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."

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...