Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Half-breed Cherokee" Cousin Calvin Coker--Innocent of Murder by Reason of Political Excitement

--Calvin Coker was tried in the Cherokee Nation a few days ago says the Coffeyville Journal for the murder of Isaac Johneycake, a prominent Delaware Indian. A great deal of interest was felt through the Nation in the matter. A gentleman who heard the trial informs us that the killing was amply proven by witnesses on both sides and not denied, but the attorneys for the defendant attempted to work up a feeling of sympathy for their client on the grounds that the killing grew out of a political excitement; and it seems that this argument had some weight with the jury, for there was no other excuse urged, and the prisoner was acquitted. Our informant says the public feeling is very strong against Coker, and he is charged with having killed another man since the trial.
Leavenworth Times 14 June 1876

The Eureka, Kansas Herald on 1 July 1875 identified Cousin, the descendant of an English immigrant to Virginia in the 1600s, as a "half-breed Cherokee." Uncle Joe Coker was one of the enthusiastic progenitors of half-breed children in northern Arkansas. William Monks in A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Kansas (1907, in the University of Arkansas 2003 reprint) says: "One of the Cokers raised two families, one by a white woman and the other by an Indian woman." There was in fact more than one Indian woman involved, and it was the multiple claiming of their women that the Cherokee men objected to: see the Turnbo story about "Poor Joe Hill." Moncks continues: "The Indian family, after they had grown up and become men, resided a part of the time in the [Cherokee] Nation, where the mother lived, and a part of the time they remained in Marion county where their father and other relatives lived. They were very dangerous men when drinking, and the whole country feared them."

Cousin Cephas Bell--a Costner Cousin but Maybe a Bell Cousin Too

Cousin L. M. Hoffman tells this story about Cephas Bell, a grandson of Uncle Thomas Costner, who fought at King’s Mountain: “Cephas Bell was a Confederate soldier; enlisted Mch. 15, 1862, in Co. B. 28th Regt. (N. C.). He was discharged Sept., 1862, for disability. His comrades say of him that he was not unusually bright but that he was unusually brave. On one occasion his command was ordered to charge the enemy entrenched on a hill. The Federals scattered in confusion and Bell leading in the rush did not notice that his command had halted in the enemy’s abandoned position but went on after an officer in the rear of the rout. He overtook his man and ordered him to surrender. The officer said he couldn’t surrender except to an officer. Bell swore at him and said he’d blow out his d----d brains if he didn’t surrender quick and proceeded to execute his threat. He took his prisoner back and meeting some officers as he approached headquarters they told him they’d take the prisoner. He said, ‘No you won’t; if you want to go get you one, there’s plenty of them over there [pointing in the direction the enemy had gone]. You shall not have mine.’”


Number 6! This is even better than getting a letter into the Kansas City STAR in 1948! What a good group to be in the middle of!
Cheers to the shiny new 2017, our fifth year of publishing educational content! Woo hoo! Talk about a busy January. We announced our 2016 book award winners, launched pre-orders of our 2017 annual hardcover edition, welcomed back an important advertiser, and hosted our ninth group interview. Never a dull moment at the JAR. If you’re free the weekend of March 24 and looking for something Revolutionary to do, please check out the 6th Annual Conference of the American Revolution. It looks like a another great one. And before we slide into February, here’s a look back at last month’s most popular articles:

Monday, January 30, 2017

1733 When Uncle Joe Shared the Dirtiest Job in the American Colonies

My uncle Joseph Dabbs or Dobbs (roughly 1668-1750), brother of my grandmother Rebecca who married Henry Prewett, were both born in Varina Parish, Henrico County, Virginia. We know little about Uncle Joseph except that he had, in 1733, one of the dirtiest jobs in the American colonies, when he was one of two sub-sherrifs in Goochland County, Virginia. A court was “called” for Goochland County on 25 June 1733 “for the tryall of Champion a Negro man slave, Lucy, a Negro woman slave, both belonging to Hutchins Burton, Sampson, Harry, and George, three Negro men slaves belonging to William Randolph, Esq’r, & Valentine, a negro slave belonging to Bowler Cocke gent.” Champion (then worth 30£) confessed to “feloniously murdering Robert Allen” of Goochland County and was ordered to be returned to where he had lived and to be hanged there until dead. George, Sampson & Harry were also accused of “feloniously murdering Robert Allen” but they were acquitted. Valentine (worth 40£ at the going price) pled not guilty but was found guilty and like Champion ordered to be returned to the scene of the crime and hanged until dead. Lucy pled not guilty and circumstances were extenuating enough that she was ordered to “receive on her bare back twenty one lashes well laid on at the Com[m]on whipping post” and then be discharged. It was further ordered that “the heads & quarters of Champion & Valentine be set up in severall parts” of Goochland County.
Thomas Walker and Uncle Dabbs did their assigned tasts, as duly itemized. At court on 9 October 1733 the sub-sherrifs’ bills were presented, payment figured in pounds of tobacco:
Goochland County... .... .. ........... ............ ... Tobacco.

To Thomas Walker & Joseph  Dabbs  sub-sherifs for a  mis-
take in the levey  in 1732. ........ .....................             10
To Do. for going to Williamsburg for a Comission of  Oyer & Terminer to try Champion, Lucy, Valentine, Samp­ son, Harry & George, Negros 90 miles going at 2£  and 90  miles  returning  at 2£ p. mile. ......360..                   To Do. for sumoning the Justices and attending the  Court for the tryal of the   said Negros. ........ ... . .... . . . . . .                  200
To Do. for Executing Champion & Valentine, 250£ each . .                         500
To Do. for providing Tarr, burying the trunk, cutting out the quarters[,] a Pott, Carts & horses, carrying and setting up the heads & quarters of the two Negros at the places
mentioned  by order of Cou rt. . . . . ..... . . . . .. . ... . . ...2000
To Do. for gallows & ropes to hang the two said Negros. . .               60
To Do. for  24 days imprisonment of Champion  @ 5£ p. day.              120
To Do. for 22 days imprisonment of Lucy @ 5£. . . . . . . . . . .        110
To Do. for  Comitment & releasment  of Lucy,Sampson, George & Harry  .... ..... .... ....... .... ... .... . . . .                  8o
To Do. for 12 days imprisonment  of  Valentine @ 5£
To Do. for 12 days imprisonment  of  Valentine @ 5£ . . . . .                        60
To Do. for 4 days imprisonment of Sampson @ 5£. . ......                                20
To Do. for 4 days im prisonment of Harry @ 5£ . . . .......                          20
To Do. for 4 days imprisonment  of  George  @  5£. ... . . . . .                      2

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Seen this before? Local Paper catches up on Photo OP

Joe went up to Cayucos. My photos in the last days were from Morro Bay, near the end of Highway 41 (which is, incidentally, impassible--Atascadero blocked by slides). I hear that Red-Headed Joe added several rooms to HIS castle. Mine were untouched by elderly hands.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Solving Puzzles Boosts Your Brain Power--

People in Power Have Always Been Mean to Us--Even Before Brodhead Lied about me in the New York TIMES

The next sentence: "They have evidently cast their eye on this inheritance, and are determined, if possible, to be there when the division is made." So we stopped half a mile into what was later declared to be Arkansas . . . .

9/9/2001--brief happy time left

You can't control the headlines, ever. This is the San Luis Tribune 9/9/2001

Mention of my FT&VI in Lee Patterson's TEMPORAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Lee Patterson's introduction to TEMPORAL CIRCUMSTANCES: FORM AND HISTORY IN THE CANTERBURY TALES (Palgrave, 2006), p. 9.

One of the clearest things said about my textual-aesthetic work.

DAVID SOLWAY on the Educational Mess We Are In

From David Solway 25 January 2013—still up online after 4 years—“UNDERSTANDING THE EDUCATIONAL MESS WE’RE IN”
Everything considered, and allowances made for cultural and historical differences, the Merchant Taylors’ School, in the early to middle period of English pedagogy, was a far superior secondary school to anything our contemporary ideologues and planners, whose ignorance of educational history is impressively catholic, have managed to install today. We no longer teach the classics, those documents -- in the words of Melville scholar and Norton anthologist Hershel Parker -- that “afford the most rich, complex, aesthetic experiences…most likely to work transforming enlightenment…in all earnest young students.” On the contrary, our current methodology, pursued in a cognitive vacancy, constitutes nothing more than another pedagogical talisman which testifies only to the bankruptcy, or the magical thinking, that has overtaken the culture of education to which we unthinkingly contribute. We have long passed the time, laments Welsh poet Gillian Clarke in her new book Ice, “when the map of the earth was something we knew by/heart.” It is as if we have simply forgotten the central axiom of human development: if you know very little, you cannot do very much. Method can never be a surrogate for substance. You must work to have something there if there is ever to be something there to work with.

You Thought I Was Exaggerating? Another Silencing

In this case, I could not win against the Bowers-Pizer Power Structure. But the essay, a really wonderful one, was the occasion of renewing a treasured friendship with Paul Seydor.

Reviewing Attempts to Silence Me

I am not in the least ornery, but in order to write ORNERY PEOPLE I have been looking over some of the attempts to silence me during half a century. The attempts have sometimes succeeded for a couple of decades, at the longest, and sometimes I got into print only to have a promise to reprint a piece reneged on. This 1985 letter was one of the most distressing because the article was absolutely temperate, just descriptive insofar as it dealt with Fredson Bowers. Six years after this suppression of my article on The Reviewing of Scholarly Editions a brave woman, Edna L. Steeves, published it, uncensored, in EDITORS' NOTES, 10.2 (Fall 1991). But decades later, I was still having to repeat one of its findings in TLS: The Bowers Worshippers Keep Closed Ranks Still.
The editor who rejected the article soon died of cancer, before he could ask forgiveness. I am nothing if not forgiving, myself, but my oh my fighting to tell the truth takes it out of you.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wide beach here--no dunes to wash logs into

Elsewhere, the tree trunks and limbs are off the beach and into the dunes, piled between dunes.

Both my Cousins--Paul W. Tibbets who dropped the bomb & David Dellinger who denounced it

What curious information you come across when you trace your ancestry. Dellinger who had no idea that he had brave Revolutionary ancestors in North Carolina, fatuously celebrated his New England Revolutionary ancestry. Can you imagine what knowing he was a cousin would have done to boost my reputation in California in the late 1960s? Paul Tibbets was a Warfield cousin.

Holley informed Dellinger that a local writer had a printing press for sale and helped arrange for him to purchase it.54 With press in hand, Dellinger and his CO comrades Bill Kuenning, Ralph DiGia, and Roy Kepler wrote and printed the first issue of a new militant pacifist journal, Direct Action. The journal’s most powerful and historically significant article was a “Declaration of War” penned by Dellinger in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Japan:
The “way of life” that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki . . . is international and dominates every nation of the world . . . With this “way of life” (“death” would be more appropriate) there can be no truce nor quarter. . . . It must be total war against the infamous economic, political and social system which is dominant in this country . . . The enemy is every institution which denies full social and economic equality to anyone. The enemy is personal indifference to the consequences of acts performed by the institutions of which we are a part . . . There is no solution short of all-out war. But there must be one major difference between our war and the war that has just ended . . . The war for total brotherhood must be a nonviolent war carried on by methods worthy of the ideas we seek to serve . . . There must be strikes, sabotage and seizure of public property now being held by private owners. There must be civil disobedience of laws which are contrary to human welfare. But there must be also an uncompromising practice of treating everyone, including the worst of our opponents, with all the respect and decency that he merits as a fellow human being . . . Every act we perform today must reflect the kind of human relationships we are fighting to establish tomorrow.55

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sorting & Packing for Removal of Melville Books &c--part of a 2 July 1992 Sun Bulletin piece on the house

The Slurry with the Fringe off the Top

This dune consists of slurry piled up by the last dredging, several years ago. The top was covered with vines, the remnants of which you see in one of the pictures. Last year the storms ate away at the westerlymost dunes and this year you can see how the next row is being sliced away.

Still sifting through early thinking about ORNERY PEOPLE

This is from Heinz Dietrich Fischer 2003 THE PULITZER PRIZE ARCHIVE.

Now, Angela's Ashes was marketed in the Ireland as fiction . . . .

P.S. just saw a Wikipedia entry:
  • 1997: Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
    • Herman Melville: A Biography, Volume 1, 1819–1851 by Hershel Parker
    • In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country by Kim Barnes

  • Reviewing abandoned plans for ORNERY PEOPLE

    26 May 2016
    I had totally forgotten a plan to work between my ancestors’ lives and my academic life. What happened is that I put the academic part into MELVILLE BIOGRAPHY: AN INSIDE NARRATIVE.

    In 2006 diary:
    20 October 2006 Decided to work on ORNERY PEOPLE now for as long as it takes—finishing PUBLISHED POEMS but holding off on the last volume. . . . . But I am not going to die a slave to this project [The Writings of Herman Melville] that causes me so much grief from the reviewers. I want to make ORNERY PEOPLE full of interplays between my brave cussed Regulator, Intruder ancestors & me with my place on the fringes of the Academic World. I want it to tell all about Fredson [Bowers], if that’s appropriate--& Brodhead [& Delbanco]& Co. It’s going to have to be ironic & funny & horrific.

    What I need to salvage from this 2006 note is the determination "to be ironic & funny & horrific." Back to Childers and the gay pursuit of a perilous quest. Someone named Scott Carter posted yesterday "Great article! Thanks so much" about the new JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION article "North Carolina Patriot Women Who Talked Back to the Tories." That's the response I have to get. I have to shed the masses of documentation and tell the stories. One story, though, will be about finding documents. I have to go back and see when I first starting to realize that there was some written record of this Okie's American ancestors.

    Monday, January 23, 2017

    Duck Pond--temporary, after storms

    Looking at our house--top, a little left of the center---there is the center, then a green space to the north (left) and then our house, overlooking Duck Pond. On the other side of the pond is an expensive housing development, The Cloisters, built 16 years or so ago in a partially drained swamp and selling for near a million now, or more. You can't walk on the public paths there, when it rains: flooded.

    I did go out in the rain yesterday and met only one couple

    I was ready to challenge them for not knowing enough to stay out of the rain when I recognized them--the only people out in the rain besides me were this couple I had always thought to be sane.

    I knew I was right to exchange names with them a while ago.

    Friday, January 20, 2017

    Today's Beach Shelters

    Looking at my file of essays accepted then suppressed

    Edna L. Steeves bravely published my "Reviewing of Scholarly Editions" in EDITORS' NOTES after the editor at the University of Virginia Press had refused to publish a collection if it were in it because it looked (coolly, politely) at some of Fredson Bowers's sloppiness and irrationality. It was a fine essay. This is the concluding paragraph.

    And while textualists and reviewers alike have been confused or flippant, or merely ponderous, on most of the textual-editorial issues, both of theory and procedure, they have seemed almost unaware of a much more important area, that ambiguous terrain where textual and biographical evidence create aesthetic conse­quences. Biography has been kept away from editorial theory; creativity theory has been kept away from editorial theory-and is banished in Jerome McGann's modish A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism (Chicago 1983), an influential pastiche of the views of James Thorpe and Donald Pizer; cognitive psychology (with its rich new discoveries about human memory) has been kept out of editorial theory. Until editors care passionately about literature again, until editors approach the creative process with wonder and awe, we are not going to have great triumphs of textual editing and we are not going to have great new reviews of scholarly editions.

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

    Beach shelter renovations as of today

    Killed after Trading 3 Large Condors for Horse & Saddle--1898

    The San Francisco Chronicle on June 30, 1898 reported a tragedy, datelined San Jose June 29:                                    HIS VICTIM AN INNOCENT BOY.                                       



    The parents of the [18 year old] victim live on a bee ranch at Big Sur, about thirty miles from the railroad, in Monterey county. . . . Young Hopkins bore a splendid reputation as a hard working lad. He had for many years been engaged in trapping large birds, a pursuit that proved remunerative. His trip to San Jose was to exchange three large California condors with Taxidermist F. H. Holmes for a horse and saddle. The boy was very proud of the animal and on the afternoon before his violent death he had a photograph taken of himself with the horse.

    Missed Chances Series #1: Going to Milton R. Stern's Hotel Room and Stripping to the

    Brian Higgins and I had some breathing room between the publication of our article on Tender is the Night in Proof 4 (1975) and 1986, when Milton R. Stern's G. K. Hall Critical Essays on Fitzgerald's "Tender is the Night"  appeared.  Rather than reprinting our article with the other essays, Stern, listed what he called our eleven "objections to the revised edition" and followed each with a stern rebuttal.  We had been wholly ignorant of the power of the New Criticism in sanctifying the text a reader held in hand.  According to Stern, we had been "totalitarian" to insist that Fitzgerald's intentionality was embodied in the 1934 edition rather than diffused both through that and Cowley's edition.  In the official Fall 1974 memo to the department I defined what the article meant to my thinking: "Ever since writing with Brian Higgins the long study of Tender is the Night which will appear in the next Proof I have become more and more committed to writing lengthy essays which make detailed critical interpretations on the basis of thorough study of textual problems."  I was working with critical approaches and assumptions and trying to relate them to textual assumptions, but the connections were difficult to push because the words (starting with "textual" and "critical") might be the same but the meanings might be different.  Nobody in the CEAA had been talking about the aesthetic consequences of rearranging large hunks of prose. 
    On 29 December 1993, after a session on Tender at the MLA convention in Toronto Stern challenged me to adjourn to his hotel room, strip to the waist, and there, one on one, resolve the textual issues of Tender is the Night. 
    I had missed not missed an MLA convention since 1968; after 1993 I never attended another.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Worth re-posting: How to Criticize, According to Maurice Sendak

    first posted Thursday, February 27, 2014

    Maurice Sendak's Lesson to Hershel Parker in How to Give Criticism

                   This is a little story about the perils of being friends with a great artist.

    5 March 1992   Good rushed talk with Maurice. Read him plaudits in the capitol poem—[He] asked for a tape, which I will . . . do. Poss of going up 13th depending on my progress [on talk on HM as sex symbol] . . . . Xeroxed Oak Leaf cluster for everyone [in seminar]. Thought later, at home, of putting it (the 12 [poem sequence—“Live Oak, with Moss”]) into NAAL [The Norton Anthology of American Literature]

    12 March 1992.  MS called 930 am. Told him my Live Oak wi Moss idea (for NAAL)—Promised a tape. He [said he] thought he might illustrate Homer—(his slip for Whitman). So after Pierre, Whitman? Told him about [teaching] Song of Myself as a coming out poem.

    23 March 1992  Bad news. Maurice called—blood clot in leg—gg to Danbury or NYC hospital

    24 March 1992 Lynn called with MS’s # at Danbury Hospital. [2 chats] Watching the clot—following it. I may go up [next] Tuesday. [Michael at HarperCollins FedExing color Xeroxes of Bumbleardy to Maurice at the hospital.]

    25 March 1992 Got Maurice at 6 in his new room—private. Clot still there. Friday critical. Clot should dissolve. 

    27 March 1992  Dr screwed MS.  Got him set up to learn someting, took tests& went & played golf. Morose Maurice, with reason.

    28 March 1992  Maurice released. Dr claims to have told floor nurse to tell Maurice yesterday

    31 March 1992   RIDGEFIELD. Eager to see Bumbleardy but not handed it.

    1 April 1992   RIDGEFIELD. One of the worst mornings of my life. At last got [to hold] Bumleardy blown up color Xeroxes pasted up as a book [which Michael had FedEx’d to Maurice last week so he could have it in the hospital]. Read it in Living Room. Dismay—awkward chronology. Move 2 double pages? [Would that solve it?] One with 9 pigs in masks & one wi 9 pigs doing the 9 kinds of dirty tricks, to follow the words “9 kinds of” etc. Puzzled about most economical way of fixing it. 

    Walk wi [Maurice and] Runge [in property across the road which MS later bought]. Decided to be honest—broached subject. [After deciding that I would risk losing the friendship.]

    MS: “Hersh, you never learned the first rule for giving criticism—first praise lavishly.” [Sendak pissed. Very pissed. Very Morose.]
    Well, terrible, awkward. At studio I fumbled as I tried to tell him what was wrong. BO from anxiety. [The horrible smelling BO that comes only from sickness or extreme anxiety.]
    Then he took it & cried “GOTT IN HIMMEL!” 

    It was pasted up wildly out of order. Honest Hersh!
    Call to HAR about Northwestern project. She said [to Maurice], “What do you expect from the King of Aesthetic Anomalies?” [Hayford also called, and was much amused.] Michael’s assistant had screwed up—Michael chagrined—[package had gone to FedEx headquarters in Memphis and stayed there somehow. Maurice had not seen it all those days in the hospital.] But I remained nervous.

    3 April 1992  Buffalo, to give my “Melville as [Heterosexual] Sex Symbol” talk.

    Another Driftwood Sculpture, Today

    Hayford letter--things you find in diaries

    A Bit of Confirmation on "transforming while revising" from Maurice Sendak

    For reasons connected to starting ORNERY PEOPLE, I am looking at old diaries. On 18 January 1994, during the worst ice storm in the Mid-Atlantic, I fed the birds and even fed a bushy tailed brown fox in the yard. I was putting to great use the product of the grubbiest of research. "Exalted--wrote a great about Knights & Squires as partly derived from that night in Newark 2 Nov 44 [when HM heard Gansevoort's great speech] . . . I put GM with his golden banner in the 1 Nov parade then went to library and found the speech in the Herald. I used "mighty earthly marchings" in connection to Torchlight Procession. Called MS, who understood me completely--said this "transforming while revising" = 'the payoff.'"

    I can't tell you how I miss such encouragement.

    Sunday, January 15, 2017

    Motto for work on ORNERY PEOPLE--not for OP itself but for work on OP

    Erskine Childers’s THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS continues to enthrall me. Here Carruthers has finally learned why Davies has lured him into what so-far has seemed a ridiculously unaccountable enterprise:

    Close in the train of Humour came Romance, veiling her face, but I knew it was the rustle of her robes that I heard in the foam beneath me; I knew that it was she who handed me the cup of sparkling wine and bade me drink and be merry. Strange to me though it was, I knew the taste when it touched my lips. It was not that bastard concoction I had tasted in the pseudo-Bohemias of Soho; it was not the showy but insipid beverage I should have drunk my fill of at Movern Lodge; it was the purest of her pure vintages, instilling the ancient inspiration which, under many guises, quickens thousands of better brains than mine, but whose essence is always the same: The gay pursuit of a perilous quest.

    Costner Sisters

    Ona, Mary, Euna, Ethel, Martha

    Andrew Costner and Inetta Trout Costner, 1936

    Saturday, January 14, 2017