Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Voltmeier; or, The Mountain Men >> Explanatory Notes/Textual Apparatus >> Explanatory Notes

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Explanatory Notes

Novel (Romance) | U of South Carolina P | 1969

1.1-5 The references to the "present population" of Spartanburg
and to "the period of our narrative, some forty years ago" may
cause confusion as to the intended time of the setting. By the "present
population" of Spartanburg village, Simms presumably refers to
the actual date of the writing of Voltmeier, 1868, although J. B. O.
Landrum in his History of Spartanburg County (Atlanta, 1900),
p. 37, gives the figure in 1870 as only 1,050, about one-fourth of
Simms's estimate. Possibly Simms meant "the period of our narrative,
some forty years ago" to refer to the period forty years prior to
1847 (the year when he first made the notes or initial sketch from
which the novel derives), since the actual case in the United States
Courts upon which the counterfeiting story is based was tried be-
tween the years 1805 and 1815. (See Introduction, pp. xix-xx.)
However, Major Henry, who figures in the novel, and who was
actually born in 1796 (see note for 3.15), is said to be "apparently
of thirty years of age" (3.15-16), which might be an indication that
Simms was thinking of a date some forty years before the publication
of Voltmeier.

3.15 Major James Edward Henry (1796-1850), of Spartanburg,
was a lawyer, and a member of the South Carolina House of Repre-
sentatives from Spartanburg (1832—34 and 1840-50). Simms and
Henry had served together as delegates in the Union Convention
in Columbia in 1832. In 1844 both were members of the South
Carolina House of Representatives Committee on Federal Relations.
Henry had been Simms's companion on his 1847 expedition into the
North Carolina mountains.

13.2-3 Fergus is mistaken; the quotation comes not from Shake-
speare, but from Dryden's All for Love, I, I.

15.27 The Bobos were a prominent Spartanburg family. Simpson
Bobo (1804-1885), a leader of the Spartanburg Bar, was president
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