The Blue, the Grey, and the red white and blue
Thursday January 24th 2008, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Friends,History

A curiosity of mine: in American English, the word “gray” is spelled “gray” except in reference to the soldiers of the Civil War, in which case we generally take on the British spelling of “grey.”

We got a letter last week with a handwritten note added at the top, promising that this was going to be the last Christmas letter of the year. My husband gleefully reacted, “No it’s not! My sister hasn’t sent hers out yet!”

My friend Nanci was talking about her 92-year-old mother-in-law, mentioning her son’s speculation that Bashie was probably the last living person whose father rode in the Pony Express. You heard that right. And he fought in the Civil War! He was 75 and his wife was 45 when they had her. Now imagine this: if his father had been that old when he had been conceived, his father would have been a teenager during the Constitutional Convention.

And that would then be his granddaughter who is alive right now. We’re a young country!

I asked Nanci if I could post this, and she said sure and added more to the story. Here’s her note:

“Of course, we’d be flattered for you to say something in your blog about Darryl’s grandfather, Joseph A. Fisher. He actually was serving in the Civil War and a pony express rider concurrently. There was a big problem with the Indians raiding the mail, so President Lincoln asked Brigham Young for 100 men from Utah to help with the war effort in the special assignment of being riders, and he was one of those 100 young men. (It might have been 1861.) He was actually hit by an arrow and left for dead, but miraculously was found, the arrow was pulled out, and Bashie’s brother remembers a big hole in his back that as a boy would like to put pennies in where the arrow had been. He served for 9 months. ”

Try going through airport security with that.

10 Comments so far
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There are so many amazing stories that are part of people’s lives. Most of the time we don’t hear about them, they just go about their business. I feel it is important to share these stories. It reminds us of what others have done for us and how ordinary people can do great things to help others.

Comment by Vicki 01.24.08 @ 2:30 pm

Wow. We are a young country. Never did that hit home more than when I was in Europe, which is full of really, really old things. Here, “history” seems so much more closer. (Well, because it is, of course.)

I always spell “grey” with an “e,” and I don’t care what spell checker has to say about it! I like it better. I read plenty of British children’s books, and I was always adamant about that “e.”

Comment by amy 01.24.08 @ 2:48 pm

Another amazing story!

Comment by Amanda 01.24.08 @ 6:46 pm

That definitely puts a sense of scale to time 🙂

I always used to wonder why they made us study American history in so very much greater detail than other countries (some is to be expected since we live here, but tactics for battles that weren’t even very noteworthy?). Then I realized it’s because, relatively speaking, we don’t have very much history to write down. Glad the rest of the world can help us keep perspective. 😉

Comment by Amy 01.24.08 @ 6:49 pm

American History was always one of my favorite subject, possibly since part of my maternal grandmother’s side has been here since the Mayflower! Most of the women on that side have been part of the Mayflower Society since it was formed.My husband really enjoys Civil War History, when he gets home I’ll make sure to show him your post he’ll enjoy reading it!

Comment by Danielle from SW Missouri 01.24.08 @ 6:56 pm

I attended a funeral on Monday for an elderly man. His son pointed out that when his father was born, the civil war was only 50 or so years in the past, so he grew up knowing many civil war veterans and hearing their stories. This gave him a lifelong interest in American history.

Comment by Laura 01.24.08 @ 9:47 pm

Alison, you may not remember me. But you left a post on my blog that really resonated with me. Thanks. It’s belated, but thanks.

As anachronistic as this may seem, I do counted cross-stitch. It’s a hobby I picked up in, of all occupations, the Merchant Marine. Oh, it’s the usual stuff: lighthouses, seascapes, sailing ships, nude women (just kidding)…

My mom was an amateur historian regarding the War Between the States. She said it all was just a hobby until she visited Gettysburg and Andersonville. Then it all came crashing down on her. I vaguely remember being at some site of a “great event” during that war where she just sat down and cried.

We lived in Philippi, W.Va.- where the first land battle of the war was fought for control of a bridge over the Tygart River. The bridge still stands, as far as I know.

This was a marvelous tribute. It goes deeper than you can know. Thanks for it.

Comment by NurseWilliam 01.25.08 @ 12:56 am

Wow! Sometimes we do forget what a young country we are!

Comment by Toni 01.25.08 @ 7:19 am

I love your blog, you have great stories to start with and then the comments are great too!
Thanks fellow readers.. You always make my day.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 01.25.08 @ 7:45 am

I would be interested in learning more about the daughter of a Pony Express Rider. Contact me at lcarpenter_1860 AT hotmail DOT cahm. Larry Carpenter, Correspnding Secretary, National Pony Express Association, Pollock Pines, California.

Comment by Larry Carpenter 10.25.08 @ 8:46 am

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