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67_the jail had been laid in ashes
african songs
Image by Jim Surkamp
Hamilton Hatter’s Tense Charles Town, WV 1865-1867 – While the ruins are still smoking

Transcript from Video
youtu.be/YqCZlSMFVCs TRT: 26:58

With generous, community-minded support from American Public University System. (The sentiments in this production do not in any way reflect modern-day policies of APUS). More at apus.edu

1_Mother of thine stone fountains
Mother of thine stone fountains; my heart goes back with the setting sun; my heart, my heart is in the mountains. (piano).

2_The “Most Excellent” Hamilton Hatter
The “Most Excellent” Hamilton Hatter (1856-1942) Part 1 (music)

3_Once enslaved near Charlestown, Virginia
Once enslaved near Charlestown, Virginia, Hamilton Hatter

4_seizes opportunities to learn and overcome
seizes opportunities to learn and overcome. At one college he builds young minds and even its buildings –

5_then launches another college in his beloved West Virginia
then launches another college in his beloved West Virginia again building minds and buildings.

6_Hatter’s descendant Joyceann Gray continues
Hatter’s descendant Joyceann Gray continues: The third event that I’d like to share with you from the Hatter family history is about Hamilton Hatter. Hamilton is the son of Rebecca and Franklin Hatter and he was born in 1856. Hamilton was a very industrious young man and did everything he could in order to make money because his desire was to gain an education He learned to do house framing, make plows – he was very, very handy. (music) But first he had to overcome.

7_But first he had to overcome. Overcoming in Hamilton Hatter’s Charlestown, Va. – 1865 to 1867.
But first he had to overcome. Overcoming in Hamilton Hatter’s Charlestown, Va. – 1865 to 1867.

8_His almost savage answers did not move me
His almost savage answers did not move me; but all the while I looked with compassion at his fine young face, and that pendant idle sleeve. (music)

9_and I can rejoice now in the belief that THE SCHOOL WILL GO ON
"and I can rejoice now in the belief that THE SCHOOL WILL GO ON!” (music)

10_The children were of both sexes, ranging from three to twenty years of age
The children were of both sexes, ranging from three to twenty years of age, neatly and comfortably clad, well fed, healthy, and cheerful,

11_with an uncommon array of agreeable and intelligent countenances peering over the tops of the desks
with an uncommon array of agreeable and intelligent countenances peering over the tops of the desks. (crickets, dog bark)

12_Northern journalist John Trowbridge came to Charlestown in the early summer of 1865
Northern journalist John Trowbridge came to Charlestown in the early summer of 1865, a war-worn town with its ruins and seething and

13_six months before Hatter’s school was opened there.
six months before Hatter’s school was opened there. (train sound) Trowbridge arrived at Charlestown in about May, 1865 expecting nothing in particular.

14_He came by train from Harper’s Ferry
(He came by train from Harper’s Ferry a hub of Federal army activity). (women wail)

15_Old and infirm African-Americans arrived there
Old and infirm African-Americans arrived there along with women with children, some “cut loose” by their onetime owners and they sought medical help, food and shelter. (women wail crickets)

16_Able-bodied freedmen were in demand
Able-bodied freedmen were in demand and they were paid well to get the corn and wheat planted). (train)

17_One morning I took the train up the Valley to Charlestown
One morning I took the train up the Valley to Charlestown, distant from Harper’s Ferry of eight miles. The railroad was still in the hands of the government.

18_There were military guards on the platform
There were military guards on the platforms, and about an equal mixture of Loyalists and Rebels within the cars.

19_Furloughed soldiers, returning to their regiments
Furloughed soldiers, returning to their regiments at Winchester or Staunton, occupied seats with

20_Confederate officers just out of their uniforms
Confederate officers just out of their uniforms. The strong, dark, defiant, self-satisfied face typical of the second-rate “chivalry,” and the good-natured,

21_shrewd, inquisitive physiognomy of the Yankee speculator
shrewd, inquisitive physiognomy of the Yankee speculator going to look at Southern lands,

22_were to be seen side by side, in curious contrast.
were to be seen side by side, in curious contrast. There also rode the well-dressed

23_wealthy planter, who had been to Washington to solicit pardon for his treasonable acts
wealthy planter, who had been to Washington to solicit pardon for his treasonable acts, and

24_the humble freedman returning to the home
the humble freedman returning to the home from which he had been driven by violence.(train)

25_Mothers and daughters of the first families of Virginia
Mothers and daughters of the first families of Virginia sat serene and uncomplaining in the atmosphere of mothers and daughters of late their slaves or their neighbors’, but now citizens like themselves, free to go and come, and as dearly entitled to places in the government train as the proudest dames of the land. We passed through a region of country

26_stamped all over by the devastating heel of war
stamped all over by the devastating heel of war. (raven) For miles

27_not a fence or cultivated field was visible
not a fence or cultivated field was visible.

28_It is just like this all the way up the Shenandoah Valley,
“It is just like this all the way up the Shenandoah Valley,” said a gentleman at my side, a Union man from Winchester.

29_The wealthiest people with us are now the poorest
“The wealthiest people with us are now the poorest." Harper’s Magazine Writer and Illustrator

30_David Hunter Strother, whose wife came from Charlestown, wrote
David Hunter Strother, whose wife came from Charlestown, wrote of just one such landowner who meets in a store a one-time slave of his: (banjo)

31_Not long ago a country gentleman and one of his old slaves met in a store
Not long ago a country gentleman and one of his old slaves met in a store, where they had gone to transact some business and make purchases. They had parted in 1862, but recognized and greeted each other with the cordiality of ancient friendship, instinctively the while taking stock of each others appearance and deportment. The negro was hale, sleek, and well dressed, and in settling up a smart account which stood against him on the merchants books he showed a porte monnaie plethoric with the results of a summers steady work. The master’s heart was warmed at the evident prosperity of his old servant. (banjo)

32_He used to think him drunken, lazy, and tricky
He used to think him drunken, lazy, and tricky, and had prophesied his ruin when left to his own devices. Unlike Jonah and most other prophets of evil, he was not embittered at the non-fulfillment of his predictions, but cordially invited Harry out to see the family and the old place. (banjo). The freedman’s observations had not been so satisfactory. The old master was roughly clad in ex-Confederate gray, faded, stained, threadbare, and frayed at the button-holes; his hair and beard grizzled to suit, and his face haggard and care-worn. His pocketbook resembled a dried North Carolina herring. In making his purchases he was scrutinizing and skimpy, and once

33_obscurely hinted at credit, which the shopkeeper failed to hear
obscurely hinted at credit, which the shopkeeper failed to hear. (banjo) That afternoon

34_Harry walked out to the old place
Harry walked out to the old place, and it saddened his heart to see it. The noble woodland that used to be so jealously preserved, (banjo) and was always teeming with possums and coons, had been hacked and haggled until it had nearly disappeared.

35_36_The barn was gone
The barn was gone, and only some charred and blackened stumps indicated where it once stood. The house was paint-less and dilapidated, the enclosures broken, gates off their hinges, or rudely mended with rails or boards; the shade trees worm-eaten and dying at the top, the lawn and borders hirsute with weeds and suckers. (banjo) But still, as of yore, a

37_a hospitable smoke was pouring out of the kitchen chimney
hospitable smoke was pouring out of the kitchen chimney, and the proprietor was ready with a cheerful and friendly welcome.

38_Harry respectfully dropped his hat
Harry respectfully dropped his hat upon the porch floor, while he nervously fumbled for a package in his coat pocket. "I say, Mister Charles, do you still use tabaccy ?" (The negro now carefully abstains from the master and mistress in his address.)

39_Oh yes, Harry. And that reminds me here’s a pound of tobacco
"Oh yes, Harry. And that reminds me here’s a pound of tobacco and a pipe I got for you in town. "Harry looked confounded, and then, shaking with deferential hilarity,

40_excavated a package of like character from his own pocket.
excavated a package of like character from his own pocket. (banjo) Trowbridge continued:

41_I suggested that farms, under such circumstances, should be for sale at low rates.
I suggested that farms, under such circumstances, should be for sale at low rates. "They should be; but

42_your Southern aristocrat is a monomaniac on the subject of owning land.
your Southern aristocrat is a monomaniac on the subject of owning land. He will part with his acres about as willingly as he will part with his life. But everything is being revolutionized now.

43_Northern men and northern methods are coming into the Valley as sure as water runs down hill
Northern men and northern methods are coming into the Valley as sure as water runs down hill. (train)

44_It is the greatest corn, wheat and grass country in the world
It is the greatest corn, wheat and grass country in the world. The only objection to it is that

45_in spots the limestone crops out a good deal
in spots the limestone crops out a good deal.” (train) At the end of a long hour’s ride,

46_we arrived at Charles Town
47_interest to me as the place of John Brown’s martyrdom
we arrived at Charles Town, chiefly of interest to me as the place of John Brown’s martyrdom. (music)

48_We alighted from the train on the edge of boundless unfenced fields
49_unfenced fields, into whose melancholy solitudes the desolate streets emptied themselves
We alighted from the train on the edge of boundless unfenced fields, into whose melancholy solitudes the desolate streets emptied themselves – rivers to that ocean of weeds. The town resembled to my eye some unprotected female sitting, sorrowful on the wayside,

50_in tattered and faded apparel, with unkempt tresses fallen.jpg
in tattered and faded apparel, with unkempt tresses fallen negligently about features which might once have been attractive. (music)

51_On the steps of a boarding house I found an acquaintance.jpg
52_whose countenance gleamed with pleasure “at sight,” as he said, “of a single loyal face in that nest of secession.jpg
On the steps of a boarding house I found an acquaintance whose countenance gleamed with pleasure “at sight,” as he said, “of a single loyal face in that nest of secession.”

53_He had been two or three days in the place waiting for luggage which had been miscarried.jpg
He had been two or three days in the place waiting for luggage which had been miscarried. While Jefferson County, West Virginia is still small, the sentiment toward secession throughout the County before the Civil War varied widely, with

54_the hotbed of secessionist sentiment in the area around Charlestown
the hotbed of secessionist sentiment in the area around Charlestown and adjacent large farms. (mandolin)

55_They are all Rebels here – all rebels!
“They are all Rebels here – all rebels!” he exclaimed as he took his cane and walked with me. “They are a pitiable poverty-stricken set, there is no money in the place, and scarcely anything to eat.

56_We have for breakfast salt-fish, fried potatoes and treason
We have for breakfast salt-fish, fried potatoes and treason. Fried potatoes, treason, and salt-fish for dinner. At supper, the fare is slightly varied, and we have treason, salt-fish potatoes, and a little more treason.

57_My landlady’ s daughter is Southern fire incarnate.jpg
My landlady’ s daughter is Southern fire incarnate; and she illustrates Southern politeness by abusing Northern people and the government from morning ‘till night, for my especial edification. Sometimes I venture to answer her, when she flies at me, figuratively speaking, like a cat. The women are not the only out-spoken Rebels, although they are the worst.

58_The men don’t hesitate to declare their sentiments
The men don’t hesitate to declare their sentiments, in season and out of season.” (mandolin).
My friend concluded with this figure:

59_The war feeling here is like a burning bush with a wet blanket wrapped around it
“The war feeling here is like a burning bush with a wet blanket wrapped around it. Looked at from the outside, the fire seems quenched. But just peep under the blanket and there it is, all alive and eating, eating in. The wet blanket is the present government policy; and

60_every act of conciliation shown the Rebels
every act of conciliation shown the Rebels is just letting in so much air to feed the fire.” (mandolin)

61_A short walk up into the center of town.jpg
62_John Browns trial andhanging became symbols to soldiers during the Civil War.jpg
A short walk up into the center of the town took us to the scene of John Brown’s trial. (music, gavel, wagon),

63_John Brown’s body lies a mouldering in the grave.jpg
Oh John Brown’s body lies a moulderin’ in the grave, While weep the sons of bondage whom he ventured all to save; But tho he lost his life while struggling for the slave,

64_his soul is marching on.jpg
His soul is marching on. Glory,

65_Glory Glory hallelujah.jpg
66_John Brown Hanged.jpg
glory, hallelujah (humming, drums)(eerie music) It was a consolation to see that

67_the jail had been laid in ashes.jpg
the jail had been laid in ashes, and that the

68_court-house, where the mockery of justice was performed.jpg
69_a ruin abandoned to rats and toads
court-house, where the mockery of justice was performed, was a ruin abandoned to rats and toads. (toads) Four mossy white brick pillars, still standing, supported a riddled roof, through which God’s blue sky and gracious sunshine smiled.(music) The main portion of the building had been literally torn to pieces.

70_In the floorless hall of justice.jpg
In the floorless hall of justice, rank weeds were growing. Names of Union soldiers were scrawled along the wall. No torch had been applied to the wood-work, but the work of destruction had been

71_performed by hilarious soldier boys.jpg
performed by the hands of (laughter) hilarious soldier-boys ripping up floors and pulling down laths and joists to the tune of “John Brown” – the swelling melody of the song and the accompaniment of crashing partitions, reminding the citizens who thought to have destroyed the old hero, that his soul was marching on. (eerie music,Glory, glory hallelujah). As we were taking comfort, reflecting how unexpectedly at last justice had been done at that court-house, (horse whinny,wagon) the townspeople passed on the sidewalk,

72_“daughters and sons of beauty,” for they were mostly a fine-looking, spirited class.jpg
73_a fine-looking, spirited class.jpg
“daughters and sons of beauty,” for they were mostly a fine-looking, spirited class; one of whom, at a question which I put to him, stopped quite willingly and talked with us. I have seldom seen a handsome young face, a steadier eye, or more decided pose and aplomb, neither have I ever seen the outward garment of courtesy so plumply filled out with the spirit of arrogance. His brief replies spoken with a pleasant countenance,

74_yet with short, sharp downward inflections, and were like pistol shots.jpg
yet with short, sharp downward inflections, and were like pistol shots. Very evidently the death of John Brown, and the war that came swooping down the old man’s path to avenge him, and to accomplish the work wherein he failed, were not pleasing subjects to this young southern blood.

75_and no wonder his coat had an empty sleeve.jpg
And no wonder. His coat had an empty sleeve. The arm which should have been there had been lost fighting against his country. His almost savage answers did not move me; but all the while

76_I looked with compassion at his fine young face
I looked with compassion at his fine young face, and that pendant idle sleeve. (music)

77_He had fought against his country; his country had won; and he was of those who had lost
78_all they had been madly fighting for, and more, – prosperity, prestige and power.jpg
He had fought against his country; his country had won; and he was of those who had lost, not arms and legs only, but all they had been madly fighting for, and more, – prosperity, prestige and power.

79_His beautiful South had been devastated.jpg
80_her soul drenched with the best blood
His beautiful South was devastated, and her soil drenched with the best blood of her young men. Whether regarded as a crime or a virtue, (mandolin) the folly of making war upon the mighty North was now demonstrated, and

81_the despised Yankees had proved conquerors of the chivalry of the South.jpg
82_May well your thoughts be bitter
the despised Yankees had proved conquerors of the chivalry of the South. “Well may your thoughts be bitter,” my heart said, as I thanked him for his information. (mandolin) To my surprise he seemed mollified, his answers losing their explosive quality and sharp downward inflection. He even seemed inclined to continue the conversation and as we passed we left him on the sidewalk looking after us wistfully, as if the spirit working within him had still no word to say different from any he had yet spoken. What his secret thoughts were, standing there with his dangling sleeve, it would be interesting to know. (mandolin)

83_Walking through the town we came to.jpg
84_Here we engaged a bright young colored girl.jpg
Walking through town we came to other barren and open fields on the further side. Here we engaged a bright young colored girl to guide us to the spot where John Brown’s gallows stood. (music) She led us into the wilderness of weeds waist-high to her as she tramped on, parting them before her with her hands. The country all around us lay utterly desolate without enclosures, and without cultivation. We seemed to be striking out into the rolling prairies of the West, except that these fields of ripening and fading weeds had not the summer freshness of the prairie-grass. A few scattering groves skirted them; and here and there a fenceless road drew its winding, dusty line away over the arid hills.

85_“This is about where it was,” said the girl
“This is about where it was,” said the girl, after searching some time among the tall weeds. (music)

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