9 October 1872 - 17 October 1918
Asheville, Bunc Co NC Asheville, Bunc Co NC
Erwin Sluder was a banker in Asheville, NC.
When he was a young man of 18, in 1889, he sailed from New York on the S. S. Nevada with a group of
school teachers on a trip to Scotland, England, and France. Thomas Walton Patton (1841-1907),
another traveler from Asheville, wrote extensive and charming letters back home to the Asheville Citizen,
describing the group's adventures. Patton would become mayor of Asheville (1893-1894). Here are
excerpts, including some related to young Erwin:
"Dear citizen:—A real nice company we are, as to-day assembled on deck and looking in all directions
for a glimpse of terra firma. Not a sign to be seen in any direction to dispel the illusion with which one is
apt often to flatter himself, that we compose the whole world. Not a sail dots the horizon. We may fancy
that no other humanity exists outside of this ship, but that the heart of each voyageur is full of the dear
ones, young and old, at home. Notwithstanding our crowded staterooms and unusual fare, we are all
determined . . . to be jolly under all circumstances. We will see how this holds when the wind rises,
causing the ship to roll and that terrible mal de mer to appear. Anyone who can sustain his jollity under
this trial will deserve a crown indeed."
"Of the men we are the most fortunate, having entirely escaped seasickness, which we in part attribute
to our well known wisdom on which the E. J. pleasantly remarked, but chiefly to the diet we have
selected for our first trans-Atlantic pleasure tour. French brandy and hard tack has been our constant
source of consolation and support. Our young companion, Erwin Sluder, has been violently ill, and still
suffers very much, but has been himself like a real man and made the best of his bad surroundings."
[About Paris, France] "The greatest nuisance connected with them, and all other things in Paris, is the
"pour boire," which is demanded as freely as we Americans demand a contract. "Poor boy," our friend
Sluder calls it, and says he don't see what right the girls have to style themselves so, but they do all the
same. To give you an idea, last night we accompanied a young lady to the hippodrome, and although
we had secured our seats beforehand, the pretty girl who showed us to them deliberately demanded "a
pour hoire" and much to our confusion, we had after a pretended search in our empty pocket, to borrow
a franc from our companion, otherwise the French damsel would have stood by us all night, and have
made our lives a torment, as only ladies know how to do. Good bye."
[At Versailles] "Wearied and heart sick at viewing these signs of departed glory, we are glad to get out,
into the fresh air of the wonderful gardens and stroll through them to the Trianon, another palace,
where we are shown several more of Marie Antoinette's beds, (she must have been a very sleepy body)
and then to the State carriages at which the crowd is so dense that Sluder and I climb in at a window
and launch our bodies upon the mass of French humanity, which is squirming below us. Much cursed
and abused, but minded it little, we thus succeed in viewing these gorgeous relics of former ages.
Six of these carriages, each with a history of its own, surrounded the grandest of all, which was the
coronation coach of Charles X. It is a huge affair, covered with gold from end to end, the very wheels a
mass of gilding richly wrought, while on top are groups of statuettes of some metal. Neither of us
regretted the effort we had made to catch even a hasty glance at these old coaches."
-- from http://toto.lib.unca.edu/booklets/european_letters_patton/default_european_letters.htm
The Asheville City Directory for 1899-1900, listed Erwin Sluder's occupation as "Asst. Cashier Blue
Ridge National Bank bds The Knickerbocker". (Approximatly ten years later, according to the 1909 City
Directory, Erwin was a vice-president of The American National Bank at the southeast corner of Patton
Avenue and Church Street and lived at 192 Montford Avenue. The phone number for the bank was 79.)
In 1915, The Bankers Magazine reported that the North Carolina Bankers Association "adopted
resolutions unanimously endorsing Erwin Sluder for the position of vice-president of the state
association" at its second annual meeting, in Asheville, NC. - from The Bankers magazine, volume 91,
via Google Books.
Erwin Sluder registered for the World War I military draft on 10 September, 1918, but died of typhoid
fever just a few weeks later.
Sources: NC Death Certificate, Erwin Sluder, 1918;
City Directories of Asheville, NC, 1899-1900, 1909, via Ancestry.com;
http://books.google.com, The Bankers Magazine, 1915.
Asheville, NC. Photos
by James Archer via