted, when I asked him which of two roads both in sight (I had come in on a third one) they took when they left his place that morning, at the same time intimating that a civil and quick reply would be conducive to his well being. Ho very graciously pointed to the road that he said they had taken. I followed that road into the woods probably four miles, when shell began tearing through the tree-tops, and the farther I went the worse it got, until I became satisfied that the landlord had lied.
I remembered seeing a road about two miles back, leading to the left, and concluded to go back and try it. I had not gone far before I saw an infantry regiment come out of the woods and take the same direction on the same road that I was on. My horse soon overtook them, and turned out of the road of his own accord, and commenced passing them. We had passed over half the regiment before anyone bestowed more than a casual glance at us. At last a young fellow took a good look at the whole outfit, left the ranks, and ran toward the head of the regiment. Just before I came up I saw him speak to the Colonel. When I attempted to pass, the Colonel stopped me, and wanted to know who and what I was. I rode along by his side, and showed him my pass, which was written on a printed form; explained to him that I had just got back to the army, and was looking for Headquarters. The young soldier meanwhile was on the other side of the Colonel, and as soon as he discovered that his Colonel was satisfied with my explanation, he attempted to sneak back to his company. I saw the move and stopped him, and said: "I want to have a few words with you, young man." A half-sullen look name to his face as I began.  I thanked him for what he had done, and told both him and the Colonel that I was frequently disgusted with the way men could go through the army without being stopped by anyone; that it appeared to us sometimes that they did not care whether a man was a spy or not, nor whether he found out what was going on, and wont direct to the enemy and reported. I also told them that frequently I had heard other scouts make the same complaint, and I said:
"Now, my young friend, I am glad to see that one man, at least, in this regiment cared enough to put himself to some trouble to find out whether I was a friend or an enemy." The sullen look had disappeared; he had expected a cursing, which I am sorry to say was what a private soldier got more of than was good for him.
I found Headquarters in the course of a couple of hours after leaving that regiment, which was an Ohio one. The battle of Cold Harbor was fought that next day, I think; if not on that day, within 4 couple or three days", at all events. How long the army stopped here after the 4th of June I can't remember. My old regiment (2d N. J.) went home from Cold Harbor, and a day or two afterward one of the guards at the "bull-pen," a member of the 20th N. Y., came to me and said: "There is a man in the bull-pen who says he belongs to your old regiment, and wants to see you."
I went back with him, when a young fellow who was on the inside of the line of guards pressed forward as far as the guard would let In in, and said: "Don't you know me, Sergeant?" I took a good a good look at him, and answered: "No; I can't say that I do."
Said he: "Sergeant, I used to belong to your old regiment"
"What company were you in?" 
"G, and yours was H." 
"Yes; that is right So you were in Capt. Close's company. How did you get in here? The regiment has gone home, and I can't see how you should be in the bull-pen." 
He then told me that he was in one of the Wilderness fights, and was wounded; had been sent to Washington to a hospital, and as soon as no could leave it applied to be sent to his regiment; had come down the Potomac to Port Royal, and had helped to guard a wagon-train from there to Army Headquarters; when he got there his regiment was gone. His story had not been believed, and he had brought up in the pen. After listening to his story he said:
"You remember me now, don't you, Sergeant?" I could not recollect him, and said so. Tears came into his eyes as I turned away and walked to Col. Sharp's tent, who at that time was Deputy Provost-Marshal-General of the Army of the Potomac. I went in and told the story to Sharp, and when I got through he said: Do you remember him?" 
"Hardly; but I know he tells the truth." 
"Well," said he, "it is a shame, and we will have him out."
He then wrote an order to turn the boy over to me, and told me to go and get him. When he came the Colonel questioned him a few minute, gave him an order for transportation and the papers he would need to keep him out of trouble with military authorities, and turned him loose. He was one of the most grateful boys I ever saw. He was not over 21 years old, and lived in Bloomfield, N.J. His name had escaped my memory. Within a few days I got a chance to send the borrowed horse to Gen. Gregg, I'd did so.

JUDSON KNIGHT, Washington, D. C.
(The End)

-The National Tribune, January 26, 1893