Monday, June 26, 2006

CHAPTER VIII

Benjamin Fisher Wilson, was born December 25, 1824, in Madison county, Ala. He received his early education in Alabama, his boyhood in Tennessee, and his finishing years in St. Thomas Hall, Holly Springs, Miss., an Episcopal institution of learning of high character. He commenced life teaching school, and taught for several years in North Mississippi. In January, 1851, my family "Record" tells me he was married to Miss Elizabeth Vermonta Snow. This beautiful and accomplished young lady was an orphan, and had come with my uncle's family from Dinwiddie county, Va., where she was born and educated, to North Mississippi. My uncle was her guardian, and loved her as dearly as he did his own daughter. Soon an affection sprang up between the young people, that could not be mistaken, and the parents on both sides began to throw cold water on the young flames, because of the nearness of kin, nothing more. But they soon discovered that their efforts were unavailing, and that the young folks were going to marry, "nolens, volens," and they decided to let them marry at home, in the old orthodox way, and make the "most of it."

Soon after the wedding, the young couple announced that they were going to the "Lone Star State." This announcement astonished both families, and caused my father and mother to sorrow. It was the first of the family to break away from home, and go far away--for Texas seemed a long way off in those days. No railroad west of the Mississippi, and a long journey by land, or voyage by water had to be made. They were told that they were going to a country infested with cut-throats and ruffians. Nothing would deter the young couple or induce them to change their plans. So they took boat at Memphis, Tenn., for New Orleans, thence by ship to Galveston, thence to Washington on the Brazos River, where they landed and commenced life.

It was a long time before the first letter came, telling of their safe arrival, and first impressions of the new country. Washington was the head of navigation on the Brazos, and a flourishing town of a thousand inhabitants, with bright prospects for the future. The second letter brought still better news, that the wanderers were in good health, well pleased with the country and people, and my brother had secured the town school, that would pay him a fine salary.

Prosperity smiled upon them for more than a ear, when, alas ! a letter came draped in mourning, announcing the death of the beautiful young mother, and that a little boy was left to the care of the sorrowing father.

Oh ! how our hearts bled for our brother. The thought of his being so far from home, and among strangers nearly prostrated our mother. But he found friends, sympathising friends, to comfort and assist him. For we always find friends in this world if we "show ourselves friendly," and deserve them.

On the 18th of March, 1854, my brother was married to Mrs. Mary E. Lusk, of Washington, Texas. The fruits of this marriage were three or four daughters. About this time my brother gave up teaching and began the drug business, in which built up a flourishing trade. His son, Rollin, a bright boy, his father's companion, was almost raised to the drug business, inheriting that peculiar family trait, love of medicine, soon developed into a practical druggist and pharmacist. This was a great help to the father, and under their combined efforts, and management their business flourished. Prosperity attended their every effort, and worldly prospects were bright, indeed, but a crushing blow befel the family. My brother was a sufferer from hemorrhoids, and a traveling "quack" came along professing to cure the trouble, by a slight surgical operation, without pain. He produced so many testimonials of his success, and evidence of the painlessness of the operation, that my brother consented to the operation. The "quack's" plan was to administer a dose of hydrate chloral, a new drug, which was just coming into use, which he claimed, would produce local anesthesia, and while in this condition he would operate without pain. The chloral was prepared, and swallowed, but in less time than is required to write it down, my brother was dead!! Imagination fails to picture the scene in that household! The shock was so great, they could not realize that death was before them, that a foul murder had been committed. But the guilty "quack" knew, and taking advantage of this period of shock, he vanished from Washington. It was well he acted promptly, for the officers of the law were son upon his track, an incensed mob following them. But the murderer escaped.

This was sad blow to all of us, but especially to Rollin. My brother's wife, and children--all girls--were no doubt greatly grieved, but it was different with Rollin. To him, my brother had been both father and mother, and all the years of his boyhood he had been his father's companion and pupil. My brother died intestate, and strange to tell, the laws of Texas gave all of the estate to his widow. She employed Rollin to close up and dispose of the drugs and store, which he did successfully, proving him to be a business man of ability and tact, though less than twenty years of age. His task accomplished, duty done, he turned his back upon Texas, and came back to his "kith and kin" in Mississippi, who were rejoiced to see him, and welcomed him to their hearts and homes.

Rollin soon engaged in business, and several years labor in Mississippi secured a position in Memphis, Tenn. Soon he was married to a most excellent and lovely woman, and they bought a home in the suburbs of Memphis, where they now reside. I had the pleasure of visiting this family two years ago, and I found a lovely Christian household. I found an alter erected, and it was not inscribed to the "Unknown God," for all were members of the Church, and pupils or teachers in the Sabbath-school.

2 Comments:

Blogger Richard Wilcox said...

I came across a deed in the Prince George County Courthouse in Prince George, Virginia yesterday (08/27/2013). It was for the sale of land from Benjamin F. Wilson and his wife "Elizabeth Vermonta formerly Snow" to William W. Snow and his wife Eliza A. W. Snow.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Richard Wilcox said...

There is a marriage record for Benjamin Wilson and Elizabeth Snow for December 30, 1850 in Marshall County, Mississippi.

7:58 AM  

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