Posts Tagged ‘civil war’

When Democrats had Total Control

August 27, 2017

When Democrats had free rein in Arkansas they passed the Arkansas Free Negro Expulsion Act.

The Arkansas General Assembly passed a bill in February 1859 that banned the residency of free African-American or mixed-race (“mulatto”) people anywhere within the bounds of the state of Arkansas. In 1846, the Statutes of Arkansas had legally defined mulatto as anyone who had one grandparent who was Negro. Free Negroes were categorized as “black” in the 1850 U.S. Census, so historians have adopted the term “free black” to refer to Negroes or mulattoes who were not enslaved. On February 12, 1859, Democrat Governor Elias N. Conway, who had supported removal, signed the bill into law, which required such free black people to leave the state by January 1, 1860, or face sale into slavery for a period of one year. Proceeds from their labor would go to finance their relocation out of the state. At the time, about 700 free black people lived in Arkansas.

James Sevier Conway was a Democrat whose company took over the land that would later become the city of Little Rock, Arkansas and he is known as the founder of the Capital City of Little Rock. Governor Elias N. Conway was his brother.

The U.S. Supreme Court had handed down a decision in Scott v. Sandford, in which the chief justice had written that a black person had no rights that a white man was bound to respect. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney’s statement assured Governor Conway and the Arkansas lawmakers that they had the authority to pass an expulsion law. By promulgating such a law, Arkansas lawmakers bound themselves to a racial rhetoric that included an intense fear of African Americans who lived outside the constraints of slavery and so could not be controlled as easily. This fear increased in magnitude as the issue of slavery continued to divide the nation during the tumultuous decade of the 1850s.

The expulsion law applied to anyone who was not a slave but who had at least one grandparent of African descent. A person’s color was quite important to legislators in antebellum Arkansas, as slavery itself was based on race. Since there was no scientific or medical way to prove a borderline person was white or black, in any dispute, the courts normally depended on testimony of neighbors to determine color or race.

Free blacks were free only insofar as they were not slaves. They paid taxes and could own property, yet were not free to vote or to testify against a white man in court under most conditions. In some counties, black people could own guns or dogs only with the sheriff’s permission. Black people could travel through the countryside but were often asked for permits and, if questioned by a white person, had to respond and show such papers.

Most of the 700 free black people fled their homes and their properties, thus becoming refugees from the state of Arkansas. A successful group of farmers in Marion County, numbering about 130, as well as a free black community in Desha County, were among the refugees.

The overwhelming majority of those who fled Arkansas never came back. The historical record indicates that only a few of those who sought refuge from the law by leaving the state in 1859 returned to Arkansas after the Civil War. Nathan Warren returned to live in Little Rock during Reconstruction, but in Marion County, where at least fifteen free black families had resided on individually owned farms, only one small family headed by a single woman returned to live in north Arkansas. Marion County today remains virtually without an African-American population.

Since this is what Democrats did before the Civil War and after the War Democrats fought against African American freedom in every imaginable way. They prevented blacks from voting, integrating, using restrooms, drinking from water fountains, eating in restaurants, attending most schools, riding in the front of the bus and even being buried in some cemeteries.

I am dumbfounded that most African Americans vote for Democrats in the first quarter of the 21st Century!

Oh yes, when Democrats had total control of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches of Federal Government, they passed Obamacare so they could find out what was in the Bill.  Turns out, it was horrific!


Perspective on President Trump, the RNC, Congress, Mueller & the Precipice.

August 4, 2017

If the RNC was worth a nickle they would help President Trump instead of just dangling from his coattails.

I would have 5 Democrat Senators switching to the GOP by now. McCain & Collins would be completely irrelevant.

In spite of everything our President is doing for America, our country is not out of the woods!

Evil forces in both Parties are trying to start a thermonuclear war with Russia.

Gangs, Cartels, anarchists, terrorists and paid rioters are chipping away at the fiber of America.

Sanctuary Cities and whole Sanctuary States are promoting lawlessness.

The Deep State corrupt Never Trump Special Counsel and his army of Hillary Clinton Donors are pouring over President Trump’s financial records having been unable to find a scintilla of evidence of collusion with Russia. The term Witch Hunt is woefully inadequate for this lawless coup.

If the government gave me unlimited funds and power, I could dig deep enough to find dirt on any living soul. Is that how the legal system works?

Mueller has no probable cause to dig into President Trump’s financial records are any other warrantless searches!

The President has enough on his plate without the Deep State witch hunt.

We are watching the very reason the President cannot be indicted or arrested.

A President guilty of High Crimes and Misdemeanors can be impeached by the House and tried by the Senate.

If Obama and Bill Clinton got away with Sex in the Oval Office, Russia uranium, Iran $140 billion, Benghazi, pay to play, Fast and Furious, IRS and one scandal after another, what the Hell is going on with this Witch Hunt?

It’s bad enough when the Supreme Court overrides the Executive and Legislative Branches of Government; it’s intolerable when the Deputy Attorney General created a Fourth Branch of Government!

The United States has not been this close to Civil War since Democrats fired on Fort Sumpter on April 12th, 1861. Back then, America was not facing terrorist and nuclear threats from without and from within.

Today is a good time to choose sides. As for me and my house, we are with President Trump and America 100%.

Do You Know Anything about James K. Polk?

May 26, 2016


My mother told me I was related to President James K. Polk. I never knew exactly how but my great grandmother was America Adeline Polk before she married my great grandfather in 1872. I don’t know if she was the connection or not. My great-great grandfather, Joseph P. McVay, Lived about 6 miles from Savannah, Tennessee in a log cabin. The McVay’s lived on one side of the Tennessee river and the Polk’s, who married into the McVay family, lived on the other side of the river. When the Civil War Battle of Shiloh took place, the McVay’s could hear the shooting and fighting. The Polk’s owned the land where the battle took place.

A month later, Joseph McVay and his son Joseph Riley enlisted in the Union Army at Bethel and were assigned to Company A of the Sixth Tennessee Cavalry. Four more Companies were raised in short order. Private Joseph McVay was captured and spent over a year at Andersonville Prison, almost the entire time the prison was open. He never expected to survive his time as a POW but lived as a broken man until 1900.

Back to the Polk family, Ezekiel Polk (December 7, 1747 – August 31, 1824), was an American soldier, pioneer and grandfather of President James Knox Polk

Polk was a militant Jeffersonian and a Deist (some said an atheist), which put him at loggerheads with much of the family, especially his nephew William Polk’s three sons, who were Ezekiel’s close Tennessee neighbors, ardent Federalists and orthodox churchmen. The inscription composed for his first wife’s tombstone spoke of “a glorious Resurrection to eternal life,” but her painful illness and the death of all the children of his second marriage seem to have dampened if not extinguished the bereaved husband’s faith.

He was married three times. His first wife, Mary Wilson Polk, bore him eight children, including Samuel, the father of James K. Polk, 11th President of the United States. No children of his second wife, Bessie Davis Polk, survived infancy. His third wife, Sofia Neely Lennard Polk had four children.

At age 20 Ezekiel, recently married, was named clerk of court in the new county of Tryon across the Catawba River, where he and his bride established themselves on a 100-acre farm just south of Kings Mountain. In 1772, however, the provincial boundary was surveyed, and Polk’s property was discovered to lie in South Carolina.

Polk adapted with increasing difficulty to the shifting boundary and consequent loss of his position as clerk of court. At first he was chosen lieutenant colonel of the district militia. In 1775 he was elected a delegate to the South Carolina Provincial Congress held in June and was commissioned a captain in the Third South Carolina Regiment of Horse Rangers, assigned to the interior, where Whigs and Loyalists were competing for control of the province. But when the regiment was ordered to the coast, Polk balked, marching his men home rather than sacrifice their health, as he put it, for the protection of Lowcountry aristocrats and rice plantation nabobs. He subsequently relented, apologized for his insubordination and was restored to command. He led his company against Loyalist forces in the Battle of Big Cane Brake at Reedy River in December 1775 and the following summer commanded 300 militia in a successful expedition against pro-Loyalist Cherokees. On July 24, 1776, Polk’s regiment was adopted into the Continental Army and assigned to the Southern Department. “Captain Ezekiel Polk’s Independent Company,” according to the U.S. Army’s regimental history, was “concurrently redesignated as the 10th Company, 3rd South Carolina Regiment.”


Polk may never have been entirely comfortable in South Carolina, and waning popularity and political enmities appear to have left him increasingly disgruntled. After being passed over initially as delegate to a provincial congress held in November 1775, he had with great difficulty forced a second election and kept his seat. Probably this aborted rejection continued to rankle. In late 1776 Polk surrendered his commission in the 3rd Regiment and returned to North Carolina, settling down on a 260-acre farm about 10 miles below Charlotte, the Mecklenburg County seat. Two years later he opened a tavern in town and the following year was named justice of the peace. This period of tranquility was not to last. With the fall of Charleston in 1780 and the subsequent defeat of Horatio Gates at Camden, Lord Charles Cornwallis’s triumphant Redcoats marched into North Carolina, the main body encamping a few miles from Polk’s farm. The following day, September 26, Cornwallis commandeered the Charlotte home of Ezekiel’s brother Thomas and established his headquarters there. Fearing the loss of crops, slaves and his tavern, Ezekiel rode to town and “took protection” from Cornwallis in exchange for peaceful cooperation with the British.

Such an action was not without precedent, and Polk’s neighbors evidently did not judge him too harshly, for toward the end of the war the Mecklenburg magistrates, with only two dissenters, elected him sheriff. At the conclusion of the war, he received a generous acreage of western land for his services during the Revolutionary War and in 1790 was appointed deputy surveyor in the Western District, as Tennessee was then called, and moved with his family to a tract north of the Cumberland River. Indian raids and the prolonged illness and death of his wife in 1791 led to his return to Mecklenburg County. He did not make Tennessee his permanent home until the fall of 1803, when he established himself on a 2,500-acre tract on the Duck River in what is now Maury County.

Ezekiel Polk died near Bolivar, Tennessee, August 31, 1824, and was buried in the Polk Cemetery at Bolivar.

Polk composed his own epitaph and left instructions that it be painted on durable wood “as there is no rock in this country fit for grave stones.” In its original version, it reads:

Here lies the dust of old E.P.
One instance of mortality;
Pennsylvania born, Car’lina bred,
In Tennessee died on his bed
His youthful days he spent in pleasure,
His latter days in gath’ring treasure;
From superstition liv’d quite free
And practiced strict morality.
To holy cheats was never willing
To give one solitary shilling,
He can foresee, and in foreseeing
He equals most of men in being
That church and state will join their pow’r
And mis’ry on this country show’r.
And Methodists with their camp bawling,
Will be the cause of this down falling.
An era not destined to see,
It waits for poor posterity
First fruits and tithes are odious things
And so are Bishops, Priests and Kings.


James Knox Polk became President on March 4th, 1845 and promptly allowed Texas into the Union as the 28th State. During his term, Iowa and Wisconsin also became States.

After the Texas annexation, Polk turned his attention to California, hoping to acquire the territory from Mexico before any European nation did so. The main interest was San Francisco Bay as an access point for trade with Asia. In 1845, he sent diplomat John Slidell to Mexico to purchase California and New Mexico for $24–30 million. Slidell’s arrival caused political turmoil in Mexico after word leaked out that he was there to purchase additional territory and not to offer compensation for the loss of Texas. The Mexicans refused to receive Slidell, citing a technical problem with his credentials. In January 1846, to increase pressure on Mexico to negotiate, Polk sent troops under General Zachary Taylor into the area between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande—territory that was claimed by both the U.S. and Mexico.

Slidell returned to Washington in May 1846, having been rebuffed by the Mexican government. Polk regarded this treatment of his diplomat as an insult and an “ample cause of war”, and he prepared to ask Congress for a declaration of war. Mere days before Polk intended to make his request to Congress, he received word that Mexican forces had crossed the Rio Grande area and killed eleven American soldiers. Polk then sent a message to Congress on May 11, 1846, stating that Mexico had “invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American soil.”

Some Whigs, such as Abraham Lincoln, challenged Polk’s version of events, but Congress overwhelmingly approved the declaration of war. Many Whigs feared that opposition would cost them politically by casting themselves as unpatriotic for not supporting the war effort.

Polk selected the top generals and set the military strategy of the war. By the summer of 1846, American forces under General Stephen W. Kearny had captured New Mexico. Meanwhile, Army captain John C. Frémont led settlers in northern California to overthrow the Mexican garrison in Sonoma. General Zachary Taylor, at the same time, was having success on the Rio Grande, although Polk did not reinforce his troops there. The United States also negotiated a secret arrangement with Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican general and dictator who had been overthrown in 1844. Santa Anna agreed that, if given safe passage into Mexico, he would attempt to persuade those in power to sell California and New Mexico to the United States. Once he reached Mexico, however, he reneged on his agreement, declared himself President, and tried to drive the American invaders back. Santa Anna’s efforts, however, were in vain, as Generals Taylor and Winfield Scott destroyed all resistance. Scott captured Mexico City in September 1847, and Taylor won a series of victories in northern Mexico. Even after these battles, Mexico did not surrender until 1848, when it agreed to peace terms set out by Polk.


The Mexican Cession was acquired through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Gadsden Purchase was acquired through purchase after Polk left office.
Polk sent diplomat Nicholas Trist to negotiate with the Mexicans. Lack of progress prompted the President to order Trist to return to the United States, but the diplomat ignored the instructions and stayed in Mexico to continue bargaining. Trist successfully negotiated the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which Polk agreed to ratify, ignoring calls from Democrats who demanded that all Mexico be annexed. The treaty added 1.2 million square miles of territory to the United States; Mexico’s size was halved, while that of the United States increased by a third. California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming were all included in the Mexican Cession. The treaty also recognized the annexation of Texas and acknowledged American control over the disputed territory between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. Mexico, in turn, received $15 million. The war claimed fewer than 20,000 American lives but over 50,000 Mexican ones. It may have cost the United States $100 million.

The treaty, however, needed ratification by the Senate. In March 1848, the Whigs, who had been so opposed to Polk’s policy, suddenly changed position. Two-thirds of the Whigs voted for Polk’s treaty. This ended the war and legalized the acquisition of the territories.

In mid-1848, President Polk authorized his ambassador to Spain, Romulus Mitchell Saunders, to negotiate the purchase of Cuba and offer Spain up to $100 million, an astounding sum at the time for one territory, equal to $2.74 billion in present-day terms. However, Spain was still making huge profits in Cuba (notably in sugar, molasses, rum, and tobacco), and thus the Spanish government rejected Saunders’ overtures.


Polk’s time in the White House took its toll on his health and he did not seek reelection. Full of enthusiasm and vigor when he entered office, Polk left on March 4, 1849, exhausted by his years of public service. He lost weight and had deep lines on his face and dark circles under his eyes. He is believed to have contracted cholera in New Orleans, Louisiana, on a goodwill tour of the South after leaving the White House. He died of cholera at his new home, Polk Place, in Nashville, Tennessee, at 3:15 pm on June 15, 1849, three months after leaving office. He was buried on the grounds of Polk Place. Polk’s last words illustrate his devotion to his wife: “I love you, Sarah. For all eternity, I love you.” She lived at Polk Place for over forty years after his death. She died on August 14, 1891. The bodies of President and Mrs. Polk were exhumed and relocated to their current resting place on the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville. Polk Place was demolished in 1900.


Polk had the shortest retirement of all Presidents at 103 days. He was the youngest former president to die in retirement at the age of 53. A year later, California became the 31st State.

Thank you for reading, now you know something about the Polk Family.


April 11, 2016


I watched a video of a man on a college campus asking college students who won the Civil War. None of the students could answer the question. Maybe I am more aware of our history since my great-great-grandfather fought to preserve the union and was a POW at Andersonville Prison almost the entire 14 months it was in operation. Joseph P. McVay lived in Arkansas before Baxter County, where I was born, existed. I hope you will share this story with your children and grand children.

President Lincoln named General George Meade Commander of the Army of the Potomac on June 28, 1863. Within a week, Union forces under General Meade defeated Confederate General Lee’s forces at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The following day Lee’s troops left Gettysburg without being pursued by the Union army, much to Lincoln’s consternation, who believed that further military engagement might have ended the war then and there. Lincoln had great grief over Meade’s lost opportunity and wrote a letter of reproach to General Meade but did not send it. Lincoln then wrote to General Howard, describing how he was “deeply mortified” about Lee’s escape after the battle.

The governor of Pennsylvania quickly assigned local attorney David Wills to create a national soldiers’ cemetery on the battlefield. Edward Everett, a nationally known orator, was invited as the main speaker at the Gettysburg cemetery dedication, scheduled for October 23. After he requested more time to prepare, the event was moved to November 19. On November 2nd, David Wills, invited President Lincoln to give a “few appropriate remarks.” Knowing that the town would be crowded, Wills offered Lincoln overnight accommodations in his home.


On November 18th Lincoln and invited guests traveled to Gettysburg by rail, arriving about dusk. Lincoln stayed in the Wills home, where he completed his short Address. Huge crowds converged on the village, filling every available space.

The battle had shattered the once-peaceful town of Gettysburg, a battle so intense that it produced more than 51,000 casualties. This landmark Civil War struggle left an indelible mark on the region and the president who came to memorialize it. In the days that followed local residents were thrust into unfamiliar roles of tending the wounded, burying the dead, and repairing the war-torn countryside.


This was the occasion which produced Lincoln’s most famous speech. Although Lincoln routinely held the attention of his audiences for up to two hours as a candidate for President, the Gettysburg Address can easily be read in under two minutes. With the applause from the crowd, it would have taken Lincoln a little longer than two minutes.

The following is The New York Times account published on November 20, 1863:

A Solemn and Imposing Event.
Dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburgh.
Oration by Hon. Edward Everett–Speeches of President Lincoln, Mr. Seward and Governor Seymour.


The ceremonies attending the dedication of the National Cemetery commenced this morning by a grand military and civic display, under command of Maj.-Gen. COUCH. The line of march was taken up at 10 o’clock, and the procession marched through the principal streets to the Cemetery, where the military formed in line and saluted the President. At 11 the head of the procession arrived at the main stand. The President and members of the Cabinet, together with the chief military and civic dignitaries, took position on the stand. The President seated himself between Mr. SEWARD and Mr. EVERETT after a reception marked with the respect and perfect silence due to the solemnity of the occasion, every man in the immense gathering uncovering on his appearance.

The military were formed in line extending around the stand, the area between the stand and military being occupied by civilians, comprising about 15,000 people and including men, women and children. The attendance of ladies was quite large. The military escort comprised one squadron of cavalry, two batteries of artillery and a regiment of infantry, which constitutes the regular funeral escort of honor for the highest officer in the service.

After the performance of a funeral dirge, by BIRGFIELD, by the band, an eloquent prayer was delivered by Rev. Mr. STOCKTON, as follows:

O God, our Father, for the sake of the Son, our Saviour, inspire us with thy spirit, and sanctity us to the right fulfillment of the duties of this occasion. We come to dedicate this new historic centre as a National Cemetery. If all the Departments of the one Government thou hast ordained over our Union, and of the many Governments which Thou has subordinated to the Union be there represented; if all classes, relations and interests of our blended brotherhood of people stand severally and thoroughly apparent in Thy presence, we trust it is because Thou hast called us, that Thy blessing awaits us, and that Thy designs may be embodied in practical results of incalculable, imperishable good. And so with thy holy Apostle and with the Church in all lands and ages, we unite in the ascription: Blessed be God, even the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Moses, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. In emulation of all angels, in fellowship with all saints, and in sympathy with all sufferers, in a remembrance of Thy works, in reverence of Thy ways, and in accordance with Thy word, we love and magnify Thy infinite perfections, Thy creative glory. Thy redeeming grace, Thy providential goodness, and the progressive, richer and fairer development of thy supreme, universal and everlasting administration. In behalf of all humanity, whose ideal is divine, whose first memory is thy image lost, whose last hope is thy image restored; especially in behalf of our own nation, whose position is so peerless, whose mission is so sublime, and whose future is so attractive; we thank Thee for the unspeakable patience of thy compassion and for the exceeding greatness of thy loving kindness. In contemplation of Eden, Calvary and Heaven, of Christ in the God on the cross, and on the throne — nay, more — of Christ as coming again in all-subduing power and glory; we gratefully prolong our homage by this altar of sacrifice, on this field of deliverance, on this mount of salvation, within the fiery and bloody line of these mountains and rocks, looking back to the dark days of fear and of trembling, and the rapture of relief that came after, we multiply our thanksgivings and confess our obligations to renew and perfect our personal and social consecration to thy service and glory. O, had it not been for God! for our enemies, they came unresisted, multitudinous, mighty, flushed with victory and sure of success; they exalted on our mountains; they reveled in our valleys they feasted, they rested, they slept, they awakened, they grew stronger, prouder and bolder every day; they spread abroad, they concentrated here; they looked beyond this horizon to the stores of wealth, to the haunts of pleasure and the seats of power in our Capital and chief cities; they prepared to cast the chain of Slavery around the form of freedom, and to bind life and death together forever. Their premature triumph was the mockery of God and man. One more victory, and all was theirs. But behind these hills was heard the feebler march of a smaller but still a pursuing host; onward they hurried, day and night, for their country and their God; footsore, wayworn, hungry, thirsty, faint, but not in heart; they came to dare all, to bear all, and to do all that is possible to heroes. At first they met the blast on the plain, and bent bebefore it like trees; but then led by Thy hand to the hills, they took their stand on the these rocks, and remained as firm and immovable as they. In vain were they assaulted; all art, all violence, all desperation failed to dislodge them. Baffled, bruised, broken, their enemies retired and disappeared. Glory to God for this rescue! But, Oh! the slain, in the freshness and fullness of their young and manly life! with such sweet memories of father and mother, brother and sister, wife and children, maiden and friend. From the coasts beneath the Eastern star; from the shores of Northerm lakes and rivers; from the flowers of the Western prairies; from the homes of the midway and the border, they came here to die for us and for mankind! Alas How little we can do for them! We come with the humility of prayer, with the pathetic eloquence of venerable wisdom, with the tender beauty of poetry, with the plaintive harmony of music, with the honest tribute of our Chief Magistrate, and with all this honorable attendances; but our best hope is in Thy blessings. O Lord, Our God, bless us. O, Our Father, bless the bereaved, whether absent or present Bless our sick and wounded soldiers and sailors. Bless all our rulers and people. Bless our army and navy. Bless the efforts to suppress this rebellion, and bless all the associations of this day, and place, and scene, forever. As the trees are not dead, though their foliage is gone, so our heroes are not dead though their forms have fallen. In their proper personality they are all with thee, and the spirit of their example is here. It fills the air, it fills our hearts, and as long as time shall last it will hover in these skies and rest on these landscapes, and pilgrims of our own land, and of all lands, will thrill with its inspiration, and increase and confirm their devotion to liberty, religion and God.

Mr. EVERETT then commenced the delivery of his oration, which was listened to with marked attention throughout.

Although a heavy fog clouded the heavens in the morning during the procession, the sun broke out in all its brilliancy during the Rev. Mr. STOCKTON’s prayer and shone upon the magnificent spectacle. The assemblage was of great magnitude, and was gathered within a circle of great extent around the stand, which was located on the highest point of ground on which the battle was fought. A long line of military surrounded the position taken by the immense multitude of people.

The Marshal took up a position on the left of the stand. Numerous flags and banners, suitably draped, were exhibited on the stand among the audience. The entire scene was one of grandeur due to the importance of the occasion. So quiet were the people that every word uttered by the orator of the day must have been heard by them all, notwithstanding the immensity of the concours.

Among the distinguished persons on the platform were the following: Governors Bradford, of Maryland; Curtin, of Pennsylvania; Morton, of Indiana; Seymour of New-York; Parker, of New-Jersey and Tod, of Ohio; Ex-Gov. Dennison, of Ohio: John Brough, Governor Elect, of Ohio; Charles Anderson, Lieutenant-Governor of Ohio; Major-Generals Schenck, Stahel, Doubleday, and Couch; Brigadier General Gibbon; and Provost-Marshal-General Fry.


The President then delivered the following dedicatory speech:

Fourscore and seven years ago our Fathers brought forth upon this Continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. [Applause.] Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting-place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate. We cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. [Applause.] The world will little note nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. [Applause.] It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the refinished work that they have thus so far nobly carried on. [Applause.] It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain; [applause] that the Nation shall under God have a new birth of freedom, and that Governments of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the earth, [Long continued applause.]

Three cheers were then given for the President and the Governors of the States.

After the delivery of the addresses, the dirge and the benediction closed the exercises, and the immense assemblage separated at about 4 o’clock……………

The President and party returned to Washington at 6 o’clock this evening, followed by the Governors’ trains. Thousands of persons were gathered at the depot, anxiously awaiting transportation to their homes; but they will probably be confined to the meagre accommodations of Gettysburgh till tomorrow.”


The following day Edward Everett wrote a letter to Lincoln complementing him on his address. Lincoln responded with a short note.

Media response to the dedication was mixed:

“The dedicatory remarks by President Lincoln will live among the
annals of the war.” ~Chicago Tribune

“The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he
reads the silly flat and dishwattery remarks of the man who
has to be pointed out as the President of the United States. … Is
Mr. Lincoln less refined than a savage? … It was a perversion of
history so flagrant that the most extended charity cannot view it
as otherwise than willful.” ~Chicago Times

“The ceremony was rendered ludicrous by some of the sallies of
that poor President Lincoln. Anything more dull and
commonplace it would not be easy to produce.” ~the London Times

“We know not where to look for a more admirable speech than
the brief one which the President made…. It if often said that
the hardest thing in the world is to make a five minute speech.
But could the most elaborate and splendid oration be more
beautiful, more touching, more inspiring than those few words of
the President?” ~Providence Daily Journal

“… we pass over the silly remarks of the President: for the credit of the nation we are
willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall no more be repeated or thought of.” ~Harrisburg Patriot and Union

Eyewitnesses also had comments:

“Not a sovereign in Europe, however trained from the cradle for state pomps, and however prompted by statesmen and courtiers, could have uttered himself more regally than did Lincoln at Gettysburg.”

“I was thrilled each time and at Gettysburg possibly more by his presence than by anything he said.”

“He stood in the gravity of his mien and manner as a seer with a message, as a prophet with a vision.”

“The deep feeling of the speaker, combined with masterful self control and firmly set purpose, made a profound impression.”

“On coming away I said to a classmate, ‘Well, Mr. Lincoln’s speech was simple, appropriate, and right to the point, but I don’t think there was anything remarkable about it.’ ”

“I at once asked my fellow student, who was from the South, what he thought of it? ‘Mighty good, for Old Abe,’ he replied.”


If you made it this far, thank you for learning this important history and may God bless you.


June 23, 2015


Let me preface my epistle with this, my great-great grandfather was a Southerner who lived in Arkansas and fought for the Union Army. He was a prisoner in Andersonville Prison almost the entire time the prison was open. Nobody in my family fought for the Confederacy. Thousands of citizens in North Arkansas remained loyal to the Union.

However, the Confederate Flag was hoisted above the State Capitol Buildings of the following states listed in the order of their secession:

1. South Carolina
2. Mississippi
3. Florida
4. Alabama
5. Georgia
6. Louisiana
7. Texas
8. Virginia
9. Arkansas
10. Tennessee
11. North Carolina

In addition to these states, the southern part of New Mexico Territory formed a secession convention, which voted to join the Confederacy on March 16, 1861, and appointed Lewis Owings as the new territorial governor. They won the Battle of Mesilla and established a territorial government with Mesilla serving as its capital. The Confederacy proclaimed the Confederate Arizona Territory on February 14, 1862 north to the 34th parallel. Marcus H. MacWillie served in both Confederate Congresses as Arizona’s delegate. In 1862 the Confederate New Mexico Campaign to take the northern half of the U.S. territory failed and the Confederate territorial government in exile relocated to San Antonio, Texas.

Confederate supporters in the trans-Mississippi west also claimed portions of United States Indian Territory after the United States evacuated the federal forts and installations. Over half of the American Indian troops participating in the Civil War from the Indian Territory supported the Confederacy; troops and one general were enlisted from each tribe. On July 12, 1861, the Confederate government signed a treaty with both the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian nations. After several battles Northern armies moved back into the territory.

Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, was never formally ceded into the Confederacy by American Indian councils, but like Missouri and Kentucky, the Five Civilized Nations received representation in the Confederate Congress and their citizens were integrated into regular Confederate Army units. After 1863 the tribal governments sent representatives to the Confederate Congress: Elias Cornelius Boudinot representing the Cherokee and Samuel Benton Callahan representing the Seminole and Creek people. The Cherokee Nation, aligning with the Confederacy, alleged northern violations of the Constitution, waging war against slavery commercial and political interests, abolishing slavery in the Indian Territory, and that the North intended to seize additional Indian lands. In all, about 12,000 American Indians served in the army of the Confederacy and around 6,000 served in the Union army.


The largest force in Indian Territory was commanded by Confederate Brigadier General Stand Watie, who was also a chief of the Cherokee Nation. Dedicated to the Confederate cause and unwilling to admit defeat, he kept his troops in the field for nearly a month after Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith surrendered the Trans- Mississippi. Finally, Watie rode into Doaksville near Fort Towson in Indian Territory and surrendered his battalion of Creek, Seminole, Cherokee, and Osage Indians to Lieutenant Colonel Asa C. Matthews, appointed a few weeks earlier to negotiate a peace with the Indians. Watie was the last Confederate general officer to surrender his command.

Colonel Matthew Arbuckle commanded the 7th Infantry Regiment and led four companies to reinforce Fort Smith in 1821. In 1824, he moved the regiment farther west, establishing Forts Gibson and Towson, the first military posts in the Indian Territory. Fort Towson was named for Nathaniel Towson, Paymaster General of the Army.

The simple fact is that we can lie about our history but we CANNOT change our history. If America refuses to learn from history, we are doomed to repeat our history. Very little of America’s good history is taught in schools while the Father of Our Country is often disparaged.

George Washington did not fight the Revolutionary War from the Pentagon! He and many others mutually pledged to each other their Lives, their Fortunes, and their sacred Honor. The soldiers in the Continental Army saw themselves as Cincinnati and Washington was called the American Cincinnatus. Today, hardly anybody even knows who Cincinnatus was but every school student in Colonial America knew his story.


After Washington won the war, he spent six years as President of the Society of the Cincinnati, America’s first Veterans Organization. He immersed himself in Veteran’s issues including jobs, healthcare, pensions and care for their widows and orphans.

After those six years, George Washington became our First President and other members of the Veteran’s Organization became Our Founding Fathers. These men were not politicians who gained power with cute sound bites promising free stuff, they were Patriots who fought for freedom and loved America. Did you know that the leaders of a Veteran’s Organization became the leaders of The United States of America? While President Washington flatly refused a third term as United States President, he remained President of the Society of the Cincinnati for the rest of his life. While George Washington only wore three stars on his uniform, no military officer in the United States can EVER outrank him by Federal Law.

As politician after politician promises to improve education, our education slides farther down the ladder of mediocrity. When prayer was banned in school, America was number one in the world, now we are 28th in education.

If our children knew our history they might love America as I do. If you want your children to know our history, you will have to teach them yourself. Like each of us, there is good, bad and ugly in our Nation’s past. I respect those who morn their Confederate ancestors who died for a cause they believed in as I honor my great-great grandfather, Joseph P. McVay, who emerged from the Civil War a broken man stabbed by a Confederate bayonet while in captivity.

How Democrats Subjugated Blacks in Arkansas for 100 years

February 23, 2014


If you studied Arkansas History in school and you’re a big boy or girl now, perhaps you are ready for the truth? Arkansas History books were written by Democrats after they had been vanquished by the Union Army. Thousands of Arkansans from North Arkansas fought to preserve the Union but most fought for the Confederacy. Many still have the perception that the first Republican Governor of Arkansas rode into town on a stagecoach with a carpetbag in hand. Rarely was the name Powell Clayton mentioned without calling him the Carpetbagger Governor. Let’s see if he deserved that title.

Clayton did leave Pennsylvania following the advice, “Go West Young Man.” Will Clayton, his great grandfather, was a close friend of William Penn and George Fox. All three were imprisoned because of their religious beliefs and all three were Quakers, George Fox being the founder of the Quakers. Fox visited what was to become Pennsylvania along with other parts of North America and reported back to William Penn. Then Will Clayton immigrated to what was called West Jersey and established the town of Chester named after his hometown Chichester in England. When William Penn was given the land by King George in payment for a debt the Crown owed his father, he wanted to rename West Jersey Sylvania meaning woods. The king talked him into naming it Pennsylvania in honor of his father, Admiral Sir William Penn, Sr. The plan was to establish Chester as the Capital of Pennsylvania. You see, Chester could have become the largest city in the British Empire, the location of Independence Hall and the First Capital of the United States. However, there was a problem with Chester. It was on the northern edge of the land that was in dispute between Penn and Lord Baltimore. Penn was forced to move a few miles north and have his surveyor lay out a new city which became all those things. He called it the city of brotherly love or Philadelphia. Chester and West Chester are just suburbs today.

Will Clayton was acting governor of Pennsylvania for awhile and the Claytons lived in Delaware County and farmed for 200 years. They fought in the Revolutionary War with George Washington. Powell Clayton was the first in the family to leave. Powell became the City Engineer in Leavenworth Kansas. That would be like a City Manager today. Those were the days when Kansas was a battleground between Abolitionists and Pro Slavery forces.

When war broke out, Powell joined the Union Army and fought in the first major battle west of the Mississippi River at Wilson’s Creek near Springfield, Missouri along the Old Wire Road that runs from Springfield to Fayetteville, Arkansas. Because of Powell’s training under former West Point Superintendent Alden Partridge, he was given command of a company of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry Regiment as a Captain. Although Clayton lost 49 out of his 74 man company at Wilson’s Creek, he fought with such gallantry he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and named Vice Commander of the Regiment. In February of 1862 Clayton was promoted to full Colonel and given command of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry Regiment. Under his leadership, morale and efficiency immediately began to improve. Wilson’s Creek was where First Lieutenant Omer Rose Weaver became the first Arkansan killed during the Civil War. Weaver was born in 1837 at Roseville south of Ozark.

In June of 1862, Colonel Powell Clayton was ordered to Arkansas with General Samuel Curtis to join the Army of the Southwest in Helena. Most of Clayton’s men boarded rafts and river boats south of Calico Rock for the journey down the White River toward Helena. A week later the regimental wagon train departed Houston, Missouri laden with valuable quartermaster and ordnance stores. The wagon train ran into the Fifteenth Texas Cavalry Rangers near Jacksonport and almost lost the whole wagon train before regaining the advantage and proceeding on to join the Regiment not far from Helena. If you think traveling in North Arkansas now is tough, imagine what is was like 150 years ago. My great great grandfather lived in Oxford after the war along the route Clayton took. Joseph P. McVay joined the Union Army and was a POW at Andersonville almost the entire 14 months the prison was open. He lived in Oxford in Izard County. He was a very strong man but barely survived Andersonville and was a broken man when he died in 1900. He applied for his Veteran’s Pension at Marshall in Searcy County before Baxter County or Mountain Home even existed.

Clayton established his headquarters in Helena at Captain Ben McGraw’s Hotel. Captain McGraw had been a riverboat captain on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers before becoming a hotelkeeper. There was only one problem with life at the McGraw Hotel, Ben’s daughter Adeline. She was a Southern lady with no use for the Yankees. Adeline caused such disruption and mayhem for the union soldiers that Colonel Clayton placed her under house arrest. In time her hostility diminished and after the war she became an important reason Powell Clayton chose to remain in Arkansas as Adeline became his bride and later First Lady of Arkansas. I’m thinking Clayton probably regretted arresting his future wife?

From the day Colonel Powell arrived in Helena until midwinter, the regiment was engaged weekly, and almost daily, in skirmishes with members of the confederate cavalry circling that post. On Thursday September 10, 1863, Major General Fred Steele, Army of Arkansas commander, marched on Little Rock. His army included Colonel Clayton’s Cavalry regiment along with Brigadier General John W. Davidson’s cavalry. The capital fell to Union troops that evening.

Following the capture of Little Rock, Colonel Clayton was ordered to Pine Bluff Garrison as commander of the military forces there. At 8:00 am, October 25, Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke’s men advanced toward Pine Bluff. General Marmaduke appeared before the garrison and demanded its surrender. Colonel Clayton replied that if General Marmaduke desired Pine Bluff, he was at liberty to attempt its capture. A furious attack ensued involving four thousand men and twelve pieces of artillery. Colonel Clayton’s command only comprised six hundred men and nine pieces of artillery. He massed his little command in the courthouse square, and with the help of 300 African American soldiers, he barricaded all the streets leading to the square with cotton bales. Houses between the barricades were filled with sharpshooters who commanded all the vacant space in front. With the artillery sweeping the streets in every direction, each charge upon the square had no effect. After failing to take the square by force after five hours of fierce fighting, General Marmaduke’s men attempted to burn out the Union forces. When this too failed, the Confederate forces retired, leaving Pine Bluff to the Federals and giving Colonel Clayton a brilliant victory.

Clayton then defeated General Thomas P. Dockery and his 2,000 men at The Battle of Mount Elba near Monticello. Years after the war, Clayton and Dockery would work together to establish the Eureka Springs Railroad. General Dockery owned a plantation and slaves before the war in Columbia County, at Lamartine, four miles north of Waldo, Arkansas.

Abraham Lincoln promoted Colonel Clayton to the rank of brigadier general in August 1864. General Clayton remained at Pine Bluff until August 24, 1865, when he was honorably mustered out of the service four months after General Robert E. Lee’s surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia. To stand in the very house where that surrender took place is a highlight of my mundane life.

Powell Clayton’s evenhanded treatment of the citizens of Pine Bluff had won him respect. He had grown to love Arkansas and the friendly people of Jefferson County. Immediately after mustering out of the Army, and marrying Adeline, Powell and his younger brother, William went in together and bought a large plantation on the Arkansas River not far from Pine Bluff for $53,000. They called the plantation, “Linwood.” Later William’s twin brother John joined them on the farm. William and John were both veterans of the Civil War and the Battles of Antietam, South Mountain, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

I know several people who were ordered to Little Rock Air Force Base and Fort Chaffee who retired or were discharged and remained in Arkansas and made great contributions to our state. Just this week I had dinner with a local Doctor who agreed with his wife that they could live anywhere except Arkansas or Mississippi. He was stationed at Fort Chaffee and met my dear friend Doctor Marlin Hoge who asked him to join his practice. They are both General Surgeons. He did that about 60 years ago and has not regretted it. Doctor Hoge turns 100 in October 2014. My point is that these people are not carpetbaggers and neither was Powell Clayton.

Of the four Clayton brothers, Thomas J. Clayton, was the oldest and remained in Pennsylvania and became a judge in the common pleas court of Delaware County. The other three ended up on a farm in Arkansas happy and content. Their father, John Clayton was a farmer in Delaware County with no claim to fame except for being the father of four distinguished sons.

One hot summer day in 1866 Powell Clayton was on a Mississippi River Steamboat traveling to Memphis on business when he bumped into his old friend and fellow plantation owner Colonel Willoughby Williams. Willoughby was a Democrat traveling to his summer home in Nashville, Tennessee. He was a native of Tennessee although almost all of his holding were in Arkansas. The two sought the shade of an awning on the hurricane deck and whiled away the hours talking about subjects of mutual concern. After a few mint juleps Willoughby opened up to Powell and shared the whole Democratic scheme to restore the old slaveholding regime in Arkansas. Willoughby mistakenly thought Clayton would go for it for his own benefit. He could not have understood that Powell Clayton fought and bled to free the slaves and preserve the Union.

The plan was to secure Democratic representation in Congress from Arkansas. With such representation the Democrats would be able to manage their own affairs to suit themselves. This end was to be established through three successive stages, first through the temporary acceptance of the once despised and hated Murphy government; second through Democratic successes in the elections and third, pending the election of Democrats to Congress, the wielding of power with such tact and discretion so as to dispel any suspicions on the part of the Northern People. The Democrats would pretend to be reconstructed and recover by the ballot what had been lost by the sword. You see, Barack Obama did not invent Democratic lying.

While this scheme was repugnant to Clayton he decided to stay out of it. What followed is not widely understood by Arkansans even today. In Monroe County United States Congressman James Hinds was murdered and the Honorable Joseph Brooks was shot down and badly wounded. You may remember the Brooks-Baxter War that occurred later? In Ashley County the Sheriff was openly assaulted, several black men were beaten, a man and wife were found hanged and a freed former slave hauling cotton was shot dead. In Columbia County five men were killed in 10 days, Aaron Hicks was murdered for being a Union man and armed KKK riders were threatening citizens. There was virtually no law and order in several counties. Even the Clayton plantation was physically damaged by neighbors.

Powell Clayton realized that any person who had supported the Union could not safely live in Arkansas. While he had been asked to run for governor by both Democrats and Republicans, he knew he was no Democrat. On April 2, 1867 a Union Convention in Little Rock Nominated Powell Clayton for Governor. He ran on doctrines of loyalty, freedom, minority rights, economic development and free public education for both races alike. In 1868 he became the 9th Governor of Arkansas and plunged into the problems facing the lawless state. On November 4th he declared Martial Law in Ashley, Bradley, Columbia, Lafayette, Mississippi, Woodruff, Craighead, Greene, Sevier and Little River Counties. Using militia forces he restored law and order. There was still hatred in the state and even an effort to impeach Clayton that failed to go anywhere.

As governor, Clayton made levee and road improvements, reclaimed swamp land, established free public schools, established the schools for the deaf and the blind and prohibited racial discrimination in transportation, housing, education and restaurants. On March 15, 1871 Powell Clayton was elected United States Senator by a 2/3rds majority and served until 1877.

After the Senate, Clayton served as president of the Little Rock, Mississippi River and Texas Railroad Company before moving to Eureka Springs. His home there is now a bed and breakfast called the Crescent Cottage Inn.  In 1880 Eureka Springs was an international destination as it is today. Clayton was the head of the downtown development committee. He and other businessmen built the Crescent Hotel and established the Eureka Springs Railroad.

In 1897 Clayton became the Minister to Mexico and in 1899 he was named the first United States Ambassador to Mexico. He returned to the United States in 1905 and passed away nine years later at the age of 81. Powell Clayton is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Elisha Baxter was the last Republican Governor of Arkansas for almost 100 years until Winthrop Rockefeller became Governor in 1967. Four years later Governor Rockefeller left a surplus in the treasury. That was unheard of under Democratic Administrations. Governor Dale Bumpers called a special session of the Arkansas Legislature to figure out how to quickly spend that surplus. What do you think, were they able to spend that money and a lot more?

Blacks had a tough time in Arkansas under the Democrats. In 1957 Governor Orval Faubus blocked integration of Central High School in Little Rock. Republican President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and used Federal Marshals to escort blacks to class. What Powell Clayton started took over a hundred years to finish. The incredible story is that the Democrats managed to make minorities think civil rights was their idea. LBJ said the (blacks) were getting uppity and the Democrats would have to give them something, nothing significant, just something to appease them. It worked.

I just looked at Wikipedia and found that it too is full of hogwash. I demanded that Wikipedia remove an article about me some time ago. Everybody can edit it and my article was being vandalized every day. That’s why no reputable school permits Wikipedia as a reference. I have just presented you with the truth as I have been able to discern it. Republicans should be very proud of Powell Clayton. The same goes for John and William but that is a story for another day.

Can we just get past Racism?

January 27, 2012

There were Hispanics at the FL Debate calling for Hispanics to be appointed to the Cabinet, how is that not racist? I am of Irish descent, I’m not calling for Irish to be appointed. I’m a Protestant, I’m not complaining because there are no Protestants on the Supreme Court. I’m happy if Presidents appoint honest Americans who can read and write and understand simple sentences like, “Congress shall make no Laws…” I once hired an assistant who happened to be a black lady. Some high ranking officials were saying that Gene McVay hires blacks whether they’re qualified or not. Really? I hired her away from the Justice Department at the same rank she held there. She had a Masters Degree and was well on her way to earning a PhD. I would have been happy with 2,000 more just like her.

I don’t care if ever single member of the Cabinet is Hispanic, or Black, or Vietnamese! In fact, the Vietnamese came to America, integrated and flourished. Around here they were usually the valedictorians with 4.0 grade point averages. What happened to appointing the BEST person? How can one person be racist and another person who does the same thing not be a racist. Why can’t we be Americans? What’s wrong with being an American?

When I grew up in a one room house in North Arkansas there were no Blacks in the County. Bigots had to pick on somebody so they picked on me. As a result my character and toughness benefited. That all stopped when I became a star on the Basketball Team. Everybody in the county and surrounding counties knew my name and spoke to me on the street. The police, teachers and administrators all but bowed down to me. I saw both sides and I liked the side where I was being beaten up and having white wash thrown on me the least. I was put upon but that’s all water under the bridge. There are some who were never mistreated who want reparations for what happened to their great great grandfathers. Mine was imprisoned at Andersonville almost the entire time it was open. He was from Southern Tennessee a few miles from Shiloh and enlisted in the Union Army shortly after the battle. He suffered on behalf of Blacks held in slavery. I’m over it, can you get over it? Indians, Blacks, Irish, can we get over it. Can we just be Americans willing to work hard for our country?