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Transcribing History in the Digital Library

By Rebecca Oviedo


Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement is pleased to share a new guide on finding, using, and doing transcriptions in our collections. This resource, Transcribing History in Villanova University’s Digital Library, includes examples of some transcriptions of note, an explanation of how to search and access transcriptions in the Digital Library, and an invitation to join us in transcribing history yourself!

The guide also includes several links and examples for teaching and learning online with primary sources. Especially now, when physical access to archival collections has been limited, the Digital Library provides access to thousands of digitized materials from Villanova University’s Special Collections and University Archives as well as dozens of digital donor and partner institutions. One of the goals of the Digital Library is to transcribe these handwritten documents so that they are more easily searchable and accessible to the public.



Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.





March of the Sixty-Ninth

This recent acquisition titled, “March of the Sixty-Ninth,” references New York’s 69th Infantry Regiment, popularly known as “The Fighting 69th” or “The Fighting Irish.” The regiment’s coat of arms at the top of the page include the names of well-known Irish military heroes including Commodore John Barry, as well as motifs of Irish heritage such as the shamrock and the golden harp. The two Irish wolfhounds on either side inspired the regimental motto, “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.”

The text, possibly a poem or a song, seeks to combat anti-immigrant sentiments by demonstrating the natural bravery of the Irish soldiers and their loyalty to both their home country and the United States. The idea is reinforced by the repeating exclamation by Winfield Scott, Commanding General of the U.S. Army, “Seldom such men I’ve led; There go the boys for a FIGHTING BRIGADE!”

Around 1851 the 69th Regiment began the tradition still followed today of leading the marchers in New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But the text here likely refers to a military inspection parade observed by Scott, known for his nickname “Old Fuss and Feathers” because of his attention to details and military formalities. Traditionally, military parades were not commonly held in the United States outside of war time, though in the early days of U.S. history military parades were sometimes reviewed by the President on the Fourth of July. But given the publication date noted here as “All-Hallow Eve” – October 31st, 1858 – do you think the 69th were marching in a Halloween parade instead?!


Comrades! the cocks in yon hamlet are crowing,
The morning star pales like our own dying lamp,
But fill, and we’ll drink “dough-a-doras” o’erflowing,
To outposts and soldiers asleep in the Camp.
Promptly at duty’s call
Forth they rushed one and all,
Must’ring in order along the Parade;
Gallant old Scott has said,
“Seldom such men I’ve led;
There go the boys for a FIGHTING BRIGADE!”

Honored by good men’s unsought approbation,
Specially thanked by the Chief of our State,
Soldiers by birthright, they’re sons of a nation
Of warriors who used but their swords in debate!
Marked ye the ranks to-day!
Straight as sun-setting ray,
Proudly they passed at INSPECTION PARADE;
Well has the veteran said –
“Seldom such men I’ve led;
There go the boys for a FIGHTING BRIGADE!”

True to the land of their birth and adoption,
Upholding the Free Flag, revering the Green,
More loyally bound to the home of their option
Than Orange or native-bred Arnolds have been. –
Impotent bigot-slaves,
Cravens and traitor-knaves,
War’s wild excitement would make ye afraid;
Scott knew ye well that day,
When he was heard to say –
“There go the boys for a FIGHTING BRIGADE!”

Comrades! away to your posts and your duty,
For Sol gilds the vane on the village church dome;
And ere he goes down, friends, affection, and beauty,
Will throng to the Batt’ry to welcome us home.
Guardians of liberty!
Soldiers we’re proud to see,
Eirinn’s allegiance ‘neath FREE FLAG arrayed!
Braver men never fought;
Truer men never sought
Liberty’s shrine, than the IRISH BRIGADE!


St. Paddy’s Day from the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick

On March 17, 1814, the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick met to celebrate the anniversary of St. Patrick in Philadelphia. The United States was in the middle of war with England that would last for nearly another year. The following is a transcription, and notes, from that gathering.

From Rules Minutes &c. of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, 1813-1852, p. 20-22.

A portion of the transcribed text is from the digitized copy from The Society of The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick for The Relief of Emigrants from Ireland collection found in Falvey’s Digital Library.



This being the anniversary of St. Patrick, [2] the Society, [3] agreeably to former arrangement dined together at the Mansion House Hotel in Market Street, and were honored with the company of the officers of the St. Andrew’s, [4] St. George’s, [5] the Welsh and the German [6] Societies, and of the Right Reverend


Bishop White, [7] the Reverend Doctors Blackwell [8] and Abercrombie [9] and other respectable citizens. After Dinner the following toasts were given from the Chair.

1. The Immortal Memory of St. Patrick.
2. The Land of our Fathers.
3. The United States: __ the country of our Adoption.
4. The Memory of George Washington.
May it ever be, as it always has been, held in grateful remembrance by the
Hibernian Society. [10]
5. The Memory of General Montgomery, [11] and the nation of Hibernia, [12] who spilt
their blood for the achievement of the Independence of America.
6. The President [13] and constituted authorities of the Union.
7. The Governor [14] and Commonwealth of Pennsylva
8. The Militia, Army and Navy of the United States.
May their joint and separate exertions in defense of this country meet their best
reward — the approbation of that country.


9th The Union of the States
May each return of our anniversary find that Union drawn more close and more strongly cemented by mutual for bearance, material good will and mutual interests.
10th The Commerce, the Agriculture and the Manufacturer of the United States.
As they naturally depend upon each other, may no unreasonable jealousies deprive them of mutual assistance.
11. The Ocean
May it be the great high was for all Nations – Usurped by none.
12. The American Non descripts: Best described by Commodores Bainbridge, [15] and Decatur: [16] the Captains Hull [17] and Jones, [18] their brave officers and crews.
13. A speedy Peace, [19] upon such terms as the United States ought to grant, and the Enemy ought to accept.
14. Social Intercourse.
May the spirit of a party never rise so high as to destroy private friendships, prevent the reunion of good men, or endanger the Liberties and Happiness of our common Country.


15. The benevolence Societies of St. Andrews, St. George, the Welsh and the German.
16. The Education of Youth: __ the only certain mode of securing to the commonwealth “Virtue, Liberty and Independence”.
17. The fair daughter of Columbia. [20]


[1] “History.” Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick For the Relief of Emigrants From Ireland. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[2] “… Known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, he is the primary patron saint of Ireland” Saint Patrick. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[3] “History.” Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick For the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[4] “About Us.” The St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[5] “… being citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, having associated for the purpose of establishing in Philadelphia, a society for the advice and assistance of Englishmen” St. George Society of Philadelphia. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[6] “Our History.” The German Society of Pennsylvania. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[7] White, William, 1748-1836. ; William White (bishop of Pennsylvania). Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[8]Blackwell, Robert, 1748-1831. ; “Blackwell Rev. Robert, D. D. 50 Pine” Paxton, John A. The Philadelphia Directory and Register for 1813… Philadelphia : B. & T. Kite, 1813. Internet Archive. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[9]Abercrombie, James, 1758-1841. ; “Abercrombie James, D. D. assistant minister of Christ & St. Peter’s churches Sec. 162 S. Fourth” Paxton, John A. The Philadelphia Directory and Register for 1813… Philadelphia : B. & T. Kite, 1813. Internet Archive. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[10] “is an Irish Catholic fraternal organisation. Members must be Catholic and either born in Ireland or of Irish descent. Its largest membership is now in the United States” Ancient Order of Hibernians. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[11] Montgomery, Richard, 1738-1775. ; “a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and he is most famous for leading the failed 1775 invasion of Canada” Richard Montgomery. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[12] “is the Classical Latin name for the island of Ireland. ” Hibernia. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[13] Madison, James, 1751-1836. ; “Presidents: James Madison.” The White House. Washington, D.C. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[14] Snyder, Simon, 1759-1819. ; “the third Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, serving three terms from 1808 to 1817.” Simon Snyder. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>.
[15] Bainbridge, William, 1774-1833. ; William Bainbridge. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[16] Decatur, Stephen, 1779-1820. ; Stephen Decatur. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[17] Hull, Isaac, 1773-1843. ; Isaac Hull. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[18] Jones, Jacob, 1768-1850. ; Jacob Jones. Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[19] “The War of 1812 lasted from June 1812-February 1815, a span of two years and eight months.” “War of 1812 — FAQs” Civil War Trust. ©2017 Civil War Trust. 15 Sep. 2017. <>
[20] “… is a historical name used by both Europeans and Americans to describe the Americas, the New World, and often, more specifically, the United States of America. ” Columbia (name). Wikipedia. 15 Sep. 2017. <>



College Costs at Villanova: 1918

Celebrating 175 Years of Augustinian Catholic Education 1842-2017

Catalogue of Villanova College, 1918-19.

Catalogue of Villanova College, 1918-19.

Villanova Digital Library includes a selection of Villanova College’s academic catalogues published from 1871-1918. The earliest volumes published rarely changed in format and information provided which included a “Catalogue of Students,” listing students’ names their hometowns and states, and the annual Commencement ceremony and list of graduates. An interesting tidbit: the 70 students, listed in the 1870-71 catalogue, were mostly from Pennsylvania followed by Massachusetts and included Ireland, Cuba and Spain.

From the Seventy-fifth catalogue of Villanova College: Villanova, Delaware County, Pa.: conducted by the Augustinian fathers for the academic year 1918-1919, p. 16-17.

Transcribed text from the digitized copy found in the University Catalogues of the Villanova Digital Collection.



The expenses at Villanova vary in amount according to the course which the student pursues and the accommodations which he enjoys. The scholastic year is divided into two terms of approximately four and a half months each. The rates given below are per term.

Ordinary Expenses

Board, bed and bedding.              $112.50
Tuition, Engineering Courses.         75.00
Tuition, all other courses.                50.00
Laboratory fee
(Chemistry and Biology).               5.00
*Private room.                               30.00
Private room, with bath.                   75.00
Laundry.                                        5.00
Physician’s fee.                             2.50
Gymnasium fee.                           2.50

Extra Expenses

Music, Piano, per term.             $ 30.00
Music, Violin, per term.                30.00
Use of typewriter, per course.        7.00
Certified Credits for admission
to another college                         2.00

*A few rooms are sufficiently large for two students. The charge will be not be reduced on that account.

In addition to the above, a deposit of fifteen dollars ($15.00) is required of every student at the beginning of each scholastic year to cover injury to property, breakage, etc. Any balance remaining at the end of the year will be refunded on application or credited to the student’s account for the next year. Every student is held personally responsible for property entrusted to his care or assigned for his use.

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“The Latest Official News: Surrender of Lee and his whole Army to General Grant”

Surrender of Lee National Defender, v. IX, no. 36, Tuesday, April 11, 1865National Defender, v. IX, no. 36, Tuesday, April 11, 1865, Whole Number: 448, p. [3], col. 5.

Transcribed text from the digitized copy in the Historical Society of Montgomery County Collection.

The Latest Official News !

A Great and Bloodless Victory

Surrender of Lee and his whole Army to General Grant.

The not unexpected but not the less welcome news of the surrender of Lee and his whole army to General Grant was telegraphed to Philadelphia on Sunday evening shortly after 9 o’clock. The joyful news reached Norristown yesterday morning at an early hour. The fall of Petersburg and Richmond did not afford as much joy as the news of the surrender of Lee and his Army. The news being confirmed by official dispatches, with the wings of the wind the good tidings aroused the whole population, bells commenced ringing, cannon were fired every demonstration of joy was made. We have the more reason to rejoice at this last, great bloodless victory, because it is regarded at the harbinger of peace to our bleeding country. May it bring true peace and Union, a union of hearts and a union of hands, a union of brotherly love. We have not the space to give the details of the movements of our armies which resulted so gloriously. Below we give the terms proposed by Grant and accepted by Lee by which the lives of thousands of brave men were saved from a useless sacrifice :

Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865.–Gen. R. E. Lee, Commanding Confederate States : In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate : one copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate : the officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States, until properly exchanged; and each company or regiment commander, sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms’ artillery and public property to be packed and stacked and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, by each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not be disturbed by United States authority, so long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside.

Very respectfully,
U. S. Grant
Lieutenant General.

Headquarters, Army, Northern Virginia. April 9th 1865.–Lieut. Gen. U. S., Commanding U. S. A.: General–I have received your letter of this, date, containing terms of surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.

Very respectfully your obedient servant,  R.E. Lee, General.

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The Female Federal Scout: Pauline Cushman

Female Federal Scout National Defender, v. VIII, no. 42, Tuesday, May 31, 1864, Whole Number 404, p.[3], col. 5.National Defender, v. VIII, no. 42, Tuesday, May 31, 1864, Whole Number: 404, p. [3], col. 5.

The transcribed portion of text is from the digitized copy in the Montgomery Historical Society of Montgomery County Collection.

The Female Federal Scout

Tarilling [1] Adventure of Miss Major Pauline Cushman–Her Performance As A Spy–A Narrow Escape from a Disagreeable Death.

[From Detroit Tribune.]

Among the women of America who have made themselves famous since the opening of the rebellion, few have suffered more, or rendered more service to the Federal cause than Miss Major Pauline Cushman, the female scout and spy.

At the commencement of hostilities she resided in Cleveland, Ohio, and quite well-known as a clever actress. From Cleveland she went to Louisville, where she had an engagement in Wood’s Theatre. Here, by her intimacy with certain rebel officers, she incured [2] the suspicion of being a rebel, and was arrested by the Federal authorities. She indignantly denied that she was a rebel, although born at the South, and having a brother in a rebel Mississippi regiment. . . . .


[1] Probable printer’s error. “Thrilling”
[2] incurred

Further Readings on Pauline Cushman:

“The Perils of Pauline.” Winkler, H. Donald. Stealing Secrets: How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles, and Altered the Course of the Civil War. Naperville, Ill.: Cumberland House, 2010: 111-134.  Falvey Main. E628 .W57 2010

Sarmiento, Ferdinand L. Life of Pauline Cushman, the Celebrated Union Spy and Scout… Philadelphia : J. E. Potter, 1865. Internet Archive. 25 March 2017. <>

“Pauline Cushman: The Spy of Cumberland.” Blog. Posted by: Rebecca Beatrice Brooks. Posted Date: January 3, 2013. Civil Wag Saga. Copyright 2016. 25 March 2017. <>

“Pauline Cushman Biography.” The Editors. Last Updated: April 20, 2016. © 2017 A&E Television Networks. 25 March 2017. <>

“Pauline Cushman.” Presidio of San Francisco National Park. National Park Service. U. S. Department of the Interior. 25 March 2017. <>

“Pauline Cushman (1833–1893): Mathew Brady Studio.” Collections: Leaders. CivilWar@Smithsonian. Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. 25 March 2017. <>

Betts, Vicki, “Women Soldiers, Spies, and Vivandieres: Articles from Civil War Newspapers” (2016). Special Topics. Paper 28. 25 March 2017. <>

Suggested Subjects for books in Falvey:
Women spies — Confederate States of America — Biography.
United States — History — Civil War, 1861-1865 — Participation, Female.



Not Your Typical River Crossing

Wire-Rope Walker

National Defender, v. VI, no. 2, Tuesday, August 27, 1861, Whole Number: 262, p.[2], col. 4.

Annotated and transcribed text from the digitized copy in the Historical Society of Montgomery County Collection.

The Wire-Rope Performance At Fairmount.

The thousand of curious citizens who visited Fairmount [1] on the last Wednesday afternoon, for the purposes of witnessing the feat of walking a rope stretched across the river Schuylkill, [2] at an elevation of one hundred feet from the surface of the water, were doomed to disappointment. Every preparation appeared to have been made for the performance, but it was finally discovered that the riggers had not fulfilled their part of the contract, and the crowd returned home without having their curiosity gratified. Yesterday afternoon a large number of people again visited the spot and waited patiently until nearly six o’clock, when Mr. John Deiner the performer was enthusiastically cheered.

He was dressed in a flesh-colored suit, fitting him closely, and carried a balancing pole, about twenty feet in length. He started off slowly, and after proceeding a few steps sat down while the side ropes were being properly adjusted. — After some little delay he again took his position, and walked half way across [3] . . . our rope dancers celebrated. He then passed on to the western side of the river and, after reaching a point about one hundred feet from the derrick, [4] retreated backwards to the centre. He here again went through sundry evolutions, and then continued his journey to the eastern side. The performance was highly successful, and seemed to afford great pleasure to the numerous spectators.


[1] “The park grew out of the Lemon Hill estate of Henry Pratt, whose land was originally owned by Robert Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Purchased by the city in 1844, the estate was dedicated to the public by city council’s ordinance on September 15, 1855.” Fairmount Park. Wikipedia. 10 March 2017. <>
[2] “The Schuylkill River got its name, meaning “hidden river,” from Dutch settlers who discovered its mouth sequestered behind the Delaware River’s League Island. ” “Along the Schuylkill River” Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area. Pottstown, PA. 10 March 2017. <>
[3] A crease in the newspaper page obscured the text.
[4] “a type of crane (= machine with a part like a long arm) used for moving heavy things esp. on ships” derrick n. Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press. 10 March 2017. <>




Statistics on Steamboat Disasters in 1860

Western Steamboat Disasters_7_10_1860

National Defender, v. IV, no. 49, Tuesday, July 10, 1860, Whole Number: 214, p. [2] col. 5.

Transcribed text from the digitized copy in the Historical Society of Montgomery County Collection.


The disasters upon our Western waters during the first six months of 1860 are summed up by the Louisville Courier, under date on July 2, 1860:
Steamboats sank and damaged by ice 5
Steamboats snagged and sunk, 47
Steamboats run into bank, 6
Steamboat collisions, 7
Steamboats burned, 20
Steamboats sunk on Falls, 2
Steamboats sunk by storms, 20
Steamboat explosions, 6
Machinery broken, 10
Collisions with bridges, 2
    Total Steamboats, 125
Coalboats lost, 127
Flatboats and barges, 23
Number of lives lost, 136
Estimated aggregate loss, $2,732,500
     The above recapitulation includes several minor accidents, chiefly by snags.


News of the Day: National Defender Tuesday, April 10, 1860

Posted for: Susan Ottignon, Special Collections.

When I catalog each digital issue of any newspaper, and in this case, the April 10, 1860 digital issue of the National Defender, for the Digital Library, I browse the issue for noteworthy subjects to highlight, or in other words, I assigned subject headings to assist a future researcher in locating the subject. The newspaper’s column, “Personal and Political,” found on page 2, in this issue, caught my eye; I recognized the names Charles Francis Adams and General Jefferson Davis. The remainder of the column’s news impressed me with the wide range of news to report; the reports presented both serious and humorous news to the reader.

The selection conveys what was considered current national news, by the publisher, as well as, I believe, the annotations provide anecdotal information about the news.

The below annotated and transcribed text is from the digitized copy in the Montgomery Historical Society of Montgomery County Collection.

National Defender, v. IV, no. 36, Tuesday, April 10, 1860, Whole Number: 192, p. [2].


— The Hon. Charles Francis Adams [1] and the Hon. Josiah Quincy, [2] son, are the largest tax payers in Quincy, Mass. [3] The former pays $1,440, and the latter $485. As trustee, Mr. Adams pays $150 additional to the above named sum.

— Gen. Jefferson Davis [4] is again suffering from inflamation [sic] of the eyes. The surgical operation performed on one, last Saturday a week. It is apprehended, will result in the loss of both.

— The Hon. George N. Briggs [5] of Massachusetts, has been cordially and unanimously elected Chancellor of Madison University. [6] If he accepts the appointment, Dr. Eaton [7] will retire from the Presidency, that he may devote his whole time to the more congenial duties of his Theological Professorship.

— Mr. J. H. Brown, [8] who supports fifty-two young Baptist theological students at Howard College, [9] in Alabama, at an annual cost of $13.000, has recently endowed a theological chair in that college by a contribution of $25,000.

— The widow of the late Rev. Robert Hall, [10] died at her residence near Bristol, England, on the 15th ult., [11] at the advanced age of 74.

— Something out to be done to prevent people from giving vent to their grief in verse when they are bereaved. What fate too hard for the man who appended the following lines to the announcement of a young lady’s death in a neighboring city?
“A few weeks ago she was to be a bride,
But now the grave her lovely form doth hide.”

— On Tuesday night, in Albany, Mr. John Niblock was bitten on the cheek by a man named Meegan, who threw him down and for several minutes gnawed his face. It is feared that mortification or erysipelas will set in.

— The town of Dutch Acera is fixed upon the birth place of a monster. The being is said to have been all covered with hair, to have had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot. It had three heads and a tail, eyes at the back of each head, and three pairs of horns. The account adds that the child was, according to custom, buried alive, and that the mother died eight days afterward.

— Miss Effie Carstang, [12] of St. Louis, who some months ago recovered a verdict of $100,000 against Mr. Shaw for alleged breach of promise, has had a second trial and comes out minus the hundred thousand dollars, and has a round bill of cost to pay. We fear that Effie’s reputation suffered by the investigations.

— In one of the towns of Connecticut, on the line of the New Haven Railroad, the Republicans took charge of a town pauper, from Friday, paying his board, expenses, &c. They felt so sure of his vote that they gave themselves no further trouble about the vote till Monday, when the voter turned up missing. Upon inquiring in to the absence, they found the pauper in bed ; some of the Democrats had stolen his pantaloons and the vote was lost! On both sides there were many such tricks practiced.

[1] “ADAMS, Charles Francis, (1807 – 1886).” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 – Present. U.S. House of Representatives. Office of Art & Archives, Office of the Clerk. 9 Feb. 2017. <>
[2] “COL John Quincy Adams, II” Find A Grave. 9 Feb. 2017.
[3] “. Quincy is the birthplace of the second and sixth U.S. Presidents, John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams …” City of Quincy: About Quincy. Quincy, MA 02169. 9 Feb. 2017.
[4] “… He was offered a promotion to brigadier general in 1847 but refused it when he was elected to the U.S. Senate….” “Jefferson Davis.” Civil War Trust. Copyright © 2014 Civil War Trust. 9 Feb. 2017. <>; * “In 2006, Dr. R. W. Hertle, a prominent opthamologist at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburg concluded that Davis suffered from “herpes simplex keratouveitis,” (herpes simplex of the eye) a condition that remains a major cause of injury to the eye.” Forum: Jeff Davis was blind in his left eye. 10 Feb. 2017. <>
[5] “BRIGGS, George Nixon, (1796 – 1861).” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 – Present. U.S. House of Representatives. Office of Art & Archives, Office of the Clerk. 10 Feb. 2017. ; “George N. Briggs.” Wikipedia. 10 Feb. 2017. <>
[6] “In 1890, Madison University changed its name to Colgate University in recognition of the family and its gifts to the school.” Colgate University. Wikipedia. 20 Feb. 2017. <>
[7] Eaton, George W. (George Washington), 1804-1872.; “prof. at Hamilton Literary and Theological Institute, Hamilton, N.Y., also called Hamilton Theological Seminary, and pres. when it became Madison Univ.;” Eaton, George W. (George Washington), 1804-1872. Library of Congress Authorities. The Library of Congress. Washington, DC. 10 Feb. 2017. <>; Colgate University. An historical sketch of Madison University, Hamilton, N.Y. Utica: D Bennett, Printers, 1852, p. 11. Internet Archives. 10 Feb. 2017. <>>
[8] “In 1859, Mr. Jere H. Brown, a wealthy planter of Sumter county, who had already been sustaining a dozen or more beneficiaries in the college, made the munificent pledge of $25,000 for the endowment of a second chair of Theology, on condition that the Rev. W. S. Barton raise the remainder of the $100,000 by March 1, 1860.” Garrett, Mitchell B. “Sixty Years of Howard College, 1842 – 1902.” Howard College Bulletin, 85(4), October, 1927, p. 69. Internet Archives. 10 Feb. 2017. <>
[9] “1841 Incorporation. The Alabama Baptist State Convention established a college for men, naming it Howard College in honor of John Howard, an 18th-century English social reformer. ” “History of Samford University. ” Samford University. 11 Feb. 2017. ; Garrett, Mitchell B. “Sixty Years of Howard College, 1842 – 1902.” Howard College Bulletin, 85(4), October, 1927, p. 69. Internet Archives. 11 Feb. 2017. <>; For more information on the residents in Marion, Alabama, specifically at Howard College, see: “1850 Federal Census Perry County, Alabama (Transcriber’s Notes).” Comp. by J. Hugh LeBaron. 2001. The USGenWeb Archives: Perry County, Alabama. Copyright © 1997 – 2017 The USGenWeb Archives Project. 11 Feb 2017.
[10] “Hall proposed marriage on a later visit, having never spoken to this woman before. He was forty-­three years old and possessed an incomparable mind, while she was a servant girl and completely . . . The woman’s name was Elizabeth Smith . . . marriage on March 25, 1808 …” McNutt, Cody Heath. “The Ministry of Robert Hall, Jr.: The Preacher as Theological Exemplar and Cultural Celebrity.” p 49. Dissertation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2012. 10 Feb. 2017.
[11] “of or occurring in the month preceding the present” “Ultimo.” Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017
[12] The story was also reported in The New York Times named the defendant, Henry Shaw, Esq., who was described as “a well-preserved and rather comely Englishman of three-score” as well as the plaintiff, Effie Carstang, described as “the plaintiff, and the great protagonist in this drama of real life, is a slim, stately and intelligent-looking lady, on the shady side of thirty” “… Carstang vs. Shaw–Sketch of Parties.” The New York Times. March 10, 1860. © 2017 The New York Times Company. 11 Feb. 2017. <>


Cap. John Brown

Posted for: Susan Ottignon, Special Collections

National Defende_11_01_1859

National Defender, v. IV, no. 12, Tuesday, November 1, 1859, Whole Number: 169: p. [2].

Annotated and transcribed text from the digitized copy in the Historical Society of Montgomery County Collection.


A correspondent of the New York Tribune(1) furnished the following history of the life and character of the leader in the late Insurrenctionary movements at Harper’s Ferry(2) Virginia:

John Brown(3) is an extraordinary man, and although all right minded men must condemn his last mad exploit, there is no reason why justice should not be done him. He was born in New England, which he left at an early age, and has lived most of his life in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He emigrated from Pennsylvania to Kansas, and settled in the Osage country. He was a decided Anti-Slavery mon [sic]– a religious enthusiast, a rigid Presbyterian – correct and conscientious in all his relations and conduct, and modest and unassuming in all his manners. At the same time he was a man of iron will, of untiring energy and of unbounded nerve. All who know him are impressed with the belief that he never knew fear, and that no man ever lived wo [sic] excelled in cool and daring intrepidity. In all his affrays in Kansas he embarked in all the most dangerous and apparently desperate enterprise, and encountered the greatest odds with a cool self-possession and an unbounded confidence in his own success. He was made the object of the most cruel persecutions of the Missourians, and all the bitterness and steep determination of his nature were stirred up from the very depths in retaliation. One of his sons was met alone on the road by a large party of invading Missourians, and cruelly, brutally murdered without a cause. Another son was for no cause but his political opinions, loaded with chains and driven on foot before the horses of his captors from Osawotamie to Tecumseh, under circumstances of cruelty as to destroy, first his reason and next his life. His own house and the house of his son were both fired and destroyed. The women of his family were grossly insulted, and a committee appointed at a public meeting (following the example of the Pro-Slavery men under Emory,(4) who killed and drove out the Free State men of Leavenworth) notified Brown and other Free State men on Potawatamie Creek(5) that if they did not leave the Territory in three days they would be hung. His friends and neighbors were murdered around him ; he was forced into a war of self-defense, and finally a price was publicly set on his head. The effect of these things, in connection with all the other outrage, oppression and murder perpetrated around him, upon a man of Brown’s temperament, may be conceived. He became a fighting man, and developed qualities that excited the admiration and surprise of his friends and made him the terror of his enemies. Though remorseless and relentless as death itself, he did everything under a sense of duty and high religious excitement. The more fervent his prayers, the harder fell his blows, and the more signal and bloody his victories, the more heartily did he return thanks to the Lord after the fight was over.
1 “Horace Greeley founded the New York Tribune in 1841. Greeley took a strong moral tone in his newspaper and campaigned against alcohol, tobacco, gambling, prostitution and capital punishment. However, his main concern was the abolition of slavery and the introduction of universal suffrage.” Simkin, John “New York Tribune.” © 1997-2016 Spartacus Educational Publishers Ltd. 4 Feb. 2017. <>
2 For more information on the raid, see: “The raid on Harpers Ferry.” Resource Bank. Africans in America — Judgment Day, 1831-1865: Part 4. WGBH — PBS Online. © 1998, 1999 WGBH Educational Foundation. 5 Feb. 2017. <>
3 For more information on John Brown, see: “John Brown.” Resource Bank. Africans in America — Judgment Day, 1831-1865: Part 4. WGBH — PBS Online. © 1998, 1999 WGBH Educational Foundation. 5 Feb. 2017. <>
4 Information on Fred. Emory and activities in Leavenworth, see: Napier, Rita G. “Origin Stories and Bleeding Kansas.” Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains, 34 Spring 2011: 28–39. 5 Feb. 2017. <>
5 Rein, Chris. “Pottawatomie Massacre.” Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865. The Kansas City Public Library. 5 Feb. 2017. <> ; Etcheson, Nicole. “Bleeding Kansas: From the Kansas-Nebraska Act to Harpers Ferry” Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865. The Kansas City Public Library. 5 Feb. 2017. <>

Further Reading:

Malin, James C. “Judge Lecompte and the Sack of Lawrence.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 20(7) 1953, p. 465-494. 5 Feb. 2017. <>

Malin, James C. “Judge Lecompte and the “Sack of Lawrence,” May 21, 1856.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 20(8) 1953, p. 553-597. 5 Feb. 2017. <>

“Territorial Kansas: An Introduction.” Kansas State Historical Society and University of Kansas, Territorial Kansas Online. 5 Feb. 2017. <>


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Last Modified: February 7, 2017

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