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Henry County secessionists

Union or Secession
  • Henry County secessionists are "down in the mouth"
  • Henry County secessionists are "down in the mouth"
  • Henry County secessionists are "down in the mouth"
Peyton B. Gravely wrote on February 19, 1861, about the waning of secession sentiment in Henry County.
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Henry County secessionists are "down in the mouth"

Peyton B. Gravely to Christopher Yancy Thomas, February 19, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.

In a letter to Christopher Yancy Thomas, a member of the Senate of Virginia, Peyton B. Gravely sent news of family and friends and of weather and planting as well as his comments on politics to the brother-in-law of his uncle Peyton Gravely. Gravely commended the election of John Janney, of Loudoun County, over Valentine Southall, of Albemarle County, as president of the Virginia Convention. Gravely also reported, "What few Secessionists that are left look very much 'down in the mouth.'" He sent greetings to William Leftwich Goggin, a member of the convention from Bedford County. Gravely was impressed by what he had learned about the members of the convention. "I think they are men not to be influenced much by fanatics & wreckless politicians," he wrote. The writer's uncle, Peyton Gravely, represented Henry County in the convention and opposed secession.

Peyton B. Gravely to Christopher Yancy Thomas, February 19, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.

Leatherwood Va Feb 19th/61
My Dear Uncle
As I suppous you are dear anxious to hear from home about now. I have concluded to drop a few lines. Aunt Matilda requests me to write for her as she has a very sore finger & which prevents her from writing by this mail.
She & Miss Addie are getting on very well house keeping, & are happy to say that all are quite well. The weather has been very cloudy & disagreeable with some rain since you left, Though the the people in the neighborhood are ploughing some at this time.
Mr. Urquhart says he is getting on very well with his plantation business, burning plant beds, ploughing & &c, and hopes to have the farm all right by the time you return.
We regret to inform you that Jabez B Gravely son of Capt John, lost his wife a short time ago She died very suddenly, but we did not assertain the nature of the disease we have heard of no other deaths or sickness I beg pardon! There has been one other, & that was Mr Bently Jones, who died a few days ago. I think he was confined to his bed & very ill about the time you left.
We have not been able as yet to hear from any of the proceedings of the convention except the 1st & 2d days. We think you have made an excellent selection for President though Mr Southall would have suited admirably for that office. What few Secessionists that are left look very much "down in the mouth." They seemed to have disappeared like catterpi Catterpillars in autumn, & I understand there was scarcely one to be found at last Henry Court. I understand Mr Hughes Dillard says he was a "Union man all the time but for his life he couldnt get the "drotted Franklin people," as he calls them, to understand him. It is quite natural for a man to talk so after finding Secessionism so badly defeated.
You will present my highest regards to Mr Wm L Goggin, as he is a very particular friend of mine. I am very glad to find that he is a member of the convention
I understand Capt Witcher is down amongst you all for the purpose of trying to influence some of the members toward secession. But I think that body is composed of too good material to be carried much off the track by him. I think they are men not to be influenced much by fanatics & wreckless politicians, but enough.
Aunt Matilda looked with eager expectation for a letter by yesterdays mail, but excuses by saying she thinks you are so much interested in the affairs of the convention to write at present. She says if you all do not adjourn before the 1st March, that she will come down about then. She sends her love & says write soon, Miss Addie also sends her compliments to you, all are well in the neighborhood.
your aff Nephew
P B GRAVELY