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Author: William H. Sparks
Release Date: May 20, 2005 [eBook #15872]
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***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MEMORIES OF FIFTY YEARS***
INTERSPERSED WITH SCENES AND INCIDENTS
OCCURRING DURING A LONG LIFE OF OBSERVATION
CHIEFLY SPENT IN THE SOUTHWEST.
CLAXTON, REMSEN & HAFFELFINGER.
MACON GA.: J. W. BURKE & CO.
MY BROTHER AND NEPHEW,
THE HONORABLE OVID GARTEN SPARKS,
COLONEL THOMAS HARDEMAN,
OF MACON, GEORGIA.
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
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\u2014Lumpkin 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\ue000and 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\ue001hastening 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\ue002the descendants of those who participated in events transpiring fifty years ago\ue003who
have listened at the parental hearth to their recital. To these I send this volume greeting; and if they find
something herein to amuse and call up remembrances of the past, I shall feel gratified.
To the many friends I have in the Southwest, and especially in Louisiana and Mississippi, where I have
sojourned well-nigh fifty years, and many of whom have so often urged upon me the writing of these
Memories, I commit the book, and ask of them, and of all into whose hands it may fall, a lenient criticism, a
kindly recollection, and a generous thought of our past intercourse. It is an inexorable fate that separates us,
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