Wayland’s Definition of a Gentleman

John Walter Wayland of Virginia wrote this in 1899. These are words to live by every bit as much as Robert E. Lee’s classic Definition of a Gentleman.

The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.

About Stephen Clay McGehee

Born-Again Christian, Grandfather, husband, business owner, Southerner, aspiring Southern Gentleman. Publisher of The Confederate Colonel and The Southern Agrarian blogs. President/Owner of Adjutant Workshop, Inc., Vice President - Gather The Fragments Bible Mission, Inc. (Sierra Leone, West Africa), Webmaster - Military Order of The Stars and Bars, Kentucky Colonel.
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4 Responses to Wayland’s Definition of a Gentleman

  1. Michael Simons says:

    Hey Col. It is great to see the site back up and running.

    The Gentleman is a dying breed in America today.

  2. Thanks, Michael. We have big plans for the Confederate Colonel project, and I hope you’ll be a part of it. Good to hear from you again, sir.

  3. Joshua Hugo says:

    I was ruminating about my Southern family’s history and participation in the Civil War so Googled Civil War and their last name which is Wayland. I came upon Your site and Col. Whalen’s definition of a gentleman. This is the epitome of all of it Whalens I have known from uncles to my grandfather. I would say the tradition of this certainly passes down through the generations to now, and it makes me proud. It is something I and others can certainly learn from and aspire to. I am descended from The Wayland of Virginia and my mother is a Knoxville, TN Wayland. My uncles are quite the history and genealogy students and they had told me of the Wayland service in the Civil War. The family is literally became to Lieut. Dan from the movie forest Gump. Every generation of Waylands have volunteered for service since descending from our ancestor, Jonathan Dakin, a young Boston Yankee who joined the Continental Army, fought the British and was present at the Battle of Yorktown, mustered out and remained in Virginia. From there the Dakin and Wayland families eventually joined and continued to serve throughout the Civil War and into the first and second world wars. My Wayland ancestors’ service inspired me to join the military when I did so in the 1980s when I’d been in awe of Grand Daddy Clifford Wayland’s stories of Wake Island, New Guinea, and New Britain, already an artillery officer of TN’s National Guard when Pearl Harbor aas attacked. His mother was a Five Star Mother, with every son in service. Thats what Waylands do. There are many Waylands in the Knoxville Tennessee locality and the chivalric code of Colonel Wayland continues in them all. The family had moved from Virginia. I’m told that many Waylands are buried in cemeteries between Chattanooga and Atlanta such as at Kennesaw Mountain. Perhaps you know more of this Colonel. Thank you for putting this up. I’ve shared it with my mother and wonder where the source for this can be found beyond your website. Thanks, Josh Hugo, TSgt., USAF Ret., Knoxville, TN

  4. It’s always a real pleasure to hear from the descendants of those whose names we find in the history books – thank you for writing. Just yesterday, I found myself in a used book store that had just purchased a collection of books at an estate sale. One of the books I bought was a collection of letters and reports from JEB Stuart’s officers. One of my ancestors – John Pelham – was prominently listed in the index. Again, thank you for stopping by and writing.

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