Thursday, April 23, 2015

Honoring GGGGGG Grandpa Solomon Sparks, Victim of Trickery, but Kicking against the Pricks

In the Yadkin valley, James Wall says a third of the people were Whigs, a third Tories, and a third uncommitted. Because the Tory Bryant was not psychotic like Fanning, who operated to the east and south, and because William Coyle and Samuel Jones were not the subject of stories, I tend to minimize the power of the Tories on the Yadkin. This testimony from George Parks S28457, a young whippersnapper when old Solomon Sparks fought him, as an old man remembers.

Solomon Sparks survived the war, although he lost some or all of his land. He had been there since the 1750s. He fought bravely without arms and considerably injured young Parks by kicking him. "He was sent down the Yadkin in a Canoe. After tied hand and foot on his back he repeatedly hollowed "hurra for King George"--

My only Tory ancestor? The younger Sparks men were Whigs, and fighters for Independence. It was generational there.

Ashamed? No, proud of the old man. Tied and and feet, supine in the canoe, he still yelled out, over and over, "hurra for King George." Who says character gets thinned down after a few generations?

I dream of myself bound head and foot in the bottom of a canoe shouting, "Hurrah for the creative process! Hurrah for documentary research! Hurrah for author's first intention!"

From THE TABLET's 2013 tribute to Mike Abrams at 100, in the slightly corrected form

When this first went online the words about "one of the last survivors" were not there. Mike was called the last survivor.

As late as the 1930s, while Jews made up more than their share of Ivy League students—and would have been even more overrepresented if not for quotas—they were still virtually absent from the English faculty.
Then, almost overnight, everything changed. Starting in the postwar years, anti-Semitism became intellectually unrespectable, thanks to its association with Nazism and the Holocaust, while the flood of new students entering the universities under the G.I. Bill meant that there was an urgent need for new faculty. Jewish professors, critics, and scholars were newly acceptable—Lionel Trilling studied Arnold at Columbia, and Harry Levin studied Joyce at Harvard. Leon Edel wrote the biography of Henry James, and Hershel Parker wrote the biography of Melville. Alfred Kazin recovered the history of the American novel in On Native Grounds, a title whose defiant claim could not be missed.
Of that pioneering generation, one of the last survivors is M.H. Abrams, who will celebrate his 100th birthday on July 23. (Abrams is also still publishing: In August, Norton will bring out a new collection of his essays, The Fourth Dimension of a Poem.) Abrams’ name will be familiar to just about every English major of the last half-century, if only because it appears at the top of the spine of each edition of the Norton Anthology of English Literature, which Abrams created in 1962.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mike Abrams Gone at 102-- "The Likes of M.H.Abrams"? No Such Beast--No peer.

April 22, 2015

M.H. Abrams, beloved professor, literary scholar, dies at 102

M.H. Abrams
File photo/University Photography
M.H. "Mike" Abrams, the influential literary critic and Cornell English professor, died April 21 at Kendal of Ithaca. He was 102.
M.H. “Mike” Abrams, the influential literary critic and beloved Cornell English professor who edited the renowned reference “The Norton Anthology of English Literature” for four decades, died April 21 at Kendal of Ithaca. He was 102.
Abrams, who received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama last July, was the Class of 1916 Professor Emeritus of English. He came to Cornell in 1945 as an assistant professor and retired in 1983. Among his students over the years were literary critics Harold Bloom ’51 and E.D. Hirsch ’50 and novelist Thomas Pynchon ’59. Abrams was named the F.J. Whiton Professor of English in 1960 and the Class of 1916 Professor in 1973.
“One of the dominant figures in literary criticism of the 20th century, M.H. (Mike) Abrams was also the quintessential Cornellian,” President David Skorton said. “He was an inspiring teacher, an extraordinary colleague, chair of the Cornell University Centennial Commission of 1965, and he never missed a home football game. His good judgment, his perennial optimism, his deep wisdom, his sense of humor and his fundamental decency will be sorely missed.”
Born July 23, 1912, in Long Branch, New Jersey, Meyer Howard Abrams majored in English at Harvard University, earning a B.A. in 1934. He studied philosophy at Cambridge University on a Henry Fellowship and returned to Harvard in 1935, earning a master’s degree in English in 1937 and a Ph.D. in 1940. He met his wife of 71 years, Ruth Claire Gaynes (1917-2008), at Harvard.
Abrams conducted classified research at Harvard’s Psycho-Acoustics Laboratory during World War II, helping the military solve problems in voice communications by developing highly audible military codes and tests to select personnel with the ability to recognize sounds in a noisy background.
At Cornell, Abrams helped found the A.D. White Center for the Humanities, now the Society for the Humanities. A longtime Cornell University Library supporter, he chaired membership drives and established an endowment that enabled the library to acquire a set of William Wordsworth’s 1827 “Poetical Works” and other holdings.
“Mike Abrams was a formidable figure in the humanities who changed our understanding of 19th-century literature and thought. But he was also a calm, modest and wholly unpretentious man,” said Jonathan Culler, the Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature.
Abrams telegram
Mike Abrams sent this Western-Union telegram to accept the offer of a job from Cornell in 1945.
Abrams’ passion and dedication to literary scholarship was highly regarded by students and scholars the world over.
“We are human, and nothing is more interesting to us than humanity,” Abrams said in 1999. “The appeal of literature is that it is so thoroughly a human thing – by, for and about human beings. If you lose that focus, you obviate the source of the power and permanence of literature.”
Abrams’ contributions to the study of literature – on campus and around the world – were many. He conceived “The Norton Anthology of English Literature,” an enduring reference for high school and college English students, and was its general editor through seven editions from 1962 to 2000. The New York Times noted that Abrams “refined the art of stuffing 13 centuries of literature into 6,000-odd pages of wispy cigarette paper.”
He wrote or edited more than a dozen award-winning and widely read books, including his 1953 history of criticism, “The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition” – ranked No. 25 on the Modern Library’s list of the 100 best nonfiction books written in English in the 20th century.
His other works included “Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature” (1971) and “The Glossary of Literary Terms,” first published in 1957; he remained its lead author and editor through several editions, and is co-editor of the 11th edition, published this year.
Abrams was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), the American Philosophical Society and the British Academy. His honors included the Award in Humanistic Studies from AAAS and the Keats-Shelley Society’s Distinguished Scholar Award.
“Mike Abrams vividly exemplified how a life of engagement with literature, the arts and the humanities can keep the mind vigorously alive,” said Roger Gilbert, professor and chair of English. “Since coming to Cornell I’ve taken every opportunity I could to bring Mike to my classes, which he was always happy to do. His teaching inspired generations of students.”
The Department of English honored Abrams’ 100th birthday in July 2012 with a tribute by friends and colleagues; he also gave a lecture on “The Fourth Dimension of a Poem.”
“Mike Abrams’ impact on his students, his colleagues and the wider world was immeasurable – he was publishing important new work at age 100,” said Gretchen Ritter ’83, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “His passing is a deep loss to the College of Arts and Sciences and to all of us who love literature.”
Throughout his 80s and 90s, Abrams continued to lecture at Cornell, Yale and other institutions, and remained a visible and active participant in campus life – giving the keynote at a 2005 James Joyce conference, public talks on reading poetry in 2008 and 2010, and attending English department events and Big Red football games. He never missed a home game since coming to Ithaca in 1945, saying he liked “the snappy fall air and the excitement of the game, and the good fellowship.”
Mike and Ruth Abrams traveled extensively and collected art, from Renaissance paintings and pre-Columbian pottery to a Frank Stella Etch-A-Sketch drawing. They donated several artworks to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, including the ca. 500 A.D. Roman mosaic of a lioness attacking an ibex that hangs in Goldwin Smith Hall near the Department of Classics.
Abrams is survived by daughters Jane Brennan of Westport, Connecticut, and Judith Abrams of Trumansburg, New York; two grandchildren, a great-grandson and several nieces and their children. Arrangements are pending at Bangs Funeral Home, Ithaca.

Did anyone else take longer than 2 months to die specifically from an injury at King's Mountain?


                                                                                              Mar., 1752
Wilkes County
North Carolina, USA
Death: Dec. 31, 1780
Burke County
North Carolina, USA

Pension application of Thomas Biecknell (Beicknell, Bicknell) R12399 Rachel (Rachael)f15NC
Transcribed by Will Graves 8/27/10 rev'd 9/3/13
Copy & paste in your browser

State of South Carolina
District of Pickens: SS

On this third day of Dec. 1845, personally appeared before William D Steele Judge of the Court of Ordinary for the District & State aforesaid, Mrs. Rachel Biecknell of the District & State aforesaid, aged eighty-eight years the 12th Instant, (& who the said Ordinary certifies is unable by bodily infirmity to attend in open Court) who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on her oath make the following Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the third section of the Act of Congress of the 4th of Jul. 1836.

That she is the widow of Thomas Biecknell who was a private & Lieutenant in the war of the Revolution, that she was married to the said Thomas Bricknell when in her seventeenth year, & she thinks when she had three children, her said husband entered the service under Captain Richard Allen, who was afterwards, Colonel, that they then resided in Wilkes Co., North Carolina & her said husband there entered the first time, & was not much at home until the close of the war, that he was at one time a volunteer & at other times drafted, & was a considerable portion of the time a Lieutenant, that she is sure he was a Lieutenant under Captain Allen at the siege at Charleston, that he marched much through North & South Carolina, & served at various times under Captain Lanore [sic, probably William Lenoir], Colonel Cleveland [probably Benjamin Cleveland]1 & Colonel Hearne [sic, probably Benjamin Hearn], but it is impossible for her to state the particulars of his service at her advanced age.

That her husband the said Thomas Biecknell was wounded with an ounce ball in his hip in the Battle at Kings Mountain, with which wound he died, he was carried to Burke Co. near Morganton, to the house of Mrs. Bowman, where declarant went & waited upon him with his wound eleven weeks, at the end of which time he died. She does not know of any documentary evidence, or any evidence of any kind that she can certainly get to prove his services, but thinks an indent may have been issued to her for his services, & she recollects to have tried to get something, & thinks she did get a small sum, but does not know how.

That she was married to the said Thomas Biecknell in Wilkes Co., North Carolina by Squire Riggs, & she believes on the 22nd of Oct., as she thinks, in the year 1774, as she had three children when her husband entered the service, & when his service closed entirely she had five children & four months & fifteen days after his death her sixth child, Mary, was born, her said daughter Mary married David Roper, & she now lives with her, & on their charity. She has no record of her marriage, nor of the births of her children, they were published in church as the custom was in those days to be married, that her husband the aforesaid Thomas Biecknell died on the 31st day of Dec. 1780, & that she has remained a widow ever since that period, as will more fully appear by reference to the proof herewith forwarded.
S/ Rachel Biecknell, X her mark
Sworn to and subscribed the day and year above written before S/ William D Steele, Judge

[p. 6: on Sept. 22, 1851 in Wilkes Co., North Carolina, Sarah Gray, "an old & respectable lady" gave testimony that she knew Thomas Biecknell well & heard & believes that he was a soldier of the revolution; that she lived in his immediate neighborhood & knows that he was a considerable time in the service of his country; that she had a brother in the battle of Kings Mountain & recollects often of hearing her brother say that Thomas Biecknell was also in that battle & was badly wounded in his hip & never recovered; that her brother assisted in bringing Biecknell home from the battle of Kings Mountain; that she (Sarah) does not know her exact age but that her oldest child is 62 years old & that she thinks she was near 20 years old when her oldest child was born; that she thinks Thomas Biecknell was in several battles during the war.]

1 Randall Becknell suggests that this veteran may have fought under Captain John Cleveland at the Battle of Fishing Creek Aug. 18, 1780. Since the widow states that the veteran was wounded at Kings Mountain (Oct. 7, 1780) & died from this wound in Dec. 1780 & since both Col. Benjamin Cleveland & Capt. John Cleveland are listed by Bobby Gilmer Moss in his Kings Mountain Patriots roster, it is entirely possible that this veteran served under both Benjamin & John Cleveland at Kings Mountain.

[p. 7: On Sept. 22, 1851 in Wilkes Co., North Carolina, Captain Benjamin Parks, "an old & respectable Citizen" gave testimony that he knew Thomas Biecknell; that he believes that he was in the battle at Kings Mountain, was wounded there, brought home on a horse litter & died from his wound; He (Benjamin) states that he was born in Virginia but came to Wilkes Co. as a young boy & knew Thomas & Rachel Biecknell before they left the County & heard of their marriage.]

[p 13: On Sept. 25, 1851 in McDowell Co., North Carolina Martha McKenzie gave testimony that she was well acquainted with Thomas & Rachel Biecknell; that Rachel was a Sparks; that she has heard that Thomas was wounded at the battle of Kings mountain, carried to Mrs. Bowman's in Burke Co. near Morganton where he died from his wound. She signed her affidavit with her mark.]

Family links:
  William Bicknell (1706 - 1781)
  Rosanna Cash Bicknell (1736 - 1775)

  Rachel Sparks Bicknell (1757 - 1851)

  Henry James Becknell (1770 - ____)*
  Micajah Bicknell (1776 - ____)*
  William Bicknell (1776 - ____)*
  Mary Bicknell Roper (1781 - 1850)*

  William Bicknell (1752 - 1753)*
  Samuel Bicknell (1752 - 1819)*
  Thomas Bicknell (1752 - 1780)
  Micajah Bicknell (1755 - 1806)*
  John Bicknell (1765 - 1766)*
  Ruth Bicknell (1767 - 1796)*
  Mary Ann Bicknell (1769 - 1770)*

*Calculated relationship

Anyone Carrying on the Adams Researches of Margaret Adams Gist of Charleston?

Now, this 21339 is the DAR number for Uncle Will, brother of Robert Ewart's wife and husband of Robert Ewart's sister. We all know the story of Aunt Margaret's ride from 12 miles into SC to King's Mountain the day after the battle. Anyone in Charleston carrying on Margaret Adams Gist's researches?

And don't shake your head. Our Scots believed in keeping the bloodlines pure.