Thursday, June 18, 2015

Virgil Davis's history

A trip down memory lane in quest of Fairfield anecdotes would not be complete without some of what the late Virgil Davis compiled.

Davis, who was born in Bath and taught school for many years in Brookville, was somewhat of an icon during the late 1950s and compiled his own snippets for a book he prepared for the Brookville Sesquicentennial in 1958. He's also a contributor in a lot of other historical documents.

A lot of what I found about Fairfield is a compilation of facts and stories that are documented in other places. It's a fancy way of saying that once a story gets told, play hell-or-high-water getting it modified.

If it's true, all the better.

Davis was all over the place with his yarns but he spent some time discussing the politics of the years prior to the Civil War:

"Abolition and the slavery question would become a political issue of great importance in the later 1850s and the opposition to the Democrats in state and county would crystallize in the formation of the Republican Party."

Davis reveals some rather interesting political activity during the years prior to the war, referring to a "Colonization Society" that formed in Springfield Township. The society's local aims are not revealed but it apparently had negligible influence. In general, the group advocated returning freed slaves to their African roots.

The report turns dicey.

"Even after G. V. Edrington, the popular colored barber, was arrested on September 21st, 1840, as a fugitive slave from Kentucky and lodged in jail, C.F. Clarkson in the Indiana American asserted that 'we have not, we believe, an abolitionist in the place, and we are proud of it.' "

Clarkson was the editor of the Brookville paper who had been so terribly upset in later years with Gov. James Whitcomb over blunders surrounding the Mexican War. BLOG ITEM HERE 

As it turned out, Edrington possessed his "free papers" and eventually regained his freedom if not his dignity.

Clarkson evidently shifted gears after his political point of view became less popular. Later on, he professed to be against slavery.



No comments:

Post a Comment