Monday, August 17, 2020

Sounding 'Taps' for Stoneman's last veteran

Spanish American War veteran William Harbottle
plays taps in 1953 for Sgt. William Magee.
(Los Angeles Times photo)


Magee with his war medals
  On August 19, 1952, William Magee celebrated his 106th birthday at the home of his daughter in Van Nuys, California. His family invited a reporter to interview him, because he was the last Civil War veteran living on the West Coast.
 As Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was campaigning for President, Magee was in a patriotic mood. "Our beloved United States has never been licked in war and we never shall be licked," he told the reporter. "They just can't lick her, because we have the power. We have real power—and we have real men." 
 Magee (1846-1953) was raised in a cabin near Lancaster, Ohio, the same hometown as Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891). He told the reporter that he took part in Sherman's 1864 March to the Sea, but it appears he confused Sherman with Stoneman. His unit, the 12th Ohio Cavalry, spent the last year of the war on Gen. George Stoneman's raids.
 Magee was 17 when he ran away from home to enlist in Company M of the 12th Ohio Cavalry as a bugler. (Musicians often served as field medics. Another William Magee, a 14-year-old drummer in the 33rd New Jersey Infantry, was awarded the Medal of Honor for capturing Confederate artillery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 1864.)
 Magee made the Army his career, became a Master Sergeant, and fought in the Indian Wars and the Spanish American War. He retired in 1898 after 35 years in the Army and drew a $200 monthly pension. At some point, he served alongside Buffalo Bill Cody (1846-1917). "Buffalo Bill was the best-looking man I ever saw," he told the reporter, "and I'm in second place right behind him." (Take that, Myles Keogh!)
 The 12th Ohio Cavalry was one of Stoneman's most dependable regiments. They were involved in the liberation of the Salisbury prison, the daring capture of the Nation Ford bridge near Charlotte, and the publication of the Yankee Raider newspaper in Athens, Ga. Capt. Frank Mason (later an aide to President Garfield) wrote the regimental history as well as this perspective on Stoneman's Raid
 Mason's book tells us that as the war was ending, Magee's band, "dusty and battered from its long and tuneless wanderings," had the opportunity to play Dixie and serenade Southern belles at the Young Ladies Seminary in Athens.
After he retired from the Army, Magee settled in California. He had two daughters in the Los Angeles area and another in Chicago, as well as seven grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. 
 Asked the secret of his long life, Magee said, "Haven't had a drink of liquor for the past 50 years. And when I did drink, it was pure corn whiskey that the mountaineers made. It was good for a man. Today, the young men mix their drinks. That is what shortens their lives." As for the episode with the mountaineers, the regimental history of the 15th Pennsylvania Calvary has a vivid account of a rainy night in Wilkes County, North Carolina, when Stoneman's troops succumbed to the temptations of freshly distilled moonshine. 
 Magee remained in relatively good health until the following January, when he suffered a stroke and died three weeks later. He was buried with a 21-gun salute at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. The military band played two of his favorite tunes: Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground and The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  (I'm fond of this version, featuring William Lee Golden and Jimmy Fulbright of the Oak Ridge Boys, Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers, and Tim Duncan singing bass on a refrain that seems to speak for Magee: "He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat.")
 Father William Lundy gave the eulogy: "He had a distinct privilege. His God permitted him to live long enough to see the ideals for which he fought fully realized. One nation, indivisible, with unity and freedom for all. His death marks the passing of a link in American history."
 The only Civil War combat veteran who outlived Magee was James Hard of Rochester, New  York, an infantryman in the first Battle of Bull Run, who died at age 111 on March 12, 1953—48 days after Magee. Albert Woolson of Duluth, Minnesota, a drummer who never saw military action, lived until Aug. 2, 1956, at age 106. The last Confederate soldier, Pleasant Crump of Talladega, Alabama, died at 104 in 1951. 

A stereographic image of a Union band

The roster of the 12th Ohio Cavalry band, listed  with the place  and date they enlisted.


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

'Angel of mercy' behind Anderson's monument

Anderson's Confederate memorial
Lenora Hubbard
(portrait from Hannibal Johnson's book)


ANDERSON, S.C.
 My grandmother Macie Sherard would have been 14 years old in 1902 when the Confederate memorial was dedicated in Anderson. I assume she was among the thousands who attended the ceremony, since her grandfather was a wounded veteran and her teacher Lenora Hubbard had the honor of unveiling the monument. She might even have been in the children's choir that sang Dixie. 
 Miss Hubbard used school events to raise funds for the monument, and I like to imagine that Macie helped by collecting pennies. 
 Miss Hubbard's story deserves to be heard, now that there is an outcry in Anderson to remove the Confederate monument from the town square. As our society struggles with how to deal with our Civil War heritage, I think we could all learn a lesson from my grandmother's esteemed teacher.
 She was a "daughter of the Confederacy," but she also graciously tended the graves of the enemy—three Union soldiers from Maine who were murdered near Anderson in the months following Stoneman's Raid. 
Lt. Hannibal Johnson
 I discovered her story in a little book titled "Sword of Honor," written by Lt. Hannibal Johnson, a Union soldier from Maine who called her "an angel of mercy." Lt. Johnson's story is fascinating in its own right. Let me introduce him before we get to Miss Hubbard, and then a few thoughts on how we might rededicate the monument—as a symbol of reconciliation rather than rebellion.
 Wounded at Gettysburg, Lt. Johnson was captured twice by the rebels. He briefly encountered Gen. Stoneman when they were both in Confederate custody in Macon in 1864. He escaped from Columbia to Knoxville via the Underground Railroad in 1864, and spent several cold winter nights at Leaside Plantation near Ninety Six, S.C., where slaves showed him the gold-capped cane that South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks* broke over the head of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in 1856. When Lt. Johnson finally reached the Union lines in Tennessee in January 1865, he was received by the 10th Michigan Cavalry, which was preparing for Stoneman's Raid.
 During Reconstruction, Lt. Johnson and a small outfit from Maine were stationed in Anderson to impose martial law and serve as a freedman's bureau. Anderson was still boiling with vengance after the indignities of Stoneman's Raid May 1-3, 1865. On October 8, 1865, three Maine soldiers were ambushed and killed while guarding a shipment of cotton across Brown's Ferry (on the Savannah River near the site of Hartwell Dam). The next day, Johnson recovered their mangled bodies from the river and buried them in the Anderson cemetery. The accused murderers were arrested, tried, and convicted, only to be pardoned by President Andrew Johnson.
 After the war, Lt. Johnson (1841-1913) became a businessman in Boston and Lynn, Mass., and he maintained close relationships in South Carolina. 
 In 1875, he was invited to Charleston by Confederate Capt. J.C.B. Smith, who wanted to return the sword Johnson had surrendered in 1864 during the Battle of the Wilderness. 
 In a nostalgic 1906 trip through the South, the 64-year-old Johnson went to the Old Soldier's Home in Richmond (where he saw "Little Sorrel," Stonewall Jackson's taxidermied horse) and continued to South Carolina to visit Miss Hubbard, 51. He complimented Anderson, which had become known as the "Electric City," on its post-war prosperity. His book does not mention the Confederate monument.
 In his book, Johnson wrote glowingly of Miss Hubbard's values: 
Shortly after we left South Carolina, a true Southern woman, fearless, loyal, and Christian, took it upon herself, against the wishes of her personal friends, to decorate, each Memorial Day, the graves of our dead, just the same as the dead of the Confederacy. And this Christian-like act she has personally continued up to the present time.
I had kept in touch with the people of Anderson since I left there in 1866, having corresponded with some of their leading citizens, and was known officially to this angel of mercy, Miss Lenora Hubbard. When this obscure village had grown into a thriving city, residences and cemeteries were removed to make way for the march of improvement, and the cemetery where our boys were buried had to be moved also. This good woman went to the city authorities, and had assigned to her a spacious lot in the new cemetery for the burial of our boys. Knowing my address, she wrote to me, to see if some provision could not be made by the State toward defraying the expense of headstones for their graves, as she did not feel financially able to do it herself. Our correspondence was made public through the press, and coming to the ears of the officials at Washington, an order was given by the Quartermaster General to have these bodies taken up and removed to the National Cemetery at Marietta, Georgia.
I knew this would be a disappointment to Miss Hubbard, as she had cared for our boys for many years, but the will of the Government was stronger than the wish of this lone woman—so the bodies were removed. Feeling that Miss Hubbard should be recognized for her sacrifice and heroic act, I wrote to the Governor of Maine, and asked his assistance. Governor Cobb immediately entered into my plan of having the Legislature take hold of the matter. When it convened the following January, he brought the matter before his Council, and they unanimously agreed to recommend an act publicly thanking Miss Hubbard for her patriotic service; the same, after its passage, was embossed on parchment and sent to Anderson, with the united thanks of the Legislature. (Feb. 8, 1905)
 Johnson also wrote about the burden borne by Southern women, where he mentioned "her love and charity being broad enough to take in both Union and Confederate armies." 
I am still in correspondence with this true-blue Southern woman, whom it is an honor and credit to know. She is generally loved and respected by all who have the pleasure of her acquaintance; she has more honorable titles from Confederate camps and societies than any woman south of Mason and Dixon's line—her love and charity being broad enough to take in both Union and Confederate armies. It has been said that the Southern women by their loyalty and sacrifice kept the war going twelve months longer than it otherwise would have been, for they helped the struggling men in the field; and although the same men fought against me, I respect the part these Southern women took.
Our Northern women will never know what their Southern sisters suffered and endured to give encouragement and help to their overtaxed and starving veterans in the field. Some of them even did men's work on the plantations, to allow their old and young men to go to the front, others made clothing for their fathers, brothers, and lovers—doing all that was honorable and brave to perform their part in the great struggle.
What the war meant to the Southern women, will be shown in the following extracts from a letter written by Miss Hubbard to a northern friend.
 Here is Miss Hubbard's letter, which describes the difficult circumstances in places like Anderson in the era when Confederate monuments were raised. Yes, she was part of the Lost Cause, but listen to her as she looked forward to the New South. "Our country is just beginning to be what God meant it to be," she wrote:
The good women in many parts of Maine have sent me a number of post cards, many of them unusually interesting ones. Seeing these pictures of your splendid buildings makes me feel keenly the poverty of our South land. While your soldiers returned to find their homes and educational institutions just as they left them, our Southern men returned to ruined homes and to the heavy task of rebuilding almost the entire country. If the men found this a hard task what can be said of our women who, by the fortunes of war, were left widows and orphans to struggle against such fearful odds? Hardest of all, they had to break away from so many old Southern traditions, as to woman's sphere. With so many professions and occupations closed to them, there seems almost a hopeless outlook.
My father died two years after the close of the war, and left my mother with five little children, not one of whom was old enough to be of any help to her. I know what a struggle she had, for all her friends and relatives were too poor to help her. My father, a comparatively rich man, had such faith in the triumph of the Confederacy that he converted all his property into government bonds. Thus we were left almost penniless. The South had few schools then, no free ones. No one knows the task of my mother to care for us and give us some little education.
At that time, not one woman in Anderson had dared venture out from the sheltered privacy of home and enter store or office to earn a living. I well remember the first one who did so; and though the position she filled was that of bookkeeper in her own father's store, for a time she was almost ostracized for so departing from "Woman's Sphere." I was the second one to take this daring step, and at the age of fifteen [about 1868] was given a position in the photographic studio of an old friend of father's. My doing so called forth a storm of protests from uncles and aunts, not one of whom was financially able to make it unnecessary for me to do this. My hours at the studio were from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. I got up at six every morning, practiced my music until seven, then helped cook breakfast, went to my work in the studio and in my spare moments there prepared a lesson in German which I recited to a private tutor after supper. Then three times a week I had a Latin lesson after studio hours. In this way I prepared myself to teach. After I secured a diploma which entitled me to teach, it took thirteen years of hard work to save enough money to buy my little home.
I have seen the Old South, its chivalry and traditions disappear and watched the development of our grand New South, with its spirit of progress, and vast opportunities for both women and men. Our country is just beginning to be what God meant it to be and with increasing financial prosperity, our people are striving to attain the position which our great natural facilities entitle us to hold.
Anderson's first public school
 Miss Hubbard (1855-1933) taught at Anderson's original public school, the Central Graded School at 414 West Market Street. She lived at 424 Marshall Avenue, just three blocks from my mother's childhood home at 715 Marshall. When I asked my mother if she knew anything about Miss Hubbard, she recognized the name right away. "Mama said she was strict," she told me. "You had to be strict back then." Boys knew that if they misbehaved, Miss Hubbard might twist their ears. 
Macie Sherard, 1905
 My grandmother was Macie Sherard Griffin (1887-1973), an honor roll student under Miss Hubbard at Central Graded School. She married Thomas Jackson Griffin (1885-1952), the son of Confederate veteran Pierce Butler* Griffin (1847-1925). Pierce's father, Jackson Griffin (1819-1861) was also a soldier and died of typhoid fever in the Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond. 
 Miss Hubbard was 36 years old in June 1891 when she took up the cause of raising a monument in Anderson to recognize the county's Civil War veterans. She was elected the first president of the Ladies' Memorial Association of Anderson County. They held a series of bake sales, cake walks, suppers, silver teas, and baby showers and eventually collected $2,500. 
Nora Hubbard's grave at Silverbrook Cemetery:
"Others wrought in brick and stone,
she sought to shape the lives of men."
 Then she served on a committee that commissioned Oscar Hammond, a marble dealer from Greenville, to sculpt the monument, rather than use one of the mass-produced zinc memorials sold to so many Southern towns. Hammond's craftsmen carved a 7½-foot statue of Gen. William Wirt Humphreys (1836-1893), a local Confederate veteran who organized the annual reunions. (It's not clear to me how out-of-town sculptors were able to portray Gen. Humphreys, who had been dead for several years.)
 The monument, made of Tennessee gray marble, was originally proposed for Silverbrook Cemetery but was erected on the Anderson square. If it must come down, I hope it will be relocated to the cemetery, where Miss Hubbard and Gen. Humphreys are buried. 
 The monument was unveiled on January 18, 1902 (my birthday, 53 years before I was born), with 150 Confederate veterans in attendance. Presumably they included my 54-year-old great-grandfather, Pierce Butler Griffin, as well as my 73-year-old great-great grandfather, Sgt. James Wiley Sherard, who was hobbled by an injury that he suffered in 1863 in the Battle of Jackson, Mississippi. He was a farmer who served in Company F of the 24th South Carolina Regiment.
 The ceremony featured the military band from 9-year-old Clemson Agricultural College, which played "Maryland, My Maryland" and "Taps," and a speech by Mayor George Tolly. Mrs. Cora Reed Ligon sang "The Conquered Banner," a poem by Father Abram Joseph Ryan (a Catholic priest who was a Confederate chaplain), set to music by her sister, Mrs. Emmala Reed Miller, a teacher who chronicled life in Anderson during and after the war.
 "The Conquered Banner" is styled after the "Concord Hymn," a classic Revolutionary War poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson that immortalized the line "the shot heard round the world."
 When the moment came to unveil the monument, Miss Hubbard was given the honor of pulling the cord. It slipped loose from the shroud, but a young boy from the crowd climbed the 35-foot monument and unveiled the statue.

Tear it down? Or can we reconcile with it?

It's time to replace this panel on the monument.
 The 118-year-old monument is a stately fixture on the town square, facing east toward the 122-year-old county courthouse across Main Street. When you look closely, though, it's not so dignified. Read the inscriptions, and it's painfully obvious why many want it removed.
 If you approach the monument from Mr. Whitner's statue, you will be greeted by a carved Confederate flag with these lines from The Conquered Banner:
  Though conquered, we adore it!
  Love the cold, dead hands that bore it! 
 On the opposite side, those walking up from Sullivan's Metropolitan Grill see another verse from Father Ryan's "Sentinel Songs." These lines were also used on the Confederate monuments in Greenville in 1892 and in Abbeville in 1906 and 1996:
  The World shall yet decide 
  in Truth’s clear, far off light,
  That the soldiers who wore the gray and died 
  with Lee, were in the right.
 The other two panels include a list of Civil War battles and a dense verse praising the Confederate soldiers for their chivalry, fortitude, and valor.
 I have no doubt that those inscriptions were approved by Miss Hubbard with the intention of honoring the Confederate veterans, especially those who were still living. It was not her nature to be provocative, and she could never have imagined how these would sound in the 21st century. If she could twist our ears today, I think she would tell us it's time to remove, replace, or cover up those antiquated sentiments. They are not worth fighting over, and they absolutely should not be on the courthouse square. 

I hope that our generation can find a constructive way to keep the memorial. Perhaps we could redeem it with more appropriate messaging, that shows we've learned lessons from our history and repented of our transgressions. Atlanta has taken similar steps with some of its Confederate monuments, adding "contextual markers" that address the underlying issues of slavery, racism, and states' rights. 
Would it be too radical to update the inscriptions on Anderson's monument? Here are possible alternatives for four plaques to cover and replace the original words:

1. The last stanza of Father Ryan's "Conquered Banner" concedes defeat and says respectfully that Confederate ideals should be put away forever, along with the flag: 

  Furl that banner, softly, slowly!
  Treat it gently—it is holy—
    for it droops above the dead.
  Touch it not—unfold it never.
  Let it droop there, furled forever,
    for its people's hopes are dead.

2. Add a plaque in memory of the 9,000 slaves who lived in Anderson County during the Civil War. Confess the truthslavery was the reason South Carolina seceded. Our leaders explicitly said so in 1860 in their Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secesssion of South Carolina from the Federal Union.
South Carolina led the secession movement in 1860, declaring that it was necessary to dissolve the Union because of the "increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery." After the the War Between the States ended in 1865, about 9,000 slaves in Anderson County were liberated by the Emancipation Proclamation and the ratification of the 13th Amendment.
3. After 155 years, I think it's time to add a plaque about Stoneman's Raid, which is not commemorated in the city of Anderson: 
On May 1, 1865, weeks after the surrender of Robert E. Lee, Anderson was invaded and occupied by Federal cavalry under orders from Gen. George Stoneman to pursue and capture Confederate President Jefferson Davis. On this square, Cadet McKenzie Parker from The Citadel became one of the last casualties of the Civil War on May 3, 1865.
4. Acknowledge the history of the monument itself with a plaque that says something like this:
This memorial was dedicated in 1902 to veterans of the Confederacy and rededicated in 2020 to these principles from our Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
 I'm open to suggestions about what to do with the CSA symbols carved into the plinth or the marble man up top. Gen. Humphreys was a newspaperman as well as a soldier, so maybe he could surrender his rifle and stay up there as a memorial to journalism.
—Tom Layton


President Lincoln's slavery map shows the percentage of slaves in South Carolina counties in the 1860 census. Abbeville and Edgefield were adjacent, before the counties of Greenwood, McCormick, and Saluda were established. Slaves were the majority of the population in Abbeville and Edgefield.
Pierce Butler Griffin in 1925
with my uncle, Claude Griffin.
* PIERCE BUTLER is a prominent name in South Carolina history. My great-grandfather Pierce Butler Griffin (1847-1925) apparently was named for Pierce Mason Butler (1798-1847), who was raised in Edgefield County,  studied under Rev. Moses Waddell, was elected governor in 1836, and was martyred in 1847 while carrying the Palmetto Regiment flag in the Mexican-American war. My great-grandfather was born in Abbeville County, the cradle of the Confederacy, just four months after the death of Gov. Butler. Edgefield bordered Abbeville in the Antebellum era and is known as the "Home of Ten Governors," including Pitchfork Ben Tillman and Strom Thurmond.
 In 1856, nine years after the death of Gov. Butler, his brother and cousin were serving in Congress. Sen. Andrew Butler was a slavery advocate who had been insulted by Sen. Charles Sumner in a fiery and lurid speech during the debate over the statehood of Kansas: "The senator from South Carolina has read many books of chivalry, and believes himself a chivalrous knight with sentiments of honor and courage. Of course he has chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows, and who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight—I mean the harlot, slavery. For her his tongue is always profuse in words. Let her be impeached in character, or any proposition made to shut her out from the extension of her wantonness, and no extravagance of manner or hardihood of assertion is then too great for this senator." When Sen. Stephen Douglas heard the speech, he said, "This damn fool is going to get himself killed by some other damn fool."
 The Butlers' cousin, Rep. Preston Brooks, vowed to defend the honor of Sen. Andrew Butler. Brooks considered Sumner unworthy of a gentlemen's duel, so he marched into the Senate chamber on May 22, 1856, and pummeled Sumner with his cane. Sumner suffered a traumatic brain injury and barely survived. It was three years before he was able to return to his Senate seat.
 The attack in the Senate was a breaking point for the nation, said Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was Sumner's neighbor in Boston. "I do not see how a barbarous community and a civilized community can constitute one state. I think we must get rid of slavery, or we must get rid of freedom." The incident was so polarizing that it led to the rise of the Republican party and the election of Abraham Lincoln.
 A couple of generations earlier, there was another Pierce Butler (1744-1822), a plantation owner in Georgetown who was one of America's largest slaveholders. As a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he introduced the Fugitive Slave Clause (Article IV, Section 2), which essentially institutionalized slavery on a federal level. In 1860, Georgetown's population was 85.7 percent slaves—the  most of any county east of Mississippi. His grandson Pierce Mease Butler (1810-1867) sold 436 slaves in 1859 for more than $300,000 (an average price of about $700 per person). The Edgefield Butlers were not descended from Georgetown's Butlers, but it seems likely that Gov. Pierce Mason Butler was named for the Constitutional delegate.
 Edgefield is dealing with its own Old South heritage—as protestors want to rename Strom Thurmond High School, which was named for the senator in 1961, the same year that the Confederate flag was raised over the state capitol in Columbia (it came down in 2015 after the Charleston church massacre). Thurmond popularized the flag as a symbol of defiance when he was the Dixiecrat presidential candidate in 1948, and after he was elected to the Senate as a write-in, he infamously filibustered the 1957 Civil Rights Act. (If the school is renamed, we can assume that its athletic teams will no longer be known as the Rebels.) Inevitably, there will be a showdown on the town square in Edgefield, where a Confederate obelisk has stood since 1900 and a bronze statue of Sen. Thurmond was erected in 1984.

 RELATED ANDERSON STORIES
Anderson: 'They wished to ruin us'
How to stop the Yankees? With a winefest
One of the Confederacy's last martyrs fell here
Craytonville: A crossroads for Stoneman's Raid
Emmala's War: Audacity of the 'cute Yankee'
Emmala's War: 'Many drunken demons'
Emmala's War: 'A ruined, humiliated people'
Yankee raider plundered the heart of a Carolina girl
The battle of Anderson, revisited

 Cavalry vs. Calvary: Not a hill to die on

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Greenville mule got a Yankee's goat

The 200-year-old Rock House was built by Capt. Billy Young, a hero of the American Revolution
Some of the Union cavalry crossed the 1820 Poinsett Bridge in the mountains of Greenville County

GREENVILLE, S.C.
 The Union cavalry who invaded Greenville on May 2, 1865, came from Asheville, and their routes would have brought them past two rock-solid monuments of 19th-century craftsmanship: the Poinsett Bridge on the State Road and the Rock House on the Buncombe Road.
The Rock House was built some 200 years ago by Capt. Billy Young, a hero of the American Revolution. It once was the largest house in Greenville, but it is so secluded that I never knew about it during the decades I lived there. I looked it up during the 150th anniversary of Stoneman's Raid, because the most prominent local victim of the raid was listed by historians as "Capt. Choice of the old Rock House."
Josiah Choice was 62 years old when the raiders came down Buncombe Road. There are varying accounts of what happened to him. He may have been killed for shooting at a cavalryman who confiscated his horse. The Choice family had a home nearby, so it is possible that "of the old Rock House" described the locale where he was killed, rather than the actual house where he lived.
 About 150 Union cavalry from Stoneman's rear guard were dispatched from Asheville in late April to pursue Jefferson Davis, the fugitive president of the Confederacy.  They rode together through Saluda Gap to the foot of the Blue Ridge, where they fanned out. Some of them followed the State Road across Poinsett Bridge and entered Greenville on the Rutherford Road. Click here to read our 150th anniversary story about the havoc they caused in Greenville. 
 The rest of the Yankees came down Buncombe Road, took Josiah Choice's life, and left us with a great story. It's too good to be true, but The State newspaper in Columbia reported it Aug. 23, 1959, after reporter Virginia Oles visited her Aunt Em, Emily Rosamond Thackston, the great-granddaughter of Capt. Young. Aunt Em's father, William Thackston, had inherited the house from his wife Katherine, the captain's granddaughter. 
 Capt. Young (1759-1826) was known as That Terror To The Tories during the Revolution. Yankees were sometimes called Tories, too, and at least one of the Union soldiers at the Rock House probably was sorry he met Capt. Young's daughter Emily Young Rosamond (1812-1888). This Emily was the great aunt of the Aunt Em who told the story to the newspaper.
Here's Your Mule was a
 popular Civil War song
As the story goes, by the end of the war, a mule named Susie was the last livestock on the Rock House plantation. All the men were working in the fields, so only Emily was home when a Yankee rode up on a worn-out horse.
Without so much as a good morning, the soldier went into the barnyard, unsaddled his horse, saddled Susie, and rode off. Emily was especially fond of Susie, so she wept with grief.
Early the next morning, there was a sudden commotion in the yard. The whole household rushed out to see what was going on. There stood old Susie at the barnyard gate, wearing the Yankee's saddle. However, there was no rider.
Emily threw her arms around Susie's neck and kissed her. She whispered into the mule's ear, "Susie, you threw that Yankee and came back home!"
Later that day, the Yankee returned with a noticeable limp. He went to the barnyard, saddled his own lame horse, and rode off without a word of explanation.
Susie, of course, became a war hero whose story was repeated for generations.


Old Buncombe Road is a landmark between downtown Greenville and Furman University.  The original wagon road was built in the years following the Revolution. The road reached the North Carolina line in 1797 and finally connected in 1827 with Buncombe County, N.C. That opened up a trade route into the western frontier of Tennessee and Kentucky. In Greenville County, the road followed the Reedy River and the North Fork of the Saluda River before intersecting the State Road from Columbia, which crossed the Blue Ridge at Saluda Gap. This is the old route of U.S. Highway 25, which now passes through the Greenville watershed.
Capt. Young was born in Loudoun County, Va., grew up on a large farm on the Pacolet River in Spartanburg County, and enlisted in the 2nd Spartan Regiment at age 16. He fought in the "Snow Campaign" of 1775 (which included the Battle of the Great Cane Brake in lower Greenville County), Musgrove Mill and Kings Mountain in 1780, and Cowpens, Augusta, and Ninety Six in 1781. After the war, he was appointed in 1785 as the first sheriff of Spartanburg County.
 In 1789, at age 30, Capt. Young married 15-year-old Mary Salmon from Virginia. They settled on farmland about four miles northwest of the village of Greenville (which was originally called Pleasantburg) and had at least 14 children. (Emily was born in 1812 and married James Rosamond in 1833.) Capt. Young and his brother acquired large tracts of land northwest of Greenville along the Buncombe Road. Some of their acreage eventually became part of Furman University when the campus was relocated from downtown Greenville in the 1950s.
Capt. Young may have started building the Rock House in 1792, using granite quarried from nearby Paris Mountain and brought down by slave-driven ox carts. The stone walls are 36 inches thick outside and 26 inside.  It's possible that he employed some of he same stonemasons who built the Poinsett Bridge in 1820. The house has eight rooms, a central hallway, and a secret compartment in the attic where the family hid heirlooms and food to protect them from the Union raiders.
The Rock House may have still been under construction when the captain died in 1826. The house eventually served as a stagecoach stop and a post office on the Buncombe Road.
After the Civil War, the Rock House was owned by Benjamin Franklin Perry Jr., son of the post-war governor of South Carolina. The younger Perry had married one of the captain's granddaughters. Thackston, a widowed Confederate veteran, inherited the house and lived there until his death in 1909. His daughter Emily (1875-1958) continued to live there along with her brother Henry (1866-1943), who farmed the land until his death. In 1956, "Aunt Em" vacated the Rock House at age 81, and the place fell into disrepair. 
 In 1958, lawyer Harry J. Haynsworth III and his wife Jean bought it for $7,500 and renovated it into a formal home. Haynsworth (1923-1994) was the son of Clement F. Haynsworth, a Supreme Court nominee in 1969. Subsequent owners have been Linda Mayes Haynsworth Osborne and Scott and Alice McCrary. The taxable market value in 2020 is assessed at $326,420.


Robert Mills' 1820 Atlas shows Capt. Young's Rock House between Greenville and Paris Mountain. Buncombe Road is labeled as From Saluda Gap to Greenville 28.00 (miles).


RELATED GREENVILLE STORIES
'Raid is the worst form of war'
➤ Greenville dodges last bullet of Stoneman's Raid 
➤ 'Prepare to meet your God'


Friday, May 1, 2020

Yankee raider plundered heart of a Carolina girl

Thirty years after the Civil War skirmish at her family home, Caty Moore Callahan Long (1847-1904) and her second husband Billy Long (1848-1914) sat for this 1895 portrait. Caty's son Lige Callahan was not present; his wife Lizzie Black Callahan is standing in the center, along with their young daughters: Minnie, Fannie, and Hattie. Billy Long is holding Caty's grandson Tom Callahan. Also standing are the Long children: Caroline, Janie Ellison, George and Ezekiel. Tom was the last of Lizzie's children born in a cabin on the Moore farm, so this picture was taken about the time that Lige moved his family to Piedmont.
Lige with his pet goose
Lige Callahan
(from a family reunion booklet)


Meet the unlikely son of the 'Battle of Anderson'
PIEDMONT, S.C.
 I love it when legends turn out to be true.
 I've reported a few legends in the pages of The Stoneman Gazette, including some from the so-called "Battle of Anderson," where I had heard that a wounded Yankee later returned to South Carolina to thank the Southern belles who saved his life. 
 More recently, I was delighted to hear from several members of the family, who filled me in on the rest of the story, which is far better than the legend. Not only did the Yankee return, but he married a young lady who lived on the farm where he was woundedand they had a son. After the devil caught up with the Yankee, so to speak, his widow married the son of a Confederate veteran who fought at Bull Run. So Caty Moore Callahan Long was connected to the first and last combat of the Civil War. 
The marker in Williamston (left) is 10 miles from the actual site of the fighting. 

There were three skirmishes in Anderson County on May 1, 1865 as Stoneman's raiders converged on Anderson in pursuit of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Two were near Craytonville and Pendleton.
The one that figures into this story was near Williamston, halfway between Anderson and Greenville. It's the only one that has monuments—a state historical marker in Williamston which commemorates "one of the last engagements of the war," and also a stone erected at the actual site by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans which calls the skirmish "the last unit action of the war east of the Mississippi River."
The site of the skirmish was a farm on Old Williamston Road, just off I-85 at Exit 35, about a mile north of Shiloh Methodist Church. This was the home of Thomas B. Moore (1803-1873). Part of the Moore family farmhouse still stands on the property.
 This is where a squad from the 10th Michigan Cavalry encountered a group of teenagers from the Columbia Arsenal, which was a prep school for The Citadel in Charleston. Neither side was looking for a fight, but gunshots soon rang out. 
 Both sides sustained wounds. Cadet James Spearman of Newberry was shot in the hand. A Michigan cavalryman, James Callaghan, was shot from his horse and apparently abandoned by his squad as they disengaged from the fight. (Based on regimental records, I believe he was James O. Callaghan, from Grand Rapids, Mich., who enlisted at age 41 and would have been one of the oldest members of Company E.)
 Some of the Southerners were eager to finish off Callaghan, but the Moore family rescued him and saved his life. He recovered in a wayside hospital in Greenville, which was occupied by Union forces after the war. At some point, Callaghan returned to the scene of the battle and married the farmer's teenage daughter, Emily Catherine, known as "Caty." They moved to Texas, where their son was born in 1867. They named him Elijah, after Caty's grandfather, and called him "Lige."
James Callaghan was scorned by his in-laws, and not just because he was a Yankee. He was often drunk and abusive toward Caty. He soon disappeared, possibly at the hands of Caty's brother, John Moore (1830-1905), a ruffian known as "Devil John." 
 The family rarely talked about Caty's first marriage, according to Jimmy Orr, the great-great-grandson of Caty and her second husband, Billy Long. "It was considered shameful for many years," Orr said. Modern generations were not even sure of Lige's father's name until they found "James Callahan" listed on Lige's 1937 death certificate.
According to family stories Orr heard from his grandmother and great-aunt in the 1990s, one night Devil John Moore rode home with Callahan's horse and told Caty "he must have drowned in the river." When Caty wanted to remarry, her brother assured her that she would never again have to worry about James Callahan.
 Lige's descendants compiled a family history for a reunion in the late 1990s. It includes two stories of the demise of James Callahan. One says that he lost all his money while gambling in a town on the Mississippi River and then left his family behind. Another tale says that Caty and James made it to Texas and setttled on a farm, where dust storms and domestic abuse made her life miserable. The 1870 census shows that Caty and Lige had returned to South Carolina and were living with her parents.  
Lt. John Long
Around 1872, Caty married Billy Long, the son of a Confederate soldier named John Ezekiel Long (1826-1905), who was a 1st Lieutenant with the 4th S.C. Volunteers and fought in the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) that began the Civil War. On the morning of July 21, 1861, Lt. Long's unit bravely thwarted a Union flanking move on Matthews Hill—ensuring a Confederate victory and signaling that the war would not end quickly.
 Caty and Billy Long had four sons and four daughters while also raising "Lige," who inherited his father's temper and often did not get along with his half-siblingsCaty died of tuberculosis at age 57 in 1904, and Billy Long died at age 65 in 1914. In her will, Caty left the Moore homeplace to her daughter, Janie Long Ellison; perhaps because she didn't trust Lige to manage it well. She left him just one dollar, and he vowed he would never touch it.
 In 1887, 20-year-old Lige Callahan married 18-year-old Carrie Elizabeth "Lizzie" Black, the daughter of a Confederate veteran. She had Native American blood, and many of their children had black hair and dark complexions. Their five oldest children were born in a cabin on the Moore farm, and the rest were born in the town of Piedmont. Today they have dozens of descendants, including including Mitchells, McCalls, Hoopers, Robinsons, and Callahans. 
 Like many men of his generation, Lige went to work in the new cotton mills that sprang up quickly across the South. The Piedmont Manufacturing Company opened in 1873 on the banks of the Saluda River, and the town of Piedmont grew up around the mills. (Seven years later, the nearby mill town of Pelzer was founded by Ellison Adger Smyth, who had been one of the cadets who fought at Moore's Farm.)
The 1910 census lists Lige as a cotton mill slasher living at 2 Anderson Street in Piedmont. (A slasher operated a machine that starched the fabric as the yarn was woven.) The address probably should be Academy Street, which was a driveway connecting Anderson Street to the town's original school.
 Most of Lige's children also worked in the mill, and none of them made it past seventh grade in school. 
Lige Callahan's 6-room house still stands
 at 2 Academy Street in Piedmont
 In the 1920 census, Lige was listed as a mill operative living at 2 Academy Street, and in 1930, he was a carpenter living on McElrath Street, near the iconic footbridge that connected the Piedmont mills until it was destroyed in a 2020 flood.
 Lige became a skilled carpenter, even though he was handicapped by a clubbed foot, could not read, and had a weakness for alcohol. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, played the fiddle, smoked a pipe, raised a garden, and kept a pet goose that would fly to meet him when the mill whistle sounded at the end of his shift.
 In 1910, Lige told the census that he was born in South Carolina (perhaps protecting a family secret), but in 1920 and 1930 he said his birthplace was in Texas. One family tradition said he was born in Sherman, Texas, a town on the Oklahoma border. 
 Lizzie Callahan suffered a stroke at age 53 in 1924 and was in a wheelchair until she died in 1930.
 When 70-year-old Lige Callahan died of kidney disease at Greenville's St. Francis Hospital in 1937, he had 28 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His son Dub filled out Lige's death certificate, verifying his father's name, James Callahan, and his birthplace in Texas, without specifying the town. Lige and Lizzie are buried at Shiloh United Methodist Church, about a mile south of the Moore family homeplace and just a few yards away from what is now the northbound shoulder of I-85.
 Their sons were:
  1. Jim Callahan (1888-1960), possibly named for his Yankee grandfather, never married, taught himself to read the Bible.
  2. Tom Callahan (1895-1950), known as the best weaver in the Piedmont Mill.
  3. Donald "Dub" Callahan (1903-1960), made a career in the Piedmont Mill, became a 33rd-degree Mason like his father, married Anna Hunnicut and had one son.
  4. Elijah Callahan Jr. (1911-1994), a carpenter who married Faye White, had two children. When little Ligia was 12, he repaired a broken fiddle for his father. 
 Their daughters were:
  1. Minnie Mitchell (1891-1973), eloped with Henry Mitchell and raised 10 children on a farm in Greenville County. I'm grateful to her great-granddaughters Heddie Fogle Adams and Shannon Owens Wyatt for sharing the family history and helping me cross-check details.
  2. Fannie Hooper (1892-1930), married a mill co-worker named William Hooper, died while giving birth to her sixth child.
  3. Hattie Robinson (1893-1985), eloped with co-worker Chris Robinson, raised 10 children in Lige's old house at 2 Academy Street in Piedmont.
  4. Lessie Fleming (1897-1973), married World War I veteran Henry Fleming. They spent much of their life in Florida and the Charlotte area.
  5. Ressie Patat (1901-1966), married Emory Patat. They raised four children in Athens, Ga.
  6. Dessie "Det" McCall (1905-1966), married Cleo McCall, who was a sailor in World War II, settled in Pickens County.
  7. Mary Callahan (1908-2001), stayed in Piedmont to care for her mother and father in their last years, then worked in the mill.
  8. Kate Callahan (1914-1923), named for her grandmother, died of diphtheria at age 9.