Friday, December 20, 2013

Where We'll Never Grow Old

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4
James Moore (1888-1962) was a Missionary Baptist minister, a singing teacher and a gospel songwriter from Georgia. He wrote over 500 songs. Sales of his phonograph records ran into the millions. His songs included I Believe in Jesus, Inside the Gate and the beautiful classic hymn, Where We'll Never Grow Old, written on April 22, 1914.

I have heard of a land on the far away strand
’Tis a beautiful home of the soul
Built by Jesus on high, where we never shall die
’Tis a land where we never grow old
Never grow old, never grow old
In a land where we’ll never grow old
Never grow old, never grow old
In a land where we’ll never grow old
In that beautiful home where we’ll never more roam
We shall be in the sweet by and by
Happy praise to the King through eternity sing
’Tis a land where we never shall die
When our work here is done and the life crown is won
And our troubles and trials are o’er
All our sorrow will end, and our voices will blend
With the loved ones who’ve gone on before

The Goodman Sacred Singers recorded their version of the song on Champion Records in 1928.

Andrew Means: "The Battle of Horseshoe Bend"

Andrew Means, Jr., was born Randolph County, North Carolina in 1791 and migrated to Overton County, Tennessee in 1808.

As a young man, he fought in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend as a private in Colonel Stephen Copeland's regiment of Tennessee Volunteers.

It was the War of 1812 and the place was Alabama. The Creek Indians had become divided into two factions: the Upper Creeks (or Red Sticks), a majority who opposed the American expansion, and the Lower Creek, who were more assimilated and sought to remain on good terms with the Americans. On March 27, 1814, General Andrew Jackson's troops attacked a red stick Creek village. The battle lasted for more than five hours before the Creek warriors were defeated. Roughly 800 of the 1,000 Red Stick warriors were killed. Jackson lost fewer than 50 men during the fight and reported 154 wounded.

After the war, Andrew and his family migrated to Missouri. He died there in 1879 and is buried in Means Cemetery near Liberty. Andrew and his wife, Sara, raised 11 children.

Andrew's brother, Benjamin Means, was my 4th great-grandfather.

(Andrew Means)

Hitler Rides In The Empty Seat: "Conserving In A War"

The Office of Price Administration was established on August 28, 1941. Its functions were originally to prevent wartime inflation by managing price controls and rents after the outbreak of World War II.

Everyone in the nation was encouraged to 'do their part' to conserve as much as possible. Folks were also reminded that the enemy might be 'closer than they thought.'

Advertising slogans during the war were many...

"Can what you can!"
"Team Up To Keep Food Prices Down!"
"Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew"
"Loose Lips Can Sink Ships!"
and of course....
"When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler!"

The OPA had the power to place ceilings on all prices except agricultural commodities, and to ration scarce supplies of tires, automobiles, shoes, nylon, sugar, gasoline, fuel oil, coffee, meats and processed foods. At the peak, almost 90% of retail food prices were frozen. The OPA was abolished on May 29, 1947.

Here are some of the print advertisements during the OPA's tenure.


Monday, December 16, 2013

The 12 Days Of Christmas Songs: 12. Joy To The World

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

Written by English hymn writer Isaac Watts, based on Psalms 98, Joy To The World was first published in 1719. Watts wrote the words as a hymn glorifying Christ's triumphant return at the end of the age rather than a song celebrating His first coming. In the 20th century, it was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing
Psalms 98 
"O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity."

The 12 Days Of Christmas Songs: 11. Silent Night

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid." Luke 2:8-9

The words to Silent Night were written in German by the Austrian priest Josef Mohr in 1816. The carol has been translated into over 300 languages and dialects. It was sung simultaneously in English and German by troops fighting in WWI during the Christmas truce of 1914.

The 12 Days Of Christmas Songs: 10. O Holy Night

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11

This well-known carol was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chrétiens" (Midnight, Christians) by poet Placide Cappeau. John Sullivan Dwight created a singing edition in 1855. In both the French original and in the two familiar English versions of the carol, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and of humanity's redemption.

The 12 Days of Christmas Songs: 9. Away In A Manger

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

This Christmas carol was first published in the late nineteenth century and used widely throughout the English-speaking world. The first two verses were published in the May 1884 in Boston, Massachusetts. The third stanza, "Be near me, Lord Jesus" was first printed in 1892.

 Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there.

The 12 Days of Christmas Songs: 8. O Little Town of Bethlehem

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2

O Little Town of Bethlehem is a popular carol written by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest in Philadelphia. He was inspired by visiting the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in 1865. Three years later, he wrote the poem and his organist, Lewis Redner, added the music. It was first published in the English Hymnal of 1906.

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!
How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

The 12 Days of Christmas Songs: 4. O Come O Come Emmanuel

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

The 12 Days of Christmas Songs: 7. The First Noel

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid." Luke 2:8-9

The First Noel is a classic English carol from the 18th century, if not earlier. In French, the word Noel means Christmas. In Latin, it translates as birthday. Its current form was first published in 1823. The current arrangement is credited to composer John Stainer in 1871.

The 12 Days of Christmas Songs: 5. O Come All Ye Faithful

"And it came to pass , as the angels were gone away from them into heaven , the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass , which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste , and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." Luke 2:15-16

"Adeste Fideles" is a carol attributed to John Francis Wade but many other probable authors exist. The oldest manuscripts were found in Portugal, with a date prior to Wade's collection. The English translation, by the English Catholic priest Frederick Oakeley, is widespread in most English speaking countries.

The 12 Days of Christmas Songs: 6. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid." Luke 2:8-9

This carol was written by Edmund Sears of Wayland, Massachusetts, who wrote the  five-stanza poem in 1849. Sears is said to have writ­ten these words at the re­quest of his friend, W. P. Lunt, a min­is­ter in Quin­cy, Mass­a­chu­setts. The hymn was first sung at the 1849 Sun­day School Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tion. A year later, in1850, composer Richard Storrs Willis wrote the melody.

The 12 Days of Christmas Songs: 3. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:13-14

This Christmas carol written by Charles Wesley first appeared in 1739. The arrangement was slow and solemn, not the joyful tune of today. Today's version is the result of alterations by various hands, notably Felix Mendelssohn. In 1840, music from a cantata he composed was adapted to fit the lyrics known today.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The 12 Days of Christmas Songs: 2. Angels We Have Heard On High

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:13-14

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.'
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?
Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The 12 Days Of Christmas Songs: 1. We Three Kings

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." Matthew 2:1-2

This Christmas carol was written by the Reverend John Henry Hopkins, Jr., who wrote both the lyrics and the music for a Christ­mas pa­geant at the Gen­er­al The­o­lo­gic­al Sem­in­ary in New York Ci­ty in 1857. It did not appear in print until his Carols, Hymns and Song in 1863.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bustin' Stills

Sheriff Hige Boles posing with 24 moonshine stills he and his deputies busted between 1926 and 1929 in Clinton County, Kentucky.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

One Joyous Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving Long Ago


We know the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621, but it didn't become an official federal holiday until in 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

Both my great-grandparents, Grant and Hettie Frost, were born soon after the civil war; Grant in 1867 and Hettie in 1870, and they were married four days before Thanksgiving Day in 1890 at Windy, Kentucky.

In his proclamation of November 8th that year, President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed Thursday, the 27th, as the date to be observed as a day of prayer and thanksgiving, inviting the people on that day to "cease from their labors, to meet in their accustomed houses of worship, and to join in rendering gratitude and praise to our beneficent Creator for the rich blessings He has granted to us as a nation and in invoking the continuance of His protection and grace for the future."

For Grant and Hettie Frost, and their families, Thanksgiving Day of 1890 was probably the most joyous of their time spent together. I can picture all of them gathered together to celebrate this union of marriage. As the president said in his proclamation, God did indeed provide them with protection and grace during their long life together. They were married 65 years and God blessed them with many children. Ulysses Simpson "Grant" Frost was the son of Corydon and Almira Owens Frost. During the civil war, Cord was a Private in Co. H, 13th Kentucky Calvary. Hettie Huffaker was the daughter of Henry and Margaret Shearer Huffaker. All are buried at Gap Creek Church Cemetery at Windy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Message From The Goat Man

The Goat Man, Charles McCartney, traveled the highways and bi-ways of America for more than 30 years. The stories told by those who saw him or met him are legendary.

For more about this legendary character, read "Long Live The Goat Man."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Remembering A President

Eight months before President John F. Kennedy was assinated he made a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. It is said that he passed beyond the soldiers' graves and walked to the top of a hill. The story goes that as he paused there reflecting on the beauty of the area, he was quoted as saying, "I could stay here forever."

On November 25, 1963, the President was buried on that hill after being shot dead three days earlier.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Hero Unaware

In 1942, the U.S. government began quietly acquiring more than 60,000 acres in Eastern Tennessee for the Manhattan Project --the secret World War II program that developed the atomic bomb. The government needed land to build massive facilities to refine and develop nuclear materials for these new weapons, without attracting the attention of enemy spies. So, it had to be top secret! Not even the 45,000 construction workers knew what the facility was for. Companies, such as Chrysler, Union Carbide and Dupont, who risked their own money and reputations to assist the military in ending the war, were not told anything about the building of a bomb. Yet, they still agreed to help. Secrecy was of the highest priority. The entire area was fenced in and armed guards were posted!

In early 1943, ground was broken for the first production building at the Y‑12 Electromagnetic Separation Plant. It's purpose was to make enriched uranium.

The Y-12 electromagnetic plant units were initially operated by scientists from Berkeley. They were then turned over to operators, some with college degrees, but many with only a high school education. But, in a test to see who was best, those young "hillbilly" girl operators outproduced those with PhDs. One of those "hillbilly" girl operators was my great aunt, Mada Boles. She went to work soon after the facility at Oak Ridge opened and continued to work there in department B12H in the Y-12 plant up until she married in 1948.

I was sitting beside my then-90 year old aunt Mada at her kitchen table one day and we were looking out the window at a whipper wheel that was perched upside down on a feeder. She would sit there, sometimes for hours, watching those birds and when I would visit her, she would ask me to sit there beside her and she would tell me stories about her friends and family. It was on this particular day that my aunt Mada told me the story of how she made the bomb.

This story begins with my grandfather, Elmer Boles who had been on board the U.S.S. Samuel D. Champlain during the Normandy Invasion. When the ship returned home, most of the crew was dropped off on the east coast for a brief leave, while the ship continued on through the Panama Canal to the west coast. Elmer boarded a troop train that went from New York to Oakland, California, where he boarded a ship and set sail for the south Pacific and the Phillipines.

Meanwhile, President Truman had encouraged the country to unite in the war effort, and asked each citizen to do their part. Since my grandmother was busy at home raising the children, aunt Mada decided she would do what she could to assist the troops, and her brother. She had heard of the new government plant opening in Tennessee and how it was to "help" in the war effort, and although she did not have a clue what she would be doing, soon she was heading Oak Ridge.

On August 8, 1945, two days after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, aunt Mada, and the rest of the world, found out what had really been going on at Oak Ridge. On that day, when it came time for her supper break, she did her usual thing, head for the cafeteria. As she sat down at a table, she couldn't help but notice the headline on the front page of the newspaper a co-worker was reading at the next table: "PARTS OF THE BOMB MADE AT OAK RIDGE!"

The news was out! Thirty months after Oak Ridge began its secret work, the success of Y‑12’s mission was announced to the world. Two atomic weapons - the uranium bomb, Little Boy and the plutonium bomb, Fat Man - were detonated, causing the Empire of Japan to surrender and bringing World War II to an end. Y-12, where aunt Mada had worked, had separated the uranium used in Little Boy.

Aunt Mada could not believe what she had read. When her shift ended, she went to her dormitory room, sat down at a table and addressed a post card to my grandfather in the south Pacific. She couldn't wait to tell him about the goings on at Oak Ridge.

The card reached my grandfather's ship a couple of weeks later. He described what happened this way: "It was normal for shipmates to read each others mail because they were so far from home and homesick and the letters served as a sort of newspaper for them. Of course pages that contained close personal matters were not passed around." As Aunt Mada's letter with the news about Oak Ridge began making its way around the ship, soon everyone onboard was saying that "BOLES' SISTER MADE THE BOMB!"

So there you have the story about how my aunt Mada helped bring WWII to an end. When she finished telling me this remarkable story a smile came across her face. We went back to watching that whipper wheel perched upside down on the feeder, but I was entranced by her words. Her story and its climax had taken my breath. My thoughts were racing to a time, a secret time, when the whole world was on edge. In school, I had learned about the Manhattan Project, but I had no idea that my beloved aunt Mada, so small and frail at age 90, was called a hero during WWII. Life sometimes does have it's little surprises.

The photo is from the Y-12 Bulletin, which was published weely at the Oak Ridge facility and shows my aunt Mada and uncle Lester just before they were married. The marriage was the end of aunt Mazda's career at Oak Ridge.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

He Leadeth Me

"As a young man who recently had been graduated from Brown University and Newton Theological Institution, I was supplying for a couple of Sundays the pulpit of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. At the mid-week service, on the 26th of March, 1862, I set out to give the people an exposition of the Twenty-third Psalm, which I had given before on three or four occasions, but this time I did not get further than the words “He Leadeth Me.” Those words took hold of me as they had never done before, and I saw them in a significance and wondrous beauty of which I had never dreamed. It was the darkest hour of the Civil War. I did not refer to that fact—that is, I don’t think I did—but it may subconsciously have led me to realize that God’s leadership is the one significant fact in human experience, that it makes no difference how we are led, or whither we are led, so long as we are sure God is leading us. At the close of the meeting a few of us in the parlor of my host, good Deacon Watson, kept on talking about the thought which I had emphasized; and then and there, on a blank page of the brief from which I had intended to speak, I penciled the hymn, talking and writing at the same time, then handed it to my wife and thought no more about it. She sent it to The Watchman and Reflector, a paper published in Boston, where it was first printed. I did not know until 1865 that my hymn had been set to music by William B. Bradbury. I went to Rochester, New York to preach as a candidate before the Second Baptist Church. Going into their chapel on arrival in the city, I picked up a hymnal to see what they were singing, and opened it at my own hymn, He Leadeth Me." - Joseph Henry Gilmore
He leadeth me, O blessèd thought
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught
What ’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me

Refrain He leadeth me He leadeth me By His own hand He leadeth me His faithful follower I would be For by His hand He leadeth me

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom By waters still, over troubled sea Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine Nor ever murmur nor repine Content, whatever lot I see Since ’tis my God that leadeth me

And when my task on earth is done When by thy grace the vict’ry’s won E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee Since God through Jordan leadeth me

Joseph Henry Gilmore was the son of New Hampshire Governor Joseph A. Gilmore. He was born on April 29, 1834 in Boston, Massachusetts, and died on July 23, 1918 in Rochester, New York.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Marty Brown: Back Where He Belongs

"I feel like I am putting a star back up in the sky. That's where you belong." - Shirley Brown (wife of Marty Brown)

Marty Brown of Franklin, Kentucky (formerly of Maceo) was on America's Got Talent 2013 - San Antonio Auditions the other night and impressed the panel with his take on a Bob Dylan classic, To Make You Feel My Love. Howard Stern called him a "great, undiscovered talent," but he isn't exactly undiscovered. Around 1990, Brown recorded a demo tape and hitchhiked to Nashville, where he was profiled on the news magazine 48 Hours and in 1991, secured a contract with MCA. Brown released three albums for MCA: High and Dry (1991), Wild Kentucky Skies (1993) and Cryin', Lovin', Leavin' (1994).

Though he never had what you might call a 'substantial hit,' Marty Brown won a devoted following among hardcore country fans thanks to his twangy, classic-style honky tonk and a nasal delivery straight from the hills of Kentucky. Although all three albums received critical acclaim for his traditional style and solid songwriting, Brown and MCA parted ways and he signed with the independent label Hightone and debuted for them in 1996 with Here's To The Honky Tonk. Brown also co-wrote Tracy Byrd's "I'm From The Country" and "The Hits" for Perfect Stranger.

I loved Marty Brown's style and was always more than happy to play his songs on the radio. But, unfortunately, as country music became more pop-oriented, Marty Brown disappeared from the limelight and his career just faded away. In subsequent years, Brown's name occasionally appeared in the local newspaper in unfortunate stories unrelated to his music. In 1997, he pleaded guilty in Indiana to a misdemeanor charge for taking an old engine block and selling it for scrap metal. He explained that he found the block in an alley. He was sentenced to one year's probation and ordered to pay $300 in restitution and perform 24 hours of community service. But, that was a long time ago and Marty Brown has paid his dues. His first time around as a bona fide country star didn't end up so well, not that it was his fault.

The show is called America's Got Talent and Marty Brown HAS talent. I believe in second chances and this is what America's Got Talent is all about for him. He wants this and I hope he makes it because he deserves it. I love how he sings and he writes great lyrics. Judging by country music's current state (the last two award shows were a joke), I am hoping country music fans might also believe in second chances and let Marty Brown back in.

I would love to hear him on the radio again, putting out the hits that he is capable of.

For me, the thing that stood out about Marty Brown's performance on the America's Got Talent - San Antonio Audition was his desire to be back on the big stage once again. You could see it in his performance. You could see it on his face. You could see it in his reaction of the panels' decision, and from his reaction to the audience's acceptance during and after his performance. It was emotional.

Following his audition, Marty's wife, Shirley, whose idea it was for Marty to audition for AGT, said to him: "I feel like I am putting a star back up in the sky. That's where you belong."

I agree. That is where he belongs.

Good luck, Marty Brown, in your next appearance on America's Got Talent from Las Vegas.

I hope you make it!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Saluting Capt. Robert Higginbotham, 5th KY Cavalry

This Memorial Day, the Notorious Meddler salutes Robert Higginbotham of Albany, KY who served as Captain of the 5th KY Cavalry, US Army during the Civil War.

The 5th Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry Regiment served in the Union Army was organized at Columbia, Kentucky beginning on December 1861 and remained in that area until February 1862. The troops were mustered in for a three year enlistment at Gallatin, Tennessee on March 31, 1862 under the command of Colonel David Rice Haggard. The 5th Kentucky Calvary saw action in the Kentucky Campaign, the Battle of Chickamauga, the Atlanta Campaign, the Battle of Resaca, the Siege of Atlanta, the Battle of Jonesboro, the Battle of Lovejoy's Station, Sherman's March to the Sea, the Battle of Griswoldville, the Carolina's Campaign and the Battle of Bentonville before being mustered out of service on May 3, 1865. The regiment lost a total of 213 men during service. Four officers and 32 enlisted men were either killed or mortally wounded, while five officers and 172 enlisted men died of disease.

Robert Higginbotham's great-great-grandson, Lynn McWhorter, said Robert raised several boys and that all of their names included the middle initial 'L.' When asked why he did that, Robert said that it stood for 'Lazy.' Obviously, he was a man of great humor. Today, Lynn is very blessed to have most of Robert Higginbotham's correspondence from his Civil War days.

Robert Higginbotham was born on May 5, 1829 and died on February 19, 1891.

A 'Good' Voter...Or Not

A story about the 1858 election for U.S. Representative in Kentucky's 4th District...
William Clayton Anderson of Lancaster was elected to the 36th Congress as an Opposition Party candidate, serving from 1859 to 1861. His opponent was attorney James Stone Chrisman of Monticello, who had served in the 33rd Congress, from 1853 to 1855. Chrisman contested the vote totals from the 4th Congressional District by claiming that illegal votes were cast. Clinton County, being in that district, was one of the counties contested. So, depositions were taken before Circuit Judge William Vann on November 8th and 9th at the courthouse in Albany. In the end, Chrisman's contest failed, but during the depositions, several voters were challenged in Clinton County, and none more than P.H. Clark, who was challenged because, in the words of Chrisman, 'he is not a free white man; that he is of mixed blood, being at least one-fourth African blood.'

Clark was thought by some to be black. Others considered him a Mulatto, a person of mixed white and black ancestry. He apparently came to Clinton County about 18 months prior to the election and resided in the Piney Woods community, and he apparently left the county just after the election. No one who testified knew where he came from and no one who testified knew where he went after the election. Clark's case was definitely one of racial identity at the polls during that August election in 1858. His parentage and genealogy were unknown. No one knew anything about this man. But, when he showed up at the Piney Woods Precinct to vote in the August 1858 Clinton County Kentucky General Election, without knowing anything at all about Clark's background, the men at the polls were compelled to fall back on his physical appearance as a guide to his race. Several of the men who testified went into great detail describing Clark's physical appearance; his kinky hair, lips, nose, skin color. One even testified that Clark was known as 'Mr. Dick's Negro,' in reference to where he lived. There were some, apparently, who did not mind Clark's physical appearance. As you will see, one man testified that Clark came to eat at his house one morning, with several 'white men.' No one seemed to mind, except Guthrie's wife who suggested that 'next time Clark should eat in the kitchen.' If members of the white community were more or less in agreement that Clark was black, it is surprising that he was allowed to vote. The acting sheriff at the Piney Woods precinct on election day described Clark as being black. The democratic judge at the precinct said his skin was 'too dark to be a good voter,' that me must be Mexican or something else other than European descent. But, the Oppositionist judge insisted Clark was a legal voter. After several minutes of discussion, the precinct sheriff ruled Clark was an eligible voter and he was allowed to vote. Personally, I can't help but think that Clark was Mulatto. If he had been African-American, I don't think he would have shown up to vote, knowing he would not be allowed to.

The deposition of J. A. Morrison
Are you or not acquainted with P. H. Clark? Answer. I know him, as an officer; I had him in custody not long since.

Is or not his vote recorded on the poll-book of district number two of this county for W. C. Anderson, for Congress, at the late election? Answer. I see it so recorded on said poll-book.

Describe him fully, his color, etc. Answer. He is very dark; his nose is flat, his lips are rather thick, his hair is kinky, and he has the actions and speech of a negro. I had him in custody two days, and examined him closely.

From your knowledge of him, do you believe him to be tinctured with African blood? If so, how much? Answer. I think he is tinctured with African blood; and have frequently said that I believe he is at least half African.

Is he or not more than one-fourth African? Answer. I think he is.

Where is the said P. H. Clark at this time? Answer. I know not; it is reported, and generally believed, that he has left this county.

Has or not P. H. Clark the appearance of a mulatto? Answer. I suppose he has, slightly; he is rather too dark for a bright mulatto.

The deposition of John Guthrie
Are you acquainted with P. H. Clark, who voted at district No. 2 in this county, at the late election? Answer. I was acquainted with him when he resided in this county, he having left since the late election.

Describe said Clark, his appearance, color, etc. Answer. He was dark, or rather brown. I think his hair was kinky, his lips thick, and his nose flat.

From your knowledge of the man, do you or not believe him to be tinctured with African blood; if so, to what extent? Answer. I believe him to be tinctured with African blood to the extent of one-fourth or more.

Question by Anderson's attorney. Do you know anything about the parentage of P. H. Clark? Answer. I do not.

When you say his hair is kinky, do you or not mean that his hair is curly, more so than is usual? Answer. I do mean that his hair is more curly than is a white man's hair.

The Deposition of Mark Marlow
Question by Chrisman. Are you or not acquainted with one P. H. Clark, who voted for W. C. Anderson for Congress in district No. 2 in this county, at the late election? Answer. I was acquainted with him some fourteen or fifteen months. He lived about a mile from my house.

Please describe the said Clark, his appearance, color, etc. Answer. He had very much the appearance of a negro. His hair, instead of being only curly, was kinkymore so than any white person; his nose was flat, and his lips thick. Both his nose and lips were more like a negro's than a white person. His actions and speech were also more like a negro's than a white person's.

From your acquaintance with the man, do you or not believe him to be tinctured with African blood; if so, state to what degree? Answer. I believe he is tinctured with African blood, and to the extent of one-half at least, if not more.

After a controversy was raised in reference to the vote of said Clark, did or not he leave for parts unknown? Answer. He has left the neighborhood in which he formerly resided, and has gone I know not where.

Was he or not known and reputed in the neighborhood in which he lived as a negro Answer. When he was spoken of by the neighbors he was generally called Mr. Dick's negro, as he resided on the land of Rufus K. Dick.

By Anderson's attorney. Do you know anything about the parentage of P. H. Clark? Answer. Nothing at all.

How long had he resided in district No. 2 previous to the election? Answer. I suppose something near fourteen months. He came there about the 1st of June, 1858.

 The Deposition of R. A. Burchett
Question by Chrisman. Are you or not acquainted with one P. H. Clark who voted in district No. 2, of this county, and for W. C. Anderson for Congress in the late August election? Answer. I am acquainted with the P. H. Clark who voted as stated in your question.

Were you or not sheriff of the late election in district No. 2, of this county? Answer I was.

When said Clark presented himself at the polls, and asked to vote, did or not one of the judges of said election object, to his voting? If so, what were his reasons for so objecting, and to what political party does the said judge belong? Answer. When said Clark presented himself to vote, Martin B. Owens, one of the judges at said election, did object to his voting, saying that his skin was too dark for him to be a good voter; that he must be of Mexican or some other descent than European; but Miles H. Davis, the other judge, insisted that he was a legal voter; and after parleying about it for some time, some one remarked that when the judges "differed' the sheriff was to decide. Then the said Owens remarked that he would let him pass; and thus he was permitted to vote.

Please give a description of said Clark, his appearance, color, etc. Answer. His skin was very much the same complexion as that of a negro; his hair was nearly as kinky as any negro's; his nose was tolerably flat; his lips were tolerably thick; his speech and actions were like those of a negro.

Has or not P. H. Clark blue eyes? Answer. I think not.

The Deposition of Abijah Guthrie
Are you or not acquainted with one P. H. Clark who voted in district No. 2, in this county, at the late election, and for W. C. Anderson for Congress? Answer. I am.

Has he or not frequently visited your house? Answer. He has been there many times.

Did or not your lady in your presence refuse to let him eat at the table where white people generally ate? Answer. Clark did come and eat at my house with some white men one morning, and my wife came to me complaining that that negro was eating with the white men, and said that next time she would send him to the kitchen.

Please describe said Clark, his color, etc. Answer. He was about the color of a dark mulatto; his hair was coarse and rough, pretty much like a negro's wool; his actions and speech were like those of a negro.

The deposition of P. H. Smith
Did you or not tell William J. Dabney that you would not have wanted the vote of as dark a man as Clark; and that if Anderson was elected only by Clark's vote he ought not to accept the seat, or what did you say? Answer. I might have said that I would not want as dark a man's vote as Clark was. I don't recollect that I said Anderson ought not to accept if elected by his vote only.

The Deposition of Montgomery Howard
By Chrisman's attorney. Did or not a certain negro or mulatto, by the name of P. H. Clark, vote for William C. Anderson for Congress, in the Piney Woods precinct, No. 2, at the last August election? Answer. I don't know Clark to be a negro or mulatto; but I see the name of P. H. Clark recorded on the poll-book for the said precinct No. 2, at the late August election, as voting for W. C. Anderson for Congress. I knew a fellow at and before the said election in that precinct by that name. He had the appearance of being mixed blooded. From his looks, I would not like to let him eat at my table or sleep in my beds with white folks.

Did or not his cross appear to be between the white race and the African negro race? Answer. From his general appearance, I consider him a mixture of the white race with the black.

By same. Was he or not a fellow that made his appearance in this county from parts, unknown, and whose parentage and genealogy were unknown in this country; and has he or not since voting left here for parts unknown? Answer. I don't know where he came from when he came into our precinct about eighteen months ago. I know nothing, nor have I heard anything, about his parentage, or race, or relationship; he has left, or at least I have not seen or heard of him since the election.

Were there or not some friends of the said W. C. Anderson trying to get the said mulatto to vote: and were they or not notified that he was mixed blooded, and therefore not entitled to vote, and warned not to vote him? Answer. I told Valentine Brown and Hiram Hyden, who were friends of Anderson, and, as I thought, trying to vote him, that if I was in their place that I would not vote him, giving as my reason, in substance, that he was mixed blooded.

Chrisman's contest of the election failed. After his first term in Congress, Anderson chose not to seek re-election; and was elected instead as a Unionist to the Kentucky House of Representatives. Sadly, he died on December 23, 1861 while on the house floor during a session of the state legislature in Frankfort, three days shy of his 35th birthday. During the Civil War, Chrisman served as a representative from Kentucky to the First and Second Confederate Congresses. After the war, he served as a Kentucky State Representative and then later, resumed his law practice in Monticello, where he died in 1881.

After the Civil War, the Constitution was changed to make sure black men had the right to vote. For twelve years after the Civil War, soldiers of the Union Army helped make sure that Blacks would get to vote in the South. When the soldiers left, though, Whites in the South invented many ways to keep Blacks from voting. They succeeded for almost one hundred years. Blacks were finally allowed to vote in 1965, following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Clark was not the only vote questioned in that 1858 election in Clinton County. So were several others. You can read about it in several places, including...

* Source: Miscellaneous Documents of the U.S. House of Representatives (1859-1860)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

In Memory of PFC Cecil Ray Pennycuff, 21st Marines, USMC

On Memorial Day in 2013, I wrote a tribute piece in memory of PFC Cecil Ray Pennycuff of Albany, KY, who was killed in action at Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945. I wrote it after reading the words his cousin, Jim Pennycuff, wrote in a Facebook post.

"I placed an American flag today on the grave of my cousin Cecil Ray Pennycuff. Each year I do this and always feel that I'm standing on sacred ground in the presence of a hero. God bless those soldiers that paid the supreme sacrifice."

Six years later, Jim came into possession, for the first time, a photograph of PFC. Pennycuff, which I have included in this re-write.

PFC. Cecil Pennycuff was a member of Company A, 2nd Bn, 21 Marines, 3rd Marine Division. For the Battle of Iwo Jima, the 3rd Marine Division was initially in reserve for the battle, however, they were committed one regiment at a time as the initial regiments that landed needed to be relieved. The 21st Marines came ashore on February 20th. The 21st fought on Iwo Jima until the end of organized resistance on March 16th and the subsequent mopping up operations for the next month. The fighting on Iwo Jima would cost the 3rd Marine Division 1,131 killed in action and another 4,438 wounded.

All total, in 36 days of fighting, 6,800 American troops were killed or wounded, and virtually all 22,000 Japanese soldiers perished.

Cecil Ray Pennycuff was the son of Herschel Ray and Cora Tuggle Pennycuff. He was born on October 3, 1924 in Clinton County, Kentucky.

As Jim Pennycuff said...

"God bless those soldiers that paid the supreme sacrifice."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Are You On The Lord's Side?

During the Civil War, soldiers on both sides prayed for victory before each battle. Both presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, asked their supporters to pray for victories. The average citizen leaned on their faith to get them through the war. Religious people used their faith to get them through the war, and in the end it was their faith that helped them come to terms with the outcome and pretty much the whole entire meaning of the war. Each side in the war, as in any war, believed God was on THEIR side and in the end, said the outcome was simply God's will.

The 1st Kentucky Cavalry was organized at Liberty, Burkesville and Monticello, and mustered in for a three year enlistment on October 28, 1861, under the command of Colonel Frank Wolford of Liberty. The unit included 85 volunteers from my hometown of Albany. The unit was known as The Wildcats after a battle on Wildcat Mountain near London, Kentucky. There were several brave and gallant men in the 1st Kentucky Calvary, but none were more dedicated to the troops of the First Kentucky Calvary than its Chaplin, W. H. Honnell of Harrodsburg.

At age 35, W.H. Honnell was a model clergyman, not that he preached much, or appeared sanctimonious, or intruded his religious notions upon any one, but because of his devotion to the sick and wounded. Not a soldier could be taken sick without his knowing it. He visited and conversed with all, ascertained their wants, and had them supplied if it was possible. Nor was this conduct occasional, it was continual and unceasing. His name was blessed a thousand times by sick and helpless soldiers. When any died, he was foremost in providing them a decent and Christian burial. He was not only kind and tender to the sick and wounded, but treated every one with gentleness and respect. Further, he was no coward. He delighted to be upon the battlefield, encouraging the soldiers by his presence, waiting upon and caring for the wounded, and praying for the success of arms while the battle was in progress. When marching, he was always in front near his gallant Colonel, and when the conflict raged, he could be seen where the danger was greatest.

He was at the battle of Mill Springs, administering to the necessities of the disabled, and was near General Felix Zollicoffer when he fell. Dismounting from his horse, the chaplain lifted the General from out of the road, where excited combatants were dashing to and fro, and carried his dying form to a place where it would not be trampled beneath the horses' feet.

Chaplain Honnell was at the front during a fight at Lebanon, Tennessee. He became separated from his regiment, and rode into the rebel ranks, mistaking them for Union troops, where he was captured - sort of.

Colonel John Hunt Morgan: "You take a position yonder," directing him to the rear.
Honnell: "I desire to go to my own regiment."
Morgan: "I told you where to go."
Honnell: "I don't like to be treated in such a way. I am chaplain of the 1st Kentucky cavalry, and want to go to my regiment."
Morgan: "It is hard for you to understand that I am Colonel Morgan, and you are my prisoner. My men need your prayers as well as Wolford's."

Honnell saw the position he was in, and submitted quietly. When Morgan commenced his retreat, he took Honnell along with him. After traveling at a pretty rapid gait for some distance, and the Unionists getting pretty close to them, Morgan said, "Well, Chaplain, I suppose we will have to separate, but before going you must pray." About this time a squad of Union cavalry dashed up, and Morgan had to proceed without the Chaplain's prayer.

As the above story indicates, during the Civil War both sides believed that God was on their side.

After losing the second Battle of Bull Run, President Lincoln said, "In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God can not be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party."

During his second inaugural address on March 5, 1865, he said "Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Each looked for an easier triumph. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other."

So how could God be on BOTH sides?

President Lincoln re-framed the question and offered a startling conclusion: Neither side could claim God’s special favor. "The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes."

President George W. Bush once said, "Faith teaches us to respect those with whom we disagree. It teaches us to tolerate one another. And it teaches us that the proper way to treat human beings created in the divine image is with civility. Yet, you also know that civility does not require us to abandon deeply held beliefs. Civility and firm resolve can live easily with one another."

When we have deeply held beliefs, like most do, it is tempting to believe God is only on our side. But, there is a chance that He may very well be on their side, too!

So, then what?

Like it or not, the fact is God's offer of mercy is for ALL people.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

So back to the question 'have you ever wondered which side the Lord is on?'

During the Civil War, President Lincoln overheard someone remark that he hoped the Lord was on the Union's side. Lincoln replied...

"I am not at all concerned about that, for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I, and this nation, should be on the Lord's side."

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Alvin C. Bertram: A Baptist Preacher for 54 Years

The Bertram family that were a huge part of Clear Fork Baptist Church in Albany, Kentucky from the late 1890's through the 1930's, originated in England and came to Virginia during Colonial times. As a young man, William Bertram, a preacher, migrated to Wayne County. Pleasant Hill Church in Wayne County was started very near the Bertram home. His son, Jonathan, also a preacher, became a large landowner in Wayne County and, likewise, was a preacher.

One of Johnathan's sons was Alvin Bertram. In 1865, near the end of the Civil War, Alvin moved to Clinton County, where he continued his family's tradition of being a farmer. He soon followed in his father and grandfather's footsteps by accepting the call to preach, which he did for 54 years, mostly as pastor of Clear Fork Baptist Church.

There were four pastors of Clear Fork prior to Alvin Bertram; Isaac Denton, 1802-1848, Daniel Hancock 1849, James Abston 1852-1854 and Joseph Denton 1854-1886. Following the death of Joseph Denton, Bertram was selected as pastor for one year, beginning in November of 1887. J.C.J. Selvidge served as Pastor for the next seven months before Bro. Bertram was asked to come back. The Church apparently loved him so much that in February of 1898, after 11 years, when Bro. Bertram asked to be released as pastor, the Church refused, and he remained pastor until his death on July 14, 1926 at the age of 79. His last regular sermon at Clear Fork was on July 26, 1924. Assistant pastors' J.R. Hagan and James Fairchilds filled in during those last two years, with Bro. Fairchilds being chosen the next pastor in 1926.

Besides being a preacher and a farmer, Alvin Bertram also enjoyed politics. He represented Clinton and Wayne counties as a Kentucky State Representative during the 1894 and 1898 sessions.

Alvin married Rosa Young on May 12, 1864. They had six children: William, Elza, Joe, Oscar, Printus and Lena. All of them followed in their father's footsteps, either as a farmer, a preacher or in politics. Printus became a preacher. As a matter of fact, he served as Clear Fork's 10th pastor, from May 1932 to May 1933. He died in 1936 at the age of 59. His brothers, Elza and Oscar, practiced law in Albany for nearly 25 years as Bertram & Bertram before moving the practice to Monticello. In 1910, Elza ran for congress, but lost. Later that year, he was elected to the Kentucky State Senate. In 1933, he became a Judge with the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

Both Alvin and Rosa Bertram are buried at Albany Cemetery.


Long may our Land be Bright with Freedom's Holy Light

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, but after voting to approve it, a draft do...