Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Marine Varnish for the Wood, Yet Again--Brave Painters Who Will Walk on That Storied Plank


P. S. Dictionary

The photograph reminds me that while I go to Google for definitions every day I also go to a serious dictionary every day. Google is good for 2014 but a dictionary is no good for research unless it is older than you are.

Protesting against Boston-Centered Histories of the American Revolution


My posting about Cousin David Dellinger yesterday reminded me of my disgust at Gordon S. Wood's THE RADICALISM OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, admittedly "old" by present standards (1992) but representative still of the arrogant ignorance New England historians have almost always shown toward the South, and in particular North Carolina. I am ridding myself of my Melville books, this year, I hope, and enjoying learning about the Revolution in the Carolinas. There is, in fact, a flourishing industry on that topic. Here are some of my recently purchased books acquired for "ORNERY PEOPLE: WHAT WERE THE DEPRESSION OKIES?"--all of them already looked through, some pretty carefully.






Oh, there are more, the really outsized books.

CAME 30 December 2014: FROM YALE TO JAIL: THE LIFE STORY OF A MORAL DISSENTER. Dust jacket intact, but (unmentioned by seller) water stained throughout. Readable, but I wanted a good copy after finding we are Dellinger cousins. So like all other Yankees he thought the Revolution began and ended in Boston. His mother's mother "was a leader in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

He went on: "My father's ancestors were also pre-Revolutionary Americans, but they lived in the mountains of North Carolina instead of in a suburb of Boston. Boston was the Fountainhead of the American Revolution and the Center of Modern Enlightenment. The leading Boston paper called it the 'Athens of America' and the 'Hub of the Universe.'"

He did not know. Like my folks, his father did not know about his Revolutionary ancestors. I will bet he did not know about the Association which my Uncle John Dellinger and Uncle or Cousin George Dellinger signed in August 1775 in Tryon County. These men put their lives and fortunes on the line a year before the Declaration of Independence.




http://allthingsliberty.com/2014/08/the-tryon-county-patriots-of-1775-and-their-association/
That's my article in the webzine JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. In one of the endnotes I talk about how history is still written by the North.

Henry Dellinger, the estate files show, helped his sister, my GGGG Grandmother, settle her husband's estate even though Peter Costner died at Ramseur's Mill thinking he was there to stand for his German king, we believe, although he may just have been confused since his brother Jacob signed the Association too and his brother Tom Costner fought on the right side at King's Mountain. 

The South forgot and the North took advantage of our ignorance.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cousin David Dellinger Read Only Northern Historians of the Revolution

CAME Today: FROM YALE TO JAIL: THE LIFE STORY OF A MORAL DISSENTER. Dust jacket intact, but (unmentioned by seller) water stained throughout. Readable, but I wanted a good copy after finding we are Dellinger cousins. So like all other Yankees he thought the Revolution began and ended in Boston. His mother's mother "was a leader in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

He went on: "My father's ancestors were also pre-Revolutionary Americans, but they lived in the mountains of North Carolina instead of in a suburb of Boston. Boston was the Fountainhead of the American Revolution and the Center of Modern Enlightenment. The leading Boston paper called it the 'Athens of America' and the 'Hub of the Universe.'"

He did not know. Like my folks, his father did not know about his Revolutionary ancestors. I will bet he did not know about the Association which my Uncle John Dellinger and Uncle or Cousin George Dellinger signed in August 1775 in Tryon County. These men put their lives and fortunes on the line a year before the Declaration of Independence.



http://allthingsliberty.com/2014/08/the-tryon-county-patriots-of-1775-and-their-association/

That's my article in the webzine JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. In one of the endnotes I talk about how history is still written by the North.

Henry Dellinger, the estate files show, helped his sister, my GGGG Grandmother, settle her husband's estate even though Peter Costner died at Ramseur's Mill thinking he was there to stand for his German king, we believe, although he may just have been confused since his brother Jacob signed the Association too and his brother Tom Costner fought on the right side at King's Mountain. 

The South forgot and the North took advantage of our ignorance.

The Life Story of an Intellectual Dissenter? The Life Story of an Aesthetic Dissenter?

What an interesting cousin to have.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Normally I say don't talk about what is in the genes--talk about family attitudes instead

But today I am thinking about how so many of us take great risks with our careers and our lives and often pay the price for doing so.

David Dellinger. Who would have thought?

Did David Dellinger know John Dellinger signed the Tryon County ASSOCIATION?



I wrote about my Uncle John Dellinger last August in the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. Did David Dellinger know of this brave man?

http://allthingsliberty.com/2014/08/the-tryon-county-patriots-of-1775-and-their-association/

I'm reveling for half an hour at finding that David Dellinger kept up the family tradition of defying corrupt systems.

David Dellinger--A Famous Cousin! I was so ignorant of ancestry back in the 60s! Mississippi Cousins take note.

This is from Andrew E. Hunt's DAVID DELLINGER.
Johannes Phillip Dellinger in this quotation is my GGGGG Grandfather. How fine to be a cousin of David Dellinger as well as the operator of the oldest living grist mill in the mountains of Western NC!
I'm closer kin to Kevin Costner, who is also kin to David Dellinger, I realize--but how very nice to be kin to someone so heroic.

Friday, December 19, 2014

People you miss--Sendak


19 December 2004 Walked on Montana de Oro Bluffs with Roger Payne and Lisa Harrow

19 December 1994 LANDENBERG printed 800 + pages of Melville biography at Smith in the form of 39 chapters.
19 December 1984 WILMINGTON got check for West 16th Street house
19 December 1974 LOS ANGELES taught Maggie and worked on Norton Anthology fns for HDT

19 December 2014 MORRO BAY worked on piece about David Fanning for the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Teresa A. Sullivan Does Not Want to Focus on Punishing False Accusers?

In an interview Tuesday, U-Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said her administration will continue to cooperate with authorities to investigate the case; she wants the university community to focus on prevention of sexual assault.

Means something to me--flag I had on the last time I kissed any part of Mae West's living body

What will happen to it when my treasures are junked?

Teresa Sullivan (the "Systemic Problem") still should resign.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Teresa Sullivan: A "Systemic Problem" that Should be Rooted Out

The only honorable thing for Teresa Sullivan to do is to resign.
 
Here it is the 11th and she has still not resigned and every time she tries to imitate Richard Brodhead's non-apology apology she digs herself in deeper.
 
A Systemic Problem!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Teresa Sullivan should have resigned long ago.

Bill Anderson on Teresa Sullivan:

It does not surprise me to see people at UVA swallowing a nonsensical story, given that UVA is an “elite” institution and it has been the “elites” that have most enthusiastically embraced the Alice-in-Wonderland thinking. Lest anyone think that sanity reigns in the administrative offices at UVA, the statement made by UVA President Teresa Sullivan after Rolling Stone retracted its story throws cold water on that notion:
Over the past two weeks, our community has been more focused than ever on one of the most difficult and critical issues facing higher education today: sexual violence on college campuses. Today’s news must not alter this focus.
We will continue to take a hard look at our practices, policies and procedures, and continue to dedicate ourselves to becoming a model institution in our educational programming, in the character of our student culture, and in our care for those who are victims.
A translation of Sullivan’s statement should be: “After our cathartic outburst at receiving the original story, we are disappointed that the story turned out to be yet another campus hoax, especially since we wanted every word to be true. However, even though it was a hoax, we will go on as though it were not so that we can continue to act like whiny adolescents who are incapable of discerning a lie from the truth. We must let nothing stand in the way of our self-righteous behavior.”

What responsible parents of a male child should do--home school him through college

Thinking of the ROLLING STONE article and all the cases of young men being denied the right to confront their accusers. . .

Surely there is a way of keeping him out of harm's way until he is 22 or so.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hershel Parker's Interview in THE BIOGRAPHER'S CRAFT (December 2014)






Parker was a 1997 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Herman Melville: A Biography, 1819-1851, the first of a two-volume work on the author.
Member Interview
Six Questions with Hershel Parker
What’s your current project and what stage is it at?
On the beach I brood daily about a short biography of Herman Melville told as a story into a speech recognition program. Meanwhile, I’ve devoted massive research to a sort of family biography in relation to episodes of American history, Ornery People:
Who Were the Depression Okies?
Which person would you like most to write about?
Melville, although I can hardly hope to discover many documents as dazzling as those I used to telephone Hayford, Sealts, and Sendak about. And now, after Bezanson, the grand old Melvilleans are all gone!
What’s your favorite biography?
James Boswell’s Life of Johnson. In the translation Melville used, Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects. My aesthetic: More is more.
One research/marketing/attitudinal tip that failed?
Maurice Sendak’s new cover pictures would boost sales, we thought. No, the pictures were ignored, even the astonishing one for the second volume, Melville behind vines.
What was your most frustrating time as a biographer?
I had to break my contract with Norton after my first volume was finished. Whole days passed before Bill Regier drove up from Johns Hopkins with cash to repay Norton’s advances and leave change left over for picture permissions. Whew!
Most satisfying?
Early in 2013 in TBC Carl Rollyson said that in Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative I was concerned “with much more than Melville.” I was “really writing a fascinating study of biography as a genre.” The 2014 Year’s Work in English Studies says that Melville Biography “is a book about biography as a genre. Whilst it is not a manual for the budding biographer, this collection of insights, which explores the difficulties of taking on such an enormous, theoretically fraught task, will serve as a useful case study to anyone wishing to engage themselves as a chronicler of literary lives.” My extensive endnotes, I said, “discuss problems in Melville biography that other biographers and theorists have confronted in their work,” so that “a reader can think critically about issues while being lured on to thoughtful works by writers such as Paula R. Backscheider, Robert D. Hume, Paul Murray Kendall, Ray Monk, Stephen B. Oates, and Barbara W. Tuchman, as well as being lured back into further reflection on my own expositions on Melville biography and historiography.” Too few biographers, I said, “have had their dicta applied, tested, and sometimes challenged by later biographers,” but Melville Biography “puts forward ideas of many biographers and theorists of biography and all sorts of life-writing in order to test them against what I have learned in working on Melville and writing my biography as well as what I have learned about autobiography and biography in writing this book.” Writing the biography was satisfying, but it is also immensely satisfying to contribute, as Year’s Work said, “to the relatively new field of biography studies.” We are in this together.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The critical issue of false accusations--Glad the Pres of UVA is addressing it!

“Over the past two weeks, our community has been more focused than ever on one of the most difficult and critical issues facing higher education today,” [Teresa] Sullivan said today in a statement. “Today’s news must not alter this focus” and students well-being remains “our top priority,” she said.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Teresa Sullivan: A "Systemic Problem" that Should be Rooted Out

The only honorable thing for Teresa Sullivan to do is to resign.

At the Local Library Today an Old Man opened his shirt to show his Sweat Shirt

He had been looking for the notorious ROLLING STONE issue, just loudly enough that I knew what he wanted. I told him not to bother finding it but to read Judith Shulevitz in the New Republic or just look online for the retraction of ROLLING STONE. Then he slowly unbuttoned his shirt to show his UVA Sweat Shirt . . . .



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Charlotte Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014--The Hornets' Nest of the Revolution--and a suggestion

They are celebrating Charlotte's role in the American Revolution including the historically valid MECKLENBURG DECLARATION. Now, why can't they produce inexpensive historical tiles so folks who can't afford to live in Charlotte with their cousins can have a little MecDec on the wall of their bathroom, the way I have Arrowhead in the middle of tiles in my little study room in a Spanish Colonial California house?
You could put some stirring prose on some of the plaques . . . .
And Captain Jack, who was kin to one of my aunt's husband . . . . There's an image to inspire.

Scott Syfert has become a Mecklenburg hero. Go Scott!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Morning: Cousin Margaret Gist as Author; 2 Parasurfers; 1 California Condor

Maybe I should round the afternoon off with SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT to keep in the mood of the morning. First, Double-Cousin Margaret Adams Gist (double because the Scots believed in keeping the blood lines pure) as author of big articles in 1930 on the "South Fork Boys" and on the work of the women of her "Kings Mountain Daughters" association. She must have known that Robert Ewart (brother of Margaret Ewart Adams) and his son and sons-in-law made up almost a tenth of the 60-odd South Fork Boys at King's Mountain.

The to the beach in a fierce South Wind (unusual) and 2 reckless Parasurfers covering miles of the water from the Rock toward Cayucos and back.

Home. Scalini demanded out on the south battlement (where the oat crop is) so I propped the door open for her and went out to check her water supply.  Biggest damn buzz---NO--

A California Condor, checking out the Rock, swooping back--oh mighty wing span--gliding very high over the hill toward Cayucos and Big Sur.

Cousin Margaret Adams Gist in Charlotte Observer 5 Oct. 1930 on King's Mountain

What a pleasant surprise to see this article. Cousin Margaret had Wm Adams's powder horn used at King's Mountain and told the story of Margaret Ewart Adams's 12 mile ride through Tory territory to get to King's Mountain the day after the battle, to see if her husband and son were alive (not to mention her Ewart brother and nephew nephews-in-law.
I have a pdf. Now to figure how to quote some of it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Words that meant something else in 1832--celebrated, troublesome

The Indians in western North Carolina were frequently troublesome, the aged veterans remembered, and David Fanning was frequently called a celebrated Tory. I finally focused on celebrated enough to see that it meant notorious, but troublesome is still, well, troubling. A whole army of aged men were not indulging in understatement, I am sure, but I don't know yet how far south on the scale of Terrifying Threat I should go. It's hard to hear when the same words don't mean the same thing today.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Uncle Tom Bicknell, Mortally Wounded at King's Mountain

I'm working away from Solomon Sparks to Rachel:
From an Internet site:
The plaque on the 1909 Kings Mountain obelisk lists Private Thomas Bicknell killed.
Thomas Bicknell was born in Amherst County Virginia to William and Rosanna Cash Bicknall. Before 1770, he and his brother Samuel had moved to Swan Creek in Rowan (divided into Surry (1770), then Washington (1776) then Wilkes (1777)) County North Carolina. In 1774, Thomas married Rachel Sparks at “the meeting place” near the forks of the Yadkin. These scant imprecise details bespeak much of the history of the settlers of the frontier.
Amherst County records the William Bicknall 1781 will. Wilkes County archives hold the last will and testament signed Thomas Bicknell but written by Burke County’s Joseph Dobson as Bignall. In 1784 Col Benjamin Cleveland ordered 12 pounds per annum with which widow Rachel Bicknel could subsist with her large family and her own industry. In Pickens District South Carolina in 1845, the clerk wrote Rachel Biecknell to which she affixed X, her mark for a federal widow’s pension. Literacy was sparse and records were scattered. We are alphabetizing with the federal archive spelling among the dozen spelling variations.
In 1763 King George proclaimed that the settlers’ water must drain to the Atlantic. His Royal governors had already granted land whose water drained to the Mississippi. Settlers without royal favor or money to buy from those favored few, lived in fear of penalty or loss of their
homesteads. In 1778, Thomas and Samuel Bicknell were able to enter their land claims on Swan Creek near Yadkin River. Under colonial rule, their farms had been unrecorded.
The Anglican church kept the official records of births, marriages, and deaths in Virginia and the Carolinas. Baptists and Presbyterians were not allowed to have churches, so Thomas and Rachel (Sparks) were married at “the meeting place.” By royal decree they were unmarried and lived in the sin of adultery. Their children were officially bastards with no proof of birth. Far away in New Bern, the royal governor seemed to care about them only to the extent that they paid their taxes.
On the second day of the new Wilkes County court on 03Mar1778 Thomas Bicknell was appointed constable, a deputy sheriff. In 1779 he was appointed as a tax collector for Captain Herndon’s district. Much of the county’s taxes went to support its militia companies. After a year of tax duty, he resigned to concentrate of military duties. Land, religious liberty, dignity, and a voice in taxes were important enough to fight for. Despite the ongoing need to tend flocks and fields and now his three children, Thomas became a soldier. Colonel Cleveland tried to keep active duty to no more than three months at a time, primarily defending against Tory Loyalists who were disrupting the Patriot organization and even their existence. Rachel and Thomas had two more children by 1780.
Rachel stated that Thomas sometimes volunteered, sometimes was drafted. His first militia duty was under Captain Richard Allen. He was a lieutenant under Allen when called to Charleston in 1780 where they helped to prevent the Tories from burning the city. Bicknell was at times called out under William Lenoir, Joseph Herndon, and/or Benjamin Cleveland. In the Kings Mountain expedition, Captain Allen stayed with the foot soldiers at Cowpens while his friend Lt. Bicknell fell in with Col John Sevier’s troops in hot pursuit of Ferguson’s soldiers.
On 07Oct1780, a one ounce lead ball to the hip grounded Thomas Bicknell during one of Sevier’s charges up the ridge at Kings Mountain. The colonels assigned two soldiers to each of the wounded. They took Thomas on a horse drawn litter where by 13Oct1780 he was invited into the home of widow Grace (Grizzee) Greenlee Bowman a few miles up the Catawba River from the old Burke County Court House. Dr. Joseph Dobson made the rounds to patriot houses to care for sixteen of the wounded from Kings Mountain. By 16Oct1780, word had reached the Yadkin River and Rachel had left her five children to come to the side of her wounded husband.
By 20Oct1780, Dr. Dobson was so pessimistic of Thomas Bicknell’s chances that he asked his patient for his last will and testament. It was witnessed by
-Joseph Dobson,
-hostess Grace Bowman, (whose husband John Bowman was mortally wounded at the battle of Ramsour’s Mill 13Jun1780)
-Pilot Mountain’s William Terrell Lewis Sr, (who had three wounded sons at Mr. Mackey’s [some say at Margaret McDowell’s] home)
-William Ragland of Wilkes County
-Gabriel Loving of Wilkes County, (Rachel Loving Siske had lost her husband Daniel Siske in the battle of Kings Mountain)
-and Samuel Bicknell, the brother of Thomas.
On the last day of 1780, Thomas Bicknell died. Rachel went home to her children. On 07May1781, a broken hearted father, William Bicknell died in Amherst County Virginia. On 15May1781 Mary Bicknell, sixth and last child of Thomas and Rachel Bicknell was born on Swan Creek in Wilkes County NC.
03Dec1845 in Pickens District SC, eighty eight year old Rachel Bicknell testified that she was living with her daughter Mary and on the charity of Mary’s husband David Roper. Her pension application was initially rejected. Her file in the federal archived suggests that 21Dec1851 attorney Thomas Lumpkin representing several Pickens area folks in DC brought enough depositions from North and South Carolina to prove that Rachel was in fact the widow of a revolutionary was soldier and she was awarded a pension. http://revwarapps.org/r12399.pdf
The plaque on the 1909 Kings Mountain obelisk lists Private Thomas Bicknell killed. If I could make a plaque at Kings Mountain, it would contain Lt. Thomas Bicknell, here mortally wounded, died 31Dec1780 in the arms of his wife Rachel Sparks Bicknell at the home of widow Grace Greenlee Bowman on the Catawba in Burke County. The tears of two brave patriot ladies accompanied him to his grave.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Solomon Sparks "a celebrated Tory"--Just as David Fanning was "a celebrated Tory"

 I should have said that "celebrated" was commonly used to mean "notorious." It was used frequently of the murderous David Fanning. I suspect that Grandpa Sparks had spoken his mind loudly but had not done bodily harm to anyone. If he was beaten after being lifted from the canoe, he was not killed, for a couple of records indicate that he survived the Revolution. Some of his sons were Patriots. It was generational, that war, as well as what we think of as a civil war, and a particularly familial civil war at that.

I assume George Parks is not one of my Parkses, but maybe.
Solomon Sparks, my GGGGGG Grandfather, was born around 1725 in Maryland and during the Revolution lived on land partly in Wilkes and partly in Surry Counties, North Carolina. The younger Sparks men were Whigs, but Grandpa was Ornery. Tricked by an appeal to his neighborliness, then assaulted, the old man (fifty-odd was old) fought back, kicking young George Parks--34 years younger than Grandpa--and even when bound hand and foot in the canoe he shout out, "Hurra for King George." What a man! I wish I had inherited just a smidgeon of his DNA.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Skip Gates in 2014 on Racial Fluidity and the Dogmatic NEH in 1996

Watching Skip Gate's final (and maybe best) show of the season Tuesday made me remember 1996. I was invited to be on an NEH panel, but in order to participate I would have been required to assert that I was of one race. I could say all Cherokee or all Choctaw, maybe, but I could not say part Cherokee and Choctaw and mainly white. I wrote a tough letter denouncing the requirement as outright racist and never got invited to work for NEH again. Five years later, ten, popular musicians were casually describing themselves as bi-racial and a few years later it was hard to find anyone in the country who claimed to be all white. I wonder what NEH's policy is now.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gates at Camden: Why I have not been blogging but instead trying to become a boy historian

  • In the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION there is this very interesting piece by Wayne Lynch from last April, "Winner or Runner: Gates at Camden." I read it last night and decided it was history from the top down because it quoted Hamilton and Jefferson but not the pension applications of the men who had served (and often fled) at Camden, South Carolina. I am so enthralled with Will Graves's and C. Leon Harris's free, searchable SOUTHERN CAMPAIGNS site, transcriptions of pension applications of aged Revolutionary veterans, mainly under the 1832 law, that I knew Lynch had given me a stay-at-home assignment to be Thankful for. I became "enthralled" (I used that word deliberately, earlier) on first looking at applications by GGGGG and GGGG Grandfathers. How could you not love a man who applied for his pension at 90, and got it? How could you not love blinking at Major Puriegood in Grandpa's application (an officer recorded nowhere else) and after much SEARCHING in the incredibly searchable site realize that whatever Grandpa said and whatever the drunken boorish scrivener thought he said, the name was Farragut, as in George, father later on of David, as several other applicants' wild attempts at spelling the name showed, once searched. Searching with someone else having done the work of transcribing--none of that burrowing all by myself on Melville for decades! This is what I used to call looking for captive textual variants. Shooting fish in a barrel: Graves and Harris have caught the fish and filled a vat as big as the Monterey aquarium. So now I have to spend a few days on how the men remember Camden. What a fate.

      What I posted on JAR last night:

    By coincidence JAR is now considering my “John Butler’s ‘Want of Good Generalship’” in which I use aged veterans’ recollections in the SOUTHERN CAMPAIGNS pension applications to try to write a piece of history from the “bottom-up,” as JD Lewis says. I was going to start writing something else, actually have an opening paragraph, but now I have to spend some time seeing what the men say about Gates at Camden. I already know they won’t say “coward,” because I have searched that word on Graves’s and Harris’s great site. The point of the Butler piece is to encourage people to use the pension applications, so I don’t have any choice. I have to look. I will come up for air in a few days, and I may not have found anything worth talking about. But I have to look.