Cavorting on the Devil's Fork

Home Up Family Group Sheet Photo Album Noland History Wills Noland Descendants

"Cavorting on the Devil's Fork" is a collection of The Pete Whetsone Letters of C.F.M. Noland.  Charles Fenton Mercer Noland was born 23 August 1810 and died on 23 June 1858.  At an early age, Fenton entered the military for two years (1 July 1823 - 21 September 1825), then began studying law in Batesville, Arkansas.  By 1827 Fenton had become keenly interested in territorial politics.  He had hoped that his father, Major William Noland, would be appointed governor of Arkansas Territory, but the office went to John Pope of Kentucky.  Possibly the disappointment he felt contributed toward his viewing Pope with disfavor.  His criticism became public in a pseudonymous newspaper article.  Three weeks later, William Fontaine Pope, nephew and aide to the governor, offered to fight a duel with Fenton......

The challenge was accepted, and the duel occurred on 5 February 1831.  The Arkansas Advocate, on 16 February, reported the event:

        Duel - A meeting took place in the State of Coahuila, (Texas) on Saturday morning the 5th inst. between Maj. W. F. Pope, of the Town, and Mr. C. F. M. Noland of Batesville.  At first fire, Major Pope was severely wounded, Mr. Noland's shot taking effect in the superior part of the hip bone of his antagonist.  An extract of a letter to the Editor, states --"They both behaved with the greatest courtesy and bravery upon the field, and what will be gratifying to the friends of each, they parted reconciled."  The distance at which these gentlemen fought was twenty feet.

Pope died in early June from the effects of his wound.

Fenton became very active in politics and later began writing what have become known as "The Pete Whetstone Letters," one of the earliest collections of Southwestern humor.