30 November 2010

Henry Cheves Suffered from Catarrh (Tombstone Tuesday)

Henry Cheves was born about 1830 in Georgia. On Christmas day in 1850, he married Martha E. Brown in Monroe County, Georgia. The couple went on to have at least ten children, a few of which are also buried in Rose Hill Cemetery. During the Civil War, Henry was affiliated with Company E of the 57th Georgia Infantry.  Afterwards, Henry engaged in the occupation of carpentry and resided in Macon.

I found an interesting newspaper advertisement in which Henry gives his endorsement to a medicine taken for the treatment of catarrh. This is a disorder that causes inflammation of the mucous membranes. It can result in a thick exudate of mucus and white blood cells caused by the swelling of the mucous membranes in the head in response to an infection, usually seen in the nose and throat. It is a symptom usually associated with the common cold and chesty coughs, but can also be found in patients with infections of the adenoids, middle ear, sinus or tonsils. [Source: Wikipedia.org]


Forty Years a Sufferer from CATARRH.

Wonderful to Relate!

"For FORTY YEARS I have been a victim to CATARRH -- three-fourths of the time a sufferer from EXCRUCIATING PAINS ACROSS MY FOREHEAD and MY NOSTRILS. The discharges were so offensive that I hesitate to mention it, except for the good it may do some other sufferer. I have spent a young fortune from my hard earnings during my forty years of suffering to obtain relief from the doctors. I have tried patent medicines -- every one I could learn of -- from the four corners of the earth, with no relief. And AT LAST (57 years of age) have met with a remedy that has cured me entirely -- made me a new man, weighed 128 pounds and now weigh 146. I used thirteen bottles of the medicine, and the only regret I have is that being in the humble walks of life, I may not have influence to prevail on all catarrh sufferers to use what has cured me -- GUINN'S PIONEER BLOOD RENEWER.
No. 267 Second St., Macon, Ga."

[Note: an obituary and funeral notice for Mr. Henry Cheves is posted here.]

02 November 2010

James Willingham Fell Victim to His Own Benevolence (Tombstone Tuesday)

James Willingham

This grave is that of a man, who had he lived in these days would have received recognition from Carnegie.
- Bridges Smith, 1917
Awful conflagration and loss of life.

(Macon Weekly Telegraph, Georgia, 20 August 1844)

Our City has again been visited by a destructive fire; about 1 o'clock this morning, our citizens were aroused from their slumbers by the alarm of fire, it having broken out in a Gun-Smith shop occupied by P. Roux, and immediately spread with great rapidity, notwithstanding the extraordinary exertions of our citizens to arrest its progress. Eleven or twelve buildings were entirely destroyed, estimated in value, at about 35 or $40,000.

We have the melancholy task also to record the death of one of our most active and worthy citizens, Mr. James Willingham. It was occasioned by the falling in of the front of a house which had been blown down in part by powder.

By the death of Mr. Willingham our city has sustained the loss of an energetic and most useful citizen -- and the democracy of Georgia of a staunch and unflinching supporter.

As a foreman in our office we have not only lost a firm supporter in the great republican principles for which we are battling, but a sincere and ardent friend. In our next we will be more explicit. We have stopped the press to insert this short and confused account of this catastrophe.
After the death of James Willingham, the obelisk pictured above was placed over his grave in Rose Hill Cemetery. Inscribed is the following:

Erected by the Mayor and Council of Macon in honour of the Public Spirit which lost a valuable life in saving the property of his fellow-Citizens from the ravages of FIRE.

Over the week after the fire, it's occurrence as well as the death of Mr. Willingham was reported in newspapers across the country, including the District of Columbia's Daily National Intelligencer.

Approximately two weeks after the fire, another item about it and the man considered to be a hero was published in the Macon Weekly Telegraph on 3 September 1844:

Departed this life in this city, on the 20th ult. -- the night of the recent fire -- Mr. JAMES WILLINGHAM. The melancholy duty of noticing the death of this gentleman, has fallen to our lot; and when we recur to the intimate connexion that existed between us up to the period of his death, we are compelled to acknowledge ourselves inadequate to the task. It is well known that Mr. Willingham was the Foreman, in our office, as well as our friend; and if honesty, sobriety, and diligence, in the discharge of his duties, tend to the elevation of human character, his claims to that distinction were preeminent. In all the relations of life, his sterling qualities of heart and mind shone forth resplendently. He was the ardent supporter of Democratic Republican principles, the useful, active and benevolent citizen, the warm social friend -- the affectionate husband, and the tender father. They only who knew him intimately were able to appreciate his worth; and now that an inscrutable fist of the Almighty has taken him from our midst, they only can realize to the full, the loss which his family, his friends, and the community in general have sustained.

Mr. Willingham was born in Columbia county, Ga. on 1st November, 1813, and at the time of his death was consequently about 31 years of age. Many of our citizens were eye-witnesses of the sad catastrophe which occasioned his death, and could all have been present, farther comment would be unnecessary. With a chivalrous self devoting spirit he had ever been found foremost in the van where the lives or property of his fellow citizens was endangered. To him "the post of danger was the post of honor," and ever nobly did he perform his duty. On this night the intrepid Willingham was at his post and up to the moment of his death wherever his giant form was seen, his brawny arm wielded the axe -- the only efficient implement that could be then opposed to the destroying element. The building on which he was employed at that time, was a wooden one occupied by Mr. Kennedy as a Grocery, and owned, we believe, by Mr. Bishop. A number of persons were engaged at the same time in attempting to pull down the building while Mr. W., with others were cutting away the stronger studs and braces which supported it. Relying, alas! too confidently on his activity, he remained beneath the roof after every one else had deserted it, and we are told that had he retreated but a moment sooner, his valuable life would have been saved to the community, to his friends, and above all, to his interesting, but now bereaved family.

When it is remembered that our friend was actuated by no selfish motive, (having no interest in that part of the city.) but prompted a one by the most generous emotions of the human heart, he fell a victim to his own benevolence, we are lost in admiration of the man, and overwhelmed with sorrow at his untimely death.

To his bereaved widow, we alas! have not the consolations of Christian piety to offer, but we fervently pray, that this soul harrowing affliction may work for her temporal as well as eternal benefit, that "he who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb" will season this dread calamity with good to those little children who have been deprived of a fathers care long ere they could know a fathers love; and may she and they soon find that now belongs to them,

"Whatever God ordained, to bless
The Widow and the fatherless."

For our friend what more can we say. He died as a he had lived, a good and brave man, and there can be no earthly doubt that long ere this he has met with his reward in "mansions of bliss prepared for the just made perfect."

"A good man and an angel! these between
How thin the barrier! what divides their fate?
Perhaps a moment, or perhaps a year;
Or if an age, 'tis but a moment still.""

23 October 2010

A Remarkable Funeral: Burial of the Victims of the Woolfolk Tragedy

On this lot are the graves of nine victims of a kinsman who slew with an axe almost his entire family. This was Thomas Woolfolk, and the extraordinary crime was committed one night in August, 1887. He paid the penalty of his deed on the gallows.

I will not go into a lot of detail here about the Woolfolk murders. The subject has been written about and debated ever since its occurrence. Did Thomas Woolfolk really commit the crime for which he was hung? Countless articles have been written, as well as at least two books. The best article I have found is Bloody Woolfolk by UGA Professor Donald E. Wilkes, Jr. For something online, check out Bloody Woolfolk at Murder by Gaslight. The two books are The Woolfolk Tragedy: The Murders, the Trials, the Hanging & Now Finally, the Truth! and Shadow Chasers: The Woolfolk Tragedy Revisited, both by Carolyn DeLoach.

Following is a short video of the stones located in the Woolfolk family plot at Rose Hill. The plot is off of a narrow road on a grassy terrace not far from the Ocmulgee River. On the day of the funeral, thousands surrounded this little family plot. Following the video is a newspaper account of the funeral.

Macon Telegraph, Georgia
8 August 1887



The Woolfolk tragedy, as might be supposed, was the absorbing question yesterday. The TELEGRAPH, containing the full story of the crime in its most minute details, exhausted its unprecedented extra supply of papers by half past nine o'clock, and it became necessary to print more. The streets were unusually full of people for a Sunday morning, long before breakfast time, and they could be seen in groups discussing the affair. There was little else talked about during the day by the men, and there seemed to be universal regret that young Woolfolk was allowed to leave the vicinity in which the horrible crime was committed. Those who were at the scene of the tragedy after he was carried off, are certain that had he been there when the shirt and drawers were drawn from the well, short work would have been made of him, as up to that time their was some little doubt resting on the minds of the people. This discovery was the turning point and decided his fate if they could have laid hands upon him.

...Undertaker Clay reached the house with the caskets about 12 o'clock and began at once to prepare the bodies for the grave.


At six o'clock yesterday morning the remarkable procession began its long and slow journey to Macon. There were five hearses in line. The first contained the bodies of Pearl and Rosebud, the second Capt. Woolfolk and Mattie the baby, the third Mrs. Woolfolk, the fourth Richard and the fifth Mrs. West. The body of Charlie was placed in the undertaker's wagon and that of Annie in a carriage. Close behind these followed in carriages Mr. Ben Howard, father of Mrs. Woolfolk, his sons, Charles W. and John, and their families. Then came a long line of vehicles containing the immediate friends of the family, and to these were added many others as the procession winded its way toward the city. Almost at every turn of the road there were crowds of people who had gathered to see the cortege pass, and as it neard town there were many who followed on foot. Between twenty and thirty carriages were following the hearses as the procession passed through the city.


At the cemetery nearly two thousand people had gathered, hundreds having remained on the grounds since early morning. These people represented all classes.

The work of digging and repairing the graves was begun on Saturday evening. The lot is the new Woolfolk lot, to the right of Central avenue and about two hundred yards from the river bank. The grave-diggers were obstructed in their work by large rocks which they found as they went down into the earth. Although a large force of hands were at work the graves could not be gotten ready in time, and when the cortege arrived it was necessary to place the coffins on a vacant lot adjoining the Woolfolk lot. The nine caskets were placed by the side of each other; the five grown persons in black cloth-covered caskets and the children in white caskets. Around those the great crowd stood. The hill under which the lot was situated, was covered with people looking down upon the scene.


Shortly after 10 o'clock, Rev. I. R. Branham took his position between the coffins, and pausing for a moment for the noise of the crowd to be stilled, said he scarcely knew what words to utter that would be appropriate to the occasion...

He then offered up a prayer for the surviving members of the family, and for the one in prison, for "whatever may be his destiny, O Lord, prepare him for it."

Continuing his discourse, Dr. Branham said he knew of no words more fitting as a starting point than those which occur in the parable of the ten virgins, which will be found in the 25th chapter of Matthew: "For you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." This comes today with tremendous force this morning. Spread out before us are nine persons, from the infant to the grandmother, all of them stricken down without notice; aroused from slumber's charms without warning...

He spoke of the uncertainty of life and said the whole of figure and metaphor would be exhausted to give a description of the shortness of life...The missiles of death fly thick and fast around us.

He said a solemn duty must be performed by the law makers...In the administration of the law lies our safety and our hope...All over this land murder dips its hand in blood, the bullet and the knife are conspicuous, and blood flows. We must improve the terrible calamity of today.

The great concern for us all is to be ready. Christians, are all the hinderances that prevent your readiness gathered up and put out of the way? If the Master should come and call today are you ready to "rise and open to him immediately," would there be no trepidation, no hurrying to and fro, no confession and dismay consequent upon a complete surprise? Is there no duty due to God or your fellow man unperformed? ...No friend, no neighbor, exposed to eternal death unwarned? ...Is the doom of the soul forever sealed when the body dies? Oh! then let us rise from our apathy and plead with our fellow men, or with those who stand upon the brink of a fathomless abyss, with one foot uplifted, ready to take the step. Let us see to it that our daily accounts with God and our fellow men are balanced, and that we are ready at a moment's notice to make the settlement and go in peace.

...Turn the ear of your soul, and listen to the silent warning that comes from these coffins, and may the Holy Spirit indelibly impress the mute message upon your hearts and consciences! The speaker knew most of these who have been sent suddenly to their final account. Not long since it was his happy privilege to hear the beautiful story of repentance and faith in Christ from the lips of the oldest daughter. It is doubtless true that, though unwarned, they were ready....


At this point of the services Mrs. Edwards, who was in Athens at the time of the tragedy, and who arrived yesterday morning on the 10:10 train from Atlanta, arrived at the cemetery. She went at once to the lot, and, threading her way through the crowd, uttered a cry as she beheld the coffins. Tears started to the eyes of the people as they saw her great grief and heard her lamentations over the still forms of all her father's family. Many turned away that they might not look upon a scene so sacred and so sad.

The close of the services were announced, and the great crowd filed by that all might see the caskets. For some time the family remained near them. Among these were the Howards, Mr. John Woolfolk, of Houston county, Messrs. James and Thomas Woolfolk, of Jones county, and Mr. Lowell Woolfolk, of East Macon, and their families. After this departure, the caskets were lowered into the graves as they were completed.

The nine graves were divided into two rows. In the front row rest Capt. Woolfolk, Mrs. Woolfolk, Richard, Pearl and Mrs. West; on the lower row, Charlie, Annie, Rosebud and Mattie, in the order named. The graves were walled up and cemented over nearly on a level with the ground.

During the day two heavy showers fell, but the rain did not keep the crowd away, and it was not until 5 o'clock, when the graves were finished, that the people ceased to visit the cemetery.

20 September 2010

A Common Error About One of Macon's Most Philanthropic Men

Elam Alexander (1796-1863) was born in Iredell County, North Carolina. He moved to Georgia in 1820 and settled in Macon in 1826. Mr. Alexander was a building contractor, architect, business man, and philanthropist for the city of Macon. His chief legacy are some of the homes he built that still stand today as well as his contribution to education. This contribution was written about in an article found in the 17 June 1912 edition of the Macon Telegraph.


Elam Alexander, Founder of Educational Fund That Has Made Possible the Erection of Three Beautiful School Buildings Spoken of as Macon's Public Spirited Man.

The other day mention was made of the splendid educational fund left by Elam Alexander, and from which grew three beautiful school houses, with enough left for others some of these days. Mr. Alexander was alluded to as an unmarried man. This is a common error. If the question should be asked of the few old citizens of Macon it would be generally answered in the affirmative.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Alexander was a married man, having married the widow Stone. The wife is mentioned in his will.

In speaking of him yesterday an old citizen who knows of history said:

"The remark was made the other day, and you and I have heard it often, that Macon's best, most public-spirited, most philanthropic, most charitable and most enterprising man lived when the city was a village compared to its present population and area. Of course there are lots of good citizens living here now, but show me the Alexanders, the Traceys, the Baxters, the Hazelhursts, the Greshams, the Rosses, the Blooms, the Lamars, the Washingtons, the Whittles, the Simri Roses, the Dempseys and others who lived as much for their fellowmen and their town as for themselves.

As long as he has been recently mentioned, take Elam Alexander. He made his money as a contractor, and one of his largest jobs was Wesleyan college. The money he made was spent in the effort to make a larger city of Macon. There is no telling how much money he spent in boring an artesian well in front of the city hall. This was to be his contribution of good, pure water to the public. It was through no effort or fault of his that the drills struck an underground mountain if flint-like rock and the experiment failed. When Morse came along with his newly-invented telegraph, begging capitalists to take stock in the company, it was Elam Alexander who went to Savannah after him and bought enough of the stock to bring the line through Macon, that his city should be in communication with the outside world. It was Elam Alexander who worked to bring the Central railroad from Savannah to Macon, and it was he who gave a shove to every public movement.

Through his earnings as a contractor and profits from investments he was able to save up some money. This money was left in trust for the education of the children of his city. In all Macon of today is there another Elam Alexander?"
To clarify the article, Elam Alexander married Ann G. Stone 28 October 1838 in Bibb County.1 And the name is still connected to education in Macon today. An example is the Elam Alexander Academy on Ridge Avenue.

Though he had no formal education, Alexander proved to be a talented builder and shrewd business man. Strongly influenced by the Greek Revival architectural style, Alexander was primarily responsible for many of Macon's most impressive structures. He built several famous homes, the Bibb County Courthouse, and the first building housing the Georgia Female College. Alexander was also a successful businessman, either owning stock in or serving on boards of railroads, banks, a telegraph company, an iron and coal company, and a gas light company.2

Cadwalader Raines House located on Georgia Ave.
Built 1848 by Elam Alexander.4
Some of the works of Mr. Alexander were chronicled in The Courthouse and the Depot: The Architecture of Hope in an Age of Despair by William Caldwell. The Bibb County Courthouse (1829) and the building for the Georgia Female College at Wesleyan (1839) already mentioned, other works include the Holt-Peeler House (1840) and the Raines-Miller-Carmichael House (1848). The title goes on to describe Alexander: "He was a powerful stockholder in the Central of Georgia Railroad, the Monroe Railroad and also in the Southwestern Railroad, whose initial Board of Commissions he chaired. He became the first president of the latter road in 1847. Five years earlier, he had been the general contractor in charge of the grading of the difficult last fifty miles of the Central of Georgia Railroad from the Oconee River to the east bank of the Ocmulgee at Macon."3

Another home built by Mr. Alexander is the Woodruff House on Bond Street. Built in 1836, the Greek Revival mansion is now owned by Mercer University. It once hosted a ball for Winnie Davis, daughter of Jefferson Davis.5 This house was also once owned by Col. Joseph Bond, one of the South's wealthiest cotton planters.


Upon his death in 1863, Elam Alexander was laid to rest in the Holly Ridge section of Rose Hill Cemetery.

Endnotes & Further Reading --

1. "Georgia Marriages, 1808-1967." From FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org), accessed September 2010.
2. "This Day in Georgia History - March 22." From GeorgiaInfo (georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu), accessed September 2010.
3. Wilbur W. Caldwell, The Courthouse and the Depot: The Architecture of Hope in an Age of Despair (Mercer University Press, 2001).
4. Cadwalader Raines House, Hubert B. Owens Collection, Box 41, Owens Library, School of Environment & Design, The University of Georgia
5. "Woodruff House, Macon, Georgia." From Yahoo Travel (travel.yahoo.com), accessed September 2010.
6. John Linley, The Georgia Catalog: Historic American Buildings Survey. A Guide to the Architecture of the State (University of Georgia Press, 1982).
7. Tom & Susan Owings Spector, Guide to the Architecture of Georgia (University of South Carolina Press, 1993).

19 August 2010

Obituary: R. Holt Waterhouse, Jr.

Richard Holt Waterhouse, Jr.
May 30, 1912
Jan 21, 1913
Macon Daily Telegraph
21 January 1913



Following an illness of only a few days, R. Holt Waterhouse, Jr., the 7-month-old son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Holt Waterhouse, died yesterday morning at 11:30 o'clock at the family residence on Ridge avenue, Crump's park. Friends of the parents extend sympathy to them.

The funeral will be held this morning at 10:30 o'clock from the residence, Rev. W. N. Ainsworth, pastor of the Mulberry Street Methodist church, officiating. Interment, Rose Hill cemetery.

16 August 2010

Little Child Found in a Lake

Macon Telegraph, Georgia
27 April 1902
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)


Hanson Etheridge, the Little Son of Mrs. Dr. Etheridge, Has Narrow Escape From Death.

Little Hanson Etheridge, the 6-year-old son of Mrs. J. A. Etheridge, was found in the lake at Rose Hill cemetery yesterday afternoon, settling on the bottom to rise no more, the water being over his head. He was practically drowned when discovered, but he was drawn our of the water, and after a little more than a gallon of water had been shaken out of him signs of life returned, and he was sent home to his mother, where, at last accounts, he seemed safe from danger.

The little fellow was at the cemetery in charge of a friend of Mrs. Etheridge, and he got away from his party and strayed down to the lake. He was tempted by the wall around the lake, and he mounted this to walk on it, and lost his balance. Mr. J. S. McMurray happened to walk by the lake, crossing the ravine, and saw the little fellow's body settling towards the bottom, and he lost no time in dragging it out and calling for help.

14 August 2010

Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond, Part IV (Finale)

[In 1872, thirteen years after the death of Joseph Bond, the following sketch was written as a "Letter to the Editor" to the Macon Weekly Telegraph by a friend of Mr. Bond. It is a very long article filled with much fluff I will break up into parts. It is an interesting read however, for a few reasons. The death of Mr. Bond was not natural, he was killed by an overseer from a neighboring plantation. This article tells of this incident while also speaking to the character of Mr. Bond and his relationship with his slaves. Go to Part I ~ Go to Part II ~ Go to Part III.]

Macon Weekly Telegraph
24 September 1872
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)

Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond [finale, Part IV]

"Cross Examination - Bond did not pause for a reply from prisoner. Witness does not think Brown had time to reply to Bond's remark about his whipping his negro. Brown was near the place he fell, after being struck, when he fired. Brown made no attempt to draw his pistol at the first or second blow given him. Witness was in the field near him and could have seen him if he had. Brown drew his pistol as he was getting up after receiving the third blow. Brown was in Beall's field attending to the hands who were at work -- he was overseeing for Beall. The place was across a lot of land from any public road. Bond's "Whitehill" place was some three miles from where the difficulty took place. [Stick exhibited as before.] If a walking stick, it was used by a short man; thinks it would take a very hard lick to kill a man with it. When Brown said 'come over here, Sellers,' he did not know whether prisoner meant to come over and help, or the separate them."

"Jesse Beall sworn: "Witness and prisoner were talking. Prisoner said that 'Cheek (Bond's overseer) had told Uncle Joe lies on him, and that if he could ever get the law on his side he would make a flutter down there,' or words to that effect. At the time, witness thought he had reference to Cheek. In a conversation between Brown and a negro on Friday night in the hearing of witness, in which Brown acknowledged owing the negro one dollar and a half, Brown remarked to the negro he had better come and get it on Sunday, as he might run away. After the whipping of Bond's negro on Tuesday, Brown told witness he was certain that Bond was mad with him for doing it. On Thursday night witness took tea over at Bond's, and on his return Brown asked him if he 'heard anything of that fuss;' thought Brown referred to his whipping the negro. After the negro was whipped -- thinks it was on Friday night before the killing -- Brown remarked to witness that he had taken more from Col. Bond than he would ever take from any man. Beall allowed all of Bond's negroes to visit his place, so that they behaved themselves. Brown, the overseer, did not allow some of them to come; among the rest a blacksmith who had a daughter belonging to Beall -- a house girl. They were favorite negroes of Bond's as he got them from his wife's father's estate; have heard Brown say often that Henderson and Wash (the girl's father and brother) should not come on the place. The negro whipped by Brown on Tuesday belonged on the Fowl Town place, and had drove the baggage wagon down to the White Hill place, from which he was returning; blacksmith shop on the road; one door opened on the road and the other into the yard."

I have quoted only enough of the evidence to show the cause of the difficulty, how it occurred, and the animus of Brown. His whipping the wagoner in the manner he did, without any fault or provocation on the negro's part; his conversation with Jesse Beall afterwards, on Thursday night, before the homicide which was committed on Saturday morning; asking him if he heard anything about that "fuss," on his return from tea at Bond's; his conversation with the negro in which he told him to come for his dollar and a half as he might run away; and then his remark to Jesse Beall on Friday night (the night before the homicide), in which he stated that "he had taken more from Colonel Bond than he would ever take any more from him or any man;" all goes to show that he was expecting just what took place. And, getting the law on his side, he intended to "make a flutter down there." That was the purpose he had in view when he whipped the negro at the shop on the roadside, to offer Col. Bond such provocation, as would induce him to make the attack. He knew that Col. Bond would be as good as his word, when he said to him, "if you whip one of my negroes again without cause, I will whip you."

And then the manner in which he armed and prepared himself was another and stronger evidence of his murderous intent. The pistol with which he committed the deed was not one of the common sort. It was a rifled pistol with barrel about six inches in length, carrying a large ball -- large enough to make a hole where it entered in the breast of the deceased, according to the evidence of one of the witnesses, the size of a silver half-dollar -- and self cocking; that it to say, it would fire by simply pulling the trigger.

It was very unfortunate, not only for Colonel Bond and his family, but also for the public, that he placed himself in such a position in this affair, as the assailant, that the law could not vindicate his death. Under the evidence in the case two successive grand juries ignored bills against his murderer. Counsel for the prosecution thought then, and still think, that a true bill for murder should have been returned into court and Brown put upon trial.

Mr. Bond was not a violent or law-breaking man in any sense of the word. On the contrary, he was a man of peaceful disposition. The difficulty which resulted so fatally to him was, so far as the writer knows, the only one in which he was ever engaged; and that was undoubtedly provoked by his slayer for a purpose. A trap was laid for him, into which he unfortunately fell, without sufficient caution or reflection. Arriving at home on Friday night, and then for the first time hearing of the outrage Brown had perpetrated upon his innocent and unoffending servant, on the Tuesday previous, taken in connection with Brown's previous conduct towards other servants, so inflamed his passion that he resolved, without imparting that resolve to any one, to punish him for it.

This resolve "leaned to virtue's side." One of his slaves, dependent upon him for protection, had been most brutally assailed and beaten by a person who had previously warned not to do so. If the master did not protect his own slave, who would? It was due to himself, as well as to his slave, that he should punish the perpetrator of the wrong in some way. But how? To have sued him at law for damages, would have amounted to nothing. Force was the only argument -- as he knew -- that Brown would appreciate, and hence he determined to employ that argument, without weighing and considering the fact that he might place himself at a disadvantage in making an attack upon him. Brave himself, and, as a brave man, above taking advantage of any one, it never entered his mind that Brown would coolly and deliberately lay a snare to take his life, without incurring the law's penalty. Mr. Bond thought that brute force should be met and repelled by brute force; that such was the only argument Brown would appreciate, and hence his course, which resulted so fatally to himself.

Requiescat in pace! The marble monument nor the green sod does not rest upon a form in our beautiful cemetery that, at one time, contained a soul so noble, so generous, so brave, and so true to the responsibilities of the hour as the soul of Joseph Bond. He was a MAN, in the true acceptance of the term, and we shall never look upon his like again. In this day, when the new order of things is popular both North and South; while there is no one in the South who would restore the old order of things if they could; when the institution of slavery is buried so deep that the hand of resurrection can never reach it -- in these States at least, it is refreshing to look upon the bright side of a picture, which, to some persons, appeared dark and dark only. Slavery had its evils, none will deny that. But there was a virtuous side to that system also. The affection for the master by the slave, manifested in so many ways, was one virtue. The care of the master for the slave, and his protection afforded to his slave, in loco parentis, as it were, as manifested by Col. Bond in the last act of his life, was another virtue. Oh how many of his former slaves would now gladly return to servitude under him, and rejoice once more to meet him and salute him as "Mass Joe." But the light which once shone on the "old plantation," and gave joy to the negro, the master and family, has been extinguished forever. No more shall we behold it. No more shall the sons of Africa experience its benefits, or feel its power. But, in the light of the far distant future, our posterity alone shall be able to judge whether the change has been beneficial to the one race or to the other. -- A TRUE FRIEND

09 August 2010

Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond, Part III

[In 1872, thirteen years after the death of Joseph Bond, the following sketch was written as a "Letter to the Editor" to the Macon Weekly Telegraph by a friend of Mr. Bond. It is a very long article filled with much fluff I will break up into parts. It is an interesting read however, for a few reasons. The death of Mr. Bond was not natural, he was killed by an overseer from a neighboring plantation. This article tells of this incident while also speaking to the character of Mr. Bond and his relationship with his slaves. Go to Part I ~ Go to Part II.]

Macon Weekly Telegraph
24 September 1872
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)

Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond [continued, Part III]

He was brave and courageous beyond measure. He could not brook an insult, or submit tamely to a wrong, whether offered to himself or one of his dependents, and he at last, in the flower of his days and in the very prime of his manhood, yielded up his life for one of his slaves. Think of that, oh ye, who from ignorance or prejudice, could never believe there was any good in a slaveholder. Ah, those who knew nothing of that system of servitude, now numbered among the things of the past, never to be again revived on this continent, cannot understand how it was that master and slave were so closely linked together in the bonds of true affection, that one would lay down his life for the other. He yielded up his life in the field a few miles from where his family were then temporarily residing. He left them in the early morn, full of life, health and vigor. He returned to them ere the sun had reached the zenith, a lifeless clod, cold in the embraces of death. There is not an old slave of his now in life, though they may be scattered far from the "old plantation," but what remembers with fearful distinctness that terrible morning in March, 1859. They even now, never speak of their dead master, but with trembling accents of love and gratitude. The world should be again reminded of how he died, and what he died for. It is to rescue his name from oblivion that I pen this notice, imperfect as I know it to be, yet truthful what there is of it.

He had had in his employ an overseer by the name of Brown. For some cause, he discharged him, and thus incurred his enmity. Mr. Bond had a brother-in-law who owned a plantation adjoining his own ("White Hill") plantation. Mr. Beall, the brother-in-law, did not manage his farm interests himself, but entrusted everything to the overseer. Mr. Bond thought, that while Brown did not suit him, he would suit Mr. Beall, and in consequence of his recommendation, Brown was employed by Beall. Now, the "White Hill place" and the "Beall place" were stocked with negroes, who had been raised up by the same master, and many of them were related, and hence, Mr. Bond and Mr. Beall allowed them and encouraged them to visit each other, when time and opportunity permitted. After Brown took charge of Beall's place, he prohibited some of the Bond negroes from visiting with the negroes on the Beall place. Catching one of the forbidden Bond negroes on the Beall place, after he had issued this order, he gave him a severe whipping. As soon as Mr. Bond heard of the outrage, he rode over to see Brown and condemned his conduct in no measured or polite terms, informing him that it was his wish, and Mr. Beall's wish, that their negroes on the two plantations should visit; and that so long as they behaved themselves with becoming propriety, they must not be molested; and wound up by assuring Brown that if he ever whipped one of his negroes again, without cause of provocation, he Bond, would whip him. It is believed by those who were familiar with the fac's, that from that time Brown resolved that he would take the life of Mr. Bond. He knew, as well as he knew anything, that Mr. Bond did not deal in unmeaning threats or boasts, but that when he said he would do anything, he was certain to attempt it, and that he generally succeeded in what he undertook.

A few weeks after the interview with Brown Mr. Bond moved his family down from his Fowl Town plantation -- where they spent most of their time in the winter -- to the "White Hill" place. A favorite negro who drove a baggage wagon, which removed some of the household goods, on his return, stopped in at the blacksmith shop on the Beall place -- which was right on the road-side -- to get a drink of water. Brown being, at the time, some hundred yards off, started in a run as soon as he saw the wagon stop and the negro enter the shop, and reached the place just as the wagoner was returning to his wagon. In fact, I think the negro's statement was that he had got back to his wagon, and was in the act of driving off when Brown fell upon him in a fury, and gave him a terrible beating. This was done by Brown, no doubt, to induce Mr. Bond to attack him -- which he knew he would do -- that he might have an excuse for killing him, and thus evade the law.

The negro wagoner was whipped by Brown on Tuesday. Mr. Bond was absent from White Hill from that time until Friday. On that evening he heard of it for the first time. The next moring, Saturday, March 12th, he arose very early, and obtaining a small screw barrel pistol from his overseer, Mr. David Cheek, not longer than a man's finger -- the only weapon of the kind on the place -- mounted his horse and rode off in the direction of Mr. Beall's place. The encounter with Brown, we will relate in the language of the only white person who witnessed the homicide.

Wm. J. Sellers sworn, said: "Witness and Mr. Brown were together, saw a man approaching. On his coming nearer, saw it was Col. Bond; (they were in Mr. Beall's field) as he rode up Mr. Brown said, "good morning Colonel." Mr. Bond said, "good morning -- you are the rascal that whipped my negro," and struck him with a stick. The second lick he struck him, Mr. Brown either fell off or got off his horse, on the opposite side from Bond, and fell upon his knees and elbows. Mr. Bond got off his horse, caught hold of Brown, as he got up, pulled him down and struck him again. About that time, Brown called to witness to "come around there." Bond said, "no, stay where you are, this is our difficulty and we can settle it." After Bond struck Nrown the third lick, and as Brown was rising from the ground on one knee and one foot, he shot deceased. Bond, after being shot, struck Brown again with his stick, when Brown jerked loose from him and run -- he supposed about ten steps -- down Beall's fence, jumped over and run about fifteen steps into Walker's field. Bond followed Brown to where he jumped the fence and shot at Brown. He then turned and walked nearly to where witness stood, and remarked "I am a dead man" and fell. He then got up and fell again. Witness left Bond in care of Beall's negroes, before he died. Witness knew of no difficulty between Brown and Bond personally. Never knew that Brown had whipped one of Bond's negroes, until he heard Bond tell him so. Witness and prisoner were talking about the new ground, in which witness was then rolling logs. As Mr. Bond was riding up, and after Brown had said who it was, witness said, "he is a man I have seen, but never had any acquaintance with. I suppose he was once your master;" alluding to prisoner's having once overseed for Bond.

"As Bond rose up, Brown turned his horse around, passing Bond, so as to have Bond on his right hand. Brown's horse's rump was to witness. After Bond struck Brown on the ground, in the scuffle, both were down. Bond recovered first; was on his feet, but not straight when Brown shot. Brown drew his pistol with left hand from behind. Witness did not know he had a pistol until he saw him drawing it; did not cross the fence into Beall's field; saw Mr. Bond fall twice. Witness did not cross the fence because Bond had forbid him to do so; did not cross the fence because he was excited. Witness ran to the house to tell Mr. Walker. When they separated, Bond had hold of prisoner. Bond had a small hickory stick about two feet long, and not such a weapon as witness would think likely to produce death. If a man were to be killed with such a stick, witness would think it an accident. When Bond said to prisoner: "You are the rascal that whipped my negro," prisoner did not deny that he had whipped the negro. Prisoner said nothing at all. Immediately after making the remark, Bond rode up by the side of prisoner and struck him. Took place in Beall's field on the 12th day of March, 1859, about 8, or between 8 and 10 o'clock in the morning. (A stick exhibited to witness which he supposed may have been the stick used by Bond -- judging from its appearance he would think it was -- (a small hickory stick about two feet long and five-eighths of an inch in diameter at the big end.) When Bond struck Brown, on the ground, the third blow, he had hold of Brown. Witness does not thin, with such a stick, and in the position of the parties, a very severe blow could have been inflicted. As Brown jumped or fell from his horse his hat was about half off.

~ Go to Part IV.

03 August 2010

Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond, Part II

[In 1872, thirteen years after the death of Joseph Bond, the following sketch was written as a "Letter to the Editor" to the Macon Weekly Telegraph by a friend of Mr. Bond. It is a very long article filled with much fluff I will break up into parts. It is an interesting read however, for a few reasons. The death of Mr. Bond was not natural, he was killed by an overseer from a neighboring plantation. This article tells of this incident while also speaking to the character of Mr. Bond and his relationship with his slaves. Go to Part I.]

Macon Weekly Telegraph
24 September 1872
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)

Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond [continued, Part II]

The only office he ever held was that of an aid-de-Camp to the Governor of Georgia, which conferred upon him the title and rank of Colonel. I think it was under the administration of Geo. W. Crawford, and that was conferred upon him without solicitation on his part.

Owning such a number of slaves and cultivating so many different plantations, of course he was compelled to employ subordinates to aid him, but these subordinates were simply his lieutenants. They originated nothing, except as to inferior details. They simply were expected to obey orders emanating from him. Like a competent and successful military commander, he exacted the most implicit obedience to his orders as commander in chief of all the forces on his farms. He superintended the pitching of his crops in the early spring, designated the fields which should be planted in cotton and other crops, and directed how it should be done; prescribed the mode and method of cultivation during the entire season, as well as the gathering and preparation for market of such as were sold, and the preservation of such products as were to be consumed on the place. It was said of him, that so perfect was his system, and so thorough was his knowledge of his business, that he could sit in his mansion on the hill in Macon, over one hundred miles from any of his farms, and tell with certainty what field on each farm the hands were at work in at any given time.

All of his farms were the most fertile in the section in which they were located, and models of neatness in all of their appointments. The houses in which his slaves were lodged were all of the best description -- neat framed houses with brick chimneys, properly ventilated and always kept scrupulously clean and neat. Once a year they were whitewashed inside and out, and all trash and garbage of every kind under and around them cleaned up and carted away. An abundant supply of water was provided by wells dug in the negro quarter, convenient of access to all, and provided with an easy-working windlass, good bucket and rope. A nursery was provided on each place. This was a large house surrounded by an abundant shade, and kept under the care of an aged, competent and trustworthy "mammy" or "granny," to which all the small children, including the sucklings in their cradles with their nurses, were taken each morning, when the mothers went to the field. And this mammy, or granny, was responsible for their care, good treatment and safe keeping during the absence of their mothers. With the help of their nurses and the older children -- but too young to perform any other labor -- their food was prepared and distributed by her during the day; and her long switch was often called into requisition to preserve order among the older ones, and to awe them into obedience to her mandates. Her rule over them was similar to that of the village pedagogue over his pupils -- despotic but mild -- because her responsibility to the master, and in his absence to the overseer, with the oversight and watchfulness of the parents for their children's welfare, operated as a constant check upon her, and secured her little charge against either cruelty or neglect.

A hospital was also established on each place, to which all the sick were taken immediately. If attacked in the field, they were ordered to report there at once; if at their houses during the night, as soon as the fact was ascertained the same course was pursued. An experienced nurse was assigned to each, and held strictly accountable to himself to carry out the orders of the physicians, while of the latter none but the best within reach were employed by him. A good supply of medicines, such as were usually given for the cure of diseases incident to the climate and locality, were kept constantly on hand. This nurse, generally a female, was also supreme in her sphere. If medicine was prescribed by the physicians for a patient, and ordered to be given at stated intervals, it had to be followed to the letter. If the patient was refractory, the nurse could call in as much help as she needed to compel obedience, and administer the dose however nauseous it might be.

His mules were all of the best quality, selected with great care, and adapted to the work of the farm. As soon as one became so far advanced in years as to be unable to keep up with the rest of the team, it was sold and its place at once supplied by younger and more vigorous stock. Wagons, harness and all plantation equipments, were models of their kind. Fences were kept in perfect order, put up in straight lines, with the ends of the rails on the outside, even from top to bottom they were close enough to keep out pigs, and high enough to turn any larger animal of the jumping kind. Gates were provided at all places necessary to facilitate communication through the farms. Gin houses, packing screws, barns, cribs and shelters of the best and most convenient patterns were provided. A lock upon any building except the smoke house, dairy and workshops, was not thought of.

He owned a corps of carpenters who went from place to place, as necessity required, to build, repair, renew and keep everything in perfect order. Blacksmiths and wheelrights, and the best of their color that could be procured, were always kept in sufficient numbers to do the work of his various plantations.

A hog feeder, an aged and trustworthy man, was kept on each place, who was furnished with a mule and cart, and whose daily business it was to look after that stock and keep it in good condition. The result was, that an abundant supply of good wholesome meat, raised at home, was always in his smoke houses, and often -- in fact nearly every year -- he had a large surplus for sale. Stocks of cattle, and some of them of the purest breeds, furnished not only beef in its season, but an abundant supply of milk for the small children under the care of granny, and often for anyone who liked it, while an ample supply of butter for use at the plantation house in the various places, as well as for his own family consumption in Macon, was also produced. The milk and butter department in each place was also committed to the care and responsibility of one person.

He was a dear lover of fine stock of every kind, and one of the best judges of all kinds of stock, I ever knew. No jockey, however keen at a bargain, could put off on him an inferior animal, but if it came up to his standard, he would pay a good price. He kept a few of the finest horses, of purest blood, and as fleet of foot as any in the State. It was no uncommon thing for him to ride ten or fifteen miles an hour, in going from one plantation to another.

He was passionately fond of athletic sports, and encouraged them among his slaves. Often would he cause them to assemble in the yard of the plantation house to engage in wrestles and foot races, giving a prize of some kind to reward the victor and induce a spirited emulation among them. In his early days he often took part himself. He was very fleet of foot, and to his weight and size, could cope with any son of Africa in a foot race, wrestle, or at the end of a hand spike. He would often get off his horse in the log rolling season and amuse himself, as well as encourage the hands, by lifting with them. At the end of each year his cribs and barns were filled with corn, fodder, peas and pumpkins, his smoke houses groaned under their load of bacon, and his cotton bales were counted by the thousand. He was kind-hearted, noble and generous in the extreme. He did not belong to the codfish aristocracy. He was one of nature's noblemen. With him "worth made the man -- the want of it the fellow." The poor but deserving man, whose crop had failed, and who was in want of corn or meat, had but to make that want known, and his cribs and smoke houses were at his command until that want was supplied; but for the lazy and the thriftless he had no sympathy and no charity. He delighted to do a favor when he knew it would be appreciated by one who was deserving, but he did not hesitate to refuse bounty to one of the contrary character. He was a good judge of human nature, and took in at a glance the points of character, as by intuition, of whoever was clothed in white skin or a black one.

~ Go to Part III

01 August 2010

Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond, Part I

[In 1872, thirteen years after the death of Joseph Bond, the following sketch was written as a "Letter to the Editor" to the Macon Weekly Telegraph by a friend of Mr. Bond. It is a very long article filled with much fluff I will break up into parts. It is an interesting read however, for a few reasons. The death of Mr. Bond was not natural, he was killed by an overseer from a neighboring plantation. This article tells of this incident while also speaking to the character of Mr. Bond and his relationship with his slaves. To be perfectly honest, I find some of the words regarding this relationship laughable, if not offensive. Nonetheless, it does give us an account of this period in Southern U.S. history.]

Macon Weekly Telegraph
24 September 1872

Sketch of the Life of the Late Joseph Bond [Part I]

Editors Telegraph and Messenger: In Rose Hill Cemetery, upon a lofty eminence overlooking the placid waters of the Ocmulgee, surrounded by monarchs of the forest and creeping vines, which lend their shade in summer and cast their mournful shadows in winter, athwart the resting place of the dead, a massive monument rears its magnificent proportions, inscribed in large letters with the name of "BOND;" also, with the full name and date of birth and death of the subject of this notice. To the ordinary passer-by this monument receives only a thought. To those ignorant of the history of Joseph Bond, it teaches no lesson and produces no impression. To many it doubtless calls to mind the words of Byron:

"The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below;
When all is done upon the tomb -- is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been."

Not true of him of whom I now speak. The writer of this knew him well; saw him often, conversed with him often, and perhaps knew him and understood him as well or better, than any one now living, outside of his own immediate family. His many noble qualities of mind and heart, which were ever so manifest to those who were intimate with him, were hidden from the outside world. After the lapse of over thirteen years, one who did so know him, one who did truly appreciate him; one who remembers with gratitude his many acts of kindness, would speak of him in terms of just commendation, and lay upon that tomb, which rises so solemn and so grand, so magnificent and yet so lonely over his last remains, this tribute as a grateful offering. His family, which he loved so much, and which he provided for so magnificently, is now scattered far and wide. Time has made its mark and wrought its changes upon their fortunes, as well as upon the great mass of Southern people. They are now, comparatively speaking, poor and friendless, and some of them, strangers in a strange land, far from the ancestral home and the broad acres, over which he exercised control. It may, and doubtless will be, gratifying to them to hear from one who knew him, something of his character as a man of business, and as a successful one in his sphere, as a citizen, a master and friend.

Joseph Bond was a slaveholder. He counted his slaves by the hundred. Yet, while he was one, and a rigid disciplinarian, he was also a kind master. No man understood the responsibilities growing out of the relation of master and slave, better than he did. No man was more true to duty in that respect, than he was. His laws for their government were eminently just and proper. They were framed by him, after he had, by practical experience, acquired a thorough knowledge of the character of the negro slave and after he understood the wants and necessities of each, growing out of the relation of master and slave.

His rules were all framed with a view,
First -- To promote the best good of the slave, and,
Second -- To insure the greatest pecuniary benefit to the master.

It was the pride of his servants to say, "I belong to Joe Bond." They were always well clad, well fed, and well cared for in health and in sickness. They were protected by him in the enjoyment of every right which belonged to them, in that peculiar relation; and, in return for that care and protection, he demanded of them implicit obedience and faithful service, which, as a general thing, they rendered willingly and cheerfully, because they loved as well as feared him. They knew his laws were as immutable as the laws of the Medes and Persians; that what he ordered was just and right, and had to be obeyed. So just were his rules for their guidance, and so uniform and perfect was his entire system, that there was during the later years of his life, scarcely a jar in his whole machinery of government. There was no perceptible friction, but on the contrary, all worked smoothly and profitably to himself, and to the promotion of the best interests of the slaves.

Not like some masters, he did not commit his negroes to the charge of ignorant and oftimes, brutal overseers, and leave them to take care of themselves as best they could; but he exacted the same rigid accountability from his overseers or managers that he did from the slaves. His ear was ever open to their just complaints, and they knew better than to go to him with a tale that was untrue. In all difficulties between the slave and the overseer, he dealt out even-handed justice according to the facts. If the negro was right and the overseer in the wrong, the negro was protected and the wrong repaired, or the overseer discharged. Of the latter class, he did not knowingly employ any but men of superior acquirements. He paid good wages to a competent man, and if after a trial he suited him, he might count upon a home and employment as long as he wished. If he did not suit he was discharged, and told to seek employment elsewhere. His success in planting was great, perhaps greater than any other planter in the whole South, and the reason was, that he thoroughly understood the business in all its details -- controlled and directed everything. His knowledge was not theoretical only, but practical. He held no diplomas as a graduate of any college. After completing his academic course, his father, who was a man of wealth, wanted him to go through college and study a profession, but he had already chosen his occupation in life, and had determined to be a planter. His father gave him his choice, either to enter college or go to one of his plantations and become and overseer. He joyfully accepted the latter position, and by doing so he acquired that practical knowledge which was so useful and so profitable to him in after life.

While he was not a scholar in the true acceptation of the term, he knew much more than many who held the sheep-skin evidence of having gone through the regular curriculum of learning at our colleges and universities, because what he knew, he knew well. He had a contempt for superficial knowledge. He mastered every subject he studied. In the current literature of the day, in politics and religion he was well posted, and kept up with the advancement of the age in all things necessary to a thorough understanding of the position of affairs. He was no pretender. If he did not understand a subject which was being discussed, he was a silent listener. If he did understand it he would enter into the discussion with zeal, and in such cases never failed to throw light upon it.

He was not a professor of religion, but there was no one who had a greater respect or veneration for true than he had. He owned some three or four preachers of the Gospel, whom he always encouraged in their work. He did all he could to promote religious intelligence among his slaves, and was a liberal contributor to the itinerant ministry of the Methodist Episcpoal Church, who came around statedly to preach to the slaves on his different plantations. In faith he was a Presbyterian. His preference was for that Church. He understood its system of doctrines, and attended statedly, when at home, the ministrations of the Gospel in that Church, and, had his life been prolonged a few years, there is no doubt but that he would have united with it. Though not a member, he was liberal in his contribution for the support of the Church, and, without knowing it to be a fact, I have no doubt but that the Church in Macon has reason to remember his munificence.

In politics he was a Whig. Well do I remember how cordially he supported Clay and Frelinguhysen in 1844. Though no politician, and no office-seeker, he studied and understood the theory of our Government, and cast his vote and influence on the side which he thought would best promote the good of the whole country. He was eminently conservative in his political opinions. In 1850, when there was so much excitement in Georgia on account of the compromise measures, growing out of the admission of California into the Union, he sided with the majority of his party in this State, and lent the aid of his influence and of his purse in favor of acquiescence in those measures. He deprecated the agitation of the slavery question in Congress and out of Congress. He felt that it was a question that should be left exclusively to the States in which it existed. His idea was that slavery should be quiescent, not aggressive; that it would go wherever it could be made profitable, and that it was the veriest nonsense to contend for the right -- the bare right -- to carry the institution where reason and common sense told us it would never go. Hence, he was not in sympathy with the Kansas Nebraska movement. He thought the repeal of the Missouri compromise an ill-timed, useless and disastrous measure. Time and experiance have demonstrated that he was right.

~ Go to Part II

31 July 2010

The Bond Monument

This memorial is for the BOND family. It was originally erected to the memory of Joseph Bond (1815-1859). The monument was cut in Italy and shipped to the United States about the time of "the break between the States." It was housed in a warehouse in New York until the end of the Civil War. Then it was shipped to Macon. It is located in the Holly Ridge section of Rose Hill, and beside it are steps leading down to what once were the banks of the Ocmulgee River. Now it's railroad tracks.

Joseph Bond
Born January 11, 1815
Died March 12, 1859

Henrietta Bond Nelson
Born February 21, 1828
Died January 20, 1896

Joseph Bond, Jr.
Born March 12, 1858
Died August 3, 1901

25 July 2010

"Little Mary Marsh" of the Marsh Juvenile Comedians Troupe

Little Mary Marsh was a member of the Marsh Juvenile Comedians troupe from 1855 until her death in 1859. These travelling performers were famous in their day. "Mary Marsh," daughter of the troupe organizer, was actually a stage name. Her real name was Mary Eliza Guerineau. She was born 4 March 1847 in Troy, New York to Robert and Jane C. Guerineau. Little Mary was their only daughter. Her brother George was also a famed member of the juvenile comedians.

Mary's life was cut short at the age of eleven on 27 January 1859 in Macon, Georgia. Her death was reported in newspapers across the United States. Here is one such report from the 8 February 1859 Plain Dealer in Ohio:
The Death of Little Mary Marsh.
Full Particulars by one of the Troupe.

MACON, Geo. Jan. 31.
FRIEND GRAY: Knowing how much interest you have always taken in our little children and especially in the pet of the company, "Little Mary," I thought I would let you know about the horrible accident which caused her death. On Wednesday night last, after the first act of the "Naiad Queen," Mary, in her blightsome glee ran tripping across the stage so near a candle that the flare of it caught the bottom of her fairy dress, and in a moment she was a mass of flame. Her mother and Georgiana were instantly by her side, but she was literally a ball of fire, and in their efforts to smother the flame were themselves badly burned. Poor little Mary screamed terrifically and the house was in frightful commotion. It was soon all over with her. She died the next afternoon.

Her poor father and mother are almost distracted, but we are all comforted with the hope that she is where suffering and death are known no more.

She died with the name of "Mother" on her lips, and with the prayers of all her little companions in her behalf.
Yours, as ever, ____ .

Mr. MARSH, the father of MARY, in an obituary notice of her, truly remarks:
"Mary was a model for the whole Troupe, both on and off the stage; she was the ground work on which our Troupe was founded. Her modest deportment towards and affection for her friends and enemies, won all hearts."
An article in the same paper one year later describes the monument erected for Little Mary: "A handsome upright monument, ordered by Mr. MARSH, has just been completed at Charleston, S.C. It is an elegantly polished piece of Italian marble, with its edges chamfered, and enriched with an ivy vine with berries cut thereon, and surmounted by an urn enwreathed in immortelles. The stone springs from a marble base, which is set in a ground stone of brown freestone. The obverse of the monument bears an appropriate inscription."

Here is that monument today, minus the urn. There is a hole on top where it once sat.


The "appropriate inscription" includes her name, the name of her parents, as well as birth and death dates with locations. All of which were mentioned at the beginning of the article. The epitaph further includes a poem. It begins on the front side of the monument, and continues on the back:

Winds Of The Winter As Ye Wildly Sweep
Across The Grave Where Perished Beauty Lies,
Pause For A Moment There Are Eyes That Weep
The Lost To Earth, But Blessed In Paradise;
Pause Ye And Mourn; Not For The Freed From Pain
But, That The Sighs Of Love Could Wish Her Back Again.

Pause Ye And Mourn; That Spirit Is Now Breathing
An Atmosphere Of Love Divinely Pure;
Oh: Why Should Kindred Hearts On Earth Be Grieving,
Since God Hath Sent His Angels To Secure
This Pearl Made Bright Through Suffering; No Decay,
Nor Time, Nor Change, Can Steal Her Youth Away,
Mourn Then Ye Winds; Not For The Freed From Pain
But, That The Sighs Of Love Could Wish Her Back Again.

"Naiad Queen" playbill.  Little
Mary performed the part of Idex.
I found mention of the Marsh Troupe in history books about the American Stage and Burlesque. It was organized by Robert Guerineau 1 June 1855, and featured mostly girls with some boys, ages 6 to 16. The children performed legitimate plays in a comedic or satirical fashion. A History of Burlesque (by the San Francisco Works Project Administration, 1940) describes them by the following: "The repertoire was made up of farces, fairy extravaganzas, sensation plays, and burlesques. Daring exposure of limb for an adult became sweet exposition; riotous farce became cute fancy; sex appeal of Greek myth became tinseled daintiness; crime page sensation plots became intellectual exercises..." About George Marsh, Mary's brother, it was said he "proved to be a comedian of almost mature ability..." And of Mary -- "...she was an uncommonly attractive child, bright eyed, graceful, fresh, and fair..."

Another interesting note from the history books is that Georgianna Mosely (described as a sister of Mary, but I am not sure that is true), after her stint in the troupe "married William Henry, a property man, in 1862, and died in New York from the effects of burns received in trying to save Mary Guerineau..."

I have another tidbit for you, if you'll remember from the 1917 Seeing-Macon Car article I posted -- "Here is the grave of little Mary Marsh, the stage name of Mary Eliza Guerineau,... She was a mere child, and was performing with the Marsh Family in the old Ralston Hall, the theater building that stood where the Fourth National Bank now stands."

Old maps show the bank referred to as being on the corner of Cherry Street and 3rd Street, in the 500 block. That space is now occupied by the Market City Cafe.

View Larger Map

The article goes on to say -- "For many years the wreath of artificial flowers worn by the child on that night, enclosed in a circular metal case, remained on the top of the marble slab until some ghoul removed it. For fifty years, in fact up to a few years ago, a lady in black visited the grave and covered it with flowers... It was supposed that she was the mother, and made this annual pilgrimage to Macon until death caused her to cease them."

17 July 2010

Mrs. Sarah A. Licette and Family

Macon Telegraph
9 September 1909


Mrs. Sarah A. Licette died yesterday morning at 11:30 o'clock at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. A. L. Moore, on Third street.

Mrs. Licette had been feeble for several weeks, but at the time of her death she was thought to be improved. Her death came as a great shock to her many friends.

She leaves two daughters, Mrs. A. L. Moore and Mrs. W. H. Cherry; two sons, Messrs. P. and G. L. Licette.

The funeral services will take place at 3:30 today at their residence. Revs. J. B. Philips and Lamar Jones will officiate, and the interment will be made in Rose Hill cemetery. Mrs. Licette was born in Marion county, Georgia, and came to Macon about thirty years ago. She is also survived by one brother and four sisters." [end transcription]

Mrs. Licette was laid to rest in the Cabiness Ridge section of Rose Hill Cemetery. I found four other markers in the same plot:

Gilbert L. Licette (1872-1909),
Son of Sarah.

Capt. A. L. Moore (1849-1940),
Son-in-law of Sarah.

Ida L. Moore (1859-1928),
Daughter of Sarah.

Mattie Parnell (1841-1913),
Sister of Sarah.

RoseHillCemetery.org lists an additional burial in the plot -- Pink Licette (d. 1922), but I noticed no gravestone. However, I did find an obituary.

Macon Telegraph
22 April 1922


Pink Licette, 66, died in Birmingham at 7:20 o'clock last night after a long illness. He is survived by two sisters, Mrs. A. L. Moore, of Macon, and Mrs. W. H. Cherry, of Pope's Ferry. The body will be brought to Macon tonight for funeral and interment, arrangements for which will be announced later." [end]

13 July 2010

William Zeigler: the Man, His Vault, and His Woman Slave Mary (Tombstone Tuesday)

William Zeigler was born 18 November 1799 in South Carolina to Nicholas Zeigler. William came to Georgia in 1827 and spent his life farming. He amassed quite a fortune and died 11 June 1855 in Crawford County.

Records surrounding the death of William Zeigler are most fascinating. His obituary and will were transcribed and put online for easy access. I also found him in census records and newspaper items. The 1830 Crawford County, GA Federal census lists Wm. Zeigler with another male and 22-25 slaves. In 1840, Wm. had 66 slaves of which 26 were under the age of ten (thirteen boys and thirteen girls). 35 of the teenagers and adults were "employed in agriculture." I presume the other five were house servants. Mr. Zeigler was the only free white person counted in the household.

By 1850, William Zeigler had to be near or at the height of his fortune. He was listed as a planter from South Carolina living alone in Division 20 of Crawford County, GA. His real estate was valued at $40,000 to $60,000 (I can't quite make out the figure). William owned 90 slaves, ranging in age from 1 to 48 years.

After William's death in 1855, an upcoming executor's sale was noted in the Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia) regarding his lands. Most were in Crawford County, "containing in all about eight thousand acres." Zeigler had the lands divided into nine plantations: Home Place, the Simonton, Colbert, Boon, Dugger, Atkinson, Hatcher, Worsham, and Miller. He also owned land in Bibb County, and was part of The Macon Manufacturing Company co-op, producers of cotton and wool.

William Zeigler's obituary, transcribed by Cheryl Aultman and contributed to the USGenWeb Archives, was recorded in the Georgia Journal & Messanger on 27 May 1855:
Died at his residence in Crawford county, on the 11th instant, in the 56th year of his age, William Zeigler. He was born in Edgefield District, S.C., whence he removed to Crawford co. GA, in 1827, where he remained engaged in agriculture to the time of his death.

In his business habits he was very attentive and economical, whereby he was enabled in twenty-eight years to increase his capitol from ten thousand to three hundred thousand dollars; thus furnishing indubitable evidence that a farmer may become rich.

In his dealings he was strictly honest. In times of scarcity he would bid the rich and monied, who wished to buy provisions of him, to go to a distance and buy; that they had money and credit and could buy anywhere, and submit to the inconveniences and expense of transporting or carriage; that many of his neighbors had neither money nor credit, and that they must have corn and meat; thus he was a benefactor to the less fortunate. He never attached himself to any Church, but his faith was right. Over a year ago he remarked to the writer of this notice,
that he relied upon the mercy of his Maker, and hoped for salvation through the merit's of the Redeemer's blood.

For the information of distant relatives and friends, it is proper to remark, that his remains now rest in a temporary vault in Rose Hill Cemetery, in Macon, Ga., where they will remain until a permanent vault shall be completed according to his directions. He selected this place himself, while in life, from its peculiar fitness for the purpose intended. There let him rest in peace.

Since William Zeigler's will was also transcribed and donated to USGenWeb, we are able to read what the directions were for the vault in which his bones would repose: "My Body I direct my Executor hereafter to be appointed to dispose of in the following manner to wit -- To procure a patent Coffin (Fetche, Metalic or some other Patent Coffin of like nature). Let it be placed therein in a neat Christian Manner in a shroud of the neatest and best material. Let it there remain until the following preparations are made. Obtain a plat of ground in Rose Hill Cemetery Macon Ga -- sixteen feet square, as near the plat upon which is Erected the Monument to the late Oliver H. Prince & Lady as may be practicable. And erect thereon a vault of sufficient thickness to Guarantee its durability above the ground Plat, the ground having been first leveled -- to be supplied with a suitable Iron Door & proper & secure fastenings -- and arched roof made of the best brick and the best Workmanship. The whole of the said vault to be cemented with the best Hydraulic cement and the whole Plat to be surrounded with Iron paleings & proper Gates of Iron with security fastenings. The vault to be of sufficient size to admit the Coffin and persons to arrange it.

Then let my Coffin be placed therein with a proper Monument in front of my vault -- suitable to my condition in Life and the Expenses I direct to be paid by my Executor out of my Estate for which a sufficient sum is hereby appropriated and bequeathed to my Executor for the use & Purpose aforesaid."

Here is how that vault looks today, more than 150 years after it was first built.

The interesting finds in William Zeigler's last will and testament do not end there. The fourth request begins like this: "Is my desire, and so I direct, that the colored children of my Woman Slave Mary, be taken to a state where the laws thereof will tolerate their Manumission, or freedom & that they be there put under Competent and proper Teachers Keeping them together if possible where they may be properly educated according to the Means hereinafter set forth. That they be provided with good & suitable board and lodging having an Eye in this as with selection of Teachers, to Strict Morality, also that they be properly Clothed."

These children of Mary were later named -- Malinda Ann, William Henry, and Octavia. In addition to Mary and her three children being given their freedom and taken to an appropriate state, they each were bequeathed money. $10,000 for Mary, and $30,000 to each of her three children due upon their reaching the age of twenty-one. The interest accrued from the monies was to sustain them until they reached the majority age. Mary's $10,000 was to be put in a trust and she was to be given a sum of the interest paid annually. While the will initially stated the monies were to be given to the children directly, it was later amended to state they instead should be put into a trust and given at the discretion of the trustee. William's two brothers, Henry and Lewis, and his nephew John W. Dent were listed as the trustees.

While William Zeigler does not name these children as his own, it is likely they are. It clearly was his intent that they be educated and financially comfortable for life. But were they?

In 1860, Mary Zeigler (mulatto, age 30, b. VA) and her three children -- Malinda (mulatto, age 12, b. GA), William (mulatto, age 11, b. GA), Octavia (mulatto, age 9, b. GA) -- were living in Batavia, Clermont County, Ohio with a servant and a personal estate of $100,500. In 1870, all were still in Batavia, but the financial situation may not have been quite the same. Forty-one year old Mary then had a personal estate of $100, and there was no longer a servant. Twenty year old William is listed as a "hostler," or stableman. I do not know what happened to Mary Zeigler after 1870.

In 1880, Malinda and Octavia were back in Georgia. They were living at 86 Spring Street, Macon, Bibb County -- not far from where their supposed benefactor and probable father William Zeigler was buried. Octavia was a seamstress.

View Larger Map

Their brother William returned as well to Bibb county. I believe I found him in the census records with a wife, Jane, and later a son, William, Jr. I lost track of him after 1910 when he was working in the railroad yards.

There is evidence that Malinda and Octavia had children, but never married. Newspaper items also indicate they were at least small property owners in the Vineville District of Macon, Bibb County.

In June of 1869, the same year Malinda turned twenty-one, Mary brought her daughter to Macon and demanded what was rightfully theirs according to William Zeigler's will. A couple of months later a lawsuit had to be filed against the trustees of the time, since the original trustees renounced their positions. I do not know the outcome of the suit.

The institution of slavery is an atrocity that cannot be undone and should never be forgotten, yet learned from if possible. Out of the horrible situation arose some interesting relationships -- some forced upon unwilling parties, and some entered into willingly. The case of William Zeigler and his woman slave Mary is one such situation. While I certainly was not a witness to the thoughts and feelings of William or Mary, the relationship they shared seems somewhat like a business. But maybe William was in love, and Mary had no choice. Or maybe there was a mutual attraction. Even with the amount of research conducted, who am I to say?

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