Raynors HCA 2019-05
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Absentee bidding for this session ends on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:00 AM EDT.
The live portion of this session begins on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:00 AM EDT
Perhaps, the best narration ever written on the life and times of 1850's Richmond. This highly detailed, sometime comical, letter is, 20pp. legal size folio, written by Edward P. Synco, dated between April 25 through July 29, 1854, to his friend Charles H. Tower. The content in this letter is truly amazing. Anything that an adventurous young man could possible experience is in this letter. Including, but not limited to, the gathering of various militia companies and the drunken rows that resulted; political rallies and their torch light processions; the arrest of an Under Ground Railroad operator/abolitionist; a slave woman's murder of her master's family and her subsequent suicide; death at the dedication of Richmond's first African-American church; the various buildings being constructed retail stores, warehouses, and the Post Office and Customs House; numerous sudden deaths and the funerals that followed; infidelity followed by spousal abuse, July Fourth celebrations including firework displays and balloon ascensions; a detailed account of attending a horse race and, of course, more bloody brawls break out there. All this, and much more, including the one that made me laugh out loud while transcribing it. His account of the man who had the misfortune to encounter the "very large" wife of a Naval deserter and the trashing he suffered as a result. Believe it, or not, the letter, reading, in very small part: "…the Eagle Infantry gave a Ball on Easter…and I having a complimentary ticket was all around of course…I did not dance with a lady during the evening. There was few ladies present…we left John Williams' to take a jaunt up town…when the boys leave the Valley…there is something out. We arrived at the Lafayette Hall in safety…we left for Petersburg Depot to see the Old Street Fire Company from Petersburg…they had just arrived and were in a warehouse…taking in something warm…we went to the door and…the Number One better known as the Liberty…was standing in the door with a large axe…to keep the rabble off. We attempted to pass but he remarked gentlemen you cannot pass here. None but foremen and invited guests are allowed…our captain, remarked "We are the Valley Invincibles and must pass." He remarked that the "Valley Invincibles were always welcome…we went in and I drank some of the best Brandy Punch…I ever tasted…exchanged friendly feelings with the Old Street Boys…from there we went to the Rail Road House where we drank again and then left for the Valley…I went home to get all right for the Ball…enjoyed myself as well as I ever did…until the Ball was over and then we had a fight down stairs in the Barroom between Lieut. Fry of the Young Guards, Lawyer Hughes in which…Hughes came off second best. When Fry was done with him his head reminded me of a knotty pumpkin…[Richmond, Friday, May 2nd]…the eagle Infantry had their target practice on Monday…they only shot for the Gold Medal which was won by Jim Dixon. Several fired before the target was struck…the first man that hit it was old Wash Tyler. Bill Dixon was out and makes quite a fine looking soldier…the Company gave treat and being a contributing member…I was all around them. Bill Tyler…drank enough to kill any one man. His conduct…was disgusting in the extreme. The German Company turned out…in new uniform and looks splendid. There are the best drilled company in the city…the Young Guards were going to New York in July…Ferguson was not liked much because he was an aristocrat. God knows, I have never seen the Virginian yet, that is not one, or wished to make people think so…the only thing like a speech that was made was Peter Ralston's…got upon the stand and made the…eloquent speech: "Gentlemen…my friend Joseph C. Carrington, is a candidate for the City Council…he is bound to run in. You cant put him out. I am, myself, a candidate for the poor house!" Some gentlemen in the crowd remarked: "that he (Bethell) was a candidate for the penitentiary."…Liscomb was called for every five minutes…then John Stith would mown t the table and cry out at the top of his voice: "Gentlemen, Mr. Ferguson is so many votes behind, all you that are in favor of his election walk over …and take something to drink at your own expense."…the "Sovereigns" turned out with a band of music and every rag uniform from Rockets to Oregon Hill had a torchlight, sky rockets and Blue Lights and pop crackers were fired in every quarter. Martin was in front in a carriage with three more of the same stripe, transparencies with mottoes "the people shall rule." Martin is the people's candidate…they marched through the principle streets to the United States Hotel…thus ends the first and of the most disgraceful farce ever performed in our city…Richmond is improving very fast. Large buildings are going up at every corner. They are pulling down the square on Main Street, opposite the Banks to erect the new Custom House and Post Office. The new locks are almost completed and the dock and basin will be connected by the first of June…Horace P. Hunt is now completing a large iron building on Main Street to be used by him as a clothing store. He employs two hundred and fifty female hands and any quantity of male hands. The building is five stories above ground…Hascall Brothers are building a wheat mill seven stories above ground…two of our largest retail groceries has lately failed. One for seventy five thousand…dollars…we have had any number of murders, suicides and robberies. A negro woman poisoned a whole family by putting arsenic in the coffee…when accused of it she drank so much of the coffee to show…she did not do it she died the next day…thus the gallows was cheated out of its due…[Friday, May 5th]…I attended the races at Broad Rock…there were any quantity of drunk people there and a great many fights as usual…one man had his eye knocked out, another lost several teeth…[May 15th]…Washpon Ashby, a man who worked in Talbots Foundry, has been arrested for being connected with the underground railroad. He has been furnishing negroes with papers, enabling them to pass through to the Northern States. He is booked for a residence with Col. Morgan. I wish to God the Abolitionists had them all…I young fellow, named Poe, working in the same Foundry lost his arm few days since…Bob Kirby left his wife…went as far as Cincinnati but he did not forget to take a young lady along with him…they are living together as husband and wife. Mrs. Kirby to see him the other day and I suppose her tongue went at such a rate that he thought it was advisable to put a stop to it so he merely keeled her over, blackening her eyes in the most elegant manner…[May 21]…I attended the Mayor's Court…to hear the evidence in the Kirby case…it was the most disgusting affair…the lawyers on both sides settled the difficulty for them. Kirby himself is not to live with no woman and she is not to live with no man and thus the matter stands. There was a dreadful accident which occurred at the coal pits about twelve miles from Richmond…there was upwards of twenty persons in the pits at the time of the explosion. Twelve of those killed were men of families…mothers call for their children, children calling for their fathers…there were those who were mourning as those without hope. Dr. Caulfield was drowned…he was a wild young buck…very intemperate…he had a fit in the boat and fell out. He never rose again alive…an obituary…found he possessed every virtue that a man could possess. I have always thought it very strange that a man's virtues is never found out until he is dead…Thursday night three fine brick buildings were destroyed…Montell, a butcher at the New Market…has left Richmond in something of a hurry. He has been in the habit…of killing peoples cows and selling them…[June 27]…there are a great many deaths every day…Young Templeton is gone too. He was a noble young fellow. He died very sudden. Was a member of the Phoenix No. 3 fire company…he was a very active member. This gallant band of firemen claimed the privilege of directing the obsequies having draped and festooned their engine with white and black crape, flowers. They created a substantial platform between the breaks and used it as a vehicle to convey the coffin from the residence of his father on Marshall street to the Gothic Church and from there to Hollywood Cemetery…besides the members of No. 3. I observed delegates from all the fire companies in the city…on Saturday while lying in his bed, insensible to everything around him. The fire bells commenced ringing, and as his comrades dashed down the street…he started and a smile passed over his features…he sprang to sitting posture and listened with intense interest…and then fell back dead. Thus died a noble young man in the nineteenth year of his age….[July 14]…Rev. Jno. Moore delivered the oration at the African Church. Mike Cain, a member of the Irish Company, drank a large quantity of ice water before going to the church, was taken without the cramps and while attempting to get to the door fell…he was picked up and carried home and died…the citizens gave the Volunteers a dinner on the Fourth at the State Fair Grounds and the Young Guard…got into a fight. Col. August while attempting to quell the disturbance was run through the hand with a bayonet…there was a large crowd in attendance at the Armory…to witness the fire works. The Eagle Infantry had an excursion…it was a failure. There was a balloon ascension at Stark Cottage…there was a very large crowd to see the man go up…[July 29]…last Saturday a deserter from the U. S. Navy was arrested and brought before the major. While the examination was taking place the man got out of the Court House and gave the leg bail. He had been living in Butchtown…he made for home…Thomas Mayers volunteered…to arrest the man. He caught him at home and caught a tartar. The man knocked…Mayers down and give him what Paddy gave the drum. The deserter, seeing a police officer coming hand Mr. Thomas Mayers over to the tender mercies of his wife. She being a very large woman held Mr. Mayers down and at the same time went to work on his head in the most approved style. She scalped him completely and tore all the clothes off his back. He shouted help and murder so load that some persons about a half a mile off thought he was calling fire. They spread the alarm and in a few minutes the bells commenced ringing and all the engines were out. It was thought at first that Mr. Thomas Mayers was injured inwardly, but the fears proved groundless and…was spared…to receive a damn good flogging by some of the Butchertown party before long. The night watch are getting too big for their pantaloons, but the Know Nothings will put them all to rights before long. We had a very large fire here on Thursday night. The insurance on the property destroyed was thirty thousand dollars…Edward P. Lynco." It should be noted that the letter has not been completely transcribed due to space concerns guaranteeing that the winning bidder will find much more interesting content. Also, both Synco and Tower service in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Expected condition issues, else VG
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Great 1850's Look At Life In Richmond Including Arrest of Under Ground Railroad Operator.

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