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Showing posts from October, 2013

The Angel Of Marye's Height's

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I had the opportunity to visit several battlefields in Virginia when my son Rob Segroves was stationed at Norfolk. His guided missile cruiser, the U.S.S. Wainwright, was dry docked there for a year in 1991. He went into dry dock on Aug 1, and Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait the next day. Fortunate timing. This was a dream come true for me. I spent one whole day by myself driving and walking over battlefields like Fredricksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. Union soldiers were mowed down by the thousands in the battle of Fredricksburg which took place on December 13, 1862. This battle occurred just two weeks before the Battle of Stones River. I have since found out that December 13, 1862 is also an important date in my own family's history because my great, great, grandfather Isaac Mayfield, a Union soldier from Kentucky, died in a military hospital in Louisville at the age of 42. He left ten children without a father, including my great grandmoth…

From Pearl Harbor To Calvary

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Commander Mitsuo Fuchida led the Japanese air attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was born on December 3, 1902. In 1924 he graduated from the Japanese Imperial Naval Academy and began a long career as a pilot in the Japanese Navy. On December 7, he radioed the signal for two waves of Japanese aircraft from six different carriers to open the attack. When he realized he had achieved complete surprise he radioed "Tora, Tora, Tora" to the flagship Akagi. He remained over Pearl Harbor until both waves were finished with the attack. Upon return to his carrier he discovered 21 flak holes in his aircraft and the main control wires were barely hanging together. In June 1942 he was wounded and barely escaped alive from the carrier Akagi when it was sunk in the Battle of Midway. The day before the atomic bomb was dropped Fuchida was in Hiroshima attending a week long military conference for Japanese officers. He received a phone call to return to Naval Headquarters in Tok…

Japanese Balloon Bombs

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When I was stationed at Kingsley Field AFB in Klamath Falls Oregon from October 1968 until April 1970 I visited a local museum where I learned about a historical event that very few Americans know about. There was a strange object in the museum that had been part of a Japanese balloon bomb found in the forests around Klamath Falls. In November 1944 the Japanese military launched 9,000 balloon's that were 33 feet in diameter carrying 35 pounds of explosives. The Japanese called them Fugo's. They rose to an altitude of 30,000 feet where they were carried by the jet stream east where they arrived three days later over the west coast of the United States. The intent was to start massive fires and panic in the U.S. when these bombs exploded in the forests of the Northwest. This was in retaliation for the firebombing attacks of Japanese cities by the American Air Force. This would lift the morale of the Japanese people. The only problem with this plan was that the balloon attack …

Andrew Jackson Was Not A Good Speller

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Andrew Jackson was a bad speller. When he was the prosecuting attorney of Davidson County he would approve court records by writing Oll Korrect on them. After awhile this became tiresome so he began signing the papers with "OK", thus coining the word okay.

Nat Love - "Deadwood Dick"

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Nat Love, pronounced Nate, was the most famous black cowboy of the old west. His nickname was "Deadwood Dick". Nat was born a slave in Davidson County, "Nashville" in 1854 on the plantation of Robert Love. After the Civil War and the end of slavery Nat's father tried to run his own farm but soon died. Nat won a horse raffle, sold the horse, gave his mother half the money and headed west, ending up in Dodge City Kansas where he became a cowboy. He became so skilled he gained the respect of white cowboy's and eventually won a rodeo rope, tie, throw, bridle, saddle, and bronco riding competition on the 4th of July, 1876 in Deadwood South Dakota, which is where he got the nickname "Deadwood Dick". He was an expert shot and was captured by Indians in 1877 but because of his bravery they released him. He wrote an autobiography of his life and worked as a Pullman Porter in his later years. He died in Los Angeles California in 1921 at the age of 67.

Thankful Taylor

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There used to be a Sunday magazine section of the Tennessean newspaper which I liked because it had interesting stories about local history. I think they did away with it in the 1970's. It was through this magazine that I first read about the story of Thankful Taylor, a young girl who lived in Christiana during the 1800's that had a 23 inch long snake pulled from her stomach by a Murfreesboro Doctor in 1874. She apparently accidentally swallowed a baby snake while drinking from a creek in Christiana while working on her farm. For five years she suffered from convulsions and stomach problems before seeking medical help. A sympathetic neighbor made her drink liquor which exacerbated the problem. People could see the snake moving in her stomach. Her pastor looked in her mouth and saw the head of the snake. He was the first to identify the problem If you Google Thankful Taylor the Daily News Journal did a thorough story on the incident in 2010 under the heading" Bosom Serp…

Martha White

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I will always remember Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs singing their jingle "you bake better biscuits, cakes, and pies, with Martha White Self-Rising Flour" after the announcer introduced them by saying "and this portion of the Grand Ole Opry is brought to you by Martha White". The real Martha White was Martha White Lindsey, who was three when her father Richard Lindsey Sr. opened the Royal Flour Mill of Nashville in 1899. He named his finest flour for her. When new owners acquired the company in 1941 they changed the name to Martha White. Martha White grew up in Nashville and attended Warner Elementary School and Hume Fogg High School. In 1923, Martha married Dr. George M. Russell, an orthodontist. The couple had three children and lived in Nashville until 1931, when they moved to Memphis. Martha White Lindsey Russell died there in 1949.

The Ku Klux Klan In Tennessee

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By Mark V. Wetherington , The Filson Club Historical Society


  The infamous Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was organized in May or early June of 1866 in a law office in Pulaski by six bored Confederate veterans (the "immortal six"). The Ku Klux Klan was, in its inception, a social club for young men seeking amusement and entertainment. It adopted similar oaths and rituals popular with college fraternities of the day, including oaths of secrecy, mystical initiations, outlandish titles for officers, costumed ceremonies, and pranks. The name "Ku Klux" was a derivation of the Greek word kuklos, meaning "band" or "circle." For the remainder of 1866 there is little evidence that the Klan was involved in vigilantism as new "dens" were formed for social purposes in many of the surrounding counties.
  In February 1867 Tennessee enfranchised freedmen, and Republicans established local chapters of the Union League, a political arm of the party, to mobilize t…

Desmond Doss - Medal Of Honor Winner

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Desmond Doss was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal Of Honor. He was a devout member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and was born on February 7, 1919 He died March 23, 2006. Doss was ridiculed for his beliefs. Not only for his pacifism which was based on his interpretation of scripture but his strict observance of the Sabbath. Adventists believe that you should not work from sundown on Friday night until sundown on Saturday. He served as a medic in the US Army. His citation reads as follows.

  He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machine gun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying all 75 casualties one-by-one to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-s…

The Lesson Of Leadership - Ronald Reagan

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There was a famous moment during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 when General Eisenhower recognized the fact that Hitler had overextended himself presenting the Allies with a golden opportunity. Most of his other Generals were in a panic mode after seeing their forces pushed back and encircled after being surprised in the Ardennes. Eisenhower had the strategic vision to realize that we had the forces and resources to overwhelm and cut off the German and win the war. The Republican Congress can do the same thing to Obama in their fight over not raising the debt ceiling. His Majesty's popularity rating has fallen to 37%. Granted Congress rating is even lower because we see them for what they are. Corrupt career establishment politicians. Yet if they would just lead, and fight the good fight. they would win in the end. Instead they are showing signs of caving. This is what we have come to expect. Their resources however are the American people. Most grass roots Democrats,…

The Four Capitals Of Tennessee

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There have been four capitals of Tennessee since our founding as a state on June 1, 1796. Knoxville was the capital on two occasions. The first time from 1796 until 1812. The second time from 1817 until 1818. Kingston was the capital of Tennessee for one day! On September 21, 1807, the Tennessee General Assembly met in Kingston. They declared it to be the state capital, passed one item, and adjourned. That one item was the acquisition of Cherokee territory that was known as Fort Southwest Point. The Indians had ceded the land around the Fort to the State with the provision that it would be named the State capital, which it was, but only for one day. Before the Indians realized that they had been tricked, the capital was moved back to Knoxville. 
  Murfreesboro was the capital from 1818 until 1826. It was chosen because it is the geographic center of the state of Tennessee. While it was in Murfreesboro Davy Crockett served in the state legislature. I read somewhere that they moved …

Sgt York Kills 28 German Soldiers And Captures 132 Prisoners On October 8, 1918

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On October 8, 1918, Alvin C. York won the Medal of Honor, becoming the most decorated American soldier of World War I. York was an expert shot with a pistol and a rifle. He learned to shoot growing up in the mountains around Pall Mall Tennessee near Jamestown. He took out 32 German machine gun nests and killed 28 enemy soldiers. In addition, York single handedly captured 132 German POW's. This action was part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The war would last another month, ending on November 11, 1918. York was born on December 3, 1887 and died on September 2, 1964 at the VA Hospital in Nashville when I was 14. One of my favorite movies of all time is Sergeant York starring Gary Cooper. The movie has many historical inaccuracies. The battle scenes are accurate and regardless of the inaccuracies the movie captures the essence of the man. He was a true Christian in every sense of the word. He turned down the equivalent of one million dollars in today's currency for commercial…