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Letter to Perry L. Derby, 1847 February 26

Letter to Perry L. Derby, 1847 February 26
Letter to Perry L. Derby, 1847 February 26
Written from VMI, Lexington, Virginia. Letter regards future teaching positions and graduation class speakers. Letter also discusses a controversy in the Lexington Presbyterian Church as the pastor, Dr. Skinner, is "on trial" before the presbytery.


  • 1847 February 26


From the File: 9 items (Folder 1)


Virginia Military Institute
Feb 26th 1847

Dear Father,
I received in due time your of the Inst in which was enclosed the half of a twenty dollar note. Of course all your advice I believe to be salutary. The most of it I have endeavored to follow from my infancy. Whatever may have been my misfortunes, I profess to be old enough to be able to preserve a moderate share of spirits. I have endeavored to banish all childish folly. For the present I will forebear writing in that metaphysical strain which has characterized the letters which I have written for the last three months. Please tell sister Mary that I received her letter; also tell sister Martha Ann that I received hers and that I inadvertently omitted to mention it in my last letter. Col. Smith has placed my name on the list of applicants as teachers. It is probably that ??????? Mr. Pendleton or myself will obtain a situation in Charles City County near the residence of Mr. Hill Carter. The salary which is offered is five hundred dollars. This it is true is a small salary; but it is much better than six hundred dollars in a town. However it is possible that I may have a chance of getting a situation better than this. Col. Smith did not mention anything in regard to the gentleman in Charles City who wishes to obtain a teacher nor do I even know as yet, his name. I shall endeavor to gather as much information on this point as possible. One serious objection which i have to living in that country is that it thought by some to be rent-wealthy. Considerable excitement has been produced in Lexington for the last month by the Skinner case of which you have probably heard. Dr. Skinner the recent pastor of the Presbyterian Church at this place, is now undergoing a trial before the Lexington Presbytery. Of all the ingenious men I ever saw I think that he is the most ingenious. It is said that he was expelled from Scotland on account of some disturbance in the church which he raised in that country. But for the disturbance which has occurred here he would in all probability been the next president of Washington College, as Dr. Ruffner will resign in the course of a few months. It is certainly astonishing to hear the debates which occur in the Presbytery. In that religious body there is sometimes created almost as much confusion as there is usually created by those sinners in Congress. This affair has several times called off Maj. Preston from his collegiate duties. I have been teaching Latin in the Institute for the last three or four weeks. The first class have elected the Speakers who are to represent them at the time of graduation as well as a speaker to represent them upon the reception of their diplomas from The Society of Cadets. Mr. B. G. Baldwin will deliver the Salutatory addresses. Messrs J. B. Jones, and Finney, orations, Mr. Councill, the Valedictory addresses and the address to the Society will be delivered by myself. The Day of the Twenty Second was exceedingly inclement and on that account but for persons attended the addresses which were delivered in behalf of the Three Societies. The Washington Society was represented by Mr. Barton, the Graham Society by Mr. Crockett, and the Society of Cadets by Mr. Finney.
Give my love to all.
Your affectionate son, [signed] Chas A. Derby

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450