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Description: Death of a High Type of Journalist - Major Heiss
Newspaper published in: Huntsville, AL
Source: Madison County, AL Library
Page/Column: Page 2, column 2
Death of a High Type of Journalist
Major Henry Heiss, a well known Nashville journalist, died in that city, at 4 A.M., Saturday, June 20. He was born April 30, 1838, in Pennsylvania. His father was a journalist and the earliest work of Major Heiss was in the profession which he so truly adored. He used to laughingly say that he was found, at his birth, in an exchange basket. He was a different times connected with the press of Washington, St. Louis and Nashville. The editor of the INDEPENDENT, by virtue of a long and close friendship with Henry Heiss,--the editor and the man, may speak of him as one knowing whereof he speaks. The two first met in St. Louis, the great trans-Mississippi city, where the writer took his first valued lessons in journalism under his honest, faithful tutelage. In that busy, crowded school it did not require much time for the pupil to realize that Major Heiss was in every sense, in its fullest import, a master of a profession which he truly exalted. Five years of subsequent, close association in Nashville brought, with each day, a deepening respect for the true journalist and love for the genuine friend. Eschewing personal preferment, heartily despising the cheap flummery of such flippant scribblers as dish up trash and garbage in one or another shape for the vulgar eye to revel in, he practiced a high, useful professional life, content to know that he was imparting a tone of healthfulness and progress to the community an State whose views he helped to shape. We had occasion, during a brief visit of Major Heiss to Huntsville, last fall, (the first time he had been here since he was here as a Confederate Cavalryman) to speak of him, truthfully, as the ablest editor, in a diversified sense, in all of the Southwest. He was so recognized, without rivalry.
His impersonality in journalism was one of his very strongest points. He literally buried his individuality in his devoted labors and was thus enabled to feel and think and write in an unselfish, broad sense.
It may be here mentioned that while for the greater portion of more than twenty years he wrote, shaped, suggested or revamped more matter that was read eagerly by the citizens of Huntsville than any other man during the same period, still his name,--his very existence, was not known to more than half a dozen of our citizens, until he made a pleasant social visit to our city, in 1884. His was the power behind and far beyond the paraphernalia and parading’s that catch the eye. His work went direct to the mind and heart.
Of broad, firm, powerful physique, low and squarely put together, denoting his distant Teuton blood, he delighted in work, hard, well-nigh eternal work, and for years his magnificent body stood the test of his tireless and taxing mind without any signal of distress. But his frame, however splendid, could not last long under his restless, rigid exactions.—When we saw him last, he told us he must have rest. He looked ruddy and as brave and strong as ever. His eye was still a charming study for its mingled shade and sparkle, denoting both thought of the profoundest and companionship of the sweetest; but he had heard a voice from within and he felt that he must have rest! He soon went, for a second time, to his quaint, delightful retreat in the mountains of East Tennessee, where the trouble which had been foreshadowed touched his busy brain and soon all was over.
The public will forgive the writer for mentioning some details of the domestic life of a man, whom the public had long ago learned to respect and trust, through his invisible self as revealed through his great professional skill. It is our peculiar pride to have been present with the minister, when this burly, stalwart, tender man bought a romance that was infinite genuineness to a second sage of is beautiful history, by taking to himself the bride of his heart, Miss Mary Lusk, quietly in the parlor of her home on Vine Street, Nashville. This man who handled the evils of his times with trenchant boldness; this man who was the most practical of that most unpoetic and most practical profession, which must turn the hard facts of the current hour to public usefulness; this man, who was always ready, if real need be, to lay down the pen for the pistol, had a heart as limitless as the universe and he gave it all to her who gave as much as he. To have known the two was, in a high sense, to have known but one. The currently of their lives ran together and every ripple meant a smile. But now alas!
The Immemorial River rolleth on,
The ordered stars gave blank.—
The stronger of these two heroic souls, by that righteous balance wrought in heaven, hath gone before to live longer than the rivers roll and the stars burn?