1885 Ltr Re Reward Escaped Ky Convict [csa Genl. Lyon]
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1885 Ltr Re Reward Escaped Ky Convict [csa Genl. Lyon] :
1 pg. letter, Oct. 26, 1885, Cadiz, KY, written to General L (actually Fayette) Hewitt by William D. Grace (b. 1813) on behalf of his son, Alexander, who had captured an escaped convict from Eddyville, Kentucky and had yet to receive a promised $50 reward. Grace mentions his fruitless correspondence with [CSA General] Hylan B. Lyon (1836-1907) to collect the reward and seeks General Hewitt's assistance. In full: "Gen. L. Hewitt-- Dear Sir, about 8 or 10 July last my son A. H. Grace captured a convict that had escaped from Eddyville and returned him to the parties that had him in charge there. Gen. Lyon was absent at the time and some on else receipted for the returned convict say[ing] when Gen. Lyon returned he would pay the reward. Hearing nothing from him, my son J(ohn) R. Grace wrote to the General, and received a very unsatisfactory reply, upon seeing that letter I insisted upon sending it to you but the Judge insisted that I would not do that but wait and hear from Gen. Lyon again. Judge [John R.] Grace has been absent 12 weeks and I supposed had collected the $50 reward, but I saw him today and he informed me that he heard nothing concerning it since 11 days of July last. Will you please do me the favor to inform me who is responsible for it and when I may expect to receive the reward as General Lyon says he does not know and has written you twice on the subject and received no answer. I write this at the request of A. H. Grace hoping to hear from you soon, I remain yours W. D. Grace." William D. Grace, the author of this letter, was a commission merchant, meat(pork) packer, and hotel owner in Canton, TN. At the start of the Civil War he moved to Cadiz, KY, where he owned a 1,300 acre farm. One of his sons, whose name he drops throughout the letter, was Judge John R. Grace (1834-96) who was Judge of the 2nd Judicial Circuit of Kentucky. Another much younger son (half brother to Judge Grace), who had captured the escaped convict, was Alexander H. Grace. William had written General Lyon because at that time Lyon was state prison commissioner for Kentucky. Lyon, a wealthy Kentucky plantation owner, graduated West Point in 1856, and fought Indians out West with the U.S. Army before the Civil War began. He resigned his commission when the war began and eventually became a CSA Brigadier General of Cavalry under Gen. N. B. Forrest. He led a raid into Tennessee and Kentucky in 1864, burning seven county courthouses. At the wars end, he fled to Mexico, but eventually returned to his plantation in Eddyville [Lyon County], Kentucky where he was a merchant and state prison commissioner. Eddyville is near where the present Kentucky State Penitentiary is located (the prison began construction in 1884 and was not completed at the time of this letter). General Lyon was the moving force behind its location-- no doubt since he was state prison commissioner, locating the prison near his plantation made an "easy commute" for him. Although the letter is addressed to Gen. L. Hewitt, this came from a collection of Kentucky letters addressed to Fayette Hewitt, who was entitled to be called general as he was Adjutant General of the "Orphans Brigade" or the "First Kentucky Brigade." CSA. Hewitt had three horses shot from under him, and had numerous balls go through his coat and hair. Thus, I believe William made a mistake in addressing the letter. At the time, General Hewitt was serving as Auditor for Kentucky, and it makes sense that Grace would go to the "Money" man for the state to try and get the $50 for his son. Some minor bends and a tear at the edges, o/w good. Buyer pays $2.25 shipping.