J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “United Daughters of the Confederacy”

The Mystery Remains

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I have recently developed a profound interest in genealogy. Not just in general, but MY genealogy, to be specific. I guess this started while I was researching my Young Adult historical fiction about my hometown, Sioux City, and my great aunt. She and her husband ran a hotel downtown during Prohibition, and there are many colorful stories surrounding the place. Unfortunately, the hotel was razed in the 1960’s, but that doesn’t deter me from searching out interesting tidbits about my ancestors. It’s amazing what deep, dark secrets I’ve uncovered about my family!

My latest quandary is my great-great grandfather. He divorced Great-Great Grandma, a rare occurrence at the time, and after that, basically fell off the planet. The entire family lost contact and track of him. Some say he went to Texas, but most don’t have a clue. He is the key to my Irish ancestry, since his parents came over, but his story remains elusive for now.

After I wrote my first book about the Civil War titled A Beckoning Hellfire, my husband grew curious about his ancestors. He discovered that his great-great grandfather was a Confederate soldier who served as a Cherokee interpreter for Nathan Bedford Forrest. (Thanks to fellow Sons of Confederate Veterans member Lynn Herron for researching this!) A United Daughters of the Confederacy sister of mine recently posted that she discovered a Civil War ancestor who fought for the Union. She seemed appalled, but I think it is admirable, since men on both sides basically fought with the same valor and enthusiasm. In my opinion, there were no wrong sides in the War Between the States – just wrong governing that lead the country to such a disastrous result.

As I sit here watching a TV show about historic Scotland (my husband is a descendant), I long to find out more about my Irish clan. Maybe, someday, I’ll discover the truth.

No More Ole Miss? Shameful!

Here’s the latest slap in the face for those who cherish their Confederate heritage. The University of Mississippi is planning to make even more changes to their campus. A few years ago, the university dropped “Colonel Reb” as their mascot. (And what is the new one again? No one seems to remember or care.) According to USA Today, a new Vice Chancellor for Diversity will be named. The main road through campus, Confederate Avenue, is slated to have its name changed to Chapel Lane. And plaques will also be placed on Confederate monuments, which will state the historical significance of the statues. According to Chancellor Dan Jones, these are “racially divisive sites,” and he intends to “add modern context to their symbolism.”

Not only that: the name of the school, Ole Miss, will be phased out as well. According to Jones, there will be a defined shift in the common use of the nickname “Ole Miss” to closer identify with sports and school spirit. “Some faculty are uncomfortable with (the term “Ole Miss”) — either because they see it as a nickname or because they believe it has racial overtones,” said Jones. 

According to Grayson Jennings of the SCV Virginia Flaggers, “Ed Ayers, with whom Waite Rawls (of the museum formerly known as the Museum of the Confederacy) has worked closely over the last several years, and Christie Coleman, who runs the American Civil War Center at Tredegar, to whom Rawls sold out our museum, were named among those influential in helping Chancellor Jones to construct this program to eradicate our [Confederate] history and dishonor our Veterans. 

“Mr. Rawls remains a member in good standing of the Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans… while our Confederate treasures, so lovingly donated and collected ‘in eternal memory’ of our Confederate ancestors, are now subject to the same revisionist ‘modern interpretation’ that is already found at Tredegar, and is soon to be nailed to our Confederate monuments and markers on the campus of the University of Mississippi.”

Jones also said, “It is my hope that the steps outlined here – reflecting the hard work of university committees and our consultants – will prove valuable in making us a stronger and healthier university, bringing us closer to our goal of being a warm and welcoming place for every person every day, regardless of race, religious preference, country of origin, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender expression.” 

How is it warm and welcoming to those whose ancestors fought and died for their homelands? Some are even buried there, right on campus! What about how it offends us? I, for one, am appalled at this never ending assault on our heritage. It is unacceptable to appease one group of individuals by attempting to be politically correct without taking into account the thousands who it offends by erasing history. These attacks must stop. The Sons of Confederate Veterans are doing their best to fight off these attacks, but other groups need to get on board, like historical groups, heritage groups, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, the Confederate Rose, etc. If we don’t stand up and start making noise about this, like the people who are achieving success in defaming these historic sites and symbols, it won’t end until they’re all gone.

For more info, check out:

http://hottytoddy.com/2014/08/01/chancellor-jones-announces-plan-for-leadership-on-race-issues-and-diversity/

New Interview by J.D.R. Hawkins

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I’m honored to have been asked to give another interview to indieBRAG, which sponsors the B.R.A.G. Medallion award to a chosen number of indie published works. My novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, is the recipient of this prestigious award. The interview is re-posted below:

Interview Part II with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.D.R. Hawkins
July 14, 2014 by layeredpages

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Stephanie: I would like to welcome back J.D.R. Hawkins for a follow up interview about her B.R.A.G. Medallion book, “A Beautiful Glittering Lie.”. She is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Mississippi Writers Guild, Rocky Mountain Writers and Pikes Peak Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Her two previous novels, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire, have received numerous honors and awards. Ms. Hawkins is currently working on a nonfiction book about the Civil War, as well as a Young Adult historical fiction and a memoir. Learn more about J.D.R. here.

Hello, J.D.R.! Thank you for visiting with me again to talk about your B.R.A.G. Medallion book, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Please bring readers up to speed about the premise of your story.

J.D.R.: The novel is the first in a four-book series, which I call “The Renegade Series.” It’s a saga about the Summers family from North Alabama, and what happens to them when the Civil War erupts.

Stephanie: I think it’s great that you have written a story about a Southern Soldier & a family rather than an officer or strictly about warfare tactics. I believe you bring readers closer to the events that took place during that time by doing so. What are a couple of this soldier’s struggles he faces during the Civil War?

J.D.R.: The first struggle that the father, Hiram Summers, faces is whether or not to support Alabama when the state secedes. The second is leaving his family once he decides to enlist. And from that point on, surviving every battle, from First Manassas to Fredericksburg, is a struggle.

Stephanie: In my last interview with you, you said that part of your research was travelling to various battlefields. What are the names of the battlefields you visited and what were some of the thoughts and emotions you experienced?

J.D.R.: My husband and I visited many Virginia battlefields, including Manassas (Bull Run), Sharpsburg (Antietam), Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg. We also went to Brandy Station, where the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War took place. And, of course, we went to Gettysburg. That battlefield was the most profound. How those foot-weary soldiers fought over such rugged terrain amazes me. And seeing the National Cemetery, with all the unknown soldiers’ markers, as well as the mass graves of the Confederates, was overwhelming. So many gave their lives, and that was just in one battle.

Stephanie: How long did it take to write your story and what were some of the challenges?

J.D.R.: It took me about six months to research and six months to write, so a year overall. I think the biggest challenge was trying to make the battle scenes come to life from a soldier’s perspective. A Beautiful Glittering Lie is based on a journal by one of the soldiers who fought with the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment. By referring to his observations and perceptions of the battles he participated in, it was easier to visualize what those men went through.

Stephanie: Did you learn anything new about the Civil War in your research you didn’t know before?

J.D.R: I discovered much about how Alabama was affected by the war. Hiram’s son, David, sees firsthand the devastation taking place when he sneaks into occupied Huntsville. Union soldiers were not always gentlemanly in their treatment of the locals, women, and especially, black people. The scenes described in the book, as well as the Union officers who were in Huntsville and the surrounding area, are based on fact.

Stephanie: What about this period of time in American history impacted you the most to write this story?

J.D.R.: I have always been fascinated with the Victorian era, and the Civil War in particular. The war was not completely about slavery, which is a popular belief. The causes were far more complex, but basically, the war was a result of economics and political greed. As is the case in many instances in American history, citizens become pawns to politicians’ schemes and disagreements.

Stephanie: Which character in your story are you most partial to and why?

J.D.R: I’d have to say that I’m most partial to David. At the beginning of the story, he is just a teenager. Instead of going to fight, which is what he wants to do, he stays behind to tend to the family’s farm, thus fulfilling his promise to his father. However, like any teenage boy, he is hungry for adventure, so he goes off to find it, but bites off more than he can chew.

Stephanie: Writing Historical fiction can be tricky with blending the right amount of fiction with fact. What advice would you give a new writer wanting to do so?

J.D.R.: My advice would be to immerse yourself in the period you want to write about. Read letters, journals, speeches, newspaper articles, and books written about and during that era to get a feel for what people experienced and how they expressed themselves. Study the fashions, the political undercurrent, fads, music, artwork, and photographs. I listened to Civil War music while I wrote to get myself in the right mindset. Know your facts inside and out, but don’t go overboard with description, because that can bore your readers. Instead, sprinkle tidbits throughout your book. Once you are completely familiar with the era you want to write about, develop your plot. Let your characters grow with the story. I ended up writing things that weren’t in the original outline because my characters seemed to take on personas of their own, especially in their dialogue. If possible, visit the places you are writing about to learn the terrain, the architecture, and regional dialects.

Stephanie: What is up next for you and will there be more stories that take place during this period?

J.D.R.: I plan on publishing the third book in “The Renegade Series.” (The second book, A Beckoning Hellfire, has been published.) I’m also working on a nonfiction book about the Civil War, a Young Adult novel, and a memoir.

Stephanie: How did you discover indieBRAG?

J.D.R.: I learned about it from Writer’s Digest magazine.

Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?

J.D.R.: The book is available everywhere. It can be ordered through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at all other book retailers. Readers can also purchase it through my website.

A message from BRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview J.D.R. Hawkins, who is the author of, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, one of our medallion honorees at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

Happy Birthday General Forrest

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Today marks the anniversary of one of the Civil War’s most influential and controversial commanders, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Born on July 13, 1821, Forrest rose to fame after enlisting as a private in the War Between the States. Because of his outstanding, strategical military mind, he advanced to general during the course of the war.

At the onset of the Civil War, Forrest was a wealthy planter, slave trader, and real estate investor. Although he had no formal education, he worked hard (his father died when he was 17, leaving him responsible for his family) and put his younger brothers through college. Becoming a Memphis millionaire, he paid for horses and equipment for a regiment of Tennessee volunteers. From there, he proved to be a military genius in several battles. He was quoted as saying he was the first with the most, and that he came out a horse ahead (he had 29 horses shot out from under him, but killed 28 men). Author Shelby Foote stated that there were only two geniuses in the Civil War: Abraham Lincoln, and Nathan Bedford Forrest.

At the massacre of Ft. Pillow, Forrest was accused of intentionally killing surrendered Union soldiers because they were black. He was later found innocent of the charges. After the war, it was rumored that he helped establish the KKK, but this has never been proven, and he denied it adamantly. In fact, a court hearing was held, led by Union General Sherman, to prove his guilt, but that never happened. General Forrest was only 56 years old when he died on October 29, 1877.

Originally buried in Elmwood Cemetery, his body was disinterred to Forrest Park in Memphis in 1904. Every year, a ceremony is held to honor this special man and significant Confederate leader, and this year is no exception. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy will be at the park today to pay special homage to this amazing man.

Honoring Veterans on Memorial Day

It has been a long tradition to honor fallen soldiers after battle. In the United States, the tradition began in 1865 following the Civil War. Southern women wanted to honor their soldiers and pay homage, so they designated “Decoration Day” as a day when the South would do just that.

Decoration Day was started in Mississippi by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, as evidenced by a song published in 1867, which was entitled “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping,” and was written by Nella L. Sweet. The hymn carried the dedication: To the Ladies of the South who are decorating the graves of the Confederate dead. After WWI, the name was changed to “Memorial Day,” and in 1971, it officially became a national holiday.

This Memorial Day, please take the time to thank a veteran for the service he or she has dutifully and unselfishly given to us to insure our freedom. Without these brave heroes, we would not be the great country that we are.

Author Interview with Margaret Tutor

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I recently had the pleasure of interviewing my friend, fellow author, and UDC sister, Margaret Tutor. Her new novel is entitled “Just Passing Through.” The story is loosely based on her maternal family, and takes place during the 1920’s in rural Arkansas. Margaret’s depiction of the lives of sharecroppers is both heart-wrenching and heartwarming. Her interview is as follows:

Give us a short synopsis of your book. Will and Parthina Ward traveled from cotton field to cotton field, living out of their covered wagon until they became sharecroppers in Dover, Arkansas, in 1926. There, they encountered Mrs. Cartwright and her children, who were left to fend for themselves while Mr. Cartwright took an extended trip to New Orleans. The Ward’s took the Cartwright’s under their wings, angering Mr. Cartwright when he returned to see them thriving without him.

How did you research your story before you began writing your book? “Just Passing Through” is fiction with some non-fiction added for some good ole Southern flavor. I researched as I wrote.

How were you inspired to write this story? I have always wanted to write, but not until I was able to go back to school did I feel I had a talent, and writing is my talent. Thank you, Northwest MS Community College.

What advice can you offer other authors? Someone once said, “Writing a book is the easy part of becoming a published author.” (author unknown) I can now say, this is so true.

Who designed your book cover? Tate Publishing

Are you working on other projects? I do have plans to continue my writing.

What is your favorite genre? So far, fiction.

Who is your publisher? Can you tell us about your publishing experience? Tate Publishing is my publisher. This is my first experience with a traditional publishing company, but I think this is so cool. Up front, I was told never to contact book stores about book signings; that was their job.  

What is your favorite quote? “If you ain’t get’n no boot don’t trade,” by Will Ward.

Tell us about the characters in your book? How did you come up with the setting? The Ward family is based on the real Ward family. The Cartwright family is truly fictional.  Traveling from cotton field to cotton field, living out of a covered wagon with ten children, and trying to scratch out a living is the non-fiction.

 

Margaret Tutor was born and raised in Morrilton, Arkansas. She now calls Olive Branch, Mississippi her home. Raised by a single mother who raised seven children, Margaret finds her inspiration from her mother’s determination to keep her family together.

Margaret writes in a style that is both light-hearted and fun but with serious undertones.

The Ward family had a big influence on Margaret when she was growing up. Will and Parthina Ward with their ten children went from cotton field to cotton field, living out of their covered wagon. They were never in one place long enough for the Ward children to attend school regularly. However, most did manage to get a 3rd grade education.

Learn more about Margaret and her books at:

http://margarettutor.wix.com/margaret-tutor

Civil War Event Highlighted in Mississippi

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Recently, a month-long program in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War began at the M. R. Dye Library in Horn Lake, Mississippi, where I used to work. The event was well attended, regardless of the dreary weather. To kick off the living history events, a reenactment took place behind the library. Members of Mississippi and Tennessee infantry regiments, as well as cavalry troopers, arrived to demonstrate to the crowd what it was like to fight in the War Between the States. I’ve posted a few pictures for fun. I’d like to give a special shout out to Carson Culver for arranging the program, as well as my friends at the library and in the UDC and SCV. I miss y’all! And thanks very much for featuring my books (A Beckoning Hellfire and A Beautiful Glittering Lie – next to Jeff Shaara’s).

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This Saturday, a special monument dedication will take place in Gadsden, Alabama. At a crossing on Black Creek, Emma Sansom assisted Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest in capturing Union Colonel Streight. The ceremony will take place at 2:00. Information about this event follows. (Special thanks to Rodney Pitts for supplying this information.)
 
EMMA SANSOM & GENERAL FORREST MARKER DEDICATION My name is Freda Mincey, director of the Alabama Flaggers along with Confederate Rebel Burton. Our group was formed to preserve our Southern Heritage, our monuments, markers, cemeteries, and the right to fly our flags. We strive to keep Southern Heritage alive, to preserve it for the next generations, before it becomes dust in the wind. When I realized the Emma Sansom and General Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument by Black Creek had disappeared, I went to Honorable Mayor Guyton and City Council, and with their approval and help was able to have the monument replaced at the Black Creek crossing. This is the area where Emma Sansom helped General Forrest by leading him to a low-area in the creek where he could cross, enabling him to capture Union Col. Streight, outside of Cedar Bluff, Georgia, saving the supply lines to Middle Tennessee. The historical event will have SCV Camps from Alabama and Tennessee, the UDC, and the Order of Confederate Rose, which will unveil the monument followed by a salute. We will be in period dress. We are asking everyone to try to attend and support our Heritage and witness a historical event. Thank you, and God Bless, Freda Mincey Director of the Alabama Flaggers. The Dedication of the Emma Sansom General Forrest Monument will take place Saturday November 23rd at 2:00 in Gadsden near the Emma Sansom Cemetery on Hwy 431, 911 Black Creek Road Gadsden Alabama. There will be SCV Camps in period clothes from Alabama and Tennessee. The UDC and Order of Confederate Rose. There will be a Historical event and Memorable to those who attend. We would be Honored to have all who can attend and support our Southern Heritage for the Next Generations. If you need to contact me for any questions my home number is256-281-6797 and my cell is 847-321-8879. Thank you and hope to see you there, Freda Mincey Director Alabama Flaggers https://www.facebook.com/events/232415346925719/

Forrest Birthday Celebration

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(Photo Courtesy of Clay Pruett)

Yesterday, the annual Nathan Bedford Forrest birthday party took place at Forrest Park in downtown Memphis. There was an excellent turnout of local UDC and SCV members, as well as spectators and historians.

It’s great to see such a patriotic turnout in support of a true American hero. Although there has been a lot of controversy surrounding General Forrest, including the misconception that he founded the KKK (totally untrue – he wasn’t even a member), people still flock to this event every year to honor him. This is the first time in nearly five years that I have missed the event, sorry to say.

Over the past several months, Memphis city council members have overstepped their bounds and taken it upon themselves to rewrite history, desecrate the park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and attempt to change its name to something obscure and insignificant. The SCV has filed a lawsuit against the city. I, for one, can’t wait to find out the outcome. Let’s hope that history, and not bigotry, prevails.

Battle of Hernando Reenactment

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Last weekend, the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Hernando reenactment took place in Hernando, Mississippi. The reenactment takes place once every ten years at the Mussacuna Plantation just outside of town.

At last weekend’s reenactment, approximately 3000 people attended during the two-day event. It was a great turnout, and gave people the chance to see what it was like in 1863. Members of the Varina Howell Davis Chapter #2559 United Daughters of the Confederacy, as well as the Samuel A. Hughey Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Bonnie Blue Brigade, the 17th Mississippi Reenactors Group, the DeSoto County Museum, and the Masonic Order helped sponsor the event.

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