More Jackson County Opinions...

July 3, 2001

By Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
July 3, 2001

Remember our forefathers
Has anyone ever taken a moment to consider the Declaration of Independence? How much gall it must have taken for 56 men to tell the strongest nation in the world where they could stuff it? They were committing an act punishable by death, yet they did it. They were family men, men with jobs and homes, but they felt the price of freedom was worth it all. This 4th of July, I'd like to print some information I scouted out with my free Internet service. It is information about the brave, daring, heroic 56 men who drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence.
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners: men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
Rochelle Beckstine is a reporter for Mainstreet Newspapers.

By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
July 3, 2001

Coaching, Rocker and racing in the Twilight Zone
The Jackson County rumor mill has done some big-time churning in recent weeks, with speculation about the Lady Panthers' next head basketball coach running the gamut from sitting head coaches to current insiders to retired teachers to past head coaches and finally (or so it seems) to sitting assistant coaches.
The latest word from the Panther Pit has it that the team met with its soon-to-be-proposed head coach Monday afternoon.
System superintendent Andy Byers has been out of the office this week, but folks in the know expect Byers to recommend Johnson High School assistant Chad Pittman to the board during Thursday's work session.
What might happen after that is anyone's guess, but we've beaten that dead horse enough, so we'll just let it lie this time around.
Pittman should be a good fit, as he comes from a successful program and is well-liked by those who've worked with him. He should be successful at Jackson County, which means he probably won't last very long (that's the last jab, I promise).
He's also a math teacher, and anyone in the education business knows math teachers aren't exactly a dime a dozen.
You're probably tired of hearing about the John Rocker trade by now, but let me get my two cents in before you move on.
Rocker should thank the Atlanta Braves' front office and Chipper Jones for getting him out of town when they did. He's been all but tarred and feathered here by everyone but the fans, who generally seem to have been very supportive.
I predict Rocker will surpass even his own expectations with Cleveland, and will be just what the Tribe needs to get them over the hump against the Yankees.
Even if he'd gone on to close Game 7 of the World Series for Atlanta, he'd have still been snubbed by the elitist, politically correct Braves front office.
Good luck to him.
Things are happening at Peach State Speedway just about as quickly as a Jeff Gordon slingshot pass in turn three.
First comes the announcement that the track will go to a bi-weekly schedule for the remainder of the ARA Weekly Racing Series schedule.
Then we hear that long time Peach State fixture Terry Treadwell's organization is buying out the American Racing Association, which runs its Weekly Racing Series and some touring series races at Peach State.
This situation is weird enough to be on The X Files. Treadwell seems to have had some money problems of late, yet he has the financial backing to purchase the ARA?
Sources at the Dry Pond track also say that more big news is in the offing, so check back next week for the latest news from The Twilight Zone.
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald. He may be reached at the sports desk at (706) 367-2348, or via email at

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