Flat(?), Ohio, June 12, 1893.
EDITOR, TIMES: -- A few days ago Captain Reuben Slavens and his good lady were observed in our village calling on the old soldiers, and learning that were making similar calls in the neighborhood, we were led to inquire into the cause, and learned that they were extending invitations to the old soldiers and their wives generally, and particularly to the members of the Sam Slavens Post G.A.R. to attend a reunion at their home at Galford, O., on Sunday, June 11th.
On arriving there we found a corps of waiters to take care of the horses, and were extended the hospitality of the noble host and hostess by fair lady attendants who ushered us into the spacious parlors filled with some 200 guests. After a general handshaking among the old comrades, representative of five regiments covering territory from Colorado to North Carolina and extending into Mexico, the time was most pleasantly employed in recounting the experience of camp and field until the hour of 3 p.m., when the announcement was made to gather in the dining hall.
The comrades were formed in the yard into two ranks by Col. E.V. Sampson, the post commander, and marched to the rear and entered the commodious dining hall where they found Mrs. Rachel Slavens, widow of Samuel Slavens seated at the table and to her immediate right and left were seated the brothers of the deceased comrade, Reuben Slavens and John Slavens. The table was beautifully decorated with flowers of rich profusion, and the half-hundred plates were each surrounded with a boquet of evergreen, roses, immorielles, etc. Never did men sit down to a grander feast than was spread before the honored guests. The ice cream, strawberries, lemonade and cake were simply immense. After an appropriate invocation by J.L. Roler, chaplain of the post, these battle-scarred veterans began an attack on the rich viands with which the table was spread, and though each soldier, without a single exception, did his best to perform the duty that was imposed on him, they failed to make any perceptable diminution of the luxuries attacked. After this attack the assault was again renewed by more than 150 plebians, and again resumed in the evening by the sons and daughters, numbering some 75 or 80 persons, who were compelled to abandon the underatking as impossible.
After the repast Comrade Slavens brought out the fine Havana cigars and the air was redolent with the smoke of peace. After they had repaired to the lawn in front of the house, beautifully shaded and provided with seats by the host, many were too full for utterance.
After order had been called by the commander, he introduced Col. O.M. Coburn, of Scioto Post No. 287, who made an elegant address, giving a history of the deceased comrade. Samuel Slavens was one of the famous Andrews' raiders. Mr. Coburn was well qualified to speak of the occasion, being a member of the same company and regiment, and remembered well the night he left on the expediation that cost him his life, and he recalled the deep anxiety felt for his return.
Comrade Samuel Slavens enlisted in Co. E, 33 O.V.I. October 11, 1861, and was regarded as an excellent and exemplary soldier. On or about April 1, 1862, near Nashville, Tenn., he volunteered to go under a call from General O.M. Mitchell on the secret expedition known as Andrews' raid for the purpose of obtaining information preparatory to the advance movement on Chattanooga, one of the most daring expeditions of the war, and after almost accomplishing the object for which they were sent, they were captured by the enemy on April 25, '62. After being kept in prison until June 18, 1862, he, with seven others, was hung in Atlanta, Ga. as a spy, and was buried where executed.
Since the close of the war their bodies have been removed to the National cemetery at Chattanooga, Tenn., where a monument has since been erected to their memory.
His widow, daughter of Samuel Taylor of Wakefield, Pike county, Ohio, was seated in a conspicuous place, and looked the heroine who had given one of the best and bravest on men to die for his country. She is well-educated, and in appearance a bright and intelligent lady whose youthful dark hair is markedly tinged with gray, and whose dark eyes are all aglow with patriotic emotion, deeply sensible of the honor paid her as the widow of this martyr to human liberty, and holding sacred the memory of the honored dead. She has remained all these years true to the trust who so nobly gave up all for his country. She has refused many proffers of marriage, chosing rather to devote her life to the rearing of the children left fatherless, and teaching them lessons of patriotism.
On motion she was unanimously elected an honorary member of Sam Slavens Post No. 375 G.A.R. and was escorted by her bothers-in-law, the brothers of the deceased hero, to the steps of the veranda, where Comrade O.M. Coburn made the presentation, with appropriate ceremonies, of a G.A.R. badge prepared for the occasion, after which the comrades, ladies and all present extended to her the right hand of fellowship. Hardly an eye but what was bathed in tears during the proceedings.
A vote of thanks was tendered to Comrade Reuben Slavens, wife and family for their magnificent feast, noble generosity, and the hospitality shown on this occasion, which was unanimously declared by all present to be unsurpassed. And we give notice that all hungry soldiers will find at Mr. Slavens a veritable "soldiers' home."
Among the guests we wish to mention Mr. Lee Wiles, who was a native of North Carolina, and who fled from there over mountain and plain, and did battle for the stars and stripes as a member of Co. E 13th Tenn. Cavalry, and who had to be carried to the table on a chair, he being a paralytic sufferer for three years from the effects of service in the war. Below we give a list of those present, with the age, company, regiment, and postoffice address of each:
(List of attendees is in a smaller font, unreadable in the microfilm.)
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