Our Young family Bible dates to the 1810s. It includes family records of births and deaths from 1803 to the 1890s. All of the people listed have Young surnames, with one exception. A man named Jarvis Seale is recorded as dying in 1862. There is also a Young recorded as dying that same year. Years ago, I asked my father if he knew who Jarvis might be, and he didn’t; he thought it might be a distant cousin.
As it turns out, Jarvis was a son-in-law of my great-great-grandfather; marrying a sister of my great-grandfather Samuel. He, and one of Samuel’s brothers, were killed in April 1862 during the Battle of Shiloh, one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on American soil. Another of Samuel’s brothers died in Texas during the Civil War, leaving Samuel as the sole surviving son. Samuel had been the youngest in the family, and he enlisted when he was 14 with the Second Mississippi Rifles. He wasn’t actually involved in any fighting; he was a messenger boy.
For some unknown reason, Samuel gave the family Bible to his youngest son, James, my grandfather. And so, it passed to my father, James’s only son, and then to me, the oldest Young sibling in the family. The Bible needs some serious repair, but those family records speak not only to personal history but also to a significant time in American history.
This past week marked the anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh. Kevin Pawlak at Emerging Civil War writes about a veteran / historian who actually interviewed veterans. Kristine Pawlak tells the story of a particular brigade, and what happened to it on the first day of the battle.
This past week was also the anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox, ending the Civil War. Or did it? Meg Groeling at Emerging Civil War tells the story of the “seven surrenders.”
And Dr. Eleanor Janega at Going Medieval reminds us that not every pandemic is the Black Death (Hat tip: Paul Brookes).
More Good Reads
‘Utter desolation': A visit to Lee-Grant 'Surrender House' in 1915 – John Banks Civil War Blog.
Five Poems (and Readings) – Dana Gioia at A New Decameron.
Chinese Mountain Man IV: The Mountain Wood – David Gosselin at The Chained Muse.
Sheltering in place – Troy Cady at T(r)oy Marbles.
The story behind the Seamus Heaney quote guiding people through the Covid-19 crisis – The Journal.ie.
“Siren voices lost at dawn”: Nancy Cunard, T.S. Eliot, and the Place of the Artist – Florian Gargaillo at Literary Matters.
An Update on the Church in London – Paul Levy at Tabletalk.
The Lord’s Prayer in a Crisis – Jared Wilson at For the Church.
Writing and Literature
Hearts and Stomachs: Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle – Scott McLemee at The Wilson Quarterly.
Rise of the Scops: Wonder After the Pandemic - Jeremiah Webster at Mere Orthodoxy.
Life and Culture
Walking and Walking Aware – Christine Norvell at The Imaginative Conservative.
COVID-19: Crisis and Opportunity – Mark Mitchell at Front Porch Republic.
Do We Really Want to Go Back to Normal? – Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition.
How Did England Get Its Bizarro Street Names? – Deidre Mask at Literary Hub.
History of the Bible, Animated – National Geographic
Painting: Woman Reading, oil on canvas (1890) by Jacques-Emile Blanche.