The Madison County Journal
September 20, 2000
Honoring our Confederate
Madison County, Georgia, contributed heavily to the Confederate
Army, sending over 450 men into some of the heaviest fighting
of the war.
Now several groups are working to revive the memory and honor
of these men. This Saturday, Sept. 23, a re-dedication of the
Chandler Family Cemetery near Blacks Creek Church will feature
several members of the Confederate Army who are buried there.
This effort is spearheaded by family members who have spent the
last year cleaning and restoring the cemetery. Confederate re-enactors
from the 16th Georgia in Macon will take part, along with several
members of the Madison County Greys, Sons of Confederate Veterans
The public is invited to this event. I urge you to attend and
bring your children. This may be one of the few opportunities
you have to teach your children about Southern heritage.
The cemetery is easy to find. Just come to Blacks Creek Church
Road and follow the signs.
The other project that deserves your attention is the effort
by the Madison County Greys to find and document the graves of
Confederate veterans. One of the early results of this effort
is the discovery that many of the county's Confederate veterans
were either lost in combat, or buried on the various battlefields.
In any case, many of them never returned. Madison County soldiers
fought in many of the deadliest battles in the war.
Their losses in killed, injured and captured were huge. For example,
of the 160 men who formed Company A, 16th Georgia Volunteer Infantry,
only a handful were left to surrender with General Lee at the
end of the war.
No, the local SCV camp is exploring an idea proposed by Charlotte
Bond of the Heritage Foundation. We would like to erect a monument
somewhere in the county dedicated to those men who left Madison
County to fight against Northern aggression and were unable to
Madison County is one of only a handful of Georgia counties without
a major Confederate memorial. Yet the price paid by our fighting
men was among the highest in the Confederate Army. They deserve
to be memorilized.
Finding a site, designing and purchasing a fitting memorial will
be time consuming and expensive. If we are to succeed, we will
need the support of other clubs, organizations and individuals.
Anyone willing to assist in this project will be welcome.
If you are interested, or would like more information about either
of these projects, please contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org,
Write to me at Box 521, Hull Georgia, or leave a message for
me at the newspaper office.
Someone once said that those who ignore history are doomed to
Yet our Southern culture and history are being lost at a rapid
rate. It is important that we take action to preserve our history
and heritage. These two projects will go a long way toward the
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address
The Madison County Journal
September 20, 2000
From the Editor's Desk
When guitar had
My first guitar was a reddish brown Epiphone, basically a cheap
replica of the rock favorite Les Paul. My dad left it in my room
one night when I was 17 and I felt like I had a year earlier
when I finally had car keys in my hand. Plugging the guitar into
the little Gorilla amplifier I borrowed from a friend, I felt
a surge of energy as true as the electricity running through
the wire. And I jumped around my room night after night, rocking
like a fool - an out-of-tune fool - as my family tried to cope
with an obvious purchasing error.
Apart from the liberation of being loud, another reason I liked
that instrument was because it reminded me of Dickey Betts' guitar.
I loved the Allman Brothers. They were from Macon and so was
I. We had the hometown connection. And with my new prize, we
had a guitar bond. Mine may not have been as good as Betts',
but it looked kind of like his guitar. I figured establishing
these similarities couldn't hurt.
Ultimately, I wanted to play like them. Shoot. Forget that, I
wanted to play with them.
I was a fraction of the way there. I could mimic parts of their
tunes. "Melissa" was my favorite song to play.
But after high school, I started to view some things differently.
While I still liked the Allman Brothers - still do - my musical
taste moved to a harder-edged sound. And my choice of guitar
changed too. I had a new guitar hero, Jimi Hendrix, and I bought
an American Stratocaster, hoping to copy his classic Strat sound.
There's the old myth that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the
devil in order to master the blues. Some tagged that story to
This is far-fetched.
But it highlights this notion: Music is powerful. Whether you
like blues, gospel, rock, country, reggae, classical or polka,
you probably know of someone who can give you chills with the
way they sing or play an instrument. It's inexplicable how music
seems to move the soul.
Hendrix does that for me.
When I see footage of the left-handed Hendrix playing a right-handed
guitar upside-down, I think of Hank Aaron's unconventional cross-handed
grip on the bat early in his career.
Both held the instruments in a technically flawed way - yes,
instruments, because who would argue that the sweet sound of
a wood bat isn't musical?
Still, their ability was unmistakable.
Hendrix is remembered by many for his flashiness, such as playing
the guitar behind his back and with his teeth or setting his
guitar on fire, literally.
He is also remembered as being a part of the 60s drug culture.
And his death on Sept. 18, 1970, at the age of 27 of inhalation
of his own vomit serves as a warning to the dangers of substance
Nevertheless, however you judge the man, Hendrix the guitarist
was as close to perfect as they've come.
If Eric Clapton was the Mt. McKinley of rock and blues guitar,
Hendrix was Everest.
The more I study guitar, the more I am amazed by what he did.
He never took the easy or expected route in his songwriting,
putting together complex, yet fluid, structures. And while some
have tried to map out his riffs on tablature for novices like
me, you might as well try to explain quantum physics to a squirrel.
There's just no getting it.
I love his hits - "Purple Haze," "Foxey Lady,"
"Voodoo Chile," "Bold as Love," "Castles
Made of Sand," etc. He had plenty of them.
But his blues songs, such as "Red House" and "Hear
My Train A-Comin'" deserve as much or more attention. "Red
House" is a true blues anthem. And as far as I'm concerned,
his electric version of "Hear my train a comin'" is
the pinnacle of blues guitar.
On Thursdays I take guitar lessons in Athens. I also get together
with a couple of friends and play music each week.
While the rock star dreams are gone, I still plug in my old Stratocaster
most every night and try to make the sloppy licks I know come
off like that man from Seattle.
It won't happen, but I know that hundreds of thousands of guitarists
over the past 30 years have felt the same awkwardness in their
hands, wondering how one man seemed to touch the soul with his
music, while so many of the rest of us are destined to touch
the last nerve.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.