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Sale on Versailles Road

Lucile Hitt Collins, my grandmother, was a diligent and enthusiastic researcher of the stories of history. She shared them with all listeners, including her grandchildren.

Yesterday, I was going through again her “bread box.” Yes, at one time, there were loaves of her salt rising bread in it. As a child, I remember opening it, only to savor the pungent smell.

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When she quit baking, it became a treasure trove of old newspaper clippings, her notes on our family, and reminisces of her childhood in Versailles. I am the blessed keeper of the bread box today.

I was going through it to find some information about great grandmother. Bommie Collins was a poet, and I have a typed copy of one of her poems. And, of course, I was waylaid by something else. It’s interesting how a piece of writing leads to other stories and writing pieces. (Yes, you writers and readers are nodding your heads in understanding of exactly what I am talking about.)

Lulu had cut out a copy of a newspaper Letter to the Editor that she had written. It doesn’t smell of old ink after fifty years, but it is full of a description of the world in 1849.

I found this old sale bill among my clippings, and thought you might enjoy the interesting sidelight it gives on change during the past 122 years.

Sale-Having sold my farm I am leaving for Oregon territory by ox team, and will offer on March 1, 1849, all my personal property, to wit:

Front View

All ox teams except two teams, Buck and Ben and Tom and Jerry; two milk cows, one gray mare and colt; one pair of oxen and yoke, one baby yoke; two ox cars; 1 iron foot of poplar weather boards, plow with wood mole boards; 800-1,000 3 ft. clapboards; 1500 10-foot fence rails; 1 60-gal. soap kettle, 85 sugar troughs made of white ash timber; 10 gals. of maples syrup;

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Two spinning wheels; 30 lbs. mutton tallow; 1 large loom made by Jerry Wilson; 300 poles; 100 split hoops; 1 empty barrels; 1 32-gal. whiskey-seven years old; 2 gals. of apple brandy; 1 4-gal. copper still.

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One doz. real hooks;two handle hooks; 3 sythes and cradles; 1 doz. wooden pitchforks; one-half interest in tan yard; one .32 caliber rifle; bullet mold and powder horn; rifle made by Ben Miller;

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Fifty Gal. of soft soap; hams, bacon, and lard; 4o gal. of sorghum molasses; six head of fox hounds, all soft-mouthed except one.

At the same time I will sell my six negro slaves-2 men 35 and 50 years old, 12 and 18 years old; 2 women, 4 and 3 years old. Will sell together to same party and will not separate them.

Terms of Sale, cash in hand, or note to draw 4% interest with Bob McConnell as my security.

My home is to miles south of Versailles, Ky. on McCouns Perry Pike. Sale begins 8 o’clock am. Plenty to eat and drink. J. L. Moss”

Did you notice the names of two of the oxen, Tom and Jerry? Way before Walt Disney created those characters, those were popular names. How about all that molasses? Obviously, Jerry Wilson and Ben Miller were familiar artisans of note. Included for sale were so many staples that I wonder about the wife who had taken such good care of her household to have extra soft soap and tallow for candles.

I noticed that none of the cast iron pots and skillets were put up for sale. These necessaries could be used over the camp fires on the prairies, as well as in the wood fireplaces in the home.

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President Herbert Hoover said, “My conception of America is a land where men and women may walk in ordered freedom in the independent conduct of their occupations; where they may enjoy the advantages of wealth, not concentrated in the hands of the few but spread through the lives of all; where they build and safeguard their homes, and give to their children the fullest advantages and opportunities of American life; where every man shall be respected in the faith that his conscience and his heart direct him to follow; where a contented and happy people, secure in their liberties, free from poverty and fear, shall have the leisure and impulse to seek a fuller life.”

Mr. Moss chose to sell much of what he had to seek a new life in Oregon. He heard the call of “Go west, young man.” I wish I knew the rest of his story, don’t you?

 

 

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Huzzah!

 

After the fall of Charleston SC in May 1780, the British army worked to win support for King George III and put an end to any uprisings from the Patriots.

In July, American General Horatio Gates moved his army of 5000 troops into South Carolina to push General Charles Lord Cornwallis out of this Southern colony. Unfortunately, because of false information and sick men, on August 16, Gates was defeated at Camden. And then General Thomas Sumter lost to the British at Fishing Creek.

At twilight on August 18, 1780, 200 mounted militiamen left their Broad River camp near the North Carolina border and headed south. Their attack goal was a Tory encampment at Musgrove’s Mill on the south side of the Enoree River. The commanders were Colonels Issac Shelby, Elijah Clark, and James Williams.

Traveling through the darkness, they covered approximately forty miles to reach to arrive above the river for their surprise attack. It was a long, arduous, and tense night, as they galloped across rivers and streams. At sunrise, the march ended about half mile from Musgrove’s Mill. An enemy patrol then stumbled upon them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But they arrived in the area only to receive some other unwelcome news. The Loyalists had been reinforced. Instead of attacking a camp of 200 men, the Patriots would be attacking a camp of 500.

The Patriot commanders struggled to make a decision. Their horses had been ridden hard all night and were too tired to continue. The scouts also told them of the additional 300 British troops, who had arrived the day before. How to still have an advantage over a larger force was a necessity, so a final plan was made to drive the enemy out.

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These Patriot militia had learned guerilla warfare from fighting the Cherokee. Using those tactics, a band of about twenty men under Captain Shadrach Inman crossed the Enoree and engaged the enemy. The small group, faking confusion, retreated, luring the Loyalists with them until all were nearly on the Patriot line.

Waiting, like a cat does for a mouse, the some partisans took up a stand across the road and took the high ground. The surprised Loyalists fired too early. The Patriots held their fire until the Loyalists got within killing range of their muskets.

Cracks of musket fire and shouts destroyed the silence of the river. Men dressed in homespun and others in scarlet red soon lay side-by-side. Years after the battle, Colonel Shelby wrote that “the smoke” from the battle of Musgrove’s Mill was so thick as to hide a man at the distance of twenty yards.

The whole battle took less than an hour. As the Patriots shrieked Indian war cries, sixty- three Tories were killed, and seventy were taken prisoner. The Patriots lost only four men, including Captain Inman.

The untrained militia defeated the seasoned Tory troops in a hit-and-run attack. Small successes, like this one, gave confidence to the partisans. Neither having to monitor and adjust their battle plan or the extreme Carolina heat kept the Patriots from winning their prize. Huzzah!

“[L]iberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.”  John Adams

 

A formal Revolutionary War Battle Commemoration Ceremony will take place at the Visitor Center location at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. It will be a celebration to enjoy and another opportunity to celebrate our freedom.

 

 

Chow Chow

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My granny/great grandmother/Minnie Earlene Justus made chow chow. She used what was in her garden in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Whether she was at the Rock House, the boarding house, or her little two-bedroom cottage on Kanuga Road, she always planted a garden. Along with her melt-in-your-mouth biscuits, there was always a pint jar of chow chow on the table.
I learned early that I did not like what was in that jar or in her glass dish served with all that wonderful food. In later years, I noticed my dad didn’t care for it either. This didn’t keep my mom from having it available in the frig; she enjoyed it with beans and pork. She even put it on hot dogs sometimes.
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Chow chow is popular in parts of the American South, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Appalachia. It’s made by combining a whole lot of different vegetables (usually with a cabbage and/or green tomato base) with vinegar to quickly pickle the vegies.
It is one of those end of the season recipes that utilizes things that are quickly fading from the backyard garden. It’s a way to use those tomatoes that are still on the vine, but will never turn ripe before the first frost gets them. So this is usually made in the fall. That goes for the other vegetables that are included in it. Some folks use cucumbers, some use cauliflower, some use pretty much just cabbage. If you start looking for recipes, you’ll find lots of variations.
Of course, if there is an abundance during the growing season, it makes sense to make a batch then.

Old-Fashioned Chow Chow Relish

And before you get confused about this word, this is not that cute dog that I am writing about this morning.
Have you ever eaten chow chow? If you live in the South, you might have. It is part slaw, part pickled relish, and part side dish. The mixture is served cold, and some variations also kick it up with condiments like ketchup and mustard. It’s tangy, sweet, a little spicy, crunchy, and it pairs well with just about any savory food.
<strong>Bright and tangy chow chow is a perfect sandwich topper. </strong>
John’s mother used to make it, but none of her sons liked it either. Wonder if it is a generational, as well as regional food?
As to the origins of chow chow, the late Southern food historian John Egerton believed the origins of chow-chow began in the sauces brought over by Chinese railroad workers in the 19th century. The Food Lover’s Companion links it to a ginger-and-orange-peel condiment of that same Chinese origin, but it  bears little resemblance to what we call chow-chow today. Others say that the name originated in the French language, where the word cabbage is chou. As it became popular, family recipes over a century were handed down from grandparents. (This makes sense as to how it came into our home.)
The Amish  – especially of Lancaster County – have become well known for their chow chows. Chow chow has established itself as a favorite “end of garden” relish for many Amish cooks. They include string beans, celery, corn, kidney beans, and carrots. Perhaps, theirs is another way to consume leftovers.
The process of making it is easy. Chop and combine cabbage, corn, onion, green tomato, hot pepper, garlic, mustard seeds, coriander, and celery. Toss with vinegar and honey. Boil water, add vinegar, and pickling spices in a large pot. Add sugar for sweetening. Bring it to a boil for about five minutes until tender. Cool it off and put it in the fridge. There are many versions available on the Internet for you to personally check out.
Preserving family recipes, as well as stories, is important to me, as you know. I guess the chow chow delicacy stops with John and me. And, I love pulling out those old recipes, written by their hands, to cook and share with my family and friends. Giving those women credit puts a smile on my face.
I agree with one of my favorite authors. “I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations,”  said Beatrix Potter.
If you are interested in buying chow chow, Bellew’s Market in Spartanburg and the Hendersonville Farmer’s Market still sell it.
When I think about my mountain, Appalachian roots, I see strength in Granny and on up her family line. They made do with little and stretched everything feasible to feed their families. Chow chow seems to be another sign of that by using the left-overs from the garden. Their hands were hardened with work, as well as rearing children. They fought hard for their families. Survival was based on know-how, and I guess that also includes knowing how to make chow chow.
This post has not been what I thought it would be today. I really thought I was going to share information about an old recipe that I didn’t particularly care for. What happened is another realization about the heritage the women in my family tree have passed on to me.
As C. S. Lewis wrote, “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”
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The Willard Hotel

 

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Welcome to the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC. Only two blocks from the White House, elegance and charm greet guests and visitors, as they walk in the door.

Famous and powerful men and women are among those who have frequented this hotel, located on Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street.

This grand, international hotel had its origin in a row house, built by Captain John Tayloe in 1816, was leased to Joshua Tennyson for a hotel. Benjamin Ogle Tayloe hired Henry Willard to operate the City Hotel after years of failing profits. When brother Edwin joined the team, they changed the name and enlarged the building.

Twenty- five year-old Henry was special, “meeting his guests as they alighted at the hotel from the stage,” reminisced Ben Perley Poore, a veteran Washington journalist. He was involved in all areas of the business and strived to treat his paying customers as guests; it worked. At dinnertime, “Mr. Willard stood at the head of the dinner table wearing a white apron and carved the joints of meat, the turkeys, and game.”   Before dawn, Henry was down at the Central Market selecting the best for what he would serve in his dining room that evening.

In 1855, the famous poet, Emily Dickinson and her sister sojourned there.

Word began to spread about the elegance. A lavish ball, attended by 1800 guests in honor of retiring British minister Lord Napier brought prestige to Willard’s Hotel in 1859. The food, entertainment, and lavish setting made eyebrows raise. The guests feasted on steak tartare and blinis in the Willard Room. They ate Schwartzwalder torte, chocolate candy, pecan balls, mint squares cake, petit fours, and dozens of other desserts in the Crystal Room.

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For the Japanese delegation that arrived the next year, the Willard’s mirrors, piano, gaslight, running water, and toilets were wonderful. All was first-class.

The hotel would remain among the first to try the latest conveniences and attractions, including the telephone in 1878, the first moving-picture show in town in 1897, and air-conditioning in 1934.

Constant individual attention to details was important to Henry, and his standard was continued.

President-elect Lincoln and his family had a comfortable suite on the second floor for the ten days before his inauguration. The problem of his aching feet was solved quickly with typical Willard ingenuity. In the rush to conceal his arrival in Washington, Lincoln had forgotten his bedroom slippers. But Henry’s wife had just knitted a colorful pair for her grandfather, who had big feet, like the President. Lincoln borrowed them for the duration of his stay at the hotel. On a side note, for Lincoln’s inaugural dinner, he was served a simple meal of Mock Turtle Soup, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Parsley Potatoes, and Blackberry Pie at the hotel.

During the War, author Nathaniel Hawthorne described the hotel as “may be much more justly called the center of Washington and the Union than either the Capitol, the White House, or the State Department… Hawthorne added: “You exchange nods with governors of sovereign states; you elbow illustrious men, and tread on the toes of generals; you hear statesmen and orators speaking in their familiar tones. You are mixed up with office seekers, wire pullers, inventors, artists, poets, prosers until identity is lost among them.”

In 1862, Julia Ward Howe penned the immortal words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic in her room there.

A British newspaper man covering the war wrote about his breakfast of “black tea and toast, scrambled eggs, fresh spring shad, wild pigeon, pig’s feet, two robins on toast, oysters and a quantity of breads and cakes.” (Quite different from President Lincoln’s meal.)

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Willard’s, seen here during the Civil War, was full of well-furnished rooms.

“The writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, who visited Washington in 1862, observed that ‘Willard’s Hotel could more justly be called the center of Washington and the Union than either the Capitol, the White House, or the State Department. . . . You are mixed up here with office seekers, wire pullers, inventors, artists, poets, editors, Army correspondents, attaches of foreign journals, long-winded talkers, clerks, diplomatists, mail contractors, railway directors—until your identity is lost among them.'”

When Ulysees Grant arrived in Washington with his son Fred on March 8, 1864, checking into the Willard Hotel, where the desk clerk, gave the once-over to this scruffy looking soldier, assigned the two to a small room on the top floor. Then he told Grant that he would have to carry his luggage himself as no porters were available.  Grant agreed and signed the register “U.S. Grant and son, Galena, Illinois.”  The stunned clerk realized then that the new commander of all Union armies was standing in front of him. The embarrassed man swiftly backtracked and switched Grant to a suite on the second floor. He then personally carried Grant’s luggage to his room.

What a difference a few years can make in a greeting to the same man.

Leaving the White House, President Grant would often settle in the Willard lobby for a cigar and brandy. It is said that he began to call those that accosted him “lobbyists.” (Even now in 2018, frequent visitors spend time in this same venue.”

The Round Robin [Photo: Official]

This hotel constantly hosted those seekers in Washington. Established in 1848, the Red Robin bar was a frequent meeting place. The University Club of Washington was founded in the hotel’s Red Room in 1904, then in 1908, the National Press Club was founded.

 

Nothing was too lavish during the Gilded Age, as visitors thronged the dining room.

Willard Hotel during the Gilded Age

Presidents Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln, Grant, Taft, Wilson, Coolidge and Harding stayed at the Willard. Besides other notable guests mentioned, others have included Charles Dickens, Buffalo Bill, David Lloyd George, P.T. Barnum, and countless others. Walt Whitman included the Willard in his verses, and Mark Twain wrote two books there in the early 1900s.

View of the Willard
(a 1900 view of the rebuilt hotel of 12 stories)
“Besides living at The Willard during his entire term as Vice President, Calvin Coolidge remained at the hotel while Mrs. Harding moved out of The White House. It was during this time in which the Presidential flag flew outside the hotel.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sat in the hotel lobby with his closest advisors to make final edits to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech just hours before delivering it on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

The Willard closed its doors in 1968 and opened them to new ownership and restoration in 1983. And then in 2000, another multi-million dollar renovation took place.

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Today 335 rooms are available.

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Tradition, elegance, and style continue to abound at this Washington address, as they have for almost 2002 years.

“It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.” Henry James

The Willard Hotel oozes tradition, and I want to sit-a-spell there.

National Ice Cream Day – Today

I grew up in a family that loved ice cream. There was always ice cream in our freezer and at our grandparents. Sometimes it was even homemade.

A favorite way to celebrate a weekend during the summer was my dad making ice cream. Mother made the custard, and then we did the rest. They invited neighbors and friends to enjoy the ice cream with us. Any leftovers went into the freezer.

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After the custard was poured into the metal container, Daddy carefully layered ice and salt around it. And then the work started! My brother Critt, Daddy, and I took turns turning the crank until it wouldn’t turn any more. Of course, it was ready for eating right then, but there was always a wait period to let it set. We didn’t care if it was a little runny, but management had different ideas.

In Shelbyville, Kentucky, where my grandmother Lulu lived, there was a family-owned ice cream parlor. At Mirror Lake Farm, there was never any grocery-bought ice cream, only from the small parlor. My dad’s favorite was banana, mine chocolate, Critt’s strawberry, and Mother’s butter pecan. What was at Lulu’s house was never enough. During our vacation visits, there was always at least one stop to get cones filled with our favorite flavors.

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Granddaddy, my mother’s father, ate a large bowl of ice cream every night before he went to bed. He was not picky as to the flavor and would even mix flavors sometimes. This 5′ 10″ man had a phenomenal appetite, but stayed skinny his whole life. Even if ice cream was served for dessert at supper, he still was ready for his bedtime snack.

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Biltmore ice cream was a favorite to all of us. Often Sunday afternoon sojourns were made to the Biltmore Dairy Bar in Asheville. Absolutely decadent treats, like banana splits and ice cream sundaes, were enjoyed. And it is no wonder that all was delicious: the ice cream was 15-18% butterfat! There was always a line to even get in that building. Daddy, whose aversion to lines since his time in the Army, never seemed to fuss about this line.

 

Biltmore Farms was organized in 1897, and delivery trucks took milk, cream, butter,and ice cream to their Asheville neighbors. Comparing the two photos below shows how these trucks evolved. Thank you, George Vanderbilt, for bringing those Jersey cows to North Carolina!

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I continue to be startled by my ignorance. It was only in watching the news this morning that I found out it was National Ice Cream Day! Who knew?

Obviously, President Ronald Reagan was a fan of ice cream, too. I found this Presidential Proclamation issued by him in 1984. The celebrations were originated by Joint resolution 298, which was aptly sponsored by Senator Walter Dee Huddleston of Kentucky on May 17, 1984. The President wanted to promote our dairy farmers (my grandmother Lulu was one), and of course, ice cream is certainly the best product made out of milk.

National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day, 1984

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Ice cream is a nutritious and wholesome food, enjoyed by over ninety percent of the people in the United States. It enjoys a reputation as the perfect dessert and snack food. Over eight hundred and eighty-seven million gallons of ice cream were consumed in the United States in 1983.

The ice cream industry generates approximately $3.5 billion in annual sales and provides jobs for thousands of citizens. Indeed, nearly ten percent of all the milk produced by the United States dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, thereby contributing substantially to the economic well-being of the Nation’s dairy industry.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 298, has designated July 1984 as “National Ice Cream Month,” and July 15, 1984, as “National Ice Cream Day,” and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of these events.

NOW, THEREFORE, 1, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month and July 15, 1984, as National Ice Cream Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and ninth.

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Fact checkers say that over 90% Americans eat ice cream, and our country eats more ice cream than any other country in the world. If you read the above proclamation, you will notice the words that we should “observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

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So here it is the third Sunday in July, 2018, and it is National Ice Cream Day. Google is helping us with places to go for free ice cream, frozen treats, and deals. Since Brusters is our favorite ice cream place here in Spartanburg, I do believe we will find ourselves in line there this afternoon to help observe this day.

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“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate,” said Thornton Wilder.

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Or you could wait for another treat to enjoy tomorrow on Fresh Spinach Day!

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to My Fifth Great Grandfather

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Dear Granddaddy Thomas Davis,

As I have been getting more involved in lineage societies over the past fifteen years, I have thought more and more about you.

Thank you for your service, Granddaddy, during the American Revolution. I am proud of you for fighting for our freedom. It makes sense that you enlisted in the Virginia line, where you were born and raised. When I read your pension record, I saw you served your promised 18 months. You were committed to our independence from England.

 

It is 96 miles from where I live in Spartanburg, SC to where you fought in the Battle of the Waxhaws. From what I read, this was a bloody battle, and I am glad you were one of the 53 prisoners. After you escaped, you were able to join the war again and be at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown; that must have been quite the celebration.

Along with the other men under Colonel Abraham Buford in the Virginia Continentals and Virginia Regiment, the normal rules of war weren’t adhered to in this battle. Most people today consider it a slaughter.

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I wrote about this battle in a book about Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, the mother of President Andrew Jackson, called Brave Elizabeth. Here is the introduction to the chapter titled “The Fog of War.”

Ordinary sights and sounds of the forest flooded the Camden-Salisbury Road, and the air was filled with darting birds and their songs.  A menagerie of spring wildlife made their afternoon excursions.  A doe followed by her fawn leapt over the fallen tree. A red-tailed hawk silently swooped toward the uneven red clay to grab an unsuspecting field mouse. Young squirrels easily jumped from limb to limb, and  bunnies hopped awkwardly around their mother.      

     It was Monday, May 29, 1780, when military sounds interrupted this warm and sultry spring day.

     First along the road trekked a caravan of supply wagons and field artillery. Some wagons were drawn by four horses and others by two. Strapped down in the covered baggage wagons were medicine chests, tents, and officers’ gear. Foodstuffs were also in covered wagons, and the various barrels of hard- tack, potatoes, corn, and dried and salted beef were tightly packed. In between the casks were iron cooking pots and skillets, tin kettles, axes, and wooden cooking utensils. Another set of wagons carried extra rifles and muskets, sturdy barrels of gunpowder, and lead bricks to make bullets. Two, six-pounder cannons on caissons brought up the rear.

     Shouts from the wagoners and the crack of whips encouraged the horses forward.

     In the midst of the wagons rode the advanced guard. When a Continental Army force marched, it carried its own supplies. All these accouterments and provisions were essential to the livelihood of the 3rd Virginia Regiment of Colonel Abraham Buford. Since the fall of Charlestown to the British on May 12, his men were the last Continental troops in the South. They had been ordered to retreat to Hillsborough, North Carolina and await orders.

      It was barely three o’clock when the military sounds of wagons and horses turned into the sounds of battle and bloodshed.

I wonder if the scene around that dirt road was similar to what I wrote?

One of the memorials to those who fought in this battle is at the site of the common grave.

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There is a new one closer to the street that has a list of those Americans who fought in the Battle of the Waxhaws, and your name is there. I was so proud to let those know to be sure your name was there, but I am delighted that my five greats grandfather, Private Thomas Davis, stood tall during the Revolutionary War.

My grandmother, Lucile Hitt Collins, did an enormous amount of research of our family. She was your third great granddaughter, and she savored history, especially family history. Like you, she was a schoolteacher. You must have passed down that gene for education.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I love it that your parents, James Davis and Mary Elizabeth Carter, were married on Christmas day. She was sixteen, and your father was eighteen.

Two years later, they moved into a large home on the plantation called Broadfield in Spotsylvania. I can picture the interior where you grew up with its great inside chimneys, large rooms, and dormer windows. With 600 acres to choose from, was that brick, story and a half home on a hill perhaps?

I found this sketch you did of the house before you moved to Kentucky. With you and your nine siblings, I guess it was a bit crowded at times. Thank you for taking time to make the sketch to take the memory with you.

Broadfield Drawing

With you father dying when you were only four, that must have been a loss to your whole family.

I am glad you kept an account book. In February, 1783, you wrote, “Paid for & brought home for Fred’ks’b’g my wedding clothes – 18.3 pounds. 1 Black Velvet Coat, 1 Green Silk Waistcoast, 1 pr Black Cloath Breeches, 1 pr Silk Stockings and one Hat.” You must have been quite dashing! I am sure your bride, Susannah Hyatt, was impressed.

Since you were the youngest child, your inheritance was not linked to your father’s estate. I wonder where you found the money to buy the 400 acres in Orange County? And why on earth did you decide to leave one of the loveliest parts of Virginia to live in unsettled and untamed Kentucky? Were there some heated discussions between you and Susannah? To leave family and friends for a new home beyond the mountains must have been hard.

But you did leave. Selling most of your household goods, because all had to be carried on horseback. There was no room on the trails for wagons; the trek was six weeks. This tedious journey was around 325 miles.

A warm welcome awaited you, as neighbors from miles around arrived to rear a cabin. The day was appointed, and a multitude of capable and willing hands arrived. This helping newcomers was considered a duty of every able-bodied man.

That little account book must have been important to you, since you continued to write about your business. Lists of the servants you took with you to Kentucky and the new furniture you bought for your home upon arrival are there. There are amazing details, e.g. the dozen silver teaspoons, half a dozen tablespoons, and a small silver ladle you bought on July 2, 1783 to take to Kentucky. The story goes that these were the first silver spoons in the state.

Then you have your book purchases listed, too. The Art of SurveyingBailes Dictionary, The Surveyor, in 4 Vols., History of Europe, in  Vols., Robertson’s History of Scotland, Shakespeare’s Works in 6 Vols, Blackwell’s Classics, in 2 Vols., Malvern Dale, a novel, Common Prayer Book, and Domestic Medicine. (It appears that my love of history and its stories goes back to you!)

When you advertised in the Kentucky Gazette for a job in 1788, you mentioned your qualifications to teach “reading, writing and arithmetic, its various branches, bookkeeping, surveying and navigation, geography or the use of the globes, etc.” Your tutor must have instilled in you a curiosity for many things. Compared to the teaching you did, did you, also, enjoy the land surveys you did on the side?

Amazing that you and Susannah raised thirteen children there on Sinking Creek in Woodford County, and I am glad you received your pension for your service. Your granddaughter Sallie said you always enjoyed company dropping by, were quite the tease, and a good story teller.

I truly wish I could have known you! Would you have caught me around the waist, as you did Grandmother Susanna, and dance me around the room?

Winston Churchill said, “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”

Thank you for being my hero.

Happy birthday, America!

 

Boone Hall Plantation and Secretariet

Yesterday, John and I took a mini tour of Boone Hall in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Rather than horse-drawn carriages going through these gates, there was a line of cars waiting to enter.

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Boone Hall Plantation is one of America’s oldest working plantations, continually growing crops for over 320 years. This antebellum-era plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

During the tour of the house, the guide shared its history with us.

The earliest known reference to the site is in 1681 is when a land grant of 470 acres from owner Theophilus Patey, to his daughter Elizabeth and her new husband, Major John Boone as a wedding gift.  The land became known as Boone Hall Plantation though it is unknown when a house was built on the site.

The Boones began growing rice, cotton, and indigo, and thus began a long history of providing Boone Hall crops for the South Carolina low country and the world.

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The Horlbecks brothers, Henry and John, were architects who designed and built many buildings and landmarks in Charleston, purchased the plantation in the mid 1800’s.  By 1850, Boone Hall was producing 4,000,000 bricks per year using 85 slaves. Besides manufacturing bricks, they ventured into commercial pecan production. The plantings became known as the world’s largest pecan groves in the early 1900’s.

This 1900 house was the residence then.

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The Horlbeck family also improved the plantation by completing the Avenue of Oaks that lead up to the plantation house in 1843.

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Thomas Stone, a Canadian, bought the plantation in the 1930’s. He built the present house and planted crops such as cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes. The crops became popular low country commodities for shipping to the northern markets.  Mr. Stone used hand made bricks that were discovered in the woods at kilns previously used.

The house is three stories with a full basement and measures about 10,000 square feet. Unlike original plantation houses, the new house has a full-sized kitchen in the house along with seven bathrooms. The first floors houses the kitchen, library, dining room, loggia, and game room. The second floor has seven bedrooms, and the third floor has two rooms, a bathroom, and a full-sized attic.

 But crops have not always been an integral part of this farm.

My husband John has often talked about the Clydesdales that his father owned. Mammy and son Champ helped with the farming, and the four sons loved those horses for their strength, their height, and the excess hair near their feet. The two were gentle, and Champ was young enough to frolic in the field. When Mammy was tired of riders, she would stop, and the riders would simply slide off.

Rather than a tractor, Oliver used the horses to plow, pull the wagon which was his truck, and pull the mower, hayrake, and baler. These horses were trained to only his signals and his voice. For almost 20 years, they worked hard for Oliver until John’s dad died.

Ten of these majestic animals were visiting Boone Hall, so that is why we chose this excursion yesterday on a hot, June day in Charleston. (There is something about going down memory lane that is memorable.) Again there was gentleness, as the small hands of little people gingerly reached through the fences to touch the horses. We patted Ozzie, as he was getting a bath.

 

And then we went on the house tour to hear more about horses and their past with  Boone Hall.

When the guide mentioned thoroughbreds, my ears pricked up. My dad grew up in Shelbyville, Kentucky, in between Lexington and Louisville. And the Derby run at Churchill Downs, the Keeneland race track in Lexington, and numerous other names flashed in my brain. This is what he shared.

Princequillo (1940-1964) was a thoroughbred race horse conceived in France and born in Ireland. He was known for his performances in long-distance races and his successes as a sire. When World War II broked out, his pregnant mare/mother was shipped to Ireland. As the war escalated and the German bombing of England increased, it was obvious that racing was going to be put on hold. So Cosquilla, the mare, and her colt were shipped to the United States.

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In 1940, the Stones sold the plantation to Georgian prince Dimitri Jorjadze and his American wife Audrey. (Jorjadze was a member of the Russian Georgian nobility who became exiled after the overthrow of Tsarist Russia and the Bolshevik takeover.)The prince raced horses under the nom de course, Boone Hall Stable, with the most notable of his horses being Princequillo who in 1943 was the fastest distance runner in the United States.

Prince Dimitri Jorjadze

Jorjadze placed him under the care of future Hall of Fame trainer Horation Luro. Princequillo won several important races at longer distances. He broke the Saratoga Race Course record for 1¾ miles, and his performances were such that he is considered to be the best long-distance runner. Princequillo’s descendants include Secretariat, Triple Crown Winner in 1973:  1977 Triple Crown Winner Seattle Slew; and US Horse of the Year winners, A.P. Indy and Cigar.

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Seattle Slew

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Secretariat

I truly love seeing random threads come together for weaving, and I loved the tour of the Boone Hall Plantation house. (below)

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Winston Churchill – “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”