Enjoyed signing books in Purdy, Tenn.

I had a great time visiting in Purdy and talking about my books, “Echoes and Footprints” and “Soldiers, Saints & Sinners.” And I always have my older books with me as well — six books now and counting. I’m working on my novel now. Thanks for the invitation. Anytime I can talk about West Tennessee history is a good day!

Telling tales at Parkers Crossroads

When I spoke at the Parkers Crossroads Kennerly-Cupples Lectureship in spring, I was a fortunate author — we had a great crowd, and I enjoyed talking with folks afterwards. I was signing my book, “Soldiers, Saints & Sinners.” My new book will be out in October 2017, “Echoes and Footprints.”

Last year when I went to speak, the skies opened with pouring rain, and it was perfect weather for ducks, not so much for people! But this year, the weather cooperated.

It makes you remember those soldiers who fought in the Civil War and had to endure whatever Mother Nature tossed at them, plus gunfire and cannon fire! Imagine walking through pouring rain in a wool uniform and getting soaking wet. Imagine the cold snow in winter leaking through holes in their boots!

As a retired Army captain, I’ve always been interested in how soldiers of other times survived and endured. That has certainly had an effect on my chosen topics.

But it’s the characters of those times who made history and whose actions may have changed the paths we walk today! I think of Roscoe Turner who flew with his pet lion; of the Holy Cheat, a con man from England whose mellifluous voice enthralled the women of his church congregation — he ended up in prison. And what about John Burton Tigrett, entrepreneur, and Steve Fossett, pioneering pilot who flew around the world, or the Music Men . . . Carl Perkins, Eddy Arnold and Sonny Boy Williamson. So many stories to tell and so little time, which rushes on so we cannot step into its river of events more than once and live them. But I’ll ford the river in words and share the tales.HAParkers3HAParkers1

To find out more about Parkers Crossroads Battlefield, you can email pcvc@att.net. If you’ve always wanted to tour the battlefield, go out I-40 East and turn onto Hwy. 22 at Exit 108. Take a left onto Federal Lane.

I promise if you love history, you’ll find this a welcome excursion through time!

Speaking at Trenton’s Fred Culp Museum

If you haven’t visited the new Fred Culp Museum in Trenton City Hall, you’re missing an interesting foray into history! I enjoyed my visit there, speaking and signing books! Always nice to see old friends and make new ones while I share stories. I’m finishing my latest, “Echoes and Footprints” now and plan on signing books starting in October 2017.

Fred Culp, 90, is the former Gibson County historian who has always been a storehouse of information. Mr. Culp taught history for nearly 40 yearsHATrenton1.

The museum houses a portion of Culp’s vast amount of memorabilia as well as other local historical, literature, photographs, artifacts, and relics. I enjoyed studying some of the collection, and I will certainly return on another visit and spend more time.

The museum is located in the Trenton City Hall at 309 College Street and is open during normal business hours.

Parkers Crossroads Lectureship April 15

During the battles of the Civil War, soldiers, saints and sinners faced each other through volleys of minie balls and cannon fire. So it’s perfect that I’m going to speak about my book titled “Soldiers, Saints & Sinners” at 10 a.m. April 15 at the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield Association’s Lectureship. I’ll also talk a bit about my new book coming out in Fall 2017, “Echoes and Footprints.” Come join us!

http://www.parkerscrossroads.org/

 

Stories exist around every bend

harbert-ames2-2016I love storytelling about West Tennessee history. You’ll find me just about anywhere enjoying myself as I speak to church groups, at Parkers Crossroads and at Ames Plantation. If you have a group that is interested in having me share tales of our history, just let me know. Message me on Facebook or email me here!

I’m hard at work on my next book: “Echoes & Footprints” coming out in 2017. There is always another story around the bend in the road. I can’t seem to stop writing — not that I’d want to anyway. No telling what I’ll find next that is an intriguing piece of history to share with you.harbert-ames1-2016

Stories are everywhere, if we only listen

Meeting and talking with folks is something I really enjoy, and sharing stories from my books goes right along with that. Recently, I spoke to the federal retired employees group and to several other retiree groups, as well as civic organizations.Without fail, someone will tell me a story about Tennessee history that I didn’t know. I’ve always said the stories are there waiting for us to find if we only listen!

When I researched Lucy Petway Holcombe of La Grange, Tennessee, born in June 1832, I found it fascinating that she married Francis Wilkinson Pickens, 27 years older than she was and twice-widowed, when he became Minister to Russia. With her knowledge of French and Russian, she became a court favorite in St. Petersburg of Czar Alexander II and Czarina Maria. In August 1860 Francis Pickens was elected governor of South Carolina, three days before South Carolina seceded from the Union. Lucy_Pickens1

Considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in the Confederacy, Lucy Pickens’ image was placed on three issues of the Confederate $100 bill and on one issue of the $1 bill. She was the only woman whose likeness was ever placed on Confederate currency.

Gov. Pickens died at age 63, but Mrs. Pickens spent the next 30 years managing the family plantations in Edgefield, S.C. It’s rumored some of the jewels she was given in Russia kept the plantations going. Her granddaughters inherited the Edgewood house, but it fell into disrepair.

In 1929, Eulalie Chafee Salley, a prominent Aiken businesswoman and leader of the women’s rights movement. purchased the plantation house, which was in serious disrepair, and moved it to Aiken, S.C. where it was beautifully restored. In 1990, the house was moved to the University of South Carolina campus. You can find photos here: http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/a…/S10817702016/index.htm

Storytelling: That’s what I enjoy

Recently I spoke to Friends of the Library at the Jackson-Madison County Library and loved that they enjoyed the tales — and of course, that every seat was full. We all love great audiences.

The Holy Cheat

The Holy Cheat

I shared a story of “The Holy Cheat,” about a handsome British con man named George Frederick Burgoyne Howard who passed himself off as a Baptist preacher in Jackson, Tennessee until he got caught. He loved the women and found himself in trouble on that account as well.

When I found that Roscoe Turner, the famous aviator, was from Corinth, Mississippi, or as we say, “just down the road,” I stretched a bit to include his story. But who wouldn’t want to know about a pilot who flew across America with his pet lion cub Gilmore in the back seat! Outfitted with his own parachute, of course, because the Humane Society demanded that.

When I told the story of the influenza epidemic that ravaged our world in 1918, I added something I had been told only recently. A local acquaintance shared with me that she remembered her mother closing the curtains so her daughter wouldn’t see the many funeral processions on the street. It was a devastating time in America with so many killed in the war and then the flu killing so many more.

But then I was able to tell my favorite story about Christmas 1945 when our soldiers came home, and it was Christmas again.

Soon I’ll begin work on an audiobook that will share some of my favorite tales from all of my previous books, Tales of Madison, Old Tales and Trails of Tennessee, and Autumn Memories, and my new book, “Soldiers, Saints & Sinners: Stories of Long Ago.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress so check back when you can!