Saturday, July 9, 2011

"They came down HERE shooting at us and I was just protecting my homeland!"

Imagine my surprise last night when I received an email from cousin Dave Huskey - which is no surprise in itself - but rather the contents of which contained a quote from my great-great-grandpa, Bill Patterson. Dave's email contained a scanned copy of a letter written by Sue Tucker to Shirley Huskey, the latter of which is Dave's mother. Sue Tucker and Dave's father (the late James A. Huskey) were cousins, and both grandchildren of Callie Patterson Hickey, daughter of Bill Patterson (1832-1883).

In this letter, dated June 24, 2011, Sue writes about memories of growing up and various family members she recalls, such as Aunt Florence being in a nursing home, and at other times visiting Lije and Lishe, the twin sons of Bill. She also mentions Aunt Em, and Uncle Bunyan and his daughter Elaine Patterson Gibby.

Bill Patterson (1832-1883)
But then she gets to the part about Bill Patterson and some details about his personal life that I found very striking. Sue refers to Bill as "Granny's daddy". She writes:
Granny's daddy never had slaves (didn't believe in that, he was a lay minister)! Granny said he went out side to pray alone every morning while they got breakfast. But when asked why he fought for the South he replied that "they came down HERE shooting at us, and I was just protecting my homeland!"
I know that to have been the case for the majority of Confederate soldiers, but there are always exceptions to every rule and scenario. It is very striking to me to find that this was, in fact, his feeling as well.

It's also touching and inspiring that he would spend time praying every morning. I can imagine he would need to go outside for privacy, when you have 12 children. A meal time would be the one time they'd all be together, and you could go SOMEWHERE ELSE for some privacy.

The more I learn about "Billy" Patterson (as his step mother Sophia always called him), the more I am impressed with him. Family, Country, and God. I guess this quote confirms his mindset was like most others in those days... your state was your country. Georgia was Bill's "homeland".

(William Harden "Bill" Patterson lived his entire life in Union County, Georgia, near Blairsville, in the communities of Ivy Log and Lower Young Cane)

~ Wes Patterson