Thursday, March 15, 2018

enclosed entry for blog

June 17


1882, Nashville – The Nashville Daily American contained a rare editorial decrying “trashy literature” and it deleterious effects upon the moral and social behavior of juvenile boys. Such ten-cent reading material was considered a clear and present danger that would lead youths to a life of depraved crime and dissipated ruin.  According to the editorial:



The Glorification of Crime and the Depraving of Youth.

The Trashy Effects which Daily Corrupt the Morals of the Young.

Among all the fruitful causes of frightful depravity of today among the boys and youths of our country there is none more potent than the trashy literature which floods the country and which is supplied by ever newsstand in every city to feed the morbid appetite of it votaries. The reading of it is not an exception, but a rule, and the boys of parents able to furnish better mental food are the more addicted to it, because they possess the greater means to procure it. In this day of cheap reading, when almost all the finest specimens of modern and older fiction can be procured at such a low cost, there is no reason why every family where there are boys cannot be furnished with healthful, wholesome reading.  When ten cents will buy a work that our fathers could only procure at twenty times the cost, there is no excuse for the extensive circulation of the vile trash published by New York firms, whose sole object must be to deprave human nature by the publication of the worst “rot” that could be imagined.

It may be said that this stuff is cheap, but it is not cheap; it is printed on the coarsest, dirtiest papier and illustrated with the coarsest pictures.  In all this line of papers “for boys and young gentlemen” there is never published a story the hero of which is respectable, and never printed a picture that is not full of grossest caricatures and deformity.

The hero is always young and noted for finding out in some sneaking manner the vile sins of his father, the rascality of his employer, by which he gets money and enjoys unheard-of privileges as a sort of blackmail. None of these boys follow any respectable business or any honorable occupation.  They are young pirates, ruffians and blacklegs, and their careers are written with the devilish ear that lures the young and silly reader of them into emulating their deeds.  Parents are always harsh and unjust, schools are prison houses of cruelty and the teachers are invariably tyrants who have no affection whatever for the boys and rarely a single redeeming trait of character, unless he sides with the boys, runs away with them from school and becomes a vagabond, wandering over the world, dead-beating his way in impossible manners, thrashing out hordes of banditti and entire tribes of Indians by the most remarkable methods.

Outlawry is glorified and murder forms so large a part of these stories that it is no wonder that some such cases occur as that of the boy of fourteen who was lynched for cold-blooded assassination a few days ago in Minnesota.[1] Emulation of the characters in the trashy stories he had been reading he assigned as the reason of his deed.  How many homes are daily saddened and how many lives blighted and ruined, how many fond hopes crushed, but the results of reading the infamous publications of such firms as those referred to. As said above, these papers are not cheap, for the same amount of money would buy a larger quantity of reading mater, well primed and calculated to improve instead of vitiating the taste. Take the “libraries.” These villainous publications contain sixteen pages of vile printing, and are sold for a nickel. The standard “libraries,” published by reputable firms, are larger in page, and ten cents buys one containing forty or even sixty or more pages. The embrace history, biography travel and adventure, scientific subjects, wit, humor, poetry, fiction – every class of literature. The contents of the others can be judged from their titles, samples of which, copied from the supplies of the stand of a Nashville newsdealer, are here given. Note the elegance of the titles: “Snoozer, the Boy Sharp;”  “Evil Eye, the King of the Cattle Thieves;” Capt. Apollo, the Kingpin of Bowie, or Flash o’ Lightning’s Feud;” “One-eyed Sim;” “Hawkeye Henry;” “Deadly Eye;” “Faro Frank;” “Old Frosty;” “Vagabond Jo;”  “The Boy Bedouins;”  “The Boy Demon;”  “The Boy Pards;”  ‘Roving Jo, or the History of a Young  Border Ruffian;” “Jack Hoyle, the Young Speculator, or the Road to Fortune;” “Sassy Sam, or a Bootblack’s Voyage Around the World;” “Daddy Brush, Taken in and Done For;”  “The Red Headed League.”

These are fair samples of the whole lot. They can be seen on any news-stand, by anyone who imagines them gotten up for use in this article. The stories themselves are fairly gotten up to the titles. The titles give in every instance the heroes of the stories. From a single page in one of these stories are taken the following choice expressions, which indicate the style of conversation adopted:

“Shut up; yar too fresh; go take salt;” “You arn’t [sic] game;” “That’s what I warble; yes, yer bet I weaken’” “Give me another taste of the sucker.” “Joe learned of an old rooster, a naturalist.”  “Yer a snide.” “I’m stuffed; full as a goat.” “Be gob [sic] I wud I wur a Nihilist.” There are plenty more, but surely that is enough. And the sub-title of the sheet is, “An Entertaining and Instructive Journal for American Youths!”

Ridiculous as all this may appear, it is a serious matter. Nothing but evil can possibly come of it. All sorts of crimes are condoned or justified, and the boys are quick to take the lesson.  Newsdealers say that the boys who buy these things have to be watched all the time, and in spite of the closest watching, they still manage to steal them. Two or three days ago an American reporter was standing on the Maxwell House corner, when a boy, coming down Church street with two of these papers, met a companion on the corner, who asked: “Did you get it?” “You bet.” “What racket?” “Oh, the same old lay; one in the other.” “He’ll tumble to that and jump you; every other fellow has got on to that lay, and fag you.” These boys were both of good family. Yet, one of these lads, depraved by the mental pabulum he stooped to steal, boasted of the act.

Can it be remedied? may well be asked, and may well be doubted: After a youth arrives at the age when he has sense enough to see the falsity and the lowness of this stuff, there is no danger of his picking up a taste for it.  But the young who begin reading it are depraved before they acquire sense enough to stop it, and turn out young vagabonds and loafers, familiar with all the ways of crime.

The only remedy in which there is any hope is in more attention by parents to what their children are reading. Those who can read will read, and it is easy to direct the taste to a proper channel.  With so many cheap and elegant publications as there are now seen on the stalls of newsdealers, there is no excuse for any family where there are children, being without good reading matter. Unless the parents take it in hand there is little hope of correcting the rapid spread of vicious reading and the crime that necessarily accompanies this increase. They must give it serious attention, not spasmodically, but continued, until there is some perceptible improvement; until cheek and effrontery are not looked upon by their boys as energy and independence; until indecency and the low dialect of rowdies and roughs do not pass for wit; until every paper that seeks to inflame the basest passions of human nature, to glorify crime and outlawry is forced to suspend, and when popular  opinion will not suffer the purchase of a paper from the same counter where these villainous, poisonous  and depraved periodicals are exposed for sale. Since there can be no law for their suppression, popular opinion must take the matter in hand. The traffic can be suppressed in this way, and the sooner it is done the fewer of the boys of this city and of this country will be sent to destruction by the perusal of this corrupting and debasing trash.


[1] Research has not revealed news of any such lynching.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

March 10,1891, 275 Main Street, Memphis

March 10,1891, 275 Main Street, Memphis – An article in the New York Times for March 11, 1891 was headlined "LAWYER KING'S REVENGE." It told the story of a love-struck lawyer, an affair gone wrong and murder. According to the article:

Henry Clay King, one of the brightest lawyers at the Tennessee Bar, is pacing a cell in the county jail, his hands still wet from the blood of a fellow attorney whom he murdered today in the open street in the presence of scores of people, and he knows only the strong walls and the iron frame work of the prison save him from the summary vengeance of the victim's friends. The murder was for a woman who lured him from the path of honor, wrecked his family and fortune, and left him to add to his folly the guilt of assassination.

The woman is Mrs. Mary J. Pillow, widow of Gen. Gideon J. Pillow, who won distinction in the War with México and fifteen years later a conspicuous soldier of the Confederacy. Mrs. Pillow is about forty-five years old, but of looks only thirty. She is a woman of queenly presence, finely educated, and of the most fascinating manner. She was known to be "risky," and women of her own social rank gradually drew themselves away from her after her husband's death; but nothing was positively proven against her until she met H. Clay King four years ago. It was a chance meeting in King's own office where she had called to consult his partner on a matter of business, and King was captivated at first sight. From that moment he was her slave. Finally his infatuation caused him to throw off all disguise. He deserted his wife and children to go and "board" at her house and when the scandal became so notorious that it could no longer be outfaced, he took the widow to his plantation in Lee County, Arkansas where they kept house together. Mrs. Pillow's youngest child, a girl of twelve years was the only other white member of the household. They claimed to be partners in interest of the plantation and it was given out that Mrs. Pillow had furnished $10,000 with which to run the place.

In the course of time Mrs. Pillow gained such an influence over King that he deeded to her all his property, not even excepting the house in this city occupied by his deserted family. She took the deeds and privately had them recorded. When King found this out he was wild with rage, and there was a terrible scene between the two. The result was that Mrs. Pillow ordered him off "her plantation," and he was forced to go.  Even after this he tried to renew his relations with her. Shed refused his advances, and then he brought suit in the Arkansas court, and at the chancery court at Memphis to recover his property. There the whole wretched story came out in the pleading. The Avalanche and the Appeal published it, and King sued both papers for $50,000 damages. The suits, however, never came to anything.

Mrs. Pillow's counsel are Poston & Poston, a law firm composed of Edward H. Poston, and his younger brother Frank. They are also counsel for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad …and are among the leading members of the Tennessee Bar. The older brother conducted the defense for Mrs. Pillow, he is of an aggressive nature, and though not quarrelsome at all, is given to plainness of speech.  In the conduct of the case he was very severe on King, and the latter became deeply incensed. He was drunk a good deal since his break with Mrs. Pillow, and became very irritable.  Last night he was drinking in a saloon and said publicly he intended to kill Poston on sight. The threat was repeated to Poston, but being naturally courageous, he paid no attention to it.

Today, at about 11:30 A.M., he came down the street swinging his big burly form from side to side, as is his habit. When he was passing the door at 275 Main Street, where King stood, the latter stepped out and presented his left hand as if in a friendly greeting. : Poston halted and was in the act of extending his hand when King whipped a revolver out of his pocket. Placing the muzzle within a few inches of the victim's body, he pulled the trigger. The ball entered Poston's abdomen cutting his entrails. He staggered forward with both hands on the wound from which the blood was gushing, crying "My God, I'm shot! Help me in somewhere." Two of the bystanders who had stood their ground, caught him and carried him into a shop, whence he was soon removed to an infirmary and surgeons called to attend him. He has been sinking ever since, and there is no hope of his living through the night.

Meanwhile, King had replaced the pistol in his pocket and stood facing the angry crowd that had begun to gather and make threats of summary vengeance. A Deputy Sheriff came up and placed him under arrest. "All right," said King, "I'll go with you, but don't touch this yet," looking down on his pistol and then at the threatening crowd. The Deputy let him keep his pistol until they reached the jail. There was so much talk of lynching the murderer that Judge DuBose, ordered the sheriff to place an extra guard at the jail gate to prevent any attempt at violence to-night.

The whole city is boiling over with indignation over the cruel murder. Daniel H. Poston is one of the most popular lawyers in the community. He was a gallant soldier and in every respect a valuable citizen. He has a wife and several children.  King also has a good war record. He commanded a battalion of Kentucky cavalry and did excellent service. His first request upon reaching the jail was for a bottle of whisky , his second for his much wronged but loving wife. She visited him and an affecting scene took place between the two, thus reunited under the shadow of the gallows.


Southern History - the leading site for Tennessee Southern History - 

February 19, 1910

February 19, 1910, the Maxwell House Hotel, Nashville – The popularity of foot races was given a twist in the lobby of the Maxwell House Hotel. Three young men entered the hotel, along with Nashville police Sergeant George Smith. The four then "pulled off a lively foot race." It was against the rules to leave the hotel lobby so the contestants "circled around columns, around pool tables, and made numerous fifty-foot dashes about the lobby."

After a few minutes, a throng gathered to view the unusual event, which crowded the lobby and making it difficult for the participants to carry on their rare competition. As a consequence Smith and one of the other contestants "made a final dash for the bar" and the race was brought to an end. "This took the ginger out of the other two runners who wandered over to the Sergeant to explain. It developed that the young men had been drinking and that seeing a policeman decided they were in the right town, but on the wrong street, and therefore beat it. What Sergt. Smith wanted to know was simply what caused the young men to run. No arrests were made." While no was winner declared, the remaining contestants took solace by toasting one another at the rail.

Southern History - the leading site for Tennessee Southern History - 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Gilded Misery

Nashville American, June 11, 1886

Gilded Misery.
Evangelist Munday Makes a Tear of the Maisons De Joie.
Fervid Appeals to Fallen Women to Repent.
The Unfortunates ask the Prayers of All Christians.

The labors of the Rev. J. A. Munday[1], the evangelist, assumed a sensational aspect yesterday. He raised Sam Jones one point and now stands to lead as far as the novelty of evangelical work here is concerned. An American reporter learned that Mr. Munday was going to make a tour at the maisons de joie of the city a la Talmage,[2] only that the great Brooklyn orator saw News York by gaslight and the Georgia preacher[3] had determined to inspect by the light of the sun. At 2 o’clock the reporter found Mr. Munday preacher and five prominent citizens of different denominations, all of whom earnestly requested that their names be not published, were seated in earnest consultation. The Methodist preacher was timid. He thought it best to have some concert of action among the churches as to providing for reformed fallen women before any attempt was made to save them. The brethren were on the fence will to go or walk. Not so with Munday. He was determined to go and that at once He quoted Scripture to prove that the Lord would take care of the unfortunates if they would ask for mercy, and exhorted his associated to pluck up courage.

“I’m going to work among these poor women on North College street, brethren, if every man in town deserts me. If I have to saw wood to make a living while here, I’ll do it, and labor with them when I can brethren; I want to save souls.” The Georgia evangelist after delivering this appeal seized his plug [sic] and Bible [and] exclaimed: “Brethren, I’m going; will you accompany me?” The Methodist minister and the other gentlemen at this arose and filed out of the hotel, the minister protesting against the publication of his name. The party passed down Cherry street, into Cedar and thence to College. Their destination was the notorious locality in the neighborhood of Linmck’s Hotel on College street.

The reporter and the evangelist were in the lead, the others close up. Mr. Munday went to the door of the bagnio presided over by Mag Seats and rang the bell. The response was ready and the evangelist stated the object of his mission. He wanted to pray and sing and talk with inmates. The woman callously told him he was welcome, but all the girls were absent. The evangelist, nothing daunted, advanced, and with the party at his heels went to the back porch, He was handed to a rocking chair, and his associates arranged themselves on rustic benches.

“Is there no one here?” inquired the evangelist.

Very few,” replied the housekeeper.

“Well, tell them a man wants to talk with them about their souls.”

”All right.”

Five minutes passed and two girls, not over 18 years of age, with the marks of dissipation in their faces, but still bearing traces of their beauty, descended the stairs and without a blush saluted the sober group and took seats a few feet from the evangelist.

“Are these all I can get?” inquired he.

“’Bout all," was the response.

“Well, here are two precious souls, let’s try to save them, brethren,” and the evangelist announced the hymn: “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” The visitors sang it with a gusto, but the faces of the girls gave not the faintest token that a spark of sensitiveness had been aroused. Hardly had the song been concluded before the heads of a half dozen other inmates peering over the banisters at the strange group beneath were discovered. They remained there during the remainder of the service, which consisted of a prayer and short address. Occasionally a slight titter [sic] could be heard proceeding from the upper stairway, and the whole service was received with a strange callousness, The inmates regarded the preacher as a crank, and were no more moved by his fervid appeals to mend the error of their way than had his words been merely the rustling of the wind. The sight of these poor unfortunate bear reminders of their purity of a few years ago, now utterly dead to the pleadings of conscience and apparently doomed to eternal woe, the gilded trappings of sin which surrounded them and the earnest evangelist and his associates who sought to save them from ruin was a strange scene not easily forgotten. The evangelist, nothing daunted by his cold reception, went to the house of Emma Wilson, which adjoined. He explained the object of his visit; He was told that he could not be received.

“Why should you come here to save us? Who would help us if we wish to change our lives?” inquired the mistress of the house.

The evangelist seemed staggered for a moment for the comparative truthfulness of this inquiry struck him forcibly. It was a sad commentary upon Christianity.

He quickly recovered himself, however, and told her that provision would certainly be made for all who wished to turn to God. At his request, the mistress of the house politely acquiesced in his desire to visit the house this afternoon and pray with the inmates. The party next went to the neighboring house of Nettie Moore. He was ushered into the parlor and in five minutes after he had announced the object of his visit nine of the inmates were seated about him. The visitors stood up, the women occupying all the seats. There was an air of curious expectancy on their faces but nothing more.
The evangelist stepped forward to the middle of the apartment, and the hymn, “Rock of Ages,” was sung by the missioners. The girls, as it was being sung, looked askance at each other, but gave no manifestation of being touched. “Let us pray,” said the evangelist. All, including the women, knelt. He prayed as follows:


[“]Almighty God, our heavenly father, we come to thee this afternoon with profound gratitude, We thank thee for the great love wherewith thou hast loved us. We adore thy great and holy name for the plan of salvation. We rejoice to know that the fallen can look to thee and live. We are grateful for this opportunity to speak of thy loving kindness, ability and willingness to save these unfortunate women. O God, do thou look in tender mercy; upon them. Incline their hearts unto thee. Grant blessed Master that they may be so deeply convinced of their sins that they will seek thee until they shall become happy Christians. Give them we pray, the friends among Christians of Nashville who will help them; aid them in coming to Christ, Bless our meeting here this afternoon. May this be the beginning of a work of grace in some heart that shall be as lasting as eternity. Forgive our sins and save us for Christ’s sake. Amen. [“]

After this, he spoke to them for agouti fifteen minutes. Their faces were now serious. They looked curiously at each other as if half ashamed of the serious sensations which unbidden were being aroused. When the evangelist eloquently reviewed their past and appealed to them by the memory of their pure mothers, some of whom might now be in Heaven, to turn from their ways of sin, several broke down utterly and burying their heads in their laps wept as if their hearts would break. In addressing them Mr. Munday said:


“He that hath an ear. Let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelations ii, 7.[sic]
My friends, when the divine hand touched the secret springs of action and bade the world receive the panoramic views, ample provision was made for out comfort and happiness in this life. For this we are exceedingly thankful, and adore the great and holy name of him by whom every great and perfect gift is given. But there is more for which we should be grateful. He has not only provided for our temporal wants, but for our spiritual welfare. “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Such was the pity of our God,
He loved the race of man so well
He sent his Son to bear the load
Of Sin, and save our souls from Hell.

To speak of the goodness, mercy and great love of God is my mission here this afternoon. Notwithstanding your wickedness acquiescent to the sin of adultery and fornication, God has provided mansions in heaven for every one of you who will come to him and be saved. The text shows just what is required is to be saved and give you an eternal home in the glorious realms of bliss. “To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” This is a glorious promise.

First, by whom is it made? This question is answered in the text. “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirith saith.” This teaches that it is the God of heaven who promises the eternal life to those who forsake their sins. Being made by God it will certainly be fulfilled. Men sometimes make promises with honest intentions, fully expecting to comply with them. But often because of circumstances over which they have no control and wholly unknown to them at the time they obligated themselves, they fail to comply with the requisitions of their promises. All promises, however, made by men ‘are not broken because of inability.’ There are many trifling scoundrels who have no idea of filling a promise when they make them. Perhaps some for you are the victims of such men. Do not some of you now well remember when you were pure, the darling of some precious mother’s heart, and when you sat in the dear old home parlor with a man whom you believed to be a gentleman, but was an infernal scoundrel, and with the voice of the devil and a promise to marry you, stole your virtue and subjected you to this life of shame? Oh, my friends, men may deceive us; they may not, although honest, be able to fulfill their promises; but not with God. Every promise made by him will be fulfilled. Just turn to him and believe this.

2. To whom is this promise made? The text also answers this question – “to him that overcometh.” There is something, my dear friends, to be overcome. First the temptation of the devil. Perhaps it has not been a great while since, when you begin to think of the past and felt kindly towards God, wished you had never sined [sic] against Him, and was almost ready to resolve that you would turn to him, when the devil suggested all sorts of objections to such an act on your part. This you must overcome. When the devil comes to you with obstacles just say “Get thee behind me satan [sic]."[sic]” Resolve that you will seek God regardless of what the devil may whisper in your ear.

3. Malice. We must overcome this. The Bible says, “Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger and clamor and evil speakings, be put away from you, with all malice. If you have malice in your heart against anyone, go to that person and be reconciled; for God says “If ye forgive men their trespass, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if your forgive not men for their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

4. There are besetting sins we must overcome. (1) Drunkenness. Of this, said the speaker, I will not take time go speak; but I will state that God declares no drunkard shall enter the kingdom of heaven.  (2) Adultery and fornication are damning sins and must be overcome.

Grievously have you sinned in the sight of God and grievously are you suffering, but God is able and anxious to wash you and make you pure as snow. He is willing to raise you unto himself and give you a seat with the angels in heaven. Turn your face toward the pearly gates and you will find here on earth those who will rally about you and help you lead a new life. There are many hypocrites in the Church who would not aid you but these have not the grace of God in them. I tell you, though that if you want to turn to God your hands shall be held up.

The Promise: it is a great and glorious one. If we overcome our sins God will give us a home in heaven. Hear the text again: “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh wiil I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

At the conclusion of the sermon the Methodist minister sang the touching gospel hymn “Where is My Wandering Boy To-night,” the word girl being inserted for boy to make the some more appropriate. The tender love and reproachfulness which this composition breathes touched the heart of every woman of every woman and when the last notes had died away, not an eye was dry and several were weeping as the song was in progress as if their hearts would break. While the song was in progress a well-known young society man of this city entered the front door. He was slightly under the influence of liquor. He paused a moment and catching the sound of the hymn advanced to the parlor, and in a deep fine bass voice joined in the song.

After the hymn “I’m Praying for You,” Mr. Munday asked all of the women who desired to have the prayers of Christians to stand up, and every one of them, with tears in their eyes arose. Mr. Munday invited them to attend the prayer-meeting this afternoon, and the party left. Mr. Munday means to prosecute his work in this direction to the fullest extent. “Let the good people of Nashville know what I’m trying to do for these women and then they’ll rally to me, I hope,” said he to the reporter. He proposes to have a service this Sunday afternoon in the open air in that part of the city, to which every fallen woman in the city is invited.

[1] There is nothing about this person available on Google.
[2] Reverend Dr. Thomas De Witt Talmage(January 7, 1832 – April 12, 1902) was a preacher, clergyman and divine in the United States who held pastorates in the Reformed Church in America and Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, NY. He was one of the most prominent religious leaders in the United States during the mid- to late-19th century, equaled as a pulpit orator perhaps only by Henry Ward Beecher. He also preached to crowds in England. During the 1860s and 70s, Talmage was a well-known reformer in New York City and was often involved in crusades against vice and crime. Despite his being called a "pulpit clown" and "mountebank" for his sensational sermons, Talmage attracted a growing audience. Attending Talmage's sermons became one of the most popular religious experiences of the era. His sermons were regularly printed in newspapers across the country. The performance aspect was lost in print, however. In addition, tastes were changing. Talmage's popularity began to wane after his resignation from the pastorate in 1899.
[3] This must mean Munday.

Monday, October 24, 2016

COCAINE FIENDS OF NASHVILLE - Early indications of cocaine use in Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville American, October 23, 1899.


Something of the Baneful Habit of Continually Growing in All Cities.


Drug Has Become So Universally Used That It Is Put Up For Customers in Handy Packages Ready for Sale.

Much has been written about the cocaine habit, which has taken hold upon the lower classes in many American cities. There is possibly no habit among the many that are at present instilling their evil effects into the human race that has had the rapid growth that the cocaine habit has. The demand has been as great for the drug that the price has continually advanced, and in time, there is a prospect that the devotees may be cut off from the use for it by the price going to a mark beyond their financial ability. The present wholesale price of it in this section is $6.30 per ounce, which is a rise of almost $1 in the past six months. Nashville has its cocaine fiends as well as almost every other city in the country, and their name is legion. They are found among the negro race especially, the drug has driven morphine out of the business among those of the colored race who addict themselves to the use of such things. The local demand for it is so great that drug firms in the city are now constantly prepared for the run that comes in a day or night. The cocaine is put in in approximately 2-grain envelopes and kept in the vicinity of the cigar stand, where it can be handed out without delay. The 2-grain packages sell for 5 cents, and a first-class fiend will buy and use from seven to ten packages a day. There is one old woman in Black Bottom who has been addicted to cocaine for a good, long period, and her daily consumption is 50 cents worth.

On Saturday night one firm in the city put out for a night trade a supply of eighty packages. When the watches were changed at 6 o’clock in the morning there were only two left. The drug firms in the vicinity of Black Bottom and other localities occupied principally by negroes do a thriving business in cocaine. One Broad street house buys its cocaine in bulk and puts it up in lots of 1,000 packages to supply the trade, having a good-size box which is kept well filled all the time. It is estimated that the retail trade in cocaine in Nashville amounts to $100 per day.

The drug as it goes to the purchaser is in the form of a white crystalline powder. The fiend takes it through the nostrils by snuffing. [sic]The sensation is said to be one not unlike the produced by a small modicum of whisky – that is, the tipsy stage of intoxication. When a belle desires to create a sensation at the hullaballoo, or one of the male contingent desires to give a rough house on a small scale, she or he makes a purchase of cocaine and starts out for a good time. Continued with whisky, cocaine makes a well-developed fiend a hard man to handle when he runs amuck of the law. Among the regular fiends this drug is known as “coke.”

The cocaine habit in Nashville has appeared in the last two or three years. Where retail drug-houses formerly purchased an ounce to run for a month or more, supplying only the prescription trade, a much larger supply is required and larger purchases are being necessitated all the time.

Cocaine is obtained from the leaves of the cuca, a plant which grows on the western coast of South America. It was discovered in 1859 and was first used by surgeons as local anesthetic. Cuca leaves are used by the Indians in the countries in which it grows. They chew the leaves, consuming two or three ounces a day. The result is a powerful stimulation of the nervous system. Fatigue is borne with greater ease and nourishment of the body is not such a necessity.

The cocaine acts as a powerful stimulant to the nerves and a large dose of it tends to produce hysteria. When the fiend is compelled to go without his supply of the drug is nerves are almost in danger of being shattered.
Cocaine was not illegal in the “good old days.” It was common in this day and time to blame or characterize black Americans as the only users of cocaine. This was especially was this true in the Jim Crow South. However, people in white or genteel circles were known to frequent it and even morphine in Nashville and other cities. Recreational drug use and abuse is nothing new. The reporter of this story seems somehow to be quite knowledgeable about the use of cocaine, which perhaps betrays a lack of innocence on his part apropos the subject.

[See: Jones, DRUG ABUSE AND PROSTITUTION IN TENNESSEE HISTORY, (2012). Available on Amazon.]

Monday, June 20, 2016

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, June 20, 1861-1864

Notes from Civil War Tennessee, June 20, 1861-1864.  



20, Major-General Gideon J. Pillow's situation report for military measures taken in West Tennessee, including plans to stretch a chain across the Mississippi River to blockade Federal gunboats, etc.


Memphis, June 20, 1861


Secretary of War, C. S. A.

I have now in the field all the force we can possibly arm. You have here 2,000 flint-lock muskets, which I ask your permission to use. We are in the Confederate States Government, as you know, by a large majority of the popular vote-say 70,000-and our army is a part of the forces of the Confederate States, subject to your orders. I suppose we have 300,000 men in the State who have tendered their services more than we have the means of arming. Can you permit me to issue these arms? I telegraphed you sometime since. In reply you said the President had written to Governor Harris. Governor Harris informs that he has not received any letter from the President. I have my defensive works here nearly completed, and we have on hand in the State about 15,000 armed men, and this force would be materially strengthened if the Arkansas and Tennessee troops were under the same officer, so that the forces of both States could be concentrated upon a threatened approach of the enemy. With these forces united we could advance in a short time to the relief of Missouri. I have applied to the Governor of the State for permission to assume the offensive just as soon as I can be assured of my position here. I am preparing to effectually blockade the river at Randolph by a ship-cable chain, supported by buoys, anchors, &c. This barricade will arrest any fleet of boats that may attempt a descent on the river under my batteries, so that my guns will sink and burn them up with hot shot. I have six batteries, mounting about thirty heavy guns, completed. All my defensive works will be completed this week, and I can be prepared to advance to the assistance of Missouri in a few days. I can dislodge the Cairo forces, and will do it if authority is given for that purpose and I am allowed to use the Arkansas forces. Before assuming the offensive I deem it prudent to strengthen the forces at Union City, as I shall require a portion of that force to go forward. Please answer as promptly as your other engagements will permit, and say if I can be allowed to issue the flint-lock muskets, and if I can advance into Missouri, turning Kentucky, and if the forces at Corinth and Arkansas can be placed under my orders for a forward movement. I send this dispatch by Major [?] Martin, who will apply to you for authority to raise a regiment for the service of the Confederate States. He is a talented and highly accomplished officer and gentleman, and I warmly recommend him as fitted to command a regiment, and hope you will commission him.

* * * *

GID. J. PILLOW, Maj. Gen, Commanding army of Tennessee

P.S. If the President has not yet ordered the [steamer] McRae up, let it be done as promptly as possible. They have an armed steam-tug at Cairo that is sweeping the river above my batteries, seizing all the steamboats, completely controlling everything out of reach of my batteries. They tonight seized the steamer Kentucky, belonging to this city. We cannot approach the Missouri shore, and yet my Government has just approved of my purpose to forward to the relief of Missouri. I must have the support of the Corinth forces and the Arkansas troops. Give me power and I will advance to the relief of Missouri.

* * * *

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 112- 113.




20, Sickness, gunshot wounds, death and boils; excerpts from the letter of Federal Surgeon W. M. Eames, stationed in Murfreesboro, to his wife in Ohio

Union Coll. Hospital

June 20, 1862

Dearest wife,

I sit down to write after a hard day's work, to let you know that I am quite well & that every thing is about as usual around the Hospital. We have more [sic] men around us now than ever before since the Division left. In Ward C there is not less than 7 very [sic] men of whom 5 will die I think & they have all come in within the past 5 days except one. One man died last night who came in 6 hours before. He was taken sick on the march to McMinnville & hauled in an ambulance over the hills & back & died the next day. Several others were nearly as bad. One man with a gunshot wound similar to that of Whitney's came in yesterday & I presume we'll have to have his hand amputated. My boil is better. I opened it this morning & got out the core & hope to sleep tonight. It has been the worst affliction I have had for many days.

*  *  *  *

….We have sent away not less than 60 men this week from this establishment….There are at least 20 men in the house dangerously sick, most of whom will not see next week at this time. There are 172 in the house tonight….

William Mark. Eames Papers

 20, Loyalty and ice in Memphis: Pro Quid Pro


The Herald of the 20th of June contains three columns of revelations upon the encouraging developments of "Loyalty" to Lincoln in Memphis, and states that citizens are rebel soldiers are coming to "take the oath"  at the rate of 350 per day. What is strange, however, unlike Lincoln, Seward, and Gen. Scott, they do not take it with ice. Notwithstanding there is a great abundance of ice in Memphis. All these columns of brags are wound up with the following extract from the Memphis Argus:

The Demand For Ice.-Never since Memphis attained the dimension of a city has as little demand existed for ice at present. Some of our dealers in the article have full warehouses, and their daily sales amount to comparatively nothing. One dealer informs us that although at this time last year his sales amounted daily to between and twenty tons, now the scarcely reach a ton. Ice is receiving the cold shoulder this season.

Think of that! With a Federal army in Memphis to aid the consumption. Is it not too plain to be misunderstood, that such is the popular detestation of the Lincolnites in Memphis that the people drink warm river water, rather than cool it with ice brought Northern invaders!

Macon Daily Telegraph, July 1, 1862




20, a wealthy planter's son eschews being drafted in the Confederate army

My son Thomas L. Porter (a conscript) procured a substitute (Near $5,000) [sic] & got a certificate of discharge from the army.[1]

Diary of Nimrod Porter, June 20, 1863.

20, "Schools and Scholars;" some results of the 1862-1863 public school year in Civil War Memphis

During the past week there were several schools examined by the superintendent of the city public schools. These examinations fully attest the efficiency of the present system of public education. The schools situated on the corner of Main and Overton streets, taught by Miss Brown and Miss Hampton, proved very interesting and fully confirmed our previously formed opinion with regard to public schools. The honors of these schools were conferred upon the following named young gentlemen: Of school No. 3, Peter Tighes, Willie Byland, Frank Humphrey, Matt Carter, Walter F. Prescott and James Dennison. The following are the names of the aspiring youths who bore off the honors at school No. 9: Willie Morning, Mike Ducahart, Willie Littering, Pat Fox, Mike Grady, and Tommy Conway. The school No. 11, taught by Miss Mattie Prewitt, showed the most flattering results. The honors of the school were conferred upon the following young ladies for punctuality, scholarship, and deportment: Miss Emma Mallory, Miss Pennie Sannoner, Miss Lizzie Gibbs, Miss Mattie Sannoner, and Miss Cynthia Hill. Miss Yancey's school, No. 1 was examined with the most gratifying results. The following named pupils were the recipients of the honors of the school for their punctuality, scholarship, and deportment: Charles Burdic, Joseph McIlvaine, Charles Rochell, Ross Duncan, James Burk, and Frank Coppel. We have received reports from to other schools, but by some means they have been mislaid. We will publish them, however, as soon as we can have time to look them up.

Memphis Bulletin, June 20, 1863.




20, The story of Ms. Mary Ann Pitman (a.k.a. Lieutenant Rawley, Mary Hayes, "Mollie"), Lieutenant in Freeman's Infantry and Forrest's cavalry, and a Confederate spy and arms smuggler

No circumstantial reports filed.

Excerpt from the Examination of Mary Ann Pitman by Col. J. P. Sanderson, provost-marshal-general Department of the Missouri.

SAINT LOUIS, June 20, 1864.

I resided near Chestnut Bluff, Tenn.[2], and went into the Confederate service on the breaking out of the rebellion. Myself and Lieut. Craig went around and got together enough volunteers to make up a company, which we took into Freeman's regiment. I was second lieutenant in the infantry. After the battle of Shiloh I commanded the company. I took my company then and joined Forrest's command, as first lieutenant, and acted as such under the name of Lieut. Rawley. While with Forrest's command I was a large portion of the time, occupied on special service, much of which was of a secret character and in the performance of which I passed in the character of a female. Whilst so employed I was detailed to procure ordnance and ammunition, and came to Saint Louis as Mary Hays.

The first time I came here, which was during the winter of 1864, I stopped at the Everett House. I had been told that the house of Beauvais would supply ammunition for the Confederates. I went there and met John Beauvais. By means of secret signs, known to those in the secret, I made myself known to him and he recognized me. I told him I desired to see him at the Everett House on business, and he called. When he called I told him what my business was and what I wanted, which was caps. I told him that I wanted arms and ammunition, but at that time clothing but caps. He said he would supply me with anything I wanted and brought me $80 worth, which I took down the river on a boat, the name of which I cannot remember. I landed at Randolph and passed through the Federal lines to Forrest. The second time I came up on the City of Alton to Columbus, and from Columbus to Saint Louis on the Von Phul. I went to the Everett House again, but it was crowded, and then I called at Beauvais' office, after which I went to Barnum's and John Beauvais came up to Barnum's to see me. I again told him what the object of my visit was, and he brought about the same number of caps, two pair of Smith & Wesson pistols, and, I think, six boxes of cartridges. I believe that was all I got at that time. I went down on the Von Phul again to Randolph and passed through the lines to Forrest. I came a third time; came up from Randolph on the Hillman, and again stopped at Barnum's. I again sent for Beauvais, and when he came told him what I wanted, all of which he brought to me. He brought $80 worth of caps and pair or two of fine Colt pistols, officer's belt and scabbard, arms and cartridges for--I have forgotten what pistol. There were three boxes. The second time I came I got a silver pencil and a gold pen, and I got a watch mended--that was the second time--I was thinking it was the last time. I got the last time $80 worth of caps and a pair of Colt revolvers, officer's scabbard and belt, gun, cloak, and leggings.

At these different interviews I made known to Mr. Beauvais that these things were for Forrest's command. The first time he said to me that they were talking of conscripting, and he told me that if they did he was going South; if they I did not, he would not go, for he could be of more service to the Confederacy here than in the South; but if they conscripted he was going, for he never would fight for the Federal Government; that he was a Southern man in principle and always had been. He told me he would do anything in the world for the South, and that his father was as good a Southern man as he was, and would do anything for the South. He asked me about how the times were at the South.

The second time I came up I told him about Forrest and Sherman having that fight, and he was glad to hear it, and rejoiced that Forrest gave him a thrashing. He told me if I came there at any time and he was away on business all I had to do was just to make known to his father who I was, and what my business was, and he would let me have anything I wanted, and if he could not supply it himself he would get if for me. His father would to anything I asked in favor of the South. He also told me that his father belonged to this secret order. I never have seen him but twice. The last time I was at his store after he had been arrested.

On these trips which I made I had no interviews with the landlord of the Everett House, nor did I make known to him my business or character. I had an interview with Barnum and his head clerk, Mr. Morrison, and I think also the second time I made known my character to Barnum, that I was detailed by Gen. Forrest. I knew him because he belonged to the same order as I did. The clerk I just told my business. I discovered in my interview with Barnum that he was in the same secrets as myself. His clerks were not, or, if they were, they would not receive any recognition or give any. Yet they said they were Southern men, and would do all they could for the South. The second clerk had been in the Confederate Army, where he was wounded and then discharged. In going down the river these different trips, I made the porter on the Von Phul acquainted with the secret and he hid some things for me. So did the porter on the Hillman and the clerk on the Hillman. Neither of these men belonged to the same secret order. The clerks on the Hillman and Von Phul to, though, but the latter did not conceal anything from me because the porter did what I wanted, and I did not have to call upon him. He told me I could go up and down on the boat whenever I wanted to, and it would not cost me a cent.

After my capture I had an interview with John Beauvais at his store. When I went in he was in the private office back of the store. I went back and spoke to him, and he got up and went back to the back part of the store. His father was selling some jewelry to a lady. He spoke to me and asked me how I came on, and about how times were in the South, and asked me if I was up on the same business, and I said I was. He said, I am sorry, Mollie[3], that I cannot supply you this time, for, he said, they know just what I have got and my father and I and the clerks are under bonds, and I am not allowed to touch or sell anything in that line, but, he said, if you will go on to Cincinnati you can get what you want there, and as soon as this thing is over you shall have anything you want. I had his picture with me when I was captured. I denied to him that I was at Fort Pillow and that I burned his picture. I did not want to let him know I was captured. The picture I actually burned.

I went to this store the last time under the advice of a Memphis detective with a view to see if he would continue the sale after he was arrested. I landed, on the last trip, at Randolph. When I got there I was not going to Forrest; I was going to send him those things, which I did, by one of his officers, Capt. Wright, and was not going. I was going back to Saint Louis. I had sent him a letter stating that I had procured a large quantity of caps, powder, ammunition, &c.; that I had employed Mr. Williams to bring them down. I was waiting for an order from Forrest to say where he wanted them sent to. There was a large quantity, quite a wagonload. I was not going to Forrest myself at all, but when I got there, the next day after I had sent them as many as Capt. Wright and his brother and a negro boy, which he owned, could carry, I sent word to Forrest I intended to go right back to Saint Louis as soon as I could arrange the business there. I received a dispatch from Forrest ordering me to report at his headquarters, about ten miles from Fort Pillow. He wanted me to take my position in the field, as he said he would rather detail ten of his best officers for this business than lose my services at that time. So I started on a mule and was captured. Somebody told on me. They had something in the papers about my being captured--taking an officer's horse away and threatening to shoot him--which was all false. I was taken from the place where I was captured to Fort Pillow. I was captured about five or six miles from Fort Pillow at the house of Mr. Green, a Southern man. I was there, I think, three days; two or three, I am not certain which.

While I was at Fort Pillow I was standing one day some distance from headquarters, and there was a gentleman came up behind me, slapping me on the shoulder and asked if he had the honor of meeting Lieut. Rawley. I said yes. He said that Forrest was coming here with 4,000 men to take the place and he was going to take it if it took every man he had, and he would learn them how to arrest women--he would teach them a lesson. I did not know the man, though his face looked familiar. He turned right away and I went right into the office at headquarters; a short time afterward he came in. He wanted a pass to go out, and a Tennessee soldier who came with him into the office vouched for his loyalty. As Col. Booth was making out a pass for him, I slapped him on the shoulder, when he turned around and said: "Must I grant this pass, Mollie, or must I not?" I said, "Use your own judgment, colonel; you know your own business best." He issued the pass and the man went out. After the man was gone I told Col. Booth what I had heard; that Forrest was coming in a few days with 4,000 men, and he would undoubtedly take the place if he made the attempt. My advice was to evacuate the fort or re-enforce it at once, for if Forrest did get possession the Federal forces, and especially the officers, would be badly used. He told me, "Mollie, now make your preparation to go to Memphis this evening, for I be damned if he shall have you." He then told the captain of Gun-boat No. 7 to stop the first boat that came down, or sink her. I went to Memphis and the fort was taken the next day or day after--I think the day after.

Before my capture my mind and feeling had undergone a very material change from what they were when I started out in the war as to the character of the Northern people and soldiers and the merits of the controversy involved. I started out with the most intense feelings of prejudice against the Northern people. I regarded all I had heard as to their views, character, and purposes to be true, but my intercourse with such as came into our possession during my service in the Confederate Army, and especially my trip to Saint Louis, convinced me of my error in this respect. I found the Union officers and soldiers not to be the desperadoes which I had been taught to believe them to be. At Saint Louis I found business flourishing, people thriving, and everything so entirely different from the condition of things in the South and from what I had supposed to be that my observations could not help but make an impression upon my mind. While it had not for a moment the effect of inducing even a thought in me to desert the Confederate service, and thus be guilty of a dishonorable act, it had, nevertheless, the effect, as I have already stated, of materially changing my views and feelings. This was the condition of my mind when I was captured, and I accordingly immediately resolved to perform an honorable part and do nothing to discredit or disgrace my name. While satisfied that I had been performing services which placed my life at the mercy and disposal of the Federal Government, I felt it to be my duty to tell the truth and do what I could to atone for the past, and resolved to throw myself upon the Government. I resolved, be the result with me personally what it might, never to return to the Confederate service and continue my former career. I accordingly, immediately on my arrival at Fort Pillow, gave such information as I could to vindicate my personal integrity and show the authorities my determination to act in good faith. Acting under this determination, I at once disclosed such information as I believed to be of important use to the Federal authorities. I informed them, without reserve, of all I had done myself, and also stated to Col. Booth that if he would send me with an officer and adequate force I would be able to place him in possession of Gen. Forrest as a prisoner in a short time. I knew him to be that night within ten miles of the fort, and would have had no difficulty in enabling Col. Booth, by adopting my advice, to have taken Forrest, for I knew him to be away from his command at a place designated, where he was to meet me on my return. He was to have met me there for the purpose of bringing my uniform and horse, which he could not trust to another, so that I might change my female apparel and reassume the character of Lieut. Rawley. Col. Booth seemed to believe me, and was anxious to carry my proposition out; yet he feared and hesitated, and after a considerable consultation with other officers, finally resolved not to venture on it.

After my arrival at Memphis I made known to the officers what I had already disclosed to Col. Booth. Among the rest, I gave them an account of my visits to Saint Louis and the purposes for which I went there, which led them to send me here.

* * * *

Question. Do you know of Treasury notes being furnished to the Confederate Government through the means which this order furnishes for communication between the North and South?

Answer. I have no personal knowledge, but I know that the Confederate Government has usually an abundant supply of greenbacks to furnish for raids and other purposes in which it is necessary to use that kind of money. I know this, because on one occasion it became necessary for me to have some, and I called the attention of Gen. Forrest to it. He told me that in a few days he would have an abundance. A few days afterward I called to see him and he furnished me what I needed. At the same time he showed me a letter, which I read. It was dated at Washington and purported to be signed by one Chase and addressed to Gen. Forrest, in which the latter was informed that $20,000 had been forwarded to President Davis at Richmond for $900 in gold. The letter went on to say that Chase had advised President Davis that he would furnish him with as many greenbacks as he wished at the rate of $4 for $1 in gold. When I read this letter--it being signed by Chase--I was under the impression that it was Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, but it was only an impression and nothing that Forrest had said about the person. There was an officer waiting at the time to see Forrest, and he told me that at some other time, when more at leisure, he would tell me all about this man Chase; that he was an important man--one of our head and leading men at Washington, and a member of the order. I knew he was a member of the order, for the signs of it were in the letter.

* * * *

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, pp. 345-350.


[1] This goes to the expression that the conflict was "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight."

[2] In West Crockett County.

[3] According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, (G.& C. Merriam Company; Springfield Mass, 1981), "Mollie," a nickname for Mary, is also defined as a prostitute, a doll, or a gangster's girl friend. It is difficult to say if the use of Mollie was merely out of familiarity or because of her actually bestowing sexual favors on Major Booth and/or General Forrest. Pitman's story seems to be a cross between Helen of Troy and Mata Hari.

Following his investigation into the secret societies Colonel Sanderson had the following to say concerning Mary Ann Pitman:

"This woman was attached to the command of the rebel Forrest, as an officer under the name of Lieut. Rawley; but because her sex afforded her unusual facilities for crossing our lines she was often employed in the execution of important commissions within our territory, and, as a member of the order, was made extensively acquainted with other members, both of the Northern and Southern sections. Her testimony is thus peculiarly valuable, and being a person of unusual intelligence and force of character, her statements are sufficient, pointed, and emphatic... "

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 7, pp. 951-952.


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Editor, The Courier

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214


(615)-532-1549  FAX