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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: 10 25, 1865

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-Page 01-

Vondooism in Mobile--Old Superstition Revived
(Column 5)
Summary: Details the rites of a voodun ceremony performed in Mobile. Although the authorities in New Orleans outlawed the religion and persecuted its adherents during the antebellum era, voodun continues to be practiced in the Gulf region.
Origin of Article: Mobile Tribune
Full Text of Article:

In the good old days of Louisiana, when Lafitte was doing his quiet little business along the lake shore, and Barataria was synonymous with the Isle of Pines, when gens d'armes stood on the corners of the streets of New Orleans, and watchmen with club and rattle and leather cap, were not--in those good old days Vondooism was religiously believed in by all the negro population, and by not a few of those whose color should have been a warranty of more intelligence. For years past the infernal rites of this dark superstition have been conducted near New Orleans, only at long intervals and with the utmost secresy. The police succeeded, in one instance, some twelve years since, in making a clean haul of the negroes, including the principal Fetish Man, old Obi Woman--natives of Africa--and all the charms, &c., used in the incantations. The negroes were severely punished, and the chock given to the practice and rites of the superstition.

We have heard of such scenes as, those being enacted in or near Mobile by the negroes, but never till last night did we witness any thing of the kind in this city. In company with a few policemen we went to a house situated beyond the gas works, and occupied by an old negro who claims to be on Obi man. Approaching the house very carefully, and peering through the crevices in the walls, a wild weird spectacle was presented. Around a small fire of pine in the middle of the floor--or room, for the floor there was none--and over which was hung a cot, sat a group of negro men and women entirely naked; their hair or wool twisted in to pig tail curls and ornamented with sprigs of some kind of herb, intermingled with dried roots, their eyes closed; the master of ceremonies or High Fetish Priest, with a snake skin around his neck, and his wool grizzled with age and garnished more profusely than the rest, was chanting something in a droning voice, while the remainder of the "congregation" responded, as it were, with a low and long-drawn howl.--The old negro with the snake skin clapped his hands and the whole rose and commenced a most furious stamping around the pot.

This being over, they all squatted down again, and the "Obi - man" resumed his chant, at the same time holding in his hand a covered basket, from which he drew and dropped into the pot--first a dead snake, next a frog, then a young alligator or lizard, and last of all the herbs and roots from his own and the hands of other negroes. Silence was observed by all for some minutes after the last deposit had been made, after which the pot was taken from the fire, and while the nauseating mixture was yet reeking hot, they each dipped the end of the middle finger of the left hand into it, and applied the ends of their fingers to their tongues. Another dip in to the pot was taken with the middle finger of the right hand, and certain cabalistic gestures described on the breasts, foreheads and shoulders--one assisting the other in the operation.--Not a word was spoken until their clothes had been resumed and they had got clear of the house.

Although on high occasions the Fetish or "Obi man" may demand a human sacrifice in his inhuman rites, and, which sacrifice is generally a young child, nothing of the kind was attempted in the Vondoo-bow-wow of last night. The presence of the police would, of course, have prevented anything of this nature, had it ever been thought necessary by the old negro conducting the affair. Old negro women were sometimes "used up" as "material" in these meetings at Vondooton, near New Orleans, one of whom escaped the sacrificial knife on one occasion, and caused the arrest of the whole gang.

Homesick Darkey
(Column 6)
Summary: Recounts an alleged story of a black man in Louisville who solicited donations in order to pay for a ticket to return to his master in Georgia.
Origin of Article: Louisville Journal
Full Text of Article:

We saw a little darkey on Main street yesterday soliciting means from pedestrians to take him back to his master in Georgia. A gentleman held a fifty cent currency in his fingers while the little darkey made the following speech:

"I want to go back down to Georgia to old massa, kase I'd rather lib wid him one yeah dan about dis way all my life. I knows I had no business follern dem Yanks off, no how; but it can't be helped now, massa, an' I want to go back down dar, 'fore Winter sets in."

"Can't you get along where you are?"

"Well, I'se got a sho' ting o'libin wid him, an' up heah' I don't know in de mornin' whar' I'se gwine to lan' at night; an', den, you know, massa all de big niggas' gwine to git de best an' de fust ob what's floatin 'bout, an' as little niggas kind do de best we kin."

"Here, take this, it will help you along."

"It'll take me to dat much nearer home, massa; ebery little helps, ye know, an' I tanks ye foss as much fo' dis as if ye five ine enuf to tote me all de wa 'dar."

The little darkey's speech attracted quite a crowd, who contributed liberally towards sending the little black wanderer,

"Way down South in de land ob cotton, Where old times are not forgotten."

--Louisville Journal

-Page 02-

Progress of Pacification
(Column 1)
Summary: Lauds the pace of reform in the South, proclaiming the President's reunification policy a success.
Full Text of Article:

Despite the preconcerted misrepresentation of the conditions of the affairs at the South which are so industriously circulated by the employed agents of Radicalism, the President's plan of restoration appears to work noiselessly and so far without any serious interruption. That causes for complaint, and criticism may be found in a great many localities, too, over so vast an extent of country, was naturally to be expected. It is to be considered, says the Boston Post, that the triumph of the Government in this gigantic struggle implied immediate submission on the part of the people of the South in the first place, and, secondly, a sudden and entire change of their personal relations to a race living among them till now as servants and chattels, and numbering nearly one-half what they did themselves. This amounted to a complete and thorough revolution in their social life and character, to say nothing of the unexpected blasting of their hopes of political independence.

But making rational allowances for these things in a comprehensive an just view of the matter, we honestly believe that more persons are surprised at this alacrity of the South in accepting its duties and place once more than at, any symptoms of hanging back, much less of sullenness and traculeuey, which only makes her present example of all the more value. South Carolina is represented on good authority to be equally well disposed with Mississippi, while Florida and Alabama appear even in advance.

The people of the South manifest almost instinctively a strong feeling of confidence in President Johnson, as if they needed not to be told that he understood the character of the dismal swamp into which a futile attempt at secession has driven them. They seem to believe that he knows their condition and entertains a genuine sympathy for them in it. That belief of itself would tend to soften a great many asperities toward the Union. And in that single view, born and bred as he was among the people of the South, his occupation of the Presidential chair at this critical time excites the reflection that it is providential. He displays firmness and caution in combination. With all his resoluteness he is patient.-His intrepidity does not cloud his sense of justice. It is well for the country, at a time when more rests on the shoulders of one man that an any previous period in our history, that such a character was placed at that point where the vast weight of responsibility rests. A weaker man would yield and break down; his native robustness holds up the whole frame of the present political action.

It is, so say the least, a serious imputation on the motives and conduct of men, no matter who they are or what place they occupy, that they are so industrious in picking out all facts and rumors, great and small, that can be made to tell against the intentions of the Southern people, and in giving them as wide publicity as possible.-Common fairness demands that both sides shall have a hearing. There is something very different from the true patriotism in such conduct; and as for the larger love of freedom indicated by a practice of such a character, it is a freedom of which most men would prefer to be entirely clear. It is the pettiness of a most contemptible partizanship, that would peril the peace and happiness of a nation for sake of keeping its self-seeking little organization together.-Such men will be forced to admit to the progress which is making in the restoration in the end; but their perverseness will keep back the confession until it shall first have wrought their own confusion, and shown them up before the public as unworthy of their confidence or respect.

The Result
(Column 1)
Summary: Although the recent elections in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and Pennsylvania failed to produce the Democrats' desired results, according to the article, the party's future remains bright. Pointing out that the Republicans in Pennsylvania and Ohio sidestepped the issue of black suffrage in an effort to retain the support of the "thousands who would have deserted their cause had [the party] hoisted the negro equality flag," it asserts the next Congress "will develop the real position" of the party.
Full Text of Article:

The recent elections in Pennsylnania, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa, while they have not resulted as we could have wished, are in the main by no means discouraging. Indeed, if heavy reductions of the former large Republican majorities mean anything, the result is highly cheering. In Pennsylvania and Ohio the Republicans dodged the most important issues between the parties-the negro suffrage question-and thus succeeded in retaining the support of thousands who would have deserted their cause, had they hoisted the negro equality flag.-As the Democratic press and the Democratic conventions were almost unanimous in their indorsement of President Johnson's reconstruction and conciliatory policy-the ver policy advocated by the Democratic party ever since the war began-and as the Republicans ostensibly supported the same views, the declared issues were narrowed down to almost as imperceptible difference. So far then as the Administration is concerned, which party has lost in an election thus indorsing President Johnson, yet remains to be seen. So far the Democratic party have nothing to complain of. When either takes issue with the policy of reconstruction and anti-negro equality, as supported by the Administration, the question of difference will come fairly before the people. The next Congress will develop the real position of the Republican party, and show whether it has come to our principles or not. Till then the Democracy can afford no wait.

The Politician and the People
(Column 2)
Summary: Though northerners were able to reconcile and rally around Johnson in the weeks immediately following his sudden ascent, the calm did not prevail. In fact, the article explains, the country reverted to its partisan ways soon afterward. But unlike Lincoln, Johnson has not given in to the Radicals demands, and, for this achievement, he has won the admiration of the people.
Origin of Article: Constitutional Union
(Column 3)
Summary: After failing in his escape attempt, Dr. Mudd was reportedly tortured with thumbscrews to force him to reveal his accomplices. Disgusted by the use of torture to extract information, the article notes the hypocrisy of the Abolitionists, who vehemently denounced slavery as barbaric, yet have failed to come out against Mudd's inhumane treatment at the hands of the government.
Origin of Article: Carlisle Volunteer
The Shenandoah Valley
(Column 4)
Summary: States that a considerable amount of property has come on the market in Virginia since the end of the war, particularly in the Shenandoah Valley. While unfortunate for the farmers of Virginia, the glut has driven down land prices and lured many residents from the Pennsylvania side of the valley to relocate further South.
Full Text of Article:

Since the close of the war many of the best lands in the State of Virginia are being thrown upon the market. Many of the owners have become impoverished to a great extent during the progress of the war, and now that it is ended, are unable to restore the ravages which it occasioned. Particularly is this the case in the valley of the Shenandoah, which during the past four years has been ravaged by friend and foe, having been literally swept by fire. Of this valley Mr. James Black of Washington city, in letter to a friend in Scotland, published in the Glasgow Herald of the 2d of the August, 1865, says:

"On the 20th of June I was sent on a tour of inspection through the States of Maryland and Virginia, to make an examination of the country, state of agriculture, and the probably value of the lands. I first visited the Shenandoah Valley in Western Virginia. This valley lies between the Blue Ridge and North Mountain. Its length is nearly one hundred and fifty miles, and its breadth from eight to ten miles, with beautiful rolling land on the banks for the river, and stretching far up the side of the mountains on each side. This whole valley has been traversed by both armies five times, so that everything has been destroyed that would destroy. It is of the finest soil I have ever had a foot on, and somewhat resembles that around Dunbar, in East Lothian; but with the advantage of this climate, is more valuable even that East Lothian. Transportation from here to the principal markets of the country, both by water and rail, is cheap and easy."

The farmers of Pennsylvania, knowing the surpassing richness of this lovely valley, are now crowding into "the Old Dominion" in search of investments for their capital, and homes for themselves and families in that garden spot of the Union. Almost daily numbers of them pass though Hagerstown on their way to Virginia for their purpose. There is nowhere in the broad and a people superior to our Pennsylvania farmers in all those elements of character which go to make up a good citizen and a honest man. And the settlement of a considerable number of them in Virginia will soon again make that sorely stricken land, bloom and blossom with prosperity and beauty. Our Virginia neighbors will find in them a people who will prove a valuable acquisition to the material prosperity of their State in the development of the producing capacity of its lands.

The State Legislature
(Column 5)
Summary: Lists the newly elected state officials. For the Senate, the district comprising Adams and Franklin counties has selected Calvin M. Duncan, while the voters from Perry and Franklin will be sending F. S. Stumbaugh and George A. Shuman, both members of the "Abolition" party, to the state House of Representatives. The Republicans have a majority of 7 in the Senate and 32 in the House.
(Names in announcement: Calvin M. Duncan, F. S. Stumbaugh, George A. Shuman)
Latest From the Mails!
(Column 6)
Summary: Mississippi's legislature has voted to appoint Provisional Governor Sharkey to the U.S. Senate, to finish the remainder of Jefferson Davis' term. It is additionally reported that the state's assembly is in favor of permitting the testimony of blacks.

-Page 03-

Local and Personal--Removal
(Column 1)
Summary: Several county offices have returned to the Court House since the completion of the renovations on the building.
Local and Personal--Literary
(Column 1)
Summary: Announcement that George O. Seilhamer will present an original production on Oct. 30th, in the new Court House.
Local and Personal
(Column 1)
Summary: On November 10th, the annual meeting of the Franklin County Educational Association will be held in Chambersburg.
Local and Personal--New Restaurant
(Column 2)
Summary: D. B. Little opened a restaurant in the new building on Market St. The tavern will "dispense to the thirsty the finest Ale and Lager, and to the hungry oysters, in every style, fish and all the variety of game in its season."
(Names in announcement: D. B. Little)
Brief Items
(Column 2)
Summary: It is reported that the Freedmen's Bureau at New Orleans has issued a circular informing blacks that they "will have to work for subsistence" and that they should "expect no more concessions."
Brief Items
(Column 2)
Summary: In his inaugural address, Governor Humphreys declared his opposition to secession and his support for "absolute and perpetual freedom" for blacks, but he also expressed his outright opposition to plans designed to place the negro on equal footing with whites.
Miscegenation Illustrated
(Column 2)
Summary: Contains an extract from a new "Book of Travel," written by an American Physician, that categorizes the different results of interracial unions.
Full Text of Article:


The aboriginal race was the Indian; and subsequently there came into the county the Spaniard, the negro, and recently the Chinaman; to enable on to come to tolerably correct conclusions as to results, when it is added that the proposal of North American miscegenation has in South America been practically applied. To wit:

White and negro, the mulatto.

White and Chinese, the chino-blando.

Indian and Chinese, the chino-cholo.

Negro and Chinese, the zambo-chinio.

Indian and negro, the chino.

White and mestiza, the creole--so called here, but altogether different from the creole of the Southern States of North America.

Indian and mulatto, the chino-oscuro.

Indian and mestiza, the mestizo-claro.

Negro and mulatto, the zambro-negro.

Negro and Mestiza, the mulatto-oscuro.

With these data, and knowing that the created distinctions of the primary races have been shamelessly disregard by the man, and that the baser passions have subverted reasons, sentiment and sympathy, tho many modifications of admixture and relative proportions of blood may be surmised which characterize a population presenting a greater variety of tints, of physical and mental endowments, that can be found probably elsewhere in the world.--

Extracts from anew Book of Travel, by an American Physician.

(Column 3)
Summary: Elizabeth Stephey, wife of George Stephey and daughter of Daniel Mickley, died on Oct. 14th, near Waynesboro. Mrs. Stephey was 34 years old.
(Names in announcement: Elizabeth Stephey, George Stephey, Daniel Mickley)

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