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The Memories of Fifty YearsContaining Brief Biographical Notices of Distinguished Americans   By: (1800-1882)

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First Page:

THE MEMORIES OF FIFTY YEARS:

Containing

Brief Biographical Notices of Distinguished Americans, and Anecdotes of Remarkable Men;

Interspersed with Scenes and Incidents Occurring during a Long Life of Observation Chiefly Spent in the Southwest

by

W. H. SPARKS

Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger. Macon Ga.: J. W. Burke & Co. Stereotyped by J. Fagan & Son. Printed by Moore Bros.

1870

TO

MY BROTHER AND NEPHEW, THE HONORABLE OVID GARTEN SPARKS, AND COLONEL THOMAS HARDEMAN, OF MACON, GEORGIA.

This Volume is Dedicated

BY THEIR AGED AND AFFECTIONATE RELATIVE, TRUSTING THEY WILL ESTEEM IT, WHEN HE SHALL HAVE PASSED TO ETERNITY, AS SOME EVIDENCE OF THE AFFECTION BORNE THEM BY

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE.

In the same week, and within three days of the same date, I received from three Judges of the Supreme Court, of three States, the request that I would record my remembrances of the men and things I had known for fifty years. The gentlemen making this request were Joseph Henry Lumpkin, of Georgia; William L. Sharkey, of Mississippi, and James G. Taliaferro, of Louisiana.

From Judge Sharkey the request was verbal; from the other two it came in long and, to me, cherished letters. All three have been my intimate friends Lumpkin from boyhood; the others for nearly fifty years. Judge Lumpkin has finished his work in time, and gone to his reward. Judges Sharkey and Taliaferro yet live, both now over seventy years of age. The former has retired from the busy cares of office, honored, trusted, and beloved; the latter still occupies a seat upon the Bench of the Supreme Court of Louisiana.

These men have all sustained unreproached reputations, and retained through their long lives the full confidence of the people of their respective States. I did not feel at liberty to resist their appeal: I had resided in all three of the States; had known long and intimately their people; had been extensively acquainted with very many of the most prominent men of the nation and in the following pages is my compliance.

I have trusted only to my memory, and to a journal kept for many years, when a younger man than I am to day hastening to the completion of my seventieth year. Doubtless, I have made many mistakes of minor importance; but few, I trust, as to matters of fact. Of one thing I am sure: nothing has been wilfully written which can wound the feelings of any.

Many things herein contained may not be of general interest; but none which will not find interested readers; for while some of the individuals mentioned may not be known to common fame, the incidents in connection with them deserve to be remembered by thousands who knew them.

These Memories are put down without system, or order, as they have presented themselves, and have been related in a manner which I have attempted to make entertaining and instructive, without being prolix or tedious. They will be chiefly interesting to the people of the South; though much may, and, I hope, will be read by those of the North. Some of my happiest days have been passed in the North: at Cambridge some of my sons have been educated, and some of my dearest friends have been Northern men. Despite the strife which has gone far toward making us in heart a divided people, I have a grateful memory of many whose homes and graves were and are in New England.

Would that this strife had never been! But it has come, and I cannot forego a parent's natural feelings when mourning the loss of sons slain in the conflict, or the bitterness arising therefrom toward those who slew them. Yet, as I forgive, I hope to be forgiven.

There are but few now left who began the journey of life with me. Those of this number who still sojourn in our native land will find much in these pages familiar to their remembrance, and some things, the reading of which may revive incidents and persons long forgotten. In the West, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas, there are many the descendants of those who participated in events transpiring fifty years ago who have listened at the parental hearth to their recital... Continue reading book >>




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