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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: February 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

I’d Climb the Highest Mountain

By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., American-Historical Writer, Author of book “When America Stood for God, Family and Country” and for over 36 years a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans

Cleveland, Georgia is the home of the Old Stovall Covered Bridge that bridges Chickamauga Creek. This 1890s structure appeared in the movie “I’d Climb the Highest Mountain.”

Have you ever seen the movie ‘I’d Climb the Highest Mountain?’

This wonderful-classic movie was made during the 1950s, when families spent quality time at the movies where Coca Cola was a nickel, hot bettered popcorn a quarter and for a mere quarter you might see a double-feature film, cartoon and newsreel. Parents did not worry about the sexual, bad language or graphic scenes of the early films because most were family friendly.

It was also during June 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea and soldiers said goodbye to their mother, father, sister, brother and sweetheart to fight a war many miles away from home.

America saw sad times during the 50s but there was also much excitement in the North Georgia Mountains. This was the year that the movie ‘I’d Climb the highest Mountain’ was filmed in Georgia’s red clay hills. The 1910 novel that became a movie was written by Georgia’s own Corra Harris and was entitled ‘A Circuit Rider’s Wife.’ It told the story of a young Methodist preacher and his bride as they moved to the Georgia hills to pastor a local church. Much of the movie was shot around Helen and Cleveland in what is called the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When Corra Harris died in 1935, Hollywood screenwriter Lamar Trotti, an Atlanta, Georgia native, wrote the screenplay of her book. Trotti earned his fame far from Georgia, but had kept his love of his home and its history. After World War II, Henry King, a successful director, worked with Trotti to produce the movie for Twentieth Century-Fox. King had made the religious films ‘David and Bathsheba’ and ‘Song of Bernadette.’ He was born in Christiansburg, Virginia.

Susan Hayward played the role of Mary Elizabeth, the preacher’s wife and narrates the story. Reverend William Thompson is played by William Lundigan. Both give fine performances about a country preacher, his wife and the Christian life of a small town in the rural South. Their faith is tested by a deadly flu epidemic, a child drowning at the church picnic and the miscarriage of their child. The faithful strength of this couple brings the people closer to one another. Mary even talks a tight fisted old man out of money and buys Christmas presents for the poor children.

The supporting cast includes: Rory Calhoun and Gene Lockhart, father of actress June Lockhart. Alexander Knox, of the movie ‘Wilson’, played a non-believer who was touched in the end by the goodness of the preacher and his wife. Even though Knox lost a child, he now sees his children just as happy as other children and tells Reverend Thompson that he and his family would look into the future with an open mind.

There is an emotional scene where Minister Thompson asks all married couples to hold hands and repeat their marriage vows. This is a scene worth repeating—many times! The movies climax is classic Hollywood. Thompson, as a circuit-riding minister is transferred to another church. He and Mary bid their congregation farewell. Susan Hayward became very fond of the mountain people, many of whom played extras.

An early 1900s automobile was needed for the movie. The producers found Otis Mason in South Carolina with a 1912 vintage Overland in running condition. However, he was the only one who knew how to drive it. Mr. Mason appears in the movie as the driver and just had one line ‘Yes Ma’am.’ What would you give for just one line in a movie? Especially a line that husbands use all the time!

The movie ends with the ‘Lords Prayer’ sung slowly and reverently. The original music by Sol Kaplan and music direction by Lionel Newman is wonderful. This beautiful Technicolor classic is about the dirt roads, farmlands, old buildings and Georgia Mountain folks. Edward Cronjager received praise for the films Technicolor cinematography.

‘I’d Climb the Highest Mountain’ was filmed during the golden era of Hollywood. It premiered on February 17, 1951, at Atlanta Georgia’s Paramount Theater. Susan Hayward was honored by the Georgia State Senate with a resolution declaring her an ‘adopted daughter of Georgia.’ Hayward, born in New York, married a Georgian and they made Carrollton, Georgia their home.

February 2011 will mark the 60th anniversary of the release of this grand movie. It should be re-released on DVD for all to enjoy because……

they don’t make movies like that anymore.

I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951) Movie Stills

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Forgotten Story for Black History Month

By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.

The following is a true but sadly forgotten story that should be included during Black History Month and shared with our children and their school teachers.

February is Black History Month.

In 1989, a magazine article caught my eye which I had to read from beginning to end. This was not an ordinary story but about a black child, a Confederate President's First Lady and the Southern Presidential Family. The story was written by Gulfport, Mississippi freelance writer Mrs. Peggy Robbins and is entitled, "Jim Limber Davis." While Black History Month mostly focuses on black adults in history, this story is about a black child. This is a summary, in my own words, of Mrs. Robbins splendid story.

On the morning of February 15, 1864, Mrs. Varina Davis, wife of Southern President Jefferson Davis, had concluded her errands and was driving her carriage down the streets of Richmond , Virginia on her way home. She heard screams from a distance and quickly went to the scene to see what was happening.

Varina saw a young black child being abused by an older man. She demanded that he stop striking the child and when this failed she shocked the man by forcibly taking the child away. She took the child to her carriage and with her to the Confederate White House.

Arriving home Mrs. Davis and maid 'Ellen' gave the young boy a bath, attended to his cuts and bruises and feed him. The only thing he would tell them is that his name was Jim Limber. He was happy to be rescued and was given some clothes of the Davis ' son Joe who was the same size and age.

Joe was tragically killed in an accidental fall later that year.

The Davis family were visited the following evening by a friend of Varina's, noted Southern Diarist-Mary Boykin Chesnut, who saw Jim Limber and wrote later that she had seen the boy and that he was eager to show me his cuts and bruises. She also said, "the child is an orphan rescued yesterday from a brutal Negro Guardian." and "there are things in life that are too sickening, and such cruelty is one of them."

There were some children who addressed Jim as Jim Limber Davis for fun. This was fine with him because he felt he was indeed a member of the family. The Davis letters to friends are indication of his acceptance and they said he was a member of their gang of children.

The Christmas of 1864, would be memorable for the Davis family and probably the best Christmas Jim Limber would ever have. A Christmas tree was set up in Saint Paul’s Church, decorated and gifts placed beneath it. On Christmas evening orphans were brought to the church and were delighted with the presents they got. Jim was happy that he helped decorate the tree.

Mrs. Robbins wrote, in her story, that Mrs. Jefferson Davis was a very good story teller who was able to make sounds of different animals in the stories about the critters. Jim was always eager to help.

The end of the War Between the States was coming and Richmond was being evacuated. Varina and the children left ahead of Jefferson Davis. The president and his staff left just hours before the occupation of Union troops.

Varina and the children were by the side of Jefferson Davis at his capture near Irwinville , Georgia and again the family was separated. Jefferson Davis was taken to Virginia to spend two years in prison.

Mrs. Davis and her children were taken to Macon , Georgia and later to Port Royal outside of Savannah . At Port Royal their Union escort, Captain Charles T. Hudson, made good at his earlier threats to take Jim Limber away.

As the Union soldiers came to forcibly take young Jim, he put up a great struggle and tried to hold onto his family as they to him. Jim and his family cried uncontrollably as the child was taken. His family would never again see him or know what happened to him. The Davis ' tried in later years to locate Jim but were unsuccessful. They prayed that he grew to manhood and did well in life.

The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia is home to a portrait of Jim Limber Davis in the Eleanor S. Brookenbrough Library. I thank Mrs. Peggy Robbins who wrote the Jim Limber Davis story in 1989 and the Southern Partisan Magazine for publishing her story in the second quarter Issue-Volume IX of 1989.

For more information about Jefferson Davis go to:, the website about the last home of Jefferson Davis where the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library is also located.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Secession talk is spreading like wildfire across the country. Polls tell us that support for the States reasserting their sovereignty under the 10th Amendment is higher than ever. Financial and political failure and ineptitude point up the invalidity of large nation-states and empires in the early 21st century.

The prospect of devolution cuts across political and ideological lines; left and right in the U.S. both support measures to restrain the illicit power of Washington, DC. Nor is the anti-DC movement restricted to one particular historic American region. Vermont, Alaska, and Hawaii bear this out.

But as a native Southerner, I am primarily concerned about the South and her future. I love my own people better than anyone else. Will our cultural inheritance, our liberty, and our people be best served by remaining within an increasingly alien and hostile “union” or by going our own way as an independent confederation of States?

There are plenty of well-intentioned voices suggesting that the South remain part of the current political, cultural, social, and economic arrangement. Within that arrangement these people apparently hope to defend our Southern inheritance of liberty in all its tangible and non-tangible manifestations. Their great hope is to convince the ruling elite that they must reform themselves for the betterment of all, including the traditional South. Furthermore, theirs is a tacit acknowledgement that if only the South’s foes would see the truth, then they would embrace our Southern inheritance as the panacea for all of America’s ills.

Permit me now to object. The South’s elitist enemies do not care about truth or about how sublime we think our way of life to be. On the contrary, they consider us as expendable rednecks. They care about power and power alone. The reason they view our flags and other concrete symbols of our civilization as threatening, divisive, and offensive is because the ideas and people that these symbols represent are threatening, divisive, and offensive to their worldview. And all challenges to their power must be eradicated by whatever means necessary. Do you really believe that the South’s enemies are open to reasonable discussion?

When we and our symbols cease to be threatening, divisive, and offensive to our enemies, then it can mean only one thing. We have lost. For our own sake and that of our posterity, may we always be a stumbling block to our enemies. May we always be prepared to fight tooth and nail for our land and our people.

The voluntary Union of sovereign States given us by the Founders is now a dead thing of the past. The revolution that destroyed the Constitution and our old republic has come and gone and most folks do not even realize it. What many “conservatives” today seek to conserve is only a pale imitation of long departed principles and the way of life they once informed. In short, the current polity is well past meaningful reformation. Adhering to it in the hope that it can be reformed is a suicidal course for the South and her people. The indisputable evidence of this is before our eyes daily, yet many are still blinded to it.

The South is now ruled by an alien class and ideology that are completely hostile to our historic way of life. Our values, mores, and ethics are mocked. Our people have become nothing more than voters in rigged and meaningless four-year election cycles; consumers of foreign-made trinkets and poisoned food products; cannon fodder for the empire’s aggressive foreign military campaigns; and sheep to be fleeced for higher and higher taxes and immoral bailouts of the elites. It is clear that the descendants of America’s proud and hardy founding stock have meekly acquiesced in their dispossession and a resulting third-class status behind loud and domineering minority groups and Third World immigrants. But we still smile and hope for the best.

The imperial executive branch in Washington has implemented a police state at home and a quagmire of conflict abroad. Congress rubber-stamps whatever the executive branch desires. The courts mock truth, justice, and God at every turn. Our own State governments, poisoned finally by the miasmic vapors from the Potomac, have become the preserves of toadies, hacks, and sycophants who envy what Washington, DC, is able to do to the rights and liberties of the people. The media ridicule us for our dress and speech, manners and mores. Our schools and colleges have long lapsed from our control, teaching our young to despise their ancestors and themselves. Big business funds our enemies to the tune of hundreds of millions a year. The Founders’ Constitution is long dead and buried, replaced with a false document forged in the wake of the bloody subjugation of the Confederacy. I ask you, then, why should we stay and subject ourselves to the machinations of this organized criminal enterprise in DC? Could we not do better on our own? At the very least, we would be ruling our own house according to our own accepted standards.

The Southern Cause has long been ridiculed as the Lost Cause. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The real Lost Cause is the American Empire and any attempts to reform it. Southern independence is the only realistic hope we have of leaving our own children and grandchildren a bright and prosperous future. Without our independence, we will have no way of turning back the revolution that holds the South captive. Do you really think that the socialist-fascist revolutionaries are really through with us? Do you think they will halt their perverse agenda short of total victory? And that total victory means the final destruction of all that you, dear fellow Southerner, hold dear—family, faith, and freedom.

For those timid souls who desire to take the safe and familiar path that leads to half measure, we in The League of the South bid you to rethink your position and join with us. From the start, we have been staunch defenders of the whole measure of independence. God willing, we shall so remain.

Every man must choose for himself the path he will tread. It is human nature to seek out the easy way. That is what our enemies count on us to do. The familiar course is comfortable and reassuring and is lined with every sort of physical, emotional, and spiritual allurement. But in the end it leads to Hell. Conversely, the path that begins dark, dreary, and foreboding leads ultimately, as Scripture tells us, to the light. Those who have trod this way have often suffered mightily (examine the tribulations of Jefferson Davis, not to mention the ultimate example of our Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus), and in their suffering they have found redemption for themselves, their people, and their civilization. Walking the hard, ominous path is called duty. No one who performs his duty ever really loses. Perhaps he is seen as a loser according to the world’s standards, but not according to the perfect standards of Providence.

We do not live in the past, but the past lives in us. By all worldly accounts, our Confederate ancestors lost. Their efforts to establish an independent South did not bear fruit from 1861-65. But the ebb and flow of future events are unknown to mortal man. The seeds sown by those noble souls some 140 years ago, watered by their blood, sweat, and tears, and superintended by the unmovable hand of Providence may yet spring to life in our own day.

If those men and women of the Confederacy were right in their day, then we who seek independence for the South are right in ours. Let us do our duty in all things, great and small, in the sure hope that the God of our fathers will indeed vindicate a just cause.

May God answer the prayer of the humble Lee when he asked that the South be granted a name and place among the nations of the earth. Southern independence now!

Deo Vindice. Resurgam.

Michael Hill
Killen, Alabama
9 February 2010

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The battle to save Colonel Reb at Ole Miss continues

The officials of the University of Mississippi have set Tuesday Feb 23 as a date for an election to vote on a new Ole Miss mascot. The election will let students decide if they wish to have a new mascot, or no mascot at all. The option of bringing back the old traditional mascot of Colonel Reb of the past, is not an option. The University of Mississippi will not revisit the 2003 decision to remove Colonel Reb. The University Administration has decided that Colonel Reb causes perceptions of the Old South, an image of which the administration wishes to distance itself. In 2003, the University Administration made a command decision to ban Colonel Reb, but no replacement has been decided on. The election is forcing students to choose between a new mascot or no mascot at all. The students are denied their true voice.

A movement to bring back Colonel Reb has begun. Join the movement, contact the Ole Miss Alumin Association and the University and tell them we want Colonel Reb to return and be the mascot of Ole Miss.

Detailed information about this situation and contact information at Ole Miss can be found HERE

Please vote in the poll at the web site.

Please forward to others, and help us bring back Colonel Reb to Ole Miss.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Black History Month & "Civil War Memory"

The 32 Part Series
by Bill Vallante
Georgia Heritage Council
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