This week’s “150 Years Ago…” project leads us through the Southern states from goins on in South Carolina to events taking place in Lousianna. As 1860 was well underway, by March, cadets across the South were starting to don the infamous “cadet grey” uniforms that cadets became noted for. The following passage from an 1860’s Arkansas newspaper notes that cadets in South Carolina were, in fact, wearing a new cadet uniform, or kersey. Accoring to one of the many dictionarys available, a kersey is a heavy wool or wool/cotton blend used in making uniforms. St. John’s college stood in the vicinity of the I630/I-30 split in Little Rock, Arkansas today (located on the edge of the Little Rock Arsenal’s grounds).

The second note from the newspaper article below shows that there would be a way to impliment the above by noting that a new cotton factory is in place in Jefferson, La. The passage then goes on to note that muscians were being noted and there is a negro boy who is very adept in playing the piano:

[LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS TRUE DEMOCRAT, March 24, 1860, p. 2, c. 7
The students of the college at Columbia, S. C., all wear gray kerseys, of home manufacture. What say the cadets of St. Johns’ College to that?
A cotton factory, capable of running 2,500 spindles, has been put in operation in Jefferson City, Louisiana.
A blind negro is taking down all the musicians in the southern states. He plays over a thousand pieces on the piano, with brilliancy, taste, and all that sort of thing. He learns any piece of music by hearing it played once. All the musicians, amateurs, dilletanti, etc., are in raptures with “Tom.”

The above was transcribed by Vicki Betts.

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