Friday, September 26, 2008

Civil War and more Civil War

This entry is about two separate “fun-day” trips.

On September 13th, Merkin and I went to the Hart County Civil War Days. First we walked around the arts and crafts fair, where we met Robert E. Lee. I really don’t know why he was at Munfordville. He wasn’t even at the original Battle of Munfordville. We then saw Davis and Lincoln debate. It is funny because they never really met. Next, we went to the re-enactment of the Battle of Munfordville, aka Battle for the Bridge. First off, there was this narrator named Rebel Rick. He talked through the whole thing. And when the battle began, he said “Here comes a cavalry charge!” and it was only one man on a horse. The re-enactment ended for the day without a winner. Rebel Rick said “Come tomorrow to see who wins,” but we had had enough of Rebel Rick.
This past Friday, we went to Lexington to tour the Hunt-Morgan House. Both John Hunt Morgan and Thomas Hunt Morgan lived there. Thomas was John’s nephew. He was the first geneticist to win the Nobel Prize. John Hunt Morgan was called the Thunderbolt of the Confederacy. There is a neat story about Morgan and this house. There was a Union encampment around the house. One day he rode up to the big front doors and the servants opened them. He rode into the house on his horse, kissed his mother and then rode out the back door. We also saw the John C. Breckinridge Memorial and the Morgan Memorial on the town square. John Hunt Morgan rode a mare named Black Bess. The person who made the statue thought a General that great should be riding a stallion instead, so he put testicles on the horse. And for pranks, teenagers and UK students would paint the balls blue and white. We then went to the Lexington National Cemetery, where we saw the graves of Morgan, Basil Duke and Breckinridge. On the way to Tracy’s we stopped in Frankfort to see Daniel Boone’s grave. Check back next week . . . I am heading to Fort Boonesborough!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Walk Through the Gap

This is the forth and last entry for our trip to the tri-state area.

Monday we went to Harrogate, Tennessee to see the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University. It is one of the largest Lincoln collections in the country. There are hundreds of civil war items. I especially liked the dioramas. I got to put on yankee and rebel uniforms. There was a tree from the battlefield of Chattanooga that had been shot several times and the tree grew around the lodged cannon balls and shrapnel. There was a life casting of Lincoln’s face and hands. I got an Abe beard and a top-hat. You should go there! Next we went to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. We hiked through the gap and on part of the original Wilderness Road. Some of the trail looked like it did when Boone went through there. We then drove up to the Pinnacle Overlook. You could see for hundreds of miles. There are a couple of civil war batteries up there. This is where men from both sides waited for a battle that never came. This trip wore me out, but it was worth it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blood of Boone

This is the third entry for our trip to the tri-state area.

Sunday we headed to Virginia. Our first stop was Natural Tunnel State Park. There was a book signing at the natural tunnel. The book is called Natural Tunnel: Nature’s Marvel in Stone. We bought a copy from the author who signed it for me. There is a train track that runs through the natural tunnel, and it is still used today by trains for coal mines. No trains came by when we were there. The natural tunnel is at the bottom of a big cliff. Are you wondering how we got down to the bottom to the natural tunnel? We rode a chairlift! I was afraid Merkin was going to drop his camera. We also hiked up to the highest point called Lover’s Leap. It was a great view. Next we headed to Wilderness Road State Park. It is a recreation of Martin’s Station which was the last outpost before you entered the Kentucky wilderness. There was a private who greeted us and gave me a piece of paper that said “five schillings.” He said that I might be needing this to purchase land in Kentucky. Inside the fort a man came up to me and asked if I wanted to do land business and he turned out to be . . . Daniel Boone! When he found out that I was related to his sister Hanna Boone Pennington, he was very pleased to meet a relative and he gave back the five schillings. He said that he would pay for 100 acres in Kentucky for me with his own money! I was so excited I could not even say a word. It turns out that this Daniel Boone was the actor in the films at both the Wilderness Road State Park and Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. The next entry will be the last for this trip.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Johnson, Morgan and Fife Bible

This is the second entry for our trip to the tri-state area.

Saturday we went to Greeneville, Tennessee, which was the capitol of the State of Franklin from 1785 to 1788. First we went to the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site. Andrew Johnson was first a tailor. Then he became Governor of Tennessee. And then he became vice-president under Lincoln and when Lincoln was assassinated Johnson became president. Andrew Johnson had slaves, but he freed them. A couple of them stayed on as hired help. He was the first president to be impeached (he was later acquitted). We toured a couple of his homes and his burial monument. Later we toured the Dickson-Williams Mansion, where John Hunt Morgan was shot and killed. The tour guide let us do things that other people couldn’t, like go behind the chains and into off-limit rooms, have a treasure hunt, hold a Tennessee long rifle and put on Morgan’s coat (a replica). The guide told this story of how Morgan was killed . . . There was a man who was forced to join the Confederacy and then got captured by the Union (who gave him the option of jail or joining . . . He chose joining). Even though he was a Union soldier now, he still had on his butternuts. When Morgan heard the clip clop of horse’s hoofs, while still in his nightshirt and slippers, he grabbed his two pistols and a pair of yankee cavalry pants. He ran outside and the Union troops did not know who he was. Morgan aimed and fired, but the guns didn’t go off. The guns misfired a second and third time. The Union soldier in the butternuts rode up and shot Morgan (Morgan had thought the soldier was a confederate). We went to the spot where he was supposedly killed. Then we met up with Pa, Bud, Vic and Scott at a distant relative’s house who has the Fife family bible. The bible was from 1811 and had Commodore Perry Fife’s name listed in it with all of his brothers and sisters. It was a real piece of history. Check back soon for part three of the trip.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

King of the wild frontier!

This entry will be split into at least four parts over the next few days.

Merkin and I just got back from a long trip to the area where Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia meet. The main reason for the trip was to see the Fife family bible. It has Commodore Perry Fife’s name in it. Thursday we went to spend the night with Pee and Charlie Dog at Whippoorwill Hill. Friday morning we heard Gert crow. Then we heard all of the other chickens making noise because they were laying eggs. I got to go get the eggs. Later Charlie Dog and I went for a walk along the road, and we came to a place where Skunk Apes cross, but we didn’t see one. We went by two more places and then Shaka turned around. We walked back towards the first crossing and Shaka’s ears perked up. Charlie Dog yelled “Skunk Ape!” We all started running and I didn‘t stop until I got back to the house. After saying goodbye to Pee and Charlie Dog, we drove to Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park. We set up our tent and toured the museum and looked at the reconstruction of the cabin he was born in. We also drove to Jonesborough, which is the oldest town in Tennessee. We walked all over the historic downtown. This is the end of part one of our trip. Come back in a couple of days for the next entry.