Memorial addresses on the life and character of John W. Shackelford


John W. Shackelford


JOINT RESOLUTION to provide for the publication of the memorial addresses delivered in Congress upon the late John W. Shackelford.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there be printed twelve thousand copies of the memorial addresses delivered in the Senate and House of Representatives upon the life and character of Hon. John W. Shackelford, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina, together with a portrait of the deceased; nine thousand copies thereof for the use of the House of Representatives and three thousand copies for the use of the Senate. And a sum sufficient to defray the expense of preparing and printing the portrait of the deceased for the publication herein provided for is hereby appropriated out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated.

Approved March 2, 1883.




January 18, 1883.

Mr. VANCE. I rise, Mr. Speaker, to the discharge of a painful duty. With sincere grief I announce that Hon. JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, a Representative from the State of North Carolina, died at his residence in this city to-day, of pneumonia, at forty-five minutes after 11 o'clock. Mr. SHACKELFORD, by reason of sickness, has not been able to occupy his seat in the House during the present session of Congress. He arrived in this city some thirteen days ago, since which time he has been growing worse until to-day, when he died.

On a future occasion the House will be asked to pause in its regular business to pay honor to the memory of a worthy and noble man.

I move the adoption of the resolutions which I send to the desk.

The Clerk read as follows:

Resolved, That the House has heard with profound sorrow the announcement of the death of Hon. JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina.

Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these proceedings to the Senate.

Resolved, That as a token of respect for the memory of the deceased the House do now adjourn.

The SPEAKER. Before submitting the question on these resolutions the Chair announces as the committee of escort on the part of

the House to accompany the remains of the deceased member to the place of burial Mr. Latham of North Carolina, Mr. Hubbs of North Carolina, Mr. Leedom of Ohio, Mr. McKenzie of Kentucky, and Mr. De Motte of Indiana.

The resolutions submitted by Mr. Vance were then adopted unanimously; and in accordance with the last resolution the House adjourned.


February 17, 1883.

Mr. VANCE. The hour having arrived fixed by the House as the time for delivering appropriate tributes to the memory of Hon. JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, late a member of this House from the State of North Carolina, I submit the resolutions which I send to the Clerk's desk.

The SPEAKER. The Clerk will read the resolutions.

The Clerk read as follows:

Resolved, That the regular business of the House be suspended that proper honors may be paid to the memory of Hon. JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, late a Representative from North Carolina.

Resolved, That in the death of Mr. SHACKELFORD the country has lost a good man, a patriotic citizen, and a faithful Representative.

Resolved, That as a further mark of respect for his memory the House, at the conclusion of these ceremonies, shall adjourn.

Resolved, That the Clerk shall communicate these resolutions to the Senate.

The SPEAKER. One of the resolutions provides that at the conclusion of these ceremonies the House shall adjourn. The question is upon agreeing to the resolutions just read.

The resolutions were unanimously adopted.

Address of Mr. LATHAM, of North Carolina.

Mr. SPEAKER: The mortality among the members of the Forty-seventh Congress has been frightfully great. Eight times since we were chosen as the Representatives of the people the angel of death has poised its wings over the magnificent dome that crowns this structure. Seven times the grim reaper that garners for eternity has entered this Hall, and at each visit he has left behind him a vacant seat draped in the drear and solemn emblems of grief and mourning. With stern impartiality he has spared no section, no age, no condition. Northern, Southern, and Western firesides have alike been made desolate.

Past services and promises of future usefulness have alike pleaded in vain for a short respite. The statesman grown old and gray in the constant service of his country; the orator whose eloquence has captivated the fancy and enchained the senses; the soldier who, “seeking the bubble reputation even in the cannon's mouth,” has exposed and endangered his life on a hundred battlefields; the suave diplomat who has represented us at foreign courts; the old who have almost lived out in the service of their country the span of life allotted by the Psalmist, and the young who have just entered upon the political arena with burnished armor and sharpened spear, whose agile footsteps have but mounted the hill of life, and whose eagle eyes see spread out before them a bright and glorious future, rich in promise, have alike bowed to the inexorable decree and learned that universal truth that “the paths of glory lead but to the grave.” They have passed to their last silent resting-places in mother earth, and the grief that filled their far distant homes in every quarter of this Union has found its fitting echo within these marble walls. “Man goeth to his long home and the mourners go about the streets.”

Amid this great mortality the State that I have the honor in part to represent has not escaped. She, too, is called upon to place

flowers upon the tomb of one of her favorite sons, a son that in prosperity and adversity, in peace and in war, in public and in private life, never for one single moment deviated from the straight line of duty or faltered in the discharge of a single obligation. Bending to-day in mute sorrow above the mound that marks his last resting-place, she points with pride to the history of his life and bids us emulate it.

JOHN WILLIAMS SHACKELFORD, representing in the present Congress the third district of North Carolina, died in the city of Washington on the 18th day of January last at mid-day. He was comparatively a young man. He would have reached his thirty-ninth birthday on the 16th of November next, had he been spared so long. Immediately before the reassembling of Congress after the Christmas holidays he started, accompanied by his devoted wife, from his home to the national capital. He was then suffering acutely from a complication of diseases. The journey did not improve him and he reached his destination in a condition that absolutely prevented his attending to his public duties. He was unable to be in his seat at any time afterward. He grew weaker day by day.

The best medical talent in Washington was employed, and his family physician, then and now a distinguished member of the legislature of his native State, was summoned to his bedside. His loving and devoted wife outwatched the hours as she kept her tireless vigil by his couch. But medical science and the care of friends were alike in vain. His constitution gradually succumbed, and after an illness of two weeks he passed beyond the ken of human vision to that “undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.” How long he stood upon the shore of that boundless sea that marks the division between this and another life, listening to the billows of eternity as they broke ceaselessly at his feet, no man can tell. But this I know—for I stood by his bedside at that supreme and solemn hour when his spirit was pluming its wings for its flight into eternal space—no misgivings haunted him, no terrors shook his constant soul. Calmly, peaceably, quietly, like a child lulled to sleep on its mother's breast, he breathed his last. “Sustained

and soothed by an unfaltering trust” he passed to his eternal rest—

Like one that wraps the drapery of his couchAbout him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

As his sorrowing colleagues and those appointed to attend his remains stood around his bier, I am sure there was not one but marked the air of calm repose and peace his features had assumed, unmarked by a single sign of disease, or doubt, or dread, or fear.

Mr. SHACKELFORD was the only child of Dr. John Shackelford by his first wife. When he was but a few months old he suffered that greatest of all misfortunes—the loss of his mother. He was raised and educated by his maternal grandfather, Williams Humphreys, from whom he took in part his name.

When the bugle-blast of war sounded its call to arms, when its echo reverberated from every hill-top and filled every valley, when our citizen-soldiery from the Potomac to the Gulf rallied to the standard of the Confederacy and rushed to that conflict which was destined to fill so many untimely graves, carry desolation and mourning to so many homes, and cost so many millions of treasure, Mr. SHACKELFORD was a mere youth of sixteen. With that devotion to what he conceived to be his duty, with that constancy that was one of his marked characteristics, with that intrepidity that was inborn, he shouldered his musket, joined the ranks of his countrymen, and marched to the front.

From the hour that the first shot was fired at Charleston and the iron messenger of war and death went speeding its fateful way across the broad expanse of waters, crashing against the granite wall of Sumter, to the day when the Southern cross faded before the tear-dimmed eyes of its faithful followers at Appomattox, his life was passed on the “tented field,” “amid the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war.” When the struggle was over, when the arbitrament of the sword had been declared, when the soldiers of either army who had survived that terrible conflict were returning to their homes, Mr. SHACKELFORD had not attained his majority.

More than four years, the best years of a man's life, the years that ought to have been spent within the walls of a school-house

in laying the foundation for future usefulness and in preparation for the grand struggle that must mark every human existence, had been in effect lost. Broken in fortune, crushed in spirit, suffering from long confinement in a Northern military prison, and without the benefit and advantages of that education usual among men in his position in life, he entered upon the duties of a citizen with the same energy and zeal that had marked his conduct as a soldier in camp or on field. He succeeded as all men actuated by such principles succeed. To them there is no such word as “fail.” They may die and pass from the arena of life ere the goal at which they aimed is reached, but even then their lives are in no sense failures, since each day has marked their onward progress.

The people among whom he lived soon recognized his sterling qualities and were not slow in rewarding them with political honors. For six years in succession he represented his native county in the house of representatives of North Carolina, and succeeding that he was chosen as senator in the ninth senatorial district, composed of the counties of Onslow, Jones, and Carteret. In 1880, and while holding the office of a State senator, he was called to preside over the deliberations of a convention summoned to nominate a candidate for Congress in the third district. Such was the impartiality, the dignity, and ability with which he conducted its proceedings that he was made the nominee of the body over which he himself presided, and at the election received a large majority of the votes cast.

From 1872 to the time of his death, a period of more than ten years, he was constantly in official position, and while no brilliant episode marked his career, every duty imposed upon him was carefully and conscientiously performed. No higher compliment could be paid his integrity than the fact that in all these years no whisper was ever heard affecting his character.

Mr. Speaker, in paying the last tribute of respect and affection to the memory of our deceased brother, it is proper to speak of his peculiar characteristics. In disposition he was exceedingly retiring, and modest to a fault. In this he was unjust to himself, for his perceptions were remarkably keen, and he was by no means

deficient in the art of properly expressing himself upon any matter in which he was interested. He was of those, however, who preferred to listen rather than of those who would instruct others.

Strictly just and impartial, he weighed carefully every argument addressed to his reason before coming to a decision; but the decision once made he was firm as adamant.

To his friends he was most strongly attached, seeming to act upon the advice given by Polonius to Laertes on the eve of the latter's journey to a foreign land:

The friends thou hast and their affection tried,Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.

In his domestic life he was peculiarly fortunate. He was the most devoted of husbands. Married before he was twenty-one and without children to divide his affection, his love was centered upon one object, the wife of his youth.

By his neighbors he was held in the highest estimation. Kind in his deportment, generous in his dealings, the arbiter of their differences, and the adviser in their difficulties, he retained their esteem and regard until the day of his death.

To his equals he was ever pleasant and obliging, to his inferiors gracious and kind. I was particularly struck with a circumstance in this regard. He had with him in Washington during his last illness, in the capacity of a servant, a colored boy that he had brought from his home. During the long and tedious journey to the grave among his forefathers the sable follower ceased not to weep over the death of his friend and protector. Such things speak volumes.

But, Mr. Speaker, if there was anything more marked than another in the characteristics of the deceased, it was the great virtue of charity, the charity that “thinketh no evil,” the charity that “covers a multitude of sins.” I use the word in that sense that conveys the meaning of broad and catholic views. Taught as we are by the utterances of our Divine Master that it is the greatest of all virtues, we may, amid the clash of religious opinion and the quarrels of doctrinaires, indulge ourselves in the pleasing hope

that the vision of Abou Ben Adhem inculcated the highest principles of philosophy and religion.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase),Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,And saw, within the moonlight in his room,Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,An angel writing in a book of gold:—Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,And to the presence in the room he said,“What writest thou?”—The vision rais'd its head,And with a look made of all sweet accord,Answer'd, “The names of those who love the Lord,”“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,But cheerily still, and said, “I pray thee, then,Write me as one who loves his fellow-men.”The angel wrote and vanish'd. The next nightIt came again, with a great wakening light,And show'd the names whom love of God had bless'd,And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

He sleeps in the bosom of his native county, amid the scenes and among the friends he loved so well. The sod, green under the smile of returning spring, lies lightly on his breast, and his native forest, “dewy with nature's tear-drops,” mourns his requiem and grieves, “if aught inanimate e'er grieves,” over the untimely death of her favorite son.

Address of Mr. RANDALL, of Pennsylvania.

Mr. SPEAKER: It has been written that “nothing so soon reconciles us to the thought of our own death as the prospect of one friend after another dropping around us.” If there be real consolation in this philosophy, it must manifest itself to each one of the survivors of the present Congress. In both Houses we have been called upon to deplore the loss of those who died in the fullness of years and honors. Now it is our duty to pay the last sad tribute of respect to one who died comparatively young in years and who

stood upon the threshold of an opening career replete with the promise of usefulness.

As a Representative of the people of North Carolina, JOHN W. SHACKELFORD was untiring in the vigilance with which he guarded the interests intrusted to his care. While he was firm and resolute in pursuing the course he believed to be right, yet he bore himself with such modesty and moderation that he seemed to escape the sharp antagonism of political contests.

He commended himself to his associates by his undeviating fidelity to what he believed to be just toward the Government as well as toward individuals. As an honest man his reputation is stainless.

While it may not be claimed that he was a great orator, yet he possessed a calm judgment and careful thought and just action, which, after all, bear the burden of the day. Indeed, judging Mr. SHACKELFORD from my intercourse with him, I remember no man to whom could be more aptly applied the shrewd judgment of Horace Walpole:

To act with common sense, according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy to do one's duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one's lot, bless the goodness that has given us so much happiness with it, whatever it is, and despise affectation.

Address of Mr. VANCE, of North Carolina.

Mr. SPEAKER: “In the midst of life we are in death.”

Death, so called, is with us an abiding presence. The all-wise Being has made His intelligent and rational creatures subject to death, to teach them a truth that is above all other truths. The very fact that man is an heir of pain and death is wisely given to him to instruct him that this life is only the beginning of his being; to teach him humility and his dependence on his Maker, and that only God is truly great.

What is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him?—Psalms, cxliv, 3.

Mr. Speaker, death is no respecter of persons. The high, the lowly; the rich, the poor; the famous, the obscure; the mighty, the feeble; the aged, the young; the man, the woman—

Await alike the inevitable hour.


The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

No human being can avoid the shafts of the arch-enemy of the race. The ponderous lock, the triple bar of steel, the immense wall of rock, and squadrons and legions, flashing blades, waving banners, and the form incased in seemingly impenetrable armor—all, all are in vain!

Ahab, King of Israel, disguised himself when he entered the battle to recover Ramoth Gilead, but “a certain man drew a bow at a venture and smote the King of Israel between the joints of the harness, and the King died and was brought to Samaria.”

Death has spoken to us many times during the present Congress. We have already paid proper and becoming tribute to the memory of our noble contemporaries who have fallen asleep.

The great Father by his providence called each of them and said:

Go to the grave; at noon from labor cease;Rest on thy sheaves; thy harvest work is done.Come from the heat of battle, and in peace,Soldier, go home: with thee the fight is won.

We have checked for a moment the ordinary business of the House, the excitement of debate, and the anxious interest incident to legislation, to perform a holy duty in memory of another. Hon. JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, late a member of this Congress from the State of North Carolina, was born in Onslow County, North Carolina, on the 16th day of November, 1844; consequently he was thirty-eight years two months and two days old at the date of his death, which occured in this city, as heretofore announced, on the 18th of January, 1883, at forty-five minutes after 11 o'clock a. m.

Your servant has no means of stating Mr. SHACKELFORD'S educational advantages, as no facts on this point have been furnished him.

Mr. SHACKELFORD entered the Confederate army at the early age of 17 years, in Company H, Third North Carolina Regiment. He was afterward elected to a lieutenancy in the Thirty-fifth North

Carolina Regiment. He was captured near Greenville, North Carolina, and suffered a long and painful captivity in Point Lookout prison for Confederate soldiers. He was elected to the legislature of his native State in 1872. In 1876 he was elected to the senate of North Carolina. Mr. SHACKELFORD'S services as a legislator were highly appreciated in his State. His affable manners, gentle character, and courteous demeanor, as well as his careful attention to his duties, won him many friends and admirers.

In 1880 the district convention held at Fayetteville nominated him for a seat in the Forty-seventh Congress without any effort on his part. He was elected over his opponent, W. P. Cannady, by 1,339 majority. Mr. SHACKELFORD, while not taking a very active part in the debates in Congress, was known to be a man of fine sense and excellent parts. The speeches he made were of an order showing sound thought and wise statesmanship. He was remarkably attentive to his duties, always in his seat unless detained from the House by sickness or unavoidable absence. The peculiar characteristics of our lamented colleague were probably modesty and tenderness of heart, coupled with a generous and liberal spirit. As an evidence of his modesty, the Congressional Directory has only the following notice of his life, as furnished by himself:

JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, of Jacksonville, was born in North Carolina, November 16, 1844; was elected to the Forty-seventh Congress as a Democrat, receiving 16,356 votes against 15,017 votes for Cannady, Republican, and 645 votes for Kornegay, Greenback candidate.

No mention is made of his political or military history. Our departed friend was of most liberal character, especially to the poor. On his table during his illness there were found several letters from friends and constituents, who had confidently asked for relief in time of trouble and need. When, toward the end of the struggle, his mind wandered, his thought seem to be with those in want or in circumstances of difficulty. At one time, after he became unconscious, he said, “The poor woman only lacked five hundred dollars in paying for her place.”

Mr. SHACKELFORD was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and a firm believer in the doctrines of the Bible.

He was not renominated for Congress, but he entered the canvass

earnestly and came out of it sick. Endeavoring to reach Washington that he might resume his duties here, he left home ill. After getting here he suffered from a relapse and grew worse until the date mentioned, when the silver cord was loosed, the golden bowl was broken, and the pitcher broken at the fountain.

Mr. SHACKELFORD left no child to inherit his virtues and his good name. His widow, with whom we sympathize in her great loss, has returned to her home in North Carolina.

JOHN W. SHACKELFORD is dead. We shall meet, but we shall miss him. Another is added to the great company already gone before. Who among us of all this assembly will go next? What solemn warnings come to us from these frequent and mournful calls?

The one who now addresses you is reminded of how near the wings of death have touched him since his membership in this body. Hon. Gustave Schleicher, in a former Congress, as chairman of the Committee on Railways and Canals, occupied a seat at the head of his committee which your servant occupied, as chairman of another committee, on another day; Hon. Beverly Douglas, of Virginia, touched elbows with him in committee; and, lastly, Mr. SHACKELFORD sat immediately on his left in the Forty-seventh Congress. They have all passed the last river and have gone to their long homes.

It is well for us, Mr. Speaker, that faith sustains us in these moments of mortal anguish. The grand apostle of the Gentiles has stated a strange but wonderful truth:

For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.—Philippians, i, 21.

It is absurd to say that the mattock, the spade, the winding-sheet, the coffin, the grave, and the maggot are the factors of the gain the great writer speaks of. He certainly meant that the gain is embraced in the sublime doctrine that the soul and body of one who loves God can never perish. Beautiful and precious is the faith which teaches that God has in His keeping the dust of those we loved and who loved him.

And ever near us, though unseen,The dear immortal spirits tread;For all the boundless universeIs life; there are no dead.Address of Mr. LEEDOM, of Ohio.

Mr. SPEAKER: Again has the hand of death descended and struck down one from among us, one who had been in this Hall but a brief time, but in that time he had won the highest regard from all with whom he had come in contact; one who had shown his great capacity for the performance of duty and a devotion to the interests he represented worthy of the highest encomium.

JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, a Representative from the grand Old North State, has ended his brief stay with us, and judging from the life that he led it may be believed that his life here had fitted him for a happy one in the future.

The sad duty has devolved upon me of speaking of his death, of saying to the people of his section of the country how he bore his part among us. I undertake this duty with fear and trembling lest I should fail to say all that might be said and that ought to be said of my departed colleague; and yet I appreciate at its true value the privilege which is afforded me of paying a deserved tribute to his memory; and should I fall short of my whole duty in the performance, it will be attributable alone to the feelings of regret and sorrow which shall overcome me. His seat on this floor was next to mine; and although the days when he sat there were not many, the kindly nature of the man, the strength of character which distinguished him, and his agreeable ways won my admiration and esteem.

Now that chair is vacant, and that vacancy whispers to me that death has been there, and it impels me to say, of this kindly and amiable man, the words which should be spoken and recorded where they may be preserved, that his people may know how high a place he took in the minds and hearts of those among whom his new field of usefulness lay. He was proud of his birth-place, proud of the Old North State, and her earnest champion. He gloried in the record of the achievements of her famous sons in the Colonial and Revolutionary days; their names were treasured words with him, which he held most sacred, and when he would recite their deeds of

gallantry he seemed, in his enthusiasm, to lose sight of his own identity, and ascended to the loftiest heights; and proud as he may have been of his native State, she had as much cause to be proud of him.

In the lives and actions of these defenders of liberty he found the example of his own following. Emulating their probity, heroism, and patriotism, he had advanced step by step, his bold energy exciting him to exertion, his sterling integrity keeping him always on the right course. A laudable and worthy ambition counseling him to aim at the highest eminence, and a love of country, which was part of his existence, consecrating him to her service, he mounted to that high pinnacle of fame and honor on which so many of North Carolina's sons had stood before him.

He had passed away at the time when the powers of his mind were attaining their greatest strength and the largest opportunities were being offered to him for their exercise.

JOHN WILLIAMS SHACKELFORD was born in Richlands, the prosperous and lovely portion of Onslow County, North Carolina, on November 16, 1844, and was the only child of Indiana Ambrose Humphrey and Dr. John Shackelford. His mother died soon after his birth. He remained with his grandfather, William Humphrey, who raised and educated him. When the war between the sections took place, he enlisted as a private in the Southern army, being then but seventeen years of age, and performed service in that capacity in Company H, Third North Carolina Regiment, until his election to the grade of lieutenant in the Thirty-fifth Regiment North Carolina Volunteers. He was taken prisoner near Greenville, North Carolina, and was confined as a prisoner of war at New Berne, Norfolk, Fortress Monroe, and Point Lookout for the space of fifteen months.

He married Miss Kate Wallace in August, 1865. His life was chiefly spent in agricultural pursuits, in which he had acquired a competence and happiness. He was drawn into political life rather by the demands of his people than of his own volition. He served with distinction in the State legislature and was chosen to represent his district in the Forty-seventh Congress. He was again a candidate

for the nomination, before the Democratic convention, for election to the Forty-eighth Congress, but when the nomination was given to another, without hesitation, in spite of his failing health, which wholly unfitted him for the fatigues and labor incident to a political canvass, he threw himself with ardor into the contest, devoting his great efforts to secure the success of the Democracy, without regard to himself or his failure to receive the nomination. He labored in that canvass with all the earnestness of his nature, and with the same zeal that he would have exhibited had he been the standard-bearer of his party. And to these sacrifices is largely attributable the malady which has terminated so fatally for him.

He was alone in the world; and the only inmate of his household, of his own family, left to mourn his untimely departure, was his loving wife. There is nothing to perpetuate his name, except the love of his people and the honorable record of his deeds, but these will prove sufficient to preserve his memory from the decay of time, and keep the words of approval, which are deeply graven on the memorial shaft raised by the gratitude of a nation, to preserve the names of honest, noble men from mould and defacement. The unswerving consistency of his conduct in life had made him known generally throughout his section of the State, and it is one of the boasts of his people that he has not an enemy in all that land; that every man was his friend. His opportunities were few, at the commencement of his Congressional career, to exhibit the qualities which he possessed, but on one occasion he submitted some remarks on the tariff question which created a profound impression, and furnished unanswerable evidence of the wide and logical grasp of his mind.

During the second session his health was such as to entirely preclude his attendance on the House, and he was confined to his bed soon after his arrival at the capital and lingered but a short time when the pale messenger came. He was quiet and reserved in manner, and this was caused largely by the workings of his well-disciplined mind, which he had trained and tutored to conform to those principles which he had been taught from the beginning were those which formed the heritage of the descendants of the colonists of North Carolina.

From New Hanover and Brunswick Counties, both of which are within the Congressional district represented by the lamented SHACKELFORD, in the days when the principles of liberty were trembling in the balance and hanging by a hair, threatened by English dominance and tyranny, came those three distinguished patriots, John Ashe, Samuel Ashe, and Judge Maurice Moore, whose intrepidity and grand abilities, even at that early day, attracted the attention of the world and brought into subjection and submission the enemies of liberty on our soil. And there their memories have been kept green, and fathers have taught their sons, and these their sons, that the declaration in the North Carolina “Bill of Rights,” adopted by the State convention, of which these men were members, in 1776, “That all political power is vested in and proceeds from the people,” was a holy and sacred truth to be maintained and cherished forever; and it was from a constituency proud of its traditions, proud of the prowess and independent spirit of the Ashe brothers, and of the scholarly and elevated character of the great jurist and honest judge, Maurice Moore, whose letters signed “Atticus,” addressed to the governor of the province, shook English domination in America to its center, that of all the men who walked in the path of those who had so illustrated the higher qualities of manhood JOHN W. SHACKELFORD was chosen as the representative of the people to-day as a token that the same love of liberty, the same regard for the rights of the people, prevailed in that country to-day.

It is a special cause of sadness to those who have been the associates and friends during life of this representative man of their people that he leaves none behind him to perpetuate his name and carry on his good work. With him this noble race of men dies. No child will with pride point to his father's goodly life; no daughter rear her children to reverence his name. All are gone. There is no father, mother, or child who may be taken to the people's heart and loved and cherished for the sake of him whose life has been so true.

It was my sad duty to accompany his remains to his home and

his mourning widow, and when I saw her in the bereft homestead all the light had gone out of her life. All that she had to say was that she was ready to go with him. She sits now in loneliness at the home which his presence made so bright and happy. We can alleviate her grief, perhaps, by giving to our kindly thoughts of him expression, which will let the world know how we honored him and how we recognized his worth and Christian qualities. Although the announcement of the time of his burial was short, the concourse that assembled was great. They came from every quarter, from every county in his district, to join in the last sad rites of their departed friend. Such sincere universal grief I have never witnessed. It was a spontaneous outpouring of public sorrow, which proved how well these people had loved their dead Representative. It spread a pall of gloom over the entire community, and the condolences extended to the bereaved widow were deep and heartfelt. Sadly I saw his body placed beneath the sod, while grief was manifest on every face. Peace to his ashes; and may his life teach a lesson to those who come after him which will bring forth good fruit.

He rests now; quiet sleeps,And the wind sad requiem keeps,And wafts aloft the gentle sigh,Ready to go am I.Address of Mr. MOREY, of Ohio.

In obedience to an immemorial custom, which has been honored by long observance, this House has again ceased from the ordinary duty of legislating for the country, to pay a tribute of respect to the memory of one who was lately a member of this body. This is a custom which is in harmony with the sentiment and practices of universal human-kind, and springs from a recognition of the divine in human nature. It is the tribute which moral, intellectual, and spiritual excellence and power pay to themselves.

An almost universal belief exists among men of all nations in all parts of the habitable globe that there is in each individual the

germ of immortality, which expands by the process called death, and enters by the portal called the grave into the dawn of a future life, in which their moral, intellectual, and spiritual powers shall expand and grow and attain to a development and excellence whose promise is only outlined in the experience and development of this world.

It is in response to this universal sentiment and belief, which is formulated in and is a distinctive part of the religions and philosophies of the world, that all classes of men in all nations and in all times and ages have paused to pay tributes of respect and love to the memory of their contemporaries and associates who have paid nature's last debt and have gone to fulfil the destiny of the race. The sentiment, too, which makes it unseemly to speak ill of the dead is a manifestation of the divine nature which is everywhere ascribed to man's higher existence and stamps him with immortality.

JOHN WILLIAMS SHACKELFORD, a Representative in the Forty-seventh Congress of the United States from North Carolina, was born in the town of Richland, in the county of Onslow, in that State, on the 16th day of November, A. D. 1844, and was in the thirty-ninth year of his age at the time of his death.

The third Congressional district, which it was his honor to represent in the chief legislative council of the nation, is composed of the counties of Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Sampson, and Pender. It comprises a large part of the old North State and is rich in its Colonial and Revolutionary history. Its local history is contemporaneous with the discovery and settlement of the New World and with the struggle of the Colonies for independence and the growth of our common country to its present proud position among the nations of the earth.

Representative SHACKELFORD was born and reared in the district which he represented, and the honorable constituency which conferred on him the high office and trust which he enjoyed at the time of his death were his neighbors and friends. They had known him through life, and by that preferment paid a tribute to his personal worth and to his value as a citizen and a public man.

His life was brief. His career was unostentatious, yet an eventful one. Few men at the age of thirty-nine years have so thoroughly identified themselves with the events of their time or performed so conspicuous a part in the affairs of their State and country. With him it was so done with a quiet unobtrusiveness that almost withdrew him from public gaze.

At the early age of seventeen years, that hopeful, buoyant, and chivalric period in life, when every energy responds to the impulses of the heart, Mr. SHACKELFORD, in obedience to his honest conviction of duty, and desiring to serve a cause which he believed to be right, entered as a private soldier in the Third North Carolina regiment in the Confederate army. He was subsequently promoted to the position of lieutenant. During that memorable conflict he attested by his personal courage and exposure to the hazards of war the sincerity of his convictions and the integrity of his purpose.

In the year A. D. 1872 he was elected to the lower house of the State Legislature of North Carolina and was twice re-elected, serving until the year 1878, when he was elected to the State senate. In the year 1880 he was elected a member of the Forty-seventh Congress, becoming the nominee of his party at a convention over which it was his honor to preside, a circumstance which shows that his nomination was unsought for and unexpected by him, and was a voluntary tribute of confidence by those who knew him well, and knew him only to respect and to love him.

On the organization of this House, at the beginning of its first session, it was my honor to be associated with our late colleague as members of the Committee on Private Land Claims. He was apparently always in feeble health since it was my honor to know him. As a member of the committee on which we were associated as members I had opportunity to know him better, perhaps, than those who did not bear similar relations to him. He was a man not given to demonstration of any kind; quiet and polite in his demeanor, but of a retiring disposition, he impressed his acquaintance little upon men with whom official or personal duty did not bring him in contact and association. In my intercourse with Representative SHACKELFORD I came to know him and to esteem

him as a man of sincere convictions, of integrity of character, of kindliness of feeling and of singleness of purpose to faithfully represent the constituency who commissioned him. And I bring now, in addition to the common tribute of mankind to the memory of departed members of the race, this tribute of my friendship and respect.

The SPEAKER. And now, in pursuance of resolutions already adopted, the Chair declares this house adjourned.



January 18, 1883.

A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. McPherson, its Clerk, communicated to the Senate the intelligence of the death of JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, late a member of the House from the State of North Carolina, and transmitted the resolutions of the House thereon.

Mr. RANSOM. Mr. President, deeply affected as my colleague and I are at the sorrowful announcement, I ask that the resolutions of the House be laid before the Senate.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The resolutions of the House of Representatives will be read.

The Acting Secretary read as follows:


Resolved, That the House has heard with profound sorrow the announcement of the death of Hon. JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, a Representative from the State of North Carolina.

Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these proceedings to the Senate.

Resolved, That as a token of respect for the memory of the deceased the House do now adjourn.

Mr. RANSOM. Mr. President, at a proper time my colleague and myself will ask the Senate to unite with the House in rendering ceremonies of proper respect to the memory of our lamented associate of the House. At present I will ask that the resolutions which I send to the desk be read.

The Acting Secretary read the resolutions, as follows:

Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow the announcement of the death of Hon. JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina.

Resolved, That the President pro tempore appoint a committee of three Senators to join a like committee on the part of the House of Representatives to escort the remains of the deceased to his late home in North Carolina.

The resolutions were agreed to unanimously.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Chair appoints as the committee provided for in the resolutions the Senator from North Carolina [Mr. Ransom], the Senator from Tennessee [Mr. Jackson], and the Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. Sawyer].

Mr. RANSOM. Mr. President, as a further mark of respect to the memory of the deceased, I move that the Senate do now adjourn.

The motion was agreed to; and the Senate adjourned.


February 17, 1883.

A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. McPherson, its Clerk, transmitted to the Senate the resolutions adopted by that body concerning the death of JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, late a member of the House from the State of North Carolina.

Mr. RANSOM. I ask that the resolutions of the House be laid before the Senate.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair will lay before the Senate the resolutions of the House of Representatives, which will be read.

The Acting Secretary read as follows:

Resolved, That the regular business of this House be suspended that proper honors may be paid to the memory of Hon. JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, late a Representative from North Carolina.

Resolved, That in the death of Mr. SHACKELFORD the country has lost a good man, a patriotic citizen, and a faithful Representative.

Resolved, That as a further mark for his memory the House, at the conclusion of these ceremonies, shall adjourn.

Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the Senate.

Mr. RANSOM. I now ask the Secretary to read the resolutions which I send to the Chair and ask the adoption of.

The Acting Secretary read as follows:

Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow the announcement of the death of Hon. JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, late a Representative from the State of North Carolina.

Resolved, That the Senate suspend its business in order that the friends of the deceased may have opportunity to pay fitting tributes to his private and public virtues.

Resolved, That as a further mark of respect to the memory of the deceased the Senate, at the conclusion of such proceedings, do adjourn.

Address of Mr. RANSOM, of North Carolina.

Mr. PRESIDENT: JOHN WILLIAMS SHACKELFORD, Representative in Congress from the third district of North Carolina, expired at his residence in this city on Thursday, the 18th of January, at fifteen minutes before 12 o'clock m.

It is with feelings of very deep emotion that with my colleague I ask the Senate to pause in its deliberations and to render to this lamented son of our State a fitting testimony of respect. To me the performance of this duty is not the observance of a cold ceremonial. It is from a heart deeply touched with grief at the death of a long-cherished friend. As one of the Senators from North Carolina I bring here to-day the memorials of a State's grief and respect, but with these I must mingle the offerings of a friend's sorrow and tears.

JOHN WILLIAMS SHACKELFORD was born at Richlands, in Onslow County, North Carolina, on the 16th of November, 1844. His father, Dr. John Shackelford, was a gentleman of intelligence and high social position. His mother was Indiana Humphreys, daughter of Colonel William Humphreys, of the same county. She died very soon after the birth of her son, whose guardianship and education devolved on his grandfather, Colonel Williams Humphreys, a gentleman of large fortune and great force of character. At the age of seventeen years young SHACKELFORD left college and volunteered as a private in the Southern army. He was subsequently elected a lieutenant in a regiment distinguished in the war for high discharge of duty, was soon afterward taken prisoner of war, and suffered a long captivity. His reputation in the army

was that of a brave, faithful, generous, conscientious, modest soldier. In August, 1865, he was married to Miss Catharine Wallace, a lady of great excellence of character, who survives him.

In 1872 Mr. SHACKELFORD was elected from the county of Onslow to the house of representatives of the legislature of North Carolina, and was likewise returned in 1874 and again in 1876. In 1878 he was elected to the senate of his State from the district composed of the counties of Onslow, Carteret, and Jones, and in 1880 he was elected by a large majority as a Representative in Congress from the third district of North Carolina, a district long and justly eminent for the high character, intelligence, and patriotism of its people; a district from the people of which, first in all the country, supplies of succor and sympathy were sent in the earliest hours of the Revolution to the proscribed patriots of Boston; a district represented in Congress by McKay, Ashe, Winslow, and Waddill; and it is the simple justice of history to declare that in all the moral qualities of patriotism, fidelity to duty, devotion to the people, honor in all things, Mr. SHACKELFORD was the worthy successor of the illustrious men who preceded him. He died, as I have said, in this city during his term of office, surrounded and comforted by his devoted wife and affectionate relatives and friends.

At the capital of his State, in various towns and villages in his district, and by the whole press of North Carolina worthy tributes have been rendered to his memory.

Upon this occasion, in speaking of Mr. SHACKELFORD, I must endeavor to suppress the natural emotions of attachment and grattude. He was always my friend, disinterested, devoted, faithful, and my heart impels me to cover his tomb with laurels. But his love of truth was so deep, active, and constant that could his wish at this hour be known he would not have me heighten one beautiful color of his nature or soften one simplicity of his character.

Mr. President, the seven wonders of the world have contributed very little to the happiness or glory of mankind. The Pyramids of Egypt, the Colossus at Rhodes, the statue of Memnon are simple monuments of human vanity, and the same truth may with

almost equal justice be spoken of the conquests of Alexander, the victories of Cæsar, and the fortunes of Bonaparte. Samson had power to tear down the temple which the steady labors of thousands of devoted workmen had erected. His supreme strength accomplished no great and good result for the world. Mankind do not owe as large a debt of gratitude to remarkable characters as we generally imagine. It is the great, constant force of the numbers of good, strong, useful men which consummates the great results in history. The dome which surmounts this beautiful Capitol attracts the admiration of every beholder, but the deep and broad foundations, the solid and well-proportioned pillars, the lofty columns, the unbending arches, though less conspicuous, constitute the strength, the utility, and the grandeur of the structure.

Mr. SHACKELFORD was not a brilliant man. He was not remarkably distinguished for genius or learning or eloquence. He was never the “observed of all observers.” But he possessed in very large measure the qualities that make great and good men. He had excellent common sense. He was a good judge of the relation of means to ends. He was decidedly and eminently a practical man. He saw things as they were—in their true and real light. No illusions, no phantoms, no chimeras, no mirages deceived his clear sight and sense. His moral qualities were always in the ascendant. Honor, fidelity, truth, courage, conscience were ever with him and of him. He believed in what was true. He loved what was honorable. He practiced what was just. No man ever more faithfully followed his convictions of right. He scorned, as he was free from, all artifices. He moved on straight lines from point to point, and in all things and at all times bore himself directly and erectly. Evasion, equivocation, indirection found not one particle of favor in his upright nature. To these strong qualities he united the high sentiments of generosity, magnanimity, and sympathy for his fellow-man.

He was happy when he saw others happy, and always deeply affected by human suffering. As an illustration of this fact I know the Senate will pardon me for an allusion to the last incident of his manly life. In those extreme moments when the shadows of death were hovering over mortal intelligence and the light of reason was

struggling in that transient eclipse which so often precedes the passage from world to world, the ruling passion of his noble nature asserted itself, and the last words which he spoke revealed the goodness of his heart. “That poor woman's home must be saved. I must help her.” A desolate widow had appealed to him to save her home, and this was his answer from the very gates of death. No nobler words ever passed the lips of man. “Woman!” her “home!” “help” for her! There is embodied all that is noblest, dearest, and best. By the side of these words how poor are “tête d'armée,” “I am the state,” and the other famous expressions attributed to the illustrious when dying!

Mr. SHACKELFORD was a patriot in every sense of that great and beautiful word. His country was always before his eyes, and always uppermost in his heart. For its welfare and honor no sacrifice was too dear. In all things his country was first; her liberties, her institutions, her history, her destiny, her very physical characteristics, everything of his country, was most dear to him. He esteemed it the greatest of honors to serve his country. The just reputation of being the faithful representative and benefactor of his people was the jewel which he sought. He looked upon that country as a young and noble lover would behold the loveliest of virgins, and think and feel it the highest and best duty and fortune to be constantly faithful and to secure her confidence and affection only by deserving them.

No man in all the South was more devoted to her fortunes; but when hostilities ceased no man sooner or more generously buried all sentiments of sectional enmity. In his earnest, practical, hopeful, manly breast there was no place for revenges, no room for bitter memories, no time for hopeless repinings. He desired to do something for the present and the future and not to look back in despair on the troubled past. He permitted nothing to embarrass his devoted purpose to restore and preserve the peace, honor, and happiness of his entire country. He loved with his whole soul the South; but he knew there was no conflict between that devotion and his duty to the Union. His attachment to his State, his district, his county, his own people, was so sincere and honest and intense that it made him love and honor the same virtue in others.

More than all, infinitely more than all, Mr. President, Mr. SHACKELFORD was a Christian. We cannot penetrate the heart or head and know their mysteries. I know not by what process of reason, in what form of conviction, or through what experience or by what impulse his faith came, but that faith was in him, and as clear to him as the daily light of heaven came to his physical eye and gave him knowledge of all things around him. It is not for me to speak of these great truths—the immortal life, the perfect law, the Supreme Ruler. When I consider the infinite ignorance and darkness of my state beside the wisdom and light which governs and blesses the universe, the past, the present, the future, it would be audacious and pitiful presumption for me to speculate; with deepest humility I should take the law as the most helpless child takes the law from the best of parents. I, who cannot continue my life for a moment; whose reason may be dethroned in an instant; who cannot see into the future for one second of time; who cannot comprehend the origin or nature of my own being; I, the merest atom in the inconceivable creation, who may pass away in the twinkling of an eye, presume to “scan the Almighty, the Eternal, the Maker of all things!” Mr. SHACKELFORD was a Christian, sincere, practical, fervent. He had a Christian's courage, a Christian's charity, a Christian's grace. He was not bigoted, nor intolerant, nor critical. His piety was liberal, just, beneficent; it shone in his daily life, in his kind words and kinder deeds, his regard, his compassion for and his duty to his fellow-man.

By your appointment, Mr. President, in company with my honored friends the Senator from Tennessee and the Senator from Wisconsin, together with a committee of the House, I went with his mortal remains to his home in North Carolina. I shall never forget the day and the occasion. Saturday, the 20th of January, 1883, dawned in clouds and showers. We had reached the beautiful village of Kinston, North Carolina. The whole face of nature was drooping with rain, which fell so heavily that hearts less faithful than those of the friends I have just named and of the gentlemen of the House would have faltered in their duty. Slowly the funeral procession left the sad village, and for thirty-five miles,

through a country of dense forest and thinly settled, and along a road but little traveled, took its silent way to the place of burial. It was a singular scene.

The tall, long-leafed pines towered above us with their stately, solemn heads almost to the clouds; their denuded trunks, glistening like snow with the white rosin incrusted all over them, appeared as shrouded watchers and sentinels of another world. The dark, dismal forests, with the gloomy cypress and the weeping ivies as they hung in wreaths of sable-green over our pathway—all were fitting emblems of sorrow. Ever and anon along the highway we were met by small groups of people who had come in their bereavement to pay the last offices of respect to their statesman and neighbor. Late in the evening, when the shadows were already darkening the western horizon, we reached Richland, a very small village with a few simple but tasteful buildings.

In the center of the village stood a large white church, one of those venerated edifices so common over the South, and in that church the people of the county had gathered. We were at the home of JOHN W. SHACKELFORD. We had taken to his people his earthly tabernacle. We there met and saw his neighbors, his friends, his countrymen; the aged, the middle-aged, the young, both sexes, white and colored—all were there. The rich and the poor, the high and the lowly, without social or political distinction, all were there. From the eloquent divine to the humblest colored child in that assembly every heart overflowed with sorrow. There was not a human face which was not dark with grief. The gloom was universal. With deepest, gentlest respect and tenderness the chosen men of his county bore the casket to the sepulcher; and then, as the last crumbling clods were composed over his ashes, the sad and silent mourners retired with aching hearts to their homes. There was the monument to JOHN W. SHACKELFORD—the confidence, the friendship, the affection, the love, the sorrow of his people. In their hearts his memory will never die, and their affections will better guard his tomb and his fame than the cold marble at Westminster Abbey or the costly mausoleum of a Roman emperor.

Address of Mr. VANCE, of North Carolina.

The Great Archer has been very busy with the Forty-seventh Congress, Mr. President. Thick and fast have his shafts fallen upon our ranks. Again and again has the orderly course of our proceedings been interrupted, and we have been compelled to pause in the presence of our dead. To this unbidden guest we must, however reluctantly, yield time and place; in his dread presence all earthly concerns must retire.

The latest brother to pay the great debt, the last to cross the great river, of whose shores we can see but one, was JOHN W. SHACKELFORD, a Representative from the third district of North Carolina, who died in this city on the 18th day of January last. I wish to say a word concerning his life and character, with which I was intimately acquainted.

The endowments and capacity of men are as various as the individuals themselves, for such the manner of nature is. Some are rich in the gifts of genius; of poesy that utters the songs which captivate the soul; of oratory that sways the judgment and the emotions of men; of the power to grasp scientific truth and lay bare the mysteries of matter. To such, a career leading to eminence and renown is always open in all countries, under all forms of government. But it is the pride of our country and a peculiar excellence of our age that men can attain to high place among their countrymen also by the less commanding but more desirable moral attributes.

The honored gentleman in whose commemoration we conduct these ceremonies was not a great orator, statesman, or popular leader, student, or devotee of science, but he was richly endowed with all those more excellent qualities of head and heart which go to make up the character of a valued and useful American citizen. He was a plain, unassuming man, full of practical common sense, upright, conscientious, charitable, kind, and abounding in all those high attributes which belong to “the noble family of truth.” Not ambitious of political honors, not a place-seeker by nature, it was the

recognition of these qualities which early caused his countrymen to call him from his quiet home and business to represent them in the Legislature of his native State. Again and again this call was repeated, to both houses of that body, until finally, their confidence in his faithfulness to duty and to the maxims of political and personal integrity growing by these trials, he was called to represent them in the National Legislature. It was in the honest discharge of these responsible duties that the inevitable messenger overtook him.

I knew him well, Mr. President. He was my friend, in the earnest sense of that word, and I loved him. The faithfulness of that friendship was subjected to severe tests and was found pure gold. I sat by his bedside and watched his life departing, reason relaxing her hold, and yet struggling now and then to resume her throne, the light fading slowly from the eye and gently giving place to the ashen pallor which precedes and heralds the everlasting darkness, and I thought that after all my friend's lot was a happy one, and his career though brief had been in the best sense successful. “Euthanasia—an easy death.” In life he had made no enemies; his kindliness had left him no remorse, but crowned his last hours with blessings; his upright walk in the path of duty had left no bitterness of spirit. No consciousness of wrong inflicted or of trust betrayed or obligation undischarged or unjust word to be recalled could have clouded his eyes as they gazed upon the eternal shores whither he was drifting. Undoubtedly he could contemplate the past and the future with more serenity of soul than had his life been full of the fierce aggression and polemic strife which usually accompany the politician's career in this land of turbulent democracy.

Though his life was marked by no great events or extraordinary vicissitudes, it was also undimmed by a single cloud upon a good name, untarnished by a single “blot on the scutcheon” of an honest man. In this respect he represented the people among whom he lived with more than ordinary fitness. His political principles were chosen from sincere conviction, and he demonstrated this by laboring with disinterested zeal for their promotion, whether he was or was not to be personally benefited thereby.

A modern author has aptly said:

The progression of man through the circle of evil is marked by three infelicities: Necessity, oblivion, and death. The deaths which follow our changes are so many escapes from their power.

The philosophy of death and the state which ensued was naturally a matter of much speculation by the learned of antiquity. Death, says the elder D'Israeli, was the only divinity to which the ancients never sacrificed, convinced that no human being could turn aside its stroke. They raised altars to fever, to misfortune, to all the evils of life; for these might change. In the beautiful fables of their allegorical religion, death was the daughter of night and the sister of sleep. We find in the old Latin chroniclers a delicacy about using the word death. They did not say that their friend had died, but that he had lived—vixit.

Honoring as we do the philosophical speculation of those men of human wisdom, we are happy in the better belief that we can say of our departed friend, he lives; lives in that other and brighter sphere for which a just and upright career in the midst of evil had fitted him. The great apostle has taught us that “since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead;” and that “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” And a great poet has said over the bier of the dead:

Come away; for Life and ThoughtHere no longer dwell,But in a city glorious—A great and distant city—have boughtA mansion incorruptible.

With these hopes for our friend, having placed his body in the embrace of his mother earth and commended his soul to God, we pay this last tribute to his memory, and hold out his upright and virtuous life for the imitation of his family and countrymen.

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rollins in the chair). The question is on the resolutions offered by the Senator from North Carolina (Mr. Ransom).

The resolutions were unanimously agreed to; and the Senate adjourned.

Memorial addresses on the life and character of John W. Shackelford
Memorial addresses on the life and character of John W. Shackelford, (a representative from North Carolina) delivered in the House of representatives and in the Senate, Forty-seventh Congress, second session. Washington : Govt. print. off., 1883. 33 p. front. (port.) 27 cm. (47th Cong., House. Misc doc. 34)
Original Format
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F258.S5 M4X
Location of Original
Joyner NC Stacks
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