Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jefferson On The Second Amendment

"Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not."
Thomas Jefferson

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; … "
Thomas Jefferson
letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

Newspaper Announcements Of The Death Of Winston Curchill

  I was almost fifteen when Winston Churchill died. He was a hero to not only to the British people but  to the American people. Margaret Thatcher reminded me a lot of Churchill and that is one reason I liked her. Churchill was a controversial figure earlier in his life. It wasn't until the disastrous administration of Neville Chamberlain who tried to appease Hitler that the British realized that Churchill was the leader that Britain would need to get them through the crisis of war. Britain unfortunately had gone too far down the path of socialism and as soon as victory seemed assured they threw Churchill out in 1945 to return to a more socialistic path by electing Clement Atlee. It would take a Conservative like Thatcher to rescue England from going off the fiscal cliff in the 1970's and 80's. To paraphrase Churchill who resided on both the liberal and conservative side at different points in his life said that if you are a conservative you have no heart but if you are a liberal you have no brain. I would differ with Churchill only to the extent that a conservative has a heart but it is expressed in tough love, which in the end produces a better result for most people. We are headed down the same disastrous path as Britain but I do not see a Margaret Thatcher waiting in the wings.

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill

Never, never, never give up.
Winston Churchill

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.
Winston Churchill

Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.
Winston Churchill

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Winston Churchill

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
Winston Churchill

Patrick Henry On The Second Amendment

"The great object is that every man be armed." and "Everyone who is able may have a gun."
Patrick Henry

"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"
Patrick Henry

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Thomas Paine On The Second Amendment

"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them."

Thomas Paine

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Cherokee North Carolina

Unto These Hills

Some of the cast of "Unto These Hills"

Cherokee doing the Bison Dance

  We took our vacation in Cherokee North Carolina this past week. I had plans to go tubing and rafting while we were there but I got hurt on Monday while tubing. The water was higher than normal because of the rain and I got caught in a strong current near the bank. I hit my head on a low hanging tree branch that knocked me into the water. I was trying to hang on to the tube and was dragged over rocks. I had a goose egg on my left shin and a huge bruise on my right arm. The pain in my arm has kept me up nights. Because of the current it took all my strength to make it to shore. Coming up the bank I threw my back out and last but not least I was stung by a wasp or a bee on my big toe which felt like a hot iron touching my skin. Needless to say my activities were limited for the rest of the week. 

  I did get to see the Indian Village which was better the second second time around. We were there in the 1990's. Our group got to see the play "Unto These Hills" which chronicles the travails of the Cherokee people throughout their long history of interaction with the British and later the Americans. As a student of history and a white man this history has always been troubling to me. I think it would bother anybody who is truly conscientious and has a desire in their own personal lives to live an honorable life and treat others as they would want to be treated. The mistreatment of all people of color by the white or European race is nothing to be proud of. However as a white male Conservative I try to stay away from what I call white guilt when I interpret history. I leave white guilt to the political left. As a person who believes in personal responsibility and the religious concept that we were all born into sin, no man is perfect regardless of race or creed. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". I will be judged for my actions and my actions only. On that score I believe my record is pretty good.

  I treated black people with love and respect in an era that many white people didn't during the years of segregation. I didn't know many Indians growing up so I can only relate to my interaction of myself and black people. I have always heard that my Great Grandmother was either full blooded Cherokee or half. I have never been able to confirm this except to say that she definitely appears to be Cherokee in her picture. My dad and brother Mark reflect this heritage but I inherited all the Anglo features. Later when I joined the military I interacted with all races and religions. I never had a problem there either. Interpreting the long history of the white race and people of color is difficult . Based on my view of things and my study of American history and the warfare between whites and Indians, I know that there were good whites who had honorable intentions. All Indians were not honorable. There were many that were guilty of treachery and many other unpardonable acts. On the other hand a Cherokee for example can easily look at Andrew Jackson and dismiss him as the devil incarnate. A white liberal might take the same view. 

  For me I have to compartmentalize. Yes Jackson was a racist. It is fair to say that most white people of his generation were racist. That doesn't excuse it but it helps to explain their behavior. When you look at the interaction of whites with the Indians it was the white man's racism and greed that usually was at the root of their mistreatment of the Indians. If there had been no racism the whites would probably have still been able to acquire what they wanted without war. The Indians were always willing to trade or negotiate. What was at the bottom of the friction was a cultural one. Indigenous cultures everywhere did not believe that anyone could truly own the land. The ownership of land was communal. The private ownership of land is a basic tenet of European and American culture. Conflict was inevitable between these two cultures even had there been no racism to darken that conflict. Conflict did not necessarily have to be violent but there would have always been a basic difference of opinion. Personally I believe in the inalienable right to own property. Most people today would probably agree with me, even the Indians. 

  Andrew Jackson was responsible for acquiring more territory for the United States than any other man except James K. Polk. Jackson, by defeating the Creek at Horseshoe Bend acquired Alabama and Mississippi. By defeating the British at New Orleans he secured the states that would come out of the vast territory of the Louisiana Purchase. When he drove the Spanish out of Florida he secured that state for the United States. This move protected the Southeastern United States from Indian attack encouraged by the Spanish. Jacksonian Democracy, although it was primarily aimed at enfranchising a lower class of white men would eventually benefit all races and both sexes at a future point in American history. In retrospect how many people regardless of race or political viewpoint would want to give back all that territory or go back to the lifestyle of the indigenous culture of the American Indian. Although racism is still alive and well we have made great progress in that area, contrary to the race merchants who try to keep the issue alive. 

Saint Bernadette

  I read about this Nun a few years ago and if true this an incredible story. The following is an article written about Saint Bernadette. When a body is described as being incorrupt it means that it does not decay after death. The same cannot be said of a body that is well preserved or mummified, or has undergone an embalming process. Most such corpses become stiff, but incorruptible saints remain completely flexible, as if they are only sleeping. This is particularly true of Saint Bernadette whose body is displayed in a glass case at the Convent of Nevers in France. In spite of having died more than 130 years ago, she looks for all the world as if she is about to wake up. It is true that when she was exhumed a second time, the nuns gave her face a light wax mask, but this was done mainly to cover damage caused earlier by washing. A doctor who removed one of her ribs to provide a relic found her body had remained pliable. Pope John XXIII’s body remains intact, but it was embalmed for his lying in state and the Church does not claim that it is incorruptible due to supernatural reasons.

The Andrews Raiders

The Great Locomotive Chase
The Andrews Raid

The Andrews Raid of April 12, 1862, brought the first Union soldiers into north Georgia and led to an exciting locomotive chase, the only one of the Civil War (1861-65). The adventure lasted just seven hours, involved about two dozen men, and as a military operation, ended in failure. In early spring 1862 Northern forces advanced on Huntsville, Alabama, heading for Chattanooga, Tennessee.

From The General and the Texas, by S. Cohen and J. Bogle

James J. Andrews. Union general Ormsby Mitchel accepted the offer of a civilian spy, James J. Andrews, a contraband merchant and trader between the lines, to lead a raiding party behind Confederate lines to Atlanta, steal a locomotive, and race northward, destroying track, telegraph lines, and maybe bridges toward Chattanooga. The raid thus aimed to knock out the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which supplied Confederate forces at Chattanooga, just as Mitchel's army advanced. On April 7 Andrews chose twenty-two volunteers from three Ohio infantry regiments, plus one civilian. In plain clothes they slipped through the lines to Chattanooga and entrained to Marietta; two men were caught on the way. From Harper's Weekly Big Shanty Depot Two more overslept on the morning of April 12, when Andrews's party boarded the northbound train. They traveled eight miles to Big Shanty (present-day Kennesaw), chosen for the train jacking because it had no telegraph. While crew and passengers ate breakfast, the raiders uncoupled most of the cars. At about 6 a.m. they steamed out of Big Shanty aboard the locomotive General, a tender, and three empty boxcars. Pursuit began immediately, when three railroad men ran after the locomotive, eventually commandeering a platform car. 

From The General and the Texas, by S. Cohen and J. Bogle

The General Two of them, Anthony Murphy and William Fuller, persisted in their chase for the next seven hours and over eighty-seven miles. First suspecting the train thieves to be Confederate deserters, the pursuers acquired a locomotive at Etowah Station. Aware they were being chased, 

From The General and the Texas, by S. Cohen and J. Bogle

  Anthony Murphy Andrews's men cut the telegraph lines and pried up rails. Murphy and Fuller switched locomotives—they used three that day—picked up more men, and kept up the chase. The train thieves tried to burn the bridge at the Oostanaula River near Resaca, but the pursuers were too close behind, so close that at Tilton the General could take on only a little water and wood. At about 1 p.m. it ran out of steam two miles north of Ringgold, with the Southerners, aboard the Texas, fast upon them. The Confederates rounded up all the raiders. Only eight of the twenty (Andrews among them) were tried as spies and executed in Atlanta. The rest either escaped or were exchanged.Though it created a sensation at the time, the Andrews Raid had no military effect. From The General and the Texas, by S. Cohen and J. BogleJacob Parrott General Mitchel's forces captured Huntsville on April 11 but did not move on to Chattanooga. The cut telegraph lines and pried rails were quickly repaired. Nevertheless, the train thieves were hailed in the North as heroes. The soldier-raiders received the Medal of Honor; one, Jacob Parrott, was its very first recipient. Neither Andrews nor the other civilian was eligible.In the postwar years several raiders, notably William Pittenger, published thrilling recollections of their adventures. In Atlanta, William Fuller testily challenged Anthony Murphy over who was in charge of the train pursuit. The escapade made its way into film with Buster Keaton's silent comedy The General (1927) and Walt Disney's The Great Locomotive Chase (1956). That a failed historical footnote should kindle such drama fairly attests to the Civil War's emotional spark.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

George Washington On The Second Amendment

"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."

George Washington

First President of the United States

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Richard Henry Lee On The Second Amendment

"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …"
Richard Henry Lee
writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, 
May, 1788.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The Myths Of The Scopes Monkey Trial

Clarence Darrow And William Jennings Bryan

  There was a popular play and movie that came out in 1955 and 1960 respectively, called Inherit The Wind which portrayed the so-called Dayton Monkey trial of 1925 as a battle between dumb redneck religious zealots of Dayton Tennessee and the intelligent forward thinking progressives fighting for intellectual freedom in the classroom. The facts of the Dayton Monkey trial paint a totally different picture. The following points brought out by the play and movie are totally false. This is a perfect example of how liberals are allowed to influence popular opinion regarding historical events.

  Myth One - The State of Tennessee passed a statute prohibiting the teaching of evolution. Myth Two The statute gave unfair advantage to Christian Fundamentalists. Myth Three - Violation of the Butler Act came with a fine and imprisonment. The Butler Act was a 1925 Tennessee law prohibiting public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of man's origin. It was enacted as Tennessee Code Annotated Title 49 (Education) Section 1922, having been signed into law by Tennessee governor Austin Peay. The law also prevented the teaching of the evolution of man from what it referred to as lower orders of animals in place of the Biblical account. Myth Four - Tennessee biology textbooks only taught the Christian account of creation. Myth Five - John Scopes was the victim of a Christian witch hunt. Myth Six - Scopes was physically and mentally mistreated by the citizens of Dayton. Myth Seven- Scopes was unrepresented by council until the day before his trial. Myth Eight- William Jennings Bryan, who was part of the prosecution team was adamantly opposed to the teaching of evolution in public schools. There are many more myths that I could list but this post would never end. The bottom line is that William Jennings Bryan was opposed to the teaching of eugenics. This was his major concern in the Scopes Trial. Specifically—and this is very important to understanding both the Butler Act and the trial—Bryan opposed those applications of Darwinism to mankind that were rapidly gaining popularity and were contained in Prof. Hunter’s Civic Biology.

  These teachings included (1) that mankind can be described in terms of five “races” of differing evolutionary status with the Caucasian race being the most advanced, followed by the “yellow” race, etc.—, (2) that public houses for the poor and asylums for the sick or insane make no sense from an evolutionary perspective and should be at least reconsidered if not dramatically curtailed— , (3) that certain “parasitic” elements of the human population should not have children (“If such people were lower animals,” Hunter writes, “we would probably kill them off”) and, in some cases, such reproduction should be forcibly prevented (“Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe”)__, (4) that society’s business classes should be given generous economic latitude (known as “hands off” or “laissez faire” capitalism) to further advance the most successful members of the human species—, and (5) that the gap between the monkeys and the most evolved apes is akin to the gap between those apes and the lowest human “savages”—.

  The above teachings were favorably referred to as “eugenics”—a term invented by Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton—and generally pertain to the active management of the gene pool of the human species by more evolved experts over a less evolved citizenry. This was scary stuff gaining momentum in the 1920s and, as noted below, was no longer confined to theoretical discussions in Ivory Towers. Statutes permitting sterilizations by force, laws forbidding marriages between people of different races (miscegenation), immigration quotas favoring Northern Europeans (Caucasians), and economic policies benefiting the most successful capitalists, were all popular policies advanced by elitists (university professors, industrialists, Planned Parenthood, liberal ministers, etc.) who self-consciously and persuasively invoked the “scientific” principles of Darwinism. Eugenics would later influence the racial theories of Adolph Hitler. We all know how that worked out. As for whether or not the rural residents of Tennessee were a bunch of bigoted rednecks, the following quote is from Scopes himself. “I have often said that there is more intolerance in higher education than in all the mountains of Tennessee.”
Clarence Darrow Addressing The Court

William Jennings Bryan Addressing The Court

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

George Mason On The Second Amendment

"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."

George Mason

Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Confederate White House

Jefferson and Varina Howell Davis. The Davis children. The White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery Alabama. The youngest child Joseph died at the Richmond White House in April 1864 when he fell 15 feet to his death from the top of the staircase.

The First Confederate Capital - Montgomery Alabama

  Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the first and only president of the Confederate States of America after the South seceded. The ceremony was held at Montgomery, the first Confederate capital, on February 18, 1861. When we visited my brother-in-law Ronnie Phillips and my sister-in-law Jamie in Montgomery Alabama during the 1980's we got the opportunity to see the first Confederate Capital which is the present day state capital building of Alabama. Right across the street is the original White House of the Confederacy where the Davis family lived. I have always thought it ironic that Montgomery was also the birthplace of the modern Civil Rights movement. Just down the street in sight of the Capital is the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. began his ministry and became the leader of the Montgomery bus boycott.

  Strategically Montgomery was a better choice as a capital than Richmond. Montgomery was in the deep South and would have been easier to defend, if for no other reason than it's location. The logistics of capturing Montgomery would have been a challenge for any invading Union Army as opposed to Richmond which was only 100 miles from Washington. The capital was moved to Richmond for political considerations after Virginia seceded from the Union. Virginia was a heavily populated state and had much more prestige than Alabama. In addition the Tredegar iron works were there which produced much of the Confederate artillery and ammunition. However Selma, which is near Montgomery was also a major producer of munitions and could have compensated for Tredegar. 

  Much blood and treasure of the South was wasted trying to protect Richmond. The need to protect Richmond also was a great factor in planning Southern war strategy. In my view moving the capital from Montgomery to Richmond was a great mistake. Whether or not the political controversy of leaving the capital in Montgomery could have been overcome is open to debate. In my opinion it would have been well worth the effort.

Dexter Ave. Baptist Church

Martin Luther King Jr. Preaching At Dexter

Andrew Kehoe - The Bath School Disaster


  Some might think that the Sandy Hook massacre of elementary students back in December 2012 was the worst killing spree of young children in American history. Think again. Notice that there are other ways to kill. Guns are not always the culprit. The Bath School disaster is the historical name of the violent attacks perpetrated by Andrew Kehoe on May 18, 1927 in Bath Township, Michigan, that killed 38 elementary school children and six adults in total, and injured at least 58 other people. Kehoe first killed his wife, fire-bombed his farm and set off a major explosion in the Bath Consolidated School, before committing suicide by detonating a final explosion in his truck. It is the deadliest mass murder in a school in United States history.

  Andrew Kehoe, the 55-year-old school board treasurer, was angry after his defeat in the spring 1926 election for township clerk. He was thought to have planned his "murderous revenge" after that public defeat and he had a reputation for difficulty on the school board and in personal dealings. In addition, in June 1926 he was notified that his mortgage was going to be foreclosed. For much of the next year, a neighbor noticed Kehoe had stopped working on his farm and thought he might be planning suicide. During that period, Kehoe purchased explosives and discreetly planted them on his property and under the school.

  Kehoe's wife was ill with tuberculosis, he had stopped making mortgage payments, and he was under pressure for foreclosure. Some time between May 16 and the morning of May 18, 1927, Kehoe murdered his wife by hitting her on the head with a blunt object. On the morning of May 18 at about 8:45 a.m., he set off various incendiary devices on his homestead that caused the house and other farm buildings to be destroyed by the explosives' blast and the subsequent fires.Almost simultaneously, an explosion devastated the north wing of the school building, killing 36 schoolchildren and two teachers.

  Kehoe used a timed detonator to ignite hundreds of pounds of dynamite and incendiary pyrotol, which he had secretly planted inside the school over the course of many months. As rescuers began working at the school, Kehoe drove up, stopped, and used a rifle to detonate dynamite inside his shrapnel-filled truck, killing himself, the school superintendent, and several others nearby, as well as injuring more bystanders. During rescue efforts at the school, searchers discovered an additional 500 pounds (230 kg) of unexploded dynamite and pyrotol connected to a timing device set to detonate at the same time as the first explosions; the material was hidden throughout the basement of the south wing. Kehoe had apparently intended to blow up and destroy the entire school. The last picture is a sign that Kehoe left on a fence at his farm.

Honorable Manhood

Sullivan Ballou

"Honorable Manhood"

This letter to his wife was found on the body of Sullivan Ballou after he was killed at the battle of 1st Bull Run July 21, 1861. Read the whole letter.

July 14, 1861

Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah:

  The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more . . . 

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . . 

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field. The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness . . . 

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . . .

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.


  Born March 28, 1829 in Smithfield, R.I., Ballou was educated at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.; Brown University in Providence, R.I. and the National Law School in Ballston, N.Y. He was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1853. Ballou devoted his brief life to public service. He was elected in 1854 as clerk of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, later serving as its speaker. He married Sarah Hart Shumway on October 15, 1855, and the following year saw the birth of their first child, Edgar. A second son, William, was born in 1859. Ballou immediately entered the military in 1861 after the war broke out. He became judge advocate of the Rhode Island militia and was 32 at the time of his death at the first Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. When he died, his wife was 24. She later moved to New Jersey to live out her life with her son, William, and never re-married. She died at age 80 in 1917. Sullivan and Sarah Ballou are buried next to each other at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, RI. There are no known living descendants. Ironically, Sullivan Ballou’s letter was never mailed. Although Sarah would receive other, decidedly more upbeat letters, dated after the now-famous letter from the battlefield, the letter in question would be found among Sullivan Ballou’s effects when Gov. William Sprague of Rhode Island traveled to Virginia to retrieve the remains of his state’s sons who had fallen in battle.



  Beauvoir plantation is notable as the historic post-war home (1876-1889) of the former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Its construction was begun in 1848 at Biloxi, Mississippi. It was purchased in 1873 by the planter Samuel Dorsey and his wife Sarah Dorsey. After her husband's death in 1875, the widow Sarah Ellis Dorsey learned of Jefferson Davis' difficulties. She invited him to the plantation and offered him a cottage near the main house, where he could live and work at his memoirs. He ended up living there the rest of his life. The house and plantation have been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

  Ill with cancer, in 1878 Sarah Ellis Dorsey remade her will, bequeathing Beauvoir to Jefferson Davis and his surviving daughter, Varina Anne Davis, known as "Winnie". His wife Varina Howell Davis was also living there, and the three Davises lived there until Jefferson Davis' death in 1889. Varina Davis and her daughter moved to New York in 1891. After the death of Winnie in 1898, Varina Howell Davis inherited the plantation. She sold it in 1902 to the Mississippi Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, with the stipulation that it be used as a Confederate veterans home and later as a memorial to her husband. Barracks were built and the property was used as a home until 1953. At that time, the main house was adapted as a house museum. In 1998, a library was completed and opened on site. The main house and library were badly damaged, and other outbuildings were destroyed, during Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005. Beauvoir survived a similar onslaught from Hurricane Camille in 1969. The house was restored and has been re-opened, while work continues on the library.

  I visited Beauvoir in 1981 while my Guard Unit was pulling summer camp at Gulfport. This picture was taken of me standing on the top step. Years later I found this picture of Jefferson Davis standing just two steps down from where I was which I thought was kind of neat. Davis was hardcore and didn't want the South to surrender. He encouraged his commanders, like Lee and Johnston, to take the fight to the hills and keep the war going. Davis wanted to establish a Confederate government in exile, maybe in Britain or France. He managed to evade capture until May 10, 1865 when he was captured by Union cavalry at Irwinville Georgia. For two years he was imprisoned at Ft. Monroe Virginia and shackled in chains for a while. The government wanted to try him for treason but they were afraid that he could make a valid case constitutionally for secession. Secondly many Northerners were outraged by his treatment and in 1867 he was paroled.

Claude And Mary Segroves

  These are the only two pictures that I have ever seen of my grandfather Claude Eulan Segroves. The first picture is also of my grandmother Mary Elizabeth Swann Segroves. Claude, I am told Claude had trouble keeping a job down in Alabama because of his union activities. That may have had something to do with the family moving to Nashville. He worked at the Merrimac Cotton Mill in Huntsville but when the family moved here I don't believe he ever went to work for Werthan Bag Company, probably because he was blackballed. My grandmother worked there however until her death in 1947 at the age of 57. She died of a stroke brought on by asthma or brown lung disease caused from breathing the lint in the textile mills.

  One thing that I heard about Claude, which if true, is not something to be proud of, but he may have belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. My Aunt Freddie described him as a kindhearted man and a good father. He died at the young age of 51 from colon cancer. My grandmother must have had it hard because besides working she had to take care of her son Ed. He was hit in the head with a rock while playing when he was 12 years old. Ed developed a blood clot in his head that would eventually expand into his brain when he was about 21. My Aunt Freddy said that Mary eventually took him to Vanderbilt but they told her that if she had brought him in about a year earlier they probably could have helped him. However she had waited too long and Ed died about 1935. At some point my grandfather developed colon cancer and passed away in 1940 at the young age of 51. Both Ed and Claude are buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in unmarked graves. My grandmother is buried at Spring Hill in a marked grave.

A Reality Check For Hope And Change


There are 313 million people living in the United States. 46 million of them are on food stamps.

It took from the founding of the nation until 1981 for the U.S. national debt to cross the one trillion dollar mark. Today, our national debt is well over 15 trillion dollars and we add more than a trillion dollars to our debt every single year.

In the United States as a whole, one out of every four children is on food stamps.

According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

There are more unemployed workers in the United States than there are people living in the entire nation of Greece.

Approximately 48 percent of all Americans are currently either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.

The United States has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.

Well, how is that hope and change working out for you?

Russell Qualls Learning To Play Wheelchair Games

Williamson County Recreation Center

Eating Cheeto's

Blaine Segroves, Russell Qualls, And Robbie Segroves

Sunday, July 21, 2013

John Tyler

John Tyler

 John Tyler (1790-1862) had more children than any other president. He had eight by his first wife and seven by his second. He was 70 when his last child, Pearl, was born. He was also the first president to be married in office, though his eight children from his first wife did not approve of the wedding and did not attend. He is also the first Vice-President to assume the office of President after the death of a sitting President, William Henry Harrison. Harrison died of pneumonia one month after giving his inauguration speech bare headed. Many believed that the Constitution only meant that the Vice President would serve until a special election could be arranged to elect a new President. Tyler through the force of will would not let that happen and because of him it is now expected that the Vice- President will automatically assume the office of the President upon the death of the President while in office. This was codified into law by the 25th Amendment. Tyler was a life-long Democrat that alienated himself from the Whig Party by rejecting their policies. Most of his cabinet resigned in protest. This may be where I get my stubbornness because his great grandmother Alice Strother, who was born in 1719, is kin to me through my grandmother Ella Belle Frogge Brown. Tyler was President when Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845 and was the only former President elected to the Confederate Congress but he died in 1862 before he could assume that office.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Marriage Of Grover Cleveland

  The only president to serve two non-consecutive terms was also the only president married in a White House ceremony. Grover Cleveland was 49 and a little more than a year into his first term when he married 21-year-old Frances Folsom. The wedding was a simple affair, attended by close friends, family, and cabinet members and their wives. But the occasion was far from quiet—John Philip Sousa led the Marine Band. After the ceremony, "the ladies kissed the bride to their hearts content," The New York Times reported, "but the gentlemen followed the example of the groom and refrained." There was a 20-pound salmon to sup on and a 25-pound wedding cake. Cleveland had known his bride her whole life. Her father was a close friend of the future president, and Cleveland bought the infant Frances a baby carriage as a gift. Growing up she called him "Uncle Cleve." When her father died leaving no will, the court appointed Cleveland to administer the estate. Two other presidents married while in office. John Tyler married his second wife, Julia Gardiner, in 1844, in New York City. And Woodrow Wilson married his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt, in 1915, at her home in Washington, DC.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spanish Flu Pandemic Of 1918

I had a little bird
Its name was Enza
I opened a window
And in-flu-enza.

  A worldwide influenza pandemic broke out in 1918 just as U.S. troops were landing in Europe to fight in World War I. To prevent panic, Allied governments censored reports about the "Spanish Flu" and military death records often cited pneumonia as the cause of death. The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919 killed 25-40 million people on all seven continents and has been described as "the greatest medical holocaust in history." Among influenza's complications were hemorrhage from the nose, stomach, and intestine. Bleeding from the ears was also common. In the 1920s the State Library & Archives sent questionnaires to the families of all Tennesseans known to have died during their World War I service The questionnaires were called Gold Star Questionnaires because the mother of a soldier who died in wartime service was awarded a gold star to sew onto a small flag for display in the window. President Wilson called these women "Gold Star Mothers." A blue star indicated that a son or daughter was on active duty in the military.

  I interviewed my wife's grandmother, Grace Brown, on camera when she was probably in her late 80's. She was born in 1902 and lived to be 93. I asked a number of questions about her memories of certain events in her life and one thing I asked about was the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. She gave birth to Debbie's mother Margaret on October 8, 1918. This was also the day that Sergeant Alvin C. York killed 25 German soldiers and captured 132 single handed in France earning the Medal Of Honor. Grace told me that because of the flu epidemic that was then at it's height she gave birth on a gurney at Nashville's old City hospital in a hallway. She said that five people died that day just in her immediate vicinity. 

  The Spanish flu actually started in the US in a milder form among American soldiers and they spread it overseas where it developed into a more deadly form. In Spain it killed many people and because of that it was named the Spanish flu. The flu returned to the United States with a vengeance. The first picture is of Private Leander A. Bennet who died one day after arriving in France of the flu. The second is Private Caycee Brann who didn't even make it to France. The third is a Army hospital in Kansas full of sick soldiers.