A group of people in period costumes presented a program on mourning customs at the recent meeting of the Tri-State Genealogical Society in Evansville, IN. It may sound morbid, but it was really very informative and enjoyable. One of the customs mentioned was the wearing of a black arm band in memory of the decedent.
While searching through the loose county court papers in the Caldwell County Clerk’s Office a couple of years ago, I came across a paper that verifies this custom. It is a tribute to Charles B. Dallam, who was the county clerk at the time of his death in December 1847 at the age of 33 years. His remains rest in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Princeton, KY.
"Whereas, in the dispensations of an all-wise and insensible Providence, our Community has sustained a sad and afflicting visitation in the death of Charles B. Dallam, former clerk of this county, a good and worthy citizen; polite and courteous; a Kind and benevolent neighbour; a prompt, efficient and accommodating public officer; a man exemplary in all the relations of life; a gentleman and a Christian; yet suddenly cut off in the meridian of life. And whereas, while we feel it to be our duty humbly to acknowledge the wisdom and justice of the Great Dosposer [sic] of events in sending affliction upon the human family, and making them the subject of mourning, yet we also feel it to be our privilege to express our sorrow for the dead, as well as our Sympathy with the surviving friends and relatives, by some appropriate testimonial of regard for the deceased.
Resolved, therefore that all the members of the bar, officers of the Court of which Charles B. Dallam was clerk at the time of his death, will wear the usual badge of mourning on the left arm for 30 days.
Resolved further, that the foregoing preamble and these resolutions be spread upon the records of the County Court of Caldwell County, of which the deceased was so long an efficient and useful clerk, and that a copy therefore be communicated to his bereaved widow."