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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Lincoln, Jeff Davis Wife and the Many Mansions

      About ten days ago I got a report from a friend in Bama who had attended the inaugural celebration of the lynching museum in Montgomery. It was complete with a firsthand report he had with Civil Rights Saint John Lewis and a mutual celebration of the glorious life of their and Martin Luther King's great friend Will D. Campbell.

    All this on the same day I began reading Charles Frazier of Cold Mtn fame new novel Varina, about the wife of Jeff Davis. And I found and reread a profile in the Furman magazine of Vernon Burton with whom I hope to have lunch later this fall.

   Excerpts from all this to follow. For a few days I was dreaming of Lincoln and walking around in a daze, such a state I wouldn't been surprised if they showed up on the front porch with my Grandfather Jordan, born 1881, maybe with Judge Frank Johnson for a chat.

    It was like the Gospel says as close as it gets for me, in this world but not of it. Righteous Insights.

     Here is page 212 of Varina, Quoting Frazier as Varina:

     They rode back to the camp in silence and V thought about how the landscape would never be the same after war, even if the blasted battlegrounds healed with new growth and burned farms were either rebuilt or allowed to rot into the dirt. The old land had all become overlain with new maps of failures and sins, troop movements, battles and skirmishes, places of victory and defeat, losses and despair. Slave quarters, whipping posts,and slave market platforms. Routes of attack and retreat, Monumental cemeteries of white crosses stretching in rows to the horizon, and also lonesome mountain burials with one name knife cut into a pine board, weathering blank in ten years and rotted into the ground in twenty. The ground itself defaced and haunted with countless places where blood--all red wherever it sprang from--would keep seeping up for generations to come. That place out in the pinecombs would haunt those girls and keep haunting. The last one, the youngest--at a hundred years old, tiny and translucent--might tell the story of the marauding army and the killings and the torchlight burials to a little girl in 1950 who would carry it with her into the 21st century.

     Google the review in the Washington Post. Here is Jimmie Limber on page 293 on the beliefs of Jeff Davis:

       He did as most politicians do except more so; corrupt our language and symbols of freedom, pervert our heroes. Because, like so many of them he held no beloved idea or philosophy as tightly as his money purse. Take a king or a president or anybody. Put a heavy sack of gold in one hand and a feather light declaration about freedom in the other. And then an outlaw sticks a pistol in his face and says give me one of the other. Every time --ten out of then--he'll hug the sack and throw away the ideals. like the foundation under a building. And that's how freedom and chains and a whipping post can live alongside each other comfortably.

    Come back to this in a few days for a quotation from the Furman magazine about Furman's great Vernon Burton and his age of Lincoln.

   May 11, 2018. Yesterday I presented a copy of Edwin C Bridges history of the state of Alabama to Martha Barksdale and the Collinsville History Museum. I wrote on site a sterling presentation note in the book to mark the event. Like Marshall Frady and the 8 folks named on the Furman Standard Marquee signpost at Fluor Field in Greenville, SC, Bridges and myself are Furman grads.

   The James Payton family was part of the crowd source funding that made the book possible for Martha and the museum. On the way out I got a copy of the Fall 2008 Gen of the Valley, the quarterly newsletter of the local Historical Association, Martha Barksdale editor and James Payton, valedictorian of his 1990 Ft Payne HS class, publisher.

    It was a most fascinating edition as it named folks from the Collinsville area who fought in the Civil War, most with the Confederates. Rebecca Clayton who is quite proud of her Brindley heritage lost four great great uncles in the War, about wiped out the family of her Grandfather Vergil Brindley. His son Stanley had two sister Ollie and Mabel who never married. Miss Ollie was a key participant in the documentary Blessing of Liberty by Oscar nominated director Brett Morgen in 92. She was in her late 80s then and their was a grandfather clock in the scene ticking away. Morgen told me it was one of his favorite scenes.

   The 08 issue lists several descendants of the soldiers mentioned by inadvertently leaves out my great grandfather John Sanders Jordan who skirmished on the Union side in 1894 or so up around Stevenson, Alabama near the Tennessee line above Scottsboro with the Alabama Vidette Company. And though it listed Momma's first cousin Luther Reed it failed to mention his Union Grandfather on his Mother's side but did get his Rebel bona fides in.

   Martha and I are gonna have to talk about that.

    I am hoping maybe with the auspices of the Alabama Humanities Foundation to bring local board Member Judge Rains to the Cricket Theatre in Collinsville and maybe Vandy Doc and Furman grad Ainsley Quiros of U North Alabama to have a chat. Donzella Bobo, Rebecca Clayton and many others have a lot to learn from her about the lessons and honest history of the Civil War. Bridges history can help a lot.

   What follows are the concluding paragraphs of a Furman mag 2008  Alum Profile of Vernon Burton a 1969 Furman grad. I am proud to be his facebook friend.

     Burton is a Pulitzer nominee for his book Many Mansions about his home in Edgefield SC. These paragraphs are about his Civil War History Age of Lincoln.

     Unique among Civil War histories the book incorporates religion in the Civil War narrative emphasizing the spiritual ordeal of Americans as they sought to regenerate the national promise. Burton emphasizes what could have been possible.....and provides a clear eyed analysis of those who resisted or sought to reverse such efforts. No region, class party or section escapes his critical gaze,  and he finds his heroes in places both predictable and unpredictable.

    That Burton shows the flaws and foibles of the most significant characters while dignifying and humanizing the more unregenerate souls only adds to the richness of the account. His account of how some found transcendence while others dwelt in bitter vengeance makes the Age of Lincoln truly innovative to Civil War era scholarship


Blogger Semper Fi said...

Happy Birthday, Stephen. I believe you are 65 today. You were born in '53, the year I finished Carson-Newman University !
May you have many more productive years. Uncle Brent.

5:46 PM  

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