Archive for August, 2013

The Death of Mrs. H. C. Cunningham

August 26, 2013

Sarah Alexander Cunningham’s Family Papers MS194 are at the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah. Among them is a scrapbook kept by her mother Nora Lawton, who married Henry Cumming Cunningham. However, this blog post is not about Nora, but about the 1st Mrs. H. C. Cunningham.

Death of Mrs. H. C. Cunningham.

The announcement yesterday of the death

of Mrs. H. C. Cunningham, which occurred

late on Tuesday night, was receive with gen-

eral sorrow and regret by a large circle of de-

voted friends.  Mrs. Cunningham was a

daughter of the late Hon. Richard H.

Wayne, and was a lady highly esteemed for

her many accomplishments, and her death

leaves a void in the circle in which she

moved that cannot be filled.  She leaves a

devoted husband and lovely children to

mourn her great loss.  The funeral services

will take place from Christ Church this

afternoon at 3 ½  o’clock.

(Handwritten at the end:  Feb 21, /78)


Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Father’s Day: 2013 Edition

August 24, 2013


A lady brought me a little orange kitten with the umbilical cord still attached and eyes still closed.  His little head was elongated like he had recently slid through the birth canal.  I popped him in with the remaining three kittens from the most recent bottle-fed litter.  He snuggled right in.

Sugar and I headed over to Laurel Grove Cemetery even though neither of us has a father there.  To be fair, Sugar has a great-grandfather there, which is not the real reason we went.

We are looking at the crape myrtles, the ones that Sugar cut back earlier this year.  Surely these are the most photographed crape myrtles in Laurel Grove.

Perhaps the ONLY photographed crape myrtles in Laurel Grove.


Big shout-out to William and Alice Garrard.





That wad of sticks, right there, is an actual bird’s nest. Said bird appears to have the same sort of housekeeping ethic as YoursTruly.




Then we went to Panera Bread so that we could sit on the patio with the kittens-in-a-basket and enjoy our lunch.


Doesn’t everyone carry around kittens in a laundry basket?  No one gave us any weird looks, or acted curious as to why we kept peeping in the laundry basket.  They appeared too wrapped up in their own Father’s Day dramas.






Hope your Father’s Day was happy and full of kittens!  What’s that you say?  Not everyone celebrates with kittens?  That is too sad to even think about….

A Lawton Reunion AfterParty, June 9, 2013

August 20, 2013

It’s these little connections that mean so much.

When Sugar and I go on a trip, or solve a history mystery, or make a cousin connection, there’s a mellow little glow that goes on for several days, weeks, or months afterward.

Like I’ll call him on the phone while he’s out on his route, and he’ll say that he’s thinking about the trip (or whatever), and it helps him get through the day.

So now, even though we just spent an evening and a day tramping around old Lawton haunts, he needs to go back to Robertville after the Lawton family reunion, and check out some gravestones.

And that’s what we do.

We drove back to the Robertville Baptist Church to view the graves of Alexander James Lawton and his two wives, Martha Mosse Lawton and Cordelia P. Lawton.


I brought along some supplies to attempt to make the inscriptions legible.  We had in our arsenal several items:  art paper for taking a rubbing, a sketching pencil, tape, vinegar, and an old soft toothbrush.

It was too windy for the paper to be held down by tape, plus the tape was not sticking to the stones.  I tried without success, because that’s just how I do things.  I’ve ruled out things without actually trying them, and then found out later that I should have reversed the process:  try, then rule out.

We didn’t have any cornstarch like we saw the lady using the day before at the Robert Cemetery.  We could probably have walked across the highway to the little market, but we felt committed to the vinegar.  You could rub the vinegar with your hand across the top of the stone and watch the grime disintegrate, then the dark vinegar would run into the indentions and highlight the inscriptions.  The old toothbrush helped.

Martha Mosse Lawton

Martha Mosse Lawton



Consort of

Col. Alexr. J. Lawton,

Who departed this life

on the 26th July 1836,

Aged 47 years, 10 months & 21 days.

Beloved and regretted by all her

Friends & acquaintances.

In the various relations of Daughter,

Mother, Friend, & Wife,

and as an humble follower of

Jesus Christ.

She acted her part


usefulness & Honor.


Alexander James Lawton



April 8 1876

in the 86th Year

of his Age.


Active & self-sacrificing in the

discharge of every public, charitable,

social & religious duty.

Honored & beloved

As widely as he was known.

This monument is a token of the

gratitude of his devoted sons for his

useful life.  Length of days Happily

lived & peacefully closed.

Patient continuance in well doing




Eternal life


Cordelia P. Lawton


of the

Worth and Virtues


Wife of

Alexr. J. LAWTON.

She was born in Germany, Europe.

And when a small child brought by her parents

to this Country.

She removed to Black Swamp, Beaufort District, So. Ca.

as the wife of him who mourns her loss,

about 19 years since a stranger,

and by her active and pious attention

to all the duties of life,

secured the affection or respect

of a wide circle of friends.

She died at her home of Paralyses,

11th September, 1856,

Aged 57 years 8 months and 16 days

She was strong in faith in her Saviour

and professed his name as a Baptist

more than 20 years.

As her life was useful so her end was peaceful.

Life’s labor done, as sinks the day.

Light from its land the Spirit flies.

While heaven and earth combine to say,

How blest the righteous when she dies.



I’ve noticed a trend that I’m disturbed about.  I use these cemetery photos to create memorials on  Sometimes I don’t rush right over to to put these very same cemetery photos into a family tree.  I’ve seen my photos lifted by someone else, two people in particular, from findagrave and put onto ancestry as their own. has a feature that allows someone else to “borrow” the photo from someone else’s tree and place it in their own tree.  I’m highly annoyed when I see that someone has stolen a photo of mine (thus I own the copyright) and put it out there in the big world as their own.  I experimented with a random stone by adding my identification to it, so if someone steals it, the credit who be embedded in the photo.

I’m horrified at how tacky it looks, so I suppose I will leave well enough alone, and just pout about thievery.

IMG_4190 (2)


In memory of



third daughter of

Col. Alexr. J. Lawton &

Martha, his consort,

who died on Black Swamp

So. Ca., 28 March 1816,

aged 15 months and

11 days.




November 9, 1820


April 3, 1878.

Do you remember George Moss(e) Lawton?  Sarah Alexander Lawton wrote about his demise in her journal.  He was the brother of her husband Alexander Robert Lawton, so they of course were two of the children of Alexander James Lawton and his wife Martha Mosse Lawton.


In memory of


second daughter of

Col. Alexr. J. Lawton &

Martha his consort,

who died on Blackswamp

So. Ca. 21 Oct. 1817

aged 4 years 10 mo. &

28 days.

Thirza Lawton is another child of Alexander James Lawton and his wife Martha Mosse Lawton.  Her death is mentioned in Alexander James Lawton’s plantation journal, which is at the Georgia Historical Society, in transcribed form.  I’ll write about that later.




Edward Payson Lawton is yet another child of Alexander James Lawton and his wife Martha Mosse Lawton.  He was the youngest child, and was small when his mother died.  He died on the Confederate side during the Civil War, thus the “C.S.A.” after his name.





While I was photographing, I saw a small movement at my feet.  Needless to say, I was startled at movement in a graveyard, because I, too, saw the Stephen King movie “Carrie”.  It was just Mr. Turtle.  Thank goodness.














This should teach everyone to travel with a jug of white vinegar at all times.  A BIG jug.  We ran out.

Joint Robert & Lawton & Allied Families Association Annual Reunion, June 7 & 8, 2013

August 15, 2013

Now that was a mouthful.


These Lawton folks have some kind of serious reunion planning mojo.  There’s a gathering with a dinner, a concert, a breakfast, introductions, a business meeting, a presentation, a luncheon, a group photo, and a tour.  Most southern reunions involve a bar-be-que, some cold drinks, and perhaps fireworks.  I mean to tell you, Lawtons are the undisputed champions at the family reunion business.  If their family reunion were an actual business, they’d be listed up near the top on Dun & Bradstreet.

This year, the reunion was a combined one with the Robert (Roe-BARE) families, and some of those folks came from Louisiana.  The scene opens at beautiful downtown Robertville, which was burned by Sherman.

The dinner took place at the old J. C. Richardson house.

Richardson001 Richardson002 Richardson003 Richardson004 Richardson005 Richardson006




(CA. 1890)

The James C. Richardson House was

built circa 1890 as the principal

residence of James Clarence Richardson

(1852-1931), a significant local

merchant and planter with business

interests throughout Hampton County

and, ultimately, Jasper County.  For

many years, he was the operator of a

general store located close to the house

and fronting on Gillison Branch Road.

As his business expanded, Richardson

also opened a location at Garnett near

the rail depot with J. W. Chisolm, a

prominent Hampton County merchant.

Prior to Jasper County’s founding,

Richardson was a major figure in

Hampton County politics, serving on the

board of control, board of equalization,

and the dispensary board, as well as in

numerous other capacities for the

county.  He was also a Hampton County

commissioner in 1906.  As the first

elected state senator from Jasper

County, Richardson served for two

terms from 1913 to 1916.  After a brief

absence from politics, he held a post on

the Jasper County Board of Education

from 1923 to 1925.  After 1925,

Richardson lived primarily at Garnett.

He was also superintendent of the Pine

Land Club immediately prior to his

death.  He is buried in Black Swamp

Methodist Cemetery.

Following the death of Cora H. (Riley)

Richardson, the widow of James C.

Richardson who lived for many years

following his death in the old family

homestead at Robertville, the

Richardson heirs sold the house and

300 acres of land to C. H. Warnock, Sr.,

in December 1945.  By 1946, Warnock

developed a scheme to subdivide most of

the acreage fronting on Gillison Branch

Road into seventeen long, narrow

parcels, while dividing the land near the

center of Robertville, including the main

house area, into five separate plots.

Warnock in turn sold three of these

latter parcels, including the main house

tract of 19.7 acres, to William Joseph

Langford for $5,000 in November 1946.

William was married to Mildred

Blakewood Langford, a resident of

Scotia, SC, and moved from Pineland to

Robertville in 1947.  As residents of

Robertville, William and Mildred built

two grocery stores.  Once building no

longer exists and the other is still in

operation as Brenda’s Country Store.,

though not in the original building built

by Langford.  Mr. and Mrs. Langford

eventually added an antique

furniture store to the back of their

grocery store and became well known

for the fine antique pieces that they

acquired and sold.  They, along with

other residents in Pineland and

Robertville, were instrumental in re-

opening the nearby Robertville Baptist

Church in the early 1950s, and it

remains an active, full-time ministry to

this day.

Mrs. Langford was very much a

historian and did a lot of research on

the Robertville Baptist Church.  She was

instrumental in getting the Church

listed on the National Register of

Historic Places in 1972.  Mr. and Mrs.

Langford loved Robertville, its culture,

its history, and its people, choosing it as

the place to raise their three children:

Margie Langford Malphrus who resides

with her husband Frankie, in Ridgeland,

SC; Gloria Langford Tuten, who resides

with her husband, Redden Tuten, Jr., in

Estill, SC; and William Joseph Langford,

Jr. (1948-1976).

Following Mr. Langford’s death in 1983,

the house and remaining land passed to

his widow, Mildred, and upon her death

in 1990, the property passed to their

daughters.  Gloria and her husband

Redden subsequently bought Margie’s

interest and are now the owners of the

house and property.  In 1997, the Tutens

used the house to establish a Christian

hunt club – The Black Swamp Hunting

Club – which is currently inactive.  In

2010, Redden and Gloria purchased the

swampland behind the house, and the

property now includes the house and

approximately 50 acres of land.  The

house has been restored, adhering as

closely as possible to the Victorian era

in which it was built, and has been

affectionately named “Magnolia

Moments” by Gloria.

The James C. Richardson House is an

outstanding example of late nineteenth-

century Folk Victorian architecture,

with many of its original architectural

flourishes still in place.  The house also

sits on land that served as the campsite

on January 29, 185, for the First

Division of the 20th Corps of the Union

Army during Sherman’s Campaign of

the Carolinas.  This remarkable Jasper

County home is presently going through

the nomination process for the National

Register of Historic Places.

James C. Richardson House

Gloria and Redden Tuten, owners

67 Gillison Branch Rd., Robertville, SC

PO Box 714, Estill, SC  29918

(803) 625-2238


After dinner at the J. C. Richardson house, we sojourned across the highway to the Robertville Baptist Church for a piano and organ concert.

Robertville001 Robertville002 Robertville003 Robertville004 Robertville005 Robertville006





Established in 1781

Twenty-six Robertville Drive

Robertville, S. C.

Mailing address:

Post Office Box 506

Estill, South Carolina  29918


The Robertville Baptist Church was

first organized as The Black Swamp Baptis

Church sometime between 1781 and 1788.

Different historical accounts give different

dates, and all are between 1781 and 1788.

The church derived its name from the geo-

graphically defined area known as The

Black Swamp.  The first building was locat-

ed NNE of Robertville on the Robert Cemetery,

and served as a place of worship during the

Revolutionary War era.  It has been stated

that it was a building of little significance.

The members eventually moved the

congregation to the village of Robertville,

and in 1824, constructed the Black Swamp

Baptist Church.  The magnificent two story

structure was said to be one of the most

beautiful churches in the state of South Car-

olina and was reportedly constructed for

the sum of $4,000.00  History records that

the Rev. Richard Furman, for whom Furman

University is named, visited and preached

at the Church and that the membership

played a significant part in establishing the

South Carolina Baptist Convention in the state.

The church was used as a place of

worship until January 30, 1865, when Union

soldiers came through Robertville and de-

stroyed it, along with a small Episcopal

Church, a private school known as The

Robertville Avademy, and all the homes

and businesses that were a part of the ac-

tive community.  Robertville, at the time of

the war, was a major crossroads between

Savannah, Orangeburg, Augusta, and

Charleston, because of its location near the

Savannah River.

The present church  building was

constructed in the then Beaufor Couty

seat of Gillisonville, S.C., thirteen miles from

Robertville in 1848 as the Episcopal Church

of the Ascesion.  It was spared the fires

of Sherman’s soldiers, and after the Civil

War, was obtained from the Episcopal con-

gregation who left Gillisonville and went to

Beaufort.  In 1871, this building was moved

from Gillisonville to Robertville.  How it was

moved remains a mystery.  Upon close ex-

amination, Roman numerals can be found

on the frame of the windows, indicating that

the windows were numbered before they

were removed to be replaced when the

church building was re-established on its

present site.  It has remained a Baptist

place of worship since that time.  The name

was changed from Black Swamp Baptist

Church to the Robertville Baptist Church in

1934 to honor the Robert family of John

Robert (1742-1826) who was the owner of

Cotton Hill Plantation, a Revolutionary War

Soldier, and the founder of Robertville.  The

Robert family that settled in the3 area around

Robertville were all descendants of the Rev.

Pierre Robert, a Huguenot minister who

came from Switzerland to the Carolinas in

1690 and settled in the Santee area.  Some

of his descendants moved to the Black Swamp

area that eventually became Robertville.

Also, Revolutionary War officer, Joseph

Lawton, who was a Justice of the Peace,

was buried inn Robertville Baptist Church

Cemetery in 1815.

In 1951, the Church was closed and

not having regular services.  A group of peo-

ple living in the Robertvillwe and Pineland

area opened the Church for part time ser-

vices.  Robertville Baptist Church and Till-

man Baptist Church shared the same pas-

tor for a few years until 1972, when both

churches became full time ministries and

remain so at the present time.  Extensive

remodeling was done in in 1964.  The solid

heart pine pews were replaced and used to

construct the present choir loft and pulpit

area.  The baptistry was added in the

1980’s.  In August, 2010, the Church re-

ceived a gift of the pews and pulpit furniture

from the Anderson Mill Baptist Church in

Spartanburg, S.C., and that began another

extensive remodeling which included re-

storing the heart pine and plaster walls,

heart pine floors, new wiring and adding

wall lights.  The only thing not yet completed

to bring the Church back to its original

décor as much as possible, is the tongue

and groove ceilinlg which is hidden under

the present suspended ceiling.  The Church

also received the gift of a Steinway grand

piano in December 2009, and a sidewalk in

front of the Church was added in October

2012.  The Church was listed on the Nation-

al Register of Historic Places in 1972 as sig-

nified by the medallion on the front of the

Church and by the historical marker adja-

cent to Highway 321.  The Church was rec-

ognized by the South Carolina Baptist Con-

vention in 2010 as one of the few churches

in the state over 200 years old that still has

an active ministry.  Robertville Baptist

Church is also one of four ante-bellum

churches that remain in Jasper County.

Robertville’s only claim to fame lies

in the fact that Henry Martyn Robert, author

of “Robert’s Rules of Order for Parlimentary

Procedure” was born in Robertville on May

3, 1837.  His father, the Rev. Joseph Thom-

as Robert, moved the family to Ohio to min-

ister there when Henry Martyn was thirteen

years old.  Henry Martyn went to West Point

Academy, where he graduated fourth in his

class in 1857 and became a military engi-

neer.  He became one of the country’s

leading parliamentarians after writing

“Robert’s Rules of Order” which first pub-

lished in 1876.  He eventually became  Briga-

dier General Henry Martyn Robert.  He died

in Hornell, N.Y. on May 11, 1923, and is

buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

On February 20, 2013, Robertville

Baptist Church hosted a visit from Henry

Martyn Robert III, the grandson of Gen.

Henry Martyn Robert who came to Rob-

ertville to visit the home of his ancestors.

Mr. Robert at 92 years old, is still an active

Parliamentarian.  He bears a remarkale re-

semblance to his grandfather, Henry Martyn

Robert.  He resides in Annapolis, Maryland

and has recently co-authored “Robert’s

Rules of Order” (11th edition).

The history of the small community of

Robertville is as rich and deep as the mag-

nificent oaks that grace the Church yard,

and the present members of Robertville

Baptist Church are committed to keeping

the doors open and the history alive with

the belief that God has established it as Ho-

ly Ground.












Right about here, we were heading to our respective vehicles to head over to the Robert Cemetery.  We had been exchanging pleasantries with some of Sugar’s cousins, who commented that they were not going to the Robert Cemetery.  They were going to see if they could find Mistletoe Grove, and they produced a printout about Mistletoe Grove.  I took one look, and realized, it was a printout of my post about Mistletoe Grove, and I burst out, in surprise as well as shock, THAT’S ME!  The women looked at my nametag for confirmation that I was indeed ruthrawls.  It was a weird moment.  It almost felt like I had an instant fan club, until they asked if the blog post had directions there, and I had to say that it did not.  Poof.  Fan club gone, but in a gracious Southern way.  On to bigger and better things.


We watched a woman use a powderpuff and cornstarch to dust over and into the cracks and crevices on a reclining headstone.  It’s natural and gentle and washes away with the rain.


This stump was part of several trees that were removed because they were encroaching on headstones.











And it’s over.  Just like that.  Another Lawton Family Reunion has come and gone.  See you next year!

When Pups Fly

August 12, 2013

This morning, I drove on over to Sugar’s grooming and boarding business to help out with all the pups.  They are boarding, in addition to ordinary boarders, a mother dog and her ten pups, aged four weeks old.

I considered pulling right in front of the front door, because the folks that are going to the spay/neuter clinic next door will many times park right in front of Sugar’s business, and take up a spot that rightfully is not theirs.  I thought that I’d claim the spot to save for the first client of the day, but thought better about it because, after all, I’d have to move my car and I might be far too busy helping pups to have the presence of mind to move the car.

So I pulled through and around and parked by the play yard, and stared at the mass of pups already in the yard.


How was this possible?  How did those boarding puppies get outside?  Why were they huddled in a mass outside?  How had they climbed out the window?


Well, this was weird.  I went over to the fence, and saw that I did not recognize them.



One of them growled at me.  Poor scared pups.  I know I look a little rough in the morning, but this was doing nothing for my self esteem.


So perhaps you’ve realized that if I had parked in front of the front door, and not pulled around, I would not have known the pups were in the yard, and I would have let boarding dogs out into the yard.  All the boarders are harmless, sweet dogs, but the pups wouldn’t know that.

People worry about stray animals  bringing disease.  They probably have intestinal parasites, like roundworms, which I learned from an animal rescue specialist about ten years ago – all puppies have worms – but if your dog is on monthly parasite prevention, not to worry.  Actually, the bigger danger is to the pups themselves.  They are too young to vaccinate, and I estimate their age to be younger than the four-week-old pups that are boarding.  I mixed up a concoction of dry kibble, water, and canned food, and they could not eat the kibble at all until it became soft.

After they ate their fill, Sugar and I took them to the animal shelter, and told what little we knew about them, and bade them good-bye.

Far better to fly over a fence than to fly into a river.

Corinne Elliott Lawton: Update, 8/8/2013

August 8, 2013

Oh, y’all, I am done.  I’ve had it with liars.  Liars lying about people that are dead and can’t defend themselves?  A new low.

I received a comment on the blog about the stories that are told on the cemetery tours.  Every year the lies get grander, and they really make the Alexander Robert Lawton family to be horrible, spiteful, condescending, plotting, and pure evil.

I have posted a lot about Corinne Elliott Lawton over the past few years.  It started innocently enough when I included a photo of her marker in a LawtonFest Christmas-time post.

Since then, my hits on the blog are always highest for a Corinne post.

My very first post that mentions Corinne.  Click here.

Her obituary which caused a commotion.  Click here.

Then earlier this year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Click here.

A letter of condolence from W. W. Paine.  Click here.

A letter of condolence from J. E. Johnston.  Click here.

A letter of condolence from Sarah B. Adams.  Click here.

Sarah Alexander Cunningham answers the mystery of Corinne’s death from beyond the grave.  Click here.

An anniversary of Corinne’s death.  Click here.

The arrival of Corinne’s life-size portrait.  Click here.

And yet, the post that the google search takes us to so often is the one about her obituary.

Yesterday I received my most recent comment, and after I read the stories (damnable lies) that are still being told, I felt myself spontaneously combust.  At least my brain did.  I’m not angry at the poster; I appreciate the fact that the poster took time to share.  I hatehatehate the fact that these horrible stories are what the poster remembered and shared, and is probably remembering and sharing with others at home on another continent.

Chris McEvoy Says: August 7, 2013 at 10:44 am | Reply   edit

Hi from London! I visited the beautiful Bonaventure Cemetary, and was actually there last week, and I was taken aback by the serenity and sadness of Corinne’s grave.

We were told that Corrinne weighed herself down with rocks and threw herself in the river, indeed at protest against not being permitted to marry the man she loved, she would rather die than marry a man she didn’t.

In reference to her statue, we were told it it is actually facing away from the status of Jesus at the kingdom of heaven, as she had committed suicide, thus would not be permitted in.  Her clothes also give reference to what her family thought of her, as a woman with no morals.  The loose clothing and exposed shoulder.

Corrinnes story is beautiful as it is tragic … and there is a lot of energy round her grave.

A truly amazing place!

Chris McEvoy / London

ruthrawls Says: August 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Reply   edit

Hello Chris, and welcome to the blog! I am horrified at the stories you were told.  Did you read my follow-up post with the real story about what happened? I’d like to address your points, and if it sounds like I’m angry, I’m not angry at you personally, just angry that these myths are still perpetuated.

  • 1.  There are no rocks here.  There’s no bedrock.  There’s no river rocks.  She couldn’t have possibly have weighted herself down with rocks.
  • 2.  She couldn’t have thrown herself in the river.  There’s no riverbank or cliff.  The river is far out past the pluff mud, and that pluff mud will hold you fast, and weighted with rocks?  No.  It’s a tidal river that ebbs and surges.  She’d need a boat, and probably an accomplice.  Nobody’s every mentioned a boat or an accomplice.
  • 3.  I’ve read her mother’s diaries.  When Nora and Louise were getting married, there were many entries regarding the wedding arrangements, the parties, the clothing, etc.  There’s no mention of Corinne’s engagement before the time of her death, and no mention of a fiancé.  There’s no mention of unhappiness or family turmoil.
  • 4.  She didn’t commit suicide.  She died of yellow fever.
  • 5.  She wasn’t buried in Bonaventure first.  She was buried in Laurel Grove.  When she was re-interred at Bonaventure, there was no statue of Jesus at the archway.  It hadn’t even been commissioned and carved yet, because it was created for her father who died in the 1890′s.
  • 6.  That statue of Jesus?  He’s not even looking at her.  He’s looking across the cemetery.
  • 7.  Her family adored her.  Read her mother’s journal.  If her family had been disgusted with her, then why did her sister name her daughter “Corinne” in memory of her?  Why did her family mourn her passing on every anniversary of the date?
  • 8.  Loose morals?  Somebody needs to prove that to me.  I’ve been to two historical libraries in two different states, and I’ve read copious letters and journal entries from many different people, and loose morals are never even hinted. I would suggest that the people with the loose morals are those that perpetuate the soiling of an honorable family’s name, all in the name of sensationalism and making a buck.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I appreciate your voice in this discussion.  Thank you for sharing.

I could probably come up with more points.  Mrs. Stewart in high school composition class said we only needed three to support our thesis statement.  Is 8 excessive?  It doesn’t seem like enough, somehow.

If anyone needs me, I’ll probably be dousing my flaming head in a bucket of water.

At Dawn We Ride

August 6, 2013

For those of you who know me, not really.  I have heard of such a thing called “sunrise”, and occasionally I see something that resembles sunrise coming in through my window.

Am I a lark, or a night owl?  I am neither, so I don’t know what that makes me.  I simply cannot wake up easily in the morning.  I could have an entire conversation with you and not remember it.  At night, I’m ready to go to sleep.  That leaves a rather small window of productivity.

Our last evening in Richmond, we went out to eat with Sugar’s daughters and their little chicks.  It was happy, and sad.


We’re up and riding homeward, although really I don’t remember who was driving and who was riding.  In North Carolina we pulled into a rest stop, though we were not planning on resting, and I saw an enormous marker.

While I was photographing this, another woman came along to read the marker.  She’s in the last two photographs, but I didn’t photograph her face.  I try not to post faces on the blog.





March 19, 20, and 21, 1865

At Bentonville, General William T. Sherman’s Union Army, advancing

from Fayetteville toward Goldsboro,met and battled the Confederate

Army of General Joseph E. Johnston.  General Robert E. Lee had directed

the Confederates to make a stand in North Carolina to prevent Sherman

from joining General U.S. Grant in front of Lee’s Army at Petersburg, Virginia.

Johnston had been able to raise nearly 30,000ment from South

Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and eastern North Carolina.

His army included a galaxy of generals:  two full generals besides

Joseph E. Johnston; four lieutenant generals; fourteen major generals;

and many brigadier generals. Ahead of Sherman with his force, he looked

for an opportunity to strike.

Sherman’s Army of 60,000 men was divided into two wings:  30,000 men

in the Left Wing marching via Averasboro and Bentonville, and 30,000

men in the Right Wing marching on a parallel route to the southeast.

Sherman’s North Carolina objective was Goldsboro, where 40,000 additional

troops and fresh supplies would reinforce and nourish his weary army.

The three-day battle ended in a stalemate.  After an initial success on

the first day, the Confederates were unable to destroy the united Fed-

eral Left and Right wings (60,000 men) and on the night of March 21-22

they withdrew.  The Union Army, anxious to reach Goldsboro, did not pursue.

Troops involved:  85,000 to 90,000

Casualties Killed Wounded Missing
Confederate 239 1,694 673
Union 304 1,112 221
Total 543 2,806 894

Total killed, wounded, and missing:  4,243

The Battle of Bentonville was important because it was:

  1. The only major Confederate attempt to stop Sherman after the Battle  of Atlanta, August, 1864.
  2. The last major Confederate offensive in which the Confederates chose the ground and made the initial attack.
  3. The largest battle ever fought on North Carolina soil.

The Harper House, residence in which John and Amy Harper raised

their 8 children, has been restored on the battleground.  This home

was used during the battle as a Union hospital and after the battle

as a Confederate hospital.

In the Confederate Cemetery nearby are buried 360 soldiers.

The museum and 6,000 acre battleground are open for tours on a

regular schedule.

Y’all, I was/am not a CW scholar.  I had never heard of Joseph E. Johnston until earlier this year when I photographed this letter that he wrote.  Is his name popping up because I recognize it now, or is it just serendipity?



We’re onward to home and Carolina.  And next week?  It’s the Lawton family reunion!

The Museum of the Confederacy

August 5, 2013

I have an opinion.

I try not to have very many opinions, because I think that makes me opinionated (funny how that works), and I might not have all the facts to form a good opinion.

Yet, I have an opinion.

I’m uncertain about the Confederacy.

I have an opinion, yet I’m uncertain about it.

I’m most uncertain about living in the South and being part of the Confederacy.  Part of that uncertainty comes from being from East Tennessee, which was predominantly Union, although I didn’t know that until I grew up, which could mentally be viewed as rather recently.

I grew up at the beginning crest of the Civil Rights Movement.  I remember when my elementary school was integrated.  I was there, and it was skillfully done.  Yet I saw other images on national television news, spewing hate and hope.

So to me, the War seemed to be about slavery, although others will point out that it had to do with states’ rights.  I wasn’t there so I can’t form a hard and fast opinion about it.

Yet, I’m bothered about slavery.  There’s times when I’ve felt rather slavish myself, which certainly doesn’t mean that I understand completely the daily life of a slave.

I didn’t think that I wanted to go to the Museum of the Confederacy, even though my cousin works there.  He’s the President and the CEO, yet he doesn’t know me from Adam’s housecat.  I sent him an email of introduction a few months before we went on this trip, and I never heard from him.  Maybe my email is sitting in his spam folder.

I know that he’s a cousin because he and my BigBroBob had the DNA testing, and the test placed them in the same group originating in Nansemond County, Virginia.  We don’t know who the common ancestor is, yet, and maybe we’ll never know.

Well, whatever.


Sugar wanted to go because a certain Garnett’s sword was supposed to be at the museum.  And also seeing how Jefferson Davis’s sister is Sugar’s ancestor, it seemed that we should go.  But still I had doubts.

We met a couple at breakfast who had gone.  They were from the remote Midwest, and their families weren’t even in America during the war, and they felt compelled to go.  They clinched my opinion to go when they said that the exhibits made the war very real.  There was clothing on display, like uniforms with bullet holes in them.

And bloodstains.  Bloody, bullet-ridden clothing.  My father’s great-uncle lost a leg at Shiloh.  He had been left on the battlefield for dead.

So if these complete breakfast-strangers felt compelled to go, even with no familial investment, perhaps I should go, too, and so I conceded.


Dear Lord, the tourists in Richmond.  The town was thick with them, just like Savannah.  We didn’t know where to park, and we finally found a place in a lot blocks away from the museum.  Did I say that it was hot?




* * * * *

Built  in 1818 as the residence of Dr. John

Brockenbrough, this National Historic Landmark

is best known as the executive mansion for

the Confederate States of America, 1861 – 1865.

President Jefferson Davis and his family lived

here until Confederate forces evacuated Richmond

on 2 April 1865.  After serving five years as

the headquarters of Federal occupation troops,

the house became one of Richmond’s first

public schools.  In 1890, the Confederate

Memorial Literary Society saved the mansion

from destruction and between 1896 and 1976

used it as the Confederate Museum.  The Society

restored the house to its wartime appearance

and reopened it to the public in 1988.

The White House was next to the museum.




The city has grown up around the White House and the Museum, and tall buildings now surround this little Confederate compound.

We went inside the museum, and Sugar joked that my cousin might sweep down the staircase in a show of welcome.  That did not happen.



Uniform Frock Coat of Major General Richard Stoddert Ewell

Virginia native and West Point graduate Richard Ewell commanded a

division in “Stonewall” Jackson’s army during the Valley Campaign.

During the Seven Days Battles, Ewell’s division was heavily engaged at

Gaines’ Mill and Malvern Hill.  After Jackson’s death in May 1863, Ewell

succeeded to the command of his corps.

Temporarily Removed from Exhibition


Ambrotype Photograph of Privates Columbus Christopher Taylor

(left), James H. Porter (center), and James D. Jackson (right)

The three comrades of Company D, 3rd Georgia Infantry, posed together

for the photographer early in the war.  Taylor and Jackson were among 23

men in the regiment killed in the carnage at Malvern Hill.


Charge of Confederates Upon Randol’s Battery at Frayser’ Farm

Sketch by Allen Christian Redwood published in Century Magazine, 1885

Artist Allen Redwood was a soldier in Capt. William Wright’s company of

the 55th Virginia Infantry.  The regiment and the rest of Maj. Gen. A. P.

Hill’s division were heavily engaged at Frayser’s Farm, capturing an

enemy artillery battery and a Federal general.  Before Frayser’s Farm,

Redwood wrote later, the men of Hill’s so-called Light Division “had

scarcely known and cared less to which division of the army they belonged;

now if you asked one of them he would answer, with a perceptible pride in

his men and in his voice, the (sic) he was one of Hill’s ‘Light Bobs.’


The Effects of Captain William Alfred Wright

French manufactured Model 1850 Foot Officers Sword

Filter type Canteen and Bullet

A native of Tappahannock, Virginia, 30-year-old William Wright had been

promoted to captain of Company F (the “Essex Sharpshooters”), 55th

Virginia Infantry, on June 24, 1862.  Si days later he was killed at

Frayser’s Farm by a bullet that passed through his body and through his

canteen.  His comrades and family saved the bullet that killed him.


Tower Enfield Rifle Musket

Picked up at Willis Church on the Frayser’s Farm battlefield, this Enfield

rifle was said to have been used in the battle by a Louisiana Zouave.

Carved in the stock





Ramrods used to Mark Graves at Shiloh

The human loss at Shiloh was staggering.  It was the largest and bloodiest

battle yet fought on the North American continent.  Casualties were five

times higher than those at First Manassas.  The Confederates lost 11,000

(killed, missing, and wounded) of the 40,000 engaged, while the Federals

lost 13,000 of their 63,000 men.


Garnett’s Brigade

During the Charge

Samuel Paulett of the 18th Virginia looked

across the wide open expanse in front of

the Union lines, a thousand yards of open

ground from their present position to the

enemy.  “My heart almost failed me,” he

recalled.  He turned to his comrades.

“This is going to be a heller.  Prepare for the worst!”

Richard Garnett’s brigade formed the center of Pickett’s

division.  Garnett was ill that day and, unable to go on foot,

led his brigade on horseback “waving his hat and cheering his

men on.”

As his brigade, its ranks thinned by the withering fire from

the Federals, got close to the stone wall at the crest of the hill,

Garnett shouted, “Faster men, faster.  We are almost there!”

Then, wrote Major Charles Peyton, the Virginians “recoiled

under the terrific fire that poured into our ranks both from

their batteries and from their sheltered infantry.”  General

Garnett disappeared in a hail of shot and smoke.  No one

would see him again.  His body was never identified and he

was presumable buried in one of the mass graves after the




Sword of Brigadier General

Richard Brooke Garnett

Presented to the museum in 1919 by Mrs. John B. Purcell

Killed only yards from the Union’s position

atop Cemetery Ridge, Gen. Garnett’s body was

never found, but his sword turned up in a

second-hand shop in Baltimore after the war.  It

was purchased by former Confederate General

George Steuart and eventually made it into the

hands of Garnett’s niece.




Letter from Gen. William Pendleton to William

Garnett, father of Gen. Richard Garnett

Presented to the museum by Alfred L. Garnett


Hd. Qrs. Arty. Corps

Hagerstown, Md. July 9th, 1863


My Dear Friend,

        The heart rending tidings will have reached you

before this, of your son’s death in the battle of Gettysburg

on the 3rd ist.  He fell in a gallant charge upon the

enemy’s strong hold which was shared by his brigade.  So

far as I could learn his body, in common with those of

many officers and men, was not recovered; it having

been found impracticable, without support which did not

arrive, to hold or recover the ground gained in the


        What can I say to mitigate your anguish under this

heavy blow?  I could dwell upon Gen’l Garnett’s

excellent qualities, but that were quite superfluous, fully

known as he was to yourself.  On the march from

Fredericksburg I several times saw him.  He was always

the same cheerful, frank-hearted man and attentive

officer.  All, I am sure, esteemed him.




….Then at the brief command of Lee

Moved out that matchless infantry,

With Pickett leading grandly down,

To rush against the roaring crown

Of those dread heights of destiny.

….A thousand fell where Kemper led;

A thousand died where Garnett bled;

In blinding flame and strangling smoke

The remnant through the batteries broke

And crossed the works with Armistead….

“The High Tide at Gettysburg” (excerpt) by Will H. Thompson, 1888


Sugar looks at his cousin Winnie Davis.



Brooch with hardtack (Army Bread)

Presented to the Museum by Mrs. Henderson Bell in 1979

Richard Baylor (or Balor) made this brooch by encasing a small piece of

hardtack in gold filigree.  He served in Thomas Rosser’s Brigade, and may

have saved the piece of hardtack from his rations at the end of the war.

Bone Brooch of Turner Ashby’s Horse Gallant Gray

Presented to the Museum by Sallie E. Alexander in 1905.

Turner Ashby and his horse, Gallant Gray, were killed in the same charge

in June 1862.  Sallie E. Casler found the boneon the ground several months

later.  Her  brother, John O. Casler, later carved the bone and set it in a

brooch for her to wear.

Beef Bone and Earrings

Presented to the Museum by Mrs. Louise F. Bossieux in 1898.

Carved by a Federal prisoner of war at Libby Prison in Richmond in 1864,

this jewelry was given to Capt. John Latouch, Adjutant of the prison.

I wonder if this Mrs. Louise F. Bossieux is related to “Mr. Boisseau”, who is referred to in William Starr Basinger’s “Personal Reminiscences”?



Carte de Visite of Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis

The youngest daughter of Confederate president Jefferson Davis

and his wife Varina was known as “The Daughter of the

Confederacy.”  The peasant cross is visible in this photograph,

which was taken in Richmond in 1880, when she was 16 years old.

(Winnie was present with her father in Savannah at the dedication of the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1886.  Time and space continue to link us all together.)


Horse Bit presented to Nathan Bedford Forrest

Presented to the Museum by Mrs. W. C. D. Vaught in 1899.

A man known only as F. Walker made the custom curb bit for General

Nathan Bedford Forrest.  Silver dollars were used to provide the plating on

the decorative stars, which is now nearly worn away.  Note the stylized “C”

and “S” for Confederate States) that form the branches of the bit.

Hoof of Turner Ashby’s Horse Tom Telegraph

Presented to the Museum by Dr. C. O Miller in 1924.

General Ashby and his white horse, Tom Telegraph, were famous figures

in the Confederate cavalry.  Even a Union foe described the hose as being

“disciplined like his master, to the accomplishment of the most wonderful

feats.”  Tom Telegraph was mortally wounded near New Market, Virginia

on April 17, 1862.  At some unknown time thereafter his remains were

taken for souvenirs.



Compare this modern-day photo to the one in the historical marker below.



White House of the Confederacy

This house was the executive mansion of Confed-

erate President Jefferson Davis and his family

from August 1862 until April 2, 1865.  A West

Point graduate, former U.S. senator from Missis-

sippi, and former U.S. secretary of war, Davis

was the Confederacy’s oly president.  He worked

long hours here, meeting with Confederate civil-

ian and military leaders.  On April 14, 1862, he

held a council of war here with Secretary of War

George W. Randolph,

Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, Gen. Robert E.

Lee, and other officers

to discuss the Con-

federacy’s defense

against Union Gen.

George B. McClellan’s

advancing army.

                More often, the

house was the site of

official receptions and

unofficial parties.  One

observer declared Confederate First Lady Varina

Davis “to be a woman of warm heart and impetus-

ous tongue, witty and caustic, with a sensitive

nature underlying all; a devoted wife and mother,

and a most gracious mistress of a salon.”

                The Davises’ young family enlivened the

White House.  “Statesmen passing through the

halls on their way to the discussion of weighty

things were likely to hear the ringing laughter of

the care-free and happy Davis children issuing

from somewhere above the stairs or the gardens,”

remembered a family friend.  Two Davis children,

William and Varina Anne, were born in this

house; one, Joseph, died here from a fall on April

30, 1864.

                On April 4, 1865, U.S. President Abraham

Lincoln visited here ten days before his assassin-

nation and less than 48 hours after Davis depart-

ed.  Here, Lincoln began meeting with prominent

Virginians to discuss the state’s reconstruction.


Yes, I’m glad I went.  I can cross that off my list.

Richmond: Moving On

August 3, 2013

When Sugar made the reservation at the B&B, he could only book the first two nights of our vacation in Richmond.  He was told that the B&B was booked full the following two nights.  Well, boo.

Two of his daughters and their children were going to stay at the Linden Row Inn, a full-service hotel, formerly row houses.  So he tried to get us in there, but they were also booked up.  Double boo.

We stayed at a hotel about six blocks from the Linden Row.  We would not recommend that hotel.  The thermostat was uncontrollable, and the room was hot. The final straw was when we went to breakfast the first morning, we found that the breakfast was not complimentary.  We decided to walk on in the general direction of the Linden Row, and find some local color breakfast.  If we were going to pay for breakfast, it wasn’t going to be some stylized chain hotel breakfast.

The nice lady at the desk of the Linden Row told us about a diner close by named Perly’s.  It was good food fast, but not fast food.  We headed back after breakfast to see if Sugar’s kids were ready to go back to Maymont, the park where we’d been the day before, and they were not.  We decided to go back to the hotel and wait for their call.

We crossed the street from the Linden Row, and something made me look back.


The trusty zoom feature on the camera shows Little L pounding on the window to wave to her G-daddy.


During the six-block walk back, we passed by some Mayo stuff.




When we all met up so the others could go back to Maymont Park, I went to the Virginia Historical Society.









This is especially poignant because we just read in William Starr Basinger’s “Personal Reminiscences” about how poor Bessie died.







After the Virginia Historical, we all met back at the Museum of Fine Arts for lunch.  You can eat inside or outside on the patio, and enjoy the sculpture and the setting.  The food was amazing, all very fresh and interesting.

Following lunch, the babes needed naps, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit what Sugar and I did.

We went to the Museum of the Confederacy.

Garnett’s Cafe; Or, No, There Is Not A Family Discount

August 2, 2013

You know those guidebooks that you can get to learn more about an area?  There was one at the B&B.  Sugar found Garnett’s Café, and he was hot to go there.

We decided to walk.  He was then hot in more ways than one.

It’s not very far when you are looking at the map in an air-conditioned room.  It’s much further in real life.

It was a nice walk.  We got to see lots of local color.  Houses, plantings, other people out walking.  It was shady for the most part, but we are getting old, and despite our best efforts, we felt our bones creaking.  Perhaps you heard us.

Our waitress was none other than a Margaret Roane Garnett look-alike, who turned out to be not related at all.  I swear she looked just like Margaret Roane Garnett.



Garnett’s is named after our 103 year
old Grandmother. Her first name is
Garnett. Our Great Grandmother’s
maiden name was Garnett. No, there is
not a family discount.
Park Avenue used to be
known as Scuffletown Rd.



I had the Croque Garnett.  I don’t know what a Croque is, but it was delicious, even though it was wet-looking.  I’m sure that I would not have touched it when I was a child because I didn’t like wet foods touching each other on the plate.  Yes, I outgrew it when I went to college and got away from home.



Yes, that is a beer.  There’s also some yummy black-eyed peas salad.  Everything was home-made, right down to the pickles.

Now we have to walk back to the B&B, passing along Monument Avenue, which has a lot of what?   Boys and girls?  That’s right, you in the back, Monuments!  I hardly have any pictures at all.  The monuments are in the median, and the traffic was whizzing by, similar to when I went out on the two-lane bridge crossing the Appomattox to get a shot of the river, except to the 100th power.  (Look at me, using math in an everyday setting.)








This is sad.  I don’t even know what these monuments are.  I knew when I took them, but now?  Not so much.  I suppose I could go do some research and provide the answers but please don’t bet the farm on that.

So, another good vacation day!  Yay, Richmond.  But y’all, if you go, wear one of those cooling towels.