Climbing Family Trees: A Heritage of Kindness by Jerry Blaylock

Climbing Family Trees

More great stories, poems, and helpful hints about genealogy and searching for your family's roots from the twin authors of "Climbing Family Trees: Whispers In The Leaves"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Heritage of Kindness by Jerry Blaylock

”A Heritage of Kindness”
Jerry Blaylock
Houston, TX
In the 1880's a member of one of the Kansas Regiments that fought at Backbone Mountain returned to Fort Smith and inserted an item in the Fort Smith Elevator, a weekly paper published in Fort Smith at that time. In the article the [Union] soldier stated his desire to get in touch with a woman and two little girls who, so benevolently, brought him water and attempted to relieve his agony when he lay wounded on the battlefield at Backbone Mountain. There was no response to the old soldier's plea.

Several years later the story was retold by Phebe Park in the "Old Folks and Facts" column of the Fort Smith Times Record. To the surprise of all, Darthula C. Gilliam (who later married Francis Marion Blaylock-my great grandfather) and Mary Heathcock, both more than 80 years old at that time, answered the column and said that they were the two little girls who carried water to the soldier. It was learned that Mrs. Susan McClure was the woman at the well who drew the water. But this time no trace could be found of the Kansas soldier. Evidently the Yankee soldier had already gone to his reward without knowing the identities of the two little southern girls who befriended him when he needed help so desperately those many years ago. Genealogy reveals the family name, but family history reveals the character of those names.

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