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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: August 14, 1867

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-Page 01-

Gen. Meem's Property
(Column 7)
Summary: Gives an account of the efforts made by landowners in the Shenandoah Valley to restore their farms to their pre-war level of productivity, which, in light of the "scanty and uncertain" labor supply since the end of the war, is a considerable task.
Origin of Article: Harrisonburg Register
Full Text of Article:

To show what some of our extensive landholders in the Valley are doing to reconstruct the country, notwithstanding the sudden and violent disruption of our system of labor, we would refer to the management of that splendid estate, known as "the Steenbergen property," owned by John G. Meem, Esq., of Lynchburg, Va. This estate now comprises near 5,000 acres, lying in the very heart of the great Valley, on both sides of the road, between the villages of New Market and Mt. Jackson in Shenondoah. Of this magnificent landed possession there are 2,500 acres cleared, 1,125 of which is river and creek bottom, and the balance wood and pasture land. The very large body of level lowland on this farm, (or farms rather, for there are two estates now combined under one control,) is remarkable for its productive capacity. Notwithstanding the property was ravaged during the war, and miles upon miles of its extensive fencing destroyed by the troops who passed through and encamped upon it, yet the hand of the reconstructive power is distinctly visible in every part of the estate. Not less than 120,000 rails have been split, hauled out, and put up, thus securing the crops from the intrusion of stock of all kinds.-With the scanty and uncertain labor at command since the war, the intelligent managers of the farms-Gen. Gilbert S. and Col. John G. Meems jr., brothers-have been able to put out and cut this year, 300 acres of wheat, producing 18 or 20 bushels to the acre; 50 acres of oats; 200 acres of timothy meadow, making 280 or 300 tons of hay, and leaving a portion of seed; whilst there are 300 acres of corn which is very forward, much of it already in tassel, and which will average 50 or 60 bushels to the acre. The estate subsists, in addition, 100 head of grazing cattle, and 1,100-head of sheep, besides a large number of hogs. Mr. Meem takes a just pride in having the very best breeds of animals upoo his estate, and therefore spares on expense in their procurement.-The labor on the farm this year will cost about $6,000. The Woods' and McCormick's Reapers and Mowers were both at work on the farm, both giving the utmost satisfaction.

The foregoing facts and figures show what is being done by some of our intelligent and energetic Shenandoah Valley farmers, who are engaged, in the face of great difficulties, in re-constructing their shattered fortunes. This year's work is not as good as was done before the war, nor as extensive as the work marked out on the programme for the coming year, the Messrs. Meem intending to put out from 550 to 600 acres in wheat this Fall.

Nor is the labor of cultivating their lands the only work being reformed on this estate. A new circular saw-mill is in operation, which is turning out lumber and shingles in great abundance for the improvement of the farms. A new, extensive and beautiful barn, with modern improvements, occupying the site of the barn which was destroyed by fire after the war was over, has gone up on the Mt. Airy portion of the estate, under the direction of Col. Meem, jr., whilst stabling and other buildings have been erected on the Locust Grove farm, under the supervision of Gen. G. S. Meem.-Other improvements are being projected and will be pushed actively forward.

The prospect of the very early re-construction of the Manassas Gap railroad to Mt. Jackson, (no longer now, we believe, a matter of doubt or uncertainty,) is stimulating the spirit of improvement immensely. Heretofore, the ordinary means of transportation have been entirely inadequate to carry off the resources of this celebrated landed estate second to none in the South or in the United States in point of productive capacity. It has not been favored, either, with any sort of system of manuring. In fact, the present year's crops of wheat, oats, grass and corn have had the advantage of no manure whatever, the labor rendered necessary by the ravages of the war making it difficult to do more than get up the ordinary fencing.

A part of this property was purchased by Mr. Meem in 1841, the balance at different periods since the last-the 'Rude's Hill' portion-in November, 1865. Mr. M. was born in Winchester, in the lower Valley, but has resided in Lynchburg for the last 49 or 50 years, where he has carried on business as a merchant and earned a reputation for honor and integrity of which any gentleman might be proud.

The Mt. Airy homestead, the residence of Mr. Steenbergen in the days of his prosperity and extensive cattle and bank operations, is the seat of a refined and princely hospitality which does credit to the tastes of the liberal-minded old Virginia gentleman and his son into whose possessions it has passed.-Harrisburg Register.

Truths For Wives
(Column 8)
Summary: The article expounds on the integral role played by women in maintaining "domestic happiness" and safeguarding their "husbands' respectability and credit."
Full Text of Article:

In domestic happiness, the wife's influence is much greater than her husband's for the one, the first cause-mutual love and confidence-being granted, the whole comfort of the household depends upon trifles more immediately under her jurisdiction. By her management of small sums, her husband's respectability and credit are created or destroyed. No fortune can stand the constant leakages of extravagance and mismanagement-and more is spent in trifles than women would easily believe. The one great expense, whatever it may be, is turned over and carefully reflected on, and the income is prepared to meet it; but it is pennies imperceptibly sliding away which do mischief; and this the wife alone can stop, for it does not come within man's province. There is often an unsuspected trifle to be saved in every household.

It is not in economy alone that the wife's attention is so necessary, but in those niceties which make a well regulated house.-An unfurnished cruet-stand, a missing key, a buttonless shirt, a soiled table-cloth, a mustard-pot with its old, cold contents shaking down about it, are really nothings; but each can raise an angry word and cause discomfort. Depend upon it, there is a great deal of domestic happiness about a well dressed mutton chop, or a tidy breakfast table. Men grow sated of beauty, tired of music, are often too weary for conversation, however intellectual; but they can always appreciate a well kept hearth and smiling comfort.

A woman may love her husband devotedly-may sacrifice fortune, friends, family, country, for him-she may have the genius of a Sappho, the enchanted beauties of an Armida, but-melancholy fact-if with these she fails to make his home comfortable, his heart will inevitably escape her-And women live so entirely in the affections that without love their existence is void.-Better submit, then, to household tasks, however repugnant they may be to your tastes, than doom yourself to a loveless home. Women of a higher order of mind will not run this risk; they know that the feminine, their domestic, are their first duties.

-Page 02-

To The Democratic Electors Of Franklin County
(Column 1)
Summary: F. M. Kimmell, Chairman of the County Committee, informs local Democrats that a meeting is scheduled for August 31st. The purpose of the meeting is to select delegates to meet Sept. 3rd at the Court House in Chambersburg. These delegates, in turn, will select the candidates for the various county offices that will be contested in the fall election.
(Names in announcement: F. M. Kimmell)
Full Text of Article:

You are requested to assemble at your usual places of meeting on Saturday, the 31st day of August, to select delegates to meet at the Court House in Chambersburg, on Tuesday, the 3d day of September, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon, to select candidates for the following offices: Assembly, Associate Judge, County Treasurer, Jury Commissioner, County Commissioner, County Auditor, Director of the Poor. The representation in the several districts as fixed by the County Committee, is as follows:

Antrim, 6; North Ward, 3; South Ward, 4; Concord, 3; Dry Run, 3; Fayetteville, 4; Greenvillage, 3; Guilford, 4; Hamilton, 3; Letterkenny, 4; Lurgan, 3; Orrstown, 3; Peters, 3; Quincy, 5; Southampton, 3; Sulphur Spring, 3; St. Thomas, 4; Washington, 5; Warren, 3; Welsh Run, 3. Total number of Delegates, 81.


Chairman County Committee.

Trailer: F. M. Kimmell
An Infamous Plot
(Column 1)
Summary: Provides a report concerning an alleged Radical conspiracy to connect President Johnson to Lincoln's assassination.
Negro Suffrage In Pennsylvania
(Column 1)
Summary: The editors commend the Harrisburg Telegraph for its honesty in coming "out squarely in favor of negro suffrage," but criticizes the journal for its advocacy of a congressional measure to force states to grant blacks the vote "in open and flagrant violation of the Constitution."
Origin of Article: Harrisburg Telegraph
Editorial Comment: "The Harrisburg Telegraph, the central organ of the Republican party in Pennsylvania, comes out squarely in favor of negro suffrage in this and all the other Northern States, but it has not the honesty or manliness to advocate its submission to a vote of the people of the States to be effected thereby. It evidently fears the people, for it says "it is a question which, if debated, State by State, must arouse all the old and buried prejudices of the vulgar and ignorant." Hence to get around the prejudices of the people whom it designates as "vulgar and ignorant," it calls upon Congress to do it by usurpation that which it fears the people of Pennsylvania and other Northern States would not do, if left free to act for themselves in the matter. It wants Congress to force negro suffrage upon the several States in open and flagrant violation of the Constitution. Hear it:"
Full Text of Article:

Congress, unquestionably, is the proper power for defining the rights of the blackman to the elective franchise in the several States. Congress, in order to promote harmony of action in political contests and do away with the unjust discriminations which are practiced by the States on this subject, should at its next session act upon its unquestionable Constitutional authority by adjusting this vexed question throughout the nation

At the session of Congress last spring, Mr. Sumner introduced a bill in the Senate providing for the adjustment of the franchise question in the several States. There is no doubt whatever that Congress, when it meets next November, will pass at an early day a general act, applying to the whole country, and establishing throughout the nation the right of all American citizens to vote, without any exclusion on account of complexion .

There is no more clearly defined right inhering in the States than that of regulating the elective franchise. And yet the Tele- graph has the supreme audacity to claim that "Congress is the proper power for defining the rights of the black man to the elective franchise in the several States."-Ah! yes, it is the "black man" that is the all and in all with these political charlatans. Nobody ever dreamed that this power was in Congress until it was found necessary to enfranchise the negro in order to perpetuate the power of the Radical party.

Will the Telegraph inform us in what clause of the Constitution it finds the power delegated to Congress "for defining the rights of the black man to the elective franchise?" If the power exists it can easily be pointed out.

Congress has no semblance of such power, but we have no doubt that the power will be assumed by a corrupt and unscrupulous Congress at its next meeting, as predicted and urged by the Telegraph , unless the people speak out in thunder tones against the usurpers, who are striving step by step, to overthrow our constitutional form of government. We warn the people of Pennsylvania that if they would not be slaves to a Radical Rump Congress-if they would have a remnant of liberty for themselves and posterity they must be up and doing. If they would not have negro suffrage and negro equality thrust upon them without their consent, by the illegal mandate of an unconstitutional Congress, they must arouse to action at once. Let the people rally as one man in defence of the sacred guarantees of the Constitution and the reserved rights of the States.

Death Of Ex-Governor Porter
(Column 2)
Summary: Laments the passing of David R. Porter, who, the article asserts, was "a man of superior intellect, sound judgment, iron will, and indomitable energy."
(Names in announcement: David R. Porter)
Origin of Article: Lancaster Intelligencer
Address Of The Democratic State Committee
(Column 3)
Summary: Provides a transcript of the speech given by William A. Wallace, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, on Aug. 7th.
Full Text of Article:

CLEARFIELD, Pa., Aug. 7, 1867.

To the People of Pennsylvania:

The Democratic organization, devoted to the maintenance of its immortal principles; conscious of its duties to them, and to the Republic; proud of its years, its triumphs and its heroism in disaster, and remembering that in the face of persecution, of official frowns, of corrupt appliances and of successive defeats, its numbers have steadily increased; again presents to you its candidate for your suffrages.

The Republican party has controlled the government for six years, and we accuse it before you, because:

In the sacred name of Union, it has perpetrated disunion;

In the room of the blessings of peace, it has given us hate, discord and misery;

It has violated the plainest principles of free government, broken the written Constitution, and only yielded obedience to the behests of party;

The people are denied the attribute of sovereignty; the military subverts the civil power; generals remove governors elected by the people, and a despotism reigns in ten States;

Congress assumes the right to say that negroes shall vote in Pennsylvania, and denies to us the right to regulate our own rule of suffrage;

The negro is, by law, made the equal of the white man in all public places, and authorized to hold office and sit on juries in the Capital;

The destinies of ten States, and of ten millions of people therein, are, by Congress and the military power, placed under the control of four millions of blacks;

Their reckless expenditure of the public money in their conduct of the government in the support and organization of hundreds of thousands of idle negroes, in the employment of hordes of unnecessary spies and officials, and in maintaining military power over the submissive South, endangers and delays the payment of the public debt of twenty-seven hundred millions of dollars-to which the public faith is pledged;

Their gross mismanagement causes taxation to bear heavily upon the people. In 1866, fourteen dollars per head were paid by the people through the customs; in 1866, fourteen dollars per head were drawn, mainly from the consumption and business of the poorer classes, through the customs and internal revenue. In 1866, each individual owed two dollars and six cents of the public debt. In 1867, each owes seventy-nine dollars and fifty cents thereof. In 1860, the expenses of the government were sixty-two millions; in 1867, each owes seventy-nine dollars and fifty cents thereof. In 1860, the expenses of the government were sixty-two millions; in 1867, the Treasury estimates them at two hundred and twenty-five millions, independent of interest on the debt, both being periods of peace. Pennsylvania's share of the public debt is two hundred and seventy-five millions, her own debt thirty-five millions and a half millions, and her city and county indebtedness will swell the total to four hundred millions. Twenty-five millions annually come from your earnings to pay the interest thereon. In 1866, your State government cost you four hundred and two thousand dollars; whilst in 1896, it cost you six hundred and sixty-nine thousand dollars.

The pressure of these exhausting burthens and the suicidal policy of Congress, have caused uncertainty and depression to pervade all branches of trade and manufacture;

Our commerce is suffering, the enterprise of our people is repressed and business interests languish:

The revenues of the government are less than its interest and expenses, and the financial officer foreshadows an increase of the public debt;

They plot the destruction of our form of government, by destroying the independence of the Executive, attempting to subordinate the judiciary and by concentrating all power in the legislative branch;

Robbing the people of sovereign power, they have united it with the government in Congress, and dealt a fatal blow at our liberties, for tyranny may be as absolute in a number of persons as in an individual.

Unblushing corruption stalks through every department of the Government under their control.

For these and kindred wrongs we arraign them, and as the representative of antagonism to each of them, we present to you our candidate for the Supreme Bench;

GEORGE SHEARSWOOD-a Pennsylvania, a man of pure morals, a profound thinker, a sound lawyer and a jurist of national reputation. It has been the rule of his official conduct to yield obedience to written law, and neither party necessity nor corrupting influence can sway him from his duty to fearlessly proclaim it.

His opponent, Henry W. Williams, is a native of New England, and is comparatively unknown to our people. Prior to his nomination he was said to be a worthy gentleman and a able lawyer. He has accepted the nomination upon a platform by which he is pledged "TO PLACE THE SUPREME COURT IN HARMONY WITH THE POLITICAL OPINIONS OF THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE." This destroys his independence and "holds the Judge accountable to a political party for his construction of the law, and inevitably tempts him to sacrifice his integrity: to become the meanest of all creatures-a sworn minister of justice obedient to the dictates of politicians."

The independent and fearless judge protects your life, your liberty and your property. With which of these men will you trust them?


We call upon you to organize in every section of the State. Act for yourselves, promptly and vigorously. Wait no for no man. The government you love is in danger, its great cardinal doctrines are daily attacked, and "treason in peace may prove more deadly than treason in war." Individual exertion is the duty every man [CORRECT duty of every man]. Canvass your schooldistricts. Form Clubs. Circulate your local papers. Teach the people. Counsel with the aged. Encourage the timid. Arouse the sluggish. Stop and go to work. The enemy are vulnerable at every point; attack them for their misdeeds.


By order of the Democratic State Committee.



-Page 03-

Local and Personal--Radical County Convention
(Column 1)
Summary: Announces that the "Radical" County Convention will be held at the Chambersburg Court House on August 20th.
Local and Personal--Laying A Cornerstone
(Column 1)
Summary: The cornerstone for the new Lutheran Church in Orrstown will be laid on August 17th.
Local and Personal--Spurious Nickel Pieces
(Column 1)
Summary: The article argues that counterfeiting is facilitated by the issuance of coins, particularly the five cent nickel piece of which there are many illegal copies in circulation in the South and West.
Local and Personal--New Counterfeit
(Column 1)
Summary: A new counterfeit five dollar note has appeared in circulation. The counterfeit "is a close imitation of the genuine."
Local and Personal--Treasurer's Office
(Column 1)
Summary: Announces that the county commissioners have reduced the County Treasurer's yearly salary to $2,000 per year from the previous rate of $5,000.
Local and Personal--"The Colored Troops Fought Bravely"
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that black Civil War veterans from neighboring towns met "in the woods" near Chambersburg. Several Radical candidates for the Legislature attended the event and spoke on the "political questions of the day."
Local and Personal--Greencastle Items
(Column 2)
Summary: Mary Light, of Greencastle, suffered a painful injury on August 3rd, when she fell from the sidewalk and bruised her face "in a frightful manner."
(Names in announcement: Mary Light)
Origin of Article: Greencastle Pilot
Local and Personal--Greencastle Items
(Column 2)
Summary: During the thunder storm on July 25th, a bolt of lightning struck Jacob Whitmore's house, "seriously injurying" a black child who worked for Whitmore. The lightning also killed a dog.
(Names in announcement: Jacob Whitmore)
Local and Personal--Greencastle Items
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that "Hog Cholera" has struck several farms in Antrim township.
Local and Personal--Highway Robbery
(Column 2)
Summary: On July 29th, Martha Baker, daughter of Samuel Baker, was violently attacked and robbed while on her way home from Shippensburg.
(Names in announcement: Martha Baker, Samuel Baker)
Origin of Article: Shippensburg Sentinel

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