Tag Archives: Civil War

History on Every Street in Jefferson, Texas

The Jefferson, Texas, General Store beckons travelers, tourists and residents with refreshments, clothing and all sorts of other enticements.

Whenever I visit my sister in Tyler, Texas, we go on tours of the many historic towns in her corner of Texas, called the Piney Woods.  On my recent visit, my sister took us (my mother and niece, too) to Jefferson, in the northeast corner of the state.

We happened to go when the city was preparing for its annual re-enactment of the Battle for Jefferson, a Civil War battle.  The re-enactment is reported to be the largest in Texas.  We didn’t see this re-enactment, but we saw many of its participants in town before it began.  You can check out the links below to find out more about this fascinating town, where there is an historic plaque or marker on almost every public building and on many residences. Shortly after the Civil War, which ended in 1865, Jefferson was the six largest town in Texas. Now, although it’s a small town, it retains its historic grandeur. The town, which is in Marion County, was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.

Click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the post to see full-size versions of the collages.

Jefferson General Store

In the upper left, a cat leaves empty pawed from the Jefferson General Store, Jefferson, Texas. Shoppers in Civil War era clothing examine the goods in the general store.

Re-enactors in Jefferson, Texas

Re-enactors in Jefferson, Texas, for the Battle for Jefferson, a U.S. Civil war re-enactment, which takes place the first weekend in May. Some of the many historical buildings are visible in this collage: The Old Post Office, the Marion County Courthouse, Excelsior House hotel; and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

Civil War re-enactors

Participants in the U.S. Civil War re-enactment of the Battle for Jefferson relax and shop in Jefferson, Texas.

History is on Every Corner in Jefferson, Texas

History is on every corner and every street in Jefferson Texas. From the upper left is the Old Post Office, now the historical society; The Excelsior House hotel; The Jefferson Carnegie Library, still operating as a library; and the Sterne Fountain.

Jefferson, Texas.

History on every corner, including old gasoline stations turned into antique stores, markers dedicated to residents who got famous and even old clawfoot bathtubs featured at an antique store.

Jefferson, Texas

Jefferson, Texas, offers tourists a variety of destinations to explore, including the Museum of Measurement and Time and the Jay Gould Railroad Car.

About Jefferson, Texas.

Visit Jefferson, Texas.

Jefferson Carnegie Library.

About the Battle for Jefferson.

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Let Us Remember

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and his family spent summers in a cottage near the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, in Washington, D.C. Although the cottage and grounds were a refuge from the heat of downtown three miles south, the nearby cemetery was a constant reminder of the daily carnage of the war. The cemetery, next to the Armed Forces Retirement Home, is one of only two national cemeteries administered by the Department of the Army, the other being Arlington National Cemetery. The national cemetery is adjacent to the historic Rock Creek Cemetery and to the Soldiers’ Home.

On this Memorial Day weekend in the United States, as we enjoy three days usually spent in some pleasant activity with family and friends, I wanted to spend a few moments thinking about the reason for the holiday.  Holiday seems too festive of a term for a day dedicated to remembering men and women who died in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces, but holiday does come from the word Holy Day. A sacred day.  A day for contemplation.

People around the world have been honoring their dead lost to conflict and war since the beginning of human time.  We can discuss the rightness, the justness or the causes of any war and come to a number of conclusions, but today I just want to think about the incredible sadness of the loss of so many lives and the gratitude I feel to those who died.

Memorial Day in the United States was established after the Civil War to honor fallen Union soldiers, but now covers all service men and women.  At least a million people died during the U.S. Civil War, including at least 600,000 soldiers.  Some have estimated the death toll of soldiers as high as 850,ooo. Memorial Day evolved from Decoration Day, which began during the Civil War among freed slaves and other black American families as a celebration of both black and white Union soldiers who fought for liberation and justice

One who particular bore a heavy load during war was Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, President Lincoln and his family spent part of each year (June – November 1862-64) living in a cottage at the Soldiers’ Home in Washington, DC., near the recently established National Cemetery. The Lincoln Cottage, as it is known now, was a refuge from the oppressive summer heat and clamor of the federal area and downtown three miles south, but the daily burials in the cemetery were a constant reminder of the war’s terrible carnage. President Lincoln would often roam in the cemetery at night in torment over the deaths and the burden of the war. So many died in the Civil War that the six-acre cemetery at the Soldiers’ Home was soon filled.  A much larger new military cemetery was needed, so Arlington National Cemetery was created.  Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs appropriated the land on June 15, 1864 for Arlington National Cemetery from the family of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Arlington, Virginia. Lee’s wife Mary Anna Randolph Custis was a descendant of Martha Washington.

The Soldiers’ Home was founded in 1851 as a home for retired and disabled veterans of American wars.   Soon after the start of the Civil War, a cemetery was created on its grounds, now called the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.

The National Cemetery’s website states: “Just days after the Battle of Bull Run, the Commissioners of the United States Military Asylum offered six acres of land at the north end of the Home’s grounds as a burial ground for soldiers and officers.  This offer was accepted in late July 1861, and the first burials were made shortly thereafter on August 3.

From 1861 to 1864, the cemetery accepted thousands of soldiers’ remains from 17 of the 25 Union states, quickly filling the six-acre cemetery’s capacity.  An 1874 report on the condition of the cemetery noted more than 5,600 interments, including 278 unknown, 125 Confederate prisoners of war, and 117 civilian relatives of the deceased and employees of the Home.  In 1883, more than nine additional acres were added to the grounds, bringing the cemetery’s total size to nearly sixteen acres.  In 1900, all of the Confederate remains were reinterred in Section 16 of Arlington National Cemetery.”

The Washington D.C. area is home to many memorials and monuments.

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, the guard is changed every hour on the hour October 1 to March 31 in an elaborate ritual. From April 1 through September 30, another changing of the guard is added on the half hour and the cemetery closing time moves from 5 to 7 p.m.

Four memorials in the Washington, D.C., area: Upper left is part of the World War II Memorial; Upper right is a section of the Korean War Veterans Memorial; Lower right is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the lower left is the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

About Memorial Day

About President Lincoln’s Cottage at The Soldiers’ Home

About the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery Washington, D.C.

About Arlington National Cemetery

About the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

About Vietnam Women’s Memorial

About the World War II Memorial

About the Korean War Veterans Memorial

History of the Arlington National Cemetery property.

My Blog Post “In Search of Abraham Lincoln”

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Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

This is not how the University of Kansas’ final trip to Columbia, Missouri, was supposed to end, with the No. 4 University of Missouri Tigers men’s basketball team beating the No. 8 KU Jayhawks 74-71 down to the end buzzer game. Mizzou, as the MU Tigers call themselves, is leaving the Big Twelve. The whole league is busting up. Colorado and Nebraska have left, too. Traitors!

To console myself, I listen to the Rock Chalk chant, which Teddy Roosevelt called the greatest college chant he ever heard. Bully for you, Teddy!

The KU-MU rivalry is a special one. It dates back to the violent Border Wars of the Civil War between anti-slavery and pro-slavery groups that shook towns in the Kansas Territory and the western frontier towns of Missouri during the 1850s. Some in Missouri, then a slave state, wanted to influence whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free or slave state in an era called “Bleeding Kansas.” In 1861, the opening year of the war, Kansas forces plundered and burned six Missouri towns and large areas of the western Missouri country side. Missourians (known as bushwackers) under William Quantrill then led a retaliatory raid on Lawrence, Kansas two years later in which Lawrence was burned and 200 people murdered. Lawrence is the home of the University of Kansas.

KU leads the match-up at 171-95. The teams meet again in Lawrence on Feb. 25, 2012. KU is The Basketball School, so they must prevail. The Jayhawks men’s basketball program is one of the most successful and prestigious programs in the history of college basketball. The Jayhawks’ first coach was the inventor of the game, James Naismith. About the KU Jayhawk's Men's Basketball team.
To read more about this college rivaltry as well as the violence between the states during the Civil War, click on the link.
Border War (Kansas–Missouri rivalry)

And then there were nine: NCAA Big Twelve Conference.

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