20 September 2016

Free Talker, John B. Giles, Victim of a Cowhiding

I just love it when I come across an anecdotal story about a research subject.  Especially when it makes me chuckle.  (And this one did.) More importantly, tales such as these put more flesh on those buried bones.

First, for those that don't know, the definition of cowhide / cowhiding.  A cowhide (other than being the hide of a cow) is "A strong heavy flexible whip, usually made of braided leather." [The Free Dictionary] Cowhiding is "to beat" with such a whip…Now here's a little story about John B. Giles:

The Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
8 March 1891, pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]


A Scene of Striking Interest in South Macon Yesterday.
A decided sensation was caused yesterday in South Macon by the cowhiding of a prominent citizen by a woman of that section.  The TELEGRAPH'S informant gives the following account of it:

Mr. John B. Giles of Gilesville drove up to one of the South Macon stores in a buggy and alighted.  Hardly had he set his foot on the sidewalk when he was rapidly approached by Mrs. O. F. Lagerquist.

Before the astonished old gentleman could raise his hand in defense Mrs. Lagerquist struck him several times with a cowhide, and after breaking it attacked him with her fists.

Mr. Giles as soon as possible mounted his buggy and drove away safely out of the clutches of his assailant.

The cause of this vigorous onslaught is variously stated.  Mr. Giles has long been noted for his freedom in expressing his opinions on anything that attracted his attention.  As to the exact nature of the remarks or observations made by Mr. Giles on this occasion there exists a great diversity in opinion.

Those who saw the affair yesterday agree that Mr. Giles took his castigation with fortitude under the most trying circumstances.  Only those who have been in a like embarrassing predicament can justly realize what it means to keep "hands off" and preserve an attitude of calm courtesy in the midst of it all…

100_4438According to his broken (as of October 2013) tombstone in Rose Hill Cemetery, Mr. Giles was born 22 July 1830.  I've seen a few names of women that could have been attached to Mr. Giles in marriage, but the only one I'm confident in reporting at this time is Temperance R. Farrar.  She was listed as his wife in the 1880 Bibb County, Georgia Federal census.

Mr. Giles was a railroad conductor, a county commissioner, and a pioneer citizen of a town named after him.  Unfortunately, the town no longer exists under that name.

Mr. Giles died at his home 4 June 1891, just a few short months after his "embarrassing predicament."

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
5 June 1891, pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]


The Pioneer of Gilesville Passes Away at His Old Home.
Mr. John B. Giles of South Macon, one of the best known men in the city, died at 4:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon.

He had been in ill health for several weeks from dropsy, and his death was not unexpected.

Mr. Giles was in his 70th year, and was born in Washington county.  About 40 years ago he was employed as a conductor on the Southwestern railroad.  Later, he was engaged in the farming business and also became the owner of considerable property.

In 1880 Mr. Giles was elected a member of the board of Bibb county commissioners and served two terms, retiring in 1888.

He died in the house which had been his home for many years.  He was one of the first residents of that vicinity, which was until recently called Gilesville, after him.

Mr. Giles was a man of vigorous mind and strongly marked traits of character, and his death is regretted by many.  His wife survives him, also a grown son.

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