Tuesday, March 21, 2017

‘Revelations,’ by Elaine Pagels

Into the Apocalypse With an Unruffled Tour Guide

By DWIGHT GARNER
MARCH 20, 2012

How well should a historian write? That’s a complicated question, but it’s hard to disagree with George Orwell, who thought that any exemplary book should not only be an intellectual but “also an aesthetic experience.”

Elaine Pagels, a professor of religion at Princeton, possesses a calm, sane, supple voice. It’s among the reasons readers have stuck with her over a nearly four-decade career, often on hikes through arduous territory, like her commentary on ancient Christian works that were banned from the Bible. She’s America’s finest close reader of apocrypha. Ms. Pagels is best known for “The Gnostic Gospels” (1979), which won a National Book Award and was named one of the best 100 English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century by the Modern Library. That book spawned a million biblical conspiracy theories, as well as “The Da Vinci Code,” Dan Brown’s hyperventilating novel. Few seem to hold that against her.


The cool authority of Ms. Pagels’s voice serves her almost too well in her new volume, “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation.” She surveys this most savage and peculiar book of the New Testament — an ancient text that is nonetheless, as the novelist Will Self has put it, “the stuff of modern, psychotic nightmares” — as if she were touring the contents of an English garden. She’s as unruffled as the heroine of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” who declared in one of that excellent television show’s best episodes, “If the apocalypse comes, beep me.”

Her “Revelations” is a slim book that packs in dense layers of scholarship and meaning. The Book of Revelation, attributed by Ms. Pagels to John of Patmos, is the last book in the New Testament and the only one that’s apocalyptic rather than historical or morally prescriptive. It’s a sensorium of dreams and nightmares, of beasts and dragons. It contains prophecies of divine judgment upon the wicked and has terrified motel-room browsers of the Gideon Bible for decades.

Ms. Pagels places the book in the context of what she calls “wartime literature.” John had very likely witnessed the skirmishes in A.D. 66, when militant Jews, aflame with religious fervor, prepared to wage war against Rome for both its decadence and its occupation of Judea.

She deepens her assessment of the Book of Revelation by opening with a troubled personal note.

“I began this writing during a time of war,” she says, “when some who advocated war claimed to find its meaning in Revelation.”

Because he feared reprisals, John wrote this condemnation of Rome in florid code.

He “vividly evokes the horror of the Jewish war against Rome,” Ms. Pagels writes. “Just as the poet Marianne Moore says that poems are ‘imaginary gardens with real toads in them,’ John’s visions and monsters are meant to embody actual beings and events.” For example, most scholars now agree, she says, that the “number of the beast,” 666, spells out Emperor Nero’s imperial name.

The so-called Gnostic Gospels, the subject of Ms. Pagels’s breakthrough book, were discovered in 1945 at Nag Hammadi, in Upper Egypt. At that site scholars also found dozens of other previously unknown books of revelation. Among this volume’s central questions, then, is this one: How did John’s book of revelation become the only one included in the New Testament?

Ms. Pagels approaches this question from many angles but agrees with those scholars who have suggested that John’s revelations were less esoteric than many of the others, which were aimed at a spiritual elite. John was aiming at a broad public.

The others, she writes, “tend to prescribe arduous prayer, study and spiritual discipline, like Jewish mystical texts and esoteric Buddhist teachings, for those engaged in certain kinds of spiritual quest.”

What’s more, she writes, because John’s revelations end optimistically, in a new Jerusalem, not in total destruction, they speak not just to what we fear but also to “what we hope.”

John’s visions, throughout the centuries, have been applicable to almost every conflict or fit of us-against-the-world madness. Charles Manson read the Book of Revelation before his followers’ rampages; Hitler, encouraged by Joseph Goebbels, apparently read himself into the narrative as a holy redeemer, while the rest of the civilized world saw him as the book’s beast.

For a work that contemplates a hell made on earth, Ms. Pagels’s book rarely produces much heat of its own. It drifts above the issues like an intellectual satellite.

One of her great gifts is much in abundance, however: her ability to ask, and answer, the plainest questions about her material without speaking down to her audience. She often pauses to ask things like, “Who wrote this book?” and “What is revelation?” and “What could these nightmare visions mean?” She must be a fiendishly good lecturer.

The Book of Revelation is not prized as being among the best-written sections of that literary anthology known as the New Testament, but Ms. Pagels is alive to how its language has percolated through history and literature. Jesus, who appears on a white horse to lead armies of angels into war, will “tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God,” John wrote.

This image emerges again in “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” the Union’s anthem during the Civil War: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;/He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.”

John’s book has caused great mischief in the world, Ms. Pagels suggests, but it is a volume that can be clasped for many purposes. It has given comfort to the downtrodden, yesterday and today.

John, Ms. Pagels writes, “wants to speak to the urgent question that people have asked throughout human history, wherever they first imagined divine justice: How long will evil prevail, and when will justice be done?”

REVELATIONS

Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation

By Elaine Pagels

246 pages. Viking. $27.95.

Monday, March 20, 2017

stress test for our democratic institutions by Dan Rather

Dan Rather
21  March 2017
The statements by FBI Director James Comey in testimony today about Russian interference in the 2016 election were jaw dropping. It should be also noted that both he and NSA director, Adm. Mike Rogers, categorically denied that there was any evidence to support Mr. Trump's repeated allegations that Trump Tower was wiretapped by President Obama. That we do know. But it must be noted how much we do not know. We cannot afford to back off on investigating, fully, completely, and openly, allegations that are anathema to the spirit of our republic. But we cannot also afford to jump to conclusions. We want answers. We want to know more. That is natural. But patience will be required. It is better that this plays out in a systematic way. It is for all these reasons that I think a careful bipartisan investigation is essential.

In-Ves-Ti-Gate~ In-Ves-Ti-Gate ~ In-Ves-Ti-Gate

Mr. Trump's poll numbers dropped before this news, to below 40 percent. A blip? A trend? We will find out. If they continue to drop, many Republicans in Congress will likely go from support for Mr. Trump to agnosticism to maybe antagonism. That's what happened with Richard Nixon. In the meantime, it will be hard to see how President Trump will get much of his agenda through under this shadow. The power of the presidency is strong, but it is not impenetrable.
Expect regular headlines about the Kremlin in your daily news feeds. For those of you old enough to remember the Cold War, this may seem like deja vu. But the nature of the threat is fundamentally different. In those days, there was a united front against Russian interference, overt or covert. Now there are serious and credible allegations about whether those close to Mr. Trump may have been colluding with the Kremlin. Colluding with the Kremlin, sounds like a spy novel, but it remains a big and unproven allegation. Let the facts point the way. And I hope men and women of all political faiths can rally to support the continual functioning of government in these surreal and dangerous times.

Cruel and unusual by Dan Rather

"Cruel and unusual," the phrase rings in my head as I read the press reports of President Donald Trump's proposed budget.
But to even talk about it as a budget is to miss the point. It is not a budget. It is a philosophy, and one that may come as a surprise to many of the people who voted for Mr. Trump. They will hurt in real ways. Meanwhile it confirms the worst existential fears of those who see his presidency as a threat to the very being of the United States they know and love.
This is a man who made a lot of promises on the campaign about helping those struggling in society, about leading the United States to greatness in such things as fighting disease. If anyone had any doubt about the hollowness of his words, this philosophy is all the evidence one would need.

This is a philosophy that doesn't believe in helping the poor, rural or urban, or the power of diplomacy or the importance of science. It is a philosophy that doesn't want to protect the environment. It doesn't believe in the arts. This is about putting a noose around much of the United States federal government and hanging it until it shakes with life no more. In the name of reining in waste, it rains pain and suffering amongst the Americans who already are the most vulnerable. It must be remarked that many of these programs are really small budget items in the greater scheme of things, rounding errors in the federal budget. The purpose is to send a message, not to save money.
Rather than investing in what truly will make America great, this philosophy pounds its chest with false bravado. People will die because of this budget. People will suffer. Diseases will spread, and cures will not be found (really? slash science research?) Our nation will be darker and more dangerous. You know it's a philosophy because the budget has few details really in it. And here is where I see its saving grace.
This philosophy is not the United States I think a majority of Americans would recognize. I believe that we are not so cruel, so shortsighted, so dark. It's easy to rail against the federal government on the campaign stump, but cutting programs that people rely on, that is the kind of thing that can break through the fake news into reality very soon. We have already seen the mess that has become of the health care efforts.

This philosophy is no longer theoretical and it will be a rallying cry for a reverse philosophy. Those who champion an empathetic America, an America prepared for the challenges of the modern world, will have plenty of evidence to point to. Mr. Trump has already put many Republicans in Congress on a defensive footing, on Russia and on healthcare. Wait until the constituents start calling about how they won't be able to heat their homes in the winter or the agricultural programs that were slashed.
"The administration's budget isn't going to be the budget," Senator Marco Rubio told the Washington Post. "We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets." You can expect to hear a lot more of that kind of rhetoric.
Mr. Trump's philosophy is an opening salvo in a battle for the soul of America that is only beginning. This will be a battle fought trench by trench. But I think it is winnable and America will reconfirm a governing philosophy that is hopeful, compassionate, and wise about the role of government in making our world a safer, fairer, and more just place to live.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

45's proposed budget: Betrayal of Values, Cruel and unusual

           "Cruel and unusual,"
 the phrase rings in my head as I read the press reports of President Donald Trump's proposed budget.
But to even talk about it as a budget is to miss the point. It is not a budget. It is a philosophy, and one that may come as a surprise to many of the people who voted for Mr. Trump. They will hurt in real ways. Meanwhile it confirms the worst existential fears of those who see his presidency as a threat to the very being of the United States they know and love.
This is a man who made a lot of promises on the campaign about helping those struggling in society, about leading the United States to greatness in such things as fighting disease. If anyone had any doubt about the hollowness of his words, this philosophy is all the evidence one would need.
This is a philosophy that doesn't believe in helping the poor, rural or urban, or the power of diplomacy or the importance of science. It is a philosophy that doesn't want to protect the environment. It doesn't believe in the arts. This is about putting a noose around much of the United States federal government and hanging it until it shakes with life no more. In the name of reining in waste, it rains pain and suffering amongst the Americans who already are the most vulnerable. It must be remarked that many of these programs are really small budget items in the greater scheme of things, rounding errors in the federal budget. The purpose is to send a message, not to save money.
Rather than investing in what truly will make America great, this philosophy pounds its chest with false bravado. People will die because of this budget. People will suffer. Diseases will spread, and cures will not be found (really? slash science research?) Our nation will be darker and more dangerous. You know it's a philosophy because the budget has few details really in it. And here is where I see its saving grace.
This philosophy is not the United States I think a majority of Americans would recognize. I believe that we are not so cruel, so shortsighted, so dark. It's easy to rail against the federal government on the campaign stump, but cutting programs that people rely on, that is the kind of thing that can break through the fake news into reality very soon. We have already seen the mess that has become of the health care efforts.
This philosophy is no longer theoretical and it will be a rallying cry for a reverse philosophy. Those who champion an empathetic America, an America prepared for the challenges of the modern world, will have plenty of evidence to point to. Mr. Trump has already put many Republicans in Congress on a defensive footing, on Russia and on healthcare. Wait until the constituents start calling about how they won't be able to heat their homes in the winter or the agricultural programs that were slashed.
"The administration's budget isn't going to be the budget," Senator Marco Rubio told the Washington Post. "We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets." You can expect to hear a lot more of that kind of rhetoric.
Mr. Trump's philosophy is an opening salvo in a battle for the soul of America that is only beginning. This will be a battle fought trench by trench. But I think it is winnable and America will reconfirm a governing philosophy that is hopeful, compassionate, and wise about the role of government in making our world a safer, fairer, and more just place to live.



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A DAY IN THE LIFE of Average Joe

A DAY IN THE LIFE of Average Joe
Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.
In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.
Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.
It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.
Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.
Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.
He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.
Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Conservatives have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.
Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Saturday, February 4, 2017

SLAVERY IN BOYD COUNTY, KENTUCKY: ‎Teresa Martin Klaiber‎

Teresa Martin Klaiber to Boyd County, Kentucky Genealogy & Historical Research Site
This is the article published in Monographs I of Boyd County that I did. Please if you cite anything give author credit. SLAVERY IN BOYD COUNTY, KENTUCKY
There are two misconceptions leading up to and including the Civil War about slavery. The first is use of the term underground connected with the Underground Railroad. There were no long underground tunnels, only small miserable places designed to hide escaping folks temporarily. The second misconception is that all those who fought for the Union were against slavery. Though General George Gallup, who settled in Boyd County, Kentucky stated “I cannot annoy myself with the prospect of Negro equality for only those who desire it will be annoyed.”
Freedom for slaves who lived even at the edge of the Ohio River could not have been easy. Stand on the Ohio river bank at Ashland. Across the Ohio hills rise up with ragged rocky formations almost from waters edge. If you want to go north you must first get around this geological mass. However to your right and across from Normal, Kentucky is Solida Creek which empties into the Ohio. Nearby is Burlington said to be founded by a Baptist minister who freed all his slaves. Close by Symmes Creek lead folks up a freedom trail. Look left and Ohio’s Underground Trails lead north from Greenup to Wheelersburg. Freedom a precious word to all of us. Freedom that people are willing to die for. Freedom that some only dream of. Freedom north beyond the Ohio River.
Lewis Barnes, a man marked as black by census takers, finally knew what freedom was. He also knew the trail and did not want his family to forget. So when his little girl was born in Boyd County at the close of the Civil War he named her Erie reminding him of the promise land. Hampton Mayo also knew where Canada was beyond the Ohio River and across larger waters where a network of folks helped friends and relatives to that freedom. Least folks forget how to get there and should his new found freedom be taken from him he named yet another little girl Lake Erie at Catlettsburg, Kentucky in 1868.
All along the Ohio River tales of underground activity have been passed from generation to generation. Some documented some whispered. Not only stories of underground activity, but stories of the slaves have been told and retold. It is hard to believe that an interviewer for the WPA, Carl F. Hall, said “we were unable to find any records, in Boyd County, as to slave holders and their slaves, though it is known that many well to do families the Catletts, Davis, Poages, Williams and others were slave holders.” His narrative still managed, with lack of documentation, to be peppered with several stories involving Boyd County. Even during the Centennial of Catlettsburg it was thought that there were no records to substantiate slavery activity. How many stories are there whispering on the wind? How many can be documented in this modern day of research and 133+ years after the fact?
**
A Catlettsburg history relates that. John Culver’s trusty slave, Uncle Elias, had been accused of being a runner and would neither deny or admit it. “It was a fact that he helped the slaves to safety on Solida Creek in Ohio, where there was a refuge for runaway slaves.” Solida Creek does empty into the Ohio River directly across from Clyffeside Branch, Ashland. From a refuge on Solida slaves could make their way to Symmes Creek past Mt. Vernon and Olive Furnaces to Poke Patch on the Gallia County, Ohio line. If that was too dangerous they could follow the river to Wheelersburg and on to Portsmouth.
From a study of tax records it appears that John Culver had loss’s among his own slaves. In 1839 Culver tithed three slaves. One of these would be Elias. By 1841 fourteen slaves are tallied. Then tax lists show a roller coaster inconsistency in numbers - 9, 11, 6, 9 - until 1848 when six slaves remain until the settlement of Culver’s estate. Either Culver had loss’s and gains through transactions of slaves and/or Elias was helping friends, from even his very own master, to escape.
Culver left a will probated in 1858 where the court inventoried five slaves: Elias valued at $400.00, Sam value $300., Fanny value $300., girls Hannah value $1000.00 and Martha value $1000. By the 1860 Federal Slave Census Boyd County widow Charlotte Culver is left with the five slaves which are all again named. providing their ages. Elias was 56 years old. The other slaves were Sam 23, Fanny 67, Hannah 10 and Martha 20. Hannah and Martha are marked as mulatto.
Mrs. Culver maintained four slaves as the Civil War progressed. By 1867 Elias Culver, accused runner, is a free “Negro” in Boyd County, Kentucky. He appears to be the same Elias using the surname Diggs in 1870 District #6 Catlettsburg residing next to the Culver family. Ages of slaves and past slaves appear inconsistent throughout records. At the time he gave his age as 64. He is marked as Mulatto, a mattress maker born in Indiana with a female named Deborah,67, born in Maryland.
Besides Elias we find Fanny Culver, now 82 years old, living next door to Mrs. Culver in 1870. Martha remained in Mrs. Culver’s home with the surname Brown and two infant children.
**
Our second example tells of “...an underground agent for the Abolitionists who came to Catlettsburg to secure work with Mr. Bill Hampton, who owned many slaves. In a short time all his slaves escaped except Aunt Lucy and Aunt Isabella. This agent was caught and sentenced to serve a term in the pen.”
William Hampton, a minister, was born in Cabell Co [W]VA in 1808 to William and Malinda Hampton. When he was approximately 3 years old the family moved to what was then Greenup County. At the death of William’s father, his mother remarried to L. B. Sharp and removed to Missouri by 1836 . In 1833 Hampton is taxed for 3 slaves in Lawrence County, Kentucky He shows 1 slave in 1839 in Greenup County and no slaves thereafter until 1847 when he acquires another who is also gone by 1850.
William Hampton formed a company with John Culver and others to purchase property from James Wilson Fry. This company was responsible for laying off part of Catlettsburg above Division Street. By 1860 William Hampton is still tithing three slaves. They were Isabella age 51, and Lucy 25, both mentioned in the story and Ransier a 10 month old mulatto.

Lucy’s age is important when reviewing the story about being left behind when Hampton’s slaves supposedly ran from this area. Lucy was born about 1835/6. Thus if such an escape of slaves occurred after she was born, according to the story, it would have been after 1835. A search of order books, civil and criminal Dockets for Greenup County as well as circuit records of Lawrence County and later formed Boyd County show several entries involving Hampton and of course his land transactions but none mention the conviction of a captured Abolitionist. In 1854 Hampton acted as guardian to the heirs of Anthony W. Ferguson involving 13 slaves. All 13 slaves were named in the inventory. When one of the guardian reports was filed in June 1864 it lists $9.48 for medical attention for slaves and $3.92 to John Kouns for a coffin for a Negro child. Nothing unusual seems to occur to any of these slaves under Hampton’s guardianship of heirs.
We do know what happened to Hampton’s slaves Aunt Isabella and Lucy. Isabella becomes Isabelle Fox residing in Catlettsburg in 1870. She is 65 years old, keeping house and born in Kentucky. Lucy Fox is 34 and hires out. Ransom Fox is a mulatto 11 years old living at their home born in Kentucky along with George Fox age 6. Isabella is still alive and states she is 80 years of age in 1880. Lucy now Williams is shown in the same household with Henry Williams a Mulatto age 50 born Virginia, George Fox age 18 cited as Isabella’s grandson and a grand daughter Mary Williams age 9. George married and resided in Boyd County and worked as a porter. He died on April 11, 1912 of organic heart disease. On his death certificate his wife was cited as informant. There was some confusion as to parentage as the father is listed as Lucie Williams and is marked out and Isabel Fox written in and the name of the mother Isabel Fox has been marked out and Lucie Williams written in.
**
Alexander Mead was a slave in Greenup County, Kentucky born in 1789. In a personal interview he stated that he got his liberty by buying it with his heels. He says he escaped in 1849. His owner was Benjamin Mead. What Alexander did not explain in the article was how and why he chose 1849 to run. We can safely assume he crossed the river near Ironton and made his way along the trail.
Benjamin Mead and wife Elizabeth lived in the area now Raceland in Greenup County. While this area never became part of Boyd County the Mead’s were actively involved in the Ashland area as well. Alexander also mentions his first wife Hanna Ford who died at Ashland, KY. After Benjamin Mead’s death in 1821 his wife continued to manage their affairs. When Elizabeth died in 1848 the filed estate included the division of slaves. Thirteen slaves were listed by name to be divided among seven heirs shattering the existence they had known. Alexander’s name does not appear on the list. The names of the slaves are: Charlotte, Sarah, Eliah, Jane, Melian, America, Amanda, Reuben, Mary, a female named Anachy, Levi, Maria and William Rielly.
Lots were drawn to decide who would receive each. Elizabeth’s son Benjamin F. Mead received Maria and William Rielly. In 1847 his first appearance on the tax list along with his mother shows that he is tithed for one slave. From 1848 through 1850 he is taxed for two slaves. With the addition of inheritance of two slaves he should have properly been taxed for three. It is this compiler’s opinion that Alexander was given by Elizabeth to son Benjamin prior to her death and that he ran in 1848 arriving in Canada in 1849 as cited in his own personal interview.

**
Asberry Parker is cited in the Federal Writers’ Project concerning Boyd County. The article tells that he traveled by night to Canada where he worked until he became wealthy. After the war he returned to Ironton, Ohio where he made his home for the rest of his life. The article does not say who his master was on the Kentucky side of the river.
The 4th Ward, Ironton, Lawrence County, Ohio Federal Census for 1880 lists Asberry Parker born in [West] Virginia age 49 and wife Hannah Parker age 45 born in Kentucky.
A property and slave owner also by the name of Hannah Parker resided in what was Greenup County, Kentucky. She placed a reward for one of her slaves, a male named George in a Scioto County based paper in 1855. The notice was signed by Moses McCoy of Greenup County, Kentucky. Papers in Ohio ran many such ads including another ad involving what would become Boyd County, Kentucky on January 16, 1852. At that time John Wollman, of Catlettsburg, Kentucky offered a $100.00 reward for a Negro man, Ben, thirty years of age, five feet ten inches high. Wollman may have been John Wellman who had a large family near the Clay’s and appears in early Lawrence County records.
**
George McVoide, is said to have belonged to the Poage family of Boyd County and also escaped to Canada but no further information is given about him. This may be George listed in the inventory of Eliza M. Poage in Greenup County, Kentucky along with another slave Daniel. Several members of the Poage family had slaves. In late June 1864 Ned an emancipated slave of Thomas H. Poage {s/o George and Ann Allen Poage} came forward in the Boyd County Court and made application for support stating that he was a pauper. The court being advised ruled against Jacob Rice Sr. the administrator of the estate of Jobe Davis. Jobe Davis had put up security in a bond of emancipation of Ned in what at that time was the Carter County court. Davis had land holdings at Marsh Run near Cannonsburg. One of the Jobe Davis slaves, Caroline Davis died of burns in November 1853.
**
The slave narrative by Fannie Tippin born in Greenup County, Kentucky 10 July 1864 just two blocks from the bank of the Ohio River describes life with her owners as well as the slave auction block. Fannie tells of Mr. Doll Reed who bought her grandmother Eliza and two children Mary and Bill. Mary was Fannie Tippin’s mother. She states that Mr. Reed tried to buy her grandfather from Mr. Biggs who would not sell him. Reed would buy but never sell his slaves. Fannie’s father belonged to a man named Lawson who drowned when she was small. Fannie talks with great respect about the Reed family which included two daughters Lucy and Annie Reed.
Adolphus L. Reid came from Virginia and settled on a farm near Gray’s Branch later moving from the farm to Greenup. He had five children by his first wife including the mentioned Lucy and Anna. A son Charles married and moved to Texas in the 1870's. Fanny Tippin gave her interview having also migrated to Texas at a later date.
In the interview Fanny gives a vivid description of Greenup’s slave auction. “Reed Landing was a ware house with a gravel road down to the river bank. Between the ware house and the river was the trading block. It was platform about 20 x 30 feet. Slaves was bought and sold there, or auctioned off or swapped for more desirable things. It was a public trading place and shipping place. In bad weather they kep’t the grain and things they was going to ship in the ware house...”
Several slave auctions have been mentioned through the years in Boyd County. A slave block was said to have been in Catlettsburg on Center Street where the Gallup Jewelry Store was at one time. This places the site across from or very near the courthouse. On December 22, 1863 Charles Guilky, jailer for Boyd County reported that one Jack Marlow, a runaway slave had been arrested and confined in the Boyd County Jail by Rhodes Weddington and that Jack had remained in jail and been advertised for six months. No person appeared to claim the slave. The court ordered that they should proceed to sell the slave according to law. As with all sales ordered by the court the sale would take place at or near the doors of the courthouse.
Henry Riekert [1900-1994], owner of what is now called the Cedar Knoll area of Boyd County always proclaimed that there was a slave auction close to where US 60 intersects State Route 3291 in Boyd County. The tract of land which is described as near Cannonsburg was part of land known as the W. L. Geiger Farm. While this compiler could find no documentation citing a sale block the location would have been convenient for farmers that did own slaves residing in that part of the county. The well trod path leading from Ashland to Lawrence County passed through properties of Geiger, Colvin, the Eastham heirs, Davis, Kouns and Bolt families among others. In 1850 Geiger was listed with 4 slaves, Vincent Colvin 3, and among the Eastham’s as many as 11 slaves. Isaac Bolt tithed 6 slaves just across the line in Lawrence county. Shortly after the formation of the county of Boyd these gentleman along with others requested a survey for a road from Cannonsburg to Bolts Fork.
In 1860 W. L. Gieger, Vincent Colvin and Asa Bellew were appointed commissioners to divide
the slaves of Edward Eastham then deceased. Cannonsburg district seemingly has the largest slave activity in the area. During the Civil War Geiger indicates in his own diaries that Union officers and several companies also stayed at his place. In June of 1863 Geiger wrote that Ellington’s Negros ran off but were caught. Certainly the Geiger farm was a central hub for that part of the county.
Riekert and adjoining property owner John G. Martin also told of a possible slave grave yard on a point to the left of what is now Jomar Road. Charles Leece a black widower, succumbed to flux, October 12, 1853 at Cannonsburg. His owner is recorded as W. L. Geiger. While excavation and home development of the point on Jomar Road, in the 1970's and 80's gave no indication of any burials, those that died would logically be put to rest in close proximity. This knoll overlooks the area where the auction block was purportedly located.
Oral history also proclaims Fields Cemetery now overlooking Interstate 64 includes a section of slave burials. This property involved the Eastham family. Iby [nee McGuire] was the widow of Hartwell Eastham and ancestors to the Fields family. In the 1850 Greenup Slave enumeration Ibby Eastham had 3 slaves. Hartwell’s grave along with James W. Eastham are the earliest marked graves in the cemetery. These earliest graves are within a raised wall. To the left of this early family plot are as many as 20 unmarked/unidentified graves. Most are simply marked with field stone. Today these very early graves are at the far end of the cemetery from what is now the entrance gate.
**
While auction blocks were scattered throughout the south for business, individuals retained agents to purchase and handle private transactions of slaves. Though it appears that those involving area residents did not always go smoothly. Susan Catlett brought suit against Richard Brown in 1840 in Lawrence County. Catlett stated that a slave, Dinah was being unjustly detained from her. R. M. Biggs of Greenup County testified that he sold the slave in controversy in Lawrence County to Susan Catlett by her agent Thomas H. Martin.
Davis Montgomery of Claburn Co., Mississippi retained Samuel Craig as agent when purchasing a slave in Lawrence County, Kentucky, from Anthony Hampton in 1835. Anthony was a brother to William Hampton of Boyd County. Craig had debts including one to Mr. Catlett and while the slave was in his possession was taken in payment of the debt. The slave named Tempy was to then be sold at the courthouse steps in Louisa, Kentucky to satisfy debt. Anthony Hampton testified that he did sell a 25 year old Negro to Montgomery at the home of Samuel Craig. The sale was stopped and the case dismissed with costs and leave to draw original bill of sale on Craig.
**

Not all freedom came from running. Emancipation papers could be signed either by the goodness of the owner and/or by purchasing freedom, of course with the owners permission. An example is the emancipation of Thomas Lawson about 54 years old in Greenup County Court December 1846. The paper was signed by B.B. Metz, William I. Lawson, William Corns, B.B. Lawson, John McConnell and Joseph Hill.
Anticipated freedom could be changed at the master’s will. James Lawson’s will probated in 1845 in Greenup County had several codicils involving handling of his slaves. The will states that Charlotte is to be freed at the death of his wife. Tom was to be freed at the decedents death. In an 1838 codicil Lawson stipulates that Charlotte was to receive $10.00 for every year of service when she is freed at the death of the decedent’s wife. However, Tom is now to serve until the death of Lawson’s wife instead of at James death.
Arthur Parker’s 1837 will stated that slave Jackson Boon was to serve one more year then be freed. Washington was to work until he earned what he cost unless Henry Parker from whom he was originally purchased wanted him back. Ryal and William were to be freed after they reached the age of 24 unless the sale of William and Ryal was needed to pay off debts.
**

Historical research is not without flaws. Interpretation of the records can change a historical event dramatically. Evelyn Jackson, Ashland historian stated in her research that “William Hood had a black son, Price Hood by his slave.” Did she utilize Carter County birth records to come to this conclusion? The film is not of best quality and had she compared the format of other entries by midwives she would have noted that they distinguish between son and slave. “Certificate In case of Birth. I hereby certify that on the 11th day of December 1852 a male Mulatto child was born alive at full time at the house of William Hood on Garners fork. This child was the SLAVE of William Hood and [blank] late [blank] who reside on Garners fork of East fork in Carter County. The child was named Price. Dated 2 Feb 1853. Signed Mary Lambert, M.W. This document alone does not make William Hood the father. The designation Mulatto does not automatically make the white owner the father. The registration just before states “son of” and the entry just after “daughter of” while the Hood entry clearly says “slave of.” In 1860 Price is listed as age 6 and W. P. Hood as owner.
I have noted that entries of Mulattos and some blacks do not provide the mother’s name. The column for paternal parent is labeled “Name of father or Owner of Child” There were several Mulatto children born in 1852 including J. F. Wallace “slave of” William Geiger. In each instance the mother’s name is not placed in the column designated for her when it involves slave ownership. Did Jackson have other documentation not readily available or discovered by this compiler? Did she possibly have oral “whisperings” that have long ago lost authorship?
As a compiler I am still hearing “whisperings.” It is clear that Cannonsburg district and Catlettsburg played a greater role in slavery than did newly forming Ashland simply because of geography and development of the day. Whispers of houses in Catlettsburg that were used for the Underground Railroad with tunnels said to run to the river, even though the houses face and are within short distance from the Big Sandy River, still abound. In several cases ownership of the homes were tracked to people who had several slaves themselves neither proving nor disproving the stories. This compiler found no record of any person in what is now Boyd County, other than Elias, admitting to aide slaves. But who among neighbors would breathe a word of any such help or hiding places that would incriminate them when both Union and Confederate feelings were still pro - slavery and so strongly stated by Civil War Union hero General Gallup.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Last night's Executive Order: targeted shock event and tempers are hot

Bannon Bans Muslims:

Heather Cox Richardson
Boston College professor of American History
28 Jan 2017

She is writing from the position of a moderate. She has published several books on the history of the Republican party.

----
I don't like to talk about politics on Facebook-- political history is my job, after all, and you are my friends-- but there is an important non-partisan point to make today.

What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night's ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries-- is creating what is known as a "shock event." Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order. When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.
Last night's Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.

Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.

My point today is this:

Heather Cox Richardson

But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event. A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it requires knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines. This, for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial southern states out of the Union. If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings. This was Lincoln's strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new Republican Party to stand against the Slave Power. Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable. 

Members of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much common ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political potential of a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it seems worth noting that Lincoln seemed to have the better idea about how to use it.