A TRIBUTE TO COURAGE
There is more here then just a list of relatives who happen to be our ancestors. Herein lies a typical, subtle story of human drama and endeavor that helped shape our nation! It is a story of love, unselfishness, extreme hardships, loyalty and matchless courage.
Travel side by side with Frank Culp and Mary Ann Sowell Culp. Let your imagination experience with them their hopes, dreams, anxieties, frustrations and their tragedy.
Read about the battles of Chickamauga, East Tennessee, Nashville and the defense of Atlanta as experienced by Frank Culp's cavalry unit in Civil War history books; remembering all the while the deprivation of the soldiers and civilians alike. Troops without adequate food, no winter clothing, some without shoes and yet-persevering the the bitter end.
Travel home with Frank and greet his anxious wife and children who knew not his fate. Would would be the future be now that their old way of life has vanished? Imagine the discussions they had in regard to that future. Should they leave their home, family and friends and venture into (what was to them) the unknown and move to Texas where Mary Ann's sisters and family had gone. It would be a fresh start and they would not have to endure the harsh feelings and discrimination of those neighbors who were in sympathy with the Union.
So they move to Texas in their covered wagon, apparently with a wagon train of some sort. Their arrival date in Texas is unknown, but Frank does purchase 234 acres of land near Bastrop, Texas for $ 1500.00 dollars in December of 1869. A future at last!
Ten months later, Frank is dead! Two months after his death, his two year old son Andrew dies. What caused these deaths? Had Frank caught some insidious disease while serving in the Confederate Army, having been exposed to all forms of filth and disease that at times, was rampant in both armies? This is a distinct possibility.
Now comes the appalling scene of Mary Ann, left with six fatherless children to rear, ages 1 thru 10 and an undeveloped 234 acre farm to tend, not to mention provision of adequate food and living quarters.
How utterly devastating! What a distraught, lost feeling this poor lady endured. Words could not possibly describe her depths of despair and yet, she attempts carrying out her and Frank's dream of a new life for their children. What plan did this iron-willed little lady envision that would yield victory over over such overwhelming odds? Oh yes indeed, she planned on "licking" this situation for, according to her sister Elizebeth, she continued on her homestead for 3 more years until tuberculosis, complicated by pneumonia and then death intervened in 1873 and cheated her of victory. One wonders if this is the same thing that caused Frank's and little Andrew's deaths.
I wonder if my grandfather, Amos C. Culp (Frank and Mary Ann's son) was old enough at 7 years to be impressed by his mother's devotion and courage? His character was also tested when his wife died and left him with 7 children and whereby he demonstrated the same love, devotion and courage as did his mother.
Yes, there are many unanswered questions and on can only speculate at the whys and so forths. Yet, one fact remains in sharp focus and that is: that Frank and Mary Ann set a very high standard of character as an example for all of us to follow. Their character was tested by events not necessarily of their own making or choice! They passed that test with honor!
Unselfish love and loyalty was also demonstrated by Mary Ann's sister Elizebeth and Lurinda by rearing those orphaned children.
I'm sure that others who see the list of relatives will come to their own conclusions-I just felt compelled to write my version.
Sept. 16, 1986
Grandson of Amos C. Culp, Great Grandson of Frank and Mary Ann Culp