Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Forgotten "Forgotten War" and A Bunch of Dead People

Saturday the Fife clan traveled to Frankfort for "Muster on the Kentucky: A Bicentennial Commemoration of Kentucky's Role in the War of 1812."  I can safely exclaim that we made more of an effort than most Kentuckians (we got up at 5am to get there on time) as we were only some of  piddlin' few who turned out for the event . . . which is counter to Kentucky's actual effort in the War of 1812.  Let these stats wash over you . . . 
  • 67% of all white men of military age in Kentucky served
  • Kentuckians made up less than 5% of of total American soldiers, however 64% of those who were killed were from Kentucky (there were 1,876 Americans killed in the War of 1812, and 1,200 of those were from Kentucky)
Above, Dudeboy is standing with Private William Greathouse (a character from Kentucky Chautauqua).   
There was supposed to be a living history encampment of War of 1812 soldiers, but they apparently packed-up and left before we could visit with them.  Dudeboy was a little bummed, so we went to the Frankfort Cemetery to visit the gravesite of War of 1812 hero and Vice-President Richard Mentor Johnson.

 "Rumpsey Dumpsey, Rumpsey Dumpsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh"

While there, we visited a few more gravesites including Theodore O'Hara . . . famous for the poem "The Bivouac of the Dead," which you will find posted at National Cemeteries.

Presley O'Bannon . . . famed for his exploits in the Barbary Coast War.  He was the first person to raise the American flag over foreign soil.

William Goebel's famous last words . . . "Tell my friends to be brave, fearless, and loyal to the common people."  Or, according to Irvin S. Cobb, "Doc, that was a damned bad oyster."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sujung 2

Reaching the rank of First Degree Black Belt Sujung 2 was the original goal Dudeboy set for himself . . . congratulations for achieving that goal.

With his instructor Mr. Black

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Last of the Reelfoot Lake Trip

The boyhood home of Carl Perkins in Tiptonville, Tn.
He hollered, "Rave on children, I'm with ya! 
Rave on, cats," he cried. 
"It's almost dawn, the cops are gone. 
Let's all get Dixie fried."

An abandoned shack located in the vicinity of Fishhead's cabin in Irvin S. Cobb's 1911 short story "Fishhead." 

"His cabin stood just below the State line, where Mud Slough runs into the lake. It was a shack of logs, the only human habitation for four miles up or down."

"Here Fishhead had lived, and here he was going to die. The Baxters were going to kill him, and this day in late summer was to be the time of the killing."

Walnut Log is the place where Fishhead had his initial encounter with the Baxter brothers:
Meeting Fishhead one day, in the spring on the spindly scaffolding of the skiff landing at Walnut Log, and being themselves far overtaken in liquor and vainglorious with a bogus alcoholic substitute for courage, the brothers had accused him, wantonly and without proof, of running their trout-line and stripping it of the hooked catch -- an unforgivable sin among the water dwellers and the shanty boaters of the South.   Seeing that he bore this accusation in silence, only eyeing them steadfastly, they had been emboldened then to slap his face, whereupon he turned and gave them both the beating of their lives -- bloodying their noses and bruising their lips with hard blows against their front teeth, and finally leaving them, mauled and prone, in the dirt. 
The Kentucky Bend (or New Madrid Bend) . . . located in the extreme southwestern part of Fulton County and Kentucky.  It is separated from the rest of Kentucky because of a meander in the Mississippi River.  

The Kentucky Bend is also known as Madrid Bend, New Madrid Bend, Bessie Bend, and to some as Bubbleland.  The tree line in the distance is the Mississippi River.  

The monument for the Battle of Island Number Ten located on State 22, about three miles north of Tiptonville.

The monument for John Luther "Casey" Jones in Cayce, Kentucky.  I have always understood that he was from Fulton County (his entry in the Kentucky Encyclopedia corroborates this).  However, many other sources (The Straight Dope, The Encyclopedia Britannica, etc) state he was born in southeastern Missouri and then moved to Cayce, Kentucky as a small boy, where he acquired his nickname, albeit misspelled.  This is something I am gonna have to look into . . .

Camp Beauregard, in Graves County, was a CSA military camp from September 1861 to March of 1862 which served over 5000 troops.  However, diseases ran rampant, killing up 1,500 men. 

The United Daughters of the Confederacy placed this monument in honor of those who "were denied the glory of heroic service in battle."

Of course, reports are widespread that the place is haunted . . . 
My personal experience with the area includes seeing lights dance on some of the headstones, and seeing various dark figures running through the graves only to vanish. There is also a black, beast like figure that will chase you in an attempt to make you leave. On a night that a friend and I went out there, I believe it followed us for several miles before flooding the car with an overwhelming scent of cinnamon and then vanishing.
and . . .
We also experiece seeing a shadow walk by & disappear. We also seen what looked like clear Christmas lights. My friend was looking for a certain individual buried there, said the individual`s name & asked he was at. When she did that she heard a voice hatefully saying `what do you want?!` When we seen what looked like Christmas light, we left & sped out of there. We also smelt the scent of cinnamon until we got a few miles away. My friend later told me that she heard a voice whisper `don`t go back.`
The only disturbing thing I encountered while there was a pair of stained underwear laying on the ground.

Historical marker for CSA sniper Jack Hinson. Hinson was neutral at the beginning of the war, however after two of his sons were killed and beheaded (their heads place upon the gateposts to Hinson's home) by Union soldiers, Hinson waged a one man vendetta against the Union forces in the Land Between the Lakes region.  A marksman with considerable skill he "used a one of a kind custom made 50 caliber long-range 41-inch barrel Kentucky Long Rifle that weighed 18 pounds to target Union soldiers more than a half-mile away on land, transports, and gunboats along the Tennessee River and the Cumberland River, killing as many as a hundred."  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Reelfoot Lake

Dawn at Reelfoot Lake . . . 

Day at Reelfoot Lake . . . 

Sunset at Reelfoot Lake . . .


Monday, June 11, 2012

Old Mulkey Revisited

Last year Dudeboy and I visited the Old Mulkey Meeting House State Historic Site for an encampment of the 9th Kentucky, U.S. celebrating the formation of the unit.  Much of the 9th Kentucky was recruited at nearby Camp Anderson.  Well, what a difference a year makes (actually less than), for this year we were not spectators, but we were participants, as we now belong to the 9th Kentucky reenactment group.  Over the weekend there were several demos, an encampment, a church service conducted by the 9th Ky. Chaplin, and we did a three volley salute at the Old Soldiers Cemetery in Tompkinsville (several members of the original 9th are buried in this cemetery).

On the way home, we stopped by the grave-site of  Dudeboy's gr-gr-gr grandfather Top Simmons.  Top was in Co.K of the 9th Ky.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"The Strange Procession Which Never Moves"

This past weekend Uncle Vic and I were invited to give a talk in Murray about the natural arches of Kentucky.  We decided to make a trip of it.  Dudeboy and Dr. J joined us as we scampered around much of the Jackson Purchase area.  Our first stop was the Wooldridge Monuments ("The Strange Procession Which Never Moves") in Mayfield, Ky.

The monuments had been severely damaged back in 2009 during an ice storm when a large 300 year old oak tree fell and toppled most of the monuments.  Fortunately, the good people of Mayfield saw fit to have them restored . . . at a cost of about $80,000.  Apparently FEMA shouldered about 75% of the costs.

Located in Maplewood Cemetery in Mayfield, Kentucky, the monuments were the brainchild of Colonel Henry G. Wooldridge.  The monuments represent those who were important to Wooldridge . . . be it family or animal (his two favorite hunting dogs . . . Toe-head and Bob, along with his horse and a deer and a fox.  The Colonel is the only one actually buried at the site.

There are 18 monuments with two them representing the Colonel . . . one of which is a marble statue that was made in Italy, and the other depicting him atop his horse Fop.

"The Strange Procession Which Never Moves"

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Ham in Hamlet

Over this past semester Dudeboy has been participating with several other home-schoolers in a class devoted to the study of Shakespeare's Hamlet.  The kids read the play in full.  They watched, and discussed several filmed productions.  Dudeboy wrote a paper analyzing Kenneth Branaugh's Hamlet.  And they memorized several scenes.  All of which culminated in a short production of snippets of the play.  It is probably unnecessary to relate that Dudeboy thoroughly enjoyed the class.  Above . . . Dudeboy as Fortinbras, who reigns supreme at the end of the play (mostly because everyone else is dead).