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Anthony Foster Letter

 Collection
Identifier: MS-1961

In this letter to David Henley, Anthony Foster reports that several days previously F. B. Sappington and Docr. May differed and fought. Although the duel was conducted gentlemanly on both side, Sappington was killed. May fled to Knoxville, and Foster asks Henley to advance May any money that he might need. The verso contains a note indicating that the letter was to be hand delivered by May.

Dates

  • 1800 March 20

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Abstract

In this letter to David Henley, Anthony Foster reports that several days previously F. B. Sappington and Docr. May differed and fought. Although the duel was conducted gentlemanly on both side, Sappington was killed. May fled to Knoxville, and Foster asks Henley to advance May any money that he might need. The verso contains a note indicating that the letter was to be hand delivered by May.

Biographical/Historical Note

Anthony Coleman Foster was born to Anthony Samuel and Martha (Taliaferro) Foster in about 1763 in Virginia. He died in Nashville, Tennessee on April 8, 1825.

Francis B. Sappington was born to Dr. Mark Brown and Rebecca (Boyce) Sappington in Maryland. The family moved to Nashville in 1786, where Francis eventually began practicing medicine. For reasons unknown, Francis May challenged him to a duel in early 1800. When the duel took place on March 18, May hit Sappington in the forehead, killing him. It should be noted that there is some confusion about Francis Sappington's name. He signs himself Francis B. Sappington on the will he wrote shortly before the duel and it is quite likely that he is named after his uncle, Francis Brown Sappington. Some sources, however, give his name as Frank Sappington. It is not clear which rendering is correct.

Francis May was born in about 1774 in Virginia to Samuel and Rosannah (Boucher) May. Although there is no record of May obtaining any formal medical education, he began practicing in Nashville in 1790. May was forced to abandon his practice and flee to Knoxville after killing fellow physician Francis B. Sappington in a duel in 1800. Here, he married Mary McConnell White (Hugh Lawson White's sister) and the couple had five children: Anthony, Mary Lawson, Andrew Jackson, James Francis, and Margaret Jane. May returned to Nashville with his family in 1804 and later became close friends with Andrew Jackson. He eventually served as one of Jackson's personal physicians, treating him after several duels and accompanying him on military campaigns. May died in Nashville on 26 November 1817.

Arrangement

Collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

The University of Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville, Special Collections purchased this letter in October of 2000.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480