Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The beauty of the lake is always changing,
With the light, the weather and the season.
Yet each change holds a splendor all its own,
Each viewing precious for its own reason.
In sunshine, golden stars dance across the water.
Moonlight shines a beacon in the peaceful night.
The wind causes whitecaps to erupt and roll,
While calm brings assorted reflections of light.
The water has a new costume each day,
Perhaps gray or green, aqua or blue.
Though each view is different, the lake is the lake,
Lovely in its every color, mood and hue.
My thoughts of the lake remind me of you,
My wonderful, loving partner in life.
Through sunny days and stormy times,
We've stayed together as husband and wife.
Your love is my beacon, my star and my light;
All your colors and moods are precious to me.
You make every day an enchanting delight,
And I'll love you for all eternity.
Happy anniversary, sweetheart.
With you at my side, every experience is beautiful!
By Karl Fuchs

April 30, 1994....Fourteen years ago today...Happy Anniversary, John.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Birthday
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose heart is in a watered shoot:
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That Paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

by Christina Rossetti

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stairs in the Italian Garden
Italian Garden
Japanese Garden

Lavinia asked for some more photos of the gardens at Maymont. I didn't have any others from our trip but I did find these on some travel sites that I will pass along. It really is the perfect place for a wedding or just "to be..." It's an actual park there so the grounds are always active. I really wish I had some pictures of the herb garden but I don't. It was a Medieval knot garden and so lovely.
The lovely home in the pictures is Maymont House. Unfortunately, we got there just as the last tour of the home was being conducted. However, we were allowed to roam the Gardens for a while and watch as preparations were being made for a wedding that was to take place that very evening....The Three Graces statue is from the gardens there. The last photograph was taken from Monument Avenue and is of Stonewall Jackson...We were fortunate to get this one seeing that we had to dodge oncoming traffic......

Maymont House information....
In 1886, James and Sallie Dooley acquired farmland on the banks of the James River, where they planned to build a new home. Their architect, Edgerton Stewart Rogers (1860-1901), born and educated in Rome, combined the Romanesque Revival style with the picturesque Queen Anne for the Dooley residence. By 1893, the Dooleys were living in their 12,000 square-foot, 33-room home, which they named “May Mont,” a name which combines Mrs. Dooley’s maiden name and the Italian word for hill.

Among historic house museums, Maymont House is rare in that no intervening families or adaptive conversions separate us from the original owner’s 32-year occupancy. Despite the fact that no architectural drawings or other early records of its construction and design have survived, its physical integrity, study and research provide a reliable record. Within six months of Mrs. Dooley’s death in 1925, the mansion was opened to the public as a museum. The interiors and a large original collection remained relatively untouched until the beginning of the restoration in 1970. Thus today, Maymont House is a well-preserved document of Gilded Age design and the taste of well-educated, cosmopolitan millionaires.


Rembrandt Tulips at Monticello

Every April I get the urge to travel. Why April? I think it must be because my husband and I were married April 30, 1994. We headed down to New Orleans for our honeymoon so this time of year, we both really get the urge to go to some destination steeped in rich history. A couple of years ago, it was Richmond, VA. My paternal ancestors settled around Williamsburg at Charles City and we went there with my parents some years before our Richmond trip to walk the footsteps of Jamestown and visit the area along the James River where my ancestor, William Justice, made his home from England. He brought a number of indentured servants to VA and was handsomely rewarded by Governor Yeardley with several thousand acres.( I'll post more information about that in a future post).

A couple of years later we decided to head back to our sister state to the east and tour Richmond. We just fell in love with the area and to this day we feel that we may very well end up there permanently when my husband finishes dental school and his service as a US Air Force Dentist...So...This is a little glimpse of some of my favorite stops on the trip.

The first stop was Monticello on the way to Richmond.....

Thomas Jefferson: A Brief Biography

Thomas Jefferson -- author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia -- voiced the aspirations of a new America as no other individual of his era. As public official, historian, philosopher, and plantation owner, he served his country for over five decades.

His father Peter Jefferson was a successful planter and surveyor and his mother Jane Randolph a member of one of Virginia's most distinguished families. Having inherited a considerable landed estate from his father, Jefferson began building Monticello when he was twenty-six years old. Three years later, he married Martha Wayles Skelton, with whom he lived happily for ten years until her death. Their marriage produced six children, but only two survived to adulthood. Jefferson, who never remarried, maintained Monticello as his home throughout his life, always expanding and changing the house.

Jefferson inherited slaves from both his father and father-in-law. In a typical year, he owned about 200, almost half of them under the age of sixteen. About eighty of these lived at Monticello; the others lived on adjacent Albemarle County plantations, and on his Poplar Forest estate in Bedford County, Virginia. Jefferson freed two slaves in his lifetime and five in his will and chose not to pursue two others who ran away. All were members of the Hemings family; the seven he eventually freed were skilled tradesmen.

Having attended the College of William and Mary, Jefferson practiced law and served in local government as a magistrate, county lieutenant, and member of the House of Burgesses in his early professional life. As a member of the Continental Congress, he was chosen in 1776 to draft the Declaration of Independence, which has been regarded ever since as a charter of American and universal liberties. The document proclaims that all men are equal in rights, regardless of birth, wealth, or status, and that the government is the servant, not the master, of the people.

After Jefferson left Congress in 1776, he returned to Virginia and served in the legislature. Elected governor from 1779 to 1781, he suffered an inquiry into his conduct during his last year in office that, although finally fully repudiated, left him with a life-long pricklishness in the face of criticism.

During the brief private interval in his life following his governorship, Jefferson wrote Notes on the State of Virginia. In 1784, he entered public service again, in France, first as trade commissioner and then as Benjamin Franklin's successor as minister. During this period, he avidly studied European culture, sending home to Monticello, books, seeds and plants, statues and architectural drawings, scientific instruments, and information.

In 1790 he accepted the post of secretary of state under his friend George Washington. His tenure was marked by his opposition to the pro-British policies of Alexander Hamilton. In 1796, as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Republicans, he became vice-president after losing to John Adams by three electoral votes.

Four years later, he defeated Adams and became president, the first peaceful transfer of authority from one party to another in the history of the young nation. Perhaps the most notable achievements of his first term were the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803 and his support of the Lewis and Clark expedition. His second term, a time when he encountered more difficulties on both the domestic and foreign fronts, is most remembered for his efforts to maintain neutrality in the midst of the conflict between Britain and France; his efforts did not avert war with Britain in 1812.

Jefferson was succeeded as president in 1809 by his friend James Madison, and during the last seventeen years of his life, he remained at Monticello. During this period, he sold his collection of books to the government to form the nucleus of the Library of Congress. Jefferson embarked on his last great public service at the age of seventy-six, with the founding of the University of Virginia. He spearheaded the legislative campaign for its charter, secured its location, designed its buildings, planned its curriculum, and served as the first rector.

Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, just hours before his close friend John Adams, on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He was eighty-three years old, the holder of large debts, but according to all evidence a very optimistic man.

It was Jefferson's wish that his tomb stone reflect the things that he had given the people, not the things that the people had given to him. It is for this reason that Thomas Jefferson's epitaph reads:

BORN APRIL 2, 1743 O.S.
DIED JULY 4. 1826

Many good biographies of Jefferson are available. Perhaps the single most respected Jefferson scholar was Dumas Malone, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning six-volume biography, Jefferson and His Time. In 1993 the Thomas Jefferson Foundation published Thomas Jefferson: A Brief Biography, an essay written by Malone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Veronica Veronese, 1872
In Rossetti's Veronica Veronese, the domestic interior serves a purpose, highlighting the process of absorption in interior thought that is central to the scene. The female figure, a pale red-haired beauty of the Rossettian type, sits at a desk upon which a book of music lies open. The woman fingers a violin's bow and strings absently, while staring dreamily into space. Behind her, a caged bird perches in a cage and sings. The domestic space that surrounds the figure is severely truncated - her little desk is pushed against one wall in front of her, and the bird cage creates another limit just behind her. A third wall draped with heavy-looking patterned fabric greatly reduces the depth of the room.

This claustrophobic domestic space resembles an extension of the woman's clothing. The figure wears an opulent dress of green velvet, the folds of which echo the drapery on the wall behind her. The colors of the wall and the garment are remarkably similar, heightening this effect. It seems Rossetti wishes to connect the figure and her surroundings, subtly implying the room is actually a part of the woman. This technique aids in the creation of a feeling of interiority. The walls and the woman are one. Nothing external to the female figure intrudes upon this private space, which is a prime setting for introspection and personal contemplation.

From Victorian Web

Lady Lilith, 1868
Lilith, whose character originates in Assyrian mythology, recurs in Judaic literature as the first wife of Adam. She is associated with the seduction of men and the murder of children. The depiction of women as powerful and evil temptresses was prevalent in nineteenth-century painting, particularly in that of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Rossetti wrote a poem, which is inscribed on the frame, to accompany this work:

Of Adam's first wife, Lilith, it is told
(The witch he loved before the gift of Eve),
That, ere the snake's, n'er sweet tongue could deceive,
And her enchanted hair was the first gold.
And still she sits, young while the earth is old,
And subtly of herself contemplative,
Draws men to watch the bright net she can weave.
Till heart and body and life are in its hold.

Rossetti depicts Lilith as an iconic, Amazon-like woman with long, flowing hair. She idles listlessly in a richly decorated interior, dreamily admiring her reflection in a mirror. Her languid demeanor is reiterated by the poppy-the flower associated with opium-induced slumber-in the lower right corner.

Though Rossetti originally based the woman's image on his mistress, Fanny Cornforth, he later repainted it with the more classical features of Alexa Wilding, one of his favored models at the time. Rosetti's watercolor replica of this painting, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, retains the more sensual features of the original model.

Delaware Museum

Some people travel for concerts and musicals (which I have certainly done before) but I travel for Art exhibits. Last year my husband indulged me in a 5 hour drive to St. Louis just for that purpose. We had the great fortune of seeing Waking Dreams: The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites from the Delaware Art Museum at the wonderful St. Louis Museum of Art. This is one of my favorite periods in art and since I missed the traveling exhibit in Cincinnati, due to being in my third trimester of pregnancy with my daughter, I knew I could not pass up the chance again to see so many Rossetti’s in person. I must say that for those who have not seen a Rossetti, please do not pass up an opportunity to see one should an exhibit come near you. His paintings are truly hypnotic.

My favorite Rossetti painting was not in this particular exhibit but I have a reproduction of the painting in my parlor (which you can see in the last photo). It is called A Sea Spell. Rossetti also wrote a haunting poem to accompany the painting:

Her lute hangs shadowed in the apple-tree,
While flashing fingers weave the sweet-strung spell
Between its chords; and as the wild notes swell,
The sea-bird for those branches leaves the sea.
But to what sound her listening ear stoops she?
What netherworld gulf-whispers doth she hear,
In answering echoes from what planisphere,
Along the wind, along the estuary?
She sinks into her spell: and when full soon
Her lips move and she soars into her song,
What creatures of the midmost main shall throng
In furrowed self-clouds to the summoning rune,
Till he, the fated mariner, hears her cry,
And up her rock, bare breasted, comes to die?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The model for A Sea Spell was one of DGR’s favorites, Alexa Wilding. Rossetti used Wilding as his model from 1865 onwards. The two became loyal friends, but their relationship was never believed to have been much more than platonic. Alexa was a strikingly beautiful woman who possessed that essential ethereal beauty so coveted by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. She is my favorite of all the Pre-Raphaelite models.

A perfect description of the Pre-Raphaelites is provided from the Delaware Art Museum and I’ve included that below. This museum has the esteemed honor of housing the greatest collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art outside of Great Britain.

In 1848 a group of seven young British artists and writers gathered together to pioneer a new movement in contemporary art-a move away from the established London art institutions of the day. The group consisted of artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and James Collins; sculptor Thomas Woolner; and writers William Michael Rossetti

Drawing influence from art created before the time of the Renaissance artist Raphael, they intended to paint directly from nature in an honest manner that rejected the painterly brushwork and contrived compositions in vogue at the Royal Academy. Bright, jewel-like color and close attention to detail, modes typical of early Italian art, featured prominently in their work.

The founding members of this "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood" were very much concerned with the modern world in which they lived, specifically with the social problems brought about by the Industrial Revolution and the rapid urban growth that ensued. Their choice of subjects reflects these concerns and often showed a particular compassion for the "fallen woman," or prostitute.

The young painters gained the support of eminent art critic John Ruskin, who staunchly defended their endeavors in two landmark letters published in the London Times. Although the official Brotherhood lasted only a few years, its work and objectives influenced a second generation of English painters and artisans, including Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, which persisted through the early twentieth century.
Another beautiful spring morning here in Central Kentucky. The sun is shining and the temperatures are finally rising! My morning stroll in the garden brought a few more pictures. The darling little English Wood Hyacinths are among my favorites. They're so dainty and small yet they command a definite pause on the garden path.

Here's a view of our porch from my garden gate. The rose in the background came from my great aunt's garden. It's a soft pink, almost white, heirloom. The bearded iris in front of it is starting to spring to life. I noticed the large buds peering out from the blades just two days ago. The gate came with our house. The house was built between 1896 and 1898 so I have no idea how long the gate and a wrought iron arch have been here. I'll post pictures of the arch when my climbing blaze rose blooms in a month or so...

Monday, April 21, 2008


I snapped a few pictures this morning of my spring favorites. I had to wait until the fog lifted but when it did I strolled out to the dew sprinkled garden and took a few pictures to share. Due to the position of the sun,I had to wait until the afternoon to get one of my old fashioned lilac. This lilac originally came from one that my Grandmother had. I took a 5 or 6 inch cutting and transplanted that about 3 or 4 years ago. Now, the lilac has reached around 7 feet tall. Tomorrow, I must get a photo of my wood hyacinths.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Molly presenting a Titanic Rescue Award

After posting such a sad post about the Carter House I was hesitant to post any other tragic historical events but I simply could not ignore that today is the anniversary of the sinking of the ill-fated Titanic. However, one survivor that made such a mark in all our hearts was the larger than life Mrs. JJ Brown, otherwise known as " The Unsinkable Molly Brown." I thought it would be nice to pay tribute to Titanic through the life of this courageous woman.

The Victorian era spawned much new wealth in industrialized America, and a popular way the nouveau rich spent their money was to take the "Grand Tour" of Europe often extending the trip to more exotic destinations such as Egypt and Japan. Without the speed of today's airplanes, these trips usually took three months or more to complete. (Such a trip was satirized in Mark Twain's book Innocents Abroad.) In the early months of 1912, Molly and her daughter Helen, who had been attending the Sorbonne in Paris, were taking such a tour with John Jacob Astor and his second wife, 19 year old Madeline (after a rather scandalous divorce.)

Molly had been writing her sister Katie back in Hannibal, that she intended to come for a few weeks' visit that spring. But then she received a telegram from her son Larry that her five-month-old first grandchild was ill. She decided to book passage at the last minute on board Titanic. Daughter Helen decided to stay in Paris for a few more parties. So Molly was traveling without family, but she was joining her friends the Astors.

The cost of the most expensive first-class accommodations was $4350 for the six-day voyage. Other celebrities, who were part of this social event of 1912, included millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim; Charles Hayes, president of the Grand Trunk Railway; Mr. & Mrs. Isadore Straus, owners of Macy's Department Store; and J. Bruce Ismay, co-owner of the White Star Line which had built Titanic. The April 10, 1912 Hannibal Courier Post front page reported the embarkment of Titanic from South Hampton, England. Molly and the Astors boarded at the Cherbourg, France stopover. It was the largest ship ever made--four city blocks long and reaching as high as an eleven -story building. Built with 16 watertight compartments that could stay afloat even if four were flooded, publications of the day referred to Titanic as "unsinkable."

The degree of luxury for passengers like Mrs. J.J. Brown was unsurpassed. Some staterooms had four poster beds and coal-burning fireplaces. The public rooms included palm verandas, a gymnasium, Turkish bath, swimming pool and library. We do not know the exact cabin number for Molly because she booked her passage at the last minute, she was not on the printed roster of passengers. But we know she was on the forward right side of Deck B--the first class deck.

Molly was in bed reading a book, when at 11:40 p.m., April 14, 1912, the lookout, Frederick Fleet, in Titanic's crow's nest phoned the bridge, "Iceberg right ahead!" The impact threw Molly to the floor. Most passengers were unaware of the collision until they noticed the hum of engines had stopped. By 12:15 a.m., the ship was preparing the lifeboats. Molly wisely put on six pairs of wool stockings, a wool suit, fur coat, hat and muff. She put $500 cash in one pocket, and a good luck amulet she had purchased recently on her Egyptian tour in her other pocket.

After helping other women, Molly found herself thrown into Lifeboat No. 6 by two American merchants who said, "You are going, too." The boat with capacity for 65 held fewer than 30 when it was lowered to the water, including lookout Fleet and Quartermaster Hichens who had been at the pilot wheel upon impact.

Frightened Hichens warned the lifeboat would be sucked down when Titanic sank. Molly took charge and grabbed the oars and ordered the women to row toward the light on

the horizon, which they hoped was a rescue ship. Adrift on the cold Atlantic, Molly shared her extra pairs of stockings, and kept the women warm by having them take turns rowing. They watched in horror as the steamer sank at 2:20 a.m., April 15th. She was appalled that Hichens refused to turn the lifeboat back to pick up more survivors.

After almost 6 hours of terror, the ship Carpathia answered the distress call. Once on board, Molly helped organize relief efforts. Her knowledge of foreign languages enabled her to aid the frightened immigrants who had lost everything, including their husbands. Molly voiced her opinion that the "women and children first" policy was tragically immoral. "Women demand equal rights on land--why not on sea?" she asked.

Even when the Carpathia arrived in New York, Molly stayed on board to reassure the terrified foreign women. Since the White Star Line provided no relief to these widows and orphans, nor for the families of the dead crewmembers, Molly raised $10,000 of private money from the wealthy passengers, including the $500 cash she donated, to aid these poor victims. Molly returned to New York on May 29, 1912 to present Captain A.H. Rostron a token of esteem of the Titanic survivors. She also had a medal struck for each of the crew of Carpathia, which depicted a ship plowing through icebergs toward a tossing lifeboat. The story circulated that when first interviewed by reporters in New York, they asked to what she attributed her survival. "Typical Brown luck," she supposedly said, "We're unsinkable." The label stuck, and she became a national celebrity. Even back in Denver, Mrs. Crawford Hill deigned to host a luncheon in her honor.

Molly had to postpone her trip to visit her sister, Katie Becker, in Hannibal. It was reported in the December 18, 1915 Hannibal Courier Post that Molly came to spend the winter with Katie to improve her health as she had been suffering from nervous trouble since she had witnessed the horrible scene of Titanic sinking. It was also reported that Molly finally settled her claim against the White Star Line after almost four years for the sum of $10,000 for the loss of her jewelry, clothes, etc. Titanic turned Molly into a political figure. She spoke out for maritime reform, women's right to vote, and improved conditions for miners. In 1914 she ran for the U.S. Senate on the Democratic-Progressive ticket in the state of Colorado, albeit unsuccessfully.

During the Mexican War, she advocated a military regiment for women, but was dismissed as eccentric. During WWI, Molly went back to France on her own to volunteer at the American Hospital in Paris, working with wounded soldiers. She helped raise money with Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt to import ambulances to France for the war effort. She also entertained the troops, specializing in Sarah Bernhardt roles. For these services, she was named to the French Legion of Honor.

Molly continued to be active, surviving two more ship disasters, and a hotel fire at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. She spent much of her later years in New York where she stayed at the Barbizon Hotel…a place where actresses often roomed. That is where she died on October 25, 1932 at age 65. Her fortune had dwindled to $1500 and her house in Denver, which sold the next year for only $5000. In her last act of charity, she wanted the poor mining children of Leadville, Colorado to have Christmas presents of woolen mittens and boots. She did not live to see her wish carried out by her nephew who distributed the gifts.

From the Molly Brown Museum

Sunday, April 13, 2008


American Artist, Harrison Fisher (1875-1934), is known as “The Father of A Thousand Girls". He showed a profound interest in drawing at the young age of six and his art instruction came by way of his father, Hugh Antoine Fisher, a landscape painter. When Fisher’s family moved from Brooklyn to San Francisco, he studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art. By the time he was sixteen, Fisher’s drawings had been used for the San Francisco Call and later for The Examiner.

Soon after returning to New York, Fisher sold two of his sketches to Puck Magazine where he was subsequently hired as a staff artist. His claim to fame was a result of his skillful drawing of beautiful women. His “Fisher Girls” even became rivals to those of Gibson and Christy. The American Girl was a favorite theme and Fisher did many cover illustrations at the time. After working for many years under an exclusive contract to do covers for Cosmopolitan, Fisher eventually painted portraits exclusively. Many actresses and theatrical personalities were counted amongst his portfolio of models.

A view of the back of the house riddled with bullet holes
My lovely Mother-in-law, Darleen, on the back steps of Carter House

The tragedy that took place at this historic site is horrific. I've been on the grounds at Carter House twice now and both times I've felt the shiver of agonizing loss and profound sadness. It can be felt in the grass,trees,the mortar and bricks of the home, and in every bit of soil that surrounds it. I felt the past so strongly when walking on the grounds on a quiet Sunday morning before the 1PM siege of chatter was due to arrive from buses of eager tourists and history buffs. I preferred that quietness yet the silence was deafening. It was then that I was able to fully appreciate the impact that the souls of the dead have had on this place. May God have mercy on those souls.

The small town of Franklin, Tennessee had been a Federal (Union) military post since the fall of Nashville in early 1862. Late in the summer of 1864, Confederate President Jefferson Davis replaced commander Joseph E. Johnston with John Bell Hood. General Hood, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and known for his superb record with his "Texas Brigade," suffered from a withered arm and amputated leg. Hood begins to formulate his "Tennessee Campaign of 1864" with the main objective to drive Sherman away from Atlanta and Robert E. Lee's forces.

Under Hood's command, The Army of Tennessee moved up through Georgia, Alabama, crossed the Tennessee River, and then entered Tennessee. November 30, 1864 had been a beautiful Indian summer day. At dawn, the Confederacy marched north from Spring Hill, Tennessee in pursuit of fleeing Federal forces. General Hood was determined to destroy the Union Army before it reached Nashville.

The Battle of Franklin has been called "the bloodiest hours of the American Civil War."
"(Franklin) is the blackest page in the history of the War of the Lost Cause. It was the bloodiest battle of modern times in any war. It was the finishing stroke to the Independence of the Southern Confederacy. I was there. I saw it." --Sam Watkins, 1st Tennessee Infantry

Called "The Gettysburg of the West," Franklin was one of the few night battles in the Civil War. It was also one of the smallest battlefields of the war (only 2 miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide). The main battle began around 4:00 pm and wound down around 9:00 pm.

The Federal Army had arrived in Franklin around 1:00 that morning. Brigadier General Jacob Dolson Cox led the operation and woke up the Carter family, commandeering their home as his headquarters. At that time, the Carter Farm consisted of 288 acres on the south edge of town bordering the Columbia Pike. Their cotton gin was located 100 yards from the house where eventually the main line of Federal breastworks were constructed. The Federal line commander was Cox who supervised his army in a defensive position surrounding the southern edge of town. He used the existing breastworks built in 1863 and constructed others on the west side of Columbia Pike. About 60 feet from the Carter House, near their farm office and smokehouse, were the inner breastworks.

S.D. Lee's Corps arrived late with only 1 division participating in the battle.) By 2:00 pm Hood had made plans for a frontal assault. By 2:30 pm a conference was held at the Harrison House. Strong objections were voiced from Hood's commanders. General Cheatham said, "I don't like the looks of this fight, as the enemy has a good position and is well fortified." Generals Cleburne and Forrest (cavalry) knew they would be flirting with disaster. But Hood would not be dissuaded. As Cleburne mounted his horse to leave, Hood gave strict orders for the assault. Cleburne responded, "We will take the works or fall in the attempt." The Army of Tennessee knew this assault on the town of Franklin would be suicidal. They bravely advanced toward the Carter House with their heads held high.

The fighting soon became brutal and fiendishly savage, with men bayoneted and clubbed to death in the Carter yard. A Confederate soldier was bayoneted on the front steps of the Carter House. Men were clubbing, clawing, punching, stabbing and choking each other. The smoke from the canons and guns was so thick that you could not tell friend from foe.

During the five hours of fighting, the Carter Family took refuge in their basement. 23 men, women and children (many under the age of 12) were safely protected while the horrible cries of war rang out above them. The head of the family, Fountain Branch Carter, a 67-year old widower, had seen 3 of his sons fight for the Confederacy. One son, Theodrick (Tod), was serving as an aid for General T.B. Smith on the battlefield and saw his home for the first time in 3 years. Crying out, "Follow me boys, I'm almost home," Captain Tod Carter was mortally wounded and died 2 days later at the Carter House.

After the battle, like so many homes in Franklin, the parlor of the Carter House was converted into a Confederate field hospital and witnessed many surgeries and amputations.

Around midnight, the Federal Army retreated to Nashville to join the forces of General George Thomas.

Federal Casualties - 2,500 men
The 23rd Corps lost 958, and the 4th Corps lost 1,368. 189 men were killed, 1,033 were wounded, 1,104 captured and 287 cavalry casualties. Only 1 Federal General was wounded (Major General David Stanley, Corps Commander).

Confederate Casualties - 7,000 men
More than 1,750 men were killed outright or died of mortal wounds, 3,800 seriously wounded and 702 captured (not including cavalry casualties). 15 out of 28 Confederate Generals were casualties. 65 field grade officers were lost. Some infantry regiments lost 64 % of their strength at Franklin. There were more men killed in the Confederate Army of Tennessee in the 5- hour battle than in the 2-day Battle of Shiloh and the 3-day Battle of Stones River.

In the spring of 1866, the McGavock Family of Franklin donated 2 acres near their home, Carnton, to establish a Confederate Cemetery where 1,481 soldiers are laid to rest.

The Army of Tennessee died at Franklin on November 30, 1864. The Carter House purchased by the State of Tennessee in 1951 and first opened to the public in 1953, today a Registered Historic Landmark, is dedicated to all Americans who fought in this battle.

Friday, April 11, 2008


1.Use a good quality loose leaf or bagged tea.

2.This must be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.

3.Always use freshly drawn boiling water.

4.In order to draw the best flavour out of the tea the water must contain oxygen, this is reduced if the water is boiled more than once.

5.Measure the tea carefully.

6.Use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup to be served.

7.Allow the tea to brew for the recommended time before pouring
Brewing tea from a bag in a mug? Milk in last is best.

Ladies' Historical Tea Society's favorite tips from the UK Tea Council

I purchased some wonderful Cherry Rose Tea last weekend and enjoyed a wonderful cup this afternoon. The aromatic infusion of cherry and rose petals was heavenly.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I found her resting on a hat tree, nestled in the corner of a charming Shabby Chic booth at the Harpeth Antique Mall. She was surrounded with vintage baptismal gowns, linens, and Victorian shoes but make no mistake, she was the "Belle" and stood out among all the others. I carefully picked her up and placed her on my head, turned to a vintage mirror hanging behind me and knew that she had to come home with me. Yet, I wavered and pondered if I should really make the purchase with it being my first day in Franklin and so many shops yet to browse through. So, foolishly, I placed her back on the resting stand and left. Needless to say, I spent the remainder of the evening wringing my hands and worrying that I did not take my own advice and act on instinct. All night I thought of her and the many teas she could attend with me and I regretted passing her up. I had to have her and decided that I would indeed take that plunge and bring her home with me. Mercifully, she was still there the next day. Happily, she's now home where she belongs.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


(Town square with Unknown Soldier Statue)




Portrait of Carrie McGavock

Franklin is located about 15 miles away from Nashville and is one of the most charming towns I've ever been to. Like many families during the Civil War, mine sadly epitomized "brother against brother". My mother's family fought for the Union while my father's fought for the Confederacy. For History buffs like myself, Franklin is a dream destination. It is literally peppered with Civil War History from The Carter House to the Battle of Franklin and Carnton Plantation with its good Samaritan, Carrie McGavock, who has become immortalized in the novel, The Widow of the South. My MIL surprised me a couple of years ago with a copy of this book which she had autographed for me by the author, Robert Hicks, at a book signing in Lexington. Due to being overloaded with academic reading, I have yet to read it but plan on starting this weekend. My mother loved it and toured Carnton right after reading the novel. Seeing the cemetery and Carnton, where Carrie McGavock lived, always gives me a chill and the story behind this heroic woman is summarized below, as explained on the Carnton Website:


Carnton was built in 1826 by former Nashville mayor Randal McGavock. Throughout the nineteenth century it was frequently visited by those shaping Tennessee and American history, including American Presidents James K. Polk and Andrew Jackson. Randal's son John inherited Carnton upon the elder McGavock's death in 1843. John married Carrie Elizabeth Winder in 1848, who bore him five children, three of whom passed away before 1863 (Martha (1849-1862); Mary Elizabeth (1851-1858); John Randal (1854)).
Battle of Franklin

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon of November 30, 1864, Carnton was witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. The Confederate Army of Tennessee furiously assaulted Union troops entrenched along the southern edge of Franklin. The Battle of Franklin was the bloodiest five hours of combat during the Civil War, a massive frontal assault larger than Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Although it was short in duration, some 9,500 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured or missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate. Carnton served as the largest field hospital in the area for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers who were brought to the site for surgeries and medical care.

One soldier wrote, "the wounded, in hundreds, were brought to [the house] during the battle, and all the night after. And when the noble old house could hold no more, the yard was appropriated until the wounded and dead filled that...."

On the morning of December 1 the bodies of four Confederate generals killed during the fighting, Patrick Cleburne, Hiram Granbury, John Adams and Otho Strahl lay on the back porch. The floors of the elegantly restored home are still stained with the blood of the men who were treated here.

McGavock Confederate Cemetery

In 1866, John and Carrie McGavock designated two acres of land adjacent to their family cemetery as a final burial place for nearly 1,500 Confederates. John and Carrie McGavock maintained the cemetery at their personal expense until their respective deaths.

Today, the McGavock Confederate Cemetery is a lasting memorial honoring those fallen soldiers and is the largest privately owned military cemetery in the nation.

The McGavock family owned Carnton until 1911 when Susie Lee McGavock, widow of Winder McGavock sold it. In 1973 Carnton and 30 acres were listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1977 the house and ten acres were donated to the Carnton Association, Inc. by Dr. W.D. Sugg. By that time the the house had suffered from years of neglect and disrepair and since then the Association has been vital in restoring and maintaining the plantation through membership, special events, donations, tours, admissions, and museum store sales.

Part II of Franklin will feature The Carter House and more antiques....