Thursday, July 30, 2009

Books of old

I am writing the story of my family who lived in Tennessee shortly before 1820.
This is a fairly recent undertaking I guess but I did start on this same book back 20 years ago,
but had too much going on to continue. This story will probably be listed as fiction since I want to elaborate on their daily activities to make it more interesting to others. But it is mostly fact.
I have done research for many years on this family, which all began with a letter to
me in the 1960's from my grandmother, Effie shortly before her death.
In this letter she told me many historical family details previously unknown to me. She told of our great great grandfather, John Carroll Reynolds who went to war in the Civil War. He joined up with his brother James and fought with General Hood. James was badly injured in the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas and John( or Carroll as he was always known by family) , got permission to take James home to Texas. They were Calvary so there was no problem since they had their own horses with them from home. James died on the way home at Fort Smith, Arkansas and Carroll buried him there in a cemetery. Sad story. Luckily, James had married before going into the War, being older than Carroll and left a wife and child to survive him. Otherwise that line would have ended with him. Carroll returned to duty and was captured and sent by rail to City Point, Va. A few years ago we were in Virginia onour second trip to Williamsburg and happened upon this place where Carroll had been held prisoner in 1864. A strange feeling to be there and know your own ancestor was a prisoner there. I love history so this was a thrilling moment for me. Whatever side your ancestors were on in that war, they all lost. I had some on each side. But it was a huge loss to this country and those that would have lived and produced children too.
My favorite movie of all time is Gone with the Wind. First of all, I love Clark Gable. He never loses his charm to me. My husband knows this and just smiles knowing Clark is dead. I love those smiling eyes.
The losses of those war years must have been something we could not fathom. Little food available, new clothing impossible, bills with nothing to pay and no crops coming in to get any income. Almost everything in the south went to pay for the military expenses. Many soldiers were not paid regularly in the south, there was not enough food for them and they had to bring their own horses and clothing. The nice pictures of handsewn military uniforms did not last long into the war. I grieve for what they went through, what they lost in mostly in time and death and injury. There were no winners in that war.
I guess I have gotten morbid enough for today. Many people did not own slaves but lost everything they did have due to this war.
So when I see movies like Gone with the Wind, North and South, and Rage of Angels(another good Clark Gable movie) I stop and remember those who gave all for this war like James and his family.
We should never under-estimate what our soldiers have done and are doing for us. That is our history lesson for today.
Feeling a little melancholy today,

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