Yesterday, I had the chance to attend a family reunion from my mom’s side of the family. We all went back to Franklin Baptist Church which has been in existence for well over a hundred years in the little farming community that is named after my family.
We had a delicious meal after which we honored the oldest man in the family, Ausmus Betts. Several stood and told stories and said nice things about him. He is a very down-to-earth type of fellow, and was really touched by it.
After a while, as usually happens, some of the “old-timers” start telling tales about the early history of the family. One in particular came to light that I thought I would share with you.
During the Civil War or, as some of the older ones called it, “The War of Northern Aggression”, our family was living in the low country of South Carolina. Sherman had just finished razing Georgia in his infamous “March to the Sea” and decided to turn his attention to South Carolina. It was his intention to severely punish the state who had been the first to secede from the Union.
Aunt Pet, one of my ancestors, and her family lived in the area between Savannah and Charleston. Being poor farmers, they had very little, but Aunt Pet had a pet pig of which she was very fond. When they received word that Yankee foragers were approaching she told the children to go tie the pig to a tree in the swamp behind their house.
After a while, a platoon of Union soldiers came up to the house. Upon the sergeant’s orders, a couple of men went into the house to search for food. After a moment, the men came back and told their sergeants, “Sarge, there’s nothing here, these people are just as poor as we are. Let’s just leave them alone.”
Just as they were preparing to leave, something agitated the pig and he let out a loud squeal. The soldiers went into the swamp, found Aunt Pet’s pig, killed it and ate it.
During the family business meeting, we voted unanimously to continue the family grudge against the Yankees for another year.