Monday, January 29, 2018

Browsing Random Newspaper Issues from the Past #2

I've been having a grand time browsing Southern antebellum newspapers from the Library of Congress's "Chronicling America" collection. My intent in doing these posts is to show how interwoven slavery was into slave state society, economics, politics, and culture. Also, when I find something that strikes my interest, and perhaps not slavery related, I'll try to share, too. This particular post's edition is the December 8, 1859 issue of the Greenville, South Carolina Southern Enterprise.

The Southern Enterprise was under the editorship of William P. Price. Price is shown as a twenty-five year old lawyer in the 1860 census. He owned $4200 in real estate and $4450 in personal property. I found it interesting that the paper's motto was "Equal Rights to All."

This set of resolutions by the South Carolina House of Representatives were passed in the wake of John Brown's hanging. Their sentiments were quite common across the slave states, especially at this time.

Continuing on John Brown, this short article discusses the Kentucky hemp rope used to hang John Brown. If you are a longtime reader of my "Random Thoughts," I've covered this particular item in a few past posts here, here, and here.

Cotton was indeed King in the South, especially in the Deep South. Cotton market prices were printed in almost each and every paper as ready reference. The production of the fiber funded the region's economy like nothing else, and obviously, its development depended almost entirely upon enslaved labor.

New tax regulations for the town of Greenville, South Carolina, in 1859, stated that those who wished to be excluded from area slave patrol duty must pay $2.50 to the town clerk.

Slavery provided jobs to more than planters and cotton factors. Young men, like that above, trying to get their start in the the world sought work as overseers on plantations.

Militia units, some of which went back years, but others that emerged in the wake of John Brown's raid, often advertised in newspapers for muster day events and when dues were late, as shown here. Militias served as ready military if a slave rebellion broke out. Many militias turned into companies for forming regiments when the Civil War came. 

Who knew macaroni was available in upland South Carolina in 1859? I wonder if they had cheese with it? Yum! 

Sales of slaves were commonly advertised in newspapers. At the time there were few better ways to get the word out about a pending sale. Nine slaves (here called servants) in a family, a man, his wife, and seven children, who were from six to twenty-two years old were offered. They were skilled workers, who kept house, cooked, ironed, sewed, and manufactured clothes.

Slaves needed clothes, and some masters found it more practical to purchase them rather than have his slave produce them. They also needed other basics. Here A. Sommer advertised to sell "a well-assorted Stock of Negro Clothing, Hats, Shoes and Blankets," which he offered "Low for cash." 

Just about every product imaginable was marketed to planters. Here a patent medicine, Jacob's Cordial, is offered and which has saved 10,000 slaves per year. It claimed to be the "positive remedy" for dysentery, diarrhea, and flux (hemorrhoids). It only cost $1 per bottle. That's about $30 today. 

Another research of interest of mine, black barbers, popped up in this edition. Two barbers, Wilson Cook and Burride, offered their hair cutting and shaving services. It appears that these men were enslaved barbers, as neither shows up in the 1860 census. However, there are about three or four free men of color who also worked in Greenville as barbers and who did show up on the 1860 census. It is fascinating to me that enslaved men's notices appear in newspapers. Perhaps their owners posted the advertisements, and also kept a good portion if not all of their earnings.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Visit to the Seminary Ridge Museum

On a trip to Pennsylvania Saturday, I made a brief side excursion to Gettysburg. Driving up Highway 15 (Emmitsburg Road) is always a thrill, no matter what time of year it is. The goal of this particular visit was to visit the relatively new Seminary Ridge Museum (shown above), which opened in 2013 and is housed in the Lutheran Seminary. 

Entering the building on the ground floor, I was helped by friendly staff, who helped orient me to the best way to experience the museum and provided me with a gallery map. The building has four floors. It was suggested to start on the top floor and work my way down. The second, third, and fourth floors each have six rooms and their doors are numbered to help guests move from room to room to get the most cohesive experience.

The fourth floor, "Gettysburg, July 1, 1863," covers the fighting on the first day of battle from morning to nightfall. On each of the floors an orientation video gives viewers high-quality productions. Excellent maps, a host of artifacts, and personal stories also offer a variety of ways to learn.

"Caring for the Wounded" is the theme of the third floor. The Lutheran Seminary served as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers on July 1-3 and beyond. The rooms on this floor cover all of the following topics: the wounded, the surgeons, the nurses, the survivors and they dying and the dead. The life-like mannequins are well done (not creepy) and provide an added dimension to the learning experience.

The second floor, "Faith and Freedom in America," explores social history aspects of students who learned at the seminary, professors who taught, citizens of Adams County, African Americans, and the issues these people and other Americans faced with the coming of the Civil War.

The first floor, "Voices of History," offers a changing exhibit room, a museum shop, restrooms, and, like the others floor, an orientation video. The temporary exhibit room currently has some amazing local history artifacts including a "Democratic Drum" from the election of 1856. 

In addition to touring at one's own pace, the museum offers the opportunity a couple times per day to tour the cupola of the building to see the surrounding Gettysburg landscape from the same perspective as some Union troops did the morning of July 1, 1863. However, there is an additional charge for the cupola tour.

I was very impressed with the quality of the exhibits, the coverage of historical topics, and the use of intriguing artifacts to tell the story of the first day of Gettysburg and much more. I highly recommend a visit if you get to Gettysburg. Its proximity to other National Park Service July 1, 1863 stops makes it a true must see.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Personality Spotlight : Gen. Samuel Garland, Jr.

I've not written a personality spotlight in a couple of months or so, but while reading Unholy Sabbath: The Battle of South Mountain in History and Memory, September 14, 1862, by Brian Matthew Jordan, I got to thinking about historical contingency.

One of Gen. Samuel Garland's superiors, Gen. D.H. Hill wrote years after the war about Garland that, "Had he lived, his talents, pluck, energy, and purity of character must have put him in the front rank of his profession, whether in civil or military life (p. 138). I guess, I've let the cat our of the bag, if you weren't already aware. Yes, Garland was killed in the fight at South Mountain. What might have been? We won't know. Had he lived, would Garland have become a major general and led a division? How about lieutenant general and commanded a corps? Would he have actively helped heal the wounds of the Civil War and create a New South such as colleagues James Longstreet and William Mahone, or would he have tried to hold onto the Old South like other colleagues such as Jubal Early and John B. Gordon? We won't know.

Samuel Garland, Jr. was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on December 16, 1830. He descended from legendary roots. His great grand uncle was James Madison. Garland was educated at the South's premier military school, Virginia Military Institute. Later he attended the University of Virginia for law school. He was indeed a lawyer when the Civil War erupted and changed his world.

The 1860 census shows Garland as a twenty-nine year old in his chosen occupation. He had $38,000 in real estate and what appears to be $31,220 in personal property, which included a number of slaves. His wife, Eliza, was one year his junior, and their son Samuel III was three. Also in the household, Caroline M. Garland, fifty years old, who was Samuel's mother. 

In 1859, and perhaps in response to John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Garland organized a militia company named the Lynchburg Home Guard. He is shown in the photograph above in his militia uniform. However, when the Old Dominion left the Union, he soon became colonel of 11th Virginia Infantry. The 11th was present at First Manassas but was held in reserve. During the Peninsula Campaign, fighting at Williamsburg, Garland was wounded but refused to leave the field until the fight concluded. He soon received promotion to brigadier general in D.H. Hill's division and was eventually leading a brigade of North Carolina regiments.

Garland's men fought in the Seven Days' Battles, but missed Second Manassas while stationed near Richmond's defenses. However, they joined Lee's main force in northern Virginia for the Maryland Campaign. D.H, Hill's Division was tabbed to block two gaps in the South Mountain range just outside of Boonsboro, Maryland. Turner's Gap was the northern most cut, in the middle was Fox's Gap. Further south was Crampton's Gap, defended by a Rebel mixed force.

During the savage fighting at Fox's Gap, Garland was, as usual, in the thick of the fight. After being warned by Col. Thomas Ruffin of the 13th North Carolina to move to a safer location, Garland expressed his lack of fear in being wounded. Almost immediately Ruffin was hit in the hip by a Union bullet. Then, rapidly another bullet hit Garland in the back, going completely through the body of the general. He died on the field shortly thereafter. His body was eventually returned to Lynchburg for burial.

Samuel Garland's short life might have held a bright and useful future had he lived. We won't know. Such is the tragedy of war.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Gen. Palmer's General Orders 32 and Freedom

In reading Herbert Gutman's The Black Family in Slavery Freedom, 1750-1925, I was reminded of the significance of having freedom of movement in order to truly experience liberty. For African Americans in slavery, a restrictions on travel were leveled with the pass system. An owner issued pass was required to go from place to place. The same was sometimes the case during Union military occupation during the Civil War, especially early in the war.

However, Union Gen. John M. Palmer, overseeing the Department of Kentucky, headquartered in Louisville, issued General Orders 32 on May 11, 1865. Louisville at the time was becoming increasingly crowded with "contraband" refugees. Many ended up in the jails as runaways, while others gathered in camps trying to locate work and reunite their families and seeking security and protection. With the stated intent of preventing the spread of potential diseases and allowing those who had not found employment in the river city find it elsewhere, Palmer issued the order to provide freedom of movement.

" . . . .it is ordered that the Provost Marshal of the Post of Louisville, upon the application of any colored person who may report him or herself as unable to find sufficient employment in the City of Louisville, will issue a pass to such colored person and for his or her family, specifying the number of persons to be passed, and their names, and to the point to which they wish to go, to engage in or in search of employment."

While General Orders 32 did put some stipulations on travel as the old slave pass did, there were some obvious distinctions, too. First the order says "any colored person." Slave passes were not just given to any colored person. Second it says "to the point to which they wish to go." Slave passes only gave permission to where the master wished their slaves to go.

So, how were these people supposed to get to their desired locations? The order continued, "Conductors and managers of all railroads, steamboats, ferryboats, or other means of travel out to of the city of Louisville, will, upon the presentation of such pass and the payment of the usual fare, transfer the persons named therein." This was indeed revolutionary!

The order had some enforcement teeth to it, too. Any of the above conveyances who did not honor it "or shall refuse to transport any such person . . . will be arrested, and sent out of the Department or punished as a military court may adjudge."

As one might image this order was not well received by whites who were in shock at the speed at which slavery was ending in this Union loyal state. The order threw another log on the fire of fury that many white Kentuckians felt toward the Federal government, and the Union army that enforced its laws. Many Kentuckian's Unionist loyalty hinged on the state's ability to protect the institution. As slavery started to crumble so did Unionist sentiment. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Browsing Random Newspaper Issues from the Past #1

While half-watching the U.S. Army All-American high school football game, waiting to see if my beloved Sooners get a verbal commitment for two, I browsed through the January 1, 1853, issue of the Richmond Daily Dispatch. There was no real intention for choosing that particular issue other than to see what might catch my attention. Here's a few of the things I came across:

For enslaved people the punishment for going about without a pass was usually a whipping. Richard Tyler who was owned by Daniel Weisiger received the punishment in this case. Often these arrests were made by the city police force and judged by the mayor.

Even those slaves with a pass had to have it signed by their owner. If not, they also received ten lashes.

With such punishments being quite common, it is easy to see the concerns of free people of color when they happened to misplace their free papers. In the antebellum slave states an African American was assumed to be enslaved and it was up the  individual to bear the burden of proof. I've seen a number of similar ads to that above in Virginia newspapers in the years before the Civil War.

Sales notices and wanting to rent advertisements were so common in this particular edition that I only included this one as an example. The first of the year was traditionally the beginning of the slave hiring season and the sheer number of advertisements bear that out. However, I found this sales notice intriguing as it specifically mentions the individuals who were to be sold by name. Often these ads just use ambiguous descriptions such as "a group of men, women and children." The Hills were one of the many slave traders who made Richmond their base.

Slave traders needed forms to keep proper records and to provide customers with official documentation such as bills of sale and receipts, so Richmond printers and book stores met their needs. This is just another example of how interwoven slavery was into the economy of the South. Perhaps the owner of this book store did not own slaves, but he still benefited from the institution.

Cooks, laundresses, ironers, and nurses are some of the most common slave hiring roles that whites sought at the first of the year. Here, a man is offered for hire as a cook. We too often assume that cooking was a woman's sphere in the antebellum era, but occasionally males served in this duty as well. It appears that a brokerage firm is making this particular advertisement, likely for a client who hired them to do so. The brokers would gain a commission upon securing the hire.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Tax Law Could Have Serious Repercussions on Giving to Historical Organizations

As I do not particular enjoy people pushing their political ideas on me, I try to practice those sentiments by attempting to keep "My Random Thoughts" as apolitical as I possibly can. However, I received the below email message just before the turn of the new year from the Kentucky Historical Society. It clearly outlines some of the threats that the recently passed tax law could have on charitable giving to non-profit historical organizations and museums. 

Many organizations rely heavily on charitable giving to survive in a society that seems more and more interested in spending their disposable income on entertainment and other luxury items rather than education and learning. It is a sad fact. Historical organizations and museums still provide an important function in our lives and need to remain viable sources of information for all segments of the population. Please take the time to learn more about the new tax law and search out the best means for your individual situation to receive your charitable deduction and which also allows you to continue giving to the historical organization or museum of your choice. 

Happy New Year!  

An Important Message from the 

Dear Friend,

As a faithful supporter of the Kentucky Historical Society and an advocate for history’s relevance, we have urgent news. You likely have heard the U.S. Congress passed a new tax law. Among the major changes is that the standard deduction will double starting in 2018. 

Currently, many people who make charitable contributions find it beneficial to itemize on their federal tax returns. Under the new law, the charitable deduction remains. However, the change in the amount of the standard deduction will affect many donors who used to itemize their charitable deductions, as they may find it more beneficial to simply take the standard deduction and not itemize at all -- taking away an incentive for many to give.

This has serious implications for organizations such as ours. The Council on Foundations estimates the tax bill will drain anywhere from $16 billion to $24 billion a year from the nonprofit sector going forward.

Between the new federal tax law, the recent 5.36 percent state budget cut and the promise of even higher reductions in state funding for FY18-19, the Kentucky Historical Society will be affected in a real and visible way.

This is bad news. 

We are not exaggerating.

The good news is that we will persevere. We are committed to our mission to educate and engage the public through Kentucky history in order to confront the challenges of the future. Nonetheless, your support is more important now than ever. How we persevere will undoubtedly look different.

Please consider making a gift prior to the end of 2017 to the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation:
  • If you ordinarily give between January and June, may we suggest shifting your timing to now in order to receive a tax receipt for 2017?
  • If you have already given, would you consider making an additional gift?
  • If you are considering joining us as a new supporter, would you make a gift as a testament to your commitment to our mission?

In order to receive a receipt for your 2017 returns, you may give in any of the following ways: 
  • Online: by 11:59 pm on 12/31
  • By texting KY1792 to 243725 by 11:59 on 12/31
  • Via mail: Make your check payable to the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation,
    PO Box 6856, Frankfort, KY 40602, postmarked by 12/31  
You also may contribute via stock transfer or a direct transfer through your IRA if you are 70 ½ or older.  Please consult your financial advisor by 12/29 for this method of giving, then contact for details.

This is a serious time with serious implications for KHS. Thank you in advance for your support,

Executive Director, Kentucky Historical Society 
Secretary, Kentucky Historical Society Foundation