By Rose S. Quillin


By Rose S. Quillin

     A tract of land, located in Scott Co., VA, four miles west of Clinchport, and approximately twenty miles from Gate City, the county seat, has remained in the same family since the Revolution. This land lay along a mere trail, the first across the Appalachian Barrier. The tract of land originally more than one thousand acres, belonged to the Pridemore family (early spelling Prigmore) and was later known as Purchase, VA.

     Here lived Samuel Pridemore (born in 1784) with his wife Elender (born in 1789). This couple reared a son, Daniel Pridemore (born in 1810).

     Daniel married Mary Ann Ingram (born 1810). She was the daughter of Isaac Ingram and Sallie Speers Ingram. They reared three children, Hiram Demosthenes Pridemore, Auburn Lorenzo Pridemore, and Sarah, who died in her early teens.

     Since many of the most distinguished and illustrious men of America were born in log cabins, and the subject of this article was both distinguished and illustrious, it is easy to surmise that he too was born in a log cabin; however, the writer well remembers the original "Prigmore" home, not a cabin but a two-story log house. The downstairs of this house was used in my childhood as a loom room. The stairway versus the pole ladder was often referred to in conversations with my father, who reminded me that the real stairway, the clock, the nearby smokehouse (with its wooden lock), the barn, (larger than the house), corn crib and wheat bin did not bespeak of dire poverty of my mother's ancestors, but rather emphasized the fact that the crib full of corn, wheat bin, smokehouse, and always the goodly shaped stacks of hay and blade fodder to last until grazing time insured the thrifty owners an independence and ease of conscience which possessors of quick wealth cannot experience because these are the fruits of honest toil, which none but the holders thereof have just claim. (1)

     It was with this background of great family solidarity, that these children grew up, as did the children of Hiram D. Pridemore and his wife Susan Slemp Pridemore, and as did the children of Charles Calhoun Johnson and his wife Addie Pridemore Johnson at Purchase, VA. Surrounding the same building, the dwelling had to be enlarged, but, in the yard and in the old garden, in spite
of the patter of all those feet, can still be found the herbs; catnip for the babies, hops for the earache, horehound and burdock for colds, boneset for chills, smartweed for soaking sore feet, sage for sore throat and seasoning.

     This security in a county which at that time held limited opportunities both educationally and otherwise, must have served as a stimulus for young Auburn L. Pridemore. He acquired a knowledge more comprehensive than is ordinarily allotted to any one man at that time. His attainments were largely the results of private study. In a sketch of him in Tyler's Encyclopedial of Virginia Biography, one finds that in August 1861 he recruited at the age of 24, a company for the Twenty-First Battalion, Virginia Infantry, of which he was Captain; in 1862 he was promoted to Major and later to Lieutenant-Colonel. In October 1863 he was commissioned Colonel of the Sixty- Fourth Regiment, Virginia Cavalry, which he commanded until the end of the war. (2) A brief review of the conflict in which he served with honor the State which gave him birth would not be amiss.

     The firing upon Fort Sumpter was accepted as the first hostile engagement between the forces of the Confederacy and the Federal Government. Sumpter was evacuated by the forces on April 14, 1861. On the following day, April 15, 1861, President Lincoln issued a call upon the Several States for their quota of militia to aid in maintaining the National Union. This call of President Lincoln's precipitated action on the part of Virginia, and two days thereafter, on April 17, 1861, an Ordinance of Secession was passed. The Governor, John Letcher, thereupon issued a proclamation announcing the accession of Virginia to the Confederacy. Immediately after this, a military league was formed of the people of Virginia with the "Confederate States of the South". By this agreement, the latter were bound to march to the aid of Virginia against the invasion of the Federal Government. (3)

     Records show that the Federal Government at this time enlisted and his subjected to its control four times as many troops as the Confederates. These records also disclose that the Confederacy killed, wounded, captured and routed more Federal troops than it possessed. This amazing feat has rarely, if ever, been surpassed by the military achievements of any people. History does not furnish another instance in which our Southern people who, almost destitute of war equipment, won greater victories from armies far larger, supplied with the latest and most efficient arms. Here I am reminded of a first-hand story told to my husband as we drove William L. Johnson, a private in the Confederacy, over some of the camping places he had known during his service in the war. As he recounted to us a number of incidents, he turned to Hubert, whom he always called "Herbert", and remarked, "Herbert, I have always felt that if we had had the equipment you boys had in World War I, we'd have won that one!"

     Not withstanding all the aforestated advantages of the Union, Pridemore proved himself, as did others wearing the gray - bold, resolute, sincere and courageous. He had conspicuous ability and strong convictions. Auburn Lorenzo Pridemore was proud of the opportunities to serve his country. He gloriously measured up to them. He met them. They were not easy. To substantiate this, references are made here to the battle of Jonesville.

     On the last day of the year 1863, Lieutenant James W. Orr, a Lee Countian and friend of Colonel Pridemore, learned that the Federals were in Jonesville, and rushed eastward on horseback to alert Colonel Pridemore, then encamped at Yocum Station.

     At the same time General William E. Jones, in command of the area Confederate troops, moved out of his encampment in Powell Valley west of Jonesville and marched toward the town. General Jones had been awaiting an opportunity to entrap the Federals under the command of Major Beers. Now that opportunity was at hand, because Colonel Pridemore, had the Powell Valley road to the east blocked as well as the road northward through Crank's Gap into Kentucky.

     With Colonel Pridemore converging upon the county seat with a column of soldiers from the east and General Jones from the west, the Federals were soon trapped. On the afternoon of January 3, after a spirited charge upon the enemy in weather below zero. Major Beers surrendered his 383 men, three pieces of artillery, and 27 six-mule teams. 

     According to Lieutenant Orr, Colonel Pridemore mounted a stump after the surrender and made a speech to his men, complimenting them on their gallantry, and on what had been accomplished. For the Confederates this was a victory worthy of celebration, although many soldiers suffered frozen feet and one man froze to death on his saddle. (4) 

     The above experience of January 3, 1864 and others too numerous to be related in this paper, were only to be culminated in Colonel Pridemore's receiving the following Terms of Surrender in 1865:

Col. Pridemore                               April 20, 1865

Commanding 64th Virginia

     You can avail yourself of the same conditions that General Lee accepted from General Grant:
That is, to Surrender your Command, lay down your arms and return to your Allegiance to the Federal Government. You will make complete Rolls in Duplicate of all men belonging to your Command, one to be retained by yourself; the other by me. Also, you will surrender all Arms, Ammunition and all Public property in your possession; also all animals taken from Union Citizens: These being the conditions of Lee's Surrender. I will not attempt to deceive your or any

other "Confederate Officer"; therefore I would admonish all men in your condition to give up and abandon a cause which has proved to be so hopeless to your Principles and Ruinous to our common Country. Hoping you and all other Rebels now in arms against the Federal Government, may avail yourselves of the present opportunity of returning to your Allegiance to a Government that has never harmed either of you.

I have the honor

to be very Respectfully,

     Your Obedient Servent
     W. Y. Dillard
     Col. Commanding U. S. Forces Cumberland Gap (5)

     His acceptance of this order of surrender, without a trace of venom, in my estimation, makes Colonel Pridemore one of the preeminent men of Southwest Virginia's resplendent past.

     The return to private life must have required more courage and patience than did the experience of war, for war heroes were now faced with reconstruction, laws and innumerable difficulties, because of burdensome taxation and constantly falling prices. In spite of all those difficulties, Colonel Pridemore realized now that the war was over, but the battle of self-abnegation, the battle for better things and better conditions was now a new obligation, and the question which the subject of this paper must have asked and answered was the challenge give
to us by President John F. Kennedy nearly 100 years later - "Ask not what our country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." To equip himself better to do this, Colonel Pridemore studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1867.

     Numerous stories of his legal ability and of Hon. Patrick Hagan, under whom he studied law, are among my earliest memories. Those who knew Auburn Lorenzo Pridemore well, honored him and loved him. Of the humble and lowly he was especially regardful. He was always a defense attorney, consistently refusing to serve as a prosecutor. It was his career as an attorney that portrayed him as a man as strong, forceful and dynamic. He was strong in intellect. He was proud, high minded, sensitive, but not self-centered.

     His quick wit and ability at rejoinder is illustrated by the following incident:
     During a trial in Gate City, VA, he was bantered by Colonel James B. Richmond, an eminent lawyer, who had attended Emory and Henry College. Colonel Richmond unfortunately referred to the scant schooling of the defense attorney, whereupon, Colonel Pridemore challenged Richmond to name two letters of the Greek alphabet. Richmond not being able to comply with the challenge, Colonel Pridemore proceeded then and there not only to repeat the Greek alphabet, but to recite a Greek poem.

     Another episode in the same courthouse, November 22, 1875, attests to his aggressiveness and earnestness. Henry S. Kane, another prominent attorney and Attorney Pridemore became so "terribly in earnest" that each was placed under $500.00 peace bond by Judge John A. Kelly, to keep the peace for three months. Patrick Hagan was Colonel Pridemore's bondman, and Colonel James B. Richmond went on the bond for Henry S. Kane. (6)

     As proof of Colonel Pridemore's imperiousness, I give you a clipping from a local newspaper of the day with the heading:

Lion of Lee

     General A. L. Pridemore, the strong and sagacious legal lion of Lee, was conspicuous among the visitors to Bristol Thursday. He was going to Abingdon to appear together with Colonel Patrick Hagan, in the case of Campbell and Hagan vs W. S. Whitely, als. This case is to be heard during Judge Paul's special session of U. S. Court, now convened at Abingdon. It is a case of Settlement of Account and involves some five thousand dollars. As might have been known, the case is one of no ordinary import, else the General would not have been in it, as he is too tall
timber to be involved in small strips. (7)

     Advancement in his profession grew. The conditions of our country and the state of affairs were such that they were a challenge to his clear and strong intellect. Carpet baggers were ruining the South; elsewhere graft prevailed in government and business. It was the Age of Boss Tweed, Jim Fish and Jay Gould. These conditions made young Pridemore aware of the importance of political activities.

     In 1865 Colonel Pridemore had been elected to the House of Delegates, but was unable to take his seat on account of the Reconstruction Regime. Thwarted in his ambition to serve in the House of Delegates because of struggles of Reconstruction, Colonel Pridemore realized his ambition in 1871 when he ran and was elected Member of the Virginia State Senate for the 1871-1875 term. According to manuscript statements of votes reported by Lee, Wise, and Buchanan counties, which composed the 19th Senatorial District in the election of 1871, the following were the candidates for State Senator from that district, together with the total vote
polled by each:

     A. L. Pridemore - 1,401 votes
     Campbell Slemp - 653 votes
     Robert F. Dickenson - 281 votes

     Thus, it was for fifty cents cost of the above one photoprint did I learn in April, 1966 that my grandfather's brother defeated my grandmother's brother, Campbell Slemp for State Senator in 1871. (8)

     On the farm that belonged to our ancestors since the close of the Revolution and from which at night the glow of the fiery coke ovens in Wise County could be seen, as a mere child I listened at the knees of my grandmother, Susan Slemp Pridemore, to many stories; and many there were about Captain Hiram D. Pridemore and his brother Colonel Auburn L. Pridemore. Very distinctly
do I remember that it was a story proudly related and cherished in our family how Pridemore as a young Senator in Richmond had not only made himself heard in the State Senate, but was often in demand as a speaker at meetings of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. These speeches had given Gen. John D. Imboden information about the raw resources in Southwest Virginia, and

Gen. Pridemore extended him an invitation to visit him and see for himself the industrial possibilities in this area. Imboden came. He gave his findings to a group of industrialists at a dinner in 1879 at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was paid further to investigate these possibilities. The result was that industrialists took options on acres and acres of land. Soon thereafter the first coal mine was opened at Inman in Wise County. Not far from this mine the village of Imboden sprang up.

     The Imboden story had been a favorite; therefore it was such a happy experience to relate the family version within the past few months at the discussion period of a Southwest Virginia Historical Meeting to Professor Edward L. Henson who had done extensive research, and who gave a most interesting and informative paper on Gen. John D. Imboden.

     It was a revelation to find positive proof that it was the knowledge and persuasive power of Colonel Pridemore that had helped promote the idea. It is also a source of satisfaction to know that he lived to see the development. Not until later did I come into the possession of an article published in the "Staunton Spectator", of Wednesday, August 3, 1887, in reference to the Development of Southwest Virginia coal fields. This newspaper article not only discussed the rich
coal fields in Southwest Virginia but gave sufficient proof of the Imboden story of my childhood and gave me further reason for the pride of my kinsmen, Auburn Lorenzo Pridemore. Following is a quote from said article: 

     "Colonel Pridemore of Lee County is mentioned as having in 1871 prophesied the extent of the resources of this locality. Colonel Pridemore served Lee, Scott and Wise Counties as a lawyer and was engaged in most of the important cases in the three counties above named. He was a self-made man; was a good speaker; an authority on history and an exceptional conversationalist; the work of building a railroad was commenced by Virginia in 1858 by branching at Bristol, Tennessee from the great Southwestern line from Norfolk to Memphis. The war coming on ended operations and the State afterwards ceased under the requirements of its fundamental law, to engage in such work. All efforts having failed to build the line to Cumberland Gap, the people of Bristol, and the interior country toward the Kentucky line interested began to work out the problem of a narrow gage road. They acquired possession of the right of way, and the work done on the projected line.

     "The questions in State politics in 1871, were of a grave character, and the members of the General Assembly then returned, were in a large measure, new men, who had come upon the arena and unknown in the role of legislators before war. A. L. Pridemore was returning to the Senate. His was a far-off interior district, averaging seventy miles or more to the nearest line of railroad with no early prospect of having its condition improved through such agencies. The young Senator was not a medium man either in forming or expressing his views. There was a manliness and sincerity in his style that won him friends and all could discern he was there to promote the interests of his constituents and to serve the State with fidelity.

     "The management of the Chesapeake and Ohio line of railway was then engaged in pushing its completion to the Kentucky border, which was an accomplishment in 1874 - in that as well as many other interests of a like kind to different parts of the State, there were frequent conferences and exchange of views, generally under the auspices of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
Members of the Legislature interested attended, and among them was General Pridemore. He took part in the discussion, and his hearers were amazed as they listened to his sketches of the evidences of great natural wealth in his district, and furthermore that it was practicable to cross the Cumberland Mountains with a railroad of easy grades without the expense of a tunnel, and then he specified that it could be done at Big Stone Gap, in Wise County. At and around that locality he cited the surface evidence of great coal basins and immense iron deposits, whilst the forests and valleys and streams were their own witness to every holder. At that time no surveyors' transit had run lines to the portals, and passing through the Natural Tunnel of several hundred feet in Scott County, overcoming a chief obstacle in the route of a railroad by that grand work of nature. Nor was it known then that it was practicable to pass the mountain barrier without incurring the cost of a long tunnel. Asserting the existence of the then scarcely known natural

wealth and claiming that at the Big Stone Gap was a surface route for a railroad line, the reader can well imagine the attention the speaker received in his earnest utterances.

     "In these meetings General John D. Imboden was an attentive participant. Having never visited the locality of his theme, noted his saying. (How they were employed years later has been related in the story the writer recalled from childhood) however, my story did not include the fact that General Imboden was accompanied by the distinguished Professor of Geology, in the University
of New York, John J. Stevenson, the survey was made. It was a lengthy and complete document with illustrations and was published in the Virginias in February and March 1881. The scientific research and exploration more than a thousand times over, confirmed all General Pridemore had said in Richmond as the result of his observations nine years previously. Professor Stevenson

in the opening of this report refers to the explorations made in that region by Professor Robers, the father of American geology, when making his geological survey of Virginia. He regretted his inability to receive the benefits of it, for the work was not then published, but has been since under the supervision of Major Jud Hotchkiss.

     "A company was immediately formed of Pennsylvanians and work continued on the railroad. Another company was subsequently formed, which has pushed the railroad by a complete track to the interior of Scott County and driving ahead for the Big Stone Gap.

     "The Norfolk and Western line will build through the Gap, and is well on the way by the Clinch Valley section, on which a large force is at work. Professor Stevenson has been recalled, and is reviewing his former work and finding new resources to increase the wealth of that section of country.
     "When General Pridemore made his representations before the Richmond audience, there was not even a dream of the realization to which they have lead.
     "Whilst quietly prosecuting his profession and attending to his industrial interests, there must arise moments of pleasing reflection associated with the past as he looks out and beholds large capital and immense energies concentrated at the point, then a far-off interior corner of great wealth for which he ventured to ask the friendly aid which has come to declare its fullness." (9)

     The far-off interior corner was Scott County, the county of his birth; Lee County was his established home; Lee, Wise, and Buchanan had chosen him as Senator. Colonel Pridemore had made known their potentialities, and now Virginia was known beyond Appomattox - an achievement not to be discounted.

     Early in his career as Senator, his ability as an orator was recognized. By the end of his term of service in that body, he established himself as a satirist of the first order.

     Below is a sample of a satire of his published by a Richmond newspaper (10) at the close of his term. An original clipping of it is now in my possession. This satire fully illustrates his knowledge of existing conditions and problems:

                      THE VIRGINIA SENATE
                A Satire - After Pope or Horace

     "Farewell to the Senate, its pleasure, its ills.
     Its committees, resolves, discussions, and bills;
     Its Presidents, its clerks to each and to all;
     The pages, the desks, the chairs and the hall,
     A long, mayhap forever, adieu;
     Yet these dear objects I'll keep in my view.
     'Tis here in this hall, for four long years, 
     We've met in debate our equals and peers,
     While each for his section sought special reliefs,
     The good of the whole was the object in chief,
     To instance and show and for nothing more,
     Here's the tax bill discussion for the year '74
     Fairfax would labor, to show beyond a doubt,
     That all of the funds in the Treasury were out.
     He'd urge upon Senators learned and grave.
     That they of the Court of Appeals were the slave;
     And by its decision, supreme in the land,
     We must pay the State's debt, and pay on demand.
     For repudiation stares us full in the face;
     We're dishonored at home, and abroad in disgrace
     To this Fredicksburg most nobly responds,
     And in eloquence pleads for the creditor's bonds;
     Depicts with great force the orphans' demand,
     And equally clear shows the wealth of the land.
     He agrees in the main with sister Fairfax.
     Except that no merchant in town should pay tax.
     Next Lynchburg appears with deep heaving sigh,
     And tells us destruction is now drawing nigh.
     Unless the coupons be punctually met, 
     And we shoulder at once the whole public debt,
     Yet, to tax the poor merchants whose wants are so great,
     Would be a disgrace and shame on the State,
     Then save me and mine from the unjust demand:
     I'm for an increase in taxes; but only on land,
     Then Norfolk petitions, remonstrates and prays
     The finance committee to find other ways,
     To force our merchants with others to compete,
     Will deprive them of trade, and of course bread and meat.
     Augusta then rises, and says I decry,
     The committee increases the tax on Red Eye;
     To smell up new subjects "they're ever intent
     Yet whiskey I vow won't carry one cent"
     This finance committee, from the inference I draw
     Like some "mighty mastodon", to fill up its maw,
     Extends its wide arms, and takes in at will,
     The corn and the meal, the tubs and the malt, worm and the still.
     With Augusta dear Franklin casts in her lot,
     and loudly condemns this iniquitous plot,
     Shows how the State debt of which the committee here prates,
     Is due, not from Virginia, but the United States. 
     And that she demands in her people's great name,
     An exemption for apples and the juice of the same.
     Now Patrick comes in and proceeds to lay down the conflict of interest 
      between country and town,
     Shows merchants in cities have been in a fret,
     And justice demands, that they escape not;
     But with others in common, they cast in their lot.
     That they be not permitted to pass in such a case,
     While the poor country farmer, goes through by a squeeze.
     At the sound of a farmer Lee raises her nap,
     And declares for the right of Cumberland gap.

     Subsequent to his four ears in the State Senate, Colonel Pridemore's ambitions grew. On June 8, 1876, from the home which he had established in Jonesville, VA, Colonel Pridemore announced himself as a candidate for Congress of the United States. This announcement was made by printed circulars and addressed to the People of the Ninth Congressional District. In the first paragraph of the announcement he sets forth his platform, and I quote:
     "I shall endeavor through friendly efforts to increase the number of places for sittings of the District Courts of the United States, thus saving the people from such long travel and heavy expenses. It will moreover be a vast saving to the Government and insure a ore agreeable enforcement of that Court's important jurisdiction. I shall do all in my power to lessen the burdens upon our imported articles, and loosen the shackles of that great staple - tobacco. I will try to
have extended to the farmers, the privilege of a limited traffic in it without taxation. I shall favor an increase of our currency and a postponement of the resumption of specie payments. I will on all occasions resist class legislation, and I favor such laws as fosters and builds up our industrial institutions.

     "I point with pride, fellow citizens, to the journal of the Virginia Senate, for the four years I served the State there, and challenge the production of one act of mine against the interest and welfare of the people I then served.
     "To many of you I am unknown, and to such it may not be unfitting to say that I was born in the County of Scott, the home of my ancestors from the close of the Revolution to the present time. Reared in the usual way of farmers' sons, laboring every year of my life until my twenty-fourth, then called in common with many of you by the voice of our loved state, to the bloody field of war. I obeyed the summons, and for four years of that terrible struggle, I shared the toils; privations and dangers common to the man of that time. And now with a conscience
clear, and hands free from the spoils of political enemies, I can say I performed as best I could the weighty trusts confided to me by brave comrades. When the clouds of war passed away I was driven from the sheltering protection of a kind father's home - hunted by enemies, homeless and money less I found among the people of Lee a refuge from the pelting storms of political persecution, friends who shared with me the necessaries of life, and the comforts of their homes.

Driven by necessity to seek pursuits where capital was not a requisite, I chose the profession of law, and have never yet had reason to regret that choice. I know this will be urged against me, but I would appeal to those men whose sons are now treading the parts in part traversed by me; I mean the poor farmers' and laborers' sons, whose intellects are among the best, and whose chances are among the worst, not to discourage their efforts, and laudable desires for promotion,

by prescribing those of us, who have struggled to take our stand among the sons of the mighty. I am the only man, the son of a poor and humble farmer, born and reared in your midst, who has since the war ventured to offer this high and important trust; what a sad commentary on the men who fell in our late struggle. And then your own sons on the road to preferment, by encouraging me, if I am otherwise found worthy. I do not seek to array class against class, but I do seek to have justice done my own, and to warn them of the great blunder of turning against one whose life has been spent in their service.

     "It has been my hope and my aspirations to do something in life that would encourage our farmers and laborers' sons to make strong efforts to raise themselves to a participation in the affairs of the nation. Did you all know the trials, the struggles, the poverty through which I have passed, I believe today, you would throw over me the broad mantle of charity and help me in this my hardest struggle in life. I enter this contest trembling with fear. Yet, animated by the voice of those who know me, encouraged by the smiles of those who trod the fiery path of war with me, I enter the list and humbly appeal to you for your support, if I stand the equal of my competitors. If elected, I shall not be a candidate for reelection the ensuing term.
     Yours Respectfully,
     A. L. Pridemore." (11)
     Jonesville, June 8th, 1876

     Prior to the nominating convention held in Abingdon, VA, Colonel Pridemore was honored with the title "Brigadier General." This was of great value to him in the convention which nominated him for Congress. (12)

     A rare find for me has been an extra edition of the MONTGOMERY MESSENGER, published in Christiansburg, VA, September 1, 1876, which gives a complete account of how the counties voted at the Abingdon Convention. The following quote is from a news item from the BRISTOL NEWS which was published in the extra under the title: 


     "The demonstration yesterday at Abingdon was enough to have turned an older head than that of General Pridemore. There has been nothing like it in the county for many years. How many desired to hear the discussion we can't tell. The court room could not have held another man, and though the dense pack was almost to suffocation the interest not for a moment abated during the two hours that it lasted. If Pridemore had poured kerosene on the crowd and ignited it with a parlor match, he would not have fired it more effectively than it was figuratively done by his admirable speech. We have never seen anything like it. He was introduced by C. F. Trigg of the County Committee and was proceeding to address the crowd when Gov. McMullin passed rapidly through the crowd up the steps to the stand with an agility that would have done him credit at the age of 21. He cried out, "Hold, hold on." He claimed the right to open debate but the
crowd screamed for Pridemore. The Governor insisted, but the crowd would not hear him, and the din of cries for Pridemore could not be subdued. After a brief conference by the two antagonists, General Pridemore proceeded. His speech was again applauded beyond description, and his anecdotes which were few, shook the building like an earthquake.

     "When Governor McMullin attempted to reply, it seemed difficult for him to get a hearing. The crowd remained. Dr. Alex attempted to still the crowd, but with poor success. The Governor took the stand and made his speech. It is proper to add that General Pridemore did all in his power to still the tempest and have his adversary accorded a respectful hearing, and in this he succeeded.
     "Governor McMullin stated in his speech that, if when he goes to Lee and Scott he finds the people in those two counties against him, he will withdraw and yield General Pridemore a hearty support. He had some friends in the house, but it was evident that Pridemore had made fearful inroads upon them, and the few that remained were few indeed.
     "We feel very favorable and kindly disposed toward Governor McMullin, but the demonstration that was made at Abingdon very clearly foreshadows the vast strength of General Pridemore before the people, and is more than the Governor ought to attempt to resist. No one longer doubted that the convention had nominated the strongest man in the District or that he will sweep the field like a tornado." (14)

     The vote by the counties was given in the same Christiansburg paper, and after the seventh ballot Montgomery changed her votes solidly for Pridemore. He was declared the nominee and thus was chosen to break the power of the Carpet Bag Rule. In the general election in the fall, he defeated George T. Egbert, Republican, by a vote of 15,127 to 4,791 and served in the Congress from March 4, 1877 to 1879. (14)

     In the presidential election of 1876 Pridemore's party boasted that the opposite party could not cope with the incorruptible Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic candidate. However, the Republican candidate defeated Tilden. Some weeks after the inauguration the new president invited Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Edison to the White House to demonstrate their inventions. Mr. Bell fascinated the president with his telephone; Mr. Edison played his new phonograph.

     The writer is not certain that Congressman Pridemore, then living in Washington, ever met Thomas A. Edison. However, Uncle Carroll Pridemore, enjoyed relating that when he was a young man a person came to Clinchport with the new wonder phonograph and one of the records he played was that of a speech of his Uncle Auburn Pridemore. 

     During this year, Pridemore fascinated an associate, young Theodore Roosevelt with first hand Indian stories. In all probability, when Mr. Roosevelt, visited Colonel Pridemore at the latter's home in Lee County in search of material for his book, THE WINNING OF THE WEST, later written in four volumes, he heard again the Indian story of the Henderson Indian Treaty on the Watauga, and saw arrow heads and other Indian artifacts - a vast collection of them - which the
excongressman was gathering, and which later his son, Hagan, gave to the College of William and Mary.

     From Pridemore's home in Jonesville, VA, the visitors crossed Wallen's Ridge, to Purchase and spent the night with Congressman Pridemore's brother, Captain Hiram D. Pridemore. My mother was always very proud of the fact that she helped prepare the meals for their distinguished guest who later became President of the United States. A precious memory of the writer's is that years
later, a former pupil of hers married Archibald Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, and she was invited to a reception given at the bride's home. The bride, a former pupil of the writer had told her husband of his grandfather's visit in the home of her teacher's grandfather, and much to the teacher's surprise, she was asked if it would be possible for the young Mr. Roosevelt to meet the teacher's mother. After assuring them that everyone would be delighted, the teacher

rushed home to tell her folk. On a beautiful Sunday morning in her home in Kingsport, the mother had the pleasure of meeting the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, and the teacher heard again the story, that as a child she had so often told to make other children in her neighborhood envious.

     His record in Congress surpassed that of his record as State Senator. He never faltered in his fundamental beliefs as evidenced in the last paragraph of his speech when the bill H. R. 467 was before the Committee -
     "And I desire to say further, now that the war is ended, I have no regrets for the past; but I stand up now and here declare that I am ready to defend this government as I was the government which I formerly served; and I will say that I believe then, so help me God! I had the constitutional right to defend the principles I advocated." (16)

     He made himself known to committees to which he was appointed, the most important of which was that of Foreign Relations. In connection with this appointment, he was sent to Europe, which furnished the writer with another story. 

     Not only was I impressed as a child that my kinsman had had the honor helping to plan a railroad but also of naming some railroad stations and some post offices in our native State. Auburn Lorenzo Pridemore was probably the only man in history who had his own private railroad station. The name of this station was Ben Hur, located approximately four miles from Jonesville. The station got the name given it by Colonel Pridemore from General Lew Wallace book, BEN HUR.

     It is a unique one, in that it has a large fireplace and in his day a furnished bedroom. In the days when he made return trips from Richmond or Washington or the World's Fair in Chicago or Europe, no one, not even the servants imposed upon to meet him at nighttime when the roads were deep with mud or weather uncomfortable; instead, he spent the night in his own depot at Ben Hur.

     To leave out entirely the romance in the General's life would be unfair. He was thrice married. Margaret Mitchell in the second paragraph of "Gone with the Wind" gives a description that explains the physical attraction of Southern women of the day. During the years of the war Southern womanhood reached heights of sacrifice and courage which will live forever in story and song. With such glorious women, men could not fail to be heroes. Miss Caledonia Justina Hill, daughter of Elijah and Eliza Hill, of Jonesville, VA, in 1869, became the bride of Col. Auburn
Lorenzo Pridemore. To this union was born one child, Mary. After his wife's death, the Colonel was a very eligible widower, as is attested by the priceless Valentine found among his personal papers:

     O, Valentine, Valentine
     How fast the time does go
     And yet I'm single as before,
     O' Colonel, ain't it so.

     Now if I was a man, Colonel,
     I sure wouldn't spend my life;
     Not single like yourself, Colonel
     But, with some pretty wife.

     I say pretty, Colonel
     Because many such there be
     And if you cannot better do;
     Y' come and marry me.
     But now I'll tell you what's a fact
     Even down on Walden's Creek;
     Courting sprees, will sometimes last
     Knights, and days a solid week.

     Ought to be spelled (night)
     Good by Colonel if you please
     Do give us a call.
     And if I get you by the lips;
     I'll bet I make you squall.

     PS The initials of the 4th verse
     You'll find to spell my name
     and if you die a widower
     Upon your head the blame. (16)

     However, the author of the Valentine, whose initials spell Beck was not successful in her pursuit of the widower, and the Colonel was married the second time to Miss Lucy Elizabeth Crockett, granddaughter of Elijah and Eliza Hill. Miss Crockett was his new bride at the time of the Tilden-Hendricks Ralley in Christiansburg. To this union was born one son, Hiram Hagan Pridemore. Unfortunately Lucy Crockett Pridemore did not live long, and General Pridemore
took for his third bride a Scott County woman, Sallie Jane Richmond Niel. This charming lady proved further the good judgement of the General and endeared herself to all his kith and kin. She affectionately was "Ma" Pridemore, not only to the General's children but to his grandchildren as well.

     General Pridemore was seriously injured in a train wreck, which resulted in complications. It was during this illness he requested that his brother's children come to see him. Thus it was that the writer, a little girl, through no merit of her own, was driven with her mother and baby brother, Charles Franklin Johnson from Fairview to Jonesville. The journey as made in a hack with her mother's brother, Hiram Carroll Pridemore. The party left Fairview at daybreak. It reached the top of historical Wallen's Ridge at late lunchtime. (The first picnic lunch the writer can remember). An exciting experience and even now a pleasant memory was that of being led by the writer's uncle to the edge of the precipice and allowed to watch the plowing in the lowlands far below. The man, his team, and the plow she can see now as miniature toys. The party reached Jonesville long after sunset.

     On the journey from Fairview to Jonesville the little girl was a passenger because neither the father nor mother could induce any of the neighbors to keep their unruly daughter. So the younger sister, Esther Mae, remained with the neighbors, and the father - hence the bad little girl was privileged to see General Auburn L. Pridemore. It was an ordeal to which, perhaps a child 4 « years old should not have been subjected, but now how very happy she is that her elders did not feel that she was too young to meet the loved General of the family. Now, even as this is written, the writer vividly recalls the chilly feeling of his hand as he took hers, and can see the long arm reached slowly out to draw her closer. Afraid? Probably she was, but the grownups were expecting a well-behaved little girl, and there was one - afraid not to be. Now, more than sixty years later, how she wishes she could have listened to his stories of the trips he had taken, of his voyage to Europe, and the many, many things about him for which she has had to search
     There were other children there - Mary Pridemore Sewell's children, Dona, Houston, and Saluda. They were perfect host and hostesses to one a bit younger than they.

     One person who was faithful to every duty to the General to the last, was Alex Martin, a slave, formerly owned by Captain Martin, and reared on a nearby farm in Lee County, about one mile south of the Courthouse. Alex's desire to be free had caused him some trouble, and he had to sojourn away from Jonesville for a while. On returning, he lived for over 50 years with Colonel Pridemore. A more trustworthy person Lee County probably has never produced. His responsibility for the General's guests even unto the last one, and an adage he used have proved
helpful to me many times. One she has never heard used since, but one which stuck in her memory word for word.

     One of Alex's duties was to take the horses from the barn to the watering trough. The Sewell children would earnestly beg to ride and used the fact that the writer, then their guest, should be given an opportunity. They offered to gather the cobs and carry in all the chips, but Alex, knowing what was best, would shake his head and say, "Run along, run along. I rather do without your eggs than listen to your cackle." 

     Another story, given to the writer later, which shows Alex's ability to think was one pertaining to an incident which happened when he was deceived and cheated by a citizen of the county. In the days long ago hogs were marked by the owner, and turned out for mast. These marks were on the ears of the animal. Alexa had come to the General with the story, and after he was told to be on his guard next time, Alex's answer was, "There will be no next time, General. I'll give a hog an
ear of corn any day to make him show his mark." Alex Martin's adages have been very helpful to the writer and the memory of his faithfulness to his master is sufficient proof that his master was a very kind man.

     It would not be fair to either of these men, one a proud father, the other a man so proud of his right-hand man, Alex Martin, who at the time of the writer's childhood visit was a lad of approximately thirteen years of age. This lad grew up and went into the field of Radiology. His advancement as an individual in the field of medical science has been marvelous. He has had an important part in the investigation of the cancer cell. Dr. Martin is now probably the oldest person
living who knew the subject of this paper, and this son of a slave pays Colonel Pridemore tribute in a newspaper article which substantiates again the fact that Auburn Lorenzo Pridemore viewed all mankind with a deep and abiding love that men feel for their fellowmen when their own hearts are right.

     General Pridemore has left a legacy which those who bear his name will long cherish.

     Purchase Farm, the place of his birth in Scott Co., VA, remains in the possession of two great-nieces. It is hallowed because of the fact that his descendants know there is not path in the woods which he has not trod, no hill that he has not walked in meditation. The pond, the spring, the blue green ridge were solaces for his heartaches, and inspirations for his full life. It was here he brought his first bride, and here his first child was born.

     He died at his home in Jonesville, VA, May 17, 1900. The mortal remains were placed in the Jonesville Cemetery.

     FOOTNOTES: (1) Life in Old Virginia, by James J. McDonald: Page 315. (2) A. Vol. 3, page 12, Tyler's Encyclopedia of Biography; B.
Photostatic copies of military orders, discharge, and other historical records from the personal desk of General Pridemore, which are now in the

possession of the only living grandson, Ben Pridemore, son of Hiram Hagan Pridemore, of White Creek, TN. (3) Life in Old Virginia by James J.

McDonald: Page 162 (4) Kincaid, Robert L., Wilderness Road, Bobbs-Merrill Co., Page 277. Also Lieutenant Orr in his "Battle of Jonesville." (5)

From the personal papers, contributed by Ben Pridemore (6) L. O. Book 5, page 113, Scott Co. Court House, Gate City, VA. (7) Original clipping

from a Bristol newspaper in the writer's possession (8) S. Basset French Biographical sketches, Reel 3, No. 513 (9) "Staunton Spectator" published

Wednesday, August 13, 1887. Clippings now in my possession had been preserved and kept by a grandson, the late Houston Pridemore Sewell, son of

the General's daughter, Mary Pridemore Sewell. (10) This original copy of the Richmond Newspaper was among those kept down through the years

by the General's brother, Captain Hiram D. Pridemore. (11) Reproduction of the original circular given to the writer by Mrs. Houston Pridemore

Sewell, South Boston, VA. (12) Letter from John W. Dudley, Assistant Archivist, VA State Library, Richmond, February 26, 1965. (13) An original

copy of Bristol news in the writer's possession (14) Summer's History of Southwest Virginia, Page 761. (15) Congressional Record, House, May 23,

1878, pages 3724, 3725, 3729. Also the original speech as sent to his family in pamphlet form is now in my possession. (16) The original, complete

with drawing and fancy penmanship, from the Colonel's private desk.

     Pages 62 to 83

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