Saturday, December 13, 2008

Books I got from Wilmington

During the Thanksgiving holidays, we went east to Wilmington (and New Bern) did a fair amount of touristy things, I hadnt plan to do any Universalist history research (Congregation there in the 1840s). Nor even to look at some of the Unitarian educational missions that were there during the 1870s-1890s. We did go to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Sunday morning however....
And there in the bulletin was an annocements to "all Universalists" that they had some old books and magazines to get rid of, and that today was the last day and that they would be removed from the Church -- I waited for a half hour to make sure that no one else wanted them - and I checked with a trustee to make 100% sure that it was OK, and picked up some material...

2003 UU woman's Heritage Society calendar - I picked this up for the picture of my distant relative, Julia Elizabeth Kent Outlaw, who helped found Outlaw's Bridge Universalist Church.
(I should point out, she's my relative by marriage - her husband was blood kin)

EXCLUDED (1966) Robert Cummins - a booklet about the attempt and denial of the Universalist Church of America to join the Federal Council of Churches in 1944 -1946. This booklet was online at the UUA website - so I had read it before..

Proceedings of the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society (volume 23 1995) , (volume 22 part 2- 1992-4) (volume 19-2, 1982/3)

The Icleandic Unitarian Connection (1984) V. Emil Gudmundson -

Our Liberal Heritage (1951) Alfred S. Cole - this is the 2nd printing for the "Council of Liberal Churches (Universalist-Unitarian), Inc. in 1957.

Universalist Church Cumulative Plan Book Fourth Section February 1947 written by Robert Cummings. items from the 40s and 50s from the UCA are scarce - so nice to have -- it lists what other tracts the UCA was offering in 1947.

I was tempted to pick up Clinton Lee Scott's autobiogrpahy - but I have a copy... I just hope that it will find a good home.....
thanks Wilmington UUs! (and it was a good service too)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Railroad Bill - Part 2: Stars Fell on Alabama

In 1934 "Stars Fell on Alabama", written by Carl Carmer was published by Farrar and Rinehart.
It was a big success, selling three printings, with major reviews being featured in the New York Times,and the new York Herald Tribune.

This book is the source of our modern Railroad Bill legend and the role of Leonard McGowin in it.
A short summary of the 4 pages is that Morris Slater killed a police officer in 1893, escaped via train; and then as Railroad Bill begain breaking into boxcars. On July 3, 1895, he killed sheriff E.S. McMillan near Bluff Springs, Alabama. He was shot in March 1896 at Tidmore's store by R.C. John and Leonard McGowin. John and MCGowin shared the $1250 reward (equivalent to about $31,000 now). McGowin also got a lifetime pass on the L&N railroad. Railroad Bill's ability to take animal shapes was also briefly discussed.

My copy of "Stars Fell on Alabama" contains an introduction by Howell Raines
states that among Carmer's informants : "Earl McGowin, scion of a wealthy lumber family and later director of the Alabama State Docks exposed Carmer to the wiregrass country and to the life and manners of wealthy white Alabama."

Earl McGowin's parents and his grandparents (James Greeley & Ellie McGowin and Alexander McGowin) were Universalists. J. Leonard and James Greely were only two years apart in age - and from the same general area - however I'm unable to tell their connection, it does not seem like they were brothers - and unable to determine if cousins.