07 March 2015

What Every Southern Boy Should Know

My own great-great Grandfather
and Confederate Veteran, John McGann
Family history- My Great Grandparents on my Mother’s side lived well into their 90s. I loved them dearly, and would sit and talk with them for hours, both as a kid as well as into adulthood. They loved to tell all about their families, and their own experiences, and I loved to listen to those stories. Both of them were of Scots-Irish descent and they were very proud of this. My Grandmother had numerous family members who fought for the Confederacy, and I could listen to her tell stories about “her people” over and over again. I’ve tried handing as much of this knowledge as I can recall down to my own sons, lest it should be lost to history. The South is rich in tradition and family is at the heart of who we are. In the days when the American South was first settled, the people would settle in communities wherein most of their “kinfolk” were situated nearby. In rural Southern areas, you’ll still see this. The Heritage and traditions stemming from that way of life need to be passed down. There is a certain pride in knowing where and who you came from, and I hope Southern people never lose sight of this. ~ Carl Jones


Chaps said...

There has been a member of the Gibson line in the Navy or Marine Corps in every generation since 1775, with one generation's exception. They were in the CS army. My son, Corporal, USMC, carried it forward.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello Chaps - good to hear from you. I'd say your family has military DNA.

Chris Johnson said...

Great post Rick...Family History are two very powerful words. Why do you suppose those two words stir such emotion and feeling with folks like us?

Chaps...outstanding family history there and I know you could not be prouder of your son. Semper Fi...

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Chris, though I can't take the credit, it certainly does express my feelings so well.

As I wrote almost 5 years ago:

" . . . because many Southerners continue to teach our children and our grandchildren what our fathers and mothers and grandparents have taught us and passed down for generations. We still share our family history around the supper table; eating harvest that was grown and nourished from the very soil that contains the blood of our kin—blood that was shed while defending our homes. We still share our family history on the front porches of our homes in the fading light of summer evenings surrounded by great trees that were present when our ancestors lived. We still share our family history before a crackling fire in our homes on cold winter nights with our children and grandchildren gathered close around us—we continue to share the stories, the sadness, the glory, the bravery, the love, the patriotism, the loyalty, and the sacrifices of those who have gone before us. We do this, in part, that we might “honor our fathers” as the Scriptures command us. And our children and our grandchildren . . . will do the same when their turn comes."

ropelight said...

As important as passing on our uniquely Southern traditions and individual family histories to subsequent generations, there's also the often unspoken, only partly understood, but deeply felt spiritual connection between the land that sustains us, holds our forefathers, and binds us in an enduring commitment to individual rights and personal freedom.

Today's Northerners don't understand our reverence for the land any more than Union war mongers and their invading armies did 150 years ago. Nor, I suspect, could a great many born and bred Southerners articulate it, but the steadfast among us see it in the sunrise on frosty mornings, they hear it in the ripple and swash of quick moving waters, and it stirs the Southern soul when the band strike Dixie.

If you don't already know what I'm talking about, don't give it a second thought, and fare thee well.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Well put RL, though there are some of our northern brethren who did, and still do, understand. Though I agree, the connection is stronger south of the MDL. Are you familiar with the works of Eric Sloane?

ropelight said...

"Are you familiar with the works of Eric Sloane?"

Only tangentially, although I share his interest in woodworking tools, barns, churches, weather formations, and wildlife, there's a hole in my education when it comes to his written works. Thanks for bringing him up.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I can't recommend him enough. He's a wonderful defender of the permanent things. For example:

"The spirits and habits of yesterday become more difficult to apply to modern everyday life . . . if we can only mark time with our scientific progress long enough to let the old morals and spirits catch up, we shall be all the better for it. The heritages of godliness, the love of hard work, frugality, respect for home and all the other spirits of pioneer countrymen, are worth keeping forever. What we do today will soon become once upon a time for the Americans of tomorrow and their heritage is our present day responsibility." ~ Eric Sloane, writing in Once Upon A Time: The Way America Was.


"Men used to build and create as much for future generations as for their own needs, so their tools have a special message for us and our time. When you hold an early implement, when you close your hand over the worn wooden handle . . . you are near to another being in another life, and you are that much richer." ~ Eric Sloane

"There is no place for nostalgia in a progressive world. The new school not only ignores nostalgia, but condemns it. The world of yesterday is becoming an isolated world of remembrances and echoes so forbidden that, to decorate the present with it, you must often do so with a sense of humor or belong to a select group . . . such is the chance an individualist inevitably runs." ~ from American Yesterday, by Eric Sloane