My grandmother, Ella Williams Smith wrote about her life and remembrances. Born on Christmas Eve, 1888 at 816 West Franklin Street, on the first page, she stated:
“Among my earliest recollections was a feeling of great loyalty to the Confederacy, especially Virginia. Mother told me that when I was 3 years old she took me out and put my hand on the rope that was drawing General Lee’s statue up Franklin Street so that I could feel that I had some part in getting that statue into its place.”
“On the third page, she stated ” I always loved the colored people,….perhaps because of their innate kindness and sympathetic nature….”
The following may make you feel uncomfortable or to view me as a “no-nothing” religious zealot. My grandmother had great spiritual gifts. She was a faith healer. The Holy Spirit moved through her and people were healed of their physical ailments. She did not wish to bring attention to herself, as she was just the medium and God deserved the glory. Yet, she felt it necessary to devote a few pages to acknowlege the wonderous love of Jesus Christ. On page 99, she went to visit James Henderson, a black man and neighbor who was lying in his bed, dying of tuberculosis. She was just a young woman and new to the “faith healing game.” She fumbled around, uncomfortable, and began to read to him from the bible. After reading the 27th Psalm, suddenly a bright light appeared in her consciousness, and divine words spilled out of her mouth without any conscious effort on her part. James lived and his doctors were amazed. I will end the story here, but there’s much more about James and many others.
Now according to the modern day anarchists and their Taliban leaders, my grandmother, who was loyal to the Confederacy, was a horribe, evil person. However, I guarantee you that for every comic book they have read about American history, I have read 1000 books and many personal memoirs.
My great, great grandfather, T. C. Williams, although he held rank in the Confederate army, was not a soldier. A University of Richmond graduate, he was an accomplished businessman, and he was sent to Danville to use his business acumen for procuring war supplies. He too was very religious. He became one of Richmond’s tobacco barons and a great philanthropist. He used his great wealth to fund chartites for black people, not to mention museums, churches, universities, etc. for all people to enjoy. According to antifa, he was a bad man.
As a boy, I remember seeing a photograph of the Coleman side of my family. 22 Colemans were adorned in the Confederate gray outside of the old homeplace in Caroline County at the beginning of the War. I can still vividly remember how young many of these cousins were. I have also read many first person memoirs and diaries of my family and many others who fought for the Confederacy. Not once have I ever read one word that would confirm what the modern day Taliban says about these people. Indeed, as one reads these 19th century, first person accounts, one is awestruck at the decency and kindness of these people, especially in light of the courseness of our culture rot of today.
My great grandfather H. M. Smith was a New Englander who came to Virginia in 1830. He was thegrandson of Sylvanus Smith, a Revolutionary War officer and original member of the Society of the Cincinnati. He was a brilliant man who held multiple patents for machinery he had invented at his company, H.M.Smith and Co. in Richmond. His inventions and agricultural machinery improved the lives of people not just in the South, but around the world. Ironically, for this New Englander, the cannon that fired on Fort Sumpter and its firing mechanism was his design.
At the time of the War, he still had siblings in Massachusetts, yet he was an ardent Confederate and was in the Richmond Home Guard. I find it fascinating that this guy who had such deep roots in New England became a “Southern Patriot.” But the Brownshirts who are wrecking our City have no curiosity about such matters and what we could learn from them. They are filled with the oldest sin of mankind: hatred.
There are many, many nuances to history, and unless we read and read, and read, and read, we don’t understand the past, which leads us to make terrible mistakes in the present time. Tearing down the statute of Robert E. Lee is an act of extreme IGNORANCE. I mention my family because they give context to history. They were extraordinarilly good people whose lifetime efforts advanced society. They were caught up in a whirlwind of historical events that unfortunately could have been avoided. If we understand history, we can avoid catastrophes in the future. If one truly studied Robert E. Lee, his life would be an inspiration to both white and black people. We could use the lessons learned from his character and life to help us make wiser decisions today.
Few people understand why seccession occured and why the War started. The South had only 1/3 of the nation’s population, but paid over 80% of the money that flowed into the federal fisc. It felt that it was a mercantalist ward of the North and “under its boot.” In my opinion, it was. Tax revenue was collected through the tariff. The South was ardently for free trade. If the South seceeded, the national government would not only would lose 80% of its money, much of which funded northern industrial interests, but all commerce would be directed to southern ports. As a newspaper editor in New York wrote at the time, grass would grow in New York sidewalks. Southern states secceeded. The North invaded the South to bring it and its tax revenue back into the Union. The southern soldier fought because he felt duty bound to take up arms and to protect his homeland from invasion.
The feud between North and South had been festering since 1830. Finally, events spun out of control, which led to over 600,000 military deaths, many more crippled and wounded and over 1 million black people dying in the Great Emancipation. My purpose in illustrating this is not to defend or promote the cause of either side, but to illuminate the utter ignorance of eradicating history. At a time when our country is being torn apart, isn’t it better to study history, as opposed to destroying it?
Mayor Stoney made the ridiculous statement that he is in favor of tearing down the monuments for the purposes of “diversity.” This was Squeeler, the pig speaking in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Diversity does not mean diversity, it means a monolithic viewpoint. Only one view point can be allowed on the Farm!
Welcome to the Age of Ignorance and Intolerance. Next week we are burning down the local library because of those books we don’t like.