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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: March 21, 1866

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-Page 01-

Emigration to Mexico
(Column 07)
Summary: The paper publishes information for those wishing to emigrate to Mexico. Lieutenant M. F. Maury, Imperial Commissioner of Colonization for the Empire of Mexico, is authorized to make land grants to interested settlers, the paper reports. The report states that the "Empire is continually gaining ground" and that "perfect freedom of religious worship is guaranteed by the organic law of the Empire, and sanctioned by the Pope."

-Page 02-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The article reports that "Mississippi has all her 'negroes' at work, and a big cotton crop will be the consequence."
The Institution for the Deaf, Dumb and the Blind, at Staunton
(Column 02)
Summary: The article gives the history of Staunton's Institute for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind from its founding through the end of the war.
(Names in announcement: A. H. H. Stuart, Nicholas C. Kinney, Rev. Joseph D. Tyler, J. C. M. Merillat, J. C. Covell, Dr. Francis T. Stribling, William H. Wilson, Thomas J. Michie)
Full Text of Article:

The last report of the Board of Visitors is before us. The Virginia Institution for the Deaf, Dumb and the Blind was established by act of Assembly, March 31, 1838; the town of Staunton being the point chosen for its location. Hon. A. H. H. Stuart, was appointed President, and Nicholas C. Kinney, Esq., Secretary of the Board of Visitors. As soon thereafter, as practicable, the Rev. Joseph D. Tyler was elected Principal of the Deaf and Dumb Department, and Dr. J. C. M. Merillat, Principle of the Blind Department. The selection of these two gentlemen, for such high and responsible positions, proved to be peculiarly fortunate. Of the highest moral worth, of superior intellectual culture, of firm yet gentle demeanor, zealous, indefatigable and devoted to their work, they were peculiarly qualified to take charge of that Institution.

[section unclear]. early in the Spring of 1839, pupils of both classes of these unfortunates began to arrive in Staunton, where buildings ample for their accommodation had been procured. In the meantime each Department had been supplied with a complete and efficient corps of Instructors, and officers necessary for the control and management of the whole. At this time, each of the two Departments, the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, was assigned to separate buildings and were kept distinct for several years. The Legislature, having, at the time of the passage of the act incorporating the Institution, made the appropriations necessary, steps were immediately taken for the construction of buildings suitable for such an Institution. The result was the rearing of that noble [unclear] directly East of Staunton, which is the admiration of all beholders and known far and wide as the "Institution."

These buildings were so far completed in 1816 as to be able to receive the officers and pupils of both Departments, which has been stated, had hitherto occupied separate buildings.

The Institution had now been in operation seven years, was firmly and thoroughly established, and had already taken rank as one of the first of its class in the country. Its beneficent influences were being felt, and the practical success of its workings were appreciated, not only by its pupils, but by the people of the State at large.

On the 16th of January, 1852, the Rev. Mr. Tyler died, cut off in the midst of his usefulness, yet not without seeing the seed he had sown, spring up and bear an hundred fold. This was a severe blow to the Institution, as well as the community, but fortunately, so far as regarded the Institution itself, his place, as an instructor of the Deaf and Dumb, was able to be very happily filled by Mr. J. C. Covell, who had been engaged since 1847 as instructor of Deaf-mutes in the Institution. It was now deemed advisable to bring both Departments under the control of one Principal, and the Board of Visitors. Dr. Francis T. Stribling, President, on the 9th of March, 1852, elected Dr. Merrillatt, Principal of the Virginia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind. The career of the Institution was still onward and upward. Each year witnessed an increase in the number of pupils; the range of studies was extended; new branches of trade were added. The introduction of gas into the buildings; also that of complete apparatus for heating them by steam, and an abundant supply of pure spring water, completed the arrangements for the health, convenience and comfort of the occupants. This was done by, and under the superintendence of, Wm. H. Wilson then the faithful Stewart of the Institution.

It now became apparent that the multitudinous duties devolving upon the Principal, and the scholastic pertaining to the Instructor, were too arduous to be borne by any one man, and the Board of Visitors. James H. Skinner Esq., President, elected Mr. Covell, Vice-Principal in June, 1854.

Nothing occurred to check the prosperity of the Institution, until the outbreak of the war for Southern Independence in 1861, at which time the number of pupils in both Departments was about one hundred and thirty, and the Institution was acknowledged the first of its class in the country. On the 19th of June, 1861, the buildings of the Institution were taken possession of, with the consent of the Governor of the State, by the Confederate authorities for Hospital purposes. The pupils numbering about seventy-five, (the rest being absent at home spending their vacation,) were removed to the buildings of the Virginia Female Institute, where they remained until June, 1865, when, the war having closed, possession was given of their own buildings. Dr. Merrillat resigned his position as Principal of the institution in September, 1862, having accepted a position on the Medical Staff, C. S. A., and the Vice-President, Mr. Covell, was appointed to supply the vacancy.

Most of the pupils who went home during the vacation of 1861, were prevented from returning in consequence of the unsettled state of the country, and the uncertainty of the future. For the same reasons new pupils were not admitted, and, fortunately, the number present, during that unhappy period, was comparatively small. It was not to be expected that the exercises of the Institution could continue uninterrupted during a war so protracted, desolating and varying, yet they did not experience any serious interruption until the raid of General Sheridan. He levied upon the provisions of this Institution, as he did upon those of the Insane Asylum, and there was for a time, consequently, a serious privation experienced. In fact, from that time until the reorganization of the Institution, it is due to the energy and untiring exertions of the Principal, that provisions could be procured of sufficient quantity to satisfy the most frugal living. In August 1865, the Institution was thoroughly reorganized under a new Board of Visitors, Thomas J. Michie, Esq., President. On the 10th of that month, Mr. Covell was re-elected Principal, and a full and efficient corps of instructors, prominent among whom was Lieut. S. H. Coleman. Other officers necessary to the complete management and operation of the Institution, in all its Departments, were appointed.

The total number of Deaf mutes who have entered the Institution since it was founded, is 275; total number of Blind, 151. Present number in both Departments 52 and 18 applying.

There is no reason to doubt, that the close of the year 1866, will witness this truly benevolent Institution occupying the same lofty pinnacle of fame and usefulness that it had attained before the war. It has been the means of lighting with the genial rays of happiness, many homes that would otherwise have continued enshrouded in gloom. It has opened eyes that saw not, unstopped ears that heard not and unloosed tongues that spoke not. It has diffused joy and gladness and intelligence where all was grief, sorrow and ignorance. In fine, the object for which it was founded is one that appeals to all that is noble, pure, elevating and sensitive in the mind and heart of man.

The Valley Railroad Convention
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper urges Staunton residents to hold meetings to send representatives to the Valley Railroad Convention, which is to meet in Staunton. Prompt action in building the road will ensure the livelihood and prosperity of the Valley.
Full Text of Article:

On the 4th of April, fourteen days from to-day, the Valley Railroad Convention is to meet at Staunton. A duty more important than holding meetings to endorse Andrew Johnson now devolves upon the people of the Valley counties, and it is to hold meetings at once, and send earnest [unclear] men to represent them in this Convention. The people in these counties who have not acted in this matter should recollect that the President of the United States is aware of the fact that he is endorsed by the people of the Valley and can live without their endorsement; but the people of this Valley cannot live and prosper without prompt action is taken to organize the great Valley Railroad Company and to build the road.

What is needed now is a convention here representing the wealth and energy of the Valley counties; men that will take the one hundred thousand dollars worth of stock necessary to organize the Company under the charter. This, we believe, can be done by Rockbridge, Augusta and Rockingham, but we want the whole Valley fully represented. It is no time for holding back; every man, woman and child in the Valley of Virginia is interested in this great work, and if it is to be the success we hope it will be, every man must work. The Covington and Ohio Railroad will soon be under contract. Will the Valley people wrap themselves up in their poverty and let their great work fail for want of proper exertion now?

-Page 03-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper announces that there will be a meeting of the Farmers of Augusta county at Churchville on the 29th of March, and urges full attendance.
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that "another game was played by the Base Ball Club in Stuart's meadow. It is increasing rapidly and we learn that several villages around think of forming clubs."
Our House
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper announces that John Christian, "proprietor of Our House," and "one of the respectable colored men of Staunton," is planning to open an Ice Cream Saloon for ladies. "John kept a good house during the war and always conducts himself properly. We are always pleased to notice and encourage his class when they act as he does."
(Names in announcement: John Christian)
Our Judges
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper announces that Hugh W. Sheffey will replace Lucas P. Thompson, who was transferred to the court of appeals, as judge of the Staunton district. "Judge Thompson has been on the bench for more than thirty years--a purer and better man does not live and Mr. Sheffey will make a most worthy successor."
(Names in announcement: Hugh W. Sheffey, Lucas P. Thompson)
Cleaning Up
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper expresses its pleasure that M. Kayser, Commissioner of Streets, "has commenced the work of cleaning up the town most vigorously. Cellars, yards and gutters are yielding up the accumulated filth of five years and Staunton will soon be as clean as a new pin. This is a fine opportunity for farmers to get manure for the hauling and all are invited to do so."
(Names in announcement: Kayser)
Staunton Enterprise
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper announces that after three months of work, Roberts, Nelson and Co. are completing the task of tearing down Moncure's old mill to put up their new foundry and machine shops. "The work is completed, notwithstanding the bad weather and other difficulties they labored under and next Saturday the first 'blast' will be made. The energy displayed, both by Roberts, Nelson and Co. and H. Lushbaugh and Brother, the builders, reflects great credit on themselves and our town. The site for the works cost $10,000 and by the time everything is in full operation $22,000 will not cover the whole expense."
(Names in announcement: Roberts, Nelson, H. Lushbaugh)
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper suggests that a cotton factory be built in Staunton. "Its fine water power has been lying idle since Hunter destroyed everything in the shape of a Factory near here."
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper announces appointments to Post-offices in Augusta County: Elizabeth H. Blakemore, Mt. Solon; James W. Joseph, Jennings Gap; James P. Byers, Parnassus.
(Names in announcement: Elizabeth H. Blakemore, James W. Joseph, James P. Byers)
Our Unhonored Dead
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper calls upon the ladies of Staunton to step forward and raise funds for the care of the Confederate graves in town. "The condition of their graves is a shame and disgrace to our people," the paper declares.
Full Text of Article:

One patriotic lady in Winchester has raised $50 by ten cent subscriptions for the "Stonewall Cemetery" there. A family, in reduced circumstances, has raised $260 by giving the profits from an oyster supper each night. Two thousand martyred Southern heroes lay outside of the Thornrose Cemetery near Staunton, and nothing has been done to enclose their graves or mark their last resting place. The facts given above shows what can be done for our "unhonored" dead, if our ladies will only try. The condition of their graves is a shame and a disgrace to our people, and if there is any public spirit left, we call upon the ladies of Staunton to emulate the example of the noble women in Winchester.

Knife and Fork Combined
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper announces the invention of a left-handed knife and fork combined by Lt. Negus Breckenridge of the Staunton Artillery, "who lost his right arm at Sailor's Creek, the last fight of the war. It is so constructed that a person who has lost his right arm can cut his food and feed himself without difficulty and shows remarkable mechanical genius."
(Names in announcement: Lt. Negus Breckenridge)
(Column 03)
Summary: Robert B. Dunlop and Miss Amelia M. Mish, both of Augusta, were married on March 8 by the Rev. R. C. Walker.
(Names in announcement: Robert B. Dunlop, Amelia M. Mish, Rev. R. C. Walker)
(Column 03)
Summary: Mary Ast, aged 12 years and 4 days died on March 17 in Staunton.
(Names in announcement: Mary Ast)
(Column 03)
Summary: William H. Coleman, aged 3 years, died on March 11 in Augusta County.
(Names in announcement: William H. Coleman)
(Column 03)
Summary: Andrew B. Cowan, of Augusta County, died of consumption on March 19.
(Names in announcement: Andrew B. Cowan)

-Page 04-

An Acrostic
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper publishes the following acrostic honoring Jefferson Davis and his name.
Origin of Article: New York Metropolitan Record
Full Text of Article:

[From the New York Metropolitan Record]

Acrostics do not often posses much literary merit, but the following is a marked exception. The intensity of feeling which breathes through it will commend it to all who sympathize with the wounded spirit of the South:

Justice, human justice! Is it dead? O, God, to Thee
Ever ascends our earnest prayer, to set our martyr free!
For him we plead, for him alone, our chieftain and our head
For him, our brave, true-hearted one, whose every hope has fled.
Endurance with her iron grasp, would crush that spirit low;
Resistance is a dream to him, poor prisoner of woe!
Shut out from life and human hope, shall mercy plead in vain?
On him, must all the burden fall? on him, the weight of pain?
Needless the cry for human aid, for God alone is just!
Dread vengeance in the human heart treads mercy in the dust,
After a weary watcher weeps in bitterness alone,
Vain! vain, alas! a woman's tears to soften hearts of stone.
In Thee alone, O God! we trust! for him we plead to Thee;
Silent, yet heartfelt, still a prayer, "God set the martyr free."

Charleston, S. C., Nov. 1865. C. M. G.