This letter was written by Henry Talbird (Minister, College President, & Confederate Colonel). See biography on footnotes.
[Addressed to Mr. George W. Anderson, Hamilton, Madison Co., New York]
December 26th 1841
I am now just entering the Savannah River with the prospect of arriving at the city before night. Our passage from N. York has been accomplished in four days which is a remarkably short trip. I was just a little seasick during the whole passage. But when the sight of my native island burst upon me, I forgot all in the pleasure of the home feeling. The beautiful lines of [Sir Walter] Scot[t] in the lay of the last minstrel occurred to my mind –
“Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
That never to his native land has said
This is my own, my native land.”
You see, dear fellow, that I have given you almost my first moments of deliverance from the tumbling & rolling effects of old Neptune’s domain. Peace be with his watery majesty. May he be as propitious to me when I next consign myself to his safe-keeping.
I left your lamps with Mr. Butler, 106 Brown St. But I fear you will not get them this winter. I hope they may please the Society. It was the best I could do, and the five dollars which I added, was all I contributed to the Society at present. I will try and do more by and by. Give my respects to all the fellows, and bid them God speed in every good word & work.
I left my clock at Deacon Olmstead. Will you call there and get it. You are wellcome to the use of it until Perkins returns; or until he give you some direction concerning it for the clock is in truth his. There’s one thing, advisory, I wish you to do for me and which is a matter of extreme delicacy. It is to visit the Deacon’s occasionally and let me know the state of things there. Do not misunderstand me. I do not wish you to act as a spy upon the conduct of anyone. What I wish is a report of the health, looks, &c. of my girl. And I will let you into a secret. The Deacon is a man of unfortunate plural temperament – so much so that none but the most amiable disposition can live with him. Now he does not like a certain lady there and something unpleasant may occur, of which she would not inform me. What I wish you to do is to furnish information upon the above points. I trust that by these requests, I have not placed you in the position of a spy. Nothing has been further from my intention, nor indeed do I believe it would be necessary. If I were likely to be wronged, none would be more ready to inform me than yourself. But the truth is, I am so confident in the affection in my girl I would defy the world to take them from me.
When you write, direct to Tuscaloosa. I shall be there in about three weeks. Be sure to write. I should perhaps say that the grounds of the above requests is this. If Miss H. leave the Deacon’s, she will need pecuniary aid and would not be likely to receive it from anyone so readily as from myself.
With many assurances of friendship and esteem, I am, Dear A., yours in the gospel, — H. Talbird
Henry Talbird was born November 7, 1811, on Hilton Head Island, Beaufort, South Carolina. His family were among the earliest settlers and most prominent citizens of the state. His grandfather was a commissioned officer in the war of the revolution. He was educated at Madison University, New York, taking a full collegiate and theological course. While yet a student he was called to the pastorate of the Baptist church, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he remained one year and was there ordained to the work of the ministry. He then removed to the city of Montgomery in the same state, where he remained nine years. In both of these pastorates his ministrations were greatly blessed, resulting in the conversion and baptism of an average of over 100 persons per annum. While at Montgomery he was called to the professorship of theology in Howard College, Marion, Alabama, and he removed to that place in January, 1852. In October of the same year his friend, S. S. Sherman, LL. D., resigned the presidency of the college, and Dr. Talbird, at his suggestion, was elected in his place. The college prospered under his administration. It greatly increased in the number of its students; and in less than six years the endowment fund had grown from $45,000 to $225,000, besides $79,000 of buildings and apparatus. In 1854 the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by the University of Alabama.The college was virtually broken up by the war between the states. At one time throe out of eight professors and sixty-two of the students volunteered into the Confederate army. ‘Dr. Talbird being a southerner by birth and education, embraced the cause of the South, and in 1861 entered the Confederate army with the rank of captain. In less than a year he was promoted to the rank of colonel, and organized the 41st Alabama Regiment. While in the army he was engaged in a number of battles, and enjoyed the confidence of his superior officers and the love and admiration of those under him. After two years of service with his regiment, his health having completely failed, ho resigned his commission. At the close of the war he declined the proposition of the trustees to reopen the college, his state of health forbidding it; and accepted the call of the church at Carlowville, a pleasant and highly educated community in Dallas County, Alabama. Here in a little over two years he baptized more than 250 persons, white and colored, into the fellowship of the church. His health continuing delicate, and thinking that he might derive benefit from a colder climate, he left a people whom he loved, and who almost worshiped him, and accepted a call to Henderson, Kentucky. Here again his ministry was a success. He won the confidence of his people, and in his two years and a half pastorate the church had over 100 accessions by baptism. In 1872 Dr. Talbird was invited to assume the pastoral office in the First Baptist Church in Lexington, Missouri. Ten years have elapsed since he took charge of the church. He has baptized an average of over twenty persons per annum into its fellowship and he retains the respect and affection of his people. During the entire period of his ministry he has baptized about two thousand persons into his churches, and has been instrumental in the conversion of about as many more, who have been baptized by other ministers. For a period of nine years, with an interval of one year, he was president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention.
Anderson, Rev. George W., D.D., was bom in Philadelphia. Pa., May 15,1816. He was baptized March 20, 1836, by Rev. J. J. Woolsey, and received into the fellowship of the Central church, Philadelphia. He graduated from Madison University, N. Y., in 1844. and from Hamilton Theological Seminary in 1846. Received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Lewisburg University. In 1849 he was elected to the chair of the Latin Language and Literature in the university at Lewisburg. In 1854 he was ordained pastor of the Northeast church. Dutchess Co., N. Y. Although he had preached previously, yet up to this time he had refused ordination because he was not engaged in pastoral work. In August, 1858, he became pastor of the Lower Merion church, Montgomery Co., Pa. In 1864 he was made book editor of the American Baptist Publication Society, in which position he still continues to render valuable service to our denominational literature. On the boards of the Publication Society, and of the trustees of the Crozer Theological Seminary, he has also contributed largely to the success of missionary and educational work. He is a clear thinker and a forcible writer. He was married April, 1847, to Miss Maria Frances, daughter of Thomas F. Hill, Esq., of Exeter. England.
- Deacon Jonathan Olmstead died 3 May 1842 in New York City.
Nehemiah M. Perkins, Class of 1844, Madison University
Not sure who the Miss H. is who lived with the Olmstead family in NYC. Henry Talbird married Mary C. Griffin on 14 January 1845 in Perry, Alabama.