29 March 2016

The Educated Ignorant

Image source
Artist - Gary Larson
If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of history, or, if she does, she will know it only from her own twenty-first century perspective, or from the twenty-first century perspective of those who taught it to her. History is not about learning from the people of the past, their triumphs and their mistakes, but is about sitting in judgment on the stupidity of our ancestors, who are presumed to be unenlightened, or at least not as enlightened as she is or her teachers are. “What the people of the past believed to be immoral, we call being well-educated.”
More here at the Imaginative Conservative.

Not Being Free to Think is Not Safe

27 March 2016

Relic Hunting Post #143 - Spanish Silver in the Shenandoah Valley

Good Friday was good in more ways than one. I had a couple of free hours Friday morning so I returned to one of my favorite Colonial era relic hunting sites here in the Shenandoah Valley. I wasn't there very long when I was able to recover my oldest coin (and first Spanish silver) to date: a 1782 1 Reale. The design shows King Charles (Carolus) of Spain on the front of the coin. Carolus III reigned from 1759 to 1788. The design on the back of the coin shows a crowned shield and two large pillars on either side. 

As an article from the University of Notre Dame website notes:
The importance of Spanish money in the colonies cannot be overstated. It has been estimated that half of the coins in colonial America were Spanish reales.
It was quite an experience, recovering and holding this piece of history in my hand; perhaps the first human to touch it in well over 200 years. I also recovered two Colonial era Tombac buttons from the same location that same day. This site was once a Colonial homesite here in the Valley and also the home of a merchant/craftsman.

The video below is the live recovery of the Spanish silver, along with a Civil War bullet find a couple of weeks ago from a winter camp here in the Valley.

24 March 2016

Mystery Interview Coming Up With Noted Civil War Historian

I've been in touch with a noted Civil War historian who has agreed to an interview. The interview will appear on an academic oriented Civil War blog - hopefully next week some time. I don't want to give any more away until the interview is completed and it's been accepted for posting.

I promise this will be a surprise and very interesting. It should garner a lot of discussion.

Stay tuned, lots going on with a number of big announcements coming this year, including the move to the new platform.

21 March 2016

New Gig - Newspaper Columnist

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by one of our local newspapers about writing some short pieces on local history. I had been recommended by one of our local museums. As a lifelong resident of the area (with deep family roots), I have enough material to write about for many years. Also, I truly enjoy giving back to the home and area that has given so much to me. It also helps that this opportunity actually pays. ;-)

So, of course, I agreed. My first piece appeared in today's edition of the newspaper. Here's an excerpt:
Waynesboro’s “Forest Hill” was a wooded area of rolling landscape in March of 1865. Now, it's part of Waynesboro’s Tree Streets.

The area was known in those days as “Gallaher’s Woods,” and served as a major part of the battlefield during the Battle of Waynesboro. But in the next century, Gallaher’s Woods would come to be owned by Richard H. Clemmer, “Captain Dick" — a retired World War I army captain who would develop the area into an upscale neighborhood and what it is known as today: Forest Hill.
You may read the rest of the piece here.

18 March 2016

A Yeoman's Primer on the Trump Phenomenon: Look at Josey Wales

I'm a bit surprised it took this long for the Civil War blogosphere to jump into the Presidential campaign, though I'm not surprised at the source.

Let me offer a very simple explanation of the Trump phenomenon:

There's a strong dynamic now working in Trump's favor that may be almost impossible to overcome. All the establishment powers in the media (which everyone hates), the political establishment (which everyone hates), and much of the corporate establishment (which almost everyone hates) are seen as "piling on" against Trump. They're also seen as elitist and illegitimate critics who are all responsible for our current mess. They have ZERO credibility with the average working American.

This is why every time these 3 groups criticize Trump (even when it's legitimate), the criticism only bolsters his strength and his poll numbers go up. In other words, if they don't attack him, he gets stronger. If they DO attack him, he gets stronger. It's a lose/lose position for them. They can't win.

Also, if one of the other candidates would have gotten out in front of the 4 issues driving his popularity, early and loud like he did, then the whole story would be different. Those issues are:

1. Opposing an interventionist foreign policy where we spill American blood for no good reason.

2. Opposing illegal AND legal immigration, due to the fact these are both taking jobs from American citizens and stagnating wages.

 3."Free-Trade" that really isn't free, which sends our high paying jobs over seas while we import inferior products (i.e., Catfish farmers in the deep South who have to follow all the FDA rules while grocery stores can import from China where catfish are raised in contaminated water and NOT subject to the same standards as American farmers.) That's free trade?

4. Trump's refusal to bow to political correctness. Yes, this also makes him rather brash and offensive, but in a kind of Josey Wales "how is it on stains" type of way that some folks find attractive.

It's all very fundamental and very basic. It's real world stuff. Reagan (though certainly very different and more principled) won with similar tactics. 3 or 4 strong positions. Keep it simple. Ignore the critics. Don't back down and don't apologize. Spit in their eye.

If ANY of the other candidates had done this and done it first, Trump would be out of the race. The marketplace rules and it's ruling.

A lot of folks may not like it, but that's the way it is.

I will soon (hopefully this weekend) begin to duplicate everything posted here at the new site/blog. I'll do so until the new site is fully functional and all links, etc. are updated. I'll also keep this blog active for some time until most folks are visiting the new site.

17 March 2016

Relic Hunting Post #142 - Three Relic Hunting Legends Together

This is a short video of a recent Civil War relic hunt filmed by Robert Painter, President of the Rapidan Relic Hunter's Association, along with 2 other Civil War relic hunting legends: Rafael Eldridge of Shiloh Relics and of Antiques Road Show fame, along with Mr. Steve Sylvia, publisher of North South Traders Civil War. I've been on some organized hunts with and met Mr. Painter several times.

16 March 2016

My Hometown

I've never lived more than 10 miles away.

14 March 2016

New Platform Update

Update: The new site will have a new name: The Virginia Yeoman. Thanks for all the suggestions. This name is perfect for a number of reasons, which I'll get into soon with some posts.

Transitioning to the new platform is slow. I've not had as much time to devote to learning the basics of the new site building tools as I'd like. But we'll get there. I'm also seriously considering renaming the site. I've got several ideas, most of which still include "Old Virginia." The new site will remain, primarily, a blog but will involve branding and other projects as well. This is the evolving trend for many writers and it is, in my opinion, a good and necessary one. 

Though I'm close to settling on one of the names rolling around in my head right now, I'm open to suggestions for a new name for the site. If I happen to pick your suggestion, I'll send one of my books as an "award." Thanks!

11 March 2016

How Academia is Hindering Mankind's Improvement

"To preserve the freedom of the human mind... and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will and speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement." ~ Thomas Jefferson to William Green Munford, 1799. 

At an increasing number of American colleges and universities, one is no longer allowed to "think as we will and speak as we think", thus hindering our advancement. And that sentiment is playing out in many other aspects of American society. Political Correctness and stifling debate and opposition is at the root of the suppression.

And the cowards in academia are enablers.

Are Some Educators Abusing the Minds of Children?

This is the logical outcome of relativism. There are no absolute truths, even in math. And some folks wonder why the education establishment is becoming a laughing stock and why homeschooling continues to grow exponentially. Source.

10 March 2016

Splash Page First Look on New Design

Just messing around with some imagery for the new blog design. First draft. New domain: OldVirginiaBlog.com

New Domain: The Virginia Yeoman

08 March 2016

Sensitivity Fascists in Academia?

"I don't want to hear that."
So traumatized that, at a student government hearing, they demanded to know why the school hadn’t provided on-site therapy for those who felt “invalidated” by the speech.
A speech that no one had to attend.
The student-gov president broke down in tears as she heard the complaints, then apologized for spending student funds on the guest (but said court rulings had left her no choice).
Oh brother. Academia: overpriced day-care centers where snowflakes go to melt (and get indoctrinated.)

More here

07 March 2016

Big Changes Coming to Old Virginia Blog

Over the next several days, weeks and months there will be some big changes coming to Old Virginia Blog. I will be moving the blog to a different platform. While Blogger has served me well over the last 10 years, it's time for an upgrade. This site will remain active for some time during the transition period. 

As I'm now writing a book and have just agreed (tentatively anyway) to two new writing positions the blog will, by necessity as well as by design, become much more focused. 

Stay tuned . . .

04 March 2016

Will Virginia Protect Its War Memorials?

I had the honor of working with Terry Heder who works for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation last year in leading a tour on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Waynesboro, as well as developing a self-guided driving tour of that battle, soon to be published by the SVBF. Below, Terry comments on a bill awaiting the governor's signature which will prevent localities from damaging or removing war monuments, including any related to the Civil War.

03 March 2016

Next Book Project

I had hoped to be able to make a couple of announcements about some ongoing projects and writing by now, but progress has been slow. I am ready to announce, however, that I'm neck deep into researching and writing my next book. I've not felt as passionate and excited about writing a book since I wrote the story of Stonewall Jackson's black Sunday school class.

Without giving away too much yet, the book will be about the experiences of the descendants of Confederate Veterans; from the 1890's thru today. I don't believe the topic has ever been thoroughly addressed before. I will be more specific and share more details after I've made a bit more progress. If you believe you might have material, photographs, letters, diaries, etc. that could be pertinent, particularly material about your own family, please contact me at mr.rgwilliams_at_gmail.com.