Browsing All Posts filed under »Antebellum Period«

A virtual stroll through some newspapers from well before the “storm”

July 14, 2012 by

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I was gearing-up for writing another post about another Southern Unionist… ummm, or so he said he was… this morning, but became distracted by something about which I became aware, a few days ago. Thanks to a grant from The Harpers Ferry Historical Association, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has digitized several early 19th century […]

Death poetry from the mid-19th century

October 30, 2011 by

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Since we’re on the eve of Halloween… While I’ve mentioned her more than once, she is, by far, my favorite source for death poetry this time of year. Not only that, but Cornelia Jane Matthews Jordan was well connected to the Shenandoah Valley’s society circle. The following poem was written by Jordan ca. 1848, focused […]

What historical period dominates the (interpretive) landscape, and which are sorely absent?

October 15, 2011 by

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As I drive nearly the entire stretch of the Shenandoah Valley (excepting the West Virginia counties of Berkeley and Jefferson), at least four days a week, I pass various sites of interests. Few, actually, are marked with any indication of their stories… though I’m aware of the stories for most of them. I suspect many […]

Letcher, the politician in search of votes, distances himself from the Ruffner Pamphlet

May 14, 2011 by

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I figured that I would follow-up on my post from this morning, and briefly tackle the continued role that the Ruffner Pamphlet played, up through the governor’s race in Virginia, in 1859. During the Democratic nomination run-off for the governorship of Virginia, in 1859, John Letcher may have regretted his stand on the Ruffner Pamphlet […]

Another Southerner who wanted to free slaves… but…

May 14, 2011 by

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… his motivations weren’t centered on freeing slaves as an issue of morality. Dr. Henry Ruffner was well-educated (Washington College, and Princeton, where he received his D.D.), and headed several Presbyterian pastorates in Rockbridge County, Virginia (not to mention one near his family’s salt works in the Kanawha Valley). He was also a fairly active […]

It was All About Taxes…

March 21, 2011 by

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There is a TV spot discussing the causes of the Civil War recently introduced in some localities.   The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans created the ad and it is one of twelve running.  Thus far the only place I’ve seen a web copy of the ad is on Facebook (here).  While those […]

Southern by the grace of cornbread!

February 23, 2011 by

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Thinking about Craig’s post from the other day, I remembered something I’ve been meaning to post about cornbread… yes, cornbread. Now cornbread has become known as something distinctly “Southron”, but appears to  have origins with the Native People of what is now the southeastern U.S. (references vary, but among those suggested as originators are the […]

Were some Union soldiers fighting to preserve slavery?(!)

February 19, 2011 by

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Yes, you read that correctly. Give me a little time, and I’ll set the stage… As many who follow this blog know, one of my favorite areas of study is western Maryland… most especially, the Clear Spring and Conococheague Districts in Washington County. Likewise, I spend a good deal of time researching the men from […]

Yes, Page County, you once had slaves…

January 16, 2011 by

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While the audience of this blog is typically from well beyond the boundaries of my home county (and, I’m happy to say, even beyond the confines of this continent), I frequently look back to that place, as I have spent a considerable number of years writing about its history. No doubt, it’s fascinating to me […]

Excellent overview of elections leading up to the war

November 18, 2010 by

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Hat tip to Kevin Levin for pointing this out on Twitter. I’ve presented some short pieces about mid-19th century elections here before (here, here, and here), but the following video shows just how complicated it is to gather meaning from those elections. As Dr. Ayers says that we can’t look at the elections from the […]

How all Northerners “then” weren’t really so out of touch with “being Southern”

November 14, 2010 by

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It’s bad enough to hear some contemporary Southerners speak of Northerners as if it was still the time of the Civil War, but it’s even worse to hear Southerners speak of the people of the North from the time of the war, as if they could not, in the least bit, identify with the culture […]

Regarding Mrs. Fannie S. Gibbons

October 24, 2010 by

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Having promised to tell more about the subject of the poem that I posted the other day… I really don’t know a great deal about Fannie Gibbons, but know much more about her husband. Nonetheless… Fannie Shacklett, daughter of Samuel (1804-1886) and Maria Graham Henry Shacklett (1811-1870) was born April 27, 1834; Samuel Shacklett being […]

On the Death of Mrs. Fannie S. Gibbons…

October 22, 2010 by

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THE breath of Spring is nigh–it comes once more To glad the Earth where Winter’s frown hath been, And violets their fragrant incense pour On flowery paths, through dewy meadows green; But all in vain they smile for us–we mourn For thee, sweet Blossom, from our bosoms torn. The birds, gay warblers, flit from tree […]

We interupt this broadcast… Strother on Brown’s Raid

October 17, 2010 by

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I missed the opportunity during the 150th anniversary of the raid, but thought some might enjoy reading what David Hunter Strother (aka “Porte Crayon” or, here, known as “The Porte”) had to say about the John Brown incident. On the morning of the 17th… 151 years ago today… we find Strother in his office in […]

Caroline & the Jack O’ Lantern

October 16, 2010 by

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This ghostly tale is a bit differentv from that of Doc Amiss. What I find particularly interesting is that it comes from the time before the Civil War, and involves one of the Brumback family slaves. I found this tale in a column (a long-running column, I might add) called “Do You Remember”, which appeared […]

Plumb Grove – home of Jonathan Nesbitt, Jr.

October 11, 2010 by

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I’ve got some photos that I took a couple of weeks back while on my road trip to Four Locks and Clear Spring, and I thought that I might as well put them on here for everyone to enjoy. I didn’t include them in the tour that weekend because there is no known tie between […]

A mother returns to her daughter…

October 10, 2010 by

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It’s extremely rare to see me recycle content, but I thought that I’d like to revisit a tale of a ghost that I mentioned last year. Considering the article appeared in the Hagerstown paper on February 8, 1860, there’s a chance that the story was even enjoyed by my Moore kin at Four Locks and […]

Why “Cenantua”?

October 6, 2010 by

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I love this time of year. It’s a chilly day, the sky is overcast… … I have a fire in the wood stove… … and a relaxing cup of cappuccino in my manly-man Mickey Mouse coffee mug (what else??!!) is close at-hand. Feels like a good time to sit down and write… just wish I […]

A Virginia slave in pursuit of freedom

June 3, 2010 by

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I just finished reading something about John M. Washington, a slave who spent some time in Staunton, Virginia in the mid-1850s. To me, finding any account of a slave, for any amount of time in the Valley, is refreshing as it adds new dimensions to an understanding of what life was like here. Regretfully, I […]

What?! No “love” for John Brown?!

May 16, 2010 by

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Just an observation, but May 9 came and went a week ago today with not so much as one post about John Brown. Actually, until earlier this week, I didn’t have a clue that JB was born on May 9 (hmmm, a stubborn Taurus…). Rather, Brown had been defined, at least in my “memory”, by […]

How cool is this?!

April 29, 2010 by

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It’s getting that time of year again, when I want to head back up to the C&O Canal. It’s really a great place. I love walking along all the canal locks at Four Locks, and the drive to Dam 5 is like a snapshot out of time with so many early 19th century homes along […]

Passing thoughts on the “slave times” and “coming to the table”

February 1, 2010 by

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In a discussion with a cyber friend off-blog today, I shared some of my thoughts about the idea of “Coming to the Table.” As I believe I have stated in another post here, sometime ago, I have no descended-through-the-generations stories of slaveholding relating to my family, but I have thoughts as a genealogist who has […]

It’s “show and tell” day! … with a family artifact

January 27, 2010 by

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I consider myself truly fortunate to have a range of family “artifacts”, though I wish I had more that related to the Civil War era… sigh… Anyway, for your consideration today, I have, well, let me simply call her “Aunt”. I say this, of course, because in the days of slavery, so many slaves were […]

Looking for manumissions… on the part of my family

January 11, 2010 by

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A couple of months ago,  I purchased a book that provides information about the African-American manumissions for Washington County, Maryland. The objective… to see if I had any family members who freed slaves in the 1850s and even as late as the early 1860s, in advance of the Emancipation Proclamation. Now, as I mentioned in […]

A little 19th century distraction just in time for Halloween

October 30, 2009 by

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Sidetracking a bit (again) from the examination of western Maryland’s take on the “impending crisis” of 1861, I figured I’d post something else of interest from the Hagerstown Herald of Freedom and Torch Light. This comes from the February 8, 1860 issue. Nothing scary, just a touching 19th century “spirit story.” I always enjoy finding […]

Visualizing a community, and “my people’s” place in it

October 29, 2009 by

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A couple weekends back, I had a chance to make a sweeping “history run,” starting at Loudoun Heights and ending up at Dam 5. All-in-all it was a full-bodied trip, and accomplished within seven hours. At Loudoun Heights, I finally had the chance to meet Craig Swain and his “assistant,” talked a bit, and took […]

The 1860 Presidential vote in Washington County, Maryland

October 24, 2009 by

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As you may recall from my post from the other day, there was discussion about “Black Republicanism” playing a factor in the sweeping display of Unionism in the Clear Spring District. I mentioned in the same post, however, that only two votes were casts in the Clear Spring District for Lincoln. With that in mind, […]

Clarification about the decline in slave numbers in Washington County, Maryland

October 21, 2009 by

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I realized that I should probably clarify something in my post from the other day, that the decline of slave numbers in Washington County should not be thought of in terms of attributable to manumissions alone. It should not be misconstrued as some “Utopia” for slaves, as there were some who continued to escape North […]

John Minor Botts shares some thoughts on John Brown’s raid… and a little more

October 19, 2009 by

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I’ll get back to my thread of posts on Southern Unionism in western Maryland (which began here), but today, considering the 150th anniversary events surrounding John Brown’s raid over the past weekend, I want to post something rooted in thoughts of the raid. Actually, while scrolling through the old CW-era Hagerstown newspapers this weekend, I […]

What is a “true and complete” Southern perspective of the Civil War?

February 17, 2009 by

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If one says he/she is going to present a “Southern perspective” of the Civil War, do you cringe or roll your eyes and say something like, “oh no, here we go?” Is it possible to deliver a non-slanted “Southern perspective” of the war without tripping over all of the perspectives that actually make up THE Southern perspective of […]