Modern Life Meets Civil War

What were soldiers like during the Civil War years?  Some young kindred got an idea this past summer when they visited Forts Sumter and Moultrie in Charleston South Carolina where a re-enactment was held.

The temperature was about 90 degrees F and the guys were wearing long sleeved, wool uniforms.

S W E A T Y !!!!!  At least the gal had on her big hoops to help with air flow.


Neighbors Go Romantic: GILREATH + LINN

Only four farms separated the two in 1860 when the census was taken.  Since most of the Cassville, GA area was farmed, the distance could have been appreciable.  Martha Ann GILREATH was 7 years old at the time living with her farming family while Western Hardy LINN or “Wheat” as he was known, helped with the family farm as a 12 year old young man.

They lived through the Civil War [1861-1865],  she as a child and he a teenager.  Both of their father’s served in the Confederate army, namely, George Holton GILREATH and Alfred Martin LINN.   Although Western could possibly have fought, it appears that he did not.  In 1864 their town of Cassville was ravaged so badly by the Union Army that it was only known by that name in memory and history books afterwards.  But the dark night of war and destruction didn’t deter the sunrise of Martha and Western’s future.

1869 Map of Bartow County GA

Map of Bartow County GA in 1869

By 1872 Martha, age 19 had made quite an impression upon Western “Wheat”.  He began courting her via the written word [spelling and punctuation corrected].  Move over Mr. Darcy.

14 Sep 1872 Cassville GA

Dear Martha, 

Will you permit me to write.  You did not ___ it is time___  give me the liberty to write to you neither did you decidedly forbid it therefore Continue reading

Stories – A Ticket to Caring

For thousands of years people have told stories about sad things, happy things, miraculous things, and everything in between.  Stories are an amazing thing whether they be fiction or fact, because stories help us understand ourselves and the situations that we find ourselves in.

At its core, a story is really just a sequence of events put in a particular order with specific characters.  But because we humans are rational creatures the specifics create a context through which we understand why and how people fit together. And because we are emotional creatures, we then start to care about what happens next.  It’s in the caring, that we invest ourselves in something outside our own specific set of experiences.

Die unendliche Geschichte - The Neverending Story Book Cover

The Neverending Story was a children’s novel originally written in German by Michael Ende.

In Michael Ende’s novel, “Die unendliche Geschichte” [translated: “The Neverending Story”], the main character reads a magical book which he himself directly affects.  When he sneezes, the characters hear it.  When he talks, they respond in the narrative.  Obviously fiction, this book points to the reality that a good story takes you to a place that is not about you – but it is about you -but it’s not about you – but it really is about you.  Stories are a safe in-between place. They are where we can think about a someone or a something that is not directly a part of us, but where we can put the memories of our own experiences into order.

We are not made to memorize lists or unrelated facts. Humans are creatures of context, we are wired to understand and even thirst after narrative.  Professional storyteller, Bill Harley, sums up the purpose of stories by telling us that: “stories tell us how we got where we are and how we imagine where we might go.”  If we want something to be memorable, it must be story.

Is your family history a story?

Check out Bill Harley’s TEDx Talk for more inspirational ideas about stories:

written by Bessie – Contributing Author

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