Thursday, October 31, 2019


John W. Pottenger, son of one of my Maryland Pottengers, was living high in Kansas in 1895, according to the Seneca KS Courier Tribune on September 27.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"I had to Google "Cancel Culture" but oh, boy, do I agree with Obama.

I can't watch Chris Hayes on MSNBC, now that I am back watching some MSNBC, because of his hateful self-righteous denunciation of Andrew Jackson. How can you take seriously someone who might, today, denounce FDR the same way? How I miss Obama. How I miss decency.

Dovey Costner, Negro, Bryan Co. OK, and an extraordinary display of racism from the local paper

Dovey Costner in September 1911 got national attention for his plea for help in leaving Bryan County OK to go to Liberia, the lower class whites had been so threatening. The Brigance Hardware Company thought it could sell "Steel King" washing machines to replace female black laundresses.
September 8, 1911

The negro has gone and we have the “Steel King” washing machine to take her place. We guarantee them to do the work. Brigance Hardware Co.

Your washerwoman has gone. We have a good substitute, the “Steel King” washing machine. Brigance Hardware Co.

The local paper advertised for whites to come and take over jobs vacated by negroes: "Come to Caddo." Some of the Herald's reflections are timeless:
"The Herald has always believed the negro should be made to keep in his place, and his place necessarily is on the back seat. But because a man is a negro is not full proof that he has no rights at all." ….. Can you think of any politician who believes this today?

The Caddo Herald
September 8, 1911
The negro has gone and we have the “Steel King” washing machine to take her place. We guarantee them to do the work. Brigance Hardware Co.

Note: One of the immediate problems faced by the new “white” Caddo was the sudden absence of servants, laundresses, cooks, day laborers, gin workers, cotton pickers, hotel porters, and nursemaids. The loss of cotton pickers and gin workers would have been especially difficult because the harvest had just begun. The editor of The Herald quickly grasped the situation and started advertising the merits of the community:

September 8, 1911
With the departure of the negroes there is plenty of work for all white people who may come to Caddo. The cotton must be picked, the gins must run, there is plenty of hauling and the like to do, besides cement workers, carpenters, and other lines are here to furnish employment. There is plenty to do and Caddo people will welcome those who desire to come here for the purpose of working and making a living, besides something for a rainy day. We have good free schools, city water, light taxes, and good government; what more can an immigrant desire? Come to Caddo.

The Bennington Tribune
September 8, 1911
Exodus of Negroes from the County
Will Leave if Race Trouble Continues
That there is a general exodus movement on among the negroes of the southern part of Bryan County, Okla., especially immediately north of Denison on Red River, became known Saturday when Dovey Costner, a negro, visited the city seeking financial aid for a number of negro families that they might go to Liberia, Africa.

Costner stated to a Herald man that the negroes immediately north of Red River are living in daily anticipation of being attacked by the lower elements of the whites in that section.
The negro said that the members of his race would certainly leave Bryan County if the race troubles continue and was especially anxious to get information on the negro republic in Africa. At several places he inquired if he could expect small contributions toward defraying the expenses of reaching Liberia.

Costner stated that there were about fifty negroes residing in Bryan county just north of Denison, the greater part of whom are honest, law-abiding, hard-working men and women. A number own their own land and are raising families. Not a few are renters and have fairly good crops. Costner stated that he rented thirty acres of the old Colbert Farm at Riverside for the past several years and has lived on or near that place for ten years. Two brothers, James and John Costner are renting sixty and forty acres respectively on the same farm.

In the opinion of Dovey Costner it is not the negroes of his section that are causing the disturbances. He believes that in the majority of cases the negroes who have committed crimes or attempt to do so have come from Denison and large places in Oklahoma. He said that they were of the low, vagrant type such as infest the negro restaurants, pool halls, and joints of every town. Denison Texas Herald

September 15, 1911
The Race Question
Apropos the recent race troubles, The Herald has had little to say, the mere truth being bad enough. Now that our people have had time to think over the matter perhaps a few remarks will not be misconstrued. The Herald has always believed the negro should be made to keep in his place, and his place necessarily is on the back seat. But because a man is a negro is not full proof that he has no rights at all. Some of Caddo’s citizens have been censured for taking a stand in favor of allowing the negro to stay at least long enough to gather his crops and settle his affairs. This censure to our mind was not justified; many of these negroes owed money to various merchants and banks and surely these men should have had a chance to collect what was due them. It is a reasonable right and should not have been denied. After the horrible tragedy of the death of Horace Gribble all the negroes took flight and left as soon as the trains could carry them away, sacrificing their stuff, anything to get out of the country, fearing that retribution would overtake them- in other words, they were scared.

The Herald believes now that they are gone our race troubles are at an end and hopes it may thus continue. Our farmers naturally were fearful when they left home, lest some black brute would assault their own family, never feeling safe as long as the black presence was here. Now a reasonable feeling of security prevails and our people are able to work in peace of mind as well as of body.

White people are fast coming to Caddo to take the places left by the blacks. They are laborers, cotton pickers, and all other lines which formerly were done by the negroes. It may work a hardship for a time, but The Herald believes that in a short while things will run along as smoothly as ever.

The Herald, however, desires to take the side of peacemaker in this matter. It does not believe these people should be condemned for wanting the negro to have a chance to gather his crop and pay up before he left, neither does it desire to condemn those other people who are wanting the negro to leave. Both parties had good reasons for their leanings and since the negroes are gone, why not stop talking about the subject and get to doing things for a better Caddo, a better community, and a better county? There are many things which ought to be done for the betterment of our people which are of more importance than a discussion of a dead issue.

Let us work for a flour mill, for an oil mill, for an ice plant, for a cotton mill. Let us have better schools, better roads, better communities. All these can be secured if we all labor together for accomplishment of those objects.

Note: So Caddo residents resumed their lives in October and looked forward to a new future. Construction began on the new high school building. Schaffer and Winkelman partnered up and opened a new dry goods store. Mr. Hulsey moved his photo studio to the Wood building. Some folks gathered at the Opera House to watch “The Missouri Girl”; others flocked to the fair in Dallas. However, if anyone thought their racial conflicts were over, or their new life would simply be “peaceful and prosperous” they were certainly mistaken.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Birds of a feather

Last night an old Mentalist used a copy of MOBY-DICK we did not recognize. How dare they?

Then the clever one wanted to investigate because the words at the top of the screen were the same as on the Northwestern paperback of CLAREL with an introduction by me. I put out my right hand and snagged an unfamiliar blue MD. Lordy, it had an introduction by me. 2001 was a hard year.
So they used the Northwestern paperback in the Mentalist. Neither the writer nor the star knew that the whale survived, but hey, they used a worthy edition.

several pairs of surfers--going with partners now

I am very annoyed at Calif Demo Representative Katie Hill does not reveal what she is talking about

I hate in when people do not show what in the world they are talking about! Where are the documents?
Where are the pictures?

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Companions of Daniel Boone before the Revolution and Notorious Bootleggers by the 1920s

I don't think the early fellows of the families in Rowan County would disapprove of the "blockader" descendants--blockader meaning one who circumvents the blockades, the way Rhett Butler did in the Civil War. It was a little surprising to read stories of men of different families of mine violating the federal revenue laws, but it was the laws that were new and newly imposed on them.  I am seeing men of 3 Colonial families being Blockaders. Other families? I'll see.

2 days this week we have had offshore wind and ferocious sand-blasting on the beach

Can you see? I wore my cheap swimming goggles and was the envy of the few who ventured out.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Kathleen Reilly has retired as Melville and Local History Librarian at the Berkshire Athenaeum

It was Kathleen Reilly who early this year, despite a painful knee, argued before the Trustees for the acceptance of my Melville Collection (books, offprints, research papers, &c) by the Berkshire Athenaeum. A director had said years before that there was no room for so large a mass of material but thanks in part to Kathy's testifying as to the value of the Collection, the new (and young) director, Alex Reczkowski, decided that there was indeed room, in a specially constructed facility. Now as we finalize plans for shipping the Collection to the BA we are working with Alex and with Ann-Marie Harris. The BA has been extraordinarily lucky to have great librarians there over the decades--from Mrs. Zak, who welcomed me when I hitchhiked there in 1962, onward through the magnificent Ruth Degenhardt and then Kathy, and now Ann-Marie. It continues to be a wonderful space to work in.

Cousin Bill Sparks's Close Call in 1905--His Clothing Shot Up

Why would he have been on the side of the Revenuers? Maybe he was a Baptist from the Roaring River church.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 Thru-Lines or True-Lies?--Let me get this straight puts Maria McClain down as my potential 4 G Grandmother, but we know nothing about her DNA, right? All we know is that her daughter Catherine Keiser, my 3 G Grandmother, shares her DNA with 60 of her close family and descendants. There is no DNA to link Catherine Keiser with Maria McClain, and no documentary evidence either?
I think should junk Thru-Lines which validates everyone's sheep-like guesses. Right?

Friday, October 18, 2019


I was agent-telegrapher on the KCS in Singer in Calcasieu Parish 1953-54 then a telegrapher in DeRidder and Dequincy in 1955, then off a couple of years with TB and back as night telegrapher (8 pm till 4 am) in Port Arthur 1957-1959. I remember a lot. I was stunned by the passage starting on 141 and going over down 142 in THE NEW IBERIA BLUES. No one besides James Lee Burke could have written anything so wise and powerful and true and heartbreaking about Louisiana.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Life & Burial Insurance For Seniors Over 80 Does Exist. Here Are The Facts.

What good news!

Life Span: Oldest-Old and Advanced Old Age (After the Age 85)

All headlines are written by 33 year olds.
The Oldest-Old indeed.

. An 85-year-old has a 75 percent chance of living another three years, but only a one in four chance of surviving for 10.

In a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine, they suggested offering to discuss “overall prognosis,” doctorspeak for probable life expectancy and the likelihood of death, with patients who don’t have terminal illnesses. The researchers favor broaching the subject with anyone who has a life expectancy of less than 10 years or has reached age 85.
“Advanced age itself is the greatest predictor of poor prognosis,” Dr. Smith told me in an interview.
By age 85, the article points out, the average remaining life expectancy for Americans is six years. An 85-year-old has a 75 percent chance of living another three years, but only a one in four chance of surviving for 10. Which category a particular old person falls into has much to do with the medical problems he or she has, or doesn’t have, and with his or her ability to function.
When the odds are that they have only a few remaining years, should doctors discuss that with them?

How they try to word things cheerfully, or not.

For example, an 85-year-old man has a 75% chance of surviving 2 years and a 25% chance of living 9 years.

"Medical Care for the Final Years of Life: “When you're 83, it's not going to be 20 years”"

Encouraging articles as I look at what one's realistic expectations should be.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Bell and Costner cousins. My mother must have had this. She and Levada look very much alike.

Finalist for Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship, the year they started--1962

June 7, 1962
I remember asking for $4,000 because I had been living 3 years on $1,800 or so a year. The chairman, Hagstrum, was afraid they would think me demanding. They decided NOT to go as high as $4,000. They offered $3,990. My recollection is that the furious chairman offered me another 10 dollars. I was always humble, but had lived too long on very little and wanted to be flush.
That was a very lucky period of months, because as I explain in MELVILLE BIOGRAPHY: AN INSIDE NARRATIVE I had not intended to take the prelims in the Spring of 1962 but went out to Libertyville to help a friend prep all weekend for them and on the Saturday called Hayford and asked him if I could take the prelims Monday rather than studying all Fall for them while teaching on an Instructorship (a big honor, that). Then the next week, as I remember it, the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships were started and the chairman was asked if they had any Woodrow Wilson Fellows who had taken the language exams and the prelims in 3 years. Yes, as it happened, and he let me give up the Instructorship, which would have paid $5,000, I think--riches running wild.

1978 job offer from Delaware--just sent to me by a niece

1929? Texas Panhandle? Guymon, OK? Martha Costner Parker with 2 children

A Niece Sent This Today. Orpha Lee on the ground. Wilburn in her arms--dark brown hair later, but called "Whitey" at first.

Edgar Lugene Costner and Alice Bell Costner

Harry Dunn's family rejects Trump's 'bombshell' offer to meet Anne Sacoolas "The bombshell was dropped not soon after we walked in the room: Anne Sacoolas was in the building and was willing to meet with us," Dunn's mother said.

Why am I reminded of 3 years ago this month when accusers of Bill Clinton were sprung on Hillary? Bombshell! But the British parents had the wit and grace to say NO.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

In box in Garage--1960 term paper for Hayford

At the 1960 MLA in Chicago a professor from Oklahoma asked me how I would deal with Indian students and I told him I was part Choctaw and knew what to say. I wish I had known then about the Glenn-Tucker legal fight and the Cokers and Cherokees.

Brass works

Monday, October 14, 2019

Oh my prophetic soul! my fear of Trump ordering marines to assassinate Democrats meets the video at Mar a Lago

So a video was played at a Republican gathering which depicts Trump himself slaughtering many Democrats.
This goes down to fanatics who will take it upon themselves to act as proxy. The incitement to violence has already been leading to violence. My nightmare has come true.

Where Driver Committed Suicide

The punishment for whistle-blowing--intermittent but prolonged censorship

Here is an example of the power of the Bowers-Pizer group.

Compare letter of 16 March 1995 and that of 2o May 1998

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.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Why Writers Run -- Nick Ripatrazone Nov 11, 2015 THE ATLANTIC


Why Writers Run

A 2015 piece. I regret the loss of strength in the October 2018 Downward Spiral after a bungled surgery that should have been minor. From 1978 I ran every day 3 1/2 miles then 2 miles after retirement in 1998, except after rotator cuff and other surgeries, every day, every day, and loved it, always.

Melville and the Fast-Fish of Literary Greatness

A little essay

Because of its concluding challenge about the Pacific Rim and literary greatness, I revise this little essay from the 2001 Northwestern-Newberry Moby-Dick which was issued to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the publication of  The Whale (London: Richard Bentley) on 18 October 1851 and Moby-Dick (New York: Harper & Brothers]) around 14 November 1851.  Now as in 2001 no American book, except possibly Huckleberry Finn, is more famous by title, by action (the pursuit of the White Whale), and by iconic human character (Captain Ahab).  In 1851 and until his death in 1891 Melville’s most famous character was Fayaway, the South Sea maiden of his first and most famous book, Typee (1846).  Almost no one called Moby-Dick a great work of world literature until after Melville’s death, and that status was not acknowledged in literary circles until the early 1900s, and then more in England than the United States; in these decades its reputation was promoted by a Canadian, Archibald MacMechan, more than any other person.  Fascination with Ahab was an early 20th century phenomenon, and until around the centennial of the book, 1951, almost no one wrote about the narrator, Ishmael.  In the last half century Moby-Dick has entered popular culture in the United States, mainly through cartoons showing the White Whale trailing whalelines attached to harpoons and a one-legged obsessed captain who hails other whaleships with “’Hast seen the White Whale?’”  “Call me Ishmael” may be the most famous sentence in American literature, although often quoted by people who have not read into the book as far as “Loomings.”

Being absorbed into popular culture in the form of a few images and catchphrases is far from the worst fate a great book can have, and in fact Moby-Dick is not only known about but read--read more than ever, judging from the sales figures of classroom editions (perhaps twenty thousand copies annually).  In the Spouter-Inn Ishamel and Queequeg turn over some pages of a big book companionably, and Moby-Dick itself has a long history of being read aloud, shared by one enthusiast with a companion or with a group.  The first on record is the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who read it to his family on publication.  In the decades when no one praised the book in print, it was still being shared aloud.  Louis Becke in 1901 told of being aboard a schooner in Apia in the Samoan Islands around 1870 when a delicate little Englishwoman brought the gruff Scottish captain the three volumes of The Whale, “the strangest, wildest, and saddest story” she had ever read.  The captain then read the volumes aloud to the crew from beginning to end, stopping now and then to “enter into metaphysical matters.”  An essay revealing sometimes surprising literary associations could be written about extraordinary people who in the thirty or forty years after Melville’s death came to Moby-Dick  as a private delectation shared by a bosom friend.  In the 21st century more people than ever are hearing Moby-Dick  read aloud.  Early each January enthusiasts flock to Johnny Cake Hill in New Bedford to commemorate Melville’s sailing from Fairhaven in the Acushnet by reading all of Moby-Dick out loud, nonstop.  Other marathon readings occur on the Charles Morgan at Mystic Seaport and elsewhere.   For shut-ins, blind people, travelers, or others who simply prefer hearing great stories to reading them, Moby-Dick is available on audio-tape in competing readings.

        I wrote this Foreword while proofreading the book aloud, commas, semicolons, hyphens, capitals and all, for the sesquicentennial Norton Critical Edition, the first Norton revision since 1967, when Harrison Hayford-and I first printed full lists of variants and emendations, thereby opening up the study of the text.  In Melville’s terms, the Norton was “the Tyre of this Carthage,” the Hayford-Parker-Tanselle Northwestern-Newberry edition of 1988, reissued here.  The 2001 Parker-Hayford Norton Critical Edition sails without the full textual apparatus of the NN edition, as does this sleek Northwestern-Newberry commemorative issue. The visiting Brian Higgins was pressed into service for a few proofreading sessions, but my long-term companion in this confidential 2001 reading aloud was Heddy-Ann Richter, who brought to the work her fresh reading of the nearly thousand pages of my newly completed second volume (1851-1891) of Johns Hopkins’s Herman Melville: A Biography.  Both of us suffused with painful new knowledge of what writing Moby-Dick cost Melville and his family all their lives, we nevertheless surrendered, in reading the book aloud, to the exhilarating and exalting acquaintance with the young narrator (for Melville is insistent about his being young).  Ishmael, exuberant, brimful of bonhommie and animal spirits, talks a little pedantically for his present station (according to people he meets): he has made voyages in merchant ships, but most recently has been a country schoolmaster (as we now know Melville had himself been in the fall of 1840).  Ishmael is characterized by Harrison Hayford in his essay “Loomings” as a young man who never rests content with a merely adequate explanation, who regards every purpose, action, and object as a puzzle to be pondered over and researched by all possible tools--by systematic repeated examinations, by shedding whatever physical cross-lights he can, by inquiring of aged inhabitants, by swimming through libraries, always brooding and speculating until a provisionally acceptable conclusion occurs to him.  In telling the story of Moby Dick Ishmael shares the greatest puzzle he has yet encountered, the allure of the White Whale for Captain Ahab and its allure (and Ahab’s allure) for himself.  He tells one of the greatest chapters, “The Town-Ho’s Story,” as he told it to a lounging circle of young Spanish dons on the thick-gilt tiled piazza of the Golden Inn in Lima—an open invitation to his readers to ensconce themselves imaginatively in just such splendid comfort through the sometimes harrowing book.

My privilege of reading Moby-Dick out loud while proofreading it in 2001 was matched by the privilege of pausing to gaze at Melville’s beloved Pacific from a place where many automobile license plates were celebrating another sesquicentennial, the admission of California to statehood.  This is fitting, for Moby-Dick is a Pacific Rim book, the achievement of a young man who had witnessed colonialism first hand.  Melville had been on the spot in 1842 when the French seized the Marquesas Islands and, later, Tahiti, and in Honolulu in 1843 on the day the British formally relinquished the Sandwich Islands.  He was home in New York State for his brother Gansevoort’s campaign oratory advocating the election of James K. Polk and the immediate annexation of the Republic of Texas.  Melville wrote Omoo and started Mardi (1849) during the United States’ war with Mexico, which gained the United States vast tracts of what he called the “great American desert.”  Late in 1848 Melville read accounts of the gold fever in California and wrote the start of the Gold Rush into Mardi.  In 1849 thousands were making the dangerous voyages around the Horn or chancing the terrifying passage over the Isthmus, several years before a railroad was built.  As Melville wrote Moby-Dick, emigrants were already crossing the continent to California in wagons, on horseback, and on foot. After California, what next?  In Chapter 89 Melville defined colonialism in whaling terms: “What to that apostolic lancer, Brother Jonathan, is Texas but a Fast-Fish?”  What was Mexico to the United States?  A Loose-Fish, as yet, except for the territories already seized or purchased.  He foresaw (Ch. 14) the time when America would “add Mexico to Texas, and pile Cuba upon Canada” in its piratical acquisitiveness.  Better than any other American writer of his generation, Melville knew geopolitics first hand, as a humble but reflective observer and as a pondering autodidact.  This man who saw the world in terms of “linked analogies,” knew, as early as 1848, and believed passionately in 1850 and 1851 that  literary greatness in America was there for the seizing as much as the Marquesas Islands and California had been just a few years earlier.  American literary greatness was a Loose-Fish which Melville in his whaling book would make a Fast-Fish forever.

Sunday Morning

Self-portrait time

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Is James Milton Newberry around? Man who commented on Milliken's Bend by Barnikel?

James Milton Newberry, like you I find this book fascinating. MWS is my GGG Grandfather's nephew, so I have a special interest in the book also. I have discovered something Linda Barnickel did not find, Milton's own account of his supposed crime in very long article in a Texas newspaper. In one passage Sims, in solitary confinement, ransacks his brain "as to the probable charges against him." He decides it must have to do with four slaves "who had enlisted in the federal army and were caught with arms in their hands making war upon the white people." Sims "was ordered to send two of them to Delhi and have them hanged in the presence of the troops there and the other two to hang in the presence of the troops at Floyd, where he was stationed. This order he executed. He simply obeyed orders." I have informed Linda Barnickel of this discovery. You can't fault her research: the Internet and especially the additions to databases of newspapers are creating an explosion of information. You can contact me, Cousin James, on the blog listed on my Wikipedia page, and I will send you the long article. There's at least one other newspaper article out there on MWS's dramatic escape, one Hebert mentions, in the N O Picayune, and so far I can't find it.

Should we revive the genre of "character" writing?--e.g., "The Character of a Trump Defender"

I have been thinking about the genre of character writing, which I studied and imitated in a correspondence course from the University of Oklahoma in 1953 while I was agent-telegrapher of the Kansas City Southern Railroad in Singer, Louisiana.  A definition:

A brief descriptive sketch of a class or type of person (such as a city slicker, a country bumpkin, or a grumpy old man) rather than of an individual personality.

Character-writing became a popular literary form in England following the publication in 1592 of a Latin translation of Theophrastus, an ancient Greek writer of similar sketches. Characters eventually became more individualized and were integrated with the essay and the novel.

No one back in Deep Denial should attempt this, but it would be useful to have a sharp essay on the Character of a Trump Defender (such as Jim Jordan, Trey Gowdy, or Devin Nunes). With an essay to cite, no one would have to listen to Jordan, Gowdy, or Nunes.

I belatedly found a whole little essay on "ornery people" in Lee Harris's THE NEXT AMERICAN CIVIL WAR


I am charmed by what I have read on-line. This man, if he is still alive, is probably still in Stone Mountain, Georgia, so he may just have met one or two of my ornery people.

It has been decades since I tried to write a "character"--now that I think about it, a great literary genre. Charmed, now.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Watch out for Ham-Handed Jill Lepore to Denounce These new "BREEZY WHISTLEBLOWERS"

New potential whistleblowers are coming forward to the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, two congressional sources tell The Daily Beast. 
They seem to be emboldened by the actions of the whistleblower whose explosive account of President Donald Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky about investigating Trump’s domestic political rivals ignited the impeachment inquiry. Another whistleblower is known to have come forward

HOW CONTEMPTIBLE IT WAS OF LEPORE TO USE THE TERM "Breezy Whistleblower" in her NEW YORKER article. She would never understand the courage it takes to come forward as a whistleblower.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Sendak and HAR at Broadhall

My review of Sheldon Russell's A FORGOTTEN EVIL now up on Amazon

As of 10 October 2019 this is up on Amazon.

I have just finished reading A FORGOTTEN EVIL. Let me put my response in context. As a farm boy in eastern Oklahoma I read Hamlin Garland's BOY LIFE ON THE PRAIRIE and was astounded that someone could make literature out of something I knew so well. Literature could really be about what I knew as real life. What Sheldon Russell has done in A FORGOTTEN EVIL is far better. More profoundly and more simply than any historical novelist I have ever read, he shows his hero living his life among 19th century flora, fauna, foodstuffs, tools, weapons, physical pleasures and pains, customs, &c. Not once does Russell pause, as so many historical novelists do, to hold up a tiny gem he or she trusts is unfamiliar to us and ask us to marvel at the deep historical research required to uncover such gems and the cleverness to display them casually. A FORGOTTEN EVIL is a different kind of historical novel. I see that Russell is scheduled to talk at the Oklahoma Genealogical Society on "Researching for the Historical Novel" in a few months from now, November 11, 2019. Perhaps that session will be published, but for now I go by the product. Throughout the book, it feels as if the writer has lived himself convincingly into a now lost world. This is a remarkable achievement. I know how hard it is to achieve, because, transcribing hundreds of family letters, studying thousands of documents, I tried hard to depict Herman Melville's life in two long volumes. I think in this book Russell succeeded better than I managed to do. I did not have to master believable 19th century idioms (I could quote them) and I did not myself have to be witty in sayings and in badinage. My cap is off to Russell--for the depth of his research, for his wit and for his restraint. Now, as a Glenn and a Tucker, names notorious from the Glenn-Tucker Lawsuit which resulted in the Bureau of Indian Affairs preserving hundreds of affidavits by my mistreated kinfolks, I have vested interest in the treatment of American Indians. As a Melville scholar I will never forgive the arrogant young George Armstrong Custer for murdering six of John Singleton Mosby's men instead of treating them as prisoners of war. I was uneasy when I saw on the back cover that Custer was a character in the book. I applaud the way Sheridan and Custer are mentioned before one of them is depicted. I applaud the great restraint with which Sand Creek is mentioned and dropped. I honor Russell for his masterful ending at the Washita River. This is a historical novel in which the author achieves his most powerful effects by his exercise of restraint. Think how hard that must have been to do.

So many deaths. My dear Cousin Patsy and her Marvelous Daughter Jennifer

Patsy McCarthy on 20 May 2017

And the cruelest loss, Jennifer McCarthy on 18 November 2018.

Perfect example of how 95% of inhabitants of Morro Bay look.


Happy young man, but with dogs that had been charging over the beach.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Only a few early pictures--16 years old, Red Rock, OK in 1952

Coming up on 84 next month. Two years later I had TB.  Not a normal life. Seems strange now.

Blood Draw for 2 different doctors at 7 am with a guard and a young man with his feet in chains. Can you say manacles? Way to start a day.

I thought about how I was shuffling around the waiting room and wondered who could win a 100 yard dash. Did not feel confident.
Then baking three trays of rye bread, letting the dough rise in 2 big bowls while I was at the beach. Making that much bread commits you for the day. I still have to bag the rolls and put them in the freezer. Ordered 2 pounds of Red Star yeast. Preparing.
Yesterday I added a Nabors uncle to the list of folks at King's Mountain, and double cousin Robbie posted about the battle today so I added the great story about cousin David Knox, who was a sort of prisoner in Charlotte.

The Baker's Secrets All Revealed