Sunday, December 30, 2018

6 waves deep--some seeming to go in opposite directions--Cross Currents?


Christmas to New Year's Crowd at Noon


Fake entrance to cave

This is scary for me because in 1944 or 1945 kids dug into Henry Kaiser's sand berm that protected the workers' housing from the Columbia (until a couple of years later, when it rained). The slope caved in and one of the boys died and the other walked around with sunken eyes and
skin all green, as I remember.

SOBER YEAR-END REFLECTIONS ON HOW PARTICULAR DEATHS CAN WIPE OUT AREAS OF YOUR LIFE



WHEN YOU ARE OLD, SOME DEATHS WIPE OUT AREAS OF YOUR LIFE THAT NO ONE ELSE SHARES

When you are young you know that deaths of other young people can destroy families. When you get old, some deaths just leave gaps in crowds. Other deaths, as you get older, can wipe out whole decades of your aspirations and struggles and achievements. The death this year of a Tindall cousin, my first collaborator (on a Zane Grey novel in 1948) wipes out any other early participant of the ambition I had held at least since the spring of 1945, when Cousin Ishmael visited us in Oregon (and thank goodness could not read what I had written on the base of a plaster Superman). The death this year of another Oklahoma classmate (though I did not get to go to the 12th grade with him and the collaborator) finishes off shared school memories and also finishes off the 1952-1959 years as a railroad telegrapher, for he was on the same railroad briefly, in 1954. The loss of a wise genealogist and West Pointer in 2013 removed the only cousin I could share all my work on ORNERY PEOPLE with. From USC there survives a daily companion and also a movie editor and great textual theorist just now sending great photographs from Peru. A rhetorician also survives. But the death of two University of Southern California former students and a USC-East man have almost wiped out shared memories of my long battles for honesty in the textual establishment. (So in 2015 Amanda Gailey in Proofs of Genius: Collected Editions from the American Revolution to the Digital Age acknowledges that I was right in the 1970s! No one who suffered then remembers besides me.) My teacher’s death in 2001 removed the strongest connection to Northwestern and the Newberry, although the connection to the Press remained and a younger student of his emerged to do, perhaps better, what the teacher wanted to do. But the completion of THE WRITINGS OF HERMAN MELVILLE in 2017 puts an end to that phase, and my edition of the Library of America HERMAN MELVILLE: COMPLETE POEMS, now advertised as due out for Melville’s bicentennial in 2019, puts an end to all that. No one thinks I will write or edit another book on Melville! My problem now is getting rid of my Melville books and papers some way other than putting them on the curb a box at a time. I thought I had that taken care of . . . .  The death of one Delaware professor who kept up research in the Romantics and in new tools in world libraries sent out an email saying he had cancer and not to write him and then died fast—cutting off the connection to Delaware. For many years I had a strong connection to Norton, but after the death of one editor it was never the same, and I had to take the biography away from the editor who wanted to know if you knew when you crossed the Line, could you see  it? I am grateful to have the 3rd Norton Critical Edition of Moby-Dick out in 2017, with superb cooperation and help, but I don’t expect to do the 4th edition. That part of my career is over—except you never know: the Ministry of Education in France this year and in 2019 is using the 2006 Norton Critical Edition of The Confidence-Man as one of five texts in its national agr├ęgation exams. Something may rise up.  Then there areas of life so wiped out that I cannot remember them now or cannot talk about them.  As long as the half dozen regular runners on the beach at Morro Bay survive . . . .



Sunday, December 23, 2018

Places where seniors can get a discount. I have eaten at Boston Market, in Boston. Oh the creamed spinach!

Oh, and McDonalds. If you are in Tokyo, where are you going to find a clean non-smoking
American toilet except McDonald's?
  • Arby's: 10% discount for those over 55.
  • Chick-fil-a: Free small drink or coffee plus a 10% discount for those 55+
  • Waffle House: 10% meals on Mondays for seniors 60+
  • Burger King: 10% discount for those 60 and older.
  • Steak and Shake: 10% discount on certain days for 55+
  • Captain D's: Discount on select days for seniors 62 and older.
  • McDonald's: Discounts on coffee and beverages (55+)
  • IHOP: 10% discount (55+) and a menu for people aged 55 and over at participating locations
  • Subway: 10% off for seniors 60+
  • Golden Corral: 10% off for seniors 60+
  • Papa John's: Save 25% if you are over 55 or an AARP member
  • Krispy Kreme: 10% discount (50+)
  • Chili’s Grill and Bar: 10% discount for seniors 55+
  • Boston Market: 10% discount for seniors 65+
  • Perkins Restaurants: Fifty-Five Plus menu Offers special deals (55+)
  • Carl's Jr.: 10% discount on meal or drink.

Surfers allowed back


Dear Ann Landers: How should I ask the thief who stole my teaching copy of THE GREAT GATSBY to return it after keeping it for nearly 40 years?

I have not needed it much in recent years, though I knew where it was. I had minutely analyzed the book and had written out elaborate arguments on interleaved sheets of paper. Now I could never recover all I wrote, although some of the essence of it is in a page I published in a 1981 issue of STUDIES IN AMERICAN FICTION (the whole article reprinted in a nearly inaccessible ECDOTICA 6 [2009]). The thief was not intelligent enough to follow the arguments perfectly, but good enough, good enough, unless you know what was being copied from.  Is there an acceptable way of asking for the return of a book on which the thief began what turned out to be an illustrious career?
Signed,
Wondering
Ann, I am writing you because this was in your time.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Dunes being carved away and blown away--Drastic new changes in Dunes


Sand Goggles against Fierce Off Shore Winds


The 1862 Great Hangings at Gainesville, Texas, again--A Lesson about Historiography in the 21st Century

What's happened in the meantime (after starting the Amazon review of the GREAT HANGING) is that I have submitted the "P" document I found to the Texas State Historical Association to see if they can print it. The 1863 letter from P is important--the first attempt at a history of the hangings by someone party to it (surely) and the first attempt to control the history. P talks about how much of the history exists or is about to exist then, not decades later. It looks as if the hangmen were already preparing a history which would justify their atrocities. So if TSHA will publish, that will be best. If not, I could do what the bloggers of the murdered families are doing. The people running the Childs blog, for instance, took the note I posted there and looked up Mrs. Kahn's 1894 letter and published a full transcription of it and a photographic reproduction of it. These family bloggers are providing belated but valuable family history, some more than others but all significant for the record. I have over the last weeks amassed a vast number of documents--well, 274, I see--on the hangings. What we should all do in examining anything controversial is look and look and look. Who would have predicted that I would eventually discover the 1863 history of the hangings? Well, Melville might have, with his comment on our not being so continually curious for nothing.  What I have found in the last several years as I have tried to get time away from Melville to discover a little about my colonial and early American kinfolks is--well, first it is how hard it is to get away from Melville. The first half of 2018 was devoted to annotating Melville's poetry for a job that came suddenly, the Library of America volume of Melville's poetry.
Can I put a picture of the ad here?
That worked fine. I was afraid the illustration would go to the top of bottom. Anyhow, as an amateur historian several years ago I began writing for the webzine THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION and what I discovered, fairly fast, was that the real historians, those publishing book on the Revolution, had rarely made the best use of available documents. One person commented that a record I had found about David Fanning's slaughter in Randolph County could not be true or relevant because historians had not known it. [Would I make this up? What that shows is that historians often think they know everything about a given topic.] Will Graves and C. Leon Harris have been transcribing pension applications mainly under the 1832 law and when last I looked had more than 23,000 transcriptions, fully searchable. These are my heroes, Will and (as it emerged belatedly) my Cockerham cousin Leon!  I mean, look up corn or Cherokee or (as I pointed out once, eclipse) and find what there is. Also, year by year more documents are available in newspaper databases. I pay for some but get some from the University of Delaware by virtue of emeritus status and get some for free, though I think the Chronicling America site is unforgivably user-hostile. Any amateur can start looking, and looking, and looking, and my experience is that so far every time I have searched seriously I have found something important that the "real historians" have not seen, like a full page document that librarians assured a North Carolina researcher did not exist. Oh yes it does, in a Massachusetts reprint. Anybody with a hunting instinct and enough time and several hundred dollars for joining databases can, through imaginative persistence, discover neglected, crucial documents. Now, I was a Melville scholar for decades, and I have to say the most dogged one, as in my years of pursuing the Windsor, Vermont, JOURNAL, even sending out searchers when I could not go myself, after the Library of Congress said to me that it did not exist. But anyone with good common sense and a store of skepticism can persist on almost any topic and make discoveries. Why? Because so much is available online now. Now, I am not saying not to go to archives, especially the state agencies. But most of the time you can sit at home and discovery totally unknown, crucial, documents, as I keep saying. It is absolutely a new world for historical research. So far none of the historians I have approached have said my discovery of the "P" document is old news. Well, it can't be old news because it is not in the books and articles where it ought to be mentioned. It's always risky to proclaim you have made a discovery. You see in the review of the GREAT HANGING here that I started off and could not stop adding postscripts and finding things the families did not know and the historians did not know. It's a new world for research, really.






November 7, 2018


In a new instruction, Amazon suggests that a reviewer say what he will use a book for. Well, I am a Melville biographer, not a student of Civil War history, but I have been looking at my family history (of which I was totally ignorant) in relation to episodes of Southern history from the 1600s on. I have Texas connections. My first five years were in Escobas, Texas, on the Rio Grande, and from 1957-1959 I was the night telegrapher on the Kansas City Southern Railway in Port Arthur. Many of my cousins came to Texas early and played significant roles there. Jim Bowie is a Maryland Pottenger cousin two ways, for example, and the McGehee, Sparks, Sims, Dougherty, Hills, and other cousins had interesting lives in Texas starting before there was a Republic. Bowie and more distant cousins were at the Alamo. Others were on the Runaway Scrape and proved their swimming skills at San Jacinto, and a Bell cousin published a book about his imprisonment after he survived the disastrous Mier expedition. Another Texan cousin is Henry Truman Hill (the middle name traces back to a Maryland ancestor who is also an ancestor of Harry S. Truman).
I began checking on Henry Truman Hill because the same full ancestral name was used by one of my direct ancestors who was an Alabama man a generation older than his Texas cousin, but both of them Methodist circuit riders. The Texas HTH as a former Texas Ranger is buried in Center Point Cemetery, where three dozen Rangers went after their deaths. From Henry Truman Hill I was led to his father, Aaron Mason Hill, District Clerk (that is, County Clerk) for Cooke County, Texas, during one of the episodes of Southern history I had never heard of, the Great Hangings in Gainesville in 1862. Over forty Union men were hanged after “trial” and various other men on both sides (Union and Confederate) were hanged or shot.
So, Amazon, I am using this book, The Great Hanging at Gainesville, 1862, to understand the role Cousin Aaron Hill played in the tragic events. What I have found, indeed, is not pretty. The villains in most depictions of the Great Hangings start with the Provost Marshal for North-central Texas, James G. Bourland, like Col. William Young, the owner of many slaves. Although the majority of people in Cooke County opposed secession, the rich minority were the ones in power. My cousin Robert C. Carpenter, in Gaston County, North Carolina, in the Civil War (2016) shows very clearly that a majority in North Carolina were opposed to secession but pushed into war by big slaveholders who were, of course, also high office-holders. That is what happened here.
Bourland already had a connection with the Hill family, for the only two year period for Henry Truman Hill to have been a Texas Ranger was before the war, since he was a Confederate soldier during the war, and he would have served as Ranger under Bourland. No wonder in 1862 Bourland appointed Aaron Hill, the District Clerk (that is, County Clerk), to be one of five men to chose the twelve jurors to try Union sympathizers. But Cousin Aaron’s role did not end with his helping to choose twelve men. During the trials he and perhaps others of the original five were the keepers of records of the trials, the interrogators, and the ones who presumably wrote down (on the fly) the testimony of a few witnesses and confessions of many Union men.
This is what has cost me a few weeks already: worrying about the presumed records of the trials, what McCaslin in the introduction calls the “vigilante court records.” The earliest important historian of the hangings was Thomas Barrett, an unwilling member of the jury who in 1885 published a pamphlet exonerating himself from the general mistaken public opinion that he had been a rabid advocate of the hangings. The problem for us is that he was so anxious to be inoffensive in his story that he left out almost all names. Even when once he says he is going to depart from his policy and name a name, I can’t see that he does. He talks a good deal about the confessions of the arrested men and what he says goes against what one would expect. There was a massive Union plot to kill rebels, Barrett believed, for he heard the imprisoned men lay out a great plan of a Union uprising that would involve the massacre of even women and children. He does not say who confessed this, but it was apparently Richard N. Martin, according to George Washington Diamond, whose brother, James J. Diamond, had been one of the investigators of the Union plot. Such a confession, obtained as far as we know without torture other than fear of hanging, I find absolutely baffling. Union men plotted to kill women and children? Barrett thought so.
G. W. Diamond was the author of the other long account besides Barrett’s. He was not a witness, but, according to family history, after the war he was assigned the task of writing up the history of the “Peace Party Plot” and given custody of the “original records of the court.” Unlike Barrett, Diamond named names. These records included long confessions in court and (in the case of Richard N. Martin, on the scaffold).
How any one of the 5 men appointed by Bourland could have written down the formal accounts which Diamond copied out is a mystery to me—and of course the way they are presented in the first publication, in 1963, emphasizes their formal perfection. Perhaps my cousin Aaron, the County Clerk, was the man or one of the men in charge of making on the spot formal records and was a speed-writer. I am persuaded that the five men did make some formal records because Barrett says that before the jurors would vote on the fate of a man, the testimony against the men which had been “all written down” was read to them. Presumably this testimony would have included the confessions recorded in detail by Diamond in his account which was left in the possession of his family and not published until 1963.
Now, the family in 1963 did not have the court records which had been entrusted to Diamond. Where were they? This is from the footnote on page 7 of McCaslin’s Tainted Breeze: “In 1925 Rex Strickland, a historian, said that “the records of the Citizens Court were in the possession of Adam Hornback, a resident of Grayson County. This is the last known location of these materials.” McCaslin does not elaborate. Have Texas historians hounded Hornback’s descendants and crawled into their corn-bins and attics? How could they not have kept up the search? The original records would allow us to identify the scribe. Was he, in fact, Cousin Aaron? And did the original records show that Diamond was accurately transcribing them? How much regularizing did he do and how much more did the 1963 editors do? Did the editors in 1963 create the polished official look of the documents, perhaps out of a respect for regularizing? We have to be at least a little skeptical about the records as known only through Diamond’s partial transcription and the editorial work of the 1963 publication. But for all our wariness, Barrett makes it clear that he heard chilling confessions.
How I wish McCaslin in this book had described the search Texas historians made for the papers Hornbeck supposedly possessed!
How I wish McCaslin in this book had included some of the early newspaper accounts of the hangings, particularly as Southern newspaper editors began to understand some details of what had happened. Anything based on observation or reliable report might be valuable. Also, much later newspaper reports, even reports in the 1900s, contain a few new bits of testimony which would have been good to have here.
I wish McCaslin had included a fairly reliable list of murdered men and which families were able to claim and bury the bodies.
How I wish someone would quote the comment that writers repeatedly say that E. Junius Foster wrote in his Sherman newspaper, that the shooting of Col. William Young was the best thing that could have happened. Maybe he said that or something like that, but it would be nice to see the actual newspaper or else to admit that we have heard that this is what Young’s son believed Foster had said. People coming cold to this story need help with basics.
I wish McCaslin had included Susan Leffel’s 1869 letter to Governor Edmund Davie.
I feel very strongly that McCaslin ought to have included the Special Correspondent’s long 4 March 1894 article in the St. Louis Republic. Could Texas historians not identify him? The Correspondent was not a witness, but neither was G. W. Diamond. He had a copy of Barrett’s pamphlet, but he also relied on “the statements made by old citizens.” He knew or at least observed several players in the tragedy who were still alive, so that he could describe them. His way of referring to his interlocutors 32 years on suggests that he was a youngish man himself. He was apparently not a resident, but he walked some of the terrain and knew where the bodies were buried, or where they were dumped. The Special Correspondent ought to have been heard. For example, he quotes an informant as telling him that Joe Carmichael was “a big strappin’ fellow, not afraid of the devil, and he cussed ’em to the last.” I see that McCaslin quotes this in TAINTED BREEZE, but it belongs in the record here, also.
A bigger reason that the Special Correspondent’s letter ought to have been printed here is that it evoked a response that all historians have apparently ignored. Catharine Marsh Kahn from Montrose, Missouri, wrote on 13 March a letter the Republic printed on the 15th under the heading “THE GAINESVILLE HANGING. Relatives of Dr. Childs Give Their Version of the Affair.” Mrs. Kahn identified herself as a grandniece of the widow of Doctor Childs (who is here called “Dr. F. C. Childs”—not Henry and not Chiles. Judging from 1850 and 1860 censuses, “Dr. Henry Childs” is the correct form.) Mrs. Kahn says: “Mrs. Dicey Childs is living to-day, as are her five children [she might have said five of her children, for she bore more than 5] and also several hundred of her relatives. So that awful murder is not soon to be forgotten by one victim’s friends.” She was blunt: “Aunt Dicey tells a different story from the writer in last Sunday’s Republic. Those men were hanged because they were loyal to the Union—simply that and nothing more. There was a farce trial for the first seven or eight, and after that—nothing.” Kahn’s depicts Mrs. Childs as crawling out of her bed of confinement, “scarcely able to walk,” but trudging with other women all the way to Gainesville. I quote several horrific lines:
“When they reached the town other women were there before them, weeping, screaming, and begging for the bodies of their loved ones, for they were dead and had been buried some time. And some of the prominent men of the town—fiends they were at the time—mounted horses, and with cattle whips, drove the women before them from the town, saying they would not have them bawling around there.”
The "cattle whips" remind us of how little we have on record from the losing side. Now, when you look at G. W. Diamond’s contempt for the weeping women in the section on “Heavy Rain Fall,” you give some credence to Mrs. Kahn.
What Catharine Kahn wrote is a significant bit of testimony and should not have been ignored. It and the other family testimony in online sites ought to be included in any revision of the book.
And the bit about a little girl seeing her stepfather’s arm being carried around Gainesville by a hog after rain washed bodies out of Peach Creek—that ought to have been quoted. Just what do we know about how bodies were disposed of?
Finally, I find it very disappointing that this volume has no index. Readers need one. This is a frustratingly incomplete book. Please, members of the Texas State Historical Association, think about reissuing this book with a supplement that answers such questions as those I have raised and includes both 1894 pieces and other new material, even offhand bits of memory in late newspaper articles. New blogs are bringing forth significant comments from remote descendants. Such new information is hard to reconcile with the official-looking, polished records of the vigilante court as they are presented here in this book. I am tormented by the image of the cattle whips wielded against weeping women by fiendish horsemen. We need to hear the "bawling" of the widows before we can begin to lay this story to rest.

P.S. It's very hard to let go of this topic. I have found several more items that ought to have been in McCaslin's TAINTED BREEZE and in this book. I do not think any Texas historian has made use of a long defense published in 1863 by a Gainesville man signing himself "P." What he says needs to be heard, even though most of us would dispute much of it. He says, for instance, that prisoners could call in any witnesses they desired and that as far as he knew no man was hanged who did not admit his guilt. "P" gives details that ought to be examined by historians. He claims, for instance, that particular prisoners said they deserved hanging. There is much in "P" that needs to be weighed in case there is some truth in it. Let me conclude with an earnest appeal to the Texas State Historical Association to commission McCaslin or another Texas historian to prepare an expansion of this book. It really ought to be much fuller and richer than it is.

P.P.S. This 1863 document I have found looks to be the earliest Gainesville history of the hangings, brief as it is. As I look over what "P" says, I see that we need to examine and possibly rule out his being Barrett in an early draft or one of the Diamond brothers or any obvious person named "P" such as Peery or Piper. He was envisioning a detailed history: "As a full history of the 'Cook[e] expedition' will be published when facilities for publication will justify, and as a connected history of it would necessarily encroach on your columns, I can only give a few desultory facts." [What is printed really is "expedition." See "excitement" below.] What "P" says in brief parallels what Barrett says and what is in Diamond. He does not seem to know the relationship to Richard Martin of the man who initiated him (and he got the name, Boyle, slightly wrong) but he knows about Martin's speech from the scaffold ("under the gallows"). He knows the geography, and that the earlier inhabitants got the best prairie land while the newcomers from the north (Iowa, Kansas, and so on) had to settle in the "timbers." The Morris brothers, he said, knew that they deserved death because they and others in the timbers "had selected the prairie farms they intended to occupy after they had murdered the owners." There was a Cross Timbers, Arkansas, but according to "A Texan Ranger's Best Shot," widely reprinted in the north in 1863, oddly, there was also Cross Timbers near the Red River, presumably those same "timbers": "On one hand were the Cross Timbers, dimly seen in the distance, resembling a dense wall of wood built by human hands, while in every direction the prairie stretched away until lost in the distance." Elsewhere this story says the "wide prairie" was "bounded on the east by Cross Timbers." This seems to be what P is talking about. He has the signs and grip and password as in Barrett, he knows that Anderson says he was initiated by Locke. At the end he warns against crediting idle tales about the "Cook[e] county excitement" and asks readers to wait "until a true history of the troubles is placed in their hands."
Someone at the Texas State Historical Association would be better equipped than me to try to identify the writer, but I could help. And at the very least this early account needs to be published. I have transcribed it carefully and could prepare a short piece for publication so that Texas historians could examine it further and the growing number of online descendants of the hanged men could ponder it. I have been led far away from Cousin Aaron Hill, but as Melville said, "Something ever comes of all persistent inquiry; we are not so continually curious for nothing."

Hershel Parker –a comment


I ought to have remembered "Cross Timbers" from Washington Irving! Cross Timbers, I now see from a quick check of Google, is well known as a strip of woodlands (divided at points) between (roughly) southern Kansas and central Texas. Cooke County apparently has two strips, either side of Gainesville. The Morris descendants on the "Morris Men" blog of the Great Hangings series probably can locate which strip Wesley and Washington lived in. You see what's involved--"P" attributes an economic motive to the Lincolnites as well as a political motive. Was that malice or was it possibly an instance of accurate reporting? I have a strong feeling that Cousin Aaron was not one of the good guys here but I also think that we really do not know how little or how much of a conspiracy there was of the "Sons of Freedom." This article by "P" which I found shows a very early determination of the victors to write the history--though it did not quite work out that way,


Friday, December 21, 2018

New cousin--Actor Samuel L. Jackson by way of the Tuckers and Richardsons

Samuel L. Jackson is your 9th cousin.

You
 
Lloyd O. Parker
your father
Rosa Parker
his mother
Nancy Ann Glenn
her mother
Robert Tucker
her father
Robert Tucker
his father
James Tucker
his father
Elizabeth Tucker
his mother
Joel Branham
her son
Lillie Montgomery
his daughter
Elizabeth Jackson
his daughter

Alive at 83


The stump which used to end in a perfect seahorse shape


Slurry eroding


A few plovers