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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saturday Signing at Cold Water Books

I am very much looking forward to being at Cold Water Books in Tuscumbia, Saturday, June 25.
I'll be signing my book between noon and 3 p.m. and expect to meet many nice people during the Helen Keller Festival.

Helen is featured on pages 88 & 89 in my book.  Her photo and Ivy Green cottage appear on page 88.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Civil War

The "Civil War" still captures our interest 150 years afterward. We are only a couple generations removed from this tragedy which deeply affected the South.  David Gregg, a local historian, will present a talk discussing the Civil War in the Shoals on Friday June 24, 3:00 p.m. at Coldwater  Bookstore in Tuscumbia .  The effect of the war can be seen in so many local places. My fellow author Tim Kent has an interesting presentation on the origins of the Confederate flag at his blog at

Page 34 of my  "Signs of the Past" features the Dred Scott marker on Pine Street, Florence. The Supreme Court decision denying Scott his freedom enraged the North and increased North-South tensions.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Capture of John Murrell" marker

On page 12 is the marker describing the "Capture of John Murrell - Natchez Trace Outlaw - 1834".
A friend phoned me and said she remembers a movie made around 1960 which was the story of John Murrell.  She said there is a poster for that movie in the visitor center in Collinwood.  Next time I'm up that way, I'll stop and look for it.  A few days after hearing of the poster, I recounted this story to another friend and she said "I was in that movie!".  It seems that she had won a local contest as a 16 year old, and was dressed up in period clothes and appeared in the movie.  Isn't it a small world.  She said she had looked for years for a copy of that movie with no luck.  The movie  "Natchez Trace"  (1960)  starred Zachary Scott.

Wouldn't it be great to get a copy of that movie!

I've been told the rights were purchased by a French company and the movie is unavailable now in the states. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Signs of the Past" started as hobby

Started as a hobby.  Photographed one historical Marker in Florence, then added several nearby signs.  Since I enjoy photography, I decided to get all the roadside historical markers in my town of Florence.  That was so much fun, my wife and I decided to include all of Lauderdale County. When that was finished we continued into Colbert County.  Early on, I tried to get an accompanying photo to illustrate the subject of each sign.  That's when creativity really kicked in.  For example, what should accompany a Waterloo sign describing the "Trail of Tears"?  I might have used a painting of Native Americans, or a map of the "Trail" , however I decided upon a quote of Alexis de Tocqueville, the French philosopher, who witnessed the Choctaw "removals":

“ In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn't watch without feeling one's heart wrung. The Indians were tranquil, but sombre and taciturn. There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the Chactas were leaving their country.  " To be free ," he answered, could never get any other reason out of him. We ... watch the expulsion ... of one of the most celebrated and ancient American peoples.” 
                                                     - -  Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America

"Signs of the Past" photo