Saturday, November 19, 2011

The stars fell on

I've never understood the Alabama license tag slogan. Is it something about a UFO sighting? This has nothing to do with those folks anyway.

I have been looking for a book written by W. T. Cash because I heard he included information about my Green family history. I think I first heard of it from one of my great aunts or maybe my father.

William Thomas Cash (1878-1951) grew up in Taylor County Florida and after working as a school teacher and then a short political career moved to Tallahassee, Florida where he got a job as the first State Librarian of Florida. When my wife worked at the State Library in 1981 she had a coworker, Dorothy Dodd, who had known and worked with him. Somewhere along the way I heard he had written about my family and so I have looked for his book for almost 30 years now.

The problem is that W. T. Cash was a prolific writer. He undoubtedly was the first blogger of Florida. He regularly wrote for several newspapers and also wrote many articles in the Florida Historical Quarterly. There are hundreds of his writings around. Many of his newspaper articles were short histories or remembrances of people he knew growing up. He also wrote several books, some in multiple volumes dealing with Florida history.

He was a childhood friend and contemporary of my grandfather, Millard Fillmore Green and later became close friends and a colleague of three of my grandfather's siblings who also worked as school teachers in Taylor County. One of them, Sylvester Green worked with Cash in Taylor County and later moved to Gainesville, Florida where he became a history professor at the University of Florida. Sylvester died in 1938 so I never knew anything about him until long after he was gone. I had been told that he researched the family history himself and was hoping he may have shared some of his findings with his friend W T Cash.

When my oldest daughter attended Florida State University I had her search the school library for W. T. Cash's books and I've bought a couple of them myself over the years when I found them available at used book stores. Unfortunately none of the books I could locate had any mention of my family.

Several months ago I received an email about a new book that put together many of his newspaper articles by the Taylor County Historical Society. I wrote to them and arranged to have a copy mailed to me.

The book does not have any comprehensive story of my family but does mention many of my relatives. It also tells of the stars falling in the late 1890s and a funny story about my grandfather.

In the article Cash called "The Old Time Religion" he said that he and Fillmore had been to the Bethpage community prayer meeting, to hear the circuit preacher in the 1890s.

He says as they were walking back to Fillmore's family home, "A meteor flashed across the sky making a dazzling light. Soon after we saw the light, there was a report like distant thunder and so far as we were concerned that ended that."

"On Friday night following there was a prayer meeting at a Mr. Jenkins' and during the testimony meeting following, a county Baptist preacher arose and testified that the Sunday night before he was overshadowed by a light so bright he could have read from his New Testament. In a low tone Fillmore remarked to me: "That d--d fool doesn't know that that was a star fell."

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