“I’m back in New York after a six months’ stay in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. I was all played out — nerves, etc. I didn’t pick up down there as well as I should have done. There was too much scenery and fresh air. What I need is a steam-heated flat with no ventilation or exercise.”
— From a letter from William Sydney Porter to a friend in Chicago (April 15, 1910)
Returning to New York proved no cure for the Greensboro-born writer known as O. Henry. Less than two months later, at age 47, Porter was dead from cirrhosis of the liver, complications of diabetes and an enlarged heart. After funeral services in New York City, he was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Asheville.
A work as ambitious as John Sutherland’s just-published “Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives” is bound to contain errors, but of course the one that caught my eye was the mislocated North Caroliniana:
“[William Sydney Porter] died, aged only 48, of alcohol-induced cirrhosis of the liver, in North Carolina where he had gone to recover his health.”
Actually, the Greensboro-born Porter — known to generations of readers as O. Henry — died in New York City (on June 5, 1910, which made him 47, not 48). He was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, near his wife’s hometown of Weaverville.
On this day in 1932: At Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery, F.W. Von Prittwitz, German ambassador to the United States, dedicates a monument to 18 German sailors who died of typhoid while imprisoned nearby during World War I.
“Germany is happy to find herself in the same line with the United States when she advocates disarmament. . . . ” Von Prittwitz tells the crowd of several thousand. “May this monument stand as an imperishable symbol of the friendship between our two peoples and a mark of our determination to maintain it for all future to come.”
In less than a decade, however, Germans and Americans will again be at war.