Manuscript Society and UACC Dealer: RD124

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Louisiana Congressional Delegation  
Requests House Speaker Keiffer
To Suspend the Rules for New Customhouse

May 10, 1882

One page document dated May 10, 1882, on House of Reps. Letterhead, signed by the Louisiana delegation of Congressmen and U.S. Senators  to J . Warren Keiffer, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, requesting that U.S. Senate rules be suspended on behalf of a Mr. Blanchard, so that Senate Bill # 750 could be passed which would permit the "erection of a public building at Shreveport, LA."  

The bill would be passed the following session resulting in the construction of a federal Customhouse in Shreveport, Louisiana.   The Customhouse, though short lived landmark,  contained the main post office, federal court, US Attorney’s Office, and numerous US government offices from 1887 to 1910.  Designed by local architect Nathaniel S. Allen (1829-1922), the Customhouse was located at the northeast corner of Texas and Market Streets.  It was the tallest structure in the city housing the US Weather Service with its local state set-up in the tower.

They add that Louisiana has had not recognition as yet for such [a] purpose.  Letter reads in full:

House of Representatives, Washington DC
May 10, 1882
Hon. J. Warren Keiffer,
Speaker of the House

Dear Sir,
The delegation from Louisiana unite in requesting you to place Mr. Blanchard on your list for recognition on the 1st Monday of June to suspend the rules and pass Senate Bill No 750, proving for the erection of a public building at Shreveport, LA.   Louisiana has had no recognition as yet for such purpose.

J Floyd King   EJno Ellis
R. L. Gibson    C. B. Darrall
E. W. Robertson

Those signing this document include:

Randall Lee Gibson (September 10, 1832 – December 15, 1892) was an attorney and politician, elected as a member of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senator from Louisiana. He served as a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army. Later he was a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, and a president of the board of administrators of Tulane University.

Gibson was born in 1832 at "Spring Hill", Versailles, Kentucky,  the son of a planter and slaveholding family. After his father moved the family to Louisiana when Randall was a child, the youth was educated in leading local schools. In 1853 he graduated from Yale University, where he was a member of the Scroll and Key society. He returned to Louisiana to study for his bachelor of laws (LL.B) from the University of Louisiana, later Tulane University. Soon after the state's secession from the Union, Gibson became an aide to Gov. Thomas O. Moore. In March 1861, he left the capital to join the 1st Louisiana Artillery.

Later in the year, he was commissioned as colonel of the 13th Louisiana Infantry. Gibson fought at the Battle of Shiloh and subsequent actions. With the Army of the Mississippi, he took part in the 1862 Kentucky Campaign and the Battle of Chickamauga. After being promoted to brigadier general on January 11, 1864, he fought in the Atlanta Campaign and the Franklin-Nashville Campaign; he next was assigned to the defense of Mobile, Alabama. He inspired his troops to hold Spanish Fort, which was under siege, until the last moment, after which they escaped at night on April 8, 1865.

Gibson returned to Louisiana after the war, working to help the state recover. It had suffered much damage to levees along the Mississippi, which threatened the large-scale plantations for cotton and sugar. Planters struggled to deal with free labor after the war.  In 1874, Gibson was elected as a Democrat in the US House of Representatives, being re-elected and serving nearly a decade from 1875 until 1883. He promoted the creation of the Committee on the Mississippi Levees on December 10, 1875, to investigate the state of Mississippi levees and gain federal support for their building and repair, issues he persuaded his fellows were in the national interest because of the importance of the Mississippi, its trade, and the region's agriculture. The committee's name was changed to the Levees and Improvements of the Mississippi River on November 7, 1877.

In 1882, Gibson was elected by the Louisiana state legislature (as was the procedure at the time) as US Senator, serving from 1883 to 1892. According to historian Daniel L. Sharfstein in The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the ­Secret Journey From Black to White (2011), during these years a political opponent challenged Gibson's status as a white man, based on records. Gibson investigated but learned only that his ancestors were property owners, which was "enough to satisfy most of Gibson’s contemporaries."

“Such status,” Sharfstein explains, “could not mean anything but whiteness. . . . As much as racial purity mattered to white Southerners, they had to circle the wagons around Randall Gibson. If someone of his position could not be secure in his race, then no one was safe"."  (Note: For similar reasons, in the late 19th century, Virginia legislators decided against passing a law for a one-drop rule to establish racial status, as they did not want to embarrass well-established families, including likely some of their members.)

Sharfstein found that Gibson's paternal line went back to freed African slaves in colonial Virginia (who by that time may already have been of mixed race, as was common in that region). Descendants had moved to the South Carolina frontier by the late 18th century, where Gideon Gibson became a property owner and slaveholder, and married white, as did his descendants for generations. They succeeded in the South.

Randall Gibson died as a US senator while in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His body was returned to Kentucky, where he was buried at Lexington Cemetery in Lexington. Gibson Hall on the campus of Tulane University is named for Senator Gibson, who was instrumental after the war in helping fund and continue the public University of Louisiana as the private Tulane University of Louisiana.
John Floyd King (April 20, 1842 - May 8, 1915) was a U.S. Representative from Louisiana, son of Thomas Butler King and nephew of Henry King. Born on St. Simons Island, off the coast of Georgia, King attended the Russell School, New Haven, Connecticut, Bartlett's College Hill School, Poughkeepsie, New York, the Military Institute of Georgia, and the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. Enlisted in the Confederate States Army and served in the Army of Virginia throughout the Civil War, attaining the rank of colonel of Artillery. He moved to Louisiana and engaged in planting. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1872 and commenced practice in Vidalia, Louisiana. He was appointed brigadier general of State troops.  King was elected inspector of levees and president of the board of school directors of his district and also a trustee of the University of the South.

King was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-sixth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1879-March 3, 1887). He served as chairman of the Committee on Levees and Improvements of the Mississippi River (Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth Congresses). He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1886. He engaged in mining operations, with residence in Washington, D.C.. Assistant Register of the United States Treasury from May 19, 1914, until his death in Washington, D.C., May 8, 1915. He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Ezekiel John Ellis (October 15, 1840 - April 25, 1889) was a U.S. Representative from Louisiana. Born in Covington, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, Ellis attended private schools in Covington and Clinton, Louisiana, and Centenary College of Louisiana (when it was located in Jackson, Louisiana) from 1855 to 1858. He was graduated from the law department of the Louisiana State University at Pineville (now at Baton Rouge), Louisiana, in 1861. During the Civil War he joined the Confederate States Army and was commissioned a first lieutenant. 

He was promoted to captain in the Sixteenth Regiment, Louisiana Infantry, and served two years, when he was captured and held as a prisoner of war on Johnsons Island in Lake Erie until the end of the war. He was admitted to the bar of Louisiana in 1866 and commenced practice in Covington, Louisiana. He served as member of the State senate 1866-1870. Ellis was elected from Louisiana's 2nd congressional district as a Democrat to the Forty-fourth and to the four succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1875-March 3, 1885). He served as chairman of the Committee on Mississippi Levees (Forty-fourth Congress) but declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1884. He resumed the practice of his profession in Washington, D.C..  He died there April 25, 1889 and was interred in the Ellis family cemetery at "Ingleside," near Amite, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.

Chester B. Darrall Chester Bidwell Darrall (June 24, 1842 – January 1, 1908) was a Republican Congressman from Louisiana in the latter 19th Century. He was born near Addison, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and attended the common schools. Darrall studied medicine and was graduated from Albany Medical College in New York State. During the Civil War, Dr. Darrall entered the Union Army as assistant surgeon of the Eighty-sixth Regiment, New York Volunteers, and later was promoted to surgeon. While on active duty in Louisiana, Darrall resigned from the Army in 1867 and engaged in mercantile pursuits and planting in Brashear (now Morgan City), Louisiana.

Darrall was elected a member of the State Senate of Louisiana in 1868. In 1869 Darrall was elected as a Republican Party (United States) Republican to the Forty-first Congress and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877). He presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Forty-fifth Congress and served from March 4, 1877 to February 20, 1878 when he was succeeded by Democrat Joseph H. Acklen, who had successfully contested the election of 1876.[1] Darrall moved back to Morgan City and did not seek nomination the next year. In 1880, he was elected for the final time to Congress, serving from March 4, 1881 to March 4, 1883 (the 47th Congress). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1882 to the Forty-eighth Congress, being defeated by fellow Republican William Pitt Kellogg. After his service in Congress, Darrall was appointed by President Chester A. Arthur to be Registrar of the United States Land Office in New Orleans from 1883 to 1885. He ran one final time, unsuccessfully, for Congress in 1888. After that, Darrall moved to Washington, D.C., where he wrote a series of books about combat medicine and surgery. He is interred in Glenwood Cemetery in the District of Columbia.

Edward White Robertson (June 13, 1823 – August 2, 1887) was a United States Representative from Louisiana. He was also the father of Samuel Matthews Robertson. He was born near Nashville, Tennessee. Robertson moved with his parents to Iberville Parish, Louisiana in 1825. He attended the country schools and the preparatory department of Centenary College, Jackson, Louisiana and he attended Augusta College in Kentucky, in 1842. Later, he entered Nashville University and commenced the study of law in 1845. Robertson served in the Mexican-American War in 1846 as orderly sergeant in the Second Regiment, Louisiana Volunteers. After the war, he served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives 1847–1849. He later graduated from the law department of the University of Louisiana in 1850. He was admitted to the bar the same year and practiced in Iberville and East Baton Rouge Parishes before he was again elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1853. In addition, he served as the Louisiana state Auditor of Public Accounts 1857–1862.

Robertson entered the Confederate Army during the American Civil War in March 1862 as Captain of a company which he had raised for the Twenty-seventh Regiment, Louisiana Infantry. Later, he resumed the practice of law in Baton Rouge. Elected as a Democrat, he served in the Forty-fifth, Forty-sixth, and Forty-seventh Congresses (March 4, 1877 – March 3, 1883). In Congress, he served as chairman, Committee on the Mississippi Levees (Forty-fifth Congress), and as a member Committee on Levees and Improvements of the Mississippi River (Forty-sixth Congress). He was unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1882 to the Forty-eighth Congress. He was elected to the Fiftieth Congress and served from March 4, 1887, until his death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on August 2, 1887, before the Congress assembled. He was buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  $195.00 Buy Now

James Earl Ray
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassin

Click Here for Images 

A 1990-typed letter signed to Larry Kibbey making reference to his innocence in the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination stating “If had similar reporting in the US I would have had a trial years ago.”.  The letter also mentions his attorney Percy Foreman and his protégé Racehorse Haynes.  James Earl Ray, on the advice of Foreman, took a guilty plea to avoid a trial conviction and thus the possibility of receiving the death penalty. 
In full: 
11 January 1990

 Larry Kibbey                                                                                                                     

 Dear Larry, 

I have your letter & enclosures.  It has been cold here.  Broke all records a couple of weeks. Ago.  Anyway glad you are making it back out of the flood.

 In the autograph book.  I ran one of the few ads promoting the 'Tennessee Waltz book in it.  The publisher Joe Kraus wrote me asking about how one could verify prisoners bona fide signature.  I guess he was having a problem with persons in jail signing cards.

 Re Racehorse Haynes, I saw him & Percy Foreman on TV about 4 years ago.  I believe it was ABC-TV news.  Anyway Perc was old & Haynes was sort of praising him, so I doubt if racehorse would say anything adverse about Percy.  As to your checking, anything you find out about foreman will be appreciated.  One never knew where an acorn will turn up? 

The English are making another film the K case trying to smoke out the US politicians (see enclosure).  If had similar reporting in the US I would have had a trial years ago. 
Well I'm going to close for now.  Hope everything turns out Ok with your Mother. 
J Ray

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed by a sniper on April 4, 1968, while standing on the second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray, who fled the scene, was captured at London's Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the United Kingdom on the false Canadian passport. The UK quickly extradited Ray to Tennessee, where he was charged with King's murder. He confessed to the crime on March 10, 1969, and after pleading guilty was sentenced to 99 years in prison.  Three days later, he recanted his confession. Ray would assert for the next 30 years that he did not "personally shoot Dr. King," but may have been, "partially responsible without knowing it," hinting at a conspiracy. 

In 1997, King's son Dexter met with Ray, and publicly supported his efforts to obtain a retrial. Loyd Jowers, a restaurant owner in Memphis, was brought to civil court and sued as being part of a conspiracy to murder Martin Luther King. Jowers was found legally liable, and the King family accepted $100 in restitution, an amount chosen to show that they were not pursuing the case for financial gain. Dr. William Pepper, a friend of King in the last year of his life, represented Ray in a televised mock trial in an attempt to get him the trial he never had. The King family has since concluded that Ray did not have anything to do with the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

James Earl Ray died on April 23, 1998, after being denied a transplant operation, which would have saved his life.  After learning of Ray's death, Mrs. King told reporters, "This is a tragedy, not only for Mr. Ray and his family, but also for the entire nation."  She then renewed her call for a national commission that would fully probe her husband's killing.   $195.00    Buy Now

Signed card "Ernest Thompson Seton" with Paw ink sketch.

Ernest Thompson Seton (August 14, 1860 – October 23, 1946) was a British author, wildlife artist, founder of the Woodcraft Indians, and one of the founding pioneers of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Seton also influenced Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. His notable books related to Scouting include The Birch Bark Roll and The Boy Scout Handbook. He is responsible for the appropriation and incorporation of what he believed to be American Indian elements into the traditions of the BSA.

Seton was born on August 14, 1860, in South Shields, England, the eighth of the ten sons of Alice Snowdon Thompson and Joseph Logan Thompson. At the age of 21 he took the surname Seton in the belief that his father was the true heir to the lands and titles of Lord Seton, Earl of Winton. After an appeal from his mother in 1887, he resumed the Thompson surname and began using the nom de plume Ernest Seton-Thompson on his published works; in 1901 he changed his name legally to Ernest Thompson Seton. These changes have caused confusion in identifying his earlier work.

Joseph Thompson owned a small fleet of merchant sailing ships, but when forced out of business by competition from steam-powered ships in 1866, he emigrated to Canada with his family to become a farmer. On the farm near Lindsay, Ontario, Seton developed the interest in animal life that became the basis of his career as both artist and naturalist. The Thompsons, however, were unsuccessful as farmers, and after four years they moved to Toronto; here Seton discovered the wildlife of Toronto Island and the Don River valley. His adventures in the valley may be found in Two Little Savages (1903).

In 1876 he was apprenticed to the Toronto portrait painter John Colin Forbes and began night classes at the Ontario School of Art and Design. Although he won a seven year scholarship to London's Royal Academy of Arts in January 1881, he abandoned his studies after only seven months and returned to Canada, this time to settle on his brother Arthur's Manitoba homestead. His wildlife research on the prairie resulted in the publication of his first scientific article in 1883 and provided material for many of his later books, among them The Trail of the Sandhill Stag (1899).

Seton completed his art training between 1890 and 1896 at the Académie Julian in Paris. It was in France that he met the writer Grace Gallatin, the daughter of a San Francisco financier. They were married in New York in June 1896 and settled near Greenwich, Connecticut. Their only child was Anya Seton, the novelist. The marriage ended in divorce in 1935.

In 1898 Seton published his first book of animal stories, Wild Animals I Have Known, telling the stories of Lobo, King of Currumpaw; Silverspot, the crow; and Raggylug, the cottontail rabbit, from the animals' points of view. Lavishly illustrated with Seton's unique drawings and paintings, the book was an instant success, and Seton went on tour telling his stories and showing slides of his illustrations. For the next ten years he turned out at least one book of stories annually, including The Biography of a Grizzly; Lives of the Hunted; Monarch, the Big Bear of Tallac; Woodmyth and Fable; and Animal Heroes.

The popularity of his stories was temporarily halted in 1903 when the naturalist/philosopher John Burroughs accused him in an article in the Atlantic Monthly of "faking" his animal tales. Seton responded to this attack by investing the next five years in the research and writing of the two-volume Life Histories of Northern Animals which earned him the Camp Fire Gold Medal for 1909 and the renewed popularity of his books. Later he enlarged the Life Histories and published them in four volumes between 1925 and 1928 as Lives of Game Animals, this time earning the John Burroughs Memorial Society's Bronze Medal.

In 1902 Seton organized the Woodcraft Indians for boys in order to encourage outdoor activities, and in 1904 he presented a copy of his Birchbark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians to Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the hero of the seige of Mafeking, South Africa, asking him to help popularize Woodcraft summer camps in England. Instead, Baden-Powell introduced his own organization—the Boy Scouts— into England in 1908, incorporating most of the games and activities Seton had included in the Birchbark Roll. When it appeared that Baden-Powell intended to move the Boy Scout organization into the United States, Seton joined forces with other youth leaders to form the Boy Scouts of America in 1910, and he became the first Chief Scout. However, five years later he was forced out of the Boy Scouts because he was a pacifist.

In 1930 Seton settled on a 2,300-acre tract of land near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Here he married his second wife, Julia Moss Buttree, and with her he founded the Seton College of Indian Wisdom (later the Seton Institute of Indian Lore). Here for the next ten years they conducted summer courses in arts and crafts, outdoor activities, and leadership skills. He published his autobiography in 1940 and his last animal story book, Santana, the Hero Dog of France, in 1945. He continued to write and lecture until two months before his death on October 23, 1946.

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