A . /V rY>
/NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY
RICHARD BEN BURY CREECY
HOWARDS & BROCGHTON, PRINTERS
/NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY
RICHARD BEflBURY CREECY
^ LIBRARY %|
JAN 16 1302
Look abroad throughout the lUluf'flllU Hee Worth Carolina's sons contending
manfully for the palm of honor and distinction. Gaxton.
HOWARDS & BROUGHTON, PRINTERS
YOUTH OF NORTH CAROLINA
I DEDICATE THIS VOLUME, WITH THE EARNEST HOPE
THAT THEY WILL LEARN FROM ITS PAGES
SOME LESSONS OF PATRIOTISM,
AND WILL BE
STRENGTHENED IN THEIR LOVE FOR
THEIR NATIVE STATE
BY THESE MEMORIALS OF THE PAST THAT I HAVE SOUGHT
TO PERPETUATE FOR THEIR BENEFIT.
Copyrighted 1901, by
R. B CREECY.
GRANDFATHER'S TALES OF NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY
was an inspiration of State love, and was at first intended
for the private instruction of my children and grandchil-
dren. Its preparation was commenced ten years ago, as
a lahor of love, in the leisure time taken from my regular
editorial work. As the work progressed we occasionally
published specimen chapters of the work in order to ascer-
tain whether it met the public approval. It seemed to
do so, and some of our friends expressed their approval in
ii ratifying terms of commendation.
Then we thought it might be a useful offering to the
pnl lic and to our schools and perhaps give a new stimulus
to the State love of the rising generation and cause them to
know more of their illustrious progenitors, and to emulate
their virtues and their patriotic deeds.
One boulder was in our pathway. It costs labor to pre-
pare a hook for publication. But wo were raised to hard
work and were never afraid of it. But, in addition lo
that, there's much expense in money in getting a book be-
fore the public, and we never had the gift of money-get-
ting and we were largely gifted with the talent for getting
ril of it, which talent, we honestly confess, we have never
"hid in a napkin," but cultivated assiduously by constant
practice that is to say, when we had it to get rid of.
However, we have never been an Elijah that the ravens
had to feed. So we looked around to accomplish by our
wits what our purse refused to do.
Judge Clark is the head of the "Literary and Historical
Association of North Carolina/' a man of literary in-
stincts, and being- a young man himself, we thought he
would naturally be helpful to a young man who was knock-
ing for admission into the guild of letters. He responded
kindly and graciously, and under his direction we sent In
to the next meeting of the Association specimens of our
work, representing its leading features historical, bio-
graphical, legendary and poetical to be examined by the
Association. They were referred to a committee of. which
Professor Hill, of the A. and M. College, was chairmar.
The committee reported favorably and "commended and
recommended it" to the public and the schools. Wo
breathed easier and the skies wore a more cerulean aspect.
We had asked our friend, Judge H. G. Connor, a mem-
ber of the House of Representatives of the General Assem-
bly of North Carolina, that in case the L. and H. Asso-
ciation gave "Grandfather's Tales" a favorable endorse-
ment, would he introduce a resolution in the Legislature
pledging the State to take a certain number of copies of
the work when published and to endorse it for use in the
public schools of Xorth Carolina, and we, at the same
time, requested Professor Hill to hand over the manu-
scripts to Judge Connor, after he had finished with them,
which he did.
On the last day of the regular session of the Legislature
Judge Connor introduced a- resolution in the House, en-
dorsing the book, recommending its use in the schools 'of
the State and appropriating two hundred dollars ($200)
to aid in its publication, and the resolution was unani-
mously and immediately passed, both parties uniting in
its passage. Then we breathed easier, deeper, longer,
broader, and every inspiration was a joy.
Thanking my friends for the kind words of encourage-
ment and the assistance they have given me in the prepa-
ration of this work, and trusting that it may meet the
approval of my countrymen, I bid them an affectionate
R. B. CREECY.
Elizabeth City, N. C., Oct. 12, 1901.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Sir Walter Raleigh... 6
The Lost Colony 8
Beginning of a Nation 1 % 2
Legend of the White Doe 15
Legend of Batz's Grave 19
An Unsettled Question .' 22
George Durant and King Kilcokannan 24
The Story of William Drummond 27
Our Parliamentary Genesis 1 81
Culpepper's Rebellion 83
The Edenton Tea Party 85
John Harvey iO
The Resolutions of St Paul's Vestry 43
The Regulators 45
The Tuscarora Massacre .. 47
The Huguenot Blood in North Carolina 49
The Scotch-Irish Element in our History 52
Tom Brown's DogTilden... 54
Teach and Potter, Carolina's Outlaws 57
Old-time Hazing at the University 61
The Old-time Quaker 64
Thomas Hart Benton 67
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence 69
The Stamp Party in Wilmington 72
Jimmy Sutton and Admiral Cockburn 77
Battle of Guilford Court House 79
John Stanly 82
Gaston at the University - 84
The Last of the Romans.. 88
Betsy Dowdy's Ride . ., 9o
What I Know About " Shocco " Jones 96
Gov John M. Morehead 101
An Evening with Gaston 104
Interesting North Carolina History 114
TABLE OF CONTENTS. Vll
Pasquotank River 116
Gaston in the Convention of 1835 119
Gavin Hogg - 123
James Allen 125
The Convention of 1835 130
Joseph B Skinner 132
Judge R R. Heath 136
Gen. William Gregory 138
Anecdotes of Mr. Badger 142
The Pen and the Sword 146
The Giants of 1840 148
The Death of William Gaston 152
Mammy Ellen 154
Henry W. Miller 157
Judge Thomas Ruffin 161
A Monster Snake + 163
Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge 166
The Banker Pony 169
Dare County 172
Nags Head 174
Governor Swain 178
I redell, Shepard, Ray ner, Smith, Shaw 182
W. W. Cherry 186
The Ministers of God . 190
Union League and Ku-Klux Klan 194
Western Scenery 197
Gen. J . Johnston Pettigrew 200
Recollections of Thomas S. Ashe 208
University Reminiscences 211
DeathofDr Elisha Mitchell 213
Among the Carolina Writers 218
The Bombardment 222
Gov. William A Graham 225
The Mountain Grandeur of Western Carolina 228
Flora McDonald 230
The Black Flag 234
Remnants of Lo 237
A Dread Time 239
The King of Birds and the Bravest of Beasts .. . 242
Vlll TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Gen. James Martin 244
Charles R. Kinney 246
Mrs. Rachael Caldwell 252
He Loved Everything in the State 255
The Bureau Rule in 1866 260
The Capture of the Maple Leaf 264
Humors of the Maple Leaf 266
WilliamS. Ashe 268
The Charge at Gettysburg. 271
Mrs. Willie Jones 273
Among Currituck Ducks and Duckers 283
The Battle of Sawyer's Lane 286
Col. William L. Saunders , 289
The Invasion of the Carpet-bagger . 295
James C. Dobbin 297
The New Century.. .300
CAROLINA, THE MOTHER OF THE STATES.
(AN IRREGULAR HISTORICAL ODE )
AT THE gateway of our history,
Stands one whose fame is ours,
A gallant man and noble, our father and our son ;
"A man to note right well, as one
Who shot his arrows straightway at the sun.
His was all the Xorman's polish
And sobriety of grace,
All the Goth's majestic figure,
All the Roman's noble face,
And he stood the tall exemplar
Of a grand, historic race."
His fame is ours,
This foster-child of fame,
Who made his Queen and country
His brightest, noblest aim.
Who dare challenge our heritage
Of Walter Raleigh's name !
His fame is ours.
As he rides with knightly bearing
Down the corridors of time
We bow in homage to his name
And claim him as our own.
We weep at his misfortunes,
We rejoice at his renown,
And at his final ghastly doom,
We place our green forget-me-not
In sorrow on his tomb.
As I look back through the vista
Of three hundred years ago,
My heart is swelled with varying tides
Alternate joy and woe
I pause in thought and sadness at those immortal men
Who perished at Roanoke; but how, or where, or
Will ne'er be known while time endures to any mortal
'Till that great day when all shall see the secrets of
But this sad thought comes to cheer us,
In this far-distant time
If round the brow of any land
We twine the cypress leaf,
It is lovely in its sadness
With its coronet of grief.
So, cheer up, Carolinians !
The seed, watered by your tears,
Has grown to mighty greatness
In all the coming years.
But as I search again our ample store
Of vast and misty legendary lore,
And view its scenes and sights with pleasure rife,
I find the old kaleidoscope of life,
The thorns and rosebuds nestling side by side,
The bane and antidote of life allied ;
As, of ttime at the fall of some sad tear,
There stands a smile to comfort and to cheer.
And so the fountain of our grand old State
Was not all bitter waters,
At that time of ancient date.
The purple grape, the perfume-laden air,
The weird music from the mockbird's note,
The willet's whistle and the gull's wild scream
Wrapped all their senses in a soothing dream
When first they anchored in old Occam s stream.
After God, the Father,
Came their country and its Queen ;
Then the pageant of possession,
CAROLINA, THE MOTHER OF THE STATES. 3
A grand and gorgeous scene.
The shout, the drum, the cannon's roar
Resound from shore to shore,
And with the loud acclaim
Was mingled oft the virgin Queen and great Sir
They called the land Virginia,
Through its limitless domain,
From sea to sea, from North to South,
From mountain top to plain.
They builded, they planted,
They reared a sightly town;
They named it after Raleigh,
That man of high renown.
They huilt a fort, they worshipped,
They raised altars to our God.
All this, and mor*e, was done
On Carolina's sod.
By the law of cause and sequence,
I 5y the ordering of the Fates,
< 1 :irolina was the first-born
And the mother of the States.
\ 7 irginia was her first name,
Her baptismal name at birth.
But at her confirmation
And renewal of her vow,
Carolina, Carolina, became her name as now.
By the fiat of Omnipotence,
No word or action dies,
But, borne up by angels
To the chancery of the skies,
The recording angel,
In his justice-seat on high,
Records it and files it,
And with a smile or sigh,
'Till that great day and dread
When earth and sea deliver up
Their living and their dead.
No word or action dies,
'Tis filed away in heaven,
Perennial on earth,
And goes on reproducing.
From the moment of its birth.
The acorn which was planted
And produced Columbia's oak,
Was the acorn that was planted
On the island of Koanoke.
That oak, now grown to giant height,
Which shadows all our land,
Was from the acorn planted
By Sir Walter Raleigh's hand.
That oak that's now a giant,
And of all men known "and spoken,
Was planted first and nourished,
On the island of Wokoken.
Jamestown was its first fruit,
And John Smith's fame and glory
Was but the early sequel
Of Roanoke's saddened story.
And pretty Pocahontas,
With her romance all aglow,
Is but the reproduction
Of kind old Manteo.
But why drop the name Virginia
And give it to another ?
It was the sweet baptismal name
Of our dear old mother ;
Her's by right of first discovery,
Her's by the loud acclaim,
Her's by the primal title,
When that battle flag unfurled
Proclaimed the land Virginia,
CAROLINA, THE MOTHER OF THE STATES.
And challenged all the world
To dispute it, face to face,
As the- rightful, just possession
Of the Anglo-Saxon race.
Why drop the name Virginia
And take another name ?
'Tis the same old tender tale,
The old maternal love,
That weeps when others smile,
And pours out tears like water
At the happy bridal
Of her first-born lovely daughter.
It was in part her bridal dowry
She gave young Virginia with,
When with heart and hand united,
She married Captain Smith.
Virginia grew to greatness,
She bore her mother's name ,
Who, true to all her children,
Speaks no word of blame ;
But sometimes with maternal pride
She whispers, soft and tame,
Virginia has no fault,
If fault it be,
But avarice of fame.
But avarice, my daughter,
Becomes a noxious weed
When you feed on other's laurels
In your avaricious greed.
So lift up your heads, my countrymen,
And with uncovered brow,
Before the great Eternal One,
Make this your sacred vow,
"Carolina, Carolina, heaven's blessings attend her!
While \v<> live wo will cherish, protect and defend
6 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
SIR W ALTER RALEIGH.
At the gateway of our history stands Walter Raleigh's name,
A gem of purest lustre in our coronet of fame
IF YOU wore asked the question, which one of the Uni-
ted States you loved best, you would say North Carolina.
You would say so because it is the home of your parents,
and of your forefathers since it was first settled, and be-
cause their graves are here.
North Carolina is sometimes called the "Old North
State," because it was the first settled of the Carolinas,
and when a part of it was taken off for convenience, that
part was called South Carolina, and the old part was
called North Carolina, or the "Old North State."
During the late unhappy war between the States it was
sometimes called the "Tar-heel State," because tar was
made in the State, and because in battle the soldiers of
North Carolina stuck to their bloodv work as if they had
tar on their heels, and when General Lee said, "God bless
the Tar-heel boys," they took the name.
You all know something about the State; but I know
you would like to know more about it, and I will try to
let you know more, if you will keep still and listen to the
tales I will tell you about it.
The first public man whose name is connected with
North Carolina history is Sir Walter Ealeigh. He was
an English nobleman, and his life is full of interest. He
lived about three hundred years ago, in the most famous
period of English history, and he was the foremost man
of his time. As a writer, he was the companion of Shake-
speare. As a soldier, he was the companion of Howard.
As a statesman, he was the companion of Bacon. As an
adviser, he was the nearest to Queen Elizabeth's distin-
Do you know what gave Ealeigh his start in the world
when he was a young man ? It was simply a little piece
He was passing down a street in London dressed in a
SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
SIR WALTER RALEIGH. 7
stylish scarlet cloak. The Queen, with her attendants,
was walking down the same street, and when near Raleigh
she stopped at a muddy place in her way. Raleigh ran up,
took off his scarlet cloak and threw it over the mud for
the Queen to walk on.
This act of politeness made him a great favorite with
the Queen, and she bestowed many favors upon him.
Among other favors, she gave him the right to make dis-
coveries in America, and gave him the lands which he
might discover which were not owned by Christian people.
Raleigh sent out persons to explore the country. The
land they first discovered was Roanoke Island, and they
examined the country on the waters of Albemarle and
The world is full of changes for the better and for the
worse, and after Queen Elizabeth's death the good for-
tune of Raleigh changed for the worse.
James I, King of England, succeeded Elizabeth. He
was weak-minded, credulous, and easily influenced. The
flatterers that were around him did not like Raleigh be-
cause he had been the favorite of the late Queen, and they
determined that he should not be the favorite of King
They brought accusations against Raleigh. They made
the King believe that he was not faithful to his King and
country. Raleigh had been engaged in war with Spain,
and they made the King believe that he loved Spain more
than England, and that he had betrayed his country.
King James believed these charges, and Sir Walter
Raleigh was arrested, imprisoned for twelve years, tried for
treason and condemned to be beheaded, which was done in
the year 1618. The judge was a cor nipt tool of the
King, and used his office against Raleigh.
He died as he lived, a brave, faithful, Christian man,
and his memory is dear to North Carolina and to the Eng-
THE LOST COLONY.
Darkness there and nothing more
Dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore
SIR WALTER RALEIGH laid out $200,000 to make a
settlement on Eoanoke Island. He sent out four separate
expeditions. All came to the same island, and all failed
to make a permanent settlement.
He first sent out Captain Philip Amacjas and Captain
Arthur Barlowe in two vessels. They landed at Ballast
Point on Roanoke Island, remained some days, and while
here examined Albemarle and Pamplico Sounds, and
Roanoke, Chowan and Scuppernong rivers. They re-
turned to England and gave Sir Walter Raleigh and the
Queen of England a very favorable account of the country
they had discovered.
They carried back with them on their '-eturn sornr> pro-
ducts of the country and two Indians, one named Manteo
and the other Wanchese.
That was in the year 1584, and was the first time that
any white man of the Anglo-Saxon race, to which race
you belong, ever put his foot on America.
He soon sent over another expedition of some ships
loaded with settlers.
They reached Roanoke Island, and soon began to build
and make preparation for a permanent settlement. They
called their place of building the City of Raleigh, and the
remains of it are seen at this day.
An old fort is still plainly to be seen on the lands of
Walter Dough. It was probably built to afford a defence
to the settlers against the attacks of hostile Indians.
They soon got into trouble with the Indians, and all
except fifteen men returned home to England.
Raleigh had set his heart upon establishing a colony at
Roanoke Island. After awhile he sent out another col-
ony of one hundred and fifty men, women and children.
THE LOST COLONY. 9
They were provided with farming utensils, stock, provis-
ions and vegetable seeds, and Raleigh thought he would
now certainly succeed.
This colony was under the lead of Governor White. He
had with him everything that was necessary for a complete
society. He was accompanied by men of learning, men
of skill, men of science, and a pious clergyman of the
English Church. A Christian community to whom the
ordinances of our holy religion were administered.
When the colony of Governor White reached Roanoke
Island, iheir first thouerht was of the fifteen men that the
last colony had left there.
All that they could find of them were the bleaching bones
of a white man scattered on the ground. The fort in which
they lived was there. It was unoccupied, and wild deer
were feeding on the deserted grounds. They had evi-
dently been killed by the Indians.
The new colony of Governor White soon commenced the
work of settlement on the island where so much trouble had
overtaken the other colonies. Soon after their arrival,
Virginia Dare, daughter of Eleanor Dare, and grand-
daughter of Governor White, was born. She was the
first child of our race born in America.
The colony found the Indians unfriendly to them, and
they proposed to White to return to England and bring out
more persons, in order to strengthen their power. He left
for England with fifty of the men. Before leaving, it
was agreed between them that if the colony should be
compelled to leave the island they should go to Croatan,
where the Indians were more friendly to them. And if
they left, they should write on a tree in plain letters the
name CROAT \\ and if their leaving was caused by any
trouble with the Indians, they should make a plain cross-
mark over the word.
White returned to England, and, on account of the dis-
turbance of the country by the war with Spain, he was
not able to return to Roanoke Island in two years.
After two years he returned to the island and could
io GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
not find any of the colony that he left there. They were
all gone, and he could find nothing of them at the city of
Raleigh where he had left them.
Near the shore he found a tree with the letters C R O
plainly cut on it, and not far off he found another tree
with the letters CROAT AN cut on "it. There was no cross-
mark on the tree. So he thought they were all safe at
Croatan, and he made preparations to go there.
He went on board his vessels to make sail for Croatan,
but a storm came on which prevented his leaving, and his
provisions were nearly exhausted.
So he concluded he would first go to the West Indies to
get a new supply of provisions and make some repairs to
But he was compelled by stress of weather to abandon
the intention of going to the West Indies, and directed his
course to England.
This was the last attempt to sustain an English colony
on Roanoke Island. White's colony was never heard of
again, and their fate will always be a mystery.
There have been several opinions of what became of
them, but all is mystery, and nothing is certain. They are
merely the opinions of persons feeling in the dark for
what can never be positively known.
Some are of the opinion that they went to Croatan, and,
after years of hardship and despair of ever seeing their
English friends and kindred again, they intermarried with
the Indians and fell back into their savage mode of life.
This opinion can hardly be correct, because there were
nearly an hundred men, women and children of the colony,
and some of them would have kept the blood pure in their
Another reason to prove that they were not absorbed
and mixed with the Indian race, is that North Carolina
was settled by the white race on Albemarle Sound only
sixty years from the time of the lost colony.
Some of them would have been found living among the
Indians when the white settlers came to Albemarle Sound.
THE LOST COLONY. II
When the settlers came to Albemarle from Virginia,
Virginia Dare would not have been much over sixty years
old, if she had been living.
If a number of white people had been living at the
lower end of Albemarle Sound, the Indians living at the
other end of the Sound would have known it, and would
have let the new comers of the same color know of it.
The Indian tribes were migratory, and knew each other
who were distant. The Indians on Roanoke Island knew
the Indians who lived on Chesapeake Bay and on James
It is not possible, then, that a race of men entirely differ-
ent in color could have lived among the Indians of Croatan
without being known to the Indians of Albemarlo Sound.
Another opinion is that White's colony went to Croatan,
and then moved highej* up Albemarle Sound and settled
among the Teopom Indians in Perquimnns County and
kept themselves apart from the Indians.
This opinion is formed from this circumstance:
The names of the settlers who came to Roanoke Island
with Governor White are known, and it is a little surpris-
ing that many of the same names have been well-known
names among the people living in the Yeopom neighbor-
hood of Perquimans County. The same names are known
there to this day.
This is a strong circumstance. Many historical facts
are traced to the names of families.
It is commonly believed that two of the brothers of
Oliver Cromwell came to Halifax County, in ^N"orth Caro-
lina, after the restoration of the English monarchy, to nvoid
punishment in England.
They changed their names to Crowell, but their first
names were the same with the Cromwells of England for
many generations, and this, with other circumstances,
caused them to be taken for Cromwell's brothers.
But the lost colony could not have settled in Per-
When the settlements were made on Albemarle Sound
12 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
from Virginia, if there had been a colony of English peo-
ple there when they came, it would have been mentioned
in the records of that time relating to the Albemarle set-
What, then, became of the lost colony about which there
has been so much unsatisfied curiosity ?
My opinion is that they were murdered by the Indians.
The Indian character for cruelty favors that opinion.
The hostility of race favors it. The Indians of Roanoke
Island were unfriendly to the whites. The Croatan In-
dians were supposed to be friendly to tlue whites. But
they were only a few miles from Roanoke Island, and
were in sympathy with those Indian tribes.
BEGINNING OF A NATION.
SCRAPS OF ANTIQUARIAN LORE OF SIR WALTER RALEIGH'S COLONY.
IN 1865 there were discovered in the British Museum
original drawings of the Indians that were seen by Sir
Walter Raleigh's colony on Roanoke Island, tombs of the
Indian Chiefs and a map of the country, as seen by the
colonists. These drawings were made by John White,
who came to Roanoke Island as an artist with the first col-
ony and was afterwards sent out as Governor with the
second colony, and who was the grandfather of Virginia
Dare, the first Anglo-Saxon born in America. They are
now preserved with great care in the Grenville collection
of American antiquities in the British Museum, and were
first 2;iven to the public, with Dermission of the managers
of the Museum, by John Eggleston in 1882.
White appears to have been no mean artist. ITis -ketch
of the tombs of the Indian Chiefs (the Westminster Abbey
of the savages) would do no discredit to art in our time.
It is probable that some such sepulchre may yet be found
BEGINNING OF A NATION. 13
on Roanoke Island, if proper diligence were used in the
It is to be regretted that no likeness is extant, so far as
we know, of old Manteo, the friend of the whites, constant
through all their trials, the first Indian admitted by bap-
tism within the pale of the Christian Church, admitted
under the adopted title bv baptism of "Lord of "Roanoke."
One so distinguished by title and by baptism surely awa-
kened curiosity at the court of Elizabeth, to which he was
carried on the return voyage of some of the colonists, and
that public curiosity must have placed his face on the
artist's canvas. It may yet be found. The drawings
of White were unknown for nearly three hundred years.
The map executed bv White has adopted the names of
some localities which have come down' to our time.
"Roanoke" is evidently our Roanoke Island, as appears
from the name and the location. "Chawanoke" is evidently
intended for our Chowan, from its location on the map
high up the broad waters. "Pasquotac," lower down on
the map, must be intended for our corrupt spelling of Pas-
quotank. "Uattrask" is our Hatteras, "Wococon" would
be our Wiccakon Creek, of Hertford County, but its local-
ity in the sounds below Roanoke Island would not seem
to indicate it "Croatan" preserves its name and locality
through all time. "Weapomeoc," from its locality, might
be Yeopim, with some reach of the imagination. "Etar-
ivtnac" and "Naueaqoe" and "Menteo" and "Paquippe"
and "Raguiac," and some others, are prominent names
on White's map which have faded from the memories of
The map of White is profusely illustrated with the finny
monsters of the deep. Whales, and porpoise, and sharks,
and devil-fish, and flying-fish abound.
But the most curious of the drawings of White is the
mode of sepulture of the magnate savages, chiefs of the
tribe and dignitaries of the land. In his own description
"The tombe of ther Cherounes or chiefe personages,
14 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
their flesh clene taken of from the bones save the skynn and
heare of theire heads, which flesh is dried and enfolded
in matts laid at theire feete, their bones also being made
dry ar covered with deare skins not altering their formie
or proportion. With theire Kywash, which is an Image
of wOode keeping the deade."
The descriptive drawing of the Indian mode of dis-
posing of their dead, is altogether singular to us. After
arranging the bodies as mentioned by White, they are
placed under a canopy with their heads downward and
their feet confined in mats and a wood idol placed beside
them, as if in protection of the sacred deposit.
The conjurer, as drawn by White, an official character
amom? the Indians of Roanoke Island, is a grotesque
looking fellow, a dancing, gay, pantomimic character,
altogether out of keeping with our conceptions of the grav-
ity of one who deals with the mysterious and the super-
natural. The conjurer, as drawn by White, must have
placed or broken the spell of conjuration by the aid of the
The priest and the doctor, the medicine man and the
minister in holy offices among the Indians of the Island,
as drawn bv White, is a different looking character from
the lively conjurer, although their offices were kindred. His
dress resembles the Roman toga, a tunic extending below
the thighs. Grave, demure, serious, and solemn-looking,
he evidently was fully impressed with, or affected to be
impressed with, the importance of his solemn office. He
was evidently a man of sorrows and acouainted with
grief, and the transports of beatitude did not enter into his
conceptions of the dark, mysterious unknown.
Wyngino's wife, the King of the tribe, or one of them,
for polygamy was part of the Mormonatic faith of the
Indians of Roanoke, as drawn by White, is attired in
short tights that stop above the knee. She is a comely-
looking maiden and was drawn by White, with arms folded
over her shoulders, with calves crossed, with head and arms
ornamented with jewels of bead work, probably obtained
LEGEND OF THE WHITE DOE. 15
from the colonists, and, from appearance, is not unadapted
to awaken the King's love.
The village of Secotan, which was on the Island, we
believe, is also drawn by White. The houses are not the
wigwams of our youthful conception, but are built in sim-
ple stvle, all alike, resembling somewhat the round-top,
huge tobacco wagons of Granville County, some nestling in
shade, some out, some located in pairs, some without ref-
erence to order or design, not laid off in streets, built irreg-
ularly. To give artistic effect, w r e suppose, White, in his
drawing of the village Secotan, scatters Indians about,
generally grouping in pairs, one with the emblematic bow
and arrow, some around a camp fire. The houses are
without chimneys or smoke valves, but seem to have abun-
This was the Roanoke Island of the aborigines. Men of
Roanoke, you have a goodly heritage and tread consecrated
ground. You are at the fountain of a great stream that
has gone on widening and deepening until it has become
the master work of the great Anglo-Saxon race, a race be-
yond compare among the sons of men, a race without
whose record the history of the world would be incomplete.
LEGEND OF THE WHITE DOE.
Across the twilight of the ages past
A spectral figure moves vague, undefined ;
And where it goes a shade comes o'er the mind,
As 't were some picture overcast
IN THE earlv part of the seventeenth century, that is,
about the year 1615, or 1620, the Indian hunters who
lived on Roanoke Island were greatly excited by seeing
a milk-white doe among the herd of deer that were then
commonly found on the island.
It attracted the attention of the hunters because it was
1 6 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
the most beautiful one of all the herd, because it was the
fleetest, and because the most skilful marksmen had never
been able to kill it with an arrow. Okisco, a noted hunter,
who lived among the Chawanooke tribe, was sent for, and
he drew his bow upon the beautiful white doe, but he never
could do her harm.
She came to be well known to the Indian hunters of
Roanoke Island, and was often found on the situation of
the old city of Raleigh, apart from the herd of deer, with
her sad face toward the east. Again and again she was
hunted, but all the arrows aimed at her life fell harmless
beside her. She bounded over the sand-hills with the
swiftness of the winds and always turned in the direction
Hunting: parties of Indians were made UD to entrap her
by stationing themselves along the tracks of her flight,
which had become known to the hunters by her always tak-
ing the same course. But all their efforts were without
avail. The swift white doe seemed to have a charmed life,
or to be under the protection of some Divine power.
Everyone now talked of the white doe, and everyone had
his own opinion about her. The braves, the squaws, and the
papooses talked of the milk-white doe. Some had fears
of evil from the strange ar>Darition, Some thought she was
the omen of good, and some thought it was the spirit of
some sad departed.
Sometimes she would be seen on the high grounds of
Croatan, sometimes in the swamps of Dur ant's Island,
sometimes upon the Cranberry bogs of East Lake, often
on Roanoke Island near Raleigh City, and sometimes,
though rarely, on the sands of Kill Devil Hills ; sometimes
alone, always sad and beautiful.
The news of the white doe spread far and wide, and old
Winirina determined to call a council of chiefs to determine
what to do.
Okisco, chief of the Chawanookes ; Kuskatenew and Kil-
kokanwan, of the Yeopoms, and others, attended the coun-
cil. They all came with their attendants, all armed with
LEGEND OF THE WHITE DOE. 17
their Avar weapons, the bow and arrow. They determined
to have a grand hunt in the early Indian summer time, and
without delay. In November, when the leaves had fallen
and the earth was carpeted with its brown and russet cov-
ering of forest leaves, all the friendly chiefs came to Roan-
oke Island to join the fierce Wingina in his appointed hunt
for the milk-white doe, and each with his chosen weapon
of the chase.
The chiefs, after their feast, prepared by the wife of
Wingina, agreed that they should station themselves along
the course of the white doe when pursued by the hunters,
and either exhaust her in the chase, or slay her with their
deadly arrows. Wingina, the most powerful of all, took
his place at Raleigh -City, where the doe always passed
and always stopped.
Old Granganimeo, the brother of Wingina, took his
stand at Croatan Sounfl, where she crossed to Roanoke
Okisco took his stand upon the goodly land of Pomonik,
in the low grounds of Durant's Island.
Kind old Manteo went up into the shaky land Wocokon,
among the prairies and cranberry bogs of East Lake.
Minatonon, the fierce chief who made his home at Se-
quaton, took his stand at Jockey's Ridge, by the sea, in the
land of the Coristooks.
Wanchese took his stand at Kill Devil, in the country
They had all brought with them their best bows and
arrows, and also their chosen archers. But the bow of
Wanchese differed from the others. When, long ago, he
had gone over the sea to England, the great Queen had
given him an arrow-head made of solid silver, like the
stone arrow-head that Amadas carried to Sir Walter Ral-
teigh with his other Indian curiosities. It was made by
her most expert workers in silver, and she told him it would
kill the bearer of a charmed life that no other arrow could
wound. Wanchese carried this with his other weapons,
and determined to test its power upon the swift white doe.
1 8 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Manteo started the doe in the shaky land of Wocokon.
She started unharmed at the twang of the bow-string. She
sped with the swiftness of the north wind's breath. Through
the tangle wood of Wocokon, through the bogs and mo-
rasses of Pomonik, across the highlands of Croatan, on, on,
she went, and the twang of the bowstring was the harm-
less music of her flying bounds. She plunged into the
billows of Croatan Sound. She reached the sand hills of
Eoanoke, leaving the Indian hunters far behind her. As
she came to the island, old Granganimeo drew his bow and
sped his harmless arrow. She stood upon the top of the
old fort at Raleigh City, sniffed the breeze and looked sadly
over the sea. Wingina carefully and steadily drew upon
her panting side the deadly arrow. All in vain. She
bounded into Roanoke Sound and across to the sea. Mena-
tonon was at Jockey's Ridge, but his arrow, too, was harm-
less. The panting white doe found time at the Fresh Ponds
to slake her thirst, and then, turning to the sea that she
seemed to love with an unnatural affection, sped onward,
until she reached the steep hills of Kill Devil. There,
alas ! was her doom. Wanchese, taking aim with his silver
arrow, aimed at her heart, let fly the fated bowstring, and
the sad and beautiful milk-white doe sprang into the air
with the fatal arrow in her heart, and fell to the ground.
Wanchese ran to the spot and found the victim writhing
in the death agony. She lifted her dying, soft eyes to the
red man and uttered her last sound, "Virginia Dare."
Under her throat the words "Virginia Dare" were plainly
pencilled in dark hair, and on her back was pencilled in
brown hair the name "Croatan."
LEGEND OF BATZ'S GRAVE. 19
LEGEND OF BATZ'S GRAVE.
NEAR Drunimond's Point, on the upper waters of Al-
bemarle Sound, lies a solitary island, now uninhabited,
once the home where the goat browsed and the gull built its
nest and defied the storm with its discordant scream. Its
name is "Batz's Grave." Within living memory no man
has dwelt thereon, but, within living memory it was the
roost of myriads of migratory gulls, who held undisturbed
possession of their island home.
There is a legend about that desert island that furnishes
food for the contemplative, a legend of love and sadness,
a legend of Jesse Batz and Kickowanna, a beautiful maid-
en of the Chowanoke tribe of Indians.
Batz was a hunter and trapper on the upper waters of
Albemarle Sound, and ^as one of the earliest settlers that
made a home in that paradise of the Indian hunter, where
the wild game alone disputed his supremacy.
Jesse Batz made his temporary home on the island that
the Indians sometimes visited and called Kalola, from
the innumerable flocks of sea-gulls that disturbed its soli-
tude. Batz was friendly, and sometimes joined the In-
dians in their hunting parties. Jle was young, comely
and athletic. He became familiar to the Indians in their
wigwams and the chase.
There was one who was the light of the wigwam of the
Chowanokes who sometimes looked at Jesse Batz with
the love-light in her eye the pretty, nut-brown Kicko-
wanna. Her eye was as a sloe, and her long and glossy
hair was as a raven's wing. Her step was agile and
graceful as the "down that rides upon the breeze." While
Batz, the hunter, let flv the bowstring that brought down
the antlered stag of the forest, a better archer aimed at
Jesse's heart the fatal arrow, and he, too, fell, a victim
of Cupid's unerring aim. The insidious poison rankled
in his veins. He was a changed man in everv look and
tissue of his being. The chase had lost its charm. His
20 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
eye would droop when Kickowanna came. She was daugh-
ter of the old King of the Cho\vanokes, Kilkanoo, the jewel
of his eye. Kickowanna was a Peri of beauty. Famed
she was throughout the land. The great Pamunky chief
of the Chasamonpeak tribes to the north had sought her
hand, and had offered alliance to Kilkanoo, chief of the
Chowanokes, but his suit was rejected and he sought to
obtain by violence what he could not by courtly supplica-
tion. War raged for a time between Pamunky and Kil-
kanoo. Batz fought with the Chowanokes. His valor,
his strategy and his success were conspicuous. He led
the Indian braves. In a hand-to-hand personal encounter
with Pamunky he clove him down with his claymore, and
in the fierce grapple would have brained him with his In-
dian club, but the prostrate Pamunky sued for mercy.
Batz's ire softened, and he gave him his life. For Batz's
deeds of bravery Kilkanoo adopted him as a member of
the Chowanoke tribe, under the adopted nanie of Secotan,
which, interpreted, is "The Great White Eagle."
Batz grew in favor and influence with the Chowanokes.
He was always present at their councils, at their harvest
dances, their war dances, and when they smoked the
calumet he was given the biggest pipe of peace.
Batz became an adopted Indian of the Chowanoke
tribe. He adopted the Indian dress and customs.
The pretty Indian maiden, Kickowanna, whom he
loved, and by whom he was loved, with winning
words of love distilled into his willing ears the siren voice
of ambition, and whispered low that when her father,
Kilkanoo, should be beckoned up to the "happy hunting
grounds," he would be his chosen successor, King of the
warlike Chowanokes. Batz and Kickowanna lived and
loved together. She pencilled his eyebrows with the ver-
million of the cochukee root She put golden rings in his
nose and ears. She wound long strings of priceless pearls
around his neck. She put the moccasin shoes and levins
around his feet and limbs. She folded his auburn locks
in fantastic folds around the top of his head, and decked
LEGEND OF BATZ'S GRAVE. 21
it \vith the eagle's feather, emblematic of his rank and
station. And then she gave him the calumet of peace and
love. And while he smoked the calumet of peace and
hapmness, eye met eye responsive in language known alone
to love. He then looked the big Indian indeed, and the
dream of love encompassed them.
While this dreamy delirium prevailed the stream of love
ran on in its varying smooth and turbulent current. Batz,
now a recognized power with the Chowanokes, made f re-
ft unit visits to his old island home, sometimes prolonged.
While there in his solitude, the waves and the sea-gulls
SMIIU; a lullaby to his weird fancies. The beauteous Indian
maiden sometimes came from her home at the upper
broad waters, and her visits were love's own paradise.
She came from the opposite shore of the mainland, pad-
dling her light canoe. Xo season knew her coming.
Sometimes in the silent watches of the night, sometimes
in the glare of middav. Always alone. Always aglow
with love. And when she came it was love's high pas-
time. The scream of the white gull was the chant of love.
The monotone of the waves was the lullaby of love. Tlio
sighing of the winds as they swept through the pendant
masses was a sigh of love, the very solitude and silence of
the forest was love's chosen temple, and every nook and
recess was a shrine.
One night, alas ! it was a night of destiny ! the Indian
maiden came, as was her wont. The angry clouds looked
down, the storm raged, every scream of every sea-bird
betokened danger nigh. The wind blew as 'twas its last,
the lightning flashed, thunder pealed and the welkin rang
with the echoes of the blast. But love defies danger, and
the pretty Indian maiden pushed through the storm to
the lone island with the roar of thunder for her watery
I*5i tz never left the island more. He remat
till lie died, a broken-hearted man,
body, and he rests there in his final rest ti
note calls him to meet his loved Kickowgw' V
22 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
AN UNSETTLED QUESTION.
A LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVE.
MANY events in history derive their public interest from
their antiquity. Some from their intrinsic importance,
some from the fact that it was a matter in dispute, and
men are naturally attracted to any matter of contention
or conflict, from the clash of arms in battle array to a
common dog fight in which Tige gnaws off the ears of Lion
in a rough-and-tumble fight.
The question of where Amadas and Barlowe first landed
on the coast of North Carolina, and through what inlet
on our sand-barred coast they came to Roanoke Island,
is row a controverted question that antiquarians have failed
to satisfactorily settle. It is of no practical importance.
It interests only a few old fossils as it interested a few of
the old departed, like Dr. Frank Hawks, of sainted mem-
ory, and John H. Wheeler, likewise sainted. But yet it
interests these old men, and the younger generation are
tolerant of them, and from a spirit of charity and kind-
ness turn from the practical athletic tilts of life to listen
to these speculations, which are of as much practical im-
portance as the mediaeval angry disputes as to the differ-
ence between "tweedledum and tweedledee."
Nevertheless, we are in the fight, and we will venture
a few suggestions upon the subject of the entrance of the
primal discoverers into the North Carolina sounds.
There are many explorers of that subject, and if Amadas
and Barlowe had known the good work they were building,
and had only driven down a stake in the sand and by a
suitable inscription had marked the place of their entry,
they would have saved enough printer's ink to run seven-
teen weekly countrv newspapers during their existence.
For a hundred years and more it was considered a settled
fact that the two ships of Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition
to America came in at Ocracoke Inlet and sailed north
for Roanoke Island, where i.hey settled and builded the
AN UNSETTLED QUESTION. 23
old fort on the west end of the island. This theory was
undisputed for over a hundred years. But after the lapse
of ages the old inlet opposite Roanoke Island, which was
closed to navigation about 1800, became a commercial
factor, and a handy football of the politicians, and proba-
bly from that cause was given prestige as the old inlet
through which Amadas and Barlowe entered the inland
sounds. This theory was generally accepted urtil Dr.
Hpwks, who was too great a genius for a historian, discov-
ered that the historians before him were all mistaken, and
that the explorers came in at New Inlet. He determined
it by the measurement of leagues from Roanoke Island
to New Inlet, which corresponds with the distance men-
tioned by the navigators. But New Inlet has not been
nayigable for sea vessels within living tradition or histori-
cal record. It is now nearly closed, as is Roanoke Inlet,
\\liidi, according to mafs of recent discovery, had through
it in 1738 t went v-f our feet of water.
Old Mrs. Hay man, who lived beyond one hundred years,
said that a deep inlet came through the u Fresh Ponds"
when she was a little girl. Some say Raleigh's naviga-
tors came through "Old Taffy's Inlet." And so it goes.
Amadas and Barlowe little dreamed of the trouble they
have given us.
24 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
GEORGE DURANT AND K1LCOKANNAN.
A wit's a feather, a fool's a rod,
An honest man's the noblest work of God.
DID YOU ever hear the name "Poor Lo '?" Well, I will
The race of American Indians is called Poor Lo, because
they are the "poor" of all the races of men. "Lo" is an
exclamation, meaning "behold !" Behold the poor Indian !
The Indians are a revengeful race, and when they are
wronged, they return injury for injury, and are cruel in
the treatment of their enemies.
They have suffered much from the Anglo-Saxon race,
and our race has suffered much from them. They are a
race of red men, and the race of white men have driven
them back and back from their homes and hunting grounds.
The race, in a few years more, will be utterly extinct, and,
like the buffalo of the plains that they hunted, will be
unknown upon the earth.
The discoverers of America thought that no men had
any right to a country unless they were Christian men,
and they claimed all the land that they discovered that was
not inhabited by Christian people. But this was not the
teaching of our holy religion.
That religion teaches that all men have rights, and that
they must have what belongs to them, though they may be
of different color, and the commandment applies to heath-
en as well as to Christian men.
But the early discoverers of America did not think the
Indians had any right to the land they lived and hunted on,
and so they took their lands.
But there were exceptions to this. George Durant, of
North Carolina, and the Quaker, William Penn, of Penn-
sylvania, are honorable exceptions, and should always be
honored as men who dealt justly with the Indians.
William Penn purchased of the Indians in Pennsylva-
nia the land upon which the city of Philadelphia now
GEORGE DURANT AND KILCOKANNAN. 25
stands, and paid them for it. George Durant purchased
from Kilcokannan, King of the Yeopim Indians, the land
now called Durant's Neck, in Perquimans County, and
paid him for it. The tract of country that George Du-
rant bought was then called Wecocomicke.
Would vou like for me to tell you how he bought Weco-
comicke, and how he paid for ^ '
George Durant had come down from Virginia and set-
tled on Albemarle Sound, and after being in the country
now called Durant's Neck about a year, he said to one of his
friends : "This is a good country to make a home in ; the
land is rich : the forest is full of wild animals of every
kind; the waters are full of fish, and the red men are
friendly. If I only knew of whom to buy the land, I would
purchase and set tie down for life."
"Whom ?" said his friend ; "why Kilcokannan, King of
the Yeopims, is the owtier, if there is any owner ; or you
might take the land. Kilcokannan is a heathen, and
none but Christians own these lands."
'That may be Christian law," said Durant; "but it is
not the law of Christ. He did not take away from Caesar
what belonged to Caesar, and Ca3sar was a heathen, just
as Kilcokannan is. Ca?sar was a learned and powerful
heathen, and Kilcokannan is poor and helpless. The
goodly land of Wecocomicke belongs to Kilcokannan, and
if I get it, I shall pay him for it. I had rather settle
with Kilcokannan than hereafter with that Judge who
knoweth all things and punisheth the unjust"
The friend with whom Durant had these kind words
was named Pritlove, and it was agreed between them that
Pritlove should offer to purchase the Wecocomicke from
Kilcokannan for George Durant.
Some days after this conversation between Pritlove
and George Durant, Pritlove met Kilcokannan on a bear
hunt, and mentioned, by signs and language as best he
could, that George Durant would like to buy of him the
goodly land of Wecocomicke.
Kilcokannan was silent. He then lifted his eyes to-
26 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
ward the sun, bowed his head to the earth, watched the
direction of the wind, and, by signs and language, said:
By this he meant that he would consult his Indian war-
riors about it.
The warriors assembled at Kilcokannan's request.
George Durant was invited to be present. Kilcokannan
had a bear's head scalp on his head, an alligator's tooth
hung from his breast, and scarlet moccasins were on his
legs. His warriors sat around him decked in the plu-
mage of birds and the skins of wild animals.
George Durant sat apart from the rest, dressed in
broad-brim hat and long Quaker coat. All were seated
on a cloth spread out on the ground. All were silent. A
large pipe was handed around, and each one smoked in
Then Kilcokannan spoke to the assembled warriors for
some time, but his words were not understood by Durant.
The warriors then arose from their seats and, one by
one, they passed before Kilcokannan, bowing low as they
passed him. They then seated themselves, and Kilco-
kannan, taking his pipe, smoked first and then handed it
in turn to the others.
At the first smoke, the pipe was handed to Durant last.
This time Durant smoked next after Kilcokannan, and
after all had smoked, Kilcokannan arose, walked over to
where Durant was sitting, touched him on each cheek, and
again took his seat.
All this Indian ceremony meant that the Indians would
sell the land to George Durant and live in peace.
THE STORY OF WILLIAM DRUMMOND. 2J
THE STORY OF WILLIAM DRUMMOND.
" We stand aghast with horror,
At the deep damnation of his taking off."
SOON after the country along Albemarle Sound was set-
tled, William Drummond was appointed Governor. He
was the first Governor of the colony that was known as
He was appointed by the Lords Proprietors, to whom the
King of England had granted all the Albemarle country.
These Proprietors were eight English noblemen to whom
the King gave the country. They had power to establish
a government over the country, to make laws and appoint
This was about the year 1664 that they appointed
Drummond was by birth a Scotchman, and when he
was aopointed Governor he was living in Virginia.
He was a good man and made a good Governor.
Like most of the Scotchmen that came to America, he
was industrious, energetic and attentive to business.
The people liked him, and named Drummond's Point
on Albemarle Sound after him. They also named Lake
Drummond, in the Dismal Swamp, after him, and these
places keep his name to this day.
He visited different parts of the country that he was
appointed over. He was interested in the people living
in North Carolina, and was popular with them.
While he held the office of Governor, the country was
prosperous and the population grew in numbers.
He was appointed Governor for three years, but made
such a good chief officer that he would probably have been
reappointed to the same office.
But the ways of an overruling Providence in the things
of this world are past finding out. What seems to us cruel,
time proves to have been kind. What looks to us unwise,
time proves it wise.
28 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Our place and our duty is patience and waiting, sub-
mission, trust. Time, perhaps, may show us that "all
things work together for good." Perhaps not. But wait.
The close of Drummond's life was an unhappy one.
His death was a cruel one. He met death with a hero's
couracre, without a word of supplication or complaint.
He died for popular liherty. He fell in an uprising for
freedom. He shed his blood against tyranny. He died an
ignominious death at the hands of a tyrant.
It is an honor to North Carolina and to the Albemarle
country that her first Governor died a martyr in the cause
of the people. His name the name of William Drum-
mond, the first Governor of North Carolina should have
a warm place in the hearts of his countrymen.
Would you like to know how and why he came to die ?
William Drummond was a citizen of the colony of Vir-
ginia when he was appointed Governor of North Carolina.
When he came into the Albemarle country to be Gov-
ernor of the colony, I think he settled about Edenton or in
Dur ant's Neck. I think so, because the Chowanook In-
dians had a considerable settlement where Edenton now
Or he may have settled in Durant's Neck, where the
Yeopim Indians lived, because most of the early white set-,
tiers came to Perquimans County, in Durant's Neck.
Governor Drummond was visiting his old home in
Virginia, and while there he found the people of Virginia
in arms against the government.
It was an armed rebellion against the authority of Gov-
ernor Berkley, of Virginia.
Berkley was a harsh, rough man of ungoverned tem-
per. He was an ignorant man himself, and wanted the
people under him to be more ignorant than he was. He
despised education, and in one of his public papers said
he did not want a school or a printing press in Virginia.
If you were not too polite and refined to use the word,
you would say he was a "fool."
THE STORY OF WILLIAM DRUMMOND. 2Q
When Dnmimond went to Virginia the people were vio-
lent against Berkley.
The leader in opposition to him was a young lawyer
named Nicholas Bacon.
Bacon was a good speaker and a popular man. He in-
flamed the passions of the people. He denounced Berk-
lev as a corrupt despot.
He drew his own sword and called upon the people to
drive Berkley from power, Many of the people took
sides with him.
Drurnmond, with his hot Scotch blood, was fresh from a
people who loved liberty, and had left Virginia for the
freedom of the Albemarle country.
He naturallv took sides with Bacon and the people.
He knew Berkley; knew him to be a selfish tyrant, an
ignorant ruler who used his power for his own benefit,
and had sometimes used his authority to the injury of the
Drummond took up arms for Bacon and the people of
Virginia. He gave to the cause his wise council and his
Might and power prevailed. The popular outbreak was
Some fled. Some surrendered. Some were captured.
Drummond was one of those who were captured.
He was brought before the tyrant, probably in irons,
who saluted him with mock courtesy.
"Good morning, Mr. Drummond/ 7 said Berkley, making
him a low bow, "you are welcome. I had rather see you
than any one else. You shall be hanged in half an hour."
Then, turning: to his attendants, he ordered a trial, sen-
tenced Drummond to d,eath, and he was executed in less
time than Berkley had said.
Drummond died a martyr to popular liberty. He was
the first noted rebel of North Carolina. He was the first
Governor of North Carolina that took arms agains ta ty-
rant. Oa swell was the second, and Ellis and Vance were
later in arms against usurpation.
30 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
When King Charles of England heard of Drummoiid's
death, he said, speaking of Berkley; "That old fool has
taken more lives in that naked country without offence
than I have in all England for the murder of my father."
But the King did not a-o far enough. He ought to have
ordered him to England and had him tried and punished
for tyranny and murder.
Such was the sad fate of our first Governor. It was a
cruel fate. But he died a hero. No word of fear fell
from his lips. Cherish his memory, sympathize with his
misfortunes. Turn from the tyrant who caused his
Drummond has no monument of marble or brass. But
his monument is in our hearts, and we keep fresh therein
the inscription of his virtues.
Our good old mother State has not been generous to the
memory of her dead sons. She has raised few marble
monuments to their honor. It is not well. But \ve must
love her none the less. We must make our hearts their
monuments and mark their virtues there.
Loving hearts are imperishable. Marble monuments
moulder into dust. Your young hearts are of wax. I
want you to inscribe upon their waxen tablets the name of
OUR PARLIAMENTARY GENESIS. 31
OUR PARLIAMENTARY GENESIS
(The hole whence we were digged. Is.)
NATURE'S work is upward from small beginnings, as
oaks from acorns and large streams from fountains. St.
Peter's at Rome is the successor of the "Groves that were
God's first temples." Rome from twin brothers nurtured
bv a wolf. England from the thick mists of its early his-
tory. Massachusetts from wandering pilgrims in search
of liberty. North Carolina, the cradle of our country,
started at its first attempt at settlement in an environ-
ment of sorrow that crowns it with the cypress wreath of
mourning. That abortive struggle was followed by the
trapper and the hunter, that by the successful quest of
"bottom lands," and that by organized government in its
The earliest record of organized government in North
Carolina is of a general assembly of the people of the col-
ony at the house of Captain Hecklefield, which is supposed
to have been located at the present site of Nixonton, in Pas-
quotank County, long familiarly known as "Old Town,"
because it was the first county-seat of government of Pas-
quotank County, and was succeeded by Elizabeth City, on
Pasquotank River, in the year 1800.
But tradition is the parent of history, and, like all un-
written history, is typified by the sybelline leaves of classic
storv, written on leaves and scattered to the winds.
We have a tradition of our early Parliamentary history
that has never before, as we remember, been committed to
the custody of written language; and as it came to us
from an authentic source in which we have great faith,
we hand it down on the wings of "Grandfather's Tales."
When a lad in our formative period of life, somewhere
about a dozen years, on its sunny or shady side, we were
the ready boy of a large kindred family connection. We
went on errands, we visited the sick ; when an old member
of the family visited their children or grandchildren, we
32 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
were the ready boy to carry them around from place to
place. It was a convenience to them, and not without
profit to us, which profits we quickly invested in ginger
cakes and beer, which, though not a very permanent in-
vestment, doubtless brought us as much real happiness as
if invested in real estate or government bonds.
Gen. Duncan McDonald, of Edenton, was our kinsman
by marriage, a good man, fond of children, indulgent
and liberal with them. He was a military man by train-
ing and position, and his official business often called him
to distant places in his military district. On one of these
occasions he was called to Elizabeth City to review the
militia of Pasquotank County. The ready boy was ready
to take him, and more particularly as he was companion-
able with boys.
On the day appointed we equipped ourselves with a
"double gig" and a nice stepping horse, and started on our
day's journey. The General was kind, chatty and com-
Toward evening we crossed "Hall's Creek" bridge in
Pasquotank County, a mile from the Hecklefield farm
at Nixonton. On rising the hill at Hall's Creek, the Gen-
eral stopped the horse and said to us: "The first General
Assembly of North Carolina met under that tree," at the
same time pointing to a large oak tree on the left-hand
side of the road, that towered above the oaks that surround-
He then chuckled to himself, and said that one of the by-
laws of the Assembly was that "the members should wear
sh6es, if not stockings, during the sessions of the body, and
that they must not throw their chicken and other bones
under the tree."
General McDonald was a man of literary culture, and
particularly fond of antiquarian lore. He was greatly
amused at the humble origin of our legislative history,
and laughed over it with great glee. If the oak is still
standing, it might be a good speculation to have it cut up
into memorial walking canes to clog the pride of our
CULPEPPER'S REBELLION. 33
dandy legislators in Prince Albert coats, with kid gloves
and gold-headed canes. It would serve as a lesson of hu-
mility to remind them of the hole whence they were
A land, rent with civil feuds,
Drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood.
IN 1677 there was a "revolutionary time" in the Albe-
marle, which section then constituted the chief settlement
of Carolina. There was a dual government, or rather a
dual usurpation of government. Miller and Culpepper
both claimed supremacy. Miller had the best show of
authority, being the representative of the duly author-
ized Governor, by appointment of the Lords Proprietors,
who lingered in the West Indies, allured by love, as it was
supposed, but professing to be detained by sickness. Mil-
ler, his secretary, was sent on ahead to hold the office of
Governor by a temporary tenure. He came over to Al-
bemarle with some show of authority and administered
the government in an autocratic way. The people re-
spected his authority and obeyed the laws which he en-
acted for them. He imposed taxes, laid duties upon foreign
imports, and ruled by his own free will.
Culpepper, seeing that Miller was usurping power, set
up a claim to the Governorship for himself, and soon
established a contraband trade with Boston, then a preten-
tious village in New England. He defied the authority of
Miller. He refused to pay the import duties imposed
by Miller, and continued to trade with the rich planters
of Albemarle Sound and its tributary waters, and was
encouraged by them. There was absolute free trade, and
Culpepper s profits from the government became greater
34 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
This contraband trade was carried on mainly by one
Gilliam, who commanded a "skipper" vessel, engaged
in the trade with Boston. He was a shrewd fellow, and
found a free trade with the farmers of the Albemarle,
without the burden of impost duties, was profitable both
to the rich planters and to himself. Culpepper winked
at this contraband traffic. Gilliam winked back and
pursued his business with great diligence.
George Durant, who lived on Little River, was a very
wealthy man, and, while a good and upright man, was
thrifty in business and successful in the accumulation of
wealth. Finding authority disputed, with two men con-
tending for supremacy, and not authorized or caring to
solve the trouble, he took sides with that in wjiich he
found most profit and favored Culpepper. Favoring Cul-
pepper, he favored Gilliam, and Durant 7 s plantation be-
came Gilliam's headquarters for his illicit trade.
Miller had the largest following, and having gone into
office by peaceful methods he had the support of the more
conservative classes of the population. Culpepper was
a usurper, and made no claim to rightful authority. He
was denounced by Miller as a lawless man, and attempts
were made to arrest him for treason.
Miller heard that Gilliam was in Little River, pursuing
his unlawful business, and that he intended to come round
into Pasquotank River and stop at Pembrook (now Cobb's
Point) for the purpose of trading. Later he heard that
Culpepper was to come round with him in his "skipper."
He thought his opportunity had come, and determined to
go to Pembrook, board the skipper when she anchored, and
arrest Culpepper as a lawless traitor. Relying upon his
authority as Chief Magistrate of Carolina, he went to
Pembrook and awaited the coming of Culpepper and Gil-
liam. He did not wait long. The skipper soon arrived
and cast anchor in the stream. Miller pushed off in a
boat, boarded the skipper, found Culpepper and Gilliam,
and demanded their surrender in the name of the Province
THE EDENTON TEA PARTY. 35
Culpepper and Gilliam showed fight, and instead of
being arrested by Miller, they overpowered and arrested
him, took him ashore and imprisoned him in the jail at
Thus, having Carolina's questionable Governor in du-
rance vile, Culpepper administered his usurped authority
for eight years.
What became of Miller in that lawless time, history
and tradition is silent, but history tells us that Culpepper
was afterwards arrested by order of the Lords Proprietors
and taken to England for trial upon the charge of
He was defended by Lord Shaftesbury, the most dis-
tinguished jurist of the period, and acquitted upon the
ground that there was no organized government in Caro-
THE EDENTON TEA PARTY.
" Do have a cup of tea, sir."
TEA is a historic beverage. Before the dawn of civil-
ization it was the national drink in the oldest Empire of
the world. Before coffee became known in the social and
festive world, it was the solace and comfort of the aged.
When coffee became its rival, it never supplanted it, and
to this day tea is the favorite drink of the old, refined and
luxurious. Doctor Johnson, the leviathan of English
literature, astonished Mrs. Thrale by quaffing a dozen
cups of his favorite tea at one sitting, at her hospitable
It is not strange, then, that the tax on tea by the Brit-
ish Parliament excited so much complaint among the
patriots of the Revolution, and that the wives and moth-
ers of the Revolution felt the burden of the tax on tea, and
the ladies of Edenton felt the pressure more than
36 GRANDFATHER'S TALKS.
elsewhere in the State, because it was the social and com-
mercial seat of empire in North Carolina in the colonial
So they met in a body, the prominent society ladies of
the town, at the residence of Mrs. Barco, the wife of a
distinguished barrister of the town, organized by appoint-
ing Mrs. Earco to take the chair as president of the body,
and adopted a set of patriotic resolutions, denouncing the
tea tax of the British Parliament, and pledging them-
selves not to use any more tea of British manufacture after
that social evening while the odious tax on their favorite
beverage continued in force.
That patriotic indignation meeting was held October
25, 1774. It was doubtless the sensation of the town, and
gave new fuel to the fires that soon burst into flame in the
outburst of the Revolution.
This was the only Tea Party that was ever held in North
Carolina or the United States that became a factor in our
great Revolutionary struggle. The Boston Tea Party
was an Indian Masque Party. Without intending to dis-
parage that famous historical event of our Boston brethren,
the Masque Tea Party of Boston was an inspiration of com-
merce rather than of patriotism. The Revolutionary Tea
Party of Edenton was purely social and patriotic, and by
that social and patriotic act of the Edenton dames, the
"hand that rocked the cradle" nerved the arm of the heroes
that fought the battles of the Revolution from Moore's
Creek to Yorktown.
From that Tea Party in Edenton hangs a tale, and a
tale of romance and history. Its identity is established
by the local traditions of the period and by the enduring
record of the painter's art.
In the early twenties of the last century, about the year
1823 or 1824, there was brought to the town of Edenton
by Captain Halsey, a worthy and intelligent sea-captain
who traded from Edenton up the Mediterranean Sea,
a painting on glass, headed "The Edenton Tea Party."
On a voyage to the Mediterranean he met with William
The Lidies of Elenton signing their Association.
THE EDENTON TEA PARTY. 39
T. Muse, a lieutenant in the United States Navy, a native
of Pasquotank County, but long a resident of Edenton,
where he had been our schoolmate at the old Edenton
Academy. Bill Muse (how that loved name still makes the
heart-strings of our memory tingle at the touch of the
"Auld Lang Syne") gave Captain Halsey the painting
above mentioned, and asked him to carry it home to Eden-
ton and deposit it in a place of safety. Muse stated that
he had found it hanging in a barber-shop in one of the
islands of the Mediterranean Sea.
Captain Halsey brought it home and placed it on exhi-
bition in old Captain Manning's tailor shop. For several
days it was the sensation of the town. Everybody went to
see it. Some of the oldest people remembered the Tea
Party that the painting commemorated. Some recognized
the faces of some of the ladies in the painting. Mrs.
Dickerson, a society lafly of Edenton at the time, was
pointed out as a most striking likeness.
That painting on glass was broken in pieces some years
after, and the broken pieces were put in place and photo-
graphed and preserved as it was when it was brought home.
40 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
(THE GREAT REVOLUTIONARY LEADER )
IT is one of the unsolved problems in human life wheth-
er circumstances make great men or great men create the
circumstances from which they spring, or whether they
act and react upon each other. However that may be,
John Harvey was the great leader of the Revolution in
North Carolina. The man and the circumstances met.
Of illustrious descent, his ancestor John Harvey having
been Governor of the Province many years before, of large
wealth, of great influence, possessing that dominant will-
power of which heroes are made, and with natural gifts that
were formed for command, John Harvey was born with
nature's signet of authority.
He had long been the foremost man in the troublous
times that preceded the Revolution, and had rode upon
the storm of that ominous period that betokened the birth
of the greatest event in the world's history. He was the
central political figure in North Carolina. All, eyes
turned to him in this crisis in the history of the Province.
He rode upon its whirlwind and directed the storm. He
was in the confidence of royal authority. He presided
in the Assemblies convened by the order of the Governor
appointed by the King of Great Britain ; but he was not the
submissive tool of its authority. His heart was imbued
with the spirit of independence that inspired a people
who were "freest of the free." He was Speaker of the
Assembly that Governor Martin prorogued in order that
the Legislature might "cool" and be more complaisant in
some controversy with the Governor. The Legislature
met on the 4th of December, 1773. Meanwhile the por-
tents of the Revolution had grown more imminent, and
at a meeting of the Legislature on the 8th inst. following,
a committee was appointed to obtain the "earliest intel-
ligence of proceedings in England relating to America,
and to keep up correspondence with the other colonies."
JOHN HARVEY. 41
This was the germ-seed of the Revolution in North
Carolina. It was a seed mainly planted by the hand of
John Harvey. We will see later how that seed "fell upon
good ground," and how the hand that planted it cultivated
it with diligence. John Harvey was a skilled husband-
man when he drove his plow in the Revolutionary furrow,
and he produced fruits an hundred fold and more.
Governor Martin's eyes were wide open to the impend-
ing crisis, and he determined that North Carolina should
not co-operate with the other colonies while he was the
Governor of the Province. He recognized the spirit of
independence that animated the people of the Province
of North Carolina. He saw the swelling current of co-
operation among the colonies, and he determined to thwart
it by gubernatorial authority in North Carolina. He had
the authority to convoke the Legislature, and he deter-
mined that it should not meet, and that, consequently, the
Province should not be represented in any Congress of
the Colonies, for the purpose of co-operating in hostile
declarations against Great Britain, "until matters were in
Harvey was not sleeping at his post. He was informed
of the designs of Governor Martin by the Governor's pri-
vate secretary, probably with his approval, to intimidate
Harvey. The lion-hearted hero of the Revolution held
a meeting with Governor Johnston, of Eden ton, and Col-
onel Buncombe, of Tyrrell County, at "Buncombe Hall,"
the hospitable seat of the Colonel, and at their interview
Harvey said, as he had declared to Martin's secretary,
that if Governor Martin did not convoke the Assembly,
"then the people will convene one themselves."
The Governor did not convene the Assembly.
Johnston, writing of that meeting at "Buncombe
Hall" to William Hooper, of Wilmington, says: "Harvey
was in a violent mood, and declared he was for assembling
a convention independent of the Governor, and that he
would lead the way and issue hand-bills over his own
name." Later, leaders on the Cape Fear, acting on Har-
42 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
vey's suggestion, called on the people to choose their
That Convention met, although the Governor forbade
it by proclamation. This was the first Revolutionary pop-
ular Convention that ever met in America without royal
authority, and in defiance of it. That Convention, and it
was a very able one, met in New Bern, and John Harvey
was its President. It passed resolutions denouncing the
claim of the Parliament to tax the colonies without rep-
resentation, denounced the tax on tea and forbade its use
in North Carolina, denounced the Boston Port Bill, de-
clared an import duty upon goods of English manufacture,
declared in favor of a Continental Congress of the colo-
nies, and appointed delegates to that Congress in Phila-
delphia; and it authorized John Harvey, the President,
to call another Convention whenever he thought it expe-
That shows where North Carolina stood before there
was an overt act of revolution, before a gun was fired at
Lexington, and before Virginia showed her Revolutionary
teeth. That showed the blood that flowed through John
Now, a word for John Harvey's memory. Blessed
memory ! Heroic inheritance ! First to hurl defiance at
royal authority in America! First to draw authority
from the people instead of the King. Before Henry first
uttered the slogan of "liberty or death" in the sacred
halls of old St. John's Church in Richmond, John Har-
vey had proclaimed the supremacy of the people of North
Carolina over kings and their representatives.
In the National capitol at Washington there is a hall
set apart for the statues of two of the great men of the
several States. North Carolina's niche in that hall is
empty. A bust of Harvey would not add an atom to his
heroic fame, but it would show the world that ingratitude
is a sin that does not tarnish the good name of North Caro-
lina, and that John Harvey's name and fame is her price-
THE RESOLUTIONS OF ST. PAUL'S VESTRY. 43
THE RESOLUTIONS OF ST. PAUL'S VESTRY.
" Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God."
MANY memorials of the patriotism of the citizens of
North Carolina during the Revolutionary period exist and
are preserved. Some have never had recognition, and
some have slept the sleep of forgetfulness. Among those
that have never had sufficient recognition are the resolu-
tions of the vestrymen of old St. Paul's Church, Edenton,
which are now preserved in the parish register of the
church, and signed by Richard Hoskins, Wm. Boyd, Da-
vid Rice, Thomas Benbury, Aaron Hill, Jacob Hunter,
Pelatiah Walton, John Beasley, William Hinton, Wil-
liam Bennet, Thomas Bonner and William Roberts, on
the 19th day of June, 1775.
These men are "appfes of gold in pitchers of silver,"
and should be toasted 6*n all our patriotic anniversaries,
that tried men's souls in the dark days of those bloody
times that bred heroes and tested the fidelity of men to
home and country. Mecklenburg's pride glows with a
warmer heart-beat when the names of Brevard, Avery,
Polk, Alexander, Davidson, Graham, Balch, and the other
immortals that made the 20th of May the day of days in
Carolina's annals. Everv true son of our dear old mother
State joins hands and hearts with them in the loud acclaim
of gratitude and honor. But who joins us in giving due
honor to the Hoskins, the Benburys, the Beasleys, the
Hills, the Hunters, the Hintons, the Bonners, and the other
patriots who embalmed the 19th of June in our annals,
a month after the "Mecklenburg Declaration of Indepen-
Read these immortal words by the vestrymen of St.
Paul's Church, in Edenton, and take off your hats in hon-
or of the great men who were true to their country when
the die trembled in the doubtful balance. Listen, and
bless and honor the vestry resolutions that have rung down
the ages. Who dare challenge their heroism, their pa-
44 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
triotism, their virtue. Listen, and be prouder of your
heritage of renown:
"We, the undersigned, professing our allegiance to the
King, and acknowledging the constitutional executive pow-
er of the government, do solemnly profess and declare
that we do absolutely believe that neither the Parliament of
Great Britain, nor any member, or any constituent branch
thereof, have a right to impose taxes upon these colonies
to regulate the internal policy thereof; and that all at-
tempts, by fraud or force, to establish and exercise such
claims and powers are violations of the peace and security
of the people, and ought to be resisted to the utmost ; and
that the people of this Province, singly and collectively,
are bound by the acts and resolutions of the Continental
and Provincial Congress, because in both they are fully
represented by persons chosen by themselves. And we
do solemnly and sincerely promise and engage, under the
sanctions of virtue, honor, and tfte sacred love of liberty
and our country, to maintain and support all the acts and
resolutions of the said Continental and Provincial Con-
gress to the utmost of our power and ability.
"In testimony whereof, we have hereunto set our hands,
this 19th day of June, 1775."
This protest of the vestrymen of St. Paul's Church,
viewed in all its aspects, is most important, as indicative,
of the spirit of our Revolutionary ancestors. Look at it:
Edenton was the metropolis of the Royal Government in
North Carolina. The agents of the British Government
lived there. An atmosphere of royalty pervaded the com-
munity. Its most influential social element was among
the representatives of the British Government. St. Paul's
Church was a beneficiary of the Church of England's "So-
ciety for the Propagation of the Gospel." The vestry of St
Paul's Church represented both ecclesiastical and civil au-
thority. They were evidently sturdy men. The strong lan-
guage of their resolutions indicate their earnest and sincere
purpose. They were carrying burdens social and official
that the patriots of Mecklenburg knew not of. When they
THE REGULATORS. 45
declared that "neither the Parliament of Great Britain
nor any member or constituent branch thereof has a right
to impose taxes upon these colonies to regulate the inter-
nal policy thereof, and that any attempts to exercise such
claims by force or fraud ought to be resisted to the ut-
most/' they rose to the full stature of stalwart manhood
and meant to sunder all ties in conflict with their love of
THE BATTLE OF ALAMANCE.
For time at last sets all things even,
And if we do but watch the hour.
There never yet was human power,
That could evade, it' unforgiven.
THERE are three events in North Carolina history that
have not been sufficiently commemorated: The Battle of
Alamance, the Proceedings of the Vestry of St. Paul's
Church of Edenton, and the Battle of Moore's Creek.
Mecklenburg has been more fortunate. Its position was
long contested, especially by the Virginia historians, but
it has fought its way to public recognition and now lifts its
head among the primal events of our Revolutionary his-
tory. Even that heroic event was long disputed, and
some of our most distinguished and faithful North Caro-
linians doubted its authenticity.
Alamance has been more unfortunate and longer in
having its claim as the germ-seed of the Revolution, plant-
ed before the Alexanders, the Polks, the Brevards, and the
other heroes of Mecklenburg had put on the toga of man-
hood, fully recognized by the predominance of testimony.
North Carolina is cautious, deliberative and slow, and Zeb
Vance, in that speech to the Army of Northern Virginia,
which General Lee declared was worth fifty thousand men
to the Confederate service, hit the nail squarely on the head
46 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
when he said the people of North Carolina were a race of
"Tar Heels/ 7 and stuck when they put their heels down.
Strange, too, because she has two sisters, on the south of
us and north of us, one full of mercury, and jumps to a con-
clusion at the first flash; and the other, full of pompous
stateliness and avarice of fame, folds her robes of dignity
about her and says, "Stand back, we are better than
The sons of the State are now putting Alamance in its
true and rightful position as a beacon light in the primal
storms of that great event in the world's history that
taught mankind the great lesson in free government and
made the American mountaineer a marvel in the world's
history. All honor to W. L. Saunders, the stout-hearted
North Carolinian. Blessed be his memory. A worthy
son of a worthy and reverend father, Rev. Joseph H.
The Regulators were patriotic. They resisted oppres-
sion of British office-holders. They were outraged and
oppressed by unlawful taxations, by the oppressor's scorn
and the proud man's contumely. They protested again and
again against these infamous acts of the British Govern-
ment. At last, after their patience was exhausted, they
resorted to force, and Tryon's soldiers overcame them on
the bloody field of Alamance, subdued them in battle with
death on both sides, hung them after a drum-head trial,
and executed the prisoners without mercy. Their griev-
ances were afterward acknowledged by Try on, the "Wolf
of North Carolina," as the Indians designated him, and his
successor, Governor Martin. And now, the victims of this
flagrant oppression by the British Government cry from
the ground for justice from their countrymen who sprang
from the seed their brave hearts had planted. Let their
countrymen, who have reaped the fruits of their heroism
and sufferings, make requital by justice and blessings,
late but timely, on their long misrepresented memories.
The Battle of Alamance, on the soil of North Carolina,
THE TUSCARORA MASSACRE. 47
on the 16th of May, 1771, was the reveille drum-beat of
the Revolution, and the blood then shed, on the open bat-
tle-field and on the scaffold, was the blood of the martyrs of
liberty ; the germ-seed of Mecklenburg's Declaration, of the
patriotic protest of old St. Paul's at Edenton, of the
victorious fight at Moore's Creek, and of Guilford and
THE TUSCARORA MASSACRE.
'Man's inhumanity to man."
THE saddest event in our history is the Indian massacre
by the Tuscarora Tribeof Indians in 1711.
It was the most numerous of the Indian tribes in the
colony at that time. They dominated the other smaller
tribes, and were known for their ferocity and cruelty.
They had long shown unfriendliness to the white set-
tlers, and with characteristic secretiveness were maturing
their plans for an indiscriminate slaughter of all the col-
onists, without regard to age, sex or condition. Their
end and aim was an utter extinction of the white settlers.
On the night of the agreement of the Tuscarora tribe,
there was a general uprising, and the Indians massacred
one hundred and thirty men, women and children, with
such inhuman barbarities that humanity shudders at the
The population of the colony at this time did not prob-
ably exceed two thousand. There had been occasional
Indian disturbances between the white settlers and the
Indians. They were of a local character, but they were
feeders of the general disturbance which resulted in the
atrocious massacre of 1711, on the night of the 22d of
It was a well-laid scheme of the cruel Tuscaroras, in
48 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
which they had enlisted the smaller tribes then dwelling
in the colony the Meherrins, the Corees, the Matamus-
keets, and others. The unsettled condition of public af-
fairs favored them. The contest then raging between the
Church of England men and the Quakers for equal rights
in the government of the Province, represented by Gary and
Glover, the opposing claimants of the Governor's office,
and the angry feelings in which the contest was producing
its results of war and bloodshed and quasi war, invited
the Indians to the most cruel Indian massacre that sad-
dens our annals.
In one night, in the most perfect secrecy, with entire
accord, the Indians rose as one man on the night of Septem-
ber 22, 1711, and with inhuman desperation fell upon the
sleeping and defenceless population and slew them with
fiendish torture, at which our blood is curdled by the reci-
tal. Old men gray with age had their heads smashed
in and their white hairs bespattered with blood; helpless
infancy, with its pitiful cry for mercy, was cruelly mur-
dered, and women in the presence of their children were
tortured and cruelly murdered.
The blow was a terrible one to the scattered inhabi-
tants of the Albemarle settlements. It suspended for a
time the heart-burnings of intestine strife. Quaker and
Cavalier stood side by side in the presence of a common
danger, united by the ties of a common brotherhood.
Such was the dread scene of the 22d of September,
A promising colony of Swiss, under De Graff enreid, of
Berne, Switzerland, had made a settlement in New Bern,
and were industriously engaged in laying off lands in the
vicinity. Lawson, the Surveyor-General of the colony,
accompanied by De Graffenreid and attendants, were on
a surveying expedition to locate the lands. While en-
gaged in this peaceful business, they were attacked by a
party of Indians and captured. At an Indian council they
were sentenced to death, which order was inflicted upon
Lawson with great torture, and De Graffenreid was lib-
HUGUENOT BLOOD IN NORTH CAROLINA. 49
crated because lie was supposed to be high in authority
;inl that his death would be avenged.
Meanwhile messengers were dispatched to Virginia and
South Carolina for assistance. Governor Spotswood, of
Virginia,effected a treaty of peace with the Tuscaroras.
Gen. James Moore, of South Carolina, came over with a
body of troops, attacked the Indians with great bravery
a i. Fort Barn well, near New Bern, with great slaughter,
and drove them from the Province. They fled from the
colony of North Carolina and joined the Five Nations of
the iroquois Tribe in New York, forming what has been
called the Six Nations in New York, where a remnant of
them still live.
The smaller tribes who were led by the fierce Tuscaroras
won- left undisturbed.
THE HUGUENOT BLOOD IN NORTH CAROLINA.
The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.
THE revocation of the Edict of Nantes is one of the
most memorable events in French history, and is a most
significant illustration of the mercurial disposition of the
French people. The French people have more individu-
ality than any people that have ever lived upon earth, and
their individuality finds expression most frequently in
scenes of revolution, violence and bloodshed. They are
bright, vivacious, full of enterprise, energy and forecast,
prone to take oft'ence, sudden and quick in quarrel, and dar-
ing death at the cannon's mouth. They have given to
history its greatest military heroes, its greatest statesmen,
jreatest philosophers, its greatest writers, its greatest
poets, and its greatest orators.
The first Napoleon said to one of his great Marshals who
had followed him in his exile, and who stood by him in the
50 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
supreme hour of death: "Bertrand, there have been but
three great captains, Ca3sar, Alexander and myself. 77 The
world has furnished no greater warrior than Napoleon, no
greater scientist than Cuvier, no greater poet than Bos-
suet, no greater philosopher than Fenelon, no greater
novelist than Hugo, no greater dramatist, save Shake-
speare, than Moliere ; and France has made more history,
both in its social and tragic features, than any other na-
tion on earth.
They must have derived their fighting blood from Cain,
their sagacious blood from Esau, their military blood and
wise strategy from Joshua, their astronimic blood from
Job, and their wisdom from Solomon.
This great blood, so compounded and intermingled, was
cast upon the shores of Albemarle as a flotsam after the
"Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.' 7 When that cruel
and bloody persecution drove from France the best of its
population, its most skilled artisans, the most cultured of
its population, and enriched other lands with the best blood
of France, the Albemarle country was newly settled and
the Lords Proprietors invited, by liberal gifts and privi-
leges, immigrants from all the world to come to the new-
found land of Albemarle, subdue its forests and reduce
to cultivation its rich "bottom lands. 77
Five brothers, Huguenots, skilled artisans, workers in
metals, fabrics and leather, saw the invitation of the Eng-
lish Proprietors and determined to cast their lots in Amer-
ica. They were religious devotees, and left the land of
their birth for freedom of conscience and freedom to wor-
ship God in obedience to its .dictates. They had suffered
persecution, and in the 'choice of recantation, destruc-
tion or exile, they chose the last
In the latter years of the seventeenth century, about
1680, as the family tradition has handed down to us, five
Huguenot brothers sailed from France to seek an asylum
from persecution in the wild lands of America. They
crossed the ocean in safety, and in seeking an entrance
into Carolina 7 s inland broad waters, they encountered the
HUGENOT BLOOD IN NORTH CAROLINA. 51
storm-swept shoals of Hatteras, that octopus of the sea,
whose appetite for suffering and death has never been
sated, and there they were wrecked and cast upon its then
inhospitable shores, with nothing saved but life.
Soon after, they explored the lands on the headwaters
of Albemarle Sound and settled there. They settled in the
counties adjacent to it.
John located in Tyrrell and engaged in the seafaring
trade to Boston, and married in Boston. Levi settled in
Pasquotank County, owned the land on which Elizabeth
City now stands, and is supposed to have engaged in
commercial pursuits. Thomas settled in Perquimans and
became a farmer. Job settled in lower Chowan and became
a successful farmer and worker in leather, which had
been his business in his native home in France. What
became of the other brother is not known, but it is said in
the old family traditions that he was drowned in Tennes-
see many years after.
These brothers were the germ-seed and origin of the
numerous family of Creecys scattered over the counties
contiguous to Albemarle Sound.
52 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE SCOTCH-IRISH ELEMENT IN OUR HISTORY
We tread upon the ashes of heroes, patriots and statesmen.
THE migration of races is one of the most interesting
studies of history. It is one of the most potent influences
in the complicated machinery of divine providence in pre-
venting the decadence of the human race by the infusion
of new blood, and thus preserving the unity of the race and
its virile purity and strength.
N^orth Carolina, though now the most homogeneous pop-
ulation of all the States, was originally a composite race,
derived principally from the ancestral English stock, the
Huguenot refugees, and the Scotch-Irish stock, impelled
by the migratory instinct and by the unrest of the love of
liberty, and the search for newer fields of enterprise.
Perhaps the most distinctive and enterprising element
of our population was the Scoteh-Irish element. It was
the outgrowth of a Scotch colony who migrated from their
parent hive and settled at first in the north of Ireland,
where they became identified with the Celtic race by inter-
marriage and the adoption of their habits and customs.
They were a combination of the warm blood of Ireland
with the steadiness and tenacity of the Scotch Covenanter.
It combined Irish wit, vivacity and impulse with Scotch
sobriety and earnestness a rare combination of contradic-
tory qualities, resulting in wondrous alchemy.
This was a grand element in our population. The
Irish element caused their migration to the new land be-
yond the sea, where broader fields, with less restraints of
the rigid rule of government, invited them.
About the middle of the seventeenth century they land-
ed upon the shores of Pennsylvania and there abided for
permanent settlement ; but the staid character of the Qua-
ker population did not suit their progressive tempera-
ment and they sought a home in Carolina where lived the
"freeest of the free," where the Irish blood could find vent
THE SCOTCH IRISH ELEMENT IN OUR HISTORY. 53
for its hilarity and its Scotch stick and stubbornness could
find a congenial home.
From Pennsylvania there came a stream of Scotch-Irish,
and planted themselves in the sections of Alamance, Meck-
lenburg, and the adjacent counties, planted there by a wise
Providence to await the unfolding of a great drama in
which they were to bear a mighty part.
They brought with them their preachers and their
school-masters, their creeds and their confessions ; made the
mountain section the garden of ^orth Carolina, produced
a stalwart population that gave us our greatest leaders in
the crisis of our struggle for independence, and made
their homes the pride of our State.
They gave us the martyrs of Alamance, whose patriotic
blood was the germ-seed of the Revolution. They gave
us Mecklenburg's immortal Declaration of Independence,
whose primal bugle note of freedom yet sounds in the grate-
ful ears of the patriotic sons of our loved mother State.
They gave us our beloved Vance, whose Irish nature found
expression in his charming flow of wit and humor, and
whose Scotch blood found expression in his heroic fortitude
under suffering and his sturdy manhood under all the
vicissitudes of his great, eventful life a rare combination
of two strains of blood that showed even in his broad
religion. He was Father Ryan, the poet-priest, in the
jollity of his Irish character, and John Knox, the sturdy
Presbyterian, in his Scotch blood an even-balanced mon-
ument of sturdiness and jollity. They gave us the Alex-
anders, the Erevards, the Polks, the Grahams, and others,
\\lmse blessed memories are an inspiration of patriotism,
and they are giving us to-day a Queen City in the nest of
the hornets of the Revolution, that will be the bright light
of our whole country when New York and Boston and
t'liii'jiu'o have become, like Persepolis and Palmyra, the
lnmcd cities of the plain.
54 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
TOM BROWN'S DOG TILDEN.
He has got me to lick.
TOM BROWN was a Baptist preacher of Gates County.
He was a master of the pulpit and made the gospel ring
from the sacred desk. He was fond of field sports, and
had a setter dog. The dog was named "Tilden," after
the Democratic candidate for the Presidency in 1876.
Tilden was given to him when a puppy by one of his
brethren who lived in a distant part of his pastoral care.
As a puppy Tilden showed remarkable sagacity. He was
vigilant, affectionate and docile, and his bird ingtinct was
apparent before his yelp was fully developed. He never
forgot a friend or a foe, and his friends accumulated faster
than his foes, for his disposition was most lovable. Before
his molar teeth were grown he had learned all the language
of dog pantomime, and the children, whose love he had.
won, were constantly learning him some new tricks. He
would stand up on his hinder legs, try to stand on his head
when bidden by a pantomimic waggle of the head, would
bark before eating, with solemn gravity, and knew the
names of his owner and of all the children.' He loved
field sports, and when brother Brown, who was a Nimrod
indeed, forgot his gun and field sports, Tilden would pull
at his trousers' legs until he made him get his gun, and
Tilden would signify his approval and happiness by wild
antics and capers.
Tilden. grew to dog manhood and grew in wisdom every
day. His learning in dogology was marvelous. He knew
all the neighbors by face and name, would carry to any
one of them whose name was called to him a message in
writing in his mouth, and would wait for an answer. He
would go to the post-office and bring the mail, and \vas
never happier than when a party of sportsmen came with
TOM BROWN'S DOG TILDEN. 55
their guns to have a field-day with Tilden's owner. He
was a perfect hunter, knew the haunts of birds, and would
stay by a Bob White all day long, and would have died
by him if the hunters did not come.
Tilden became a great pet in the community of upper
Gates County, and they were a community who delighted
in dog and gun. All of them loved him, and would send
delicacies for Tilden to brother Brown's. His attain-
ments in dog pantomime were a marvel of sagacity, and
the tales that brother Brown told of him spread far and
wide. At a Gates Court the tale was told to us. We
thought it wonderful beyond parallel. When we got home
we told the story of dog Tilden to our friends and neigh-
bors, but they did not believe it, and some, bolder than the
rest, intimated that brother Brown had formed a combi-
nation to manufacture a sensational story to interest and
fool the public. It wounded our pride and damaged our
character for truth, which we had always treasured as
one of the purest jewels in our casket. So, when we
next went to Gatesville, we met brother Brown, and said
to him, said we, "Brother Brown, sir, you are a preacher,
and under bonds to speak the truth, and we, all our life,
have been striving to build up a character for truth. We
must stop this talk about Tilden, or we will be put down
as two of the biggest liars in North Carolina; and if it
comes to that, we had better do as Judas Iscariot did."
He then commenced sniffling his nose and wiping his
weeping eyes, and said: u Tilden, poor, dear old Tilden,
is dead." And thereby hangs, a sad recital. We tell the
tale as Tom Brown told it to us.
One day Tilden did not eat. His appetite failed more
and more. He grew worse. His usual sleeping place was
a comfortable dog-house in the yard. His eye grew dim,
and his natural sprightliness left him. The Brown house-
hold were sad. Tom took him in his bed-room at night,
made a comfortable rug bed for him on the floor, and he
was watched over with the tenderest care. He lost flesh.
Sometimes his lustreless eye would follow the children
56 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
around the room. He seldom left his bed. He grew
worse and worse. The neighbors would come in to en-
quire after Tilden. Tilderi's time had come. Tom Brown
put his hand over his heart and it was 'still. There was
no pulsation. The children came around and called him,
"Tilden, Tilden, poor Tilden !" but he gave no sign of
life. Tom and his family then gave way to grief. Tom
sent off for John Gatling, one of the neighbors. He came
quickly. Tom met John at the door and told him Tilden
was dead. John came in, felt of him and said there was
no sign of life. After examining him over again, John
said to Tom (they were brother hunters), "Tom, if he is
dead, you get your gun and click the trigger by his ear, and
he will give sign of life if he is not dead." Tom took a
gun from a corner where he had several and clicked the
trigger over his ear. He gave no sign. And then there
was one universal outburst of grief. John turned to Tom
and said, "Tom, that wer'nt the gun you use when you
hunt with Tilden." Tom then went back and brought the
gun that he commonly used, and stooping down over Til-
den he cracked the trigger near his ear. The dear old fellow
slowly opened his dying eyes, feebly wagged his tail, then
closed them forever Tilden was dead.
TEACH AND POTTER, CAROLINA'S OUTLAWS. 57
TEACH AND POTTER, CAROLINA'S OUTLAWS.
' 'T is true, 't is pity,
And pity 't is. 't is true."
NORTH CAROLINA is not a soil that produces great and
good men alone. It produces good and bad men, but the
good and patriotic men greatly predominate. We should
be false to our record if we chronicled the good alone.
We are all attracted by good men and are led by their deeds-
in the paths of virtue. We are warned by bad men and
generally taught by their lives that the paths of lawless
vice lead to dishonored graves. So, on the other hand,
the paths of virtue lead to honor in life, peace and happi-
ness at its close and perpetual blessedness in that eternal
life to which we are all journeying.
The saying of the great poet that the evil which men
do lives after them and the good is oft interred with them,
is a poetic fiction with a modicum of truth. The good and
the evil of our lives live after us and serve as beacons and
buoys to warn and to guide us. Xo word or action dies
in our lives, but lives on as still or clamorous monitors in
the pilgrimage of life.
In turning over in our memory, in searching for the list
of conspicuous bad men who have left their baleful influ-
ence upon our annals, we are gratified that we are unable
to find but two men to hold up as beacons of warning to
our countrymen. We do not regret their living, although
the world is not the better for their having lived in it.
They are the dark foils that make virtue more lustrous,
and make us more grateful for our heritage of the great
and good names that shine on every page of our blessed
Who were these two men, so conspicuous by their rarity ?
One lived in colonial days and was a sea pirate. His life
was that of a desperado and his death was by violence in
mortal combat, an outlaw, a refugee from justice, an
58 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Ishmaelite indeed, who carried his life in his hand, which
was lifted against mankind. His name was Edward
Teach (Blackboard), and he made the waters of Albe-
marle Sound and its tributaries his rendezvous and place
of retreat for security from his enemies. Teach lived in
the early years of the eighteenth century. He was not a
native of North Carolina. He was born in Bristol, Eng-
land. He entered on his career of piracy in 1716. Up to
that time for several years he had been a private sailor.
He was daring and adventurous, and a famous pirate,
named Kornagold, put him in command of a sloop which
he had captured. Teach sailed for the American coast,
making many captures on the way, which he plundered.
From that time he continued his piratical outrages along
the Carolina, Virginia and Atlantic coast, and made the
Carolina sounds his home.
Governor Spotswood, of Virginia, offered a reward of
one hundred pounds for his capture.
At length, hearing that he was in Pamlico Sound,
near Ocracoke Inlet, on the 17th of November, Governor
Spotswood dispatched Lieutenant Maynard, of the British
Navy, from James River in Virginia to search for Teach
and capture him. On the 31st he came in sight of the
pirate at Ocracoke Inlet. Blackbeard had heard of his
coming, and when he saw him he prepared for a desperate
resistance. Teach had seventeen desperate men under
him. Maynard had more than thirty. The engagement
was desperate. By a feint, Maynard's men were sent be-
low and Teach was made to believe that Maynard declined
the fight and was about to surrender. When Teach saw
this, he sailed to Maynard's ship to take possession of her.
As soon as he boarded, Maynard ordered his men on
deck, and then it was a hand-to-hand fight, Maynard and
Teach heading it with sabres. Teach was mortally
wounded after he had wounded thirty of Maynard's men.
After Maynard had captured Teach's sloop, he cut off his
head, fastened it to his bowsprit and sailed up to Bath
in Beaufort County, then Hyde.
TEACH AND POTTER, CAROLINA'S OUTLAWS. 59
The other "black sheep" in North Carolina's history was
Bob Potter, who lived a century after Teach. He was a
native of Virginia, and we first hear of him in the town of
Halifax, where he became a notorious, brawling politician,
antagonized J. R. J. Daniel, and became notorious for his
street brawls and personal conflicts with that celebrated
public man. They both had a following of friends. Pot-
ter was an attractive and brave man, and seemed to have
the public sympathy. He was a ready writer, and in
the printed controversies Potter's vocabulary was scathing
and terrible. Bob brought over from Virginia his brother
Hal, who was armed and not averse to a fight of any kind.
In a street fight in Halifax, in which weapons were used on
both sides, Hal came out of it with fifteen buckshot in
This warfare was kept up for several years, when
Daniel went to Louisiana 1 and Potter settled in Granville
County. Potter was a lawyer by profession, and a mag-
netic, ambitious and aggressive man. He had not been
long in Granville before he was nominated for Congress
and elected. Meanwhile, he had married a girl in Gran-
ville of prominent family connection. He went to Congress,
where he passed a gay and voluptuous life and represented
himself to be an unmarried man ; and Governor Branch,
who was his colleague in Congress, warned his young fe-
male friends against him. He returned home after the
adjournment of Congress, brought criminal charges against
his wife that were without foundation, committed the
crime of mayhem upon two innocent men, who were his
wife's relatives, and one of them an old man. Notwith-
standing this flagrant outrage, he announced himself a
candidate for the Legislature from the county of Gran-
ville and was elected. He went to Raleigh at the meeting
of the Legislature, and was expelled from that body for
the infamous crime of mayhem which he had committed
Soon after his expulsion from the Legislature, he left for
Texas, then a Mexican province. We have heard that he
60 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
went on foot, armed with a shot-gun and followed by two
In Texas, where he settled, he led a vagrant and law-
less life, and was soon involved in brawls with his neigh-
bors. In one of these he was overpowered by his foes
and sought safety in flight, after killing one of his antag-
onists. He w T as hotly and closely pursued, and to escape
from his pursuers he plunged into a lake and dived under
the water for safety. When he came to the surface he was
fired upon from the shore and his head riddled with bul-
lets. Teach and Potter both came to violent deaths fit
termination of lives of crime and violence.
OLD-TIME HAZING AT THE UNIVERSITY. 6 1
OLD-TIME HAZING AT THE UNIVERSITY.
O, the boys ; the boys.
HAZING is a college custom as old as the hills. Seventy
years ago it was known as the ceremony of "Admission to
the Ugly Club.'' In its origin it was a useful institution.
It broke up the mauvais honte (so-called) which beset a
green student, and made him miserable under the appre-
hension of doing something or doing the impolite thing.
In process of time it developed into the modern "hazing,"
which has grown into such proportions as to call forth the
discipline of the colleges, and has sometimes found its
way into our law courts. Please tell us what "hazing"
means, and what is its derivation >
The Ugly Club origin of hazing was a social institution
of the University of North Carolina seventy years ago.
I ; was presided over by the acknowledged ugliest member
of the club, and was intended as a benevolent institution,
to bo used as an antidote for the disease of nostalgia
(home-sickness), which was epidemic with freshmen. It
counteracted the malady of longing for home, and intro-
duced the new-comer to a home and familiar circle.
In 1831, we entered the Freshman class of the Univer-
sity, and for several days we suffered intolerably from the
homing feeling. One day, Lumbus Battle, the only student
and classmate with whom we had formed an intimate
friendship, asked us if we had joined the "Ugly Club." We
told him no, and that we had never heard of it. He then per-
suaded us to join, and told us that he had joined, and that
Mr. John Gray Bynum, who was President of the Club,
had told him to invite us to join them. We told Lumbus
wo would join if he would go with us. The night of the
meeting came. The session was held in a room in the
upper story of the South Building. At the appointed
time, Lumbus and I went to the hall. Lumbus gave
four raps at the outer door, and suggested that we needn't
bo sea rod. The door was opened by the ugliest specimen of
62 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
a man we had ever seen, and dressed in the most uncouth
style. He had on his head something like the old dunce
cap of the public schools, except that it had horns to it.
His cheeks and eyebrows were blacked with grease and
soot. His sleeves were rolled up, and he looked like our
ideal of the mythological Vulcan. He looked at us with
one eye closed, and invited us in with his best bow. We
went in, the President preceding us. Lumbus joined the
brethren and put on his cap. President Bynum then
marched around the room, mumbling some cabalistic
words, while we stood alone in the middle of the hall, feel-
ing very much like a fool.
Bynum came to us after his mummery and, in solemn
manner, asked us if we could dance. We told him, "Not
much/ 7 He said, "How much ?" We told him timidly
that we had danced some at "corn shuckings," and some
little at girls' parties. He then pranced around us with
a sort of "limber leg double shuffle," and asked us to join
him. He then hummed "Sugar in the Gourd," and kept
time to it with his feet. He then asked if we could sing.
We said "!N"ot much." He asked again, "How much ?"
and we told him we could sing "Up in the Morning Early"
and "Three Blind Mice." But he couldn't get us to
sing. Like poor Macbeth, the song "stuck in our throat."
Bynum then asked us, "Could we wrastle?" We told
him, "Yes, some." No sooner was the word out of our
throat than he pitched in and grappled us. The old
war-horse was now roused in us. We caught him round
the middle, and we had it round and round the room, the
members of the club shouting, slapping hands and whoop-
ing, "Creecy, Creecy !" Some one cried out, "Tie old
snake" on him. Old Gray Bynum took the hint, tied the
"old snake" lock round our legs, and before we could say
"Jack Robinson," we were flat of our back on the floor,
and "Old Gray" on top of us. "Gray" had us down, but
his tongue was out. After a few long breaths, "Gray,"
still holding us down, said, "What mout be your name ?"
"Dick," said we. He then asked us our other name.
OLD-TIME HAZING AT THE UNIVERSITY. 63
"Creecy," said we. "Well, it's a funny name; you are
greasy by name, and I'll make you greasy by favor," and,
calling for a pot of grease and soot, he dabbed our cheeks
with it. We then got up, and he introduced us to each
one of the brethren, and then we were at home and all of
the sheepishness was gone out of us.
Then Gray took the President's chair, made an address
full of his old-time wit and humor, and then pronounced
the meeting adjourned. He was our friend ever after,
until his graduation, and when that famous controversy
arose between the Di. and Phi. Societies, which for awhile
threatened conflict, we were a Bynum man.
Lumbus and I slept under the same blanket that night.
He was very happy, and during the night he said: "Dick,
if old Gray hadn't tied 'old snake' on you, you'd have had
him down in a few more rounds. You had his tongue out
when he throwed you."
64 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE OLD-TIME QUAKER.
How dost thou do ?
THE Quaker element in our population was prominent
in the early settlement of Eastern Carolina, in the Colonial
period, in the period of the Revolution, and subsequent
thereto up to the half of the nineteenth century, when
negro slavery had much to do with the large Quaker emi-
gration from North Carolina to Indiana and Illinois,
and the gregarious instinct of sectarian brotherhood swelled
the tide of migration to other States, until a genuine old-
time Quaker is now almost an ethnological curiosity. Bel-
videre, in Perquimans County, and some scattered settle-
ments in Northampton County, alone remain as represent-
atives of a sturdy race that made their distinctive impress
upon the character of Eastern Carolina, and even their
peculiar dress and phraseology have almost disappeared.
A sturdy and a stalwart race were the old-time Quakers ;
conservative, plain, direct in purpose as in language,
averse to worldly vanities, poised, prudent, undaunted be-
fore authority, shrewd in business transactions, thrifty in
business, in all things a Quaker. But the old-time Quaker
has passed away, and the a old broad-brim" and the old
"Quaker coat 77 are not seen on our streets and highways.
But their memory is green.
The last old-time Quaker in Elizabeth City was friend
Miles White, a wealthy old citizen, who, at his death in
Baltimore about the year 1855, was worth over a million of
Miles White started in life as a poor one-horse farmer
in the county of Perquimans. In early life he sometimes
brought a load of pine wood or some product to town. He
was industrious. W. C. Brooks, of Gates County, father
of George W. Brooks, took notice of his industry and per-
severing ways, and proposed to him a mercantile co-part-
nership. It was accepted by White, and they opened a
dry goods store on "Road street, not far from the old Tis-
THE OLD-TIME Q\ AKER. 65
dale Building, midway between the Relf House (now
Albemarle) and Leather Hill. They conducted the busi-
ness for several years and prospered until the business
was dissolved by mutual consent.
Having accumulated money by merchandise, White
next entered upon a general business, which he conducted
with such success that he became a wealthy man of the
town. Everything that he touched prospered. But his
success never altered the simplicity and geniality of his
social life. His temper and disposition was sunny and
unruffled, and he became very popular with all classes
save those he had driven a hard bargain with. Persons
sometimes complained of his shrewd ways of business, but
his honesty was never impeached but once, when he had
overreached a man of the town, who was also noted for
his shrewd business ways, and was also noted for his iras-
cibility. The excited townsman grew hissing hot in the
collar, and began to denounce Miles as a wretch, a dishon-
est man, who loved money better than his God. He abused
Miles in the most opprobrious terms of the language.
Miles kept his temper and his tongue, and looked steadily
into the eyes of the irate banker, and when he stopped his
abuse from pure exhaustion, he replied with the utmost
composure "John, ditto." The scene was so ludicrous,
and the reply of the old Quaker was so terse and compre-
hensive, and the contrast so great, that both of them broke
into laughter and parted good friends.
Miles White never laughed, but often smiled, chuckled
at any amusing incident, and enjoyed a modest joke won-
derfully. In the latter years of his residence in the town,
he divided his time between Elizabeth City and Baltimore,
and was principally engaged in purchasing crops of corn.
During this time our acquaintance was somewhat inti-
mate, and we sometimes joined him of an evening in rid-
ing in different parts of the county, looking after his pur-
diMses of corn, and arranging for its shipment to markets
in different parts of the country. These trips were very
pleasant to us, and his conversation was instructive and
66 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
entertaining. On one of these occasions he amused us
with an account of a business transaction he had with
Mordecai Morris, a brother Quaker of the straightest sect.
Mordecai was a wealthy man, a large farmer, shrewd on
a bargain, and as sharp in trade as Miles. We knew that
Miles wanted to buy Mordecai's crop of corn on Dry
Ridge. He had made him what he thought was a liberal
offer for it. Mordecai stood off to strain Miles up to a
little advance on his offer. He had often complained to
us of the dilatory tactics of Mordecai. On a Saturday
evening, he told us that he was going down to spend the
Sabbath with Mordecai, and if he did 'not take his offer
for his corn he would stop. After a long chaffer over the
bargain on Saturday night, the two stiff and wealthy
"broad-brims," went to meeting on Sabbath day at the
old "meeting-house" near Simon's Creek. The spirit
didn't move much that day, and Mordecai fell into a com-
fortable snooze, In the sepulchral silence of the devo-
tions, the devil, who was "walking up and down upon the
earth" looking for a job, came up and whispered into
Mordecai's ear as he slept, and the thought of the corn
trade being uppermost, he burst out, as he slept, and said :
"Miles, if thou wilt furnish the bags and bag strings, the
corn is thine." This incident amused Miles greatly, but
he never jested about sacred things.
THOMAS HART BENTON. 67
THOMAS HART BENTON.
Render unto Csesar the things that are Caesar's.
No NATIVE-BORN Carolinian has been truer to his nativ-
ity than the illustrious United States Senator from Mis-
souri. His steps had wandered far from home, but his
heart always turned in affection to the "Haw Fields" of
Orange County, North Carolina. He loved the old State
with filial devotion, always treasured her sacred history
with veneration, and her sons with honor, and emptied the
Cornucopia of his own well-earned laurels into her loving
Nat Macon was the Gamaliel of his politics. He learned
his lessons of sturdy patriotism at his feet, not only for his
personal admiration of tiie virtues of that firm "old Ro-
man," but because he was a son and representative of
"his native State."
To him belongs the honor of first giving to North Caro-
lina's Guilford Battle Ground the just honor of being the
great pivotal battle of the Revolution, and, the distinction
of making Yorktown the close of the struggle for indepen-
dence. He first presented to our eyes the first true story of
Guilford, and made us prouder of the heroes who obeyed
the orders of their commander and fell back in order, after
accomplishing his foreformed purpose.
The history of Thomas Hart Benton is full of the les-
sons of energy, industry, will force and heroic determi-
In the contests of life which were assigned to him, his
back was never turned on friend or foe, and all who met
him as friend or foeman, recognized a great gladiator in
the arena. He lived in heroic times. There were "giants
in those days," and he was one of them. He was a truly
sreat man ; crroat in heroic manhood, in sturdv friendship,
in profound acquirements, in personal bravery, in moral
hravory, and in the magnificent achievements of genius
68 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
In the many heroic events of the last century of our
civil life, there is none more so than the history of the
''Expunging .Resolutions," of which Benton was the au-
thor. "Solitary and alone/ 7 against opposition such as
was never encountered before, he snatched victory from
defeat, humbled the Senate of the United States, tri-
umphed over Calhoun, Clay, Webster, Mangum and Wat-
kins Leigh, and made the Secretary, in the presence of the
Senate, draw black lines around and across their resolu-
tions of condemnation of President Andrew Jackson for
his removal of the government deposits from the United
States Bank four years before. There has been no in-
stance of such will force and determination in the parlia-
mentary history of the world.
Thomas H. Benton was born in Orange County, North
Carolina, near Hillsboro, and emigrated to Tennessee in
the last years of the last century. He practised law in
that State for several years, and emigrated .thence to the
State of Missouri, where he achieved his distinction and
represented Missouri in the Senate of the United States
for thirty consecutive years, and while in the Senate was
without a superior.
MECKLENBURG DECLARATION. 69
MECKLENBURG DECLARATION OF INDE-
THERE are few events in our National history more
conclusively established by circumstantial testimony
than the Declaration of Independence by the patriots
oi the county of Mecklenburg, on the 20th of
May, 1775. There is no event in the history of
North Carolina of which her people are prouder,
or which they cherish with more filial loyalty. There
is no event in her history of which they are more
jealous, or that they defend with more persistence or more
stubbornness. It is not the earliest germ-seed of the
Revolution. John Ashe, in the Stamp Party of Wilming-
ton, defied the authority of Great Britain ten years before
with his drawn sword. John Harvey defied its authority
before the Mecklenburg Declaration by assuming the au-
thority of the Governor and convoking a Revolutionary
Assembly. These acts were heroic. But Mecklenburg's
Declaration is more conspicuous because it has been more
assailed and more defended. But no one now denies its
authenticity, but an idiot or an enemy.
It was a great event in our history American blood
had been shed at Lexington and Concord. There was
a meeting of citizens of a mountain county in North Caro-
lina, principally peopled by that heroic Scotch-Irish race
that has always been foremost in the struggles of history,
in the hazards of war and the enterprises of peace a race
that has never turned its back on friend or foe, and that
now, in time of peace, is doing more for North Carolina
than any other in the State. These hardy mountaineers
mot in the county-town of Charlotte on the 19th day of
M -i v, to consider the situation of affairs between the Amer-
ican colonies and Great Britain. The convention was ad-
dressed by the leaders of the county, men of intelligence
and influence. The fire of liberty spread like a contagion.
Finally, it adjourned to meet again the next day.
On the next day, the ever-memorable 20th of May, the
spirit of independence burst into flame. The patriot lead-
yo GRANDFATHER'S TALES. *
ers and a large concourse of people assembled, passed pa-
triotic resolutions of independence of Great Britain, recog-
nized the authority of Congress, organized an independent
civil and military government, and pledged their lives,
fortunes and sacred honor to maintain it, and sent the
resolutions to the American Congress at Philadelphia by
a special messenger.
All this was done more than a year before the National
Declaration of Independence, before the public senti-
ment of the country was ripe for independence, before
any State had suggested independence, and at a time when
the author of the National Declaration' of Independence
was not in favor of secession from Great Britain.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE BY THE CITIZENS OF
MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA,
MAY 20, 1775.
"In conformity to an order issued by the Colonel of
Mecklenburg County, in North Carolina, a Convention,
vested with unlimited powers, met at Charlotte, in said
county, on the 19th day of May, 1775, when Abraham
Alexander was chosen Chairman, and John McKnitt Alex-
ander Secretary. After a free and full discussion of the
object of the Convention, it was unanimously
"Resolved I. That whosoever, directly or indirectly,
abetted, or in any way, form or manner, countenanced the
unchartered and dangerous invasion of our rights, as
claimed by Great Britain, is an enemy to this country, to
America, and to the inherent and inalienable rights of
"IT. Resolved, That we, the citizens of Mecklenburg
County, do hereby dissolve the political bands which have
connected us to the mother country, and hereby absolve
ourselves from all allegiance to the British crown, and ab-
jure all political connection, contract or association with
that nation who have wantonly trampled on our rights
and liberties, and inhumanly shed the innocent blood of
American patriots at Lexington.
"III. Resolved, That we do hereby declare ourselves a
free and independent people, are, and of right ought to be,
a sovereign and self-governing association, under the con-
trol of no power other than that of our God, and the gen-
eral government of Congress ; to the maintenance of which
independence we solemnly pledge to each other our mutual
co-operation, our lives, our fortunes, and our most sacred
"Abraham Alexander, Chairman; J. M. Alexander,
Secretary; Adam Alexander, Hezekiah Alexander, Ezra
Alexander, Charles Alexander, Waitetill Avery, Ephraim
Brevard, Hezekiah J. Balch, Richard Barry, John David-
son, William Davidson, Henry Downs, John Flenniken,
John Ford, William Graham, James Harris, Robert Ir-
win, William Kennon, Matthew McClure, Neill Morri-
son, Samuel Martin, Duncan Ochletree, John Phifer,
Thomas Polk, Ezekiel Polk, Benjamin Patton, John
Quearv, David Reese, Zacheus Wilson, Sr., William Wil-
son." " 1
72 GRANDFATHER S TALES.
THE STAMP PARTY IN WILMINGTON.
No braver soldier ever yet drew sword.
THROUGH the whole history of North Carolina, the
Cape Fear section has been the fruitful nursery of heroes,
patriots and statesmen. Wilmington is its business cen-
tre, and Wilmington has always been the home of men
who were foremost in the race of distinction. On the
roll of her great names the Ashes, the Waddells, the
Swanns, the Moores, the Hoopers, the Howes, and the
Hills are familiar to all who feel a just pride in the good
name of North Carolina.
Among all these illustrious names there is no one more
distinguished than Gen. John Ashe. He was a son of
John Baptista Ashe, the founder of this distinguished
family in North Carolina. He had, for some years, been
a leading member of the Colonial Assembly, and in 1762
was chosen Speaker of that body. He soon became the
most prominent man in the colony, and, by his position,
was the most influential.
He was entitled to the unique distinction of having been
the harbinger of the Revolution in North Carolina, and
probably in America, the first to resist the authority of
Great Britain, the first to defy it by an overt act, the first
to triumph over its officers, and the first to compel royal
officials to sign an act of disobedience to the sovereign
authority of England's King.
This bold act was done in open day, in the presence of
the Governor backed with a royal force, and has no parallel
in the history of those trying times of the Stamp Act trou-
bles. It was a controversy over the old question of tax-
ation without representation that roused the resistance of
our Revolutionary fathers ten years later, and the matter
of contention was the same the imposition of a tax stamp
The heroic act was thus :
Houston was the Stamp-Master of the British govern-
THE STAMP PARTY IN WILMINGTON. 75
uieiit, an official representative of the government who
was to have the custody of the stamped paper used for
official purposes, and distribute it for use among the peo-
ple. There was a tax on the paper, not onerous, but offen-
sive to the American people because it was a tax that they
had no voice in its enactment.
A large quantity of this paper was expected every day
to arrive and be handed over to the Stamp Master. About
the middle of November, 1765, Houston came to Wil-
mington, and Colonel Ashe led the people with drums
beating and colors flying to his lodgings, and took him
out and carried him to the court-house, where he was
forced to sign a resignation of his office.
A few days later the stamps arrived in the sloop-of-war
"Diligence," but as there was now no Stamp Master to re-
ceive them, they remained boxed up on board that ship.
Two jrionths later, two merchant vessels coming into
port, were seized by the sloop-of-war Viper, commanded
by Captain Lobb, because their papers were not stamped,
and they were held by the war vessels off old Brunswick,
where Governor Try on had his residence, and where the
ships of war lay at anchor. Colonel Ashe, as Speaker of
the House of Commons, had warned Governor Tryon that
any attempt to enforce the Stamp Act would be resisted
to death. The release of the captured vessels was at once
demanded; Governor Tryon, after some delay, refused to
release them. In the meantime, Ashe and his associates
had perfected their plans. He called out the militia of
New Hanover, and, being joined by Colonel Waddell and
the Brunswick militia, and detachments from Bladen and
Dnplin, he marched to Old Brunswick, determined to
put an end to that act of Parliament in this Province.
Arriving at the Governor's mansion on the evening of
the 19th of February, they informed Governor Tryon
that they had come to redress their srrievances, and de-
manded to see Captain Lobb. But Captain Lobb was
not there. A detachment then pushed on to Fort John-
ston, at Smithville, to seize that fort and get possession
76 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
of the cannon ; but Lobb was able to spike the guns before
the fort was taken. At noon the next day the Governor
end Captain Lobb, and the King's officers, held a council
on board the ship-of-war "Diligence," and Captain Lobb
declared his determination never to surrender the captured
merchant ships. Two hours later, Ashe and a band of Pa-
triots boarded the "Diligence/' and there, under the royal
flag, surrounded by the King's forces, they demanded
that Captain Lobb should give up the vessels and abandon
his purpose to enforce the Stamp Act.
Their blood was up, and they were resolved to fight to
the death. Their undaunted spirit brooked no opposition.
Lobb was compelled to yield. Within three hours after
the agreement was made in the council of King's officers
tc hold the captured vessels, the British commander sur-
rendered them up into the hands of the Patriot leaders.
But that was not enough.
Ashe and the people had come with arms in their hands
to put an end to the Stamp Act, and the work was not yet
finished. They now proposed to make the crown officers
swear never to issue any stamp paper in this colony. The
first officer they demanded was Colonel Pennington, His
Majesty's Comptroller of Customs. Pennington was then
in the Governor's mansion, and Try on sought to protect
him. But the mansion was thoroughly surrounded by
armed and determined men, and every avenue of escape
was cut off. Pennington resigned his office to the Gov-
ernor, and surrendered himself, and took the oath the
Patriots dictated. And so also, Mr. Day, the Collector of
the Port, and all the county clerks and other crown officers
were required to swear never to issue or to use any stamp
paper in the Province.
This heroic act was revolutionary seed that sprouted
ten years later, and for seven years produced through blood
and suffering the glorious fruit of independence.
JIMMY SUTTON AND ADMIRAL COCKBURN. 77
JIMMY SUTTON AND ADMIRAL COCKBURN.
Jirumie, Oh ! Jimmie was a Rider
JOHN GILPIN'S ride is known through the length and
breadth of the land, but Jimmy Button's ride is unknown.
The difference is that Gilpin is embalmed in English verse,
and Sutton's rests on uncertain traditions ; but the one is
historic and the other poetic fancy.
Jimmy Sutton lived at Sandy Point, on Albemarle
Sound. It is a long projection into the Sound, and com-
mands a view to the east as far as the human eye can
In August, 1814, Admiral Cockburn, of the British
Navy, came into the inlet at Cape Henry, attacked the town
of Hampton, and corrynitted outrages upon its defence-
less population that were without parallel in the annals
of civilized warfare.
After desolating Hampton, he gave out word that he
would next attack the sound and river towns of North
Carolina. This was a feint to conceal his purpose of
attacking Washington City, which he afterwards did, and
in the war then raging between the United States and
Great Britain he added another wreath to his crown of
The report, which reached Edenton and New Bern,
that he intended to make these towns his objective points
in the raging fight, together with his outrages at Hamp-
ton, created a panic in these towns that was without prece-
dent. The first Mrs. Gaston, of New Bern, died from
fright under the apprehension of his coming. The pop-
ulation of Edenton was wrought up to a pitch of fear
and excitement unknown to them before.
Col. Duncan McDonald, a young officer but a born mili-
tary man, called out the county militia, drilled them for
the fray, mounted eight smooth-bore cannon, and pre-
pared to resist the British fleet when it came into Edenton
78 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Jimmy Sutton, a squatty-built farmer who lived at
Sandy Point, on Albemarle Sound, was directed by Col-
onel McDonald to station himself on the point of projection
of Sandy Point, and to be on watch day and night, and if
ir the distance on Albemarle Sound he should descry the
approach of Admiral Cockburn's British fleet, he should
immediately report the fact at headquarters at Edenton,
Jimmy was a kindly but eccentric man, but firm, loyal
and true to his country. Colonel McDonald could not
have selected a better man for the work assigned him. For
two days he watched at the Point for the enemy, with his
fleetest liorse saddled and bridled in the woods near by.
On the morning of the third day he descried a small
object that loomed in the distance. It was not larger than
your hand, but it grew bigger, as did Jimmy's eyes. At
length the masts developed, and then a fleet of vessels.
Jimmy took one last look at them, and then, murmuring
"Gunboats ! British gunboats, by George !" he jumped
through brake and briar for his horse, jumped in his sad-
dle, yelling as he went, "The Admiral ! the Admiral !"
He put his horse on the run, yelling as he sped, "The
Admiral! the Admiral!" It was a windy day, and as he
hastened for Edenton his hat blew off. But on he went,
not caring for his hat. Some of his neighbors ran out to
see what was to pay. To his shouting, "The Admiral!"
he was asked, "What Admiral?" He gave but one an-
SAver, "The Admiral !"
When he reached town after his Gilpin ride, the air was
vocal with his shouts and the people were in great alarm.
Colonel McDonald was mounting his cannon, and the wo-
men of the, town were making their escape in every way.
While this scene of turmoil prevailed, six small oyster
boats came up to the wharf, laden with the luscious bi-
valves, and quiet was restored. About the same time
Admiral Cockhurn was burning Washington and Presi-
dent Madison was making his escape from the President's
house; and Jimmy Sutton's flight from six little oyster
boats haunted him through life.
BATTLE OF GUILFORD COURT HOUSE. 79
BATTLE OF GUILFORD COURT HOUSE.
Oh ! History ! what falsehoods are written in thy name.
sometimes repeats itself, but oftener corrects
itself. Napoleon once said that history was a fable, and
we sometimes have thought that he who made more his-
tory than any other life, spoke truly. It really is melan-
choly to tli ink of the fables of history, the inaccuracies of
history, the omissions of history, and its misrepresenta-
tions. North Carolina has been a great sufferer in that
way: probably the greatest of all the original thirteen.
Why this is so, we know not; but we have a theory that
may, perhaps, account for it.
The history factories of our country have been Boston
and Richmond. Boston/s market for its historical wares
has been the North, and Richmond's market has been the
South. Boston has never cared anything about us, any
way : probably all the greatest of the original thirteen.
had a swollen head and a morbid State pride that caused
Virginia to think that history and its heroes belonged
to them, and North Carolina, being their next-door neigh-
bor, was absorbed, and all its historic laurels torn from her
modest brow and wreathed around Virginia's avaricious
Time bringeth all things right, but often wears leaden
shoes, and is rather tardy in putting in its work. Time
took a hundred years and more to write aright the
history of the Regulators of Alamance and for that
long time it allowed the history factories to brand the
heroes of that earliest bugle note of the Revolution as
lawless brigands, instead of heralding them truly as pa-
triots, heroes and martyrs to the sacred cause of liberty.
So with the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
li was a hundred years before that immortal event in
the history of North Carolina and the whole country was
given its just place in the annals of this country. And to
this day it is sometimes spoken of as apocryphal.
8o GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
And now we are engaged in a manly struggle to main-
tain, from contemporary authority and proofs that are
incontestable, that the Battle of Guilford Court House,
on North Carolina's sacred soil, rendered the British sur-
render at Yorktown a "foregone conclusion," that the
retreat of the North Carolina troops, after two steady
rifle volleys, was a strategic movement, ordered by General
Greene and carried out in good order and without con-
The Battle of Guilford Court House was the beginning
of the end of the Revolutionary War. It was the pivotal
battle of the war. It was the Gettysburg of the fight.
The enemy fell into our victorious arms at Yorktown, with
heart and backbone broken by their stunning blow at
The action of the North Carolina troops at Guilford
was a military strategy that Morgan had successfully used
at the Battle of Cowpens, and had recommended to General
Greene to be used at Guilford. The troops were militia,
and they were ordered by General Greene to deliver a
rifle volley into the ranks of the British when they made
a bayonet charge and got within rifle range. They obeyed
orders. They delivered two volleys, mortally wounding
Colonel Webster, of the British Army, who was in com-
mand of the charging party, and mowing down his men
like autumn leaves. They then retreated in good order,
as ordered by General Greene.
Colonel Tarleton, of the British Army, who was in
the road to the rear of Webster's Brigade, and witnessed
the charge, says of it: "The order and coolness of that
part of Webster's brigade which advanced across the open
ground exposed to the enemy's fire, can not be sufficiently
extolled. The militia allowed the front line to approach
within 150 yards before they gave their fire."
The Battle of Guilford Court House was fought on
Thursday, March 15, 1781, between the American forces
under Major-General Greene and the English forces un-
der Lord Cornwallis, and in its character and consequen-
ces was second to no battle of the Revolution.
BATTLE OF GUILFORD COURT HOUSE. 8l
Lee and Campbell, who participated in the fight on the
American side, and have written about it, have written
disparagingly of the North Carolina troops, who were
in the front line of General Greene's army. But they were
Virginians, and their testimony has been, criticised and
contradicted by so many witnesses that truth has over-
taken it after the lapse of many years.
On Saturday before the battle, Greene writes to Gov-
ernor Jefferson, of Virginia, explaining his plan of bat-
tle, and his expectancy of General Caswell of the North
Carolina militia and Colonel Campbell with the Virginia
Ttegulars ; and upon their arrival he expected to "dispose
of the army in such a manner as, at least, to encumber
the enemy with a number of wounded men." In General
Greene's correspondence he refers to General Pickens 7
command of North Carolinians as troops "on whose ser-
vices he could depend on from day to day. 77 Johnson,
who adopts the Virginia disparagement of the North Car-
olina militia, in speaking of the battle of Hobkirk's Hill,
which took place on the 25th day of April, more than a
month after the Battle of Guilford, says: "The only mili-
tia force then with the army consisted of 254 North Caro-
linians; 150 of these, under Colonel Read, had joined
Greene soon after he crossed the Dan, and had faithfully
adhered to him from that time. 77 These men were in the
Battle of Guilford.
There were 1,640 North Carolina troops in the Battle
of Guilford. These were militia and volunteers whose
names are not mentioned on the muster rolls. They obeyed
the orders of General Greene, discharged two volleys at
the bayonet charge of the English, doing great slaughter,
and then retreated as General Greene had ordered. These
facts are woll established, while it is as well established
that a militia company commanded by Lee left the field
without orders from General Greene. (See Schenck 7 &
North Carolina, 1T0-S1.)
82 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
An eye like Mars,
To threaten and command.
FEW MEN have lived in North Carolina of more con-
spicuous natural endowments than John Stanly, of New
Bern, who was disabled for many years by a stroke of
paralysis while speaking on the floor of the House of
Commons of North Carolina. That was in 1825, and he
died in 1834.
In the obituary notice of Stanly, written by his great
rival at the bar in North Carolina, William Gaston, gives
a graphic account of the sad close of the career of one of
the most gifted men that North Carolina has ever pro-
duced. He was for many years a member of the Legis-
lature of North Carolina, and by his aggressive and out-
spoken vehemence and sarcasm, he held the rod over that
Mr. Stanly was especially an Eastern man, and he held
a rod pickled in his sarcasm over the Western North Car-
clina delegation in the Legislature of North Carolina.
He kept them all completely "hacked," until Bartlett
Yancey, of Caswell County, a fearless, fiery and impetuous
speaker, came on the stage as a Representative in the Leg-
As a lawyer, Mr. Stanly held the highest rank in the
State, but he was more noted as -an advocate before the
jury than as a jurist, and his forte of sarcasm and invec-
tive gave him great power.
The misfortune of his life was his killing Governor
Speight in a duel. The dispute between Speight and
Stanly arose from some political controversy, and Stanly
was challenged by Governor Speight to mortal combat.
The challenge was accepted and the arrangements made
for the meeting. The hostile meeting took place on the
suburbs of the town of New Bern. They stood back to
back at ten paces apart, and wheeled and fired when the
JOHN STANLY. 83
word was given. The town turned out en masse. Several
ineffectual shots were exchanged. There were propositions
ma<lc for an amicable settlement, but Speight was obsti-
nate, and refused all propositions for settlement At
length Stanly aimed the fatal shot and Speight fell, mor-
tally wounded. Speight was an old and distinguished
man, and had befriended Stanly in his early manhood.
Jlis death was a. blow to the happiness of Stanly, from
which he never entirely recovered.
M r. Stanly was a man of great resource in emergency.
An incident of his readiness and adroitness in legislation
is given by his contemporaries in the Legislature. Gen-
eral Lafayette visited the United States from France in
1825. He was the guest of the country, and the honors
that were paid to him were an outpouring of gratitude
for his services in achieving our independence, lie came
to Xorth Carolina during his journey, and the leading
members of the Legislature were anxious for an appro-
priation from the State Treasury to defray the expenses
of his visit to Xorth Carolina. There was some opposi-
tion to the appropriation from some parsimonious mem-
bers. The friends of the bill thought it would pass if the
ayes and nays were not called. The vote on the final
passage was at hand. The stillness of death pervaded the
Assembly. Stanly was in the chair as Speaker. When
about to put the question, a western member in homespun
ii-arb arose and said : "Mr. Speaker, I call for the ayes and
Bays." The house was dumb, and an awful stillness pre-
vailed. Stanly called Iredell, of Edenton, to the chair,
and ri.sinu, cast his "cerulean" eye over the Assembly,
and said: "Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his
motion. I, too, desire to put every member on record,
so that if any one votes against this bill he may be gibbeted
I'iirh up on the pillory of infamy." Every man voted
84 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
GASTON AT THE UNIVERSITY COMMENCE-
MENT OF 1832.
A proud day.
THE address of William Gaston at the University of
North Carolina at the Commencement of 1832 was an
event in the literary history of North Carolina. Gaston's
Address at the University, Choate's Eulogy on Daniel
Webster at Dartmouth College, and Grady's Address at
Boston, were the three greatest rostrum addresses of the
nineteenth century, so far as we have heard or read. Gas-
ton's address was the grandest of them all, and no other
of them would have won from their audience a rapture
that rose above demonstrative applause, as Gaston's did.
When Gaston came to the University to deliver the an-
nual address before the Dialectic and Philanthropic Socie-
ties, by invitation of the latter Society, of which he was
an honorary member, he was on the high middle ground
of life, being 53 years old. He had won fame in Con-
gress arid in the General Assembly of North Carolina. He
had a State and a National reputation, and when the Phi.'s
were enabled by the abrogation of an agreement which had
existed to invite only regular members of the two Socie-
ties to deliver the annual address, it was regarded as a
great triumph over the Di.'s, as it was thought that they
did not have an equal to Gaston on their roll of member-
ship, and he was already regarded as the Commencement
The appointment of Gaston drew a large concourse of
visitors from all parts of the State ; the largest, it was said,
that ever attended a Commencement before, especially
of the prominent and distinguished men of the State.
Gaston came during the Commencement exercises, a day
or two before the delivery of the address. He was the
guest of Dr. Caldwell, the President of the University.
He became at once the cynosure of all eyes. His man-
ner was grave, courteous and unostentatious. He was
G ASTON AT THE UNIVERSITY COMMENCEMENT. 85
aliable with dignity and companionable without familiar-
ity, lie visited the libraries occasionally, and sometimes
walked with .Dr. Caldwell to his astronomical observatory,
and we once saw him with the austere and dignified Pres-
ident, who was a man somewhat in stature like him
who climbed the sycamore tree to see Christ, and Gaston
of large and imposing person, and the thought flitted
through our mind that "Bolus" looked smaller by the
As the big day of the .Commencement came, expecta-
tion grew as the time approached. The June day was
auspicious. The students were arrayed in their best.
All the arrangements had been made. Tom Ashe, of
Wilmington, had been selected by the Phi. Society to walk
rn one side of Gaston in the procession to Person Hall,
where he was to speak, and Thomas L. Clingman, selected
by the Di. Society, on the other. With some difficulty,
we procured a scholar's black silk gown large enough for
Gaston to wear.
The procession was formed at the old South Building.
The Richmond Cornet Band was in front, Next came
Gaston, the orator, costumed in a black silk gown. On
one side of him was Tom Ashe, with the trained step of
an English grenadier, with the proud and grand visage that
bespoke his lineage. On the other side was Clino-man,
awkward and gawky as a plowman's prentice boy, but with
a brain that Webster and Cuvier might have envied. Next
to them came the Trustees of the University, marching
two and two. Next the Faculty, then the student body,
and last the concourse of visitors.
The procession started from the "Old South," right-
flanked to the "Old East," and, when opposite Person
Hall, wheeled on the left and faced for the Hall, the band,
meanwhile. Mowing their spirit-stirring airs "like mad."
The head of the column reached the threshhold of
ihe old chapel, which, in a thousand years, w r ill be a
-lirinp for literary pilgrims. There was then and there
n momentary pause. Then Gaston, with the bearing of
86 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
old John Kemble, entered on the left and right of him
Ashe and Clingman; Ashe with a military bearing
that would have done honor to the hero of a thousand
battles, Clingman throwing out his legs right and left like
he was stiff-kneed, and looking for all the world like he
thought all the crowd was looking at him, and that Gas-
ton and Ashe were mere small kites dangling _at his tail,
to give pomp to his pageantry. But "old Billy" had the
They marched to the rostrum, and as they were taking
their seats near a little table on which Gaston was about
placing Ids manuscript, Clingman, in moving his awkward
legs, knocked the table over, and but for A she's readiness,
the table, and perhaps Gaston himself, would have gone
sprawling on the floor below.
The Trustees followed, and with the Faculty, headed by
u old Bolus/' took their seats on the rostrum like ''potent,
grave and reverend seignors." The Seniors of the grad-
uating class followed and took their accustomed seats, that
they were about to vacate forever for the rosy drama of
life. Then the Juniors, then the Sophs., and lastly the
Fresh., proudest of them all, because they were incipient
Sophs, and had thrown off the Freshman's toga.
The Fresh, had hardly taken their accustomed seats in
the chapel when the crowd of visitors broke ranks, as if
in. panic, all pressing forward in eager haste to get seats
in the chapel. It was a madding crowd, heaving and
setting in a frantic mass that beggars description. Bea-
vers were lifted above the crowd of surging humanity.
Beavers were crushed. Men were lifted from their feet
and borne along by the struggling and compact mass. They
were an hour pushing, tussling, heaving and setting to get
in and get seats. Tears of perspiration ran down their
ragged cheeks, and passion was painted on every linea-
ment of that heaving mob. While they were heaving
near the door, we, a Freshman, full of admiration for
greatness, crept up to a standing place in the aisle near the
speaker, and waited there, standing within ten feet of
G ASTON AT THE UNIVERSITY COMMENCEMENT. 87
At length the mob subsided and got standing places,
iind there was a great calm. The hall was jammed and
mm i ti !<<!. Jack Ha ugh ton, of Tyrrell, a Senior friend,
and we, stood near together, arid gave the speech a rapt
attention during the hour and twenty minutes of its de-
It was a grand effort, the grandest that Gaston ever
m,id< -, and should now be in the hands of every school
IMA and every man of generous aspirations in the State.
Jt should go down the generations as the companion piece
<ii' his State anthem "The Old Xorth State." It should
be taught in our schools. It should be committed to mem-
cry in classes. It should be declaimed on our school
bikinis. It should be adopted as a classic in our lessons of
elocution. It would make us better boys, better men, bet-
ter scholars, more accomplished gentlemen.
THE LAST OF THE ROMANS.
The Grand Old Man.
MR. JuKFEKsoy said of Nathaniel Macon that he was
the last of the Romans. John Randolph said in his will,
he was the wisest man he had ever known. Mr. Benton
speaks of him, in his "Thirty Years in the Senate," as his
counsellor and friend in public life. Mr. Macon has
passed into history as one of the purest and most incorrup-
tible statesmen that has ever been on the stage of public
life in these United States. He was a type of the old
North Carolina character in the earlier and better days of
the State. He was plain, straightforward and had great
simplicity of character. His simplicity amounted to ec-
centricity. He was morally and physically courageous.
He drew his knife to defend Mr. Randolph from personal
assault in a theatre in Philadelphia. Against the unani-
mous sentiment of Congress and the people, he refused to
vote for an appropriation in Congress to pay the traveling
expenses of General Lafayette, when he visited this coun-
try in 1826 as the guest of the Nation. He was simple
in his manners, ways, conversation and deportment. He
wished his family and grandchildren to call him "Mee-
kins," insisting that Macon was called Meekins by the
old people, and they called him so until one of his devil
boys, Bob, said to him at his table, "Grandpa Meekins,
will you have some of the beekins" (bacon). He was
elected to the General Assembly of North Carolina from
Warren County when he was a private in the Revolution-
ary Army, with a musket on his shoulder. When his elec-
tion was announced to him, he told the messenger that
they meant somebody else, and refused the office until its
f-ceentanee was nrsyed upon him by Governor Ca swell.
When he came to "Raleigh in 1835 as a member of the Con-
vention, Miss Betsy Gaddis, who kept a boarding-house
for members of the Assembly, and with whom he had
boarded when a vonns: man in the Assembly, called to see
THE LAST OF THE ROMANS. 89
him and embraced him. Mr. Macon did not know her at
first, but after awhile he said that he remembered her,
that "she made the best grog he ever drank." In the
Convention of 1835, in a lull in the debate on the Catholic
disability clause of the old Constitution, he called Jo
Khoullac, of Bertie, to the chair, and addressed the body
on the subject. The danger of the Roman Catholic relig-
ion to our secular institutions had been much mentioned.
Mr. Macon favored the removal of the disability, and
among other things said, with <>Teat simplicity : "Gentle-
men say they fear the Catholics will swallow up our lib-
erties. There is some danger of it, but there's more dan-
ger of a mouse swallowing a buffalo ;" and then he added,
"I am not a member of any church, but I sometimes
attend the Baptist and feel pretty sure the Baptists would
swallow them before they swallowed our liberties."
We are probably no& the only living North Carolinian
v.-ho has a distinct impression of Mr. Macon's personality,
and we are often applied to for information about him.
We saw him once in 1831, when a boy of fifteen, in War-
renton at a Fourth-of-Jul^ banquet. Mr. Macon was
then about eighty, and was evidently the "big dog in the
pit" and a favorite of the people. He talked familiarly
with anv and everybody. He had on a chip hat and home-
spun plain clothes, with a long vest that covered his abdo-
men. They called him "Uncle Nat." Some one asked
him where he got his hat from. He replied that his over-
seer's wife made it for him.
We next saw him for ten consecutive days as presiding
officer of the Convention of 1835. He was then about
eighty-three, armarently vigorous and having but little
the marks of senility. His hair was short cut, not fleecy
white, but a light sandy srrav. He was apparently about
5 feet 8 inches in height; weight apparent! v about 165;
complexion blonde, inclined to rosy. Dress, a brownv
white suit of linen thread of apparently domestic manu-
facture. His eyes were gray, inclined to blue. He was
stocky built; his eye was not dim, and his natural force
90 GRANDFATHER'S TALKS.
\\ as Avell preserved. He was clean shaved. He was always
in his place, and did not vacate his place but once in the
ten days we attended the Convention in the Presbyterian
church, in lialeigh, and that was during the debate on the
thirty-second article of the old Constitution, above re-
BETSY DOWDY'S RIDE.
HISTORICAL TRADITIONS OF THE BATTLE AT .GREAT BRIDGE.
" O. woman, timid as a child.
When skies are bright, serene and mild:
Let evil come, with angry brow,
A lion-hearted hero thou."
THE winter of 1775 was a dark and gloomy time for
the Revolutionary patriots of North Carolina. Governor
Try on had left his "palace" in New Bern, secretly and
hurriedly had taken refuge on board the armed schooner
"Cruizer," and was stationed at the mouth of the Cape
Fear River, issuing orders, fortifying the Tory feeling
in the. Colony, and inciting the slaves to servile insurrec-
tion. Lord Dunmore had been driven from Williams-
burg, Va. ? by popular indignation, and had gone down to
Norfolk and intrenched himself there. From this posi-
tion he was annoying the adjacent sections of Virginia
by hostile raids, and was expected to make incursions into
the adjacent sections of Carolina. The death of John
Harvey, of Perquimans County, in June, 1775, had cast
a gloom over the Polony, and especially over the northeast-
ern counties, where his patriotism and -manly virtues were
best known. But the fires of liberty were kept burning.
Dunmore, with a few regulars who had accompanied him
in his flight from Williamsburg, Va., had ravaged Suf-
folk and some other places, and w r as preparing: to extend
his ravages to the Albemarle section of Carolina. Our
leading men were on the alert, and couriers were keeping
BETSY DOWDY'S RIDE. 93
them in close touch. John Harvey, of Perquimans, had
joined his fathers across the great divide, but his mantle
bad fallen upon his kinsman and connection by marriage,
Gen. William Skinner, of Yeopim Creek, and he was
watching every movement of Dunmore. Col. Isaac Greg-
ory, of Camden, was hurrying with a small militia force
to join our Col. Kobert Howe and meet the enemy at
Great Bridge, in Virginia. Tom Benbury, of Chowan,
then Speaker of the lower house of the General Assembly.,
had left his luxurious home at "Benbury Hall," that
overlooked Albemarle Sound, and was hurrying to join the
troops under Howe, with commissary stores. Excitement
ran high, and the expected invasion of the Albemarle
counties, and the probable collision at Great Bridge, where
Dunmore was intrenched, was the universal subject of con-
versation. Howe was pushing by forced marches to the aid
of Virginia with some regulars and the Hertford County
militia under Colonel Wynns of that county. Public
expectation was on tiptoe.
Joe Dowdy and old man Sammy Jarvis lived on the
"banks" opposite to Knott's Island. They were near
neighbors and intimate friends. Early in December,
1775, Jarvis went over to the "main" to hear the news
of Colonel Howe's movement toward Great Bridge.
When he returned home, late in the evening, he was greatly
excited. He was impressed with the dangerous situation
of the dwellers by the sea. He was constantly saying,
"Dunmore and them blamed Britishers will come down
the coast from Norfolk and steal all our 'banks' stock
and burn our houses, dine 'em." After a short rest and
a hasty bite of supper, old man Jarvis went over to
Dowdy's to tell him the news.
Dowdy was a wrecker for the money that was in it, and
a fisher for the food that was in it. He was always
watching the sea. He was a devout man, always prayed
for the safetv of the poor sailor who was exposed to the
perils of the deep, and always closed with a silent suppli-
cation that if there should be a wreck, it might be on the
94 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Currituck beach. He had -nrosnered in the business of
g wrecker, had saved many lives and much wreckage and
money. His visible stx>re of chattels was beef cattle and
banker ponies. He herded them bv the hundreds.
Uncle Sammy came in without ceremony and was cor-
dially received. "Well, Uncle Sammv," said Dowdy,
"what are the news ; tell us all." "Well, Joseph/ 7 said
Jarvis, "things is fogerty. Gregory, Colonel Isaac, is
hurrying up his Camden milish to join Howe, and Tom
Benbury, of Chowan, is pushin"* on his wagons of com-
missaries. If they don't reach Great Bridge in time to
bear a hand in the fight, they'll hurry on to N"orfolk and
drive Dunmore out of the old town. But if Dunmore
beats our folks at Great Bridge then our goose is cooked,
and our property is all gone, all the gold and goods saved
in our Jiard life-work, and all our cattle and marsh po-
nies.' 7 "You don't tell me," said Dowdy. "Yes, it's so,
just as sure as 'old Tom.' The only thing that can save
us is General Skinner, of Perquimans, and the militia,
and he is too far away, We can't get word to him in
time." As Jarvis said these words slowly and with em-
phasis, Betsy Dowdy, Joe Dowdy's young and pretty
daughter, who was present with the family, said : "Uncle
Sammy, do you say the British will come and steal all our
ponies ?" "Yes," said he. She replied : "I'd knock 'em
in the head with a conch shell first." Betsy soon left the
room. She went to the herding pen, and Black Bess was
not there. She then went to the marsh and called aloud,
"Bess ! Bessie ! Black Beauty !" The pretty pony heard
the old familiar voice and came to the call. Betsy took
her by her silken mane, led her to the shelter, went into the
house, brought out a blanket and also a small pouch of
coin. She placed the blanket on the round back of the
pony, sprang into the soft seat and galloped over the hills
and far away on her perilous journey. Down the beach
she went, Black Bess doine her accustomed work. She
reached the point opposite Church's Island, dashed into
the shallow ford of Currituck Sound and reached the
BETSY DOWDY'S RIDE.
thore of the island. On they sped, Black Bess gaining
new impulse from every kind and gentle worrl of Betsy.
The wonderful endurance of the banker pony nevei
failed, and Black Bess needed no spur but the cheer-
ing word of her rider. "Bessie, pretty Bess; my
iI;ick, sleek beauty, the British thieves shan't have you.
\\V are going after General Skinner and his milish.
They'll beat 'em off of you." She almost sanor to the
docile pony as they went on their journey. Through the
divide, on through Camden, the twinkling stars her only
light, over Gid. Lamb's old ferry, into Pasquotank by the
k '.Yarrows" (now Elizabeth City), to Hartsford, up the
highlands of Perquimans, on to Yeopim Creek, and Gen-
eral Skinner's hospitable home was reached. The morn-
ing sun was gilding the tree tops when she entered the
gate. She was hospitably welcomed, and when she briefly
told the story of her coming, cordial kindness followed.
The General's daughters, the toast of the Albemarle,
Dolly, Penelope and Lavinia, made her at home. He
listened to her tale of danger and promised assistance.
Midday came, and with it Betsy's kind farewell. Fil-
ial duty bade her, and she hied her home. As she neared
her sea-girt shore the notes of victory were in the air.
"They are beaten, beaten, beaten, they are beaten at Great
Bridge." The reports materialized as she went. The
battle at Great Bridge had been fought and won. Howe
had assumed command of the Virginia and Carolina
troops upon his arrival, and was in hot pursuit of Dun-
more toward Norfolk, \vhere, after a short resistance,
Norfolk was evacuated by the British troops, who sought
refuge on board their ships, and,- after a few cannon
shot into the town, they departed for parts unknown.
Then, and long after, by bivouac and camp fire and in
patriotic homes was told the story of Betsy Dowdy's
96 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT SHOCCO JONES.
Great wit to madness nearly is allied,
And thin partitions do the bounds divide.
LEAVING out the early chronicle of Lawson, we have
had four formal histories of North Carolina, Lawson's be-
ing an account of his journey ings through the country,
and the history written by Joseph Seawell Jones, of War-
ren. County, North Carolina, being called " Jones' De-
fence of North Carolina." "Shocco" nvas a pseudonym,
adopted probably because he was born near Shocco Springs,
in Warren County, N. C., a place of fashionable resort
then, and for some years after. Jones was a young man,
full ^of enthusiasm, with an intellect of brilliant rather
than substantial type, with eccentricity on the border line
of insanity, sometimes considered the genuine article,
and with a love of the sensational, which was the ruling
passion of his soul. With the addition of that passion by
which Wolsey and the a angels fell," you have a pen pic-
ture of a North Carolinian of the olden times, who filled
a large space in the Dublic eye of the State, and whose
sad history was a romance and a failure.
"Jones' Defence of North Carolina" was a develop-
ment of the period. Dr. Williamson's History of North
Carolina had been a failure as a history and not a success
as a medical disquisition upon the fevers of Eastern
Xavier Martin's History succeeded Williamson's, and
but for his removal from the State in the first years of
the nineteenth century, and the subsequent loss of his his-
torical materials, his history would have supplied a great
Then came a long interval* of quiescence about the State
history, and its first revival was by the publication of
some accounts referring to the Mecklenburg Declaration.
It attracted considerable attention in the State, and the
subject was given a new interest by the publication of a
correspondence between ex-Presidents John Adams and
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT SHOCCO JONES. 97
Tin nnas Jefferson, in which correspondence Mr. Jefferson
had charged that the Mecklenburg Declaration was a
Ira iid, and in connection with it had made some unjust im-
putations upon the patriotism and loyalty of the North
Carolina representatives in the Congress of the Revolu-
tion. It excited a -furor in the State. It touched our
patriotism at the nerve centre. In this tide of popular
sentiment of Xorth Carolina, "Shocco" Jones was thrown
upon the top of the wave of public indignation. He was
lV.>hionably conneete<|, an habitue of the elite society of
Shoceo Springs, a native of the historic county of War-
ren, vomit:, ardent and aggressive, and with an individual-
ity of the most eccentric character. Yolnhle to a degree,
liis progress was not handicapped by modesty. 'Hie man
and the occasion mot. Jones had literary instincts, am-
bition, culture to some extent, and surely Mr. Jefferson
Mas an antagonist worthy of his steel. lie had the social
fcelinir inordinately, travelled much, kne\v everybody, and
wished to know everybody else, and his purpose to launch
a <haft ai the memory of the Sage of Monticello became
widely known, lie became a pet of the distinguished
men in Xorth Carolina, and men w r hose lineage ran back
t< the foundation of the State were fired by his patriotic
enthusiasm, and made him the custodian of their valuable
famil\ records, which he had no talent for preserving. It
wafl proclaimed that he would prove that Mr. Jefferson
?aa i plagiarist and that be had the resolutions of Meck-
lenburti- County on bis table when he wrote the National
Declaration of Independence.
"Jones' Defeiici" appeared, and it added fresh fuel to
the flame of patriotism. It did not give entire satisfaction
to the mature judgment of the State. Some said it was
inaccurate in statement, and others that it was too "efflo-
n -cent in diction/' but it fired the youthful mind and was
the basis of many a colic-. <--ay and declamation.
i i : i;s > \ A i. u K ELECTION s.
About the time that the "Defence" made its appearance,
or while in the throes of expectancy, we were a Freshman
98 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
or Sophomore at the University, and the news spread
through the College that "Shocco" Jones was in the vil-
lage and had come through the campus riding upon the
shoulders of a stalwart negro. We were the librarian of
the Philanthropic Society and on duty when the news
reached us. Soon after, there came into the Library Hall
a man, swarthy, tall, long-haired, wild-eyed, who intro-
duced himself as Jo. Seawell Jones, of Shocco. He was
attended by several students. The conversation was led
by Mr. Jones, and soon it fell into the subject of his "De-
fence of North Carolina." His whole soul seemed ab-
sorbed in the subject. He was unsparing in his denuncia-
tions of Mr. Jefferson. He stated that he was then en-
gaged in preparing a "Picturesque History of North Caro-
lina/' to follow the "Defence of North Carolina."
We suppose now that he meant an "Illustrated His-
tory of North Carolina," as he casually referred to
some of the historic scenes on Roanoke Island.
We neither saw nor heard any more of "Shocco"
Jones, except occasional mention of his being in Wash-
ington, and his prominence in society circles, until about
1836. Meanwhile his "Defence of North Carolina" had
been generally read, and it had various comments. It
became a pyre at which the torch of patriotism was fired.
About 1836 it was reported in North Carolina that
" Shocco" Jones had been involved in an angry personal
dispute in Rhode Island, with a citizen of that State, about
the "Revolutionary history of North Carolina, which had
resulted in a challenge from Jones to the field of honor.
The challenge was said to have been accepted, and the
fight was to come off at an early date. In a short time
came a proclamation from the Governor of Rhode Island,
forbidding the violation of the peace within the bounds of
Rhode Island. A counter proclamation was promptly
issued by Jones, in which he intimated that the fight could
be had across the little State of Rhode Island without vio-
la tin<r its laws. Meanwhile the public mind of North
Carolina was on the qui vive of expectancy.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT SHOCCO JONES. 99
While the public interest was at its height, a Scotch
schoolmaster of the town of Edenton, named McLochlin,
raw, credulous, sympathizing, came from Norfolk, Va.,
by the canal-stage route to his home in Edenton. The
stage stopped at the "Half-Way House" for dinner. While
McLochlin was at dinner, there came from an inside door
a man, wild-looking, haggard, nervous, abstracted, and
took a seat beside him. He confided to McLochlin's cred-
ulous ear the story of the fatal duel he had just fought on
the Virginia line, where he had killed his adversary, and
all for North Carolina. He said he was pursued by the
officers of the law, showed him a handkerchief saturated
with blood with which he had staunched the blood of his
dying adversary, begged his help in this time of his great-
est need, asked McLochlin if there was any one in Edenton
who would shelter a man who had shed the blood of his
enemy for North Carolina. Jones took his new friend to
a private room, where he opened the tale of the tragedy.
After long deliberation, the name of Hugh Collins was
suggested as the friend of the distressed. Oh, yes ! Jones
knew him well. Had met him in Washington society
circles. The very man !
It was arranged that McLochlin should go on to Eden-
ton, go at once to Hugh Collins, who was then fishing a
large seine at the old Sandy Point fishery, and get him to
meet Jones at the arrival of the stage in Edenton next
day. McLochlin hied him home. Jones remained in
Jones came to Edenton next day. Collins was in wait-
ing. Damon and Pythias were not more cordial than
"Hugh" and "Shoe." A carriage was in waiting. Both
were hurried in and off, and with rapid speed they were
taken to the safe retreat of Sandy Point beach. When
they arrived, Jones, for greater safety, asked Collins to
put out pickets to provide against surprise and to keep his
private yacht manned with four stalwart oarsmen, ready
at a moment's notice to take Jones to the southern shore
of Albemarle Sound. "Hugh," full of the responsibility
ioo GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
of his great charge, had everything ready as requested.
The oarsmen never left their rowlocks. After a few days
Jones came out from hiding, and for ten days no man in
North Carolina has been more lionized, petted and feasted.
Jack Leary, a veteran wealthy seine fisherman, banqueted
him with great and bounteous honor. Thomas Benbury,
ihe oldest fisherman on the sound, claimed him as his
honored guest. Others followed. If Jones had asked for
$100,000, we believe he could have had an honored check
for it in half an hour.
After some time spent in this round of festivity and
honor, Jones went to Mississippi, where he hobnobbed
with Sargent S. Prentis, "whom he had introduced into
good society at Washington." Finally, in the wilds of
Texas, in the days of the old Texan Avars with Mexico, he
died, a hermit, alone, deserted, unknown with all his
eccentricities, a patriot, a lover of his old home, having
done some good in his day and generation, and left a name
among its historians.
GOVERNOR JOHN M. MOREHEAD. IOI
GOVERNOR JOHN M. MOREHEAD.
Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls
GOVERNOR MOREHEAD, of Greensboro, was a typical,
iep resell tative Xorth Carolinian. He was poised, con-
M'rvative, unpretentious and plain. Large in person, dig-
nified in bearing, courteous in deportment, he had the
* guinea stamp" of nature's nobility. We imagine he
\\;is not a man of early educational advantages, and we
think lie was not an alumnus of the University. We re-
ceived that impression from hearing his inaugural address
Bl ( iovernor in the capitol at Raleigh, after his election over
i. Romulus M. Saunders in the famous Harrison cam-
of 1840. We \tere a younger man then than now,
thought the whole educational duty of man was to know
the proper construction of a grammatical sentence and to
explain the difference between u done" and "did," and Gov-
ernor Morehead, in his inaugural address, rose above the
littleness of tweedledum and tweedledee. It was an able
speech, strong, patriotic and masterful, but not elegant.
We did not then make allowance for the school of the
Miipnimi with General Saunders, from which he had
reeently emerged, and which had taught him that strength
was stronger than elegance. General Saunders was the
roughest of rough diamonds, and his phillipics were just
on the temperate side of the "cuss" belt.
Tn the campaign of 1840, Morehead was the Whig can-
didate, and Saunders the Democratic, and in Edenton,
l'< fore u cultured audience of ladies and gentlemen, there
\\ ;is a dramatic scene in the court-house, in which More-
head was in the act of rebaptising Saunders with a huge
pi tclier of water, in response to his inelegant language
of vituperation, and would have accomplished it but for
the timely interposition of friends who were sitting on
the platform with them.
102 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Governor Morehead was a patriotic and influential cit-
izen of North Carolina. His judgment was clear and
bis convictions courageous. His heart always beat true to
the State and all its interests. He left a name of highest
character and usefulness, at the mention of which our
hearts have a warmer heart-beat of pride and gratitude.
While Governor Morehead was in active life, the popu-
lar cry and aspiration of all the leaders of thought in
North Carolina was the building of a railroad running
from the mountains to the seaboard of North Carolina
at Beaufort harbor. The idea was first started by Dr. Jo-
seph Caldwell about the year 1824.
The Doctor had travelled in Europe in the interest of
the University in that year, and had witnessed the origin
of railroad construction. He was a cold, cool, calculating
man, and weighed things in icy scales before he endorsed
them. He saw the beginning of the railroad era, saw the
beginning of them in practical operation, and he came
home thoroughly aroused to their great value in the devel-
opment of new countries, and especially helpful to North
Over the name of "Carleton," he published in the Ra-
leigh Register and other State papers a series of railroad
articles, urging the importance of a road running through
the State from west to east and terminating at Beaufort
harbor. The ablest and most influential leaders of the
State welcomed the idea, took hold of it in a half-hearted
way, talked about and spoke in public about it. It was
the dream of a generation. But nothing of a practical
character was done about it for many years.
The honor of giving a practical impulse to that patri-
otic State enterprise is due to William S. Ashe, of the dis-
tinguished Ashe family of Wilmington, who introduced
in the Senate of North Carolina a bill chartering the
North Carolina "Railroad and giving State aid to the
amount of two millions to that great object. This bill
passed both houses of the General Assembly, and Governor
Morehead then threw his whole energy into accomplish-
GOVERNOR JOHN M. MOREHEAD. 103
ing the work, building it from Charlotte to Goldsboro.
Later, Governor Morehead applied himself to giving full
effect to Dr. Caldwell's idea of connecting the mountains
and the sea.
What had long been the dream of Carolina's most dis-
tinguished and patriotic sons became a reality to him.
The people looked to him as the great leader of public
thought in practical matters. The people listened to him
gladly, and his counsels fell upon good ground and pro-
duced its fruits. He rode down the contemplated road,
worked up an enthusiasm that it had never known before,
planted in the minds of the population along the route
new seeds for contemplation that grew up, and in time
Governor Morehead saw his work fully under way, and
saw a new town started in Beaufort harbor that bore his
name and was consecrated to his memory.
The good work inaugurated by our great Governor, and
partly accomplished by him, has. never yet emptied into
the lap of Xorth Carolina the rich fruits which at first
were so confidently predicted; but in the cycles of time,
in which a thousand years are as but a day, the time will
come when a united North Carolina, with universal ac-
claim, will rise up as one man to bless anew the revered
name of John M. Morehead.
104 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
AN EVENING WITH WILLIAM GASTON.
His life was gentle ; and the elements
So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up,
And say to all the world, This was a man.
MATURED greatness has no feature more beautiful, and
no ornament, more attractive and graceful, than a conde-
scending and amiable attention to youth. It is the Cor-
inthian column of the Gothic temple, inviting by its
graceful proportions the approach of its. youthful votary
in the flush of enthusiastic devotion. Without it, great-
ness is less great, and learning less comely ; Hercules with
his club, inspiring awe, but repelling affection. "Like
some old tower dimly seen by starlight, it leaves the im-
pression of power akin to the terrific and sublime; but
wants the mild and softening light of this absent grace to
make it lovely to the contemplation and dear to the heart."
Trusting to your defense from the charge of egotism,
I Avill venture to incur the imputation by relating an in-
cident connected with William Gaston, illustrative of his
genial and kindly nature, which occurred at an early
period of my life, when I had but recently divested my
youthful habiliments, and had scarcely yet accommodated
myself with becoming dignity to the toga virilis of Ameri-
'Not very long after the Convention of 1835, I chanced
to visit the city of Raleigh while the Supreme Court was
in session in company with a young friend; and being
detained longer than we had anticipated, I determined, if
a suitable occasion presented, to turn the detention to
account by satisfying what had long been a wish ungrat-
ified, of forming the personal acquaintance of William
When a mere boy I had received a kind of parenthet-
ical introduction to the great man, during a 'moment of
leisure, while he was engaged in the trial of some cause
before the Supreme Court, of which he was then an
AN EVENING WITH WILLIAM G ASTON. 105
attorney ; but 1 did not feel justified in renewing my
acquaintance, after the lapse of several years, upon the
basis of such an impromptu introduction.
As my youth ripened into manhood, this ungratified
wish had grown until it had become, indeed, an ardent
passion of niy heart. It was natural.
It had been my good fortune to witness the exhibition
of his wondrous power in some of its sharpest intellectual
conflicts, and its most signal intellectual triumphs ; to wit-
ness it at that most impressible period of life when the
heart, alive to every sympathy, yields its spontaneous
homage to the magic mastery of genius.
When, on my way to college, an aspirant to the honors
of Freshmanship, I tarried a little in Raleigh ; not as at
Jericho, "until my beard should grow," for that would have
detained me too long but in order to keep company
with a party of "gay f r oung fellows" who were going up
the same way I was, and who persuaded rne to wait and
join them and have a nice time altogether.
The Legislature was in session. All Raleigh was aflame.
Legislative combinations had been formed, and antagonis-
tic elements had been moulded into a homogeneous mass
to remove the capitol and rob her of her birthright.
For want of something to do, I spent much of my
time in the lobby of the Governor's house, then used as
a temporary legislative hall, in consequence of the destruc-
tion of the capitol by fire. It was then and there I first
observed William Gaston. He was the centre of general at-
tention, the cynosure of all eyes. So distinct is my recol-
lection of him, I can see him now, as it were yesterday,
sitting in front, a little to the left of the Speaker's chair,
n <rrand old man, just touching the verge of venerable
ago, with finely chiseled, classic features, calm, contempla-
tivc thoughtful brow, and manly person; the scholarly
stoop increasing rather than marring the effect of the
Personation of intellectual intelligence.
"A combination, and a form, indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man."
io6 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
I heard both his speeches upon the "appropriation bill,"
as it was then called ; the bill which raised the question of
the removal of the seat of government from Kaleigh. His
second speech was a master-piece of brilliant, elaborate,
finished oratory. It was the first great speech to which
I had ever listened, and I was borne on the top of the tide
of admiration with which it was universally received.
That speech, unfortunately, is not now preserved, and its
reputation rests upon the insecure traditions of those who
are fast passing away.
His first speech was a ruse de guerre; what, in the
language of Isaac Walton, would be -"a bait for a nibbler" ;
in fowling phrase, "a coy duck" ; in the language of
the "ring," a "feint," to be followed by a stunning blow.
It was a good speech, not remarkable; going just far
enough, and not too far, for its purpose ; sometimes leav-
ing a "castle exposed," and then carrying the war barely
far enough to say "check your queen."
There sat his antagonist, a dangerous man, an adver-
sary not to be trifled with, who, by the preconcerted ar-
rangement of his party friends, was the champion who
was not to expend his ammunition upon small birds, but
to reserve his fire for the larger game.
" His hook was baited with a dragon's tail,
He sat upon a rock and bobbed for whale."
According to legislative etiquette, it was said that Gas-
ton was entitled to reply to this keen sportsman ; why, I
do not know, not being learned in parliamentary dialectics ;
but it was apparent that his antagonist was determined
not to move until Gaston showed his hand.
After the conclusion of Gaston's first speech, the mem-
ber from Fayetteville proceeded to his work with the con-
summate skill of an accomplished dialectician, using with
admirable dexterity all the weapons of his well-furnished
armory, dissecting and eviscerating his opponent, to the
infinite satisfaction of himself and his friends. But Gas-
AN EVENING WITH WILLIAM GASTON. 1 07
ton's rejoinder gave him a Koland for his Oliver, and
made Kaleigh the permanent seat of government of North
1 next saw William Gaston about a year later upon the
literary rostrum, and heard his admirable address to the
graduating class at the University ; an address which has
become a recognized standard of its class of literature,
and which, apart from its wise and salutary counsel, may
be studied to advantage by those who wish to acquire "an
English style, familiar but not coarse, elegant but not
I next heard him, a few years later, upon perhaps the
most memorable occasion of his life. It was in the
Convention of 1835, in the debate upon what is known
as the "thirty-second article." That discussion enlisted
not only his patriotic, but his most earnest personal sym-
pathies. One of the 'objects for which the Convention
had been called was to consider the propriety of removing
this article from the Constitution of the State. Although
inoperative, it was regarded as a blur upon the charter,
an odious imputation, if not a political disfranchisement
of a meritorious class of citizens for their religious opin-
ions; and it was pointed to by the envious detractors of
Gaston, who had high office under the Constitution with
that article in it, as proof that his lust of place was
stronger than his sense of honor.
With these considerations weighing upon him, he arose
to address an assembly distinguished for wisdom, gravity
and age, and for two days bound them as with a spell by
a production which, in all that can convince the under-
standing, charm the senses or move the heart, is unsur-
passed in the annals of uninspired eloquence.
I am altogether unable to convey an idea of the im-
pression made upon my mind, then just budding into ma-
turity, by that #reat effort. "Demosthenes for the crown,"
"Cicero against Cataline," were familiar from recent
study; "Burke against Warren Hastings" had been the
delight of my boyhood ; "Webster in reply to Hayne" was
io8 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
yet ringing throughout the length and breadth of the land ;
but they had all failed to tell me what "the Old Man Elo-
quent" signified. Never till then did I know what Gray
meant when he sang,
" The applause of listening Senates to command."
Not till then did I know the gift which
" Touched Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire."
Not till then the wand which genius waves over men. It
is now more than a third of a century since my heart-
chords were swept by that master-hand ; and many a touch
from eloquent lips since then those chords have felt, but
they vibrate still with the notes of that wondrous melody,
and will vibrate ever
" till my last of lines are penned
And life's hopes, joys and sorrows at an end."
The companion of my casual visit to Raleigh, above
alluded to, was the fortunate heir of one of Gaston's old
friendships, and had received many proofs of his friendly
regard. In one of his visits during our sojourn, he ob-
served that he had a young friend with him who was a
warm admirer of his, and, if agreeable, he would be glad
to introduce him at some moment of leisure.
"Make my respects," said Gaston politely, "and I shall
be pleased to see you both at my office this evening at 8
Prompt to the time "as lovers to their vows," we pre-
sented ourselves at the appointed place, and I was formally
introduced to him whose magic power had wakened first
my youthful dream of glory.
We found there with Gaston a distinguished citizen of
the State ; a man who, under .any other circumstances and
other association, would have been a recognized great
man ; one to whom nature had been niggard of her gifts
of physical graces, but to whom an ample atonement had
AN EVENING WITH WILLIAM GASTON. 109
I. ecu made for an ungainly person by bestowing some of
her rarest intellectual gerns and imparting to them addi-
tional lustre by contrast with the rough ore in which they
hud been cast
But all greatness is comparative. He bore to Gaston
the same relation, to use the language of the smithery,
that an excellent ''striker" does to the head blacksmith.
And most opportunely for us was he there. For without
him, who would have done the striking? Without him,
the evening, instead of being to us a life-memory, would
have been a dumb show, performed by one player and
two unites. But as it was, we had a most brilliant per-
formance, a kind of duet, one playing upon "a harp of a
thousand strings/' and the other striking the triangle
with i Musical taste and judgment.
If this opportune friend was there by invitation, from
kindness to us, it was*most kind; if there by invitation
lo take part in the exercises, it was most considerate of
<ome one's reputation; if there by accident, it was most
The conversation was at first upon general topics, the
I >r<>< -codings of the Legislature, then in session; the effect
of certain measures then under consideration; the charac-
ter of its members, with occasional reference to those who
h;id been prominent in the past legislative history of the
State; tin- practical operation and effect of certain amend-
ments to tlie Constitution made by the Convention of
l^.">.~ and then hut recently adopted ; the growing; tendency
of our neople to abandon their calm, conservative charac-
ter, and to be carried away by the wild strife of political
parties, and which, at the moment, impressed me with the
idea that he was not quite up with the progressive spirit of
His style of conversation was peculiarly attractive;
< a-y, graceful, tasteful and unostentatious; sometimes
addressing himself to us and making us feel that we were
a part, though not macjnn pars, of the performance. Our
fri'iid who came so opportunely, bestowed upon us, too,
no GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
an occasional look from the corner of his eye, as if saying,
"and what are you doing here, you spalpeens ?"
From an examination of the characteristics of our own
people, and comparison of their social condition with that
of the population of some of our sister States, resulting
from the influence of long-continued strife, the conversa-
tion passed, by natural connection, to an examination of the
condition, peculiarities and institutions of those States.
Gaston had passed the preceding summer in a length-
ened tour through the Northern States and Canada, and
the conclusions at which he had arrived from personal
observation, and his description of natural scenery, were
Niagara Falls had long been a living picture to my
mind; by fancy, by personal description, and by the
painter and the poet's art I had read innumerable de-
scriptions of it; from Halleck's grand anthem (I think
it is Halleck's) to him of the shears and goose,
" Who had but one unending note,
Gods, what a place to sponge a coat ! "
But none like Gaston's had impressed my mind so forci-
bly with the grandeur of this great work of the Omnipo-
tent ; none had been so easy, so natural, so grand and yet
so simple, so like the great work itself. His graphic de-
scription impressed an animal vitality into the storied
stream, as with easy self-possession he pictured the placid
water moving smoothly on, and, just at the brink of the
precipice, making a pause, as if unexpectedlv encountering
a foe it could not conquer, and then writhing in the agony
of a moment's desperate determination before taking the
He related an incident of the effect produced upon an
untutored mind by this stupendous work of nature. He
met at the falls an old college class-mate whom he had
not seen for many years Judge Berrien, of Georgia
accompanied by his two daughters and a faithful old fam-
ily servant whom the young ladies called "Mammy."
AN EVENING WITH WILLIAM GASTON. Ill
"We had all/ 7 said Gaston, "been standing for some
time near the cataract, gazing in silence upon the mighty
work. The silence was broken by the old servant.
" 'Missis/ said she to one of the young ladies, 'how
Icng has this water been running here?'
" 'Since the- foundation of the world, Mammy."
"And then pausing for a moment, the old woman con-
tinued, 'and how long will it keep on running here, missis ?'
" "Until the end of the world.'
"Raising her hands and eyes to heaven, with a manner
which no art can imitate, she simply exclaimed, 'Great
Many other subjects and incidents of his travels, dwelt
upon by Gaston, were most delightful and instructive:
his personal descriptions and delineations of character of
the men of note he met, his contrast of society in Canada
and the United States,* his reflections upon the vanity of
human greatness, suggested by certain amusing incidents
of travel which occurred in his journey, and his recital of
interviews and conversations with distinguished people.
But I have already exceeded my original design, and
must bring this paper to a close.
I fear I have left the impression that my friend and I
performed the part of simple mutes in the entertainments
of the evening. If so, that impression is most erroneous
and most unjust to our reputations. We were not con-
spicuous, and we would not have been so. But we bore
nr part. We twain spoke one word. It was thus :
During the summer at some watering-plaoe Gaston
had mot with Martin Van Buren, then in the zenith of his
popularity and greatness, and wearing in triumph the
hereditary honors of his "illustrious predecessor." He
had much to say of the distinguished man, his political
and personal character ; mentioning, among other things,
that, in conversation with Chancellor "Kent in reference
to "Van Buren's intellectual ability, he had contended that
his public career furnished no evidence of superior intel-
lectual endowments, but had been distinaniished rather for
ii2 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
the exhibition of those qualities of mind which are rarely,,
if ever, associated with executive ability ; that he had cited
the opinion of David B. Ogden expressed to him in conver-
sation, as corroborative of his own. ,
"Oh," said the Chancellor in reply, "Davy is warped by
his political prejudices. Van Buren is a man of very supe-
rior, positive ability. He practiced law before me for
twenty years, and he always seized the strong points of his
own case and the weak points of his adversary, and I take
that to be proof of ability in any man."
Gaston then proceeded to give his own, estimate of Van
Bureirs character, pointing out some good features, but
regarding him as distinguished by that quality which esti-
mated the value of men according to their uses to himself.
"He regards men," said he, "as I do these snuffers,
valuable when needed, but after being used of no further
value, until wanted again."
Proceeding in his narrative, he referred to a toast sent
by Van Buren in reply to an invitation to be present at
some political demonstration. He was unable to recall
the language of the toast. His inability to remember a
certain word interrupted his narrative, and for a moment
seemed to annoy him. Turning to our opportune friend,
he said, "What was the word he used about 'hostility to
the United States Bank ?' You remember the toast." No
response came. He turned unsatisfied away.
He then turned toward us. As his eye traveled by me,
I caught it, saw his troubled expression, and in a "still,
small voice" I said "Uncompromising."
"Yes," said he, addressing himself directly to me with
a most benevolent expression which I can never forget,
'"uncompromising hostility to the United States Bank,"
pnd then, in a tone and manner which made me feel as if
my father spoke it, he added, "we should be uncompro-
mising with nothing but vice."
One word more. William Gaston has now been dead
many years. While he lived his position among his
countrymen was as that of the sou of Kish amono: the Phil-
AN EVENING WITH WILLIAM GASTON. 113
istines. In any association he was truly a great man. I
speak of him not as a lawyer, not as a judge, nor a states-
man, nor an orator, writer, philosopher, or poet; but as
a great representative man; representative of the excel-
lencies of his race, the dignity of learning, the beauty of
virtue, the worth of integrity and honor and uprightness
of character ; the Christian graces, the kindly sympathies,
the fraternal impulses of life, which alone impart to man
his real manhood, and make him a reflex "image of his
Maker." Yet, great as he was, no literary memorial com-
mensurate with his real magnitude has yet been dedicated
to his memory.
There are those living who were his compeers; who
knew him best and admired him most, men every way com-
petent to tell the story of his life; men distinguished by
some of the same qualities which made up the sum of his
exceeding greatness. Let them not by longer neglect
inflict a foul wrong upon posterity. Let them look to it,
as men who desire a place in the recollection of those who
must pronounce their eulogy.
ii4 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
INTERESTING NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY FOR
OUR YOUTHFUL READERS.
ON North Carolina soil Virginia Dare, the first child
of English parents in America, was born.
The first print of English footsteps ever made in Amer-
ica was made in North Carolina in 1584, in the brightest
period of English history.
The first prayer of Christian worship ever uttered by
English lips in America was uttered on Koanoke Island,
in Dare County, North Carolina. The first ordinance of
the Christian religion ever celebrated by the English-
speaking race in America was celebrated on North Caro-
The first popular Legislative Assembly in America
called by the authority of the people, in defiance of royal
authority and against its protest, met in North Carolina,
at New Bern, in August, 1774.
The first blood shed by the people in America, in resist-
ance with arms against the oppressive acts, power and
authority of Great Britain, under a Governor appointed
by King George of England, was North Carolina blood,
at Alamance, in North Carolina.
The first open Declaration of Independence of Great
Britain made in America was the Declaration of Inde-
pendence made by the people of Mecklenburg County, at
Charlotte, on the 20th of May, 1775.
The first purchaser, in America, of Indian lands for a
valuable consideration was made in Perquimans County
by George Durant from Kuskatanew, King of the Yeopim
Indians, in 1663, nearly fifty years before the purchase
by William Penn of the Pennslyvania Indians.
After these distinguished first historical events, is it
not a just claim of North Carolina that she is "the right-
ful mother of the States?" Sir Walter Kaleigh stands
sentinel at the gateway of her history, and following him
she has an illustrious lineage down through her long his-
INTERESTING NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY. 115
tory. Erom Moselj to Vance her sons have lighted the bea-
con tires of freedom. Her eminence in the Pantheon of his-
tory is only equalled by the modesty that accompanies
true greatness. True greatness never seeks fame. The
greatest .North Carolinian was the most modest and diffi-
dent of men. He was a lawyer, and to the close of a long
life always trembled when he first got up to speak. Gen-
eral Washington was our greatest citizen, the most dis-
tinguished and the most beloved. After the Revolution-
ary War Congress passed resolutions of compliment and
thanks to him for his public service. He was present,
and got up to reply, but his modesty overcame him, and
he could not get along. Mr. Witherspoon, of New Jersey,
an old Scotch preacher, who was in Congress, rose and
said : "Sit down, young man ; your valor is only equalled
by your modesty" and then he replied for Washington.
Distinction sits not gracefully on him who seeks it. "Of-
ii' sought me; I sought not office," was the proud and
just remark of William Gaston, when discussing the ques-
tion of Catholic disability in its personal application to
himself in the Convention of Xorth Carolina of 1835.
( )ncf when she was taunted by some noisy politicians with
i><-iii._: ;i plain and slow State, that great man replied that
lie hi >]>('(] it would be long before she exchanged that
for a more equivocal characteristic. The taunt came from
in- sister State of South Carolina, and the reply was in
some respects a deserved rejoinder. Let us cling to our
iii-Miid old State. Let us cherish her homely virtues, and
In us also cherish the splendid position she deserves as
"the Mother of the States."
n6 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
*'jNo MAN is a hero to his valet," saith the old saw. To
a great extent it is true, but it is nevertheless true also that
propinquity and familiarity make the most brilliant ob-
jects stale. Familiarity breeds contempt, saith another
old saw that is kindred to the first.
We have known men in North Carolina that lost their
legitimate claim to the dignity of greatness simply be-
cause they were genial, vivacious and witty. George E.
Badger was a many-sided great man, but threw away the
major part of his grand heritage by his doggerel buf-
Chief Justice Smith, who was an observant man, as
well as a big lawyer in his time, once told us when we
were young lawyers together, that Mr. Badger was a bril-
liant and superior man, a great lawyer and an astute lo-
gician, but there was some flaw in the material or manu-
facture of his greatness that marred its symmetry. We
suggested that the defect was that he was too good an
actor in low comedy for a matured great man. Webster,
who was fond of Badger when they were in the United
States Senate together, once told Badger, when he was
playing buffoon for the entertainment of Webster and a
little circle of Senators, that he was the "most magnifi-
cent trifler that he had ever known." The remark of
Webster was a ten-strike, and a word photograph of Mr.
A young friend who was the greatest genius as a boy and
young man we ever met, could say more funny and witty
and smart things than we ever heard from human lips.
He had the gift of greatness in a remarkable decree. He said
to us in the last conversation we ever had with him that
he had been a failure in life, and he knew why. He made
men laugh too much ; that dull men laughed at and pitied
PASQUOTANK RIVER. IIJ
him; that if ho had his life to work over, he would put
an owl on his inantel to be an object-lesson to him to look
wise and say little ; that Cowper's " Jackdaw in a Church
Steeple" did not fill the bill half as well as a big-eyed,
wise-looking, far-seeing and reflective screech owl.
Pardonnez-iaoi. Au mouton; which means, halt; you're
off your head, come back to the first station. You set out
; h-11 us about the Pasquotank Kiver, and you wandered
i (leorge Badger and your young friend, and they never
saw Pasquotank Kiver. We have paused to consider the
connection between the river and the great men marred by
the frivolities of genius. We've got it. It all turned on
familiarity, and how it belittles men and things.
We have known Pasquotank River from our earliest
manhood. We have bathed in its amber waters. We
have swallowed the nectgr of its ambrosial current. We
have gazed listlessly upon the shadows of the magnificent
cypress giants that guard its banks. We have wreathed
fancy stories from the weird pictures drawn by the setting
sun. But we saw it every day, went up and down it
many times, until we became its valet, and the evening
shadows and the glowing simrise and the weird pictures
cast by the dying sun made no more impression upon us
than any every-day object of nature.
Once, it has now been fifteen or twentv years, we were
sitting alone in our editorial sanctum, enjoying a pleas-
ant surcease of toil, when a handsome boy of apparently
ten or twelve summers came in and asked for a copy of
the city paper. After giving him the paper, we fell into
< onvorsation, and he told us that his father and mother
and himself were from Lexington, Ky., where his father
published a magazine called the Kentucky Stock Farm,
and that they were on a visit to this part of North Carolina
to see the country. As he left, we sent word to his
father to call in and see us.
Durinff the day his father called. He was courtly, in-
telligent and interesting. He had come from Kentucky
Vorfolk. and thence via the canal and the Pasquotank
lib GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
River to Elizabeth City. He had come over the evening
before. He was enthusiastic in his admiration of Pas-
quotank River, its grand weird scenery, the gigantic for-
est growth of cypress trees, the varied aspects of serpen-
tine bends, succeeded by long sweeps of straight currents.
He had traveled much, and he compared it with the his-
toric rivers at home and abroad. He said that its floral
beauties (it was in May) were unrivalled in the world.
He dwelt upon its amber crested waves and its dense soli-
tudes in which nature maintained its supremacy. He
compared it with the famed Hudson, and gave the supe-
riority to the Carolina river that was the pan-handle and
reservoir of the Great Dismal Swamp.
And then we recounted to him some of the strange
legends of its history. How it was the favorite rendezvous
of Teach, the f amous Carolina pirate, who w r as the terror
of the Carolina and Virginia coasts in the early years of
the eighteenth century, and who made his headquarters at
the head of one of those long straight stretches of the river
that commanded a lengthened view and gave notice of the
approach of an enemy. And when we told him of the
"Old Brick House/' its history, and its date of 1700 on
the old bricks, and of the blood spots on the floors of
two rooms of the house, mute and ineffaceable witnesses of
the tragic scenes that they commemorated, his curiosity
was excited as we had not seen before, and he expressed
great desire to see with his own eyes the scene of the dread
Since then we have seen the river much and often in
its varied aspects of scenery, and have thought more and
more that it is distance which gives enchantment to a
view, and that familiarity robs it of its gorgeous plumage.
The eye that looks daily upon Niagara and hears its lion
roar, thinks of it as a s;ood site for a laundry or a cotton
factory, while the unfamiliar ye exclaims, "Great God
Almighty!" and turns in mute adoration toward the Al-
mighty Architect and Builder.
GASTON IN THE CONVENTION OF 1835. 1 19
GASTON IN THE CONVENTION OF 1833.
When he speaks, the air, a chartered libertine, is still.
THE name of Judge Gaston awakens in our memory a
reminder of that great man, and recalls to us some events
in his distinguished career. His life was an eminent
success, a succession of brilliant achievements in civil life,
won by genius, character and assiduous labor, without the
adventitious aids of revolutions or arms. His triumphs
were truly the triumphs of peace, the triumphs of in-
tellectual contest, and we purpose to briefly recall one of
those occasions which probably summoned all the weapons
of his well-equipped intellectual armory.
Judge Gaston was the central figure of the Convention
of 1835, confessedly the ablest and most distinguished
body of men that has ever assembled in North Carolina to
deliberate upon the affairs of State. Nat, Macon was
President, having retired from long and distinguished
public service in the National councils. Judge Daniel,
of the Supreme Bench of North Carolina, and several
Judges of the Superior Courts, were also members,
and ex-members of Congress were in large number. Cru-
dup, of Granville, and Sam Carson, of Burke, both of
\\iimii \vriv distinguished in public life. Jesse Wilson
was "in- of the delegates from Perqpiimans, Joseph B.
Skinnor from Chowan, Judsje Bailey from Pasquotank,
Governor Swain from Bnncoml>o, and indeed, the most con-
spicuous men \vcrc sent from all the counties. The State
\va- ^really rxcitcil over the basis of representation, the
ea<t< ni i>:irt of tin- State holding 1 the control of power by
tin- pm iM'i-tv qualification, and the west complaining vio-
lently that population 'was not made the basis. The Oon-
v< nt inn was -a body of limited political powers, but there
were other questions submitted to its consideration beside?
the basis of representation.
X"t the least attractive of these questions to which the
Convention was limited, was the religious disability ques-
120 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
lion, which was embraced in the thirty-second article of
the old Constitution, which was adopted in 1776. That
article disqualified for office in North Carolina "all who
denied the existence of God or the truth of the Protestant
religion." That article doubtless interested Judge Gas-
ton more than any subject that was to be brought before
the Convention. The design of the article unquestionably
was to disqualify Roman Catholics from holding office in
North Carolina. It was to Judge Gaston a delicate personal
question, a question of conscience and honor. He was a
devoted Catholic in religious faith. He ,was a Judge of
the Supreme Court of the State, and in assuming the duties
of his high office had sworn to support the Constitution of
North Carolina, with the thirty-second article excluding
from office those who "denied, the truth of the Protestant
religion" in it. Gaston was sensitive to honor and chi-
valrous in character. He was of distinguished ancestry,
and nurtured in the most cultured, refined and distin-
guished circles of New Bern's elegant society. His own per-
sonal honor was on trial, and was involved in the decision
of the Convention. The thirty-second article must have
been to him the great question before the Convention, and
it was natural that he should have been, as he was, grave,
thoughtful, absorbed, wrapped in the communings of his
own thoughts as the deliberations of the Convention went
For the ten days that we, then a youth just returning
from the University, attended the sessions of the Conven-
tion, in the Presbyterian church in "Raleigh, Judge Gas-
ton always occupied the same seat, a little to the right and
not far removed from the chair of the President. To our
youthful imagination, he was the embodiment of intel-
lectual greatness. He seemed apart. He was courteous,
but not familiar, exchanged few words with those near
him, and never indulged in pleasantry. The thirty-sec-
ond article was not taken up early in the session. The
suffrage question had been up, and Gaston had been con-
spicuous, able and conciliatory in the debate.
GASTON IN THE CONVENTION OF 1835. 121
When we came to Ilaleigk and went to the sessions of
the Convention with our boy friends, C. O. Battle and
Henry W. Miller, both deceased, the thirty-second article
was under discussion, and public interest was greatly ex-
cited. The hall of the Convention was crowded with vis-
itors and ladies. Distinguished men and the oi polloi
were all out. J udge Sewell, Dr. Smith of Orange, Crudup
of Granville, Judge Daniel, and several others, had spoken
as the days wore on; Gaston sat in profound thought,
head bent down, arms sometimes folded, always vigi-
lant. We well remember the indignant rebuke he once
launched upon Judge Sewell, who was his enemy and un-
successful rival for the honor of the Supreme Court, at a
personal reference to Mr. Gaston and his occupancy of a
place on the Bench. Most of the speeches had been in
favor of retaining the thirty-second article, and the senti-
ment of the Convention was apparently the same way.
When the subject had become somewhat exhausted, Gas-
ton arose slowly, with great deliberation, amid breathless
silence, and for two days riveted the attention of all pres-
ent by a speech which is unequalled in our memory. He
showed fatigue after speaking the first day, and a motion
was made by Mr. Wilson, of Perquimans, for adjourn-
ment, but upon some manifestation of opposition to the
motion, on account of the rapt attention, Mr. Gaston com-
menced to resume his speech ; but the motion was renewed
when it was seen that Gaston needed rest. The next day the
speech was resumed and continued to the regular ad-
journment The fate of the thirty-second article was seen
before the speech was concluded ; and upon the question of
amendment being submitted, it was carried, we think,
Had that speech never been made the thirty-second arti-
cle would probably now be a stain upon our Constitution.
The speech was a masterlv one, and probably the most
labored effort of Gaston's life. All his powers were
worked up to their utmost energy, and every power of
moving men's minds by speech was brought into requi-
122 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
sition. It was powerful in argument. His position that
one could disbelieve in Protestantism and yet believe the
"truth of the Protestant religion/' was exceedingly fine
and ingenious, and also his position that the thirty-second
article, when rigidly interpreted, would exclude Dunkards
and Quakers as well as Catholics. His humor, in illus-
trating the common ignorance of the Catholic religion, by
a conversation about the meaning of a "fetheral" (a Fed-
eralist) was inimitable, and placed him in the foremost
rank of great actors. His appeal to all Christians for
charity in the name of a common Christianity, was equal
to any of the masterpieces of English composition.
But to our mind, when the speech was delivered and
now, the most captivating and stirring passages were the
personal parts relating to himself, and which do not appear
in the reported and published speech as taken down in
shorthand by Joe Gales at the time.
After adducing conclusive proof that the article under
consideration was obscure, if not positively inoperative,
he turned to the Convention and made a most powerful
appeal to them to make the Constitution of the a good old
State" clear and explicit. And then, addressing himself
to the proposition that they should make the article a
clear and plain disqualification of Catholics, he said,
in tones that touched all hearts, tfcat he had not deter-
mined what he should do, but he could not move among
his countrymen, to whom he had devoted his heart's af-
fections and the best years of his life, "with an infamous
brand upon his forehead" ; and as he closed the sentence he
slapped his hand upon his forehead and marched with a
step that was the personation of majesty a short distance
among the members near him.
It was a grand scene that time can never efface.
GAVIN HOGG. 123
THE Bar in the Edenton district has always held a
distinguished place in the history of North Carolina. Be-
fore the Revolution Mosely had a reputation as a leading
lawyer, and before and after the Revolution Governor
Johnston had the name of a great jurist. Doubtless there
were others whose names do not occur to us. After the
Revolution came the Iredells, father and son, names long
honored in our district and the State; the Blairs, the
Cummings, and others. Some of these are mentioned by
the first Waightstil Avery, the founder of the Avery
family, in his diary, when he passed through this section
of the State, from Connecticut, before the Revolution. In
his diary he chronicles the fact that those members of the
bar in Edenton to whom he had letters of introduction
were sceptics, or free-thinkers, in religious matters; in
which respect we are glad to chronicle that our Edenton
brethren of the present day are not their counterpart,
but contrariwise are very proper men.
Later down into the post-revolutionary period, we reach
the time in the early nineteenth century when Gavin
Hogg commenced his career at the bar in Bertie County,
then a poor and briefless barrister, afterward an acknowl-
edged chief, and a formidable rival of Gaston, not in
culture and acquirements, but in rugged, stalwart power as
a great lawyer. It may encourage some of our younger
brethren who are disposed to repine at their hard lot and
to shrink from the rugged pathwav of earlv professional
life, to give a little incident of Hogg's entrance upon the
profession. It was related to us by the venerable Jona-
than Tayloe, when over eighty years of age, as having
come under his personal observation. Hogg was born, we
have understood, at Chapel Hill of poor parentage. He
was of Irish lineage. Having his law license, he went
down into the eastern part of North Carolina in search
of a place to "locate." He drove up to the tavern in
Windsor in a single-stick gig, after a long and fatiguing
124 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
day's ride, without money and without the acquaintance
of any one in the place, lie interviewed the landlord
pretty soon, told him his business, told him he had no
money and no friends, showed him his license, said he
meant work, and wanted board and would pay him if he got
work, and if not he would not pay him. The landlord,
whose name we regret that we can not recall, upon the
faith of his mission and his candor, welcomed him cor-
dially, gave him his board until he could pay, invited
him, as was the custom of the period, to take something,
which he declined; and Hogg commenced his life-work,
which knew no step backward, until in old age he retired
from the profession, the peer of the great ones, wealthy,
respected and honored. 1
Gavin Hogg was of large person, with a fine, massive
head that w r ould have made Fowler and Wells happy, and
an eye like Mars. In manner he was grave, reserved,
austere and forbidding, wrapped in the solitude of his
own meditations. According to the testimony of our best
lawyers, the ablest brief that the Supreme Court Reports
of North Carolina show was prepared by Gavin Hogg.
Personally he was unpopular. But in the war of 1812
he raised a company in Bertie, of which he was Captain,
and was at the "Battle of Craney Island/' near Norfolk,
Va., and he was a very popular officer. It is related that
in his old age, after he had retired from the bar and was
a wealthy and honored man, he went to Windsor from
Raleigh, to which place he had removed when his reputa-
tion was established and acknowledged, and strove to be
affable and familiar with his old friends and clients
among whom he had settled when poor and briefless, but
they could not be familiar with him. He died in Raleigh
at an advanced age about the year 1837.
JAMES ALLEN. 125
JAMES ALLEN, of Windsor, Bertie County, has left a
greater impression upon the public mind for gigantic in-
tellect than any man who has been at the bar of the
Edenton circuit. His head was the embodiment of in-
tellect, high, massive base, rising like a dome, with an
eye of remarkable brilliancy, and a person below the me-
dium height, but of considerable rotundity, not unlike
the celebrated Judge Douglas, of Illinois. He was a
poor boy in the town of Windsor, neglected, untrained,
his father following the sea and taking but little care of
his son. His brightness and remarkable head attracted
the attention of Thomas A. Turner, an eccentric but in-
tellectual and observant old bachelor of Windsor, who
persuaded him to go to school at his expense. He proba-
bly made rapid proficiency at school, for at an early age
he walked to Washington City, during the administra-
tion of General Jackson, to solicit an appointment as
cadet at the Military Academy at West Point, having a
letter to Governor Branch, who was then Secretary of the
Navy in the Cabinet of General Jackson. Governor
Branch introduced him to the President, who, it is said,
looked at him, asked him some few questions, and, upon
the faith of his pluck in walking to Washington and,
doubtless, his intellectual head, old Hickory appointed
liim a cadet-at-large. He went to West Point, where he
took the very highest stand, being in the class with Gen-
eral Lee, of the Confederate service, and graduating equal
first with Henry Clay, who fell in the Mexican War, son
of the illustrious Kentuckian. The on dit of the time was
that Allen was a better mathematician and a better scholar
than Clay but that his father's influence made him Allen's
equal. It is said that General Lee enquired for his old
classmate during the Confederate War, but he was dead
some years before.
After graduating, Allen remained in the army a few
v< ;ns. and there appearing no prospect in the profession
126 GRANDFATHER'S TALKS.
of arms but a life of inglorious ease, he resigned and re-
turned to Windsor, to enter upon the legal profession.
Having obtained his license, he rose at once to the front
rank and acquired a good practice. He was a purely
logical speaker, speaking in a plain, unostentatious man-
ner, but with most convincing effect. He dealt in pure
reason, but no man was more convincing to a jury. His
speeches showed a powerful mind. He had in some de-
gree the humorous faculty, which he sometimes indulged
and with great effect. In the Harrison campaign of 1840,
he sometimes took part as a Whig, and always spoke with
convincing power. He was at a large district convention
of the Whig party, at Edenton, in 1840, which was at-
tended by Outlaw, Cherry, Paine and other prominent
leaders, and no one spoke with more effect, or was a greater
favorite with the audience, than James Allen.
For we are the same our fathers have been,
We see the same sights our fathers have seen,
We drink the same streams, and view the same sun,
And run the same course our fathers have run.
PERHAPS no subject in the vast range of thought pos-
sesses more interest for man than the history of man. The
poet was right when he announced, "The proper study
of mankind is man." Man is man's most favorite and
interesting study, and mysterious as is his moral and in-
tellectual nature, his physical nature and history is as
much or more so. Whence he came, or how he came,
\vli ether he sprang into existence with all his faculties
perfect and entire at the fiat of the Omnipotent; whether
coeval with the earjjh which is his dwelling-place, or
subsequently placed there to till and dress it and to be
monarch of the vast domain; whether starting from the
lichens and the mosses, he has gone on in the slow progress
of improvement until he has developed into a Caesar or
Xapoleon ; whether one man and one woman "created He
them/' or whether of many types and races; are still
questions puzzling and mysterious, taxing- to their utmost
power, and beyond their power, the philosophic acumen
of the learned and the curious, and will ever remain
mysterious, until by a new development and a higher and
holier and more intelligent existence our eyes shall be
opened and all things be made plain.
Leaving the question of man's origin, other questions
as mysterious crowd upon the imagination and tax the
burdened thought. The origin of races, the migration of
races, the extinction of races, the amalgamation of races ;
whether the progress of the human race is the great pur-
pose of God, or progress and retrocession be the law of
His mysterious providence; whether in our enlightened
poriod wo have not forgotten as well as learned ; whether
the age of Pericles and the Athenians was not superior in
128 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
arts, in letters, in physical development and manhood to
the vaunted developments of the twentieth century;
whether the mechanical skill which reared the Pyramids
in the desert as a mausoleum for the Ptolemys, thousands
on thousands of years gone by, has ever been equalled in
the long line of ages since these perplexing questions,
full of mystery and doubt, leave us as they found us,
groping blindly, bewildered and unsatisfied.
Turning to our own country we find new and equally
mysterious pages in the history of man's unlearned lesson
of man. Our nursery books tell us that Christopher
Columbus discovered America in the year 1492, and that he
found the country peopled by an aboriginal and strange
race whom he called Indians. The Indians the aboriginal
race ! They were the creatures of yesterday. Ages before
them there existed on this continent a race that lived in
towns and cities, that cultivated the arts of a superior civil-
ization peculiar to themselves, a race that has left no writ-
ten memorials, but whose unwritten history is traced in its
fortifications that show engineering skill, in its walls of
masonry, and its tumuli, in which were deposited the re-
mains and relics of the dead. How long this race ante-
dated the discovery of Columbus is left to conjecture to
determine. They probably existed at a very remote pe-
riod of history, or belonged to the pre-historic period.
Their principal settlements were in the valleys of the
Ohio and Mississippi and along the great lakes, where
they lived in fortified towns, constructed walls and raised
mounds for the sepulture of their dead. There is little
doubt that many of them dwelt in North Carolina, but
the indications are, from the absence of fortifications,
that they did not make it their permanent dwelling place,
or that the other races were subjugated to their will.
The evidences of the existence of this ancient race in
North Carolina are found chiefly in the county of Mitch-
ell. In the forests of this county, in the valleys, along
the crests of the hills, are found numerous pits, generally
ETHNOLOGY. 1 29
about ten feet in diameter, now nearly filled up and upon
many of them a large full-grown forest growth. These
pits have been excavated, and the examinations made have
given the conclusion that they were unsuccessful explora-
tions in search of precious metals. Other pits of larger
size are also found in the same county. One, called the
Sink Hole, near the North Toe Kiver, eight miles from
Bakersville, forty feet deep and about the same diameter,
has been opened and worked beyond is original depth, and
mica found in sufficient quantities to make the labor remu-
nerative. During the excavation some of the tools used
in the original excavation were found, and also a tunnel
connecting with other shafts. The tunnel was only four-
teen inches wide, indicating that it was worked by ^a
diminutive race of men.
A series of these pits is found in the same county on
( 1 ;uic < 'reek, and also or? North Toe River, near the Turn-
pike. All of these pits have been profitably worked for
mica during the last few years.
These are the forest records of a race of whom history
or tradition has furnished us no mementoes, a race that
had made some progress in the arts of civilized life a
race that had some knowledge of engineering, who built
cities, raised fortifications, waged wars, mined into the
bowels of the eartli to procure the means of carrying on
the peaceful traffic of commerce a race fashioned after
the same Maker and endowed with the same passions with
ourselves, who mourned their dead and laid them with
sepulchral honors in mounds reared to their memories,
where they too were laid, and all have passed away with-
out a trace to tell the story of their being, save the mys-
terious record of their labors dug by their strong arms
into the eternal hills.
"When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingors :
the moon and stars which Thou hast ordained ;
"What is man, that Thou art mindful of him ? and the
son of man, that Thou viaitest him?"
130 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE CONVENTION OF 1835.
The earth hath bubbles as the water hath.
THE North Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1835
is generally acknowledged to have been the ablest body of
men that ever met in the State. It was probably as im-
portant a body as ever met. It was the climax of a con-
troversy that had long agitated the whole State, and of
the angry feeling that was engendered between Eastern
and Western North Carolina, which at one time threat-
ened civil convulsion. The subject of controversy that
gave rise to the Convention was the basis of representa-
tion, the west contending that population should be more
largely represented, and the east that a conservative con-
stitution should make property largely the basis. In 1823
and '24 the agitation was most intense. Under the old
post-revolutionary constitution at Halifax, the eastern
representation was largely predominant, based as it was
upon property, and they persistently resisted all increase
of western representation. The west was constantly ap-
plying to the Legislature for a division of their large
counties, which was as frequently refused by the eastern
majority. The direct object was to make the business
of the west more convenient to the people of the counties,
the indirect object was to give Western North Carolina
the majority in the General Assembly, and thereby call
a Convention to change the basis of representation. Western
North Carolina was then chiefly composed of a hardy race
of rough bear hunters, without property and without cul-
ture. Their representatives generally were men like them-
selves. Their applications for redress were unheeded, and
their representatives were objects of derision; but they
increased in numbers, and their numbers were a constant
menace to their more wealthy and more cultured eastern
brethren. John Stanly, of New Bern, was the champion
of the east, and was unsparing in the use of all the wea-
pons of sarcasm in his well-equipped armory, upon the
THE CONVENTION OF 1835. 131
western members who came to Raleigh in their best cow-
colored homespun clothes. But in 1824 western Carolina
issued a protest, signed by Charles Fisher, Bartlett Yan-
cey and other leading western men, which thrilled the
State by threats of revolutionary separation, and ulti-
mately led the east to pass the act calling a Convention to
amend the Constitution.
That Convention was a stormy one. It made changes
in the basis of representation and other articles of the old
Constitution. It was composed of able men, antago-
nistic in sectional interests, and it came to represent oppo-
site sectional ideas. The west was armed in the justness
of their claim, and their delegates were more aggressive
and violent in the expression of their opinions. Some-
times, while the Convention was in session, secession from
the body by western men was imminent. But for the
kind, moderate and fraternal words of that great Carolin-
ian, William Gaston, of New Bern, we think that violent
and revolutionary methods would have been resorted to.
His words, heard when a youth, addressed to western men
aflame with passion, yet ring in our ears "My friends
and surely mine to you is no unfriendly voice ' and
how well do we remember his rejoinder to Governor Swain,
who gave Scriptural illustration to western revolution-
ary sentiment. Governor Swain, in a closing burst of
passionate eloquence, said: "Unless our demands are
granted, unless our wrongs are righted, we will rise like
the strong man in his unshorn might and pull down the
pillars of the political temple." The allusion was a happy
one and happily applied, and appreciated, and the western
delegates "rolled it," in their speeches, "under their
tongues," as a "sweet morsel," always giving credit to the
"distinguished gentleman from Buncombe." After some
<l;i\s, Gaston, who had been silent in the debate on the
"lt;i>is," rose to speak, and after ably discussing the sub-
jvr at length, paused and said, substantiallv : "The dis-
r i n o-u i shod member from Buncombe has said that Sinless
i IK- \\TMMI:- of our western brethren are redressed, they
will rise like the strong man in his unshorn might and
132 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
pull down the pillars of the political temple.' The strong
man, the son of Manoah, was brought out to make sport
for the enemies of his country at the impious feast of
Dagon. He tugged and pulled the massive pillars of the
temple and buried all in one hideous ruin. It was a great
and a glorious deed. He fell a martyr and a hero, vic-
torious among the slain." Gaston had read the Bible
more thoughtfully than Swain.
JOSEPH B. SKINNER.
An all-round man.
PERHAPS the most distinguished lawyer in the district
after Hogg, and contemporary with him in his early profes-
sional life except the younger James Iredell, whose his-
tory Wheeler has already written, was Joseph B. Skinner,
of Edenton. There are remarkable men that float along on
the tide of time that are without a parallel. Mr. Skinner
was such a man. He was born in Perquimans County,
in Harvey's Neck, and was the son of Joshua Skinner, a
hard-working and well-to-do farmer, who raised his sons
to hard work and plain living. He gave indications at an
early period of uncommon brightness, and an uncle of
his determined that he should have the advantage of mental
training. He had already learned the elements of edu-
cation at the common schools. In a conversation that
this uncle had with his brother Joshua, he was heard to
say: "I see in this boy the future hope of our family."
Through the influence of his uncle he was, after proper
preparation, sent to Princeton College, where he gradu-
ated at an early age, and where he was the contemporary of
Gaston. After graduation he studied law, at Hayes, the
seat of Governor Johnston, and after obtaining his law
license, entered upon the practice of his profession with
JOSEPH B. SKINNER. 133
diligence. lie Was devoted to business, at all dines in his
office, early and late, making his business his sole pur-
suit, making all things secondary to it the social cour-
tesies of life, the demands of pleasure, the calls of wealthy
or distinguished persons. In the town of Edenton, where
he practiced law, his attention to business attracted uni-
versal attention. Mr. Collins, the wealthiest man in the
place, called at his office for a social call while Mr. Skinner
was engaged in business, and he did not notice Mr. Col-
lins. He left unnoticed, and always after employed Skin-
ner in all his business. His attention to business won
the rich man. Mr. Skinner did a large and lucrative
practice from Currituck to Chowan, and over the sound.
He acquired fortune by his practice. At about fifty-five
years of age he retired from practice and went on a farm
one mile from Edenton, where he passed the remainder
of his life in the enjoyment of all the comforts which
ample fortune could give. It was said by some that the
rivalry and superior attainments of the younger Iredell
drove him from the bar. However this may have been,
Mr. Skinner was in the full enjoyment of a large prac-
tice when he retired.
He was not an eloquent speaker, in the popular sense,
but no man spoke more lucidly; in fact, that was the
striking characteristic of his mind, the clearness with which
he conceived any subject and his plain manner of stating
any proposition. His humor was also a striking charac-
teristic, and he was master of the whole armor of ridi-
cule. His judgment was unerring, and his confidence in
it irave a boldness to his operations in business that sur-
prised every one with his success. He engaged largely
in fishing on both sides of the Albemarle Sound with emi-
nent success. He was probably the best and most pro-
gressive farmer in the counties of Chowan and Perqui-
mans, where ho owned large possessions. He was an aris-
tocrat, and exclusive in his social intercourse; but he was
kind an<l liberal to the poor, aided meritorious voiing
men who needed assistance, and his knowledge of men
i34 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
was so accurate that his judgment never failed in his esti-
mate of men.
Mr. Skinner was a man of rare humor and foresight,
and his humor frequently entered into his business cal-
On one occasion he was very anxious that the minister
in charge of old a St. Paul's" Church, in Edenton, of
which he was a member, should have an increase of salary.
At that time the salary of the minister was made up by
the renting of the pews. He attended the renting, and
finding that the bids were low and would not realize such
a salary as he wished, he commenced running up the bids
on all that were put up to such a sum as he thought neces-
sary to make up the salary of the clergyman. When he
had bid off some dozen or more, some one, in surprise,
ventured to ask him what he was bidding off so many pews
for. He said he bid them off for his negroes, and in-
tended that they should attend church and occupy them.
They knew that he would do it, and the white members
of the church soon took them off his hands and bid higher
on the others.
Tie was once sitting in his parlor writing a letter of
instructions to a manager of one of his farms in Perqui-
mans, and his overseer, Jas. Cannon, was waiting in the
room for Mr. Skinner to finish writing, when a knock was
heard at the outer door. The visitor was invited into the
room. It was the period of clock-peddlers, a class of men
that were the persistent representatives of the book agents
of our time. The visitor was a clock peddler. He came
into the parlor, bringing his clock with him. "Buy a
clock this morning, sir?" asked the peddler, before offer-
ing the customary salutation. "Don't wish one," said
Skinner, without raising his head from his writing." First-
rate timer-keeper," said the peddler, setting his clock to
striking; "Double pendulum, brass mounting, full ring,
no cheat, let me put her up for you, sir." "Don't want
your clock, sir," said Skinner, continuing to write. "Come,
now, do buy, keep good time, all right for fifteen dollars,"
said the peddler, the clock all the time ringing out, "ting,
JOSEPH B. SKINNER. 135
ting, ting, ting" "No mistake in her, sir." Mr. Skinner
slowly raised his head from his paper, and in his slow
and deliberate tones, said: "Cannon, tell Eden, and Little
Jack, and Big Bob, and Peter Mike, and Slab Foot Jim,
to come here." Meanwhile the peddler kept on an end-
less fusilade of recommendations, the clock all the while
keeping music, "ting, ting, ting." The order was no sooner
given than obeyed. The five strapping negro fellows came
in to receive the order, the clock and the peddler in full
cry. "Boys," said Mr. Skinner, "take that clock peddler
and put him in his wagon and send him off." No sooner
was the order given than it was obeyed, to the peddler's
utter astonishment and despite his violent struggles to re-
lease himself. Skinner, looking at Cannon with an arch
expression, said : "Cannon, d n the fellow, how he kicks."
Mr. Skinner died about the year 1850, being over sev-
enty years old, of rheumatic gout. He had been a great
sufferer for years. He left a large estate. He requested
that the Book of Common Prayer should be placed upon
his breast, and the Bible, open at the Book of Job, by his
side, before his burial.
136 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
JUDGE R. R. HEATH.
If we knew the woe and heartache
Waiting for us down the road,
Would we waste the day in wishing
For a time that ne'er can be ?
THERE arrived in Edenton from N&w Hampshire, on a
schooner from Boston, a young man, a stranger, without
pecuniary means, slender of person, modest and retiring
in demeanor, seeking employment He was an educated
man, and appeared to have graduated at Dartmouth Col-
lege. The Trustees of Edenton Academy, hospitable to
merit, employed him as an assistant in that institution, to
Jos. H. Saunders, who was principal in the flourishing
institution. That man was R,obt E. Heath, afterward a
Judge of the Superior Court of North Carolina. He
remained in that employment for three or four years, ex-
hibiting a social and agreeable disposition and becoming
a favorite in the community. During this period he
was engaged, in an irregular and desultory manner, in
studying law with George W. Barney, who had, some
years before, come to Edenton from New Hampshire, and
had acquired wealth by his law practice and by marriage,
and who, later, dishonored the profession of which he
was a conspicuous member. One fine morning the boys
who were his pupils were startled by the news that their
teacher had gone to Raleigh to be made a lawyer. They
whistled aloud and put their fingers on their nose, for
none of them knew that their schoolmaster was studying
law. However, at that period "honors were easy," and
the Supreme Court ground all the grist that was brought
to the mill. He came back, after some days, a lawyer,
and the boys, always on the lookout for knowledge, heard
that all the law that he carried to the mill was stuffed into
him by Barnev, who was a good lawyer, as they rode to-
gether to Raleigh.
After obtaining his license, he left the school and took
JUDGE R. R HEATH. 137
a law office, but was not much in it. He, however, at-
tended to. his business irregularly, and Thos. B. Haugh-
ton, an old lawyer, whose daughter Mr. Heath subse-
quently married, sometimes said, to the surprise of others,
that Heath was one of the best lawyers in the town, but
no one believed it. After his marriage, and while Mr.
Haughton'lived, he did but little, a sort of flotsam of the
profession. But when Mr. Haughton was drowned, leav-
ing a very large estate, heavily involved and ultimately
bankrupt, Mr. Heath waked up to the reality of his situa-
tion, poor, the son-in-law of a bankrupt father, dependent
upon himself, with nothing but his law books, a family
looking to him for bread; and he became a man. He
removed to Ed en ton from the country. He was diligent
in business. He made friends. He won clients. He
gained causes. He was a plain man. Plain in his at-
tire. Plain in his manners. Plain and free and simple
in his intercourse. He followed the courts from Curri-
tuck to Hyde, and was everywhere a favorite. In politics
he was an unterrified Democrat, at a time when it was
thought not to be decent to be other than a Whig. Demo-
crats recognized him as an able leader in whom there was
"no variableness nor shadow of turning." He was every-
where their trusted leader, counsellor and guide. He
was a thorough, well-posted politician and Democrat, not
a speaker of the first class, but eminently wise in counsel.
Mr. Heath was now a leader in the profession, with a
leading practice in all the courts, the peer of the ablest in
a bar that presented a galaxy of talent, and that numbered
among its members Moore, and Kinney, and Outlaw, and
Cherry, and Bragg, and Jim Allen, and Tom Jones, and
Jas. Jones, and Haughton, and Jesse Wilson, and Bailey,
and Sheppard, and Smith, and Elliott, and Paine, and
Brooks, and Martin. Among this array of talent, Mr.
Hoath held high rank, as a ready, astute and profound
lawyer. His memory of authority and precedent was a
marvel. At a moment's notice he would cite cases by
namo and page and in point.
i3& GRANDFATHER'S TALES
In Edenton, where he lived, he was the acknowledged
rival of Judge Moore, and in their conventional, courtesy
there was too much rivalry for cordial friendship. Moore
was laborious, painstaking, cautious, earnest. Heath was
ready, quick, alert, surprising. Moore was earnest, and his
earnestness sometimes arose to eloquence. Heath was calm,
easy, placable, even-tempered. Moore was impassioned
and vehement. Generally Moore was the more successful
lawyer. He never trusted himself. He never "went off
half-cocked." He was always thoroughly prepared. In
mental characteristics he was very much like Chief Jus-
tice Smith. Heath too often trusted to the chances.
About the year 1850 Mr. Heath was elected to the Bench
by the Legislature, without his seeking. He made an able
Judge, and has left a reputation that is a credit to the
Bench of North Carolina. After the war Judge Heath
removed to Tennessee, and resumed his profession. He
was never satisfied. In letters to Bat. Moore., who was
his intimate friend, he spoke of the Albemarle country of
North Carolina as the best country to live in that he had
ever seen, and that he regretted his having left it
We heard the late Judge Brooks say that while in Eden-
ton at the trial of the Johnston Will case, Judge Heath
took a walk with him to his old house and home on Main
street, and it was apparent to him that his mind was
shadowed by a cloud of despondency. The past and its
memories brooded over him as a pall.
About the year 1875 Judge Heath returned to North
Carolina, where he married a lady of wealth in the west-
ern part of the State.
And here we would gladly pause and cast the veil over
the memory of our old school-master ; but biography, like
history, must be true to itself.
After living in North Carolina a few years, in a time
of great mental depression and bodily sickness, in a mo-
ment of despair, he shrank from the troubles of the world,
which seemed of old to sit so lightly upon him, and took
by violence his useful life.
GENERAL WILLIAM GREGORY. 139
Judge Heath was large in person, with a face of a most
kind, benign and winning expression. He was especially
kind and social with the young members of the profession,
assisting them with advice and looking, perhaps, too gently
upon any of their irregularities. In religious faith he
was a Roman Catholic. He died at about sixty-five years
GENERAL WILLIAM GREGORY.
A genius of eccentricity.
ONE of the most remarkable men in the whole history of
Elizabeth City was Gen. William Gregory. In the pos-
thumous collections of old North Carolina families by
J. H. Wheeler, General Gregory, of Elizabeth City, is
spoken of as an old citizen of North Carolina who, early
in life, was known as "Beau Gregory." He was a con-
spicuous figure in his town for many years. He had great
courtesy and style of manner, and was a punctilious ob-
server of all the ceremonials of polite society up to his
death in 1846. In personal appearance he strikingly
resembled General La Fayette, so famous in our Revolu-
tionary history. His father was a Revolutionary officer
of large wealth, whose son William was his only son ; and
he gave him the advantages of educational culture and
polite association, and after completing his general edu-
cation, placed him under the tuition of Gen. William R.
Davie, of Halifax, to be trained in the profession of the
law. General Davie was the most eminent lawyer in
North Carolina, and was distinguished for elegant ac-
complishments and courteous bearing, acquired by diplo-
matic association at the Court of France, where he had
been a representative of our Government.
After completing his education and obtaining his license,
General Gregory, for a time, opened a law office in Eliza-
beth City, but his large expectations of wealth and fond-
140 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
ness for the pleasures of society interfered with his legal
studies, and he was not a success at the bar. in fact, it
was a long-current statement that he never appeared before
a court and jury but once. It was said that he arose to
address the jury, when the case was on trial, and said:
"Gentlemen of the jury, I conceive that my client." He
then looked confused and sheepish, and said again, "Gen-
tlemen of the jury, I conceive. 7 ' He then paused, looked
foolish and dazed, and after a little while he proceeded
and said again, "Gentlemen of the jury, I conceive," and
then sat down. Mr. Goodman, the leader of the bar, who
appeared on the opposite side, arose and 'said : "Gentle-
men of the jury, brother Gregory has conceived three
times and brought forth nothing," and then went on to
argue the case. It was Gregory's first and last effort.
He always kept up his association with the members of
the law profession, always attended the courts, and was
treated with marked attention and consideration by the
members of the bar.
In his old age, when nearing eighty, he was a conspic-
uous figure on our streets, and was a specimen of vigorous
old age, erect and sturdy looking. He was companion-
able with young men and old, and was a favorite with
every one. He became very poor in his old age, and was
kindly cared for by his relatives and friends. 'He dressed
plainly, but with scrupulous neatness.
General Gregory had a singular constitutional defect
in his intellectual organization. He had no conception
of the proper use of words or their application, and the
blunders which he made were a perennial fountain of
jest for the town. He was utterly unconscious of his in-
accuracies. Bill Butler, the wag of the town, was never
happier than when he could get General Gregory to ex-
plain to him something relating to military matters. But-
ler would listen to him with apparent earnestness, while
Gregory would go through all the details of military drill
^nd evolution, and then Butler would go through the
-movements with the most ludicrous blundering. The
GENERAL WILLIAM GREGORY. 14!
General would repeat it, saying " cl n it, Butler
(he would cuss sometimes), why don't you do like 1 show
you! 7 ' While they enjoyed the joke, our old people were
always respectful to the General. He was a militia Gen-
eral, and knew no more about military matters than a
militia muster captain with a cornstalk sword.
General Gregory was utterly without business capacity,
not for want of general intelligence, but for an impatience
of the details of business, because he was dandled in the
lap of luxury in his early days and could never bring
himself down to the drudgery of labor.
He \vas postmaster of the town, and soon the business
got awry, and his administration of post-office affairs was
examined by an expert examiner of the office, who found
a shortage in his accounts. His bondsmen promptly set-
tled the delinquency and there was no attempt at con-
cealment. After the* matter was settled and the post-
office had passed out of his hands, one of his bondsmen, an
old and confidential friend, said to him "Gregory, what
<li<l you do with all the money that came into your hands ?"
"What did I do with it? Why, I spent it like a gentle-
man, sir," said the General.
While he was postmaster a weekly mail came through the
Dismal Swamp Canal from Norfolk, and generally arrived
at night. Its arrival was announced by firing an old
cannon on the wharf where the mail boat landed. One
very dark night the cannon was fired some time before the
arrival of the mail, and the postmaster, the landlord of
the hotel, old Billy Albertson, and several citizens went
down to the wharf to get the mail and the passengers, and
some from mere curiosity. Dr. Mathews, then in his prime
and over on the alert- for a practical joke, had stretched
a rope across lower Main street on the route to the mail-
boat landing. The rope was about the height of a man's
knees from the ground. Gregory hurried down for his
in nil, and was the first to be tripped heels over head by the
rope. While he was lying prostrate on the ground, Al-
hortson came hurrying down to meet his passengers, and
142 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
was tripped and fell, and he gave vent to his ire by cursing
and threatening. Gregory spoke out in the darkness
"Billy, don't cuss ; I am down, too. It's that damn Sam.
ANECDOTES OF MR. BADGER.
Still the wonder grew,
That one big head
Could carry all he knew.
LET us place upon the grave of Mr. Badger some few
offerings illustrative of his eccentricities and of his won-
derful versatility of talent, for, after all, his versatility
of talent and acquirements were the most distinguished
features of his character.
We once heard Chief Justice Smith say that if Mr. Bad-
ger talked about a horse one would suppose he had devoted
his whole life to the study of horses, and so if he talked
of anything else, one would think he had made that sub-
ject a special study. He seemed to have an intuitive
knowledge of things foreign to his pursuits, and he had
a fondness for displaying it that was almost a weakness.
We once heard Colonel Ferebee say that in the Secession
Convention, Mr. Badger discoursed to Wm. Pettigrew and
himself, who were members of that Convention, about
the relative merits of different kinds of liquor at a length
and learning that was wonderful ; concluding with a tribute
to the value of whiskey over all other liquors.
Mr. Badger was in this town to argue a case of usury,
in which the State Bank of North Carolina was plaintiff
and Horatio Williams was defendant, at the Spring Term
of the Superior Court of 1844, Jud^e W. H. Battle pre-
siding. He was in the full victor of his faculties and man-
hood. He was exuberant of health and spirits. He was
full and running over with playfulness and vivacity. And
he was looking anxiously forward to a place in the TTni-
ANECDOTES OF MR. BADGER. 143
ted States Senate, which was depending on hip individ-
ual personal popularity and upon the success of the Whig
Party in North Carolina during that canvass. We had
heard of Judge Badger as an austere man, haughty, super-
cilious, proud, inconsiderate. We had heard him, when
a boy, speak with contempt of popular government. We
had heard of his contemptuous reference to the Legis-
lature of North Carolina, of his contemptuous reference
to the voters of Wake County, when he was an indifferent
candidate for their suffrages in opposition to Wm. H.
Haywood. We had observed when a boy that he never
attended the sessions of the Convention of 1835. We
took this as an expression of his contempt for that distin-
guished body. We had therefore concluded that the same
intercourse would be shown here. How greatly we were
mistaken. He was introduced to his professional breth-
ren by Colonel Outlaw. He was courteous, kind and
familiar. He became easy and playful with all the young
members of the profession. The ink on our license was
hardly dry, but. we can remember with what happiness
we felt the pressure of his great hand upon our youthful
shoulders. He was familiar with all the people of the
t.nvii. Tom, Richard and Harry, he would hail across
the street by their familiar names and go tripping across
to talk familiarly with them. He was at the time the
most accomplished demagogue that we ever saw.
His speech was a masterly effort. He was assisted by
Wm. B. Shepard and General Ehringhaus ; the defence
was supported by Chas. II. Kinney and Augustus Moore.
The principal arguments were made by Mr. Badger and
Mr. Kinney. Each foeman worthy of the other's steel.
Mr. Kinney was in declining health, but the knowledge
of the foeman brought out the full measure of his strength.
He overtaxed his physical power, and the next day he
was prostrated by a hemorrhage.
Mr. Badger came to the court through the country, in an
elegant turn-out with a pair of beautiful bay*, which \vas
every day at the door of the hotel at the service of I he
ladies who were boarding at the hotel.
144 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
'ihe day before Mr. Badger was to leave in the
evening, he was standing on the corner opposite the hotel,
the gay centre of an admiring crowd of listeners, when
Mr. Ehringhaus, the cashier of the bank, a venerable
man of nearly seventy years, a great admirer of Mr. Bad-
ger, and especially pleased with attentions from the dis-
tinguished man, was passing on the other side. Mr. Bad-
ger hailed him aloud, familiarly: "House (as he called
him) come over here." Mr. Ehringhaus came over, and
after a few words of pleasant conversation, said to Mr.
Badger, pointing to his handsome carriage and horses
standing before the door of the hotel: "Badger, I wish
you would leave that pair of horses down here for me when
you go away to-morrow !" Mr. Badger looked at him for
a moment, and, assuming a most grave manner, said:
"House, 1 like you. I have another pair of fine horses
at home, and I would like to give you that pair of horses.
I would like very much to do so. But, House, suppose
I was to give you that carriage and horses, how shall I
carry away that nice lunch you will put up for me to-mor-
row to carry with me? How should I carry that old
French brandy, that two or three bottles of old Port, that
oyster sauce and pickles, that nice turkey and chicken
salad, that cold lemon pudding, and the other nice and
appetizing delicacies that you are going to fix up so
kindly for me?" House put on the dry grins. Mr. Bad-
ger extemporized a thirty-dollar lunch in a few minutes.
The morning Mr. Badger left to speak in Perquimans,
he was invited to breakfast with Mr. Ehringhaus, and
ordered his carriage to leave from there. He was accom-
panied by Thos. F. Jones, of Perquimans, and it is from
Mr. Jones' narrative that we take the account of that visit.
Mr. Ehringhaus' family were society people, and Mr. Bad-
ger was received with marked and ceremonious courtesy.
Nothing was omitted that was due to one so distinguished.
All the ceremonial observances were strictly followed.
The servants were trained to the observance of the most
minute etiquette of fashion.
ANECDOTES OF MR. BADGER. 145
When breakfast was announced, Mr. Badger was ush-
ered in with every mark of respect and deference. The
guests were assigned to their several places ; and as the dis-
tinguished guest was about being seated, the servant girl,
as by direction, removed the cha-ir to replace it when
seated. When lo ! Mr. Badger, not observing that the
chair had been removed, attempted to take his seat be-
fore it was replaced, and fell sprawling upon the floor
in a most mortifying manner. The whole family were
in a condition of utter bewilderment. The servant girl
was frightened and mortified, and things presented a most
pitiable sight. Mr. Badger laid there till the tempest had
subsided, and then, raising himself up on his elbows and
looking at Mrs. Ehringhaus, said, with the most satisfied
expression, "Well, Madam, what comes next?" as if it
were a part of the ceremony for him to be tripped up and
tin-own upon the floor. .
146 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE PEN AND THE SWORD.
Beneath the rule of man entirely great.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
THE question is often asked, Who was the greater, Na-
poleon Bonaparte or Sir Walter Scott \ Scott wrote the
life of Napoleon, and it was the first elaborate biography
of that man of destiny. Who was the greater, Homer,
author of the great epic poem, or Achilles, the hero of the
great drama of history upon which that ejpic was founded i
Who was the greater, Patrick Henry, the orator and tri-
bune of the Devolution, or Wirt, who crystalized that
oratory into biographical history ? Unquestionably, the
pen of the historian is mightier than the sword of the
warrior. So likewise, a fortiori (as lawyers say) the pen
is mightier than the "root of all evil."
To illustrate these propositions: North Carolina has
made enough history to make a large-sized library. It
has furnished enough orators to fill all the mausoleums
of history. Wm. K. Davie was the orator, statesman and
diplomatist of the Revolution. He was the Patrick Henry
of North Carolina. Why was not Henry the Wm. R.
Davie of Virginia ? Davie was a superior man to Henry.
Davie was a courtly gentleman of the old school, a good
lawyer, an able debater, .a representative of our govern-
ment at the polished Court of France, and wore a gentle-
man's queue, manufactured in Paris. Henry was a bar-
keeper, a hook-and-line fisherman, a fox hunter, and, as
Mr. Jefferson told Mr. Webster at Monticello in 1820,
associated with rowdies in intimate companionship. Why
then, is it, that Henry rides down the lines of history as
the "silver-tongued orator" of the Revolution, and Davie
is "hardly known to our school children? Simply because
Wirt's pen was mightier than Davie's tongue or sword.
All along the line from Davie dow r n, orators have been in-
digenous to North Carolina soil, and at every period of
her history. Why do we not know that history by heart ?
THE PEN AND THE SWORD. 147
Simply because our pens have been silent amid the clash
of arms and the progress of great events. Now, this is
all wrong. He that raises his arm on the ramparts of his-
tory should ride like a panoplied knight down its lines.
If North Carolina has made history, as she doubtless has,
then it is right and just that the laurels of history should
be twined around her brow. How can the wrong be right-
ed ? How can it be condoned before the august tribunal
of history? Let "North Carolina Day" be set apart IB
all our schools in the State as sacred to our history. Let
each pupil select some event in our annals and write a
historical essay upon the event, or some one be assigned
t<> him for study and composition. Let the teacher select
the best essay and preserve it, and the next generation of
North Carolina's sons will know more and be prouder of
the grand old State of their birth and its achievements in
the role of history. ft
148 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE GIANTS OF 184O.
Green be the turf above thee,
Friends of my better days.
THE year .1840 was the most memorable date in the po-
litical history of the United States. It was a great crisis in
our party contests. The Whig Party had been maintaining
an unequal contest with the Democratic party for several
years, sometimes gaining a victory in sporadic cases, and
always maintaining its intellectual ascendency in the
National Congress, and always an overmatch for the great
leaders of Democracy.
The Whig National Convention met in Harrisburg, and
after a tumultuous session nominated a man who had been
much of his life in the public service, had made no dis-
tinguished name as a statesman, but had made some repu-
tation as a military man and had won one battle the
battle of Tippecanoe.
That convention at Harrisburg adopted no platform of
principles. Its candidate was unknown, but he was her-
alded as a good old man of plain and honest character, of
humble aspirations, and held the humble office of county
clerk in a county town of Ohio, and lived in an unpreten-
tious way at North Bend, on the Ohio River.
At Harrisburg he was nominated over Clay, Webster
and General Scott. The nomination took the country by
surprise, but it \vas backed by a vast deal of enthusiasm. In
the National Convention the First District of North Caro-
lina was represented by Kenneth Eayner, of Hertford
County, our representative in the lower house of Con-
gress, Charles R. Kinney, leading lawyer of Elizabeth
City, and William W. Cherry, of Bertie County. There
may have been some others. The nomination was re-
ceived with derision by the Democrats and by some prom-
inent Whigs, with coldness. Win. B. Shepard, of Eliza-
beth City, who had been in Congress with Harrison for
several years, said he could not vote for him, that he wa&
THE GIANTS OF 1840. 149
an "old granny," and while in the Senate of the United
States had been conspicuous for his stupidity. Mr. Shep-
ard made no concealment of his opinions, and his influ-
ence was creating a local public sentiment against the
Whig nominee for President. Charles R. Kinney, brim-
full of enthusiasm for the chief whom lie had helped to put
in nomination, assailed the opinions of Mr. Shepard in
the local newspapers and he was replied to by Mr. Shep-
ard through the same newspaper medium. The eontro-^
versy was kept up for some time with ability and acri-
mony that was leading to personal conflict, The matter
was finally adjusted by mutual friends, and Mr. Shepard
gradually fell into the surging Harrison tide and did
yeoman service with ringing speeches, from Bertie to Cur-
K'cniictli Kayner was then the Whig leader of the First
I >i-trict, an earnest, ambitious and popular idol of the par-
ry, lie came home from Plarrisburg some days after the
adjournment of the Convention, at which time the Harrison
tide was rising and sweeping the people before it, and log
cabins and hard cider were becoming the object lessons
of the campaign.
The people of the town of Edenton had erected a capa-
cious cabin on the green, in front of the court-house, and
they would have Rayner to speak in it first. He seemed
unusually thoughtful. When he rose to speak he was
thoughtful to austerity. During his speech he used these
words : "We must drive the Democrats from power, peace-
ably, if we can, if not, forcibly." The words were uttered
with* a deep-toned earnestness that thrilled the audience.
There was no applause, but the solemn silence that attend-
ed it showed the deep thoughts that choked their utterance.
While Rayner was speaking there came into the cabin
a little man of rather ungainly appearance, and whose
attire and bearing indicated his indifference to those im-
portant objects. Some of his friends crowded around
him with cordial greeting. We had never seen him be-
fore. He was invited and taken to the platform with
150 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Kayner. lie and Rayner met with the cordialty of inti-
mate friendship. The little man's size and appearance
was against him. His bearing was wanting in dignity.
An intellectual smile played between his eyes and his
broad mouth. When examined carefully his physiogno-
my represented two qualities. His chin and lower jaw
stood for kindliness, humor, amiability and good fellow-
ship. His upper head was a capacious dome, enlarging
from base to summit. It was a symmetrical dome of
thought, the domicile of a brain power that made a great
master among men. It was William W.. Cherry one of
the most genial, gifted, eloquent, forceful speakers that
the Albe^marle section has ever given to North Carolina,
perhaps the most so. He was the soul of wit, humor and
conviviality. His powers of repartee were as sharp, as a
4 'two- edged sword," but left no wound. As a raconteur he
was the superior of Ham Jones. His benevolence was
broad as humanity, and he was as pure as a Vestal Virgin,
with an exquisite geniality that was never stained by a
When Kayner finished speaking, "Cherry ! Cherry !" was
vociferously called for. He came in response to the cor-
dial call. He had scarce uttered a few sentences before
everybody recognized a great orator. With electric argu-
ment that convinced, words that thrilled fell from him as
seldom before had fallen from human lips.
O, the ironies of fate !
Cherry died young; scarce turned forty. Fate had
emptied its cornucopia of honors in his lap, and his future
was a sim-ijilt prospect. He had not an enemy in the
world, and his friends were loving and true. He fell
before the relentless reaper, all unexpected, when the peo-
ple were casting their honors, all unsought by him, at his
When we were in the court-house at Edenton where the
Whig convention met that unanimously nominated him
for Congress to succeed Kenneth Rayner, who had re-
signed the place, we were assisted the place of secretary
THE GIANTS OF 1840. 15!
of the convention, over which Augustus Moore, Sr., of
Edenion, presided. It was an easy task to nominate
Cherry. It was prearranged. A committee was appoint-
ed to notify him, and they soon came in with him.
His speech of acceptance was in his usual style. We
took it down stenographically as he spoke. When the
convention adjourned, toward night, we went out and
in the early night wrote it out and then looked for Mr.
Cherry to submit it to him for revision. After some
search, we found him in the old Club House at the Eden-
ton Hotel, in his stocking feet and shirt sleeves, sitting in
a chair with his feet doubled up under him, and cracking
jokes with a crowd of admiring friends. He was re-
counting to them a story of a Western county, North Car-
olina constable who went to Charleston, S. C., on horse-
back to purchase a piece of land in North Carolina from
a rich nabob who was ft titled colonel, which we had heard
Ham Jones tell in Kaleigh some years before. He beat
glorious old Ham, far away.
After he had finished, we submitted our report to him.
He pronounced it good, and with thanks gave every word
his approval. We sent the proceedings and speech to the
Raleigh Register, and the same number of the paper con-
tained his death. The touching obituary by Weston "R.
Gales had under the headlines Burke's famous -apothegm :
"What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue !"
152 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE DEATH OF WILLIAM GASTON.
O death ! where is thy sting.
WJIEX Judge Gaston departed this life in Raleigh, Jan-
uary 23, 1844, at 65 years, a great man left us, and Caro-
lina was in mourning for her most distinguished son.
Distinguished as his life had been, rounded, patriotic and
useful, when he departed this life nothing became him like
the leaving of it. He was a grand old man, and was beck-
oned away at the green old age of sixty-five years, full of
honor, distinction, usefulness and the love and gratitude
of his countrymen.
While the Supreme Court of North Carolina, of which
he was one of the Justices, was in session in the morning,
he was attacked with giddiness in the head, with symp-
toms of apoplexy. The Court adjourned immediately,
and he was taken in a carriage to his office at Mrs. Tay-
lor's. He rallied from the attack during : the evening,
and at night several distinguished friends called in to see
him. He talked with them, and the conversation turned
naturally upon the uncertainty of life and kindred relig-
ious subjects. As he became interested in the subject,
Judge Gaston rose up on his elbow and then sat up in bed.
He spoke on infidelity and its influence upon character,
and referred to Tobias Watkins, a distinguished public
officer, who was an avowed infidel, and whom he had
known while a member of Congress in Washington. He
said he always distrusted him, and then he added : "I do
not say that an infidel may not from education and high
motives be an honorable man, but I dare not trust him.
A belief in an all-ruling Providence, who shapes our
ends and will reward us according to our deeds, is neces-
sary. We must believe and feel that there is a God, Alwise
and Almighty." As he pronounced this last word,
he raised himself up in bed and fell back a lifeless corpse.
A grand and dramatic close of an illustrious life. .
Mr. Gaston was a g-reat favorite in New Bern, where
DEATH OF WILLIAM GASTON. 153
he had lived all his life. He was beloved for his cour-
tesy, his kindness, his benevolence, and for his great abil-
ity and usefulness in public and private. He was the
central iigure in the group of distinguished men that illus-
trated the history of New Bern as no town in the State
had been. It seemed at one time that every big man in
North Carolina had been "born or lived at some time in
that "Athens" of the State, as the noble old town used to
be lovingly called. Stanly, Gaston, Taylor, Shepard,
Hawks, Daves, Badger, Manly, Graham, Henry, Nash,
Speight, Backus, Bryan and a crowd of other great men,
were all born or lived there.
The negroes joined in the general distress at Judge
Gaston's death. He was always their friend. He always
deplored the existence of slavery in North Carolina, and
regarded it as "the worst evil that afflicted the Southern
portion of our Confederacy," and in his famous address
at the University in 1832, asked if it was too much "to
hope for its ultimate extirpation in North Carolina."
When he was a candidate for the Legislature, when the
old "State House" in Raleigh was burned, and he was
elected over Charles Shepard by one majority, all the free
negroes voted for him.
His memory is yet green in the hearts of his country-
men, and the patriotic ode written by him in a moment
of inspiration " Carolina ! Carolina ! Heaven's bless-
ings attend her"- - yet wakens the love of our people for
the dear old State we love so well.
154 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Full many hearts in lowly bosoms dwell
The world knows not of, or cares not to tell.
WE tell the story of the heroism of the lowly. There
are heroes of domestic life that have found but little space
in history. It is a picture of Southern life, and we hope
it will not be out of place to rescue it from oblivion, with-
out drawing on the imagination for its simple "annals of
the poor." It is the picture of the old^black mammy of
Southern society before that cruel "war between the
States/' that, whatever may have been its benefits (and
there are doubtless many) developed some of the most fiend-
ish traits of our poor human nature and ruthlessly sun-
dered ties that were heaven-born, earth-blessed, and nur-
tured in love.
It is the story of Mammy Ellen, a faithful old black
mammy, to whose pure and loving memory we would now
like to raise a monument of pure black marble to commem-
orate the virtues of a black slave who had been the foster-
mother of the children, had nursed them in childhood, had
followed them in manhood with kindly words of counsel
when the world's gilded temptations lured them from
duty. But that coveted work has been denied us by an
inexorable necessity that has dogged the heels of our res
Mammy Ellen's is a plain picture, true to life. She
had her home by day and a lowly cot at night in a loving
household. She was always with the family and the chil-
dren that she loved with unselfish devotion; intelligent,
watchful, patient and forbearing. From a little girl she
had been an intimate associate of the family. As she
grew to womanhood she became their loved counsellor and
friend. Her patience and good humor was a marvel of
loveliness. She always kept her temper, even when it
was subjected to the innocent provocations of childhood's
love of fun. Sometimes "tired nature," wearied with
MAMMY ELLEN. 155
watching at night, would seek relief in a short ki cat-nap" by
day, and healthy and bright children, always watchful
for jobs in the field of fun, would poke straws into Mammy
Ellen's closed eyelids, and she would always come to con-
sciousness with a happy smile and a kindly word of
A little incident occurs of Mammy Ellen's faithful
watching, mixed a little with the supernatural. A sick
chamber, a little boy, of that interesting age when "sweet
is the voice of childhood and its earliest words," is sick
unto death. His mother, worn with watching, broken
with grief, had left him in despair, to commune with
God. His father and Mammy Ellen watched by his
dying bed, both weeping. Death, with its inverted torch,
we both thought had come to beckon him away. Every
childish prattle of his was crowded into a moment. The
critical moment, we tlfought, had come. At length the
father gave way, and telling Mammy Ellen to close his
eyes after death, sought the anguished mother. She was
in an upper chamber, night clothed, pacing up and down
the floor, sad but silent. The agonized father said : "My
dear, we've got to give up our little boy. He can not live
half an hour." She turned to the half-crazed father and
said, as if in words of inspiration, "No, no; he will not
die. I have been in prayerful communion with our Heav-
enly Father, and he has given me assurance that our dear
little boy would be spared to us." We went back below.
Faithful Mammv Ellen was watching over him. The
lift lo fellow roused for a moment from a comatose sleep.
Mammy Ellen leaned over him and said, "How do you
feel now ?" He answered quickly, "I'm better, do you
kn<>w, now." He turned over, went to sleep, recovered
rapidly and was restored to his parents.
And now let us turn to the dark side of this shield. Tn
tho fall of 1863 there came to Elizabeth City a one-armed
General, who wore and dishonored the epaulettes of the
Knifed States Army, and occupied the town. He brought
with him five thousand negro soldiers. He established
156 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
a reign of horror here for about a month. He impris-
oned innocent and delicate women, placed them under a
guard of negro soldiers, who watched all their movements
by day and night. He threatened old men and non-com-
batants with fire and death. He had but one instinct-
cruelty and he gratified his thirst for desolation. He
wept away every vestige of property and made us a
land of wretched paupers. When he was leaving, he sent
a squad of negvo soldiers to take away all the negroes that
were left. Some Buffaloes with whom he consorted, di-
rected him tx> homes where some yet remained. They
came to the home where Mammy Ellen lived. She did
not want to go. They tried to persuade her away, and
called her "sissy." She still refused to go. At length
they told her she must go and made a show of force ; the
children came to them and, weeping, begged them not to
take away Mammy Ellen. Their hearts of steel did not
relent before the supplications of childhood in tears. At
length Mammy Ellen, weeping, took from her pocket an old
purse, and taking some silver coin, distributed it among
them, and embracing them and calling them "her children,"
took her departure with the soldiers, and her body now rests
somewhere among the sand dunes of Roanoke Island, and
her blessed spirit still hovers over and follows the children
that she loved and watched over in life.
HENRY W. MILLER. 1.57
HENRY W. MILLER.
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man.
XORTII CAROLINA has had many men in its citizenship
that illustrate the touching lines in "Grey's Elegy in a
"Some mute inglorious Milton
Here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood/'
They sleep unhonored because no pen has made record
of their deeds that handmaid of immortality, mightier
than the sword, most potent of all the agencies in the pre-
servation of glorious and inglorious deeds, the index finger
of the art preservative, that marks the sign-boards in the
pathway of time.
Among those "mute inglorious Miltons," whose grand
march to greatness, witnessed by his wondering contempo-
raries, and whose magic words of eloquence and wisdom
;iiv fast fading from the memories of men, was Henry
Watkins Miller, of Kaleigh. He bore upon his august
brow nature's guinea stamp of nobility. He was born to
greatness, and the shadow of his wonderful intellectual
nit't- was I-M si before him before his entrance upon the
JIIVIIM of life.
He was our school friend. We for two years occupied
adjacent rooms in the old historic "South Building" of the
University of North Carolina, separated only by a narrow
passage way. That passage way was the dividing line
between the Di. and Phi. brotherhoods, but it did not di-
vide our friendship, which was of a somewhat intimate
Much is said of the mastery of men, and Miller's mas-
tery at the University was the mastery of men. His in-
tellectuality as a boy was a marvel. His personality was
charming. His eye was like a slop ; but the aspect of
158 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Mars was softened by a glance of kindness that won all
hearts by its sincerity and benevolence. Seldom he
laughed, but when he did it was a musical ripple of a
placid river on a pebbly bottom.
One word more and we will dispose of his boyhood. He
was at the head of his class as an intellectual man, but he
was not a "first-mite" man. His genius was too univer-
sal to be "cribbed, cabined and confined," to be bound
around by the technicalities of the scholar. He was an
all-round intellectual prodigy. His field of triumph was
too broad for the struggles of logarithms, hydrostatics and
optics, and he gave all his strength to the struggles of man-
kind. Another word, and we give up his boyhood and turn
to the graver and sadder period of his life.
Miller graduated in 1834. He spoke the third speech in
the order of distinction. It was a grand effort, full of
the afflatus of oratory in its grandest type. His father,
a plain old man, in the sixties, homespun clothed, a Vir-
ginian, of Buckingham County, came to the University
at the C Commencement of 1834, to see his son graduate.
We stood by the old man in the aisle of Gerrard Hall.
Young Henry Miller carried the audience along with him
by the magic thrill of his eloquence. The old man wept
like a child as young Henry swept the heart-strings of the
audience, and when he sat down the old man, with stream-
ing eyes, went upon the rostrum, took his gifted son in
his arms, and wept aloud. All college distinctions paled
before the grand triumph of that proud day.
While at the University he was a model of every pro-
priety. He had no excesses, was a member of the Presby-
terian Church, -and Avas in all respects moderate, circum-
spect and exemplary. But let him who stands and of
whom "all speak well," beware lest he fall !
He returned to his home in Kaleigh after graduation.
His fame of greatness had preceded him. Friends on
every side met him with open arms and were profuse of
compliment and congratulation. George E. Badger, the
head of the law profession in Raleigh, and a leader in its
HENRY W. MILLER. 159
distinguished social life, took him by the hand, took him
up as 4 'his boy," took him in his office as a law student,
flattered him, praised him, and predicted his future dis-
tinction. Weston R. Gales received him and made him
a pet in his charmed circle of social life, with its brilliant
baits of temptation and pleasure. His head was turned,
the proprieties of his past life were thrown to the winds,
he fell before the tempter and his life is now the best
Temperance lecture in the whole history of North Carolina.
1 1 is life afterward was a fall, and a staggering, repentant
recovery. Sometimes, yea often, the fire of his old-time
brilliancy would flame out with unwonted fervor. In the
Harrison storm of 1840, he was a power, and the cam-
paign newspaper articles "A Plain Man and One of the
People" were read throughout the State and had great
influence. He acquired the reputation of a great but un-
certain lawyer. He hail a leading practice in important
cases, and at his best was regarded as an unrivalled ad-
About 1858 he was appointed by the "Ladies of the
Mount Yernon Association," with Edward Everett, the
iiTc-Mt Massachusetts orator, to deliver lectures through-
out tlic I'nitcd States for the purpose of purchasing Mount
Yernon and dedicating it to the memory of Washington.
It was a distinguished honor, and much appreciated by
Carolina's talented son. For a time it exercised a salu-
tary influence over his life, and he entered the service
a>- iirned him with an earnestness and ability that eclipsed
i he fame of Everett.
Miller's lecture was never published, but we had the
pleasure of reading the manuscript some years after, and
it was strikingly elegant, original and forceful.
As a graceful orator and elocutionist, he could not have
been excelled by Everett; for Miller was the equal of
Daniel Webster in magisterial face and bearing, and his
superior in person and in the sweet musical cadence of
Once, in 1862, we were on a railroad bound for Ra-
160 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
leigh. We were sitting by a friend, and while in conver-
sation with him, we heard a voice full of melody and
sweetness coming from behind us far down in the car.
We said to the friend near us, "Surely we've heard that
voice before. It sounds like Henry Miller's." He re-
plied, "Mr. Miller is on the train." We had not met
Miller for thirty years.
We turned and looked over the dense crowd. Far down
we recognized the majestic brow and eye of "Old Coal"
of the University. I went at once to him. He met me
as I him, with the old-time heartiness, known only to
school-day friendship.. We turned to ftie past, and gave
some space to the present. He lamented the war .then
raging; and the stoppage of his work in the lecture field
with Edward Everett added to his personal regrets.
We suggested that he devote some part of his life to
preparing an elaborate biography of William Gaston. He
said no man appreciated the character of the great Caro-
linian more than he did, but he was poor, and the demands
of his family took all his time. He then passed his hand
through our hair and made some comment upon the foot-
prints of time with both of us. He got off at the next
station, and we parted never to meet again.
JUDGE THOMAS RUFFIN. l6l
JUDGE THOMAS RUFFIN.
" A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches/' It gives
weight to reproof, force to counsel and point to example.
As T.ONG as magistracy exists, the name of Thomas
Ruffin, of North Carolina, will be conspicuous among her
great sons. He was specially a great lawyer, and the
monument that he reared to his memory was acquired by
long and laborious service in her legal ranks.
From the ranks, amid difficulties, without family in-
fluence, without patronage, with the encumbrance of
constitutional diffidence, in the face of eminent legal prac-
titioners and rivals at the bar, he rose to be the acknowl-
edged leader on his circuit of courts, and in the progress of
\\\> <-;iivrr came to be the chief minister at its altars.
His distinguished life and character is full of practical
lessons to the young aspirant for forensic distinction who
longs to inscribe his name upon the pillars of the legal
It is a lesson of struggle under difficulties, of intense
labor, of indefatigable perseverance, of resolute deter-
mination, of patience, of self-reliance, of triumph.
When Demosthenes, the great Grecian orator, and as-
signed the highest place in the Pantheon of oratory, was
asked what was the main constituent of oratory, he said
action ; and when asked for the next element, he repeated
action; and when asked for the third constituent, he re-
peated the same answer. The lesson of Thomas Ruffin's
life was that labor, thrice repeated, was the grand ele-
ment in the life of a successful, great lawyer. He was
no orator as Brutus or Cicero. He was without the
graces of manner. He had no honeyed words of
rhetoric that won the hearts of men. His voice brought
no reminder of the Eolian harp. His countenance was
austere, and his limbs were not cast in the mould of an
Appollo Belvidere. He probably never told a joke in
162 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
his life, and probably but seldom relaxed into pleasantry.
But he was a man of character, upright, earnest, sincere
and laborious. He had duty for his guide-star, and was
in every fiber of his constitution a grand model of God's
masterwork an honest man. He was equal to all the
positions he occupied in life. He had been a legislator
in the. General Assembly, had been a Judge on the Circuit
and Supreme Bench, and was a master in each. On the
Circuit Bench he was earnest, pure, able, and dispatched
business with great diligence, promptness and firmness.
On the Supreme Bench he was probably unequalled in
our judicial annals. His opinions on the Supreme Bench
were distinguished for learning, clearness and profound
research. They were universally commended, and were
quoted with approval in the courts of Westminster Hall,
If there was any weakness in the panoply of his acquire-
ments, it was in his literary character. He was not at
home on the literary rostrum. He addressed the gradua-
ting class of 1835 at the University of North Carolina,
and we thought it too direct and practical for a graceful
literary occasion. There are some occasions in which wis-
dom is not wise when unadorned, when a "spade" must be
described, and not called by its homely cognomen.
Judge Ruffin was a Virginian by birth, a Carolinian
by education and adoption. His Virginia lineage em-
braces much distinction in the judicial line a maternal
ancestor being Judge Spencer Roane, who was Chief Jus-
tice of that State.
His preparatory education was in the town of Warren-
ton, N. C., where he formed school-mate friendships with
many Carolinians, who in after life were his warm friends.
He graduated at Princeton College with distinction in his
class, and while there was the room-mate and class-mate
of Gov. James Iredell, of North Carolina. Soon after his
maturity he removed to Hillsboro, N. C., where he passed
his honored and successful life, and departed this life at
eighty-three years, full of honor and reverence.
A MONSTER SNAKE. 163
A MONSTER SNAKE.
[A STORY OF THE SEA.]
SOME boys were on an outing to the "Fresh Ponds"
at Nags Head, a favorite resort of sportsmen, and as they
journeyed on through brake and briar, they saw an im-
mense snake's head protruding through a hole in the body
of a live oak tree. One of them, who carried the com-
missary basket, pointed to the monster's head, and was
amazed. He was about to run home in fright, but an-
other boy, larger than himself, shook him vigorously by the
shoulders until his nerves were recovered.
While this athletic pantomine was going on, his snake-
hood was looking on with serene composure. The boy
was considering the Scriptural injunction to bruise that
serpent's head. He recovered from his Scriptural reverie,
seized his breech-loader and bruised his head with twenty-
four heavy buckshot. In fact, he blew off his snakeship's
head, and left him a monster off his head.
Nearer the bottom of the tree there was another hole,
a sort of back door to the snake's sanctum (so to speak).
In 'a little while the snake's tail began slowly to protrude
itself through that snakely back door. One of the boys,
recognizing his opportunity, dragged out five feet of his
headless body through that hole, threw the head part over
a boy's shoulder and the tail over his own, and then, forget-
tinu the Fresh Ponds and the big black bass, marched back
to the hotel as proud as an army with banners.
On their way back they discovered a protuberance in the
snake's abdomen that alarmed them. Finally, they
reached the hotel, and everybody came up and marvelled
at the great triumph. They examined the egg, which the
boys had dissected from the snake's body, and wondered
*r.ill the more. They examined the egg, and each exam-
iner had his own theory.
At length some one suggested that they should form an
164 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
organized body to deliberate on the mystery of the snake
and the egg. Agreed. John G. Wood, of Hayes, was
called to the chair, and Moses Blackstock, of Bertie,
was called on to express his sentiments. He kindly re-
sponded. "This," said he, "is a venomous species of the
angulus dioscutos. It is an amphibious animal, and is
always found near the sea. It has a thousand legs, which
are used as paddles in the sea and propellers on land. It
can outrun the swiftest race-horse, and can jump twentv
feet at a bound. As to the egg, it is the property of some
thrifty old housewife, which she used ^ as a nest-egg to
fool her hens with and make them lay when they don't
want to." Others shook their heads, and said it was noth-
ing but a story which the boys had hatched from a stone
they had picked up on the beach.
In the confusion of their conflicting opinions, some one
suggested that if any one could explain the mystery it was
Bill Jones, an exotic banker ; that Bill was a funny man,
and when in his funny mood he could not tell his right
leg from a powder-horn ; but set two cocktails before him
with a straw in each, and let him draw, and in ten min-
utes he w r ould tell you more of the past, present and future
than all the wise men from Cape Hatteras to Collington
Bay. Two cocktails of John Ward's best were ordered, and
a committee appointed to invite Bill Jones's presence at the
conclave. He soon came, and, looking around, saw tAvo
cocktails staring him in his face, that was beaming with
happiness. He addressed himself to them, and for five
minutes discussed first one and then the other. Then,
turning to the crowd, he said, "Gents, for what want ye
me ?" The chairman answered : "We want your learning
as to this snake and this egg." He bowed his best bow,
and then, pointing to the monster reptile, said: "That
snake belongs to the angadusa family venomous, destruc-
tive and rabid. Its jaws turn upon a pivot and hinge,
and it can take in a hog, a possum, or a puppy, and some-
times swallows a baby, without distinction of color, race
or previous condition. This one is well known here. He
A MONSTER SNAKK. 165
was the terror of these banks. He ate Betsy Barker's baby
at one gulp. He ran off with Nancy Dowdy's two twins,
and has eaten various and sundry others. From exami-
nation of his fangs, he is thirty years old. The boys were
fortunate in shooting him as quick as they did, for when
his head was thrust through that hole he was preparing
for a spring, and would have wrapped his head around
one of the boy's neck and stuck his tail in his nostrils,
-trangled him in less time than a minute, and devoured
him at -his next meal."
Turning to the egg, Bill J. eyed it from every stand-
point arid said : "This is an ossified egg of the Great Auk,
a mammoth bird of the torrid regions that existed in pre-
historic ages, just prior to the death of Abel. There is
only one Auk egg in the world. It is preserved in the
British Museum and a million dollars has been refused
1 66 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
BATTLE OF MOORE'S CREEK BRIDGE.
I have no words :
My voice is in my sword.
PERHAPS no battle of the Revolution had greater effect
in rousing the Patriots of the Revolution in its earlier
stages and inspiring their hearts with the enthusiasm of
independence than the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge.
It was the first regular pitched battle of the Revolution
in any of the States. It was fought by the regular colon-
ial troops of North Carolina, in Cumberland County,
on a branch of Cape Fear River, on the 27th of February,
1776. The forces engaged in the campaign were the
North Carolina troops, commanded by Col. James Moore,
Colonels Lillington, Caswell, Martin and Ashe; and, on
the other side, the Scotch Highlanders, commanded by
Gen. Donald MacDonald, who was a Tory, and had been
commissioned as General of North Carolina troops by
the Colonial Governor. The Patriots consisted of about
1,100, being Colonel Moore's Continentals, and the min-
ute men from New Bern and New Hanover and militia
from the counties of Duplin, Craven, Dobbs and Bladen,
under Colonel Caswell ; a hundred "volunteer independent
yagers" from Wilmington, commanded by Colonel Ashe,
and a hundred and fifty minute men from Wilmington
under Colonel Lillington. The opposing force of Tory
Highlanders, under the command of General MacDonald,
consisted of about 1,500 men, chiefly Scotch Highlanders.
As soon as the Loyalists began to embody at Campbel-
ton, Colonel Moore took position at Rockfish Creek, seven
miles down the river, and was watching the movement of
the force under General MacDonald, and had determined
to attack them at the first suitable opportunity. But the
enemy, whose object was to get to Wilmington and join the
British fleet in the harbor, evaded him bv crossing the river
and passing to the eastward to another road. Moore,
BATTLE OF MOORE'S CREEK BRIDGE. 167
however, directed Lillington and Caswell to concentrate
their forces on that road near the widow Moore's bridge,
on a creek that emptied into Black River, about thirty
miles from Wilmington, while he hurried down to close
in on the Highlanders. During the day and night of the
26th of February, Colonel Lillington, who was the first
to reach the bridge, had thrown up a breastwork com-
manding the crossing, while the Highlanders were rapidly
approaching from the opposite side. Colonel Caswell
came just in time, and during the night Lillington also
destroyed part of the bridge, removing the planks so as
to impede the attacking party if they attempted to cross
On the early morning of the 27th of February, the
Highlanders, seeing an embankment apparently unoccu-
pied, and supposing that the Americans had abandoned or
were about abandoning their position, determined to at-
tack them. They fired a morning: gun and then charged
furiously over the bridge, not knowing the impediment of
its partial destruction. The patriots attacked them with
great impetuosity while on the bridge, and totally disor-
ganized them. Then Captain Slocumb's company crossed
the creek lower down and attacked them in the flank, and
the Highlanders broke and retreated. The Patriots killed
about seventy of the enemy and took many prisoners,
among whom was General MacDonald himself. It was a
complete victory for the Patriots and broke the formid-
able Tory outbreak among the- Scotch Highlanders, who
had fled from Scotland after the disastrous battle of Cul-
loden in their home country, and made their new home in
the Cape Fear region of North Carolina.
Tn this first pitched battle of the Revolution, that is
hardly known to our own people, the Patriots, under Gen-
eral Moore, had two wounded, one of whom died. The
Tories, under General MacDonald, lost seventy. Captain
McLcod and Captain Campbell, of the Highlanders, were
killed early in the fight on the bridge, the former of whom
received upwards of twenty bullets through his body. A
168 GRANDFATHER'S TALKS.
very few minutes after the fall of these leaders the whole
army was in flight. Many were drowned and. many pris-
oners were taken, General MacDonald being taken the next
day. He was commissioned as Brigadier-General and
Commander-in-Chief in North Carolina. There were
twenty-six prisoners taken, all of whom were sent on to
the American General Congress in Philadelphia.
The importance of this signal victory of the Americans
is fully recognized in the scant contemporary letters and
publications. They speak of the great joy that it had
diffused in the Province, and how great a disappointment
it was to Clinton and Lord William Campbell, who were
in Cape Fear Kiver in British ships of war, "in sanguine
expectation of being joined by the defeated and routed
Touy troops." If the fight at Moore's Creek Bridge had
been won by the Tories under General MacDonald, all
East Carolina would have been overrun and probably
the whole South would have been subdued.
And yet, when Senator Butler introduced a resolution
in the United States Senate proposing an appropriation
to aid in raising a monument at the site of this first pitched
battle of the Revolution, some Senator asked, with lament-
able simplicity, where the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge
was fought, Alas ! alas ! the schoolmaster is abroad, but
where are the pens that are "mightier than the sword."
It is sometimes asked why the Highlanders, who had
sustained so signal a defeat in a contest with the British
Government at the disastrous battle of Culloden in 1745,
should have taken up arms for the British Government
against the citizens of their new home in North Carolina.
It is the old story of the "burnt child." They had felt
the fire of the British arm in their old home, and with
the true instinct of a canny Scot they feared a repetition
But time has redeemed their mistake in the struggle
for independence, and the State of North Carolina now
points with pride to the descendants of the Macs who fell
at Moore's Creek Bridge, who have since brought and
emptied into her loving lap laurels won in field and forum.
THE BANKER PONY. 169
THE BANKER PONY.
The War Horse Smtfeth the Battle from afar."
THE horse is man's best friend. In peace he is man's
best agent in subduing the forest to the plow, lie is the
great agent of transportation and intercommunication. He
was a factor in the progress of the human race from the
earliest period of time. He is as prominent as man in
the chronicles of Holy Writ
Why, then, should he not have a place in history ? He
has won battles. He has subdued forests. He has been
the faithful companion of man in all his enterprises. He
has been the inspiration of song and story and art. The
artist has made him the emblem of death, and "Death on
the Pale Horse" has immortalized the easel of West. The
Arab loveth his steed. Civilized man cherishes his horse,
gives ear to his intuitive knowledge of past, present and
future events. Had the Great Creator denied man the
power of speech, as he has the horse, the horse would have
been his superior. Without speech man's reasoning would
have been inferior to the horse's instinct. He has more
strength, more sagacity without speech, more valuable in-
stincts and forecasts than man, and in the outset of the
race of life he starts in the race far ahead. His self-reli-
ance, that great factor in human progress, is earlier de-
veloped and is more tenacious. But he is denied the vocal
power, hence he takes rank next to head in the roll of
Why, then, deny him a place in history to which he
has contributed so much in sacred and profane records ?
Why close the doors of fame to him who has ofttimes
turned tho tide of battle and changed the pathway of
From Job to Pharaoh the horse is a conspicuous sub-
The earliest horse known in North Carolina is probably
the banker pony, and in all the crossings of breeds and
170 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
the training of thoroughbreds, he has retained and never
been surpassed in his peculiar characteristics of endu-
rance and docility. When Amadas and Barlowe came to
Roanoke Island in 1584 the pony was probably here on
the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, and was sometimes
used by the Indians in the chase and for transportation
purposes. He was self-supporting on the salt marshee,
and was sometimes subjugated by the aborigines for the
purposes of the chase.
How he came there, whence he came, and how long he
had been there are still unsolved problems in the specula-
tions of naturalists and philosophers.
Some claim that he was brought over to America in
the migrations of the "Lost Tribes" of Israel after their
escape from the horsemen and chariots of the Egyptians in
the flood-tide of the Red Sea ; and that our banker ponies
were the remnants of the Egyptian hosts who perished
in the Red Sea.
This remnant of wild horses escaped the general de-
struction and were taken by the Israelites and preserved
by them as memorials of their preservation. When the
lost tribes were lost in the forty years of wandering in the
wilderness and found a home in North Carolina, long
before Sir Walter Raleigh conceived the idea of trans-
atlantic exploration, they brought the Egyptian ponies
with them, and ever after preserved them as memorials of
a beneficent Providence.
Others claim that the banker pony is a development of
the sand fiddler from the long evolution of the ages.
They trace the marks of a remote lineage in their resem-
blances and characteristics, as the remote ancestry of the
blooded horse can be traced by white spots reappearing
among his descendants at intervals in the genealogy of the
blood. The "fiddler," they say, is tenacious of his habi-
tat and combatative in its defence. So is the banker pony.
The "fiddler" is remarkable for the strength of his spinal
column. So the banker pony. The spinal column of
the "fiddler" is as tough and sinewy as a "razor-back"
THE BANKER PONY. 17 1
porker. The spinal column of the banker pony is phe-
nomenally tough and strong. He will pull with ease
a burden attached to his tail that he could not move when
attached to his shoulders. The "fiddler" is a burrower
in the sand, and makes his hole an asylum of refuge and
a castle of defence. The pony will paw the sand until
it will make a hole as deep as his body.
But we discard all these theories as philosophical vaga-
ries of a diseased f ancy, and adopt another which has less
imagination but more wisdom.
When Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer, came back
to America, after accompanying Columbus on his first
voyage, he came in small ships; and to economize storage
he brought with him a few small Spanish mustang horses.
His object was to use them in his search for that marvel-
ous "Fountain of Youth," which was to transmute the
dull and wasted materials of age into the vital principle
of youth, and enable old age to put on the vigor of youth
and retain the experience of age. De Leon landed on the
coast of Florida in the early years of the sixteenth cen-
tury, to accomplish his original and glorious mission, but he
found much mosquitoes, tarantulas and alligators, but no
Fountain of Youth; and he went back to Spain and left
the little mustangs to shift for themselves. They, having
the instinct of wisdom, and not liking the sunny land in
which insects abounded and only man was dwarfed, sought
a more salubrious clime, mierrated slowlv northward, until
they came to the coast of Carolina, where food was abun-
dant and insects scarce, and there, with a wisdom supe-
rior to man's they have ever since remained, docile when
domesticated and helpful to his human eolaborer.
172 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Aye, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod.
THE county of Dare was formed by a slice or rib taken
from the sides of the counties of Currituck, Tyrrell and
Hyde. It lies chiefly along the seacoast,and its inhabitants
partake of that vitality, heartiness,wholesouledness, health-
iness, cordiality and open-handed hospitality which always
distinguished the dwellers by the sea. Stanteo, its county-
town, is situated on the historic island of Roanoke, at the
head of Shallow Bag Bay, and though at present a town
of small pretensions, may, in the future, become the seat
and centre of the fishing industry. A few years have
wonderfully developed that business v and furnished a rich
treasury to the people of Dare.
About twenty years ago some boys playing by the sea
shore near Cape Hatter as accidentally caught a few
large fish unknown before. They were the first known of
the fish, iio\v so highly prized, called Blue Fish. Seven-
teen years ago Chauncey Meekins, a citizen of Roanoke
Island, esteemed for his enterprising and excellent char-
acter, and who extended bounteous hospitality to his
friends, and especially to his friends of the legal profes-
sion, set the first blue-fish net in the ocean opposite Roan-
oke Island. Since then Mr. Meekins has continued the
business, and has made the largest catch of blue fish at one
setting of which mention has been made to us. From one
setting he gilled and saved 5,000 blue fish. The blue fish
is one of the marvels of the sea, and the tales of his habits
and peculiarities,, unquestioned here, would, in other lands,
be classed as fabulous fish stories. He makes his appear-
ance on the Albemarle coast toward the last of ISTovember.
He strikes the coast of Virginia about Cape Henry, and
follows it down to Cape Hatter as ; there he follows the
current setting out to sea, and then striking northward
DARE COUNTY. 173
repeats the circuit from Cape Hatteras. They are the ter-
ror of the sea. The bull dogs of the ocean. As ravenous
as an anaconda and as savage as a meat-axe. Woe to the
man or beast or fish or fowl that comes within reach of
their sharp fangs. Woe to the fat-backs. Poor-spirited,
timid, unresisting, oily, plethoric fat-backs. Victims of the
1)1 no- fish's rage and appetite.
Ephraim Meekins, of Roanoke Island, has furnished us
with some facts about these fat-backs so marvelous that
wo should be disposed to question them but for the fact
that our friend Ephraim, in a newspaper controversy last
year, about a blue-fish roe, armed alone with his practical
knowledge, encountered one who studies physical phe-
nomena by the light of science; and when that contro-
versy ended, waved his victorious banner over a vanquished
Fat-backs have a futfny way of assuming a new alias
in every new locality they visit. Far North they are
known as "Mossy Bunkers." As they get along they pass
as "Porgies," "Ale-Wives" and "Old-Wives," and' when
thoy reach the Albemarle coast they are recognized as "Fat-
Backs," and welcomed with bloody teeth to hospitable
throats by the insatiate blue fish. They come in immense
shoals. Sometimes, frightened almost to death by their
pursuers, they rush upon the shore in countless millions
and seek death by their own rash act. Sometimes as many
as fifty shoals can be seen at once, varying in size from a
fifth to a quarter acre, reaching down five feet below the
surface of the sea and risin~ in a dense body a foot above
it ; and the blue fish visible under them, pegging: away and
ripping them to pieces, and bloodying the ocean all around.
Sometimes the mass of fat-backs is so compact that fisher-
mon have unshipped their rudders, placed it upon the fat-
, and stood upon it in the open sea. And somebody
that somebody "did," or "could," or "might," or
' k had"stuek his oar ur> in the mass of the fish, and,- climb-
ins; up to the top of the oar, waved his hat around his
174 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
head, with three cheers for Tilden, Hendricks and Vance.
All Dare, now, is on the rampage for the blue-fish fray,
and though the terror of the sea, when they meet the daring
men of Dare they'll meet an enemy they can not conquer.
" The Land of the Blest."
WE write amid historic associations. Our eye takes in
at a glance the scenes and places where the first white
men landed in America of whom history has preserved an
authentic narrative. The now closed inlet through which
Sir Walter Raleigh's colonists, under the command of
Ainadas and Barlowe, entered Roanoke Sound; "Ballast
Point/ 7 where they cast anchor, where the white man and
the red man first met face to face, with that strange and
mysterious color line of race that hath not and can not be
blended in harmonious unity ; the waters where they chaf-
fered and traded with the Indians/, the spot where was
born Virginia Dare, the first white child of American
birth, and where was first administered the rite of Chris-
tian baptism ut)on American soil ; the rude fort or embank-
ment thrown up by the ill-fated colonists as a protection
against the attacks of hostile Indians ; Croatan to which
they went when they abandoned the fort, never to return
or be heard of more ; Roanoke Island with its old and re-
cent sanguinary historical memories ; and the new town of
Manteo, consecrated by name and locality to the memory
of him who through all the vicissitudes of adverse fortune
was the true and steadfast friend of the pale-faced colo-
nists another illustration that
" Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,"
graven by humanity upon the tablet of the heart outlive
the proudest memorials blazoned by ambition upon the
NAGS HEAD. 175
records of fame all these lie spread out before us as a
Nags Head has also a history, not gray with age and
''rich with the spoils of time," but attractive in its social
and domestic aspects, and in its more public character,
connecting itself with events which have shaped the desti-
nies of peoples, and to which time will give the enchant-
ment that distance imparts.
It was here, in the war of 1812, that troops under the
command of Captain Bell, of Currituck, were stationed
to guard the coast and prevent the landing of the British
forces. And here, too, in the war of 1812 lived some of
a class of men incident to all wars, who were typified by
that animal to which nature has denied the natural weap-
ons with which it has armed its kind, which never "locks
horns" with an enemy. It was here, in the war of 1861-
1865, that Gen. II. A. Wise, of Virginia, had his head-
quarters while in command of the troops stationed on Roan-
oke Island, in the Spring of 1862, holding, when the disas-
trous battle ended, the post of safety, if not of danger, and
illustrating in his safe and precipitate personal retreat by
the light of buildings and stores himself had fired, that
discretion is an important element in the estimate of valor.
But it is in its social and hygienic aspects that Nags
Head is chiefly known and has become identified with the
local history of this part of Eastern North Carolina.
From that time when "the memory of man runneth not to
the contrary" it has been the resort for health of persons
and families living in the adjacent section. From time
immemorial it has been the nursery of the Albemarle coun-
try. For many years families came down and passed
much of the months from June to October, living in rude
and primitive style, with such accommodations as could
be obtained among the dwellers along the coast, a plain
and peculiar people who obtained a precarious support
from the supply of fish which the waters afforded and from
the wrecks cast by the dangerous tempests upon the coast.
From its accessibility and from its being a narrow part of
176 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
the sand bank separating the sound from the ocean, Nags
Head became the resort most frequented by the visitors,
and about the year 1830 some advance was made in its sum-
mer comforts by some of the visitors putting up small one-
story houses near the sound, upon the sand hills which
dotted the shore in every direction. These simple shanty
structures added greatly to the number and comfort of vis-
itors. They possessed an expansive elasticity without
limit, and by the addition of curtains were infinitesimally
subdivided for the accommodation of friends.
The erection of a hotel building capable of accommoda-
ting some 200 persons in 1838, by a company composed
of citizens of Elizabeth City, constitutes an epoch in the
history of Nags Head. This event gave it a new charac-
ter and a new departure. Hitherto it had been the resort
of families and their friends, occupying isolated rude ten-
ements, with no common centre of union, but now fashion
and gayety were to attract with their enchantment a new
class of visitors. Youth and beauty, belles and beaux,
with the romance of love and flirtation, added a new fea-
ture, and every season had its tale of matches made or
broken. "Engagement Hill," about this time, derived its
name from circumstances that its name suggests, and its
tradition and history excel those of "Kill Devil Hills" or
"Nags Head Hill" in romantic and tender incidents.
The career of Nags Head was an unbroken progress of
prosperity until the war of 1861, which desolated the place.
Elegant structures, the seats of social refinement and hap-
piness, were given over to the ruthless hands of half-sav-
age negroes and a fanatic soldiery. The private resi-
dences were torn down. The little church, around which
clustered so many sacred associations, shared the same
fate at the hands of the spoilers, and when peace came with
its healing wings, scenes once bright with the mingled hap-
piness of childhood, manhood and age were naught but a
mournful desolation, with the wild winds chanting the
remiiem of the dead past amid the solitude of the eternal
NAGS HEAD. 177
But time will heal and tears will dry, and after an ab-
sence of many years, with their mournful vicissitudes, we
have come again to revisit old scenes peopled with mem-
ories of the departed, with the old familiar land-marks
swept off by the sand drift. The old ocean is still here,
with the huge billows still echoing the great voice of the Al-
mighty. We have buffeted again the same grand old
mountain waves, swam out again beyond the breakers, and
rested again in poise upon the bosom of the briny deep.
That elastic kick-out of the strong swimmer, acquired in
boyhood, clings to us through life with the same tenacity
that it clings to a bull-frog. All of yore is changed ; some
vestiges of the old hotel, built in 1838 and burned in 1862,
are still visible.
178 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
" Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate;
Nor set down aught in malice."
IF WE were asked who was more distinguished in the
public life of North Carolina for patriotism, usefulness,
and State love, we would reply, after Zeb. Vance, our
beloved war governor Governor David L. Swain the
long-popular President of the University of North Caro-
lina, both natives and residents of the county of Buncombe.
Strange to say, Governor Swain was a surprise and a
disappointment to the whole State of North Carolina
when he was selected as President of the University. He
was a malformation in person, out of proportion in physi-
cal conformation, apparently thrown together in haste
and manufactured from scattered debris of material that
had been used in other work. Nature had been a most
unkind mother to him; gawky, lanky, with a nasal twang
that proclaimed him an alien, and a pedal propulsion that
often awakened derision and offended nobody's self-love.
In addition to all these unjust gifts of nature, he was an
unlettered man and owed nothing to the primary or higher
schools, and so far as scholastic training goes, he was an
And yet he was elected to the Presidency of the oldest
and best institution of learning in the Southern States,
and administered its affairs longer and with more wisdom
than any of his distinguished predecessors ; and by pre-
cept and example during his long administration, he im-
pressed himself upon the sons of North Carolina as no
other man in the State has ever done an impression that
is shown in our mature manhood at this day, and will be
felt in North Carolina as long as time lasts.
It was President David L. Swain that helped much to
give us Zeb. Vance and make that most loved Carolinian
the great man that he was. It was President Swain's
bounty that enabled Vance to secure an education at the
GOVERNOR SWAIN. 179
University of North Carolina, where he laid the founda-
tion of his future greatness.
When the bee of the University first buzzed in Gov-
ernor Swain's bonnet, so to speak, he was himself in
doubt as to his fitness for "the Presidency of the Univer-
sity. He had been prominent in politics, had acquired
some distinction as a lawyer, had been a leading member
of the Legislature, and was sometimes spoken of as a popu-
lar speaker and parliamentarian. He had been elected
Governor of the State, and when Dr. Caldwell, President
of the University, died in 1835, Swain's administration
of the State Government was about expiring.
One fine fall evening the Governor was sitting alone
in his official office on the capitol grounds in Raleigh.
Judge Nash passed through the grounds, and seeing Gov-
ernor Swain sitting alone in the door of his office stopped
in to talk with him. The Governor was in a confiding
mood and explained to the kind Judge his situation. He
>;ii<l his term of office as Governor of the State was draw-
ing to a close, and he was puzzled to know what he was
iroinir to do for a living; that it would take a long time
for him to reestablish himself in his law practice ; that he
\vas ucver fond of la,w practice* thnt there was no vacancy
in the United States Senate from North Carolina, and
would not be for several years, and that he thought of being
a Candidate for the Presidency of the University. He
asked Judge Nash, who was a man of literary accomplish-
ments and legal learning, what he thought of it. The
Judge did not reply promptlv and it was evident he did
not think well of it. Before Judge Nash replied the
Governor said to him : "Well, Judge Nash, if you will
mention the matter to Jud Duncan Cameron, who loves
the University, and he disapproves of it, I will say no
more about it," Judge Nash replied that he was then
"ii his wav to Judge Cameron's to tea, and would men-
tion the subject to him. Judge Nash during the evening
;it Judire Cameron's said to him that Governor Swain
wanted flip appointment of President of the University,
and asked him what he thought of it.
Judge Cameron, after a moment's reflection, said:
"Well, I never thought of it, but Swain is the very man
for the place ; a man who has proven himself such a great
manager of men would make a good manager of boys."
The Governor was told this opinion of Judge Cameron,
and forthwith announced himself as a candidate for the
When the intelligence of Governor Swain's candidacy
for President of the University reached Chapel Hill the
faculty was astounded. Dr. Mitchell, familiarly called
"Old Mike/ 7 who w^as a pushing man, anxious for the
place, and had an unbridled tongue, ridiculed the subject.
Dr. Hooper, familiarly called "Old Billy/ 7 also hankered
after the place. He was a proud man, of exquisite wit
and humor, and his pride of ancestry was sharpened by
the current of his blood that ran through nobles ever since
the flood. He was quiet, but in an unguarded moment let
drop the remark that "the people of North Carolina haJ
done everything they could for their ignorant Governor and
now they wanted to send him to the University to be edu-
We had seen Governor Swain tAvice before he became
President of the University. Once when he was Gov-
ernor, and once when he was a member of the Convention
of 1835, representing Buncombe County.
In that Convention, which was torn by antagonistic
factions in the State on the basis of representation in the
General Assembly, Swain was the leader of the forces of
Western North Carolina. He made a great speech on
that subject, which at one time threatened the unity of
the State, and we listened to it with delight. He presented
all the points in the case from the western point of view.
It was bold, defiant, logical, argumentative and sometimes
eloquent. He was fond of Scriptural quotations, and often
used them with great effect. Once, towering in his wrath
and raising his index finger as in defiance of Eastern
Carolina, he said : "Let our Eastern brethren beware. If
they do not grant our peaceful appeal for a change in the
GOVERNOR SWAIN. l8l
basis of representation, we will rise like the strong man in
his. unshorn might and pull down the pillars of the polit-
The subject was under discussion in the Convention for
several days, and every Western member that spoke re-
ferred to the Scriptural quotation of the "eloquent gentle-
man from Buncombe." At length, Mr. Gaston addressed
the Convention on the same subject. After speaking
about an hour, he turned round and said: "The gentleman
from Buncombe has said that if the East does not grant
the peaceful demands of the West, they will rise like the
strong man in his unshorn might and pull down the pillars
of the political temple. The strong man, the son of Ma-
nnjih, was brought out from his prison to make sport for
the ninnies of his country, and do honor to the impious
feast of Uagon. He tugged and heaved at the massive pil-
lars of the temple, ani all were crushed in one hideous
ruin. It was a great and a glorious deed. He fell a mar-
tyr and a hero, victorious among the slain."
No more was heard of the eloquent gentleman's Scrip-
tural quotation. Gaston had spiked Swain's Scriptural
1 82 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
JAMES IREDELL W. B. SHEPARD KENNETH
RAYNER W. N. H. SMITH COL. HENRY
" Like the mother of the Grachi, when asked for her jewels, she
pointed to her sons."
THE First District of North Carolina has always been
proud of her Representatives in the National councils.
Looking to the Senate of the United States first, she has
had but one member of that august body during the exist-
ence of the Government James Iredell, Jr.
Mr. Iredell was the son of Justice James Iredell, of the
Supreme Court of the United States, under the adminis-
tration of Washington. Descended from an intellectual
ancestry, born to distinction, and being endowed by nature
with great genius and abilitv, he reached manhood with
much promise of distinction in his legal profession. He
soon acquired distinction and popularity with his fellow
citizens, and public life sought him as a Representative in
the General Assembly.
He took high rank in debate in the General Assembly,
and was the peer of Gaston, Drew, Cameron and Alfred
Moore, and the other great men who adorned our State
councils at that time. He was at the head of the law pro-
fession in the First Judicial District, and at an early age
was transferred to the Circuit Bench.
Some years after, he was elected Governor of North
Carolina by the Legislature. At the expiration of his
term sts Governor, he was elected to the United States
Senate, to succeed Nat. Macon ; and in that body he main-
tained a high position. It is said that he was selected to
reply to Mr. Webster, in the celebrated debate on nulli-
fication, and his place was, in consequence of Iredell's sick-
ness, supplied by Hayne, of South Carolina. He died at
the age of sixty-five, when attending the Courts of the
William B. Shepard was a native of New Bern, N. C.
After coming of age, he removed to Camden County, where
SHEPARD RAYNER. 183
he had large landed estates, and after obtaining his law
license he practiced his profession in that county with
great success for several years.
After living some time in Camden, he made his home in
Elizabeth City. Always interested in public affairs, study-
ing politics from its highest standpoint, he took part in
public discussions and became known to the people of the
District as an able and accomplished man.
Lemuel Sawyer then represented the District in Con-
gress, and had been in Congress for several years. Shep-
ard was put in nomination by his friends as an opponent
of Sawyer, and was elected over him in 1829, and con-
tinued in office for eight years; and while a member of
Congress for eight years he became the undisputed leader
of the North Carolina delegation in Congress. He was
gifted as an orator, conservative as a statesman, and a gen-
tleman in all his instiraets and intercourse. He volunta-
rily retired from Coneress.
He then, with ample means and leisure, led the life of
a gentleman of leisure, attending the Courts of the local
bar, and often elected to the Legislature as Senator and
Tie was often spoken of for United States Senator from
North Carolina, and aspired to the position, and was fitted
for it. In 1845 he was the competing candidate before
the Legislature with George E. Badger, and his friends al-
ways thought that he would have been chosen if his speech
accepting the situation had been made before his defeat.
After that, his interest in public affairs diminished, and it
seemed to be looked at by him from afar. He occasionally
was elected to the Legislature, and some time in the fifties
his health gave way, after the deat> of his second wife, and
he departed for the "undiscovered country" with the love
and admiration of his countrymen.
Kenneth TCayner was a lion in his early manhood. In
its maturity his "vaulting ambition overleaped itself," and
he fell, and in age he was poor and disappointed, forgotten
by his old friends, having deserted them for new friends
184 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
that lie had always despised. At his death, his life became
the burden of a moral and a tale. His memory is full
of sadness, and recalls the words of the preacher, "Vanity
of vanities! vanity of vanities! all is vanity!" Alas!
once the popular idol, honored, loved, nattered and ca-
ressed. A great leader, bold, daring, unflinching. True
to his friends, defiant to his enemies, loving North Caro-
lina with his heart's devotion.
"Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambi^'^. By
that sin fell the angels." By that sin fell Kenneth Ray-
ner. "Oh ! what a fall was there, my countrymen I"
William N. H. Smith, of Murfreesboro, was a good and
a great lawyer. He stood at the head of his profession.
He rose to the Chief Justiceship of North Carolina. He
took high rank in social position. In private life he was
without reproach. In public and official life he was with-
out a superior. He died in harness, in advanced age,
with honors thick upon him, and left a memory that was
without spot or blemish.
Col. Henry M. Shaw was a native of Rhode Island, but
a citizen of North Carolina all of his mature life. At an
early age he became an inmate of the family of Dr. Gid-
eon Merchant, of Currituck County, and from that Gama-
liel of Democracy he imbibed those political principles with
which he was always identified.
From the time when he commenced the practice of med-
icine, he rose rapidly in practice and became very success-
ful. But he was always an ardent politician, and soon be-
came a leader in the Democratic councils and a public
speaker in political campaigns.
He had great readiness as a public speaker, and was
the most logical, forceful and deliberate that we ever lis-
tened to. He was thoroughly posted upon -political and
general subjects. He became prominent for Congressional
honors, and was put in nomination as the candidate of the
His election followed his nomination, and he made a
most excellent, obliging and able Representative, He went
HENRY M. SHAW. 185
to Congress in a stormy period. The cloud-burst that
drenched our country in blood was already portentous with
forked lightning and rumbling thunder. Soon after, he
left Congress to cast his lot with his troubled countrymen.
At the outbreak of the war, Colonel Shaw was tendered
the command of the 8th Regiment of North Carolina
Troops, which he promptly accepted. He entered the
field at once. He was captured in the defence of Roanoke
Island, where, after a gallant defence in a fight with over-
powering numbers, he surrendered to a hopeless fate, after
being flanked on both sides.
After his parol w r as out, he returned to his post of duty
and danger, and at the battle of Bachelor's Creek, near
New Bern, on the 1st of February, 1864, Colonel Shaw
sealed his devotion to his country with his life. He was
killed by a rifle ball while reoonnoitering the enemy.
1 86 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
WILLIAM W. CHERRY.
" Friend of my youth,
Great mind of wondrous gifts "
CHERRY was distinguished at the University more for
his rollicking disposition and for making the "Old South"
ring with the echo of his voice, than for his studious habits.
He was seldom on time at the beginning of a session, and
once, on his way to the University, at the beginning of a
session, he fell in with a party of companionable friends,
not students, and went down to Fayetteville with them,
reaching the University to join his class when the session
was well advanced. But he managed by his genius and
good nature to keep up with the class until his graduation.
Leaving the University, he returned to his home in
Windsor, Bertie County, and after some delay entered upon
the legal profession, of which he became a leading member.
He was a great advocate, remarkable for his readiness, his
admirable presentation of the facts of a case, and had a
most magnetic influence with a jury. He was not a great
lawyer, a profound lawyer, with a thorough and accurate
and comprehensive knowledge of precedent and authority,
versed in the deep subtleties of the law, its intricacies and
discriminations, and capable of dividing a hair " 'twixt
north and northwest side," but he was a thorough master
of the facts of a case. He could turn and twist them,
presenting them in every shade and complexion and aspect,
and making them luminous to the plainest understanding.
His language, the vehicle of his thought, was wonderful,
and the play of his changing expression of countenance
gave great force to it. His manner was natural and easy,
his action perfectly unaffected and suited to the word,
and his voice was charming to listen to, not the mellow
deep-toned voice of the trained elocutionist, but one that
won by its sympathetic and kindly tones. It was a voice
that drew his hearers to him and made them kin. When
he was about to use a pleasantry, his face was lighted from
WILLIAM W. CHERRY. 1 87
afar, and his voice changed and his audience was led along
and prepared for it.
Mr. Cherry was an active politician of the Whig school.
He was a partisan without bitterness. When the Whig
party was first known by that name, the Democratic, Jack-
son party, was largely in the ascendant in Bertie. Cherry
took his fiddle, on which he was an expert, and canvassed
the county in all the highways and by-ways, and by his
pleasantry and bonhommie won them largely over into
the Whig ranks.
In the Harrison campaign of 1840, he was a great
power. He attended the Whig National Convention at
Harrisburg that nominated General Harrison, and it is
believed that he first turned to account for General Har-
rison the "hard-cider and coon-skin" jeer, upon which the
campaign so lar^elv turner! ^ that political storm. He
certainly was the firsf that used it in Eastern North
Carolina, stating in a log-cabin speech in Edenton, soon
after his return from Harrisburg, that he had first seen
the taunt in Baltimore on his return from the National
Convention, and used it in the campaign. In that cam-
paign Cherry was the great bulwark of Whiggery in the
First District. He spoke everywhere to large crowds,
and gained votes. Shepard, and Rayner, and Outlaw,
and Speed, and Allen, and Tom Jones were his compeers
and supporters. He was elected from the county of Ber-
tie to the Legislature of North Carolina for the first time
in the public service in that year. He was then but little
known out of the District, but we heard Judge Moore say,
about that time, that Cherry would be a thorn in the side
of the Democrats in the Legislature.
A little incident may be mentioned illustrating his readi-
ness. He went to Raleigh to the Legislature by way of
Warrenton. Arriving in Warrenton at nistfit, a stranger,
he joined a group of Warrentonians around the fire of the
public room of the hotel and soon joined them in a polit-
ical talk, thev' being; all Democrats of the Warren County
type, he taking the Whig side. The stranger, plainly
188 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
clad, and not imposing in person, got the best of the argu-
ment, and the Warrentonians looked at him with some
astonishment. Failing in argument, they fell back on
an authority which settled all questions in Warren County.
They quoted Nat. Macon in confirmation of their opinions,
supposing that no one would dare gainsay what Mr. Ma-
con had said. Cherry dissented from Mr. Macon's opin-
ion, and, to the surprise of others, spoke lightly of that
great man. The Warrentonians promptly retorted that
John Randolph, in his will, had said that "Nat. Macon
was the wisest man he had ever known.' 7 At that time a
suit was pending in the Court of Appeals, at Richmond,
contesting Mr. Randolph's will, chiefly upon the ground
of insanity. Cherry, in reply to the quoted opinion of
the eminent Virginian, said: "Mr. Randolph's will is
contested in Richmond now, upon the ground of insanity,
and I think the strongest proof of his insanity is that he
said that Nat. Macon was a wise man."
Mr. Cherry was once in a public meeting at Gatesville,
in the court-house, and there was some difficulty with the
chairman in determining a question that was submitted to
vote. The ayes and noes were called. Not satisfactory.
Divide. Not satisfactory. The ayes will go to one side
of the house and the noes to the other. Cherry called out
to the ayes, of which he was one, to seize the noes and
carry them over to their side of the house. It was a
scuffling vote that was some hours in the determination.
Finally, the pantino* ayes "appeared to have it, the ayes
had it." This illustrates Cherry's pleasantry.
In 1844, Cherry was the Clay Presidential elector op-
posed by an able champion of Democracy, Thomas Bragg,
afterward Governor. It was the battle of the giants.
Cherry stood his ground and maintained his position with
Great ability. Brag^ was a battle-axe, Cherry was a
scimeter. He carried the District.
In 1846, Mr. Cherry was nominated for Congress by
the Whiff Convention that met in Edenton. He was nom-
inated without opposition, and after being introduced, de-
WILLIAM W. CHERRY. 189
livered a speech of great power and interest. We, then
a young man with a fresh license, being Secretary of the
Convention, reported, in brief, Mr. Cherry's speech. After
writing it out from our notes, we submitted it to him, and,
after his approval, sent the proceedings of the Convention,
with the speech reported in full, to the Raleigh Register
for publication. The same paper which contained the
proceedings of the Convention, contained the notice of
his death. He died while attending Northampton Court,
the week after his nomination, at the early age of forty-
" What shadows we are and what shadows we pursue."
Mr. Cherry was small in person, with a rather large
head and a winning expression of face that won all hearts.
Nature had not been kin^l to him in his personal make-up,
of which he frequently jested. His face was angular, his
hair coarse and stiff, and he was negligent of his dress.
To be plain, he was unmistakably ugly. But he had all
the virtues that we love and admire, with no counteracting
vices. He was a most charming and attractive compan-
ion, and the District sustained a great loss in his untimely
190 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE MINISTERS OF GOD.
" Pointing up to Heaven,
They led the way/'
THE pulpit of North Carolina has furnished saintly
men who were the leaders of public thought in matters
relating to godliness, and who by wise counsel and burning
words have made the world the better for their living.
Among these great men no one has been more con-
spicuous than Rev. Thomas Atkinson, Bishop of the Dio-
cese of North Carolina of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
He was a native of Virginia, and was elected to the Epis-
copate of North Carolina after the apostacy of Bishop
Ives. He was elected in the early fifties. It was a most
fortunate selection, and God's wise guidance was manifest
in it. He was a comparative stranger to the Convention
that made the selection. He was elected after many bal-
lotings, over men who had a large following and who
ranked among the most distinguished theologians, and were
a great force in the sacred desk. The time when he came
was inauspicious. The blow given to the Church by an
apostate Bishop was not yet healed. But his coming was
a benediction. It soothed and cemented factions, and
every one became satisfied. He was soon recognized as
one of the princes of the pulpit, a godly man, without
guile or selfishness, of kindly social instincts, firm without
dogmatism, and learned without ostentation ; imposing in
person, graceful in action, effective in oratory, simple and
natural in every act. His sermons were models of every
eloquence ; masterful in argument, forceful in logic, touch-
ing in pathos. Every subject he touched, he invested with
a new and sacred interest. His sermon on "Necessity and
Eree Will" was the clearest and most profound exposition
of that most intricate religious puzzle we ever listened to.
Turning from this brief reference to this eminent ser-
vant of God, we select Dr. Thomas H. Pritchard, the dis-
tinguished Baptist minister, as a star of brightest lustre
in the firmament of the clergy.
THE MINISTERS OF GOD. 191
Dr. Pritckard was a Henderson on the maternal side of
his lineage, and that means strength in intellectuality, pro-
fundity in thought, taste and elegance in diction, and the
most charming gifts of social intercourse. Scratch the
soil in North Carolina where great men grow, wherever
you will, and you will find a Henderson there. The stock
is indigenous to North Carolina, and it has illustrated
every department of its intellectual life. Dr. Pritchard
was no exception to this unvarying rule.
We first met Thomas Pritchard when , he was a stu-
dent of the Baptist ministry and a private tutor in the
family of Richard Felton, a wealthy planter in the county
of Perquimans. We spent a week with him, and had
frequent conversations with him. To us he then gave
little promise of the great factor he was afterwards to
become in the pulpit and councils of the Baptist Church
in North Carolina. HeVas modest, retiring and diffident.
We thought him too much so. He seemed deficient in
strength of conviction, and too ready to acquiesce in sug-
gestions on religious and other subjects before he had suf-
ficiently examined them.
Forty years from that time, we were in attendance at a
Baptist Association, sitting in the far-end of the church,
near the pulpit, in which its annual session was held.
Way down at the lower door of the church a portly man
came in, and he was soon greeted by friends who came up
and shook hands with him. His step to the end of the
church, w r here we sat, was an ovation. We saw at once
that a big man's shadow was over the crowd. His person
and manner were imposing and in admirable taste. He
had a kind word for this and that brother as he approached
us. As he came near, the word "brother," as it came from
his lungs in deep sonorous tones, fell on our ear. We
scanned him closely as he came. That man must be a
Henderson, thought we; we can see our old Aleck all
ovor him. Thon we looked at him through the glasses
of forty years, and we could see glimmering through the
darkness tho modest Tom Pritchard that we had
192 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
passed a week with at Eichard Felton's forty years before,
When he reached our place, he swung around in a seat
just in advance of us.
After he had rested awhile, we rose, stood before him,
and extended our hand; and he, not recognizing us, we
asked if he knew us. lie said not, and then said enquir-
ingly, "Who is the brother ?" We replied, "Not a brother,
a first cousin, perhaps." We then gave him our name,
and he said with much heartiness, "God bless me! Dr.
Tom Martin and I were talking about you last week, when
we went fishing."
We saw much of Dr. Pritchard afterwards, and heard
his admirable addresses on education after he became
President of Wake Forest College. His public speeches
were models of excellence. His voice was a bugle call,
his elocution was graceful and tasteful, and every sen-
tence he uttered was the expression of a great truth.
Among the pioneers of Wesleyan Methodism no one's
memory is held in higher estimation for his usefulness, his
exemplary Christian character, and his efficient labors as
a faithful minister of God than Louis Skidmore. He was
emphatically a good man, a good and influential preacher,
and his mellow voice with its sweet intonations melted
hearts to tenderness and won them to the paths of a Chris-
When a small boy, hardly in our teens,, it was our good
fortune, when away at school, to board with a pious Meth-
odist family in the town of Oxford. Their house was
the hospitable home of all Methodist preachers. None
was more welcome than Louis Skidmore, and no ont,
contributed more to the happiness of the household. His
voice was an Eolian harp, with a bugle attachment. The
old Methodist hymns of eighty years ago he had at his
tongue's end. He often preached in the village church,
and he would bring an audience to its feet when he uttered
the sweet notes of the "Old Ship of Zion," or some other
rally hymn of the olden time. He could wake a shouting
revival at any time by his powers of song.
THE MINISTERS OF GOD. 193
Other names of great pulpit power in North Carolina
crowd upon us. Dr. Hawks was a born orator, and a man
of genius without the nose of a historian. Quentin Trot-
man was a great master among men. President Wingate,
of Wake Forest College, was a pulpit orator of superior
gifts and an unequalled executive officer.
Rev. Thomas Lowe, of Halifax, whom we never met,
is pronounced by competent judges a paragon of oratory ;
and Dr. Gloss, the greatest and best of men.
194 GRANDFATHER S TALES.
UNION LEAGUE AND KU KLUX KLAN.
Gorgons, Hydras and Chimeras dire.
THE history of "North Carolina is full of civil and mil-
itary revolutions, social convulsions and upheavals that
threatened at times her existence as an organized govern-
ment ; but there has been no civil and social convulsion in
her history that equals in horror and atrocity the sad scenes
that threatened the peace and happiness of our people in
the time of reconstruction and Freedman's Bureau that
followed as a sequel to the unhappy "War between the
After the war, with the passions and bitterness of the
sanguinary conflict still burning with unabated fury, the
more unrelenting elements of the North seemed to turn
their swords, yet reeking with slaughter, into reaping
hooks of gain, gleaners in the desolated harvest fields of
a conquered enemy. The South was overrun with North-
ern emissaries, some animated by a feeling of sincere
philanthropy, stimulated by the ardor of a fanatic crusader,
and with a charitable desire to elevate a race whom they
had been trained by romance and song to believe had been
kept in subjugation by long oppression and torture, and
Avho needed only a helping hand to be lifted to a plane of
equality with the best Caucasian blood of the South. Some
came to spy out the nakedness of a land overrun by the for-
tunes of war ; but generally from a desire of gain and to
gather up the fragments that were left of a luxury that
had once adorned a land that bloomed with wealth and
They found a race, lately emancipated, happy, credulous,
ignorant and easily deceived. They became their leaders,
and in many cases inflamed the passions of the late slaves
against their old masters. They established secret orders
or lodges, which fitted the nature of the late slaves, ad-
mitted them to membership and inspired them with wicked
and diabolical purposes.
UNION LEAGUE AND KU KLUX KLAN. 195
The Union League was the first fruits of this invasion
of the South after its desolation and sorrow of an unsuc-
cessful four years 7 war. It combined various elements of
our much-mixed population philanthropists, carpet-bag
adventurers, some native Union men, negroes, and others
led by sheer curiosity. It soon produced legitimate fruits.
Southern men of high character were objects of vengeance.
Barns were burned ; their owners were sometimes shot in
the darkness as they ran out to extinguish the flames; ne-
groes were urged to pillage and plunder; and there was a
reign of apprehension and terror.
'I'll is condition of disorder produced its natural results.
Proud, intelligent and patriotic men, crushed to earth by
combinations that they were powerless to resist, deter-
mined to accomplish by artifice what they could not do
by <>|>en resistance.
They knew the negr<J character better than the new
comers, of whom they were the dupes. They knew their
caution, their superstition, and their timidity.
A new protective secret organization had been started
in Pulaski, Tenn., and had acquired a local celebrky,
and had sought an extension in North Carolina. It was
railed the order of the "Ku TClux Klan." It w r as consid-
ered by our wisest, most fearless and patriotic leaders.
A branch of the order was soon established in some of our
\\vstrni counties, and its ritual, regalia, masks and pass-
words were adopted. Its operations were by night, and
its visitations and equipment struck terror into the super-
stitious minds of the negro race. It acted well for some
time and had a salutary influence in the counties where
the outlawry prevailed. But excess followed the success
of the 1 order, and these excesses were greatly exaggerated.
Governor Holden, of "Raleigh, then held the office of
.(! \ernor of North Carolina. Either influenced by fear
of his own safety or bv love of display and authority,
he issued a proclamation, putting the counties in which the
TCu Klux were operating; under martial law and suppress-
ing nil civil law, intending to break up the order by the
rule of his own autocratic will.
196 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
In the central counties he arrested some of the most
distinguished citizens of the State, imprisoned them with-
out trial, and tortured them in the most cruel manner, to
extort confessions that might implicate others as members
of the Ku Klux order. He called to his aid outlaws and
desperadoes from East Tennessee, invested one Kirk, from
Tennessee, who had been a buft'aloe in the Confederate
war, with autocratic authority to arrest and punish as he
might please any persons that he should suspect of being
in any way connected with the Ku Klux organization.
Kirk was a willing and a ready agent of Holden. He
imprisoned old men, gray-headed, distinguished for long
and patriotic service to the State, such men as Judges
Roane and Carr, and subjected them to inhuman treat
The whole State was aroused. The Supreme Court
was appealed to to issue a writ of habeas corpus and have
the persons brought before the State Courts. The writ
was issued, but Holden refused to *rive heed to it. The
Chief Justice was appealed to to enforce its execution,
but he declined to enforce it.
At length Judge George W. Brooks, of Elizabeth City,
si Federal Judge of great firmness and integrity of char-
acter, finding his authority in a Federal statute, issued
a writ of habeas corpus for the imprisoned citizens ; and
he served the State with a courageous fidelity which,
though appreciated at the time, has never yet been duly
honored by the State of E~orth Carolina.
The Democratic Legislature of 1870, early in the ses-
sion, properly passed a bill of impeachment against Gov-
ernor Holden, and impeached him for high crimes and
misdemeanors for his conduct in the Ku Klux matters:
and after a long judicial examination, convicted him.
expelled him from his high office, and made him incapable
of holding office thereafter in the State. He lived to
advanced age, a pitiable old man, an object-lesson in Caro
lina history of the punishment that awaits an evil-doer.
WESTERN SCENERY. 197
Pelion piled on Ossa.
WERE you ever among the mountains of Madison Coun-
ty, North Carolina '( If not, go ; and you will see old nature
in her grand majesty, and if not pompous and proud, you
will feel the littleness and humility of humanity. You
will feel like a pigmy among giants and will involun-
tarily breathe the Scripture "Oh, God ! what is man,
that Thou art mindful of him : or the son of man that Thou
You look around, see nature in her august majesty;
you feel your own littleness and your kinship to the
worm that crawleth on the earth. Look around you and
wonder! You are in th^ "Land of the Skies," six thou-
sand feet above sea-level, with mountains piled on moun-
tains all around you, and tinkling rills dancing to the
monotone of their melody in the valleys below ; a sight
lovely, picturesque and grand beyond description to the
dwellers in the alluvial plains.
Put yourself in Waynesville, look around at the moun-
tain peaks piled on mountain peaks, and cast yous 1
glance on Pigeon River below, as it goes gur-
gling and singing to the sea. We once stood among
those scenes, and a half-tone photograph of them
still lingers fresh and undimmed upon our memory. It
read us a sermon in rocky mountain cliffs that we have
While there, we went, with an old bear hunter of the
mountains for a guide, to the mountain peaks near by.
His name was Wid Medford. He was guide, pilot and
yarner of Lickstone Mountain. We saw the eagle in his
eyrie, and saw our National bird in his domestic sur-
roundings, with his eye like Mars commanding the sun
below him. Every glance of the eye from that land
that kissed the skios was an anthem and a poem. But
amid all that grandeur of nature that gave us foretaste of
198 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
the grandeur of that higher destiny to which we aspire,
there was a grotesque piquancy in the stories related to
us by our guifle, of "hair-breadth escapes' 7 by flood and
field, of deadly grapple with the beasts of the forest in their
homes in the mountain gorge and jungle, and other inci-
dents of sixty-five years of a wild hunter's life of peril
that brought us back to the realities of this mundane
The fluency with which Wid reeled off his stories re^
called the aphorism of the "twice-told tale." Some of them
we can never forget. Pardon one of them.
Wid had been wandering for some days among the
mountain peaks and canyons of Lickstone in a vain
search for a panther whose unaccustomed scream he had
hoard some nights before. While pursuing this lead,
he saw, by signs well known to a mountain hunter's prac-
ticed eye, that he was near the camping grounds of several
large bears. He followed the trail slowly and carefully.
The signs grew more and more numerous. Here would
be seen a broken limb, there the berries were lapped, and
again there was a pause at a pool to take a "wallow" bath.
He saw by studying the hunter's alphabet that the-re were
three bears in the herd an old dam and two well-grown
cubs. He soon scented them, and approached them on
the leeward side and saw three bears lapping chestnuts in
the top of a large chestnut tree. His ammunition had
been exhausted to two charges in the barrels of "Old
Betsy." They lapped apart, and he could not hope to
bring down three bears with two loads. He manoeuvered
dexterously for some time, but could never get them in
range. At length he determined to secure two of them
with his two loads, discharged in quick succession. "Bang!
went 'Old Betsy/ " said he, "and down tumbled one.
Bang! she repeated, and down came another." The third
one staid up the tree, at first in wild amazement. At
length he climbed down slowly. Wid secreted him-
self at the bottom of the tree, drew his butcher knife, and
when bear number three came within reach of him he
WESTERN SCENERY. 199
clasped him in his arms and cut his throat, and then se-
cured him. Some one in our party, bolder than the rest,
said: "Wid, you know that's a lie." To which Wid re-
plied, with great earnestness and fervor, " 'Fore God, it's
a living truth, and if the bear was here he'd tell you so."
While we remained and wandered among the wondet-
i'ul scenes of die mountains, that wondrous "Land of the
Skies," where the devout man may dwell in contemplation
of heavenly scenes, we saw many things which yet we love
to linger on. We were much pleased with a little church
\ve saw ''Grace Church in the Mountains." It is a me-
morial church for a little grandchild of Bishop Atkinson,
a daughter of Dr. Buell. It is built of black walnut,
em-led black walnut, poplar, ash and oak, and is a gem.
The furniture of the church was made of black walnut
and manufactured in Waynesville. It will seat about
TWO hundred persons. One of the windows, a memorial
window, was presented by the good Bishop.
We did not see, but heard of a Presbyterian church in
the near vicinity of Waynesville that was built entirely
of one poplar tree, and enough timber was left over of
the tree to fence in the yard. The tree was ten feet across
the stump. This may seem to savor of Munchausen, but
we heard the fact frequently mentioned, and it was vouched
for by persons of unquestioned veracity.
2oo GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
GENERAL J. J. PETTIGREW.
Twine a few sad cypress leaves around the brow of any land, and
it becomes lovely in its consecrated coronet of sorrow.
his absence in Europe, Pettigrew had devoted
much study to military science. The conviction upon his
mind before his last visit to Europe and during his ab-
sence, was strong and decided that a bloody crisis im-
pended over his own country, and that the muttering thun-
ders of war which had so long threatened its peace, which
several times had been averted by the patriotic and earnest
efforts of those to whom the country turned with confi-
dence in times of difficulty and listened with reliance and
trust to their peaceful counsels, could be calmed no longer.
While they lived, while the venerable patriots whose life-
long service had been given to their country and whose
patriotism and devotion to the whole and every part of it,
none could question, the storm of sectional strife had been
often allayed ; so often, indeed, that the conviction became
general of a special good providence which held the favored
land in the hollow of its hand and would bear it safely
on over the surging billows of domestic discord. But
the trusted hands that had so long held the helm and guided
the ship when tossed by the tempest of political strife
were cold in death, the voices so potent to calm the angry
waves of sectional commotion were hushed, and the calm
and peaceful counsels, left as a legacy to their countrymen,
were forgotten, or really unheeded by the maddened and
reckless zealots of party, urged on by desperate partisans
who, unmindful of the perils that threatened, sought the
triumph of sectional success even at the price of fraternal
blood and a ruined country.
With the conviction firmly impressed upon him that the
slumbering fires of long years of angry contention could
not be much longer suppressed, and that, studied by the
ordinary manifestations of our nature and the lights fur-
GEN. J. J. PETTIGREW. 2OI
nislied by the lessons of history, the theatre of contention
must soon be transferred from legislative halls to tented
fields, and political questions, to which the statesman-
ship and patriotism of the times were unequal, must be
determined by armed battalions amid the realities of war,
Pettigrew began his work of preparation for the anticipated
conflict of arms. While in Paris he had opportunities of
military study and observation in that metropolis of war,
of which he was not unmindful. He had been favorably
introduced to those who had become distinguished in the
art of w r ar, and the chief purpose of his visit being well
understood, he had such advantages of acquiring knowledge
of the science of war and its practical details as are sel-
dom afforded. Upon his return to Charleston, he was
elected captain of a rifle company, which he organized
and formed after the plan of the French Zouave model,
with the efficient 7 of which mode of drill he had been
much pleased in France. The company soon attracted
much attention. Its novelty, and the spirit with which it
was animated, won the commendation of the city of
Charleston. It became a model military organization, and
was regarded as the best of the volunteer companies in
South Carolina. Nor was it a mere mimic pageant of
war. It was the serious and earnest offspring of Petti-
grew J s conviction of the necessity of preparation. Th?
portents were all ominous of the dreadful future, and a
prudent forecast dictated preparation for coming events
of serious and alarming magnitude. For this purpose the
rifle company was formed. It was soon joined by other
volunteer organizations, formed after the same model,
and Pettigrew was elected Colonel of the First Rifle Regi-
And noAv the time, so long deferred, had come. So
lorio- deferred that many thought a special providence
Gfuardod the destiny of the country, to bear it safely
through all political perils, and avert the dire calamity of
war. Deferred by the earnest exertions of patriotic hearts,
by the eloquent appeals of trusted statesmen, by the sin-
202 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
cere prayers of the faithful, by the proud memory of the
past and the bright hopes of the future of our country.
But it could be deferred no longer. The fiat of the Om-
nipotent had been uttered in the wrath of God and the
decree was to be sealed with the lives of martyred heroes
and patriots, and the record made eternal in the inex-
tinguishable baptism of blood. Where the fault, or upon
whose shoulders rests the burden of the great sin and its
grievous sequences, this is not the occasion to enquire. Let
it be buried, so far as feeble mortals may, until nations, a&
individuals, shall stand around the throne and at the
judgment bar of the Great Eternal God, and answer for
all the deeds done while in the body.
Upon the secession of South Carolina, Pettigrew imme-
diately offered his regiment for military service. Upon
the occupation of Fort Sumter by Major Anderson, Petti-
grew was assigned the command of Castle Pinckney, and
was afterward transferred to Morris Island, in order to
prevent the reinforcement of Fort Sumter by the Gov-
ernment of the United States. The unexpected occupotion
of Fort Sumter by Major Anderson, under cover of
night, precipitated events. Pettigrew was ordered by Gov-
ernor Pickens to demand of Anderson the evacuation of
the Fort, as its occupation was in violation of an agree-
ment that the situation of Charleston harbor should re-
main unchanged and await the efforts to avert the impend-
ing troubles. The result of that demand we give in Pet-
tigrew's own words, in a letter to Governor Pickens :
"To F. W. Pickens, Governor, etc.
a Snt : I have the honor to report that pursuant to the
instructions of your Excellency, I proceeded this morning
to Fort Sumter in company with Maj. Ellison Capers,
Acting Adjutant of my Regiment.
"We were courteously received by Major Anderson, the
"I stated to him in the presence of all of his officers that
you had been astonished at the reception of the news of
GP:N. j. j. PKTTIGREW. 203
his having transferred his garrison to Fort Sumter, that
by the understanding hetween the State of South Caro-
lina ami the President of the Tinted States, the property
of the United States was to be respected, and on the orl'.ev
side the- military posts should remain in an unchanged
condition, in a word that the question was to be consid-
ered a political, and not a military one. I enforced upon
him strongly the fact that we had punctiliously performed
"He declined acceding to my demand.
repressed every attempt to precipitate the people upon the
property of the United States, and I demanded in your
name that affairs should be restored to their previous con-
"He replied that he was a Southern man in his feelings
upon the questions at issue, and had so informed the de-
partment when appointed ; that he knew nothing of the
agreement mentioned ; *that he was the Military Com-
mander of all the forts in the harbor and did not consider
that he had re-enforced them in merely transferring his
garrison from one to another ; that he had been informed
from various sources that he would probably be attacke i
in case the report of the Commissioners was unfavorable ;
that Fort Moultrie was indefensible against an ordinarily
skilful attack; that he had acted entirely upon his own re-
"lie declined acceding to my demand.
"J. JOHNSTOX PETTIGREW/'
In the interval until the bombardment and surrender
of Fort Sumter, Pettigrew was at Morris Island, perfect-
ing his regiment in drill and discipline and training them
to the rigorous hardships of military service. His com-
mand, from the nature of its organization, did not take
part in the bombardment of Fort Sumter.
Early in 18(51 he received a stand of colors for his regi-
ment, which he acknowledged in these touching words:
"The flasr of the old Republic is ours no more. That
noble standard which has so often waved over victorious
204 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
fields ; which has so often carried hope to the afflicted and
struggling hearts of Europe ; which has so often protected
us in distant climes, afar from home and kindred, now
threatens us with destruction. In all its former renown
we participated. Southern valor bore it to its proudest
triumphs, and oceans of Southern blood have watered the
ground beneath it. Let us lower it with honor, and lay it
reverently upon the earth."
With the fall of Sumter, all hope of reconciliation or
peace was abandoned, if indeed all hope of peace had not
flown before, and each section of the country confronted
the other in the grim-visaged antagonism of war. The
position of Adjutant-General of the State was tendered to
Colonel Pettigrew by the Legislature of South Carolina.
This position, requiring great administrative ability and
of eminent usefulness in organizing the State forces, the
acceptance of which was urged upon him in consideration
of greater usefulness than when restricted to the duties
of a single regiment, Pettigrew declined. He sought the
active duties of the field as more congenial to his tempera-
ment, and at the request of General Beauregard he pro-
ceeded to organize a rifle regiment for service during the
war, of which he was to be Colonel. The regiment was
soon made up, and companies exceeding the number re-
quired had to be refused. Staff and field officers were
agreed on and a junior officer dispatched to Montgomery,
then the seat of the Confederate Government^ to offer the
regiment to the Secretary of War, and obtain authority
to muster it into service. But" the plan of the Confed-
erate Secretary of War, at the time, was to receive com-
panies, and not organize regiments, reserving to himself
the organization into regiments, and the selection and ap-
pointment of field officers. This arrangement of the Sec-
retary of War met with much opposition from the com-
panies that composed the regiment, and their efforts to
retain the selection of officers to themselves being unsuc-
cessful, they, many of them, sought admission to other
regiments, which were being formed in the State, under
authority of the Department of War.
GEN. J. J. PETTIGREW. 205
Colonel Pettigrew was thus without command, but his
ardent spirit was not long at rest. The State of North
Carolina, his cherished mother, shortly afterward tendered
him the command of the Twelfth North Carolina Regi-
ment, which he accepted as Colonel, and proceeded at once
to Raleigh to assume the command.
During the winter of 18 6 1- 7 6 2 he was in camp at
Evansport on the Potomac. He discharged all the duties
pertaining to his situation with such eminent ability and
skill, and with such satisfaction to his superior officers,
that entirely without his knowledge, he was recommended
for promotion to the rank of Brigadier General. This
.appointment was tendered him by the President, but with
rare modesty the appointment was declined by Colonel
Pettigrew on the ground that he had not seen sufficient
active service for so important a command; that he had
never been under fire and had never commanded troops
when in action. This rare case of modesty surprised the
President, who remarked that it was the first case in
which an officer had refused promotion to an office because
lie had not proved his fitness for the place by an actual
discharge of its duties. This reluctance to assume a
higher command was, however, overcome by Major Gen-
oral Holmes, who, upon General French (Pettigrew's
brigade commander) being ordered to report to Wilming-
ton for duty, insisted that Colonel Pettigrew should recall
his refusal of promotion and succeed General French in
command of the brigade. This request of General Holmes
being urged with earnestness, as a patriotic duty, over-
ruled his judgment, and he wrote to the War Department
revoking his refusal. He was then at Fredericksburg.
Soon after, General Pettigrew was ordered to Yorktown
and with Whiting's division, was engaged in the hotly-
rontested battle of the Seven Pines. In this battle he was
wounded in the neck and shoulder and fell into the hands
of the enemy. On the 31st of May, while the battle was
raging, he was instructed to drive the enemy from a posi
tion in the woods where they were strongly posted. The
2o6 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
attempt had been made before by a regiment of the divis-
ion and had failed. The position held by the enemy was
a strong one, and in making the attack the regiment was
exposed to the fire of a battery of artillery on the flank.
Pettigrew, leading one of his regiments, was attempting
to carry the position by assault when he was wounded. An
attempt was made to remove him from the field, while ex-
hausted from the loss of blood, by a captain of one of his
companies, but inquiring how the day was going, and
being told it was against us, and hearing some of the offi-
cers rallying their men, he insisted that the officer and
men who were assisting him, should leave him on the field
and join their company. For some time he was thought
to be mortally wounded, and he was mourned by his kin-
dred and his country as one who had passed from earthly
scenes. But it was afterward ascertained that he had
been sent to Fort Delaware as a prisoner of war.
Upon returning from Fort Delaware, still suffering
from his wounds, he took command of his brigade, near
Petersburg. The necessities of the service had transfer-
red his old regiment to another command, but he soon per-
fected the discipline of the new organization, and his repu-
tation for military skill and the rare attractiveness of his
personal character filled his ranks with North Carolina's
most sterling sons.
With his brigade filled and disciplined anew, he joined
the army of the Potomac, under Lee, and entered upon
the Pennsylvania campaign. When the Confederate
Army entered Pennsylvania, the orders of General Lee
were most positive in regard to the conduct of the troops.
Whatever might be their sense of wrong, he ordered that
no acts of retaliation should be allowed. This order, so
consonant with his own sentiments, was carried out by
General Pettigrew with the most careful and rigid enforce-
ment of discipline, nor did he alone maintain the most per-
fect discipline in his own immediate command, but he was
also prominent in bringing to the notice of his division com-
mander any lapse in the discipline enjoined by General
GEN. J. J. PETTIGREW. 207
Lee, and which Pettigrew regarded as essential to die pres-
ervation of the army.
Gettysburg and its sanguinary slaughter came. In the
first day's fight Pettigrew and his brave command were
in the thickest of the fight and bore their proud banners
pressing the retreating foe. His more than decimated
troops bore witness, with the testimony of blood, to their
gallantry and daring. Pettigrew's personal bravery and
coolness were everywhere conspicuous. "Look, boys/ 7 said
a young lieutenant, while shot and shell were singing the
carnival of death. "Look, boys ; did you ever see a nobler
man. Hurrah for General Pettigrew !" "I never real-
ized before,' 7 said Gapt. Jo. Davis, of Franklin, "I never
realized before, how much one man \vas worth. His pres-
ence mid dim-ing command nerves the arms of thousands."
On the second day, Pettigrew was held in reserve, but
victory still followed th Confederate banners.
On the third day, Pettigrew was placed in charge of
1 1 cili's division, and in that fatal and gallant charge on
Cemetery Hill, he was in a line on the left of Picket's
command. His was not a supporting column. Both were
repulsed by superior numbers, occupying a strong and im-
pn-ii-nable position. Pettigrew was painfully wounded,
and Bnrgxvvn, Marshall, M^cCrea and Iredell all .North
Carolina's dead jewels wrote with their blood the dying
declaration, that Xorth Carolina had followed the Con-
federate banners to the farthest point that Lee had planted
them. On the first clay of July Pettigrew's brigade went
into the light with 3,000 as gallant men as ever answered
the bugle-call to battle. On the morning of the 4th it
numbered but >">">.
The Confederate army fell back upon Hagerstown and
the Potomac, crossing the river at Williamsport and Fall-
ing Waters. After a night's march, tbe troops were rest-
ing on the morning of the 14th of July, near the bridge, at
Fa 1 lino- Waters. General Pettierew, with other officers,
was walking to the left of the division, when their atten-
tion was attracted by a small body of cavalry issuing from
208 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
the woods near by. The small number caused them to be
mistaken for Confederates. There was an irregular skir-
mish, a scattering fire, and General Pettigrew was mor-
tally wounded. He was removed with the army, was
taken to the house of Mr. Boyd, near Winchester, Va.,
where, on the 17th of July, his noble spirit, with all of its
rich endowments and splendid culture passed peacefully
away to its bounteous Creator.
THOMAS S. ASHE.
See what grace was seated on his brow.
THOMAS S. ASHE graduated at the University of North
Carolina in the class of 1832, several members of which
afterward became men of rank in the country. Thomas
L. Clingman was the best scholar in the class, and gradu-
ated with its highest honor, distinguished for his genius,
his ability, his awkwardness, and his endurance as a
bandy-player. He spoke the "Latin Salutatory" speech
at graduation, which, at that period, was the speech of
highest honor. J. H. Parker, of Tarboro, spoke the "Vale-
dictory," second in honor, and Thomas S. Ashe the third
speech. The other members of the class who became dis-
tinguished were Jas. C. Dobbin, Secretary of the Navy
under President Pierce, and R. H. Smith, of Halifax,
always prominent as an able and public-spirited citizen in
North Carolina. Thomas W. Harris was the handsomest
member of the class, and Tom Ashe the best looking and
most commanding. James C. Dobbin was the most popu-
lar man in the class. Tom Ashe commanded the most re-
spect, Clingman was the most wondered at, and Dick Smith
was the most beloved.
Throughout their respective careers in life the charac-
teristics these men developed at college seemed to adhere
Clingman in public life was a very strong man. He was
RECOLLECTIONS OF JUDGE ASHE. 209
chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the
House of Representatives, and greatly prided himself oil
some of his speeches on foreign affairs and on his insight
into world-wide politics. But he still found time to study
philosophy and science, and he measured mountains, and
explained in minute detail the track through the heavens
of a groat meteor, whose course he traced from Alabama
over into Kentucky, calculating to a nicety how high it
was above the surface of the earth. And he was likewise
a irivat authority on water-spouts.
When the war came on, he was animated by a great am-
bition to attain military renown. In battle he was cool,
collected and philosophical ; and in personal bravery no
soldier excelled him. To crown his work, he, after peace,
collected his principal writings and speeches and pub-
lish ed a book of them setting a pace for other Carolinians
who have been too remiss in matters of authorship.
Tom A she, in many respects, was just the opposite of
Clingman. Clingman was a pushing politician ; Asho
was of a modest, retiring nature; but withal as manly a
man as was ever born on our soil. He was hardly known
outside of his judicial district as a lawyer, but when put
on the Supreme Court Bench, his opinions were recog-
nized by the profession as models of rare excellence.
Without solicitation, he was elected Confederate States
Senator ; and, indeed, whatever public honors came to him,
they came because of the respect his course in life inspired.
We recall a little incident in regard to him:
In 1868, by military order, the negroes were to vote
upon the question of adopting the proposed Constitution.
The Conservatives, who were opposed to all these proceed-
ings, met in Convention at Raleigh. Governor Graham ad-
dressed them in a speech of great power, urging that the
white people should make a party to themselves. At the
same election, a governor and other officers provided for
in that Constitution were to be voted for. If the Const!
tution were rejected by the people, the officers elected would
not be installed.
2io GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Vance was nominated by the Conservatives, and Holden
by the Radicals. It looked like it was to be the same old
contest of 1864 over again. But Vance, after thinking
over it, declined. The executive committee then tendered
the nomination to Judge Merrimon; he, too, declined.
Other names were brought forward but all the politicians
declined. The executive committee was thus confrontel
by a serious situation. Finallv, Colonel Bob Cowan said
that he could name a man who would not decline to lead
North Carolinians in any struggle for their rights and
happiness no matter if it was a forlorn hope. "Name
the man," the others said. "It is Tom Ashe. He will
not decline to be the leader of our people. I pledge my-
self to that." And so Colonel Cowan was commissioned
to see Tom Ashe about it. And Bob Cowan was justified.
Ashe came out and made a memorable canvass, with no
expectation of any personal advantage ; for if the Conserv-
atives defeated the Constitution, the election of the officers
was a nullity ; and if the Radicals succeeded in carrying
the Constitution, thev would also certainly elect his op-
ponent, Holden, Governor.
Well, that was" a campaign in which ebony shins and
"forty acres and a mule" plaved a leading part. If the
venerated George Washington had been our candidate, the
sable cohorts would have downed him. The darkeys
wouldn't have known the Constitution from an elephant-
had they met,a travelling circus in the road, and they were
inflamed to .the sizzling point against the whites. Truly,
those were days of humiliation and mortification to the
flesh. But we had the spirit to endure and lofty souls
like Tom Ashe led us along until after awhile we came out
of the wilderness into the promised land.
UNIVERSITY REMINISCENCES. 211
"The old, old tale of long ago "
THE University of North Carolina nearly seventy years
ago was in many respects unlike the University of to-
day. Probably the discipline was more rigid, and the
great law of obedience was more strictly enforced. The
students were then boys, and boys need watching. Now,
we suspect, they are "young gentlemen," and their own
sweet will is more recognized. Then some of the boys
wore homespun and home-made square-tail coats, and well-
fitting tailor-made store clothes were not common. The
bon-ton were Litehford's best, made to order by the
fashionable tailor of the little town of Raleigh, and re-
served for Commencement occasions. The square-tail-
coat boys, who brought tneir goose quills for pens and their
dip-candles from home, were the best students. And
when a boy had the self-sacrifice and manhood to defy the
proud boy's contumely and save an honest penny by tak-
ing his frugal meal of molasses and corn-bread cold from
a tin plate in his room, that boy cast before him the shad-
ow of a coming man. Poor, dear old Murray ! next-door
neighbor to us, Old South Building, west end corner.
Looking down through the long and darkening vista of the
corridors of time we can see him now. Working, work-
ing, studying, delving, earnest, never tiring day and night,
early and late, living hard and working hard. Always
the same dear old Murray, with his dip-candle at night and
his tin plate at meal times. He struggled on with it all,
poor and uncomplaining. But when bewildere-l in a
mathematical labyrinth, old Murray was a staff to lean
on and find rest. What was his lot in the chances
and changes of life we have never known. But there was
a man in him then. And it is a comfort to us now, and
proof that we were not wholly bad, that we sometimes
brought him from "Miss Nancy's" on the hill the first
and second joint of a chicken leg, to cheer his scanty fare.
Dear old Murray !
2i2 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Do our boys remember Dave Bartim and George Hor-
ton? How unlike in appearance, in tastes, in pursuits;
how diverse in distinction ; and yet how sharp and bitter
and jealous was their rivalry. Both lineal descendants
of Ham. One of the guinea, the other of the bacon type.
One a sturdy, short, stout, strong-handed and stout-hearted
faithful college servant, a great favorite with the boys,
always ready to serve them, of few words, but his words
were sense, tending day by day the young sprouts of liter-
ature, but without one spark of literature within him.
This was Dave. The other, George Horton, was a forest-
born poet, who learned his letters while turning his plow
at the end of the furrow, and framed his verses while
driving his team.
On Saturday evening he came up to college from the
country with his week's poetical work in manuscript which
was ordered by the boys on the Saturday before. When
he came he was a lion and attracted all the light from
Dave. His average budget of lyrics was about a dozen
in number. They were mostly in the love line, and ad-
dressed to the girl at home. We usually invested a quarter
a week, and generally to the tune of the girl we left behind
us. But once we taxed George's genius with a grave text.
We gave him for his muse, "Gar nux erketai' (we believe
it's Greek), and explained to him, with learned emphasis,
that it meant in English^-"For the night cometh in
which no man can work." He was equal to the task, and
brought us a learned poem on "industry," in which oc-
curred the oft-repeated couplet :
" For the yoke of industry is wealth,
And the yoke of industry is health."
DEATH OF DR. MITCHELL. 213
DEATH OF DR. MITCHELL.
Such graves as his are pilgrims' shrines.
Shrines to no code nor creed confined
The Delphian vales, the Palestines,
The Mecca of the mind.
THERE is perhans no tragedy in the private walks of
life in North Carolina that equals the death of Dr. Elisha
Mitchell, the Professor of Geology in the University of
North Carolina, for its mournful and dramatic incidents.
lie was a native of Litchfield, Connecticut, a graduate
<>f Yale College, a class-mate of George E. Badger, and
was appointed to a Professorship in the University of
North Carolina upon the recommendation of Professor
Olmstead, of Yale. He came to Xortli Carolina in the
early part of the last century,, and passed his life at the
University of the State until his sad departure.
lie was a great favorite at the University, he won
the affection of the students by his learning, his varied
attainments, his quaint and quiet humor, and his amiable
eccentricities. He was a unique representative of the
University faculty, and was a connecting link between
austerity and freedom in college intercourse.
A great lover of nature, he would sometimes head a
.-elect party of students and in freedom and abandon
would court nature in her sylvan solitudes. They were
occasions of enjoyment, and while ostensibly a scientific,
geological and botanical exploration, it was in fact a social
festival in which preceptor and pupil unbent, and, waiving
the formalities of dignity, had a good time.
With all his ease and geniality, there was an air of
1" imive though tf ulness about him that seemed akin to
melancholy or a silent communing with the inner depths
of his soul, as if some dark cloud lowered over the horizon
of his life as a portent of evil to come. His walk at
times was slow, meditative and abstracted, and he seemed
to be absorbed in his own companionship ; and then he
would recover his consciousness and give vent to some
quaint expression that would wreath his face in smiles.
We once heard him say to Judge Duncan Cameron,
while Thomas L. Clingman was delivering his senior
speech on the rostrum in Gerrard Hall : "Judge, that boy
has got a mind as big as my arm," at the same time stretch-
ing out his muscular arm to its full length.
We once heard Dr. Mitchell and Rev. W. M. Green
(afterwards Bishop Green) discussing the subject of the
Immortality of the Soul. The good Bishop,with instinctive
kindness, was contending for the universality of the im-
mortality of all animals ; and he illustrated his position
by the life of the weary stage-coach wheel-horse. "He,"
said the good Bishop, "is one of God's creatures ; chained
to a wheel with a burden behind it, and lashed through
life by a merciless driver. It has always seemed to me
that such a fate should have its compensations in green
fields and shady pastures, to find happiness in an im-
mortal life." "That is all well," said the erudite doctor
of laws and letters, "but when you come to an oyster it
In 1857, after the Commencement of the University in
June, Dr. Mitchell felt the old impulse of his geological
tastes, and determined to gratify a long-cherisheJ wish
to explore the mountain peaks of Western North Carolina,
and taking with him the implements of his favorite science,
he set out, unattended by his staff of explorers, to commune
with science in that Wonderland of Nature the "Laud of
the Skies" the invalid's hope and the pilgrim's shrino.
He went. It was his last journey to the undiscovered
country; went alone into the vast solitudes of the Black
Mountains of Western Carolina. He had for some days
explored the lower mountains of the range, staying at
night with some of his plain friends in their humble cab-
ins among the mountains.
On the 27th of June he ascended its peaks. It v/as n
perilous and an arduous journey, but he was in robust
health, on the high plateau of middle life, ardent, enthu-
DEATH OF DR. MITCHELL. 217
siastic, and hopeful of discovering in North Carolina the
highest mountain peak cast of the Rockies. He did not
return to his friends at night, but it excited no alarm, be-
cause he was brave and adventurous in his scientific pur-
suits, and it was naturally supposed that he was lured on
in his researches in the laboratory of nature.
Time wore on and he did not return. There was sus-
picion, then fear, then, with some, came assurance that
something of evil had befallen the great and good scientist.
Alarm came on, and searching parties were foraied to
solve the mystery. Their search was vain. No tidings
of the missing came.
At length an old mountain bear hunter, long familiarly
known as "Big Tom Wilson," who was trapping by night
in the gorges of the Black Mountains, discovered what he
supposed to be a human body. He staid by it until the
morning sun lighted up the mountain hollows, and there,
to his horror, he saw the lifeless body of the good man he
had known in life, lying half hidden in a pool of wa:er.
He looked around to see how harm had come to the
body. All along the mountain steeps he saw broken limbs
aiul other evidences of a struggle to arrest disaster. To
his practiced eye the sad story of the tragedy was written
in object-lessons along the mountain sides. He had lost
his foothold and had taken the fatal plunge to death irito
flic gorge below. A sad plunge into the unknown.; but
fou Id any death be more fitting to the great Carolinian
whom it befell ?
Loving friends bore his body to the highest mountain
)n-ak of the Black Mountains, 6,717 feet above tide-water,
the highest mountain peak east of the Rockies, which now
bears the honored name of Mt. Mitchell.
2i8 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
AMONG THE CAROLINA WRITERS.
Suit the action to the word,
The word to the action.
NORTH CAROLINA has not been prolific in writers of
her majestic history. But she has some bright stars
that shine in the firmament and give lustre to the
name of their nativity, that we would not willingly let
die. He who stands at the gateway of our history was
consecrated by the companionship of Shakespeare, Bacon
and Ben Johnson, and left his mark upon the lettered glory
of the Elizabethan period of English history. During
the twelve years of his dreary imprisonment under the
charge of treason, after the death of his patron Queen,
his pen was his comfort and his companion, and while there
he wrote a "History of the World," on whose stage he .had
been so potent an actor. That name was Sir Walter
Raleigh statesman, historian, poet, warrior. As a writer,
he was followed by Hackluyt, the distinguished scientist
who was sent over by Raleigh with Amadas and Barlowe
to write an account of their discoveries in the land of the
setting sun. Hackluyt's style is of the antique. His work
is now a rare gem of early American literature, and was
written of and on Roanoke Island. These are the early
pioneers of literature associated with the name and early
history of North Carolina.
Next to these, though not in close proximity, come
our historians Lawson, Williamson, Martin, Wheeler,
Hawks. Of these, Wheeler is the most useful ; inaccurate
in some instances, but full of filial loyalty to the State.
Williamson was a "canny Scot," and his history was t.
financial venture written for a Philadelphia publisher
upon a contract at a price per page, and its pages are a
dark thread running through a wide blank margin.
Martin was well equipped as a historian, but left the
State for a judicial position in Louisiana, and his histor-
AMONG THE CAROLINA WRITERS. 2 19
ical materials, which were ample, were lost or destroyed at
sea in their transit to New Orleans.
Dr. F. L. Hawks followed Martin as the historian of
his native State. Great things were expected of him. He
was a natural genius, of literary tastes and instincts, of
elegant accomplishments, of profound learning, but ho
had not the historic nose.
Following Hawks, came Jo. Sewell Jones, an erratic
genius, gifted in a certain way, enthusiastic, sensational.
His work should have been entitled the Romance of North
Before Jones there were fragmentary works that added
much to our historical collection Caruthers, Foote, Gen-
eral Graham's sketches of Eevolutionary history, and other
literary labors with which we are not sufficiently familiar
to speak definitely of their merits and demerits.
The elder James Iredell, the Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court of the United States, was the recognized
best writer of our Revolutionary times. He did not write
a continuous history of the State, but as a letter-writer, in
which he chronicled contemporary events, he was incom-
parable. Griffith McRee, of Wilmington, rendered the
State a great service when, at the suggestion of James C.
Johnston, of Hays, near Edenton, he prepared a Life of
Judge Iredell, and left the State his debtor in gratitude.
James Iredell, Jr., inherited the literary tastes of his
distinguished father, and if his life had been given to
literary pursuits instead of the law, its jealous rival, he
would have reached an equally high, if not higher, dis-
tinction on the round of ambition's ladder. His Address
at the University of North Carolina at the Commence-
ment of 1834 was a masterpiece of literary excellence, but
it was too short for so grave an occasion.
Floating down the tide of our history to a later period
we come to Dr. William Hooper, of the University, con-
fessedly the finest writer of his period. A web of sorrow
was woven in his mental constitution, but wit and humor
bubbled up through its interstices whenever he touched
220 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
pen to paper. His Address at the University in 1834,
upon the defects of primary education in North Carolina,
was inimitable in humor, and convulsed a large and cul-
tured audience as we have never seen before or since. His
address at a later period, u Fifty Years Ago," was but a
step behind it in moving men to merriment.
The press has played its part in our prose literature.
The blood of the Hales of Fayetteville runs in editorial
channels. The elder Edward J. Hale, the veteran editor
of the Fayetteville Observer, was for forty years identified
with the press of North Carolina, and long exercised through
the Fayetteville Observer an influence fbr good that is yet
felt in the State. When the war of the States was IP
progress, he continued the publication of the Observer until
Sherman and his bummers came to Fayetteville and deso-
lated the town. After the war, Mr. Hale removed to Now
York and established himself, with his son, as a publisher
of books. The change of scene produced no change of
heart with him, and while he lived in New York, the old
love of his nativity seemed to glow with a warmer and
more intense flame. He was greatly beloved in his old
home, and travellers from North Carolina generally re-
garded Edward J. Hale as an interesting object of their
Southern tour. After a brief illness, he passed away, leav-
ing the odor of a sweet and saintly memory which, we trust,
will be long cherished among us in North Carolina.
Weston R. Gales, of the old Raleigh Register, was a
greatly gifted man, and handled a gifted pen. He wis a
charming social companion, an unsurpassed post-prandial
orator, and but for convivial excess would have been a
model man. The line of heredity shows plainly, too, in
the Gales blood. Father, son, brother and grandson, all
handled pens mightier than the sword.
Col. W. L. Saunders was probably the best writer the
State has ever produced. In force, clearness, directness,
in power of illustration and in unflinching tenacity he
was without a parallel. If there was any defect, it
in the humor that gives sparkle to composition.
AMONG THE CAROLINA WRITERS. 221
Gaston, as a penman, was as pure and pellucid as Addi-
son. Badger's force was marred by his infinite drollery.
His sense of ridicule was so dominant, even on the gravest
subjects, that it impaired his sincerity.
Gen. J. J. Pettigrew was distinguished as a writer as
well as a military commander. Had he lived out his nat-
ural life, no Carolinian would have lived, greater than he.
The two Camerons, John W. and John D., were both gifted
penmen. George Davis, our gifted school-boy friend, was
a gifted man, and the law, though it gave us a good lawyer,
deprived us of a prince of letters.
Engelhard, Price and Fulton, Holden, the- Camerons,
the old Asheville Citizen and Joe Turner's Raleigh ben-
'inel shine in the array of able writers.
Others we would gladly mention. They multiply as
time rolls on, but they are on this side the line of historic
chronicles, and we deal Vith the books that are made up,
balanced and closed.
222 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Stand not upon the order of your going.
PERHAPS the most memorable day in the annals of Eliza-
beth City was the day of the bombardment, early in Feb-
ruary, 1862, after the fall of Roanoke Island. After the
fight and Confederate defeat at Hatteras, the year before,
the sound and river towns of the Albemarle section were
in a condition of perpetual trepidation in fear of the inva-
sion of the Federal troops who had taken possession of
Hatteras, and the apprehension of injury was conjured
into a thousand fancies of outrage and destruction of lire
and property. But Burnside, who was in command at
Hatteras, was in no hurry to push his advantage, and
the next step for him was to capture Roanoke Island,
which was occupied by various troops, under the command
of Col. Henry M. Shaw.
Roanoke Island was attacked and captured early in
February, and the people of Elizabeth City were first to
hear the sad news. There seemed to be a sort of ment;il
telegraphy between Roanoke Island and that town, an 1
the news of Roanoke and its fall was soon followed by
the news that the Federal gunboats were preparing for a
hostile visit to the water towns in North Carolina. We,
as nearest to the stragetic point, were in a state of tremu-
lous buzziness. On the streets the enquiry every day from
man to man was, "Are they coming ? When are they com-
ing? Will they shell the town? Shall we fight, or what
shall we do?" Some said fight. Col. S. I). Starke,
highest in command, ordered out the militia and threw up
breastworks at Cobb's Point for the defence of our harbor.
Many thought it best to set fire to our houses and retreat
by the light, as the Russians had successfully done at
Moscow when invaded by Napoleon. Colonel Starke ap-
proved it, Others did it when the time came.
We were living on Pasquotank River in the country.
THE BOMBARDMENT. 223
nine miles from town, but were in town every day to
keep up with current events. Returning from town one
day, we heard when in town that the Yankees were gccdng
their gunboats ready to come to town. The rumor had
greatly excited the town, and the people were much dis-
turbed what to do when they came. We got home late,
communicated the startling news to our disturbed house-
hold, and retired. About midnight a messenger t'ron
Elizabeth City roused us from sleep and delivered a aios-
sage from Rev. E. M. Forbes, Rector of Christ Chirjh,
saying that a statement had reached town that the Yankee
gunboats were preparing to leave -Roanoke Island for Eliz-
abeth City, and requesting that we would send up wagons
to remove his books and valuables to our home in the coun-
try for safety. We hurried Isaac off immediately wiih a
farm wagon, a three-mule-cart with driver, and little
Peter with a single box wagon. We rose early next morn-
ing, in fact we didn't go to sleep any more that nigh!'.
While at breakfast, a servant ran into the room from up-
stairs, saying with great alarm that the river was full of
steamboats going up towards town, like a wedge, that there
was inore'n forty of 'em. We ran upstairs, looked out of
an upper window, and there they were, moving like a
phalanx, to disturb our peace and happiness. When we
went down, Isaac had returned with the debris of Mr.
Forbes' goods, wares and chattels. Great drops of bead
sweat were rolling down his ebony cheeks, and his emo-
tions overcame his utterance. To our enquiry where Mr.
Forbes was, he said, "Mr. Forbes was flusterated." "I an'
he was a talkin', you know, Master Richard, when he was
a pilin in his books and pictures and sich, a big 'bung'
flew over our heads, un he said to me, said he, 'Isaac,'
and I returned 'Yeth, thir,' ; and again he said to me, said
he, 'Isaac, you better get away quick as you can.' I said
again, 'Yeth, thir, Mr. Forbes, sir, I will, for it looks like
judgment,' and then I jumped on my seat and 'Old Buck'
(Old Buck was gamy and the off-horse) let out like Satan
was atter him. When I came to the Cobb's Point road de
224 GRANDFATHER'S TALES
bungs was a fly in' all round, and Buck and Bill, who allers
minded me when I sot behin' 'em, didn't ker no ^n >re for
me den a born-bline torn kitten." "Where's Mr. Forbes ?"
"Dunno. When I seed him he was lookin' like he was
gwine to run." "'What did he say?" "Well, Master
Richard, he was say in' some words he hadn't ought to seel.
'Feared to me like cuss words."
"Well, Isaac, where's Mr. Forbes' things?" ''Lori o'
massy, Master llichard, 1 tell you how dat is. Dey's
scattered all along the road from here to 'Lizabeth."
Finishing our hasty breakfast, we mounted our horse
and set out for town, and our eyes opened on a sight we
hope never to see again. All the people of the lowu were
on the road, most of them were afooot, shoe-tops deep in
mud and slush, muddy, bedraggled, unhappy, wrolclied.
They were looking for an asylum of safety among country
friends. We met scores of our town friends, for-
lorn and miserable. We asked for others, and they
told us the town was on fire and was deserted, and that
a naval engagement was raging in the harbor; thai two
Confederates were killed and three Yankees. \Ve soon
met General Heningsen on the road, flying before an un-
seen enemy, from the fort at Cobb's Point, and * 'minding
not the order of his going." We met some ladies afoot,
unhappy, looking for an asylum. We met the Piemonts
in "Little Billy's" three-mule cart, looking for our house.
They told us of the distress. That it was a deai town.
That it was dead as a graveyard, that all y had left, some
never to return. We asked after our friends. Tlioy ^aid
that some had set fire to their houses and made tracks for
Ourrituck, that others had done the same, and that the
whole town was then on fire, to spite the Yankees; that
the Elliots had started on foot for Oxford, that the Mar-
tins were in a buggy, flying for Oxford, that Rev. E. M.
Forbes was staying in town to meet the Yankees when
they landed on the wharf, surrender them the town and
ask protection; that Mr. Forbes, when they left, \vas put-
GOVERNOR WILLIAM A. GRAHAM. 225
ting on his ecclesiastical vestments, in order tl-ar they
might respect his sacred office.
It was a grand, gloomy and peculiar time, such as this
town had never seen before, has never seen since, and we
trust may never see again.
GOVERNOR WILLIAM A. GRAHAM.
And like the down that rides upon the breeze,
His form was grace and every action ease.
IF WE were called on to designate the most distinguished
and influential Governor of North Carolina in its long
roll of Chief Magistrate^ in all its history up to the "war
between the States," we should answer without hesitation,
William A. Graham. His life had not fallen Da the try-
ing times that confronted Governor Vance, but, had it
been his lot, he would have met them with the samo heroic
and unflinching spirit that distinguished our grear War
Governor. But, unlike him, he would not have found grains
of merriment in every pound of sorrow, for Governor Gra-
ham was wrapped by nature in an environment of dignity
that shrouded mirth and reoelled familiarity. There has
been no man, perhaps, in North Carolina that V.as been
endowed with such graces of manner and address that
marked him as a great master among men. He wa-i grave
and dignified without austerity, easy without familiarity,
and he always had a courtliness of personal bearing that
commanded every one's respect and offended no one's self
Mr. Graham's life forms a conspicuous feature in the
drama of North Carolina's history while he lived. With
its political history he was identified from the early outset
of his life.
He entered life with the prestige of ancestral dwtiiuv-
226 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
tion, descended from that Scotch-Irish race which has
illustrated our annals, he added new honors to its illus-
Soon after his entrance upon the legal profession ho was
elected to the Legislature from the county of Orangs. lie
made his mark in that body soon after he became a mem-
ber, and retained a prominent position in the council of
the State ever afterwards, and added National honors to
his subsequent career.
In the Harrison Presidential storm of 1840, Mr. Gra-
ham bore a conspicuous part in the Whig phalanx of can-
vassers, and the subsequent Legislature* had to elect two
United States Senators for North Carolina, in the place of
Senator Strange, who had resigned, and Senator Mangum,
whose term had expired. Mr. Graham was elected GO fill
the unexpired term of Senator Strange, and Senator Man-
gum to succeed himself. It was a high compliment to
^Ir. Graham, considering his age and his residence in the
same county with Senator Mangum. In this exalted po-
sition Senator Graham soon gave evidence that the Stats
had acted wisely in selecting him as Senator to supply
the place of Senator Strange. He took part in the leading
subjects of debate, was always heard with attention and
interest, and his speeches were commended by the ablest
statesmen throughout the country.
In 1&44: he was nominated as the Whig candidate for
Governor of North Carolina, which nomination he was
reluctant to accept, but he was urged to accept it by Lis
political friends of the Whig Party, and finally accepted
it. His opponent of the Democratic Party, Mike Hok-j,
of Lincoln County, was a foeman every way worthy of his
steel. Young, accomplished, well educated, eminently
magnetic, the Democrats of that day confidently calculated
on his success. Of a warmer temperament than Graham,
more gifted as an orator, not less gifted in personal attrac-
tiveness, they were well matched in the canvass. But
before the canvass was ended Hoke was beckoned away by
the pale messenger, and Graham was elected by a large
GOVERNOR WILLIAM A. GRAHAM. 22J
majority. He served as Governor for two terms with sig-
nal usefulness and satisfaction to the people of the State.
He left the office of Governor with a National reputation
that gave him the appointment of Secretary of the Navy
in President Fillmore's Cabinet, the duties of which office
were discharged with an administrative ability that
crowned the administration of the Department with great
eclat He established intercourse with Japan which
opened its ports to the world, and placed that gem OL the
Orient into the family of nations. Under the auspices
of the Navy Department the region of the Amazon River,
in South America, was successfully explored, and a new
market was opened to our commerce.
Subsequently, he was nominated for the Vice-Presi-
dency with General Scott, and it was confidently expected
that, with General Scott's military reputation and Gov-
ernor Graham's reputation as a statesman, the election
would be a Whig triumph ; but it fought its last battle,
and was folded up among the treasures of our history.
Governor Graham's great strain was the part he first
bore in our fratricidal war. His constitution was calm,
conservative and deliberate, and he was naturally a Union
man in the early stages of our sanguinary civil war. He
was less impulsive than the people whom he had served
so long and faithfully, and as long as he could he clung
to the Union with which he was identified ; but when the
tocsin of war was sounded and an invasion of his native
State was threatened, he returned to his normal position,
joined the councils of the Confederacy, and sent his five
to defend his home.
THE MOUNTAIN GRANDEUR OF WESTERN
I'll to the mountains. I will not think the thoughts
Nor breathe the breath of other men.
THE most beautiful scenery in America, if not in the
world, is to be found in Western Carolina. There by the
workings of nature's laws, mountains have been piled
on mountains, and between the ranges are lovely valleys
watered by picturesque streams. In the Alps the craggy
mountain tops are bare, but in blest Carolina, the verdure
extends to the very pinnacle of the loftiest ranges. It
is a region that fosters individuality, and trains the inhab-
itants to boldness and enterprise. Children are born among
the wonders of nature, and by their daily experience
they are taught self-reliance and attain rare powers of
physical endurance. In the seclusion of their mountain
homes, they develop the attributes of a sterling manhood,
and among them are found many families richly endowed
with intellectual gifts and bearing the stamp of marked
As two of a type we recall Samuel P. Carson antl
Zebulon B. Vance, names that are closely associated be-
cause of a most unhappy affair.
Dr. Robert Vance, the uncle of him whom our people so
much loved as their great War Governor, was a man of
fine characteristics. Like his distinguished nephew, he
had boldness, and strength of character, determination
and zeal. He was a student of public affairs and was well
informed in all branches of knowledge. He represented
the Buncombe District in Congress three-quarters of a cen-
tury ago. An aspirant for his seat was young Sam. Car-
son, who had served a session or tAvo in the Legislature,
and was unusually gifted as an eloquent orator. During
the canvass, Dr. Vance charged that Carson's father
had been disloyal during the Revolution. Carson
MOUNTAIN GRANDEUR. 229
denied the charge, but Vance would not retract. And so
Carson proposed to have it out with him after the election.
The celebrated 'Davy Crockett was a friend of Carson and
undertook to train him in the use of the pistol ; and Davy
was reputed to be as sure a shot as any man in America.
When the election was over Carson challenged Dr. Vanes
and they fought a duel at Saluda Gap on the South Caro-
lina line, Davy Crockett being present. Vance fell mor-
tally wounded. Carson had been chosen at the ele:tion
and he continued in Congress some ten years. At Wash-
ington he was regarded as one of the readiest debaters in
Congress, and he stood high up in the esteem and confi-
dence of Andrew Jackson, who Avas then President. And
at home the people delighted in honoring him, for his
>plendid powers of oratory made him the idol of the moun-
taineers. His last public service was in the Convention
of 1835. He then moved to Texas, and a few years later
died, after a long period of ill-health.
Among all the great men the West has given to Carolina,
perhaps none were superior to Carson except Zeb. Vance,
the nephew of the man he slew in mortal combat. Zeb.
Vance is too well known for us to dwell at length on his
great capacity and surpassing excellence as an orator. Wo
will only say that when he was in the zenith of his powers,
lie swayed men with a force that has never been excelled
nmong our peple. Truly the West has been as prolific
of great men as she is notable for the number of her moun-
tain peaks ; and the mothers who could rear such men and
givr them to the State, must have been as remarkable as
the valleys in which they lived are noteworthy for rlieir
230 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
He tried His 'prentice ban',
And then He made the lasses O.
THERE is only one woman who has been identified with
North Carolina history that has been mentioned in two
hemispheres. Flora McDonald, a Scotch lassie, when a
sweet, bright girl in the island of South Uist in the High-
lands of Scotland, where she was born 'and reared, she!
tered and concealed Charles Edward, known in English
History as the Pretender, in her womanly apparel, after
the disastrous battle of Culloden, in 1745, with courageous
defiance of danger and at the peril of her own safety.
Edward became a fugitive after the battle of CulloJen
and was closely pursued by his enemies. The power of
the Highland "lairds," who were his adherents, was de-
stroyed by their defeat at Culloden, and Charles Edward
sought concealment in the mountains of Rosshire, escap-
ing capture by the generous self-sacrifice of Mackenzie.
He found a temporary shelter in the mountain fastnesjes
of the island of South Uist. He was in hiding with
Laird McDonald. He was in imminent danger of imme-
diate capture. The wife of the laird on whose domain
he was in hiding was in deep sympathy with Prince Ed-
ward and proposed several projects for his escape. Fi-
nally she suggested that they should disguise him in
female attire and pass him off as a travelling waiting-maid
But it was difficult to find any one who would assume the
dangerous place of his mistress. Two had declined.
Flora McDonald, the young and beautiful daughter of a
petty laird on the island, had a stepfather who was an
adherent of the government. She was approached by the
good woman who knew the peril of the Prince. She
asked Flora if she would undertake the escape of Prince
Edward as her waiting-maid. With the womanly in-
FLORA M' DONALD. 231
stinct of sympathy for the distressed, she accepted the
perilous task. The Prince was concealed in a rocky wild
in the mountain. Thither Flora was taken by a tru&ied
officer of the Prince's forces. They found him alone,
broiling a small fish on the coals for his solitary repast.
At first he was startled, supposing them to be his enemies,
and made ready to defend his life. He soon saw thby
were his friends. He readily accepted their plans for
his escape. Preparations were made for leaving the is-
land. Flora secured a passport from her stepfather, who
was a British officer, for herself and her companions, in-
cluding a stout Irish woman, whom she called Betsey
Soon after, the travelling party set out from Uist in an
open boat for the Isle of Skye. A violent storm arose.
All were alarmed for their safety. The heroic girl en-
couraged the oarsmen with words of cheer. Betty Burke
(the Pretender) sang Highland songs and recited wild
legends to encourage them. As they approached the Isle
of Skye a band of soldiers drawn up on the shore fired
on them, and as the balls were whistling near them they
changed their course and landed at another point on the
island. Concealing the Prince in a hollow rock on the
beach, Flora repaired to the Chieftain's headquarters.
The Laird was absent, but Flora saw his wife and ap-
pealed, not in vain, to the generous enthusiasm of woman.
The heart responded to the appeal of humanity, and she
gave orders for the fugitive's safe departure. He was
conducted to a safe retreat and embarked for the Isle of
Hearsay, where he found friends.
At parting with Flora, Charles Edward, the unhappy
fugitive that she had so bravely protected, kissed her hand
and said, "Gentle, faithful maiden, I hope we shall yet
meet in the Palace Koyal." But they never met again.
After Charles Edward had escaped to France, the indig-
nation of the officers of the crown fell upon those who had
aided him in his flight. Flora was arrested with others,
and imprisoned in the Tower of London, to be tried for
232 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
her life. While in prison, the beauty and bravery of the
girl, who, without religious or political motive, had suffered
so much for the cause of distressed royalty, deeply inter-
ested the English nobility. By their influence and exer-
tions she was finally released. Presents were showered
upon her after her release. She received gold ornaments
and coin, which she brought with her when she emigrated
to Carolina. She was presented to George the Second,
King of England. When he asked her how she dared
render assistance to the enemy of his crown, she answered :
"It was no more than I would have done for your Majesty,
had you been in a like situation." She was returned to
Scotland under the escort of Malcolm McLeod, a fellow
prisoner, with great show and equipage.
Four years after, she married Allan McDonald, a Scot-
tish Laird, who in 1775, emigrated to J^orth Carolina with
his family and some friends and settled at Cross Creek,
now Fayetteville, where a large number of distressed Scot-
tish families sought refuge from the civil disturbances in
the British Empire.
But they soon found disturbances and war in their
adopted home, where commotion was rampant. The
contest between the British Government and its American
colonies was then imminent, and it soon burst into flame.
The Highlanders, who fled from Scotland for peace and
quiet, sympathized with the Government that they had
so lately been in arms against. They were summoned by
the Colonial Governor to support the royal cause. They
responded to the call. General Donald McDonald, a kins-
man of Flora and the most influential man among them,
erected his standard at Cross Creek, and on the first of
February, 1776, sent out his proclamation, calling on all
his true and loyal countrymen to join him. The husband
of Flora and most of the Highlanders joined the royal
ranks. Flora gave her influence to the cause her husband
and kinsmen had espoused and animated her countrymen
in arms. They met the Patriots at the early "Battle of
Moore's Creek Bridge/' and found another Culloden.
FLORA M' DONALD. 233
After the battle General Donald McDonald, who had
been commissioned as General of the royal forces in North
Carolina, was taken prisoner while sitting on a stump near
his tent. Allen McDonald, the husband of Flora, was also
taken prisoner, and they with some twenty others were sent
prisoners to Halifax.
Allen and his family, after this disastrous experience,
and release, as a prisoner, determined to return to oheir
old home in the Highlands. On their return voyage in a
British sloop of war, they encountered a French ship of
war and an engagement ensued. In the action Flora, who
was in the thick of the fight, encouraging the men, was
wounded. The enemy was beaten oft' and the heroine was
landed safely on her native soil.
Her eventful life closed March 5th, 1790. More than
three thousand persons followed her remains to the ceme-
tery Kilmuir, in the Isle of Skye. According to her
wish, her shroud was made of the sheets in which Prince
Edward had slept the night he was her guest at Kings-
234 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE BLACK FLAG.
(SCENES OF FRATERNAL STRIFE.)
EIGHTEEN hundred and sixty-three was the dark year
in the history of the Civil War, in this town and the adja-
cent section of North Carolina. It was the dark and
bloody district. Human life was not more valued or more
secure than a raccoon's. The battlefields of Northern Vir-
ginia were havens of rest and happiness to it. We have
heard of black flags in war, in which human beings became
incarnate devils and laid aside all the instincts of human-
ity. We never saw a black flag but once. The man who
carried it we suspected was an Ishmaelite, and that his
hand was uplifted against every other man. Its pictorial
emblems were a skeleton, cross-bones, and sockets whence
eyes once looked out. He showed it to us and told us it
meant war to the invaders without quarter and without
mercy. He had another, and we were told that he showed
it to the other side. Buffaloes, spies, tale-bearers, non-
combatant buffaloes were everywhere. The worst features
of human nature were developd in a rich soil and danger
was all around you. We have heard of "marching through
Georgia" and its horrors of bummers and pillage and ra-
pine. But this was marching into Elizabeth City and
staying there. It is a common reference to the sad days of
the reconstruction period from 1866 to 1870 as full of out-
rage, oppression and hardship, but they were halcyon days
for Elizabeth City, compared with the bloody black flag
days of 1863.
Roanoke Island was in the hands of the Federal troops
and it was a safe retreat for negroes, and a paradise of
Union men, spies and Northern sympathizers. No wliis-
per of a true Southern man, but it was reported at head-
quarters at Roanoke Island in less time than twenty-four
hours. Your nearest neighbor was often your truest and
Our little children (the largest were away) had a toy
THE BLACK FLAG. 235
Confederate flag about as big as your hand, and in child-
ish sport they nailed it to the outside gate. It was not
there two hours, when it was taken down from motives of
prudence. Next day a raiding party of negroes and white
men came to the house from the river landing, and in an
imperative manner demanded a search of the house for
Confederate flags. Trunks were rudely burst open and
rifled. A little flag, the childrens' plaything, was found.
They bore it off in triumph, and it was doubtless exhibited
at headquarters on Roanoke Island as a trophy of victory.
Raids of whites and negroes were of weekly occurrence, and
of tener. We carried our lives in our hands. In Perquim-
ans, Tom Newby, a quiet, estimable and inoffensive citi-
zen, a cultured gentleman, was called to his door at night
by a raiding party from Roanoke Island and cruelly shot
and killed without a word of warning. Our guerilla pro-
tectors shot and killed Black Sanders from the bushes, iu
retaliation, and the cruel war without military organiza-
tion went on. The Sanders Federal gang shot and killed
Ad. White, an innocent man found with a gun on his shoul-
der. The guerillas under Elliott and Sanderlin shot and
killed Cox at Trunk Bridges and a child that he held bo-
fore him as a shield. Buffaloes and their allies were ram-
pant Pete Burgess, of Camden, a noted buff aloe, with a
gang of buffaloes, shot and killed McPherson in or near
his own house before the eyes of his weeping wife and chil-
dren. Later, Wild, the one-armed commander of the ne-
gro troops who disgraced his epaulettes and blue coat, ar-
rested Daniel Bright, a soldier of Hinton's regiment at
home on furlough, and hung him without accusation or
trial at the "River Bridge," now "Hinton's Corner."' A
raiding party of Hinton's regiment, arrested a buffalo,
hung him, suspended his body from a limb and placed a
placard on his breast stating that he was hung in retalia-
tion for the murder of Daniel Bright.
That surely was a time of horrors, a war without armies
or the pomp and pageantry of military array. It wa^ an
internecine war in which all the ties of neighborhood,
236 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
brotherhood and civilization were rudely sundered. The
charge at Ballaklava in which no question of the reason
why, no action but to do or die, was in the minds of those
heroes on the march to death, pales before the glare of
such warfare. Pettigrew's bloody charge at the heigh U* of
Gettysburg is child's play in comparison with it. In Gen-
eral Sherman's classic phraseology, "war is hell." What,
pray, would he have called such a war as we had hers in
old times in this town. It was war without its pomp and
pageantry, without the amenities and chivalry of organized
warfare, without a recognized code and rules of civilized
war, without the "paths of glory" leading to the grnve.
It was one long, weary, suspicious, frightful watch, sur-
prise and reality. For months we never went to our f i-ont
door without unconsciously turning our sleepless eyes to
the river shore in search of a foeman, who was a wolf in
his lair, ready to spring upon us from covert.
During the whole of this long, black night of terrors
there was but one fight in the open, between our Ranger
protectors and the Federal cavalry raiders. It was in the
upper part of Pasquotank, near the fatal spot where Daniel
Bright was murdered. It was popularly called the battle
of "Turtle's Run," not so called from any local associa-
tion, but from the rapid "run" made from the field by
Jack Tuttle, a member of the company who had never be-
fore heard the siz of a rifle ball. One struck Jack's gun
and gave him a sudden attack of St. \"itus' and he "got up
and dusted," the boys cheering as he ran. It was the bat-
tle in which our boys behaved like veterans in the open
field, in which the Federal cavalry were driven back, and
in which the brave captain Tom Tamplin was wounded and
was borne from the field in the arms of his loving com-
REMNANTS OF LO. 237
REMNANTS OF LO.
Oh, a wonderful stream is the river of Time
As it runs through the realm of tears.
IN JACKSON and Swain counties is a reservation where
a remnant of the Cherokee Indians still dwell, and we be-
lieve it is the home of more of the aboriginal Red men than
can elsewhere be found east of the Mississippi. The Chero-
kees were Southern Indians and traditional accounts say
they originally had their hunting grounds in the region of
which Charlotte is now the centre. It was somewhere
about the year 1600, some fifty years before North Caro-
lina was settled, that a powerful tribe came down from
Canada and fought three consecutive days with the Chero-
keee, great slaughter being inflicted on both sides. Then
they took a breathing spell ; and finally it was agreed be-
tween them that the Cherokees should move to the moun-
tains and allow their adversaries to have the lands. And
so the Catawbas became settled in North Carolina.
The Cherokees were in the early days described as being
less savage than most of their race, and they gava the
whites no great trouble, until the French, who claimed the
back country, induced them to become hostile to the Eng-
lish. However, they had their wars with the colonists
who year by year pressed harder and harder on their hunt-
ing grounds ; but they continued to hold their land in the
mountains. As they were not citizens, and as their gov-
ernment was tribal, the whites regarded them as a foreign
nation, although they lived here in their own country. And
so treaties were made with the tribes as with foreign na-
tions. By our treaty with the Cherokees a large territory
in the mountains was set apart as their property, and no
white man could lawfully buy an acre of it. But the
whites wanted it, and so they interfered, and at length they
induced some of the chiefs to ask the government to give
them other lands across the Mississippi for their hunting
238 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
grounds ; and eventually this was done, but the tribe repu-
diated the contract.
However, about 1837 General Winfield Scott was sent
with some troops and forcibly moved the Cherokees from
our State, and the Creeks from Georgia, and carried them
across the Mississippi to new hunting grounds in th? In-
dian Territory. But some of the Cherokees took to the
woods and escaped, and after a while a new treaty was
made by which a large part of their reservation in our
mountains became the property of the State, and was
opened to white settlers.
The land retained by the Indians lies in Jackson and
Swain counties, and there the Indians have lived unmo-
lested for fifty years, increasing in numbers and becoming
more and more civilized. They now dress like white peo-
ple, and cultivate the land. They have schools, and are
taught to speak English. It is pleasant to think th^t at
least a remnant of the aborigines still survive in their old
homes, and that within the beautiful mountains of IvTorth
Carolina they have a retreat where they can enjoy the
blessings of peace and security while having some of the
advantages of civilization.
One of these Cherokees has achieved fame that will per-
petuate his name for centuries. He constructed an alpha-
bet of fifty signs that represented the sounds of his Indian
language, and three-quarters of a century ago his alphabet
was used in printing a paper and books for his people. His
name was Sequoia, and the story of his performance be-
came known to a great Italian scientist who was travelling
in this country. Years later when General Bidwell, who
a few years since was the Prohibition candidate for the
Presidency, discovered the giant redwood trees in Cali-
fornia, the scientist at Washington proposed to call them
Washingtonienses ; the British called them Wellingtonia
but the Italian scientist called them Sequoia, in honor of the
Cherokee ; and this name was adopted. So those big trees,
which are 4,000 years old, and which are the wonder of the
world, will hand down the name of a Cherokee Indian to
the remotest ages.
A DREAD TIME. 239
A DREAD TIME.
"A time that tried men's souls."
WE HAVE sometimes, yea often, regretted that we did
not shoulder our rifle during the times that tried men's
souls and bodies, in the bloody era in our history from
1861 to 1865, and that age and domestic exigency kept us
aw*ay from the field of conflict.
But we have frequently thought, that we, who remained
at home in the Albemarle section of North Carolina, were
in more danger and trouble than the honored soldier that
responded to the first bugle call to arms and left home and
all its endearments to face a world in arms against his
home. Up to the fall of our forts at Hatteras, we were
undisturbed by a hostile presence. Our troubles were
such as we> imagined. It was considered an asylum for
those who from stress of circumstances or other cause were
not in the camp or on the battlefield, which was their nor-
But when Hatteras fell, the scene was wholly changed.
Our Illiad of woes then began. Squads of soldiers came
up occasionally. Some of them were inoffensive, especially
the early visitors. They seemed uneasy, but looked around
with searching eyes, as if to take in the situation for some
In 1863 a small body of Federal troops were sent to
occupy Elizabeth City. They were under the command
of two brothers, named Sanders. One of them, having
black hair, was familiarly known as "Black Sanders."
The other having light hair was known as "White ban-
ders." Our local guerilla company had their eyes upon
them and were secretly keeping informed of all their
movements. One night Black Sanders, with some "buf-
faloe" friends, attended a negro dance party near town.
Some of our guerilla friends, knowing the street they
would come back to town, secreted themselves at the west
corner of Main street, opposite the Albemarle House (then
240 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
the Leigh House). Sanders was mortally wounded. He
fled to their headquarters at the Grandy House on Shepard
street and died soon after reaching town.
It was a hot time in town the next day. The Fed-
eral camp on Shepard street was wrought up to intense eix-
citement and the atmosphere was lurid with threats of
vengeance. The pall of death and secrecy that hung over
the dreadful tragedy was well established, but no trace of
the actors could be found.
The Federal soldiers of the camp were out scouring the
country to find some clew to the tragedy, but their search
At length they fell in with Ad. White, somewhere in
town, with a gun on his shoulder. They took him pris-
oner. There was no evidence of his guilt. He disclaimed
all knowledge of the circumstance of the shooting. He
was a citizen of Perquimans, and a visitor to Elizabeth
City. He was obstinate, unyielding, and an intense Con-
federate of the stalwart type. He made no confessions.
They wanted a victim, and Ad. White was found with a
gun on his shoulder. He was condemned, sentenced to
be shot, and the sentence was executed the same day. He
was a brave and obstinate man and died without fear, a
martyr to his convictions and his patriotism.
The man in the guerilla camp who fired the fatal
shot that sent "Black Sanders" without shrift to his dread
account, has never been known with certainty. He was
probably killed by a volley.
It was supposed by many at the time that he was killed
by Arthur Butt, a man of many intellectual gifts, but more
eccentricities and of infinite jest.
He was the life of the social circle, a man of ardent tem-
perament and Southern sympathies. He was a country
schoolmaster and a good elocutionist.
During the bloody times a newspaper was a rare sight,
and sometimes we got a Confederate paper published on
dirty brown paper, and sometimes, though rarely, we came
in possession of a Northern paper. When we got one it
A DREAD TIME. 241
was the attraction of the town, and Arthur mounte-i a
goods box and read the war news to an attentive crowd of
Poor Arthur ! peace and blessings on his memory. How
oft he sat an audience on a roar. How oft he roused the
drooping spirits and brought cheerful happiness out of
the depths of despair.
After the death of Ad. White there was intense excite-
ment throughout this vicinity. Some clamored for retali-
ation, but we were disheartened, broken in spirit, trodden
under foot by raids, and we do not know that there were
any retaliatory steps.
242 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE KING OF BIRDS AND THE BRAVEST
FOR AN island twelve miles long and two wide, and in-
habited by some seven hundred people, Koanoke Island
has been as loud a spot as any of the same number of square
inches on the globe. It has been full of sensations from
the jump ; and from the birth-day of Virginia Dare in
1585, to the bully fight of recent date, in which birds, beast
and woman bore a hand, a period near unto three hundred
years, it has seldom been without an eye-opener in the
shape of a sensation. It has been the scene of bloody fights
between hostile Indian tribes, and between civilized armies
in hostile array. Savage and civilized relics of remote
ages and modern convulsions are hidden beneath, or wave-
washed upon the surface of its golden sands. Indian forts,
and cairns, and tumuli attest its hoary history. Abel's
pet dog that sings in church meetings ; and the canary that
praises itself in parrot English, attest the attainments of
its beasts and birds, in polite accomplishments. Lewi?
Mann's sixty alligators, hatched and reared in a potato-
house, attest the fecundity of its soil or the fecundity
of Lewis' imagination. Two miles from the shore, afc the
point at the gateway to Oregon, lie luscious bivalves. Wild
fowl of every name feed upon its grasses. Its men are
the best specimens of stalwart and athletic manhood; its
women of feminine loveliness.
But to our tale.
At Roanoke Island, a soaring eagle, towering in his pride
of might, turned his proud eye from gazing at the sun,
upon the quiet yard of Walter Dough. A flock of fat geese
that nipt the tender yard grass, invited his eye and tempted
his taste. The glance was father to the thought- and
down he pounced. The feathers flew, the geese squawked,
and there was a sensation in that farm yard and there
was a dog there, too. A goose is put down as a fool, but it
is a vulgar error. A goose is a particular smart fellow.
KING OF BIRDS AND BRAVEST OF BEASTS. 243
And so was this one the eagle struck. As soon as the eagle
struck, the goose ran under the house, which was soms two
feet above ground, with the eagle fastened to her back,
and the rest of the flock in hot pursuit. And there the
light grew" fast and furious. Forty biting and flopping
geese on one side, and the king of birds on the other. Al-
though outmimbered, the eagle maintained the fight and
clung to his victim.
But soon another enemy presented himself. An enemy
more terrible than an army of geese a bull-terrier dog
little, but full of fight. It wasn't fair ; and the dog had
no natural, belligerent rights in a combat between birds;
but he came with a bound, and the eagle had no time to
settle questions of military ethics; so he threw himself on
his back (eagle fashion) to do his best in this hard fight
U'tween tooth and toenajl. The dog made a lunge at the
eagle's breast, and the eagle stuck his claws deep into the
The blow was simultaneous on either side. Both blows
told. But a terrier never, and an eagle hardly ever, says
die. The only witnesses of the dread combat were die
geese, who now stood off and looked on, and Miss Martha
Brothers, who was singing to her spinning jenny, in the
house alone, when the fight began ; and who in the end was
to be the conquering hero, crowned with the laurels of
victory. The battle raged. Teeth gnashed. Claws staved.
Eyes flamed. But eagles, like men, contend against odds
when fighting against fate, and so this eagle's great heart
sank within him, and turning tail upon his foe he sought
safety in flight. But his retreat was slow and full of diffi-
culty for he had fifteen pounds of bull terrier swinging
behind him. He reached the yard fence. With one des-
perate effort he sought to scale it. He reached its top-
most, round. He bore a weight he could not further carry.
There they stood, victor and vanquished. Then it was that
Miss Martha Brothers, the true hero of the fight, came to
i he front, and won the palm of victory. Seizing a rail,
with one fell swoop, she came down with a crash upon the
244 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
eagle's head, and left him prostrate, struggling in the ago-
nies of death; the victim of a combination too powerful
to be resisted. Alas poor eagle ! He measured nine feet
between the tips of his outstretched wings.
GEN. JAMES MARTIN.
While a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would
lay down my arms, never ! never ! never !
JAMES GREEN MARTIN was born on Main street in
Elizabeth City, 1ST. C., on the 14th of February, IClt).
From the Academy in Elizabeth City, he continued his
education at the Episcopal school in Raleigh, until the
year 1835, when, upon the recommendation of Hon. Win.
B. Shepard, representative in Congress from the First Dis-
trict, he was appointed to a cadetship at West Point. A cter
the four years course at that institution, he was graduated.
No. 14, in the class of which Generals Sherman and
Thomas were members, and was assigned to the Artillery.
He was first assigned to duty on the Maine frontier, when
the boundary dispute threatened conflict with Canada.
He went to the Mexican war under the* command of
General Worth, and was with him at the capture of Monte-
rey. He was afterward transferred to General Scott's
command, and was with him in all the fights in his advance
on the city of Mexico, up to and including the battta of
Churubusco, where he lost his right arm. After the
Mexican war he was transferred from the line to the staff.
When the war between the States was declared, he was
at Fort Reilly, and when North Carolina, by her act of
secession, resumed her paramount authority, Major Mar-
tin, recognizing his allegiance to his State, his hom3 and
his kindred, returned and offered his sword to North Caro-
lina. He was made Adjutant-General, with the rank of
Major-General, and commenced at once the organization
GEN. JAMES MARTIN. 245
of that splendid body of troops that in the Confederate
Government was the right arm of the service. This work
done, he went into the field as a Brigadier-General in the
Confederate Army. In the proposed attack on New Bern,
by General Hill, he was ordered with his brigade to Shep-
ardsville, to cut off communication between Morehead City
and New Bern. He attacked and took the forts at Sliep-
ardsville, capturing a good many Federal prisoners and
destroying Federal property. The attack on New Bern
was abandoned and our troops in retreat, when the news
reached General Martin. He moved away to avoid an
attack from New Bern and reached Wilmington, with all
his prisoners. In 1864, his Brigade was ordered to report
to General Beauregard, at Petersburg, and was engaged
in the fight at Bermuda Hundreds where General Butler
was "bottled up." Thence he joined General Lee, with
his brigade, at Richmond, and was at the second battle of
Cold Harbor, thence back to Petersburg, and engaged in
many of the fights at that place. Frem Petersburg, Gen-
eral Martin was sent by General Lee to Asheville to take
command of the western part of the State of North Caro-
lina, where he was when General Johnston surrendered.
After the close of the war General Martin studied and
obtained license to practice law, in which professional busi-
ness he was engaged to the time of his death.
In the private relations of life General Martin was
blameless and exemplary. He was an earnest and devout
member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, an earnest
worker in its religious enterprises, and an influential mem-
bor of its diocesan and general councils. Doubtless, ere
this, he has entered upon that new condition of life where
a beneficent Creator bestows the higher rewards of a well-
246 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
CHARLES R. KINNEY.
"A pebble in our p;ith oft turns the current of our life."
ABOUT the year 1820 there came from Norwich, Conn..,
to Norfolk, Virginia, on his way to Mobile, Alabama, to
repair his broken fortunes, Charles R. Kinney, a young
man about twenty-six years of age, destined, in after years,
to fill a place in the affections and influence and antago-
nisms of the bar in* the Edenton District and also, in our
judgment, to occupy the foremost rank in ability and legal
attainments and in large practice among the members yf a
bar distinguished for learning and ability. There hap-
pened in Norfolk at the same time, a gentleman from
Camden County, N. C., Miles Gregory, a wealthy fanner,
who was stopping at the same hotel with the young stran-
g;er, and happening to get into conversation with him,
found he was in search of employment. The conversa-
tion resulted in making an engagement with Mr. Kmney
to come to Camden and teach the children of Mr. Gregory,
in his family. He came out to Camden through the Dis-
mal Swamp Canal in a canal boat, according to the custom
of the period, and becoming a member of the family he
took charge of Mr. Gregory's children, and taught them for
two or three years. While he was at this business, in that
county, in the vicinity of Elizabeth City, he occasionally
came over to the town where he formed the acquaintance of
Jno. L. Bailey, a practicing lawyer on the circuit. The
acquaintance ripened into an intimate friendship, which
continued, without abatement, through life. Mr. Bailey,
afterward Jud^e Bailey, was a kind man, sympathized
with the struggling, and soon became acquainted with the
condition of young Kinney, a poor man, ardent, ambitious,
educated, with refined and noble instincts, and every inch
a man. The result of the friendship was the entrance of
Kinney as a law student of Bailey. He had left in Nor-
wich a wife and infant child, entirely dependent upon
CHARLES R. KINNEY. 247
him, and he continued his labors as a schoolmaster in the
family of Mr. Gregory, while pursuing his law studies un-
der the tuition of Mr. Bailey. He made proficiency in
his legal studies, and obtained his admission to the bar in
regular course. After obtaining his license at the bar, he
discontinued his employment with Mr. Gregory and re-
moved to Elizabeth City to enter upon the business of his
life, and to make it his home until he died. His attain-
ments in his profession, his superior natural gifts, and his
impulsive and chivalrous nature soon made him conspicu-
ous in his new home, and made him friends and foes. To
his friends he was most faithful, sympathizing, affection-
ate, making himself part and parcel of all their joys and
sorrows ; to his foes he was dauntless, unyielding, firm, and
bold as a tiger with fresh blood upon his teeth; but his
heart was tender as a child's, and melted at the offer of
kindness from his bitterest foe. .
Mr. Kinney did not get into practice rapidly. In
infancy he fell from his nurse's arms, and his back was
injured by the fall. This deformed him in the back, below
the shoulders, and lowered his stature from about six feet
to about five feet, nine inches, but it did not impair his
activity or gracefulness. He was unrivalled in feats of
activity and horsemanship. He was a member of tb.o
cavalry company in town, and none of the members of the
company were superior to him in feats of daring rough
riding. This deformity, and perhaps some traits of inde-
pendent character, had caused him to incur the prejudice
of some of the young men of the town who proposed to be
the regulators of society and to make everything conform
to their ideas of taste and propriety. Kinney was unwil-
ling to accept their dictatorship, and thought and acted for
himself, independently of their social influence. This
wore on until it amounted to positive and active hostility,
leading to crimination and recrimination, newspaper and
pamphlet controversy and to street encounters, and finally
to challenges to mortal combat. Kinney defied them on
everv field. He was opposed to duelling from principle.
248 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
He so proclaimed it, and his known opinions may have
made it their chosen mode of redress. He was taunted
with his nativity, with his lineage, of which they k;iew
nothing. He was goaded to madness. In one of his naws-
paper controversies, in reply to the allusion to his lineage,
in a burst of feeling he said :
"My father yet lives, old and venerable. He never had
the honor of sending or accepting a challenge. His cour-
age ran in a different channel. Ere he had reached the
threshold of manhood he bared his bosom to the battle's
rage in the eventful struggle which separated the American
colonies from British dependence."
He accepted the challenge, and it was no fault of his
that it was bloodless.
On the general circuit of the Edenton District, Mr.
Kinney had so small an appearance that for a long time he
was little known or considered. At Currituck where, in
later years, his opinion was law, and he had an appearance
on one side of every important case on the docket, it was
five years that he went to the Court an unsolicited, briefless
barrister, and at the expiration of that time a mere acci-
dent gave him an appearance.
In the county of Currituck, in 1828, an atrocious murder
of an old man was committed, and from suspicious cir-
cumstances public sentiment settled upon John Chittem
and his wife. They were arrested and confined in the
common jail, and the body of the murdered man was
found in an old well. Chittem was a wealthy man, and
employed all the bar to defend him, except Mr. Kinney,
thinking he was not worth employing. Iredell was prose-
cuting attorney for the State. Before the case came on
for trial, during- the Spring Term, Judge Lowry, who was
presiding, died on the circuit, and Mr. Iredell was ap-
pointed by the Governor to fill his place. This created
a vacancy in the office of Solicitor. When Currituck Court
came on, Mr. Kinney was the only lawyer unemployed,
and the Judge ex necessitate had to appoint him to prose-
cute. When the case was called, from some cause, proba-
CHARLES R. KINNEY. 249
ably from the recent appointment of the Solicitor and his
want of time to examine the case, it was continued to tho
next term of the Court. There was a formidable array of
counsel for the defense, headed by Isaac Lamb, then a lead-
ing attorney in that part of the District. Kinney, as act-
ing Solicitor, was alone in the prosecution. The testimony
was entirely circumstantial. Chittem had married the
young widow of the murdered old man soon after his death.
Other circumstances, many, pointed to the foul woric of
the old man's taking off. Kinney had ample time, and
had made thorough preparation. His speech was wri^'.en
out, but not committed to memory. We have seen it in
manuscript. It was the closing speech, but befora its
close the case was decided. It summed up the testimony
with terrible effect, and when, at the close of the artistic
presentation of all the circumstances in phalanx, he pointed
his long arm and indSx finger at Chittem, and with his
deep, sonorous tones, said: "As Nathan said unto David,
thou art the man." The bosom of the prisoner heaved a
sigh, and Isaac Lamb's foot moved to and fro, his custom-
ary signal of mental giving away. Chittem was convicted
and executed near Currituck Court House.
We have heard Mr. Kinney say that that speech was
worth a thousand dollars to him in an hour after he left
the court-room. He was always after employed in all
the leading cases on the docket.
He rose about that time to be the leader on the circuit.
From Currituck to Ty-rrell and Hertford he was the ac-
knowledged leader, primus inter pares. His practice was
large and his income probably the largest from law prac-
tice in the District. But he never valued money, and cared
little about its accumulation, squandering large sums upon
agricultural experiments, of which he was very fond. He
often said the reason he did not accumulate money was
that he knew not the difference between six cents and six
and a quarter.
We have often mentally enquired what were Mr. Kin-
ney's infirmities, for as the sparks fly upward, it is the
250 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
common penalty of life. He had fewer than most men.
He was impetuous, quick, but his heart was as large as
humanity. As he truly said in a memorial address upon
the death of the lamented W. W. Cherry, if he could he
"would have wiped all tears from all eyes." In his pro-
fessional practice, perhaps, his fault was that he was not
sufficiently aroused to the minor matters of the law. In -j
matter which involved large property, or in a matter in
which a poor client was greatly wronged, all the energies
of his nature were fully aroused and all his great ability
was put forth, and upon such occasions we have never seen
him equalled. At other times he was a sleeping lion. Ai
such times, to use the vulgar but significant phrase, he
was apt to "go off half-cocked. 77 This perhaps was the
fault of his professional life.
His voice was soft, variable and full of sympathy, capa-
ble of expressing the deepest emotions of horror, disgust
and denunciation. When a boy we happened in the court-
house when he was defending a client where the defend-
ant^ brother was a witness for the State, upon a charge of
larceny. The denunciations of the witness as a U bas3
betrayer of his brothers blood, 77 and his irate manner,
still thrill us.
About 1844 his health began to decline, and he was often
compelled to be absent from his courts. In 1845 he went
to the Virginia Springs and his health was much restored.
He was greatly encouraged. At Gates Court he was in
fine spirits, and the accounts he gave of the men he met
during the summer were exceedingly interesting. We went
up with him to the court, and he remarked if he could go
every year to the Greenbriar Springs he could live to three-
quarters of a century. From Gates Court he returned to
Elizabeth City with fine prospects of health and happi-
ness. The next week was Chowan Court, at Edenton. We
went up in our sulkies. (We hope the kind reader will
pardon the egotism of this last brief narrative. ) On Wed-
nesday of the week Mr. Kinney was engaged in the trial
of the Mesmer-Norcom case, a case of intense interest, in
CHARLES R. KINNEY. 251
which a whole community was torn and terribly excited
with angry passions. He entered upon the trial with his
customary zeal and fearlessness. We went into the court-
house while the trial was progressing, after having been
absent a short while. We missed Mr. Kinney, and some
one told us he had a slight hemorrhage in the excitement of
the trial. We went out in search of him, found him in
the office of Dr. Norcom, on Queen street, silent, wan and
greatly depressed. He enquired when we were going
down, said he would go immediately, and requested us to
join him on the road. We hurried off to overtake him.
As we passed through the town of Hertford, Mr. Jones
came out from Dr. Johnson's office and motioned us to
stop. Mr. Kinney, he said, was in the office in a dying
condition. We hurried to the hotel and returned to the
office. As we entered the ante-room, Mr. Jones, in silence,
pointed to a bowl filled with blood. We went into the ad-
joining room where lay our dying friend. He turned to
us his dying eyes in recognition and gave us his hand. He
died with his hand in ours, and with the last words, feebly
uttered, "I know my fate. I'm not alarmed. My wife
and children, that's all," passed away without a struggle,
at the age of fifty-three years.
252 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
MRS. RACHEL CALDWELL.
'* Woman's wit is wiser than man's wisdom."
DR. DAVID CALDWEKL is a conspicuous figure in the an-
nals of North Carolina. He was the pioneer of education
in North Carolina. He antedates both Murpheyand Wiley,
and established a school in Guilford County before the
war of the Revolution, that gave education to many prom-
inent professional men and clergymen of the Presbyterian
Church, of which he was a distinguished minister.
His wife was his "helpmeet indeed. 77 He was an ardent
patriot and Whig during the troublous times of the Revo-
lution, and was an object of hatred to the Tories who lived
in his neighborhood, and his wife often rendered him and
the patriots assistance in times of peril that made her
greatly beloved by her countrymen during and after the
Several cases are mentioned of her readiness in dan-
gerous emergencies. Upon one occasion, Dr. Caldwell,
who had been in hiding in the woods to escape capture,
returned stealthily to his house, and while there his house
was suddenly surrounded by armed men who seized him
before he could escape, designing to carry him to the
British camp. He was put under a guard of one or two
men, while the others searched the house for plunder.
When they were nearly ready to depart, the plunder being
piled in the middle of the room, the prisoner beside it
with his guard, Mrs. Caldwell, who was in an adjoining
room, came in, stepped behind Dr. Caldwell, leaned over
his shoulder, and whispered to him as if intending the
question for his ear alone, asking if it was not time for
Gillespie and his men to be there. One of the soldiers
near by caught the words, and knowing Gillespie was a
brave and dangerous Patriot partisan, demanded with ap-
parent alarm what was meant by the whispered words.
Mrs. Caldwell replied that she was merely speaking to her
MRS. RACHEL CAI.DWELL. 253
brother. The party was panic stricken. Hurried ques-
tions were exchanged among them, and they soon hur-
riedly fled, abandoning their prisoner and the plunder.
This simple manoeuvre of a thoughtful woman produced
consternation among the enemy, and relieved her husband
and her property. That whisper drove them away.
In the fall of 1780 a stranger, weary with long travel,
stopped at the house of Dr. Caldwell and asked for supper
and a night's lodging. He said that he had stopped there
because Dr! Caldwell was a clergyman, and he knew that
he was a friend of his country. He said he was the bearer
of dispatches from General Washington to General Greene
of an important character. Mrs. Caldwell told him of
his danger, that she was alone and her husband was an
object of peculiar hatred to the Tories, and it was uncer-
tain when an attack would be made on the house. Should
they hear that a messenger from Washington was in the
house and had important papers, he would be robbed before
morning; that he should have something to eat immedi-
ately, but advised him to seek a safer place of shelter for
the night. Soon hoarse voices were heard outside, crying
"Surround the house," and a body of Tories rushed in.
Just before they entered tVio house, Mrs. Caldwell bade the
stranger follow her, and she led him out by a private door.
A large locust tree stood outside. Pointing to it, she di-
rected him to climb up in its thick and thorny branches and
conceal himself. The night was intensely dark. She
directed him to conceal himself until they commenced to
plunder the house. He could then descend on the other
side and make his escape. The house was pillaged, but
the express messenger escaped.
Dr. Caldwell and his brother Alexander had plantations
nearby. One evening when Alexander was absent from
home, two British soldiers, marauding in the neighbor-
hood, came to Alexander's house, and after plundering it,
ordered his wife to get supper for him. She hurried a
messenger over to her brother-in-law to advise her. He
sent word to treat them kindly and get supper for them,
254 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
but she must observe where they placed their guns and set
the table at the other end of the house. He promised to
come over at once, conceal himself in a haystack near by,
and she was to inform him as soon as the men had set down
to supper. The directions were followed. While the
men were sitting at supper, Dr. Caldwell quietly entered
the adjoining room in which their guns had been deposited,
took up one of the guns and stepping to the door of the
room where they were enjoying their supper, presented
the weapon and informed them they were his prisoners,
and that their lives would be the forfeit if they attempted
to escape. They surrendered immediately. Dr. Caldwell
marched them before him to his own house, kept them till
morning, and then making them take an oath of parole on
the Holy Bible, he released them. The pledge was faith-
Dr. Caldwell lived until after the war, continuing his
labors as a teacher and preacher. He died in 1824, in
the hundredth year of his age.
HE LOVED EVERYTHING IN THE STATE. 255
HE LOVED EVERYTHING IN THE STATE.
"Alas ! we ne'er shall see his like again."
Z. B. VANCE is the most unique character that has ever
lived in* North Carolina history. In our Pantheon of
great characters he stands apart. His was an all-round,
well-balanced, even-poised, symmetrical, lovable character.
To say that it was without fault, would be to belie our
common nature. But the faults of his lovely make-up were
like sun spots, scarcely visible to the naked eye. Looking
down the long vista of great names and comparing them
with Vance, we find Gaston his superior as an intellectual
prodigy, a profound statesman, a laborious student, an
accomplished scholar, an able lawyer. Badger was his
superior as an acute dialectician, and in the versatility of
his attainments. As*a professional anecdotist, but differ-
ing in kind, Ham Jones was his equal, if not his superior.
Jack Stanley, of New Bern, was his superior in caustic,
sharp and cruel repartee. Bartlett Yancey, of Caswell,
was his superior in withering and fierce invective. Wil-
liam A. Graham was his superior in style and courtliness ;
W. W. Cherry, of Bertie, in ready wit and copious phrase-
But in his cornucopia of varied and numerous gifts,
Zeb Vance was the superior of them all. He was "our
own Zeb/ 7 He was "our great tribune." He was "our
great War Governor." He was our loved leader in the
times that tried men's souls. He gave one of his eyes to
his loved State, and then congratulated himself that there-
after he would have an "eye single to her service." His
head, his heart, his strength, his manhood, his love, were
given to North Carolina, with an affluence of affection
that no other son of hers had given. In all the grand attri-
butes of manhood he was the equal of most and the supe-
rior of many.
He was Gaston without his august dignity; Badger
without his frivolity ; Ham Jones without his infirmity of
256 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
habits; Jack Stanley without his asperity; Bartlett Yan-
cey without his tempestuous impetuosity ; Graham without
his frigid imperturbability; Cherry without his diminu-
Turning from this glance at his comparative intellec-
tual anatomy, the enquiry arises, What made our great
Tribune the loved and honored character that he was, so
loved and admired when living and so mourned when dead ?
Why? Why is it that he is the Confucius of North
Carolina mythology ? Mainly, it was his simple, child-
like faith and love for North Carolina. Everything in
North Carolina was lovely in his eyes except its tincture
of Republicanism. We can never forget his denunciation
of that stench in his nostrils when he climaxed his phillipic
by an expansive snort from his great nasal organ, and
then, after a short rest, uttered the word skunk. It was
nasal oratory that "Horatius might have envied and Cicero
not despised." There was no demagogery in Vance's lovc-
for North Carolina, no pretense, no ostentation.
In the many times we have hung delighted on his lips,
we can recall but one in which he gave vent to his State
love before a popular audience. After telling, with tones
and simplicity that moved all hearts, how he loved the dear
old State, he said he was like an old North Carolina negro
who came before a committee of the Senate, to testify as
to the exodus of the negroes to Kansas. He said the old
man looked old and weary, poor and foot-sore. The old
man described to the Senators the beauties of Kansas, its
roads and fields and fine buildings. He was making his
way back to North Carolina. Senator Vance asked him
why he came back to North Carolina, if Kansas was so
beautiful. He answered: "Well, I tell you, Marse Sen-
ator, things had a onwelcome look out thar, and Caliny'g
old fields and crooked fences was home." Vance loved
North Carolina with an unfeigned love. He loved its
young men, its old men, its old women, and loved all the
We can not forget an incident at New Bern, at an annual
The Vance Monument,
At the Capitol Grounds, Raleigh.
HE LOVED EVERYTHING IN THE STATE. 259
fair. Vance was sitting in a reception-room, and his old
friends were calling and shaking hands with him. We
were sitting near him, and for an hour we were interested
and amused by their cordial greetings.
A tall, bony and awkward fellow came in, reached out
his hand, Vance grabbed it, and they shook and shook and
shook, and I thought at one time they would hug right
there before me. It was "How do, Bob," and "How du, Col-
Min-1, ''until my nerves trembled and we didn't knowwhether
we were on our head or on our heels. In their reminis-
cences there was an allusion to Goose Creek, which seemed
to tickle them both mightily, but which we did not under-
stand. After Bob left, Vance explained it to us.
( )n the retreat from Xew Bern, they were stopped at
(loose Creek, and they had to construct a raft to get the
re^iii lent across. Bob concluded he could ford the creek,
and divesting himself of his clothing placed them in a
bundle and gave them to a comrade to bring over to him
when they came over on the raft.
Bob pitched in, got across and waved his hand in sign
of safety. At length his comrades came over on the raft,
but Bob's clothes could not be found. When the roll was
called Bob was there, ])nris natural ibus, with his musket
on his naked shoulder. He marched that way for several
miles before he could cover his nakedness.
This analysis, already too long, must close. Great as
was our loved Governor, rounded as was his character, ver-
satile as were his gifts, God had much to do with his
greatness. He drew before him such opportunities as had
in -\ ' r before been offered to any Carolinian. He was God's
<-hosen vessel for them, and he was equal to the opportunity.
He took them up and rode into fame on a chariot of fire,
and came out unscorched. He was a co-laborer with
(iod in utilizing the opportunity for this rare workman-
THE BUREAU RULE IN 1866.
" Honey, ef you feelin' prime
Never min' de sky;
Long ways ter de summer time,
But bright days by en by."
WE HOLD these truths to be self-evident. There are
but two leading principles upon which government can be
successfully administered: One is the principle of love
and the other is the principle of fear. A government ad-
ministered upon either of these principles as its dominant
feature may be a success and a strong government. The
one based upon fear is that typified by the language of the
centurion go and come. Generally, but not necessarily,
its chief motive power is the will of one man. Sometimes
that one will may be aided by the concurrent and subser-
vient will of a council or congress, but the one will is the
dominant motive power of the government, exerted either
directly or indirectly. A government, or an administra-
tion of government of this kind may be a strong govern-
ment; it often is ; it may be a power upon the earth, com-
mand respect abroad and promote the material prosperity
of the country at home; but it dwarfs the governed, it
lowers them in the scale of creation, and consults neither
their opinion nor their happiness ; it is a despotism, or
leads directly thereto, and if not already a recognized
despotism, it rapidly and surely becomes so. Of this class
of government the recognized representatives are Russia
and Turkey, both autocratic governments in which the
" Like dumb, driven cattle.''
This government in its origin was the offspring of com-
promise and good-will, formed by the mutual surrender of
individual interests to the general welfare. But for that
generous surrender of separate interests in order to pro-
mote the general welfare, this government would never
THE BUREAU RULE IN 1 866. 26l
have had an existence. But for that spirit of compromise
and kindness, North Carolina would never have entered
into the compact of government, She stood off for a long
time before she entered into a closer political compact
with her sister States, and even when she did enter into
that compact and surrender certain of her rights, reserving
to herself those she did not specially surrender, it was done
against the advice of some of her ablest and purest sons,
and against the earnest protest of Governor Samuel John-
ston, of Eden ton, who, when a defeated candidate before
the people, in opposition to the adoption of the Constitu-
tion, went to Halifax while the Convention was in session
and "lobby 'd" against it.
One pleasant evening in the sixties, sitting on the veran-
dah inhaling the odors of lilacs and laburnums, feeling
quite at ease much as Caesar felt the "eve he overcame
the Nervii" there presented himself a worthless negro
that we had sent off from the farm shortly before for
well we won't say. His air was pompous, self -possessed
and somewhat threatening. He bore in his hand a paper
addressed to us. We examined critically the written
summons, in order, with the little knowledge we had of
the science of reading character from handwriting, to de-
termine what manner of man he was before whom we
were to appear. We could learn, from this examination,
but two things about him. Unquestionably he was not a
lawyer ; and as unquestionably he was not a speller.
Armed with this learning, and
"A little learning ' aint ' a dangerous thing,"
although Pope, the poet, says it is, we proceeded on Wed-
nesday morning, as a law-abiding man, to make our prepa-
ration to respond to the awful summons.
We drew from its long, low rest a towering old "beaver"
of die vintage of 1858, which had seen no service during
the clash and clangor of a four years 7 war. An old suit
of seedy black, once the tegument of a gentleman alas!
now "none so poor to do him reverence" a suit which
262 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
had not suffered capture during the war, was produced
and donned. An old bandana of antique size and cut,
which, in other days, had seen other service, was thrown
gracefully around our war-attenuated neck. The coat was
cut from the model of the swallow's tail; the pants were
large and baggy, and the bandana cumbrous and heavy,
but the beaver was the redeeming feature a towering
black beaver, though old and venerable, can, somehow, defy
criticism and even ridicule.
Thus far fixed, we came out, and it almost opened the
fountain of our eyes that the little children didn't know
"their father dear."
We presented ourselves at the open door of the temple of
jus no wickedness, and with one of those graceful
sweeps of the right hand, while the right foot was getting
into position, with which we were once wont to "charm
all hearts," we made what the French call un profond
reverence a low bow.
Sam Baler was there ahead of us, at his ease and quite
at home. The Bureau was in position. We made a
quick and rapid survey of his physiognomy. Eyes
small, set close together; cunning, rat type. Jaws large,
spreading firmness. Then, hurriedly as we could,
we threw our phrenological eyes around his head to
see if we could find any hope there perceptive organs
small, no sense; secretiveness large, do anything mean
and keep it to himself. Oh! what a great big bump
just over the top of his ear, large, very large ; acquisitive-
ness large; money he's money on the brain. The fel-
low'll steal. Our first thought was to address ourself to
that organ, but we had no bribe money, in fact, none at all,
and we gave that up.
Having made this rapid survey, we handed in our sum-
mons, listened to Bureau's statement of the case, and pro-
ceeded to make the opening speech. Sam Boler replied
we rejoined Boler surre joined, and then we butted. We
come with a rebutter and he paid us back with a surre-
THE BUREAU RULE IN 1 866. 263
During the whole of this trial of strength between Sam
and us, Bureau sat mute and unmoved, with eyes fixed on
the combatants, save once. Once we put on, as best we
could, a confidential "old fel" expression and made a pass
at his organ of acquisitiveness by saying "we were fully
able to pay all costs and expenses, incidental and other,
which might arise out of this trial," and then Bureau
smiled smiled a ghastly smile.
The battle over, we awaited the decision which was to
determine the rations for ten children and three adults.
Bureau cracked his finger joints, looked wise, and simul-
taneously with his last crack, gave his decision, which to
us was like a rifle cracked at our breast : Sam Boler had
won the day.
Then it was we perorated. We took our old beaver in
our left hand we reared, we pitched, we charged, we beat
in our old beaver, we represented that "ram tied to a
gate-post," we talked about the "monumental principles
of eternal justice, and the inalienable rights of man."
Bureau opened his mouth once and said : "I've heard that
talk before." We left the court-room like Macbeth's guests,
without "minding the order of our going."
We went outside and blowed and cooled a little, then
went back to the door and when I put my head in the door,
Boler had changed his place. He and Bureau were sit-
ting "cheek-by- jowl." Bureau had a pencil in his hand,
and I think they were doing a sum in division.
As I was withdrawing my head I threw an unamiable
glance at Sam Boler ; and, "holy father !" would you be-
lieve it, he had his right hand thumb stuck on to the end
of his nose, and his left hand thumb hitched into his right
hand little finger and waggling his fingers just like a
"poomp handle," and looking right at us.
2,64 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE CAPTURE OF THE MAPLE LEAF.
"Strike for your altars and your fires!
Strike for the green graves of your sires,
God ! and your native land ! ""
WE have sought information of the Maple Leaf from
many sources. We obtained much information from Mr.
Joseph Wilson, one of our oldest and most esteemed
citizens, who fed the Confederate captors of the Ma-
ple Leaf in the swamps of Currituck when they were
pursued by Federal cavalry; from -Mrs. Henrietta
Walker, a resident of Currituck County, a venerable
and veritable book of chronicles of the war, whose
husband, now dead, 'carried the captors across Cur-
rituck Sound, and took care of them in the Curri-
tuck swamps, and more recently from a communication
by Ed. McHarney, who, when a boy of 17, with his
brother and a companion, conveyed some of the Confede-
rate captors in their boat to Yeopim Creek in Perquim-
ans County, and thence piloted them across Chowan river
into the Confederate lines.
A few days ago we were were looking over the contents
of a recent publication "The Camp Fires of the Con-
federacy" when we came across an article headed
"Capture of the Maple Leaf," written by Captain A. E.
Asbury, of Higginjsville, Missouri, who seems to have been
one of the captors of the Maple Leaf. He says that he
with twenty-five other Confederates were confined by Ben.
Butler in Fort Xorfolk, in a small room, on half-rations,
half cooked and under great suffering. There were 26
of them in a room 12 by 30 which was used as cook-room,
closet, hospital, bed-room and exercise. While panting
there in this "Dark Hole of Calcutta" there came a Fed-
eral Government transport ship the "Maple Leaf' '-
bound for Fort Delaware with 75 Confederate officers,
prisoners of war. Captain Asbury, with his 25 half-
starved comrades, was r>ut on board the transport for the
same fort on the 13th day of June, 1863. Among the
CAPTURE OF THE MAPLE LEAF. 265
prisoners were Col. A. K. Witt, of an Arkansas Regiment,
and Lieutenant Scmmes. They were cordially received
by the prisoners, and at once passed out to sea by Fortress
Monroe. The one hundred Confederate prisoners were
guarded by about twenty United States soldiers. The
prisoners were allowed free intercourse, being unarmed.
They plotted to seize the vessel at the tap of the great bell
at twilight. At the signal agreed on, every man, from his
station, pounced upon his man, armed and unarmed, and
a desperate struggle for supremacy ensued, man to man,
arm to arm, breast to breast. "Freedom or death" was the
slogan. The Federal guard was overpowered, and their
arms taken. The Confederates armed themselves with
the guns, sabers and pistols of the guards. Two Con-fed-
erate officers broke into the cabin where was the com-
mander and commanded him to surrender. He drew his
sword to defend himseif. The Confederates warned him
of the danger of resistance as the boat was in their posses-
sion. He gave up his sword. It was the work of about
three minutes, and the Maple Leaf was under Confed-
erate command. No life had been taken and no gun had
been fired. The gray uniform supplanted the blue. Colo-
nel Witt took command. A council was held and it was
determined to empty and burn the vessel. But later, on
account of the sick and disabled Confederates on board, it
was determined to head her for the nearest beach. The
Federal officers were parolled and sworn to proceed to Fort
Delaware and give no notice of the capture. They also
agreed to take care of the Confederate sick on board. A
f-\v Confederates stood guard over the Federal officers
until the last Confederate was landed on the beach of the
Currituck coast,near the Virginia and Carolina line,having
taken with them all the arms and ammunition. Then with
a yell and salute they surrendered the Maple Leaf. She
headed for Fort Delaware, but soon turned back for Fort-
ress Monroe, and before the next day the Federal Cavalry
were scouring the Currituck swamps in search of the cap-
tors of the Maple Leaf.
266 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
HUMORS OF THE MAPLE LEAF.
Why should a man whose blood is warm within
Sit like his grandsire. cut in alabaster?
IT is SAID that there is a silver lining to all the dark and
dismal clouds of life. We think it was Kochefocault (its
spelt somewhat that way), the French epigrainatist, who
said that in the greatest misfortunes of our friends there
was always something to comfort us. It is so in the Cur-
rituck episode of the "Maple Leaf." Since we struck
this neglected "pocket" in the mine of Confederate wav
history, we find that every old man has some bit of remin-
iscence of this brilliant achievement in the annals of the
war. But we are the first that put it in the custody of
cold, unsmiling type. And we were first drawn to it as
a feather in the Albemarle's cap of war.
The High Sheriff of Camden County was a "Swamp
Fox" when the captors of the Maple Leaf were scouting
about in hiding in the swamps of Currituck and Camden.
Most of his time he was hunting a buffaloe bull known as
Pete Burgess. While our "Swamp Fox" was scouring
the Camden swamps, he fell in with the Maple Leaf Con-
federate captors, and was introduced to Captain Semii's,
who was commanding a squad of the captors. Captain
Semms taught the Sheriff some new tricks in guerilla war-
fare. He trained him in the back-step drill. This w;is
to deceive the enemy by walking backward into a swamp,
so it looked like walking out of it. The Sheriff dodged
Pete that way, when not pursuing him.
Milt. Snowden, then a boy, now one of our oldest and
most esteemed citizens, toted victuals to the Maple Leaf
Confederates in the swamps of Currituck when they were
dodging the Yankee cavalry. He thinks now, as he
thought then, that the Yankee cavalry did not really want
to find the Confederate officers, because they would have
had bloody work when they found them.
Old man Abe Baum, of Currituck, with his long goosing-
HUMORS OF THE MAPLE LEAF. 267
ing-gun ''Old Betsy/' took one of the yankee cavalry a pris-
oner during the Maple Leaf affair. He took him in the
evening, disarmed him at the point of "Old Betsy/' kept
him all night, slept with the Yankee in his arms for secu-
rity all night, and next day took him across into the Con-
federate lines by a grape-vine route, delivered him into
the hands of the Confederate authorities and returned next
day to pick up another Yankee by the aid of "Betsy."
Dr. Mclntosh was an old Doctor of Medicine, then liv-
ing in Currituck. He lived near the public road. He
was a good doctor, used to the technicalities of the learned
profession, and called little things by big names. For in-
stance, our old fashion abdominal ache, he would call "ab-
dominal epigastritis," or something like. Long habit had
given him a linguistic vocabulary that was astounding, and
he used it in his ordinary conversation. He was standing
at his gate looking both ways for the Yankee cavalry.
They came up on his back, without his hearing them, as he
was quite deaf. % 'Seen any of them dam Rebels, ole man ?"
"No," said the Doctor. "Which is the way to Moyock ?''
said they. "Well," said the Doctor, "you pursue your
circumambient way, and when you get where the roads
bifurcate, take the rectangular and perhaps you nrn^
268 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
WILLIAM S. ASHE.
What a piece of work is man! how infinite in faculty: in form
and moving how express and admirable.
WHEN William 8. Aslie died the discriminating editor
of the Wilmington Journal wrote: "Taking him all in all,
we shall seldom look upon his like again ; nor can this com-
munity and the State at large soon cease to mourn the loss
of the noble, generous, big-hearted gentleman, the ardent
patriot and the useful citizen."
And certainly no man was ever more sincerely mourned
by the people of the southeastern counties than "Bill
Ashe," as the people called him, for no other was so be-
loved in the homes of the humble as well as in the man-
sions of the rich.
After the war, the venerable General Holmes said he
lamented Mr. Ashe's death the more because had he lived
he could have done so much more than any other man to
lead the people of that section to an acceptance of the hard
condition of defeat and disaster and to bear the ills that
had overtaken them with resolution and fortitude.
Springing from his stock, he naturally concerned him-
self about public matters and moved on a high plane of
action. As soon as he had received his license to practice
law, just twenty-one, his party friends manifested their
interest in him by electing him County Solicitor in four
different counties ; but he soon found a professional life
was too exacting for his social nature. He preferred rice
planting, and the deer hunt. But he read much, thought
more, and was a profound student of political questions.
He sometimes represented New Hanover County in the
Assembly, and in 1848 was elected to Congress and to the
State Senate at the same election. Although a strong party
man he was a progressive statesman, and favored all
measures that tended to the advancement of the State or
WILLIAM S. ASHE. 269
At a time when others shrank from such a great mead
ure, he drew and introduced the bill to charter the North
Carolina Railroad, appropriating two millions of dollars
for that work.
Taking his seat in Congress he at once became a mem-
ber of influence, and indeed few men knew so well how to-
rn anage other men.
Wishing to improve the Cape Fear River, he introduced
a bill making an appropriation for that purpose. His
party was in the majority in the House, but they were all
opposed on principle to such appropriations. He pre-
vailed on most of them to leave the Chamber and let the
Whigs pass his bill. But when the vote was taken there
was not a quonim ; so he had to call in some more Demo-
crats to vote against the bill to get a quorum for its
His habit throughout his life was to retire at 9 o'clock,
and to rise at 4.
He attended to his correspondence and arranged the de-
tails of his business for the day before breakfast. While
others were taking their naps he was hard at work. He
thus had a large part of the day at his own disposal, and
had ample time to indulge in courtesies and pleasant inter-
course so agreeable to him and so necessary if one proposes
to wield a personal influence.
Few men ingratiated themselves more than he into the
hearty good-will of his associates whether of his party
fa i ih, or otherwise. Even such Abolitionists as Garrei
Smith had a warm spot in their hearts for him. He de-
tested duplicity. Once when Dr. Shaw was being op-
posed for Congress by Hon. W. N. H. Smith, Ashe went
to see President Buchanan and told him that there was a
report that he (Buchanan) had written a certain letter
about Kansas-Nebraska affairs that was damaging Dr.
Shaw, and if he could deny that, Dr. Shaw could be
elected. The President told him to deny it. It turned
out that Mr. Buchanan had written a letter similar to that
alleged ; and Mr. Ashe after that always refused to go-
270 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
into Mr. Buchanan's presence. He therefore did not at-
tend at Chapel Hill when Old Buck and Jake Thompson
and all the other Democratic brethren were there.
After six years in Congress, he became President of
the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, and under his ad-
ministration that road became prosperous and paid good
In its interests he went to England and made a vrry
advantageous arrangement in regard to its bonded debt.
He addressed himself particularly to relieving travel of its
tedium, and he built up a large Florida travel. He also
established regular steamboat connection between his road
at Wilmington and New York ; and when the North Caro-
lina Railroad was finished, he arranged with Colonel
Fisher, its President, to run through trains from Char-
lotte to Wilmington. Thus in 1858 he gave practical
effect to the measure he had introduced ten years before
to haul the freights of Western Carolina to the sea and
send them to the world from a North Carolina port.
In railroad circles he took rank as the best railroad presi-
dent at the South ; and when the war broke out President
Davis asked him to take charge of all Government trans-
portation from east of the Mississippi to Virginia. This
service, requiring such high administrative talent, he ren-
dered for a year with signal ability ; but as his great desire
was to be in the field, in the summer of 1862 the President
authorized him to raise a legion of infantry, artillery and
cavalry, to be commanded by himself. But he soon met
an untimely death by an accident. He with some others
had started some salt-works at Wrightsville Sound. Re-
turning from them one evening in September, 1862, he
received information that one of his sons with Jackson'*
corps had been taken prisoner. The other was also in
Lee's army in Maryland. Much concerned, he procured
a hand-car to hasten home some fifteen miles distant.
On the way, after dark, a train without a headlight ran
into the hand-car, and so wounded him that he expired
after three days of suffering.
THE CHARGE AT GETTYSBURG. 2J1
THE CHARGE AT GETTYSBURG.
' O, fiction, where is thy blush."
IF WEITTKN history be a fable, as Napoleon, the great
maker of history, said; if Thermopylie, one of history's
great landmarks in the mists of time be but a fable born
in a poet's fancy to illustrate his dream of self -sacrificing
heroism ; if Gettysburg, yet fresh in living memory, be
but a fictitious narrative to build up local reputation and
give to one what is the property of another and to blow
the bubble reputation away from the cannon's mouth, then
the muse of history must change her garb of solemn black
and be arrayed as a wanton, reckless of truth.
The earliest record that we remember of the pivotal bat-
tle of Gettysburg by a Southern writer is the narrative of
K-ti-n < 'ooke, author of ''Surry of Eagle's -Nest," in his
Life of Gen. R. E. Lee. Mr. Cooke is a dramatic writer,
fluent and florescent, but his style is that of a novelist
rather than a historian. He soars on eagles' wings with
gorgeous plumage. History wears the solemn garb of
tfut.h, which is its pole-star.
( V>ke follows a chronicler of the war who is notoriously
untrue, and who cut his cloth to suit the Virginia measure-
ment the notorious Pollard of the Richmond Enquirer.
Colonel Walter Taylor follows Cooke, and this array of
partial historians has given such plausibility to error that
truth is much puzzled in their pursuit.
I nit truth is a mighty combatant and will ultimately tri-
umph over error in an open field and a fair fight.
Pickett was a grand man, and needs not the tawdry
tinsel of fiction to gild the immortal wreath of glory that
crowns ln's gallant brow, and would scorn the attempt to
snatch a leaf from the heroes who fought by his side and
suffered more than lie in that fatal charge. Pickett did
all that man could do in that bloody charge. And so did
the heroic IVttigrew. Pettigrew suffered more because
his was the laboring oar in the assignment of duty. Pickett
commanded fresh troops. Pettigrew commanded troops
272 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
that had borne the brunt of the second day's fight. Pet-
tigrew was himself wounded on that second day. In the
lengthening line of battle Pickett' s position was half a
mile nearer the Federal fortifications on Cemetery Ridge
than Pettigrew's, and he was there because his troops were
fresh, and had he succeeded in his charge the victory would
have been won. But as it was, he was beaten before Petti-
grew reached his point of attack, and when Pettigrew had
stormed the Federal breastworks and was driving the
artillery from their guns, Pickett had surrendered some
of his regiments and was compelled to retreat in disorder.
Could Pickett have held his ground over theFederal breast-
works for a half hour longer, Pettigrew would have won
the day, and Gettysburg would have still been one of the
great pivotal battles of the world, and an adjustment of
fraternal strife would have been made in thirty days.
But as it was, Pickett's failure was in fact the beginning
of the end. His retreat left Pettigrew's flank exposed to
the fire of troops flushed with victory, and he was com-
pelled to follow the example of Pickett when victory was
smiling on him, with a loss of officers and men unparal-
lelled in human warfare.
This is our plain tale of Gettysburg, and the early
chroniclers of its dramatic history have invested it with a
halo of fiction that truth must ultimately dispel.
MRS. WILLIK JONES. 273
MRS. WILLIE JONES.
" God shares the gifts of head and heart,
And crowns blest woman with a hero's part."
WILLIE JONES, of Halifax, was a conspicuous Whig
Patriot of the Revolution. He was a prominent member
of all the Conventions of North Carolina during the Revo-
lutionary period, and in all the debates of those Conven-
tions he was the great tribune of the people and watched
His wife was a woman of great refinement, vivacity and
beauty, an active advocate of the Patriot cause, and on ail
proper occasions asserted her convictions.
The society of Halifax was the most cultured in the
Colony and distinguished for its wealth and influence.
It was also a political Centre. Its leading citizens were
gentlemen of eminence in social, civil and professional
life. Although political feeling ran high there was a
pleasant social intercourse between all shades of political
opinion, and sometimes it extended to the officers of the
British army who were in occupancy of the town, or were
there on parol.
The family of Willie Jones were society people, his
daughters were pretty and attractive, and the asperities of
war were softened by the amenities of social festivity. This
was peculiarly the case in the society of Halifax. Some
of the officers in the British army had lived in Halifax
prior to the war, had espoused the Royal cause, were popu-
lar in their old home, and still, to some extent, maintained
their old relations with their old townspeopla This had
the effect to narrow the bloody chasm and introduce a
more tolerant social feeling than in some other parts of the
In this way the adherents of royalty and the Patriots
were occasionally brought in social contact. On one of
these occasions, at the hospitable home of Willie Jones,
the celebrated British officer Tarleton and Mrs. Jones were
274 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
in pleasant conversation relating to the war, and in the
course of conversation it fell into a strain of playful badi-
Col. William Washington was a Whig Patriot that Mrs.
Jones greatly admired and she spoke of him in conversa-
tion with Tarleton in high terms. Tarleton had received
a sabre wound from Colonel Washington, in his arm, when
he was on the retreat from the battle of the Cowpens in
South Carolina, and he was disabled from it at that time.
He said, in conversation with Mrs. Jones that he would
like to see Colonel Washington, that he had heard him
spoken of as a little diminutive fellow. Mrs. Jones re-
plied quickly : "You mi^ht have seen him, Colonel, if you
had looked over your shoulder at the battle of the Cow-
pens." Tarleton bore the retort with calm politeness ancl
silence. When the conversation was resumed, it turned
again upon Colonel Washington. Tarleton said sneer-
ingly that Colonel Washington was an ignorant fellow and
could not write his name. Mrs. Jones replied, at once*
"Colonel Washington can at least make his mark, as your
arm shows." Tarleton withdrew.
Mrs, Willie Jones was the daughter of Colonel Mont-
fort, and was a fit companion of her illustrious husband.
It was our good fortune, when a boy to know well and be
under the kind care of two of the daughters of Mrs. Jones
Mrs. Joseph B. Littlejohn, of Oxford, and Mrs. Burton,
wife of Governor Hutchins G. Burton, of Ealeigh. Both
of them were models of every womanly virtue pious,
kind, gentle, sympathizing
We once heard that Willie Jones, the Eevolutionary Pa-
triot and statesman, became imbecile in his old age, and
that his mental weakness was shown in his anxiety to do
no harm to any human creature. When he walked out on
the ground he always swept before him with a broom lest
he might step upon an ant. We have never seen it con-
Feminine heroism is a conspicuous thread running
through all war, especially those waged in defence of home
and country. They were conspicuous in our war of Inde-
pendence, and in the war of 1801-1865, North Caro-
lina's daughters made sacrifices and underwent suffering
in defence of their homes that entitle them to the admira-
and everlasting gratitude of their countrymen.
O Raleigh! noble namesake of a man of fairest fame.
A> A GENERAL rule great events, great nations, great
men have been the fruitage of great tribulations. They
have been nurtured to greatness by the discipline of
adversity. It is the ordering of a wise but mysterious
Providence that sturdy loins should be girded and strength-
ened by opposition. According to this theory of the work-
ings of Divine Providence, Raleigh, in the cycles of time is
drained to be a great city, the busy centre of active trade,
the moulder of public sentiment, the seat of empire, of let-
ters, learning and art and the home of the greatest and
best of men.
When, in the early history of North Carolina it be-
< MII 10 necessary to establish a permanent seat of govern-
ment for the Stale, a legislature of the people, sitting in
Tarboro, requested the people to instruct their delegates
to "fix on the place for the unalterable seat of govern-
ment.' 7 At a convention in Fayetteville in J.789 an at-
tempt was made to carry into effect the plan of locating
the seat of government, but it was lost by one vote. It
produced rivalry between the leading towns in the State.
The western counties favored Fayetteville; and Edenton,
New Bern and Wilmington had a following. Edenton
had been the seat of government, New Bern had succeeded
Edenton by diplomacy, and sessions of the Assembly had
been held in Wilmington and Fayetteville. Among these
278 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
contending aspirants the business of the State was an am-
bulatory government and the papers of the government
were moved about, sometimes in one place and then to an-
other, at great trouble, expense and loss. The State was
miserably divided by contending factions and divergent
centers of trade.
Finally, driven by necessity, the Assembly, after angry
contentions, appointed a committee to select a permanent
seat of government. The committee regarded the matter
geographically, and discarding the relative advantages of
trade they determined to consider the public convenience
and to select the seat of government with reference to its
central location and accessibility.
After much log-rolling the site was selected in Wake
County. At that period the advantages of navigation
were a prime object of consideration and the selection of
a place on a navigable stream was greatly desired. Strange
as it now seems, the site of the seat of government
was selected on Isaac Hunter's farm in Wake County,
mainly because it was near "JSTeuse River ; the seat of gov-
ernment would be a port of entry and ships laden with for-
eign goods could be landed at her wharves and "jack tars"
could be seen swaggering on her streets. This idea capti-
vated the sound counties on Albemarle and Pamlico and
secured the present site of Raleigh as the permanent seat.
by a very small majority. Stranger, perhaps, is the fact
that Hamilton Fulton, a distinguished Scotch engineer in
the employment of the State, some years after, gave it as
his opinion that Raleigh could be connected directly with
the ocean by a system of locks and dams.
In the selection of the capital of the State, the town of
Fayetteville felt most aggrieved. It had a growing trade
with many of the western counties of the State. It was at
the head of navigation of the Cape Fear River. Many of
the most distinguished citizens of the western part of the
State favored Fayetteville and protested in public meetings
against the selection of another place. Fayetteville was
probably the most progressive town in the State and it had
received bounties from the General Assembly at various
times. It was evidently at that time the pet of the State.
The next step after the selection of a site was the inaug-
uration of the new capital.
Nine Commissioners, representing the nine judicial dis-
tricts of the State, were appointed to inaugurate the State
capital and $20,000 appropriated by the General Assem-
bly to build a "State House" to accommodate the public
business of the State. This was in March, 1792. The
Commissioners laid off the future city of Raleigh. It
was a town of "magnificent distances," of unsightly bram-
ble bush and briars, of hills and morasses, of grand old
oaks, with no inhabitants and an "on welcome look" to new-
comers (to recall an anecdote of Governor Vance). The
Assembly soon made the State officers come to Raleigh to
live, but for some time the Governors evaded the law and
wouldn't come and stay in the woods. But as it grew and
i;Tc\v and its social status improved, the Governor came,
and then some prominent men from other parts of the
State and their families, and the town of Neuse began to
hold up its head with the leading towns of the State.
But the unexpected oftenest happens and misfortunes
oft are blessings in disguise.
On the 21st of June, 1831, soon after breakfast, the citi-
zens of Raleigh were startled by the cry of "Fire !" Smok-3
was seen issuing from the top of the "State House," it
was soon found that the roof of the building was on fire.
There was no fire department and the efforts to extinguish
the flames were unavailing. There was great destruc-
tion of public property. The statue of Washington which
adorned the rotunda of the capitol, the chef d' ouvre of
Canova, was crushed by the falling timbers and was in
i-ii ins, the archives of the government were, many of
them, destroyed and Raleigh was in mourning.
Misfortunes, it is said, come in clusters. 'Twas so
with Raleigh. The capitol building was destroyed. A
nc\\ State House had to be built. If not rebuilt in Ra-
leigh that town, now taking on the habiliments of eminent
respectability, would lose its heritage.
280 GRANDFATHER'S TALKS.
Fayetteville was ambitious; had a distinguished and
influential body of citizens ; was still the great mart of
trade from western North Carolina ; was identified with it
by commercial and social relations, and the antagonist
sectional feeling between the eastern and western sections
of the State had grown in strength since its origin in the
selection of Raleigh as the seat of government forty years
before. So this was Fayetteville's opportunity.
The General Assembly was to meet in the ensuing win-
ter, and it was known that the rebuilding of the State
Capitol would be the most prominent question for legisla-
Fayetteville, at an early day, had put in nomination as
its borough representative Louis D. Henry, its most dis-
tinguished citizen. Raleigh, seeing the object of this
dangerous step, and fearing a combination of western
North Carolina with Fayetteville to accomplish the re-
moval of the capital to Fayetteville, looked over the State
to find a member of the Assembly who could meet Henry
in debate. They put themselves in communication with
William Gaston. There Was a vacancy in the borough
representation from New Bern, by the death of the lately-
elected member, and they induced Mr. Gaston to be a can-
didate for the place. He was elected just before the meet-
ing of the Assembly by one vote. His arrival in Raleigh
was announced by the firing of cannon. He took his seat
and the "appropriation bill" for the rebuilding of the
capitol was introduced at an early date. It was intro-
duced in the House of Commons by Wm. H. Haywood,
the young member from Wake County. Gaston and
Henry were the acknowledged champions of Raleigh and
Fayetteville. Both of them made able speeches to a full
house and a crowded gallery. Gaston spoke first, Henry
replied and Gaston rejoined. The interest was intense.
We had the good fortune to be present as a boy. Gaston's
second speech was the finest effort that the parliamentary
history of North Carolina affords. It saved the fate of
Raleigh and gave it its subsequent proud career as the
permanent capital of the State.
On Capitol Square, Raleigh.
AMONG CURRITUCK DUCKS AND DUCKERS. 283
AMONG CURRITUCK DUCKS AND DUCKERS.
Quack! Quack! Quack!
WE NOW regard ourself as better posted in all the learn-
ing of shooting and wild fowl than any man in North Car-
olina not a "native" ducker and "to the manor born." We
know all about geese and swan, and can tell, to a nicety,
the difference between a "Black Duck" and a "Wigeon,"
between a "Wigeon" and a "Sprig Tail," between a "Spric;
Tail" and a "Teal," between a "Teal" and a "Peter," be-
tween a "Peter" and a "Mallard," between a "Mallard"
and a "Eed Head," and between a "Red Head" and a
"Canvass Back," that head of the family, joy of the gour-
mand and duck of ducks. Red heads and canvass backs
are the aristocracy of the family. They closely resemble
in appearance and in. taste, but the canvass back feeds
on the water celery, bears a higher market price and a
better name, and "names are things" among ducks as
among men. All the others are known as "common ducks.''
The present season has been a ducker's paradise, and the
9th of December was the climax of his happiness. The
weather opened earlv and has been of unprecedented se-
verity, and game, consequently, has been more abundant
than for many years. Sport and profit have gone hand
in hand. Dunton and Walker, of Vanslyck's Landing,
are probably the best shots and have done the most profit-
able shooting in the "goose honk country" of Currituck
Sound. They are young men, with the healthy, hearty,
alert bearing that close contact with nature in her rough
wildness always gives. Wiley and Alma Midyett, who
shoot together, had killed and sold $600 worth of wild
fowl np to last week of the present season. Josephus
IJjiuin, who lives at the headquarters of "Currituck Shoot-
ing Club," killed on the 9th of December, 120 ducks, 30
geese and 3 swan. This is the best day's shooting of the
season. Josephus is a veteran among the three-scores,
but solid as a boat hook, and has probably sent more ducks
284 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
to their long account than any man among the living. Oa
the same day, John Dimond, of New York, a member of
"Currituck Shooting Club," killed 107 ducks and 3 geese.
On the same day, Newton Dexter, of Providence, Rhode
Island, bagged 26 swan, 25 geese and over 50 ducks, with
a 10-bore gun. On the same day, Stratton Berrety, of
Rhode Island, a member of "Currituck Shooting Club,"
and who ranks A No. 1 in the club, killed 80 ducks besides
other game. This is all tall shooting, but it's true as it's
tall. The sportsmen, both native and foreign, are well
provided with all the appliances for success, and "Stool
Ducks" and "Batteries" and "Breech-Loaders" and
"Blinds" form part of their equipments. Those who shoct
from "batteries" are most successful. They shoot in pairs.
One lays in the battery, flat of his back, with his "stools 1 '
around him, and as the wild fowl hover over the stools he
rises and fires into them. His partner lays off to wind-
ward in a boat, and picks up the dead game floating on
the water. The battery fellow, on his back, has the hard
berth, but we suppose they "turn and turn about."
Formerly Currituck Sound had only a local habitation
and a name for its game fowl, but the opening and use of
the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal has introduced it
to the outside world and made it a favorite resort of
amateur sportsmen, and nearly every locality has now it?
"Club." Many notabilities from abroad, members of the
various clubs, are familiar names to the native sportsman.
Judge Tuff, from near Boston, President of "Monkey Is-
land Club," is favorably and kindly spoken of. Gordon
Bennet who has recently been shooting at larger game, is
a member of "Light House Club." He did not make a
name as a shot, in Currituck, but there lingers a memory
of his lavish use of money. Emory, of New York, Strat-
ton Berrety, of Long Island, and Jack Dimond, all w6
believe, members of "Currituck Shooting Club," are con-
sidered the best shots from abroad. Lawrence Jerome, of
New York, a member, we think, of "Crow Island Club/'
is accorded the place of the humorist and funny man of
AMONG CURRITUCK DUCKS AND DUCKHRS. 285
the club, a position so jealous that no other distinction is
ever attained by its occupant. Captain Palmer, of Bos-
ton, is often mentioned by the natives as a green old vet-
eran of 75 years, whose migrations to Currituck Sound
were as regular as the fowl, and who for many years has
come like a goose and goes when they go. He loves the
sport, they say, and shows a boy's enthusiasm in its enjoy-
We must not, however, further display our learning in
the intricate and mysterious profundities of duckology ;
how they come, when they come, whence they come, the
differing notes of a duck's "quack," each after his kind,
the different meaning of each intonation of a goose's
"honk," and the long-drawn, rattling, crackling note of
the deep-throated swan.
286 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
BATTLE OF SAWYER'S LANE.
"The foe himself recoiled aghast,
When, striking where he strongest lay,
We swooped his flanks throughout the fray,
And braving full their murderous rain,
We won the day at Sawyer's Lane."
THE BATTLE near South Mills, in Camden County,
N". C., was fought on the 19th of April, 1862, and was a
signal victory for the Confederates. The Federal forces
were commanded by General Reno and Colonel Hawkins.
They came up from Roanoke Island, which was captured
on the 8th of February, and landed at Chantilly, on lower
Pasquotank River, on the night of the 17th of April.
Their landing at Chantilly spread throughout the county,
and very soon their destination for the village of South
Mills in upper Camden became known.
On the morning of the 18th they commenced their
march through Camden County. There were no Confed-
erate troops in the county, as the active fighting men were
with the army in Virginia. The Federal army under
General Reno was left to make their march to South Mills
A Georgia regiment commanded by Colonel Wright had
their headquarters at South Mills, but when the news
came of the invasion of the Federal troops they were scat
tered over the country from Elizabeth City to South Mills
watching the movements of the enemy, who held posses-
sion of Elizabeth City by gunboats after the bombard-
ment on the 8th of February. Colonel Wright collected
them as fast as he could, and Colonel Ferebee, who was
at home, called out the Camden militia, and they deter
mined to make a stand at Sawyer's Lane and make prepa-
rations for an engagement.
Meanwhile, General Reno was marching leisurely from
Chantilly to South Mills, arresting some of the most con-
spicuous citizens who were in sympathy with their homes,
and establishing intimacy and confidence with the buffa-
loes who made their headquarters at "Old Trap."
THE BATTLE OF SAWYER'S LANE. 287
They committed some depredations and used the torch
to some extent.
An incident is mentioned in connection with their
march through Camden which illustrates the fidelity of the
Masonic tie. The order had been given to fire the house
of a man who was obnoxious on account of his Southern
sympathy. He was allowed to remove his property from
the house, and in taking out the property he was observed
to attach value to an apron which he was taking out. The
Federal officer enquired of him what it was. He replied
that it was a Masonic apron which belonged to him as a
member of the Masonic Lodge. The officer was a Mason,
and he ordered the house to be spared and the property
not to be disturbed.
When they reached Sawyer's Lane on the morning of
the 19th, Colonel Wright, with about 500 of his regiment
and some of the Camden militia, were in line on the wesc
side of the Lane. A large ditch intervened. Colonel
Wright ordered it to be filled with old rails and brush and
fired so as to be an obstruction to the Federal forces. The
smoke of the burning brush prevented their approach and
obstructed the steadiness of their fire. Notwithstanding
this obstruction, a deadly rifle engagement w r as kept up
during the day. Towards evening there was an arrival of
Confederate troops on the opposite side of the canal.
When they came near they broke out in a hideous yell that
so frightened and demoralized the Federal troops that
they were struck with panic and commenced to fall back.
This increased the disorder, and soon the whole Northern
army was in retreat in great disorder. It was a second
"Bull Kun" before they reached Chantilly, where they
had landed two days before.
The old citizens of Camden give graphic accounts of
the wild retreat of the Federal troops on their return from
Sawyer's Lane to Chantilly, in contrast with their march
from Chantilly to the battlefield. The march througa
Camden County was orderly and with the pomp of as-
sured victory. The return was a "devil-take-the-hind-
GRANDFATHER S TALES.
most 77 retreat. The road was strewn with abandoned hav-
ersacks, muskets and canteens, and when the Federal sol-
diers stopped at the houses by the wayside to beg a hasty
bite of something, they looked famished and haggard;
and while they swallowed their half -chewed food they kept
one eye on the watch westward, whence they were fleeing.
They would sometimes eagerly ask if the "Rebels" were
coming, and how much farther it was to Chantilly.
In the engagement at Sawyer's Lane the Confederate
loss was three killed and several wounded. The Federal
loss was between sixty and seventy. Twenty-three bodies
were removed from one pit in which they were buried and
another pit contained more bodies.
The result of the fight was a complete rout, although
it is claimed by Federal reports that it was a retreat in
good order. They took some prisoners with them to Chan-
tilly, and all the prisoners describe the retreat as a rout
and a panic.
The success of the battle was due to the strategy of
Col. A. M. Wright, of the Third Georgia Regiment, and
its final disaster and panic was due to a vigorous Rebel
veil from the throats of new recruits.
COL. WILLIAM L. SAUNDERS. 289
COL. WILLIAM L. SAUNDERS.
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen
No MAN who has lived in North Carolina has rendered
more faithful service or been inspired by a more ardent
patriotism than Col. William L. Saunders. He was a
loving son of the State in every fibre and tissue of his con-
st imtion. He has left a record of his service both with
pen and sword. He gave his blood to North Carolina in
the defence of his home when it was invaded in the civil
strife which crimsoned her sacred soil with fraternal
blood ; and when peace came and spread her blessed wings
over a land that was made desolate by the loss of her sons
ami her treasures, Colonel Saunders, in impaired health,
laid down his sword anc^ took up his pen, and the work of
his pen was of more signal benefit to his State than all her
marshalled battalions on the tented field.
Xo man can read "Saunders' Colonial Records and
Prefatory Notes" without rising from its perusal a better
informed man in the annals of his country, and every
North Carolinian will feel prouder of his heritage of glory.
It is worth all the histories of the State that have ever
been penned by its most illustrious sons. The "Prefa-
tory Notes" are a marvel of lucid historical style, accuracy
and ability, written in a plain and unostentatious narra-
Governor Jarvis once told us that "Bill Saunders" was
the wisest man in North Carolina, and could give you the
most sensible opinion upon any subject you might put to
him of any man he had ever known, especially if you gave
him time to whistle some snatches of an old familiar tune
and Governor Jarvis is a shrewd observer of men. The
State of North Carolina is under a debt of gratitude to
William Lawrence Saunders that it can never fully re-
pay. His monument should stand by that of Zebulon B.
290 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
Vance in the Capitol grounds at Raleigh, as a lesson of
virtue, heroism and devotion to our grand old mother State.
William L. Saunders was born in Raleigh about the
year 1838. His parents were Rev. Joseph H. Saunders
and his wife Laura Baker Saunders, both, the speci-
mens of intellectual and moral manhood. His mother
was a gem of womanhood, kind, affectionate and true to
every relation of life. His maternal grandfather was Dr
Simmons J. Baker, a gentleman of the old school, a worthy
representative of the best Halifax blood, and the last mao
in North Carolina that wore an old-time gentleman's cue.
The father of Colonel Saunders was a devout Christian
minister of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He was
of sturdy intellectual mould and his fondness for antiqua-
rian lore was as conspicuous in him as in his more distin-
Raleigh was the home of Colonel Saunders for the
greater part of his life. He entered the Confederate ser-
vice when the State joined its seceding sisters. He soon
rose to the command of a regiment, and his bravery was
conspicuous in the war, to its end.
After the war he settled in Wilmington. In the troub-
lous times of the reconstruction period he was prominent
in every act for the protection of the people of the State.
There were some irregular acts of retaliation to counteract
the oppressive conduct of the "Union Leagues," and he
was suspected of complicity in those acts, was arrested and
arraigned for trial before a Congressional investigating
committee. He was subjected to a rigid examination on
the witness stand by that committee He shrank not be-
fore that severe ordeal. When he was examined as to his
complicity, and that of his friends, he answered never a
word to betray them or criminate himself. To every in-
genious device to extort a confession from him, he was
dumb. In the face of great peril he maintained an obsti-
nate silence, and he finally triumphed over his enemies.
Saunders was a nut they could not crack.
WINSTON-SALEM. 29 1
" Like two twin cherries hanging on a parent stem."
TOBACCO is so potent a factor in the history of plants,
it has had so much to do with the commerce of modern
civilization, it has been the builder of such great towns,
and it is so identified with the early history of North Caro-
lina, having been first introduced to the English-speaking
race, and probably to the world, from Roanoke Island,
and having been first introduced to polite society in the
Court circles of London as a social accomplishment by
that grand sentinel at the gateway of our history, Sir Wal-
ter Raleigh that it has a just claim to recognition in an/
work relating to North Carolina annals.
Amadas and Barlowe, on their return to England from
their explorations in America in 1584, brought to Sir Wal-
ter, as a memorial of their ,voyage, from the island in Amer-
ica where they landed, specimens of sun-cured tobacco,
which the aboriginal race that they had found, used upon
ceremonial and social occasions as symbols of peace an!
friendship. They smoked tobacco in their calumets of
peace, when the arrow and battle-axe were laid aside.
A little incident is mentioned of Sir Walter, that after he
had received the tobacco and pipe from Amadas, he went
into the august presence of Queen Bess smoking his hug 1
calumet, and it does not appear that he said "Is smoke
offensive to your Majesty ?" As the smoke rolled in vol-
umes from his mouth and nostrils, the Queen became
alarmed for her favorite courtier, and seizing a bucket
of water, dashed it over him to extinguish the fire that
was burning within him.
In Winston-Salem two centuries clasp hands. Salem
is an old Moravian town, gray with age, laurel-crowned
with its achievements, conscious of its dignity, and march-
ing slowly on with measured steps in its career of im-
provement, altogether unmindful of its sturdy young
brother who has sprung up in a night by its side, and is
making giant strides beside it with its coat off and its
sleeves rolled up, and heavy bead-drops on its earnest brow.
It bears no moss on its proud and lofty crown, but instead,
it has a pipe in its mouth and the aromatic tobacco juice
stains its once spotless shirt front.
Thus, in juxtaposition, separated only by a narrow
street, these two representatives of the present and thr-
past generations are almost one in location, but are widely
separated in manners, habits, customs and individuality.
Its line of separation is as distinct as the channel of the
Gulf Stream. They are under separate organizations of
government. One has an eye turned askance at the unripe
tobacco plant that grows so lustily by its side, without the
social crown of ancestral dignity, and the other an eye of
pity at the decrepit old grandsire that totters on its staff
and can not keep step with the surging tide in the march
of life. But there is no clash of contending factions be-
tween them. No angry surge of rivalry disturbs their
harmony, but each keeps on the tenor of its way, one by
bounds like a giant to run its course, the other with the
dignity and slowness so becoming to nobility that is con-
scious of its lofty pedestal and disdains to enter the lists
with a stripling in shirt-sleeves and short pants.
But each of these twin towns is great in its way. Be-
fore Winston was born, or had cleared the briars out of
the way for its first rude settlement, Salem was an old
and progressive town, with its schools and churches and
factories, and with its refined and devout colony of steady
Moravians who had left their homes in Saxony, and found
among the mountains of North Carolina a place of safety,
where they could worship God according to the dictates
of their own conscience. Thev found this asylum at
Bethabara, in Western North Carolina, six miles north
of the present town of Salem. This was about the year
1760. There they pitched their tents. They were holy
men of God. They had with them their ministers in
holy things, who preserved their sacred tenets. Here they
buried their dead, with their uniform memorial tablets.
WINSTON-SAL EM. 29^
Here they worshipped God, first in temples not built with
1 1 MI ids, later in sanctuaries consecrated to His service.
Regarding education as the handmaid of religion, they next
established a school for girls, which, under the guidanc-3
of Divine Providence, has been a gushing fountain of
1)1 in;- to generations, ^ r enerable in age, it is the Alma
Mnh'i' of a long line of distinguished graduates, who turn
to it in love, veneration and gratitude.
Quid us Salmi is, it is not asleep. The hum of indus-
try is hoard on every hand, in cotton, woollen, flour, iron
and water-works. It is lighted by electricity, has no sa-
loons, and is sustained by a prosperous agricultural back-
country. It is a model of propriety, morality and virtue.
Winston is the great centre of the tobacco industry of
rlio Tinted States, and claims to be the most progressive
town in .North Carolina. It is a creature of yesterday,
l)u t it has its factories of various kinds, its big men, its
public enterprises, its associations of every kind, its electric
lights, its water-works, its institutions of learning and ed-
ucation, and its grand public spirit and pride of place.
It lives in an atmosphere of tobacco. Everybody smokes,
everybody chews, and tobacco is the talk of the town. It
has its tobacco factories, its tobacco warehouses, and its
We were once in Winston, and attended a "tobacco
break". It was a new revelation to us. Immense crowds
were in attendance; the auctioneer was stript to the belt
and ready for the fray. It was a new, wild scene to us.
\\V had been at corn-shuckings, corn-hillings, oyster roasts,
camp-meetings, revival meetings, and all sorts of convivial
gatherings, but never before had we seen such a scene. Lit-
tle piles of gold-leaf tobacco were everywhere on the floor
and everybody was feeling and smelling of them. The auc-
tioneer was going rapidly from place to place, a large
crowd following him and eagerly bidding. We were pass-
ing about with the madding crowd, accompanied by our
friend and press-brother, John D. Cameron, a citizen of
Asheville, a lover of tobacco and familiar with all the
ways of the tobacco trade. He was smelling and feeling,
and we, to be in fashion, were feeling and smelling. He
was descanting to us of the value of a certain brand, feel-
ing as he talked. We reached out our gloved hand to ma-
nipulate the soft leaf.
You have probably, when a boy, put a live coal of fire
on the back of a big tomato worm to enjoy his squirms
and wriggles in the death agony. Cameron was like that
worm.. With an exclamation of horror, he drew around
us a crowd of spectators to see a man who had the hardi-
hood to handle a leaf of tobacco with a gloved hand ! And
they gazed at us as they would at a cannibal savage from
Timbuctoo. We loved old Cameron thenj and treasure his
memory now, but we always thought he never thought so
well of us after committing the unpardonable sin of hand-
ling a tobacco leaf with a kid-gloved hand I
THE INVASION OF THE CARPET-BAGGER. 295
THE INVASION OF THE CARPET-BAGGER.
" The Goths overran Rome."
To MANY persons it may be an incomprehensible mys-
tery how the State of North Carolina, with more than a
million of people within its bounds, many of them dis-
tinguished by eminent statesmanship, ability and patriot-
ism, by great sagacity, forecast and influence over opin-
ions, and a strong hold upon the affections and confidence
of the people how the State of North Carolina, thus for-
tified, and with the ballot in her hands, could have been
successfully invaded by a horde of hungry carpet-baggers,
who by a combination with her unnatural sons, subjugated
her to their power, and despoiled and humiliated her. It
is not only a political, but a philosophic and historical
question. Many would now suppose that the question
itself would have roused the fury of the people, that the
double odium of the disgraceful alliance would have con-
signed the guilty parties in the paricidal compact to an
eternal political and social infamy from which there coull
be no resurrection, and that one universal shout of exe-
cration, "louder than the loud ocean," would have risen
from mountain top to ocean shore, and driven the miscre-
ants howling from the land. But those who think so have
forgotten the history of the times or the manifestations of
the human mind under peculiar circumstances. Thera
is a stupor which sometimes precedes death. There is a
stupor which often succeeds defeat. There is a stupcr
which generally attends despair. Such was our condition.
Rather, we were in the stupified condition of the triple
combination. The black pall of mourning brooded an'l
hung over the State, 'the funeral pall for those to whom wo
were wont to turn in our hour of doubting and distress
and to whom we never turned in vain. We had been
utterly overthrown by the united powers of the world and
we seemed, for the time, almost annihilated and utterly
296 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
crushed out from the pale of earthly sympathy and recog-
nition. Despair, which maketh the heart sick, was upon
us. That despair, twin sister of desperation, was within
our bosom. The "slough of despond" was upon us. North
Carolina, riven by the thunderbolt of war, stood lik^
Rachel weeping for her children and would not be com-
forted because they were not. She turned in her despair
to her Fishers, her Stokes, her Fenders, her Fettigrews,
her Branches, her Andersons and her Shaws. They were
all dead. Turning from the dead to the living, she called
to her Grahams, her Outlaws, her Braggs, her Barringera,
her Moores, her Ransoms, her Clingmans, her Ashes, her
Warrens, her Carters, her Martins, her Gilliams and her
Speeds. They were powerless. Then, writhing in the
frenzied agony of a moment's desperate determination,
she turned to her Holclens, her Pools, her Caldwells, her
Pearsons, her Dicks, her Settles and her Sam. Phillips,
and lo ! they had joined the carpet-bagging vulture birds
and were driving their beaks into her bowels. Then it was,
that, uttering a cry of despair that pierced the heavens, she
veiled her face in shame and fell like Caesar at the base
of Pompey's statue, for lo ! shame ! she had called in her
agony unto her recreant sons.
JAMES C. DOBBIN. 297
JAMES C. DOBBIN.
He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust.
A NORTH CAROLIXA book would be imperfect without
a reference to the character and career of James C. Dob-
bin, of Fayetteville. He was the friend of our youth, and
as a boy lie was an example of every manly and gentle
characteristic, and won to him, as no other did, the admi-
ration and love of his companions. His smile was a ben-
ediction, his laugh was a murmuring ripple that never
overflowed its hanks into the semblance of loud laughter,
and sincerity was graven on every lineament of his face.
If he had had no other qualities than those that belonged
to his gentle and kindly nature, he would have been a
signal success in life. But his head was a dome of thought.
It was like an inverted* pyramid, and would have made a
phrenologist leap for joy.
\V( once heard old Dr. Caldwell, the distinguished Pres-
ident of the University, say that he had no children and
that he did not regret it, but if he had such a son as Dobbin,
he would rejoice. And he was not a man who dealt in
James C. Dobbin graduated at the University in 1832,
in the famous class that was led by Clingman and Tom
Ashe. He stood in the front rank at graduation, but as
a lovable man he was easily first.
After leaving the University he returned to his home in
Fayetteville, and entered upon the study of that profession,
";uirient as magistracy, noble as virtue, necessary as jus-
tice" ; but his charming personality, his positive convic-
tions of public policy, and his intellectual gifts, made him
an available candidate for public office. He was a Dem-
ocrat, and his party friends,when he was a young man,
put him in nomination for the General Assembly from the
county of Cumberland.
He was elected. He soon acquired an influential po-
298 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
sition in the Legislature, and was an active participant in
its important debates. He grew in influence and popu-
A sad incident will illustrate his influence in the General
Assembly after a service of some years. His wife, to
whom he was tenderly attached, was an invalid, and accom-
panied him to Raleigh during a session of the Assembly.
It was during the session, in the early fifties, when
the subject of making an appropriation to establish
an asylum for the insane was under consideration.
It met with much opposition. It was urged by
a philanthropist a Miss Dix, of New York, a
sister of General Dix, Senator from New* York in the Sen-
ate of the United States who, it was said, had been her-
self a victim of insanity. Miss Dix had urged the matter
UDOII the Legislature with the zeal of a Christian and a
philanthropist, and the blessed woman was giving it up
She had nursed Mrs. Dobbin in her extreme illness.
She had enlisted her sympathies in the cause of the ''un-
fortunate step-sons of nature" bereft of reason. She had
induced the dying wife to use her influence with her dis-
tinguished husband in promoting the bill for the insane.
Mrs. Dobbin grew worse, and as her eyes turned for the
last time to him whom she loved most on earth, her dying
words were a supplication that he would give his support
to the bill for the comfort of the insane.
She passed away, and good angels bore her to the man-
sions of the blessed. He consigned her, "dust to dust,"
mourned her in his sad bereavement, and after some days,
bowed with grief over his loss, took his seat in the Hall
of the Assembly. After some time, he rose in his seat,
and with the sad scenes of his domestic bereavement
swelling his heart and choking his utterance, he called
up the bill to establish an asylum for the insane. He
addressed the Assembly in a lengthened speech, full of
feeling and reminiscence that melted the audience to
tears, and the "bill was passed, we think, unanimously,
and now that institution for the comfort of the "unfor-
JAMES C. DOBBIN. 299
tunate step-sons of nature," as they were once called by
a distinguished statesman, is cherished in North Caro-
lina as the blessed fruit of the dying prayer of a sainted
James Dobbin afterwards rose to higher distinction.
He acquired a national reputation, became a leader in
the councils of the Democratic party, and during the ad-
ministration of President Pierce, was his efficient and pop-
ular Secretary of the Navy. He was appointed to that
important position in the Cabinet of President Pierce
without his personal acquaintance and without solicita-
tion. It was a merited honor.
In the Democratic National Convention that nominated
Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, for the Presidency,
it was the opportune and emphatic speech of Mr. Dobbin
that first put him in nomination and secured his selection
to the highest post of honor among men.
As Secretary of the favy, Mr. Dobbin rendered signal
service to the country. Under his administration the
Naval Academy at Annapolis, then in its infancy, was
fostered until it reached a high state of efficiency. He
introduced into the navy the "retired list," retiring on
good pay the oldest officers, and giving young and active
officers merited promotion, and thus added to the efficiency
of the naval service. He also had built those splendid
naval vessels, the Merrimac, Niagara, and four others, the
finest vessels then in the world. Under his administra-
tion, also, shells were introduced into the armament of
naval vessels. Altogether, the navy and the naval service
made more ^rogress under this North Carolinian than
under the administration of any other Secretary in the
history of the country.
Mr. Dobbin died early, in the meridian of his intel-
lectual powers, with the love and admiration of his coun-
trymen, and with a glorious future prospect. North Caro-
lina mourned him as a loving son who had brought honor
to her, and when the roll of honor is called of her great
sons departed, the name of James C. Dobbin will always
be recalled with love and admiration.
300 GRANDFATHER'S TALES.
THE NEW CENTURY.
Time in advance behind him hides his wings;
Behold him when passed by!
What then is seen but his broad pinions,
Swifter than the winds !
TURNING from the past we enter upon the new century
of our country, of which few of us shall see the end. We
enter upon it amid the throes of a political convulsion,
fraught with danger, of which none can forecast the fu-
ture. But the Great Dispenser who holds the destiny
of nations as of individuals in the hollow *of His hand, and
who always ultimately evokes good from evil, will accom-
plish His own purpose in His own time, and will reaffirm
the historic lesson, that the progress of the race is the great
purpose of God. Man is the agent and colaborer with
God; not an agent that gropeth blindly, or a creature
driven by relentless necessity or impelled by involuntary
impulse, but an active, intelligent, conscious agent, reap-
ing whereof he soweth and gathering the fruits of his wis-
dom or his folly. Looking over the century of our coun-
try now filed in the archives of time and labeled for eter-
nity, we find strange and wonderful developments an<l
alarming retrocessions in the ebb and flow of human
progress. Taking our own Albemarle country as an index
of the whole, we recognize its material progress in reducing
the forest to the dominion of the plow, in opening and im-
proving the highways of commerce, in its improved agri-
culture, in its improved mechanic arts, a progress none the
worse for having been slow and steady. But in some
other respects we must lament the contrast of the begin-
ning and close of the century. Education, that great
lever in the development of humanity, has obviously de-
clined. Early in the century, at its beginning indeed,
schools of high grade, incorporated academies, were estab-
lished in Edenton, then the metropolitan town of the Albo-
marle country, and other towns had flourishing academics
THE NEW CENTURY. 301
of high character. More interest was felt and shown in
the great work, and consequently there was a better and
more controlling element of public sentiment in the earlier
than in the later period of the century. In the early
period, the Albemarle was the controlling section of the
State. It led in public spirit, in State enterprise and
policy, in influence in the public councils and in the mea
of public prominence and position which it furnished to
the State and general government. It gave a Supreme
Court Judge to Washington's administration. It fur-
nished Judges and Governors and Speakers of the Legis-
lature to the State Government. The latter period of th2
century saw the sceptre of Judah depart from the Albe-
marle country. Well armed with the prestige of our sires,
we have suffered their mantle to fall on other shoulders.
Allx-marle shaped the policy of the State in the struggle
t'm- independence. The reveille drums of the revolu-
tion were sounded withfn her borders, and the voices of her
sons were potent in the field and council hall. All this
is now changed, and it is incumbent upon those now com-
ing to the front in this beginning of our new century,
to see to it that the Albemarle country, by a general system
of education, by enlightened culture, by improved agricul-
ture, by selecting for political and official position the
best, most reliable and ablest men, shall recover her right-
Creecy, Richard Benbury
Grandfather's tales of
North Carolina history