31 December 2013

More On Calvin Coolidge, Old Virginia & Stern Puritans

My relic hunting partner, Doug Hill, recently sent me some related photos after I blogged about my great-grandfather, Confederate Veterans and legendary Swannanoa of the Blue Ridge. Note the reference to "Old Virginia" in the Richmond Times cartoon below and how Coolidge ostensibly preferred Old Virginia to New England - at least in this situation. It's also quite providential that the cartoon refers to New England being "stern" vs. the "romance and hospitality" of Virginia as fellow Virginian Robert Moore and I have been discussing some things related to those differences. What made the New England folks so "stern"? Could it be their Puritanism-morphed-into Unitarianism?




28 December 2013

The South's Scots-Irish Strike Again

Can't hide that Scots-Irish warrior blood, can you?
Wes Pruden, the Washington Times' editor emeritus, explains Phil Robertson and how the ruling class elites still do not understand the South's Scots-Irish. This is classic:
“Duck Dynasty” and the hunting constituency that made the Robertsons rich — $400 million and counting — were in fact a people apart, if the network had wanted to find out who they were. They’re largely Scots-Irish, that oft-overlooked segment of the American ethnic mix who arrived early and challenged the progeny of the English aristocrats, the proper Bostonians and the Virginia cavaliers, to cast the prevailing American character.
Pruden continues, quoting former Virginia Senator Jim Webb:
Jim Webb, the decorated Marine hero, novelist and former U.S. senator from Virginia, describes well his own ancestors and the prevailing culture in northern Louisiana and the South in his book “Born Fighting.”
Notice any similarities?
“These are intensely religious people,” writes Mr. Webb. “Indeed they comprise the very heart of the Christian evangelical movement — and yet they are unapologetically and even devilishly hedonistic. They are probably the most anti-authoritarian culture in America, conditioned from birth to resist any pressure from above, and yet they are known as the most intensely patriotic segment of the country as well. They are naturally rebellious, often impossible to control, and yet their strong military tradition produces generation after generation of perhaps the finest soldiers the world has ever seen. They are filled with wanderlust and are ethnically assimilative, but their love of their own heritage can move them to tears when they hear the bagpipes play, and no matter how far they roam, their passion for family travels with them.”
You can read the rest of Pruden's piece here.

Interesting to consider the fact that Pruden's understanding of the South and the Scots -Irish might enlighten Yale Professor David Blight and explain his annoyance with certain aspects of that same demographic:
Why doesn’t the Confederacy just fade away? Is it because we are irresistibly fascinated by catastrophic loss? Or is it something else? Is it because the Confederacy is to this day the greatest conservative resistance to

federal authority in American history? 
Sounds rather frustrated, doesn't he? Poor academic historians. Poor Hollywood. Poor ruling class elites. They just can't figure things out that occur outside their ivory towers in the hinterlands between the airports. Sigh.

Maybe they should go duck huntin' some time.

27 December 2013

"History Is Philosophy With Great Examples"

So Waite Rawles, III quotes Thomas Jefferson in the following book video promotion of David P. Bridges's latest work, The Broken Circle.



Hat tip to Steve French.

26 December 2013

Does Diversity Really Mean Conformity . . .

in the world of academia? It seems some may be suggesting that very thing, particularly when it comes to perspectives on the American Civil War and whether someone who commemorates "the Confederate past" can lead a college. See here and here.

No intellectual or political diversity allowed? Must conform to groupthink? 

If these folks were really concerned about diversity, they'd be saying a lot more about the lack of intellectual and political diversity in colleges and universities. And they'd have a lot less "concern" over someone like this leading the College of Charleston.

I suppose its accurate to say that academia welcomes diverse perspectives and viewpoints - as long as they agree with them. I suppose applicants for positions in some colleges and universities will soon hear the following question:


"Are you now or have you ever been . . ." 

25 December 2013

There's No War On Christmas

Just like there's no such thing as political correctness or leftist bias in academia.
On Monday morning the boys and girls were planning on hand delivering the cards to the wounded veterans. Chapman called the hospital to make final arrangements and that’s when she learned there was a problem.

"I told him my students made cards, we'd like to bring them down for the veterans," Chapman told the television station. "And he said, 'That's great. We're thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can't accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas' or ‘God bless you' or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.'"
V.A. Hospital tells children "Bah, Humbug!" Have a Merry Christmas, nonetheless.

24 December 2013

A Lum & Abner Christmas

I used to listen to this program every year at Christmas time on WSVA out of Harrisonburg, Virginia. I don't think they air it any more. Too bad. 

From Wikipedia:
Lum and Abner was an American network radio comedy program created by Chester Lauck and Norris Goff that was aired from 1931 to 1954. Modeled on life in the small town of Waters, Arkansas, near where Lauck and Goff grew up, the show proved immensely popular. In 1936, Waters changed its name to Pine Ridge after the show's fictional town . . .
Created by co-stars Chester Lauck (who played Columbus Edwards, albeit he called himself "Lum Eddards") and Norris Goff (Abner Peabody), Lum and Abner was as low-key as Easy Aces, as cheerfully absurdist as Vic and Sade, and exaggerated The Goldbergs' ethnic focus by amplifying the protagonists' regional identities. As co-owners of the Jot 'em Down Store in the fictional town of Pine Ridge, Arkansas, the pair are constantly stumbling upon moneymaking ideas only to find themselves fleeced by nemesis Squire Skimp, before finally finding a way to redeem themselves. Lum and Abner played the hillbilly theme with deceptive cleverness. The hillbillies knew that the slickers would get what was coming to them sooner or later and either didn't mind or knew more than they let on that the slickers getting theirs was a matter of fortunate circumstance. 
A true Southern classic from the Golden Age of AM radio . . . Merry Christmas from Old Virginia:

21 December 2013

A Distasteful Task Of Reading

As a lifelong resident of the Shenandoah Valley with deep familial roots here, I hope you can understand why. . .


18 December 2013

Some Notes On Confederate Veterans, Swannanoa & My Great Grandfather

As I work feverishly to finish my next book for the History Press on the Battle of Waynesboro, I was going through some of my great-grandfather's papers refreshing my memory about my family's connection to the battle. I've blogged about my g-grandfather, "Mr. Charlie" McGann before. Anyway, I came across this receipt:

This was for building material for a house Charles McGann built on Locust Avenue in Waynesboro. The house is located at what was the epicenter of the battle. It still stands today. There are two interesting facts about this invoice. First of all, it's from someone who was a well-known builder and contractor in Waynesboro in those days. As a matter of fact, M. Ree Ellis was the general contractor that built Swannanoa, which has quite a history. It sits atop Afton Mountain, about 5 miles, as the crow flies, from my home. Wikipedia notes this about this grand estate:
Swannanoa is an Italianate villa built in 1912 by millionaire and philanthropist James H. Dooley (1841–1922) above Rockfish Gap on the border of northern Nelson County and Augusta County, Virginia, in the USA. It is partially based on buildings in the Villa Medici, Rome.

Rockfish Gap is the southern end of the Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park and the northern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is located on the crest of the Blue Ridge mountains, overlooking both Shenandoah and Rockfish valleys. It is located on a jurisdictional border, so it is in both Augusta and Nelson counties.
Intended to be a "summer place" for Richmond, Virginia, millionaire and philanthropist James H. Dooley and his wife Sally May, it reportedly took over 300 artisans eight years to build the structure, complete with Georgian marble, Tiffany windows, gold plumbing fixtures, and terraced gardens. Built as a token of love from husband to wife, the depth of James and Sally May’s relationship was represented in the 4,000 piece Tiffany stained-glass window and a domed ceiling bearing the likeness of Mrs. Dooley. Despite the lavish expenditure, it was occupied only for a few years following completion in 1912. (Source)
Another source claims that:
Harry Byrd suggested to President Coolidge that the estate become the “Summer White House”, but the idea was defeated by a single vote. (I'm not sure what "vote" the source is referring to, but I assume Congress.)

James Dooley served in the Confederate Army as a private in his father’s unit, Company C of the First Virginia Infantry, and was wounded at the Battle of Williamsburg. He also served in the Virginia legislature (about the same time one of my other ancestors did). He married into another prominent Virginia family and became a very successful businessman after the War Between the States. 

Also on the invoice is a notation made that part of the balance was paid by "C.H. Withrow."
Charles H. Withrow
The Withrows were a prominent family in Waynesboro and Withrow had served on General Rosser's staff during the War, later returning to his hometown and teaching at Fishburne Military School and serving as Mayor. My great-grandfather and Withrow were close friends. Mr. Charlie actually worked for Withrow, helping to tend his orchard and also taking care of the Colonel's horse, "Bird."


Some of the personal belongings of Withrow, passed down to me, are currently on loan for an exhibit at the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation Museum

Charlies McGann, as well as his father and Confederate Veteran were "dirt farmers." It appears from what I've heard and read through the years that Colonel Withrow sort of took Mr. Charlie under his wing and helped him carve out a living in early 20th century Waynesboro. Several of Charlie McGann's daughters were named after some of the Withrow family members, including my grandmother, Helena Chase McGann.
Confederate Veteran and my
great-great grandfather,
John McGann


Interesting what you can sometimes discover just rummaging through dusty old boxes.

Wiping Out The Memory Of Lee & Jackson

This entire nation has long recognized the outstanding virtues of courage, patriotism and selfless devotion to duty of General R.E. Lee.
Yes, until the canting ideologues of academia indoctrinated our collective minds. Anyone surprised? The slope gets slippery from here . . .



More here at the Washington Times.

Update: Robert Moore alerted me to another side of the story here.

17 December 2013

Speaking Of Stereotypes

Read the comments to this post here. Talk about knee-jerk and out of touch. Good Lord. Robert Moore is, apparently, the only person weighing in with his brain. Once more, Levin posts something which seems to be little more than a table set for stereotyping and some good ol' Southern Heritage bashin' - yee hah!

These folks never cease to amaze me. They're driving me back to drinkin'. Pass me a mint julep.

151 Years Ago Today

"The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.

"Post commanders will see that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters.

"No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application for trade permits."

By order of Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant

JNO. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General

From the National Park Service website:

"Let Us Have Peace."

The final resting place of President Ulysses Simpson Grant and his wife, Julia, is the largest mausoleum in North America. It testifies to a people’s gratitude for the man who ended the bloodiest conflict in American history as Commanding General of the Union Army and then, as President of the United States, strove to heal a nation after a civil war and make rights for all citizens a reality.
Perhaps we need an interpretive plaque so that "our collective memory" might be better served?

13 December 2013

Man-Style Recycling

My youngest son, who is a farrier, recently started making knives from discarded farrier rasps and deer antlers. He's getting pretty good at it. This is man-style recycling at its best. If anyone is interested, he sells them. They are very well-made and he puts a razor sharp edge on them as well. He also makes a hand-stitched leather sheath molded and custom fit for each knife. The sheaths are formed to fit so no snap is required to hold the knife in place. They fit tight. Below is his latest creation.

11 December 2013

Christianity, History & Bias

This book by Sir Herbert Butterfield, though dated, is packed with a perspective which fascinates me and much of with which I agree - at least from what I've been able to read in excerpts. I just ordered it and I suspect it's contents will be a frequent topic for discussion and reference here in the future.

Every historian and writer of history is biased - some admit it, others feign complete objectivity. I found this comment by an Amazon reviewer intriguing:
Butterfield's amendatory poignant insight questions common perception toward the understanding of history. He argues that historical knowledge is skewed when it's done non-theologically, i.e., outside Christian worldview. History is, according to Butterfield, a fulfilling prophecy of God's sovereignty; Christianity is therefore an historical religion (3). Furthermore, Butterfield enumerates several misconceptions about study of history. For example, new evidence makes history seem evolving yet historical events remain true (14f); history is always biased so that only unbiased truth, i.e., Christianity, can reveal real event (17ff); even though history is a science sometimes it cannot be reconstructed scientifically, because God's authority lies beyond human logic so history must be understood holistically rather than through mere science (22f).
And then there's this review on Butterfield's views regarding presentism (something many modern historians are guilty of) and his once widely read The Whig Interpretation of History:
According to him, the historian rather than viewing himself as a chivalrous knight ready to avenge and punish the unrighteous in the past, should instead look more to the position of reconciler, trying to understand people and events of the past from the historian’s limited point of view. To Butterfield the Whig interpretation was dangerous because it tried to make historical study the voice of God. It divided the world into friends and enemies of progress, “equated with the visible manifestation of God’s favor upon certain people and places in the past.”
And this:
It is not the task of the historian to pass sentence on the sins of the past but to investigate and describe the differences. Rather than the voice of God, history was presented as the servant to the servants of God; because history was used by all the other disciplines and in turn needed to learn from them before offering an explanation of the past.
And this:
Whig historians, according to Butterfield, used their passion and imagination not to better understand and investigate but to present their previously decided conclusion . . .
(Source.)

If this does not describe what so many modern historians attempt to do, I don't know what else does. I'd heard of Butterfield and read some things about him in the past, but have never read any of his books. I'm really looking forward to reading Christianity and History, as well as The Whig Interpretation of History.

I also found this comment from Wikipedia quite intriguing:
Butterfield thought individual personalities more important than great systems of government or economics in historical study.
I've always thought biography was the best way to truly understand and study history. This observation would seem to affirm that belief.

Herbert Butterfield
Based on what I've read so far, I believe Butterfield will validate some things I believe and challenge others. I'll save one of his most controversial assertions (and one with which I agree) for a later post.

10 December 2013

Yet More Southern Cultural Domination

Though I'm not sure this is something we should be bragging about . . . 
Jim Murray, an English writer and one of the world’s top whiskey critics, believes Scottish malt is no match for American whiskey.

“Generally speaking, bourbon … has overtaken Scotch,” he said, according to the Telegraph.
Of course, it's important to point out that much of the cultural South has strong connections to Scotland. So the Scots can still stand (when sober) proud.
 
Source here.

And, as Wikipedia notes:
While it may be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the American South in general, and Kentucky in particular.

Motivation For The Hunger Games - An Understanding Of History

(Which many academic and professional historians lack.) The Hunger Games has been quite successful, both as a trilogy novel and in its film adaptation. Very few who have watched the film version understand the motivation behind both the books and the film. An article on Lew Rockwell's site this morning brought out some interesting backstory regarding the series' author, Suzanne Collins:

Collins was a military brat who was fortunate enough to have a father that taught her the truth about historical events, not the propaganda taught in our public schools today.
“He was career Air Force, a military specialist, a historian, and a doctor of political science. When I was a kid, he was gone for a year in Vietnam. It was very important to him that we understood about certain aspects of life. So, it wasn’t enough to visit a battlefield, we needed to know why the battle occurred, how it played out, and the consequences. Fortunately, he had a gift for presenting history as a fascinating story. He also seemed to have a good sense of exactly how much a child could handle, which is quite a bit.”
You can read the rest of this thought-provoking piece, and more, here.

06 December 2013

American Exceptionalism Old School

15 Reasons To Drop Out Of College


This article was typed on a computer designed by Apple, which was co-founded by college dropout Steve Jobs. I’ll save it in the cloud with Dropbox, which was co-founded by dropout Arash Ferdowsi. As soon as I publish it, I’ll share it with my friends via Twitter, which was co-founded by college dropouts Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams and Biz Stone, and Facebook, which was invented by college dropout Mark Zuckerberg. Basically, this article wouldn’t have been possible without dropouts.

Read the other 14 here.

04 December 2013

Another Reason Why The South Is Better

I've discussed the dominance of Southern culture before here. Now comes this news:
According to a survey by dating site Cupid.com, the sing-song honey sweetness of the Southern accent is the country’s sexiest, and by a pretty significant margin.
But, of course, we already knew this, didn't we? Source.

*Heads up: Some time over the next few says, I'll be posting some observations and thoughts on the dust up over the Ted Savas review controversy. I think I've seen an elephant in the room.