19 June 2020

Jane Armistead Taliaferro: an Accomplished Young Lady Unlucky in Love

Well, unlucky in marriage, at least.

With my first glance at Jane's gravestone in Rose Hill Cemetery, I made two hypotheses:

(1) Jane's maiden name was Armisted, and
(2) Henry's middle name was Colt.

Maybe you can see how I did that.

...And I was wrong in both instances.

Jane Armiste(a)d Taliaferro was born about 1839 in Caroline County, Virginia to Louisa G. Armistead and Charles C. Taliaferro. She first married Dr. Cassius Carter on 18 June 1856 in Orange County, VA. About a month later, Dr. Carter was dead. The 11 August 1856 Alexandria Gazette published the following:
Recently, in Orange County, Virginia, in the thirty-first year of his age, Dr. CASSIUS CARTER, of Prince William. The deceased had been united in marriage but a few hours to an accomplished young lady when, amid the innocent festivities common to such occasions, he was arrested by the hand of death. The mysterious dispensation filled many hearts with the deepest grief...
 So Jane was first widowed about age 17.

Seven years would pass before Jane married again. This time, the groom was John Hill Lamar of Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. Though it ended in a Confederate victory, Col. Lamar fell in the Battle of Monocacy (Maryland) six months later. Following from the 21 July 1864 edition of the Macon Telegraph:
...We get sad news from the 61st Georgia. The Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment were both killed at the battle of Monocacy. Both were valued citizens of Macon. Col. John Hill Lamar was quite young, and within the present year married an accomplished and beautiful young lady of Virginia. A more gallant ingenious and right-minded youth never perished on [the] battle-field. He was with all a fine officer, and very popular with his command...
Jane was widowed again about age 25. She had to think, "Are you kidding me?" In a span of about eight years, Jane had been married twice. Yet, she actually only spent about seven months as a married woman. For all the other years, she was Widow Carter/Lamar.

Finally, on 19 September 1870, Jane Armiste(a)d Taliaferro Carter Lamar got married for the last time. To Henry Coit Day, son of Mary Jane Crocker and Charles Day. The couple settled in Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia as Henry was an agent for the Macon & Brunswick Railroad. About September 1873, the couple had a daughter named Mary. Jane died the following month at about age 34.

Daily Telegraph and Messenger (Macon, GA)
2 October 1873 - pg. 4
Death of Mrs. Day.
Mrs. Henry C. Day died in this city at the residence of Rev. J. W. Hinton, at half past one o'clock yesterday morning. Mrs. Day's maiden name was Taliaferro. She was a native of Virginia, and married Col. John Hill Lamar, who command [sic] the 61st Georgia regiment. Col. Lamar was killed at the battle of Monocacy Junction, and shortly after Mrs. Lamar came to this city, where she remained until her marriage with Mr. Henry C. Day, some three years ago. She was a most amiable and charming lady, and had a multitude of friends here who will regret to hear of her death. She had been living in Brunswick for some time, her husband being agent of the M. & B. R. R., but her health being bad, she came to Macon with the hope of being benefited. But alas, she came too late. She arrived here only last Friday, and died as stated, yesterday morning, leaving an infant about a month old...

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05 June 2020

"Paramount" James H. Blount (1837-1903) and the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom

The "Blount Angel" standing in the Central Avenue Division of Rose Hill Cemetery marks the spot of the final resting place of James Henderson Blount and family.

James H. Blount (b. 1837) was a lawyer, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Confederate Army's Floyd Rifles of Georgia, a United States Congressman (D), and a commissioner to the Hawaiian Islands. It's this last post of duty I want to highlight here. Upon Blount's death in March 1903, the following was published in Honolulu, Hawaii's Pacific Commercial Advertiser.


Cleveland's Paramount Commissioner Succumbs to a Long Illness, Dying of Lung Trouble.

His Busy Life and Connection With the Affairs of Hawaii at the Time of the Hauling Down of the Flag, Raised by the United States Minister, Ten Years Ago.

MACON, Ga., March 8. -- James H. Blount, former member of Congress from this district, who has been known for ten years as "Paramount" by reason of the appointment as commissioner to investigate affairs in Hawaii, died at his home here today. His lungs have been affected for some years and he has weakened steadily since two years ago he was stricken with paralysis.

"Paramount" Blount is dead! There are few people in Hawaii who do not know the part he played in the making of the history of this country. During the last couple of years of his life he has been suffering from paralysis.

He was born in Macon, Georgia, on Sept. 12, 1837, and represented the Sixth District of his native state in Congress continuously from 1872 until March 4, 1893, and during that time played an important part in the making of the laws of the United States. Shortly before the expiration of his last term he received unprecedented tribute from his fellow-members of Congress, who, knowing that he had declined a renomination, interrupted the proceedings of the House in order that Judge Holman of Indiana might deliver a eulogy upon Blount's public services...

Blount was dispatched to Hawaii in the capacity of special United States Commissioner by President Cleveland in March, 1893, for the purpose of ascertaining the advantages of disadvantages of annexation and the sentiment of both whites and natives.

For some time after the 4th of March, 1893, rumors reached here that President Cleveland, having withdrawn the treaty of annexation which Messrs. Castle, Carter, Marsden, Wilder and Thurston went to Washington to negotiate, would send a commissioner here to look into the events leading up to and following the revolution that dethroned the Queen...Finally, however, the rumors simmered down to Blount and one fine morning he appeared on a revenue cutter commanded by Captain Hooper. He brought with him his wife and his private secretary, Ellis H. Mills, afterwards United States Consul General.

A great crowd gathered at the boat-landing. Native women, dressed  in white and carrying leis and the flag of Hawaii, thronged to the edge of the dock ready to welcome the stranger whom they thought would restore the Queen. Wealthy residents, supporters of the provisional Government, were there to extend private hospitality. Esbank, the beautiful residence of Mrs. S. G. Wilder, on Judd street, had been secured for Colonel Blount's use, rent free. The crowds waited long at the landing, but the Paramount Commissioner did not appear. He had taken a look at the throng through Captain Hooper's binoculars and wished to avoid it. Finally a barge left the side of the cutter and swiftly made its way towards the landing, the Hawaiian women frantically waving their flags. But Colonel Blount was not aboard. The boat only bore Ellis Mills, who, with a brisk air of importance, mounted the dock, official packet in hand, and took a hack for the Government building. An hour or two later when the crowd was thinned out the Commissioner was landed. A private carriage was in waiting but he declined it and took a hack for the Hawaiian Hotel, where he was assigned to the Snow cottage.

That evening there was a mighty concourse of Hawaiians on the hotel grounds. Berger's band had been crippled, at the time of the revolution, by the withdrawal of most of its native members who had formed a band of their own under the leadership of an East Indian named Libornio. The Hawaiian Hotel being a Royalist headquarters, the Libornio band was employed to play on the grounds. On the night of Blount's arrival it occupied the band stand. Owing to an unhappy fluke it opened the program by playing "Marching Through Georgia," the most distasteful air, perhaps, that the ex-Confederate Georgian Commissioner could have heard. But he bore up manfully. The next day, however, when Berger's band played the same tune for him he wrote about it -- a line or two -- in his official report. Having seen Georgian fields devastated by Sherman's army and having been chased about the State by Sherman's men, any reference, musical or otherwise, to the famous march was gall and wormwood to him.

What would the Paramount Commissioner do? His official call on President Dole had been reassuring. The credentials he handed over were couched in friendly phrase and he said nothing which led people to suppose that he would put an end to the protectorate which Minister Stevens had ordained. At least he said nothing to the public. Minister Stevens, however, had seen bad signs. In meeting him Blount had been more than cool; had declined to say much about the situation; had, in fact, intimated that the United States Minister was a bit superfluous, and that the annexation policy was the work of adventurers.

...One morning the Advertiser startled the town with the brief announcement that, by direction of Commissioner Blount, the American flag would be hauled down from the Government building (Judiciary) at 11 a.m., and the Stevens protectorate ended. It was worth the crisis to see the outburst of American feeling that followed. From over a hundred private flagstaffs the Stars and Stripes were unfurled to the morning breeze and almost every American one met had the patriotic button of the Annexation Club in his lapel. The Hawaiian regiment and battery of artillery at once went under arms. There was a half-defined fear that that Royalists would rise and try to restore the Queen; but the Royalists themselves looked to Blount to do that. One of those wild rumors of restoration had gone about and the Queen's friends were content to await the action of Cleveland's representative. Natives by the hundred, on foot and in carriages, went to the Palace Square. As the hour of eleven approached the bluejackets came into the Government building to perform the act of relinquishment. After them, company by company, came the Provisional troops, and the crowd outside the fence which enclosed the acre about Kamehameha's statue saw little hope for the Queen in the glint of series steel and the frowning mouths of cannon.

The change of flags was very simple. A bugle blew and the Stars and Stripes came down on the run, the halliards in the sinewy hands of a Jack Tar. Five minutes later there was a ruffle of drums, a flourish of brass and the Hawaiian flag, bent on by a soldier of the Provisional Government, went to the masthead. Guards were posted and the crowds dispersed.

The day the flag came down was on or near the fiftieth anniversary of the hauling down of the British flag that had been raised by Lord Paulet.

Blount now began his investigation. People soon saw that he was hopelessly biased against the American colony. The members of it were mostly from the North, directly or by descent; Minister Stevens was a typical Yankee; the Paramount Commissioner was a rank Jeff Davis man, only reconstructed far enough to hold a Federal office. Whenever Hawaiian Americans called on Blount he treated them brusquely, unless, indeed, they were anxious to say a word for the Queen. Royalists, especially native Royalists, he received with open arms. His intimate companions were Claus Spreckels and Charles Nordhoff; the most frequent guests, other than the two gentlemen named, were the late ministers of the crown. Some men of the highest character on the annexation side were unable to get their testimony before Mr. Blount while any man on the Royalist side had a stenographic hearing. There was no surprise, therefore, when, a few weeks afterward, the mail brought back the text of Blount's conclusions, namely, that the revolution of 1893 had taken place under such auspices as the throw the responsibility for it upon the armed forces of the United States.
In his July 1893 report, Blount stated "United States diplomatic and military representatives had abused their authority and were responsible for the change in government." President Cleveland acknowledged "substantial wrong" had been done and deemed the "honorable course" was "to restore as far as practicable the status existing at the time or our forcible intervention." The matter was referred to the U.S. Congress, where the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which overwhelmingly favored annexation) proceeded to perform an investigation of their own in order to discredit Blount. President Cleveland's "honorable course" stalled, and the so-called Provisional Government was recognized.

In 1993, the Apology Resolution was passed by Congress. It stated, "the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii occurred with active participation of agents and citizens of the United States and...the Native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands, either through the Kingdom of Hawaii or through a plebiscite or referendum."

Just over a month after Blount's death, on 13 April 1903, the same Pacific Commercial Advertiser published a more critical article about his role in the annexation of Hawaii:


In the career of Hon. James H. Blount of Georgia, who died on March 8, there is an impressive warning against the fatuous policy of hauling down the American flag in Territory over which it has been raised in conformity with right and justice. Mr. Blount was for twenty years a member of Congress, a gentleman of spotless character, exalted ideals, and magnificent ability, whose services were both honorable and brilliant. But when, as "Minister Paramount" from the United States in 1893 he hauled down the American flag in the Hawaiian Islands, where it had been honorable raised with the full consent and at the urgent request of the recognized authorities, his public usefulness ceased forever, and his official career ended in eclipse. Judge Blount's integrity was beyond the shadow of distrust; his motives were unassailable, and he profoundly believed that the act he performed in Hawaii in obedience to positive instructions from President Cleveland was right and proper. But it was revolting to the sense of the American people, who regarded it as a national humiliation and who placed upon it the indelible seal of their displeasure. Great events since 1893 have fully vindicated the policy of American expansion which Judge Blount, as the representative of a short-sighted policy, unwisely opposed...[T]he memory of the proceeding lingers still, and it is forever nourished by the deep resolve of the people that where the American flag is placed it shall remain, and that the man who removes it from the territory honorably acquired shall forfeit the suffrage of his fellow citizens. -- Army and Navy Journal.
Finally, here's a more traditional obituary from the 9 March 1903 Savannah Morning News (Georgia):


Distinguished Georgian's Life Is Ended Suddenly.
Macon, Ga., March 8. -- Ex-Congressman James H. Blount died suddenly to-day. He had suffered from a stroke of paralysis a couple of years ago, but had been steadily improving. His son, Judge James H. Blount, Jr., from the Philippines, was with him at the time of his death, but he would have returned to the Philippines next week to resume his duties as judge of the United States courts.

Ex-Congressman Blount was the special commissioner appointed by President Cleveland to investigate the condition of affairs in Hawaii. His report to the government is known to have been in sympathy with the claims of Liliuokalani, but it came too late to save her from overthrow, as public sentiment had already crystallized in favor of the Dole party.

...He spent the last ten years of his life farming, from which he received an income of about $7,000 per annum.

In November, 1893, Mr. Blount left public life and since remained quietly at home attending to his private business. He was a lawyer by profession, but had not been in active practice for many years.

During the Civil War he was lieutenant colonel of an independent battalion of cavalry in the Western Department. He was one of the largest land owners in Middle Georgia and a man of wealth. He leaves a wife and four children -- Judge James H. Blount, Jr., of the Court of First Instance at Large in the Philippines; Joseph Blount of Washington, D.C., with the Interstate Commerce Commission; Mrs. Walter D. Lamar of Macon, and an unmarried daughter, Fannie.
James's wife Eugenia, and children Dorothy Lamar and J. H., Jr. are all buried together in Rose Hill Cemetery.

James Henderson Blount was a son of Thomas Blount, Jr. (1768-1840) and Mary Ricketts (d. 1845). This is according to Mrs. Eugenia Dorothy Blount Lamar's entry in a Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book, Vol. 117, published 1915.
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