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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: January 12, 1869

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[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper criticizes General Grant for not paying his respects to President Johnson while in Washington on New Year's Day.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper praises calls for peace on the basis of the old constitution. Such a peace "would go far to wipe out the bitterness of war; a peace that would bind up our wounds; a peace that would heal the sections; a peace that would respect the rights and judgement of the minority; a peace full of proofs of wise magnanimity; a peace that would be sincere and lasting."
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The editor agrees with the Baltimore Gazette in stating that Henry Winter Davis spoke for Republicans in defending African-American suffrage by asserting that the party wanted "not intelligence but numbers."
Editorial Correspondence
(Column 02)
Summary: A letter to the Editor recounting the "outrageous proceedings" of a county Board of Registration in West Virginia. According to the author, this board barred individuals who voted against them from voting in future elections and from holding office.
Full Text of Article:


West Virginia, Jan. 8th, 1869.

Government of West Virginia -- Boards of Registration -- Outrageous Proceedings.

If it be true that "misery loves company," it would be well for other citizens of Virginia, like ourself, to pay occasional visits to West Virginia. As one simply under military arrest, guarded by soldiers, feels that his condition is not as bad as it might be when he and another not only bound but gagged by infamous scalawags, so a citizen of Virginia whose State has been degraded by Radical rule to a mere military District, governed by the bayonet, feels that the condition of his fellow-citizens, or rather fellow-subjects, is fortunate when compared with that of the citizens of West Virginia, who are bound, gagged and tortured by the most tyrannical, diabolical and fiendish set of scalawags whoever established their titles in fee-simple to homes in the torrid regions of the damned. The condition of the better part of the citizens in West Virginia shows what that of the citizens of Virginia would be, if the present military Government should, unfortunately, be exchanged for that under the Underwood scalawag Constitution, or one similar, in obnoxious restrictive features to it, except that in Virginia the ills attending the black plague of negro suffrage would be super-added, which would operate present degradation and injury to the whites, and ultimate ruin to the negroes. If the deluded negroes had the prescience to foresee what the ultimate effect of the exercise of the franchise by them would be upon their fortunes, they would shun it as the worst curse which could be visited upon them -- they would rather be clothed with the spirit of Nessus than with the privilege of franchise.

Though Virginia is a territory, denied the rights of a State, and governed by a military commandant, yet the citizens of Virginia are fortunate as compared with those of West Virginia, though the latter are citizens of a loyal State, so-called, in the Union. No benefit attaches to being in the Union, if the State Government be in the hands of scalawags, and Virginia had better remain a territory out of the Union and be governed by military authority till the "last syllable of recorded time" than to be in the Union as a State governed by scalawags. The Government of West Virginia establishes this fact beyond controversy.

The scenes which have been enacted here this week show with what kind of a Government the people of West Virginia are cursed. The proceedings of the Board of Registration, composed of three members -- two being present and acting -- which were had in the Courthouse of this place this week need no comment -- they bespeak most forcibly and eloquently in their own outrageous character.

Any attempt to give such a description of the proceedings which took place as would give those who did not witness them anything like a correct idea of their character would be futile, and I will not attempt to do so. I will only furnish such a sketch as will enable the readers of the Spectator to form some idea of the manner in which the rights of the citizens, are registered, loyal citizens, of West Virginia are ruthlessly and outrageously trampled upon by the Boards of Registration. I will confine myself simply to a plain, unvarnished, unembellished statement.

To enable the readers better to understand the character of the action of the Board of Registration here, I will state that, by the laws of West Virginia, adopted by the Legislature in violation, I believe, of the Constitution of the State, Boards of Registration are responsible to no power or tribunal whatever -- their action is final -- no appeal under the laws can be taken to any other tribunal, however arbitrary and outrageous their action may be. They wield a power unprecedented in the annals of Republican Governments, having the power to prevent any citizen, however loyal, from voting and holding office, and, being irresponsible bodies, and the members of them being generally unscrupulous men, who have no respect for the rights of others, they abuse their power in the most shameful and outrageous manner.

Though citizens may have taken the iron-clad oath and been registered as voters -- though they may have served throughout the war in the Federal army and been honorably discharged therefrom at its termination -- though they may have been consistent members and office holders of the Republican party, yet if, on any occasion, they should fail to vote for the members of the Board of Registration for such offices as they may aspire to, or vote in any way or for any person that suits not the members of the Board, they are liable to be summoned by the Board to appear before that body to establish their "loyalty" in the sense in which that body construes the term. The test of that kind of loyalty is, voting for the members of the Board of Registration, or for such other candidates of the extreme wing of the Radical party as may be supported by the members of the Board. The registered voters thus summoned are required to establish that kind of loyalty by the testimony of witnesses who are themselves recognized as loyal by that test. They are required not only to establish a negative -- that they have never done any disloyal act, or felt a throb of disloyal sympathy -- but they are required to establish it by witnesses who vote to suit the Board of Registration! All others are considered disloyal, whose testimony the Board will take against, but not in favor of the party thus summoned for trial. This rule of conduct in these trials was publicly proclaimed and officially announced by the President of the Board of Registration here this week: -- The testimony of unregistered men will be taken AGAINST, but NOT IN FAVOR of the party on trial.

The party accusing the voter of disloyalty is not made known to the party accused, and all knowledge of the specific charges preferred against him is withheld, so that the party accused is denied both the rights of meeting the charges preferred against him, and of confronting his accuser. What chances has the accused to get justice before such a body? None whatever. The reader will now be able to form some idea of the character, or rather want of character of these trials.

As some of the registered voters in this county did not vote, in the recent election, to suit the Board of Registration, a considerable number -- about 150 or 160, I have been informed -- were summoned to appear before the Board in this place on Monday last, the 4th inst., to establish, to the satisfaction of the Board, their loyalty, of the character and in the manner above state, or have their names stricken from the registration list, and be disbarred from voting or holding office.

On Sunday evening last, the 3rd. inst., the day before the trials of those summoned would commence, the citizens of Lewisburg were surprised to see a squad of fifteen or twenty armed United States soldiers marching, under command of Lieut. Flood, into their peaceful town. For a while the citizens could not understand why their town had been invaded on the Sabbath with United States soldiers, but soon learned that they had been sent in accordance with the request of Dr. Jos. F. Caldwell, President of the Board of Registration of Greenbrier county. This squad of soldiers was a detachment from the troops stationed at Union, Monroe county, near the body of Judge Nat Harrison. The President of the Board of Registration is familiarly called here "Old Joe," and as frequently and appropriately "Old Scratch" -- the latter both from his resemblance in diabolism to a distinguished character to whom that appellation is applied, and from his habit of scratching names of voters from the list of registration when they fail to vote for him, or some of his special personal and political friends.

When the Board met on Monday morning to proceed with the trials, the following scene was presented:

"Old Scratch," with a stick in his hand as long as that carried by Meg Merrilles, occupied the Chair as President of the Board, with his associate member, the notorious Dr. Thatcher, by his side on the right, near Wm. H. Sampson, the clerk, and near him on his left sat in full uniform, with epaulets on shoulders, and bayonet girded to his side, the Orderly of the Lieutenant commanding the squad of soldiers. This, be it remembered, was in territory governed by military authority, but in a loyal State in the Union.

When parties were on trial the chief question asked them by the President of the Board was, "How did you vote?" If they answered the question, and their answer showed that they did not vote to suit the President of the Board, it was evident that that was considered sufficient by the Board to erase their names from the list of registration. If they refused to answer, claiming that, as the ballot in this State was secret, no one had a right to know how they voted, it was equally evident that the Board inferred they voted for the Conservative candidates and would decide that they were disloyal, and would scratch their names off the list of qualified voters.

Though but few were tried, the Board announced on Wednesday that they had disposed of all the parties summoned, but refused to say what disposition they had made of them. Many were present anxious to have their cases tried, but the Board had disposed of them in secret council without any testimony. Such is the mockery of trial had by this Board.

When I commenced this letter, I intended to give a sketch of the proceedings during the trials, but find that my letter has already occupied so much space that I must abandon that purpose or postpone it to another time. The scenes were, at times, such as to beggar description, and a faithful sketch of them would not be credited, but would be considered exaggerated and highly colored. R.M.

Valley Railroad Subscription
(Column 05)
Summary: The author of a letter to the editor speaks favorably of Augusta's decision not to subscribe to a debt of $300,000 for the Railroad. He believes the subscription would have plunged the county into uncontrollable debt and that the railroad will still be constructed even without this investment.
Full Text of Article:

The people of Augusta have acted wisely in refusing to encumber themselves with a debt of $300,000 for the Valley R. R. This is no time to incur new and heavy obligations. We are not able to pay what we owe now, and it would seem to be rash, if not reckless, to run still further in debt. With what face can we ask Gen. Stoneman to extend the stay law, in regard to old debts, if we forthwith incur new ones?

Let us take warning from the example of Rockingham. That county contracted a debt of $150,000 to pay for stock in the Manassas Gap road. Her bonds were issued and sold, and are now outstanding. The road was built, mainly, on credit, and a deed of trust was given to secure the money spent in its construction.-- When the debt became due, the company was unable to pay, and by some compromise the road, with its franchises, has been sold, nominally to the Orange & Alexandria company, but really (as is generally supposed) to the Baltimore & Ohio R. R. company. The result is that Rockingham does not own a dollar's worth of the stock of the road, though she has incurred, and now owes $150,000 of principal, and three or four years of interest on account of her subscription.

If Augusta subscribes $300,000 to the Valley R. R., she will soon find herself in a singular condition, only aggravated in proportion to the larger amount subscribed. The road will be built, on credit, and matters will go on swimmingly for a while, but when pay day comes, we cannot meet our obligations -- the road will be sold out under the mortgage. The Baltimore & Ohio R. R. company will step in and buy it for a trifle, and Mr. Garrett will have the satisfaction of owning the road built with our money, and we will be left with our fingers in our mouths.

I do not find fault with Mr. Garrett. He is pursuing a wise policy in getting other people to rebuild roads for him if he can. But we will be very soft if we allow ourselves to be the victims of his policy.

I admit the road will be a benefit to us. But when Mr. Garrett looks to the interest of his company, let us look to our own. The matter is in our own hands if we know how to improve our opportunities. The question is not as to the construction, or non-construction of the road. The only question to be settled is, who is to build and pay for it. The construction of it is inevitable. Mr. Garrett has already spent millions on the road up to Harrisonburg. He will soon find that it will not pay until it is extended up the Valley -- until it intersects the great through lines. He will find himself in the condition of a man who has built a bridge nine tenths of the way across a stream. He will therefore be obliged, in order to make his other expenditures available, to finish the road to Staunton, and ultimately to Salem.

Let us then be patient. The tendency of events is in our favor. Instead of spending money for the benefit of the Baltimore & Ohio R. R. Company, let us spend it in our own county, and for the benefit of our own people, by making good well graded McAdam roads from Staunton and other points, stretching in to all parts of the county so as to give our people ready access at all seasons to their county, town, and the R. R. Depots. This course will contribute much more to the enhancement of our lands, and the advancement of the public interests, than the proposed subscription to the Baltimore road.

The great difficulty with our people is, now, in getting to the R. R. with their produce. -- In the latter part of the winter and early spring, our county roads are almost impassable to any kind of vehicle. Let us improve them so that our farmers can at all times have fine roads and the country will soon wear a new aspect.

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[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: General Stoneman appointed David Fultz attorney for the commonwealth, but Fultz has supposedly declined.
(Names in announcement: David Fultz)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The Staunton Building Association met and elected officers.
(Names in announcement: J. B. Evans, J. K. Wood, H. Ker, E. M. Cushing, B. T. Bagby, W. J. Nelson, H. H. Peck, A. M. Bruce, J. H. Waters, George F. Elick, N. P. Catlett, P. B. Hoge)
Valley Railroad Election
(Column 01)
Summary: The County Voters will decide on the subscription to the Valley Railroad on February 6th. Prominent citizens will speak across the county in favor of the proposition.
(Names in announcement: Sheffey, John Echols, J. Bumgardner, B. Christian, George Baylor, Jacob Baylor, B. F. Hailman, William M. Tate, M. G. Harman, John J. Larew, J. M. McCue, David Fultz, A. B. Cochran, H. M. Bell, Gideon Barnhart, Logan J. Maupin, Samuel D. Crawford, James S. Crawford, Chesley Kinney, Richard H. Dudley, J. H. Plecker, John Echols, David Bucher)
Valley Railroad
(Column 02)
Summary: "A railroad man" writes a letter to the editor in favor of the subscription to the Valley Railroad. He addresses several counter-arguments, especially the notion that the railroad will be built now matter what and that the tax burden will be crippling.
Full Text of Article:

To the Voters of Augusta County:

Our leading men are giving themselves great concern upon the subject of political reconstruction, forgetting that the best plan for obtaining good terms with the Northern section of the Republic, is by building up the material interests of our own section -- after which political power, which is population, would follow as the necessary consequence. Witness the experience derived from the past. Whilst we of the Southern States were speculating in Federal politics, the North and West were biding their time and giving their immediate attention to the increase of their population, by improving and constructing their highways and harbors, and affording as many as possible of the facilities for rapid communication not only with all portions of the outside world, but with every part of their own territory. They realized the fact that population was political power, -- that population followed Railroad lines, -- and we now see the result. Population has centred upon the Railroad lines of the North and West, and wealth, and the control of the offices and policy of the Federal Government has passed out of our hand into theirs, to be used for our oppression and their aggrandizement. This condition of facts exists and will continue until we have turned the tide in our own favor again by using the same means to invite population to our territory. In the meantime we must submit to the operation of the Commercial laws established by the dominant section in their own interests, which in the instance of cotton, the great staple of the South, shows this remarkable result -- that the same article of New Orleans cotton, which is quoted at 11 3/8 d. in the markets of Liverpool and London, equal to about 25 cents per pound in American Gold, is only quoted at 25 cents per pound in our paper currency in New York and Boston. Upon the estimated crop of 1868 of 2,700,000 bales, this difference in price is equal to a net loss to the southern producer of the staple of upwards of $75,000,000 and a net gain to the Northern speculator and spinner of the same sum. With this instance of the smartness of our cute Yankee brother in legislating the proceeds of our industry out of our pockets into his own, is it not high time that we should awake to the necessities of our situation, and dropping politics for the present, lend all our energies to the development of our resources by opening up every portion of our otherwise favored land, to an influx of population -- the influence of which would result in the increase of our wealth, and political power as a section for our own protection against repressive and unfriendly legislation.

We of this Valley have our part to perform in the race of improvement. It will not longer do to add valuable time to the year already losts before the construction of our Valley Railroad is commenced, as our contribution to this general result. Patriotism and public spirit aside, no other people on the face of the continent, with such natural advantages and accumulated means as we possess, would consent for a moment to be tied to one market by one solitary line of communication, when by the exercise of a little enterprise they would reap the immense advantage of the competition arising between several competing lines, communicating with various markets -- to say nothing of the many collateral advantages arising from the construction of this Road, which I have not now time to elaborate.

The opportunity is again offered to our citizens, by the vote which is to be taken on the 6th of February next, to hasten this "consummation so devoutly to be wished," and the object of this communication is to add to what has already been said, answers to some of the objections to the subscription which I have heard were urged against it when the vote was taken in December last.

The first and leading objection to the subscription which I have heard was that "Our taxes would be so much increased," that it would "add $18,000 to our annual taxes," and would "encumber the county with a debt of $300,000 which would have to be ultimately paid by its citizens." Nothing is truer than each of these propositions -- yet in view of the immense counter-advantages which would result to the citizens of the county, their value as objections utterly fails.

The annual tax, it could be readily demonstrated, were your columns open to great arrays of figures and statistics, would be saved two or three times over by our reduced freights upon every thing which we either sold or bought -- for as you know, freight becomes a part of the cost of every thing which we buy or consume or use -- beside which would be our advantage in buying in competitive markets what we had to buy, at prices reduced in consequence of such competition (and here let me say that the people of Augusta would be astonished if they had as good opportunities as the writer of learning how much they did buy in the outside markets and what a large sum a small centage on that aggregate amounts to) and selling our productions in competing markets, at prices enhanced by the same cause.

Upon the article of Plaster alone, which is so largely used in and so necessary to our agriculture, a saving of $2 per ton, which could now be readily effected but for the monopoly of the one line of road we are tied to, would amount to an annual saving of $10,000. But if we add to that all the savings of freight and cost upon the other heavy articles such as salt, fish, iron, fertilizers, machinery, &c., &c. so largely consumed in our county, it will readily be seen that those savings upon the articles alone named would nearly if not quite pay the tax on the county interest in the Road.

The debt would surely have to be ultimately paid -- but consider what immense means the Road, if constructed, would give us to pay with. In the first place we would have our stock interest as a county in the capital of the Road; which, by the time the debt matured, would probably be worth more than it cost the county. Add to that the aggregate savings of the citizens above the tax in reduced prices, freights &c. for twenty years, as above stated, and then consider what immense increase in the market value of our Real Estate in consequence of the favorable commercial position of the Road would give us, inviting a large influx of valuable population -- creating a demand for our lands in small tracts -- developing our resources, agricultural, mineral and manufacturing, and the fear of pay-day coming 20 years hence, should not affright us. Why sirs, before the arrival of that time our Real Estate, now estimated as worth $18,000,000 would have more than doubled in value -- but if the construction of the Road only insured an increase of 25 per cent in the value of our Real Estate, that alone would add $4,500,000 to our wealth, to pay $300,000 with.

Again, sirs, the proposition is not to pull $300,000 in cash out of our pockets now, to spend beyond our limits to be spent. It is, if possible, to convert our county credit into cash, to be expended here -- at home -- among us -- to our great present advantage and profit. Some 35 miles of this Road lies within the limits of our county, which will cost about $30,000 per mile -- say $1,100,000 to construct -- the most of which sum would be expended among us. -- If we can induce the expenditure of any thing like such a sum as that among us, by pledging our credit for so small a part of it as $300,000, the writer fails to see the good judgment of refusing to do so.

Some object to voting the subscription because it will, they say, be located on the Eastern route, and some because they say it will run on the Western. To say the least of it, this is a very selfish, dog in the manger policy, and no objection at all -- considering the fact that as yet the Road is not located, and that no living man knows what line it will be located upon. My decided impression is that if ever located it will be upon that line which presents the greatest advantage in character of county and cost of construction, after the most careful survey of all the possible routes. -- and that whether it is ultimately located on the Eastern route or the Western route or a Middle route or any other routes, the benefits and advantages of the Road will be reflected upon every portion of our county to its remotest limits. The foregoing answer to objections as to refute will apply equally well to another class of opponents of the subscription who, without knowledge of how or where the Road will run, assume that it will certainly run through their farms to the injury of the same. I answer their objection by asking them how they know it will.

Another class, I am told, oppose the subscription because they object to the Officers and Directors in Office in the Company. This is which has substance, for the stock holders are in control of their own property, with power to elect such Officers and Directors as suit them. Were Augusta a leading stockholder in this company, her voice would be potential in a general meeting, in making and deposing officers. Beside which, I know it would be safe for me to say there is not one Officer or Director of the Company who would not cheerfully vacate his position if he thought he imposed one obstacle to the existence of the Road. As it is, I believe, they only retain their positions to give the semblance of vitality and organization to the company.

Another and most unworthy objection, which converts some into opponents and more into luke warm friends who stay away from the polls, is the delusive and fatal idea that we can save our money and some one else will, out of love for us, build the Road at their own expense. They do not know exactly who, but rather surmise that the Balt. & Ohio Railroad is the amiable and liberal party who will do this great kindness to us. My good friends, do not cling too long to this idea, or you will be mouldering in forgotten graves long before this event occurs. The Baltimore & Ohio Company MAY at some future day desire a connection with our Chesa. & Ohio Road, but it is not her desire and is contrary to her interests, for many and obvious reasons, to effect that connection in this county or at any point further East than Covington. This you may rely upon -- the writer states it as not only the speculation of his own mind, but upon information derived through parties connected with the Balt. & Ohio Road. Neither need we expect State aid -- the State will never in our day appropriate another dollar to an internal improvement system. The fact is, old Augusta has been so long used to being provided for by others -- by Providence with a fertile soil and genial climate, and by the State and other outside barbarians with Railroads, turnpikes and noble institutions of learning and charity -- over and through which to convert her production into cash -- that she had neglected to provide herself with even a good and sufficient system of county roads -- in the expectation, probably, that even these would be supplied to her at somebody else's expense. Good people, discard these delusions as fatal to your prosperity and progress. Come up to the work and help yourselves, for once. You will then find that "the God's help those who help themselves." Rely upon it that no help in this behalf will ever reach you except such as you give yourselves. No Railroad will ever traverse the length of Augusta county in your generation unless you provide the means to at least start it. And, such being the case, go to the polls on the day appointed, and with unanimity vote the subscription -- provide the means to promptly construct your Road, and you will assuredly find a flood-tide of wealth and prosperity setting in upon you which will at no distant day make yours most favored of this favored land.


(Column 03)
Summary: Capt. James Boyd of Texas and Miss Mary E. Sheets of Augusta, were married on January 6th at the residence of Maj. J. M. McCue by the Rev. J. Pinkerton.
(Names in announcement: Capt. James Boyd, Mary E. Sheets, Maj. J. M. McCue, Rev. J. Pinkerton)
(Column 03)
Summary: Dr. John W. Taylor and Miss Bettie A. Crawford were married on January 6th at the residence of Major James Crawford by the Rev. William E. Baker.
(Names in announcement: Dr. John W. Taylor, Bettie A. Crawford, Maj. James Crawford, Rev. William E. Baker)
(Column 03)
Summary: Jacob Ramsey and Miss Mary A. R. Bartley, together with James F. Harris and Miss Ozella F. Crist were married on January 7th at the Virginia Hotel by the Rev. William E. Baker.
(Names in announcement: Mary A. R. Bartley, Jacob Ramsey, James F. Harris, Ozella F. Crist, Rev. William E. Baker)
(Column 03)
Summary: Jacob A. Bumgardner and Miss Sarah M. McGilvray, both of Augusta, were married on December 29th at the residence of Mr. A. Sproul near Middlebrook by the Rev. James Murray.
(Names in announcement: Jacob A. Bumgardner, Sarah M. McGilvray, A. Sproul, Rev. James Murray)
(Column 03)
Summary: Sarah A. Bell, wife of Johnson E. Bell and daughter of John Wayt of Staunton died in West Virginia after a protracted illness of organic disease of the heart on January 4th. She was 46 years old.
(Names in announcement: Sarah A. Bell, Johnson E. Bell, John Wayt)
(Column 03)
Summary: Newton Brown died of diphtheria at the residence of his father near Hebron Church. He was 20 years old. "The deceased was beloved by all who knew him. He was cut down in the prime of his life--taken away from father, mother and sister, and now sleeps his last sleep."
(Names in announcement: Newton Brown)
(Column 03)
Summary: David M. Kyle died at Mossy Creek on January 10th. He was 68 years old. "He was stricken down on Saturday evening previous, about 5 o'clock, with paralysis, and was entirely unconscious to the hour of his decease. He has left a wife and four children, and numerous relatives to mourn his sudden death."
(Names in announcement: David M. Kyle)
(Column 03)
Summary: Mrs. Mary Koiner, wife of George Koiner, died near Fishersville on December 31st. She was 71 years old. "The deceased connected herself in the morning of her life with the Evangelical Lutheran Church" and lived "the life of a sincere and devoted christian." She suffered, confined in her bed, for 11 years, but never lost faith. A message from her granddaughter Mollie is also included.
(Names in announcement: Mary Koiner, George Koiner)

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