Sunday, July 15, 2018

"The Cause For Which We Stand"

I often write stories about the Civil War. I love the history behind it all, especially the local history from Wayne County down to Overton County and all points in between. There is much to be learned about the Civil War here in our own backyards. Like all of you, several of my ancestors fought in the war, and like many, I had family on both sides, and in the weirdest corners, too.

My 3rd great uncle was the notorious guerrilla Tinker Dave Beaty, who fought strongly for the Union cause. My 2nd and 3rd great-grandfathers, George and John Boles, were part of his Independent Scouts. On the other side, My 4th cousin, Fountain Frost, rode with Beaty's arch nemesis, the notorious Confederate guerrilla, Champ Ferguson, who fought just as strongly for states rights and 'the southern way of life.' My dad's side of the family in Overton County was mostly aligned to the Confederacy. My mom's side of the family in Fentress and Wayne counties were mostly aligned with Abe Lincoln, who felt it was his sacred duty as President to preserve the Union at all costs.

Very ironically, George Boles, although not yet officially my 2nd great-grandfather at the time, is believed to have killed Frost in a skirmish near Gilreath's Mill, not too far from Holbert Creek, and halfway between Chanute in Pickett County and Pall Mall in Fentress County, Tennessee.

It was sort of like that in the American Revolution, family on both sides, was the same guy.

We all know the story of Benedict Arnold, the American soldier who switched sides and fought for the British during the Revolutionary War. But, have you met Ed Wade? He was 8th great-grandfather born on my dad's maternal side. To be exact, he was Edward C. Wade, Sr., born in York County, Virginia on April 21, 1727, and whose father, Colonel Robert Wade had fought in the French and Indian War. Yeah, that guy.

Edward was a Captain in the British Army at the beginning of the American Revolution, but in 1777, he and one of his brothers, so the story goes, decided to switch sides and join the Virginia Militia. It was a strong commitment to freedom for the Wade family, because two of Edward's sons, Richard and James, were killed while serving with the 6th Virginia Continental Line in 1776. After the war, Edward migrated to Georgia. He died on Nov. 4, 1790 and is buried at Little Creek Church Cemetery in Greshamville.

Switching sides was perhaps by conviction, perhaps it was because of personal belief, or perhaps it was to align oneself with their friends and families. Perhaps it was about wanting to please God. Each side believed God was on their side, but both prayed to the same God and read from the same Bible. So, whose side was the Lord on? During the Civil War, President Lincoln suggested neither side could claim God’s special favor. “The Almighty has His own purposes,” he said. It wasn't 'whose side is the Lord on,' but rather, 'who is on the Lord's side.'

An interesting side note locally: Edward Wade's second cousin, Richard Wade, left Virginia in 1777, the year Edward's father died, and moved to Boonesboro, Ky to help Daniel Boone defend the frontier. In 1801, he moved his family to a part of Wayne County that later became Clinton County. Richard is buried at Cartwright Cemetery. Also after the war, Edward's first cousin, Elizabeth and her husband, Samuel Denney, migrated to Wayne County and they lived on Beaver Creek.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Hymn: God Leads Us Along

George A. Young was an obscure 19th Century preacher and carpenter who spent a lifetime serving in small rural communities. Often his financial support was small, and it was hard on his family. But through all the ups and downs his faithful wife never wavered in her loyalty to God and to her husband. After a long struggle, the family was able to move into their own small home (which George built himself). But then, on an occasion when George was away preaching, some local thugs—who didn’t like his Gospel preaching—set fire to the house, and it was totally destroyed. It was out of that experience that Young reaffirmed his faith in God by writing God Leads Us Along.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Living In The Land of the Free Because of the Brave

73 years after the fact, one Clinton County, Kentucky soldier receives the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration awarded for gallantry and bravery at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Ten days later, the remains of another Clinton County, Kentucky soldier are identified 68 years after being declared Missing in Action. One soldier was willing to lay down his life for his country, the other one did.

Is it ironic or by grand design that the events involving 1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner and PFC Joe Stanton Elmore happened around the 4th of July celebration? Either way, one thing is true, we are a blessed people who have a lot to be thankful for. Has it ever been more apparent than now?

Former CCHS Football Coach George Hatcher used to say, "It's a great day to be a Bulldog." Today, it is a great day to be a Clinton Countian. One drive through town and you see those beautiful patriotic banners hanging atop the light poles. Many more banners will eventually take their place. There are a lot of veterans in our county and each one deserves our respect and gratitude. God bless all of them!

Lt. Conner, PFC Elmore and all of our other great veterans were willing to lay down their lives, to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that we might enjoy freedom in America. Now, perhaps more than ever, we realize that we really are living in the land of the free because of the brave.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

PFC Joe Elmore Is No Longer Missing in Action

PFC Joe Stanton Elmore of Albany was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. He was listed as Missing in Action during the Korean War, while fighting the enemy during a battle on December 2, 1950 along the Chosin Reservoir on the Eastern Shore of North Korea. His remains were never recovered and he was officially presumed dead on December 31, 1953.

Joe was born in the Neathery community of Clinton County on Jan. 27, 1930, the son of Ambrose and Bertha Lee York Elmore and brother of Edgar, Lester, and David Elmore, Mary Bowlin and Lola Mae Smith. The family later moved to the Seminary community. All of his siblings are deceased, except for Mary, who is now 83. She was 15 when Joe went missing.

In the 1990's, Mary and Lola participated in the Korean War Missing DNA Project. Lola passed away in 2012. Mary went to a meeting in Louisville in May of this year and out of 200 families she was the only one that they talked to. They had 99.9% confirmation that day.

"100% confirmation was made at 4:30 Thursday afternoon, July 5th," said Mary's daughter, Debbie Jo Bowlin of Bowling Green, who was named after her late uncle. She said she got a call to come to her mothers home as soon as possible after work. "I have good news, they found Joe," she said. It turns out that Joe's unknown remains have presumably been held somewhere in Kentucky since 2013, maybe at Ft Knox. More information will be released at a briefing to be held soon.

Debbie Jo and the entire family are praising the confirmation of her uncle's remains. "Our entire family is shocked and surprised by this. My mother finally has closure," she said. According to her, a full military funeral is expected to be held soon. A memorial marker has been in place at Story Cemetery since the 1980's. Now, after all these years, the remains of Joe Stanton Elmore can finally rest in peace there, with his parents and siblings.

More than 7,800 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Around 200 are from Kentucky. The Korean War Project first appeared online in 1995. It boasts the most comprehensive public database of war casualties available to the public. Hopefully, because of supposedly improved relations on North Korea's part with the United States, many of the MIA's now resting in North Korea and the DMZ are expected to be repatriated to the United States. It is with great hope that many of these remains may be identified in the future through DNA analysis.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

"God bless America, long may our land be bright with Freedom's holy light!

Happy 4th of July from The Notorious Meddler!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Where is the King of America?

"Where, say some, is the king of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above!"

In January of 1776, author Thomas Paine wrote those words in a booklet entitled, “Common Sense,” which publicly advocated that America should seek to be an independent nation, free from tyranny.

"The Word of God is the Divine Law," he wrote, adding that, in America, the Law should be King rather than the King being the Law.

In a day when the population in the 13 colonies was under 3 million, the pamphlet sold 1.5 million copies. His were just the right words to stroke the common man´s heart and inflame his nobler passions to believe in and fight for one thing: Independence.


Friday, June 29, 2018

"Lt. Murl Conner Was A Courageous Warrior"

Garlin Murl Conner's bravery and heroism during World War II did not begin and end on January 24, 1945 near Houssen, France, which earned him the Distinguished Service Cross in 1945 and was upgraded to the Congressional Medal of Honor this past Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

The Albany, Kentucky did much more. In October of 1943, then-Sgt. Conner earned a Silver Star for an act of bravery that occured during a heavy enemy counter attack when he left the safety of a covered position to direct fire and place men in a gap in the line. These men, at the time, were separated from their own platoon and were under the heaviest of fire from the enemy who were attempting to infiltrate through our lines. Even though he was a Communication Sergeant at the time of the action, Sgt. Conner, on his own initiative and with utter disregard for personal safety, took control of the situation, giving orders and first aid to many of our wounded, who were unable to be evacuated at the moment.

On January 30, 1944, near Ponte Rotto, Italy, Tecnical Sergeant Conner earned a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star. At about 0200 hours, he stormed a strongly fortified house, leading an assault group which he had organized, and succeeded in clearing it. Held by enemy soldiers armed with machine guns and machine pistols, the house blocked an attack being made by Company K. Four men previously sent to capture it were wounded. Taking a bazooka team and two rifle grenadiers with him, Technical Sergeant Conner led the way across 50 yards of exposed terrain and openly directed such effective fire on t he enemy at 25 yards range that one machine gun and two machine pistols were silenced and the crew of a fourth automatic weapon was routed. As a result, Company K continued its advance unhindered.

On September 11, 1944, then 2nd. Lt. Garlin Murl Conner earned a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Silver Star. His fearless leadership under devastating enemy shell and small arms fire, resulted in the capture by his company of a road junction i southern France. Despite shells bursting within 10 yards of him, first hitting six men and later wounding three more, 2nd Lt. Conner continued advancing and inspiring his platoon to follow him until he was approximately 300 yards from the enemy. He then crawled forward alone for about 250 yards through mortar, machine gun and rifle fire that barely missed him, and observed the enemy's dispositions. Leading his platoon by a covered route to the rear of the enemy, he launched a surprise attack that knocked out a machine gun and two mortars, killed three of the enemy, captured seven, and forced the remainder to flee.

On February 3 1945, 1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner earned a Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Silver Star for gallantry in action against the enemt. At 1700 hours, in southern France, he assumed command of a badly battered and disorganized rifle company and led it in an assault over 200 yards of fire-swept ground. Despite bullets which barely missed him, 1st Lt. Conner dashed forward with such grim ferocity that the enemy's morale was shattered. Closing in hand-to-hand combat he led his assault elements in killing 12 and capturing 75 of the enemy, totally shattering enemy resistance in the town.

Lt. Conner served with 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division. According to U.S. Army's official website,, he took part in campaigns in Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe.

His awards and decorations include:

*Congressional Medal of Honor
*Distinguished Service Cross
*Silver Star with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
*Bronze Star
*Purple Heart with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
*Army Good Conduct Medal
*American Defense Service Medal
*American Campaign Medal
*European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Bronze Arrowhead and two Silver Service Stars
*World War II Victory Medal
*Presidential Unit Citation with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
*Combat Infantryman Badge
*Expert Infantryman Badge
*French Croix de Guerre
*French Fourragere
*Honorable Service Lapel Button-WWII

“Today we pay tribute to this Kentucky farm boy who stared down evil with the courage of a warrior and the heart of a true hero. [He] was indeed a giant in his daring, his devotion and his duty. He was larger than life." - President Donald J. Trump, June 26, 2018.

"The Cause For Which We Stand"

I often write stories about the Civil War. I love the history behind it all, especially the local history from Wayne County down to Overt...