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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

The park's image

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

Sat. as I was riding my bike on the park I stopped to complain at park headquarters regarding the destruction of the landing so that buses could turn around down there. The story I got from the ranger behind the info. desk was at best a very bold faced lie. I received a tale of how the historicial meaning of the landing had been destroyed several years ago when the slope and the road to the water was still pretty much unchanged from the battle period, sure erosion had occured and the bank was further back than at the time of the battle. but the old road was still there. then he assailed me with this narrative of how they had to build the wall to keep people from putting their boats in at the landing. and people were having drunken parties at the landing. this is the man who is putting information out to the public, and then the park wonders why the local population won't help them. the park has always been a family place it was and is a place to take your family for a picnic and wonder at the events of the past and try to envision the scenes that occured in different places. DeLong Rice was the last park supt. that tried to involve the locals in the park affairs, he was killed when the oil fired boiler exploded in the basement of the supt.'s residence in 1929. since then there have been a few who became involved in the community and worked to learn all they could from the locals. leslie downer who was the historian in the seventies, mr. Harvey from the sixties. The park was the worst thing that ever happened and the best thimg that ever happened to this community.Let me give you a little background  on this. first in 1862 these people were forced out of their homes by the battle, living with friends or camping on friends farms in most instances for a month or two. when they return by ,most counts in the latter part of april or first of may, they find their possessions gone or destroyed. some leave but most remain and start to rebuild as best they can. and remember they have no seed corn, no seed potatoes, almost nothing to begin with. the war continues for three more years during which time they are struggling to feed their families and survive after the war things get gradually better. but twenty five years later they are still trying to rebuild(remember there were no federal bailouts in this period) when the parks service comes in to establish shiloh park. so now the people lose their land for a second time only this time it's permanent. some people sold willingly at the park's price some land had to be condemed by the govt. the only difference being that the people who sold willingly were allowed to live in their homes until they died and most were given jobs on the park. this led to a lot of resentment from the local population. I can remember as a child hearing conversations from people whose fathers and mothers had to move from the park and this was in the 1950's, 90+ years after the battle. that being said The Battle of Shiloh happened here simply by a roll of the dice or fate, it was simply these peoplr's misfortune to own the land on which the battle was fought, nothing more nothing less. Grandpa and I were blessed to have fathers who loved this park and history and passed that on to us. over the years a lot of the animosity has passed but there is still a feeling of it us against them and a lot of this feeling comes from the park, not all of it but some. I want you to remember as you are reading this that I love this park. I walk on the park every chance I get not on the trails or roads but in the ravines and woods where the soldiers were,and as I peruse these places I try to picture what it must have looked like 147 years ago. let me challenge you, next time you are at shiloh go to one of the places you like the best, go into the woods somewhere away from the trails and roads, find you a seat preferably one with a 360degree view and sit quietly and let your mind relax and try to picture the scene around you during the battle and hear the sounds and imagine the smells,powder, fire, death, sit there for 45 mins. or an hour watching events unfold around you. its even better if you can read a personal account of someone that was in that area as you are sitting there. sorry I seem to have rambled a bit but then I have a tendency to do that at times don't I grandpa?

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CD: I envy you that you have the opportunity to walk around the park whenever you want. I cherish the time I have spent at Shiloh and other beautiful secluded parks such as Antietam. My mission in life is to either move to one of these areas and find a job of some sort or move & not find a job whichever comes first. There really is something special about spending time on such hallowed ground and reflecting on life in solitude. Sharon

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

Its not really anytime I want yet. but sometime in the near future it will be. I actually live in Nashville, but if I'm not out on a scout outing I'm in shiloh. my heart stays there all the time.

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This entire dialog is an interesting commentary about the park service and their interaction with the local communities surrounding the parks. I heard or read something several years ago about the flap at Gettysburg when the park service systematically removed many of the deer from the park. There were similar comments about the lack of good interaction between the government and citizens over this issue.

Wonder how this can be rectified?

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

Sharon this was something that started in the late1880's, because of the way they have dealt with the local citizens there is a deeprooted distrust of the park officials. In 1968 they made an attempt to buy the shiloh church and cemetery and move them outside of the park. instead of talking to the church they went to the church leadership at the dist. and state level, we managed to hang onto our church and cemetery. but there were many sunday's that there was on ly 8 or 10 people present at services. at the inception of the park most of the land was gained by condeming the land and paying sometimes as little as 1/3 value for the land. their ultimate goal is to obtain the land bordered by snake creek owl creek and lick creek. some land I would love to see them get and a lot of this land they will never get. but it is the way of the park not to include locals in their discussions for plans for the park. we would love to have a working relationship with the park and woody is not as bad as some we have had down here but we've had better.

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How significant is the difference at the landing from what it was prior to the change? Does anyone have a photo they could post? Did they end up hacking away at the area on the south side of the road down to the landing, in order to make it wider?

Perry

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

They have brought in about 500 tons of fill and removed the cedars and basically built a large platform for buses to turn around,and it's proably alright in  50 years they will be wondering how the troops disembarking ever climbed that steep bank.

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Thanks C.D. Kind of hard to envision, but it sounds like they're widening it off to the right, as you're looking down toward the river from the top of the bluff. Is this something they're doing all the way down the hill, or mainly down near the bottom?

Perry

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

all the work is from the bottom of the slope begining at the steps into the cemetery,going out approx 250 ft. and all the way to the ravine on the right. you never know what it is going to look like until they finish but now it appears as though there will be a rather steep slope down from the parking area.

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CD,

I wouldn't say you ramble, but I have thought about warning new members about asking you a question; they might hear more than they wanted to learn. Question: does the park have information about when and how they bought locals property for the park? If I remember correctly (and that's questionable), my daddy told about visiting at the Seay house when he was a young boy. This would have been about 1905 - 1910. I do remember going with him to the Seay home site in the mid 50s. He wanted to see if a particular pear tree was still there. He couldn't find it, but did mention that there was an orchard in the South end of the field next to the house.

By the way, do you or anyone else out there know anything about the Winingham family that lived just about a quarter mile North of the Johnston site?

Ramble on!

Grandpa

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

grandpa most of the property was acquired in the 1880's and 1890's but most people lived in their homes until the one that sold it died. I don't think all the people were moved out until the 1940's. about all I know about the winningham's is names and the fact that Joe winningham was a direct descendant, I think he is the one who sold the land behind marcus's place. It is very likely that your dad visited the seay's when he was young.

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Just as an FYI, Tim Smith's book, This Great Battlefield of Shiloh, has a list of land purchases on page 134, which is Appendix 2. He shows a total of 45 purchases, between 1896 and 1928. Of those, he lists 3 as being acquired through condemnation.

He also has some interesting information in the book about the issue of the land purchases, and the relations between the park and the local citizens in the early days of the park. See chapter 4, "The Work of Converting Mere Land into a Park." There's also some mention of relations with and incidents involving some of the local folks in Chapter 6, especially pages 103 - 105.

Jim has also sent me some pictures of the construction taking place at the landing. I'll try to get them posted here in just a bit.

Perry

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As mentioned, Jim (WI16thJim) was kind enough to send along some pictures of the construction taking place at the landing. To get everyone oriented when looking at the pictures below, you are standing off to the right of the road leading down to the landing from the visitors center area, looking over toward the road and the landing. The cemetery is on the opposite side of the road, and is visible in the second picture.

Here's the first picture. The brown area between the river and the grass is part of the construction area, where they are widening the turnaround/parking area to better accommodate buses and RV's. You can make out part of the landing road between the dirt and the grass. The cemetery is off to your left...

2564318360029707667S500x500Q85.jpg

Picture #2, looking across toward the cemetery. The landing road is visible just below the cemetery. The landing itself, and the river, are off to your right...

2212907930029707667S500x500Q85.jpg

Picture #3 - The landing is directly in front of you here, with part of the construction visible above the sign. The sign is the same one as in the picture above, where you can see a corner of it. In the picture below, you are looking more toward the right from the previous picture...

2220069880029707667S500x500Q85.jpg

I can see C.D.'s point about visitors in the future perhaps wondering how the troops disembarking at the landing would be able to make it up that steep incline. If you take a close look at the first picture above, you can see what appears to be a sharp drop-off just at the far edge of the construction area, which is probably going to be where a wall will go up. It will make the landing look a bit different than before, and perhaps give a bit of a false impression of the angle involved in climbing up toward the top in 1862. But then again, it's looked different than it did in 1862 for quite some time I suppose.

I guess it's similar to the construction taking place northwest of the visitors center area, to open up Cavalry and Sherman roads to motorized traffic. I've said before that I have mixed emotions about that, as it changes the park somewhat, and alters the isolated feel of that area of the park. At the same time though, it makes it easier for more people to visit that area, and exposes them to areas of the park - and the battle - that don't often get the attention. I think that's a good thing.

Perhaps it's the same with the landing area construction. A fair number of people who visit the park in tour group buses, or RV's,  might not be able to make it down to the landing if they have to walk, or would find it difficult to do so, for various reasons. By making it easier to get down there in a bus or RV, it allows more people to see and experience the landing area, which is an integral area of the park, and a key part of the story of the battle. It's also just darn pretty there.

As Jim said in the email he sent me with the pictures, change can be hard sometimes, and this is no different. I have mixed emotions about the landing construction just as I do with the western side of the battlefield being opened up to vehicles. I remember the park a certain way, and that's the way I like it. But the whole story of the battle deserves to be told, and the entire park deserves to be seen. Not everyone will see the entire park or learn the entire battle, but that's not the point. The more people that have a chance to see more of the park, and learn about what took place there, the better in my opinion. So yes, it's a mixed bag. It's a little bit good and a little bit not so good to me. But on the whole, I think it will probably be more good than bad when all is said and done.

My thanks to Jim for sending these pictures, so they could be shared with everyone here on the board.

Perry

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WOW

I like Sharon from Idaho am envious of

those who can spend time like CD is

encouraging on These Hallow Grounds of Shiloh,

and other historically significant spots in

The USA(the fraction that remain).

April 27 is Ulysses S Grant's Birthday

G-D Bless America

Mike

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There is merit to making more areas in the park accessible. If you just follow the main tour route and just stop at the designated tour stops you miss many sites and monuments that are not on on closely adjacent to these designated areas. There are lots of places, like 4 of the 5 confederate burial trenches and monuments to see and experience that are in out of the way places and that it takes a little work to get to. Getting off the beaten path enhances ones experience and enjoyment of the park and it also provides a more detailed look at where, when and how the battle was fought. :?

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

grandpa; F.Y.I. a deed of agreement was filed in apr. 1895 where as the Shiloh Battle field Association paid the landowners $1.00 for their cooperation in building the park. in this agreement a price was set to be paid at a later time with each land owner. the associciation took control of the land, the land owners lived on the land and cultivated it, prusuant to section 3 of the act to establish Shiloh Battlefield. that the secretary of war is hereby authorized to enter into agreements whereby he may lease,upon such terms as he may prescribe,with such present owners or tenants of the lands as may desire to remain upon it, to occupy and cultivate their present holdings upon condition that they will preserve the present buildings and roads and the present outline of field and forest, and that they only will cut trees or underbrush under such regulations as the secretary may prescribe, and that they will assist in caring for and protecting all tablets and monuments, or such other artificial works as may from time to time be erected by proper authorities. the actual deeds where registered over the years as the land was being paid for. so tim's timeline for actual deed transfer is correct but the park took control of the land in 1895.landowners were J.W. Sowell,A.J.Surratt, G.W.Smith,E.R.Sweat,J.W.Walker,Thomas Maxwell,W.A.Rowsey,M.E.Washburn, Sam Chambers,Daniel Chambers,L.W.McDaniels,S.M.Rogers,P.M.Tilghman,H&J.R.Duncan,E.P.Tillman,G.H.Hurley,

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

Sorry about that,now to continue with the list. F.M.Hagy, J.W.Bell,S.F.House, P.G.Jones, John Franklin Glover,D.H.Cantrell,J.W.Wicker. these are the agreements filed apr.26,1895. The procedures for condemnation started in may of that same year and I'm not real sure when they ended, but I haven't given up. I'm sure it's here somewhere.

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Sharon, thanks for that link!

C.D., thanks for sharing your research findings with us. Just as a small note, if I remember reading correctly from one of Tim Smith's books, he indicates that the Shiloh Battlefield Association was a private organization that slightly pre-dated the park commission created by Congress. But they lobbied hard for the creation of a park, and I'm sure he must mention the land they purchased options on. Can't remember the details without flipping through the book again. In any case, thanks again for posting your findings, and I'll look forward to reading more. It's a fascinating story to learn about the early history of the park.

Perry

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

A good link but a few errors in 1848 all  the land was already settled. the first land grant was given in 1836 to g.w. hagy, followed by land grants to e.h. stephenson, john d. spain ,jordan howell,lebert winningham. thomas maxwell,w.g.campbell,lewis seay. these rev. war grants was given to soldiers and heirs of soldiers according to rank attained during the rev. war. apparently john d. spain or his father must have been a high rank because he sold land to j.j.fraley,the brittions, turners and  campbell. still trying to find out where the duncan's came in at.

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C.D., maybe this will help with figuring out the Duncans: Joseph Duncan was born in Washington County, Tennessee, in 1798. He married his first wife, Rebecca Erwin, in Roane County in 1819. They had arrived in Hardin County by 1824. His first wife died (I'm not sure when because she's not in my ancestral line). He remarried in 1845 or 1846 to a local (Hardin County) woman named Harriet Hutton. She was much younger (by about 24 years... probably close to the age of his youngest child).

While you're looking, let me know if you see anything about the Hurleys' land. They arrived in Hardin County in 1825 and received a land grant based on Revolutionary War service. My guess is that their land was very close to the Hagys.

CORRECTION: I've re-checked my family records and see that there probably wasn't a land grant to the Hurley family. Thomas Hurley bought a fair amount of land in the Shiloh area before his death in 1842, but I don't see any reason to think any of it came to him as a land grant. If there was a land grant in my family line, it would have gone to Richard Straughan (or "Strawn." He signed his name both ways on his Revolutionary War discharge papers and ultimately changed over to the shorter spelling when he moved to Hardin County. His granddaughter, Rebecca Strawn, was married to Thomas Hurley and then to John G.W. Hagy. Richard Strawn died in 1841 and is buried in the Ledbetter Cemetery.

 

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