folder 24: Autobiography of Charles A. Hentz, Part I





of the latter part of her life at her orange grove at Mandarin on the St. John's River-; is now, I think a resident of Hartford Conn-; paralyzed in mind & body -- awaiting her summons from this world.

Mother was a much admired member of the circle in which she moved-; and in consequence of this, father's unfortunate temperament was the cause of many an unhappy scene between them. A fearful culmination took place in this direction in the summer of 1834. A gentleman who was a prominent member of this literary circle, by the name of Col. King (I believe) carried his admiration of mother too far; he addressed a note to her, the contents of which I never knew; but it was one that should not have been written, and which mother should not have received. Instead of returning it with no answer, she was preparing, I think, to return it with a written reply, reproving him for his conduct. She seems to have lacked firmness in the course she pursued; and was rendered incapable of acting in the way she should have done, on account of her dread of the effect a disclosure of the matter would have upon father. He suspected something wrong, and laid a trap for mother-; he took his gun, and pretended that he was going hunting across the River-; he returned after a short absence, and stealthily entered his room-; where she was bending over her desk, writing to this gentleman-; preparing to return his unfortunate note. Father seized upon this in a paroxysm of passion-; sent for Col.

Last edit almost 4 years ago by Jannyp


K. and a most turbulent, dreadful scene ensued. Mother fortunately found means to send for Dr Drake instantly-; the good doctor came immediately, whilst father was upbraiding poor mother, and attacking Col. K.; he slapped him in the face, and I suppose behaved like a maniac & Col. K. did not resent the blow, nor the volley of abuse -- most fortunately indeed for our family, in this dreadful emergency the kindly influence of dear Dr. Drake prevented the rupture that seemed so imminent. I do not know anything of the manner in which it was accomplished-; but I think that the school was immediately closed-; father wound up all of his business then at once, and we left Cincinnati, never to return.

During our residence in Cincinnati, the asiatic cholera visited the city as a fearful epidemic-; in the summer of 1832 it was at its worst-; & again in 1833-; hundreds of people died daily-; the disease prevailed in its most dreadful form. Our family was blest-; none of us were sick, during the prevalence of the disease.

We left Cincinnati in the latter part of June 1834; on the Steamer Black Hawk. I remember the same-; descended the Ohio River to the mouth of the Tennessee, which we ascended to the Village of Waterloo-, the summer head of navigation on that river - on our way to Florence, Ala. at the then heed of winter navigation-; at the foot of Muscle Shoals.

I have a remembrance of a sad scene between mother and father on this journey-; she weeping-, & the subject

Last edit almost 4 years ago by Jannyp


of a separation being talked about-; young as I was (7 years) it affected me profoundly -- I also remember when our steamer was tied at the Louisville wharf one Sunday afternoon seeing the boys & young men swimming in the River, leaping from the upper decks of the steamers into the water below.

We spent one night in Waterloo, and drove over to Florence next day in a hack-; a drive of 20 miles. As we were getting our seats in the hack, a Windsor chair was used as a step-; and as we drove off, it was forgotten and the wheels of the vehicle crushed it-; this day of our entry into Florence was the 4th of July. We put up at the Old Eagle Hotel whilst father was making preparations for buying a place -- and settling there for our home.

He soon bought a place on the northern outskirts of town, with a neat brick dwelling on it, beautifully whitewashed, with a parapet on one of the gable ends, and a beautiful grove of locust trees in the front yard. Mother christened it Locust Dell -- a name which it bears yet -- to this day -- Father immediately went to improving and enlarging it; he put up a long L; two stories high, running back from the left end of the building; the lower story being used as a large school room, and the upper consisting of dormitories for the pupils -- a square chimney ran up through the centre of the school room, & afforded fire places for the dormitories above also. He also built a small, square brick

Last edit over 3 years ago by Jannyp


building -- about 20 ft square -- in the yard to the north of the house-, in which pianos were kept & music taught-; this had a parapet facing the road. At the farther end of the long school room father had a room added, for the purpose of holding his library, tools, scientific apparatus; painting apparatus &c &c an apartment sacred to his use alone-; his santum sanctorum-; called his Little Room-; the main door to it opened from the long school room.

The front part of the house was a story & a half high-; a basement room below, with half square windows near to the ground -- our dining room was in this basement-, at the northern end -- a pantry next -- & one of the school rooms occupied the southern end -- with a little flight of steps running up into the large long school room; the family sleeping room was over this -- and the parlor over the dining room -- a hall ran between the parlor & the family bed room; with a stoop at the front door, with steps running down in the front yard-; & a stoop behind with steps running down in the back yard, & a flight running up into the girl's dormitory.

The main entrance to the long school room was about its middle opening in the backyard -- a large beautiful multiflora rose vine covered all the back side of the house, clambering all around the windows-; a lovely ornament-; the kitchen & servants rooms were across the backyard-; the kitchen with old fashioned large fireplace -- (no cook stoves known in those days) -- and the servant's room in the other end of a

Last edit almost 4 years ago by Jannyp


large double pen one story house, with a passage way between.

The garden was a large one, situated on the front street, to the north of the house-; north of the locust grove-; laid out in squares, with ornamental flowers & shrubs around the vegetable beds -- splendid lilac bushes-; bouncing Betties-; dahlias -- peonies, tulips -- hollyhocks -- hyacinths -blue bells -- jonquils -- smoke plants -- nasturtiums -- &c &c. some splendid peach trees, & plenty of plum trees; damson's -; a fine cherry tree stands about the middle of the garden, with a strawberry bed around it-; a plum arbor stood in the N.W. end of the garden, with benches -- the delicious fragrance of plum blossoms always brings back to my memory of that dear old garden.

To the south of the dwelling -- towards town, was a fine large grove of white mulberry trees, planted by father in regular squares-; sloping down to a brick yard pond-; a Mr John Sample had a large brick yard there, generally in active operation-; I used to listen well pleased, to the songs in chorus of the negro hands, as they kept up the fires in the kilns all night long -- "Old Virginny never tire" -- "as I walked out by the light of the moon" -- &c &c -- On the pond I used to sail little vessels of my manufacture, with Sister Julia's little dolls in them-; and catch large bull frogs around the edges of the pond, with pin hooks baited with large horse flies -- Back of the house -- & garden, was a three acre peach orchard-; the trees set out in rows-; & every variety

Last edit almost 4 years ago by Jannyp
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