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Showing posts from April, 2013

THE NASHVILLE DIXIE FLYERS

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When I was a teenager Nashville had a minor league hockey team called the Nashville Dixie Flyers. My Aunt Didi, who raised me after my parents died, became a big fan and I started going to the games with her and her boyfriend Allen Smith. If you were a kid his nickname was "Gigs". If you were an adult his nickname was "Frog". Don't ask me why. The Flyers played at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium and they were a rough and tumble team. They reminded me of the team portrayed in the movie "Slap Shot" with Paul Newman. As I remember they were a good team and were close to the top in league standings most years. They were really tough men because they didn't wear helmets and it was a code of honor for them. From a distance they looked pretty normal but up close they were very scarred with noses that had been broken far too many times. You were lucky if you found a full set of teeth between them.

  One of their biggest rivals were the Long Islan…

NASHVILLE'S SGT CARTER - FRANK SUTTON

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Frank Sutton, who everyone knows as Sgt Carter on Gomer Pyle, was born in Clarksville Tennessee on October 23, 1923. At eight years old his family moved to Nashville where his father worked in the press room of the Nashville Tennessean. His father would die when Frank was fourteen. Frank attended East High School where Debbie and I graduated in 1968. He began acting at the age of nine but decided that he wanted to be an actor while in the Drama Club there. After graduation he became a radio announcer in Clarksville until he joined the Army and was involved in fourteen assault landings in the Pacific. After the war he became an actor and acted on many popular television series such as Route 66, Gunsmoke and Twilight Zone just to name a few. His biggest role was in the Academy Award winning movie Marty starring Ernest Borgnine. Then in 1964 he got his first big break as Sgt Carter on the Andy Griffith Show which soon evolved into the Gomer Pyle Show. The show was cancelled in 1969. Fran…

MEDIA BIAS

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This is a media bias alert: The media is slobbering over the fact that Jason Collins of the NBA came out of the closet and announced that he is gay. Anytime I talk about issues involving personal morality I always like to issue a disclaimer. I am far far from being an icon of moral virtue. Lincoln said that men are like the moon. We all have our dark side that you cannot see until you get on the other side. Having said that God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth, so shall he reap, including me. Why is it so courageous for Collins to announce that he is gay? The media is going crazy over the fact that there is so little opposition among the media and the NBA. Maybe it is because the few that are voicing their legitimate opinions are being called homophobes and bigots. If you want to see real courage then let's see some high profile person come out and say what I am saying now.

  With the media that we have now I think Tim Tebow and other Christian athletes are much more cou…

GENERAL WILLIAM B. BATE

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Confederate Major General William B. Bate was born in Castalian Springs, Sumner County Tennessee on October 7, 1826. He left home at the age of 15 and would fight in the Mexican War. Bate joined the Confederate Army and fought in numerous battles and skirmishes. He suffered two serious wounds during the war.. His first major battle was 1st Bull Run. At Shiloh he had a horse shot out from under him and he was shot in the leg. When the surgeon told him that his leg would have to be amputated he pulled his pistol and threatened to kill him. Bate kept his leg but he would have a limp for the rest of his life. He fought at Hoovers Gap and Chickamauga where he had three horses shot out from under him. Bate also fought at Missionary Ridge, Resaca, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, Peachtree Creek, and the main battle of Atlanta. He was shot in the knee near Atlanta. After his recovery he fought at the Battle of Franklin where he lost 20% of his Division and had another horse shot out fr…

THE MURFREESBORO TORNADO OF 1913

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We all remember the Good Friday tornado that devastated Murfreesboro a few years ago but did you know about the tornado that hit the public square 100 years ago on March 21, 1913? Luckily there was nobody killed. The tornado occurred at 2:00 A.M.and seriously injured a man sleeping in a livery stable on the North side of the square on Walnut St. The tornado cut a swath of destruction 150 yards wide. Part of the clock on the Courthouse Cupola was later found in Lebanon.








FANNIE BATTLE

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For years growing up in Nashville I passed the Fannie Battle Day Home at the top of the hill on Shelby Avenue. I always thought, however; that Fannie Battle was a funny name for a daycare center. That is until the day that I was reading about the occupation of Nashville by Union forces during the Civil War. I read about a 19 year old Confederate spy named Fannie Battle. Mary Francis Battle or "Fannie" as she was called was born in the Cane Ridge community near Lavergne in 1842. Her father Joel Allen Battle was a Confederate Captain that commanded the 20th Tennessee Infantry. The unit was made up primarily of men from the Nashville area. Her father was seriously wounded and captured at Shiloh. He was sent to the Union prison camp at Johnson's Island. Two of Fannie's brothers were killed at Shiloh and another brother fought at Stones River. He would be wounded late in the war.

  Nashville fell to Union Forces on February 25, 1862 and was occupied until the end of t…

THE TENNESSEE CENTRAL BLACKSMITH SHOP

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The men in my family on my mother's side were mostly railroad men. Most of them worked for the Tennessee Central Railroad. I was eating in a local restaurant a few years ago and was sitting next to a man and his wife when I realized that I had seen them at a Smyrna Mexican restaurant where I was singing karaoke at the time. We struck up a conversation and I asked him what he did for a living. He told me that he was a blacksmith at Cannonsburg in Murfreesboro. I said that my grandfather had been a blacksmith for the old Tennessee Central Railroad. He said that his grandfather had also been a blacksmith for the Tennessee Central Railroad. The man wanted to show me an old picture that he had of the Tennessee Central blacksmith shop to see if I recognized anyone. It was probably a week or two later while I was at karaoke that he gave me a copy.

  My jaw dropped to the floor. I picked out my great grandfather, John Clayton Breckinridge Frogge, who was the shop foreman and the first…

NASHVILLE AND THE STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

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Many people think that the Civil Rights movement started in 1955 with the Montgomery Bus Boycott and that it was centered primarily around Martin Luther King. If you believe that then you would be wrong on both counts. The fight for civil rights has been going on since the foundation of this country and Martin Luther King was a big part of the modern day civil rights movement but there were a host of hero's that were essential to the movement. People like Diane Nash, James Bevel, Bernard Lafayette, Marion Barry, John Lewis, James Lawson, plus many more not mentioned. Marion Barry became a very corrupt Washington DC mayor and John Lewis is a very leftist Georgia Congressman. Many of the people involved in the fight for civil rights are on the wrong side of the political tracks today but I admire courage. I admire the length's that they went to just to have the right to do what every American takes for granted today. The right to eat in a restaurant, to go to a swimming pool,…

GRANTS EPIPHANY - THE BATTLE OF SHILOH

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The battle of Shiloh was fought on April 6th and 7th 1862. There were over 23,000 casualties, 13,000 Union and 10,000 confederate. It is one of my favorite battlefields to visit. Shiloh is one of the oldest and largest battlefields as far as acreage owned by the National Park Service. The area around it is still undeveloped unlike Stones River. There are 1152 acres owned by the Park service. You can still see where the battle started around Shiloh Church. The Hornet's Nest where W.H.L. Wallace held off the Confederate Army long enough for Grant to mount a last line of defense. It was called the Hornets Nest because of the sound that the bullets made whizzing through the air. The Peach Orchard where the leaves looked like snow falling to the ground after being clipped by bullets. The place where Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston bled to death from an arterial wound in his leg. Bloody Pond where it was supposedly pink from the men washing their wounds, and being full of …

UNKNOWN CEREMONY

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My father owned three drugstores during the 1950's in North Nashville. One was at 9th & Cheatham, which he did not own very long. The second was a partnership with an old Army buddy called Segroves-Kelly Pharmacy at 12th and Jefferson and the last was Segroves Pharmacy at 17th & Charlotte. This picture is of some kind of ceremony taking place in front of his store on Charlotte. I have always been intrigued by this picture because there is no writing on the back explaining who these people are or what they were doing. My father was the 5th from the left in the black coat and light hat. Nashville Mayor Ben West is the man pointing up toward the pole in the center.

THE MCMINN COUNTY WAR

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The battle of Athens Tennessee or the "McMinn County War" is a testimony to why we have the Second Amendment. Jefferson said that " from time to time the tree of liberty must be watered by the blood of patriots and tyrants". Paul Cantrell came from a Democratic family of money. In 1936 he decided to run for Sheriff and closely identified his campaign with the Administration of Franklin Roosevelt. He was elected in 1936, 38, and 40. Cantrell was elected to the State Senate in 1942 and 44. His former deputy Pat Mansfield was elected Sheriff in his place. For years Cantrell and Mansfield worked under a corrupt fee system whereby they received money for every person they booked, incarcerated and released. The more arrests they made, the more money they made. They would even stop buses traveling through the county and falsely arrest passengers for public drunkenness. The Cantrell machine also ran illegal gambling houses.

  They were investigated by the U.S. Justice …