Our noblest deeds and characters are forgotten, or misrepresented. How different in New England

Posted by | June 22, 2012

University of South Carolina
Columbia, S.C.
June 29, 1889
O.P. Temple, Esq
My dear Judge
I have read with great interest every word of the Knoxville Journal, concerning John Sevier, etc. The occasion was on of deep historic interest. I hope you will send me the more permanent publication which will doubtless be issued hereafter.
Your own contribution is of special value & beauty. Allow me to suggest that you should devote some of your leisure to the composition of a History of East Tenn. No living man is perhaps so well qualified as yourself for this work. At least you might select some special topic, if no more. Ein kind regard to your family. We are well.
Yours very truly, Ed. T. Joynes

letter to Oliver Perry TempleUniversity of South Carolina
Columbia, S.C.
July 11, 1889
Dear Friend –
Your most interesting letter recd. Let me hope you may yet carry our your plans, if only on the narrower lines such as you suggest. It is a deficit in our southern people that they will not write their own history nor even prepare materials for the future historian. Hence our noblest deeds and characters are forgotten, or misrepresented. How different in New England. Regard G Flemming If I can run off for a week, I shall come to Knoxville this summer if only for a planning visit with him and a talk with you
very truly Ed. S Joynes

Oliver Perry Temple (1820-1907) did indeed carry out the plans referred to in the second letter. He took the idea Joynes proposed about writing histories of East Tennessee and went on to author ‘The Covenanter, the Cavalier, and the Puritan (1897)’; ‘East Tennessee and the Civil War (1899)’; and ‘Notable Men of Tennessee,’ which was published posthumously in 1912.

Joynes was well qualified to spot writing ability in his friend. By the time he wrote the above letters, he’d already published “Introductory French Lessons,” “The Education of Teachers in the South,” and “A German grammar for schools and colleges.” He went on to publish 10 more books, mostly in the same ilk.

In the preface of his first book, Temple introduces himself as ‘OLIVER PERRY TEMPLE, For twelve years one of the Equity Judges of Tennessee,’ and dedicates the book ‘To the Scotch-Irish Society of America, which is doing so much to rescue from oblivion the history of the Covenanter People.”

The Covenanters were Scotsmen who in 1638 signed the National Covenant, a covenant confirming their opposition to the interference by the Stuart kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

Temple named his estate ‘Melrose’ after the ruined abbey in Scotland near which his wife had been born. All his maternal ancestors were from Scotland. Scotch-Irish issues were personal.

“The publication of this little book in its present form is due to an accidental circumstance,” he continues. “The matter it contains was prepared as a part of a larger and perhaps more important historical work, on which I am now engaged, and which I hope will soon be in print. Happening to show some of the chapters to a friend, in whose judgment I had great confidence, he said to me : Why not publish these chapters as a separate book?

“The matter they contain is only remotely related to that of the main book, and the two should not appear together. It happened that my own mind was running in the same direction, and had nearly arrived at the same conclusion. The publication of this book, in its present form, is, therefore, mainly due to that interview. It is, as it were, a leaf torn from another book.

“The chief reason for writing so fully, or at all, about the Covenanters is given in the opening sentences of Chapter IV of this book. The error and injustice there referred to are remarkable, indeed amazing; but it is not too late to correct them by letting in the light of history. A brief comparison of the record of the Covenanters with that of the Cavaliers and the Puritans shows in how remarkable a manner the former people have been neglected and ignored in the history and the public thought of the country. If I shall be able to quicken the interest in this great race, already existing, awakened by the noble efforts of The Scotch-Irish Society of America, I shall feel that I have, indeed, done a good work.”

Sources: The O.P. Temple Papers/University of Tennessee Special Collections Library
http://www.archive.org/details/covenantercavali00temprich

Oliver+Perry+Temple Knoxville+TN Covenanters Scots-Irish appalachia appalachian+history

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