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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: December 20, 1870

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-Page 01-

[No Title]
(Column 06)
Summary: Letter which alerted the Spectator to an article in a Texas newspaper praising Capt. James Boyd, a young district attorney in that state. Boyd, a veteran of the 25th Virginia Infantry, left Augusta County after the war and studied law in Texas.
(Names in announcement: Capt. James Boyd)

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The Future of our County
(Column 01)
Summary: Editor urged Augusta voters to vote in favor of a $200,000 subscription for the completion of two railroads. Painted a glowing picture of immense trade and wealth flowing through Staunton from all sections of the country within two years if the railroads were financed and completed. All these possibilities rested in the hands of the citizens of Augusta and Staunton.
Full Text of Article:

For the last forty years the people of our county have been indulging in bright dreams of a better day that was to come to them, in a material point of view. Like the children of Israel during their forty years of sojourn in the wilderness, they never lost hope. Disappointment after disappointment followed each other, but they continued to cherish a lively hope that, at some future day, the great highways of commerce and travel -- those fruitful sources of wealth and prosperity -- would eventually be made through the central portions of our county. Thanks to a kind Providence and the intelligent enterprise of our people, we are now on the eve of having our wishes, in this respect, fulfilled. Like the Israelites of old, we now stand on the banks of the Jordan and have a glimpse of the promised land.

The report of Mr. Huntingdon to the recent meeting of the Stockholders of the Chesapeake & Ohio Rail Road gives the most satisfactory assurance of the completion of that great work within two years. It would be aside from the immediate purposes of this article for us here to dwell on the many advantages which will accrue to our people from this important channel of trade and travel. We cannot forbear however from remarking, that its completion will be followed by the establishment of many Furnaces and Foundries between Staunton and Covington, and the development of a traffic in iron and coal, which will surpass the expectations of the most sanguine.

This road will ultimately be the Eastern link in the great chain of communication between the navigable waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Richmond and San Francisco are on nearly the same parallel of latitude, and a line drawn along the great circle which indicates the line of latitude from East to West between those two cities, will nearly coincide with the line of our Chesapeake & Ohio Road and its extension Westward. This fact proves, conclusively, that our great line of communication from East to West, is the shortest possible route, and, therefore, that it cannot be superseded, or materially interfered with by any other line. These facts assure us that we shall always be on the great highway between the East and the West, and enjoy the benefits of the trade and travel between the East and the West, which will seek the most convenient transit by that route.

This being accomplished, the next thing we desire is, a similar great thoroughfare, passing through our borders from North to South, thus securing the advantages of commercial intercourse through our county, between the Northern and Southern divisions of our country.

In looking for the natural and most advantageous route for such a national thoroughfare, we have only to take the map, and draw a line from Washington city, or any of the commercial cities North of Washington, to New Orleans, and we will find that the line will pass, lengthwise, along the Valley of Virginia, from Winchester through the county of Augusta to Salem, where it connects with the Lynchburg and Tennessee R. R., and thence Southwardly to New Orleans. It thus appears, that nature has marked out the Valley of Virginia as presenting the best and shortest line for a railway from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, to New Orleans, which is recognized on all hands as the proper Southern terminus of such a line.

Now, by singular good fortune, it so happens, that the point of intersection of the two great thoroughfares, from East to West and from North to South, must be in the county of Augusta, and at or near her county town -- Staunton. When, therefore, these two lines shall have been finished, we will be at the central point, from which Railroads will radiate to the four cardinal points of the compass. Eastward we will have a look-out along an unbroken line of railway to Richmond and Norfolk -- Westward, to San Francisco -- Northward, to Portland, Maine, and Southward to New Orleans. Was any county ever so peculiarly favored by Providence.

It would be a waste of time to dwell on the manifold advantages which result from such a conjunction of Railroads, and the transmit and exchange of merchandize and passengers along the various routes. The city of Atlanta in Georgia -- the offspring of converging local roads -- furnishes an illustration stronger than any words could afford, of the vivifying effects which such a combination of influences tends to produce.

Now, if the junction of two or three local roads at Atlanta could cause a city of fifteen or twenty thousand inhabitants to spring up like magic in the sandy plains of Georgia, what may we not expect from the coming together of the two most important national thoroughfares on our continent, in a county so fertile -- so healthful! -- so picturesque, and in all respects so desirable as Augusta?

We forbear from enlarging on this topic, for fear that we may be deemed enthusiasts -- but we will, in passing, venture the prediction that within ten years from the completion of these roads, the population and the property of Staunton will be doubled, and that the wealth of the county will be augmented in a corresponding ratio.

The realization of all these brilliant prospects now rests with the people of Augusta. -- We venture to affirm, that if they will vote the $200,000 subscription, which is now asked from them to secure the three millions which is dependent on their decision, the great Northern and Southern line will be finished contemporaneously with the Eastern and Western line. The benefits of the enterprise rest not in the remote future. They will be enjoyed within the next two years. And in the meantime the incidental advantages resulting from the lavish expenditures of money in the construction of the road will give to our farmers a pleasing foretaste of what they are to enjoy after the road is finished, and the current of trade and travel has begun to flow along the lines.

Shall this rich harvest of prosperity be gathered by our people? It is for them, by their votes, to determine.

The Conservative Party--Its Shibboleth
(Column 02)
Summary: Praised the past exploits of the Conservative party, which combined former Democrats and Whigs in united opposition to Radical rule. Gave reasons why a switch in names would only hurt the party in upcoming elections. Claimed the main purpose of the party was to defeat the Republicans and to recruit anyone, from any party, willing to accomplish that goal.
Full Text of Article:

Just three years ago, the representatives of all shades of political sentiment in this State in opposition to Radicalism met in Convention in Richmond, and there, on that occasion, formally organized the Conservative party, which since then has been, and is yet, the only organized party in this State in opposition to the Radical or Republican party. Those who were before the war classified as Whigs and Democrats respectively were about equal in number in that part of the State which remained as "Virginia" after the dismemberment of the State -- there being, we believe, a small majority of Whigs. The Conservative party embraced alike both Democrats and Whigs who were opposed to the Republican party. The Convention which organized that party was the largest, and the most harmonious which ever assembled in the State, and embraced the talents, patriotism, wisdom, character, and public spirit of both the Democratic and Whig parties in the State.

It presented a grand and sublime spectacle, Whigs and Democrats, actuated alike by patriotic motives, met in friendly council in the interests of their State and in behalf of the rights and liberties of the people, and, burying past differences in the grave of oblivion, with concord and harmony and unity banded themselves together, like brothers, in a fraternal political organization, which all then agreed in a spirit of friendly compromise, should be called the "CONSERVATIVE" party. The object was to embrace in that organization all who were opposed to the Republican party, whatever their political antecedents might have been, and knowing, as wise men, that many were influenced by their prejudices against even the name of the party to which they had been opposed, the representatives of each of the old parties deemed it wise, politic and patriotic to give up the name to which they were partial, and adopt, for the new party, a name against which neither party was prejudiced, and thus the party, composed of both Whigs and Democrats alike, came to be called the "CONSERVATIVE" party.

If this were wise then, (and we humbly think it was,) as the same reason still applies, men being still more or less under the influence of their prejudices -- however foolish many may deem them -- we cannot see how it can be wise or politic to discard the name thus adopted, and substitute for it either of the names which it was thought wise to give up, as neither could strengthen, and either might weaken the party, in consequence of the prejudices against it which many would entertain.

We have neither a "Whig" nor a "Democratic" party, as such, in this State, and we have co nomine, no need for such. We have a party organization which embraces the members of both, and all others, if any there be, who are opposed to the Radical or Republican party. The time may come, but it has not yet arrived, when it may be wise to reorganize our party in this State and call it by another name. The defeat of the Radical party is the object which patriotic duty now demands that we should use all honorable and just means to accomplish. And to do this, we hope to see united, in opposition to that party, former Whigs and Democrats and a portion of the present dissatisfied Republicans; for we must look to the best portion of the Republican party for recruits. The shibboleth of our party should be: "OPPOSITION TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY." All who will unite with us in opposition to that party should be welcomed to our party. Let the invitation be general, and the welcome cordial.

A Word of Counsel to our Farmers
(Column 03)
Summary: An anonymous writer argued that, despite falling prices, Augusta farmers should hold onto their surplus goods in anticipation of a booming market in the near future. He claimed such a market was forthcoming because the owners of the Valley Railroad promised a vast workforce would come to Staunton once work on the railroad started up. The writer revealed his actual motive at the end of the article by urging voters to pass the $200,000 subscription to the Valley Railroad to ensure the arrival of the promised workforce and subsequent market for surplus goods.
Full Text of Article:

Farmers of Augusta: --Like yourselves I am a farmer, and, like yourselves, I feel the evils that are brought upon us by the low prices of the production of our farms. The present prices of flour, corn, oats, and rye will hardly pay the cost of production. Beef and pork are rather better, but, still, they are too low. Our granaries are filled with wheat, and our cribs with corn; but ninety cents or a dollar for the former, and fifty cents for the latter will not pay.

The question then presents itself, what shall we do with the large surplus on hand? Shall we sell it at the present ruinous prices, or shall we hold on in the hope of doing better?

My advice to you is to hold on for a while, and I will now tell you why:

We have every reason to believe that before the 1st of April next, the Valley Railroad will be under contract, and a remunerative market opens for us for everything we have to sell.

I have talked with Mr. Garrett, the President of the Railroad Company, and he informs me that it is his purpose and wish to commence operations on a large scale, on the road, within the next three months. I learn from him that the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company are just about finishing a railroad which they have been building from Connellsville to Pittsburg, and as soon as that work is completed (which will be in February) the company proposes to transfer a corps of three thousand workmen, with all their outfit of carts, wagons, horses, mules, oxen, and tools of every kind to the Valley R. R. The whole force will come in a body, with their families and stock. They will come like an army with banners, organized and equipped for action, without delay.

Assuming that there are 3,000 working men, they will, in all probability, bring with them not less than 1,000 women and children and camp-followers. They will also bring not less than a thousand head of horses, mules, oxen and milch cows. This will make an aggregate of 4,000 people and 1,000 work animals. All these will have to be fed and supported from our granaries, corn-cribs, meat houses, and hay and fodder stacks.

You can form as good an idea as I can of the immense quantity of flour, corn, rye, oats, hay, fodder, beef, bacon, potatoes, cabbage, onions, apples, poultry, whiskey, brandy, milk, butter, eggs and fuel which would be required to feed and render comfortable such an army of people and live stock. I doubt if the entire surplus remaining in the county would meet the demand. This new demand would largely enhance the prices of every production of our farms.

But these people must not only be supplied with bread, and meats, and vegetables, but they must also be clothed and buy their dry-goods, tea, coffee, sugar, rice, salt, pepper, spices, &c., from our merchants. The effect of these things will be to throw a vast amount of money into circulation, and largely to relieve the distresses of our people.

The annual surplus flour of Augusta county is estimated at 80,000 barrels, and of corn at from 200,000 to 300,000 bushels. I have no accurate data on which to estimate the surplus of beef, pork, potatoes, cabbage, apples, hay, rye, oats or straw. But we know that there is a large excess of all these articles over the home demand.

Now let us see how this matter will work in practice. I think no one would think it extravagant to estimate the new and extraordinary demand, arising out of the support of 4,000 people and 1,000 head of stock, would add one dollar a barrel to the price of flour, and 25 cents to the value of every bushel of corn. In my opinion, the addition would be much larger. But, to be on the safe side, I will make my calculation on the basis of an increase of a dollar on each barrel of flour, and 25 cents on each bushel of corn. The amount would stand thus:

Increase of $1 on each barrel of surplus flour, 80,000............$80,0000

Increase of 25cts, on each bushel of surplus corn, 200,000...........$50,000

Increase on meats, rye, oats, hay, potatoes, vegetables, say...$30,000

Making an aggregate of.................................$160,000

This profit will be realized, in great measure, as soon as it is known that the work will certainly be commenced in March or April. It will begin long before a blow is struck on the road. As soon as it is certainly known that 4,000 people and 1,000 work animals are to be fed from our supplies, produce of every kind will begin to rise, in anticipation of the increased demand. Speculators will be on the lookout; but my advice to our farmers is to hold on to their crops, and realize the profits themselves. I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but it would not surprise me (provided this large force is put to work by the 1st of April) if flour rose two dollars per barrel, and corn from 40 to 50 cents per barrel, before the close of 1871.

At army rations this number of people would consume over 20 barrels of flour per day, and 4,000 lbs of meat, and the 1,000 animals would consume 500 bushels of grain and seven tons of hay, daily.

When we add to these articles rye, oats, fodder, vegetables, fruits, whiskey, brandy, &c., it will be seen that the aggregate consumption is enormous.

In view of this prospective market, I think all who can should hold on to their crops and cattle, and salt their pork instead of selling it. But some may inquire what assurance have we of this coming market? My answer is, that it depends on yourselves. If you will vote the subscription of $200,000 to the Valley Railroad, it is absolutely certain to come. All the residue of the subscriptions ($3,000,000) have been made conditionally, and you have it in your power to make them absolute, by voting the $200,000. Mr. Garrett, the President of the road, and his father -- gentlemen of unquestionable character -- give the most positive assurance that if Augusta votes the $200,000, the work will be actively commenced within three months.

Should we hesitate to do so? I think not. I verily believe, for the reasons above stated, that the profits that the county will make on the sale of her products now on hand, will not only pay the interest, but a large part, if not the whole, of the amount she is asked to subscribe.


Sixth Congressional District
(Column 04)
Summary: The paper printed the totals "as cast" along with the official totals of the Congressional election for the 6th District. Staunton and Augusta cast 1,346 of 5,056 votes for C. M. Reynolds (Ind); 507 of 7,112 for John T. Harris (Con); and 543 of 2736 for C. Douglas Gray (Rad). The Board of State Canvassers, however, threw out results from 18 precincts in Augusta County. The official totals registered 7,006 votes for Harris; 4,591 for Reynolds; and 2,604 for Gray.

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Religious Notice
(Column 01)
Summary: The Rev. G. W. Hott and the Rev. J. J. Engle will lead a protracted meeting at Churchville beginning on Christmas Eve.
(Names in announcement: Rev. G. W. Hott, Rev. J. J. Engle)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The ladies of Mt. Horeb Church will hold a fair at Mt. Meridian to raise money for their congregation.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The fair held by the Baptists raised $265.
(Column 01)
Summary: The Clay Hill Church in the Pastures recently held a revival meeting. Twenty-two new members joined the United Brethren Church and five received baptism by immersion.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: Prof. Scharf will give a series of readings at Mt. Vernon Forge. He will perform the "Rivals," "The Critic," and "Loan of a Lover." Music will also be provided.
(Names in announcement: Prof. Scharf)
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper asserted that, with the possibility of another vote on the subscription of stock to the Valley Railroad, the onus was now on the company to demonstrate that they were serious about building the road. Only action would inspire the necessary support.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The Rev. H. H. Hawes, Presbyterian pastor of Mt. Horeb Church, received eleven new members of the faith last Sunday.
(Names in announcement: Rev. H. H. Hawes)
(Column 01)
Summary: Col. James Norris, Staunton insurance agent, lost sight in one eye and was steadily losing sight in the other. He travelled to an infirmary in Baltimore, where he will undergo an operation in an attempt to restore his sight.
(Names in announcement: Col. James Norris)
Grand Concert and Reading
(Column 01)
Summary: Madame Ruhl, Prof. Schneider, Miss Apperson, Prof. Turner's orchestra, and a number of amateur singers will hold a concert at the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Institution on December 21st. The evening will also include Prof. Scharf's reading of "Bumble's Courtship" from Oliver Twist.
(Names in announcement: Ruhl, Prof. Schneider, Apperson, Prof. Turner, Prof. Scharf)
(Column 02)
Summary: M. Erskine Miller of Huntsville, Alabama, and Miss Harriette Echols, daughter of Gen. John Echols of Staunton, were married in Staunton's Trinity Church on December 15th by the Rev. J. A. Latane.
(Names in announcement: M. Erskine Miller, Harriette Echols, Gen. John Echols, Rev. J. A. Latane)
(Column 02)
Summary: George W. Stogdale and Miss Margaret J. Brown, both of Augusta, were married near Parnassus on December 15th by the Rev. G. W. Hott.
(Names in announcement: George W. Stogdale, Margaret J. Brown, Rev. G. W. Hott)
(Column 02)
Summary: James P. Hawkins of Danville and Miss Philippina Behn McDowell of Charleston, S. C., were married on December 19th at the Staunton residence of Mr. Richard Hawkins by the Rev. William H. Williams.
(Names in announcement: James P. Hawkins, Philippina Behn McDowell, Richard Hawkins, Rev. William H. Williams)
(Column 02)
Summary: Dr. W. B. Conway of Weyer's Cave and Miss Julia E. Thomas, daughter of Col. William Thomas, were married in Blacksburg on December 14th by the Rev. William F. Wilhelm.
(Names in announcement: Dr. W. B. Conway, Julia E. Thomas, Col. William Thomas, Rev. William F. Wilhelm)
(Column 02)
Summary: George Rusmisel and Miss Mattie D. Clayton, daughter of the late Thomas Clayton, were married near Deerfield, Augusta County, on December 1st by the Rev. I. S. Blain.
(Names in announcement: George Rusmisel, Mattie D. Clayton, Thomas Clayton, Rev. I. S. Blain)
(Column 02)
Summary: Franklin Bell and Miss Esta C. Trotter, daughter of the late Archie Trotter, all of Augusta, were married on November 22nd at the residence of the bride's uncle, Cyrus Brown, by the Rev. Isaac Handy.
(Names in announcement: Franklin Bell, Esta C. Trotter, Archie Trotter, Cyrus Brown, Rev. Isaac Handy)

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