Thursday, January 11, 2007

The last of the Blalocks?

Why so much writing about the Blalocks? I’ll tell you why. I spend a fair number of days working (volunteering) at the Avery County History Museum in Newland. The one thing that I get asked the most about is the Blalocks. People have heard of them, they’ve read about them, they’ve read Stevens’s book about them. Maybe someone is telling folks - "Michael’s at the museum today, go ask him about the Blalocks." Or, maybe people see me and say, "I bet he’s a Civil War buff" (I think I passed the "Buff" stage about twenty years ago!) Regardless, I spend a great deal of time talking about the Blalocks, explaining how to get to their graves, or refuting what is in Rebels in Blue.

We need to have a good book written about their lives. Unfortunately, it would not be as exciting as Steven’s Rebels in Blue. The only primary sources are found in Blalock’s pension record. His family and friends all claim that he was insane and almost an invalid (he received a pension for $72 a month at one time!). So, we have the words of an insane man. Is that good enough to base a book upon?

Oh, and - when an inspector for the pension board showed up to check on Keith Blalock, the "insane man" was not there. He was in Caldwell County trout fishing, by himself.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Call me late for the party- I just saw your blog posts. I just finished "Rebels in Blue." I am a Caldwell County native now living in Ashe County. I had read a book about Stoneman's Raid recently and that "Rebels in Blue" caught my eye based off their involvement in it.
I'm surprised that so many things be read or think we know about the war we don't really know, because they were exaggerations, or embellishments on the story. Be it Ken Burns (where most people get their knowledge) or some of the books out there. Thank you for putting this information out there. I will continue to search more and read on.