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“That Ragged Old Flag”

 

In 1974, Johnny Cash released an album that included “That Raggedy Old Flag.” It is a spoken word tribute to the flag of the United States, and it speaks of patriotism and how our flag has led us in battles and wars.

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.

There is mystery over who made the first flag and where it was first flown.

The Betsy Ross story is the most popular, though there is no credible historical evidence to prove it so.

The story started in 1870, almost 100 years after the first flag was supposedly sewn, when William Canby, Ross’s grandson, told the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia that his grandmother made the flag at George Washington’s request. His evidence was based solely on family tradition.

While Ross did make flags in Philadelphia in the late 1770s, it is all but certain that the story about her creating the American flag is a myth.

I don’t believe it truly matters as to whom sewed the first flag. Americans love our flag. It is displayed on homes, at government offices, in parades, and at funerals. In our home, we proudly displayed my dad’s folded flag and my husband’s grandfather’s flag.

Truly its symbolism can bring a tear to a veteran’s eye or a smile to a child reciting its pledge.

From America the Beautiful to Yankee Doodle Dandy, lyrics about this flag stir our hearts.

Yes, to this continued stirrings of our hearts and our belief that Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

August Events:

August 18 – Sunrise Optimist Club

August 26-27 – SCDAR Fall Forum

Focus on the Family

I enjoy writing about families; my first books were about strong SC women and their families during the Revolutionary War. Researching that era made me realize the hard lives of two hundred years ago, and walking behind them at their home sites was a pleasure.

Then I wrote a piece about my dad’s years at the Citadel and how his junior class was sent to WW II. Interviewing him and his class mates taught me much about that Greatest Generation. Their tightness as friends in their 80’s was forged in their 20’s by their war experiences.

Next was an article on two audacious sisters in Greenville, SC who drove to ask Frank Lloyd Wright to draw the blueprints for their new house and he did. Being able to walk in that house and sit in the living room opened my eyes to an architecture that I had previously not appreciated. Having lunch with their contractor  and listening to him describe the materials he used gave an invisible depth to this home.

I have finished eight short stories about past generations of women in my husband’s family that worked in the cotton mills in SC. One will be published in the Savannah Anthology next month. Though I had met several of them, I had no idea of their challenges as mill workers; this was eye-opening.

After writing about John’s third great grandfather and three brothers who fought in the Battle of Fredericksburg, I learned much about their Appalachian history. I now have a visual of those tall, lanky, bearded, and blue-eyed men who wore slouch hats and ran into that bloody battle. Last summer, we walked along the Sunken Road where this grandfather died.

Looking back on these past ten years of retirement, I can see that my focus continues to stay on the same page, as my muse works with me to keep writing family stories.

Whether it is my family, your family, or a stranger’s family, they are all going to be a mixed bag of personalities and characters. One of my ancestors is the most famous thief in America, Jessie James. My grandmother always proclaimed he was maligned and more like Robin Hood. I am ready to discover his back story and maybe prove Lulu accurate.

We need to share our stories with the next generation. Seven years ago, I found myself the matriarch on both sides of my family. It was not a position I chose or was ready for. When my cousin Bobby accurately dubbed me the matriarch, I refused the title. Now I am intentionally sharing our stories, and they are my gift to the next generations.

Today, as I answered in an author’s site about what drove me to write, I realized again that my writing is a tribute to my family and other families. Can I suggest you tell your stories, too?

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”– Mother Teresa

The Battle of Huck’s Defeat, July 12, 1780

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At Brattonsville, SC, this Saturday, July 11, will be an all-day celebration of the Battle of Huck’s Defeat.

You can find more information at http://www.chmuseums.org/battle-o.. Visit the original house, and walk where this family worked and lived.

I thought you might enjoy some of the back story of the Revolutionary War heroine, Martha Bratton, who made sure this battle happened. You can read more of her story in my biography about her called Fearless Martha.

In 1765, William, his four brothers and their families, and his sister and her family moved to Upcountry South Carolina from Rowan County, North Carolina. They purchased land grants and moved as a clan. Settling side-by-side, they soon became part of the community. They chopped down trees to build cabins and plant fields and joined the Bethesda Presbyterian Meeting House.

At the time of the Revolution, a woman’s role in society was limited. Most devoted themselves to taking care of home and family, and the men dealt with the political arena.

Still, many women became involved in events because they war came into their front yards. Some were Whigs – believers in independence for the colonies. Others were Loyalists – supporters of Britain’s king. All of the Bratton family, both men and women, were staunch Whigs.

Life wasn’t easy on the home front. With the men away at war, women had to protect their families, see to the crops, and defend family property. This was in addition to their normal every day routine that started before sun rise and ended long after dark. I believe the saying, “a woman’s work is never done” might be used to describe their daily lives. There were constant demands.

There is little known about the early life of this fearless woman, Martha Bratton. Traditions say that she was born onboard a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland to America about 1750. She was taught how to heal with herbs and had a gift for home health. When she and William moved to this area, known as the New Acquisition in the 18th century, there were no doctors. Because of her expertise, she treated and cared for her family and her neighbors.
The Bratton family brought little in the way of earthy goods with them, but they brought a strong allegiance to God and family, as well as a fierce love of liberty. Their Scots-Irish heritage was a clannish one, and their loyalty to each other was real.

Most of the factual information we know about Martha is during the summer of 1780. Charlestown fell to the British in May, and British and Tory soldiers were ordered to quell any rebellion.

Martha’s husband William and his militia were away for much of that summer at General Thomas Sumter’s camp, so Martha was in charge of their children, their home, and their land. Elizabeth, young William, young Martha, Jane, and Elsie were their children.

Two specific stories are told about how Martha stood up to the enemies of her new country. Both were in the summer of 1780.

A British soldier, Captain Christian Huck, was constantly attacking homes, meeting houses, and people in the New Acquisition. He had a hatred for the Scotch-Irish and made it clear with his words and the violence of his attacks.

In June, Huck had burned Reverend John Simpson’s home and killed a young neighbor. William Hill’s Iron Works was the headquarters of the Whig militia, and Huck burned it and the Hill home. His house-to-house raids struck fear in the whole community.

Soon it was July and time to get the wheat crop in. The crop was necessary to their livelihood, and there were only three days to get the wheat in before it would go bad. Besides using the wheat for baking, the stalks were fed to the livestock.
Martha and her four oldest children, as well as some of the older men including her brother-in-law Robert, were hard at work in the Bratton fields on July 11. It was a back-breaking job. The adults, as well as Elsie and Jane, all leaned over and cut the stalks as close to the ground as they could. Young Martha and William bundled them together. They all worked hard, but kept a watchful eye out for any British troops.

Word had come to the family that Huck was on the move that day. Martha knew that William and the rest of the men of the New Acquisition militia needed to know about these new atrocities. William’s militia was with Brigadier General Thomas Sumter at a camp. She sent Watt, one of their slaves, on a mission to alert the men that their homes and families were in danger.

Captain Christian Huck, a thirty-two year old lawyer, had been given new orders that read he was to “push back the rebels as far as you deem convenient.” His goal was to do just that.

When Captain Huck, his British soldiers, and Tory militia of over a hundred men galloped up the road to her home, everyone in the field hurried to the comparative safety of the house.

Martha hung the sickle on the outside wall, and stood with her loaded musket awaiting the intruders. Her children were with her, along with her brother-in-law. The wait was not long; within minutes enemy soldiers were standing beside her.
“Where is your husband?” was the quick question.

Martha’s reply was just as speedy, “I do not know the exact whereabouts of my husband.”

As she finished speaking, an unknown Tory soldier grabbed the sickle and Martha. He put the sharp sickle to her throat and asked again about William. Once more, Martha refused to give any information. The angry man tightened his grip, but Lieutenant John Adamson, another Tory, knocked the sickle away with his sword. Within seconds, the lieutenant used his sword to make sure the unruly soldier was off the porch and on the ground.

That afternoon Captain Huck tried his hand at finding out where William Bratton was, but he was not successful either. Martha didn’t know where the camp was, but she made it clear she wouldn’t divulge it even if she knew. Huck was nice to young William for a few minutes and allowed him to sit on his knee and play with his watch, but Huck’s anger at Martha’s uncooperativeness landed William on the floor with a bloody nose.

As a mother, Martha must have been angered by the man’s carelessness that caused injury to her son. But she knew she was not in a situation to aggravate him further. She had to protect her children, not put them in more jeopardy.
Huck demanded Martha cook a meal for him and his officers. I wonder how hard that was for her. If you have visited Brattonsville, you know how small the keeping room is. She cooked and served the enemies of her family and country at the same table where her family usually sat. It is said she considered poisoning the meal, but again that might have brought on more danger. Martha chose to protect her children by not taking this chance.

Finally Huck left. A guard was posted around the Bratton house. Doubtless, it was a long night.

Colonel Bratton did receive the news that Huck was wrecking havoc in his neighborhood and his family was in danger.
133 men under the leadership of William Bratton, John McClure, Andrew Neil, and Edward Lacy set out to protect their families and their land. There was a half moon that night of July 12, 1780, but the militia didn’t need it. They were in familiar territory, and anger drove them against the enemy.

Surprise was on the Whig side. The British forces were camped around the home of John Williamson. Huck had 35 British Legion Dragoons, 20 New York Volunteers, and 60 Loyalist militia. The four posted guards were shot quickly, and then the Whig militia marched in.

 Huck ran outside and was clearly seen in his white shirt. He mounted his horse and raised his sword to rally the troops. Seeing he was surrounded, he and several of his dragoons tried to escape. Huck was killed by a single rifle shot by John Carroll.

Within five minutes, the battle was over.

John Adamson was wounded.

Adamson feared for his life and asked someone to get Martha. He knew she would tell about how he saved her life. When she recognized John Adamson, she did not hesitate on telling her husband and the other soldiers about his actions on her front porch. She insisted that the wounded be taken to her home.

Besides nursing Captain Adamson back to health, Martha also nursed the wounded from both sides. She turned her home into a hospital. Martha demonstrated mercy to her enemies and the enemies of her country.

The winning of this battle encouraged the Whigs and gave hope to the Brattons and their neighbors that the enemy could be defeated. More volunteers joined the Whig cause, and these part time soldiers continued to taste victory. The defeat of the dreaded British Legion gave new heart to the Upcountry.

This battle could be called a turning point in South Carolina. During the rest of 1780 and early 1781, more than 35 more battles were fought in South Carolina. And the best part of that news is that 30 of them were Whig victories.

Besides her part in the Whig victory of the Battle of Huck’s Defeat, it is told that Martha stood up to another group of Tories the next month in August.

Before Charlestown fell to the British, Governor John Rutledge had sent around kegs of gunpowder to different citizens to hide until it was needed. The Brattons had a keg hidden on their farm.

Tory soldiers came to find the gunpowder to use for themselves, but Martha was warned ahead of time about their mission. She raced to the tree where it was hidden and blew it up just as the enemy arrived.

Of course, she was caught. There was nowhere to hide. Struggle against the arms that held her was as futile as escape. Angry voices asked her who had blown up the powder. The soldiers looked for a man, and they demanded the whereabouts of the traitor from Martha.

Martha boldly told them she was responsible with the words, “It was I who did it!” Though outnumbered once again by the enemy, she bravely announced her actions.

Martha was willing to pay the ultimate price for independence and freedom, but this was not required of her. Though she was threatened, Martha was fearless and never wavered in being a firm supporter of freedom. It is said that she encouraged her family and neighbors to stand tall.

William and Martha Bratton’s children obviously were proud of their parents.

On July 12, 1839, there was a celebration of Huck’s Defeat at Brattonsville. Dr. John Bratton, William and Martha’s youngest son, believed that the Whig victory should be celebrated. Many words of remembrance were spoken and toasts of spring water were offered to the Whig soldiers that were involved in this battle. I believe the toast made to Mrs. Martha Bratton on that day is worth noting.

“To the memory of Mrs. Martha Bratton – In the hands of an infuriated monster, with the instrument of death around her neck, she nobly refused to betray her husband; in the hour of victory, she remembered mercy, and as a guardian angel interposed in the behalf of her inhuman enemies. Throughout the American Revolution, she encouraged the Whigs to fight on to the last; to hope on to the end. Honor and gratitude to the woman and heroine, who proved herself so faithful a wife, so firm a friend to liberty.”

The Bratton children also had inscribed on William and Martha’s stone, “This Marble is erected by the children of the deceased in mournful testimony of their affection and respect for their dear parents Col. William Bratton and Martha Bratton.”

Along with her children, I believe we owe Martha Bratton “respect” as we remember her valiant fight to give us the freedom and liberty we enjoy today. I salute her fearless courage and encourage you to do the same.

As Abigail Adams wrote in a letter to her husband, John Adams, “Remember the women.”

A Day of Thanksgiving: July 4, 1783

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Picture of Alexander Martin  Late in June of 1783, Governor Alexander Martin of  the newly elected state of North Carolina, at the urging of the legislature, issued a proclamation stating that July 4 should be celebrated as a “Day of Thanksgiving and Peace.”

The proclamation read, “Resolved that the fourth Day of July, be and is hereby appointed a Day of General Thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God for the gratious Interposition of divine providence in behalf of this Nation: that it hath pleased him to deliver us from the Calamities of War, and Crown our wishes with the Blessings of peace; and that His Excellency the Governor notify the same by Proclamation.”

The Moravians were an industrious, inventive, highly organized, devout people who valued education for all. Their way of life can be observed today at a living museum called Old Salem.

They also had a strong pacifist tradition, dating to their founding amid the religious struggles of the 15th century as a “peace church.” Members were forbidden to serve in the military. They lived by the teachings in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.

It’s little wonder that by 1783, the Moravians in Salem were thrilled that the battles were over. During the Revolution, both British and rebels harassed them, collected fines, and even attacked them physically. Some young men hid in the forest to escape being pressed into service. A few did join with the rebels; the church forgave them later.

The Moravians kept detailed records and diaries of each day in their community, and these words commemorate that day in 1783.

“According to the order of the government of this State we celebrated a day of thanksgiving for the restoration of peace. The congregation was awakened by the trombonists.

At the beginning of the preaching service the Te Deum was sung, with trombone accompaniment.

The Watch-Word for January 20th, the day on which the Peace Preliminaries were signed, was: The God of Jacob is our refuge, which was preached by Br. Benzien. The service closed with the singing of: Glory to God in the highest.

At two o’clock there was a happy love feast, during which a Psalm of Joy was sung with thankful hearts.

In the evening at eight o’clock the congregation again assembled in the Saal, and the choir sang: Praise be to Thee, Who sittest above the cherubim.

Then the congregation formed a circle in from the Gemeinhaus, and from there passed in procession through the main street of the town,with music and the antiphonal song of two choirs. The street was illuminated. Returning to the Gemein Haus the congregation again formed a circle, and with the blessing of the Lord was dismissed to rest.

Hearts were filled with the peace of God, evident during the entire day and especially during the procession, and all around there was silence, even the wind being still.” (from Records of the Moravians in North Carolina)

The Love Feast, a Moravian tradition that is more a celebration of community than a sacrament, was a regular part of this community. The simple meal included coffee heavy with cream and sugar, plus a sweet bun.

The log Gemenhaus, built in 1756,  burned and was rebuilt in 1788.

The church, call the “Gemeinhaus” even in the earliest records of the community of Bethabara, served as a residence for the minister and other church workers and had a “Saal” – a “meeting hall” – for the congregation; the most accepted translation of “Gemeinhaus” being “congregation house.”

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Moravians believe in the clear word of God;“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.” Lamentations 3:22,23 The first printed edition of the Daily Texts (Losungen) was published in Herrnhut, Saxony, in 1731. The title page of that edition quoted this passage from Lamentations and promised a daily message from God that would be new every morning.

For each of the 365 days in the year, they read from the Daily Texts that give them a specific Word/watchword for the day and a doctrinal response.

During the crucial days of the Revolution, the German-language edition was printed in Philadelphia by Heinrich Miller, who had worked for Benjamin Franklin when he first came to America. The daily text for July 4, 1776, was from Isaiah 55:5-“Behold, you shall call nations that you know not, and nations that knew you not shall run to you” (RSV).

This all-day celebration is the first one documented in our country, and this is still reenacted today in Old Salem.

Several years ago, John and I participated in the walk around the square on July 4. Just like in the year of 1783, there was singing thankfully of the day we celebrated. As I look forward to July 4, 2016, I am truly grateful to be an American. Learning about the lives of those that fought for our country during the Revolutionary War, I am amazed at their courage and perseverance to battle against England; they were fearless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZZf619DIpo

Happy Fourth of July!

 

 

Victory Gardens During World War II

“Food will win the war and write the peace,” announced Agriculture Secretary Claude Wickard in a statement to the press in early 1943. Even before the United States entered the war in 1941, U.S. farmers were producing at record levels to supply the food needs of the Allies. After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, getting food and equipment to our troops strained production and distribution systems to their limits. Farm labor was in short supply as men left for military service.

Patriotic fervor was contagious and victory gardens sprang up everywhere.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in 1943,

I hope every American who possibly can will grow a victory garden this year. We found out last year that even the small gardens helped.

The total harvest from victory gardens was tremendous. It made the difference between scarcity and abundance. The Department of Agriculture surveys show that 42 percent of the fresh vegetables consumed in 1943 came from victory gardens. This should clearly emphasize the far-reaching importance of the victory garden program.

Because of the greatly increased demands in 1944, we will need all the food we can grow. Food still remains a first essential to winning the war. Victory gardens are of direct benefit in helping relieve manpower, transportation, and living costs as well as the food problem.”

In 1943, Americans planted over 20 million Victory Gardens, and the harvest accounted for nearly a third of all the vegetables consumed in the country that year. Emphasis was placed on making gardening a family or community effort — not a drudgery, but a pastime, and a national duty.

Victory Gardens helped prevent a food shortage. Planting Victory Gardens helped make sure that there was enough food for our soldiers fighting around the world. Because canned vegetables were rationed, Victory Gardens also helped people stretch their ration coupons.

No one could just walk into a shop and buy as much sugar, butter, meat as you wanted, nor could you fill up your car with gasoline whenever you liked. All these things were rationed, which meant you were only allowed to buy a small amount (even if you could afford more). The government introduced rationing because certain things were in short supply during the war, and rationing was the only way to make sure everyone got their fair share.

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The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor dramatically ended the debate over America’s entrance into the war that raged around the world.  As eager volunteers flooded local draft board offices, ordinary citizens soon felt the impact of the war. Almost overnight the economy shifted to war production. Consumer goods now took a back seat to military production as nationwide rationing began almost immediately.  In May of 1942, the U.S. Office of Price Administration (OPA) froze prices on practically all everyday goods, starting with sugar and coffee.
Then war ration books were issued to each American family, dictating how much gasoline, tires, sugar, meat, silk, shoes, and other items one person could buy. Even children received their own books.

In Ingle Holler, outside Union, SC, these gardens were dubbed vegetable gardens, because they were a way of life for this clan. Every year, a garden was planted by each family; World War II did not change their way of being self-suficient.

John’s grandfather, Make Ingle, bought fifty acres of land from Excelsior Mill (later Milliken Mill), during the Depression in 1937. His children then bought acreage from their father, built homes, and lived their lives similar to their Appalachian ancestors.

The third generation, which included my husband,  always had playmates, as well as working partners. Growing up solely around extended family isolated the children in some ways, but also instilled in them a sense of place and acceptance. All looked out for everyone else; the doors were always open in each home, and no one had to knock to be admitted.

Gardens were a family affair. John’s dad Oliver dug the garden with a hand plow. It had several ploughshares for breaking up the dirt, for cultivating and breaking up the clods, and a v-shaped one that laid off the rows. Then his mother Lois supervised her sons planting the seeds. Using broken sticks off nearby trees, the two boys poked holes in the rows and dropped the seeds. Oliver then came back with the v-shaped ploughshare and covered up the seeds.

Weeding was a daily job for the boys, and water was free from the nearby creek.

Because trains and trucks had to be used to transport soldiers, vehicles, and weapons, most Americans ate local produce grown in their own communities. More than one million tons of vegetables were grown in Victory Gardens during the war.


People with no yards planted small Victory Gardens in window boxes and watered them through their windows. Some city dwellers who lived in tall apartment buildings planted rooftop gardens, and the whole building pitched in and helped.

Many schools across the country planted Victory Gardens on their school grounds and used their produce in their school lunches. The U.S. government printed recipe books describing how to prepare home grown vegetables to make nutritional and tasty meals. Agricultural companies gave tips on how to make seedlings flourish in different climates.

My dad, Sam Collins, along with his brother Wallace, fought in the Army during World War II, in the European theater. Growing up during the Great Depression and on a farm in Kentucky, he knew the importance of providing for his family. His job was to milk the cows in the dairy; this meant waking up to go to the barn at 5:00 a.m. for this chore before he walked to school. Daddy had a strong sense of the importance of hard work and taking care of his family. Though he was not one who enjoyed the outdoors, for forty years he planted a garden in our back yard. As the years went by, it grew smaller and was finally only tomato plants for our summer eating.

I can see him now with the old hat he wore in the garden pinching the suckers off, so the tomatoes would grow. He would smile with glee when he brought tomatoes into the house. For some, this was a piddling and unremarkable task, but it was more. This farmer turned banker never got over the realization that the earth was created for our bounty and benefit. By example, he taught us that a victory/vegetable garden is for each generation

As James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

By the way, my husband John picked his first tomato yesterday from our backyard.

 

Little River, South Carolina

May 2009 037.jpgHugging the shore of eastern South Carolina, Little River still has the aura of a sleepy, fishing village.

It is one of the oldest settlements along the coast, with fishermen and farmers settling there in the late 1600s and 1700s. The wide tidal inlet, which narrows to a stream, was a cornucopia of fish and fertile land.

Indian tribes called the stream Mineola, meaning “little river” and that became its name.

Both pirates and shipwrecked survivors found this haven. The few settlers were forced to help pirates who demanded food and supplies; their weapons loudly spoke. Legends like Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, Stede Bonnette, and Anne Bonney supposedly dropped anchors here.

The village of Little River can trace its history back to 1734. It was then that a “young gentleman” from England recorded in his diary that he had stayed at Ash’s, or Little River, while traveling through the area.

In 1740, on his way to Savannah, Georgia, Rev. George Whitefield, an English Anglican preacher, apparently visited Ash’s inn also and wrote about his   “pleasant journey” and how “wonderfully delighted to see the porpoises taking their pastime, and hear, as it were, resounding to shore the praises of Him Who set bounds to the sea that it cannot pass.”

The tavern where Whitefield and the “young gentleman” lodged was probably that of Thomas Ash. Ash received a land grant for 350 acres on June 19, 1733. It is believed that he operated an inn or halfway house (midway between Cape Fear and Winyah Bay).

Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox) had a brother, named Isaac, who settled in Little River in the mid-1700s with his wife and family. During the American Revolution, Isaac Marion maintained the “Boundary House” on the NC/SC border at the small hamlet of Little River.

President George Washington, on his southern tour in 1791, stopped in Little River.  He entered South Carolina just north of Little River on April 27, 1791, where he stayed with the Revolutionary War veteran named James G. Cochran. Traveling the well-established coastal road, now known as the King’s Highway, he made his way south.

In his diary Washington stated, “In this tour I was accompanied by Major Jackson, my equipage and attendance consisted of a Chariot & four horses drove in hand – a light baggage wagon and two horses – four saddle horses besides a led one for myself and five – to wit – my Valet de Chambre, two footmen, Coachman & postilion.” The outriders wore bright livery of red and white which gave a touch of distinction to the procession. His carriage was described as a “white chariot.” (An impressive sight indeed!)

In 1826, Robert Mills, America’s first native-born trained architect, born in Charleston, SC, described the village of Little River: “There is another settlement made on Little river near the seaboard of about 25 persons, who carry on a considerable trade in lumber, pitch, tar, &c. … Little river admits vessels drawing 6 or 7 feet water up into the harbor, 4 miles from its mouth. There is a little difficulty at the entrance, but the harbor is perfectly safe from the effects of storms.”

The village became a prosperous port in the 1850’s, shipping fine lumber and naval stores to Northern markets. It had a sawmill, waterhouse, stores, school and bank. Several churches were organized and people built nice homes. The Civil War wiped out this progress. A large salt works produced much needed salt for the Confederate Army until it was burned by Union forces. Shipping and fishing were at standstill, with the coastal blockade.

In 1868 an Horry correspondent for The Marion (SC) Star [December 16] who signed himself Waccamaw wrote that Little River Village was “a flourishing commercial place, that bids fair to become of great importance in the industrial and commercial interest of Horry and of the adjoining counties in North Carolina. [It contained] four stores, one steam saw mill, two gum stills, one academy, church, no jail (!) and a curiosity, in a newfangled ‘Pinder Picking machine… Vessels of one hundred and fifty tons burden can come up to the village, and so make regular trips between this place and Northern cities, as well as to the West Indies. Waccamaw went on to describe the local food in a very favorable light by saying, “These [mullet], with the oysters, that were abundant, and the ducks, of which quite a number were killed, to appetites already good, and highly braced.”

The American Guide Series, 1938 tells an interesting story about Little River in the late 1800s. By then, seagoing steamers made regular runs between Georgetown, Little River and Wilmington, loaded with cargo and passengers. Sewing machines were something of a novelty in the South and greatly needed for family sewing. The few women who had machines would graciously invite friends and neighbors to share their use.

Summer afternoons found ladies gathered on wide porches, under sheltering oaks along the riverfront. The ladies might “piece quilts” or mend or sew for their families, taking turns to use the wonderful new Singer sewing machine. It looked like an old-fashioned “sewing bee.” Passengers on steamers coming into the harbor smiled and waved at the busy women, who happily smiled and waved back.

The influx of cars and roads severed the constant sea traffic into Little River, and now seafood restaurants bring in the travelers, along with opportunities for deep-sea fishing and charter boats. Two casino ships operate each day for further entertainment.

Twice this week at Little River, John and I have slurped up two seafood meals at Capt Juel’s Hurricane Restaurant.

A parade of boats entertained us. Those, on the restaurant deck, waved to the passengers on the boats’ desks. The water created a bridge for a sense of camaraderie, and no pirates decided to jump ship and detain us or our wallets.

W. B. Yeats wrote, “In the great cities we see so little of the world, we drift into our minority. In the little towns and villages there are no minorities; people are not numerous enough. You must see the world there, perforce. Every man is himself a class; every hour carries its new challenge. When you pass the inn at the end of the village you leave your favourite whimsy behind you; for you will meet no one who can share it. We listen to eloquent speaking, read books and write them, settle all the affairs of the universe. The dumb village multitudes pass on unchanging; the feel of the spade in the hand is no different for all our talk: good seasons and bad follow each other as of old. The dumb multitudes are no more concerned with us than is the old horse peering through the rusty gate of the village pound. The ancient map-makers wrote across unexplored regions, ‘Here are lions.’ Across the villages of fishermen and turners of the earth, so different are these from us, we can write but one line that is certain, ‘Here are ghosts.’ (“Village Ghosts”)”

 

Father’s Day

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702 Penarth Road

When I was five and my brother two, our great grandfather died. Leaving monies to his grandchildren, my dad invested in building a home on Penarth Road on the west side of Spartanburg. There are a couple of photos left of the house as it became a home. Critt and I played in the sand piles, and that was our contribution. Our parents lived there for forty years.

In those years, there were few changes. Added first was a screen porch and a larger den. Then large windows created a sun porch that quickly became the favorite gathering place for our family.

Later my dad meticulously added a brick and sand terrace in between the driveway and the back storm door. Running string around the edges to design the space, leveling the ground with a shovel, arranging the bricks in a simple pattern, and lastly pouring the sand to fill in the spaces were the steps.

My memories are of a banker, out of his element, dressed in shorts, collared shirt, socks and casual shoes down on his knees methodically occupied with his work. The suit and tie were out-of-sight. His glasses often slipped down his nose from the perspiration; I remember his skinned knees. His concentration showed when his tongue slipped between his lips. (This was a sign I always recognized.)

Through the years, the completed patio often brought smiles to us. Daddy was not dexterous, but he was determined to finish well all tasks that he started. He taught us this by example. Whether it was washing the cars on Saturday afternoon, studying a Sunday School lesson at his desk on Saturday nights, or loving on Mother with her Alzheimer’s disease, Daddy never quit. He took his responsibilities seriously.

By the way, sixty years later that patio continues to hug the back entrance to our old home! Legacy does embrace countless forms.

An unknown author wrote this about a father.

“What Is A Dad?”

A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up,
brushes you off,
and lets you try again.

A dad is someone who
wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks in silence
when you get hurt.

A dad is someone who
holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail…

Happy Father’s Day!

Author Events in June:
June 10 – Spartanburg Junior Writer’s program

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