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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: June 20, 1866

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-Page 01-

Rev. Ephraim Lawson's Reply to Rev. Mr. Woodhouse
(Column 05)
Summary: Reverend Ephraim Lawson, pastor of the African American congregation of the M. E. Church, Staunton, answers a letter of Rev. Woodhouse of the Bethel Church. Lawson details the problems with the preaching of Emily Rodney, who Woodhouse defended. According to Lawson, Rodney has been preaching that Augusta's blacks should strive for independence from whites in "church and business," which Lawson denounces.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Ephraim Lawson, Rev. Woodhouse, Emily Rodney)
Full Text of Article:

For the Valley Virginian

Mr. Editor:--Through the columns of your valuable paper, I wish to present to the citizens of Staunton, and to the public, some facts which the Rev. A. Woodhouse, of the Bethel connection, denies. He has taken upon himself the arduous duty, no doubt for the want of proper discretion, to contradict certain facts relative to Mrs. Emily Rodney's procedure, prior to his advent in our midst.

He has had the daring impudence to charge me, as a minister in Christ, of telling an untruth. Now, let us see who it is that tells the untruth. The Reverend gentleman, in vindication of Mrs. Rodney, asserted that the "feminine Divine has not, nor never did assume any authority that was not vested in all members of the Church." Mrs. Rodney came here last October, 1865, and preached without being licensed; she also stated that the members of the M. E. Church, in the presence of a large concourse of persons, both white and colored, that it was the duty of the colored people to cut lose from the white people, and join the connection where they would be presided over by a colored Bishop, and be independent of the superintendency of the whites, or an affiliation with them in Church or business.

She then proceeded to organize, by taking the names of those whom she had proselyted to her favorite connection. Now, I would like to know from Mr. Woodhouse, whether the Bethel, or in other words, the A. M. E. Church allows all its members, both male and female, to preach and to organize into bodies, without being duly authorized or licensed by their Church? If that be a fact, then I am in an error; but if my presumption in the premises be correct, then, Sir, you not only err but, most indubitably procure to yourself discredit in your futile attempt to refute the statements made by those who always sustained a reputation for veracity. I am sorry to say, Sir, from my short acquaintance with you, in my estimation you have manifested more zeal than sound knowledge. You also denied the fact of Mrs. Rodney promulgating the doctrine to the colored people, to sever their connection from the white people, and become an independent people. I have been told by white gentlemen that she advanced that doctrine last fall, when she preached in the Grove. You ought to know, that such doctrine as that will never suit this community, where it has been the wishes of all good people to cultivate a feeling of friendship, between those who have always lived together and known each other. It may do very well for you, or her, to go to Africa or some other heathen land, and preach such doctrine, and I am inclined to think, even there, it would tend to lead the blind into the ditch.

As it regards the subscription, you said that "we are at a loss to know how the mistake occurred as our paper, soliciting subscription, was signed by the Rev. Mr. Woodhouse, and the other, we believe, by the Rev. M. Lawson." Sir, it can be very easily accounted for; since it is the testimony of trustworthy gentlemen who contributed to the subscription list, or the petitioner, who disclaim the real name that distinguished it from the M. E. Church, claiming to be the M. E. Church, when in fact it was the A. M. E. Church, known as the Bethel Church. Sir, if this is not soliciting subscription under a false representation of facts, then I do not know what it is.

I hope, that in the future, there will be no further need for any more discussion on the subject, as I am decidedly opposed to such a controversy, and I should not have written this but for your request.

I remain very respectfully your most obedient servant.

Ephraim Lawson,
Pastor of the (colored) M. E. Church, Staunton, Va.

The Senate Call Upon the Southern People to Violate Principles of Honor
(Column 07)
Summary: This editorial argues that for the South to accept the Radical policy of disfranchising Confederate leaders would be tantamount to a voluntary violation of honor.
Full Text of Article:

The idea of honor in the human heart seems to be a good deal ignored, not only by Congressmen, but by the press. Even the honorable Senate of the United States does not hesitate to apply a poisoned chalice to Southern communities, that upon reflection, as gentlemen and humanists, they will in another day feel little disposed to justify. On this point we quote from the Springfield Republican as follows:

It is generally conceded as reasonable that the Southern States should be required to assent to the utilization of representation as proposed in the second section, and standing by itself would have a fair chance of adoption; but it is hardly to be expected that the Southern people can be willing to ostracise their leaders for the sake of procuring power for themselves. It will be considered an outrage upon all their notions of honor and chivalry. If this provision were put in the form of a law, as the joint committee proposed, it might have been patiently submitted to, as a not unreasonable penalty for rebellion imposed by the victorious government. But if the Southern people themselves accept it as an amendment to the Constitution, they thus become ministers of vengeance upon their own leaders. This is an act of humiliation and expiation so difficult and mortifying that it is hardly conceivable that it will be performed under any stress of motive.

[No Title]
(Column 07)
Summary: This editorial proclaims that "the South is about to commence a career of unexampled prosperity." The destruction of slavery and the necessity to rebuild the South will make it an industrial giant. If the North carries on Reconstruction in good faith, they will share in that prosperity; if not, then they will be left behind.
Full Text of Article:

The South is about to commence a career of unexampled prosperity. Before many years the sceptre will have departed from the North, and will be wielded by the South and West. All the Radical efforts to injure the South will only make her grow the more rapidly. From the destruction of the war will arise such industrial advancement as the world has rarely seen before. The abolition of slavery, done in revenge, will have the same effect. So in the end, will be an export tax on cotton, not because that it is to be an advantage in itself, any more than the other things referred to, but that the more a people are oppressed and mistreated, within the limits of endurance, the more energy and enterprise they must put forth. Every lick the North strikes which is not dictated by a magnanimous spirit, will be against herself. If she meets the South in a liberal reconstruction, the prosperity resulting will be general; if otherwise, it will mark the history of the mistreated section and desert the wilful and the selfish. Ordinary laws in daily operation are certain to work out such a result under the circumstances indicated. We have larger hopes for the South to day than we ever entertained before.

-Page 02-

The Situation
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper adopts a common headline from the war, "The Situation," for its weekly commentary on the politics of Reconstruction. The editorial argues that the country is in a disastrous state. The tyranny of Congress justifies all the South fought for. Southerners who put down their arms in good faith are greeted by disfranchisement of Confederate soldiers and enfranchisement of blacks.
Full Text of Article:

During the war, we often noticed the above heading in the newspapers, and we took a sort of fancy to it; for if "the situation" was good, we always liked to hear our side praised, and if it was bad, we were always certain "the situation" article would not make it out half as bad as we knew it to be, and that was a sort of a consolation; just like it is comforting to tell a man you "know he is all right" when it is evident he is going to break all to smash.

Since our last article, under the above heading, there has been but one material change for the better in "the situation." The "d--l is still to pay and he won't take Confederate money," but the tax collector has left for a time, and that's a consolation, though everybody you dun tells you the "infernal revenue took all they had or ever expect to get." In fact "the situation" is still very much "mixed," and knowing people swear there is "not a bit of sugar in it;" and some contumacious "rebels" even go so far, as to say they "prefer old Apple brandy straight and short rations to the infernal mixture," but this is all a matter of taste, and a discerning public can judge for themselves.

The situation of the United States, so-called, is not to be envied, and for "the best Government the world ever saw," it certainly occupies a peculiar position. After four years of war, to re-unite the States; after the Northern and European armies had overpowered the South; after losing four hundred thousand men and billions of dollars, professedly to restore the "glorious Union," what do we see? We see a Congress usurping all the powers of the Government and repudiating the pledges of the President and the Commander in Chief. We see a majority of the same Congress asserting the very doctrine (that the Confederate States were out of the Union) which the whole power of the North fought four years to deny--and further, we see the course of the Southern States justified by every act of the same majority; and we see a country on the verge of ruin in the hands of madmen.

In the whole history of Nations no "situation," so foolish and so utterly without cause, was ever witnessed. Here were the Southern States ready to do everything they could do with honor. Tired of war; overpowered and impoverished, the generous action of Grant and Johnson, had won the hearts of this people; but they have been received with scorn and contempt; their honorable submission to circumstances, construed into abject cowardice, and after six months wrangling, the Congress of the United States deigns to offer us, a people who fought four years to keep out of the Union, the conditions published in another column. Come into the glorious Union they say; come ye rebels and rest under the shadow of the "old flag"--but before you come disfranchise all who fought for you; all whom you loved and trusted in your hours of trial, and give your representation to those noble souls who saw you suffer and cared not; who hoarded up their provisions and let your soldiers starve, but who now can take the "test oath" and vote for "negro suffrage." Such is the situation; such the feast the Radical mob in Congress invite us to partake of, and but for Andrew Johnson would attempt to force down our throats. From that dose, good Lord deliver us!

Turning from our own troubles and trials, we see the situation in other parts of the world is not so good, and that's another consolation, for "misery loves company," and for a long time, four bloody years, we had none, and no sympathy from the Nations who are about to cut each others throats. As everybody on this Continent, except a few Fenians, is tired of fighting, we can calmly look on, for

"By Heaven! it is a splendid sight to see
For one who hath no friend, no brother there."

And as for our situation, if it is bad it might be worse, and it is cheering to think that every change must be for the better. Time will bring things right and as for the Radical schemes, for our degradation, recollect that "whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad." Let us accept the situation manfully and stick together; let us gather together the remains of our martyred dead, and work to support the helpless living. Always looking "the situation" squarely in the face, let us act as men worthy of those who died for us. If we do our duty at home, "the situation" must improve and a glorious future awaits us; but if we prove unworthy of our past, the English language will fail to portray the depth of our ignominy and disgrace.

An Honest Man in Congress! Remarkable Speech in the House of Representatives. Mr. Harris of Maryland Defends the Right of Secession and Justifies the South.
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper reprints a speech of a Maryland representative in Congress challenging the notion that southerners committed treason, defending the right of secession, opposing "taxation without representation," and comparing the allegedly brutal treatment of John Wilkes Booth with that of the comparatively humane treatment of John Brown at the hands of Virginia.
Full Text of Article:

In the House of Representatives on Thursday last, while the bill for restoring the Southern States to their political rights was under consideration, Mr. Harris, of Maryland, electrified that body by the following bold, truthful and manly speech. Amidst the ranting and raving of fools and fanatics and the cowardly cringing of some Southern men, it is gratifying to notice that there is one man in Congress who can appreciate the "Situation" and has the courage to express his views. Mr. Harris, said:

That having been up to this period of the secession a silent member from choice, he deemed it his duty to declare his views upon some of the political questions. He should consider it a most ignoble act to win the support or endorsement of any man by the least concealment or deception. He declared that in principle he stood now as he stood before the war; as he stood after war was declared; as he stood in the last Congress, when he received its crown of censure: as he stood in prison, and before that infernal instrument of tyranny, a court-martial; as he stood in principle, so he would stand in practice whenever occasion required.

When he indicated that there has been no change in his principles, this country and the House could infer what his position now was. He was an old-line democrat, and believed in the doctrine of secession. He believed that the several States of this Union had the right to separate from it, each acting for itself. He believed that abuses and usurpations had been practiced and threatened to so great an extent by their associates and partners in this governmental compact, that the Southern States were justified in going out and he further declared that by their ordinances of secession they did go out, and thereby become foreign States. These convictions he could not change, nor did he think they would be removed. He would stand by them and proclaim them as long as a citizen of the Confederate States was in chains, or subject to penalty for asserting those convictions. There was no political or personal consideration which would prompt him to such a desertion. The right of secession is the only thing that preserves them from the charge of treason. His voice would ever accord with his convictions.

Mr. Harris proceeded to state that there were some things in the speech of the President on the 23d of February which he approved. The sentiment that there should be no taxation without representation came to him like the voice of John the Baptist. It was the true doctrine. But it would be seen that he was adverse to the President's reconstruction policy, though Andrew Johnson had been consistent in his policy in following Lincoln and the party that elected him. In his (Mr. Harris's) view, the Southern seceded States had no right to representatives on this floor or in the Senate, and, in his votes heretofore, he had invariably voted against every application which has been made by any person claiming any such right. He thought these States had no right to furnish a President or Vice-President. Andrew Johnson, being a citizen of a seceded State, is in his (Mr. H.'s) opinion, only President de facto forced upon the country by their votes, attended by that very effective implement--the bayonet.

He contended that Tennessee would have to be admitted into the Union by act of Congress, and he elaborated this view. Looking to the laws which the republican party might enact. Mr. Harris said there is something in the spirit of the Southern people that will thwart your designs. If they have lowered the standard of their confederacy, they have not lowered the standard of their pride--a becoming pride in the estimation of their enemy. The Southern has around him, without speaking of the merits of the late contest tokens of the endurance, courage, and prowess of his people. Sad spectacle though it be, it will not diminish his tone that he can, on his own soil, walk over the graves of nearly three hundred thousand of his courageous enemies, and

"Standing on the Yankee's grave
He will not deem himself a slave."

[Sensation. At this point the entire House gathered around Mr. Harris, and listened attentively. The aisles and spaces were all filled.]

Mr. Harris continued.--There were, he said, thank God, Southern States enough to make the constitutional amendment passed yesterday ineffectual. He then referred to all of the isms which originated in what he called the Christian North, and said that the contrast could be carried further. Booth the assassin, was not caught but bravely shot by soldiers. He was brought to this city dead; in order that the reward for his arrest might be secured by proving his identity. After that his entrails were torn out and thrown to the hogs; his head adorns some phrenological museum; his heart is preserved in spirits; his spinal column can be seen, by which the learned will see how he must have suffered by the near approach of the bullet to the marrow of the spinal. The rest of his remains were deposited, God and our Northern Secretary of War only know where. We know they were not handed over to his poor, broken hearted mother, that she might exclaim: "Would to God I had died for thee Absalom, my son, my son."

Mary Surratt was convicted, of course. She was tried by a court-martial! Her immediate execution was ordered! She entreated for days to enable her to overcome the shock and be better prepared to meet her God. "Not an hour," thundered forth the voice from the War Department!" On with the gallows, the coffin and the grave! The angels of Heaven shall not rejoice over one repentant sinner! Angels of mercy sought the higher authority and probably a more merciful heart; but Preston King was janitor that day, and they were excluded! Where is Preston King? Echo answers, where! She was then executed speedily, and notwithstanding her heart-broken daughter has made application for her remains, so that she might pour forth her sorrows, they are still in the keeping of the War Department! Pontius Pilate delivered the body of Jesus to Joseph, but a worse than Pontius Pilate is here.

Is this the specimen of northern civilization and christianity? These things were done by northern men, without any denunciation from the great northern, enlightened, civilized republican party! Not one word have I heard from your Greeleys, your Beechers, your Cheevers and your strong-minded Massachusetts women in rebuke of these demoralizing acts.

Let us now look at a Southern picture. John Brown was arrested for a crime kindred to that of Booth. He was in the most formal manner tried, being allowed every facility for defence, no special test oath being urged to prevent the services of any advocate. He was legally and justly convicted to be hung. Between his conviction and execution ample time was given him for the settlement of his worldly affairs and for the preparation of his soul for eternity. After execution his remains were placed in a decent coffin and then handed over to his friends that they might observe such obsequies as they might think becoming. This took place among that "rude, illiterate, semi-civilized" people called Virginians, who had for their Governor at the time even Henry A. Wise. Look upon this picture and then on that. The North is very learned, but I do not think she has any Christianity or civilization to spare. What she has she had better retain for home consumption, and, as I hope, for improvement. She is more learned than the South, but which is the best educated? But, sir denunciation and revenge must, as was expected, have their flings against an honorable reunion. The resentment of the civilized and Christian North it is attempted to rouse against the unfortunate men of the South by epithets unbecoming the learned man or the patriot. They are denominated "murderers," "red-handed rebels," "conscious traitors." Those who use these epithets must see, if they will reflect, that they are not true. They must know that Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the thousand others who engaged in the late contest, never could be answerable for the charge of murder and conscious treason. Stonewall Jackson rests in his grave, and your own eloquent Beecher has illustrated his character and rescued it from such an imputation. Time will defend the character of Davis and Lee. That their acts imposed upon them no consciousness of crime I have no doubt. The parting words of Jefferson Davis, in the presence of the Senate, breathe the strongest conviction of rectitude and a desire for peace and to avoid bloodshed.

Away, then, with these charges that these people are murderers, red-handed rebels, and conscious traitors. They spring only from unreflecting excitement or from a depraved spirit of revenge, and with wise and considerate statemen and patriots should never be allowed to interpose obstacles to the reunion which all such must now desire. Away, too, with the expectation that the Southern people will ever degrade themselves by freely accepting conditions from the benefit of which you exclude their own chosen leaders. This shall and will never be. Let the people sweep these obstacles aside, and as we were enemies in war in peace let us be friends.

Our Town
(Column 04)
Summary: The paper prints a description of Staunton by a correspondent of the Lewisburg Times. He discusses an unpleasant incident with "some thirty freedmen" who had "escaped from their Bureau." Otherwise, he rates highly the American Hotel.
(Names in announcement: Col. O'Farrell)
Full Text of Article:

An interesting correspondent of the Lewisburg Times, gets off the following on Staunton.

At 1 1/2 P. M. I was off for Staunton, which place I reached at 7 P. M.--As soon as the train stopped, my ears were assailed by a horrible din and clamor, which at first startled me, but I soon discovered that it was occasioned by some thirty freedmen, who having escaped from their Bureau, were trying to ingratiate themselves into the favor of the proprietors of the different hotels, by vociferously and with frantic gesticulations, proclaiming the special virtues of their favorites. Had the Bureau man only come up at the time, he could have captured the last one of them without difficulty. I wish he had. I hope he will be there this evening, for I consider it an intolerable nuisance, bellowing out "American Hotel! American Hotel!" as if I didn't know it was right at the depot, and kept by Col. O'Farrell, who did his duty gallantly in the late "unholy and unjustifiable rebellion," "so-called," and that it has been refitted and refurnished, and the servants were attentive, and the bedding nice, and the table A No. 1. Of course I knew all this, for I had read his bill and believed it, for a true reb will be true wherever you put him, and is the very man to "keep tavern."

Important to Soldiers Who Have Lost Limbs
(Column 04)
Summary: The paper reports that William Burnett, County Clerk, has been authorized by the governor to list "all soldiers who lost limbs in the war" at the request of the Richmond Medical Journal Association "who wish to enable our soldiers to 'obtain the best artificial limbs at the least possible expense.' Already Mr. Burnett has received the names of 33, and every soldier in the county, who has lost a limb, should report to him by letter or in person at once."
(Names in announcement: William Burnett)
"That Petition."
(Column 05)
Summary: The paper reports an "amusing mistake" by a "very loyal 'bush' man." The man wished to sign the petition requesting the return of Federal troops to Augusta, but instead signed up for a subscription to receive a copy of Dabney's Life of Stonewall Jackson. "We hope that when he gets the Life of Stonewall, it may do him good; that he will pay for it and learn to read."
Last Day's Work at Thornrose Cemetery
(Column 05)
Summary: The paper prints a copy of resolutions passed by a meeting of the Ladies' Executive Committee for the Soldiers' Cemetery setting aside Thursday, June 21st, as a day of work and requesting the presence of the young men of the town and county in the cemetery that day.
Full Text of Article:

A meeting of the Ladies' Executive Committee for the prosecution of the work at the Soldiers' Cemetery, was convened at the Lutheran Church on Saturday last, when the following preamble and resolutions were submitted, approved, and ordered to be published:

Whereas we believe it can never be a source of regret to any true-hearted Southerner to devote one day's labor to the sacred purpose of rescuing the bones of our slaughtered kinsmen from oblivion, and whereas this good work has already been begun in a spirit worthy the survivors of a glorious, but unfortunate, struggle for the right of self-government, be it

Resolved, That Thursday, June 21st, be set apart for its completion, and that the citizens of Staunton be invited to unite with willing hearts and ready hands in bringing this "labor of love" to a successful termination.

Resolved, That the young men of the town and county be requested to attend at an early hour on Thursday to unite in the completion of the work, and that the ladies be invited to attend with provisions and refreshments.

-Page 03-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper understands "that the patriotic lawyers of Staunton intend to proceed in a body to the Cemetery to-morrow, to work on the soldiers' graves."
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper notes that "one hundred freedmen of Charlottesville have petitioned for the return of U.S. troops," and asserts that "the colored people of Staunton would petition against it."
The Last Day's Work
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that one last appeal is made by the Ladies' Cemetery Committee for help in working on the cemetery tomorrow. "Let there be a general and cordial response. It will be a burning shame on our grand old county not to turn out nobly, and we confidently expect a general turnout."
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper reports that 7,800 people arrived at the American Hotel in Staunton between August 16, 1865, and June 16th, 1866.
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper reports that the Stonewall Band "was out on an extensive serenade last Wednesday night. It has become an indispensable 'institution' in the town, and improves rapidly with practice."
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: At a meeting of the Augusta Medical Society, the following officers were chosen: Dr. A. M. Fauntleroy, President; Dr. W. L. McChesney, Vice-President; Dr. B. M. Atkinson, Secretary; Dr. J. M. Hanger, Treasurer.
(Names in announcement: Dr. A. M. Fauntleroy, Dr. W. L. McChesney, Dr. B. M. Atkinson, Dr. J. M. Hanger)
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper calls the readers' attention to the letter from Rev. Mr. Lawson, "the gentlemanly colored preacher." "Mr. Lawson has acted properly since he has been in our midst, and his influence has been for the good of all parties. We can not too highly commend such conduct on the part of our colored people."
Our Schools
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper reports that the examination exercises of the Augusta Female Seminary exhibited the proficiency of the scholars, and "reflected great credit upon the accomplished principal, Miss Mary J. Baldwin."
(Names in announcement: Mary J. Baldwin)
The Fire Company's Parade
(Column 02)
Summary: "The Augusta Fire Company gave a grand display of their proficiency in handling their engine and hose last Saturday evening. Every man seemed to know his place, and the 'machine' was worked with a will that gave an earnest of what the Company would do in case of fire. This company is one of the most throughly organized in the State, and should be well sustained by our citizens."
The Crops
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper reports that "while there will not be as much straw made as there was last year, the quality of the wheat will be better, and make a larger yield of flour than last year. Speculators might as well look this fact in the face, and let poor people have some of their concealed stores at reasonable rates. The other crops are still flourishing, and the corn and oats will make up for any shortness in the wheat crop."
(Column 03)
Summary: Dr. J. N. Wayt and Miss Julia B. Heiskell, both of Staunton, were married on June 13 at the residence of the bride's father, W. D. Heiskell, by Rev. J. A. Latane.
(Names in announcement: Dr. J. N. Wayt, Julia B. Heiskell, W. D. Heiskell, Rev. J. A. Latane)
(Column 03)
Summary: James Wright and Miss Hannah Peaco, daughter of W. W. Peaco were married on June 14 by Rev. William E. Baker.
(Names in announcement: James Wright, Hannah Peaco, W. W. Peaco, Rev. William E. Baker)

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