W. L. TRUMAN
In 1867 the awful days of reconstruction was upon the prostrate South, she was handed over, unarmed into the hands of the Northern politician, who had never smelt gunpowder, to shape her destiny. They proceeded to destroy a great people, whose brain and blood, had made possible, a country called the United States, by taking away their right of suffrage, and giving it to the negro slaves. Placeing them in office, to govern their former owners. They used all of their Satanic power with the help of the soldiers, as far as they could to accomplish their end, but it was impossible, unless the whole white race in the South, had been put to the sword. A people with the proudest history in every way, that the world has ever known, could not be made by any laws, or earthly power, to submit to the government of an inferior race especially the negro race, the lowest of God’s creation.
My ideal Alabama home was broken up during those dark days. My host the Dr. (for he is an able practising physician of medicine as well as a large planter) had to close out his planting interest at great sacrifice, as well as his urban home, the home of his young manhood, the home of his wife and children, with all the sacred ties, and surroundings, of a lifetime, and turn their backs forever upon those hallowed scenes, to a new home in another state. But thanks to an over ruling Providence, this lovely family was transported in the land of Evangeline, the beautiful Opelousas, Louisiana, the home of the orange, banana and other subtropical fruits. The beautiful streams, including the renowned Bayou Teche bordered with giant live oaks, draped in grey Spanish moss, hanging from ten to twenty feet below the branches, and tossed to and fro by the refreshing gulf breeze, is a picture too grand to be described, and yet it is not complete, unless you will remember, that our Southern songster, is here and every where about, with his inimitable music. Hear him described by Longfellow in Evangeline, as her boat glides over the tranquil waters of the Teche, in search of her lover. “Swing aloft on a willow spray hung over the water
Shook from his little throat such floods of delicious music,
That the whole air and woods and the waves seemed silent to listen
Plainive at first were the tones and sad;
then soaring to madness
Seemd they to follow or guide the revel of frenzied Bacchantes
Single notes were then heard in sorrowful, low lamentation
Till having gathered them all, he flung them abroad in derision,
As when, after a storm, a gust of wind through the tree tops
shakes down the rattling rain in a crystal shower on the branches
With such a prelude as this, and hearts that throbbed with emotion,
Slowly the entered the Teche, where it flows through the green Opelousas
And through the amber air, above the crest of the woodland,
Saw the column of smoke that arose from a neighboring dwelling” By the additon of this highly cultivated, honorable family, the lovely Attakapa country was doubly blessed. First by their pure example, and high mark of refinement and second by the gain of a practicing physician, equal to the best. They were welcomed and appreciated by the Acadian, or Creole people, a people with but few exceptions that are pure, and simple in their manners and way of living. The wealthy and cultivated class possess a high ideal of purity, and honor, and are equal to the best people on earth. When a stranger settles among them, and lives a pure life, they will stand by him to a man, but they are eternal enemies to all crookedness. I kept in touch of my Soldier Home, through formal missives from my Alabama girl, for three years, then I paid them a visit, and persuaded that lovely girl, the sweetest of all maidens to me, to return with me to my Kentucky home. We boarded a boat at Washington, La. passed down the Courtableau bayou, then up the Atchafalaya river, and down the Father of Waters to New Orleans, from there we took passage upon the beautiful passenger boat, “Silver Spray”, for Louisiville, Ky. In passing up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers the view and scenery in many places is too beautiful to describe. I pointed out to her the bluffs at Grand Gulf, and Vicksburg, where I had stood under the iron hail of death, for her, and her Southland. The former, after a long struggle was mine, and the latter, a principle, that might cannot make right, and therefore we will have it in God’s own time. She unfolded to me for the first time her long, fierce, and hotly contested heart battles, she was compelled to fight, for her Soldier boy. First the clerical gentleman, who spread his net with perfect confidence, and when she would not go in, he brought in the persuasive power of her dearest friends, and others that were so much dearer than friends, to assist him, but she has a mind of her own, and determined to weigh well the man of her choice. In the meantime another one entered the contest for her hand, he had a superabundance of wealth, with many other admirable qualities. The battle with him was hot and necessarily short to secceed. The first with all his virtues, and heavenly calling, was placed in the balances, with her soldier boy lover, and his undying faithfulness, and many unpolished virtues, as she saw them, and he was found light. She now weighs her second wooer, seperated from his great wealth, with the same result, and decides in favor of her soldier boy, if he would but come and claim her. I folded her to my heart, and wept for joy.
We landed in Lexington in due time, spent two months there amidst the joy of our many friends, then returned to the historic Opelousas country, bought as twelve thousand dollar plantation, near the rich bayou Teche, in St. Landry parish, La., where my memoir leaves me, with a life of roses yet untold.