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Eneas Africanus   By: (1855-1938)

Eneas Africanus by Harry Stillwell Edwards

First Page:

Eneas Africanus


By Harry Stillwell Edwards



Copyright, 1920 The J. W. Burke Company

Author's Preface

Dear to the hearts of the Southerners, young and old, is the vanishing type conspicuous in Eneas of this record; and as in a sidelight herein are seen the Southerners themselves, kind of heart, tolerant and appreciative of the humor and pathos of the negro's life. Eneas would have been arrested in any country other than the South. In the South he could have traveled his life out as the guest of his "white folks." Is the story true? Everybody says it is.



Eneas Africanus

Extract from the Atlanta Constitution of October 12, 1872



Editor Constitution , Atlanta, Ga.

Dear Sir: I am writing to invoke your kind assistance in tracing an old family negro of mine who disappeared in 1864, between my stock farm in Floyd County and my home place, locally known as Tommeysville, in Jefferson County. The negro's name was Eneas, a small, grey haired old fellow and very talkative. The unexpected movement of our army after the battle of Resaca, placed my stock farm in line of the Federal advance and exposed my family to capture. My command, Tommey's Legion, passing within five miles of the place, I was enabled to give them warning, and they hurriedly boarded the last south bound train. They reached Jefferson County safely but without any baggage, as they did not have time to move a trunk. An effort was made to save the family silver, much of it very old and highly prized, especially a silver cup known in the family as the "Bride's Cup" for some six or eight generations and bearing the inscription:

"Ye bryde whose lippes kysse myne And taste ye water an no wyne Shall happy live an hersel see A happy grandchile on each knee."

These lines were surrounded with a wreath and surmounted by a knight's head, visor down, and the motto: "Semper Fidelis."

This cup was hurriedly packed with other silver in a hair trunk and intrusted to Eneas with verbal instructions as to travel. He drove an old fashioned, flea bitten blooded mare to a one horse wagon full of forage and carried all the Confederate money the family left, to pay his expenses. He was last seen, as I ascertained soon after the war from a wounded member of my command, about eight miles southeast of Atlanta, asleep in the wagon, the mare turning to the right instead of keeping the straight road to Macon. Eneas was a faithful negro, born and raised in the Tommey family and our belief is he was murdered by army stragglers and robbed of the trunk. He had never been over the road he was traveling, as we always traveled to North Georgia by rail, shipping the horses likewise. His geographical knowledge consisted of a few names places to which I had at different times taken him, and in the neighborhood of my home, such as Macon, Sparta, Louisville, and the counties of Washington and Jefferson. If given a chance to talk he would probably confine himself to "Lady Chain," the mare he was driving; "Lightning," the noted four mile stallion temporarily in my possession; the Tommey family and our settlement, "Tommeysville." On these topics he could talk eighteen hours a day.

I have no hope of ever seeing Eneas again, for if living he would have gotten back if he had to travel all over the South to do it, but there is a bare chance that the cup may be found, and I am writing to gratify my daughter, whose wedding day is approaching... Continue reading book >>

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