(From 'The Champion,' Arcadia. Fla.) Death's harvest is this year a rich one. Last week we mourned the death of two beautiful maidens just entering into a lovely womanhood and today we weep beside the grave of one who had come to the peaceful close of a long and well spent lefe, that of Capt. J.G. Slaven, who died at the Arcadia House on last Friday of La Grippe. Only a few of his friends in the immediate neighborhood knew that he was ill and to those his death came unexpectedly as he was thought to be nearly well, when he took a fresh cold and a relapse.
The pen of a ready writer and much space at command could not tell in volumes all that is worth recording of the life of Captain Slaven, for he was an unusual man, who impressed every one who ever knew him even slightly as that noblest work of God, "an honest man." Not for gain, friendship, or any other motive could he be induced to do or say anything he did not believe was true or right.
He was loyal to his friends. He was of a quiet unassuming nature, making only a few intimate friends but never forgot those whenever a kind word or other services were needed. At the same time his kindly, truthful nature made even strangers trust him. We shall never know another just like him and grieve that his kind are so few upon this old sin and sorrow laden earth. Captain Slaven was born in Virginia 77 years ago, but left his home when quite a young man, never returning to see the old faces and places until 50 years had passed. We are sure the brothers and relatives there will treasure the visit he paid them in Virginia two years ago. He drifted to California over fifty years ago and from there went to Colorado, Arizona, and other western states where he engaged in mining and the cattle business. Thirteen years ago he came to Arcadia and has lived here continuously ever since, for the last few years in the real estate business. Rich in some parts of his career, he died with no property except some few thousands out at interest which he held in reserve lest old age and helplessness would make him a burden. But old age, when it came brought no helplessness and a short illness made him no burden.
Captain Slaven was never married and at the largely attended funeral held at the Presbyterian church on Sunday morning there was no one who was of kin to him, yet there were sore hearts and tears dimmed eves of those in the audience who sincerely mourned a true friend whom they will sadly miss. Rev. Keigwin, his pastor, for Capt. Slaven was a member of the Presbyterian church in Arcadia, preached an impressive sermon and the remains were followed to the Arcadia Cemetery by a large procession, where all that was mortal was tenderly laid to rest.
The subject of the above sketch, a son of William Slaven, was born at Meadow Dale, there being one other son, Morgan. The father died when they were quite young and their mother, who was a Gibson, became Ihe wife of Henry Given. To this union two boys were horn, James and George, now supposed to be dead.
Upon the death of their mother, John and Morgan were taken and reared to manhood by their uncle, the late Reuben Slaven. In the memorable year of 1849, these two brothers, in company with Messrs. Warwick Hull and Jacob Sheffer, of this county, left for California. The party sailed from Baltimore, rounded Cape Horn, and, for three months, were lost at sea, drifting helplessly in a small vessel. They reached San Francisco at the end of six months. The next 30 years of Mr. Slaven's life were eventful and would make an interesting chapter.
His visit to the old home in 1908 was a great satisfaction to the aged man, and his friends and kindred regret that he did not live to carry out his expressed desire to retire from business life and end his days in his native hills.
Highland will never blush to own such a son, and can read with just pride the tribute paid to him by the pen of one who knew him in the home of his adoption. His life and character should be an inspiration to young men. Wealth such as his cannot be computed.
Highland Recorder (Monterey, Virginia), February 24, 1905.