Appalachian Intellectual. To me that means plain thinking. I am A Non Commissioned Officer in the Army Reserves. Let me say...My views expressed here are mine and not those of The U.S. Army, Army Reserve or my fellow brethren in The National Guard. This is entirely Sua Sponte. This is My Thinking.
I'm single and in my mid 30's. Politicaly, I'm a Libertarian. (Again, Sua Sponte.I do not represent the Libertarian Party.)I love my native Appalachia, Rock n Roll and...I love God.
I started blogging for two reasons. I was concerned about the changes to the area I live in, Southern Appalachia and I was about to go to the war. I was in Iraq in 06 and 07 and now Kuwait in 11 and 12. Blogging was a means of documenting my experiences and hoping it would help gain clarity. I don't feel that way about it any more. It's said people write blogs because they are frustrated, that's why people read them too. That makes us sound apocalyptic. Are we? Let it be said, what I say here is of my own thinking. This is entirely Sua Sponte and not an official representation of the U.S. Military or the U.S. Government as a whole.
This is some of the best advice you could give a kid. Ladies and scuzzy males,straight from Tuscaloosa Alanowhere, The Dexateens!
No, "don't live the way they tell 'ya". Some of what they* say is nothing more than out right lies, much of it misguided with the best of intentions leading to the contrary. I've been told some good advice, and I've been told some trash, but some of the best advice I've ever heard was from a Baptist Preacher, "Question Everything". Did you see the way he questioned that old banana?
But, this one is for you'll that prefer something a little harder(IE, Ed), "Madelene", "She's seventeen, she's going to out live us all"
*You know "They". Everybody knows "They". Heck, every where you go, you see them. Them and They, they're like "Fric and Frac". Can't hardly get away from Them and They.
But, while I'm on a roll, here's some more of The Dexateens. "The Suns going to rise, the earths going to spin, the Suns going to drop and do it again".
I read a post on Ruminations From The Distant Hills that referred to the corner of Transylvania and Henderson Counties on the South Carolina Border. Gulahiyi spoke of something I had not heard about, a stone pillar marking the N.C./S.C. line. He quoted a passage from what was apparently a Union Soldier. It got me to thinking of what I know of those days here.
Not far as the Crow fly from the place he wrote of, Standing Stone Mountain, in S.C is a place called Jones Gap. My Grand Father told me that when he was young there was a human skull that layed out there. The story was, to his knowledge, that it was where a deserter of one Army or the other had been killed. Supposedly beheaded. Interestingly, as a local ghost story, a headless horseman is supposed to be seen at the bridge on Williamson Creek Road, apparently searching for his head. It's been said he was a Soldier from the War Between the States. My Grand Father never made the parallel to us about the two stories. But then in the mid 1860's, these were rough parts.
My Great Great Granddad had a hole in his side He used to tell the story to the family Christmas night Got shot at Shiloh, thought he'd die alone From a Yankee bullet, less than thirty miles from home Drive By Trucker's "The Southern Thing"
The day Transylvania became a County (Carved out of some of it's neighbors) the first thing it had to do was build a Company of men. I don't know the numbers or statistics, but as the war went on, it took nearly every man there was. And some chose not to fight for the Confederacy, but the Union. Some may have fought for themselves, who knows?
It was hard on the Women here, with most of the men gone, young boys to do the farm labor, if they had them, and bandits roaming about. Being that Southern Appalachia was out of any aims of the Generals strategies, the place attracted deserters. A second Great Uncle of mine that was coming up during the War Between the States relayed a story in a book he wrote of his Mother, my Third Great Grand Mother, being attacked in the house by these marauding deserters. Her arm was yanked out of socket and one of the boys presented a pistol to them and they promptly left. They lived up on the West Fork of the French Broad and there weren't many neighbors around. Another story is of a woman hiding her silver ware in the bank of the river so the Union Soldiers coming through wouldn't find it. The Union that did come here were like the "Red Legs" you see in the movie "The Outlaw Josie Wells". The remedy for that was The Thomas Legion. A predominantly Cherokee Unit known as the 69th North Carolina Regiment.But, there is allot of land in these Mountains, and they couldn't be everywhere at once. Swimmer, who passed along many of the stories relayed in James Mooney's "History, Myths and Lore of the Cherokee" served as a Company First Sergeant in the Legion.
Eastern Tennessee had allot of Union sympathizers. Here in Western North Carolina it was spotty. In Transylvania certain families were known to side with the Union, the Gillespies for example. It's been said the Owens's split from the Owens over the two sides. But if you ask them, they laugh and tell you that one side got to owing the other side money so they called themselves Owens's. Forget a "Nation Divided", it was a People Divided. Most for the Confederacy, a few for the Union and some didn't care. As the war ground on people were forced to one side by one event or the other. Thinking of it brings a point brought up by T.E. Lawrence referring t a neutral population. A neutral population can be persuaded by any one event or policy. Something that Col. Thomas tried to persuade the Confederacy from doing. He opposed conscription and suggested that slaves be freed. An interesting story exists in Twisters Family of a descendant that was taken from the home by Yankees and hung. A couple of the slaves followed them and after the Yankees left him hanging to die, the slaves ran out and lifted him from the rope saving his life. There's a book I saw down in Buttholeville, at the bookstore, describing how people had mixed emotions. The South was in fractions, and the North probably was as well. I doubt that it was all "those crazy people down South want to start their own Country! To Arms!!!". I'm sure someone said "why don't we leave them the hell alone??". If the North had occupied the South the way they had after, they would have had allot less sympathetic to them. People don't fight for causes, they fight for reasons. But once it was done, everyone tired of war, and agreeing to peace, they let it lye. The Thomas Legion never surrendered their guns, they just agreed to stop fighting. The whole period is a testament to the people of Southern Appalachia's independence, foolishness, fierceness, meanness and survival. It was an confusing time filled with ironies. It wasn't simple, it was complex and deadly. It was a hell of it's own. It was what war is, painful, and if it's not, you best back up and refight it. But like any endeavor, it could be done differently with better effect. And, if so, less would have suffered.
Below is a picture of Transylvania County Confederate Veterans around 1911. There is another picture I'm aware of that is a little more clear. I descend from a couple of those men.
This photo is of the Confederate Veterans of Macon County, around 1905. I'm not as aware of that side of my family but I stand to have an ancestor in the picture as does Twister. It's a little large and played with the view here, so I linked it.
I found these photos on this page of the UNC Library.
Not that the song is related, but here's some Dead Confederate,"Make Me Laugh".
It's been over a hundred years since all of that happened, Southern Appalachia is still existing with independence, foolishness, fierceness, meanness and survival under the occupation of our own demise.
I figured I'd just make some small talk until I can post like a real blogger again. Whatever a real blogger is. Opinion varies of that.
How 'bout that new President of ours! I tell you, he's on fire up there, bouncing around the Beltway. If he's proven good at anything its getting people to owe up on their taxes. Heck, he nominates someone for a Cabinet position and they cough up all of their back taxes, whether they get nominated or not. There's no telling how much money he's going to help the IRS collect.
Speaking of, Congress starts hammering out a stimulus plan, this Gietner feller, after paying his taxes, rolls out the TARP plan and the DOW drops over 300 points. Heck, Wall Street better get with it. Washington is going to spend a bunch of money, our jobs are saved! Come on, people are going to be lining up to "rake leaves in the National Forest"...Where did that line come from anyway? Was that someone being silly or was it a "tell 'em anything to get their vote" thing? Weel, I'm here to tell you, if they want to do the Pisgah, Nantahla or the Andrew Pickens District of the Sumter they'd be better off digging fire ditches. January, February and March are the best time for controlled burns.
Bit of trivia for you...This according to a book I have that refers to a book on Agriculture back in the 20's...In the average hard wood forest there are a ton of fallen leaves...Makes me think of fallen angels...on the ground per acre. Would you think? That's allot of leaves. Rake 'em all up in a pile and let all the kids on the road go crazy....Uhm...We'd have to rake them up again. When I was a kid I saw one of my cousins ride a bicycle through a pile of leaves and nearly take another's eyebrow off.
But despite raking leaves not living up to the accomplishments of the CCC, say if we were to do so. Rake leaves that is. What would we do with all of them? Hey! We're so smart we're a danger to ourselves, let's come up with some ideas. What in the world could we do with a ton of leaves? We'll make it a contest. Anybody care to judge? That makes me impartial. About prizes...I've given out enough free subscritions to this blog. I could have an autographed picture of one of the dogs... Let me know what you think!
Ain't you glad we ain't got to rake up fallen angels? The Appalachianist
This has been a cold week. Yesterday morning there was ice nearly across the Forks of the French Broad and shelves of ice hang in about every stream. Grave Yard Feilds and Black Balsam Knob showed white from the snow this week. Nothing to amount to anything fell on the Upper French Braod Valley, it was all north and west of The Balsams. Morning before last it was 5 and didn't bust 24 all day. But, from noon yestarday to quitting time all that snow up there went away. We still have hints of a dusting laying around. It's supposed to hit the 60's this weekend. Warm weather betrays Winters intenet.