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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

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In 1945 Indiana prohibited marriage between a white person and anyone with more than one-eighth "Negro blood." Yet Daniel (black) and Anna (white) gave up family, friends, and eventually even country to create a life together. Their 42-year marriage…
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Nancy Werking Poling replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Bent Creek, the 4-part story
"Rob, Thanks for putting this into one document. I've been following the narrative in the Citizen-Times. I find it an added resource for my next writing project. In 1910 my husband's grandfather (1866-1947) showed up in Missouri and said…"
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THE BANG BANG BROKERS HITS AMAZON PRIME WITH A BANG

Focusing on the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis, The Bang Bang Brokers tells the story of a hedge fund manager (based on a composite of real life traders) who got rich off of predicting the subprime fallout. His guilt and suicidal impulses lead him to a chance meeting with a Latino Gang, headed by small time weed dealer Ramon (Erik Michael Estrada). In hopes that Ramon will kill him in exchange for the favor, Rolley (played by Donihue) robs a rival Black Gang, earning the pair a ton of…See More
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First speculators of WNC

Zachariah Candler and Waightstill Avery were first land-buyersby Rob Neufeld             “In mid-2010, while compiling the descendant chart for the Zachariah Candler family,” Charles Haller writes in “Pushing the Indians Out,” his book about first developers, “I became interested in Zachariah’s obsession with accumulating land grants issued by the State of North Carolina.”            Zachariah was one of the resident landowners who jumped on the big post-Revolutionary War land sale.            …See More
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Click to Listen: Church Hoeshttp://bit.ly/2u6MgbnLil Dee Has A Message for Church Hoes and it’s Nothing NiceKnown for pushing the envelope with his confrontational lyrical offerings, Lil Dee releases his latest single Church Hoes. The title inspires avariety of images ofwhat one may expect to hear in a…See More
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Kristin Hannah at UNCA February 16

Best-selling “Nightingale” author comes with new saga Rave“I’m thrilled to put into your hands the most honest exploration of both human frailty and resilience that I have ever read,” St. Martin’s Executive V-P and Publisher, Jennifer Enderlin says about Kristin Hannah’s novel, “The Great Alone.”  The publisher is betting the bank on this one. What aboutHannah writes evocative woman’s sagas, and her previous novel, “The Nightingale,” about two sisters surviving Nazi-occupied France, was No. 4…See More
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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Gail Godwin’s latest crosses a mental boundary by Rob Neufeld Asheville author Gail Godwin, now a Woodstock, NY resident, comes back home here Wed., June 14 to present her new novel, “Grief Cottage” at Malaprop’s Bookstore, 7 p.m. “Grief Cottage” is the story of an orphaned, sensitive, troubled boy, named…See More
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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.

 

Desertions

 

            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.

 

THE BOOK

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

 

THE AUTHOR

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

EVENTS

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).

 

PHOTO CAPTION

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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