THE UNFOLDING JOURNEY is a new blog written in association with Legacy Genealogy.

This blog is a blend of disciplines that reveal the rich texture of culture and history that surrounded your ancestors' lives, as well as your own. We will take you beyond just the names, dates, and places to give you the "back story" for the reasons your ancestors thought what they thought and did what they did. We invite you to also visit us at the Legacy Genealogy facebook page at http://facebook.com/legacygenealogy

Saturday, September 29, 2012


The American Civil War was largely characterized by the saying “brother against brother.” Both North and South were fighting for what they believed in; and what was once a whole country was now divided. The term was used both symbolically and literally. Family members, friends, neighbors, and former classmates found themselves on opposite sides of the great issues of the day.

Divisions within families and between friends were a regular occurrence along the larger border states of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri where allegiances were strongly divided. Each of these states supplied regiments to both sides. Brother against brother was frequently a literal fact. At the Battle of Front Royal in 1862, the 1st Maryland Infantry of the Confederate Army was commanded by Capt. William Goldsborough. The 1st Maryland Infantry of the Union Army was commanded by Captain Charles Goldsborough, William’s brother. Not only were both regiments from the same place, during the conflict William actually captured his brother Charles.

George Crittenden, a Confederate, and his brother Thomas Crittenden, a Federal, were both Major Generals in their respective armies (the photograph at right is of these brothers). After the war they never resolved their differences. Brothers James Terrill, a Confederate, and William Terrill, a Federal, were both Brigadier Generals and both died in combat. The son of Union General Philip Cooke, John Cooke, was a general in the Confederate Army. And Philip’s son-in-law was Lt. General J.E.B. Stuart, commander of Southern cavalry.

Enlisted brothers Frederick and Henry Hubbard chose different sides too. Both were wounded at the Battle of Bun Run and both ended up in adjacent beds in the same field hospital. Laura Jackson (pictured), the sister of Stonewall Jackson, was devoted to the Union and once said, “I’ll take care of the wounded Federals as fast as my brother Thomas could wound them.”

Even among the nation’s leaders, there was discord. Lincoln’s wife, the former Mary Todd, had close relatives who aligned themselves with the Confederacy; her sisters all married Confederate officers, and four brothers served in the Confederate Army, three died in battle. Beyond blood relatives, most of the higher ranking officers of both sides were either classmates at West Point or served together in the earlier Mexican War. They were on a first name basis and usually knew each other’s families.

Maybe the saddest of all divided family stories follows here. It was part of the memoirs of Union Captain D. P. Conyngham recorded in his book, “The Irish Brigade and Its Campaigns” (pages 237-238). The incident took place during the Battle of Malvern Hill in 1862.

“I had a sergeant Driscoll, a brave man, and one of the best shots in the Brigade. When charging at Malvern Hill, a company was posted in a clump of trees, and kept up a fierce fire on us, and actually charged out on our advance. Their officer seemed to be a daring, reckless boy, and I said to Driscoll, ‘if that officer is not taken down, many of us will fall before we pass that clump.’

‘Leave that to me,’ said Driscoll; so he raised his rifle, and the moment the officer exposed himself again, bang went Driscoll, and over went the officer, his company at once breaking away.

“As we passed the place, I said, “Driscoll, see if that officer is dead - he was a brave fellow.’ I stood looking on. Driscoll turned him over on his back. He opened his eyes for a moment, and faintly murmured ‘Father,’ and closed them forever.

“I will forever recollect the frantic grief of Driscoll; it was harrowing to witness. The man was his son, who had gone South before the war.

“And what became of Driscoll afterwards? Well, we were ordered to charge, and I left him there; but, as we were closing in on the enemy, he rushed up, with his coat off, and, clutching his musket, charged right up at the enemy, calling on the men to follow him. He soon fell, but jumped up again. We knew he was wounded. On he dashed, but he soon rolled over like a top. When we came up he was dead, riddled with bullets.”

If you want to read some letters telling of families divided by the Civil War, Kentucky Educational Television has made several available at this link:

Friday, September 28, 2012


On May 25th, today’s date, in 1876, The HMS Challenger tied up to the dock near Portsmouth, England. She had just returned from 713 days at sea circumnavigating the globe in the world’s first oceanographic expedition. Four years earlier, the Royal Society of London had acquired the use of the ship from the Royal Navy to be used as a research vessel. Little was known about the oceans except what could be seen at a depth of a few meters. Scientists knew almost nothing about the ocean’s depths.

The Challenger’s guns were removed to clear the top deck for scientific and dredging equipment; and laboratories and extra storage were constructed below decks. A crew of 237 plus a large contingent of scientific people sailed from Portsmouth on December 21, 1872. During the next three years, the Challenger logged 68,890 nautical miles. Her crew charted the coastlines of every continent (except Antarctica), catalogued more than 4,000 previously unknown species of marine life, and collected sediment from the sea floor using its 180 miles of line. She took almost 500 deep sea soundings to measure the depth of the oceans. Reports by the expedition filled 50 volumes of academic studies.

The Challenger expedition’s greatest legacy may be the discovery of a deep trench near the Mariana Islands in the south Pacific. The first recording of its depth was made by the ship’s crew. Today this area is called the Mariana Trench and its deepest point is named the “Challenger Deep” after the expedition’s ship. It’s the deepest known point on the Earth’s sea floor at 35,814 feet (almost 7 miles), nearly three times the depth of the Titanic wreck.

Fast forward eighty years to 1960. The U.S. Navy decides to use its deep sea submersible, the bathyscaphe Trieste, to send a manned expedition down to the Challenger Deep. This is the first attempt ever made to reach such a depth. A two-man team consisting of Jacques Piccard, the civilian co-designer of the Trieste, and USN Lieutenant Don Walsh take the spherical vessel below the waves on January 23rd . Their descent takes almost five hours. No pictures were taken as the floating silt on the bottom reduced visibility. Due to concern about a crack in the outer window, caused by temperature changes during the descent, the Navy orders the divers to return to the surface after spending only 20 minutes on the sea floor. In spite of this, it was a technological triumph.

In 1995, the Japanese unmanned robotic deep-sea probe called Kaiko worked its way to the Challenger Deep confirming the depth. In 2009, the U.S. sent the Nereus, a remotely operated unmanned vehicle to the Deep. Unlike the Kaiko, it did not need to be powered or controlled by a cable connected to a surface ship. It was heralded as a new start to ocean exploration.

Over the past five years, an Australian research company, in partnership with the National Geographic Society, has been building a new deep submersible in secret. The craft is named the “Deepsea Challenger.” It is outfitted with scientific equipment plus 180 onboard systems including batteries, thrusters, life support, LED lighting, and 3D cameras. It would be used in the first attempt in 52 years (since the Trieste) to take a human crew to the forbidding Challenger Deep. By the way, that human crew can consist of only a single person - a brave one.

A deep sea dive with lighting and cameras? That suggests only one person - filmmaker James Cameron, creator of “The Abyss” and “Titanic.” And that’s exactly who was designated to pilot the Deepsea Challenger. Cameron is a veteran of many deep submersible dives, routinely descending to the wreck site of the Titanic while making his movie.

The Deepsea Challenger is a tight fit for its pilot, with the occupant sphere only 1.1 meter in diameter. Cameron would be required to keep his knees pulled up and not be able to extend his arms during the entire eight to nine hour journey. The craft is only one tenth the weight of the 1960 Trieste but carries much more scientific equipment and is capable to descending to the Challenger Deep in about two hours. Test dives began in January of this year where it was kept just below the surface for three hours. In February, it was put through three deep water tests, two at 3,300’ and one at a 12,100’ depth (about the same depth as the Titanic). There were some problems with the life support system and power fluctuations. After adjustments, Cameron piloted the vessel to 23,820’ in the New Britain Trench off New Guinea on March 4th and to 26,972’ at the same location several days later. 

On March 26, 2012, James Cameron was bolted into the craft and released to descend to the Challenger Deep. The trip down took 2 hours and 36 minutes. The Deepsea Challenger touched down at a depth of 35,756’. “I landed on a very soft, almost gelatinous flat plain. Once I got my bearings, I drove it for quite a distance . . . and finally worked my way up a slope,” Cameron said. He planned to spend about six hours exploring the bottom but there was a fluid leak in a hydraulic line which obscured visibility and a power loss on the starboard thrusters. He decided to ascend after only 2 hours and 34 minutes. He had his vessel back at the surface in just over an hour.

His accomplishment was extraordinary. James Cameron dived to the deepest place in the ocean; deeper than any other person in history, and he did it all alone.

(A theatrical 3D documentary of the expedition is planned for release later this year or early 2013)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Civil War History of the 57th Indiana (#14 of 52) 

Aftermath of the Battle at Perryville; the pursuit of Gen. Bragg.

“Our division remained near the town of Perryville until morning, and then resumed the march at a safe distance from the enemy. When not more than one mile from the field, we passed some buildings filled with the rebel wounded. We were now in what is known as the “blue-grass” region; and it was unmistakably the finest country we saw in the Sate of Kentucky.
“One of the great precautions of Col. Hines was always to be ready for a surprise, particularly early in the morning; and it proved quite an advantage on the morning of Saturday, October 11th. Suddenly as the coming of a storm, the sound of musketry and cheering was heard in the direction of our picket lines. A heavy force of the enemy’s cavalry had succeeded in surprising our cavalry outposts; and were driving them hastily towards our camp. In an instant Col. Hines was on the line, called his regiment together, and as soon as the arms could be taken from the stacks, we were ready for orders. The rebels could have found no better time for a surprise. Our artillery horses were unharnessed, and the artillerists were either in bed or cooking their breakfasts, as were also nearly all the men of the other regiments. Col. Wagner, on being aroused from his slumbers by the noise of the enemy, could find neither staff officer nor orderly, but seeing the 57th standing in line, he walked down to where we were, and said to our colonel, “Take your regiment out there and keep those fellows back until we can come out.” As we moved off, we could hear him shouting to the other regimental commanders to ‘get their men into line.’

“Our skirmishers had a good position behind a stone fence which crossed the large field in our front, and kept up a constant fire on the enemy. The 57th were now withdrawn behind the brow of the hill to prevent the enemy from discovering our real force; and every man was ordered to commence cheering and yelling, by which it was hoped to distract them, and thus prevent a general rush on our position before the other troops could come to our relief. A portion of Cox’s battery was soon in position, and commenced throwing shell at a body of cavalry that had just emerged from the woods and were charging down our line of pickets. After making a charge, which failed to break our line posted behind the fence, they turned and left the field. But for the timely appearance of our regiment and the battery, to oppose their advance, they would undoubtedly have dashed into our camps. Fortunately, we lost mo man. We returned to the grove where we remained until that night.

“At midnight we were aroused, and ordered to get breakfast and prepare to march as quickly as possible. The column pushed forward briskly, and at 9 o’clock our advance overtook the rear guard of the rebels. Gen. Wood immediately formed his troops in line of battle, and drove the enemy to Stanford, where they commenced firing from a battery posted on a hill beyond the town. Our artillery was now brought into action and soon after, the rebels fled.

“It was a fact that could now no longer be concealed, that Bragg had succeeded in making his escape, and that the main body of his army was well on their way toward the Cumberland Gap. On Wednesday, the 15th, our march continued along the winding road through the hills until midnight. Our division marched for Columbia, Kentucky, where we arrived on Saturday, October 25th, after a march of near one hundred miles in five days, over a rough and broken country. When we reached we were out of rations and a majority of the men were suffering from hunger. Snow fell on the night of our arrival, which found us without our tents or anything to protect us from the storm.

“On the 30th of October, we marched to Glasgow and went into camp with the welcome tidings that the paymaster was in camp, and would soon commence paying off the troops. We received four months wages from Maj. Baber. Large numbers of men now left for home. Desertions first commenced at Louisville, though they were much more frequent after payday than before.

“Almost the entire army was disheartened at the failure of so large a force to accomplish anything under the direction of our commander, Gen. Buell. All our movements plainly demonstrated the fact that instead of pursuing the retreating foe, and forcing him to fight, general engagements had been studiously avoided. Many times during the campaign we were in such close proximity to the foe that we could easily have brought on an engagement; but when we came near them in daylight, we invariably received the order to withdraw to a safe distance, only to follow them at the hour of midnight, when it was known they were gone. Gen. Buell no longer possessed the confidence of his army, and the events of each succeeding day but served to augment the increasing demoralization.”

(Kentucky, October 10 - 30, 1862)

Excerpts taken from “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The Polynesian colonization of the Pacific was one of the most significant achievements in human history. The homogeneous Polynesian people originated in Taiwan over 6,000 years ago. By 1500 B.C.E., they had migrated to Indonesia then eastward to New Zealand, Tonga, Tahiti, Hawaii, and finally to Easter Island, the eastern most outpost of the culture. By the time European explorers entered the Pacific in the 16th Century, almost all of the inhabitable islands had been settled for hundreds of years.

Until the last 20 years, most scientists believed that the Pacific island people had only a small environmental effect on the natural habitats; and that drastic changes were due to the more recent actions of European colonizers. This turns out to be inaccurate. More recent research is showing that the Polynesians had been altering their environments in major ways well before the arrival of the Europeans. Deforestation and forced animal extinction were much more common than originally thought.

With migration Polynesian cultures became more specialized which extended to their relationship with the natural environment. This diversification is seen as related to the extreme distances between islands and the different types of island geologic formation (which allowed different types of vegetation to exist). Each island developed its unique culture in response to the different environments and the resources available.

One of the most studied Pacific cultures was on Easter Island. The island also referred to as Rapa Nui lies 2,000 miles west of Chile and is 1,300 miles from the nearest other Polynesian island. It is best known for the huge stone statues that were carved in a volcanic quarry, dragged about 12 miles to the coast, and then raised vertically onto platforms. Some weigh as much as 80 tons. The Islanders had no machines, pulleys, or draught animals to assist them. Why the statues were built is still largely unknown.

Today, Easter Island is a barren place. Once a tropical forest, there are no native trees remaining. At the time of the Polynesian settlement about 800 C.E., there were at least 43 species of land and sea birds; the largest number known on any Pacific island. The population reached as high as 15,000 people but had declined to 2,000 by the arrival of Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen on Easter Sunday in 1722. He witnessed the islanders toppling over some of their revered statues.  

The Easter Island civilization collapsed 300 years ago due to human environmental damage. There was no other Pacific culture located close enough to interact with the Easter Islanders so their rise and fall was theirs alone. So what caused this ecological and sociological disaster?

When the Polynesian settlers first arrive there, they began to clear the forest for their gardens, canoes, and firewood. They also used tree trunks as rollers to move the giant statues from the quarry to the coast. Agriculture was limited, so they fed on the available birds and on the porpoise and tuna in surrounding waters. Over the generations, the deforestation and reduction of animal stocks had consequences for the people. Without trees they could not transport their statues, so they stopped carving them. They had little firewood for warmth and cooking. With the trees removed, they had no way to stop soil erosion. The absence of wood also meant that they couldn’t build adequate canoes to venture out into the ocean to catch fish.

Ultimately, they turned to the largest animal left to eat on the island - other humans. Cannibalism reached epidemic proportions. The societal structure collapsed. Small groups warred against each other. People moved into caves for protection.

The collapse of the Easter Island civilization was due to both environmental and human factors. The island did have less rainfall than others, cooler temperatures (due to its latitude), and almost no water runoff from higher elevations. But the key factor in initiating the sequence of events that brought down the society was the human action that removed the trees. Once gone they could not be regenerated.

Polynesian groups on other islands did persevere without interruption for 3,600 years without any sign of decline. Many of those were isolated as well (although none as completely as Easter Island). Some avoided deforestation by abandoning the slash and burn method of land clearance. Others focused on cultivating garden plots and relied less on animal consumption, or learned to irrigate their fields. Still others attempted to limit their population growth.

The people on Easter Island, once events spiraled out of control, had no means of leaving the island to escape their fate. They had no way of saving their island paradise. When their society collapsed, no one else in the world took notice and no one else was affected. A paradise was lost.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Edith Bolling was born in Virginia in 1872, the seventh child of eleven. Her claim to fame was that she was a direct descendant of Pocahontas; but she was also related to Thomas Jefferson and Martha Washington. Other than that, her early life was not especially noteworthy. At 23 she married Norman Galt, a jewelry merchant in Washington. He died twelve years later leaving his assets to Edith who travelled around Europe for five years.

In 1914, widow Edith Bolling Galt was having tea with her friend Helen Bones who just happened to be the cousin of Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was in his second year as the President and was, coincidently, a widower himself. After being introduced, Edith and Woodrow began exchanging letters. At first, the letters discussed politics but soon they turned to romance, then to the passionate love they had for each other. Woodrow proposed marriage to Edith three months later. They were married in 1915.

President Wilson was facing re-election the following year and many of his advisors feared that his remarriage, coming only one year after the death of his first wife, would jeopardize his chances. Fortunately it did not, and Edith Wilson continued her role as First Lady. Woodrow conducted most of his work from the private office in the family quarters of the White House. Edith was almost constantly by his side. He gave her access to his private files and shared confidential information with Edith. Even when the President was receiving political leaders in the Oval Office, Edith would be present, listening quietly.

As the pressures of World War I bore down on the President, Edith began to screen his mail and limit his callers. She was given permission to read classified war communications. Edith also designated that on certain days of the week meat, wheat, and gasoline would be restricted to conserve them for the war effort. Critics began to feel that her influence was growing beyond the duties of a First Lady.

After the conclusion of the war, President Wilson helped to propose the League of Nations. U.S. participation required ratification by the Congress and the President had reached a stalemate with them. He went on a cross country campaign, taking his case directly to the people. While travelling Wilson began to suffer symptoms of exhaustion, asthma attacks, and severe headaches. He had to return to Washington.

On the morning of October 2, 1919, Edith found her husband unconscious on the bathroom floor. He had suffered a massive stroke which left his left side paralyzed. Edith Wilson and the President’s doctor decided to insulate him from the public while he recovered. For the next seventeen months, Woodrow Wilson laid in bed hanging onto life. Almost no one in the government, or the country, was even aware of his condition. They were simply told that he was exhausted and needed extensive rest.

Edith Wilson became the sole conduit between the President and his Cabinet, the Congress, and the public. She held arbitrary veto over communication from the outside. She ordered that all memos, correspondence, questions, and requests be submitted to her. Then Edith would present them to the President and return with, allegedly, his verbal instructions or responses written by her and initialed by him. She decided that her husband should not resign, and that Vice President Thomas Marshall would not assume the Presidency, even on a temporary basis.

“I studied every paper sent from different (people) and tried to digest and present in tabloid form the things that had to go to the President. I never made a single decision regarding the disposition of public affairs. The only decision that was mine was what was important and what was not.” In spite of her claims of innocence, she really did assume at least partial control over the Executive branch of the government.

When the Secretary of State conducted Cabinet meetings without the President, Edith considered it an act of disloyalty and pushed for his removal from office. She also passed judgment on the acceptance of diplomatic credentials and was blamed for several diplomatic failures as a result. Even as President Wilson began to partially recover, Edith continued to screen White House visitors and manage his activities. But she did stand by her husband until his death five years later in 1924.

Edith Wilson termed her actions as “stewardship” but others called her the first woman President.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Every culture has crafted myths. The more ancient the civilization, the more myths played a role in the lives of its people. The Greeks and Romans, East Asians and Indians, Native Americans, and the British all had hundreds of myths. Some were about creation, the seasons, discovering fire, the afterlife, and strange beasts. Today, some people believe that, because of our spiritually empty lives, we are living in a new era of myth creation?

At the forefront of this new “mythological resurgence” are the numerous films that present us with new superheroes on quests to fight society’s evils. We have Star Trek, Superman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, the Matrix, the Dark Knight, Avatar, and many others. Now the “Avengers,” with a whole group of mythic characters, has emerged - refueling the idea that a new modern mythology is being created.  

Is modern cinema creating myths for our own time?

In order to evaluate whether contemporary story telling is modern myth building, one has to appreciate the subtle difference between a “myth” and a “parable.” Both are stories and both are created by man. But a myth explains, while a parable instructs.

A MYTH is a story, usually of a vague origin, which tries to explain or rationalize some aspect of the world or a culture. All myths are, at some point, believed to be true by the people in the culture that originated or used the myth as an explanation.  It’s true that some myths might refer to an actual event, but embellishment over time makes it impossible to determine what really happened.

Author Ann Druyan wrote, “For most of the history of our species, we were helpless to understand how nature works. We took every storm, drought, and illness personally. We created myths in an attempt to explain the patterns of nature.”

A PARABLE is another similar, but distinct, type of story. Parables (and allegories) are purposely created stories that illustrate morals and instruct us in the standards of behavior, but were never assumed to be true by anyone.

Some stories are a combination of both myths and parables. The Bible is an example. The Old Testament tends to be more mythic; the New Testament tends to be more parable-oriented. This is not a judgment about truthfulness, but the drawing of a distinction between the purposes of each type of story.
Before getting back to the issue of whether modern cinema is producing new myths, we have to refer to the ideologies of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. Joseph Campbell, a mythological scholar, released a book called “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” in 1949. He proposed the idea that myths from all over the world seemed to be built around the same elementary ideas. Psychiatrist Carl Jung called these elementary ideas “archetypes.” Jung believed that they are innately created in the unconscious human mind and that every person uses the same basic archetypes. Campbell and Jung agreed that even people from different cultures, and who speak different languages, can understand and enjoy the same stories. Campbell took the idea of the archetype and used it to define the structure of myth; any myth, including Egyptian, Greek, Roman, or Japanese. He wrote that all stories are expressions of the same story pattern, which he named the “Hero’s Journey.”
George Lucas used Campbell’s work extensively to unify and focus the narrative of his Star Wars films. The hero’s journey included the call to adventure, leaving of the mundane world, a road with many trials, the temptation away from the true path, and final reconciliation with the father. All of the archetypal characters were there - the mentor, the oracle, the prophecy, and the failed hero.
Lucas said that he studied myth and deliberately attempted to construct one in Star Wars. He said that it was part science fiction, part old movies, and part American values all held together by the standard pattern of the mythic hero’s journey. Star Wars was released during a period of Vietnam and Watergate when the line between good and evil was unclear. In the absence of any shared contemporary myths, George Lucas may have created a satisfactory new mythology for modern society. 

There is no question that Star Wars and other contemporary films used mythic elements: heroes, journeys, conflicts, and reconciliation. But are they new myths? Or even myths at all?

We keep thinking back to our more conservative definition of a myth and a parable. A myth is a story that explains or rationalizes some aspect of a culture. They are, at some point in time, believed to be true by the people in the culture that use the myth as an explanation. A parable, on the other hand, is a story or journey that illustrates morals and standards of behavior, but is never assumed to be true by anyone.

Using these definitions, it appears that most films that use mythic elements are probably closer to being parables. The pioneering spirit of the crew of the Starship Enterprise, the determination of Luke Skywalker to be different than his father, and the revenge of the humans against the machines in “The Matrix” all offer valuable moral principles, but they instruct not explain.

In the end, both myths and parables can serve many purposes. Their fantastic and unreal nature, ancient or modern, should not prevent us from enjoying them.