Saturday, March 27, 2010

Family Sketches - Part 2


Sprinkled throughout the 46 pages of "Family Sketches" are several items which reveal the most important beliefs of Thomas. Some of these are just side notes concerning cousins, but in a couple of spots he intentionally writes about ideas he hopes his descendants will embrace.

He felt that he was too old and weak to work, but he could still write, so this was a way he could contribute. He elaborates, giving one of the reasons for his effort: "I have long held, unwaveringly, that every member of the human family should be employed in doing something good and profitable".

His hard work and education served him well eventually, but when speaking of his young marriage while financially broke: "We enjoyed life to the full extent. Honest poverty coupled with hard labor is no disgrace. He that will frown upon you and forsake you because you are poor, is unworthy of your confidence".

Speaking of one very successful family, he says "we conclude that in constituting a family, great care should be taken in the choice of material, or there is great danger of building on the sand, the structure worthless and the builder dishonored".

When speaking of his long career as a County Surveyor: "During this time, my business made it necessary for me to visit the homes of, and associate with, all classes of people. I am proud of the great kindness shown me. I was at home when among the wealthiest, and made myself equally so when with the poorest."

Concerning his father's brother: "Uncle Joseph [Foster] was not prosperous. He loved to hunt and fish better than he loved to grub and plow."

Later he tells of living with his sister's family (Prucence, who was married to John E. Caperton). During this time he spent his "Saturdays usually squirrel hunting. I was a good squirreler, and Caperton had a good rifle".

I conclude from these two stories, that he believed in moderation in his recreational hobbies.

Five of his sons fought in the Civil War. Speaking of this service he said "I disdained the epithet of Rebel, but was for Southern rights. I was unwilling to bear the contempt and injustice heaped upon the Southern people. My sons were of proper age for soldiers. They volunteered. It was not in my heart to oppose. They went; my prayers went with them. Preferring an honorable death to an ignominious life."

His loyalty to the South was life-long. He was straightforward when telling of the family of his sister Prudence. Three of her sons were killed in the War. After sharing a few details, Thomas said "Here was a family of noble sons murdered while contending for their rights".

Thomas was very active in the protestant religion known as the "Cumberland Presbyterian Church". He complimented numerous relatives on their commitment to this church.

And in conclusion he says about his life "When I review my life and take into consideration my inconsistencies, I am ashamed of it. Now in old age my hope is in the atonement made by the Blessed Redeemer, and I heartily recommend the Christian religion to all who may read these sketches."

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