I think that over the years, we have all become used to men going off to war, and leaving their families safely at home, while they fight for the freedom and safety of people all over the world who are unknown to them. It’s a common part of war, and one that most of the time, the average person doesn’t even think about. It’s war after all, sacrifices have to be made. What we don’t always think about…until someone points out the obvious to us…is the families, and especially the children who are waiting for their parent to come home.
For any of us who have been away from family for an extended period of time, it’s easy to understand just how badly you can miss someone you love, but war is different. When your child moves away, you miss them, but you know you can go see them soon. When you loved one goes off to war in a country where the fighting is heavy, and bombs are dropping everywhere…not only can you not go visit them whenever you want to, but you live with the knowledge that at any moment, they could be killed in action. And they are living with that knowledge too. It makes the time and distance seem much longer and much further than it really is.
While we might be able to fathom the pain of missing a family member, I think we find it even harder to grasp the complete and utter shocked sense of relief that these family members feel when they are reunited with their loved one again. The children are especially heart wrenching…or is it heart warming. It doesn’t really matter which it is, because no one watching it does so without tears. It’s just impossible. When a German World War II prisoner, was released by the Soviet Union, and is reunited with his daughter, she cannot control her emotions. She had not seen her father since she was one year old, and she is about 5 years old. A mom who spent 7 months in Iraq, cannot contain herself when she sees her daughter again. An officer’s son breaks down because he wasn’t sure he would ever see his daddy again. These are the moments most of us never got to see, but now with the internet,we have the chance to look into the lives of those who serve our nation, fight our battles, and protect our world. It is in those moments that we realize what really happens when those who serve are reunited with their loved ones again.
When we think of the Old West, the Pioneer movement, the Gold Rush, and generally, the settling of the United States, our minds immediately go to the brave men who fought the Indians, ran the wagon trains, weathered the harsh winters looking for their fortunes, and fought in the wars to make this a free nation, but seldom do we think of the anonymous heroes of that time…the women. There is a saying, “Behind every great man there’s a great woman.” that saying is one reference to the many women who have set aside their own comforts to support their man in the goals and dreams he has. In many ways that saying is the picture of the Pioneer woman, but it actually leaves something out. Just because her man did not become famous, doesn’t mean that the woman was any less behind him, supporting him in all he did.
Pioneer women were there, on the home front, working hard all day trying to keep their house clean in a rugged windswept frontier. Her floors were often made of dirt, and yet she swept them. The water came from a well, or a nearby creek, and she had to haul it into the house, because her man was off hunting to bring in food for the family. The house was crudely constructed with logs and often had a sod roof, and she was right there working like a man beside her husband to get that house built. She watched over the children, and kept them safe from the many perils that were a daily encounter. From snakes, to bears, to mountain lions, to Indians, she did what she needed to, even to the point of handling a gun as well as her husband did. And yet, history looked at her as the weaker part of the partnership, the one who needed to be sheltered and protected. History looked at her as if she could not even bear to hear about certain things, because they might be too upsetting to her. In reality, they had vastly underestimated their women.
When the men got hurt, and the garden needed to be cared for, the women would till the ground…fighting with the tiller behind a horse, and winning the battle. These women took care of the house, the children, the sick or injured husband, and the garden or other crops, all without batting an eye. These women knew all about the hardships of frontier living, and when the going got tough, they didn’t turn and run back east. When the Indians attacked, they stayed and fought with their men. They could not afford to hide in a cellar, their hands were needed to hold a gun. They even faced the Indians alone, when their men were away, becoming excellent negotiators, who were able to make a trade of their wares that, in the end saved their own lives and the lives of their families. They were determined to make this new frontier work, and for the most part, they did it all without making a name for themselves. Sometimes, when we look up ancestors in historic archives, these women are either listed only as Mrs, acknowledging only the husband’s name, or they were listed only as the wife of their husband. Their true identity sometimes remains forever a mystery, and yet, they were heroes…but, they were anonymous heroes. The great men they stood behind, thereby making these men successful, may have been heroes of the frontier, and their name may have been one that every history book told us all about, but their wives, who worked quietly beside them, remained unknown. We knew about the exploits of the men, the towns they founded, the travels they made exploring ever westward, but the women who were there with them, cooking the meals while the men talked, cleaning up afterward alone, delivering their babies often with only the help of their husband, carrying a baby, while weeding a garden, and feeding their family before themselves, going hungry, if necessary, to make sure the family was taken care of…these women rarely made the history books. Their job must have seemed to mundane to be considered adventurous, but without their contribution, this nation would not have become the great Republic that it is.
People love to fight…be it in a war, debate, argument, or feud. It’s not so much a matter of loving to fight really, as it is an inability to get along, due to very differing opinions and ideas. One of the best known of all the feuds in Texas was the Lee-Peacock Feud. This feud took place in northeast Texas following the Civil War. It was a continuation of the war that would last for four bloody years after the rest of the nation had laid down their arms.The feud was fought in the Corners region of northeast Texas, where Grayson, Fannin, Hunt, and Collin Counties converged in an area known as the “Wildcat Thicket.” This thicket, covering many square miles, was so dense with trees, tall grass, brier brush, and thorn vines, that few people had even ventured into it until the Civil War, when it became a haven for army deserters and outlaws. It was in the northern part of this thicket that Daniel W Lee had built his home and raised his son, Bob Lee, who would become one of the leaders in the feud that was to come.
When the Civil War broke out, Bob Lee, by that time married with three children, quickly joined the Confederate Army, serving with the Ninth Texas Cavalry. Other young men in the area, including the Maddox brothers…John, William, and Francis; their cousin Jim Maddox, and several of the Boren boys, also joined the Ninth. Towards the end of the war, Bob heard that the Union League, an organization that worked for the protection of the blacks and Union sympathizers, had set up its North Texas headquarters at Pilot Grove, just about seven miles away from the Lee family homes.
The head of the Union League was a man named Lewis Peacock, who had arrived in Texas in 1856 and lived just south of Pilot Grove. Federal Troops were sent to Texas to aid in reconstruction efforts. By the time the Confederate soldiers returned to their homes in northeast Texas, the area was already in heavy conflict. Whether they owned slaves or not, most area residents resented the intrusion of Reconstruction ideals and new laws. When Bob Lee returned home, he was seen as a natural leader for the “Civil War” that was still being fought in northeast Texas.
To Peacock, Lee was seen as a threat to his cause and to reconstruction itself. To remove this threat, the Union League conceived of the idea to extort money from Lee. Peacock and his cohorts arrived at Lee’s house one night and “arrested” him, allegedly for crimes that he had committed during the Civil War. Lee would later say that he recognized the men as Lewis Peacock, James Maddox, Bill Smith, Sam Bier, Hardy Dial, Doc Wilson, and Israel Boren. Stating to Lee that he was to be taken into Sherman, they instead stopped in Choctaw Creek bottoms, where they took Lee’s watch, a $20 gold coin, and forced him to sign a promissory note for $2,000. The Lee’s refused to pay the note, bringing suit in Bonham, Texas and winning the case. This was the start of an all-out war, known as the Lee-Peacock Feud.
Both men gathered their friends and sympathizers and from 1867 through June 1869, a second “Civil War” raged in northeast Texas. An estimated 50 men losing their lives. By the summer of 1868, it had become so heated that the Union League requested help from the Federal Government, to which General JJ Reynolds posted a reward of $1,000 for the capture of Bob Lee. In late February, 1867, Lee was in a store in Pilot Grove when he ran across Jim Maddox, one of the men who had kidnapped him. Confronting Maddox, Lee offered Maddox a gun so they could fight. When Lee turned around to walk away, a bullet grazed his ear and head and he fell to the ground unconscious. Lee was taken to Dr William H Pierce, who treated him in his home. A report went to Austin to the Headquarters of the Fifth Military District under command of General John J. Reynolds, and the following entry was made in his ledger: “Murder and Assaults with Intent to Kill”, listed as criminals were James Maddox and John Vaught, listed as injured was Robert Lee. The charge: “Assault with intent to murder.” The result: “Set aside by the Military”. A few days later, on February 24, 1867, while Lee was still, convalescing in Pierce’s home, the doctor was shot to death by Hugh Hudson, a known Peacock man. Lee swore to avenge Pierce’s death and as word spread to both sides of the conflict, neighbors in the thickets of Four Corners began to arm themselves.
Hugh Hudson, the doctor’s killer was later shot at Saltillo, a teamster’s stop on the road to Jefferson. The feud had begun in full force. In 1868, Lige Clark, Billy Dixon, Dow Nance, Dan Sanders, Elijah Clark, and John Baldock were killed and many others wounded. Even Peacock suffered a wound at the hands of Lee’s followers. On August 27, 1868, General J. J. Reynolds issued the $1,000 reward for Bob Lee, dead or alive, an act that attracted bounty hunters from all over the country to the “Four Corners.” Three of these men, union sympathizers from Kansas, converged on the area in the early spring of 1869 to try to capture Lee. Instead, all three were found dead on the road. Bob Lee, in the meantime, had set up a hideout in the “Wildcat Thicket.”
General JJ Reynolds responded by dispatching the Fourth United States Cavalry to search for Lee and attempt to settle the trouble in the area. As they began a search from house to house for Lee, in which several gun battles ensued and several men were killed. In the end, one of Bob Lee’s “supporters,” a man named Henry Boren, betrayed him to the cavalry who shot down Lee on May 24, 1869. Later, Boren was shot down by his own nephew, Bill Boren, who was a Lee supporter and felt that a “traitor” had to be put to death. After he killed his uncle, Bill Boren left the area and began to ride with John Wesley Hardin.
As the Texas authorities had hoped, the killing of Lee began to dissolve the heated dispute, as many men scattered to other parts of the state. Though they were fewer in number, the “war” continued for two years, as more men were killed in both the four-corners region and other parts of the state. It wouldn’t be until Lewis Peacock was shot on June 13, 1871, that the feud finally ended.
In a time when our nation is in such turmoil, I find myself appreciating our veterans even more than I did before. As a proud daughter of a World War II veteran, I always had a feeling of awe when it came to the members of our military. I never thought of a soldier without associating it with a hero, because that is what they are…each and every one of them. It takes the heart of a hero to set aside their own life, time with family, and their safety to protect the rights and lives of others…people they don’t know…who aren’t in their own country.
Soldiers are a special kind of hero. Like our first responders, they run into danger while others are running away, but a soldier does that in countries that aren’t their own. They have no stake in that country, but they know that without their help, the people of that nation are going to continue to live oppressed. The soldier fights for those who cannot fight for themselves. Evil dictators cringe when the soldiers are sent in, because there is a good possibility that the dictator’s days are numbered. War is never an easy journey for the soldier, but he or she knows that they are needed. They know that for every enemy death…a life is saved, and while that may be putting things a little bit simplistically, in a very real sense, it is true. In a war, the enemy must be beaten, in order to win the war, and thereby save the innocent.
Going off to war changes a person, and so does training to go to war. The minute a soldier joins up, there is a possibility of going to war, and the soldier has to face that fact. That’s where the heart of the hero kicks in. Deep down inside, the soldier has knows that what they are doing is important…it matters. Theirs is often a thankless job, and is sometimes treated with great disrespect, but when they are needed, they answer the call, nevertheless. It is our soldiers and their strength, that usually keeps our homeland free from attack. It’s not that we have never had attacks on our soil, but a strong, at the ready military force, makes our enemies think twice about trying to attack us here…and for that, I thank our military men and women. Our nation is very blessed to have our soldiers. To our active duty soldiers and our veterans of all wars, Happy Veterans Day!!
Duels weren’t always fought with guns, in fact most fights in the Old West weren’t really fought by duel or shootout. Most were actually drunken brawls that ended in a gunfire, but some fights, duels or brawls were fought with knives, and among the most famous knife fighters was a man named Jim Bowie. Many people think that he invented the Bowie knife, but in reality, the Bowie knife was invented by Jim’s equally belligerent brother Rezin Bowie. Resin came up with the design after nearly being killed in a vicious knife fight. Nevertheless, on September 19, 1827, it was Jim Bowie who made the knife famous when he killed a banker in Alexandria, Louisiana, using an early version of the Bowie knife. The Bowie brothers engaged in more fights than the typical frontiersman of the day, but such violent duels were not uncommon events on the untamed margins of American civilization. I guess some people just liked the bloody challenge more than other people. Personally, I don’t think that I would have the stomach for taking a life in such a manner, but then most of us really don’t want to kill someone at all. The Bowie brothers seemed to thrive on killing and fighting.
As time went on, most frontiersmen preferred knives to guns for fighting. I suppose they decided that they had a better chance against a knife than a gun. The Bowie knife quickly became one of the favorites, probably because it was scary all by itself. Often, when the Bowie knife was pulled out, the opponent had to quickly consider whether or not the fight was really worth the risk. The Bowie knife often discouraged many a would-be robber or attacker. The designs varied somewhat, but the typical Bowie knife sported a 9 to 15 inch blade sharpened only on one side for much of its length, though the curved tip was sharpened to a point on both sides. The double-edged tip made the knife an effective stabbing weapon, while the dull-edge combined with a brass hand guard allowed the user to slide a hand down over the blade as needed. It was the perfect knife for close-quarter fighting, and quickly became the weapon of choice for many westerners before the reliable rapid-fire revolver took its place in the post-Civil War era.
One would think that the Bowie brothers were outlaws, but in reality, they weren’t. They were landowners, and like many people in the Old West, sometimes they had to defend themselves. I suppose that as their fame grew, the need to defend themselves became a more common occurrence. While Rezin Bowie invented the Bowie knife, it was Jim Bowie who ultimately brought the knife its fame. After his first fight, men started going to a blacksmith to ask them to make a knife like Jim Bowie’s knife.
In times of war, and even in times of peace, there is a group of people who stand always at the ready…prepared to go at a moments notice, into battle to defend this country and the freedoms we enjoy. They are not always treated in the way they should be treated. It’s incomprehensible to me that we can ask these men and women to protect us in times of trouble, and then protest them when we don’t like the war they have been asked to fight. Today is Veterans Day. It is a day in which to honor all who served, in all wars, whether they were killed in action, died later, are retired or discharged from service, or are currently serving. So many veterans have served this country over the years. Without our soldiers, we would not be a free nation. In fact, were it not for our soldiers, we would probably still belong to England, or worse.
Our soldiers sacrifice everyday. In a post my nephew, Steve Spethman posted today, was a good explanation of just what a veteran really is, and I liked it. The saying went like this, “What is a veteran? A ‘Veteran’ – whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserved – is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America,’ for an amount of ‘up to, and including his life.’ That is honor. And there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact.” That really says it all. We think about our soldiers going into war, and fighting the enemy. We even think about them losing their lives. We think about their loved ones back home worrying and praying for their safe return every day. We think about the irony and sometimes stupidity of war, and wonder why we can’t all just get along. People protest the wars, screaming at the soldiers because they did their duty and fought the war as they were ordered to do.
We think about and do so many things concerning war, but just how often to we really thing about the honor and integrity of the men and women who actually go into war, or even stand at the ready, just in case we need them. They know that every time they deploy with their unit, that it could easily end up being the last time they see their family, friends, or their country. They put their lives on hold, missing out on their children’s sporting events, school plays, holidays, birthdays, and even their birth, all to go out and put their lives on the line for people they don’t even know. Now, that’s honor!! Happy Veterans Day to all our veterans, and thank you all for your service. This nation and all it’s people owe you a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. We honor you today. God bless you all.
Every soldier who ever signed up had to go through a few moments of fear or worry about where the steps they were taking were going to lead them. Whether they signed up voluntarily, or were drafted, there was always the possibility, or in many cases, the probability that they would soon find themselves fighting and killing men, or boys really, who were the same age or even younger than they were. In early wars, the fighting was hand to hand, and even when guns were invented, they often saw the result of their direct hit on the enemy. They witnessed the fear, so vividly evident on the face of that person who was the enemy, and yet was really no different than they were. Both men were scared. It truly was kill or be killed, because it was war, and the only objective was to win.
Many of my ancestors have been in wars, including most recently, my dad, brothers-in-law, several uncles, nephews, and grandfathers. I have read some of my dad’s letters home from the war, and while he tried to sound positive and unafraid, you could still see, if you read between the lines, that war and a degree of fear simply went together. Still, I can imagine that as each of those men and women are standing in line to get the many vaccinations they had to have, that for a least a moment, they wondered just what they had gotten themselves into. Of course, there was really no way out. It didn’t matter if they enlisted voluntarily or were drafted, they belonged to Uncle Sam either way. They were going into battle, and that’s all there is too it.
Of course, the soldier is trained to be brave and not to show fear, and maybe they truly have to do that. I know that if you show fear to a dog, they pick up on that…so does the enemy too…maybe. All I know is that deep in their hearts, they must feel like they would like to run in the face of enemy fire. Of course, they can’t. They must fight. This is war…this is kill or be killed…this is their duty, and even if it means that they lose their life, they must do their duty. People are depending on them. Not just their platoon members, but their nation, and the people of the nation they are trying to protect from whatever evil people are trying to take them over.
When I think of our soldiers, I have to think of how very brave and courageous they are, because as the saying goes, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” I feel very proud of all those men and women in our family, as well as our friends, who have answered the call to duty, set aside their fears, and gone out to do their duty in the fight against evil. They are a huge part of what makes this country great.
My grand nephew, Matthew is all boy, with a big heart. Over the years, I have watched him change in so many ways. As a really little boy, he loved to play games like super hero or karate expert. It was so cute to see him pretending to be able to fight any one of the adults…even though he would never have really had the heart to fight any of us, because he loved us. Little Matthew really only pretended to fight because his parents and family thought it was cute. He was acting.
When you think about it, all kids do a little bit of acting. They might start out accidently doing something that makes their parents laugh, but once they find out what kinds of things bring laughter to the people they love, they will do it over and over again…just because laughter is contageous, and it’s fun to laugh with their parents. Matthew is no exception to that rule. He loves to laugh and to make others laugh too.
Matthew is a very loving boy. While he is all boy, he reserves a place in his heart for the people he loves the most. His parents, grandparents, and sisters. He might pick on his sisters…unmercifully, as boys often do, but he loves them dearly and would fight anyone who tried to hurt any one of them. As I said, he might pick on them, but it’s just as likely he won’t, because he likes to be kind and helpful too.
Of course, we can’t forget that, like all boys, hanging out with the guys is a top priority, and that is something Matthew really enjoys. Coming from a family where he is the only boy, having guy friends to hang out with is vital for sanity!! Thankfully, Matthew has three male cousins who love to hang out and do the guy things with him. There is nothing a guy likes more than to spend the night with his cousins and just be boys…awww, what a life. Today is Matthew’s 8th birthday, and I can’t believe he is 8 years old already. Happy birthday Matthew!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Being a girl from a family of all girls, the idea of paintball would never have entered my mind. I’m not saying that my sisters and I were real prissy, but we weren’t into pain and getting totally dirty either. We were typical girls, who liked dolls and other girl things, when we were little, and while we liked to go camping, we still didn’t want any of the wild creatures of the forest in our camp unless it was a deer or a bird. Then, when Bob and I had children, we had 2 girls too, so I really never had to have much dealings with the kind of stuff boys are into, other than Bob’s love of mechanics, which didn’t really affect me much, unless he needed help on something.
Then came the sons-in-law and the 3 grandsons…and oh boy, what a shock to my rather girly system!! All of the dirt, cars, rough housing, and most recently paintball fighting, are things that have taken some getting used to. I simply can’t imaging choosing to get hit with paintballs. I have seen the bruises the guys have after one of their “friendly” fights, and while I’m no wimp, I think I’ll have to pass when it comes to letting someone shoot paintballs at me and leave me full of bruises. I’m quite sure that fact will come as quite a disappointment to the guys, as I’m sure they would love to have a crack at that fight.
My grandsons are getting better at their shooting skills, but it will take some doing to beat their dad and uncle, I think, and Kevin usually gets the upper hand. Caalab doesn’t get to fight as much as Chris and Josh, since their dad is the one into paintball, but he has fun when he gets to go along. I’m sure my daughter, Corrie has all but given up on the idea of keeping their clothes clean and paint free. I don’t know how well this stuff washes out, but my guess is that it comes out pretty well, but if not, you just make sure to wear old clothes, right. Yep, dirt, paintballs, bruises, and fun…that’s paintball!!
My sisters and I loved each other dearly, and we still do to this day. We are best friends, and enjoy spending time together. Still, that did not stop the normal sibling rivalry and other forms of fights kids have. Looking back on them now, we can laugh it off, but for me the scars I left on my sisters are still pretty fresh in my memory. I always had long finger nails…or daggers, weapons, knives, or whatever you might call them. I could be pretty dangerous. Not as dangerous, apparently and my sister Caryl was, however. I don’t know how Alena survived such a horrendous attack.
Of course, Caryl and Alena were playing around in this picture, but that wasn’t always the case. With 5 girls in the house, there were bound to be some cat fights, or just plain knock down drag out fights. What I do remember vividly, however, was that when we got too screamy for my mom, she would clear the living room floor, and make us fight it out. Those fights usually ended up with each of us pulling the other’s long hair, refusing to give in, until we were both head down on the floor being held there by the hair. We would usually end up laughing at the silliness of this type of battle, and quickly move back to the whole sisterly love thing. Wise woman, my mom!
We never stopped goofing around with what many people might have thought was fighting, but in reality was play. Scenes like Caryl pretending to choke Alena were not uncommon, because we loved to tease each other, and 5 sisters can come up with a lot of ways to tease…or torture. Yes, there were some fights, but I can honestly say that there were a lot more times where sisterly love prevailed, and that is probably why we have remained such good friends all these years. I love my sisters, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. We have grown and changed trough the years, but our love for each other has not grown dim. My sisters were, are, and always will be my best friends. Sisterly love always wins in the end.