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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: September 06, 1870

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-Page 01-

Voters of Staunton
(Column 05)
Summary: "VOTER" criticized the Staunton Council for its repeated efforts to carry the Valley Railroad subscription. Reminded them that 3/5 of the county voted against the proposal and cited previous false promises of prosperity from the railroads. Insisted Augusta's real potential lay in building McAdamized roads and building up the resources of the county, not mortgaging property away to Railroad men.
Full Text of Article:

The Council can not be indifferent to the fact that 3-5 of the voters of Staunton are non-property holders, and it is questionable whether they have any distinct and well defined idea of the amount of $150,000, and if their conception of such a number be imperfect, how vague must their idea be of the ability of the property of Staunton to assume a debt of $150,000. It is evident, therefore, that a million dollars would as likely be voted as $150,000, and would as likely be paid.

The responsibility of the Council in adopting this Ordinance is a very great one, as it puts in jeopardy the interests, the welfare and happiness of our Town, especially when the tax is going to exist through a long course of years, and the benefits (which are conjectural at best) may be entirely inadequate to relieve the property-holders against the accumulating tide of taxation. Our desire is to avoid the too probable consequence that may result from taxing the people beyond their ability, of seeking redress in the courts or otherwise, in repudiation of bonds of doubtful validity, for we apprehend if this stock is subscribed, there is great risk to the bond-holders that this ordinance will have no binding force upon the town.

After this stock of $150,000 is subscribed, the Valley Railroad Company, to complete the Road, will be compelled to mortgage it to such an extent that, if sold, the Road would be sold subject to the mortgage, and in this way the Town would lose every dollar of its stock, and yet the Company might go on, and be solvent and run the road, or what is more probable, the Baltimore & O. Rail Road Company would become the purchasers, and have the exclusive control and benefits of the Valley Railroad. -- Will not the tax-payers ask themselves, what is the interest which thus prompts these Railroad authorities to interfere with our town, and to dictate to us what policy we should pursue? What relations have existed between these authorities and the people, that should so deeply interest them in the destinies of Staunton? We are afraid they do not seek us for our good, but the loaves and fishes are in the answer.

In this crisis of our Town, let us take counsel from our duty and not from our fears that 'Staunton will not be made a point.' Let us jealously watch these proceeding while we have the means of resisting a tax that will be grievously oppressive, and will frighten enterprise and capital from our Town.

Will any friend of this subscription undertake to name to the tax-payers one town in Virginia, (not in the North or West, but in Virginia,) where the manufacturing interests of various kinds have been built up, or the population increased by Railroads running through and by said town? The result in this case will be just as it has been in years past, disappointed hopes, and not one Railroad promise realized.

The general prosperity of Staunton, as we have said in a former article, depends more upon the rich and populous County of Augusta than upon the Valley Railroad. We want good McAdamized roads from every portion of the County, centering at Staunton. Then she will become the mart of the County, and as the County improves and develops her resources, so will the Town improve and increase her population and wealth. VOTER.

-Page 02-

Nomination for Congress
(Column 02)
Summary: Editor supported the nomination of A.H.H. Stuart for Congress. Praised his achievements and assured other county delegates that Stuart would not suffer from any political disabilities like the test-oath. Also said he lost his seat earlier because he represented the true sentiment of his constituents against Radical wishes, and thus deserved the honor of representing the county.
Full Text of Article:

As we stated last week, the choice of Congressmen is restricted to two classes, to wit: Those who can take the iron-clad oath, and those whose disabilities have been removed, and who, consequently, are not required to take it. There are not, in this District at least, a great many of either class who possess the other requisite qualification to make suitable representatives in the National Legislature. We should be represented by the very best that can be selected from the few who possess the requisite qualifications.

Without any disparagement to others in other portions of the District, we think we are justified in saying that Augusta county can present in the person of one of her sons, whose disabilities have been removed, the peer, in talents, character, public service, legislative experience, and claims to popular support, of any that can be presented by any county in the District. As the reader has no doubt anticipated, we allude to Hon. A. H. H. Stuart, who was a few years ago elected, by a triumphant majority, to represent this District in Congress, but was refused admittance because he could not and would not take the iron-clad oath. This would not be required of him now, as his political disabilities have been removed by act of Congress. We suppose the delegates to the Harrisonburg Convention from this county, will vote to secure the nomination of Mr. Stuart, if he be willing to accept it. [We write in ignorance of his wishes upon the subject.] He was elected, but was prevented from serving by a cause which did him honour -- it was because his sentiments were in accord with those of the great mass of the citizens of the District -- because he was a true exponent of the people whom he was elected to represent. The fact that he would, in truth, represent the people of this District, was the reason why he was, by Radical policy, prevented at that time from acting as their Representative. Besides his indisputable qualifications to make an able and faithful representative, the fact that he was prevented from serving, for the reason we have stated, gives him special claims to the support of the people -- such as no other in the District can present.

It seems to us that it is due to themselves that the voters of this District should re-elect Mr. Stuart. The right which was wrongfully denied them, they now have an opportunity to exercise, and we think it is their duty to do so. The right to be represented in Congress by the person of their choice was then denied the voters of the District. That right, if their choice be the same, cannot be denied them now. If elected, he must be admitted, and that, too, without taking the oath. This would be a victory over the body which violated the rights of the people of the District -- "a consummation devoutly to be wished."

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: A letter signed "Rockingham" and published in the Old Commonwealth of Harrisonburg recommended Judge A. B. Cochran of Staunton for Congress. A letter signed "Old Augusta" and published in the Vindicator suggested William H. Effinger of Harrisonburg for the same post.
(Names in announcement: Judge A. B. Cochran, William H. Effinger)
Valley Railroad Subscription
(Column 02)
Summary: "PROGRESS" issued another plea for Augusta residents to privately subscribe to the Valley Railroad and thus save the project. He was extremely disappointed with the failure of the recent failed vote but accepted it and thus turned to the idea of private subscription.
Full Text of Article:

"Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand?
Thou hadst. Whom hast thou then or what to accuse,
But Heaven's free love dealt equally to all?"
"And in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threat'ning to devour me opens wide."

It is a remarkable characteristic of human nature that when it has taken a false step, and plunged into difficulty or disgrace, it seldom shows any immediate signs of reaction, but more generally assumes, like the arch-fiend above quoted, a defiant position, and recklessly plunges from each lowest deep, to a lower deep. When Augusta County had (under unwise and unfaithful leaders who had no regard for the "best interests of the County") declared by her vote, that although she was the largest, the wealthiest and most populous County, and the one most to be benefitted by the Road, yet she was not willing to do her part, not willing to do anything, because, forsooth, the other counties and Towns would from their small means contribute their own share and hers too, "and the Road would be built anyhow." Some of the friends of the County urged that she should have an opportunity to retrieve her credit by means of private subscriptions. They were the more encouraged to this from the fact that so many who had opposed the County subscription on what they were pleased to term "principle" had loudly declared their willingness to make it up by private subscription. The opportunity has been given -- the subscription papers have been freely circulated -- the subscription has been urged, and what is the result. At the meeting of the Stockholders, on August 30th, there was found to be Five Thousand Six Hundred ($5,600) Dollars subscribed, a considerable portion of this from citizens of other counties, and a still larger portion from citizens of Staunton, who have already taxed themselves for a corporate subscription.

It is now hoped by the company that they have made arrangements by which the balance of the Stock will be provided for, except about $13,000. This they still hope to raise by private subscription along the line. Will the citizens of Augusta County avail themselves of this last opportunity to show their good will to the Road by taking this small amount, or must it be done by those who have already taxed themselves three times as much, as ever Augusta was asked to do. The subscription books are open and subscriptions can be sent in to the old office in Staunton for the next two weeks. Will you do it? Perhaps you will say, why do you urge this subscription on us when we have so plainly and repeatedly told you we will not subscribe. This is our last appeal. From this time forward we shall say, "Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone."

Raphine Va. PROGRESS.

Valley Railroad Meeting
(Column 03)
Summary: Editor reported on business conducted at a meeting of stockholders of the Valley Railroad. Listed the motions given and passed, reports on the progress of gaining subscriptions for the railroad, and the appointment of General Robert E. Lee as President of the company.
(Names in announcement: Col. B. Christian, Col. J. T. Anderson, Maj. Jed Hotchkiss, Col. M. G. Harman, Col. J. B. Baldwin, Col. J. W. Massie, Maj. J. B. Dorman, W. H. Tams, M. H. Effinger, George E. Price, Maj. J. B. Dorman, Judge T. D. Houston, William Allan, Edmond Pendleton, Judge H. W. Sheffey, Gen. Echols, Col. William T. Poague, James E. A. Gibbs, J. T. Patton, George E. Price, Capt. W. A. Burke, Maj. Shumate)
Full Text of Article:

The stockholders of the Valley Railroad, at the call of the Board of Directors, met at the office of the Company in Staunton, on Tuesday, August 30th, 1870, at 11 A. M.

On motion of Col. B. Christian, Col. J. T. Anderson, of Botetourt, was called to the chair and Maj. Jed Hotchkiss of Staunton, appointed Secretary at the meeting.

Col. M. G. Harman submitted his report as President of the Company, showing its present condition &c., and stating that he declined a re-election, and desired the election of Gen. R. E. Lee to the Presidency of the Board.

On motion, Col. Harman's Report was received.

On motion of Col. Christian, the chair was directed to appoint a committee of three stock-holders, to examine the credentials of proxies and report the shares of stock represented in the meeting. Col. Christian asked to be excused from serving on the Committee. The chair appointed Col. J. B. Baldwin, Col. J. W. Massie, and Maj. J. B. Dorman.

Col. Baldwin, chairman of Committee on proxies, &c., reported that there were present, proxies representing 1000 shares of stock, of the city of Staunton; proxies representing 2000 shares of stock of the county of Botetourt; proxies representing 4000 shares of stock of the county of Rockbridge, and some 56 shares of stock represented by stockholders. The report of the Committee was received, and the Committee discharged. On motion of Col. M. G. Harman, Gen. R. E. Lee was unanimously elected President of the Valley Railroad Company.

On motion of Col. Christian, the chair appointed a committee of five to prepare and report a code of by-laws for the government of the Directory of the Company. Col. Christian asked that Mr. Tams be named as chairman of the Committee; the chair named Messrs. W. J. Tams, M. H. Effinger, Geo. E. Price, Maj. J. B. Dorman, and Judge T. D. Houston as the Committee.

On motion of Col. Christian, the chair appointed Colonels Christian, Allan, Pendleton, Baldwin and Patton, a Committee to wait on Gen. Lee and inform him of his election to the Presidency of the Valley R. R.

On motion of Col Baldwin, the chair appointed a Committee, consisting of Colonels J. B. Baldwin, M. G. Harman, B. Christian, J. W. Massie, Wm. Allan and Edmond Pendleton and Judge H. W. Sheffey, to consider and report business for the meeting, especially the organization and number of Board of Directors.

Mr. Tams, chairman of the Committee on by-laws, made a report in writing, which, on motion of Gen. Echols, was received and laid upon the table.

On motion the meeting adjourned to 2 P.M.

The meeting re-assembled at the appointed hour.

Col. Baldwin, chairman of the Committee on Directory, &c., reported as follows, viz:

The Committee respectfully recommended that the accompanying resolutions be adopted by the stockholders and that eight Directors be chosen, four from Rockbridge, two from Botetourt and two from Staunton, and in any increase of the numbers of Directors the new members shall be selected with a view to present in due proportion the new stock hereafter to be subscribed by cities, counties or others.

Resolved,1. That a Board of Directors be now selected to consist of eight members, in addition to the President.

2. That until otherwise ordered by the stockholders in general meeting, the Board of Directors shall have the plenary power to do in the organization and government of the company, whatever the stockholders themselves might lawfully do in general meeting.

3. That the plenary power hereby conferred shall be construed to include the right to increase the number of Directors and to fill all vacancies by selections to be made upon the nomination of President, so as to give fair representation to all interests concerned, and also to prescribe what number shall, for any purpose, constitute a quorom of their body.

Judge Houston offered an amendment: "That the number of Directors be increased to 19, so as to give Baltimore and the B. & O. R. R., 16, Roanoke 3, Botetourt 3, Staunton 2, and Rockbridge 5."

Judge Houston advocated, and Col. Baldwin, Col. Pendleton, and Maj. Dorman opposed the amendment. Judge Houston called for a scale vote, which being ordered, the amendment was defeated by a large majority and the preamble and resolution as reported were adopted.

The election of Directors, on motion, then took place.

Col. Massie, of Rockbridge, nominated Col. Wm. Allan, Col. Wm. T. Poague, Jas. E. A. Gibbs and J. T. Patton as Directors on the part of Rockbridge county, and, on motion, they were unanimously elected.

Gen. E. Price, of Staunton, nominated Col. M. G. Harman and Capt. W. A. Burke as Directors on the part of the City of Staunton, and, on motion, they were unanimously elected.

Col. T. Anderson, of Botetourt, nominated Col. Edmond Pendleton and Judge T. D. Houston as Directors on the part of Botetourt county, and on motion, they were unanimously elected.

On motion of Col. Baldwin, the report of the Committee on by-laws was taken from the table and referred to the new Board of Directors.

Judge Houston offered a resolution, from the supervisors of Botetourt county, as follows:

Resolved, That in locating the Valley Railroad through the county of Botetourt, the Corps of Engineers be instructed by the Director to make a careful examination of the topography of the county with a view of ascertaining the practicability of making Fincastle a point on said route; and if the Corps should find such route practicable, but prefer another on account of advantages in grade and distance, that then it be required to report to the Directory the differences in grade and distance between the two routes.

On motion the resolution was adopted.

Col. Christian, chairman of the Committee to inform Gen. Lee of his election to the Presidency, reported that they had discharged that duty, and that Gen. Lee accepted the Presidency.

On motion of Col. Christian, it was ordered that the report of the Committee be received and spread upon the record.

Col. Massie, after some remarks, offered the following preamble and resolution.

Whereas, the stockholders of the Valley Railroad Company feel deeply grateful to Col. M. G. Harman for the earnest zeal and energy which he has displayed in behalf of the interests of said Company, whilst acting as its President, and whereas, it is due to services so faithful that there should be some suitable acknowledgement of the same -- therefore, Resolved: that the thanks of said Company are hereby tendered to Col. Harman, and as a further testimonial of the high appreciation in which his labors in behalf of the Company are held, that --- shares of the Stock of said Company be, and the same are hereby presented to the late President of the Company, Col. M. G. Harman.

Col. Massie, in behalf of the county of Rockbridge, moved the adoption of the preamble and resolution, and Judge Houston seconded the motion. They were unanimously adopted. On motion of Judge Houston, the blank was filled with thirty shares, and the resolution &c. ordered to be spread upon the record. Col. Harman returned thanks and pledged his continual efforts and means in behalf of the Road.

Maj. Shumate stated to the meeting the partial results of the efforts of the citizens, along the western line surveyed from Harrisonburg to Staunton, to procure conditional subscriptions.

Col. Harman moved that the subscriptions referred to by Maj. Shumate, when completed be referred to the Board of Directors. Adopted.

On motion of Col. Harman, the salary of the President was fixed at Five Thousand dollars per annum, to commence from this date.

On motion of Gen. Echols, the meeting adjourned sine die.


JED HOTCHKISS, Sec'y President.

-Page 03-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The Free School system went into operation on September 1st, and the officers plan to open by October 1st.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: Daniel Fall, "a well doing and highly respected citizen of this county," died near Churchville after being stricken with paralysis. He was 50 years old.
(Names in announcement: Daniel Fall)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper called attention to John and Elizabeth Joseph, "a healthy couple residing near Churchville," who are 83 and 80 respectively and have lived together for 62 years.
(Names in announcement: John Joseph, Elizabeth Joseph)
The Staunton Female Seminary
(Column 01)
Summary: The Rev. J. I. Miller planned to open the seminary on September 15th "with a full corps of Professors and Teachers." Said the new buildings would properly accommodate the students.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. I. Miller)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: Stoneburner and Co., who had long published the Valley Virginian, has been dissolved. D. Stoneburner and J. B. Pemberton bought out their former partners J. H. Burdett and N. H. Anderson to found Stoneburner and Pemberton.
(Names in announcement: D. Stoneburner, J. B. Pemberton, J. H. Burdett, N. H. Anderson)
Valley Musical Association
(Column 01)
Summary: The fourth annual meeting of the Valley Musical Association will be held at New Providence Church, Rockbridge County. The Association "is doing a great deal in the cultivation of the musical talent possessed by the citizens of the Valley."
Sunday School Pic Nic
(Column 01)
Summary: The Sunday School of Staunton's Southern Methodist Church held their annual picnic in the grove near the cemetery. Many children attended and played a variety of games. A feast was served followed by a treat of watermelon.
Tournament at Rockbridge Alum
(Column 02)
Summary: Cadet A. Harman of Staunton was the winning knight at the tournament at Rockbridge Alum Springs on August 26th. He crowned Miss Emma C. Harman of Charlottesville queen of the tournament.
(Names in announcement: Cadet A. Harman)
Shenandoah Valley
(Column 02)
Summary: Copied an article from the Lynchburg Virginian praising the beauty and bountifulness of the Valley. The editor assured readers the Valley had fully recovered from the devastation of the war.
Full Text of Article:

The Editor of the Lynchburg Virginian, who has recently paid a visit to the lower portion of this noble Valley of Virginia, thus speaks of it:

"The scenes of rural peace and plenty to be found in many portions of Virginia are truly refreshing and cheering. Especially is this the case in what is known as the great Shenandoah Valley. We have recently passed through a large portion of that favored region, and were never more struck with its beauty or with the abundant gifts which a munificent Providence has showered upon it than them. From Staunton down to its lowest borders it is one prolonged garden spot, blooming like a verdune-clad oasis. All traces of grim war have been swept away by the hand of industry; and the brutal boast of Sheridan that he would so desolate it that a crow would have to carry its rations while flying over it, exists only in the infamy of the past. The barns and dwellings which his torch-bearing marauders leveled to the earth have been re-built; the destroyed fencing has been replaced, and overflowing garners and waving fields of corn and grass proclaim the triumph of nature over the barbarism of man. It is pleasant to behold the evidences of thrift and prosperity which have so soon followed in the track of fire and sword. The fertile fields which there abound, responsive to the toil of man are giving out a generous yield of the fruits of the earth, and shedding abroad a happy influence on the people.

* * * * * * *

"Nature was indeed in munificent and prodigal mood when she formed and fashioned the great Valley of Virginia."

(Column 02)
Summary: Benjamin T. Stogdale and Miss Mary C. Ransbottom, both of Augusta, were married near Churchville, Augusta County, on August 31st by the Rev. J. I. Miller.
(Names in announcement: Benjamin T. Stogdale, Mary C. Ransbottom, Rev. J. I. Miller)
(Column 02)
Summary: Nannie R. Collins, daughter of Richard and Mary Collins, died in Staunton on September 5th. She was 18 years old. Her funeral will be held at St. Francis Church.
(Names in announcement: Nannie R. Collins, Richard Collins, Mary Collins)
(Column 02)
Summary: Effie Lee Anderson, infant daughter of Col. W. D. and Mrs. M. V. Anderson, died on September 2nd of congestion of the lungs. She was 1 month old.
(Names in announcement: Effie Lee Anderson, Col. W. D. Anderson, M. V. Anderson)

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