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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: December 20, 1865

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-Page 01-

Secretary of the Interior
(Column 6)
Summary: Provides a brief overview of a report issued by the Secretary of the Interior stating that, as of the end of last June, the federal government had sold or appropriated 451,373,840 acres of land during the prior year.
Full Text of Article:

The report of Secretary Harlan, of the Interior Department, opens with an exhibit of the operations of the General Land Office during the fiscal year ending last June. The total amount of public lands sold and appropriated during that period was 451,373,846 acres. The cash receipts of the government from this source, for five quarters ending September 30th, 1865, were $1,038,400 78. Upon the subject of pensions (ante-rebellion), the Secretary says that only two of the old heroes of the Revolution are now living, to whom are paid the $300 a year provided by act of Congress. The names of these survivors are William Hutchings, of Penobscot, Maine, aged 101 years, and Samule Cook, of Clarendon, Orleans county, New York, aged ninety-nine years. With reference to the Indian Bureau, Mr. Harlan states that the whole number of Indians in the States and Territories do not now exceed 350,000. Their barbarism is deprecated, and suggestions made for aiding in their colonization. A large business is represented in the Patent Office. The numper of applications for the year ending Sept. 30, 1865, was 11,860, and the number of patents granted was 6,262. The Pacific railroad has been progressing satisfactorily at both ends of the route.

Outrageous Proceedings
(Column 7)
Summary: Assails the "disgraceful behavior" of the Republicans at the opening of Congress which, the article maintains, "was a great outrage upon the rights" of the Democrats.
Origin of Article: Philadelphia Sunday Mercury
Editorial Comment: "The Washington correspondent of the Philadelphia Sunday Mercury, in reference to the opening of Congress, says:"

-Page 02-

Johnson vs. Stevens
(Column 1)
Summary: Contains a lengthy celebration of Johnson's performance and a recap of the obstacles that may impede his efforts to reunite the country.
The Senatorial Contest
(Column 2)
Summary: Criticizes McConaughy for challenging the results of the Senatorial election. The article charges that McConaughy's effort to reverse the result of the contest is based upon fraudulent returns from soldiers stationed in Texas.
(Names in announcement: Calvin Duncan, McConaughy, Robert McGaughy, Stenger, Rowe)
Full Text of Article:

As the time for our Legislature to convene draws nigh, it may not be amiss to say a few words to our readers in relation to the Senatorial contest in this district.

After an election, people generally know who are elected and who defeated, but seems such is not the case in the present instance. The contest is not yet closed though the people gave Mr. Duncan a clear majority of twenty-five votes.

The spirit of partizanship generally runs high and waxes warm as election day approaches, debates are fierce and fiery.--Election day boils with political heat and excitement, but when the polls close and the votes are counted, all parties admit by word and deed that the contest is over--the battle lost or won. And when the returns come in showing this candidate elected, and that one defeated, all acquiesce and say so let it be. It is the expressed will of the majority and is accepted as a fixed fact. The candidates so elected go with the good wishes of all into their respective offices, and the vanquished receive the sympathies of their friends. This generous and magnanimous disposition thus usually manifested is truly commendible, but when an unsuccessful candidate--though defeated by only a small majority--contends for his election against the will of the people so expressed, and by unscrupulous and even fraudulent means, seeks to thwart the will of the people, and foist himself into a position which of right belongs to another, he becomes an object of contempt instead of sympathy. True men of all parties join in denouncing the attempt and say with one voice, "let the will of the majority, as expressed at the ballot-box rule; by its decision we stand and desire no appeal."

But it seems that David McConaughy, the defeated candidate for Senator, is not content with the decision of the ballot, and desires an appeal--an appeal to what? To the court? No! There, as at the ballot-box, he would get justice. Justice is not what he is after. His appeal is to a partisan Committee asking it to do for him what the people refused, give him a seat in the Senate of the State.

The Return Judges of the district met on the day required by the law and after counting all the votes, gave Mr. Duncan a certificate of his election. Mr. McConaughy then became aware that he needed a few more votes and his anxious eyes were immediately turned Texas-ward. The Commissioner sent to that State to procure the ballots of the soldiers there, had failed to bring any return for this district, for the reason that no vote had been cast for any but State officers. Mr. McConaughy at once flies from Gettysburg to Harrisburg, from Harrisburg to Philadelphia and back again to Harrisburg, consulting by the way, the wise men and soothsayers, distinguished individuals and party leaders; but getting no relief for his uneasiness, until some mastermind among his friends, suggested the Texas fraud and the process of "cooking them up" begun. In due time the "Texas returns" came to hand, but like the offspring of sin and shame, were without a father--the courts of justice in their kindly care of the fatherless may supply the deficiency in this respect--and were left to dry nurse in the Prothonotary's office. These "returns" we state emphatically are forged, and can be proved false and fraudulent by the very men whose names ARE APPENDED AS OFFICERS OF, AND VOTERS at the alleged election. Does Mr. McConaughy presume that such returns as these will be taken as genuine and counted, so as to secure him the seat? It is presuming a great deal in him to ask honorable Senators to stamp with their seal of approval such returns.--Men may do many things through partisan spirit, and are often made to strain a point; but to indorse a fraud so base as this, is asking a little two much of men laying any claim to honesty.

We are in the dark as to what furnace those returns were forged in, but are confident that some of the "blowers and strikers" are to be found very near home.

The fraud is so palpable that many of our Republican friends denounce it as such--denounce the fraud and its authors, the forgery and the forgers. It is said that McConaughy persists in that the soldiers in Texas did vote for ; and that "three or four of the boys assured him that they voted for him." He may possibly know more about the boys voting than we do; he certainly does about the "returns."

In the contest of Col. Rowe against Mr. Stenger, Mr. Howe says he believes the returns from Texas a forgery, and if he is confirmed or satisfied in that opinion, he will abandon the contest. It was only in anticipation of a fair vote having been cast in Texas that he filed his petition. The deserter vote, he thinks--in common with every sound lawyer--will be sustained and there is nothing in it on which to base a contest. But it seems that to Mr. McConaughy the deserter vote is a great lever. It is an awful desecration of the ballot-box to have a deserter cast a vote, yet the pure and untainted Texas returns are all right. Terrible to him is the thought that a soldier who fights and deserts, and then fights again and is regularly discharged, should be allowed to vote! Would Mr. McConaughy disfranchise soldiers who did some fighting because they did not do more, and claim the right himself, who did none at all? Would he disfranchise the three hundred thousand deserters from our army? This would be heavy work, but we scarcely think it can be successfully attempted. A defeated shoddy candidate will, like a drowning man, catch at a straw, but the candidate, like a drowning man, will find that a straw will scarcely bear him to port.

From the extraordinary exertions of Mr. McConaughy to get the position one would suppose he had some extraordinary claim to the office. What is his claim?--Is it because the people of the district want him? The vote don't show it. He was "so notoriously unpopular" that his own party would never have nominated him with any other intention than to "shelve" him. They did shelve him; not quite so high up nor so far back as they desired, but still high and far enough back for practical purposes. Does his merits lie in his military achievement? The historians of the late war differ on the subject. While the gallant army of the Potomac were heroically driving Lee's army across the river, the gallant McConaughy armed cap-a-pie, in full uniform captured a Union man, whilst attending wounded Union soldiers, dragged him from his friends and family and incarcerated him in a bastile. Gallant and heroic McConaughy! The deeds of valor performed by General Meade at Gettysburg sank into insignificance when compared with thine. Is it his honesty? Respectfully referred to Robert McGaughy.

Sumner and Stevens Practical Disunionists
(Column 4)
Summary: Showcasing the opinion of the Philadelphia Daily News, a Republican Daily that is dismissive of the Radicals in Congress, the article attempts to convince readers that opposition to Sumner, Stevens, and the rest of the "extremists" is widespread. As an example of the Radicals' militancy, it points out the fact that Sumner alone proposed five "social equality" bills in the first three days of the Senate's current session.
Origin of Article: Philadelphia Daily News
The Commutation Tax
(Column 4)
Summary: Notes that efforts are being made to refund money to those individuals from Franklin's Congressional District who avoided the draft by paying a $300 Commutation Tax.
Temperance Meeting
(Column 5)
Summary: Recounts the proceedings at the Dec. 7th temperance meeting in Mercersburg, which was held to discuss "the great and growing evils of intemperance and its concomitant vices" that are affecting the community. The group passed several resolutions before it adjourned.
(Names in announcement: James O. Carson, M. H. Keyser, Rev. Brown, Rev. McDowell, M. Fallon, O. L. Murry, Rev. Dr. Creigh)
Full Text of Article:

At a large and respectable meeting of the citizens of Mercersburg and its vicinity, held on Thursday evening, December 7th, in the Presbyterian Church, to take into consideration "the great and growing evils of intemperance, and its concomitant vices," with which we are afflicted as a community, the following proceedings were had:

On motion, James O. Carson was appointed Chairman, and M. H. Keyser Secretary, when the meeting was opened by prayer, by the Rev Mr. Brown.

On motion, a committee of three, viz: Doctor McDowell, O. L. Murry, and M. Fallon, were appointed to bring in a report for the action of the meeting, and after retiring for a short time, reported the following resolutions for adoption, viz:

Resolved, That ale houses, as at present licensed and conducted, are a curse to our community, and lead to the destruction of the morals of our youth, and degredation of many families.

Resolved, That a committee of six be appointed to confer with the citizens throughout our county, in order to petition our Legislature to change or amend the law by which ale houses are at present licensed, so as to bring applicants for the same before the Court of Quarter Sessions.

Resolved, That it is the solemn and imperative duty of every good citizen to report any violation of the laws, regulating the sale of intoxicating drinks, such as selling to minors or persons of intemperate habits, or by selling to any on the Sabbath day.

Resolved, That a committee of twenty persons be appointed by the chairman, and their names kept secret, to whom all violations of the above named law shall be reported in order that suits may be brought against all such violators of the law.

Resolved, That a financial committee of three persons be appointed to solicit funds to defray expenses incurred in carrying into execution the foregoing resolutions.

Resolved, That the Repository and VALLEY SPIRIT be requested to publish the proceedings of this meeting.

After a free and full discussion of the above resolutions they were adopted separately, and as whole, unanimously, when the meeting was closed by prayer by the Rev. Dr. Creigh.


M. H. KEYSER, Secretary

Trailer: James Carson, M. H. Keyser
(Column 6)
Summary: Among the various bills introduced in Congress on Dec. 12th was a measure calling on the government to confirm the land titles granted by General Sherman to the former slaves of the Sea Islands. Two days later, a bill was presented requiring the Judiciary Committee to inquire whether any inhabitants of the former Confederate states are entitled to compensation for damages committed by U.S. troops. And on Dec.15th, the House resolved that "no representatives from any of the late Confederate States shall be admitted to a seat until Congress shall declare such State entitled to representation."
Origin of Article: Washington

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Local and Personal--The Normal School
(Column 1)
Summary: Declares that the meeting of the Normal School Board reflects the depth of the town's cultural and learning institutions, which have rebounded remarkably since Chambersburg's near destruction in 1864.
(Names in announcement: F. M. Kimmel, B. S. Schneck, Esq. J. W. Douglas, Jason Hamilton, J. Henninger, A. McElwain, W. H. Hockenberry)
Full Text of Article:

The meeting held at the Court House on Saturday evening last was highly creditable to the spirit of our Borough. Chambersburg, robbed, burnt, and almost crushed out of being, rises majestically from its ruins, determined to more than repair the wanton destruction of its material prosperity and its literary institutions. The flourishing Academy and Female Seminary of our town were not among the least of our losses. We mean not only the buildings but the Schools.--The advantages of a flourishing literary Institution in our vicinity cannot be too highly appreciated. To be able to educate our sons and daughters without sending them to distant points, to miss their pleasant faces in the domestic circle and to be unable to administer to their comfort, when a fevered brow or aching head would make home of all things most desirable, are considerations which the affectionate parent dwells upon with anxiety.

For the information of our citizens in regard to the Educational advantages offered in Normal Schools we append the following section of the Act of Assembly in relation to Normal Schools. We refer the reader to the School Law for full information on this subject.

Section cxxix.--Each School shall have at least Six Professors of liberal education and known ability in their respective departments, namely: One of Orthography, Reading and Elocution; one of Writing, Drawing and Book Keeping; one of Arithmatics; one of Geography and History; one of Grammar and English Literature; and one of Theory and practice of Teaching, together with such Professors of Natural, Mental and Moral Science, Languages and Literature as the condition of the School and the number of Students may require.

We hope the honorable Committee appointed at the meeting, will be encouraged and cheered in their work by an appreciative and liberal reception by our citizens.

(Column 2)
Summary: On Dec. 7th, Thomas T. Sixeas and Margaret Jane Kendall were married by Rev. J. Benson Akers.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. Benson Akers, Thomas T. Sixeas, Margaret Jane Kendall)
(Column 2)
Summary: David Y. Hade and Rebecca Hennabergen were wed on Dec. 11th, by Rev. Jacob Price.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Jacob Price, David Y. Hade, Rebecca Hennabergen)
(Column 2)
Summary: On Dec. 12th, Rev. W. E. Krebs performed the marriage ceremony uniting William H. Potter and Mary Jane Harbough.
(Names in announcement: Rev. W. E. Krebs, William H. Potter, Mary Jane Harbough)
(Column 2)
Summary: David Wall and Mary Rosenberry were married on Dec. 14th, by Rev. S. H. C. Smith.
(Names in announcement: Rev. S. H. C. Smith, David Wall, Mary Rosenberry)
(Column 2)
Summary: On Dec. 14th, Rev. S. H. C. Smith conducted the marriage uniting John N. Paxton and Emma C. Shubert.
(Names in announcement: Rev. S. H. C. Smith, John N. Paxton, Emma C. Shubert)
(Column 2)
Summary: Mary A. Noland and Roger Stuart were married on Dec. 18th, by Rev. S. H. C. Smith.
(Names in announcement: Rev. S. H. C. Smith, Roger W. Stuart, Mary A. Noland)
(Column 2)
Summary: Elizabeth Brubaker, 67, died on Dec. 14th.
(Names in announcement: Elizabeth Brubaker)

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