Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sergeant Thomas Goodman's bravery at Centralia, Missouri, in 1864

This is from a blog, NATE'S NONSENSE:

On the morning of September 27, 1864, with about 80 men dressed in Union uniforms Anderson rode into Centralia, Missouri and blocked the rail line. The train was stopped and 23 of the 125 passengers were found to be Union soldiers going home on leave. The soldiers were ordered to strip off their uniforms and Anderson asked if there was an officer among them. Sergeant Thomas Goodman, expecting to be killed for the others, lied and said that he was an officer. Anderson's men then took Goodman prisoner and killed the rest of them and then mutilated their bodies (Anderson's plan was to exchange Goodman for one of his men who was being held prisoner, but Goodman escaped after ten days). Anderson's men then set fire to the train and sent it down the tracks.

Does anyone know what happened to Thomas Goodman? He wrote a pamphlet later. I'll try to find out. This episode is prelude to the great Centralia Massacre.


New Critics and New Bibliographers both tried to kill my FLAWED TEXTS AND VERBAL ICONS (1984), and I thought for many years that they had succeeded. In the last 5 years I have found that it is alive and well, cherished and recommended by scholars in wildly different fields who find that it is applicable to their aesthetic problems--biblical scholars, classical scholars, medieval scholars, Renaissance scholars, scholars of modern British novels, and others. I am happy to find what Jerry W. Ward, Jr., says, even though he thought that FT&VI was truly forgotten. He is so right about the parallel between me and him. He ironically talks about "recidivist scholars" and in a book being copy-edited now I have a chapter on "recidivist critics": we are talking about the same thing, the failure of critics to be scholars and the neglect of scholarship. What a wonderful thing for a condemned book to come to the attention of someone in a time of trauma and recovery. As a lover of New Orleans since 1953, what a wonderful thing to figure for a moment in this very interesting book.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A clever hoax? The Coney Island House Register now at the Brooklyn Public Library


I quote from a blog dated 26 January 2012:
The Coney Island House Register: a literary mystery
Jan 26, 2012 12:19 PM | 4 comments

The register of Coney Island's first hotel, Coney Island House, is a hefty volume. Its morocco leather trim, raised bands, gold-leaf detailing and marbled endpapers proclaim it as the record of an establishment that is unpretentious yet of solid worth. Coney Island House was built by the Gravesend and Coney Island Road and Bridge Company on land procured from Court Van Sicklen in the 1820s. Those who know the area today may find it hard to imagine the shore as it must have been then--a wild beach with a single road leading up to it, frequented only by clammers and beachcombers from nearby Gravesend. With the establishment of this hotel and others, a few tourists would come out to enjoy the sea air and the long vistas.

Page after and page of elaborate signatures could easily lull one into a reverie on the brevity of human life, or a reflection on the extraordinary changes that would take place in Coney Island over the course of the next century and a half. But then, every now and again, one turns a page, and the eye lands on a name that looks familiar. Can it be...? Yes, that is Jenny Lind, with P.T. Barnum's name right below it!

And yet, one has to wonder...the signature preceding these at close of day, Thursday 12th September 1850, is that of "Bill Blunderbuss, Shirttail Bend." There are other spoofs. Some wag --perhaps a hotel employee--signs in as Solomon Frizzlepipes, traveling in the company of Judith Snuffs. On another day a Longsnoot family comes to stay. Friday 13th September 1850 opens with the arrival of these two illustrious personages--or are they perhaps fictitious additions, intended to raise the status of the hotel?

But it is a page in early September of 1849 that really arouses wonderment. Mrs Bostwick and her friend Mrs Clement, now long gone, left their signatures as proof of a long-ago day spent by the sea. And so too, if we are to believe our eyes, did Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, and friends. According to Melville's biographer, Hershel Parker, "There happens to survive no known record of Melville's ever having seen Poe, although he describes Poe to the life in The Confidence Man (ch. 36)." Well then, if we believe in the authenticity of these signatures, here is proof that Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville and a handful of other literary figures met at Coney Island on Wednesday September 5th, 1849. Also among the company was their mutual friend Evert Duyckinck, writer Cornelius Mathews, and William Gilmore Simms who, with Duyckinck and Mathews had formed a literary group called Young America in the 1830s. Poet and satirist Fitz Greene Halleck completed the party.

Handwriting experts! Speak up and let us know what you think!

Doubt has been cast on the authenticity of these signatures. The Poe Log, a meticulously researched day-by day account of Poe's life, locates him around Richmond VA on this date. Researchers at the Poe Museum tell us that "Poe’s whereabouts at the time [are] well documented by his letters as well as by newspaper notices of his lectures and his initiation in Richmond into the Sons of Temperance."


I tried to post a comment on this blog several hours ago. It may yet appear. Here I will point out only that in my THE NEW MELVILLE LOG (electronic) I have transcribed a letter from Evert A. Duyckinck to his brother George dated 5 September 1849. In it he chats about various people including Irving and Thomas Powell but says not a word about an excursion to Coney Island. Could he have written it very early, before being asked out to Brooklyn? Certainly he could not have written it at the end of the day. I suspect that the register is a very funny hoax, maybe by some modern wretch who found an original register and saw he could have great fun doctoring it up. They should put up images of several full pages so we can check newspapers and Ancestry.com.

The Chilling Effects of Censorship

You would not know it by looking at how much I have gotten into print, but starting in the 1970s I was the victim of a concerted campaign of silencing headed by Fredson Bowers and his cohort. A major piece of my work was kept out of print for 20 years and then was printed not in the United States but in Australia. This meant that my thinking on important issues was suppressed when it ought to have been taken into account by dozens of other writers. When this particular piece was published, it was too late for it to do much good. I learned a great deal about the cowardice of the academy, and now want to encourage everyone to protest against Twitter's bowing to censorship. It is tragic when a great force for social good decides to capitulate to tyrants.

I see there's a Boycott Twitter movement already

I checked "Boycotting Twitter" for the last 24 hours and found that many others had decided to protest against censorship. I will tweet this--may as well use the social medium for good.

Boycotting Twitter--something we can all do

No more Twitter from me until Twitter stops bowing to foreign tyrants.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"John Levi Costner" 1800?-1846 or 1848?--Mystery man. Can anyone help?

I have been trying to find John Levi Costner in a census and have failed so far. He was born in North Carolina, married Jane Tindall in South Carolina, and supposedly died in Lumpkin, Georgia, very young. Lumpkin the town as distinguished from Lumpkin the county is in SW Georgia,against Mississippi, and was a good cotton producing area in the 1840s.John Levi Costner may have had something to do with a mill there. Finally I found his son John Andrew Jackson Costner in Mississippi in the 1860 census under the name Cosner, no “t” with Acy as a brother two years older than JAJC. Since the name given for JAJC was “Andrew” maybe they called him Andrew. That's a very old family name and was the name of my uncle Andrew Costner. In the household along with 54 year old Jane [Tindall] was her daughter Mary Linsey and her daughter Josephine. Linsey should be Lindsey. Apparently Mary, only 23, was a widow already, after the death of Dow P. Lindsey. Josephine married Josh Wright. We have Wright cousins in the Banner, MS area still, a cousin reports. One report has Asa Costner, Mary's older brother, marrying Jane Lindsey, a sister of Dow. The 1860 census has Asa as older than JAJC but other reports have JAJC older by two years. Asa is named for his mother's brother Asa Tindall. Apparently his name was pronounced Acy. Apparently, also, he died in the War at Port Gibson. That can be verified. I looked at all the 1830 and 1840 Costners and Kastners and Cosners and was not sure I ever saw John Levi Costner in one of them. Does anyone have a mass of detailed information on John Levi Costner? My Great Great Grandfather. Kevin Costner's Great Great Great Grandfather, to add a lure that may intrigue some potential researchers.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A lighter and earlier treatment of Stan Garner

�����Stanton was born on 1 September 1925.1 He was the son of Edward Samuel Garner Jr. and Helen Marguerite Berry. He married Katherine Shults Hambrecht on 25 December 1949.2 Stanton was divorced from Katherine Shults Hambrecht.2
�����Stanton graduated. Institution: at Brown University.2 Stanton retired from the military.2 Stanton served in the military in October 1943.1 Stanton graduated at Annapolis, MD, in 1948. Institution: at U.S. Naval Academy.2 Young Stanton had a habit of rescuing stray cats, all named Napoleon, but they liked to lurk around corners, swiping with their claws at his grandmother Emily's stockings as she passed them. The black servants always hissed at the cats when they were nearby. Stanton had to be disciplined on occasion, as once, when he had behaved irresponsibly with his grandfather's tools he received a well-deserved spanking.
Whenever chicken was served, Stanton had a habit of asking for a drumstick. Lucien, who sat at the head of the table and prepared all of the plates, always gave him a different portion without admonishing him. When, after being coached not to make demands, Stanton remained silent, he received a drumstick.

Last Edited=1 Jan 1998

Obituary for Stanton Garner--died 20 November 2011

Stanton Berry Garner Stanton Berry Garner, age 86, died November 20, 2011 at his home in San Marcos, Texas following a lengthy illness. He was born September 1, 1925 in Corning, New York to the late Helen and Edward Garner, and attended Corning Free Academy through high school. In 1943 he graduated from the Manlius School in DeWitt, New York and in the fall of that year entered the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program. Stanton later matriculated to the US Naval Academy after having received a commission to attend both West Point and Annapolis. He graduated in the class of 1948 and began a career in the United States Navy. He served in the Korean Conflict aboard the destroyers USS Hanson and USS Melvin. After the war, Stanton attended submarine school and served on the submarines USS Hardhead and USS Lionfish. He retired from the Naval Reserves as a full Commander in 1973. Stanton earned his doctorate in English from Brown University in 1963 and joined the faculty there. He spent the 1968-69 school year teaching in Brazil on the first of two Fulbright Fellowships there and, upon his return, accepted a job as department head at the University of Texas, Arlington. Stanton returned to teach again in Brazil in 1975-76 and taught at the Naval Academy as a visiting professor 1979-80. After retiring from UT-Arlington, he taught in Portugal on another Fulbright Fellowship in 1988 and finished his career as a visiting professor at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). A prolific scholar, he co-edited the Harold Frederic Edition and published numerous articles and books on Frederic, Herman Melville, and other nineteenth-century American authors. His 1993 book The Civil War World of Herman Melville was a major study of Melville's later poetry and of the writer's complex attitudes toward the American Civil War. Stanton survived the passing of his beloved wife, Lydia M. Garner, who died on May 6, 2010. He is survived by his three sons, Stanton B. Garner, Jr. of Knoxville, Tennessee, George Garner of Katy, Texas, and Edward Charles Garner of Austin, Texas; and by five grandchildren and one great- granddaughter. Interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery on February 9, 2012.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on December 4, 2011

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Descendants of James Johnston and Jane Ewart

Is it possible that descendants of these people might have records of Jane Ewart's brothers and sisters and their families?--

Dr. Thomas Johnston and Dorcas Luckey; Robert Johnston and Mary Murray Reid; John Reid and Sarah Sharpe.

Information about Joseph Jack and Thomas Hill would be especially welcome.

"'Thrilling to Adventitious Pleasures': Textual Ignorance as a Threat to Scholarship," Don L. Cook

In the March 1987 DOCUMENTARY EDITING, 5-8, Don L. Cook published "'Thrilling to Adventitious Pleasures': Textual Ignorance as a Threat to Scholarship."

I recognize the quoted words "Thrilling to Adventitious Pleasures" as my own. I have never seen Cook's article. Can someone send it to me?

Joseph Jack and Margaret Ewart--the Nelson KY Jack family?

Could the son-in-law of Robert Ewart be the Joseph Jack who left NC for Nelson, KY, and was the ancestor of such families as these: Anderson, Madison, Olinick, Neely, Deweese?

Any descendants of Margaret Ewart and Joseph Jack?

Unless they went to Nelson, Kentucky, after the Revolution this daughter of Robert Ewart and her King's Mountain husband drop out of sight.

Some of Margaret Ewart's sisters are well documented. Perhaps some of the descendants know about Margaret and Joseph Jack. Here are some names of Robert Knox and Mary Ewart's descendants: Latta (as in Latta Plantation--no waiving of entrance fees for family), McElwee, Brandon, McConnell, Webb Neal, Miller.

This is a shot in the dark but since this blog has produced unknown photographs of great grandparents perhaps it will reach someone who kept track of the descendants of the Committee of Safety and King's Mountain man, Robert Ewart.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Any descendants of Sarah Ewart and Thomas Hill's children, "James Ewart Hill" and "Robert Ewart Hill"

Who might know? Anyone who knows about descendants of Jonathan Price and Elizabeth Ewart: Reece Price, Esther McDowell Price, Rebecca E. Price, Parmelia Price, Reece S. Knox, Samuel Walkup Henry, Reece P. Harry, John Franklin Harry, Rebecca E. Harry, Charles E. Walker

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

J. T. Costner 1921-2011 (John Thomas Costner)

Published: 12/12/2011
John T. Costner, Capt. USAF Ret., 90, of North Monroe, La., formerly of Magnolia, died Tues., Dec. 6, 2011, at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, La.

John was born Jan. 7, 1921, in Heavener, Okla., to the late John and Ona Costner. He retired from the Department of Transportation and Development and was a Mason locally and overseas. He served in the United States Air Force during World War II and Korea. He retired as captain and was one of the first men to volunteer and graduate from the Glider Pilot School. John enjoyed bowling and gardening and was a great and loving family man who provided for his family.

Those preceding him in death were his parents; his wife, Marguerite (Nall) Costner; and a brother, Robert “Pete” Costner.

Survivors include his daughter, Dana Bennett and her husband, Ray, of Sicily Island, La.; grandchildren, Brandon Conger, of Portland, Ore., Malcolm Rogers, of Shreveport, La., and Jake Bennett, of Sicily Island, La.; step-grandson, Reagen Bennett, of Owensboro, Ky.; sister-in-law, Eileen Nall, of Magnolia; and a host of nephews and nieces.

A graveside service was at 10 a.m. today at the Memorial Park Cemetery with Bro. Zane Gray officiating under the direction of Lewis Funeral Home, Inc. of Magnolia.

J.T.'s brother, R.G., Robert Gene Costner, lived 1925-1987. "Gene" was for their grandfather, Edgar Lugene (Gene) Costner.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Monument to the Tryon Signers

This monument was placed on N.C. Hwy 274, just outside of Cherryville in 1949 by the Daughters of The American Revolution. It was at this site that the first Tryon County Courthouse once stood.

The Tryon Resolves of 14 August 1775

The unprecedented, barbarous and bloody actions committed by British troops on our American brethren near Boston, on 19th April and 20th of May last, together with the hostile operations and treacherous designs now carrying on, by the tools of ministerial vengeance, for the subjugation of all British America, suggest to us the painful necessity of having recourse to arms in defense of our National freedom and constitutional rights, against all invasions; and at the same time do solemnly engage to take up arms and risk our lives and our fortunes in maintaining the freedom of our country whenever the wisdom and counsel of the Continental Congress or our Provincial Convention shall declare it necessary; and this engagement we will continue in for the preservation of those rights and liberties which the principals of our Constitution and the laws of God, nature and nations have made it our duty to defend. We therefore, the subscribers, freeholders and inhabitants of Tryon County, do here by faithfully unite ourselves under the most solemn ties of religion, honor and love to our county, firmly to resist force by force, and hold sacred till a reconciliation shall take place between Great Britain and America on Constitutional principals, which we most ardently desire, and do firmly agree to hold all such persons as inimical to the liberties of America who shall refuse to sign this association.

The power of Costner-Stewart genes

Signers of the "Tryon Resolves" 14 August 1775--a name or two of kin or connected now added

This is what they signed:
The unprecedented, barbarous and bloody actions committed by British troops on our American brethren near Boston, on 19 April and 20th of May last, together with the hostile operations and treacherous designs now carrying on, by the tools of ministerial vengeance, for the subjugation of all British America, suggest to us the painful necessity of having recourse to arms in defense of our National freedom and constitutional rights, against all invasions; and at the same time do solemnly engage to take up arms and risk our lives and our fortunes in maintaining the freedom of our country whenever the wisdom and counsel of the Continental Congress or our Provincial Convention shall declare it necessary; and this engagement we will continue in for the preservation of those rights and liberties which the principals of our Constitution and the laws of God, nature and nations have made it our duty to defend. We therefore, the subscribers, freeholders and inhabitants of Tryon County, do here by faithfully unite ourselves under the most solemn ties of religion, honor and love to our county, firmly to resist force by force, and hold sacred till a reconciliation shall take place between Great Britain and America on Constitutional principals, which we most ardently desire, and do firmly agree to hold all such persons as inimical to the liberties of America who shall refuse to sign this association.  

The names below are of my uncles and cousins, not direct ancestors

The 2 Carpenters (Christian and Samuel) --Americanized names from the German Zimmermann.

Peter Seitz was the son-in-law of Christian Carpenter

Uncle Jonathan Price counts as married to Robert Ewart's daughter Betsy.

Uncle Jacob Costner, obviously, but also both Dellingers, John and George.

And Jacob Forney is not kin but Forney descendants are kin through Robert Ewart's daughter Jane.

Frederick Hambright's family is complexly interrelated to mine, especially later on.

Who else?

Robert Alexander was husband of Mary Jack, so kin to Margaret Ewart  by her marriage to Joseph Jack; and if William Chronicle had not died at King's Mountain he would have married Robert and Mary Alexander's daughter Margaret.

On the other side of the family:
Adam Sims, brother of the Nutbush speech, the pre-Regulator George Sims 

When I started looking at family I had never heard of the Tryon Resolves, and at first I just made the obvious connection to Uncle Jacob Costner. Maybe I will add another name still as I keep looking.
Ornery People? Well, they will be in ORNERY PEOPLE, but these were brave men as well as ornery men.

Best I can tell, the Tryon Courthouse, where the resolves were signed in 1775, is about ten miles north of King's Mountain, where some of these men fought on 7 October 1780.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

BRENDA WINEAPPLE's Massacre of the Lamb of God: How Good a Reader of Classic American Literature is She?

Brenda Wineapple’s Defilement of the Lamb of God: How Does She Rate as a Reader of Classic American Literature?

Brenda Wineapple's Defiles Melville as well as the Agnus Dei.

JOHN 1:29, SAID OF JOHN THE BAPTIST: "THE NEXT DAY JOHN SEETH JESUS COMING UNTO HIM, AND SAITH, BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, WHICH TAKETH AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD." On Amazon.com the editorial reviews of Brenda Wineapple’s 2003 HAWTHORNE: A LIFE are, as they say now, to die for. Sacvan Bercovitch was ecstatic: “Clearly the best biography of Hawthorne; the Hawthorne for our time. Beautifully conceived and written, it conveys the full poignancy and complexity of Hawthorne’s life; it makes vivid the times and people and places, and what a rich array of people and events! A delight to read from start to end.” Benita Eisler, we know from Wineapple’s acknowledgments, is a buddy of Wineapple’s, but she overcame her familiarity in this objective comment: “Brenda Wineapple’s Hawthorne is, quite literally, an electrifying life. The power and sweep of the writing galvanizes a subject frozen, by earlier biographies, into a series of stills. We understand, finally, a man and artist torn by every conflict of his time, adding a few of his own, a man both strange and strangely familiar. The great achievement of this stunning biography lies in the feat of restoring Hawthorne to the rich and roiling America of his own period, while revealing him, for the first time, as our contemporary.” Robert D. Richardson was awe-struck: “With the possible exception of Herman Melville, no one has ever understood the grand tragic Shakespearian nature of Nathaniel Hawthorne's life and work as well as Brenda Wineapple. Her brilliant, powerful, nervy, unsettling and riveting book is authoritatively researched and beautifully written; it has itself the dark mesmeric power of a Hawthorne story.” And so the quotations go, down to Jamie Spencer’s: “Wineapple is a splendid stylist and a master of concision. She can capture an entire personality and life in a brief paragraph. She can define a complex amatory relationship in a sentence. Her eloquent hands bring Hawthorne vividly alive for us.” I hate it when I disagree with experts, as I frequently do with the idolators of James Wood, and I hate it when I think back to the 1840s when there was in the reviewing coteries of Manhattan something then known as the Mutual Admiration Society, and, having thought back, look askance at modern reviewing in such revered organs as the New York TIMES, the NATION, the NEW YORKER, the NEW REPUBLIC, and THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS. I know something of Hawthorne and more of Melville, and I find only one reviewer who has been honest about Wineapple, Denis Donoghue, and only in an organ far distant from Manhattan, the Los Angeles TIMES. He found that Wineapple’s prose frequently lapsed into “the style of romantic fiction” and quoted examples of vulgarities of language. I stayed away from Wineapple’s biography of Hawthorne for years because I was so shocked by her quite savage dismissal of my biography of Melville as a companion to Edmund Morris’s DUTCH, as dishonest as any review I have ever seen, but I mustered my declining forces and read it, starting with the passages on Herman Melville, where I feel most secure, even if I am secure only in my fantasy, as Wineapple declared. In HAWTHORNE: A LIFE Wineapple is nowhere near as contemptuous of me: it is as if after having knocked me out of contention for a Pulitzer in a popular magazine she had blocked the whole review from her mind and assumed no one would remember it. [It strikes me that Wineapple's behavior is like Andrew Delbanco's saying in 2002 in the NEW REPUBLIC that I could not be trusted anywhere because I made up THE ISLE OF THE CROSS and POEMS then in his 2005 book casually mentioning the existence of THE ISLE OF THE CROSS and POEMS, but not bringing up his having so vehemently challenged their existence in 2002. To savagely review my biography in 2002 was to write for the eyes of the Pulitzer judges, of course. In 1997 the Pulitzer jury reported that the first volume of my biography of Herman Melville contained "great passages of exciting writing." My biography would "be the one that scholars and Melville fans will be reading and referring to for the next fifty years. . . . This biography is a stunning achievement." Wineapple, Richard H. Brodhead, and Delbanco knew that I had been a finalist in 1997 and could not risk the next jury feeling the same way the 1997 jury had felt. What if there were no misery memoir like ANGELA'S ASHES to captivate the jury by its brevity, as one of the judges later confessed?--A misery memoir marketed honestly in the UK and Ireland as fiction, by the way, as Trevor Butterworth reported.] I am horrified, utterly appalled at the casualness of Wineapple's telling about Hawthorne and Melville, for casualness slides quickly into carelessness. One passage I have mentioned in another post and call attention to it here because I simply cannot understand how any of her admirers failed to alert her to a gaff so humiliating that it should send her out of the field of biography forever. I am talking about lambs. Appallingly, all but unbelievably, Wineapple misquoted what Melville wrote Hawthorne three or four days or so after their farewell meeting in Lenox at the Wilson (later Curtis) Hotel in mid November 1851 This was in response to Hawthorne’s letter which, from the evidence, praised MOBY-DICK—praised it very highly, maybe even extravagantly. According to Wineapple, Melville professed in the aftermath of reading Hawthorne’s praise to "feel spotless as a lamb." We are dependent upon Rose Hawthorne Lathrop's transcription, but this daughter of Hawthorne's knew a Biblical reference when she saw one. Melville felt then, after reading Hawthorne's letter, anyone who knows the Bible or falteringly consults a biblical concordance would have recognized, as spotless as Jesus, the Lamb of God. Wineapple apparently visualized Melville as the Pittsfield farmer who milked his own cow and had been around exceptionally clean sheep, if he was going to say that he felt "spotless as a lamb." Well, Melville HAD been around the Melvill farm when there were sheep, and nearby when sheep went astray, as in November 1837, when there was a notice in the Pittsfield SUN, accompanied by a woodcut of a sheep: “STRAYED From the subscriber on or about the first inst. sixteen sheep, consisting of thirteen EWES and three WETHERS marked by a crop of the left ear. Whoever shall return said Sheep, or give information where they may be found, shall be liberally rewarded. / ROBERT MELVILL.” But Melville felt as spotless as Jesus, not as bedraggled as these 13 ewes and three wethers or any other besoiled sheep he had seen in New York or Massachusetts. Think what this means: think what Wineapple missed of Melville’s religious nature and his sometimes reckless application of religious terms to mundate affairs or to his own high theological skepticism and all but instinctive belief. Baa-baa, thinks Wineapple, spotless as a lamb. Can you trust anything she says about Melville, Hawthorne, and religion? Wineapple misquoted the text of Melville’s letter so as to desecrate the Biblical meaning just as she trivialized the whole of the last encounter in the Berkshires of these two momentous men. In another post I will give some embarrassing examples of Wineapple’s casualness with fact sliding fast into carelessness and outright error. I say embarrassing. This sort of thing ought to be embarrassing to Wineapple, but I find that I am embarrassed myself, partly for Hawthorne and Melville, I suppose, and partly for the sake of the ideal of the responsible biographer, who first absorbs all that has previously been garnered reliably and then does no new harm. Not one of Wineapple’s ecstatic friends saved her from her baa-baa blunder. Not one of Wineapple’s ecstatic reviewers mentioned it. You see why I keep thinking of Duyckinck and Mathews or Mathews and Duyckinck and the Mutual Admiration Society of 1840s Manhattan.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A saying of GGGG Grandpa Boyd (one used by RLS to Henry James, later, not in dialect)

John Boyd's celebrated expression, when advised to settle a law suit, in which he was ultimately successful, is worth remembering. "I'll mak a spoon, or spile a horn."

Online there's a piece on the origin of proverbial expressions which misunderstands what "horn" was and quite misinterprets what Grandpa Boyd was saying.

He was a Scot born in Ireland who received a land grant from George III in South Carolina.

Another gay teen suicide. Alan Helms, Take Note


This is my comment on the story, one of many comments. Anyone reading this and wanting to know more can go to my name and "Live Oak, with Moss" on Google. A great disappointment of my career is that professional gay teachers of criticism and theory did not embrace the joyous, liberating poetic sequence as Whitman wrote it.

Hershel Parker
Posted on Friday, January 13, 2012

This is heartbreaking. Let me tell you my story. In the 1990s I had a kind of “institutional power” as an editor of THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. I could put texts into classrooms. I realized that Walt Whitman’s “Live Oak, with Moss” was an unknown sequence for which a complete manuscript survived. It told a story of homosexual love, fulfillment of that love, then loss of that love and a final regrouping and going on. It was almost a gay manifesto, and almost unknown, never before anthologized. I learned in the next years of young gay students who felt comforted and encouraged by the poem. It became a standard anthology piece. Now, what is the problem? I was attacked not by rabid homophobes who did not want Whitman to be outed as gay but by professional queer theory people who would not read what Whitman wrote. Instead, they derived a text the poems as they appeared in CALAMUS, where he had deliberately separated the sequence and put them, slightly altered, in places where you could not see the open love story. And because one little revision for CALAMUS mentioned the disapproval of the world these critics and theorists used their fabricated version of the sequence to drum into readers the idea that the sequence was about homosexual repression. Why would gays want students to see something negative instead of what Whitman wrote, which was joyous and life affirming, even after the loss of the first lover? You can look on Google for texts and discussions. My point here is that every gay person has an obligation to seize on whatever great literature is legitimately life-affirming and let young people cherish it and be nourished by it. Don’t let the professional controllers deny what is simple and brave and life-affirming.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Version of the Leyda Wand, the Review-hunting tool

Monteiro and I, and Winslow, and Norsworthy and Broderick, mainly, have found reviews since THE CHECKLIST OF MELVILLE REVIEWS, so you won't always know what has been discovered already, but someone may want this handy hunting tool when going into libraries.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hershel Parker: the start of the "I'm so old" list

I'm so old I kissed Mae West while she was still alive.

I'm so old the only time Dan Rather read my name aloud was on the radio.

I'm so old I remember when Southern Baptists believed in separation of church and state.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Orneriness, Stubbornness, Bullheadedness--Is there a Theme here?

A story about GGGG Grandpa Leonard Coker in Boone Co. Arkansas:
"Len Coker who lived at the mouth of Bear Creek, went up the creek looking for a live buffalo calf to capture and take home with him. He found a sizable herd but the cow was not happy with him taking her calf. The calf kicked and bleated. The mother came charging and snorting. She scattered the dogs and Coker rolled into a hole under the roots of a large sycamore tree. He finally had to turn loose of the calf and when he did its mother soon left with her offspring."

[Cephas is not one of the Bell cousins but a Costner cousin]
Cousin Cephas Bell, CSA, grandson of Uncle Thomas Costner, King's Mountain patriot
Cousin L. M. Hoffman tells this story about Cephas Bell, a Confederate soldier in the 28th North Carolina Regiment:
“His comrades say of him that he was not unusually bright but that he was unusually brave. On one occasion his command was ordered to charge the enemy entrenched on a hill. The Federals scattered in confusion and Bell leading in the rush did not notice that his command had halted in the enemy’s abandoned position but went on after an officer in the rear of the rout. He overtook his man and ordered him to surrender. The officer said he couldn’t surrender except to an officer. Bell swore at him and said he’d blow out his d----d brains if he didn’t surrender quick . . . . He took his prisoner back and meeting some officers as he approached headquarters they told him they’d take the prisoner. He said, ‘No you won’t; if you want to go get you one, there’s plenty of them over there [pointing in the direction the enemy had gone]. You shall not have mine.’”

Cousin Ed Tucker's Orneriness after the Civil War
Edward Tucker . . . was called upon by Chief McCurtain and his Lighthorse and told to pay or get out. To this demand Tucker replied,"You take your d--n Lighthorse and get away from here. I will not be run over any more by you. You robbed me of all I had during the War, and you are not going to rob me again. I had rather you would kill me, if you must, than to submit to your authority. If you are determined to put me out or kill me, I only ask that you kill me right here in the front yard where I can be decently buried."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

American Lives--an Ireland-born King's Mountain veteran who went with Lewis and Clark

REMARKABLE LIFE--A veteran of King's Mountain who went with Lewis and Clark. On the Wide Missouri, did he tell about the death of Ferguson? How many of the King's Mountain men who survived to collect the 1832 pensions had remarkable afterlives, after that 60 minutes in October 1780 which changed the course of the Revolution?

State of Missouri, County of Miller

On this the 29th day of February 1838, personally appeared in open court before
the circuit court of the County of Miller now sitting, John Scott, a resident of the county
aforesaid State aforesaid, who being first duly sworn according to Law, doth on his oath
make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress
passed June 7th, 1832. That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated.

This applicant states that he volunteered as a private soldier in the militia in the
year 1776 in Fairfield District South Carolina; that he was commanded by Francis
Marion, as colonel, John James, major, and Peter Horry, Captain. That he marched from
Winnsboro in Fairfield District South Carolina to Sullivan's Island (between 12 and 15
miles from Charleston) and was engaged in the battle that was fought in June, 1776,
under the command of William Moultrie. The British were commanded by Sir Peter
Parker, and this applicant thinks the fleet consisted of 26 or 28 vessels. He remained
there two or three weeks and returned to Charleston, where the troops commenced
scouring the country between the Pee Dee [Pedee] and Santee [Rivers], cutting off the
Tory parties. The applicant remained under Captain Horry until Horry was promoted in
which he thinks was the year 1778 or 1779. In 1779 or 1780, this applicant was elected
Lieutenant of a volunteer rifle Corps -- there was no Captain, the company consisting of
only 30 or 32 men. His commission was signed by the Colonel. This applicant marched
with his men to Purysburg and they are joined General Lincoln's Army [Benjamin
Lincoln] and proceeded thence to Savannah in the year 1780 or 1781. They there made
the attack on the port of Savannah in possession of the British; the South Carolina militia under Lincoln and the French fleet commanded by D'Estaing; the Americans were
defeated and retreated to South Carolina. Thence continued scouring the country,
keeping the Tories and refugees under. The general rendezvous was at Snow Island --
sullied out frequently from that place, and among their excursions followed Colonel
Watson, under the command of Marion -- got to Sand Pit Bridge of about 20 miles from
Georgetown. They are this applicant was stationed with 32 rifleman, near the bridge,
with orders to fire up when the enemy advanced, but retreated, being outflanked. The
next general battle which this applicant was present at was at Eutaw Springs, where he
commanded his riflemen on the extreme right of Lee's Legion. The British commander
was Stewart. General Greene commanded the Americans. After that battle, part of our
officers went on to Georgetown. This applicant under command of Colonel James
Williams[went]to King's Mountain. Col. Lacey William Campbell commanded the Americans—forgot the day but recollects that Col. Williams[James Williams]was killed & Col. Ferguson[Patrick Ferguson]. After that battle, the applicant marched between thePeeDee and Santee [Rivers] to Snow's Island and theyare remained scouring the countrywith short furloughs not exceeding several days. Several skirmishes took place, until spring of 1783, when this applicant was discharged. This applicant had thus served six years during about threeof which he acted as Lieutenant.

This applicant further states, in reply to interrogatories propounded by the court,
that he was born in Antrim County, Ireland in the That he landed in Charleston
South Carolina in the year 1770, and lived in Fairfield District South Carolina until he volunteered. After the close of the war this applicant lived in Williamsburg and Fairfield districts in South Carolina until the year 1791 when he removed to Baldwin County Georgia where he lived 10 ears. Thence he removed to Carver County Tennessee, and lived there about two years. Thence he moved to Wythe County Virginia where he lived about three years, and thence to Botetourt County Virginia where he lived 14 years. From Botetourt County Virginia he joined Lewis and Clarke and accompanied them and theyare expedition across the Rocky Mountains where he was about over two years and returned to Botetourt. After this he removed to Highland County in Ohio, where he lived about a year and a half and moved to Illinois and from thence went to Texas in 1832 and returned a year ago. He now lives in Miller County Missouri.

This applicant further states that he received a commission from Colonel Francis Marion, but took no care of it and has lost it. He further states that he has no documentary evidence and those of no person who can prove his having been in the service.

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the
present and declares that his name is not on the Pension Roll of the Agency of any State.

Sworn to & Subscribed the day & year aforesaid.

S/ John Scott
[Andrew Bilyen,a clergyman, and Jacob Wimmar gave the standard supporting affidavit.]

[fn p. 56]

An Amended Declaration

In order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed the 7th of June 1832

State of Illinois County of White: SSOn this 21st day of October 1841 personally appeared before me James Ratcliff Probate
Justice of the peace in andfor the County aforesaid John Scott aged eighty-six or seven years and made oath in due form of law that in addition to the services rendered by him in
the Revolutionary Waras set forth in a declaration made by him in Miller County Missouri in May 1837 or 1838 he served 449 days in Captain Brown's Company General Marion's Brigade from the 1st of December 1780to the 16th of December 1782
alternately and he also served as a private horseman 40 days in Captain Green's Troop

General Marion's Brigade in 1782 and further this deponent sayeth not except that he
served from first to last in the Revolutionary War six years or more under many different
officers – and he gives as a reason why his service under the above captains was not set
forth in his former declaration that it was written in the midst of much confusion being
done in a store house where there was fiddling and dancing going on in the house and
quarreling and fighting out of doors so that much may have been omitted in that
declaration which might have been of service to him if set forth.

Sworn to and subscribed on the day and year above written.

S/ John Scott

[fn pp 16 and 17: certificate from the South Carolina Comptroller showing indents
playable to a John Scott and for militia service one as a private horseman in the militia in
1782; another for 40 days duty as a private horseman in Captain Green's Troop of general
Marion's brigade in 1782; another for 449 days service as a private in Captain Brown's
company of general Marion's brigade from December 1, 1780 to December 16 1782.]

Outlaws remembered by one of the Glenn-Tucker cousins in the Choctaw Nation about 1887

I went to school as did others in a shirt that reached below the knees. The length of it did away with the need of trousers to go over it. When I was about ten years of age, our family was at dinner one day; we heard someone hail us from our yard. We went to the door. There on horses that had fancy saddles with trimmings, dressed very neat and nice, sat Jesse and Frank James and the Younger boys. They needed corn. Father asked 50 cents a bushel for the corn. The outlaws paid him $1.00 a bushel. The South Canadian ferry happened to be out at that time; the stream was quite swollen, however, this didn't slow the outlaws down any.

Tombstone--Amanda Tucker Coker

Born somewhere in Tennessee in 1832, died in McAlester, OK, in 1912.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Call for photos of descendants of John Andrew Jackson Costner and Nancy Ann Stewart Costner

I was so struck by the picture of John Mathis, a second cousin I had not heard of, that I want to keep a running file of pictures of descendants, divided by generations. James Head has photos of all the Costner-Stewart children and I trust will let me have copies.

Known cousins, unknown Internet cousins, please respond by comments on this blog.

2nd Cousin John Mathis, grandson of Ada Costner Mathis

This photo is contributed by a previously unknown second cousin once removed, daughter of John Mathis.

Clay Costner is a grandson of Ada's brother, Edgar Lugene Costner.

Clay Costner and I are first cousins and both are 2nd cousin of John Mathis; so is Bill Costner. How many more 2nd cousins, great grandsons of John Andrew Jackson Costner?