Fayette County History & Genealogy

History of Fayette County


From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County

Cheops, Ceplirenes, and the mighty Sphynx, Obelisk of Cleopatra, and ruins of Xochicalco, stand forth as monuments upon which are engraven the mutations of time, the inevitable destroyer of all visible nature, and products of art: into whose Lethean gulf ancient Ilium, Nineveh, Thebes, and all the architecture of distant ages have been plunged in eternal slumber. Nay, the very stars shall cease to shine, the sun eclipsed in gloom, and all nature swallowed up in oblivion. Nothing is immortal, save the soul, which shall outlive the warfare of clashing elements and destruction of worlds. The flight of a single day is perceptibly impressed upon surrounding nature. The faded flower, the withered tree, both speak of something gone. Indeed, the flmty pyramids that so long have opposed the blasts of the desert sands; the tower that for centuries has withstood the furies of old ocean's winds and waves, finally must yield to the universal destroyer—time—and, crumbling, moulder to earth, and "doting with age, forget their founder's name." Our lives are but an awakening, transition, sleep, and forgetting. Yet notwithstanding these numerous evidences of the general devastations of time, the soothing voice of resurrection whispers all is not lost; for
"See dying vegetables, life sustain;
See life dissolving, vegetate again;
All forms that perish, other forms supply;
By turns we catch the vital breath and die.
Like bubbles on the sea of water borne,
They rise, they break, and to that sea return."

We are. therefore, to believe that throughout the economy of nature, by conservation and correlation, all things are preserved, and what we call death is but transition; for the book of nature plainly teaches the perpetuity of all created things. As the one grows old and dies, straightway in quick succession springs up the new, nourished by the moldering remains of its ancestor. We, ourselves, may pass away, but ere the eating canker begins its work, closely follows youth again, our second selves. All things new spring from and are nourished by things that have passed away. Not one beauty of nature takes its flight, but in untold centuries hence, by transition leaves behind the freshness of its distant genesis. We should, therefore, preserve and keep fresh, like flowers in water, the transitory fruits of the past, and bind them upon the same stock with the buds of the present.

Through reminiscence we love to dwell upon pleasing objects of the past, and calling them up we seem to gaze upon them one by one as they in panorama pass before us; meditate upon them, and in imagination, live over again the happy days that are forever gone. Our old and fond associates are once more mingling with us; we enjoy again the life we have left behind; but break the spell, the bubble bursts, and all melts into the past. So in our dreams, the untrammeled intelligence revels amidst the materialized spirits of departed friends. We breathe again the balmy air of youth, and through the endless chain of recollection, link to link, as wave succeeding wave, we hold enchanting communion with the past, and imbibe intoxicating draughts from the sparkling fountain of youth, until we are in fancy transported to the happy realms of the morning of life; and truly has it been said that the mind can make substances, and people planets of its own with beings brighter than have been, and give a breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.

Decaying organisms are by process of petrefaction metamorphosed into everlasting forms, bearing exact identity with their prototypes, through whose interpretation we are enabled to unlock the profoundest mysteries of geognosy. If nature, therefore, has bequeathed to us the key to her created forms, so likewise should we receive, preserve, and keep fresh forever the history of those who suffered so long, endured so much, in order to secure for themselves a resting place, and bequeath to us the beautiful homes we now enjoy, undisturbed by any of the dangers that surrounded our forefathers.

Let us, therefore, see to it that from the green pages of memory they do not pass into tradition, and still fading, through lapse of time sink forever beneath the wave of oblivion. The labor and embarrassments attendant upon, and research, and patience necessary to the resurrection of moldy facts and ethereal traditions which have so long slumbered in the matrix of obscurity, is little realized save by those who undertake to write a history based upon facts and traditions, whose genesis springs from the aboriginal tribes that roamed at large throughout the winding labyrinths of their own primival forests, beneath whose sylvan shades the panting deer lay down in peace; amidst whose branches the winged choristers built their homes, and chirped their matin songs, caroling with angelic sweet and trembling voices, gently warbling with the murmuring brook and rustling leaves below. The forest patriarchs had not looked down frowning upon the white man's cabin. They stood sentinel above the fragile wigwam of the painted savage, nestled alone within their sequestered shades; within whose folds the forest maiden gave modest ear to the love song^of the dusky warrior, as he displayed the gory insignia of his prowess which adorned his girdle, and sang the deeds of war and the chase, and with equal ardor woos the maid, or scalps the captive, and burns the victim at the stake,