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Mark de Castrique posted an event

Malaprop's Bookstore at Malaprop's

November 9, 2015 from 7pm to 8pm
Presenting new Sam Blackman mystery A SPECTER OF JUSTICESee More
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

A Chronology of Asheville and WNC Events in History

                                   IMPORTANT DATES IN ASHEVILLE HISTORY                                                                 by Rob Neufeld 1000: The Cherokee, who’d introduced maize agriculture to the region, began cultivating beans. 1540: Hernando De Soto led troops to East Tennessee through either the Hickory Nut or Swannanoa Gap, finding gold and copper and inspiring a succession of Spanish miners. 1663: Charles II bestows territory between the 31st and 36th parallels in America…See More
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Root-diggers of Appalachia

People in the Lost Provinces were herb-gatherersby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Three herbal products offered by S.B. Penick’s, once the world’s largest herb distributor, its largest warehouse located in Asheville.             “Last week, during a research trip to the ‘Lost Provinces,’” Luke Manget said about the landscape…See More
Mark de Castrique posted a video

A Specter of Justice Preview

A Preview of the new Sam Blackman mystery to be released November 3, 2015
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

"Us versus Them" does not help fight against racism; worsens sectionalism

“Us versus them” is not good historyby Rob Neufeld             Writing about history and the complex lives that play out within it does not sell as well as team spirit, especially in this age of clicks and likes.            I recently confronted this truth when I wrote my article last week about the minds of our leaders in 1851. The word “slavery” was added to the headline to alert people to its relevance.  Seeing that term connected people to a cause they felt strongly about, particularly in…See More
Sep 27
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Player of Games and the Millennial Mind

Player of Games reveals today’s game-changing mentalityby Rob Neufeld             There is something big happening in Millennial Generation literature, and I thought I’d try to get a handle on it.            To give an idea of one aspect of current thinking: I was at a gathering recently, plenty of youngsters, and I…See More
Sep 27
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan Book Signing at MACA Building

October 10, 2015 from 9am to 1pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will sign her books at the McDowell Arts Council Association (MACA) Booth at the annual Mountain Glory Festival on Saturday, October 10 from 9-1.See More
Sep 22
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Sep 22
Ann Miller Woodford shared their photo on Facebook
Sep 21
Ann Miller Woodford posted a photo

Deacon Chrisenberry -Berry- Howell (1855-1938) on horseback. From the collection of Purel Miller (2)

My maternal great grandfather, Chrisenberry Howell, who was called "Berry" Howell in Swain County. From the Purel Miller collection. Submitted by Ann Miller Woodford
Sep 21
James D. Loy posted a blog post

The skull merchant, the dead ape, and the narcoleptic mortician

Hello "The Read on WNC" readers:     I'm posting this note to announce the publication of vol. 3 in my "Loy's Loonies" series.  This one is called The Mortician's Road Trip and it's a bit more of a mystery than my earlier books. Here's a teaser for the story.     Upstate New Yorker Baz Rathbone makes ends meet by selling human skulls. By contract, he should cremate them, but he doesn’t. His little business comes to the attention of the FBI when a woman spots her late husband’s skull being used…See More
Sep 20
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Sep 19
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Sep 19
Ann Miller Woodford replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Terra Incognita: An Annotated Bibliography of the Great Smoky Mountains
"That East Tennessee Christian Association of Friends comment, especially bothered me, but it clarifies the view some folks from outside the region have about us even to this day.   … average intelligence...below that of colored…"
Sep 8
Ann Miller Woodford updated their profile
Sep 8
Carol Anders posted an event

FREUD'S LAST SESSION by Mark St. Germain at All Souls Cathedral Parrish Hall / Biltmore Village

October 4, 2015 from 7pm to 9pm
It is a "sharp, lively discourse, and audience members searching for engaging debate will be pleased, St. Germain's script is astute, and the humor is plentiful."-NY Times. Sigmund Freud invites C. S. Lewis to his home in London  ...they clash about sex, love, the existence of God and the meaning of life - just weeks before Freud took his own life. This play reveals the minds, hearts and souls of two brilliant men.  Afterwards a time to "talk back" with The Very Rev. Todd Donatelli and Dr. Mary…See More
Sep 8

Terrell Garren's new book: a definitive revision of Civil War history in WNC

Terrell Garren brings full accuracy to Civil War history

by Rob Neufeld


            Terrell Garren, novelist and local historian, has produced a work of scholarship that rocks the boat about the Civil War in this region, and then nails it down in its righted position.

            In 2006, he’d published a slim volume—“Mountain Myth: Unionism in Western North Carolina”—that laid out his thesis.

            Contrary to beliefs bred in the late 1860s, ingrained in families, and perpetuated in contemporary histories, Unionism was practically non-existent in the mountains by the summer of 1861.

            It wasn’t until the fall of 1863, he reveals, that locals enlisted in the Union Army, usually as deserters from the Confederate Army; and it wasn’t until after Appomattox that families claimed Unionist ties in order to get government benefits.

            “Not a single man from Henderson County joined the Union Army during the first two and a half years of the war,” Garren states in his new volume, “Measured in Blood: The Role of Henderson County, North Carolina in the American Civil War,” weighing in at 588 pages.

            In his talks, Garren gives the explanation.  “Slavery had been the main cause of the war,” he says, “but it wasn’t the reason most men fought.  Soldiers in any war are rarely aware of the politics behind their battles.” 

The nearly unanimous Confederate sentiment in the mountains, at the war’s start, had to do with homeland security.


The soldiers, one by one


            What “Measured in Blood” has motivated Garren to do is carefully consider the records and lives of each of over 2,000 Henderson County soldiers.  He’s precise about his criteria for inclusion: placement in the 1860 census; and in Henderson County regiments.

            He’s a quantifier as much as a story-teller, and highlights the sacrifices made in the horrifying war by assigning “sacrifice points” to each combatant based on wounds, sickness, death, presence in major battles, days in service, and time in prison.

            For example, there’s Private Ebenezer Henry Wheeler Girvin.

            He was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg; then ten months later at Spotsylvania Court House.  He went back to battle and was wounded in the Siege of Petersburg.  On April 19, 1865, hospital records note a gunshot wound to his head suffered at Farmville, Virginia.  By the end of the war, he was recuperating.

            Then there’s the mystery of John H. Carver.

            Carver, a private, was a member of the 1st N.C. Cavalry in J.E.B. Stuart’s Division.  Carver had fought in the Seven Days, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Second Manassas, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg battles before his ghastly race at the battle at Auburn Mills, Virginia, Oct. 14, 1863.

            When Stuart found himself flanked on both sides of a wooded hill he’d occupied, he ordered Carver’s regiment to charge through a Union formation in order to allow Stuart to escape with his force around the Federal lines.

            Thirty men came out the other side of the charge alive.  One was Carver, who stayed on his saddle despite being hit seven times.  Listed as “severely wounded,” Carver was furloughed, and then put “on detached service” at his home in the Rugby community of Henderson County.

            In April, 1864, “something went terribly wrong,” Garren writes.  The muster roll for that period states that Carver was “killed while in arrest and attempting to escape.”

            Who killed him?  If it had been Confederates mistaking him for a deserter, why would his widow have applied for a Confederate claim for deceased soldiers?

            If Union men had killed him, why did the record indicate an arrest?  No record of an arrest has been found.

            Carver emerges as one of the ultimate sacrificers in Garren’s book.




            Another kind of mystery arises with Andrew J, Lanning, several of whose brothers served in the Confederate Army.

            Andrew, accompanied by his older brother, William, a wounded Confederate veteran, joined the 2nd N.C. Mounted Infantry (Union) in the fall of 1863 and received a bounty payment of $25 (another $75 to be paid later) on Oct. 1, 1863—that is, after Gettysburg.

            The infantry unit had been created to draw in Confederate deserters.  On Dec. 9, 1863, Lanning deserted it, never to return.  Or did he? 

            Someone named Andrew J. Lanning signed up with a new regiment, the 3rd N.C. Mounted Infantry, created by the notorious raider, Col. George W. Kirk, who inflated the bounty payment to $300.

            Oddly, the 2nd Infantry Andrew Lanning had dark eyes, hair, and complexion; was born in Henderson County; and was 20; whereas, the 3rd Infantry one was 18, had blue eyes and a fair complexion, and was born in Transylvania County, according to enlistment documents.

            The explanation, Garren says is that Kirk took kickback payments, and had to avoid Lanning being fingered as a deserter.  Lt. Col. J. Albert Smith made formal complaints about Kirk’s fraud.

            In his study, Garren backs up his summaries with spread sheets that allow readers to check his math.  He includes Union soldiers’ records and slaveholding statistics; and notes current controversies and battle and grave sites.

            “Measured in Blood” is dedicated to Barry Hollingsworth, a noted Henderson County Civil War genealogist, who passed away recently.



Measured in Blood: The Role of Henderson County, North Carolina in the American Civil War by Terrell T. Garren (self-published hardcover, printed by Daniels Graphics, Dec. 2012, 588 pages).  It is on sale in several local independent bookstores and at the Henderson County Heritage Museum



Visit Terrell Garren’s web page and blog on “The Read on WNC’ (, and communicate with him there.


Terrell Garren speaks about Measured in Blood at the Henderson County Heritage Museum in the Historic Courthouse, 2 p.m., Dec. 15 (696-4879); and in Moungtain Made, Grive Arcade, Asheville, 4:30 p.m., Dec. 15 (350-0307).



Terrell Garren checked out many battle sites, including this cliff called Rocky Face Ridge, where Henderson County soldiers had died in a battle against Gen. Sherman’s Army, May 7–13, 1864.

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