Panama Man

Aspinwall, Panama was a wild-west town deserving of the same notoriety as Dodge, Kansas; Tombstone, Arizona; and Deadwood in the Dakotas. According to David McCullough in his masterpiece on the building of the canal, “The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal (1870-1914), “the three most thriving industries [in Aspinwall] were gambling houses, brothels, and coffin manufacturing.” Years ago, I found my … Continue reading Panama Man

What Miss Mattie Said To General

Sunday, July 3rd, will mark the 158th anniversary of the fall of Marietta, Georgia, to Union Forces under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. The importance of Marietta and nearby Kennesaw Mountain was that they were the key to control of the Chattahoochee River and to the vital railway leading into Atlanta from the Shenandoah Valley. Thus allowing the union forces to lay siege … Continue reading What Miss Mattie Said To General

On Down the Tallapoosa to the Gulf of Mexico

As I mentioned in an earlier post from about six months ago, I have been working on a complete rewrite of Gathering Leaves (and not just another edition.) My goal is to eliminate repetition, remove superfluous minutia, and strip out all the endnotes (I admit I was in competition with Edward Gibbon for most endnotes ever.) In addition to there being deletions, there are also … Continue reading On Down the Tallapoosa to the Gulf of Mexico

Three Valuable Sawmills for Sale

Here is something interesting that I found regarding a third great-grandfather on my mother’s side. His name was Evan Prothro (1788-1864), a.k.a. Evan the Planter, grandson of Evan the Patriot, and father of my great-great-grandmother, Martha Josephine Prothro. He was a plantation owner and slaveholder who lived in the upcountry in South Carolina near Aiken and across from Augusta on the Georgia side of the … Continue reading Three Valuable Sawmills for Sale

An Old-school Southern Gentleman

On April Fools’ Day 2022, the government made public the records of the United States Census for 1950. That night I made two discoveries. The first one is that it is almost impossible to find a particular household in the U.S. Census for 1950 without the aid of an index. The second one was a letter my step-grandmother wrote shortly after my maternal grandfather’s death … Continue reading An Old-school Southern Gentleman

The Dobbs Lumber Company v. Appling

Here is what I found when recently searching for J.M. Dobbs, Sr. in Google Books. Google has a vast collection of old books scanned and indexed from public and private libraries throughout the country. I had thought that when my great-grandfather took a presidential appointment and left Atlanta, Georgia, for Valparaiso, Chile, in the spring of 1893, he had sold his share of a lumber … Continue reading The Dobbs Lumber Company v. Appling

The Frat Boy, the Flapper, and a Lost Cause

I was searching Google Books for some information on my great-grandfather, James M. Dobbs, Sr., and as I was sifting through items where he was mentioned that I had seen previously, I came across a couple of hits for his son, my maternal grandfather, James Monroe Dobbs, Jr. One discovery was kind of funny: the other, not so much. In two books published a little … Continue reading The Frat Boy, the Flapper, and a Lost Cause

International Man Of Mystery – Part Four

I have solved yet another mystery. For a long time, my working theory has been that my great grandfather, James Monroe Dobbs, was employed by the Panama Railway for several years in the 1880s. I had based my assumption on three things: a relative’s statement over 70 years ago, a newspaper article published in 1893, and two passenger lists that I found from the 1880s. … Continue reading International Man Of Mystery – Part Four