The Impossible is Becoming Possible!
Remember the day when nothing was indexed? No, not the census records nor books written about ancestors. Nothing. One had to examine the census page by page on an antiquated microfilm reader. Later, the readers improved somewhat but it was not until the Scan Pro microfilm readers reached libraries with adequate budgets to purchase them, that we could really see the data. Old newspapers, smeared documents, and bad copies may now be focused into a better read. The county records which were microfilmed during the 1950s are now more visible on the scanpro machines, and this translates into a better read on the computer. Hence, the improving media technology is a big save for genealogy records! Brigham Young University has developed technology which reads fragments and bleed-through of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I have visited court houses where the print was so faded that it was impossible to read. Looks like the impossible is possible and that the future is very bright for the restoration of old records!
Students Should Learn the Study Habits of Genealogists
Young people today would be wise to emulate the study habits of genealogists, those who spend long hours researching the path of their ancestors. The reason is that America's school system has corrupted itself into establishing "populist" views as facts, when they are everything short of truth. From required text book reading and study to the professor who touts his personal views that Thomas Jefferson as immoral and racist to Christopher Columbus whom they claim raped island natives, these suppositions should be independently researched by every student attending a college or university. For example, for centuries, the private journal kept by Christopher Columbus went ignored and untranslated. Written in his own hand, he expressed his belief that God was sending him upon the seas to explore. Further reading, solidifies that this man was very religious! As every genealogist researcher knows, the best truth which one can discover is written by the ancestor or documented in official documents, such as an old wills describing land and property and names of family members and other relatives. One can speculate all they wish that the founding fathers were racists, but until they study actual documents, they will never have the real truth. Because, truth is essential to finding the ancestors. Relatives can say "this and that" about a deceased ancestor, yet the records usually proves otherwise. It happens too often to give remarks much value. When the student studies about wars, he should read original sources, like correspondence between statesmen discussing tactics of the age, such as American State Papers. Every State has archived documents which will lead the researcher to actual facts. What events were in play among local people and what did the correspondence of governors, congressmen, senators and other statesmen reveal? Truth is Real and to be wholly satisfied, one must discover it for themselves. The text books will come and go, opinions and falsehoods will always be the baggage of its times. However, it behooves every American to find answers independent of so-called academia.
A Midnight Duel
"I remember it as though it was yesterday, the march of Hill's corps along the winding Shenandoah, up to the famous Luray gap. Who could ever forget that march? The road winding with the beautiful river, and overhung with a majestic chain of Blue Ridge mountains, while across the crystal water the magnificent valley, with its charming cottages dotting the bounteous land with white-like balls of snow robed in flowers. But the most engaging and lovely objects paled into significance beside the peerless women of this blessed country, and you may well believe that when the camp was struck that the soldiers lost no time in making their way to the surrounding cottages. Soon the music of the violin was heard, and the shuffling feet kept time to the music, while, for a time, the soldier's face was lit with old time joy. At one of those cottages the belle of the valley reigned supreme, while several southern soldiers vied with each other in paying homage to the queen. Among others were two young soldiers, one from Georgia and the other from Mississippi; who were specially energetic in their attentions, and so marked had this become that those present watched the play with constantly increasing interest, fulling believing that both exhibited a case of love at first sight. The surmise on the part of those present was only too true, as the tragic event which followed fully proved.
The Georgian seemed to have the lead on the Mississippian, and when the dancers were called to take their places, he led the belle of the valley to a place in the set. At this point the Mississippian was seen to approach the couple and heard to claim the lady's hand for the dance. An altercation ensued, but both were cool, brave soldiers, two of the best shots in the army, who did not believe in a war of words. So it was ended by the Georgian dancing with the lady and the significant remark of the Mississippian that "I will see you after this set." When the dance was over the Georgian was seen to seek the Mississippian, and together they called each a friend from the crowd and departed. When outside, both claimed that an insult had been passed, which could only be wiped out in the blood of the other, and that a duel to the death should be arranged at once.
A full moon was just appearing above the tops of the surrounding forest, and I tell you this talk of blood in the silence of the night was anything but pleasant. No argument, however, would avail with these men, so it was arranged that the duel should take place at the top of the Blue Ridge, near the center of the road that passes through the gap; that the weapons should be pistols at fifteen paces, and to fire at or between the words one, two, three, firing to continue until one or both were dead.
The point was reached, the ground measured off, and the men took their positions without a tremor. The moon shed its pale light down on a scene never to be forgotten. A moment or two and the\ silence was broken by the signal: one, two three. At the word one the report of two pistols rang out on the midnight air, but the principals maintained their respective positions. The left arm of the Georgian was seen to drop closer to the side, but the Mississippian was immovable, and still held his pistol to the front. Again, a pistol shot was heard, coming from the Georgian, and the Mississippian still held his position, but he did not fire. The Georgian protested that he had not come there to murder him, but no answered was returned. The Mississippians second approached his principal and found him dead, shot through the eye on the first discharge of the weapons. Death it seems has been instantaneous so much so as not even to disturb his equilibrium.
I may forget some things, but the midnight duel on the top of a spur of the Blue Ridge, with its attendant circumstances, is not one of them." Source: Written by an anonymous Confederate veteran. Published in The Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, 26 January 1885.
There is a Road to the Past