Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ethelred Philips refers to Hamilton

Dr. Ethelred Philips (1801-1869) of Marianna wrote a series of letters during the 1860s to his cousin James J. Philips of North Carolina that have been preserved. Much of the content of the letters is devoted to business issues and Philips' theological musings. Philips, a staunch unionist, also describes the rise of pre-war "secesh" fervor and the confused, depressed state of Marianna after the war. Unfortunately, Philips engages in very little discussion of local politics and personalities. The letters add no new information about the figures who played significant roles in reconstruction era in Jackson County. The only direct allusion to Hamilton is as follows:

"We are cursed with one of those pests that remind us daily of our degradation “the bureau man.” He put up the negroes to celebrate the 4th inst. as the anniversary of their freedom with a grand dinner on the edge of town & to form a procession with the U.S. flag and Lincoln songs – a separate dinner for their former masters & friends whom they have invited & whom they are to serve most respectfully. We are a little uneasy about it for there will be probably a thousand or more present." (E. Philips to J. Philips, July 2, 1866).

This letter, of course, confirms Hamilton's reports of the tension building in Marianna prior to the first July 4th parade organized by the freedmen with Hamilton's approval.