Search the
Browse Newspapers
by Date
Articles Indexed
by Topic
About the
Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: December 31, 1867

Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

-Page 01-

-Page 02-

The New Year
(Column 01)
Summary: The editor offers reflections on the previous year and expresses his hope that, by the end of 1868, "we may all be found in the enjoyment of the civil, religious and political rights for which our sainted sires spilled their precious blood."
Full Text of Article:

Ere this issue of the Spectator will have reached many of its patrons, the old year will be numbered with the past, and we will be engaged in a hand to hand conflict with the trials and difficulties of the year eighteen hundred and sixty-eight. We hope that our columns during the year that is just closing, have served to enliven many dull hours and brighten many moments that would otherwise have been dark and dreary. The old year, whose hoary look and decrepit form is just now nearing the point where he is destined to topple over the brink of the awful labyrinth of the past, has furnished the date of innumerable tales of woe and sorrow-many thrilling and heart rending events-many deeds of darkness and atrocity-many hearts have been made to feel the excruciating pangs of affliction; and, on the contrary, some have enjoyed the most felicitous hours of their lives. But hold! The old man totters-he is becoming more and more feeble. See! he falls over the precipice and clings to a twig standing just on brink-his nerves are gradually giving way-relaxing-the last pulse beats and he goes tumbling down the abyss of time, to be buried deeper and deeper as each succeeding year follows in his wake. And now, the new year is in our front, and we all must enter upon it and act our parts in the various plays of life with which we may come in contact. We trust the future may have luscious fruits in store for us and that, before the close of the year 1868, we may all be found in the enjoyment of the civil, religious and political rights for which our sainted sires spilled their precious blood. We wish all our patrons a happy and prosperous New Year.

(Column 01)
Summary: An extended and glowing obituary for Gen. Kenton Harper, who established the Staunton Spectator in 1823 after emigrating from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
(Names in announcement: A. H. H. Stuart, Gen. Kenton Harper)
Full Text of Article:

The Spectator is mourning as a mark of respect for the memory of its founder, GEN'L KENTON HARPER-a most conspicuous and valued citizen of Augusta, who died at his home, "Glen Allen," on Christmas evening, the 25th inst., aged sixty-six years.

Our limited space this week permits only a passing sketch of the more prominent events serving to illustrate his civil and military life. It must suffice to say that in all the particulars pertaining to the various and responsible offices of Magistrate of the county, Mayor and magistrate of Staunton, President of the Valley Bank, Visitor of the State Institutions, and Representative of Augusta in the Legislature of Virginia, he discharged faithfully, efficiently and punctiliously, his whole duty.

KENTON HARPER was born in Chambersburg, Pa., and soon after coming of age, settled in Staunton. Born of the same stock as the early settlers of Augusta, he naturally assimilated with her people, and manifested through a life a full sympathy in all their sentiments, and an ardent zeal in advancing all their interests.

In 1823 he established the "Staunton Spectator and continuously for sixteen years conducted it with such signal spirit and high toned dignity as to win for it a character and reputation of which the people of Augusta were justly proud.

Soon after leaving the editorial office he was-without solicitation on his part-selected and appointed under President Fillmore, as United States agent to the Indian Territory. In this capacity he was distinguished for stainless integrity and high administrative talent. Subsequently he held the position, under the same administration, of confidential Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior-Hon. A. H. H. Stuart-and was designated for many duties of special trust and confidence. At the end of his official term he returned to his farm-"Glen Allen" as his home for the remainder of his days.

The chivalrous nature and patriotic spirit of Gen. Harper marked him for military life, but with this his ever delicate health seriously interfered. In the war with Mexico he was Captain of the Volunteer company from Augusta, and during the campaign of the Virginia Regiment, his soldierly demeanor was so marked that Gen. Wool of the U. S. Army selected him over many officers of higher rank, both in the regular and volunteer service, and appointed him to a Military Governorship in Northern Mexico, with a Brigadier Generals' command. He was officially commended for the manner in which he filled that most responsible position.

In 1861 he was Major General of the Va. Militia, and instantly upon the secession of his State, on authority by telegraph from Governor Letcher, he took the field with only a hurried passing farewell to his family, marched to Harper's Ferry, captured that all important post, accomplished the removal of invaluable ordnance stores and machinery from that exposed point and secured its use for his otherwise almost unarmed Virginia. His friends have felt that full justice was never done General Harper for this timely and efficient service. There exists documentary evidence for the assertion that the successful removal of the machinery and munitions of the war from Harper's Ferry to safety in the interior of Virginia, and the efficient organization, subsistence and equipment of the volunteer troops so hastily gathering there, was under most peculiar difficulties, due to the energy, skill, and sagacity of General Kenton Harper.

When the Militia was superseded by the Volunteer system Gen. Harper accepted the position of Colonel of the 5th Va. Infantry. His command most gallantly met and checked the advance of Patterson's army a Falling Waters-that brilliant opening to the long series of battles that have since made historic the Valley of Virginia.

At the first battle of Manassas he led his gallant regiment-and that he did his duty there may be well inferred from the fact that in his immediate presence occurred that ever memorable incident now become immortal, when-according to Col. Harper's own version of it to the writer-just at that critical point in the battle as the brave General Bee rallying his own wavering ranks approached Jackson's still firm lines, Col. Harper saluted him, as if for orders, and to Bee's inquiry as to "What troops are these?"-replied "The 1st Va. Brigade-General Jackson's."-Whereupon the chivalrous South Carolinian, instantly wheeling his horse and rising in his stirrups shouted forth upon the field his now successful rallying call: "Rally here! Look how these Virginians stand like a Stonewall!"

Being refused even a brief furlough to visit his dying wife, he resigned his commission and hastened home in time only to attend her sad funeral. He subsequently accepted the position of Colonel of Reserves, and was engaged in the affairs at Waynesboro' and elsewhere and at the disastrous battle of Piedmont held the Augusta Reserves firmly in position to the very last.

In private life General Harper was a most estimable man. He was the very soul of honor-was true as steel to his friends, and if in a long public life his ardent temperament at times brought him in collision with any he ever bore himself only as a manly and generous foe.

For forty years he was a member of the Presbyterian church, and his pastor publicly testified at his funeral to his ever consistent christian character, and to the special evidence given of his sincere and genuine piety, and his confident trust and faith in his Redeemer. He was calmly conscious all throughout his last illness, that death was steadily and surely approaching, and with his characteristic moral courage made all due preparation, serenely awaited the sad event, and saying most reverently "I would not live alway-I ask not to stay," trustingly yield up his spirit to God who gave it.

Thus has passed from among us another of the marked men of our county; one who has contributed by all his private demeanor and his patriotic public spirit to give a still higher tone to the character and reputation of Augusta. His memory we should not willingly let die, his example of a virtuous life and peaceful death should long remain to point to each of us the lesson of the fine linss he so truly illustrated:

"So live that when thy summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan, which moves

To that mysterious realm where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go-not like the quarry slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed

By an unialtering trust, approach thy grave

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

-Page 03-

Local News
(Column 01)
Summary: Announces that Trotter's & Co. is establishing changes of horses for travel to Winchester and Harrisonburg from Staunton. Trotter, it is reported, is determined to beat rail time "if it be in the power of horse flesh."
Full Text of Article:

WE are pleased to be able to inform the traveling public, that Trotter's & Co. will establish shortly between Staunton and Harrisonburg, two changes of horses, and make a correspondingly advantageous arrangement, for the lovers of fast travel, through the Valley to Winchester. This revolution in staging in the Valley gives promise of increased travel through this section, for Trotter is determined to best Rail Road time if it be in the power of horse flesh.

Local News
(Column 01)
Summary: Reports a recent accident on the Virginia Central Railroad near Buffalo Gap where a child was killed and a woman's arm was so badly mangled it required immediate amputation.
(Names in announcement: Geo. W. Pelter, George Gillespie, William Critzer, Dinkle)
Full Text of Article:

WE are pained to record a most distressing accident, which occurred on the Virginia Central Railroad, near Buffalo Gap, on last Thursday,--The particulars of the accident, as related to us by Mr. Geo. W. Pelter, the engineer who was running the engine at the time of the occurrence, are about as follows: As Mr. Pelter was running his engine round a curve near Buffalo Gap station, he observed a hand car approaching him with great rapidity, and he immediately reversed steam, and just about the time his engine stopped, the hand car came in collision. There was no train attached to the engine and it was running backwards, with the tender in front.-Mr. George Gillespie, section master, and a Miss Dinkle, Mr. William Critzer, his wife and little daughter were on the hand car, and the latter a child about nine years old, was instantly killed, and Mrs. Critzer had her right arm so severely mangled, as to require immediate amputation.-The balance of the party escaped without injury.

We understand that there is no blame attached to Mr. Pelter, as he was running his engine under orders, and that the party on the hand car were pleasure riding, in violation of positive order from the superintendent.

Local News--Report of a Meeting at Hall's School-house, the 28th of December, 1867
(Column 01)
Summary: The report produced by a group of men who met at Hall's School-house to express their opposition to "a Constitution which will bring the State under the control of the negro race." The men pledged to make every effort to defeat the ratification of the Constitution.
(Names in announcement: J. S. Ellis, Capt. C. Hall, W. L. Hunter, J. A. Fitch, B. F. Cochran, Alex. Coyner, G. Harman, Capt. C. G. Miller, George Nibergall, M. R. Coalter, David RankinJr.)
Full Text of Article:

Whereas, the Congress of the United States have required a Convention to be called in the State of Virginia for the purpose of framing a Constitution for the State,

And whereas, from the action which has been taken by similar conventions which have been held in other Southern States, there are good grounds to apprehend that the Virginia Convention now in session may recommend to the people a Constitution which will bring the State under the control of the negro race;

And whereas, in the opinions of this association, such a result would be most disastrous to the best interest of the State, by transferring the political power of the State to the most ignorant portion of its population, and ultimately burthening the land and property of the people with onerous taxation, imposed by those who would own but a small portion of the property of the State.

1st. Be it, therefore, resolved, that in the event of the adoption of such a Constitution by the Convention, we pledge ourselves to each other, and to our fellow-citizens generally, to make every fair and honorable effort to defeat the ratification of such Constitution by the people; and to that end we will not only vote against its ratification ourselves, but we will diligently exert ourselves to induce every voter in our respective neighborhoods to attend the polls and record their votes against it.

2d. Resolved, that we will cherish the kindest feelings towards the freedman, taking care to explain to him how his best interest will be promoted by cultivating friendly relationship with the people with whom they live.

3rd. Resolved, that our great aim should be to escape negro supremacy in the State, and that we will exert ourselves to the utmost extent of our power and influence to save ourselves and our race from this calamity and disgrace.

4th. We, the undersigned, do cordially endorse the above resolutions, in spirit and letter, unhesitatingly pledge ourselves to carry them out practically at the ballot box.

On motion, the Chairman appointed leaders of tens whose duty it shall be to obtain signers to the above.

The following gentlemen were ten appointed, to wit: J. S. Ellis, Esq., Capt. C. Hall, W. L. Hunter, J. A. Fitch, B. F. Cochran, Alex. Coyner, G. Harman, Capt. C. G. Miller, George Nibergall and David Rankin, Jr.


Town papers copy.

(Column 02)
Summary: Martha Fielding and Richard McAllister were married on December 12 at the home of the bride's father by Rev. J. J. Engle.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. J. Engle, Richard McAllister, Martha J. Fielding)
(Column 02)
Summary: Mary Jane Shuey and John Firebaugh were married at the home of the bride's father by Rev. J. J. Engle.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. J. Engle, John Firebaugh, Mary Jane Shuey)
(Column 02)
Summary: Mary Grove and Samuel Wampler were married on December 29 by Rev. Martin Garber.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Martin Garber, Samuel J. Wampler, Mary F. Grove)
(Column 02)
Summary: Susan Humphrey and Layton Sampson were married on December 29 by Rev. Martin Garber.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Martin Garber, Layton M. Sampson, Susan E. Humphrey)
(Column 02)
Summary: Mary Hawkins and George Gochenour were married on December 25 by Rev. Martin Garber.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Martin Garber, Geo W. Gochenour, Mary M. Hawkins)
(Column 02)
Summary: Mattie, daughter of W. C. and J. E. Willard, died on December 21 "after a long and protracted affliction." She was 14 years old.
(Names in announcement: Mattie Willard, W. C. Willard, J. E. Willard)
Full Text of Article:

On December 21st, after a long and protracted affliction, MATTIE, daughter of W. C. and J. E. Willard, of this place-aged 14 years, 3 months, and 14 days.

Would we to sin and pain,

Call back her should again?

We are around her heart the chain

Severed in dying.

No, dearest Jesus, no!

To Thee, her Savior,

Let her free spirit go,

Ransomed forever.

-Page 04-