April 21: Edward Cary Walthall (1898)

Born in Richmond, Virginia to a family with roots going back to Jamestown, Edward Cary Walthall lived the life of a lawyer, soldier, and statesman. Walthall’s family moved to Mississippi when he was a boy. There he received his schooling and after being admitted to the bar, he was elected District Attorney. When the Civil War came along, he sided with the South and rose to the rank of general in the Confederate Army. After the war, he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Mississippi. In his autobiography, Senator George F. Hoar of Massachusetts wrote, “If I were to select the one man of all others with whom I have served in the Senate, who seems to me the most perfect example of the quality and character of the American Senator, I think it would be Edward C. Walthall of Mississippi. When he spoke, the Senate listened to a man of great ability, eloquence and dignity.”

Congressional records describe the funeral of Senator Walthall: “The casket containing the remains of the deceased Senator was brought into the Senate Chamber. The Vice President called the Senate to order at 12 o’clock meridian. At one minute past 12 o’clock the members of the House of Representatives entered the Senate Chamber. They were soon followed by the dean and members of the diplomatic corps, the Chief Justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, the President of the United States [William McKinley] and his cabinet ministers, and the Commissioners of the District of Columbia. Rev. Randolph Harrison McKim, D.D., assisted by Rev. Louis G. Wood [Epiphany’s rector and assistant], read the burial service of the Episcopal Church.”

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