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Unaka Springs Hotel

Unaka Springs Hotel was located about 18 miles from Johnson City in Unicoi County, a few miles past Erwin along a mountainous portion of the Nolichucky River. The river was originally named Nolachucky, meaning “Rushing Water.”

There were two ways to arrive at the springs. A hack/a horse for hire that could be used for riding or driving could be rented; the hack line from Jonesboro would take a half day. The last couple of miles along the river included breathtaking views. Some preferred a  journey by train. A time card from 1893 shows Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio’sRailroad’s “No. 1 Daily” leaving Johnson City’s Carnegie Depot at 7:30 a.m., traveling to Okolona, Fagans, Marbleton, Rose Hill, Unicoi, Erwin; and arriving at Unaka Springs at 8:45 a.m. Rather than a half day’s ride, the journey was an hour and a quarter.

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This site of the mineral springs included a wide view of nature with ears filled with the soothing, river waters. Mountain peaks enclosed the gorge, so a sense of peace fell on the guests.

Unaka Springs was considered one of the finest mineral springs in the south. Chalybeate water became popular with folks who believed in its health enhancing qualities. A physician from early times gave a unique description of it: “The colic, the melancholy, and the vapours; it made the lean fat, the fat lean; it killed flat worms in the belly; loosened the clammy humours of the body; and dried the over-moist brain.” He further stated in rhyme: “These waters youth in age renew, Strength to the weak and sickly add, Give the pale cheek a rosy hue, And cheerful spirits to the sad.” (Quite a claim, wouldn’t you say?!?)

Built in 1899, the hotel was a three-story frame structure with modern plumbing and a full porch along the front. There were forty rooms, with a bathroom on each floor. Rental rates were $2/day, $10/week and $30/month. An ad from that era firmly stated, “no consumptives.” And then there’s the pleasure of fishing, hunting, boating and being serve all you can eat.

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The railroad had an office on the premises, where guests could be rail tickets or send and receive telegrams. The train schedules were such that day trips were possible; Sunday School picnics and Sunday dinner at the hotel were popular.

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Mountain climbing before lunch, swimming in the river in the afternoon, and dancing after dinner were daily activities. For church on Sunday, someone played hymns, rather than dance tunes. Rocking chair sitting was conducive to visiting, politicking, or courting. The manager made his rounds, with an oil lamp in hand, to be sure all the rockers and benches were empty each night at 10:30.

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A July 1889 “Comet” newspaper article asked the question, “Where are you going to spend the month of August?” Often the answer was. “Unaka Springs Hotel! Mr. A. V. Deaderick’s place, just like last year.”

Then in the 1950’s, the hotel closed. Another era vanished

 pics of unicoi county,tn - Google Search
 Unaka Springs still flows; it is the restful stay at the hotel in the middle of those gorgeous mountains that is no more. Perhaps someone might build another hotel that gives respite to its guests.
“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
―Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

 

 

Appalachia and Bee Keeping

I grew up with a Mom who could make the most delicious biscuits. They were always topped with butter and something sweet falling off the sides. Strawberry, blackberry, or peach preserves were my favorites, but molasses, sorghum, or honey were not to be turned down.

The biscuits were never big enough. When no one was looking, my brother and I would catch any of those toppings with our tongues or our fingers. It was all too good to waste.

These biscuits make for a perfect snack throughout the day or as a sweet side for a savory dinner.

English settlers moving into our country brought the practice of bee keeping with them. Long before sugar cones were in the Indian traders’ wagons, honey was always on the table for cornbread, oatmeal, or a drizzle for pancakes. Most Appalachian farms had several hives making honey to eat at home, share with friends in another holler or mountain top, or bartered for other necessities. Tulip poplar, clover, and sourwood became the most popular.

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Since we had family in Hendersonville, NC, Mother made trips to the farmer’s market there to buy our honey. Labelled and sold in pint or quart jars by the beekeepers themselves, our family treated the honey like the prize it was. She always bought two quarts. Safely stored in a corner cabinet, it was a celebration to bring the jar to the table.

Since the study of science is not part of my background, I have been surprised to learn the usefulness of honey.

Albert Einstein once remarked, quite seriously, “If bees vanished from the face of the earth, mankind would only exist for four more years. Without bees, there’s no pollinating, no grass, no animals, no people.”

bee on butterfly weed

Several traditional Appalachian folk-remedies support medicinal effects of local honey. One is that honey prevents or lessens the severity of seasonal allergies. It is suggested that individuals that swallow a tablespoon of local honey every day (which contains trace amounts of local pollen) boost their immune system and have greater resistance to the allergens produced by local flowering plants. (It makes sense that the honey is akin to an allergy shot and certainly more appetizing.)

As a sleep aid, cough suppressant, or a treatment for burns or wounds, honey is effective medicine. Some people refer to it still as liquid gold. Since it is been used for over 2,000 years, it seems that it has earned this name. To raise bees is to live close to nature and savor its bounty.

In one of the stories in Tales of a Cosmic Possum (release date October 14, 2017), I wrote about John’s great grandfather, William Gaither Ingle, and the bees he raised on Green Knob Mountain in Erwin, Tennessee, in the early days of the twentieth century. Living off the land was a hard struggle. Every bee hive was important; bears were unwelcome intruders.

 

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Above is a photo of William Gaither, his wife Jane Elizabeth, and their daughter Fannie. Perhaps the intensity of their stares speak to their beautiful, but harsh, geographical location. Or they are telling of their hard-working and self-sufficient lives where they are beholden to no man. Then look at how close they are to each other – almost squeezed together. Whether child or adult, Appalachian members stay bound to their family. They are proud of their family.

Vince Havner, a North Carolina minister and author, said, “The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.”

So what is your vision today? Are you going to follow through? Mine was to unjumble some thoughts about Appalachia and make a peach cobbler. It is now to time for the peaches!

 

My Birthplace – Charleston, South Carolina in the 1700’s

 

1733  map

Many today call Charleston the Holy City because of all the churches that grace this seaport town. It is a major tourist attraction, and I take every opportunity to visit it. In fact, I introduced John to this city on our honeymoon. Thankfully, he learned quickly the serenity in my spirit that sitting or walking along the Battery, Folly Beach, Meeting Street, the Market, etc. bring to me.

As I have written about women who lived in colonial times in South Carolina, then it makes sense for me to also conclude with descriptions about this fair city. They are not as favorable as I might wish, but in fairness, it was a different time.

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a 1788 rendering

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North Battery

Charles-town 1769

“Black and white all mix’d together,
Inconstant, strange, unhealthful weather
Burning heat and chilling cold
Dangerous both to young and old
Boisterous winds and heavy rains
Fevers and rheumatic pains
Agues plenty without doubt
Sores, boils, the prickling heat and gout
Musquitos on the skin make blotches
Centipedes and large cock-roaches
Frightful creatures in the waters
Porpoises, sharks and alligators
Houses built on barren land
No lamps or lights, but streets of sand
Pleasant walks, if you can find ’em
Scandalous tongues, if any mind ’em
The markets dear and little money
Large potatoes, sweet as honey
Water bad, past all drinking
Men and women without thinking
Every thing at a high price
But rum, hominy and rice
Many a widow not unwilling
Many a beau not worth a shilling
Many a bargain, if you strike it,
This is Charles-town, how do you like it.”

Written by a Captain Martin, captain of a British warship

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It is certainly true that several other pre-Revolution chroniclers wrote of Charleston’s trendy and affluent high society and of her pesky crawling creatures.

Writing to her brother Thomas in England in 1742, Eliza Lucas Pinckney wrote, “There is a polite gentile behaviour…4 months in the year is extremely disagreeable, excessive hot, much thunder and lightning, and muskatoes and sand flies in abundance. Charles Town, the Me”The people in general hospitable and honest, and the better sort add to these tropolis, is a neat pretty place. The inhabitants polite and live in a very gentile manner; the streets and houses regularly built; the ladies and gentlemen gay in their dress.”

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 Rev. Johann Martin Bolzius (1703-1765), leader of the German Lutheran settlement of Ebenezer, Georgia, wrote of Charleston in 1750, “It is expensive and costly to live in Charlestown…The splendor, lust, and opulence there has grown almost to the limit…Its European clothes it would have to change according to the often changing Charlestown fashion. Otherwise there would be much humiliation and mockery.”

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Philadelphia merchant, Pelatiah Webster (1725-1795), wrote of his business trip to the city in 1765, “The laborious business is here chiefly done by black slaves of which there are great multitudes…Dined with Mr. Liston, passed the afternoon agreeably at his summer house till 5 o’clock P. M. then went up into the steeple of St. Michael’s, the highest in town & which commands a fine prospect of the town, harbour, river, forts, sea, &c…The heats are much too severe, the water bad, the soil sandy, the timber too much evergreen; but with all these disadvantages, ’tis a flourishing place, capable of vast improvement.” (nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/becomingamer/growth/text2/charlestowndescriptions.pdf)

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a slave sale

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Peter Manigault and his friends by George Roupell

So, yes, I do love this fair city. The sea breezes and the history lure me back on a regular basis. Periodically, I even go back to the home on Wentworth Street where I lived as an infant and toddler. Until I was a teenager, my grandparents still lived there. Both memories and pictures of my family in different rooms fill my mind and heart each time I think about this house.

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The house was built between 1694 and 1712 of pinkish Bermuda stone by John Breton in the city’s French Quarter. Because of historical restrictions, the bathroom is still in the backyard. One famous matron from the 17th-century was Madame Mincey, who was a French Huguenot and longtime owner. It is the second oldest residence built in Charleston.

As Charleston grew, so did the community’s cultural and social opportunities, especially for the elite merchants and planters. The first theater building in America was built in Charleston in 1736, but was later replaced by the 19th-century Planter’s Hotel where wealthy planters stayed during Charleston’s horse-racing season (now the Dock Street Theater). Benevolent societies were formed by several different ethnic groups: the South Carolina Society, founded by French Huguenots in 1737; the German Friendly Society, founded in 1766; and the Hibernian Society, founded by Irish immigrants in 1801. The Charleston Library Society was established in 1748 by some wealthy Charlestonians who wished to keep up with the scientific and philosophical issues of the day. This group also helped establish the College of Charleston in 1770, the oldest college in South Carolina and the 13th college in the United States.

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old Dock Street Theater

As Pat Conroy said, “There is no city on Earth quite like Charleston. From the time I first came there in 1961, it’s held me in its enchanter’s power, the wordless articulation of its singularity, its withheld and magical beauty. Wandering through its streets can be dreamlike and otherworldly, its alleyways and shortcuts both fragrant and mysterious, yet as haunted as time turned in on itself.”

The Poignant Sounds of Yesterday

In January, 2017, I posted about the Chick Springs Hotel in Taylors, SC. Today I found a poem written about this hotel that I thought you might enjoy. With old photos, a narrative spoken by the springs, and an easy melody, it walks us back to yesterday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYl4vO7r4NQ

As I continue to read and research the stories of our South Carolina history, I am seldom bored with the variety of the silent men and women who changed its trails for all of us.

As Warren Buffet said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Building Bridges

THE BRIDGE BUILDER
An old man going a lone highway
Came at the evening cold and gray
To a chasm vast and deep and wide;
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him.
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man, ” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your time with building here.
You never again will pass this way;
Your journey will end with the closing day;
You have crossed the chasm deep and wide;
Why build you this bridge at eventide? ”
The builder lifted his old gray head
“Good friend in the way that I’ve come, ” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way,
This stream that has been as naught to me
To the fair-haired youth might a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I’m building the bridge for him. ”
Author unknown
Edited by Margaret S. Lipscomb (Mrs. R. E.), Mullins, SC, an

A Late Bloomer: Mary Granville Delaney

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The Flowering of Mary Delany’s Ingenious Mind: At Age 72 She Invented Collage!

She invented collage. Above is a sea daffodil she created in 1778, not long after her patron King George III lost thirteen troublesome colonies.

When John and I visited the SAR Museum and library in Louisville, Kentucky a couple of years ago, I bought a scarf in the store. I was intrigued by the pattern and delicacy of the flowers on the black background. The story of the creator Mary Delaney, who started a career, at 72 in the 18th century amazed me, and I thought you might be, too.

Imagine starting your life’s work at seventy-two. At just that age, Mary Granville Pendarves Delany (May 14, 1700-April 15, 1788), a fan of George Frederic Handel and his harpsichord pupil, a sometime dinner partner of satirist Jonathan Swift, a wearer of green-hooped satin gowns, and a fiercely devoted subject of blond King George III, invented a precursor of what we know today as collage.

One afternoon in 1772 she noticed how a piece of colored paper matched the dropped petal of a geranium. After making that vital imaginative connection between paper and petal, she lifted the eighteenth-century equivalent of an X-Acto blade (she’d have called it a scalpel) or a pair of filigree-handled scissors — the kind that must have had a nose so sharp and delicate that you could almost imagine it picking up a scent. With the instrument alive in her still rather smooth-skinned hand, she began to maneuver, carefully cutting the exact geranium petal shape from the scarlet paper. (She ignored her arthritis and poor vision.)

Then she snipped out another.

And another, and another, with the trance-like efficiency of repetition — commencing the most remarkable work of her life: a series of almost a thousand cut paper botanical collages, each flower composed of hundreds of dots, squiggles, and moons of bright paper on dramatic black backgrounds. Each flower steps forth as onto a lit stage and takes center stage.

Seventy-two years old. It gives a person hope. It gives me hope of the other books and articles I want to write.

When Mrs. D. picked up her scissors, grief was the chief prompt. After the death of her beloved second husband Dean Patrick Delany in 1768, which followed the death of her sister Anne in 1761, she wrote that she considered each of her flower portraits to be “an employment and amusement, to supply the loss of those that had formerly been delightful to me; but had lost their power of pleasing; being depriv’d of that friend, whose partial approbation was my pride, and had stampt a value on them.”

“I have invented a new way of imitating flowers,” Mrs. D.

The Paper Garden is a biography of this woman, and here is her portrait at age 40.

The Flowering of Mary Delany's Ingenious Mind at Debra Eve's LaterBloomer.com

Surviving an arranged marriage at 17 and then a loving second marriage, she combined propriety and inner fire when she designed her own clothes, crafted exquisite embroidery, took drawing lessons with Louis Goupy, cultivated stalwart, lifelong friends (and watched her mentor William Hogarth paint a portrait of one of them), played the harpsichord and attended John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, owned adorable cats, and wrote six volumes’ worth of letters — most of them to her sister, Anne Granville Dewes (1701-61), signifying a deep, cherished relationship that anyone with a sister might understand.

She created 985 life-size botanical prints now held by the British Museum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2PszSKnErc

I am amazed at what she did. No, she didn’t live in the colonies, as they were called then, but in the middle of London society, she chose her own path and created beauty through paper blooms. I love my scarf. Every time I wear it, I remember this indomitable woman who created a new art for all to admire.

I wonder what new styles, fashions, or grandeurs she might have started in Charleston if she had lived there?

Her challenge to all of us is in her words, “An ingenious mind is never too old to learn.”

The Flowering of Mary Delany's Ingenious Mind at Debra Eve's LaterBloomer.com

 

South Carolina Revolutionary War Heroine

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Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson were living in Boneybefore, Ireland, in 1764. They were tenant farmers and not making enough money from their crops and sheep to make ends meet. Taxes continued to go up, and the weather continued to cast a blight on their harvests.

The Scots-Irish, Presbyterian couple worked hard, but life under the British rule was a hard-scrabbble existence. Taxes were high, and disrespect for their religion of Presbyterianism was difficult.  Scots-Irish couldn’t own land or hold public office. The English lords’ boots were heavy on their necks.

Both Elizabeth and Andrew’s parents were weavers, and Elizabeth supplemented their income by selling her woven cloth. Rents of the land were due on a regular basis. More often than not, they scraped it together.  Andrew began to question not following in his father’s footsteps. But Andrew wanted to make a living on the land.

They decided to move to Carolina, one of the thirteen colonies in the New World. Elizabeth already had four sisters there, and making a living from farming would be a prosperous one.

In April, 1765, Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the colonies with their two children. Hugh was two, and Robert only a babe.  The eight week voyage from Larne, Ireland to Charles Town, was uneventful. The regular diet of salted beef, bread, and potatoes was monotonous. But this was temporary, and they looked forward to starting fresh.

Red haired and blue-eyed Elizabeth was excited about seeing her four sisters who already lived in the upcountry of Carolina. The Waxhaws was a settlement of other Scotch-Irish, and it was about 150 miles northeast from Charlestown on Waxhaws Creek, a tributary of the Catawba River. There was already a Presbyterian meeting house, and the community was large.

Land was bought and cleared close to family, and a small one-room cabin erected. Help in settling came from family, and soon crops were planted. Happily for two years, the Jacksons worked hard and struggled to eke out a living in this red clay, but in March, 1767, an accident occurred.

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While chopping wood on a cold, spring day, Andrew Jackson had an accident and died shortly thereafter. Elizabeth, nine months pregnant with their third son, was a widow at thirty with all the responsibilities of a single mother in 18th Century America.

In 1710, William Byrd described the typical colonial woman, “She is a very civil woman and shows nothing of ruggedness, or immodesty in her carriage, yet she will carry a gun in the woods and kill deer, turkey, bear, etc., shoot down wild cattle, catch and tie hogs, knock down beeves with an axe, and perform the most manful exercises as well as most men in those parts.”

Though small in stature, Elizabeth was strong and resilient in spirit. She adapted to life’s changes and disappointments and put other’s needs before herself. Working hard and pushing forward through challenges was the model she set for her sons. She protected and provided for her family.

After Andrew’s death, her sister and brother-in-law, Jane and James Crawford, beseached Elizabeth to move in with their family. Jane had been sick for several years and needed help with the housekeeping. Their eight children needed more supervision than she could give, so the Jacksons joined the Crawford household.

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Busy with the daily chores of planning and preparing meals for 14 individuals in a fireplace, tending to the needs of 11 children and her ailing sister, mending, spinning, managing a garden, churning, etc., Elizabeth continued to weave cloth for the community. She earned money from the neighbors by selling her excellent cloth and was known for the quality and expertise of her work.

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Elizabeth learned about wildcrafting, which is finding and using wild herbs. e.g. a mixture made of huckleberries, wild onions, wild greens, and chestnuts. There was an abundance of ducks, geese, squirrels, turkeys, rabbits, pigeons, etc. (“putting meat on the table” was a proactive endeavor each day) Raising cows, hogs, and chickens was a daily exercise that started at dawn. She saved seeds from season to season: corn, squash, beans and dried extra for the winter. Corn became meal which became cornbread, corn dodgers, Johnny cakes, hasty pudding, etc. which took the place of the Ulster Scots oatmeal and oat cakes. (The New World offered new possibilities, and the land was fertile.) Over a fire pit or a large indoor fireplace, a pot of stew that cooked all day and maybe into the next gives a possible source to the nursery rhyme, “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”

Jane and James had five girls, and Elizabeth taught them housewifery: the skills needed to be a homemaker. Much hand work, whether knitting, carding, darning, or with needle and thread, was demanded. Learning how to make soap out of ashes, churning the daily butter, feeding the chickens, cows, and pigs, etc. Children had to work like everyone else in the house to earn their keep. In other words, they worked in order to eat, have a safe place to sleep, and help their families.

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James kept the boys in line by instructing them in riflery, hunting, mending fences, crafting tools, shearing sheep, and farming.

Elizabeth wanted her sons to have a formal education. All three attended the church and community school, but Hugh and Robert had more aptitude for outdoor activities, and they wanted to farm. Andy learned to read at an early age, and his mother thought he might become a minister. His personality was not for a scholar’s life though, and the Revolutionary War interrupted his education.

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Elizabeth’s faith in God and His Providence were a major ingredient in her character. She had a small Bible that she kept in her pocket and prayed often.  She taught her sons the importance of obedience to the Bible’s teachings and encouraged them to in their loyalty to each other and the rest of their family. Elizabeth urged deeds and words honoring God, family, and country.

As well as being active in the Waxhaw Meeting House, her best friend was the pastor’s wife. When scandal rocked the close community, Elizabeth stood by Nancy Richardson. Rampant rumors accused Nancy of murdering William, the pastor. No one wanted to believe he had committed suicide, as appeared.

The Scotch-Irish reveled in music and storytelling.

Patriotism and allegiance to kin were also crucial traits in the Scots-Irish, and this was perpetuated to the next generation through tales and legends. The courage of gallant and courageous heroes was the model for the younger generation.  Elizabeth told stories of the legendary Jack and his exploits and the true accounts of William Wallace; Hugh, Robert, Andy, and their cousins yearned for opportunities to prove their bravery on a battlefield fighting for their country. They wanted to be called patriots and prove their loyalty.

The Waxhaws settlement was connected to Charleston via the Catawba Path, also known as the Camden Salisbury Road, with many travelers. Merchants and Indian traders carried their wares to markets. Farmers drove their cattle to sale. New settlers in the Conestoga wagons or on foot were daily visitors. All of these travelers kept trade, culture, and news flowing into the upcountry where the Jackson family lived. Because of the proximity of the Crawford home to the “road,” visitors kept them in the know with information and intelligence.

The South Carolina Gazette was published in Charlestown, and couriers took its pages over the state to the upcountry. News from the other colonies was coveted. Reading about the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773 and The First Continental Congress in Philadelphia the following fall assured them of knowledge of the changes happening in the colonies. In June, 1775, George Washington was named Commander in Chief, and he assumed this position in the Continental Army the next month.

War came closer to the Carolinas and to the Jackson/Crawford family in 1776. The Battle of Sullivan’s Island was fought, and James Crawford, as well as other Waxhaws’ militia, saw combat there.  He returned with first hand reports of British warships and the building of a fort out of local palmetto logs. James regaled his sons and nephews with the sights and sounds of battle for their freedom. He spoke of the might of the British, the encouragement of William Moultrie, how all the men worked hard together, and of the one man named Jasper who raised the Liberty Flag when it went down.

James’ battle story inspired and reassured his family that fighting the British was the right choice.

The battles for our independence stayed to the north after the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, but the militia continued to drill and prepare. On Muster days, the Crawford/Jackson clan would meet in front of their meeting house. The women would prepare camp fires and meals; this was a time of visiting and catching up with each other’s lives. As Elizabeth watched her sons practice their maneuvers and marksmanship, fear must have gripped her heart. She wondered how soon her oldest, sixteen-year-old Hugh, would be in the sight of enemy sharpshooters.   

And it was the next month, June, 20, 1779, when Hugh died after the Battle of Stono Ferry near Charlestown. The two hour battle was not a win for the Patriots, but the militia fought bravely. Hugh was not wounded but died of heat exhaustion. He was 16.

The sounds of war stayed miles away until Monday, May 29, 1780.

Colonel Abraham Buford and his 3rd Virginia Regiment of Continentals had been ordered to North Carolina after the fall of Charlestown. His supply wagons and field artillery were the first noises heard by the nearby Crawford’s household.  Shrieks of men and sounds of firearms ricocheted nearby. Along with other women and children within the echoes of battle, Elizabeth, Robert, and Andy traveled cautiously toward the sounds. What waited them on the Camden-Salisbury Road was a massacre of Patriot soldiers.

On the ground were the bodies of 113 American soldiers and 3 British soldiers. The 17th Light Dragoons, the British Legion Infantry, and the British Legion Calvary, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Banaster Tarleton. The Americans were given no quarter.

The women and their children took over the care of the wounded in the June heat. Water was brought, and bandages quickly made. Robert and Andy Jackson both carried water to the wounded; they saw the horrific wounds. Comforting words were spoken. Elizabeth must have thought of those who tended her oldest son Hugh when he died after a battle as she moved from one injured and bleeding soldier after another.  When the Reverend Jacob Carnes ran in on the horrific scene, his words of reassurance from Psalm 23 must have been encouragement to all who heard him.

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     One of those Virginians taken prisoner was my ancestor Captain Thomas Davis. I am glad to say that he didn’t lose his life that day.

     From that month on, the British made forays and attacks into the Waxhaw region. Horses were stolen, and fields were plundered. Livestock was eaten, and homes were burned. The farmers soon had little left. Elizabeth and other women and children would escape into North Carolina until the British left. Then they would creep back to salvage what they could. Scraping by on left overs was the new survival mode.

Robert and Andy were under the command of the experienced Major William Richardson Davie. Because of his youth, only 13, Andy served as a messenger. He also took care of the horses during the battles. Guerrilla war fare and destruction was the aim of both sides, and enemy neighbors were paying back old insults.

Then in the spring of 1781 both Robert and Andy were captured by the British, along with others in the Waxhaws militia. They were taken to the Camden Jail. Smallpox was in every cell, and before long both were afflicted. Lieutenant Colonel Francis Rawdon was the commander of this prisoner of war jail.

Elizabeth Jackson was determined to rescue her sons from this hell hole. She audaciously marched in to see Lord Rawdon and asked for him to add her sons’ names to a prisoner exchange that was in the works. He was not unhappy to release two sick prisoners.

Elizabeth had brought two old horses with her to help get the boys home. Since Robert was so sick, Andy let Robert ride and Andy walked. Their mother nursed them for several weeks, but Robert was too weak and died. She never left Andy’s side until he could walk by himself.

  Horrific tales about how the Patriots were being treated on the British prison ships in the harbor of Charlestown began to circulate. Elizabeth found out that several of her nephews were on those ships suffering with cholera. Knowing their chances to survive were small without some kind of nursing, Elizabeth and a couple of women from the Waxhaws community decided they needed to go help the young men. In the fall of 1781, the three women left home on a mission of mercy.

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Elizabeth’s nephews survived, but she did not. She caught cholera and was buried in an unmarked grave. Her son, Andrew Jackson, later President of the United States, never found where his mother was buried.

 Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet called Common Sense. In the introduction, he wrote,

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in the crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he who stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women.”

Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson stood it.

Elizabeth taught her sons the (1) difference between right and wrong,  (2) reverence for truth, justice, and freedom, and (3) deep patriotic devotion to country.

As we look toward celebrating our country’s birthday in two days, I am grateful for the men and women who chose to fight for my liberty. No, they certainly didn’t run from opportunities to make a difference; they ran toward the enemy.  They loved their homes and country too much.

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As James Otis said, “One of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one’s house. A man’s house is his castle.”