A Stop Along the Way

Given Father's Day this weekend, I invited Lew to share his experience this past April on our way through Tennessee.

It was a lovely stretch of of Spring weather. So, the time seemed right to complete a chapter of research on Clarke Family history. We are just like lots of people in that we think about doing something...wouldn't it be nice...we should do this...we should do that...so many loose ends in ones life, isn't there? Well, this time we took a moment and I am so glad we did!

From Lew's Journal:

"On the way home there was time to stop at the Chickamauga Battlefield. I had intended to stop there sometime - perhaps next year. But there was a day or two we had to spare. And it was right on the Interstate which was our way home. 

So we stopped. We were told this was the first preserved Civil War site maintained by the National Park Service. Driving along, we went from a rather seedy part of Chattanooga across one intersection into the park, which straddles both sides of a main thoroughfare. Spring had started in that part of the country. Newly leafed trees and recently greened grass were apparent. 

The NPS  Visitor Center, which served as administration building and a museum, was imposing without being pretentious.

Inside were maps and artifacts and a good book store carrying many volumes relating to the battle.

A young and very knowledgeable ranger showed me the area known as Snodgrass Hill where my Great Grandfather fought and was mortally wounded. 

After driving through the whole park we thought we had found it.

It was very much woods out there with little signage. To confirm  the position, we returned the next morning to check with our new resource, Ranger Chris Barr,  at the administration center. 

It turned out that we were very close but not quite where Isaac and his men concluded this three day battle.

Back again we went.

There, on a pathway leading off to the side to a quiet, secluded area ...

...was the monument erected by the survivors of his regiment. 

While the sun was out, the area had a dark and somber cast. The view into the woods from that point looked today as it must have looked as Lt. Col. Isaac Lewis Clarke led his men in an attempt to repell the Confederate forces. 

In my time of sorting and correlating my Great Grandfather’s belongings and letters it seems strange to say that I feel the development of a bond between the two of us. It's very hard to describe the feeling. 

 That feeling was heightened by visiting the very spot where he met his fate - no doubt feeling that his cause was just and his life was not spent in vain.

Standing there in the somber woods was a bitter yet sweet time. I have found it and seen it all and now I have no desire to return."

The words are Lew's. I just did a layout with the photos we took those days.

For me, there are two takeaways from today's post:

• Take time along the way to remember, ask questions, discover those significant figures. Recently or in generations past, those who came before have contributed to who we have become.

• Get outside and visit a park. Choose the size and the place. Yes, the National Park Service is having it's 100th Birthday this year but I am not limiting this request. Whatever level, these places struggle to make ends meet. By visiting, we show how important they are, helping to encourage the continuation of their existence.

Upcoming Events

Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum asleep this Winter. Photo: Lew Clarke

Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum asleep this Winter. Photo: Lew Clarke

-Annual Jay Hagen Fish Broil - Friday, June 24 - At Jackson Harbor, this dinner benefits the Island Maritime Museum. Starts at 5:00pm and goes until the fish runs out!

-Lastly, I am pleased to share an upcoming class taught (in a park, no less) by another member of the Clarke Family.

Please pass along to those with an artistic interest!

til next time ...  Happy Fathers Day!