I class the loyalists of my district under the head of “semi-chivalrous Sonthrons,” because, being seldom large planters or even slaveholders, they do not exhibit all the characteristics of the “high-toned” population. They are mostly small farmers, inhabiting the mountains of Pickens and of a certain portion of Greenville known as the Dark Corner. I did not always find it easy to distinguish them from rebels. One gaunt old female laid claim to Bureau rations on the double ground that she was a good Union woman, and that she had lost two sons in the Confederate army. This story was so contradictory that I believed it, remembering first that truth is often much more improbable than falsehood; and, second, that many loyal families saw their children carried off by rebel pressgangs.
These poor, uncultured, and, in some cases, half-wild people have always been true to the United States Government. In the days of Nullification, and in other subsequent disunion excitements, when Governor Perry (or, as they called him, Ben Perry) fought a good fight against Calhounism, they were his firmest supporters, and regarded him with something like adoration. As a Greenvilleite said to me, “They believed they would go to him when they died.”
“But now,” in the words of one of their patriarchs, “Ben Perry has fallen from the faith;” and consequently the mountaineers have deserted him in a body, and stigmatize him as “the biggest reb agoing.” One of the prime staples of the Republican speeches which I heard in that region was the showing up of the apostasy of this distinguished “central monkey.”
De Forest, J.W., “Chivalrous and Semi-Chivalrous Southrons” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume 38, Issue 225, February 1869; New York: Harper & Bros.
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