Showing posts with label Michael Grissom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Grissom. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thunderbolt: The Mystery of John Hunt Morgan

John Hunt Morgan

       Did Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan die in the War Between the States? Believe it or not, there are those that believe he escaped death in Kentucky and lived under an alias the rest of his life. So what is the story of the death of General Morgan?

Williams House in Greeneville, Kentucky

       On September 4, 1864, General Morgan spent the night in the widow Catherine Williams home in Greeneville, Tennessee. She was a distant relative of his wife Martha Ready. He spread his troops too thin to guard the approaches into town and only had his staff with him at the home. Because it was raining, he allowed his headquarters guard stay inside the house. All of this would cost him his life. A teenager named Jimmy Leady rode sixteen miles to the camp of Federal General Alvan Gillem and informed him where Morgan was staying the night. 
       The next night, Gillem's forces surprised Morgan and two companies began to surround the house in an attempt to capture him. General Morgan sprang from bed, pulled on a pair of Federal cavalry pants and some slippers. He was wearing a white muslin shirt. He grabbed his belt and holsters and raced downstairs. With a Colt revolver in each hand, he told Mrs. Williams  goodbye and stated, "The Yankee's will never take me a prisoner again."

Morgan was asleep in this bed just moments before his death

       Morgan and some of his staff raced through the garden and hid beneath Saint James Episcopal Church. He handed one of his pistols to Captain James Rogers of his staff and asked him to assist him in making their escape. Rogers informed Morgan that it was useless as they were surrounded. Morgan replied, "We must do it if possible." 
       When the Federals broke the door open and began to search the church, Morgan and his staff ran into Mrs. Williams vineyard and hid. Morgan's troops attempted to rescue him several times but were driven back by the Federals. Mrs. David Fry spotted Morgan in the vineyard and  informed the Federals of his location. Federal soldiers arrived on the scene and Morgan was soon surrounded. 
      "Don't shoot; I surrender!" Morgan yelled. The Federals began to scream, "Kill him! Kill him!" General Morgan threw up his hands and screamed, "Oh my God!" The Federal soldiers then opened fire. A bullet struck him in the back and passed through his heart. Death was instant. The man credited with killing Morgan was Private Andrew Campbell of the 13th Tennessee Union Cavalry. He then shouted, "I have killed the damned horse thief."
       Campbell took the body to the edge of town and threw it into a ditch full of water. The local Unionist soon arrived and began to dance around the body. They soon stripped Morgan's body down to his underwear. When members of Morgan's staff asked General Gillem not to treat Morgan's remains like that of a dog, Gillem replied, "Aye Sir, and it shall lie there and rot like a dog!"
       Later, Captain Rogers and another staff officer were allowed to retrieve the body and carry it back to Mrs. Williams house. They had to have a Federal cavalry escort because the mob dancing around the body refused to let them have the body. His body was embalmed and they found one bullet wound. His face had been scratched from the mistreatment by the Federals and the mob. 

Michael Grissom's book

       I was reading about Morgan's death not long ago when I remembered a story I'd read in the book Southern By The Grace Of God by Michael Andrew Grissom. I'd read this book in the early nineties, but still remember this particular story because it made such an impression on  my mind. 
       While in Oklahoma, Mr. Grissom was attempting to organize a local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp. One fellow claimed to be a direct descendant of General John Hunt Morgan. The story goes that on the morning when Morgan was surprised there was much confusion. It is true there was quite a bit of confusion that foggy damp morning. Morgan was supposed to have swapped coats with a staff officer that morning. Although hit in the side, Morgan managed to escape, but his staff officer was killed. He eventually made his way north to Illinois to find a lady named Maggie Critzer who he'd met before the war. 
       Reaching Maggie, he changed his name to John Hunt Cole, married the lady and together they lived with her family. Several men recognized Cole as John Hunt Morgan and a fight was started. Morgan killed two of the men. Having been discovered alive, he took Maggie and fled to Kansas. They later moved to Missouri where Maggie died in 1879. Cole then married Carolyn Reardion. Cole began to practice medicine and it was noted what an excellent shot he was with a pistol. 
       In 1892, Cole moved into Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) and a visitor would often arrive after dark. The man would visit Cole until just before daylight when he would again leave town. According to Cole's descendant's, this man was General Morgan's brother. In 1899, Cole came down with pneumonia and believing he was about to die, he told his son John Morgan Cole and his wife Carolyn who he really was. When his son asked him why he hadn't admitted this before since there was no longer any danger of him being sent to prison, Cole replied that he was still legally married to Mattie Ready of Tennessee and it would also bring dishonor to his family. 
       The story is rather long and adds a lot of evidence to suggest that John Hunt Cole was really John Hunt Morgan. One coincidence is the tombstone of Cole. His birth date is the same as John Hunt Morgan's, only the death dates are different of course. 

Tombstone of John Hunt Cole

       Also, there is a photograph of John Hunt Cole as an older gentleman. Many people say the two men look alike. Of course, claiming to be someone famous back in those days was quite common. There were numerous men who claimed to have been John Wilkes Booth and there's even a mummy of one of these men in a private collector's possession today. Brushy Bill Roberts swore that he was actually Billy the Kidd. There were rumors that Jesse James was not shot by Robert Ford, but escaped, remarried and had children long after he was supposedly dead. There are actually people today that claim to be descendants of John Wilkes Booth, but the son or daughter of Booth was born long after the war and his death. The Cole/Morgan story does have some convincing arguments. 

Are these the same men?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 and Ignorance

Selma City Council: No More Monuments to KKK Hate!

A misleading photograph on a false petition

       I'm a member of and have signed many petitions for people who have been wronged.  The problem I have is when someone starts a petition without taking the time or trouble to read a book or research their facts.  According to the petition begun by Malika Fortier, the city of Selma, Alabama is putting up a monument to Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest.  She is opposed to the monument because it would promote hate against black people. She wants people to sign her petition because Forrest was allegedly the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.  Let's review what we know about Forrest and the original KKK.  

Malika Fortier

       There were huge differences between the KKK of the 1870's and the KKK founded in 1915.  The Klan of the 1900's were violent and a racist organization.  The Klan just after the Civil War was an attempt by ex-Confederates to regain the right to vote and run for office.  It might surprise Mrs. Fortier to know that General Forrest actually supported the "Jubilee of Pole Bearers" which was the fore runner of the NAACP.  They actually asked General Forrest to make a speech before their group in post war Memphis, Tn.  After his speech, he received a standing ovation.  Now Mrs. Fortier is going against her own people to protest the very man they applauded.  It's just too bad that Mrs. Fortier hasn't the energy to pick up a good book and learn for herself.  

       Historian Michael Grissom stated that the present day Klan cannot be confused with the original Klan which was organized to stop Carpet Bagger tyranny.  As an example of why the original Klan was formed we need to look at Reconstruction.  

A typical reconstruction legislature

       John Patterson of Pennsylvania moved to South Carolina following the war.  In 1872 he stated that he believed there remained another five good years of stealing left in the state.  People like Patterson are responsible for the origination of the KKK.  At the time there were 155 state legislators in South Carolina's Congress.  Of those 155, 98 were freed slaves.  Of those 98 freed slaves, only 22 could read or write.  This legislature set up by Northern thieves voted themselves gold watches, horses, carriages, champagne and all sorts of ridiculous items.  After four years of devastating war the state deficit was 7 million dollars.  After one year of this legislative rule the state deficit exceeded 29 million dollars.  It would take until after World War II for the state of South Carolina to pay off this debt.  With the shape the country is in financially today, you would think someone like Mrs. Fortier would understand what the orginial KKK was attempting to do. 

       Patrick Cleburne said that if the South loses the war, our children will be taught from Northern textbooks.  He was correct in this statement, because people like Mrs. Fortier are not intelligent enough to pick up a book and learn for herself.  

       A great book for her to read would be Forrest’s Redemption. Of course reading takes quite a bit of energy and brain power, so I don’t expect things to change anytime soon. The movie Idiocracy may be a true picture of this country’s future and quite possibly the world. I remember my old political science professor teaching us to think for ourselves, grab a book or a newspaper. He called the majority of the citizens of this nation a bunch of skillet heads. He said, everyone is too lazy to think for themselves. They allow others to do their thinking for them. How accurate he was.