Showing posts from 2014

The Mysterious Deaths of Uncles Garfield and Isaac Frogge

My grandmothers name was Ella Belle Frogge Brown. The Frogge family can be traced back to Scotland and the Wallace clan of the famous William Wallace portrayed by Mel Gibson in the movie "Braveheart". Her father John Clayton Breckenridge Frogge was from Fentress County Tn., near Jamestown, and his father James Mckinley Frogge was also from Fentress County and had thirteen children by one woman and two by a second wife. His brother Tom was very fertile and had sixteen children all by the same woman. The Frogge's owned the area which is today Dale Hollow Lake. They even had a mountain named after them in the valley where Alvin C. York was born and raised. A few years ago I read a biography of York and found out that he had long time friends that were Frogge's. A Frogge picked him up from the train station in Crossville when he returned as a war hero. He also had enemies among the Frogge's. One was a man named O.O.Frogge. Many Frogge's are buried in the same g…


Grant and staff at City Point Virginia in 1864. John A. Rawlins, is the first man to the left in the picture. He became Grants chief of staff at the beginning of the war and also his closest friend. Grant was a binge drinker and was inclined to drink too much when he was away from his family or he was bored. Historians believe that one of Rawlins main responsibilities was to keep Grant sober. Although Grant was one of my heroes he was a failure in every aspect of his life except for three things. He was a great general, a great horseman, and a great family man. Grant was a humble and imperturbable man but one of my favorite moments was when at the battle of the Wilderness he displayed a rare outburst of anger. This moment also revealed Grant's strategic thinking and the fact that the Union finally had the right man in command of it's armies.The following is from Horace Porters book,( Campaigning With Grant.) A general officer came in from his command at this juncture, and said…

Lord Cornbury- Royal Cross Dressing Governor of New York and New Jersey

Lord Cornbury served as the royal governor of New York and New Jersey from 1701 until 1708. He is considered to be the worst governor ever appointed to the colonies. His subjects thought of him as a degenerate and a pervert. He spent half of his time in womens clothing.. Besides being a cross dresser he took bribes and plundered the public treasury. Witnesses said that while dressed in womens clothes he would hide behind trees. Then he would jump out scaring them and shrieking with laughter. Cornbury opened the 1702 New York Assembly dressed in a hoop skirt, elaborate headdress, and carrying a fan in the style of Queen Anne. He preferred to be called "His High Mightiness". When his wife died in 1707 he attended her funeral dressed as a woman. Finally, after causing too much turmoil, he was replaced by the Queen. Actor Cary Elwes is a descendant of Lord Cornbury.

Enhanced Interrogation

I just finished a fantastic book on World War II. Even though I have studied that war much of my life and have known many veterans of that war this book gave me an even greater appreciation of the absolute horror experienced by both soldiers and civilians. Over sixty million people died. Forty million of them were civilian. World War II was a war that we had to win. We were fighting an evil unlike anything that we have ever faced in the Nazi's and the Japanese militarist regime. Yes, we had our flaws as a society but they were not on a par with those of our enemies. While I was reading the book I told a friend, who is in his seventies, about some of the atrocities committed by the Japanese in the Philippines that were so horrible he refused to believe what I was telling him. In the Rape of Nanking Japanese soldiers made a game of throwing babies in the air and catching them on their bayonets. They forced sons to rape their mothers and buried people alive. In the Philippines the…

Destroying The Dream

Many older white people who remember Martin Luther King will tell you that he was an agitator and a troublemaker. Nothing could be further from the truth. King believed in the non-violent philosophy of Jesus, Thoreau and Gandhi. King had serious moral flaws involving numerous sexual encounters with women and the fact that he was pretty cozy with known communists but he is just what the country needed in the 1950's and 60's. The struggle for Civil Rights was not something invented by Martin Luther King. The movement has existed from the very foundation of our country.The little known Civil Rights movement of the 1930's and 40's planted the seeds for the gains made in the 1960's. However King knew that a non violent strategy had the most chance of success. Non violence can only work in a Democratic country. It cannot work in totalitarian countries or countries managed by dictators. They have no qualms about crushing a peaceful protest and killing the protesters. T…

Madame Mustache - Eleanore Dumont

Eleanore Dumont was born in New Orleans about 1829. She was one of the first blackjack players in the old west. For over thirty years she made her name famous in mining towns across the west. In 1849 as a pretty petite lady, she took on the alias of Simone Jules and traveled out to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. She worked at a place called the Bella Union where she became a gambler well known for her ability to handle stress, her elegant dignity, and aloofness.  She was fired for card sharping but she had made a lot of money in the meantime. In 1854 she traveled to Nevada City California where she walked around town for days dressed to kill and decked out in  her best jewels. She became the talk of the town. Her antics were designed to prepare the town for the grand opening of her gambling emporium. It was a high class establishment and men were encouraged to be well groomed and well behaved. Women were not allowed inside or to loiter outside. Eleanore was the main…

Bustin A Cap

Have you ever heard the phrase "I'm going to bust a cap in you"? Or I'm going to pop a cap on you. For those who don't know it means that a person is threatening to shoot someone. For a long time I thought this was a relatively new term that came out of the black inner city or the rap culture. That is until I was reading an account of black Union soldiers who were guarding Confederate prisoners of war. They would threaten to shoot Confederates by saying "I'm going to pop a cap on you".The percussion cap was invented around 1820 and it replaced the flintlock as a firing mechanism. Muskets, rifles and pistols were fired by placing a percussion cap on what was called a nipple. The hammer exploded the cap which was loaded with an explosive substance called fulminate of mercury. The flame from the cap ignited the powder in the barrel which propelled the bullet. There is a reference to this phrase in the 1969 movie starring John Wayne called "True …

The True Face Of Amnesty

A good friend of mine is always complaining that the conservatives come across as mean spirited and unwilling to compromise on the issue of illegal immigration. I argue that true conservatives are right in line with the American people on this issue. Polls have consistently shown that the American people do not want amnesty. This was one of many reasons that Republicans won such an overwhelming victory in November. The American people are simply wanting the Republicans to stop Obama and his policies. The Republican victory was not a pro Republican victory but an anti-Obama victory. The Republicans, for the most part, are not conservative but they won on conservative issues. They, the Republicans, treat true conservatives in the party like red-headed step-children. In 1994 the overwhelming victory of Republicans was a conservative victory. Not an establishment Republican victory. For once the Republican Party led by Newt Gingrich had a plan for change called the (Contract With Ameri…

Guy Gabaldon - Pied Piper of Saipan

Most Americans, and especially Tennesseans, should know about the heroism of Sgt Alvin C. York. He earned the Medal of Honor in World War I for killing 25 German soldiers and capturing 132 single handed. But did you know that a Hispanic Marine named Guy Gabaldon killed 30 Japanese soldiers and captured 1500 soldiers and civilians in the battles of Saipan and Tinian?  Guy was born in East Los Angeles on March 22, 1926. He was an American of Mexican descent. To help the family get by he shined shoes. Later he would join a gang. At the age of 12 he moved in with an American family of Japanese descent. While living with them he attended a Japanese language school and also learned Japanese customs and culture. After the attack on Pearl Harbor Guy's adopted family was sent to an internment camp in Wyoming. Guy traveled to Alaska in order to work in a cannery. On his 17th birthday in 1943 he joined the U.S. Marines and went through boot camp at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.
  The Army …

The State Of Race In America

With all the hoopla surrounding the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and now Eric Garner in New York City you would think that the whole nation was one big Birmingham Alabama, circa 1962.  Of the three deaths, I believe the Grand Jury was probably wrong in the case of Eric Garner. In my opinion the police went overboard and the officer responsible for his death should be charged. However Eric's death had more to do with overzealous cops enforcing unreasonable cigarette tax laws in New York than race. They were simply acting as tax collectors. It is ridiculous that a pack of cigarettes costs an average of thirteen dollars because of liberal taxation policies. Eric was trying, right or wrong, to profit from selling individual cigarettes on the black market. The law he was violating was not worth his life. The real issue is that police brutality is a non-issue just like the imaginary Republican war on women was a non issue. These non-issues are distractions from the real is…


  Our happy world began to crumble around 1960. I can't point to a specific event but daddy started drinking a lot and acting weird. Some drunks are tolerable. They drink themselves into a stupor and pass out in a corner somewhere. Others drown themselves in self pity or they just get downright mean. Daddy would feel sorry for himself sometimes and he could be mean sometimes. We walked on egg shells and stayed out of his way. He began drinking so much that mother was having to fill in for him at the store. Daddy would drink for days sometimes and lay passed out on the couch. This was okay with me because I didn't want to be around him when he was like that. Mother would leave us with Donna when she could. When she couldn't we had to stay home alone with daddy.When daddy bought his booze he would stop at a liquor store on Charlotte Avenue called Wendell Smiths. Or a bootlegger that was on Charlotte Pike near White Bridge Road. If we were with him he would tell us to …