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Palmer Philpot Westmoreland

Letter About William Philpot Breaking Up Political Meeting, Talbotton, Georgia.

Miss Esther Simons Palmer, of Summerville, S. C., gives this incident as related to her by a lady at a summer resort in North Carolina during the past year. The subject under discussion was the war between the States, which brought out the following:

"My father, Dr. William H. Philpot, of Talbotton, Ga., was a veteran of the Mexican War, and when the War between the North and South came on he offered his services to his beloved South and served throughout the war. After the surrender he returned home and resumed his practice of medicine. During the struggles of reconstuction times he was largely instrumental in organizing a band of the Ku Klux Klan in Talbotton to preserve order among the negroes. Hearing that there was to be a political meeting held by some 'carpetbaggers' in order to incite the negroes against the whites, and being a man wholly without fear, he resolved to prevent its taking place. So he concocted a chemical mixture that would explode in a given time with stifling fumes, and placed this mixture in a jug behind a door of the room in which the meeting was to be held. In due time it exploded, the fumes driving everybody from the room. Knowing that his life would be in danger when his part in the affair became known, he had left his horse in waiting, held by a trusted old family servant, but on his way to the horse he was met by some men in search of him. Not knowing him by sight, they asked if he knew where Dr. Philpot was, when he replied that he asked if he knew where Dr. Philpot was, when he replied that he had just left him at a certain drug store - at the furthest point from his home. They then left him and he got to his horse and went home to take leave of my mother. I was only a child, but I distinctly remember seeing him wave his hand to her as he left. He went to Atlanta, and was there concealed by his friend, Dr. John Westmoreland, in the dissecting room of the medical college. For several days he lay in a pit where the arms and legs of dead bodies were cast, while search was made for him everywhere. He finally made his escape to a place of safety and remained until it was safe to return home."

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, January, 1922.

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