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COLONEL LUCIEN DOUGLAS STARKE.
Colonel Lucien Douglas Starke died at his home, in Norfolk, Va., on February 21, 1902, after a brief illness from pneumonia, in the seventy-seventh year of his age.
, He was the fourth child of Colonel Bowling Starke and Eliza G., the daughter of Colonel Anthony New, and was born near Cold Harbor, in Hanover county, Va., on February 9, 1826.
His father, who was born in the same county in 1790, was for many years the presiding justice of its County Court under the old judicial system, and was an extensive planter, as had been also his grandfather and great-grandfather, both of whom were named John Starke.
Colonel Anthony New, his maternal grandfather, represented the Caroline (Virginia) district in Congress for several terms, and afterwards, removing to Kentucky, was again returned to Congress as the representative from Henry Clay's district, in that State.
A few years after Colonel Starke's birth his father moved his family to Henrico county and gave his son the benefit of the best classical schools in the city of Richmond, of which he eagerly took the fullest advantage.
At the age of fifteen years he was given a position in the office of the Richmond Enquirer and continued there for seven years.
The Enquirer was at this time under the management of the celebrated journalist and editor, Thomas Ritchie, and was one of the most influential Democratic newspapers in the United States.
Colonel Starke thus had the rare advantage of meeting and associating with the leaders of thought and moulders of public opinion of the period, and, surrounded by such influences, he
learned to take the broad, sound views of public affairs and to form the high ideals of the duties of citizenship which he ever afterwards maintained. Here also he began to cultivate the tine literary taste and to acquire the choice command of language that characterized all his utterances written or spoken.
Even at this early age he gave proof of unusual mental vigoi and a decided aptness for journalism, and Mr. Ritchie frequently left to him the responsible duty of writing editorials for the Enquirer.
It was a rare privilege and also an inspiration to hear him relate his reminiscences of the many eminent Virginians he thus met and knew, among whom were Thomas Ritchie, John Hampden Pleasants, John M. Daniel and others of the same noble type.
These early associations made a deep impression upon his character and fixed the moral plane upon which he thought and lived.
After his seven years of service in the office of the Enquirer. he accepted an offer of employment from Samuel T. Sawyer, who was about to found the Southern Argus, at Norfolk, Va., and he remained with that paper until he removed to Elizabeth City, X. C., in 1850, and established the Democratic Pioneer, which he edited until he began the study of law, in 1857.
He was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention in 1852, which nominated Franklin Pierce for President.
In 1853 he was appointed by President Pierce Collector of Customs of the port of Elizabeth City, and held this position during the administrations of Presidents Pierce and Buchanan, but resigned upon the inauguration of the Republican candidate, President Lincoln.
In 1858 he was admitted by the Supreme Court of North Carolina to practice law, in which he was engaged at Elizabeth, City, N. C., until his adopted State seceded, in 1861, when he promptly volunteered for service in the army.
He was at once ordered to fortify and defend Hatteras Inlet, and there assumed command of the Third Regiment of State Militia with the rank of colonel.
This position he held until the State troops were turned over to the Confederate States government, when he was appointed commissary of the Seventeenth Regiment of North Carolina Infantry.
He held this rank until the close of the war, but also acted as inspector-general of General James G. Martin's brigade. At one time he also acted as adjutant-general to General J. Johnston Pettigrew.
Ilis courage and zeal for the cause made him scorn to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by his position of avoiding the dangers of the battlefield, and it was his custom, after ordering the wagons to the rear, to engage in the hottest of the fight, frequently serving in the trenches and most exposed places.
He thus earned for himself the title of “the fighting commissary," which clung to him throughout the war.
On one occasion, when ordered to attack the enemy near Shepperdsville, N. C., finding White Oak River bridge destroyed, he acted as engineer and quickly constructed with pine trees and without nails a sort of dam across the stream, over which the command passed going to and returning from the attack. The enemy were surprised, vigorously attacked, driven out of their forts and blockhouses, abandoned their quarters and lost cannon, arms and a large quantity of supplies and prisoners.
He was in front in all the engagements in which his brigade participated, among the most noted of which were the battles around Petersburg, Bermuda IIundred, Shepperdsville, N. C. and Second Cold Harbor, where, in General Robert F. Hoke's division, in the bloodiest battle of the war, he successfully aided in defending his birthplace from the enemy.
After the war
General Grant told General Iloke that his army suffered worse in front of Hoke's division that day, June 3, 1864, than at any time during the war.
He surrendered with General Joseph E. Johnston's army, at Greensboro, X. C.
Ilis whole military career was marked by udaunted courage and an unfaltering devotion to the cause he had espoused, bu the modesty of his nature caused him to refrain from speaking of the many gallant and heroic deeds he performed, and it was only from the lips of others that imperfect accounts could be obtained.
The war over, he resumed the practice of the law in Currituck county, N. C., until December, 1867, when he returned to Norfolk, Va., and conducted a successful and lucrative practice until the time of his death. In 1879 he formed a copartnership with William B. Martin, which lasted until the latter was, ir 1895, elevated to the Bench, after which, with his two sons, he continued his practice as senior member of the firm of Starke & Starke.
At the Bar he was a formidable opponent and a successful advocate. He readily grasped the leading points of his client's cause and was always thoroughly prepared for the contest. His views of the matters in controversy were always clear and comprehensive, and, quickly dismissing immaterial matters, he vigorously pressed upon the attention of the court and jury the real issues on which the case turned.
In North Carolina he could cope successfully with such competitors as William X. II. Smith (afterwards Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals), Senator Biggs, Colonel James W. Ilinton, and, on coming to Norfolk, he came to the front rank of a Bar which was adorned by the names of General Millson, Judge Scarburgh, Tazewell Taylor, Major Duffield, Mr. Ellis and Mr. Walke, who have passed away, and by other able lawyers, who are still living.
He was a member of the Virginia State Bar Association at its organization, at Virginia Beach, in 1888, and was always deeply interested in its meetings, which he loved to attend.