Friday, February 28, 2020

In an Unmarked Grave Lies the Bones of One Who Years Ago Was Jeered For Foretelling Modern Inventions

[A prophet is not without

honor save in his own country.]

     Some times it seems that one is seized with a longing to drop into Gods Acre and read the inscriptions on the lonely tombs. It affords one food for thought to gaze upon these last resting places of those who have gone before—gone into the eternity the knowledge whereof is shrouded in mystery that only the sounding of the last trumpet will unravel. But often it is the unmarked grave that holds the greatest story.
     In the Episcopal Cemetery a few years ago the writer halted by a mound of earth that, only by its faint outlines, told that 'neath it a soul lay sleeping. A passer by said: "Old man Fred Proctor is buried there." Something in my informant's tones implied that Fred Proctor was more than an ordinary man in his day and a query confirmed my supposition.
     Fred Proctor is well known to many of our residents, though he passed into the long sleep ten or fifteen years ago.
     He was once a young man with thousands of dollars at his command. Wine and women consumed his fortune and left him penniless and without a home. He spent his last days in the poor house and it was there that he breathed his last. Kind friends laid his remains away in the Episcopal cemetery.
     Mr. Proctor made predictions, in his day, that were hooted. Many of these have since come to pass and are we to doubt that others are yet to become realities.
     He often said to listeners that the time was coming when the people of Pasqotank could stand in their houses and talk to people in Camden [Camden County]. Over twenty five years ago did he venture to thus prognosticate. He also predicted that the twentieth century would see the horseless carriage and trolley car. He predicted the setting of type by machinery and expressed no hesitancy in saying that five days would soon suffice to accomplish the trip from New York to London. He was hooted and jeered because of his firm belief that messages would be transmitted without the use of wires. People in those days, called him crazy.  He was laughed at by the shrewd business men of the day and hooted and jeered by children. The venerable scholar also predicted that ships would be built to sail in the air and boats constructed to run under water. All of these things have come to pass and people who have not forgotten him feel repentant now; that they should have treated his talk with so little credence.
    (Fred Proctor died 2 April 1888.)

[Tar Heel (Elizabeth City, NC) 24 Oct 1902]

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