Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Behind Here Person

On this date, April 19, 2009, it was opening day for little league baseball. It was a warm Saturday. Lots of people were there and the smell of hotdogs cooking on the grill permeated the air. Chrissy, my neice, had a t-ball game that day. Her team took the field first and Chrissy's position was hind catcher. When the other teams' coach walked up to the plate with his first batter, Chrissy introduced herself as, "I'm The Behind Here Person!"

Monday, April 11, 2016

Friends, Neighbors and Enemies

In Champ Ferguson's world, many of his once long time friends and neighbors had become his enemies. He despised what the Union army's Camp Dick Robinson stood for. Regardless of who or what they were, he was compelled to target and eliminate those who had been there. That was how he justified murdering William Frogge and Elijah Koger. William was the brother of my great-great-great-grandmother, Nancy Koger. Elijah was her husband.

William had gone to Camp Dick Robinson as a member of the 12th Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, Co. D, but contracted the measles during training and was sent home. On November 1, 1861, Ferguson showed up at the Frogge home, eight miles north of Albany. Not suspecting anything, William's wife, Ester, welcomed their friend inside. Because of his illness, William was confined to his bed. ‘I reckon you caught the measles at Camp Dick Robinson,’ Ferguson said just before he shot him dead. He would later claim that he had heard rumors that Frogg was planning to kill him. ‘I told the boys that I would settle the matter by going direct to Frogg’s house and killing him.'

William's brother-in-law, Elijah Koger, had not only also been at Camp Dick Robinson, he had also taken part in a peace conference at Monroe, Tennessee, where both sides from Clinton, Fentress and Overton counties had met to try and end the senseless murder, theft and arson by guerilla gangs that had become commonplace while the regular soldiers were away at war. The peacemakers agreed not to raid in adjoining counties, but the conference was deemed a failure after Ferguson and his men killed four Overton County men on their way back to Albany.

On Sunday morning, June 1, 1862, at Oak Grove, Elijah arose from his bed and headed out to the spring with his wife beside him. Shots rang out as a band of men appeared suddenly out of nowhere. Nancy screamed fo Elijah to run. As he started to flee, Champ Ferguson overtook him and shot him. Elijah continued to run as more shots rang out. By the time he reached a fence fifty yards away, Elijah had been shot more than thirty times. When Nancy reached the fence, the couple's 11-year-old daughter, Sarah, was holding her daddy in her arms. She was covered in blood. He gasped once, but never spoke.

President Abraham Lincoln summarized Ferguson's way of thinking when he wrote, “Each man feels an impulse to kill his neighbor lest he be first killed by him.”

On October 20, 1865, Champ Ferguson was hanged for the murders of William Frogge, Elijah Koger and 51 others. Esther Frogge and Nancy Koger testified at his trial.

Frightened to Death

Mrs. Henry Hargis, wife of a well known farmer living near Somerset, was literally frightened to death by a snake. Mrs. Hargis had taken a jug of water to her husband, who was working in the fields, and was returning to the house when she felt something pulling at her dress from behind, but thinking it only a briar she gave her skirt a flounce to free herself. Instead of a briar there was an enormous copperhead snake attached to it. This snake was killed by Mr. Hargis and on examination it was found that Mrs. Hargis had not been bitten by it. She was so terribly frightened however, that she fell in a faint, followed by delirium, and never regained consciousness, dying in great agony thinking the reptile was still clinging to her and begging piteously to those about her to take it off.

(Wayne County Outlook, June, 16 1904)

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...