Saturday, November 26, 2022

Joseph Standing Memorial and Lookout Mountain and my great-grandfather

On our way up to Chattanooga, we stopped by the Joseph Standing Memorial near Varnell, Georgia. Joseph Standing was serving as a missionary in the Southern States Mission and was ultimately killed—lynch-style—by a mob in 1879.

Andrew, Reid, and I each read Mary Ella Engel's Praying With One Eye Open this past year. The title comes from a line in a threat/letter given to the missionaries, that they should pray with one eye open. And evidently—and unfortunately—the threat was...rather sincere.

So it was interesting to go see the memorial and imagining what the area might have looked like some 140 years ago.

The kids mostly had fun jumping over this little stream:

Phoebe, on the other hand, really liked this stone marker that was placed sometime in the 1950s, I believe:

Any time we tried taking her away from it, she'd fuss.

We eventually tore her away from it so we could head into Chattanooga for the rest of our adventure. 

Here's Grandpa, Rachel, and Josie standing around looking monochromatic before we left:

Our first stop in Chattanooga, was the big blue (Walnut Street) bridge. Our second stop was Lookout Mountain. 

Lookout Mountain became particularly interesting for me when my mom's cousin Lavon posted a picture taken of my great-grandpa Ed Hancock on his mission to...The Southern States. He began his mission in 1898, only nine years after Joseph Standing was murdered. And here he is (with several other missionaries serving in the area) standing on Umbrella Rock (which is on Lookout Mountain) on December 20, 1989. He's the short guy in the back row, fourth from the right, just about in the middle:

Of course, they don't allow you to climb on Umbrella Rock anymore. It's a little too precarious, a little too perilous, these days. But! We did find it!

A woman on the trail was kind enough to snap this picture of all of us together in front of Umbrella Rock (Grandpa had gone up ahead so he didn't make it into the picture):

My knowledge of the Civil War is sketchy, but I learned that Lookout Mountain was a stronghold for Confederate forces trying to protect Chattanooga (the gateway to the deep south) from being taken over by Union forces. Confederate soldiers figured the mountain would be on "their" side, but ultimately the Union thought the mountain was no big deal and took over Chattanooga anyway (and thank goodness).

The visitor's center focused entirely on the Civil War story, but I'm sure there's an older history for this mountain. Already people were living on it during the Civil War (it's a beautiful place, so I can see why). 

Wikipedia tells us: "The Chickamauga people, a branch of Cherokee Native Americans, lived in the Chattanooga area. The Chickamauga called the mountain Chat-a-nu-ga; hence the name of the city. Research suggests the mountain was inhabited, although no physical evidence has been found. On top of the mountain, the pattern of boulders suggest lanes or walls were once there."

Chattanooga means "rock rising to a point."

Josie wondered aloud what it meant, and I answered, "I have no idea" but then realize I did have an idea because I knew that Chattahoochee means something like "colourful rocks," so I knew Chattanooga had something to do with rocks. And it did! Look at that!

Anyway, the history at this park dealt largely with the Civil War, and that alone. 

Look at this sweet passed-around baby:

The kids were very excited to visit a national park so they could earn another Junior Ranger badge. Here are a few pictures from inside the museum...

Here's Phoebe being very interested in this hardtack being exhibited:

Here's Josie noting that we arrived on a very good day—November 25, the day the Cumberland Unit succeeded in taking control of the mountain...and with it Chattanooga:

Here's Alexander standing on one of the "six feet" reminders while going over his Junior Ranger booklet:

And now for a bunch of pictures outside...

Auntie Josie and Alexander:

Benjamin with a cannon:

Did you know the plural of cannon can be cannons or cannon? We didn't realize that until today when signs around the park (Chickamauga, technically, is where we noticed this) kept bothering us because they were using cannon as plural.

Here's Phoebe with a cannon as well (she loved it as much as she loved the JS marker at the Joseph Standing Memorial and screamed when Andrew took her away from it):

The view up here is phenomenal:

Truly, the Confederates had "good ground"; they simply weren't able to defend it (and no one is very few are sad about this). All I can think about on these hilly battlegrounds is "good ground" because Andrew and I watched some documentary film series about the Civil War that I can't even remember what it's called...

Nope. I looked it up. You'll never believe what it's called. Ready?

The Civil War

By Ken Burns.


So, anyway...we watched The Civil War and all through it the generals kept commenting on how good the ground was. 

"Good ground," they'd say. "Good ground."

Finally, I was like, "I know they're all, like, farmers still...maybe...but why are they so obsessed with the soil quality in the middle of a battle?! Like, there is a war on! And unless they plan on terrace farming, I don't think they're going to be very successful..."

And Andrew was like, "Huh?"

"Good ground!" I repeated gruffly, sounding just like a general. 

So then Andrew explained that they weren't talking about the soil quality. They were talking about their vantage point. A hill offers a lovely vantage point and, thus, makes for "good ground."

We can't visit a Civil War site without bringing up that story. And we live in the deep south so we happen upon Civil War sites quite frequently. 

But check out that vantage point! Good ground, indeed!

Oh, sweet Phoebe! She enjoyed a lovely vantage point from Daddy's shoulders for much of the day. Here she is bending over to give him a little kiss:

And here she is saying, "I want Mommy now!"

And here she is saying, "No, but for real!"

Phoebe couldn't get enough of rocks and trees on our little hike (which was fully paved, and more of a walk than a hike). Andrew graciously let her stroke nearly every single one along the trail. He also put her up a few places, which she enjoyed the point of screaming when taken off whatever rock and grunting, pointing, begging to be put back on.

Here she is balancing on a rock:

And here's Miriam balancing on a rock:

Their outfits are well-coordinated for this trip!

Here's Phoebe happily balancing on a little rock ledge:

You can see Andrew is close by waiting to catch her, should she lose her balance. And her she is gluing her back to the cliffside after he had the nerve to reach out to take her down. No, thanks, Dad!

She was even shaking her head no and saying, "MmmmMmmm," to him.

Avoiding eye contact...if she doesn't acknowledge he's there he has no power over her, right?

Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever seen her sit so still. Perhaps we need a chair like this for her, rather than a cozy high chair!

Let's's Zoë, Josie, me, and Alexander:

Here are the kids all together on a rock beside the observatory beside Umbrella Rock. 

It was, unfortunately, locked up due to structural concerns. You'd think they'd have plenty of funds to fix up their buildings, given the entrance fee ($10 per adult, which wouldn't bother me except that...this little museum/observatory was closed so we didn't even get the "full experience"; of course, we opted not to do the long hike as well...though I think we'll be back for that). Speaking of the fee, Andrew went ahead and paid for four adults (defined as 16 and older) because that's how many people of that definition we had in our party: me, Andrew, Josie, and Grandpa. 

We showed our ticket stub and then walked through the gate.

And then the ranger at the ticket window chased us down, calling out, "You said you paid for four but I see five!"

We looked around. Fifth adult. Oh! Rachel!

"She's only fifteen."

"Oh. Okay, then."

Her first time being mistaken for a full-grown adult!

I think that's what bothered me most about the fact that the observatory was closed, actually. They chased us down for more money (that we didn't owe them) but then full goods/services weren't even offered. So silly!

But really we don't mind supporting our National Parks, even beyond the taxes we pay, because we know the upkeep of these places can be costly and all the rangers who work there need to earn living wages. Considering we have a hopeful park ranger living under our roof, we're generally supportive of supporting National Parks.

Here's Josie with Zoë:

Here are a couple of views from the mountain:

The kids went up and down these stairs to the bottom of the cliff; the stairs were rather slick so we didn't feel like taking the baby down there. 

Not that we have a history of dropping babies while hiking or anything (technically only Andrew has this history and technically he only (1) fell off a little waterfall while hiking with Alexander in the backpack and (2) slipped while walking around a waterfall with Benjamin on his shoulders). We decided we wouldn't take our chances on the steep, slippery stairs with Phoebe.

Balance her on a tiny little rock ledge? Sure. Tackle the slippery stairs? Meh.

We did, however, let Phoebe crawl around the steps of the monument for a long time while the kids worked on their Junior Ranger badges. She loved those stairs. 

At one point she slipped/tripped and ended up smacking her forehead on the stair in front of her. She cried, of course, but when Andrew picked her up she started throwing a huge fit—screaming, writhing, just so mad! So he put her back down, and she settled her breath and kept on climbing. 

This is a picture I snapped just after Andrew set her back down, all red in the face from crying. She has a lovely little bruise on her forehead now, but is otherwise okay.

And here's Benjamin sitting on the steps of the memorial:

And here's a picture of a ladybug that for some reason I felt was interesting and important enough to take a picture of, but more about that later...

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