Friday, October 12, 2018

William Christian Shearer Was Well Respected


My 4th great-grandfather, William Christian Shearer's, roots can be traced back to Northern Ireland. According to the 1938 book, "A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, 1800 -1900," by Augusta Phillips Johnson, sometime around 1740, four brothers: George, John, William, James, and their families came to America from near Ulster, Ireland.

William settled in what became Wilkes County, N.C., where, according to Geni.com, his son, William Christian Shearer, served with the 16th Regiment during the American Revolution. It says after migrating to Wayne County, KY around 1812, he and his son, Jacob, ran a freight line that transported household goods, machinery and merchandise between Monticello and Louisville. It said that he was educated and well liked in the community and that he set up and conducted the first Bible study class in Wayne County.


William was married twice, first to Hannah Hoover, who died in North Carolina, then to Sallie Walters. He reportedly had numerous children with both wives. His son, Daniel, was the father of Margaret Shearer Huffaker. Her daughter, Hettie, married U.S. "Grant" Frost. They were the parents of my grandmother, Vada Boles. Christian and his son, Jacob, and Christian's wife, Sallie, are all buried at Bethesda Cemetery. Christian's granddaughter, Margaret, and her husband, Henry Clay Huffaker, my great, great-grandparents, are also buried at Bethesda Cemetery.

Chapter five of the book, "A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, 1800 -1900," tells that in 1828, Christian Shearer's son, Daniel, my 3rd great-grandfather helped to build a church at Pleasant Bend, now Cooper. In the book, author Augusta Phillips Johnson wrote that Daniel's son, Adam Napolean Shearer, then a lad of nine, remembered going with his father to do this. They called it the Church of Christ. In 1852, they organized and planned to build a church in Shearer Valley. The Civil War came on and this house was not completed until the war was over, but enough was done that the soldiers camped in it during the war. This house stands yet, and members of the Church of Christ meet there for worship. Jenkins Shearer, and later Daniel Shearer, preached in this church. Daniel B. Shearer was born on May 12, 1791 and died on April 21, 1865, at the age of 73. He and his wife, Margaret Vickery Shearer, are buried at Shearer Valley Cemetery.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Be A Winner!


Remember the football gag where Lucy tells Charlie Brown that she will hold a football while he kicks it?

"KICK THE FOOTBALL, CHARLIE BROWN!"

At first, he refuses because he doesn't trust her. Eventually, she talks him into it and, just as he is about to kick the ball, Lucy picks it up.

"AAUGH!"

...yelled Charlie Brown as he went flying through the air, followed by...

"WHAM!"

...as he hit the ground.

The message was clear...

"DON'T GIVE UP!"

While Charlie Brown may not have ever kicked the football held by Lucy, he never stopped trying.

So it is with life, where the impossible can become possible if we are determined enough to not quit.

Never stop trying...a quitter never wins, but a winner never quits.

Be a winner!

YOU CAN DO IT!

Monday, October 1, 2018


Life is not measured by the amount of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."

Such was the moment that day as I walked across the parking lot of the grocery store when - above the hustle and bustle of the busy street that lay behind me, above the noise of the shoppers walking to and fro from the store in front of me - suddenly, I heard the voice of a child calling out my name over and over again.

I looked toward the store in front of me and saw nothing. I looked toward the street behind me and saw nothing, I looked to my left and still nothing. I thought that perhaps the voice I had heard was only my imagination, that is until I looked to my right.

Across the street in the school yard there had to be at least a hundred kids enjoying recess and, right in the midst of all those children, I saw one solitary outstretched arm reaching up toward the sky and the hand that was attached to it was waving frantically at me!

It was then that I realized the voice calling out my name belonged to my niece, Chrissy. My first thought was, "My, what great eye sight you have!" My second thought was, "My, what a great set of lungs you have!" Better to love me with, I decided, as I held up both my arms and frantically waved back to her. I smiled as I turned to walk toward the store, wiping away a couple of tears as I went inside.

Later, as I recalled that wonderful event, I remembered something I once read by the Italian poet, Cesare Pavese: "We do not remember days, we remember moments." What happened that day with Chrissy was one of those moments.

Unexpected, but pleasurable.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Burt Reynolds Was A Friend To Country Music


He was one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men during the ’70s and early ’80s, yet Burt Reynolds was a friend to country music.


Widely acclaimed as a landmark picture, the 1972 film, Deliverance, which co-starred Reynolds, is noted for the music scene near the beginning, with one of the city men playing "Dueling Banjos" on guitar with a banjo-strumming country boy, that sets the tone for what lies ahead. Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith wrote the original piece, "Feudin' Banjos" in 1955 and recorded it with banjo player Don Reno. Dueling Banjos” soared to #5 on the country charts in 1973 for Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell. The Deliverance soundtrack also includes several well-known country and bluegrass songs, like Old Joe Clark, Eight More Miles To Louisville, Farewell Blues, Earl's Breakdown, Fire On The Mountain, Bugle Call Rag, Mountain Dew and Rawhide.


In 1975, he starred in the picaresque film, W. W. and the Dixie Dance Kings. It abounded with country artists, including Jerry Reed, Don Williams, Mel Tillis and Roni Stoneman. Tillis sang "The Losing End," Conny Van Dyke sang "Harbor Lights" and Hank Locklin's "Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On," Jerry Reed sang "Blues Stay Away From Me," "My Bucket's Got A Hole In It" and the Stonewall Jackson hit "My Bucket's Got A Hole in It."


Jerry Reed became a close friend of Reynolds during the filming of W. W. and the Dixie Dance Kings and he tapped him for the 1976 movie, Gator, where he sang “The Ballad Of Gator McKlusky." That movie also featured “For A Little While” by Bobby Goldsboro.


Reynolds dated Tammy Wynette briefly during 1977, the same year that "Smokey & the Bandit" came out. It co-starred Reed and featured him singing the theme song, 'East Bound and Down.' The Smokey & the Bandit II soundtrack in 1980 featured 'Charlotte's Web' and "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine" by The Statler Brothers, 'Pecos Promenade' by Tanya Tucker, 'Tulsa Time' and "To Be Your Man" by Don Williams, 'Pecos Cowboy, Ride' and "Ride Concrete Cowboy, Ride" by Roy Rogers with the Sons of the Pioneers, "Here's Lookin' at You" by Mel Tillis and "Texas Bound and Flyin'" by Jerry Reed.


Reynolds scored two movie releases in 1977. The other one was "Semi Tough," which featured the music of Gene Autry, "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Don't Bite The Hand That's Feeding You," "Back in the Saddle Again," You're The Only Good Thing (That's Happened To Me), among others.


Reynolds co-starred with Dolly Parton in the 1982 musical comedy film hit, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which included two of Dolly's compositions: "Sneakin' Around", which she performed as a duet with Reynolds and a reworking of her 1974 classic "I Will Always Love You," which topped the country chart in September 1982. Unlike the original version, the 1982 release crossed over to the Pop and Adult Contemporary charts as well.


The 1983 film "Stroker Ace" featured the Marshall Tucker Band songs, "Southern Loving" and "Victim Of Life's Circumstances." The Charlie Daniels Band sang the theme song, "Stroker Ace," Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers sang "What Have We Got To Lose" and Terri Gibbs sang "I Feel A Heartache Comin' On."

While Burt Reynolds did lot for country music and he did even more for the people who sang it. It was an ideal arrangement. For example, look what he did for Jerry Reed's career. But, look what Jerry Reed did for Burt.

Validation.


They weren't just co-stars. They didn't just sing in a Burt Reynolds movie. They were close friends. Just as Clint Eastwood had done in "Every Which Way But Loose," Burt made sure Mel Tillis made it into "Smokey and the Bandit II" and "Cannonball Run." He made sure Don Williams songs were on the soundtracks.

And what did Don Williams do for Burt Reynolds?

"Oh, and if you see Burt Reynolds Would you shake his hand for me And tell ol' Burt I've seen all his movies" "If Hollywood Don't Need You (I Still Do) by Don Williams

Validation.

Upon hearing about his death, Reba McEntire, who worked with Reynolds in the 1993 TV movie, "The Man From Left Field," tweeted, "My good friend has started a new journey. Rest in my peace, my friend. I’ll never forget the wonderful times we spent together."



Monday, September 3, 2018

Seeing God Through Joe Elmore


To the so-called believer who said he didn't see anything that said God was behind the finding of Pfc. Joe Elmore's remains:

You weren't there with us to witness seeing the hundreds of people who came to the side of the road to welcome Pfc. Elmore as we made our journey home with him. Some were dressed in their red, white and blue, some carried flags of all sizes, and some stood at attention to salute our hero soldier. Some clapped while others waved. Some even weeped.

Psalm 46:10 says "Be still, and know that I am God." Mary did just that. She prayed for 68 years that God would bring her brother home. All the while, she became resolute and unswerving in her task. Through the decades, she steadfastly persisted and as her faith became stronger, she undoubtedly grew closer to God. Mary learned to endure and, most importantly, she never gave up. A faith unwavering and unshakable, that was God working in Mary's life.

I was there on that day when Mary and her husband, Buford, stood beside the casket that rested on the airplane's conveyer belt. I saw her weeping and I remembered how she had prayed all those years. That was my first glimpse of God in all His Glory that day.

I saw Him again after our motorcade turned onto Highway 111 from Interstate 40 at Cookeville and proceeded northward to U.S. 127 at the Kentucky state line and then on to the destination at Weldon Haddix Funeral Home.

Oh ye of little faith, you weren't there so you wouldn't have noticed, like we did, that the overwhelming majority of those folks standing alongside Highway 111 and U.S. 127 were born 'AFTER' Pfc. Joe Elmore had died in battle. Generations of people who never knew Joe saw God in all His glory that day. His message to the large crowds of people who came to see someone they never even knew was, "Look at what I did for his sister, Mary! If I can do this for her, imagine all the things I can do for you!"

I realize the family wouldn't have had to wait 68 years, and Pfc. Elmore's mom, dad, brothers and sisters would gave gotten to bury him, fully intact had his body been returned that December back in 1950, but then God wouldn't have been able to reveal Himself the way He did on August 15, 2018.

You see, God's ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. I believe God answered Mary's prayers so that He could be glorified. She was an example of Leviticus 10:3, which says "I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified."

Thousands of people saw God in all His glory on both television and in person the day Mary and her family brought Pfc. Elmore's remains home. I was honored to be there to witness it myself.

"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." - Romans 11:36

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Finging Joe Elmore


Mary Bowlin prayed for 68 years that her brother Joe's remains would be found. She was 15 years old when he was officially declared Missing in Action during the Korean War.

Joe Stanton Elmore, the son of Ambrose and Bertha York Elmore, was born in the Neathery/Cave Springs area of Clinton County, Ky on January 27, 1930. There is a group photo of Cave Springs School from 1939 that shows him at age nine standing on the back row. The school was located on Albany Landing Road. Later, his family would move to the Seminary community near there.

He was 20 years old when he decided to join the Army. According to Mary, he said, "I want to serve my God and my country." Before the war in North Korea, Joe had never been out of the state of Kentucky, except for the occasional trip to Byrdstown to see a picture show. He had been assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, where he eventually became Private First Class Joe Elmore.

In late November 1950, Joe and approximately 2,500 other U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers, primarily infantry, artillery and tank units, assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team, which was deployed along the eastern shore of North Korea in the South Hamgyong Province. On the 27th, about 120,000 Chinese troops surprised 30,000 U. S. troops and a few troops representing the United Nations. A brutal 17-day battle in freezing weather soon followed. The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, as it came to be called, was fought between Nov. 27th and Dec. 13th. On Dec. 2nd, the 31st Regimental Combat Team, later called Task Force Faith, was destroyed. Pfc. Elmore was declared MIA on Dec. 2, 1950 and was presumed dead on Dec. 31, 1953.

Numerous remains of soldiers who died during the Korean War were eventually sent to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as The Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii where they were interred only to be exhumed and kept in a forensic lab in the mid to late 1990's, following the creation of the Korean War Missing DNA Project. In 1995, Mary and her sister, Lola Smith, who died in 2012, submitted their DNA to that project. The Army found Elmore’s remains five years ago and informed Mary that they were 99.9% sure the remains were that of her brother.

Finally, on July 5th, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency informed Mary that the DNA she and her sister had provided all those years ago was a 100% match to the remains that the Army had located. They had accounted for the remains of her long lost brother. After 68 years, Mary's prayers had been answered.

Joe Elmore's remains will be flown home on August 15th. On August 17th, he will finally be laid to rest near his family at Story Cemetery, on the same Albany Landing Road, where he had received his schooling as a child.

William Christian Shearer Was Well Respected

My 4th great-grandfather, William Christian Shearer's, roots can be traced back to Northern Ireland. According to the 1938 book, "...