This is a picture of my great great grandfather, Charles Henry Martin. He was the father of my great grandmother, Martha (Mattie) Martin Cayse, my dad’s maternal grandmother. I don’t know much about his background, except that census records show he was New Hampshire, and his Civil War Records show he enlisted at Paducah, Ky., for one year as a waggoner with the 6th Kentucky Union Cavalry for one year. I don’t know how he got from New Hampshire from Kentucky, but I do know that after the war he married Lucinda Walden and they settled first in Rockcastle County, Ky., then in Garrard County, Kentucky, where he died in 1892. He is listed in the 1890 Pension census of Union Civil War veterans. This picture was sent to me by a family member of his grandson, James Morris Martin, and it has his name written on the back as indentification.
The picture in this article is of the tombstone at the “grave” of Jacob G. Shoup, located in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. It is in the Confederate Section, near the base of the large Confederate rock pyramid dedicated to the Confederate soldiers who died at Gettysburg, and whose remains were brought back from their burial places in Pennsylvania to be reburied among their own in a mass grave, in the early 1870’s. The picture was taken in 2005 or 2006, by a worker at the cemetery. The marker was free and the cemetery orders it and sets it for $100, a price I split with another more direct descendant of Jacob. You see, Jacob is one of my Middletown letter writers, and I have discovered that his 2nd great grandmother, Dorcas Moore, was sister to my 7th great grandfather, Dr. James Moore. (I did not put the flag there, the cemetery did, but if I lived closer I would do so.) The tombstone does not sit on his grave, rather is placed with others of its kind in a row over the mass grave.
Why did I help have it erected in his memory? Because I felt that he deserved no less. I know much more about his family history than I did when my mother found the letters in 1958. I know his brother, Cal, was Captain of Company H, and that he and Cal were both shot while leading a charge to rally their troops at the Battle of Fairfield, a smaller action on the third day at Gettysburg. I know he died instantly from a bullet to the head. Cal was severely wounded in the leg, survived the long trek back to the Valley with Lee’s caravan of wounded, healed, and lived to fight another day, only to be killed himself in action during The Burning of the Valley in Oct. of 1864. Their mother, Caroline, lost two sons to the war. North or South, that was a tragedy. One I can’t imagine.
A long time ago, I made a promise to one of the letter writers, Caroline Lincoln, that I would do what I could to see that she and her letter, and those of the others I called the Middletown Letter Writers, would not be forgotten by future generations. This is the first of such attempts on my part.
Most of you know me as a person who has few female friends. The ones I do have you can count on Facebook. They are mostly from my high school and college days, and from places I’ve lived and worked in the past. I think I got this from my mother. She wasn’t a joiner, and she didn’t have many female friends, mostly because she thought a lot of women were just plain stupid. That was her. This is me, and this post is about my dear friend, Becky Ries, a fellow traveler on the journey we’ve both called Butler University for the past almost 20 years.
I came to Butler in 1995, three or four days after we had the truck unloaded in Lebanon after moving from Wyoming. I remember Becky had her office in Jordan 307, that office where Brian and Robert and the Booth staff now are. She was in there with Molly Cleveland and Susan Sutherlin, and we were all three friendly. Becky and I had a kind of love/hate relationship at first. We snipped at each other in a friendly way, but our closeness didn’t develop right away. Then she left to go down to the LRC and I was given two of her classes for the spring semester and was full time. The job at the LRC didn’t last long, and she was soon right back in the English Department, right across the hall from me, as head of the Freshman Writing program. That was when we really started our friendship. I even worked with her for a year as an assistant, a job I gladly relinquished when there was no more money, not because of Becky, but because it was the biggest hassle I’ve every come across in my teaching career. It gave me a new appreciation of what all she did for the program, the department, and the university. I’m not sure she was as appreciated in that job as she might have been, at least by some.
Somewhere along the line she hired Katie Rauk and Jane Sidey, and, along with Carol Reeves, we started going out to eat at the end of the semester, and once in the summer. Jane left for a full-time job, and Katie eventually returned to Minneapolis with Adam. Carol, Becky, and I never replaced them, but have continued to go out to eat every semester’s end for the intervening years. It is always fun, and never dull. We’ve never gone back to Binckley’s since the waitress spilled the Ranch dressing down Carol’s jean’s leg, and I’ve learned a lot about Indianapolis restaurants over the years that I would never have known.
Becky tried to have meetings of the EN 101 staff, but after I told another instructor, who insisted on quoting statistics to me about how students learn to write, that I didn’t give a damn about his damned statistics, she quit trying to have them so often. I swore I’d never go back to one, and she said don’t worry, I won’t be having any more right away.
I also got a great deal of fun out of teasing her about Steve, her husband. I told her I didn’t really believe he existed. She always talked about him but we never saw him. He’s real of course, and I’m sure they will enjoy their retirement together.
My fondest memory of Becky is the one from when I found out I had breast cancer. I did not want it widely known, so I only told my family, and few friends. When I called Becky I had to leave a message and she called me back, asking what was up. When I said “I have breast cancer” she immediately replied, “Oh fuck”, and I burst out laughing. It was easier to say those words after that. I just though about Becky’s response. It still makes me smile today.
So why am I going through all this? Because Becky is retiring at the end of this semester. She has mostly cleaned out her office, and the three of us are planning to eat out next week for the final time as employees of the University. I’m sure we’ll continue the tradition, but it won’t seem right not to see Becky in the hall, in her office, at the copy machine, etc.
So goodbye my friend of years. Thank you for your friendship and for keeping my secrets, such as they are. Thank you for never shutting your door to me, and for listening to my gripes and grumbles about this and that. You will always have a special place in my life, and I warn you, your time with me isn’t over.
One of my favorite stories of a Christmas past is from 1958. As family knows, my dad lost his job in 1956 when the company he worked for went under due to some nefarious practices by the company financing them. He was about 48 years old, and work was hard to find for a man that old in those days. People thought he should have done better, taken care of his family better, etc. He had a small business he had never given up, which helped tide us over, but Christmas times were hard for a few years.
By 1958, we were living in Middletown, and he was selling roofing materials for large buildings in the winter and doing the application in the summer. He had gotten paid from the sales of some of the material, and we had some money, but not much extra. We went to Muncie on that Christmas Eve for some prudent Christmas shopping, and to the grocery store, and were nearly out of what little money we had. The grocery was the A&P on South Madison.
Now, those of your who knew my dad, Bob Moore, know him to have been a good looking man and a nice dresser. And for some strange reason, when he lost his job, and we were forced to move around, we somehow never lost the 1952 Cadillac that we had bought several years earlier, before the job loss. I don’t know how that happened, I just know it did. So that night, in Muncie, my dad was dressed up, having come from doing business, and my mother and I were not shabbily put together either.
As we walked out of the grocery, my dad saw a row of Christmas trees propped against the building. The manager had helped us carry our groceries out to the car and was putting them in the trunk when my dad asked, “How much do you want for a Christmas tree?” The man named a price I do not recall, and my dad said, “Well, I know a poor family who could use one.” The manager said, “Well, go ahead and just take one, then. No cost.” They picked one out, and tied it to the 1952 Cadillac for the ride to the poor family’s house, and off we went.
As we pulled out of the parking lot, my mother turned to my dad and asked, “How much was the Christmas tree?” He answered, “Nothing?” She was astonished. “How did you do that?” “Well,” he said, “I told the manager I knew a poor family who needed one, and he just gave me one for them for free. We ARE the poorest family I know.” My mother was mortified. But the tree went home with us that night, and shone brightly in our home in the country east of Middletown for that Christmas season.
And that, my children, is how my dad “stole” a Christmas Tree.
Every August, when it’s time to go back to school, I always think back to school beginnings of my lifetime from Kindergarten to graduate school. I remember some very clearly, others not so, but the one that stands out for me this year is forty years ago this week, when I registered for classes and began my study for my Master’s Degree, at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. One reason it stands out is the picture above and the people I came to know and care about in that year and in those subsequent. To say my life changed substantially is probably an understatement.
Why Eastern Kentucky? They were the first to offer me a graduate teaching assistantship in their English Department. Having such an assistantship was important for me to be able to study. Secondly, the move coincided with my father’s retirement. He asked my mother where she would like to live, and she said, to no one’s surprise, Kentucky. The assistantship offer and the move, as it turned out, were a good fit. So in August, 1974, we left Muncie, Indiana, and moved to a house at the corner of West Main and the Tate’s Creek Pike, where my parents would live for the next eleven years.
I remember climbing the steps the to Wallace Building, where the EKU English Department was then located, and thinking that I would never come to love this place as I loved Ball State. How wrong I was. The Wallace Building was new, situated at the east* end of the old football stadium, and looked out onto the quadrangle which also included the new Chapel of Meditation, and the Powell Building, which at that time served as the student union.
There were eleven of us who served as teaching assistants that year: Danny Miller, Darryl Hovious, Ron Ball, Dewey Weddel, Jane Taylor Boster,, Alice Nevels, Jennifer Riley, Patti Pigg, Owen Branum, June, whose last name does not come to me right away, and me. At age 30 I was the oldest one of the group, and we all shared an office on the third floor of Wallace. Thankfully, we were never all there at the same time! We never expected, going in to that year, that we would come out the other end as an extremely close knit group. There were lots of things we never guessed, but most of them were happy.
Our “beloved” faculty, included Charlie Sweet, Jack Culross, (who were actually not much older than I was I think,) and Edith Williams, who truly was beloved, and after whom I think I’ll pattern the rest of my teaching career. Edith was outrageous, Charlie was “cool” because he was good-looking and didn’t wear socks with his loafers, and Jack Culross…well Jack was just Jack. They all had wonderful senses of humor and when we invited them to our graduate school parties, of which we had several, they actually came and enjoyed themselves. They later told us that they had never had a group of TA’s such as ours, and we took it as a compliment. Almost everyone of us gloried in being different.
Fond memories: study sessions at the old library; Jack Culross’ Literary Criticism class, which almost all of us where in, and during which we often got into arguments that had Jack crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the chalkboard, looking at us in amazement; Ron Ball’s reaction to my being divorced; Patti’s love life; our Milton class taught by Byno Rodes, who taught us about Moses’ brother A-run, (Aaron) and his wife Ma-ree Pal (Mary Powell); Darrell’s hilarious-to-the-point-of-crying recitation of the prologue of Milton’s Paradise Lost” as Gomer Pyle; trips to Berea with Danny, to country dance and to pick daffodils in the spring; Charlie Sweet giving me a B on my first graduate school paper, and telling me what to do to improve my writing, but also telling me to not stop talking in his class or any others (now you know who to blame?) and all of us reading Bleak House ahead of time for our summer Victorian Lit. class, taught by Culross, and then being told it was full and we couldn’t sign up for it, a circumstance which would raise anyone’s ire, and then protesting to the head of the department. until we finally got into the class; and oh so many more.
I must not forget to mention my dear friend Libby McCord, who although she wasn’t a TA, was a close friend of Danny’s and enrolled in grad school too. She was one of the gang, and she is still my friend to this day. I hope she reads this with love.
Most of us scattered after graduation in August of 1975, but I had one more course to take that fall so I didn’t graduate until after taking my graduate exams in 1977. We kept in touch for a while, had a reunion, the picture above, in the fall of 1975. Some went on to earn their doctorates, others to teach. Some we lost touch with for years. But Danny, Darrell, Libby, Ron, and I always kept in touch. Danny went on to become the head of the English Department at Northern Kentucky State, and left us too soon in November of 2008, just after the election, when he died of a stroke. I still exchange Christmas cards with Alice Nevels, and Libby and I are still in touch via Facebook.
And so it goes. My Master of Arts in English gave me many opportunities to teach at the college level, including my present job at Butler for the last nineteen years. Harold and I were married in the Chapel of Meditation in 1976, and lived in Richmond for four years afterward. My step-son graduated from Madison Central in 1980 and my step-daughter graduated from Eastern in 1982. I became good friends with Libby’s mother and father, and her sister Sally was my student at Model. I will always be thankful that Eastern chose me, and that it has become as much home to me as Ball State. It is truly “My Old Kentucky Home”.
*directions are hard to divine in Kentucky sometimes because nothing is as straight as it is in Indiana.
Fifty years ago today I did almost exactly what I did this morning. I got up, ate breakfast, gathered up my things for school, and went to campus. On that day however, I was a sophomore at Ball State, and it was the second day of finals. (We were on the quarter system in those days, and we had finals at a different date than most schools now, even BSU.) I had a final that morning, I don’t remember in what, and afterward I met some friends about 11:00 at the cafeteria in the old Student Center. We ate lunch and went our separate ways, planning to see each Monday next.
We lived on Tillotson Ave, in Muncie, in those days and I got home probably around noon or so. My mother watched “As the World Turns” which came on at one o’clock and I was lying on the couch, watching it with her. At about 1:45 or so, just as Nancy Hughes was pouring Grandpa Hughes a cup of coffee (if my memory serves, and it usually does) the screen went to “Special Report”, then immediately to Walter Cronkite, who gave us the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, while on a visit there, and had been rushed to the nearest hospital, which happened to be Parkland, we later came to find out. I don’t remember exactly what my reaction was, or Mother’s, but I know that we were shocked at the news, and even more so when it was announced a few minutes later, that the President was dead. I remember Walter Cronkite taking off his glasses, looking down, speechless for a few seconds, before putting them back on and returning to the story.
It’s hard to understand this now, perhaps, but those who were my age, had placed such high hopes on our country’s future because of this new young president. More than the past two presidents, he represented the future that we were to be a part of, and we eagerly looked forward to embracing it with the ideals he inspired. Although many of us tried to become what he thought we could, I think we failed to see the forest for the trees. As I read once, “The Devil can set his table anywhere, and any time; he doesn’t need a thunderstorm to do it.” And “the Devil” made sure we knew that by 1970. (I’m not being religious here. It’s simply a phrase I like.)
This was the first major event of television news and the wall to wall coverage we have become so used to now. The radio stations were given to playing classical or somber music. For four days, through the following Monday, we watched nothing but coverage of the aftermath and the funeral. I remember John-John’s salute, and Jackie at Caroline going up to the casket and slipping their hands under the flag to touch it as it rested on Lincoln’s bier in the Capital Rotunda (where our class had visited just the year before). And then came the funeral, and the casket borne on the horse drawn caisson with the riderless horse (named Blackjack) with the boots turned backward in the stirrups led behind. And then, to many’s surprise, came Jackie, Robert, and Ted Kennedy, and others whom I’m not sure of, walking along behind these at the head of the funeral procession. Jackie had swathed herself in black, including a long black veil covering her face, for the entirety of the her time in public, in the true tradition of mourning the dead throughout history.
At Arlington Cemetery the body was lowered into the ground at the foot of the hill in front of Arlington House (once home to Robert E. Lee and his family) and the eternal flame was lit. I saw a live picture of it this morning, burning brightly against the overcast skies of Northern Virginia.
I cannot explain my feelings during all of this, except to say that they were of great sadness. Our country had lost a president, a woman was a widow, and two young children were fatherless. At that time, Rose Kennedy has already lost two of her children, and In the coming years of the 1960’s she would lose one more. But that’s a story for another time, say April 4th.
“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” Edward (Ted) Moore Kennedy, 1980
This is a photo of my great-great grandfather, William St. Clair Moore, often referred to as William C. Moore. He was born, probably in Kentucky, on December 23, 1796, and died in Boyle County, Kentucky, on August 19, 1867. This photo is from a tintype given me by his granddaughter, Mary T. Moore Irvine, He was the son of Reuben and Mary Bird Moore, who came to Kentucky from Shenandoah County, Virginia about 1792. When he was 38 he married Nancy Jane Owens, the daughter of Jeremiah Owens and Margaret Pittman Owens. (Jeremiah was the nephew of Simon Kenton.) She was 16. I have no record of his being married before, nor of any children, so I can’t account for his marriage at 38; however, my dad had several uncles who would have been this man’s grandsons who did not marry for the first time until their 30’s, so it might just have been the Moore way.
The picture above is of the Moore homestead, which started out as a log structure, on the right side of what you see here. After we moved to Kentucky in 1974 we found and visited the house and took this picture. This was where William and Nancy lived. (The couple on the front porch are Mr. and Mrs. Crow, who owned the property then.) The house is gone now. It was torn down about 8 years ago, and someone built a McMansion over it and the graveyard that was to the right of the house. William, Nancy, and one of their sons, John, and his wife, Julia were buried there. But I digress.
William and Nancy had 11 children who are listed on the census records. One was my father’s grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Moore (T.J.). And yes, William owned slaves. The 1850 Slave Schedule census lists his as having the following: 1 male age 40, 1 female age 16, 1 male age 10, 1 male age 7, and one male, age 5. The 1860 Slave Schedule Census lists 1 male age 46, 1 female age 23, 1 male age 20, 1 male age 17, 1 male age 14, 1 female age 6, and 1 female age 2. Despite the different ages listed I am fairly certain that the first five listed on each census are the same people. The other two are probably her children by the older man. All are listed as black, so I am assuming that the children were all fathered by the older man, also. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of co-mingling of the races.
You will notice, of course, that there are no names for the slaves listed. Very few owners listed their slaves by name anywhere but on plantation/farm records. The best way to find slave names is in wills and other probate documents. I think seeing them listed really brought slavery home to me.
Now, William owned between 5 and 7 slaves in a ten year period, and probably some before that. The war would have freed them. How do I feel about the fact that an ancestor owned slaves? Well, quite honestly, while I don’t approve of slavery, there is nothing I can do about the fact that he owned slaves. I can only do what can be done at the present time, and move forward with that. I have been told by many that I should be ashamed of my slave owning ancestor. Excuse me, but he wasn’t doing anything illegal for the time, and once again I repeat, there isn’t anything I can do about it.