The mention of Moncure Conway brings out this lurker. I lived in
Fredericksburg, Va., near Falmouth, where Conway spent his youth. I'm
intrigued by the link to Twain.
Conway left Virginia in the 1850s for Cambridge, Mass., where he became
friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and joined the abolition movement. He
later became a Unitarian minister in Washington, continuing his fight
against slavery there.
A recent story in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star newspaper by local
historian Ruth Fitzgerald noted that Conway's activities weren't very
popular back home. His father urged him not to visit: "Daring a return to
Falmouth, he was ordered to leave that village of about 1,000. He was told
he was spared being tarred and feathered only because of local respect for
After the war, Conway returned to give a speech. The Virginia Herald
reported that he was warmly welcomed. In later writings, Conway mentioned
that visit and the Falmouth boys who forced him to leave. Few were present
that day, he said---"they were in Confederate graves."
Works by Conway include "Addresses and Reprints," 1850-1907;
"Autobiography, Memories and Experiences, Volumes I and II;" "Barons of the
Potomack and the Rappahannock;" and "Testimonies Concerning Slavery."
I've read little of them, but I think they're back on my reading list.