We would rock, he would talk

Published 9:52 am Friday, September 2, 2011

by Jon D. Pyle

Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of local, historic articles written by members of the Urquhart Gillette Camp No. 1471 Sons Of Confederate Veterans in commemoration of the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

My grandfather was born in 1868 in the state of Arkansas.

His father, my great-grandfather, was born in 1844 in the state of Kentucky. He joined the Confederate Cavalry in June 1861 and served in the lst Kentucky and the 13th Kentucky Cavalry regiments CSA.

At some point of his service, he road with Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest in Tennessee.

When my grandfather became older, his father would tell him stores of what he witnessed during the War of Southern Independence. When I became old enough, these stories were passed down to me. I must admit I was only 5 or 6 years old at the time and do not remember all that was told.

As a young boy, I could see and feel my grandfather’s distrust for any thing Northern — not a hatred, but just a dislike. My grandfather would tell me that the Southern people were different from the Northern people.

Our society, our lifestyles, our religions were different. He said we are an agriculture people, not a mercantile or manufacturing people. We are much gentler and enjoy a slower pace of life, and our social interaction is a very important part of Southern tradition.

Our religion is very important to our Southern people. Our political views are more toward the individual and state control over our lives. We believe that our state government understands the needs of its people better than the large bureaucratic government of Lincoln.

We, the Southern people, are like the Tea Party of today, but not so Republican.

My grandfather did not say that last sentence. I put that in to show that politics has not changed much in 150 years; they are still bickering today.

My great-grandfather joined the Confederate service to protect his state from invasion and to protect his family and home from harm. He did not fight in this war to perpetuate slavery. He did not own slaves, nor did his father or his father before him.

I do miss my grandfather. I do remember him sitting in his old rocking chair, rocking on his front porch, and I would crawl onto his lap and look into his all-knowing eyes with his long white beard and would say “Pa, tell me a story.” I was never refused.

And we would rock and he would talk.

JON D. PYLE is commander of Urquhart-Gillette Camp No. 1471 Sons of Confederate Veterans. He can be reached at rebyank@gmail.com.