Samuel Maverick of Pendleton

As I saw and knew Mr. Maverick in my childhood, it would seem that anything a child would observe would be of small value. However there is not a recollection in childhood more vivid and positive than that I have of Mr. Samuel Maverick, which may have been the result of his marked personality.

Pendleton seems to have been called "Old Pendleton" even in Ma's youth. The town was settled mostly by Virginians. Mr. Maverick and my grandfather, Mr. Taliaferro, were always the best of friends. My father's land joined that of Samuel Maverick, who lived a mile further on in another big white house with piazzas and arches between the tall columns. There were high oaks around it and extensive vineyards back of it, orchards of fruit of imported varieties and acres of all kinds of berries. These imported fruits, it is said, he introduced in upper South Carolina.

In my earliest recollections Mr. Maverick lived alone with his faithful house servants. Other slaves lived in their quarters, as was the custom on Southern plantations. Mr. Maverick was known as a very wealthy man, owning land in every state then in the Union, city property, and big amounts of money out at interest.

In person Mr. Maverick was tall, his brow was prominent, with heavy eyebrows, very searching eyes. His manner was reserved, almost sombre. I would have been afraid of him, but he noticed children in such a friendly and kindly way. Acquaintances spoke of Mr. Maverick as a man of thought, reading, reticent, very courteous and eccentric, of all men the least ostentatious. He wore always a pale-colored coat and broad-brimmed low-crown whitish hat. He rode in a buggy, driving a grey horse and passed our home every day. The cook told the hour by his passing, so methodical was he. "He passed at seven and now it is twelve, because Mr. Maverick is passing to dinner."

I went with my parents to visit Mr. Maverick and I was charged to not step on the flowers or on the borders of his flowers. Mr. Maverick was kind, but particular, and I did walk straight on, awed by those piercing eyes and heavy brows. There were no grounds like his in the whole country. There was quaint furniture, pictures, etc. I remember one time when he ordered refreshments. His housekeeper, a tall slave, named Margaret, brought in things served from carved silver-covered dishes, which my mother admired, gorgeous blue china - must have been old Wedgewood - the figures on the plates so real. No china since seen has ever approached these dishes, so deeply, darkly blue. Our carriage was filled with fruit and flowers to take home, and Mr. Maverick never forgot his neighbors when he killed fresh meat. A basket and note came with his respects. This was a custom among the neighbors.

Two children of Mr. Maverick's had died and . . . Mr. Maverick was silent in sorrow and the circumstance was often mentioned among his friends as an illustration of his unobtrusive affection and profound sentiment. Mr. Maverick's only surviving son, Samuel Augustus, had been taken prisoner, and his father was bowed with grief. In the presence of others he received the news that his son was free. Mr. Maverick, overwhelmed, went down prostrate, and laid his face on the earth in humble gratitude. This, like other things, showed the devotional depths of this silent man.

I think it was in 1846 when a Negro came running, breathless, saying "Old Mr. Maverick was down bad off!" My parents and others found Mr. Maverick paralyzed. Letters were sent to his faraway children; willing hands and hearts of dear old Pendleton, which are dust now, never left Mr. Maverick.

Mr. Maverick never spoke or walked again, but with his hands made signs and was understood. He seemed well and was rolled about in his chair by his valet. Wherever his daughter, Mrs. Van Wyck, went she took her father with her, who smiled and seem to enjoy the company. The style was to go from home to home of your friends and spend the day. He entertained his friends at very formal and elegant dinners. I have seen gorgeous flocks of pea fowls give their wild screams and fly to the top of Montpelier and rest on the majestic oaks around the grounds.

One night we were startled by the servants saying there was a red light over Mr. Maverick's home, Montpelier. Our famiy and others found Mr. Maverick and all the family in night clothes sitting on the beautiful lawn. But few things were saved. We are told how the Grandpa pointed to each child, as if to say "They are all saved. They are all here." The family stayed some with us and other friends until a temporary home could be prepared, and near the same spot a new home was built. Mr. Maverick in his chair in the yard looked on and directed the workmen. He would smile, point to the house and then to his little granddaughter as much as to say, "It is yours." "It is mine," she would say, and would nod and smile. The new home was also called Montpelier, a home of charm and hospitality.

Mr. Maverick was paralyzed in 1846 and died in 1852. I well remember his death and funeral. He was interred near his home and a monument marks the spot. Mr. Maverick had one son, Samuel Augustus Maverick, who visited Pendleton after his father's death. He was a prominent lawyer of San Antonio, Texas, where his descendents still live.

Mrs. Sarah Boyles Williams, 1926

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