Sunday, March 24, 2013


151 years ago today, my great-great-great grandfather enlisted in the Civil War. He joined up with several of his family members, all of them fighting to preserve a way of life that was all they had ever known.

Jacob Perry Merrill (1838 - 1875) was one of seven children born to William Merrill and Susannah McDade. He was the youngest surviving son. The information that I have on his younger years isn't very clear. We do know that William Merrill and his older brother Jacob Merrill settled in the Leon area of Crenshaw County, Alabama in the late 1820's. In addition to owning many acres of farmland, William Merrill also opened a trading post near the Patsaliga River. While tension was high between Indians and settlers during this time, William and Jacob Merrill became known for their ability to peacefully trade with the local Indians.

Jacob married Elefare Parrish (daughter of Hamilton Parrish and Belinda Handley) in 1858. Church records from Good Hope Primitive Baptist Church indicate that both the Merrills and Parrishs attented Good Hope and it is quite possible this is where Jacob and Elefare met and became acquainted. Jacob and Elefare's first child, Susanna Melinda, was born in 1860 with the rumblings of the Civil War in the not-so-distant future. Although his father was a farmer and trader, Jacob was listed as a tailor on the 1860 federal census.

On March 24, 1862 Jacob Perry Merrill enlisted with the Alabama 37th Regiment of Volunteer Infantry. William John Merrill (brother), Benjamin Greenberry Merrill (cousin), Greenberry Benjamin Merrill (cousin), Henry Martin Merrill (cousin), Thomas Hezekiah Merrill (cousin), Thomas Lambden Merrill (cousin), and William Reid Merrill (cousin), joined on the same day and all of them served in Company C together. All but Benjamin Greenberry Merrill (son of Greenberry Benjamin) made it home from the war.

Through the United Daughters of the Confederacy application process I was able to learn quite a few details about Jacob's military service. The Alabama 37th fought at the Battle of Iuka and he was captured on September 19, 1862. He was paroled shortly thereafter.

Jacob fought again at the Siege of Vicksburg and was captured as part of the Confederate surrender on July 4, 1863. He was paroled five days later on July 9. Jacob's cousin Benjamin Greenberry Merrill was killed in action on June 12/14, 1863.

Jacob's final battle was the Battle of Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga. He was captured on November 25, 1863 and held until December 2, 1863 when he was transfered to Louisville, Kentucky. From Louisville he was sent to Rock Island Barracks in Illinois where he appeared on a POW roll in December 1863. His official confinement date is listed as December 5, 1863.

Not much is known about his time at Rock Island. He never regained his health after he returned back home and died 10 years later at the age of 36. He is buried in the Good Hope Primitive Baptist Church cemetery next to his wife Elefare. Four generations of his descendants are also buried in Good Hope.

Elefare married Daniel Hansome Gainey in 1880 and they had one son, Joseph Samuel Ganey. Joseph went from a teacher in Covington County, Alabama to the superintendent for the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind throughout the end of the Great Depression and through World War II. He also served as President of the American Association of Institutions for the Blind.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A quick glimpse at our new hobby

Brett and I (and Gomer!) have a new hobby and we spent the gorgeous weather yesterday enjoying it to the fullest!

We live near several National Forests and had never really taken the time to get out and enjoy them. We started looking for places to take Gomer on quick day trips and got hooked after our first one. Gomer is a trooper and LOVES going on adventures!

We spent most of yesterday in the Conecuh National Forest. I grew up going down to Blue Springs in the summer and had never taken Brett down there. It doesn't resemble the old swimming hole much at all anymore. The bank has eroded quite a bit over the past few years and they've had to build 2 retaining walls to keep the damage from continuing. Gomer was fascinated watching the fish swim in the clear water, though!

We followed the Conecuh Trail around to where the creek, Blue Springs, and the river meet up. I was fascinated at how different the water looked from each source. I wasn't so thrilled about crossing the bridge over the creek though. It was only 15 feet up, but it was extremely windy and the bridge wasn't so sturdy. I'm PETRIFIED of heights and I think Gomer takes after me in that regard. Brett got Gomer across and I sucked it up and followed. I wasn't too happy about it, though!

We stopped at had a quick picnic lunch at Open Pond on our way out. The shelter they have is extremely nice and overlooks the pond. It's a gorgeous view!

I grew up here and our place on the river is less than 3 miles away, but I had never gone to the actual waterfall that the town of River Falls is named after. I was planning on just stopping on the bridge and trying to grab a couple of quick pictures through the trees, but Brett suggested we actually trek back there. I'm glad we did. When the sunlight peeks through the trees and onto the waterfall, it's absolutely breathtaking! It's hard to imagine that such a beautiful sight has practically been in my backyard this whole time.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Poor Lucy!

Lucy (a.k.a. Lula Belle when she's particularly prissy) is the grand dame of our house. She was Brett's grandmother's favorite cat and she asked us to bring Lucy home when she passed away. Lucy has been with us ever since.

Lucy had a little accident when she was jumping off our bed the other day and ended up breaking the last bone in two of her toes. That's the same bone that holds her claws. Somehow (our vet is baffled by this, too!) when the bones broke it caused her claws to get bend inwards and lodged into and under her pads. The only option was for her to have surgery on that foot to dislodge the claws and completely remove those bones. The way the vet worded it was that removing those bones was essentially de-clawing her on those toes. 

Lucy was not a happy camper when Brett picked her up and brought her home last night. She was still groggy from the anesthesia and is NOT in love with the splint/bandage apparatus on her foot. Watching her limp/crawl/hop around just breaks my heart, but Dr. Toby's office said that it's normal for now. She seems to be feeling a little better this morning and has spent the last couple hours curled up between Brett and I on our bed. I keep putting off a trip to town because I don't want to wake her up and move her!

Thankfully, Dr. Toby said that she should be good as new in about three weeks. Despite her foot and being a little on the chunky side (she weighs a whopping 13.5 lbs!) she's in great health for her age. Don't tell her, but she's going on a diet once her foot is healed!

Monday, March 4, 2013

What we've been up to!

Once again I've done a poor job of keeping my blog updated. I had completely forgotten about it until I was reminded yesterday! Here's a quick recap of what's happened since Christmas.

January was a BUSY month around our house. We started the year off by taking the Camaro to the Hangover Nationals in Montgomery. Brett, Dad, and I had a great time hanging out with everyone again. I'm hoping we'll actually go to the track more than once this year.

The following week we actually saw a couple snow flurries in town! I was hoping it would snow for real and everything would shut down for a few days! No such luck, though. I think we got a grand total of 20 snow flurries before it stopped!

The end of the month brought 2 new additions. One at home and one at the barn. :)

February was a little less exciting. I started working out with a new personal trainer (who is amazing!) and I've lost 6 lbs and a couple inches. I'm pretty excited about that. We've also started taking our Boxer, Gomer, on quite a few adventures with us. He's turned out to be an awesome traveling buddy!

I finally turned in my United Daughters of the Confederacy application and heard back that it was approved on the state level! I should be getting my certificate in the mail in the next few weeks. I joined under the service of my great-great-grandfather, Jacob Perry Merrill. He enlisted with the Alabama 37th Regiment of Volunteer Infantry on March 24, 1862 in Leon, Alabama. He was captured three times during the Civil War (once at Iuka, once at Vicksburg, and once at Missionary Ridge) and was held as a POW at Rock Island Prison in Illinois. He was released as part of a prisoner exchange on March 20, 1865. He lived for another 10 years after the war and died at the age of 36.

March is looking like another busy month for us. Hopefully I'll do a better job of blogging about it all!