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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/201

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Sketch of Capt. Don P. Halsey. 193


A Gallant Officer, Accomplished Scholar and Able Lawyer.

Among those who won honorable distinction in the great war between the States of the American Union, and proved themselves worthy of commemoration among the heroes of that mighty conflict, was the subject of this sketch. Not only was he as high-souled and brave and chivalrous a soldier as any knight of old. but also as cul- tivated and intellectual a scholar as many who have attained the highest prominence in the world of learning and letters, and a man of as gentle nature, noble aspirations and high ambitions as the most honored and eminent.

Don Peters Halsey was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, on the i,5th day of September, 1836. His parents were Seth Halsey, a substan- tial citizen of that town, and Julia D. B. Halsey, nee Peters, a woman of strong character and great worth. He was sprung from excellent English stock, being one of the numerous descendants of Thomas Halsey, who came to America in 1633, in connection with one of the colonization enterprises of which John Winthrop was the leader, settled first in Lynn, Massachusetts, and afterwards became a prom- inent citizen of Southampton, Long Island, where he died in 1679, at the ripe old age of ninety. He was a Puritan, but as has been quaintly said " of a milder type than those who settled at Plymouth Rock." The ancestral line in England has been traced back with- out break to 1512, and apparently to 1458, while English bearers of the name have been found as early as 1189, though these cannot be directly connected. The family residence is- still standing at Great Gaddesden, in Hertfordshire, England, and is known now as it has been for centuries, as the " Golden Parsonage," being one of those old church properties which- were taken possession of by the crown in the I5th and i6th centuries. John Halsey is known to have lived there in 1512, and the King (Henry VIII) granted this rectory to William Halsey, by a deed dated March 12, 1548, and it has re- mained in unbroken possession of the Halsey family ever since. The present owner and occupant, Thomas Frederick Halsey, Esq., M. P., is described as a most amiable and cultivated gentleman.

Young Halsey's boyhood was spent in and around Lynchburg, where he went to school to the famous Peter Nelson, who taught in a is