Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Carnton Plantation

C is for Carnton Plantation.  Recently on our way to Ootelwah, Tennessee for my Aunt's 85th birthday party, we stopped in Franklin, Tennessee.  My sister and her husband from Missouri were also heading to the same party.  We called them to see where they were, and they just happened to be in Franklin.  We got together for lunch at the Franklin Mercantile Deli.  After lunch we toured the Carnton Plantation.

Carnton was built in 1826 by former Nashville mayor Randal McGavock. Throughout the nineteenth century it was frequently visited by those shaping Tennessee and American history, including President Andrew Jackson. Carnton was a working plantation of 1,400 acres of which 500 acres was used to raise wheat, corn, oats, hay and potatoes. After his father died in 1843, John McGavock took possession of the property and continued to farm it until his death. Under his direction, Carnton grew to become one of the premier farms in Williamson County, Tennessee.  John McGavock married Carrie Elizabeth Winder in December 1848 and they had five children during the subsequent years, three of whom died at young ages.  The surviving children were Winder and Hattie.  Here is a photograph of them from 1865.

Beginning at 4 p.m. on November 30, 1864, Carnton Plantation saw one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. The Confederate Army of Tennessee furiously assaulted the Federal army entrenched along the southern edge of Franklin. The resulting battle was the bloodiest five hours of the Civil War.   The Battle of Franklin lasted barely five hours and led to some 9,500 soldiers being killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate troops. Carnton served as the largest field hospital in the area for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers.

As we toured the home, you could see blood stains on the floors from the surgeries and amputations done during that time.  A staff officer later wrote that "the wounded, in hundreds, were brought to the house during the battle, and all the night after. And when the noble old house could hold no more, the yard was appropriated until the wounded and dead filled that also"

Hundreds of Confederate wounded and dying were tended by Carrie McGavock and her family. Her two children, Hattie (age nine) and son Winder (age seven), provided some basic assistance to the surgeons as well. Over 300 Confederate soldiers were cared for inside Carnton alone. Hundreds more, were spread out through the rest of the property, including in the slave cabins.

Carrie McGavock described the scene at Carnton after the Battle of Franklin this way. "Every room was filled, every bed had two poor, bleeding fellows, every spare space, niche, and corner under the stairs, in the hall, everywhere. And when the noble old house could hold no more, the yard was appropriated until the wounded and dead filled that. Our doctors were deficient in bandages and I began by giving my old linen, then my towels and napkins, then my sheets and tablecloths, then my husband's shirts and my own undergarments"

Author Robert Hicks wrote a historical novel based on the life of Carrie McGavock titled The Widow of the South. A review of the book by Anne Rivers Siddons states,  "A memorable, many-faceted account of one of the definitive events of our history. To read this thrilling story is to encounter and recognize something essential of the worst and best about ourselves. What a wonderful story Robert Hicks has told. It speaks powerfully to us today." I haven't read the book yet but I am planning to.

In early 1866, John and Carrie McGavock designated two acres of land adjacent to their family cemetery as a final burial place for nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers killed during the Battle of Franklin. The McGavocks maintained the cemetery until their respective deaths. Today, the McGavock Confederate Cemetery is a lasting memorial honoring those fallen soldiers and the Battle of Franklin. It is the largest privately owned military cemetery in the nation.

I really enjoyed touring Carnton and the surrounding gardens.  Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. If you are ever in Franklin, Tennessee I highly recommend a visit to Carnton Plantation.   Here are a few pictures taken at Carnton.

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Aunt Opal's Memories - Chapter 1 - Part 1

While I was visiting my Aunt Opal Vega for her 85th birthday celebration she let me have a copy of her Memories that she had written down. I am transcribing them to this blog so that as many people as possible will be able to see them.

Grandma Reeve, Edith May Lewis, was born in De Moines, Iowa, on July 19, 1877.  At a young age, her mother, Nancy Jane Swan Lewis went to take care of her parents for ten or twelve years.  Edith and her father, John Henry Vreland Lewis, were not allowed to go.

Her father came to visit his sister in Tennessee.  While there he took sick and died. He is buried in St. Elmo's Cemetery at the foot of Lookout Mountain. Aunt Lola and Aunt Fay (Reeve) Prowant looked it up when visiting Donna and Bill near Chattanooga, Tennessee several years ago. Many of us cousins have visited his grave.

Grandma went to school in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1891. She visited the Chicago World's Fair in 1892. She had three sisters (Jenny, Ella, and Ida), and two brothers (Frank and Charles). Charles was a state senator from the thirty-eighth district in California. He also owned several drugstores and became wealthy. He lost it all during the depression. He visited the family in Kansas when my mother, Hazel Reeve Lawry, was young.

My grandpa, William Urbin Reeve (always called Urbin) was born in Nicoma) Illinois, in May, 1875. He had two sisters and two brothers (Ida, Edith, Ira, Leslie, and Ivan).

Grandma and Grandpa met during his days of delivering milk where Grandma worked. They were married on May 24, 1895, in Canton, Illinois. Three of their children were born there (Alma, Zenella, and Robert). Robert only lived a few days.

In 1902 they moved to a farm east of Altoona, Kansas. Four children were born there (Orval (Pete), Hazel, Jessie, and Fay.

After moving to Wickes, Arkansas, more children were born (Lola, Dolly Fern, and Leslie). Dolly Fern lived less than two years. While there Grandpa Reeve was Justice of the Peace for that area. He performed marriages, etc.

When my mother, Hazel was about 18 years of age they moved back to Kansas in three covered wagons. This was in about 1924. They invested in the Petite homestead a few miles out of Thayer, Kansas. The house there was a Sears Roebuck pre-cut house.  Mr. Petite's daughter, Mrs. Frank Perkins, and family lived next door on a farm. They only lived there a short time as farming was not Grandpa Reeve's thing. They sold it to Orval and Osa who moved up from Arkansas when Viola (she was born on September 12, 1925) was about six months old.

                                            HAZEL REEVE

In a letter from Uncle Les Reeve---He said that when they moved back to Kansas they had comfortable beds in each wagon which Grandpa Reeve made in his black smith shop. They were three weeks along the way. They picked cotton on the way while in Oklahoma. They had a pet squirrel and a pet dog with them.

I remember my mother saying that one problem was there were no restrooms along the way. (From Derral Reeve's book, they stopped in Oklahoma and picked cotton for two weeks. So it must have taken three weeks to travel the three hundred miles from Wickes, Arkansas to Thayer, Kansas).

Grandma became a Seventh-day Adventist in her youth. Seems she never lived near a church but Aunt Fay said she gathered her children together every Sabbath morning and studied with them. In Arkansas they went to a community church. Grandpa was a Dunkard but as far as I know he never went to church. In his very last years he gave up his snuff and gave his heart to Christ.

Les said grandma insisted they move back to Kansas so the children could get a better education. Alma and Zenella had already moved back to Kansas and married. Jessie was a secretary. She worked at Enterprise Academy. Fay, Lola, and Leslie all attended the academy there. Jessie met Uncle John Borton while there and married him. Aunt Fay went to western Kansas to teach church school. While there two brothers, her students, lost their mother. She later married their father, Uncle Les Prowant. The two boys were Donald and Derral. Derral went to Enterprise while Lola was attending. They married. (Uncle Leslie Reeve went on to Madison College and became a nurse where he met and married Aunt Helen Lamberton Reeve from the state of Washington. He served in the Air Force then returned to attend Loma Linda and became a doctor. He was the only one of the family to attend college.

After selling the farm to Orval and Osa, Grandma and Grandpa moved to Buffville. Grandpa Reeve went to work at the brickyard. All the people who lived there worked at the brick yard. There was a small store and a rooming house. My father stayed at the rooming house.

                                             BEN LAWRY

Uncle Les told me this in a letter---He said that Mom and Aunt Lola delivered milk to the boarding house and Daddy began talking to them and then walked home with them and then would sit on the porch and talk. Les and Lola would crawl under the porch and listen, 'till Daddy caught them once.'

Mom and Daddy were married on September 30, 1927 . Daddy had been married before and had a son, Lloyd, about 9 years of age. His mother was raised by strict grandparents who wouldn't let her go out much. She really liked a faster kind of life than Daddy liked. Lloyd told me he tried to bring her back, but she did not want him. Later she was very sick and came back to his family. My mother said she sat and talked and cried with her and she told Mom she was thankful Mom could care for Lloyd. She died. Mom and Lloyd were always close. Daddy was eleven years older than Mom.

We lived in Buffville until the brickyard closed down. I was born there. We then rented different places and Daddy did whatever he could find to do, mostly on farms. Of course it was the depression years and no one had much.

We lived in a farm house near Buffville when Delbert was born. Daddy and Grandpa were in Colorado harvesting broomcorn at that time. Lloyd had to go to the neighbors in the middle of the night to call the doctor when Delbert was born. Lloyd said they got ice from the ice man and made ice cream a lot. Grandma Reeve was staying with them while Grandpa was gone. I guess that was why my mother was never crazy about ice cream and Delbert weighed twelve pounds. Mom said when Daddy came home he had a red beard and when he kissed me I said "stick you me" and he shaved it off.

                             LLOYD, DELBERT, AND OPAL

That house burned down while we were all away. I was bare foot and my shoes burned up. All the neighbors could save was a cedar chest Lloyd had made at school; in it were Delbert's baby clothes which were too small for him. I believe Jane Ellen has that chest now.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Deep Water


Steamboats changed the face of America.  Before steamboats, freight had to be either hauled by wagon or on rafts, flatboats, and keel-boats. River transport was difficult, hazardous, and costly.

In 1811 the first river steamboats left the dock at Pittsburgh to steam down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and on to New Orleans.  With the use of steamboats, the freight rates per hundred pounds from New Orleans to Louisville dropped from 5 dollars to 25 cents, between 1815 and 1860.  Steamboat traffic including passenger and freight business grew tremendously during this period . So too did the economic and human losses inflicted by snags, shoals, boiler explosions, and human error.  From 1811 to 1899, 156 steamboats were lost to snags or rocks between St. Louis and the Ohio River and another 411 were damaged by fire, explosions or ice.  Travelling by steamboat was dangerous.

Back in the days when steamboats were common, a passenger stood watching the pilot guiding the ship through the river.  The passenger asked the pilot, "how long have you been piloting a boat on this river?"  "About twenty years," was the reply.  The passenger said, "so I suppose you know every rock and shoal and sand bank and all the other dangerous places."  "No, I don't," said the pilot.  "You don't!" exclaimed the passenger in alarm.  "Then what do you know?"  The pilot said, "I know where the deep water is."

Many Christians waste a lot of precious time and resources studying error.  They think that to avoid error they must understand all of the inns and outs of it.  Instead of focusing on Jesus they focus on these erroneous ideas and the people who are teaching them.  They become conspiracy theory Christians who spend more time focusing on these conspiracy theories than they do on Jesus.

In Philippians 4:8, the Bible tells us,  "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."  That seems to tell me that God wants us to focus on the positive.  There is so much evil and error in the world that we could never hope to understand it no matter how long we studied it. Why would we want to take time away from Jesus to study such things?

I am quite often given materials or sent e-mails and internet links to articles that are meant to expose certain groups or organizations.  I don't want to take the time to study things that I already believe to be error.  If we know our Bibles and we know our Savior we will not be deceived.  We don't need to see the evil side of life to be able to seek the good.   Jesus tells us in John 8:31,32 - "If you continue to obey my teaching, you are truly my followers. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We need to know where the deep water is.  We need to travel in the deep water as we negotiate the river of life.  To many lives have been wrecked by the rocks and sand banks of life as they have strayed from the deep water.  Let's resolve to stay in the deep water of Jesus.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Like A Child - The Mena Star

This is my article as published in the July 25, 2013 issue of The Mena Star

A few years ago my friend Richie Owens spent a year of his life writing and recording an album. I remember his enthusiasm as he would bring me new songs to listen to. Songs just seemed to pour out of him as he focused on this project. One of my favorite songs that he wrote was titled "Like A Child". Richie ended up choosing the song as the title track of the album. Here are the lyrics

I remember the story from when I was young
Where Jesus was teaching one day
And there were some little ones come to see Him
But the men tried to send then away
Little did they know this gentle young man
Was the one by whom all things were made
He decided to make an example of them
To explain something He had to say

Let them come unto Me
For such is the kingdom of God
Come ye also like them
For unless you do you'll be lost
We have to trust fully in Him, not ourselves
Rely on his word before anything else
We can grow great in stature
In wisdom and health, undefiled
But be like a child

These are hard words in the world which we live
When dog eat dog's putting it mild
'cause some of the things Jesus asked us to do
With this world just can't be reconciled
But we know he has made the way for us
And we know he has conquered the grave
And we know that His grace is sufficient
So that all who will can hear Him say

Children come unto Me
For yours is the kingdom of God
You have conquered the world
For you followed My staff and My rod
You trusted fully in Me not yourselves
You relied on My word before anything else
And you never grew to big to stay in My arms
All the while...Welcome home, child

The other day as I was listening to the album (it is still one of my favorites) I started thinking about what Jesus actually meant in Matthew 18:2 - "Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven".

Autumn reads her Bible

That really is a blunt statement. If I don't become as a little child I will not be saved. It is very important that I understand what Jesus meant. My salvation depends on it. As I was considering this question, an important characteristic of little children came to mind.

One characteristic of little children is that they look up to the adults around them, especially parents. They don’t want to be left alone. They feel secure when they are with their parents. That is the way a Christian should feel about God. We should want to be with God.

In our relationship with God, we adults are in the same position as our children, except that we don’t know it. We sometimes behave as if we are running our lives, and that we are in control. We feel capable, and sometimes to such an extent that we feel we don’t really need God.

We need to know, that we are not in control. Like a child, we should always be looking up to someone for security and for help. We need to remind ourselves that we cannot handle life with our own wisdom or capabilities. In Proverbs 3:5,6 the Bible tells us "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.

At Sabbath School

This childlike quality was brought home to me by a story that my daughter told me about my granddaughter. While my granddaughter was attending Vacation Bible School, one of the activities that she was involved in was making a scroll like people used in Bible times. When she finished her scroll she told her teacher,"this is for Jesus. I'll give it to him when he comes to pick me up".

That is the kind of childlike faith that we all need to have. We are just waiting for Jesus to come pick us up so we can go home, and we have no doubts that he will be here soon.

Here is a slideshow that I put together with the Richie Owens song "Like A Child".

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


B is for Blend.  Recently the group Blend was in concert here in my hometown at the Ouachita Little Theater.    Blend started at John A. Logan College in 2005 for a talent show and ended up winning it. From there, they decided to pursue it as a career.  The real strength of Blend lies in their ability to entertain crowds of all ages with songs which most everyone has heard at one point or another.  On top of their classic doo-wop routine they are also a deeply spiritual group and love to share their gospel music as well.

I really enjoyed the concert.  Blend is an acappela group, they use no instruments or pre-recorded music.  What you get is just some guys singing and having a good time.  They put on a very entertaining show and kept the audience involved, often coming down off of the stage and singing in the audience.

Some of the songs on their setlist included, Chain Gang, Duke of Earl, Pretty Women, Come Go With Me, Get a Job, Book of Love and Blue Moon.

If Blend ever comes back to Mena I will plan on going to see them again.

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Daddy

Today is my Daddy's 77th birthday.  He was born in Kansas on the hottest day ever recorded in the state.  The official weather service temperature in Fredonia, Kansas on July 18, 1936 was 121 degrees. He was born just a few miles away.  I have heard stories from my grandmother about how they had to keep wetting sheets with water and drape them over the crib to try and keep him cool.

In honor of Daddy's birthday here are a few photos of him over the years.

How Long Have I Been Sanding

30 Model A

Happy Birthday Daddy!!