Robert “Cap’n Bob” Yancey served as the Commonwealth’s attorney of Lynchburg for 33 years, after being elected mayor of that city in 1891. An 1875 graduate of VMI, he obtained his law degree at the University of Virginia. He died in 1931 in the same room of the home in which he had been born, and spent his entire life in.
Rescuing Old General Jubal Early
“Sometimes my father himself was surprised at the Olympian quality of his own ejaculations. Then he would often be seized with a spirit of humility, and say that the sheer beauty was not original with him; he had got it from old General Jubal Early.
One of my Father’s favorite stories about General Early was told occasionally to select male audiences, but I have heard it many times when I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere around. It always began” “Did I ever tell you about the time the house fell on old Jubal Early?”
General Early was a privileged character around Lynchburg in his old age, for he had saved the city from being captured by the Yankees; but that did not keep the city from condemning as unsafe an office building he owned on Main Street. The work of pulling down this building had already begun, but General Early was not finished getting all of his things out of his office, because the men whom he had engaged to move his furniture had been late arriving.
Being partly established in new quarters, the old General remembered some important papers he had left behind. He needed those papers at once and he went back to his old office to get them. He was sitting at his desk, poking around in the pigeon-holes when the entire building collapsed.
Though there was no hope of finding the old man alive, the fire departments and all of the military organizations of the town were called out to rescue General Early; and my father, being Mayor and Captain of the Home Guard, was in charge of the operations.
After hours spent if frantic work of throwing out timbers, bricks and mortar, they finally located the General. He was entirely uninjured.
The room he had been sitting in had merely dropped, floor and all, to a lower level and a few timbers had formed an arch of protection over him. There he sat with his old campaign hat still on his head, white with plaster, he calmly waited to be dug out.
When the old man looked up and saw my father in charge, he called out: “Hey, Bob! Blast my hat to hell, I didn’t know you were up there boy! I can direct these fellows for you. Damn it, you go and get me a julep!”
My father hastened away and he soon brought back a small split basket in which there were several glasses of julep, packed solidly around with paper.”
(The Vanishing Virginian, Rebecca Yancey Williams, E.P. Dutton & Company, 1940, excerpts pp. 81-82)