Posts Tagged ‘1880’

Mark Twain: Funeral Oration on the Democratic Party

February 22, 2010

Mark Twain Speaking

“Mark Twain Speaking”: Google book preview LINK


His Funeral Oration on the Democratic Party.

During the Republican jollification meeting election night in the Opera House, Hartford, Conn., which was filled to overflowing, Mark Twain was called upon for a speech, and delivered what he termed a funeral oration over the Democratic party. Coming as it did immediately after an address by two clergymen, and beginning in a rather lugubrious way, the assemblage did not at first know how to receive it. As the speaker went on, however, the queer political hit began to be appreciated. Almost every sentence was greeted with roars of laughter. Following is the address:

There are occasions which are so solemn, so weighted with the deep concerns of life, that then even the licensed jester must lay aside his cap and bells, and remember that he is a man, and mortal; that even his light, butterfly career of folly has its serious seasons, and he can not flee them or ignore them. Such a time, my friends, is this, for we are in the near presence of one who


one whom we have known long and well, but shall know no more forever. About the couch of him who lies stricken are gathered those who hold him dear, and who await the incoming of a great sorrow. His breathing is faint, and grows fainter; his voice is become a whisper; his pulses scarcely record the languishing ebb and flow of the wasted current of his life; his lips are pallid, and the froth of dissolution gathers upon them; his face is drawn; his cheeks are sunken; the roses are gone from them and ashes are in their place; his form is still; his feet are ice; his eyes are vacant; beaded sweat is on his brow; he picks at the coverlet with unconscious fingers; he “babbles o’ green fields;” death’s rattle is in his throat; his time is at hand. Every breeze that comes to us out of the distances, near and far, and from every segment of the wide horizon, is heavy with a voice mourning for sorrow accomplished, and the burden of the mourning is, “The aged and stricken Democratic party is dying;” and the burden of the lament will be, “The mighty is fallen; the Democratic party is dead.” And who and what is he that is dying and will presently be dead? A foot sore political wanderer, a honorary political tramp, an itinerant poor actor familiar with many disguises.


In the North he played “Protection” and “Hard Money.” In the West he played “Protection,” “Free Trade,” “Hard Money,” and “Soft Money,” changing disguises and parts according to the exigencies of the occasion. In the South he played “Tariff for Revenue.” In the North and West he played “The Apostle of Freedom.” In the South he played “The Assassin of Freedom,” and mouthed the sacred shibboleths of liberty with cruel and bloody lies. His latest and final appearance upon the nation’s stage was in the new piece entitled


in which he was assisted by the whole strength of the company. It was a poor piece. It was indifferently played; so it failed, and he was hissed and abused by the audience. But he lies low now, and blame and praise are to him alike. The charitable will spare the one, the judicious will reserve the other. O, friends! this is not a time for jest and levity, but a time for bended forms and uncovered heads, for we stand in the near presence of majestic death; a momentous and memorable death; a grisly and awful death. For it is a death from which there is no resurrection. Heaven bless us, one and all! Heaven temper the blow to the afflicted family. Heaven grant them a change of heart and a better life!

The Athens Messenger (Athens, Ohio) Nov 11, 1880

Cheap Labor (Image from


In the opinion of the editor of the Review “a lie well stuck to is as good as the truth,” albeit he complained early in the campaign that he could not induce Republicans to “discuss the issues in a spirit of fairness.” From the very first of the campaign there has been no lie too outrageous for the [Review] to print — no insinuation too mean for its columns, provided it promised to assist the Democratic party. Every one of these campaign lies has been exposed and exploded. Yet the Review has never taken the time to correct the false impressions it sought to make, but as soon as the foundation was knocked from under one lie it was busy hunting up a fresh one to take the place of its worn out slush. Its latest effort in this direction is the Chinese letter which has been attributed to Gen. Garfield. In its issue of this morning are the following items based upon this now notorious forgery:

Garfield is the friend of monopolies; he is the enemy of working men as shown by his Chinese letter.

Garfield is in favor of cheap labor. Well he was pretty cheap himself, doing what he did for $329.

Garfield wants more than 329 Chinese brought to this country to cheapen labor in the interest of great monopolies.

Every Chinese washer-man that now fails to hang out a shirt for a Garfield flag, will be regarded as an enemy to his race.

Bring on your Chinese says the Sage of Mentor. Let us have cheap American labor in the interests of the great manufacturing and carrying interests.

If the workingman can vote for Garfield after his cheap Chinese letter, they should forever after hold their peace when hard times oppress and their families are in want.
How do our workingmen like the idea of having a man for President who is in favor of crushing our labor by Chinese who are not willing to leave their bones in this country when they die.

Now, when the editor of the Review penned those squibs he was well aware that the letter had been pronounced a forgery by Gen. Garfield himself. The Chicago Times of yesterday contained the following editorial paragraph:

The democratic literary bureau is now crowded with orders for weapons, to be used in protecting the vote of the laboring classes, for which the republicans are fighting vigorously and with considerable prospect of success. But it is only in the hands of men “entirely great” that the pen is mightier than the sword, and a dispatch from the Boston correspondent of THE TIMES indicates that the author of the alleged letter of Gen. Garfield, on the Chinese question, was only partially great; that is, he was great as an imitator of the republican candidate’s penmanship, but very far from being great in his familiarity with the Lynn directory. This letter was alleged to have been written to H.L. Morey, a member of the Employers’ union in Lynn, Mass. A dispatch from Boston announces that no such man as H.L. Morey has been known in Lynn, and that no such organization as the Employers’ union ever existed there. This is a sad blow to the bureau. With a view to discourage correspondence with Mr. Morey in regard to this letter, it was announced that he had gone the way of all the earth, and that this letter was found among his private papers after his decease. The ingenuity of this is creditable to the bureau, but its failure to address the letter to some one who had resided in Lynn, and who had been a member of some organization known there, shows that the bureau is not yet what it ought to be. It is said that countless copies of this letter have been printed for distribution where they would do the most good. But while this proves the zeal of the bureau, it also proves that that zeal is not according to knowledge, for it would have been much more judicious to keep the thing quiet till Nov. 1, and then cover all the dead walls in the United States with copies of the letter in circus poster type.

General Garfield’s denial of this letter appears to be pretty thoroughly corroborated.

The following is the special dispatch referred to, which also appeared in the Times of yesterday:

BOSTON, Oct. 21. — The city of Lynn has been scoured by reporters to-day, in order to  ascertain who “H.L. Morey” is to whom Gen. Garfield is alleged to have written a letter indorsing cheap labor. In the first place, no “Employers’ union” was ever known or ever heard of in Lynn. The manufacturers informally got together during the strike in 1878, for the purpose of protecting themselves against the board of arbitration. There was no such organization as an “Employers’ union” even then. These “manufacturers” concluded all the business, and settled up their bills immediately after the labor troubles had ceased, which was in March, 1878. No meetings of the “manufacturers” have been held since that time and there has not been any for of employers’ union; so, it would appear that the mysterious “H.L. Morey” could not be secretary of an Employers’ Union in Lynn, in January, 1880. The man who paid the clerk hire of the manufacturers in 1877 and 1878, says there was no such man employed by the manufacturers. It was telegraphed from New York to Boston that the man Morey was employed by Jerome Ingalls at one time during the strike, but Mr. Ingalls never heard of such a man.

The Review man, however, is not as fair as the Chicago Times, notwithstanding the general reputation of the latter, and he says not a word about the futile efforts made to find the alleged receiver of the letter or the organization he is said to represent. The “spirit of fairness” in which our neighbor wanted to discuss the issues of the campaign is well exemplified in this instance, which is on a par which the spirit that has characterized his course during the whole canvass. He has dealt in misrepresentation, abuse, mean insinuations and barefaced falsehood, and has never yet had the manliness or fairness to correct a single one of them when the proof became too strong to make its use longer profitable. But it will avail nothing; “the American people are not a fool.”

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Oct 23, 1880

The “Rag Baby” a Healthy Child.

Some of our Democratic contemporaries refuse to believe that the rag baby is dead, and they seem really to have had some affection for the melancholy infant. We assure them, however, that it is dead, very dead, in fact. Please now let the funeral go on. — Columbus Democrat.

The “rag baby,” (so called, by Republicans and hard money Democrats aping Republicans,) is the GREENBACK. Now, we know that the greenback is not dead by a long shot. It survives in spite of its opponents, because the people have willed that it shall be a part of the currency of the country. Hard-money Democrats and Republicans may rejoice at what they call “the death of the rag baby.” As the rag baby languishes so does Democratic majorities languish in Franklin county and the State. But the baby will be a full grown man in a few years, and then the hard money lunatics will claim that they helped to raise it, and always were its friends. Bosh!

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio) Oct 30, 1879

HANCOCK wears a pair of free trade boots, protection trousers, a tariff for revenue only vest, hard money stockings, and a fiat money hat. Now, if he will don a Confed. gray coat “all buttoned down before” to hid his Union sword, he will be a walking epitome of his interesting series of extraordinary letters.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) >\Oct 27, 1880

Workingmen and the Tariff.

The feeling of the workingmen of Cleveland was shown by the following mottoes at a late republican torchlight procession:

“‘Tariff for revenue only,’ means British free trade.”

“British free trade mean pauperism to American workingmen.”

“A protective tariff has built up American industry; we want no change.”

“No competition with foreign pauper labor.”

“Charity begins at home.”

“We shall not submit to the nonsense of a revenue tariff and low wages.”

“Protection and good clothes; free trade and rags.”

“Under protection Cleveland will become the rival of Birmingham.”

“Do not steal our bread by striking down the steel works with a low protective tariff.”

“Letthe South establish mills and shops and stop yelling free trade.”

“No low wages tariff for the benefit of England.”

“Protection, prosperity, peace and plenty.”

“Protective tariff and plenty of work.”

“We are now having plenty of work and good wages. No low revenue tariff for us.”

“No pauper wages for us.”

“A protective tariff enables us to own our own homes.”

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Sep 28, 1880


The manufacturing interests of the country have taken alarm at that “tariff for revenue only” in the Democratic platform. A “tariff for revenue only” suits the Solid South, where there is no manufacturing to speak of. The South wants to see internal revenue taxes taken off whiskey and tobacco, and the importation of foreign goods encouraged in order to derive a large revenue from imports. There are many hundreds of millions of dollars invested in manufactures in the North. Should the Democrats get in power and at once break down the protective system, immense manufacturing interests would be paralyzed, and hundreds of thousands of operatives thrown out of employment. The triumph of the Democratic ticket next month means a return to hard times.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Oct 8, 1880

YesterYear for Christmas

December 22, 2009

Thomas Nast illustration, Harper's Weekly

Image from Cannonba!! at York Blog (local history section)



We are waiting, brother, patiently awaiting
To feel thy fond, fond kiss upon our cheek;
And breathe the welcome words we fain would speak
To thee — the hero, who the tide of battle
Strong, hast breasted since the last time greeting.
We are waiting, patiently awaiting.

We are waiting, brother, hopefully awaiting,
Within our dear old home the childhood light
Is burning cheerily for thee to-night.
Seasons are weary since our New Year parting,
And changes many since our last fond meeting.
We are waiting, hopefully awaiting.

We are waiting, brother, anxiously awaiting,
Ever through the long, long night we’re pining.
Thou comest not while stars are sweetly shining,
Nor yet at morning in the glory light.
And when the sunshine and the day is waning
We are waiting, anxiously awaiting.

We are waiting, brother, tearfully awaiting,
White as snow, thy mother’s cheek is failing
While listening to the chill wind wailing.
The Christmas hearth-lights burn but dimly — faintly!
Cold dew-damps gather fast, and hope is dying.
We are waiting, tearfully awaiting.

Hark! hear the watch dog bark! we are not waiting!
We hear a manly voice so soft and tender —
We raise our own to meet thy dark eyes splendor —
That heart beat — then Christmas chime is sweeter,
Lights are brighter and the hearth stone, glowing.
Thank God! we are not waiting, vainly waiting.

Yes, we are waiting, hopelessly awaiting.
A messenger came with that cruel letter:
Be patient, mother dear. I am not coming;
No leave of absence yet — no home returning.”
For me no Christmas chimes, no hearth light burning.
Only waiting, hopelessly awaiting.

Dear brother, through this agony of waiting,
“While the old year lies a dying” — waiting!
Other forms we love may come without thee!
Thy vacant place, ah! none can fill it!
Thy voice is silent — again to hear it!
God grant we may not thus be ever waiting!

SALLIE J. HANCOCK, of Kentucky.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 9, 1864

From the Wilkesbarre Democrat.


Turkies! who on Christmas bled,
Turkies! who on corn have fed,
Welcome to us now you’re dead,
And in the frost have hung.

“Now’s the day and now’s the hour,”
Through the market how we scour,
Seeking Turkies to devour,
Turkies old and young.

Who would be a Turkey hen;
Fed and fatten’d in a pen —
Kill’d and ate by hungry men; —
Can you tell, I pray?

Lay the proud old Turkies low,
Let the young ones run and grow,
To market they’re not fit to go,
Till next Christmas day.

The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Dec 27, 1831


Let this day see all wrongs forgiven,
Let peace sit crowned in every heart;
Let bitter words be left unsaid,
Let each one take his brother’s part;
Let sad eyes learn again to smile, —
A day is such a little while, —
Of all days this the shortest!

Let rich and poor together meet,
While words of kindness fill the air;
Let love spread roses in the way,
Though winter reigneth everywhere;
Let us know naught of craft or guile,
A day is such a little while, —
Of all days this the shortest!

Let us help, each with loving care,
Our brothers on the way to Heaven;
Let’s lay aside all selfishness;
Let pride from every heart be driven,
Let Christmas-day bring many a smile, —
A day is such a little while, —
Of all days this the shortest.

Indiana Weekly Messenger (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Dec 22, 1880

The Christmas Jubilee.

We can almost hear the chiming
Of the joyous Christmas bells;
Almost feel the mirth and gladness
That the Christmas tide foretells.
We can almost hear the echo
From Judea’s distant plain;
Almost hear the bursts of music
That will float in sweet refrain.

Everywhere in expectation
Hearts are beating with delight,
And in childhood’s happy kingdom
Every eye is beaming bright.
Soon the dawn will be upon us
As from out the night it wells,
And the earth will hear the music
Of the merry Christmas bells.

Soon the wondrous star of glory
Will illume the Eastern sky,
And the angel bands of heaven
Will sing paeans from on high.
Soon the story of the manger
Will be heard throughout the earth,
And each heart will leap with gladness
O’er a loving Savior’s birth.

Soon the chiming bells of Christmas
Will be ringing sweet and clear,
Pealing forth the joyful message
To all nations, far and near.
Soon the lofty dome of heaven
Will resound with music sweet,
As the bells of earth exultingly
The old-time song repeat.

Hail we then the joyful Christmas —
Happiest time of all the year —
With its sweet and ringing music,
With its mirth and boundless cheer.
Every lip is singing praises;
Every fireside rings with glee;
Every heart is shouting “welcome!”
To the Christmas jubilee.

— G.C. RHODERICK, JR., in Middletown Register.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Dec 21, 1891

Yule-Tide in Many Lands

by Mary P. Pringle and Clara A. Urann 1916

Chapter IXYule-Tide in America

Johnny Clem: The Boy of Chickamauga

November 6, 2009

little john clem pic

Little Johnny Clem

Image above can be found on Find-A-Grave (posted by Grave Tagr,) along with a biographical sketch and pictures of his gravestone.

The Youngest Soldier in the Army of the Cumberland.

Last evening, at the Caledonia supper, Gen. Rosecrans exhibited the photograph of a boy, who, he said, was the youngest soldier in the army of the Cumberland. — His name is Johnny Clem, twelve years of age, a member of company C, 22d, Michigan infantry. His home is at Newark, Ohio. He first attracted Rosecrans’ attention during a review at Nashville, where he was acting as marker for his regiment. His extreme youth (he is quite small for his age) and intelligent appearance interested the general, and calling him out, he questioned him as to his name, age, regiment, &c. Gen. Rosecrans spoke encouragingly to the young soldier and told him to come and see him whenever he came where he was.

He saw no more of Clem until Saturday last, when he went to his place of residence — the Burnett House — and found Johnny Clem sitting on his sofa, waiting to see him. Johnny had experienced some of the vicissitudes of war since they last met. He had been captured by Wheeler’s cavalry, near Bridgeport. His captors took him to Wheeler, who saluted him with —

“What are you doing here, you d—-d little Yankee acoundrel?”

Said Johnny Clem, stoutly — “General Wheeler, I am no more a d—–d scoundrel than you are, sir.”

Johnny said that the rebels stole about all that he had, including his pocket book, which contained only twenty-five cents.

“But I would not have cared for the rest,” he added, “if they hadn’t stole my hat, which had three bullet holes in it, received at Chickamauga.”

He was finally paroled and sent north. On Saturday he was on his way to camp Chase to join his regiment, having been exchanged. Gen. Rosecrans observed that the young soldier had chevrons on his arm, and asked the meaning of it. He said he was promoted to a corporal for shooting a rebel colonel at Chickamauga.

The colonel was mounted, and stopped Johnny on the fied, crying “stop you little Yankee devil.” Johnny halted bringing his Austrian rifle to an “order,” thus throwing the colonel off his guard, cocked his piece, (which he could easily do, being so short) and suddenly bringing it to his shoulder, fired, the colonel falling dead, with a bullet through his breast.

The little fellow told his story simply and modestly, and the general determined to honor his bravery. He gave him the badge of “roll of honor,” which Mrs. Saunders, the wife of the host of the Burnett House, sewed upon Johnny’s coat. His eyes glistened with pride as he looked upon his badge, and little Johnny seemed to have grown an inch or two taller, he stood so erect. He left his photograph with General Rosecrans, who exhibits it with pride. We may again hear from Johnny Clem, the youngest soldier in the Army of the Cumberland.

Cincinnati Times.

The Daily Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) Dec 18, 1863



Of course you remember the story of little Johnny Clem, the motherless atom of a drummer-boy, aged ten, who strayed away from Newark, Ohio; and the first we knew of him, though small enough to live in a drum, was beating the long roll for the 22d Michigan. At Chickamauga he filled the office of “marker,” carrying the guidon whereby they form the lines; a duty having its counterpart in the surveyor’s more peaceful calling, in the flagman who flutters the red signal along the metes and bounds. On the Sunday of the battle, the little fellow’s occupation gone, he picked up a gun that had fallen from some dying hand, provided himself with amunition, and began putting in the periods quite on his own account, blazing away close to the ground, like a fire-fly in the grass. Late in the waning day, the waif left almost alone in the whirl of battle, a rebel colonel dashed up, and looking down at him, ordered him to surrender.

“Surrender!” he shouted, “You little d—-d son of a —–!”

The words were hardly out of his mouth when Johnny brought his piece to “order arms,” and as his hand slipped down to the hammer, he pressed it back, swung up the gun to the position of “charge bayonet,” and as the officer raising his sabre to strike the gun aside, the glancing barrel lifted into range, and the proud colonel tumbled from his horse, his lips fresh-stained with the syllable of vile reproach that he had flung on a mother’s grave in the hearing of her child! A few swift moment’s ticked on by musket shots, and the tiny gunner was swept up at a rebel swoop and borne away a prisoner. Soldiers, bigger but not better, were taken with him only to be washed back again by a surge of federal troopers, and the prisoner of thirty minutes was again John Clem “of ours;” and Gen. Rosecrans made him segeant, and the stripes of rank covered him all over, like a mouse in a harness; and the daughter of Mr. Secretary Chase presented him a silver medal appropriately inscribed, which he worthily wears, a royal order of honor, upon his left breast; and all men conspired to spoil him; but, since few ladies can get at him here, perhaps he may be saved.

Well, like Flora McFlimsy, the sergeant ‘had nothing to wear,’ the clothing in the wardrobe of loyal livary was not at all like Desdemonia’s handkerchief, “too little,” but like the garments of the man who roomed a month over a baker’s over, a “world too wide;” and so Miss Babcock of the sanitary commission, suggested that a uniform for the little orderly would be acceptable. Mr. Waite and other gentlemen of the “Sherman House” ordered it, Messrs. A.D. Titsworth & Co., made it, Chaplain Raymond brought it, Miss Babcock presented it, and Johnny put it on. Chaplain Raymond, of the 51st Illinois — by the by, a most earnest and efficient officer — accompanied the gift with exceedingly appropriate suggestions and advice. I happened at headquarters just as the belted and armed sergeant was booted and spurred, and ready to ride. Resplendent in his elegant uniform, rigged cap-a-pie, modest, frank, with a clear and a manly face, he looked more like a fancy picture than a living thing. Said he to the chaplain; “you captured me by surprise yesterday.” Now, he is “going on” thirteen, as our grandmothers used to say; but he would be no monster if we called him only nine. Think of a sixty-three pound sergeant — fancy a handful of a hero, and then read the Arabian Nights, and believe them. Long live the little Orderly!

Rebellion Record.

CENTRALIA SENTINEL (Centralia, Marion Co., Illinois) Nov 16, 1865

john Clem in uniform


Little Johnny Clem’s Brave Work
(From the Cincinnati Gazette.)

There are but few persons who read the current events of the war for the Union as they were transpiring, who do not remembers, among the enduring record of brilliant achievements made by distinguished officers and the gallant rank and file of the army, the invincible spirit and soldierly qualities displayed by that remarkable child soldier known as “Little Johnny Clem, the drummer boy of Chickamauga.”

Various references from time to time respecting this infantile prodigy of the war have appeared in books and newspapers, yet all have failed to embody some of the most prominent incidents herein narrated connected with his army life. The “Rebellion Record,” by Frank Moore, and Lossing’s “History of the Civil War in America,” have each consigned to the pages of history the undaunted deed that has enrolled his name forever among the most gallant and devoted spirits that participated in the hard fought battle of Chickamauga, as well as other battles to the close of the war. Lossing speaks of little Clem as “probably the youngest person who ever bore arms in battle;” hence every incident connected with his entering the army, and while therein, possesses peculiar interest to those who watched the trembling balances of their country’s fate, and the valor of those to whose keeping they were confided.

John L. Clem, a motherless atom of a drummer boy, who might have been placed, in April, 1861, within a “regulation” drum, was born in Newark, Ohio, August 13, 1851, and in May, 1861, shortly after the war broke out, offered his infantile services as a drummer to Captain McDougal, of the 3d Ohio regiment, which was then passing through his native town, but on account of his size and tender age, not being yet ten years old, he was rejected, the regiment was on his way to the front, and having taken passage on the cars for Cincinnati, our little hero went down on the same train, where he offered himself to the 22d Michigan, who also declined to muster him in on account of his size and years, but owing to the persevering spirit with which he maintained his determination to follow the fortunes of his country upon the field, he was allowed to accompany the regiment in all its subsequent movements, until at length he was beating the “long roll” in front of Shiloh April, 1862, where his soldierly spirit so _on the confidence and admiration of the regiment that in June or July, 1862, he was enlisted at Covington, Ky., as a drummer, but serving afterward also as a marker.”

At Shiloh (known as Pittsburg Landing), his drum was smashed by a shell, which occurrence earned for him the appellation of “Johnny Shiloh,” as a title of distinction for the fearless manner in which he discharged his duty at that bloody battle; and at Chickamauga, of which we shall speak presently, that field of Thomas’ glory and renown, he received the title of “The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga,” under which he has already passed into story, where his name and title will live forever in connection with an act there performed by him, which for coolness and undaunted valor, is not equaled on the pages of ancient or modern warfare, in one so young, and which won for him the highest meed? of praise from Rosecrans and Thomas, and every other officer and man of the Army of the Cumberland.

Here little Johnny Clem, having just passed his twelfth year, exchanged the “long roll” of the drum for the “brisk fire” ___ the deadly musket; and on the 23d day of September, 1863, when the line of battle was about being formed, our little drummer boy, now acting as a “marker,” might have been seen with his trusty little musket, as it afterward proved — which had been shortened for his use — seated upon a __aisson side by side with artillerymen, going sto the front to form the line and face the coming storm of death in common with others. The line being formed, he now took his position in the ranks, and with his little musket began putting in the periods? quite on his own account, blazing away close to the ground like a firefly in the grass. At the close of hte day, when the army was retiring toward Chattanooga, the brigade to which little Johnny was attached was ordered to hold its position, but  ___ing afterward surrounded bythe rebels, demand for its surrender was made directly after its charge had been repulsed. When a rebel colonel rode up toward our little hero, who could not fall back as rapidly as the rest of the line, and made a special demand for him, exclaiming, “Halt! Surrender! you d–n little Yankee s-n of a b—h!” still coming with his sword drawn upon little Johnny, who had now brought his musket to an “order arms,” and in doing which he slipped his hand down the barrel and cocked it while at an “order,” when our little hero suddenly swung up his musket to the position of “charge bayonet” and fired! when lo! our little David brought down the proud Goliah! who fell from his saddle, his lips fresh stained with the reproachful epithet he had just flung upon a mother grave in the hearing of her child! Simultaneous with the performance of this brilliant deed the regiment to which little Johnny belonged was fired into by the surrounding rebels, when he fell as though he had been shot, and laid there until darkness closed in, when he arose and made his way to Chattanooga, after the rest of the army. Now, all history may be searched in vain for an instance of such forethought, courage and self-reliance as this. A reference to this most daring act in the papers of the day was the first intimation his family had received of his whereabouts during his two years’ absence and upward.

Lossing’s History speaks of him as having received three balls through his cap during the fortunes of the day at Chickamauga, which statement has since been full confirmed, only that they were received directly after he had shot the rebel colonel. For his undaunted valor and heroic conduct he was made a sergeant by Rosecrans, who placed him on the roll of honor and attached him to the headquarters of the Army of the Cumberland; and a daughter of Secretary Chase presented him with a silver medal inscribed, “Sergeant Johnny Clem, 22d Michigan Vol. Inf., from N.M.C.,” which he worthily wears as a priceless badge of honor upon his left breast, in connection with his grand army medal.

In a few days after little Johnny’s arrival at Chattanooga, our tiny gunner was captured with others, while detailed to aid in bringing up the supply train from Bridgeport, Alabama, and held in captivity for sixty-three days, during which time he was kept on the move until he was at length paroled down near Tallahassee, Florida, and sent to Camp Chase for exchange, which was not complied with.

Having captured this gallant little prize, the rebels despoiled him of the companionship of his little bullet torn cap, which he endeavored in vain to retain as a reminscence in the future of the perils through which he had passed, taking also from him his jacket and shoes. Upon reaching our lines, he found General Thomas in command of the Army of the Cumberland, who received him with the warmest enthusiasm and made him an orderly sergeant and attached him on his staff.

In addition to the battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga, he was at Perryville, Stone River (sometimes called Murfresboro), Resaca, Kenesaw, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Nashville and others, where the Army of the Cumberland covered itself with so much glory.

Besides the three balls that passed thro’ his little cap at Chickamauga, he was struck once with a fragment of shell upon his hip and twice by balls. Upon one of the latter occasions, he was in the act of delivering a dispatch from General Thomas to General Logan at Atlanta, when a ball struck his little pony obliquely near the top of his head, killing him, and wounding his fearless little rider in the shoulder. He is held in the highest estimation by all the officers and men of the Army of the Cumberland, and General Thomas was his fast friend and correspondent up to the time of his death. He served until the end of the war, when he was honorably mustered out, and at once directed his attention to qualifying himself for a cadetship at West Point, to which he has been appointed a cadet at large by President Grant, upon the recommendation of Generals Thomas and Logan, and other officers of the Army of the Cumberland, in recognition of his gallant services. Owing, however, to the limited opportunities previously afforded him, he was rather unsuccessful in passing his examination last fall in one branch only, having had as fair a general average in the other branches as the majority of those who did pass; but he is now diligently prosecuting his studies during the spare time he is not employed at his desk in the Census office at Washington, with confidence in his ultimate success when again before the board. He is still small in size, very youthful in appearance, and a consistent member of one of our prominent religious denominations; and his pleasant address and modest deportment win the confidence of all with whom he is brought into intercourse.

Decatur Review (Decatur, Illinois) May 4, 1871


Image and an article can be found at Edrumline Crossing the Line


Some Interesting Facts of the “Drummer Boy of the Chicamauga” — His Parentage — Career Curing and Since the Late War.

(Special Correspondence to the Dispatch)
NEWARK, July 20, 1880.

A person passing through the markets any Wednesday or Saturday, can see a medium-sized man, with straggling gray hairs and a face that plainly indicates the possessor’s German extraction, standing behind a rudely constructed bench loaded down with vegetables and garden truck. Through rains and storms this silent and seemingly contented German market tender has stood at his allotted market space. He lives and has lived, for the last twenty years, in a small and comfortable house, about a mile from this city, on the Granville road. This is the father of Johnny Clem, whom everybody in the Army of the Cumberland knew as “the drummer boy of Chickamauga.”

At the breaking out of the war, Johnny was struck with the martial music of the troops recruiting in this city, and ran away from home, going into the army as a drummer boy. Everybody is familiar with the history of this daring lad, who was petted by the officers and soldiers on all sides. During the war he became a favorite Orderly of General George H. Thomas, who, at the close of the war, assumed a sort of guardianship over him, and took a special interest in his welfare.

Johnny was sent to school at West Point, where he graduated, and soon afterwards entered the regular army and was stationed at Texas. Here he met General Brown’s daughter, and soon after married her. It was not long after his marriage that he was promoted and stationed at Fort Brown, Texas, where he still remains on duty.

Every summer he visits his aged parents and renews old acquaintances with his school-mates and companions. Johnny’s brother Louis, entered the regular army some few years ago, and, during an engagement on the Western frontier with the Indians, was massacred. The death of the brave boy weighed heavily on his aged father, and he frequently relates his sorrows to attentive listeners.

‘Pap’ Thomas frequently wrote to his protege, and a paragraph from one dated at Nashville, June 27, 1866, has special interest at the present time. The following is an exact:

“DEAR JOHNNIE — Do you remember the story of General Garfield’s life? He worked on a canal, and educated himself by buying his text book, which he studied at every leisure moment, while the canal was not frozen up. Now he is one of the most distinguished of our Representatives in Congress. He was also greatly distinguished as a soldier during the late war.”

Johnny Clem acquired a national reputation, as the youngest and smallest soldier in the Union army, as well as for gallant conduct.

The Marion Daily Star (Marion, Ohio) Jul 30, 1880


Incidents of His Early Life Recalled by a Meeting with Mrs. Grant.

The many friends in Newark of Captain John Clem of the United States Army will be interested in the following taken from the Columbus Dispatch:

Columbus people will undoubtedly read with interest the details of a meeting between Mrs. U.S. Grant and Captain John Clem which occurred at Atlanta yesterday. Captain Clem, now Assistant Quartermaster General of the army, was for a long time stationed at the Garrison in this city and, departing, left a legion of friends. His meeting with the widow of General Grant occurred at a reception she was holding for Confederate veterans at Atlanta. This favor had been asked by the veterans and readily granted. Among other who called to pay their respects to Mrs. Grant was Captain Clem.

“Of course I know Captain Clem if it is Johnny Clem, the drummer boy,” said Mrs. Grant when introduced to him, “I remember so well hearing my husband tell of how he found you at Shiloh that day beating the long roll and telling you you were a brave boy, but ought to be home.”

Captain Clem received his appointment as a lieutenant at the hands of President Grant. Of the reception in general Mrs. Grant said, “I regard it as one of the most handsome compliments that has ever been paid to me.”

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Jan 31, 1895


To Be a Major — Honor Paid to a Newark Boy.

A dispatch from Atlanta conveys the intelligence that Captain John L. Clem, Assistant United States Quartermaster, stationed at Atlanta, has received work from Washington that he will be promoted to the next grade to which he is eligible, (Quartermaster with rank of Major) as soon as a vacancy occurs.

“Johnny Clem will be remembered as “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh.”
His many friends congratulate him on his prospective appointment.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Feb 14, 1895

A Soldier at 11.

There are only 77 officers on the active list of the army below the grade of general who served in the Civil War. All of these with one exception will soon be retired. The exception is that of Col. John L Clem, of the quartermaster’s department, whose age limit will not be reached until 1915. This extended time is due to the fact that “Little Johnny Clem, the drummer boy of Chickamauga,” as he was familiarly known, was probably the youngest person who ever bore arms in battle.

Col. Clem was also known as “Johnny Shiloh,” from the fact that in the battle of Shiloh he rode to the firing line on a caisson by the side of a veteran artilleryman, and then performed an act of daring in such a brave and cool manner that it gave him a name in history. He drummed the charge at Shiloh when he was only 11 years old, and with his short musket he killed the Confederate colonel who demanded his surrender at Chickamuaga. He is a popular officer, not only with his fellows of the army, but in social circles as well, being as genial a man as he is chivalrous a soldier.

Col. Clem was born in Ohio on Aug. 13, 1851, and in May, 1861, before he was 10 years old, he offered his services to the Third Ohio Regiment as drummer, but the mustering officer declined to enlist him because of his size and his youth. Later he offered his services to the Twenty-second Michigan, and though enlistment was refused, he was permitted to accompany the regiment to the field and to beat the “long roll” in front of Shiloh in April 1862. His soldierly manner and conduct in that engagement so won the confidence and admiration of the officers of the regiment that in May, 1863, he was permitted to enlist as a drummer and was then known as “Johnny Shiloh.” But it was on Sept. 23, 1863, at the battle of Chickamauga, that he displayed especial bravery. He had just passed his 12th birthday anniversary and had laid aside his drum for a musket, the barrel of which had been cut down for his use; and after acting as a “marker” for a time he took his place in the ranks. As the day closed, and the army retired to Chattanooga, his brigade was ordered by the enemy to surrender, and “Little Johnny” was himself covered by the sword of a Confederate colonel. His regiment was then fired into, and, falling as if shot, the juvenile soldier lay close until dar, when he went to Chattanooga and joined his command. But as he fell to the ground he fired at the Confederate officer and killed him, and so demoralized the Confederate com???? in such a way that his own associates escaped capture.

For his bravery young Clem was made a sergeant by Gen. Rosecrans and detailed to the headquarters of the Department of the Cumberland. He also received a silver medal from the hands of Miss Kate Chase, daughter of Chief Justice Chase. He was afterward captured by the Confederates and held prisoner for 68 days, and after his release he was promoted to orderly sergeant by Gen. Thomas. He was discharged from the service in September, 1864, when he returned to his old home and attended school, being graduated from the Newark High School in 1870. President Grant, who had kept watch of “Little Johnny” after the war ended, appointed him a second lieutenant in the regular army in 1871. Three years later he went to the artillery school at Fortress Monroe for a course of instruction in military science, and a year later passed a most sucessful examination.

The Daily Herald (Delphos, Ohio) Nov 13, 1903

littlest hero pic clem 1915


Colonel Clem Last Civil War Veteran In Active Service.


Fought With Little Musket Which Men of His Regiment Fashioned For Him — His Memorable Encounter With a Confederate Colonel After Chickamauga — Youngest Sergeant.

Youngest Sergeant Army Has Had.

After the battle General Rosecrans made Clem a sergeant — the youngest of that rank who ever served in the United States army.

Following the battle of Chickamauga, when the Union army was retiring toward Chattanooga, the brigade to which Clem was attached had been ordered to hold its position. The position became untenable, and the brigade fell back and, in doing so, lost “Little Johnny” Clem.

Suddenly out of the woods he came like a scared rabbit and ran full tilt into a Confederate colonel.

“My but you are a little shaver to be in this business!” the Confederate officer said, “But war is war, so you had better drop that gun.”

Instead, the boy fired point blank. The colonel fell from his horse badly wounded, and Johnny darted into the bushes. Late that night he turned up at Chattanooga.

The Confederate colonel, who recovered, afterward said he would never get over the suprise “that kid gave him.”

Adams County News (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jul 4, 1914

johnny clem  pic 1915


Brigadier General John L. Clem, “The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga,” and the Last Civil War Veteran in the U.S. Army, Will Go Out of Service On His “Lucky Day” — Gets a Job With His Son in San Antonio.

When Colonel John Lincoln Clem, officer in the Quartermaster Department at Washington and personal friend of hundreds of San Antonians, is retired from active service with the rank of brigadier general Friday, the thirteenth of August, this year, the last living link between the present United States army and the armies that participated in the civil war will be severed. Colonel Clem is the only veteran of that tremendous conflick still in active service with the United States Army.

After active service in the army for more than 45 years — he could have retired 15 years ago had he wanted to — “[the littlest hero] of the civil war,” and one of the most interesting figures in the army of the United States at the present time will quit active service and come to San Antonio to make his home as Brigadier General John L. Clem, U.S.A., retired.

He was born on Friday, the thirteenth of August, 1851; while he is not the least bit superstitious, the combination of Friday and the thirteenth day of the month, has marked the luckiest events of his life, and he will retire when that combination occurs in August on his sixty-fourth birthday. More than once in his lifetime has he remarked upon incidents which have turned out to his advantage occurring on the thirteenth of hte month and usually when that date fell on Friday. It is a strange coincidence that almost every time he was advised of promotion in the army, the notice came to him on the thirteenth day of the month.

Asks Son for a Job.

And when this combination occurs on the calendar next month he will retire from active service in the army, but not from active participation in affairs of the world. Brigadier General John Lincoln Clem, U.S.A., retired, hero of the civil war and late important figure in quartermasters affairs at Washington, will come to San Antonio to become automobile salesman in the regular employ of the Collins-Clem Automobile Company, one of the proprietors of which is his son, John L. Clem Jr.

Recently Colonel Clem wrote to his son: “I hereby make formal application for a position as automobile salesman with the Collins-Clem Automobile Company, distributers of Studebaker cars in the San Antonio district. Please advise me of your decision in the matter.” Then he wrote down at the bottom: “I am yet just as good a man as you are, son, and I can do just as much hard work in one day as you can, if I am a little old. I am going to buy a car from you, hire me a chauffeur to drive me on demonstrations, and I will sell as many cars as you will.”

This letter, as much as many other incidents in his life, brings out the quality in his character which have made him one of the most beloved of men among his associates.

“Invaded” Mexico.

One of these incidents, which forms the theme of a story many of his friends take great delight in relating about him, occurred on the Rio Grande frontier shortly after he entered the United States army as a second lieutenant. Lieutenant Clem was placed in charged of a squad of soldiers sent out to apprehend cattle thieves. The soldiers trailed the outlaws five days, but were unable to get closer than within a few miles of the rapidly fleeing band. The cattle thieves escaped across the Rio Grande and stood on the other side making motions at the soldiers, which Lieutenant Clem understood as essentially insulting. He resented their actions intensely, and at the head of his squad, crossed over the river into Mexico, gave chase to the desperadoes, and in an engagement the cattle thieves were killed to the last man.

Shortly after the incident, Lieutenant Clem received a letter from the commander of the department, General E.O.C. Ord. Lieutenant Clem was officially reprimanded. He was told that his conduct was unbecoming an officer of the United States army, he had been guilty of tremendous lack of judgement, he had violated the neutrality laws and his action might result in complications between two nations at peace. Such an escapade must never be repeated, on pain of serious consequences to the perpetrator.

The Heart of a Soldier.

The communication was officially signed in ink. A penciled inscription, in the department commander’s handwriting at the bottom of the page, read: “Good boy, Johnny, do it again.”

A newspaper correspondent in Washington asked Colonel Clem, on the occasion of the last memorial day, what memory was uppermost in his mind that day. And the famous old soldier, who, at the age of 12 years, was the twice-wounded veteran of one of the greatest campaigns of history, did not reply with a tale of sanguinary adventure.

“My memory pictures today what my kid eyes saw fifty-one years ago today,” he said gently, “a soldier in blue an a soldier in gray, shaking hands like two loving comrades between the trneches, swapping tobacco and coffee. In the morning they were to stab each other brutally with bayonets in a fierce hand-to-hand fight for those very trenches. Yet what I like to think of first on memorial day is not the bloody fight, but that tender scene preceding it, which showed me that after all, man to man, we soldiers of the north and of the south were friends and brothers always. We of the north hated that which they fought for, but we did not hate them personally, nor they us.

Was Impersonal War.

“And that is the most hallowed of my memories on this memorial day, for it brings back the thought that we who fought to kill each other were really never enemies. It was a war of cannon against fortress, of rifle against trench, but never of man against his brother man!

“It is the great tragedy of those bloody deaths we brought each other, but not because of hatred for each other, but for the sake of a principle, that we must think of on this sacred memorial day.”

Johnny Clem ran away from his home in Newark, O., when he was ten years old and attached himself to the Twenty-second Michigan regiment. The officers tried to chase him away, but the soldiers made him a pet and mascot and, finally, in May, 1862, the colonel enlisted him.

He was the hero of a brilliant scene at Chickamauga performed right under the eyes of his Union comrades, who were falling back rapidly. Johnny’s poor little legs were weary, and, so he lagged behind, a Confederate colonel galloped up to him, “Surrender, you damned little Yankee devil,” he cried.

Loved Life by Feigning Death.

Weak and tired though he was, his nerves never quivered. He pulled up his heavy musket — he had abandoned his drum — and fired. The colonel fell headlong from his horse, and a volley of bullets from the men behind him rained over Johnny Clem. Johnny’s comrades on the hill saw their heroic little soldier boy fall face downward. The battle raged four hours after that, and at dark the Union forces rested. Suddenly, into their bivouac crept Johnny Clem, unhurt, and displaying with tremendous pride his cap pierced by three bullet holes. He had saved his own life by shamming death.

General Thomas made the hero drummer boy a sergeant for that deed of bravery. And when the general advised him of promotion, the youngster answered: “General, is that all you’re going to make me?”

Later in his civil war careet, the 12-year-old soldier was hit on the hip by part of a shell, wounded in the ear while dispatch riding and once taken prisoner.
He is probably the only living man who voted legally at an age under 15. At the time Lincoln was elected the second time, all soldiers of the army were allowed to vote. Johnny Clem was a soldier in the army and he voted.

Johnny Clem went to high school when the war was over and then entered the army as second lieutenant. In his early service, he was the central figure in many exciting adventures on the Texas frontier. He is one of the very few infantry officers to graduate from the army artillary school and holds other distinctions for service in the army.

To Know Him Is To Love Him.

He was stationed at Fort Sam Houston for the first time in 1900 in the quartermaster department. He remained here four years, after which time he became chief of the quartermaster department of the Philippines, with headquarters in Manila. Two years later he was transferred to San Francisco and later returned to Fort Sam Houston as chief of hte quartermaster department of the Department of Texas. While stationed here, he probably made more friends among San Antonians than any other army officer who has ever been quartered at the army post.

Colonel Clem left Fort Sam Houston four years ago when he was transferred to the quartermaster department in Washington. He has been connected with the quartermaster department in Washington for the last two years.

After retiring from the army August 13, Colonel Clem will spend several months in the north and east,. At Dayton, O., a city-wide celebration, to be known as Clem day, has been arranged in his honor by Colonel Clem Garrison, Army and Navy Union, and the Grand Army of the Republic organization in that city.

He will come to San Antonio about December 1 to make his home.

THE SAN ANTONIO LIGHT (San Antonio, Texas) Jul 11, 1915


Read more about Johnny Clem:

Ohio History Central: Johnny Klem – Johnny Clem

Learn Civil War History: A Civil War Blog of History and Stories:  Johnny Clem

Watch the official trailer for the movie: Johnny

Look Out For The Census Man

October 23, 2009


JAMES HITCHCOCK and WALTER C. HOOD are the Census Marshals for Scioto county. Mr. HITCHCOCK has the townships of Clay, Jefferson, Madison, Nile, Washington, Union, Morgan and Brushcreek. Mr. HOOD takes the city of Portsmouth and the townships of Wayne, Porter, Green, Bloom, Vernon and Harrison. This week we republish the leading questions — and it is hoped that all will try to have the exact answers ready in time for the Marshal when he comes.


Count up Your Cattle, Children, Corn, Acres, &c., for the Census Man.

IN arranging the heading of this item, we have had respect to the relative degree of interest usually taken in the subjects. This year will occur the decennial census of the United States, the first object of which is the apportionment of representatives in Congress. Persons will be appointed for every locality in the States and Territories, to gather statistics of the inhabitants, and of all the agricultural productions, manufacturers, &c. Every cultivator will be asked for a concise, accurate statement of land occupied by him, the number of acres and the amount of each crop raised during the year ending June, 1859. As these reports will be called for in June, it will be necessary to give in the crops gathered last year, and the suggestion we would now make is, that cultivators write down, while fresh in their mind, the number of acres under cultivation, including the wheat, &c., gathered. The number of acres of each kind, the amount per acre, and the gross amount, will be required. The milk products also, and the amount of pork, beef, &c. will be asked for; also, the number of persons, male and female, and their ages, in every house. — Advanced spinsters, and middle-aged bachelors, widows and widowers, will undoubtedly cordially do their best to enlighten the census-takers as to their ages.


THE editor is busy, — taking the Census. Can’t do much in the line of writing this week.


WE have a number of items, touching our experience and observations while taking the census of the First Ward in this city, but must defer their publication to a “more convenient season.” All in time, however.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jun 9, 1860

From The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida) apr 5, 1930

From The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida) apr 5, 1930

The Census-Takers and the Public.

IT would seem that a good many people have not yet got over their fright of 1840. Twenty years have not obliterated from the tablets of their memory the impressions put there by the Opposition papers and stumpers of that day. They were then told that the census-takers were mere spies of the General Government to find out the substance of the people for the purpose of taxing it.

The babies were to be taxed, the ducks were to be taxed, the corn was to be taxed, the pigs were to be taxed, every thing was to be taxed, and if the taxes were not paid, that their property would be seized and sold to pay them.

It seems that the belief they were then scared into sticks to them, and the census-takers now find considerable opposition from ignorant people. They will not give the information required by the law. It is surprising that at this day any persons can be found who would refuse to comply with the requirements of the law by answering the questions put by the census-takers. The object of the law is a good one, and all good citizens will give the census-takers a helping hand.


The Decennial Census.

THE United States Marshals and their assistants began, on the 1st of June, the task of taking the seventh decennial census of our people. The different censuses aggregate as follows:

Unusual care has been taken in the preparation of the schedules of questions, and it is to be hoped that the aggregate statements will be ready for publication at an earlier day  than those of 1850. A circular containing a list of the queries in Schedule 1 has been prepared for circulation among manufacturers, and will be placed in their hands in time to prepare complete replies, as it is very desirable that as correct a return as possible may be made of every description of articles manufactured with the value of each. In case the information is withheld, or false returns made designedly, the following penalty is affixed by the fifteenth section of the Act of Congress:

“Each and every free person more than twenty years of age, belonging to any family residing in any sub-division, and in case of the absence of the heads and other member of any such family, then any agent of such family, shall be, and each of them is hereby required; if thereto requested by the Marshal or his assistant, to render a true account to the best of his or her knowledge, of every person belonging to such family, in the various particulars required in and by this act, and the tables thereto subjoined, on pain of forfeiting thirty dollars, to be sued for and recovered in an action of debt by the assistant, to the use of the United States.”

The first schedule will require answers as follows:

The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June was in the family.

The profession, occupation, or trade of each person, male or female over fifteen years of age.

Value of all real estate, wherever located, and all personal estate.

Place of birth.

Married within the year.

Attended school within the year.

Persons over twenty years of age who cannot read or write.

The manufacturers’ schedule requires the name of business; amount of capital invested; raw material used, either in manufacture directly or as fuel; the kind and value of raw material; kind of motive power, or resources, as furnaces, bloomeries, etc., number of hands employed; wages paid them; and the quantity, number and value, at the manufactory, of the articles manufactured.

This is the most important schedule, and it is of the utmost importance that all the required information should be fully and accurately given. By this table the entire labor product of the country — its real wealth — is to be determined.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jun 16, 1860

THE census takers will soon be around with all sorts of questions, and the ladies are advised to “get their ages ready.”

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 28, 1870


The census-taker in Davis county, Iowa, asked a woman at a farm house the age of her oldest child, and the reply was: “You have come around a month too soon.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jun 30, 1870


TWENTY-SIX is the maximum age attained by any unmarried ladies, say the census takers.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 23, 1870

A Southern census taker says:

As for the ages of the negroes, that is almost entirely a matter of conjecture. So far as my experience goes, nineteen out of twenty cannot tell within then years how old they are, nor are their parents more accurate even with regard to their very young children, “John was born in cotton pickin’ time, de year before freedom struck de earth;” “Jenny was two monts old when Massa Charley got wounded in de war;” “Sal was born ’bout de time massa built him new gin house;” “Jime was born in de Christmas week of de year when frost killed de taturs;” such are the data from which to collect the ages of children, while the years of older persons are a matter of more uncertain conjecture.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Sep 21, 1870


The Census.

The census taker complains of difficulty in ascertaining the number of persons in many families, because of the impression that the information is to be used for political purposes…

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Nov 23, 1873


The work of taking the national census will be commenced in June, and when completed will furnish a great deal of valuable and instructive information, as a comprehensive review of almost everything relating to the material prosperity of the country.

The number of acres under cultivation and the acreage of each particular crop will be given.

The people will also be able to post themselves with regard to the quantity and quality of the weather they have used up in the past, so to speak, and form conjectures as to what they may expect in the future.

All this information can not fail to be useful, and will create a demand throughout the country for more censuses, at shorter intervals than has been customary heretofore.

The field of inquiry might be advantageously extended into other departments of knowledge, and thus the sphere of usefulness of the census-taker widened out very perceptibly.

For instance, a good many believe in the truth of phrenology, and popular parlance sustains this belief. How often we read of a wise man being “a man of brains.” Daniel Webster, Napoleon the First, and almost all other men of remarkable ability had, or are supposed to have had, very large heads. Perhaps, if the census-taker were to present a tabular statement of the exact dimensions of the heads of the members of congress and of our sixteenth legislature, some data might be obtained that would be useful to the state and country, and more than repay the additional expense incurred in obtaining the desired measurements. The people would have some clew by which to go in selecting the next batch of representatives.

Or, let up suppose that the census-taker were to turn his attention to another class of offenders. How instructive, and even amusing, it would be to peruse a tabular statement showing at a glance how many murderers have been tried in Texas during the past few years; how much, in dollars and cents, each murderer was worth; what the action of the courts was in each case; how many lawyers each murderer had to assist him; how long he was in jail before he got his final trial, etc. In that case the relations between big fees, frequent continuances, and foul acquittals could be ascertained. There would be no difficulty in finding out how many wealthy and influential murderers have been executed during the last ten years, and how many indigent and friendless ones honorably acquitted.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 12, 1880

Census Taker — Married or single, ma’am?

Woman — Married.

Census Taker — Any children?

Woman — No.

Census Taker — Husband living?

Woman — Yes.

Census Taker — Has he any children?


Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Dec 17, 1889


The Brunet of the Species is More Deadly Than the Blond.

A woman in Lowell, Mass. replied to the census taker’s question, “To what race do you belong?” by writing down brunet. — Indianapolis News.

Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Feb 20, 1920

The Beloved Fannie Dugan

October 17, 2009
The Fannie Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

The Fannie Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

The inspiration for this post was the 1874 article entitled An Appeal, written by the widow of Capt. John McAllister, pleading with the public to not allow the Fannie Dugan‘s new competition to run her out of business, as this steamboat was her sole source of income since the death of her husband. It turns out the Fannie Dugan was one of the most popular steamboats running in the Portsmouth area during the 1870’s.


The Mountain Belle leaves for Catlettsburg, every day at 2 o’clock. She was purchased a few days since, by John McAllister, from the Big Sandy Packet Company — price $15,000.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Aug 6, 1870


Frank Morgan and Capt. McAllister of the Mountain Belle, have gone to Cincinnati to get an outfit for their new boat, the Fannie Dugan. They will return Wednesday.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 6,  1872


The Fannie Dugan was presented with a new bell by Thomas Dugan.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 27, 1872

Thomas Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

Thomas Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

Some background on where the Fannie Dugan got her name:

(I) Thomas Dugan. grandfather of Dr. Thomas (2) Dugan, of Huntington, was born, according to one tradition, in Ireland, and according to another in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When a young man he removed to Portsmouth, Ohio, where he engaged in mercantile business, later becoming a leading banker of that city. He was president of the Farmers’ National Bank of Portsmouth, and loaned the money with which the site of the city of Huntington was purchased. He married Levenia Mackoy, born in Kentucky, and they were the parents of two children: i. James S., of whom further. 2. Fannie, became the wife of J. C. Adams, a prominent citizen of Portsmouth, and died in 1885, at the age of thirty-two years, leaving two children : Earl and William, now engaged in the manufacture of fire-arms and fire-works in Portsmouth.

Fannie Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

Fannie Dugan (Image from Portsmouth Public Library)

The steamer “Fannie Dugan” was named in compliment to Mrs. Adams, and her father, Thomas (i) Dugan, gave two hundred and fifty dollars for the silver to be used in casting its bell, and also presented the piano to form part of its equipment. At the time of his death, a sudden one occurring in 1873, ‘”IS ^^’^s in the prime of life. The old Dugan residence still stands in Portsmouth, on the corner of Chillicothe and Eighth streets, and is one of the finest specimens of colonial architecture extant. Mrs. Dugan died in 1894, in Huntington.

West Virginia and its People (1913)
Author: Miller, Thomas Condit; Maxwell, Hu, joint author
Volume: 2
Publisher: New York, Lewis Historical Pub. Co.


The Fannie Dugan, on her second trip out, broke a camrod and returned to this place on one wheel, where she is to remain until the ice thins out.

The new and elegant steamer Fannie Dugan has purchased a beautiful Valley Gem piano of D.S. Johnston.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 17, 1872


Capt. John McAllister, and not Jack as we erroneously stated, is sick, but recovering slowly.

Capt. Jack McAllister has sold out his interest in the Fannie Dugan at the rate of $24,000 for the boat, and has purchased the Mountain Belle for $10,000. Capt. McAllister has refitted and refurnished the Belle, and will leave here with her for Pittsburg next Monday, the 22d. We wish Capt. Jack abundant success.

The Fannie Dugan brought 400 barrels of malt from Pomeroy last Monday.


The Mountain Belle refurnished and refitted, will leave the city, at the foot of Market street, on Monday next, for Pittsburg and return. Parties having goods to ship to any way landings, or through to Pittsburg, are requested to ship by the Belle.

First class accommodations for passengers.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 20, 1872


Captain John McAllister is prostrated at his residence in Springville, Ky., but hopes are entertained of his recovery.

Captain Jack McAllister has sold his interest in the Mountain Belle To Robert Cook, and purchased an eighth interest in the Fannie Dugan from his brother. The Dugan has been repainted, and with Captain Jack on the roof, is running in the Portsmouth and Cincinnati trade.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 19, 1872


Capt. John McAllister is still confined to his bed.

The Fannie Dugan has returned to her Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade.

The Mountain Belle is doing a thriving business just now, and Capt. Ripley is looking up freight industriously. Capt. Jack McAllister is on the roof, and the Belle is a good boat to travel on or ship by.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 26, 1872


Death of Captain John McAllister.

CAPTAIN JOHN McALLISTER, of Springville, Ky., and well and favorably known as a steamboat captain, died last Monday morning at 8:40 A.M. Captain McAllister had a host of friends on the river and shore, and his loss is one that will be felt by a large circle of friends and relatives.

He was a native of Lewis county, Ky., and was forty-eight years of age at the time of his death. About the year 1864 he purchased the Portsmouth and Springville ferry and removed to the latter place. He afterwards owned the steamers Jonas Powell and Mountain Belle, and last fall built the sidewheel steamer Fannie Dugan, which he commanded at the time he was taken ill.

Although a resident of Greenup county, he took a deep interest in the growth and business prosperity of our city, and by his liberality and enterprise he provided Portsmouth with excellent up-river packets, and did much to increase the trade of the city in that direction. The deceased always bore an irreproachable character, and was a man of generous impulses. The remains were taken to his old home, in Lewis county, on Tuesday for interment.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Nov 9, 1872


THE Fannie Dugan has taken the fancy collar off her pipes and looks as large as the Great Republic. She blew out a cylinder head last Wednesday on her up trip, and returned here for repairs.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Apr 5, 1873


Ten couple of Guyan lads and lasses came down on a pleasure trip on the Fannie Dugan last Wednesday. They danced all night, and enjoyed themselves hugely. Clerks, Simon Balmert and Robert McAllister, joined in the Terpsichorean excitement.

Quite a change has been made in the steamer Fannie Dugan. Mr. James Bagby, for many years connected with the commercial interests of Portsmouth, and at present in the mercantile business just across the river, has purchased of Mrs. McAllister, widow of the late Captain John McAllister, one half of the boat, at the rate of $24,000. He has placed Captain Jack McAllister on the roof, and under his command the merchants and traveling public will find the Fannie Dugan the steamer to patronize. These gentlemen have done much to keep up the wholesale trade of Portsmouth and Ironton, the boat having been built under the immediate superintendancy of Captain McAllister to meet the demand for a strictly local freight and passenger packet. So long as they give satisfaction, they are entitled to the entire patronage of shippers at this place and points on the river between here and Guyau.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 12, 1873

Charleston WV Capitol 1870 (Image from

Charleston WV Capitol 1870 (Image from


A Cheerful Lunatic Writes us a Letter — He finds out how far it is to Gallipolis.

Monday, in the evening,
May 26, 1873.

EDITOR TIMES — Thinking it would interest your readers, I have concluded to write you a few lines  about (we keep the type standing of all letters up to this place. It don’t fail once in ten thousand times — EDITOR,) a pleasure trip on the Fannie Dugan to Charleston and return. I seat myself to the task. (A large reward offered for a correspondent who will stand up and write us a letter. — ED.)

Through the kindness of Capt. Wm. Ripley, several young folks were invited to take passage last Saturday evening, and at 6 o’clock we rounded out and were soon steaming up the beautiful river. At Haverbill, Ironton, and elsewhere, others came aboard. The distance from Portsmouth to Gallipolis is ninety miles, and from thence to Charleston, sixty-four miles.


After supper the table was cleared and music, with its voluptuous swell, set many happy lads and lassies tripping the animated toe, which same continued to trip until midnight, when, to avoid mutilating the fourth paragraph on the Mosaical tablet of stone, fond pillows were pressed, and placid sleep, nature’s uncopyrighted and unpatented panacea, was poured upon the weary sons and daughters of Terpsichore.


I had forgotten to observe that at Ironton the gentlemanly and accommodating wharfmaster, W.G. Bradford, and lady got aboard, spoke kindly of you, and complimented the TIMES very highly.

We reached Gallipolis Sunday morning at 9 A.M., and taking a Kanawba pilot, departed at 10 A.M. The Kanawba is a meandering stream, interspersed with beautiful islands and Sunday fishermen. Very few towns on the river from Point Pleasant to Charleston. Landed at Charleston at 4:30 P.M.


Charleston is the capital of West Virginia, and if a man don’t care what he says, it is a beautiful city. The population is liberal, and about one-third of it is negroes. The streets are thirty feet wide and two feet deep. Gorgeous mud holes adorn the principal streets, and the delicious musical concatenations of whippoorwill and frog produce an endless chain of discord at all hours.

The artistic crossings are sawed logs raised a foot above the streets, and the dull monotony of smooth carriage riding is broken by the logs and the mud holes. Only one Charlestonian was out riding last Sunday with his dulcines. His buggy was upset, and when his hat was fished out of a mud hole he gave two negroes three dollars to take it home in a wheelbarrow. They have their sidewalks in their cellars. The State House is a magnificent old-fashioned mammoth building, a cross between a hospital and a penitentiary, and is romantically situated in a clover pasture, with no pavements or sidewalks, and in wet weather the Reps go over on stilts or in dugouts. The pious Charlestonians don’t drink wine, ale, beer, or even whisky, on Sunday, but Boggs, (everybody has heard of Boggs,) keeps a soda fountain on Front street, and “flies” are great things to get in a glass of soda water, especially when the soda man hears you wink.


We left Charleston at 4:30 P.M., nothing of importance occurring between that place and Gallipolis, except the assiduous love-making of two Portsmouth gentlemen to a brace of Gallipolis damsels. It is hinted that certain young ladies of this city should not trust their fickle lovers away from home, especially when the Gallipolitian senoritas are in their company.

Captain Ripley and Simon Balmert, Clerk, were attentive and obliging, and it was hereby resolved that as long as the Fannie Dugan is officered by them, passengers will be pleased, freight will be cared for properly, and the bird of the period, the goose, will be dizzily elevated. The steward set tempting tables, and after midnight Sunday night dancing was renewed, and everybody reached Portsmouth happy.

The Fannie Dugan is the first sidewheel steamer that has been to Charleston for many years, and made the run from Gallipolis to Charleston and return in less time than ever made before by any boat.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 31, 1873


MRS. McALLISTER, widow of the late John McAllister, has purchased the one-eight interest in the Fannie Dugan, owned by Mr. Robert Bagby. Capt. McAllister will continue on the roof, and no more accommodating boatman ever walked the roof of an Ohio river steamboat than Captain Jack. The Fannie Dugan will be off the docks and resume her trade the early part of next week.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Aug 9, 1873


THE Fannie Dugan has temporarily quit the trade. The logs, rocks and bars of low water were too thick for so good a little boat. She leave this evening on a special trip to Cincinnati. Passengers will take in the Exposition Monday and return the same evening.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Sep 20, 1873


MRS. McALLISTER has repurchased J. Bagby’s interest in the Fannie Dugan, and the gallant Capt. Ripley is on the roof and will look after the interests of the steamer. Capt. Bagby will superintend the new wharfboat and attend to his store on Second street.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Nov 29, 1873


Capt. A.J. McAllister will go on the roof of the Fannie Dugan next Monday, and Mate Gray and the old Steward will ship with him. This gives the Fannie her old crew again.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Dec 27, 1873


An Appeal

To the Merchants and Manufacturers of Portsmouth, Ohio, and elsewhere in the Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade, and the traveling public:

PAINFUL as is the necessity of making an appeal of this kind to you, under the circumstances I am compelled to do so, for reasons which appear herein. My late husband, Capt. John McAllister did more in his day to build up a trade between Portsmouth and the cities and towns along the river from this place to Guyandotte then any other man on the Ohio river. That his action tended largely to increase the wholesale trade of the city of Portsmouth, I think none will deny. He built the Fannie Dugan as a first class packet, which has worked in the interests of the Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade when no other boat has done so. Upon the death of Capt. John McAllister he left me the Fannie Dugan and the trade he had built up, my only means of support for myself and children.

Since his death a new boat has come in, making an effort to drive me out of the trade, or in the event of my staying to run me in debt and take away my only means for supporting my family. The action of her owners is hardly fair, when the clerk of the new boat when he sold his interest in the Fannie Dugan sold his good will in this trade. While his ingratitude to my late husband could be passed by, his effort to deprive me of my only income does not certainly recommend him to the people of Portsmouth, who knew my late husband so well, and remember him as only a clerk who has obtained the greater part of his money by the kind-heartedness and generosity of the dead man whose widow he is wronging.

While the name of the opposition boat should make citizens feel proud of her, the action of her officers and owners is too expressive of the motive that led them to adopt the name, and hence such as to lead the shippers of the city to give the matter some consideration. They are men able to make their living, and with a new boat it would be more creditable in them to build them a trade from Portsmouth to elsewhere than to attempt to wrest it from a woman.

I have aimed to deserve your support, and the means necessary to spend in an effort to save my boat from being crowded out, have been invested in a large and commodious wharf-boat, for the better preservation of freight shipped to and from the city. This I have only cited to show the merchants and business men of the city that nothing has been left undone to further their interests and the interests of shippers along the river.

As it is used against me by the opposition that I have only to blame myself because I would not put my boat in the Portsmouth and Pomeroy trade, I would say that the proposition was carefully considered, and at the advice of experienced business men and river men, it was made plain that a boat in that trade would lose money to begin with.

I have been thus plain in presenting these facts to you because I have felt the effects of the late panic, and have lost several hundred dollars by the partial failure of one who had all my earnings in his possession. I hope, then, those to whom I appeal will pardon me for so doing when my reason for it are so well taken, and that they will continue the liberal patronage heretofore extended to me, which I shall aim to deserve.

I have secured Capt. A.J. McAllister to command. He has done much to extend the trade of Portsmouth in the past, and will do all he can in the future, having served in the Portsmouth and Guyandotte trade for many years. The clerk, Simon P. Balmert, is a resident of Portsmouth, is accommodating and reliable, and known to you all, and needs no recommendation at my hands.

In conclusion, if the opposition, with their new boat, want to gain laurels, I put it to the gallant gentlemen of Portsmouth if they had not better try it in another field, and if they are successful the hand of scorn wouldn’t be pointed at them, and it couldn’t then be said, “Oh! they only succeeded in defeating a woman.” In the days of chivalry men fought men, have they degenerated so far that women will be called upon to defend themselves from those who should be their protectors?


The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 10, 1874


RIVER NEWS. The Rankin has taken the place of the Fannie Dugan, and the latter is now running in the Cincinnati and Manchester trade.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Sep 19, 1874


MRS. CATHERINE McALLISTER, Mrs. Nannie Thomson, and Miss Lennie McAllister, went up to Huntington on the Fannie Dugan last Saturday, had a very pleasant trip, and returned Monday morning.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 22, 1876


AN excursion party went up on the Fannie Dugan last Friday. Mr. and Mrs. John Thompson, Mrs. Nan Thomson, Mrs. Catherine McAllister who chaperoned Miss Lennie McAllister, and Miss Helen and Kate Morton were the guests immediately from Springville. Miss Nannie and Sallie, daughters of Capt. A.J. McAllister, accompanied by Miss Pet Thomson, got on the boat at their home, above Springville.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 19,  1876


The steamer Fannie Dugan will extend her trip to Pomeroy to-day, with the genial Balmert and Bob McAllister in the office, and Capt. Jack on the roof. It is hinted that a grand excursion to Parkersburg is contemplated next Saturday, but of this we are not certain.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 13, 1876


The colored population of the city will give a picnic at the grove opposite Ironton, next Tuesday. The Scioto and Fannie Dugan will convey passengers. There will be a vast crowd present.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 29, 1876

City of Ironton (steamer) (Image from

City of Ironton (steamer) (Image from

Important changes have taken place in the Portsmouth and Pomeroy Packet Co.’s  line, since last report, the new steamer City of Ironton taking the place of the Fannie Dugan, the Dugan in place of the Scioto, and the Scioto daily from Huntington to Pomeroy. There is no change in the crews. Capt. Jack McAllister commands the Dugan, with Will Waters clerk, Capt. Geo. Bay commands the City of Ironton, with Mr. Fuller in charge of the office.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 28, 1880


Marine Midgets.

The Fannie Dugan is out now, and ready for her run. The boat has been overhauled, repainted, and presents a fine appearance.

The Scioto, which has been running in the place of the Fannie Dugan, will resume her former trade, from Huntington to Pomeroy.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Nov 20, 1880


THE Bay Brothers are making regular time with their Portsmouth & Pomeroy packets, the B.T. Enos and Fannie Dugan.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 4, 1882

St. Johns River Map - 1876 (Image from Wikipedia)

St. Johns River Map - 1876 (Image from Wikipedia)

Departure of the Fannie Dugan for Florida.

The staunch and reliable Ohio river packet, Fannie Dugan, has been sold by her owners to Capt. C.B. Smith, who will take her to Florida, in a short time, to run in the St. John’s river trade. The Dugan made her last trip from Pomeroy Saturday evening, starting Sunday morning for Cincinnati where she was delivered to her new owner, and put upon Capt. Coffin’s ways, to be repaired before taking her long trip to the South. The price received is understood to be $7,500, which is considered an extra good sale.

The Fannie Dugan was eminently a Portsmouth boat, having made this city the lower terminus of her tri-weekly trips ever since she was built in 1871. In that year her hull was constructed at Ironton, the machinery and cabin being added at our wharf. Her original owners were Capt. John McAllister, Frank Morgan, S.P. Balmert and Capt. “Jack” McAllister, the latter gentleman acting as her Captain from that time until the sale last week. The cost of putting her upon the river was about $20,000 and for more than ten years she made profitable trips from Portsmouth to Huntington, or Guyandotte, and return. The Dugan always made money for her owners — the net earnings during many busy seasons of her career being $1,000 a week. She was a fast boat, well furnished and manned, and was very popular along the route. Numerous changes were made in her owners ?p during the time she was in the trade, Messrs. George and William Bay, S.P. Balmert, William Jones, Wash Honshell and H.W. Bates, of Riverton owning her at the time of the transfer — the two last name gentle men having the controlling interest.

It is understood that no boat will be put in the place of the Fannie Dugan until the completion of the Bay Brothers’ Louise, now being finished at Ironton.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jun 17, 1882

Railroad Wharf on St. Johns River - Florida (Image from

Railroad Wharf on St. Johns River - Florida (Image from

CHARLES W. ZELL has returned from his trip to Florida, greatly pleased with what he saw and experienced. He was at Sanford, and saw the Portsmouth men who are working there, and says they are greatly pleased with the country and have made up their minds to remove their families and make it their home. He was on the Chesapeake, and saw Captain and Mrs. Maddy. The Fannie Dugan was run into by an ocean vessel and sunk, and is a total loss. An attempt will be made to get our her machinery and put it into a sternwheel boat.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Feb 27, 1886


Read an account of:



A good article with pictures:

c.2005 by Virginia M. Cowart  LINK HERE

(note: if the above link doesn’t work, try THIS ONE and just scroll down)


A great collection of steamboat photographs can be found here:

UW La Crosse Historic Steamboat Photographs LINK

Specifics about the Fannie Dugan (including picture) HERE (same site)

The Festive Descendant of Ham

October 16, 2009

Wow! I bet the writer of this “news” piece graduated with honors from the school of “Descriptive Journalism.” He used at least SIX different racial descriptors, and EIGHT more generic, but derogatory ones, to describe ONE man.

Encounter With a River Pirate.

The peaceful parlors of the steamer Scioto were changed into a prize-ring Monday afternoon, and the inhabitants thereof were thrown into a state of great excitement. At Ironton a huge individual of color, bearing a piratical aspect and under the ‘fluence to no little extent, boarded the boat. This festive descendant of Ham entered the ladies parlors, and seating himself at the piano, began executing airs that would cause the bones of Beethoven to turn over in their grave. It was evident to the occupants of the parlor that music was one of the lost arts to this sable son of sinfulness, and the lady passengers becoming frightened, both at the murder of an innocent and inoffensive piece of classic music, and the general deportment of the modern master, raised the alarm.

The clerk, a gentleman of lilliputian proportions, undertook to eject the Zulu, when the latter squared himself and showed signs of fight. The engineer and mate were in turn called, but beat a precipitate retreat when they discovered the character of the animal they had to deal with.

Captain Jack McAllister was summoned, and came down from the pilot house. Taking in the situation, he seized an iron poker and began beating the pirate over the head. The poker was bent and almost utterly ruined, while the cranium of the colored customer did not appear to be injured in the least. The African grabbed a chair and began smashing chandeliers, beating the doors of the staterooms, and directed a few of his blows at Captain McAllister. It was a desperate struggle, and the women were frightened almost to death, while the officers of the steamer did not fell very comfortable.

The burly bruiser held the fort until the boat reached Catlettsburg, where, with his own free volition, and the undisturbed exercise of his mental faculties, he concluded to stand on terra firma, where the rights of an intoxicated man were not trampled upon. There was a sigh of relief when the pestiferous passenger and terrific trespasser set foot on Kentucky soil, and the occupants of the boat felt a degree of safety once more.

Captain McAllister had a thumb and finger broken, and sustained injuries about the head and shoulders, causing him to take a few days vacation.

If the actions of the negro are as bad as reported to us, a miniature mortar should have been planted and turned on him. The captain of the boat showed great patience and forbearance, and the disturber of the peace should congratulate himself that his head was not broken.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Sep 25, 1880

Editor of “Greenback Standard” Murdered

July 6, 2009


Dr. Perry H. Talbott, editor of the Greenback Standard, published at Maryville, Mo., was assassinated last Saturday evening at nine o’clock, while at home surrounded by his family. We have seen no intelligent opinion expressed as to who did the shooting; Talbott before he died said he thought it must have been a paid assassin of the national banks, “some enemy of the great cause which I represent.” We regard this as ridiculous, and regret that a gentleman of the profession should leave such a foolish statement behind him.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Sep 21, 1880


Capt. Lafe Dawson, attorney for the Talbott boys, visited them at St. Joe yesterday. It is understood that he is working up a confession by which they are to be released. The plan is supposed to be to have Wyatt, the alleged insane participant in the murder of Dr. Talbott, confess that he did the shooting. This si expected to procure the release of the Talbott boys, and then Wyatt is to get off on the old insanity dodge.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 2, 1881


IT was stated in one of the afternoon’s Greenback speeches that the Democrat and Republican parties were now each represented in attempts at assassination, but that the Greenbacks had escaped the odium. The speaker is evidently not familiar with the assassination of old Dr. Talbott, editor of a Greenback paper at Maryville, by his two sons, who were stalwart Greenbackers.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 16, 1881


A more fiendish murder than that of Dr. Talbott was never perpetrated, yet there is increasing indignation — particularly in the office of the St. Joe Gazette — that his murdering sons will probably hang for the crime.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 18, 1881


The Talbott boys have made another confession, which is to the effect that neither one of them had anything to do with the killing of their father, but that Will Mitchell, Mrs. Talbott’s sister’s husband, is probably the real culprit. A few weeks ago one of them confessed that he did the killing while Dr. Talbott was beating his mother, but as that did not satisfy the Governor, another statement had been made. This is the third story of it they have told, and Governor Crittenden will not be blamed for accepting the verdict of the court in preference to either one of them. They will be hanged at Maryvill to-morrow.

The gist of the confession consists of a conversation that Albert heard between Mitchell and Wyatt, and in which Wyatt tells the manner in which they accomplished the shooting, and the events that follow are given in long detail. There is another conversation given before the date of the murder between Wyatt and Mitchell, in which the latter consents to do the killing for a consideration. Mitchell is considered a leading spirit of the murder, partly out of revenge for the death of his wife who caught cold after having been ordered by Dr. Talbott from his home and died; and, second, because the doctor refused to let him marry his oldest daughter.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 21, 1881


ST. LOUIS, July 22. — The [Post-Dispatch’s] Maryville, Mo., special says: Albert, Rand and Chas. E. Talbott, convicted of murdering their father, Dr. Perry H. Talbott, on the  18th of September last, and respited once, were hanged this afternoon in the presence of from 8,000 to 10,000 people. Up to a late hour last night they expected gubernatorial interference, but at midnight went to bed after a lengthy interview with their mother and sisters, and Miss Lewis, to whom Albert was betrothed. Mrs. Talbott was very bitter against the Governor for not commuting the sentence of her boys.

The prisoners received the last sacraments of the Catholic church this morning. It was an exceedingly affecting scene between the prisoners and their relatives.

About noon, Charles, the youngest one, broke down completely and begged that something might be done. This unnerved the women and made a terrible scene. The women were removed. Mrs. Talbott frantically resisted, but the guards led her away crying, “I hope you will be satisfied when you have killed my boys.” The brothers were taken to the gallows in an omnibus, being strongly shackeled. The women and the crowd followed. The scene when the trap fell was very solemn, the whole crowd uttering groans.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 24, 1881


Although it is notorious that the Talbott boys quarreled incessantly with their father, and finally killed him, one of them said a few hours before the execution that “We will soon be seated with our dear father on the Great White Throne.” It is probable that the old man, when he saw his two sons alight on the Great White Throne beside him, knocked them off with a harp, spades and neck yokes not being used in that country, and therefore not available to throw at members of his family, as was his custom here. Old Dr. Talbott was the Elder Mitchell of Missouri, and his last words were that he had undoubtedly been murdered by National bank presidents, although one story of the murder told by his sons is that when they fired the fatal shot, he had their mother on the floor and was jumping upon her. The idea of such fiends roosting lovingly on the Great White Throne is supremely disgusting.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Aug 9, 1881



A worthless whelp named Birch wanted to marry Anna Lanaham, one of the daughters of an old farmer near Rock Rapids, Iowa. The old man objected, and drove Birch from his house. The consequence was that Birch and Anna, assisted by Maggie, another daughter, and Mrs. Lanaham, wife of the farmer, devised a scheme for getting rid of him. One day, after he had returned from a farmers’ meeting, Maggie slipped up behind him and put a bullet through his brain. Her sister Anna then broke out a window pane, so as to make it appear that he had been fired upon and killed from the outside by some unknown party. The murder was planned some time in November, but it could not be carried out until a few days ago. It was a terrible affair, and every one of the fiends who were engaged in it ought to be hung, but we suppose every exertion will be put forth by maudlin sentimentalists to save them even from the penitentiary.

Old man Lanaham may have been a disagreeable old fellow: he may have bored his family to death by eternally talking about the iron heel of monopoly that was crushing the life out of the farmer; he may, to the neglect of his family, have spent his time in talking over public wrongs; but he had a right to live until he worried himself to death.

The telegraph informs us that he was killed just after returning from a farmers’ meeting.

We infer from this that he was a reformer, like Dr. Talbott — that he was one of those men who try to reform the world before they endeavor to reform their families. Talbott was always hurling thunderbolts at the red-handed monopolists who were choking the life out of the farmer and laboring man, but while he was doing this a plan for his murder was being concocted in his own family.

We do not believe there ever was a kind, indulgent and provident father murdered by his own children. The man who thinks of his family first and the public weal later is in no danger of his life at home.

The manner of Mr. Lanaham’s taking off probably furnishes a pretty accurate key to his character. By neglect and abuse he inspired hate into the hearts of his wife and children to such an extent that they desired to get rid of him at all hazards. He was doubtless popular with the world, as all men are who devote the greater part of their time to it, and we are not surprised that the community in which he resided is now crying aloud for vengeance.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) > 1882 > February > 17


A private detective named Brighton, who was interested in ferreting out the murderers of Dr. Talbott, the editor of a Greenback paper in Maryville, Mo., has been arrested in Illinois, and brought back to Kansas City to answer a charge of crookedness.

Atchison Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Dec 22, 1882



A St. Joseph Clerk in the Role of Forger and Lover — A Curious Agreement.

ST. JOSEPH, May 3. — The man who was arrested here Wednesday for attempting to obtain money on a forged draft of Heller & Hoffman, of St. Louis, turns out to be Charles E. Norris, formerly in the employ of Heller & Hoffman, and he is wanted by that firm for forgery.

It now transpires that he combined the business of love making with forgery as he had since his arrival in the city formed the acquaintance of Miss Jennie Talbott, daughter of Mrs. Belle Talbott living at 607 South Eleventh street, in this city, and a sister of the Talbott brothers, who were hanged at Maryville for the murder of their father, Dr. Talbott, who had made a written contract with Norris, which was signed by both, dated April 29, agreeing to live together as man and wife.

The Talbott girl had taken several meals with him at the Pacific House and he took her to Bailey’s dry goods store and she bought goods to the amount of $70 and attempted to pay for them with a forged draft, of Hiller & Hoffman, but Bailey being suspicious, took the draft to Hax’s which had been indorsed by Hax’s clerk, who by this time had become frightened, and it was determined to arrest him then, which was accordingly done.

Norris was arraigned before Recorder Oliver, waived examination and was sent back to jail to await the arrival of Heller with a warrant for his arrest.

Atchison Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) May 3, 1884


For more information about Perry Talbott and his family, “Our Family Gallery” has genealogical information, more newspaper accounts and other information about this family. [I am not related or connected to the site, just ran across it looking for information about the Greenback Standard newspaper, edited by Mr. Talbott.]

Edith Wilson, An Old Colored Woman

February 27, 2009


An Old Colored Woman.

An old woman known as Aunt Edith Wilson, who lives near Providence, Ky., is said to be 133 years old. She was born in South Carolina, and belonged to a man named Adams. Before the Revolutionary War she was a grown woman, and was a house servant and waiting maid to the daughters of Mr. Adams.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Nov 8, 1890


The 1880 census lists an Eda Wilson, age 112, grandmother, living with the Bruce Williamson family.

The 1870 census list an Edith Wilson, age 85, living with the Francis Rice family.

Coughing up a Confederate Ball of Cast-Iron

February 17, 2009
William J. Bolton

William J. Bolton

This first article I found after the one that follows about General Bolton coughing up the Confederate bullet. I found it interesting in that it seems the Democrats used similar campaign tactics in this past current election as were used back in 1880 (finding so-called Republicans who were “in the bag” for their candidate).


Montgomery county is getting a good deal of newspaper notoriety because it is the birthplace of Hancock, and one or two of its leading Republican citizens have declared their intention to vote for the Democratic nominee for President. The West Chester Village Record strikes at the matter in this manner: At the same time that it is ludicrous, and therefore, somewhat entertaining, the persistency of the discouraged Hancock press in trying to find recruits among the Republicans of Montgomery county becomes rather tiresome. The fact that there are not or [of?] any consequence has been perfectly demonstrated for some time, but the Philadelphia Times, after having made several efforts, sent a reporter up to Norristown, a few days ago, to attempt something heroic. He was determined, probably, to bring back a bagful of names, if he had to copy them off tomb-stones. The result was that he came in with four names and lots of padding. Among the four, of course, were Dr. Read and George Bultock, who must be getting somewhat fatigued by this time at their perpetual elevation on Democratic poles, as captives from the Republicans, and the other two were General W.J. Bolton and Mr. B.E. Chain.

Winfield S. Hancock

Winfield S. Hancock

It now proves that General Bolton is not for Hancock after all, and he publishes a vigorous letter saying so; while Mr. Chain, though a loyal man during the war, has always been a Democrat, and his support of Hancock was, of course, to be expected. It must be remarked that the Times, in printing without any revision General Bolton’s earnest letter defining his position, makes a palpable mistake. It looks odd, of course, and so would the letters of most men without revision by the editor and care by the proof reader. But the force and clearness of the missive are not obscured; it is easily understood, and its distinct declaration that the writer is not to be caught in a Democratic trap, even with a Union General as bait, will not be misapprehended. We suggest, with much respect, to our esteemed contemporary, that if General Bolton had written to it, saying that he was for Hancock, pains would have been taken to put his letter in first-rate order for the compositor’s hands, and that such a discrimination tells as much as a whole chapter of confession.

General Bolton had few advantages of education, but he was a brave soldier, and sustained terrible wounds at Antietam; and if he does not write a perfectly-constructed and exactly-punctuated letter, he makes one that goes to the front — as his leadership did in battle eighteen years ago. Had he voted for Hancock, we should not have assailed him; as he votes, however, with the party that sustained the Union armies, we all the more rejoice at his sound sense. But it is not about time to admit that the Hancock recruits in Montgomery county are not forthcoming?

James A. Garfield

James A. Garfield

Even the General’s first cousins, Republicans all their lives, will vote for Garfield, and the county is as unshaken by the Cincinnati nomination as if any other man had been chosen to carry the Solid South’s banner.

The Bucks County Gazette (Bristol, Pennsylvania) Aug 12, 1880



After Seventeen Years.
[Special Dispatch to the Cincinnati Gazette.]

NORRISTOWN, May 22. — General Wm. Bolton was yesterday relieved of a Confederate bullet in his neck, which has been a source of pain for seventeen years past. While Colonel of the Fifty-first Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and awaiting orders on a mound at the time of the famous mine explosion at Petersburg, July 30, 1864, a Confederate canister shell exploded near him and a small bullet entered the lower right jaw at the very point where he had received a bullet wound some years previous at the battle of Antietam. Forty distinct incisions were made a few weeks later, but without success. Since then General Bolton has felt pain and oppression in his neck, especially during damp weather. Yesterday he had occasion to stoop while attending to a customer in his store, and was immediately taken with a violent fit of coughing. Placing his hand instinctively over his mouth, something dropped into his hand. On removing the blood and mucous covering  of the object he found it to be the painful little ball of Confederate cast-iron. It was covered with rust, weighed 273 grains Troy, and the surface was covered with sharp ridges.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) May 27, 1881

General Bolton of Norristown, carries a novel charm on his watch chain. It is the bullet which he received in the war and which he coughed up a short time ago.

Chester Daily Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Jun 20, 1881



Member of Vicksburg and Antietam Battlefield Commissions.

Philadelphia Aug. 2 — Brig Gen William J Bolton died to-day of heart failure, at the age of seventy-four years. Gen Bolton served through the civil war in the Fifty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers first as captain of a company and finally as colonel of the regiment, and was brevetted brigadier general. He was wounded at Antietam and at Petersburg. Gen Bolton was a member of the Vicksburg and Antietam battlefield commissions.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Aug 3, 1906

Willard DeWitt: Indiana Pioneer, 1776-1881

February 6, 2009
Dewitt Family 1880 Census

Dewitt Family 1880 Census

The Oldest Man in Steuben County.
Correspondence of the SENTINEL.
CHAMBERLAIN, Oct. 1, 1880.

I have been up in Steuben county visiting Father De Witt, the oldest man in the county. He will be one hundred and six years old next March. When I went there he was out husking corn. He carried the corn in a twelve-quart pail–I helped him pick up four or five bushels. He then told me to go to the house and visit with them, he said that he must husk some more corn. He said that he would come up after while. He has four daughters, the youngest is ten years old. Before I came away I asked him to read to me. He then turned to his wife and asked her what he should read in. The Bible was handed to him, he turned to Romans, the ninth chapter, and read from the first to the twenty-third verses–he read without specs. He was an officer in the M.E. church for about forty years. I believe he is now a member of the Wesleyan Methodist. He resigned his office in the church about nine years ago. Below will be found a piece written by his own hand.

“Whereas has been circulated in the Steuben Republican, and I am informed other papers, that I had been a class leader in the Methodist church; and now, when over one hundred years of age, that I am a Universalist. Let me state a few facts: I feel very much grieved that any one should think that the devil had got me as he had Mother Eve. I have been a member of the M.E. church for forty years, and filled various offices in that society, and exhorted men to flee from the wrath to come. It is true I have been a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church for many years, endorsing its reformatory principles. I am trying to live Godly in Christ Jesus, and only regret whatever I may have fallen short in my efforts so to do. I believe there is a devil to despise and regret. I believe there is a God to love and obey, a hell to shun, a heaven to gain. I am looking earnestly toward the place Jesus is preparing for me, that where he is I may be also, and I would disown the kinsman that would circulate so base a falsehood on an old man whom God has blessed and helped in the world for more than a hundred years. As many papers as have circulated the former, please copy. This is signed with my own hand.”


Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Oct 13, 1880


This is a second  marriage for Willard. Previously, he was married to a woman named Elizabeth Mosier, who died in 1860.

Name:  Willard Dewitt
Spouse Name: Sarah B. Flood
Marriage Date: 26 Mar 1861
Marriage County: Dekalb
Performed By: S. W. Widney
Source Title 2: EARLY MARRIAGE RECORDS 1837 – 1882
Source Title 3: BOOK II
OS Page: 88


From a newspaper clipping (Steuben Republican)–28 Jan., 1881. Sent by Robert & Harriet Hippenhamer.

“Last Friday morning, at a little past midnight, Uncle Willard DeWitt, the oldest surviving soldier of the War of 1812, and the oldest person in this section of the country, closed his eyes on the scenes of this world. According to the best authority obtainable, he was born March 25, 1776, therefore, was about 105 years of age at the time of his death. He served for some time in the War of 1812, being a member of Capt. I. Bartlett’s New York militia. For the past nine years he has received a government pension of $8 per month, obtained for him by Lawrence Gates*. He was married a few years ago to a woman many years his junior. She bore him several children, She still resides with them on their farm in Scott township.”

Posted by an anonymous source on


*CAPT. LAWRENCE GATES, an honored veteran of the Civil war and one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Angola, was born in Germany April 25, 1839, and received his early education thee and then came to America. He arrived at Angola in 1853 and had some further education in the schools at Nevada Mills in Steuben County. He worked as a clerk in Angola until 1862, when he volunteered in Company H of the Seventy-Fourth Indiana Infantry. For his meritorious service he was promoted to first lieutenant and later to captain. and served until May 15, 1865. He was in the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and in the Atlanta campaign. Two weeks after the fall of Atlanta he lost a leg during a railroad wreck. After the war Captain Gates engaged in the dry goods business at Angola, and was one of the local business men who organized the First National Bank. He held the post of director as long as he was content to serve. In recent years he has busied himself with a fire insurance agency. He is a Republican and cast a vote in 1860 for Abraham Lincoln and Oliver Morton. He was first city clerk of Angola after the incorporation of the town. He is a past grand patriarch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he and his family are members of the Christian Church.

History of northeast Indiana : LaGrange, Steuben, Noble and DeKalb Counties
Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1920


Lived to be 105 years old. Politically a Whig but subsequently became a Republican and Abolitionist. He was a strong and zealous Methodist class leader.

[Ellis and Owens Families.FTW]

Posted by Harold McClure on