DEATH OF GEN. WILEY N NASH


ON SATURDAY NIGHT, MARCH 11TH, 1916 THE END CAME SUDDENLY TO ONE OF MISSISSIPPI'S MOST DISTINGUISHED CITIZENS. GENERAL NASH HAD ATTENDED THE PICTURE SHOW AT THE COLLEGE CHAPEL AND WAS TAKEN SUDDENLY ILL WHILE RETURNING HOME. HE WENT INTO THE HOME OF MR. A.J. JACKSON WHERE MEDICAL AID WAS IMMEDIATELY SUMMONED, BUT DEATH CAME BEFORE THE PHYSICIAN ARRIVED.

THE FUNERAL SERVICES TOOK PLACE AT HIS RESIDENCE AND WAS LARGELY ATTENDED BY THE CITIZENS OF STARKVILLE, THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY AND NEIGHBORING CITIES. THE SERVICES WERE CONDUCTED BY THE REV. W.A. JORDAN, PASTER OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH, OF WHICH DENOMINATION THE DECEASED WAS A LIFE LONG MEMBER. THE BODY WAS LAID TO REST AT THE ODD FELLOW'S CEMETERY WITH MASONIC HONORS.


BIOGRAPHY


WILEY NORRIS NASH WAS BORN IN NOXUBEE COUNTY AND REARED IN OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, NEAR STARKVILLE, HIS HOME BEING ABOUT 14 MILES FROM THE PLACE OF HIS BIRTH. HIS FATHER WAS STEPHEN E NASH, A LAWYER BY PROFESSION, BUT A PLANTER AT THE DATE OF HIS DEATH. GEN. NASH WAS AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, IN HIS SEVENTY-SECOND YEAR.

HE RECEIVED/ HIS EARLY EDUCATION AT THE FAMOUS THOMAS GATHWRIGHT INSTITUTE AT OLD SOMMERVILLE, IN NOXUBEE COUNTY. WHILE STILL A SCHOOL BOY HE ANSWERED THE CALL TO ARMS, AND ENLISTED IN COMPANY E, GEN. WIRT ADAMS' REGIMENT OF CALVERY. LATER HE ATTACHED HIMSELF TO THE FAMOUS HARVEY SCOUTS, WHICH IS KNOWN IN HISTORY FOR ITS MANY DARING AND SPECTACULAR ACHIEVEMENTS, AND FOR UNPARALLELED BRAVERY AND GALLANTRY.

IN THIS CAMPAIGN, GEN. NASH, WHO WAS THE YOUNGEST OF THE COMPANY, A MERE STRAPPLING AT THE TIME, MADE A RECORD AS A SOLDIER AND A GALLANT DEFENDER OF “THE LOST CAUSE”. HIS OLD ARMY COMRADES OFTEN TELL OF THE MANY BRAVE DEEDS PERFORMED BY GEN. NASH WHILE A MEMBER OF HARVEY SCOUTS. ON TWO DIFFERENT OCCASIONS HE RESCUED COMRADES WHO HAD BEEN WOUNDED, CARRYING THEM OFF THE FIELD, UNDER FIRE OF THE ENEMY, AND AT THE RISK OF HIS OWN LIFE.


RETURNING FROM THE WAR, WITHOUT FORTUNE OR MEANS, BUT WITH INDOMITABLE PURPOSE, HE ENTERED THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI AT OXFORD, FIRST IN THE LITERARY DEPARTMENT AND AFTERWARDS TAKING UP THE STUDY OF LAW, HE GRADUATED WITH DISTINCTION UNDER HON. L.Q.C. LAMAR. ALL THIS HE ACCOMPLISHED BY HIS OWN ENERGIES. (AS HE WAS LEFT PENNILESS BY THE RAVAGES OF WAR) WORKING PART OF HIS TIME IN THE UNITED STATES COURT AT OXFORD AND GIVING THE REST OF HIS TIME TO HARD STUDY AND CLOSE APPLICATION.

AFTER GRADUATING IN LAW, HE RETURNED TO STARKVILLE AND COMMENCED THE PRACTICE OF HIS PROFESSION. IT WAS NOT LONG BEFORE HE FORMED THE PARTNERSHIP WITH COL. H.L. MULDREW, ONE OF THE LEADING LAWYERS OF MS. ABOUT THIS SAME TIME CAME THE “DAYS OF RECONSTRUCTION” AND IT WAS THEN GEN. NASH CAME TO THE FRONT AND ENTERED THAT AWFUL STRUGGLE “THAT TRIED MEN'S SOULS” AND DID AS MUCH AS ANY ONE MAN TO ASSIST IN GAINING CONTROL OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT/AND ACCOMPLISHING THE OVERFLOW OF CARPET BAG AND NEGRO RULE; AND TO HIM, MISSISSIPPI SHOULD EVER BE GRATEFUL FOR THE PART HE TOOK IN THE PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF OUR TRADITIONAL HEREDITARY RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES.

THROUGH ALL THE POLITICAL, AS WELL AS OTHER TRYING TIMES, THROUGH WHICH MISSISSIPPI HAS PASSED SINCE THE WAR, GEN. NASH ALWAYS BORE HIS PART. IT WAS AT THIS PERIOD IN 1875, WHICH HE LEAD WHAT WAS APPARENTLY A FORLORN HOPE IN A POLITICAL FIGHT, AND WAS ELECTED DISTRICT ATTORNEY, AND ON DEMOCRATIC TICKET. HE SERVED ONE TERM, MAKING A CAPABLE, EFFICIENT AND ENERGETIC OFFICIAL.

IN 1883 HE WAS ELECTED TO THE LEGISLATURE AND DURING HIS TIME AS A LEGISLATOR, HE WAS A POTENT FACTOR IN SHAPING MANY OF THE IMPORTANT LAWS. AMONG ONE OF THE LAWS, WHICH IS NOW IN FORCE IS THE SUPERVISION OF RAILROADS IN THIS STATE BY A COMMISSION.


HE WAS ALSO LARGELY INSTRUMENTAL IN THE PASSAGE OF THE BILL, ESTABLISHING THE I.I.&C AT COLUMBUS. IN THIS MATTER HIS EFFORTS WERE OF MOST ACTIVE AND UNTIRING. IT WAS ALSO HIS WORK AND INFLUENCE THAT HELPED TO GIVE MISSISSIPPI A DEEP WATER HARBOR ON THE COAST. HE WAS ELECTED TO THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL IN 1896 AND SERVED HIS FOUR YEAR TERM, THIS BEING THE LAST PUBLIC OFFICE HE EVER HELD.

IN LOCAL AND CIVIC AFFAIRS, STARKVILLE WAS ALWAYS FIRST IN GEN. NASH'S HEART, IN ALL THE AFFAIRS OF TOWN AND COUNTY, HE WAS READY TO GIVE HIS TIME, HIS MONEY AND HIS INFLUENCE TO PROMOTE ANY ENTERPRISE THAT WAS FOR THE GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY.


HE WAS A DEVOUT MEMBER OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH, AN ODD FELLOW, K. OF P, AND A MASON. AS AN ODD FELLOW HE ATTAINED THE HIGHEST HONORS THAT COULD BE BESTOWED, HAVING SEVERED AS GRAND MASTER AND AFTERWARDS AS REPRESENTATIVE TO THE SUPREME LODGE. AS AN EVIDENCE OF THE HIGH ESTEEM IN WHICH HE WAS HELD BY THIS ORDER, BEAUTIFUL FLORAL OFFERINGS WERE SENT BY THE GRAND LODGE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI AND THE LOCAL LODGE, RIDGELEY, NO 23, THE EMBLEM FOR THE GRAND LODGE CONTAINED THE LETTERS “ I.O.O.F.” WHILE THAT OF HIS OWN LODGE BORE THREE LINKS SIGNIFYING “FRIENDSHIP, LOVE AND TRUTH”.


GEN NASH WAS MARRIED TO MISS ALLICE ERVIN WHO DIED SEVERAL YEARS AGO. HE IS SURVIVED BY TWO CHILDREN, MR.H.E. NASH OF THIS CITY AND MRS. W.F. HAND, WIFE OF DR. W.F. HAND, STATE CHEMIST AT A.&M COLLEGE.


STARKVILLE NEWS 1916, Transcribed and contributed by Mona Tomlinson, December 17, 2008