Military History: The Fall of Atlanta (On This Day in History)

calendar-Sep01       One hundred and fifty years ago today, the battle for Atlanta ended with Confederate General John B. Hood exiting the city, destroying supply depots and burning ammunition rail cars on his way out.  The initial battle had begun on July 22, 1864 with a siege of the city continuing through August.

Northern newspapers provided extensive, sometimes almost breathless, coverage during the campaign.  Typically, headlines appeared as running updates like this one on July 20 in the Cleveland Daily Leader:

Cleveland_Daily_Leader_Wed__Jul_20__1864_Apparently that day the news from Sherman’s march through the South spurred the “Glorious News from Atlanta” headline, although the Battle of Atlanta wouldn’t begin until the 22nd.  At that time news was dispatched via telegraphic communications and these headlines were probably updated until just before the newspaper’s print deadline.

The official news of Atlanta’s fall (the city surrendered on September 2) didn’t begin appearing in newspapers until September 3.  To Northerners, these were hopeful headlines – surely this must have been considered a major turning point in the war from the viewpoint of the general public.  To Southerners, it was, of course, disheartening.  In the days following the fall, headlines became increasingly bolder in declaring victory in Atlanta:

The_Sun_Sat__Sep_3__1864_The results of the Southern campaign during the summer of 1864 energized the general public in favor of Lincoln and his running mate Andrew Johnson, even though some Democrats were calling for a truce with the Confederacy in order to curry favor with war-weary voters.

In early August, The Daily Kansas Tribune (Lawrence, Kansas) was already endorsing the Republican ticket which had been nominated at the  convention in June:

The_Daily_Kansas_Tribune_Sun__Aug_7__1864_For this Kansas newspaper editor, nothing short of all-out victory would suffice.

Historians debate whether the fall of Atlanta was the most significant turning point in the Civil War.  There were, of course, many battles which could have been considered turning points – Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, New Orleans, Vicksburg.  The headlines displayed above strongly suggest that the North’s spirits were lifted by the victory in Atlanta which was followed in November by the landslide re-election of Abraham Lincoln.

On August 23, 1864 President Lincoln recorded these thoughts:

This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be reelected.  Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards.

Lincoln may have been discouraged on that day, but nine days later it appears his prospects for reelection improved significantly.  Had Lincoln been defeated, the South would have considered that a strategic victory, albeit at the ballot box.  Who knows which direction the war would have taken had Lincoln lost, since ultimately McClellan, prior to accepting the Democratic nomination, declined to endorse the idea of a truce.

Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!

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© Sharon Hall (History Depot), 2014.
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This Blog, Like History, Marches On: New Article Themes

headsupIt’s the Labor Day weekend, the last holiday of the summer, and it’s time to start planning some new blog article themes as I approach the one-year anniversary of Diggin’ History.  I’ve been mulling over some new themes for Sundays to go along with current and recurring themes, including:

  • Church Traditions – all day singing and dinner on the ground, Decoration Day, camp meeting,  Sacred Harp singing, singing schools and more.
  • Church and Missions History – missionaries, circuit-riding preachers, maybe even snake handlers (talk about unusual – that ought to be interesting!) — this theme has all kinds of possibilites!
  • Preachers’ Wives – the women behind the great preachers in history, their lives and sacrifices.
  • Give Me That Old Time Religion – faith stories

Do you know someone, or perhaps you have an ancestor, who has/had a great faith story?  If so, I’d love to interview them or hear your ancestor’s story, both for a blog article and a possible book writing project I’m contemplating.

I also have plans to add more weekday themes — here are a few:

  • Ranching History
  • Mining History
  • Rust-And-Dust
  • Geniuses, Unsung Heroes, Innovators and Misfits
  • News Clippings – unusual, humorous news clippings from historic newspaper collections

I’m always up for new ideas and themes, especially unique or obscure historical events . . . feel free to comment below and pass your ideas along.  I will continue to write articles on current themes, but have more options to choose from.  Tombstone Tuesday and Surname Saturday are my favorites — suggest a tombstone or surname you’d like to have researched and I’ll do my best to write an informative article.

To encourage more participation on the blog (comments, feedback, shares on social media, etc.), look for opportunities to win prizes and book giveaways in the future – the more you participate, the more chances you have to win.  Let’s have some fun with history!

 Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!

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© Sharon Hall (History Depot), 2014.
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Surname Saturday: Golightly

GolightlyCrestMost sources agree that today’s surname is of English or Scottish origin, although uncertain as to whether the name is merely habitational or perhaps derived from Old and Middle English.  It’s possible that the Scottish version was habitational, named after a village, town or other locale – perhaps a place which no longer exists.

The English version is thought to have derived from a combination of the pre-seventh century Old English word “gan” and the Middle English word “lihtly” or possibly both of Middle English – “gon” for “to go” and “lihtly”.  The second part of the word, “lihtly”, could also have originally derived from the Old English word “leohylic”.  Either way, the word would have most likely designated someone light of foot like a messenger.

Spelling variations include: Galletly, Gallightly, Gellatly, Gillatly, and more.  William Galithli appeared at the beginning of the 13th century.  The earliest recorded spelling of the name might have been Rannulf Golicthli in 1196 duirng the reign of Richard I (“The Lionheart”).

At the end of the 13th century, Henry Gellatly appeared as the illegitimate son of William the Lion.  According to, “in Ireland the name is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac on Ghalloglaigh ‘the son of the gallowglass’.  Other instances of the name include Henry Golitheby, Ranald Galychtly and John Galichly. lists but a few patriots with the Golightly surname during the Revolutionary War.  The appearance of the name in America picks up, however, in the nineteenth century, with several serving in the Civil War, and predominantly for the Confederacy.  Texas appears to have been home to more individuals bearing this surname than other states by the early 20th century, with perhaps the exception of South Carolina.

One of the earliest Golightly immigrants to South Carolina had an unusual forename:  Culcheth Golightly.  He arrived in that colony at least by 1733 according to family historians.

Culcheth Golightly

Culcheth Golightly was born to parents Robert and Dorothy Fenwick Golightly and christened on November 7, 1706 at Newcastle Upon Tyne in County Northumberland, England.  His first name was the surname of his Fenwick grandmother, Ann Culcheth Fenwick.  The family was an old and prominent family of County Northumberland and some believe that one of Culcheth’s ancestors, John Golightly, may have immigrated to Virginia in 1688 having previously lived in either Northumberland or Durham County, England.

South Carolina marriage records indicate that Culcheth Golightly married a widow, Mary Elliott (neè Butler), on April 7, 1746.  Records also indicate that he was enumerated in the 1740 and 1741 South Carolina censuses in St. Bartholomew Parish. Whether or not he had been married prior to 1746 is unclear.  He owned a plantation at Horseshoe Savannah in that parish and another on Charleston Neck.

Whether Culcheth “married up” or just added to his already sizable estate by marrying Mary Butler Elliott, the South Carolina Gazette recorded the following marriage notice:

We hear that Culcheth Golightly, Esq., was married on Monday to Mrs. Mary Elliott, a very agreeable young lady, with a good fortune. (Monday, April 7, 1746)

Culcheth and Mary had two daughters: Dorothy (1747) and Mary (1748).  Culcheth’s daughters, however, would grow up without their father for he died in 1749.  An interesting notation on one family tree indicates: “Poisoned By Slaves, Oligarchs Charleston South Carolina”.  A search yielded no further information, but if true it would surely be an interesting story.

He died on December 14, 1749 and his will, proved on March 18, 1756, left £1,000 sterling to Mary and each of his daughters when they turned twenty-one or were married, “or within 12 months after Wife shall marry again and use of household stuff during time she is a Widow” (Mary remarried in 1759).  His wife and children would have been well-cared for given his sizable estate.

One story by C. Irvine Walker in his book The Romance of Lower Carolina provided the following on Mary Golightly’s (daughter) marriage:

About 1765, Miss Golightly, the daughter of an English family now extinct in Carolina, was quite a belle.  The following is one of the romantic stories that used to be told, as an instance of how, even in that formal age, “Love would find out the way.”  Her family was averse to the man of her heart, Mr. Huger; why, it was not clear, for though not a rich man, was of high position and lofty character.  So, Miss Golightly, one night at a ball, picked up a straw hat which chanced to be lying on a bench, and with no more preparation stepped out of the long window into the garden and ran away to be married.  The adventurous bride did not live long, but died, leaving one son.

Mary’s husband served during the Revolutionary War as a major and was killed in Charlestown in 1779.  Dorothy Golightly married William Henry Drayton.  Drayton, a member of the Continental Congress, was one of the first South Carolinians to speak out in favor of breaking with England.  He had been appointed as the first chief justice of South Carolina and died in Philadelphia in 1779, having served sixteen months in the Second Continental Congress.  Their son, John, later became Governor of South Carolina from 1800-1802 and again from 1808-1810.

One other unusual Golightly forename I ran across was Avoid Golightly, born on January 2, 1925 to Luther and Odell Berry Golightly in Choctaw County, Oklahoma.  He was a World War II Navy veteran who died on May 30, 1980 in Paris, Texas.  It would have been interesting to know how he came by the name “Avoid” but research didn’t produce any further information.

Speaking of unusual names, be sure and checkout the next two or three weeks of Tombstone Tuesday articles.  I found several unusual and unique names in a Johnson County, Tennessee family with interesting histories.  This Tuesday will feature an article on “The Ocean Sisters” – stay tuned!

Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!

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© Sharon Hall (History Depot), 2014.
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Feisty Females: Alice Harrell Strickland

AliceHarrellStricklandHer campaign slogan in 1921, just one year after women were granted the right to vote, was “I will clean up Duluth and rid it of demon rum.”  She had been compelled into the race for mayor of Duluth, Georgia that year, having been a strong advocate for women’s suffrage in the years leading up to the amendment’s passage, and as an active participant in her city’s civic affairs.  She would win and become the first female mayor ever elected in the state of Georgia.

Alice Harrell Strickland was born on June 24, 1859 to parents Newton and Mary Ellender (Harris) Newton in Forsyth County, Georgia.  Her grandparents, Edward and Nancy Strickland Harrell, were some of the original settlers of Forsyth County.  Born about two years before the start of the Civil War, Alice was born in an era when young women would have been bred to be Southern belles or “plantation ladies.”

On November 10, 1881, Alice married her cousin Henry Strickland, Jr., a Duluth lawyer and businessman.  In the early 1800’s the town was named Howell’s Cross Roads for early settler Evan Howell.  This was also the time when the Stricklands, among others, moved to the area.  Howell ran a plantation and cotton gin and became the town’s first successful merchant.

Years later his grandson Evan P. Howell encouraged the construction of a railroad system that would stretch to Duluth, Minnesota.  After Congress approved the financing, the town was renamed Duluth.  By the 1880’s Duluth had become a hub for the cotton industry and was also, unfortunately, known for drunken brawls and knife fights.

The Methodist Church had been founded in 1871 and Alice joined the church and the Duluth Civic Club.  She and Henry had seven children: Henry, Jr., Newton Harrell, Glenn Beauregard, Anna May, Susan, Charles Edward and Ellyne Elizabeth.  All their children attended college and “showed signs of their mother’s pioneering spirit and courage,” according to Georgia Women of Achievement.

AliceStricklandHomeIn 1898 the Stricklands built a three-story home for their large family.  Throughout the late nineteenth century and into the early 1900’s Alice remained active in civic affairs as a member of the Duluth Civic Club.  Henry died at the age of 55 following an extended illness of several months.  After returning from an operation he underwent in Baltimore, he suddenly passed away on June 4, 1915.

Alice had never attended college and had remained at home raising her children throughout the years of their marriage.  At the time of Henry’s death, two of their children, Charles and Elllyne, remained at home.  Charles and Newton later served in World War I — Charles as a private in the 464th Engineers and Newton as an Army captain (promoted to major),  both returning to Georgia in 1919.

Undeterred by her lack of professional skills, Alice immersed herself further in civic affairs.  During her tenure as president of the Duluth Civic Club, she opened the second floor of her home as a clinic where children were treated for whooping cough, diphtheria and surgically for tonsillitis.

She was considered a “progressive” who was also an ardent conservationist.  At one point, Alice challenged the power company who came to erect power lines across her land.  “With a shotgun in her hands, she blocked the way of power company workers, keeping them from placing lines across her land.” (Georgia Women of Achievement) She later donated a portion of her land for the purposes of preservation and recreation to the town of Duluth.

The issue of women’s rights was being hotly debated, and on July 8, 1919 the Atlanta Constitution reported that Alice Strickland spoke out strongly in favor of passage of the so-called “Susan B. Anthony Amendment.”  Her appeal was made on behalf of not only city women but those who lived in rural areas.  She was agitated by the Jackson amendment which had blocked the amendment’s passage in the Georgia legislature, prompting her to demand:  “Where is this man Jackson?  I want to see him.”

Although the amendment’s defeat was a narrow one in the legislature, Georgia politicians boasted about being the first state to reject it.  However, it was for naught because the 19th Amendment passed nationally and women were granted the right to vote in 1920.  Alice Strickland must have seen this as her opportunity to make a difference and contribute even more to her community.

In 1921, at the age of sixty-two, she decided to run for mayor of Duluth.  According to Georgia Women of Achievement, she campaigned in a politically hostile environment, yet won the election.  She made history as the first female mayor ever elected in the state of Georgia.  She was fearless but fair and “could not be hoodwinked in the execution of her duties.” (Forsyth County: History Stories, p. 77).  True to her campaign promises, she pursued and prosecuted bootleggers in an effort to clean up her community and improve its reputation.

AliceStricklandPlaqueAfter her term as mayor, Alice continued to live in her family home until her death on September 8, 1947.  Over a century after its construction, the home was placed on the Georgia Register of Historical Places in 1999.  In 2002, Alice Harrell Strickland was designated as a Georgia Woman of Achievement – feisty like another Georgian female of note and recently profiled here, Nancy Morgan Hart.

historicalfootnoteNinety-seven years and one day ago, on August 28, 1917, women suffragists and activists picketed President Woodrow Wilson, demanding the right to vote.  Three years later, on August 26, 1920, their demands were met when the 19th Amendment was ratified by a majority of states.

Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!

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© Sharon Hall (History Depot), 2014.
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Book Review Thursday: The Mockingbird Next Door

MockingbirdNextDoorAs it turns out, this book, which I actually found delightful, is full of controversy.  Browse the comments and reviews on Amazon or other book sites and you will find both raves and pans.  The book, as stated by author Marja Mills, was never intended to be a biography of the uber-private recluse Nelle Harper Lee, author of the acclaimed novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  Rather she wrote it as a memoir after meeting Nelle Harper Lee and her sister Alice while working on an article for the Chicago Tribune.

Ms. Mills later moved next door to the Lees’ home in Monroeville, Alabama in 2004 and, according to the book, seems to have become well acquainted with the pair as well as their friends.  Whether or not the author’s stated premise is true or not, I still found it delightful and full of Alabama and Deep Southern history.  It is obvious that the Lee sisters are proud Southerners, even though over the years Nelle Harper Lee spent a great deal of time commuting between Alabama and New York City.

The reviews I read seemed to express dismay that the Lee sisters never authorized the book and it was a blatant intrusion of their privacy.  Mills refers to a letter from Alice (an attorney) in which she receives the blessing of both sisters to write the memoir.  In July of 2014, however, Nelle Harper Lee issued a statement: “Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.”

Nelle Harper Lee is now eighty-eight years old and lives in an assisted living facility following a stroke in 2007.  The letter which Mills relies on for authorization was written by Alice at around age one hundred years.

Some reviewers go so far as to call Ms. Mills a liar.  If that’s true then I guess the book might be called a work of fiction rather than a factual memoir.  There are several places in the book where she pauses in her approach to the sisters, concerned that she may be invading their privacy.  It seems apparent that scores of people still revere Harper Lee – she is a national treasure.    Whether entirely true or not, I still enjoyed the book and would recommend it – just be aware that in the summer of 2014 it has become a controversial publication.

Rating:  ★★★★

Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!

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© Sharon Hall (History Depot), 2014.
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Ghost Town Wednesday: Cloverdale, New Mexico

CloverdaleStoreCloverdale is believed to have been established sometime in the 1880’s.  On May 2, 1882 The Critic (Washington, D.C.) had a story about an Indian fight at Cloverdale between Apaches and the Sixth Cavalry, led by Captain T.C. Tupper.  One soldier was killed in the battle, two wounded and fourteen Apaches were killed.  It was not the first battle with Indians in the area and certainly not the last – the war with Apaches continued until about 1924.

The Cloverdale Ranch was also established in the 1880’s by either Bob Anderson or John Weames, but sold to the Victor Land and Cattle Company in 1889.  According to C.W. Barnum, a New Mexico genealogist, other ranches were established and the number of residents increased.  The name “Cloverdale” was chosen as the name for the spread-out community.  Said to have had as many as two hundred residents at one time, the town had a general store (built in 1918), post office, blacksmith shop, school and cemetery.  A stage line ran from Cloverdale to Animas.

CloverdaleSchoolIn 1902 and 1903 the area suffered a severe drought, according to the oral interview of a former resident, George Pendleton.  His parents, Thomas Maynard and Eva May Bass Pendleton (see yesterday’s Tombstone Tuesday article on the Bass family), had married in Carlsbad in 1912 and moved to the area in 1914.  In 1912 the post office was established, making it the southwestern-most in the state of New Mexico.  More on the Pendleton family in a future article.

CloverdalePicnicBeginning in 1913 the Cloverdale community held an annual camp meeting and picnic, drawing large crowds of ranchers and area residents.  As mentioned in yesterday’s Tombstone Tuesday article about the Bass family, the Mexican Revolution brought the likes of Pancho Villa to the area, as well as General Jack Pershing who pursued Villa in 1916.  Such characters as the Clantons of OK Corral fame and Geronimo also roamed the area and made history in that part of the world.

The annual picnic continued to be held until 1962, although by 1943 the community had declined and the post office was closed.  All that remains today is the deserted general store, a flagstone house belonging to Henry Sanford (see next week’s Tombstone Tuesday article for more on Henry) and the remnants of a dance floor.

CloverdaleScenesI found several stories about the Bootheel of New Mexico and Cloverdale which are fascinating, so watch for future articles about Cloverdale and the surrounding area – Military History, Wild West, Ranching History (a new article theme coming soon), as well as more Tombstone Tuesday articles on settlers who came in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s (Cousin Randy told me he saw another cemetery in the area!)

Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!

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© Sharon Hall (History Depot), 2014.
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Tombstone Tuesday: Tales From Cloverdale Cemetery (Cloverdale, NM)

EdAndSusieBassI just never know where a story idea will pop up.  This one came from some bantering back and forth on Facebook between my brother and one of our cousins about the “Bootheel” area of New Mexico.  Today’s article features one family who started out in Texas, wandered up and down the Pecos Valley of New Mexico for years, and finally ended up in Hidalgo County at a volatile time in history.

The Bass Family

The patriarch of the Bass family, William Edwin “Ed” Bass, was born in July of 1854 to parents Richard and Sarah Francis (Means) Bass in San Patricio County, Texas.  In 1872 he married Susan Iona Chisum in San Patricio County.  Together they raised a large family of twelve children:

Richard Isom (1873)
Clara Edna (1876)
Daniel Edwin (1878)
William Holland (1880)
Susan Iona (1882)
Margaret (1885)
Ludie Mary (1888)
Eva May (1890)
Frederic (1894)
Clyde (1895)
Edgar (1898)
Vivian Leonard (1901)

Note: Susie’s obituary noted that she raised fourteen children.  However, available census records indicate only twelve.

BassFamilyEd and Susie resided in Bandera County, Texas in 1880 with four young children.  Sometime after the 1880 census, the family moved to the Pecos Valley of New Mexico.  They settled in an area called Hackberry Draw, then moved back to the plains and later returned to the valley on land near the Black River.  Ed and his neighbors built a school house there which was also used as a community gathering place.

The Bass family were wanderers apparently and later moved to Eddy (now Carlsbad), where Ed owned and operated a livery stable, ranched in Artesia and finally sold out and moved to Cloverdale, Hidalgo County in 1917.  The family picked an historic time to live in the Bootheel of New Mexico when they settled in an area near the Mexican border (their home was within a half-mile of the border).

The Mexican Revolution had begun in 1910 and continued until at least 1920.  One of the most well-known Mexicans in the area would have been Francisco “Pancho” Villa.  Indian raids were not uncommon (occasionally) either, all of which meant that everyone was armed and on guard.  Susie was known for her generosity and kindness, according to her obituary:

If Mother Bass ever had to defend herself from the rougher element of the Old West, no one ever heard of it. She lived a life of unselfishness and generosity, and was loved by the bad as well as the good. The worst “hombre” would have defended her, for the night was never too dark or cold for her to leave her bed and prepare a meal for a hungry traveler, or go see some sick woman or child among her neighbors.

Their sons raised sheep in Hidalgo County and Ed remained in Cloverdale until his death on March 9, 1925.  His obituary included the following description: “Ed Bass had a heart of gold and a cursing vocabulary that would reach from hell to breakfast.”  His tombstone is inscribed with the words “Life’s work all done, he rests in peace.”

Susie returned to Eddy County and lived there until her death on March 27, 1950.  In her obituary, she was remembered as “one of New Mexico’s best-known and loved pioneer women of the Old West” and an adherent of the Baptist faith for seventy-eight years.  She died at the age of ninety-two, having entered the hospital a week earlier for the first time in her long life.

BassChildrenTwo of their children, although adults, had died young.  Their son Vivian Leonard, born in 1901, was just a few weeks short of his thirty-second birthday when he was thrown from his horse while riding the range just east of the Arizona border.  He was killed instantly when his head struck a rock (December 11, 1931).  Their oldest daughter, Clara Edna, had married Len Scott in Eddy County in 1898.  At the time of her death in 1901, she was pregnant with their first child.  She died of smallpox.

Another son, Daniel Edwin, met an untimely death in 1942 at the age of 64 when he was murdered in Fort Huachuca, Arizona.  He ran a bowling alley and was attacked with a bowling pin, crushing his head.  His body was interred in Cloverdale Cemetery with his parents and Vivian.

Tune in next week for Tales from Cloverdale Cemetery, Part Two with a story about Henry Francisco and Cordelia Augusta (Caldwell) Sanford.

Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!

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© Sharon Hall (History Depot), 2014.
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