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March 3, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Col. Thomas M. Bondurant

Bondurant_Thomas M_Death

Bondurant_Thomas M_Death Retracted

In 1848, the death of Col. Thomas M. Bondurant was prematurely announced in the Richmond Republican, then quickly retracted.


In May of 1862, when Col. Thomas M. Bondurant died suddenly, a long and laudatory letter ran in his newspaper, Richmond’s Whig.

Death of Col. Thomas M. Bondurant.

The shocking intelligence was received in this city yesterday of the sudden death of Col. Thomas M. Bondurant, of Buckingham, the day before, by a fall from his horse. Thus, in this time of general trouble and bereavement, by an instantaneous and unexpected stroke of fate, is ended this career of a [illegible] old Virginian, [illegible] and patriot. Almost from its foundation, he has been principal proprietor of this journal. Now, that his connection with it ceases forever, it cannot be considered unbecoming to say, that it would be impossible for the relation between proprietor and conductor of the journal to be more generous, or upon more honorable footing, then that maintained by him towards the different gentleman who have had the editorial conduct of the Whig during his ownership. That relation has been one of the entire independence on the part of its editors – but rarely, and then in the most unobtrusive and modest way, trammeled even by counsel. Nor did it ever enter his mind to use the great power he held, in this way, to promote any object of private advantage, or to avenge any personal grievance – if such he had. Let this be remembered to his honor. Over a third of a century ago, he entered the service of the State, as a Delegate from the populace, wealthy and intelligent county in which he was born, and after a life of some sixty odd years, has died. Most of the times since, he has been a member of one or the other branch of the General Assembly – devoting himself with marked assiduity and practical sagacity to this substantial interests of the Commonwealth, and, with especial zeal and [illegible] its public works. For a number of years past, he has been [a director ?] of the James River and Kanawaha [illegible] . . .

. . . [H]e was one of the first and most decided if his party to declare that they should be defended out of the Union. As a private citizen, and in his domestic connections, Col. Bondurant was a type of [illegible] we imagine of a true man. His energy and judgment were displayed and rewarded in the accommodation of a large estate – and his household virtues were illustrated in the sacred relation of a husband and father, and in the patriarchal care of his numerous dependents – as well as in the hospitable and neighborly offices that give such charm and dignity to the life of the Virginia country gentleman. His death at this time, when manhood and devotion and public spirit and generosity are so much needed, is scarcely less than a public than a private bereavement.

While this tribute to Thomas M. Bondurant is unsigned, it is entirely possible that it was written by Whig Editor, Alexander Moseley, Bondurant’s cousin, admirer, and dear friend. For more about Alexander Moseley, consult “The Man behind Alexander Hill: Alexander Moseley,” in “At a Place Called Buckingham,” Volume Two.

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