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Keith, was spread out on tables in the open space south of Mr.
John Walker's house on Princess Street, to which a general in-
vitation had been given, and of which hundreds partook. Mr.
Clay was not present, desiring to have a few hours' rest. The
company was, however, highly gratified with able and instruc-
tive speeches from Hon. A. H. Stephens, member of Congress
from Georgia, who being on his way to Washington was in-
duced to remain over a day; CoL William W. Cherry, of Bertie,
an orator of surpassing eloquence ; Col. B. F. Gaither, of Burke,
and others. Mr. Stephens well sustained the reputation which
had preceded him of being an eloquent, humorous, and effective

At night there was a superb ball and party at the Carolina
Hotel and Masonic Hall — all the rooms being connected for
the occasion. The whole affair was got up under the superin-
tendency of ladies of Wilmington. It could not, therefore, but
be an elegant one. The rooms were beautifully decorated, the
refreshments choice, the supper in refined taste and order, the
music inspiring, and a hilarious spirit reigned throughout the
well-filled apartments. How many hours of the morning heard
the festive strains we do not exactly know and will not hazard a
conjecture. In the course of the evening Mr. Clay visited the
place of gaiety and remained a couple of hours or so.

Between seven and eight this morning Mr. Clay took his de-
parture for Raleigh, by way of the railroad, cheered by many,
many, newly-awakened and newly-born wishes for his welfare.

We have thus sketched a meagre outline of Mr. Clay's visit
to Wilmington. The glowing lines of the picture the reader's

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Notable Incidents 217

imagination must supply. The enthusiasm, the kindly feeling,
the generous good wiU, all these are to be supposed, for they
were all exhibited in an eminent degree.

There was a very great concourse of strangers in town from
this and the neighboring counties, Fayetteville, and other parts
of the State, who aided us in doing honor to our venerable and
beloved guest.


Early in May, 1847, Daniel Webster visited Wilmington as
the guest of Gov. Edward B. Dudley. In an old book contain-
ing the private correspondence of Mr. Webster I found a letter
by him dated Wilmington, May 6, 1847, as follows :

"At one o'clock yesterday, ten miles from this city, we met a
special train, with a large deputation, headed by ex-Governor
Dudley. The weather was bad, and the wind east, and I was
rather easily persuaded to stay over a day. The Governor
brought us to his own home, where we were grandly lodged. I
go to the hotel to meet the citizens at 11 o'clock, and go off at
half-past two this p. m., if the wind goes down. At present it
blows rather hard. This is an active little city, built on the east
side of the river, on sand-hills. The good people are Whigs, but
out of the city, and all around for fifty miles, it is a region
whose politics are personified by Mr. McKay.

"There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard of, and
it is known to many in this land by the name of pitch, etc., etc.
We are here in the midst of this very thing, at llie very center
of the tar and turpentine region. The pines are long-leaved
pines. In one of these, a foot from the bottom, a notch is cut,'
and its capacity enlarged and its shape fashioned a little, so as
to hold the liquid, by chiseling, and then it is called the Twx.'
Above the box the bark is cut off, for a foot or so, and the turpen-
tine oozes out of the tree on to this smooth surface, and then
runs slowly into the box. The box holds about a quart. In a
good large tree it will fill five times a season. Sometimes there
are two boxes in one tree, so that some trees will yield ten
quarts a year. But the greatest yield is the first year ; after that
it is gradually diminished, and in seven or eight years the tree
dies, or will yield no more turpentine. Tar is made by bring-
ing together wood full of turpentine, either trees or knots, and

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218 Chronicles of the Cape Fear River

pieces picked up in the woods, and burning it in a pit, just as
charcoal is made, then running it off into a hole prepared for it
in the ground. At the present price of the article, this is said
to be the best business now doing in the State. I am told good,
fresh, well-timbered pine lands can be bought for $1.25 to $1.50
per acre.

"One barrel of turpentine distilled makes six gallons of
spirits. The residuum, or resin, is not of much value, say
twenty-five cents a barrel. Tar and turpentine are now high,
and the business is good."

The late Col. Thomas C. Mcllhenny, always a welcome guest
of Governor Dudley, often entertained me by the recital of im-
portant local events of his earlier years, and upon one occasion
described the visit of the great Commoner while he was also a
guest at the Gtovemor's mansion. The colonel said he was
much impressed by the great size of Mr. Webster's head and the
powerful penetration of his searching eyes, and by his fancy for
the Governor's madeira, of which he kept a pipe of superior
quality. After drinking all of the dining room supply, Mrs.
Dudley having withdrawn, Mr, Webster laid an affectionate
hand upon the colonel's shoulder and said : "Young man, show
me where the Governor keeps that wine," and being led to the
cellar, he greatly reduced the contents of the cask with much
enjoyment, but apparently not altogether with satisfaction, be-
cause he seldom knew when he had enough.

With reference to Mr. Webster's visit to Wilmington, the
following from the local newspaper, the Commercial, Thursday
morning. May 6, 1847, is quoted :

Hon. Daniel Webster.

The Hon. Daniel Webster and family arrived at this place
yesterday in the cars at a little before 2 o'clock.

Col. John MacRae, magistrate of police, appointed the fol-
lowing gentlemen as a committee to meet our distinguished
guest, and to make the necessary arrangements to entertain him
while here :

Governor Dudley, John D. Jones, L. H. Marsteller, Alexan-
der MacRae, Dr. W. A. Berry, James T. Miller, Dr. F. J. Hill,
R W. Brown, Samuel Potter, Dr. J. H. Dickson, Gilbert Pot-
ter, John Walker, C. D. Ellis, Thomas Loring, A. A. Brown,
D. Fulton, R. B. Wood, J. Ballard, H. W. Beatty, J. Hatha-

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Notable Incidents 219

way, H. K. Savage, W. C. Bettencourt, Dr. T. H. Wright,
Thomas D. Meares, John A. Taylor, James S. Green, W. N.
Peden, Owen Fennell, Miles Costin, Alfred Bryant, Dr. J. D.
Bellamy, Samuel Black, Henry Nutt, P. K. Dickinson.

A number of the committee started in an extra train at about
eleven o'clock and met the regular train at Kocky Point, where
they entered the mail train, and through Governor Dudley prof-
fered the hospitalities of our town to Mr. Webster and his
family. On arriving at the depot they proceeded to the resi-
dence of Governor Dudley on the southwest comer of Front
and Nim Streets.

Mr. Webster will leave in the boat today for Charleston.

At the request of the committee appointed by the magistrate
of police, Mr. Webster wiU meet the citizens of Wilmington at
the Masonic Hall this morning at eleven o'clock.

The same paper, of May 8, 1847, contained the following:

Mb. Webster.

This gentleman left our place in the boat for Charleston on
Thursday evening. The arrangements indicated in our last
were carried out by the committee. At the Masonic Hall Mr.
Webster made a short address to the many citizens who had
assembled to pay their respects to him. We believe men of all
parties were very much gratified on the occasion.

Mention has been made to me of Mr. Webster's appreciation
of the excellent cooking in the South, and of his preference for
a dish of tripe, which leads me to copy a letter on this subject,
written in December, 1860, and addressed to his hostess at
Eichmond, Mrs. Paige.

Dbab Mbs. Paige: — I sit down to write a letter, partly diplomatic
and partly historical. The subject is Tripe— T-R-I-P-E. Your husband
remembers Mrs. Hayman, who was Mrs. Blake's cook. Excelling
others in all else, she excelled herself in a dish of tripe. I do not know
that her general genius exceeded that of Monica McCarty; but in this
production she was more exact, more artistical; she gave to the
article, not only a certain gout, which gratified the most fastidious,
but an expression, also, an air of haut ton, as it lay presented on the
table, that assured one that he saw before him something from the
hand of a master.

Tradition, it is said, occasionally hands down the practical arts with
more precision and fidelity than they can be transmitted by books,

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220 Chronicles of the Cape Fear River

from generation to generation; and I have thought it likely that your
Lydia may have caught the tact of preparing this inimitable dish. I
entertain this opinion on two grounds: first, because I have been
acquainted with very respectable efforts of hers in that line; second,
because she knows Mr. Paige's admirable connoiseurship, and can de-
termine, by her quick eye, when the dish comes down from the table,
whether the contents have met his approbation.

For these reasons, and others, upon which it is not necessary for the
undersigned to enlarge, he is desirous of obtaining Lydia's receipt
for a dish of tripe, for the dinner-table. Mrs. Hayman's is before my
eyes. Unscathed by the frying pan, it was white as snow; it was dis-
posed in squares, or in parallelograms, of the size of a small sheet of
ladies' note paper; it was tender as jelly; beside it stood the tureen
of melted butter, a dish of mealy potatoes, and the vinegar cruet.
Can this spectacle be exhibited in the Vine Cottage, on Louisiana
Avenue, in the City of Washington?

Yours truly, always,

Dan'l Websteb.

P. S.— Tripe; the etymon is the Greek word to "turn, to wind," from
its involutions, not the same as "tripod," which means "having three
feet"; nor the same as "trip," which is from the Latin tripudiare, to
strike the feet upon the ground; sometimes to stumble; sometimes
to go nimbly; to "trip it on the light fantastic toe."

Washington, 29 December, 1850.


In 1859 the renowned Edward Everett delivered in hundreds
of cities throughout the United States his splendid address on
the Character of Washington, the receipts being for the benefit
of the Ladies' Mount Vernon Association.

Of his visit to Wilmington on that occasion he wrote in his
Mount Vernon Papers: "Its population, as far as I could judge
from a short visit, is intelligent, enterprising, and rather more
than usually harmonious among themselves. The river pros-
pects from elevated positions are remarkably fine. An immense
audience, assembled in Thalian Hall on the 11th of April last,
honored the repetition of my address on the Character of Wasihr
ington, and the net receipts of the evening, $1,091.80, were, in
proportion to population, far beyond those of any other place in
the Union."

Mr. Everett has also been quoted as saying that at Wilming-
ton alone, during his travels, he was introduced by an orator
who surpassed himself, Mr. George Davis.

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Notable Incidents 221

We copy an interesting account of Mr. Everett's oration in
Wilmington from the Daily Journal of that date.

April 12, 1859.
Mb. Everett's Oration.

Last evening Thalian Hall was filled by an attentive audi-
ence eager to listen to the Washington oration of Hon. Edward
Everett, of Massachusetts.

At 8 o'clock Mr. Everett, accompanied by a committee of citi-
zens, appeared upon the stage and was introduced to the audi-
ence by George Davis, Esq., whose eloquent though brief re-
marks formed a fitting prelude to the splendid composition of
the distinguished speaker.

Mr. Everett is, we believe, 65 years of age, tall, rather portly
than otherwise, his hair, trimmed short, is nearly white, and we
learn from those who have heard him before that either advanc-
ing years or illness have considerably subdued the vigor of his
tones and the energy of his delivery. His features, those of a
cultivated gentleman, have been or will be made familiar to
most through the portraits of him which have been published.

We have no desire to attempt any sketch of Mr. Everett's
address further than to glance at a very few points. He spoke
of three eras in Washington's life — ^when he fought in the old
French War, when he took command of the American forces,
and when he retired from that command. He spoke of what he
denominated the "Age of Washington," reviewed the history of
the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century ; enumer-
ated the great things that had been done, and the great men
that had figured within that space of time to which future ages
would turn as the Era of Washington; contrasted the character
of the American hero and statesman with that of Peter the
Great of Eussia, Frederick the Great of Prussia, or Napoleon
the Great of France.

From Major Washington's visit to Venango down to the last
stage of President Washington's life, the speaker followed that
great man's career, dwelling with inimitable skill upon the
great and good points of his character.

Better still than his comparison and contrast of the character
of Washington with that of the great men of his own immediate
day, was the episode in which he turned back to John, Duke of
Marlborough, the wittiest statesman, the most astute diploma-

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222 Chronicles of the Cape Fear River

tist, the greatest captain of hie day, yet a dishonest man, faith-
less to his sovereign, a traitor to his country, and a robber of the
brave soldiers whose strong arms gave him victory. He pic-
tured in glowing language the beauty and the grandeur of *^len-
heim," the seat which national gratitude or kingly extravagance
had given to the great bad man, naming it after that famous
victory. After all, 'TBlenheim," with its storied urn and ani-
mated bust, its pompous eulogy and lying praise, could only
serve to perpetuate the shame and infamy of John ChurchilL
But away on the banks of the calm Potomac, there rose an
humble mansion, bought with no money wrested from the hands
of an oppressed and reluctant people, a mansion in which the
Father of his Country lived quietly and well with his beloved
Martha, and from which he passed away peacefully to the bosom
of his God. Around that humble mansion clustered hallowed
recollections unstained by aught that could dim their purity.
That home the women of America sought to secure, that they
might guard it as a sacred trust, restore it to the pristine beauty
and simplicity in which its great owner had left it, and transmit
it as a sacred heritage to their children forever.

In the course of his oration, Mr. Everett alluded very feel-
ingly to Washington's last and most emphatic advice to his
countrymen, to preserve the Union of the States. He drew him-
self a most painful picture of the probable effect of disunion.

The audience was the fullest we have ever seen in Wilming-
ton. We should think the receipts will not vary much from a
thousand dollars. We believe all were pleased, many delighted,
none dissatisfied, although some, perhaps, looked for a rather
different style of speaking, more, perhaps, of what is generally
regarded as oratory, more stirring, more declamatory. The ad-
dress was highly polished, beautiful in conception, chaste, yet
magnificent in execution, the work of a scholar, a rhetorician,
faultlessly delivered, too faultlessly for an orator, perhaps, for
oratory is never finished, it suggests more than it directly con-
veys, its apparent failures are sometimes its most effective
points, its seeming, mayhaps its real forgetfulness, makes us,
too, forget, carries us away, leads our feelings captive; we cease
to mark gesture or tone, we feel but do not analyze our feelings.
Mr. Everett may be, perhaps is, something more or higher than
an orator, but he is also something different.

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Notable Incidents 223


In April, 1850, one of the most remarkable demonstrations
in the history of Wilmington occurred on the occasion of the
death of the illustrious John C. Calhoun. The following ex-
cerpts from the local newspapers of that date indicate the pro-
found emotion which stirred the hearts of our people :

Another of the master spirits of the country has passed from
time to eternity. John C. Calhoun died in the City of Wash-
ington on Sunday morning last. The sad intelligence of his
death was to some extent anticipated from recent reports of his
dangerous sickness, yet it will strike with heavy force upon the
public mind.

The following telegraphic dispatch, dated Washington, March
3l8t, we copy from the Charleston Mercury of Monday: "Mr.
Calhoun died this morning at a quarter past seven o'clock in
the full possession of his faculties. A few hours previous he
directed his son. Dr. John C. Calhoun, to lock up his manu-
scripts, and just before his death he beckoned him to his bedside
and, with his eyes fixed upon him, expired. He died without
the slightest symptom of pain, and to the last his eyes retained
their brilliancy. With his son, there were at his bedside, Mr.
Venable, of North Carolina, and Messrs. Orr and Wallace, of
South Carolina. Mr. Venable has been devoted in his atten-
tions to him for weeks, and is entitled to the deepest gratitude.
The body will be placed in a metallic coffin and deposited in
the Congressional Burial Ground imtil the wishes of his family
are ascertained.

"The Governor of South Carolina has appointed a committee
of twenty-five, consisting of citizens of Charleston, to proceed
to Washington to receive and convey to his native State the
remains of John C. Calhoun."

Wilmington Chronicle.

Wednesday, April 24, 1850.

Remains op Mb. Calhoun.

It is expected that the remains of Mr. Calhoun will reach
Wilmington today about 12 o'clock. The Committee of Ar-
rangements publish the following :

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224 Chronicles of the Cape Fear River

Order of Procession.

For escorting the remains of the Hon. J. C. Calhoun.

The procession will be formed in the following order, the right rest-
ing on the railroad depot, in open order, for the reception of the corps
of attendants on the arrival of the cars.

Order of Procession.

Clergy of the various denominations.
Sergeant at arms and assistants.



Relations of the deceased.

Committee of the U. S. Senate.

Committee of South Carolina.

Committee of Arrangements.

Citizens of South Carolina.

Judges of the Supreme and Superior Courts.

Members of the bar.

Members of the medical profession.

Magistrate of police and commissioners of the town, collector of
customs and officers of the United States service, president and
directors of the Wilmington and Raleigh R. R., mmnbers of the
various societies of the town, in citizen dress, teachers of the schools
and academies, captains of vessels and seamen, citizens and strangers.

The Committee of Arrangements recommend the following
to their fellow-citizens : A committee of ten, consisting of A. J.
DeKosset, sr., James Owen, James F, McRee, sr., Thomas H.
Wright, P. K. Dickinson, John Walker, William C. Betten-
court, Thomas Loring, F. J. Hill, of Brunswick, and James
Iredell, of Kaleigh, will proceed up the line of the Wilmington
and Raleigh R. R. to receive the remains, and escort them in
their passage through the State. These gentlemen will also act
as pallbearers in the procession.

The citizens generally are requested to close their stores, to
suspend all operations of business, and to meet at the depot at
12 o'clock. There the procession will be formed, under the
direction of William C. Howard as chief marshal, to receive
the remains in open order and escort them to the foot of Market
Street, where the boat for Charleston, the Nina, will be waiting
to receive them.

A gim from the wharf of the Wilmington and Raleigh R. R.
Co. will give the earliest notice of the arrival of the cars. Imme-
diately upon the firing of this gun, the flags of the public build-

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Notable Incidents 225

ings and the ships in port will be struck at half-mast ; the bells
of the town will commence tolling and minute guns will be fired.
The clergy and the pallbearers are requested to call at Messrs.
Dawsons' store for gloves and crape. The citizens will find a
supply of crape at the same place.'

The steamer will leave for Charleston, it is expected, about
five o'clock, p. m. ^^ ^ Howabd, G. M.

J. G. Gbebn.
Eli W. Hat.Ti, Asst. M.

Tuesday, April 23, 1850.

The steamer Nina arrived here yesterday from Charleston,
for the purpose of conveying hence to that city the remains of
Mr. Calhoun.

Couetesy: The mayor of Charleston has, on behalf of the
city, tendered its hospitalities to the magistrate of police of
Wilmington and the committee appointed to receive the remains
of Mr. Calhoim on the passage through this place to South Caro-
lina. Colonel Miller, the magistrate of police, has addressed a
polite note to the mayor accepting the courteous proffer. The
South Carolina State Committee of Arrangements has also in-
vited the Wilmington committee to proceed to Charleston, join
in the fimeral solemnities, and become the guests of the city.

The committee of the Senate appointed to accompany the
remains of Mr. Calhoun to South Carolina has invited three
gentlemen of the House to accompany them, to wit : Mr. Holmes,
Mr. Winthrop, and Mr. Venable, all of whom have accepted the

The following is copied from the Wilmington Chronicle of
May 1,1850:

On Wednesday last, near 2 o'clock p. m., the cars arrived from
Weldon, bringing in the mortal remains of John C. Calhoun,
in the special charge of Mr. Beale, the sergeant at arms of the
United States Senate, and Senators Mason, of Virginia, Clarke,
of Rhode Island, Dickinson, of New York, Davis, of Missouri,
and Dodge, of Iowa, and Mr. Berrien, of (Georgia. The other
members of the Senate Committee joined them in Charleston,
having gone on some days before. Mr. Venable, of North Caro-
lina, Mr. Holmes, of South Carolina, members of the House of
Representatives, accompanied the committee by invitation. Mr.
Winthrop, of Massachusetts, who had likewise been invited to

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226 Chronicles of the Cape Fear River

form one of the company, waB prevented from doing so. A com-
mittee of twenty-five from South Carolina and three of the sons
of the deceased also accompanied the remains. The citizens of
North Carolina to whom had been assigned the duty of attend-
ing on the remains whilst passing through Wilmington, pro-
ceeded up the railroad and joined the train some thirty or forty
miles above, and in the procession from the depot to the steamer
at the wharf acted as pallbearers. The arrangements as to the
procession, etc., were carried into effect in accordance with the
program published in our last issue.

The following we take from the Journal:

On the arrival of the cars, the stores and places of business
were closed, the shipping in port struck their colors to half-mast,
the bells of the various churches were tolled, and minute guns
fired while the procession moved from the depot down Front
Street to the steamer Nina, lying at Market Dock, where she
was waiting to receive the remains of the lamented deceased,
and convey them to the city of Charleston.

Notwithstanding the inclemency of the day, the procession
was, we think, the largest we have ever seen in this place.
Everybody seemed anxious to pay the last respect to the states-
man and orator who has so long and so faithfully filled some of
the most responsible posts of his country.

The steamer Oovemor Dudley, handsomely decorated for the
occasion, accompanied the Nina, taking over a portion of the
committees and guests to the city of Charleston. Both steamers
left the wharf about half past three o'clock p. m.

Wilmington Committee. — The gentlemen whose names follow
went to Charleston on Wednesday last with the remains of Mr.
Calhoun, as a committee from the citizens of Wilmington, in
manifestation of respect for the memory of the illustrious de-
ceased : Dr. A. J. DeRosset, sr., J. T. Miller, Gten. James Owen,
C. D. Ellis, Gen. L. H. Marsteller, P. M. Walker, Thomas
Loring, A. J. DeRosset, jr.. Dr. J. F. McRee, jr., Dr. John
Swann, Dr. William A. Berry, James Fulton, James G. Green,

Online LibraryJames SpruntChronicles of the Cape Fear river, 1660-1916 → online text (page 23 of 74)