|Birth: ||Dec. 23, 1823|
|Death: ||Nov. 19, 1872|
His parents were William Sale and Lavina Duncan. His wife was Anna B. Johnston (1825-1885). The 1850 Census lists two daughters in the household: Mary (age 3) and Sue Ellen (under the age of 1). The 1870 Census indicates they had a son named Prentice (age 15). In the Sons of the American Revolution his sons name is listed as Prentice Dixon Sale Sr..
Memphis Daily Appeal
November 20 1872
The Funeral of John F. Sale
The deeply-grieved family, as well as every friend and admirer, of the late John F. Sale must have been gratified at the universal honor and respect which have been rendered his memory. The meeting of the bar on Monday was one of the largest ever held in Memphis, on any similar occasion, and the various speeches, the general expression of regret, were eloquent attestations of the high position which the deceased occupied in the profession of which he was a bright ornament. The attendance at the funeral services showed, too, the conspicuous place which General Sale occupied in the affections of a people among whom he has so long resided. Everybody seemed inspired with the belief that a star-like genius had faded into nothingness, and the sad event had come upon them like the shadow of a great cloud. It is natural, it is commendable, in our old citizens to mourn the loss of a comrade who has traveled with them through many vicissitudes--seen Memphis emerge from an obscure village to a prosperous city. How rapidly are the old citizens passing away! Walker has ceased to be a dweller of the earth. McMahon sleeps in the silent City of the Dead. The graves of Irwin and Dunlap have note yet been disturbed by the pitiless winter's rain. Carroll and Dill and McClanahan and Nooe are decaying in the "land of the sleepers." E.M. Yerger, whose genius was God-given, faded fro our midst like a "bright particular star" from the heavens, and now, John F. Sale has gone in pursuit of his twin-spirit. may they both meet in that blissful realm beyond the clouds, where love is immortal, and the rainbow never fades from the skies; happy in the midst of the stars, the angels, and the majesty of God.
We have but little to add in addition to what we have already said, in regard to the life and character of General Sale. He was endeared to us by so many associations that it is a melancholy pleasure to dwell upon his memory. We think we can paint a life-like portrait of his character, and in the attempt shall observe the rigid exactness which Cromwell required of his artist. On the twentieth day of January, 1870, George D. Prentice died, and the write of this published and obituary on the next day, in which these sentences occur: "his red-hot invective was dazzling, eloquent, sublime. His editorials were full of amazing richness of thought, swarming like an ant-hill with stirring, unique, chaste, grotesque ideas and images. As an editor, he had no equal, from the flaming cataracts of his eloquence and poetry down to his splendid abuse. his fertility of resources were exhaustless. His intellect was of a high order, clear, quick, rapid and penetrating. He saw with a keen glance, and grasped with a strong hand the kernel of his subject. He could treat the most difficult topic playfully, and yet with the profoundest ability. The Southern people still remember the bitter controversies between Mr. Prentice and Shadrack Penn. It was like the wrestling of two giants. It was like Aetna in eruption and Vesuvius answering in thunder." This delineation of Mr Prentice's character so struck General Sale that he often commented on it an the day after its publication in his speech defending Dickens for killing Bolton he quoted the expression "from the flaming cataracts of his eloquence and poetry down to his splendid abuse." Little did John F. Sale dream that the description he so much admired would be quoted as properly describing his own character. What was said of Prentice is equally appropriate to General Sale, for he was great in his frivolities, great in his burlesques, great in his humor, great in common conversation; the great lawyer, the great orator, the great blackguard, the great companion, the great friend, the great worshiper of ladies, and the great spend-thrift. In nothing was he little. he excelled in everything. While speaking, in almost alternate sentences he could make the transit from "grave to gay, from lively to severe." He could make a speech abounding in the loftiest statesmanship, philosophy or metaphysics, and then suddenly deal in abuse, either chaste, classic or vulgar, as the emergency required. His wit was bright and sparkling as a diamond; his sarcasm keen, sharp, pungent; his irony was caustic and biting; his ridicule was chafing, withering, overwhelming, and when the exigency required it he could, by his abuse, granulate his victim into mincemeat. his intellectual display, whether speaking, writing, or in private conversation, was that of a Titan tumbling down massive fragments of originality. he always produced a splash and a foam as he hurled into the stagnant stream of other men's thoughts, his bright, fresh, unique ideas. he stood over six feet high, and in ever sense he was a man. There was nothing weak, petty or vacillating about him. he had physical strength and mental capacity of such a sort that he could endure any amount of labor and exposure. he was built for power-power of body and power of brain. There was no attempt at display in his manners, no affectation--nothing of the Miss Nancy, but a steady, strong ability and earnestness which commanded respectful attention and made him invincible. he comprehended law and principles and applied them in a matter-of-fact way. He understood human nature well, and knew how to mould the minds of men to his will. General Sale's head was phrenologically fine; but the features of his face were broad and strong, inclining to roughness. A stranger would never dream that the rugged countenance could soften into beauty, grow radiant with humor, and beam with magnetic love. But as the brightest waters gush from among the craggy rocks, and the sweetest bloom amid the thorns, so was the nature of John F. Sale peculiarly mellow, kindly affectionate and inviting. he was singularly sympathetic, friendly, devotional, trusting and just. Where he love, he loved with the whole energy of his strong mind. his wrath was as impetuous as his affections; but he was forgiving, and never cherished malignity in his heart. John F. Sale was a man, take him all in all, whose like we shall never see again. His virtues and vices were strangely blended. It was a peculiarity in his character to attempt on every occasion to make the religious world believe he was wickeder than he really was; while among his irreligious companions he was always discussing reverentially religious matters, deploring his faults, and expressing a desire to become a Christian. All the faults he had were emblazoned to the world. His mighty heart was set to the music of friendship and charity. But John F. Sale is dead. Peace to his ashes. The falling pebble dimples for a moment the lake's quiet surface, then all is smooth again. But the fall of John F. Sale has produced a commotion in the bosom of the friends who knew and loved him that will surge so long as their hearts continue to throb
Elmwood Cemetery Biographical Sketches 1874
John F. Sale, and his twin brother Thomas, were born in Amherst county, Virginia, 1823. In 1829 the family migrated to Kentucky, where he was instructed in books mainly by an older brother, a member of the bar. This brother bequeathed his library John f. Sale, then only twelve years of age. At nineteen he entered the law office of Judge Archibald Dixon, and at the age of twenty-one was admitted to the bar, and almost immediately elected Attorney for Union county, holding the office till he resigned it in 1849, when he became a citizen of Memphis. A stranger in Memphis, and with a family to support, he was for at time the editor of a Whig newspaper and a naval storekeeper, with a salary of $2,000 per annum. In 1853 he was elected Prosecuting Attorney, filling the office one term, when he was beaten in a contest for it, by nineteen votes. From this time forth he made the criminal practice a specialty till his death, November 19th, 1872. Though his denunciations of perjury and other villainy were always terrible, he was rarely involved in personal difficulties. A German shoemaker once attempted to kill him, but forgot to cock his pistol, and was mercilessly knocked down. He had a quarrel with a gentleman of Memphis, and was shot through the knee. his good humor was as infinite as his capacity for violent invective was without parallel. His anger, easily aroused, was short-lived, and he was utterly incapable of malice. His sympathies were easily excited by human suffering, and his generosity of opinion and action was boundless. His perception of the ridiculous was most keen, and his capacity to present a grave proposition in most ludicrous aspects was absolutely marvelous. he spoke with great fluency and earnestness, and was often brilliant and eloquent. There was genius written in his face, in his lofty brow and flashing eyes, and many, many years must elapse before the lawyers of Memphis forget to tell of the rare, original, unique speeches and witticisms of John F. Sale.
Cause of death is "gravel". In today's terminology it would be kidney stones.
Plot: Lot 20, Turley
Created by: Mary & Kent
Record added: Nov 30, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 101538287