The Farmville Herald, 15 Dec 1899:
DR. W. W. H. THACKSTON
Farmville Shocked at His Sudden Death
All Farmville was shocked and saddened on last Friday morning, the 8th, when it came known that Dr. Thackston had died suddenly at his home on High street. When last seen on our streets, the day before his death, his bearing was so erect and his step so firm that no one saw in him a physical infirmity, and this made the shock the greater.
As has been said by another, Dr. Thackston was a friend of the lowly, and “he who stoops o’er the fallen stands erect.” But if the HERALD were to devote the columns of this issue to what has been written and said of our most distinguished townsman since his death, there would be no room for more. We select two tributes only of the many to his memory, one that of his pastor, Rev. J. S. Hunter, a graceful and yet faithful portraiture of the man; the other from a Confederate soldier, touching yet eloquent.
The funeral services were held at the Methodist church on Sunday afternoon, at 2:30 and were conducted by the Rev. Mr. Hunter, who was assisted by Drs. McIlwaine and Harding. The church was crowded with representative citizens of the town and the surrounding country, the flowers (Dr. Thackston loved flowers) were the choicest and fairest sister cities could furnish, and the singing uplifting and heart moving. After the reading of appropriate selections from the Bible, singing and prayer, Mr. Hunter spoke as follows:
“This is simply a burial service, but it may not be inappropriate, indeed the occasion demands, that a word or two be said in regard to him to whom we this day pay the last tribute of respect, about him who has gone in and out before you so many years.
“Dr. Thackston was born in Prince Edward county, Va., February 29, 1820. Had he lived a little more than two months longer he would have been 80 years of age. He had passed his three-score years and ten, and ‘by reason of strength,’ had well nigh completed his four-score years.
“In 1833, 66 years ago, while yet a boy, he moved to Farmville. Here he spent his advanced boyhood, his early manhood, his middle age and his advanced years. And so completely was he identified with Farmville and its interests that he became a part of its very life. The people have from time to time shown their appreciation of his integrity and ability, by putting him in positions of trust and honor.
“Physically Dr. Thackston was a fine specimen of manhood. His commanding presence attracted attention in any body of men. His bearing was courtly. He was a very Chesterfield in his manners. To all, high and low, rich and poor, old and young, he was most courteous. In one of our homes my attention was called on yesterday to what I myself had seen years ago. Dr. Thackston was very attentive to children, greeting them kindly in passing, and giving them at Christmas little tokens of his interest and affection. It always touches my heart to see one who is growing old in years, keep the heart young, as evidenced in kindly concern for the happiness of those who are of tender years.
“Dr. Thackston had native intellect far beyond the average. This he had improved. He was a cultured man. His addresses on stated occasions, as the presiding officer of a well-nigh indefinite number of public meetings and deliberative gatherings as well as elsewhere, were models of propriety of elegance. His thought was vigorous, his style chaste and polished. He was easily a master of assemblies.
“It may not be amiss to say that in his profession Dr. Thackston held an extraordinary place, one altogether unique. He was the second graduate of dentistry in the world, and was for a long time the oldest living graduate, the first having died years ago. His presence was eagerly sought after by dental associations, State and national. Already two dental associations have, to my knowledge, passed tributes of respect to his memory. Although he graduated so long ago, he did not live in the past, but kept abreast of all the improvements in dentistry. His eminent skill was everywhere recognized.
“It is needless for me to speak of his relations as citizen, neighbor, friend. You yourselves know what manner of man he was among you. This large concourse of people, the general mourning in the community, attest your estimate of his worth.
“I shall not more than mention that in the delicate family relations, as a brother he was affectionate, as a husband he was devoted, his wife having preceded him to the better land nearly sixteen years ago, and as a father he was loving and tender and considerate.
“Of his moral and religious state, I may say that, so far as I know, his morality was always of a high order. Of his religious experiences and hopes he rarely ever spoke. In a conversation with one of the brethren a few years ago, he stated that he was a Christian, yet for some reason unknown to us, he did not connect himself formally with the church. He always contributed regularly to the support of the church. He was always in his place in the sanctuary until the growing infirmity of defective hearing often kept him away. Last winter while sick his old friend and servant paid him a visit, expressing himself as very anxious about his spiritual state, his religious welfare. Dr. Thackston told him not to give himself any trouble about that, that he had made preparation, that he was ready to meet the call when it might come. On last Friday morning just after breakfast, while talking pleasantly to one of his family, relating some humorous incident, there was a pause, a silence. The call had come; ‘the silver cord had been loosed, and his spirit had returned to the God who gave it.’
“To those who make this preparation it matters not when the call comes, ‘whether at even, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning:’ it matters not how it comes, whether suddenly or after long warning. Such an one can always feel and say, ‘it is well with my soul.’”
The Richmond Dispatch says: Dr. Thackston was well known in Richmond, and his death causes very general regret here, especially among the old soldiers. “He was a true Virginian and a fine man,” said an ex-Confeder last night. “I well remember,” he continued, “that just after the surrender I was invited to Dr. Thackston’s house and given a splendid supper. When I had finished the meal Dr. Thackston said to me: ‘Now, go out, my friend, and bring in a dozen soldiers, and let us give them something to eat.’ Of course I had no difficulty finding the dozen hungry men, and they enjoyed Dr. Thackston’s hospitality as much as I had done. He was an elegant gentleman.”
An unusually large procession followed the remains to our cemetery, among them a number of colored friends, and there “dust to dust, ashes to ashes” were said over the honored dead, whose evening of life had been as bright and cloudless as that perfect December afternoon on which he was buried.
The following gentlemen acted as pall-bearers: Active—B. M. Cox, W. T. Blanton, E. C. Wiltse, H. C. Crute, Dr. J. M. Hamlet and W. H. Richardson. Honorary—W. G. Venable, Dr. P. Winston, R. S. Paulett, Chas. Bugg, R. M. Burton, Dr. R. M. Bidgood, Dr. Robert Frazer, B. L. Anderson, C. M. Walker, Dr. J. L. White, Dr. L. M. Cowardin and W. P. Gilliam.
Farmville Herald, 03 Aug 1900:
Mr. W. H. Thackston Dies Suddenly.
All Farmville was greatly shocked on last Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that Mr. W. H. Thackston had died suddenly.
He was at his accustomed place of business during the forenoon, though he had complained of a distressing pain in the chest to more than one of his friends, went home to dinner at the regular hour, ate lightly of the meal, but soon after returning to his office, and feeling no better, went to consult Dr. White at his drug store, where the end came in the twinkling of an eye and without a struggle, the exciting cause of death being pronounced apoplexy. He was thought by those who knew him best to be in the enjoyment of perfect health, and the blow came with the startling suddenness of a lightning shock from a clear sky.
The remains were removed to the undertaking rooms of Messrs. Barrow & Cowan, where they were prepared for burial, and then tenderly borne by loving hands to the old home, where the funeral services were held at 4:30 p.m., of Wednesday, and from there to the family square in the town cemetery, where a short but impressive funeral service was conducted by the Rev. Mr. Hunter of the Methodist church, and Rev. Mr. Harding, of the Presbyterian church, and then “dust to dust and ashes to ashes” were sadly said over the dead.
The procession that followed the remains to their last resting place was one of the longest that ever wended its way from the city of our living to the city of our dead, and the grave was literally buried beneath of a wilderness of flowers.
The pall bearers were Messrs. H. C. Crute, E. J. Whitehead, W. H. Ewing, T. H. Dickinson, W. H. Hubbard and S. W. Watkins.
Mr. Thackston was known to Farmville from infancy to the day of his death, having spent well-nigh his entire life here, but to the people of Prince Edward and those of sister counties he was best known in his official capacity, first as deputy clerk of the courts of the county and then as clerk. He served under the late Major Hooper for a number of years as deputy, and afterwards as deputy of Mr. W. P. Gilliam, who was elected to the office in 1892 but soon thereafter resigned, and such was his diligence in the discharge of the duties incident to the office, and such his fitness that on the resignation of Mr. Gilliam, Judge Crute promptly appointed him as clerk for the unexpired term. This selection was ratified and confirmed by the people at the next ensuing election, when he was given the important trust by a well-nigh unanimous vote.
That he made a model clerk is the universal verdict. He wrote an even, graceful hand which was but a true index of his care of the office. Neatness and order reigned from shelf to shelf, from book to book, from paper to paper, and such was his accurate knowledge of the affairs of the office that his ready answers to inquiries saved the people of his county much of cost or of painstaking investigation. His manner in the court room was easy, dignified and impressive while his preparation for the terms of court was perfectness itself.
A traveling auditor of the State sometime since made an examination of his office, and after searching investigation pronounced it the “best kept office in the State, and so far as he could see without a flaw.” The office is one of vast importance to the people of the county, and the loss of such a custodian is a serious one. A man of imposing appearance, a conversationalist of pleasing vocabulary, closely in touch with the time in which he lived, loyal to his friends, the light and joy of his home, he will be sadly missed and deeply mourned now that he has gone.
A brother, Mr. Charles Thackston, and an only sister, Miss Ida, survive him. To the latter the heart of this community goes out in tenderest sympathy, and would, if it could, not only share but bear her great grief.
Farmville Herald, 09 Aug 1901:
Farmville Herald, 26 Jan 1906:
Farmville Herald, 09 Mar 1906:
Farmville Herald, 20 Nov 1908:
Farmville Herald, 05 Feb 1909 (under column heading Red House):
DEATH OF MISS IDA THACKSTON
Miss Ida E. Thackston died in the old home, on High Street, on Sunday last, at 12 M., after having suffered for more than a month from painful and distressing illness. The funeral took place from the Methodist Church at 3 P. M. on Monday and was conducted by her pastor, the Rev. S. C. Hatcher, and she was buried in the family square of the Farmville Cemetery.
The following were the pall-bearers:
Active—H. C. Crute, E. S. Martin, J. E. Garland, W. T. Clark, W. C. Duvall, F. M. Bugg.
Honorary—H. E. Barrow, Dr. C. B. Crute, Dr. Peter Winston, J. R. Martin.
We waited with the hope that another hand would put on record a proper tribute to the memory of Miss “Ida,” as she was familiarly and affectionately called, and now that the devolves upon us we stand on its threshold hesitating as to the always important first step, the initial words.
As we recall the life now ended we remember that for one year it was our privilege to live with her under the same roof and during that whole time we heard no word of ill of another; she was always the perfection of neatness of person and in her room, never late for meals and ever graceful of manner, courteous of speech and of sympathetic spirit. It was never our privilege to know her in her own home, but others who knew her there tell us that it was model of good taste and good order and that she was gracious as hostess and queen among housekeepers. The last time we saw her on our streets she stood in front of her home, with broom in hand, brushing the dust from the pavement, and the time before that she was crossing the street with long working apron on, still armed with the broom, and on her way to aid in the cleaning of her own church room, the church of her choice and of her love. And we are told that on the day, 22nd of December last, when she received the injury which led to her death, she remarked to her venerable aunt, “our home is now in perfect order, and we have only to receive and entertain our friends.”
The last of her immediate family it may be said that she died alone, and yet no more of professional skill nor of tender, loving care ever gathered about any sick bed in all the history of Farmville, and when death came blinding tears and blooming flowers united to tell of living love.
While she suffered friends from the far away sent substantial tokens of remembrances, and the purse strings of more than one of our citizens of wealth were untied to minister to her every wish and want. Alone and yet not alone. Rich in friends, the finest earthly possession known among men.
We have been told that one of the faithful colored women who waited at her bedside during her sickness said to her the evening before her death: “Miss Ida, if the good Lord is calling you are you ready to go to him?” And then the worn and wearied one folded her hands, closed her eyes, and said: “Yes, I am ready to go.”
“Lead Kindly Light” was sweetly sung at her funeral, and being “ready to go,” she will never know darkness again.
Farmville Herald, 26 Mar 1909: