essay 1590s, "short non-fiction literary composition" (first attested in writings of Francis Bacon, probably in imitation of Montaigne), from . essai "trial, attempt, essay," from . exagium "a weighing, weight," from L. exigere "test," from ex- "out" + agere apparently meaning here "to weigh." The suggestion is of unpolished writing. The more literal verb meaning "to put to proof, test the mettle of" is from late 15c.; this sense has mostly gone with the divergent spelling assay (.). Related: Essayed; essaying. Essayist is from .
Judge Horton lived with his wife Anna, his nineteen-year-old stepson, and his two young sons in a six-room home built in 1849 by the great-great uncle of his wife. The white two-story home at 200 Hobbs Street, with its black-shuttered small-paned windows and colonnaded porches, stood at the end of a walkway lined with twelve mountain cedars. During the Civil War, it was the home of occupying Union officers. On a closet door in a corner room was an inscription--still visible today--left by the Yankees: "Three cheers for Lincoln--Nov. 7, 1864.” 13