Thursday, May 2, 2013
Rowan Thompson attends Double Decker Festival in Oxford
Congratulations to the Marshall Academy Patriots baseball team for defeating Canton Academy last week to move forward in the playoff series.
This week, they travelled to Raymond to face off with Central Hinds Academy. Tied up with one on, sophomore Von Watson cracked the bat, going for yard putting the Patriots up 6-4. Aaron McAlexander smoked the ball past the three batters CHA sent to the plate, cinching the first win of the series.
They play at Patriot Field Thursday. Come on down and support the team!!
Oddly enough last week, when we were in Canton, we ate at Penn’s, a small little restaurant which offers a great variety of tasty food. While waiting for our order, I struck up a conversation with a man who appeared to be the owner. He asked where we were from and upon telling him, he asked if Tommy Gunn was our headmaster. When I answered yes, he delved into the deep section of his brain and pulled out memories from his junior high school days. Tommy Gunn was his track coach back in the day. He went on to say he was running for Canton at some big track meet. He said he jumped the gun. Waiting on his coach to say something, which he didn’t, Tommy Gunn crawled all over him! He said he hadn’t seen him since he left, but he sure knew who he was when telling him to listen for that gun and don’t go until you hear it.
It was nice to know that someone could make such an impression on a young person and also remember them years later. The man’s name is David Willy. If you are ever in Canton and want some good food, stop by Penn’s and say hello to David. He’s a super nice guy!
Rowan Thompson of Dallas, Texas, was the weekend guest of Kay and Laura Wheeler. He was here attending the Double Decker Festival in Oxford with his old college buddies.
Moore book-signing next Tuesday at library
Holly Springs’ own Marie Moore has a new book.
“Game Drive,” the second travel mystery in The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery Series, was released by Camel Press Monday, April 15, and celebrated at 6 p.m. with a standing-room-only crowd at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis, Tenn.
Next Tuesday, May 7, Moore will be speaking and signing books at the Friends of the Library at the Marshall County Library in Holly Springs at 12 noon. The public is invited.
In February, both “Shore Excursion” and “Game Drive” were specially chosen for inclusion in the onboard libraries on all 21 ships of the Holland America and Seabourn Cruise Lines.
Both books were also selected for the shelves of The Travel Institute’s Bookstore
In March, Moore spoke and read from both books at The Balancing Your Act Stage at The Southern Women’s Show representing The Memphis Library.
“Game Drive” was reviewed on April 12 by Chapter16.org, a division of Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of The National Endowment For The Arts.
Moore will speak at the 25th Annual Malice Domestic Mystery Conference in Bethesda, Maryland, on May 4 on a panel titled “The Armchair Traveler: Mysteries Set in Exotic Locations” and will also sign books there on the same day.
Her work will be featured in the May/June issue of “Southern Writer’s Magazine.”
“Game Drive” will be featured on The Cozy Mystery Blog Tour May 1-7.
On May 16 at 6 p.m., Moore will be doing a booksigning and African Travel Talk at Gulliver’s Travel in Germantown, Tenn., with FM-100’s Ron Olsen. The public is invited.
The new release is about a New York-based travel agent on a research trip for her agency who suspects foul play after a colleague is killed in a tragic accident. “Game Drive” is the second book in a series featuring amateur sleuth Sidney Marsh. This time her travels take her to Cape Town, South Africa, and a private game lodge near the Kruger National Park.
The first Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery, “Shore Excursion,” received enthusiastic praise.
“It is hard to believe that “Shore Excursion” is Marie Moore’s first mystery,” wrote Blogcritic Regis Schilken. “Read this eerie tale. Like me, you will surely anticipate her next one.”
Sidney Marsh is a Mississippi-born, New York-based travel agent. In “Game Drive,” she and her best friend and business partner, Jay Wilson, are struggling to remain standing in a world where the ground is shifting. Their boss at Itchy Feet Travel has a new scheme to attract customers – safari tour packages. He sends Sidney and Jay on a familiarization trip to Cape Town and safari country to check out the accommodations and confirm that the experience lives up to the hype in the brochures.
Sidney looks forward to the deluxe trip and so does Jay, despite his deathly fear of animals, both wild and domesticated. Their experience will be far wilder than either could have imagined. First Sidney stumbles upon a suspicious rendezvous and possible murder scene in Cape Town. After Sidney’s pocket is picked on a cable-car ride up Table Mountain, she suspects that someone in their group is an imposter, a suspicion that is soon confirmed. At Leopard Dance – the luxury game lodge near Kruger National Park that serves as their base camp – one of the other agents on the “fam trip” turns up dead.
Sidney carries on a risky flirtation with a handsome Afrikaner, who may or may not be the latest manifestation of the “Marsh Curse,” which seems to jinx her every relationship. And Sidney and Jay discover that they have far more to fear from predatory humans than wild animals.
Says Moore, “As Sidney would tell you, the great advantage of working in the travel business is that you get to visit places you might not otherwise be able to afford. Africa is such a place. Africa has always held a fascination for travelers – the actual and armchair kind. After visiting Cape Town, I decided that it was where Sidney and Jay should go next. In my books I seek primarily to entertain, but at the same time to inform, in a small way, about the lot of God’s more vulnerable creatures.
In “Game Drive,” Sidney is stirred by the systematic decimation of Africa’s rhino and elephant populations. Hundreds of these magnificent creatures are being slaughtered every year so that only a fraction of once great populations remains. And when those die out, we’ll be left with nothing but pictures of them, as with the dodo bird and the passenger pigeon.”
Moore is a native Mississippian. She graduated from Ole Miss, married a lawyer in her hometown, taught junior high science, raised a family, and worked for a small weekly newspaper (The Pigeon Roost News) – first as a writer and later as managing editor.
She wrote hard news, features and a weekly column, and won a couple of Mississippi Press Association awards for her stories. In 1985, Marie left the newspaper to open a retail travel agency, which she managed for the next 15 years. Both ‘Shore Excursion” (2012) and “Game Drive” (2013) were inspired by those experiences.
Moore is a member of Sisters in Crime. She and her husband now live in Memphis, Tenn., and Holly Springs. You can find more information online at www.MarieMooreMysteries.com.
Alexander Meek – Revolutionary War veterans
The Revolutionary War seems far removed from us here in Marshall County, both in time and in distance from the scenes of action.
Yet, when Marshall County was organized in 1836 the American Revolution had only been over for approximately 53 years, and there were several veterans of that great conflict who became residents of the county over the succeeding years. Some of them died here, and others were merely transients, coming through for a brief time, and then succumbing to a pioneer spirit, moving even farther west.
When I first became interested in trying to identify Revolutionary War veterans who had been residents of the county, only one, Alexander Meek, was known for sure to have lived here. Rumors say that there might have been another in the north part of the county, but no one knew where.
Although census records were not as accessible then as now, there were genealogical newsletters that circulated, which the local library subscribed to. Most were home-produced issues, typed and reproduced with ditto machines, but one could find good information in them. While reading one of those old issues, I read that the 1840 census had a question that would identify veterans in each county.
Following up on the information, I found another newsletter that named the veterans in Mississippi by county. Four soldiers were identified as living in Marshall County from that source – Edward Corbet, age 78, was living with his son Edmund Corbet; Alexander Meek, age 76, was the head of his household; Milton Alexander, age 83, was listed as head of the household, and Harrison Jones, age 84, was living with his son, Weldon Jones, one of the wealthiest and most prosperous planters and one of the largest slaveholders in the county.
Soon, two more veterans were identified from material published by the Mississippi Genealogical Society – James Riley who was living near Lamar, as was John Spelts, who was 95 when he arrived here and asked for a pension transfer. Spelts received a pension of $20 per year. For several years no others were identified, then while reading old microfilmed newspapers of the period, two more Revolutionary soldiers were found through their obituaries in Holly Springs newspapers, one in the Guard and one in the Gazette.
The Gazette of Aug. 25, 1843, carried a note that Moses Lambeth had died August 18 while living with his son-in-law James Tyer. Lambeth had been drawing a pension for the brief time he lived here. The Tyer’s plantation was northeast of Hudsonville, in present day Benton County. Moses is probably buried there in an unmarked grave. The Holly Springs Guard of March 30, 1842, had a note that Elijah Lumsden died at his home in North Mt. Pleasant (now Mt. Pleasant). He is also buried in an unmarked grave most likely in the immediate Mt. Pleasant area. His death notice did not specifically mention the Revolutionary War, but it did say that “he was at the siege of 96 under General Greene.”
Nathaniel Greene was a general in the war and one of the towns the Patriots tried, unsuccessfully, to take was called Ninety Six, South Carolina. I later found evidence Lumsden had drawn a pension for his service and had moved to north Mississippi from Fayette County, Tenn., some years before he died. William Deaver’s grave, near Early Grove, was marked by a private monument, which had been broken into pieces. Sandy Nunley first told me of this soldier’s grave. We did some research, identified who and where he was from and got a military marker to replace the original broken one. Deaver lived with his son and was also a pensioner of the qar.
The last one discovered to this point, who can actually be proven to have been a soldier in the Revolution is William McFerrin. Someone had told me they had seen a tombstone many years ago for a veteran of the war along Hwy. 72, between Mt. Pleasant and Cayce Road. Further investigation led to the present owner of the ranch, also named William McFerrin. He, his son, grandson and I went to that grave site a few years ago. He has a military- style monument, with an impression of a shield which is now missing. We surmised that probably a bronze plaque had been attached that would have identified the group which placed the marker originally.
(to be continued to next week)
contiMartha Fant found one name and gave to me, George Hall. Although she found the name in a file that was supposed to be for men in Mississippi who had a recognized military burial, we have not found one shred of evidence that he was a veteran. All the form she discovered showed was his name and that he was supposed to be buried in Hill Crest.
Thus we have 10 identified and confirmed veterans who lived in the county, five of whom died here, three of whom have located burial sites, and several other “maybes” which we hope to prove someday. Some interesting stories could be recounted for the battle experiences of these men, but room does not permit, so only a cursory look will be given to a small number of them.
Alexander Meek lived to be nearly 94 years old; according to his tombstone, other sources say he was nearly 100 when he died. In his pension application, Meek stated he was at the Battle of King’s Mountain, and that a number of Tories were taken captive. They were to be hung and he was assigned the duty of holding the cowhides from which the strings were cut to hang nine Tories, killed in retaliation for depredations and atrocities done by the Loyalists army. Thirty captives had been taken, but after hanging these nine, in sets of three, another group of three was selected to be executed also, but some officers arrived and called a halt to the hangings.
Meeks’ grave was marked with a DAR plaque, placed by the James Gilliam Chapter from Panola County. Harrison Jones was disabled in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and subsequently lost his right leg below the knee. He was a Virginia soldier, moved to Georgia, thence to Mississippi. He is buried across the Tallahatchie River from Marshall County, in the Harrison Jones Cemetery in Lafayette County. John Spelts came to Marshall County via Madison County, Ala., as did so many of the early settlers of the area. He had been wounded by a gunshot to the shoulder by Tories in the Battle of Yadkin River. Spelts, known in the ranks as “Continental Jack,” was one of the famed “Overmountain Men,” patriots who had responded to a call for volunteers to halt the British’s threatened attack on their homes.
These were hardy pioneers who lived far from civilization, in the hollows and valleys west of the Appalachian Mountains, men who chose their own officers, followed which- ever leader they wanted to, volunteered to fight, received no pay, and fought Indian style, from the shadows, trees, forest and glens, with yells and shouts accompanying their attacks, and returned home at battle’s end, but willing to take arms up again as needed. These were the men who fought and won the Battle of King’s Mountain.
The British, to their regret, had felt they had little to fear from the ragtag army. As the battle raged around, the Tories began to try to surrender, but knowingly or not, the Americans declined to recognize the white flags and continued shooting, killing until their officers could gain control of the situation. Many said later they did not know the significance of the white flags. It was John Spelts who contributed to Lyman Draper, historian of the Battle of King’s Mountain, that Tory Commander Patrick Ferguson had a silver whistle a foot long with which he signaled his troops.
It was Spelts who told of the cries for water and groans of the dying Tories, cries which the Patriots ignored in their exhaustion. Spelts also told of their prisoners being fed like animals, with the guards surrounding them and then tossing raw ears of corn and pumpkins to the prisoners who scrambled to get a bit of food. In one section of the battlefield, in a rocky enclosure, 20 bodies of Tories were found, all shot through the head by the Overmountain sharpshooters, using rifles, rather than muskets as the British soldiers used.
Room here does not afford the opportunity to tell of the deeds and experiences of even this one soldier. Epilogue: “Today in History in Marshall County,” May 2, 1935, Ulysses Matthews, the last surviving Confederate veteran in Holly Springs, died.
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