Monday, April 21, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: "Woodmen of the World" (John J. Blackmon)

In July of 2009 my husband and I visited Brown's Church Cemetery in Jackson, Madison Co., TN. We were looking for, found and photographed a number of tombstones and markers for members of my own family who were buried there.

The cemetery itself is so beautiful, and we found ourselves wandering around taking photos of some of the more unusual tombstones. The one pictured here struck us both. We loved the fact that it was "Erected by the Woodmen of the World." Not only did we take the photo of this one for John J. Blackmon, we ended up taking photos of the many other Blackmon tombstones that surrounded it.

Needless to say, I immediately began a Blackmon Family Tree on Ancestry. I just had to find out more about them - right?

John J. Blackmon (3 Sep 1845 - 5 Feb 1902) Born and died in Madison County, TN.

@2014 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Friday, April 18, 2014

The 18th of April in '75

"LISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.        5
He said to his friend, ‘If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,—
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;        10
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

For many years I had my 8th grade American History students memorize those first few lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem, Paul Revere's Ride. Longfellow actually wrote the poem so many years after the event that the line "hardly a man is now alive" was truly accurate at the time of the writing.

What wasn't accurate was much of the information in the poem itself.  Longfellow was completely aware of his inaccuracies, but justified them to himself and others as a poet taking license with reality in order to give more meaning to the event. In truth, two other men made that ride with Revere, who didn't even complete the ride because he was captured during the first leg of his journey. William Dawes and Samuel Prescott were both lost in history due to Longfellow's taking poetic license with the true events that occurred that evening.¹

So why did I have my students memorize that poem? I did it because I've always had students memorize certain things in order to stimulate their brains. A certain bit of memorization is good for everyone, and those words will often stay with a person for many years. I always believed that it was good for students to use memorization in order to learn important pieces of history, such as the "Preamble to the Constitution" and the first three paragraphs of Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address."

But I think I mainly had them memorize it because I personally always loved the poem, with its beauty and its rhythm. The students often sang it or rapped it and made the memorization of it something they enjoyed, which was not often the case in the previously mentioned memorization pieces. It was also a good "teaching tool," as I let them know that as important and famous as the poem was, it wasn't altogether true. Ah, the lessons and discussions that came from those moments!

On this 239th anniversary of that famous date in history, I thought I'd give homage to the poem and the lessons that we should learn from it. If you'd like to know more about what really happened that night, use the link provided in my source to read a fairly good article about the night of the 18th of April in '75.

¹ Ewers, Justin. "Rewriting the Legend of Paul Revere." U.S. News and World Report. (June 27, 2008)
@2014 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Love Cousins

This photo “found its way” to me a few years ago via a cousin. These are my 2nd cousins once removed: Alice Edris Love (16 Dec 1902 - 30 Aug 1968) and her little brother, Albert Lincoln Love (12 Feb 1905 – 27 Aug 1990). The photo was probably taken around 1907 or so. The little boy looks very much like my oldest son did at that age!

@2014 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland