Monthly Archives: June 2017

Carnton Plantation, Franklin, Tennessee

Can you imagine what it would be like to have a massive army camped out on your front lawn? Now imagine another one in your back yard. This is the story of the Carnton Plantation home and the McGavock family who lived inside.

Carnton Plantation is located in beautiful Franklin, Tennessee. It is literally built in the middle of nowhere surrounded by sprawling fields. It was built in 1826 by former Nashville mayor Randal McGavock. Upon his death, his son John inherited the farm. John married Carrie Elizabeth Winder in 1848 and they had five children, three of whom died at very young ages. There were two small children living in the home at the time the battle began. There names were Hattie, who was 9, and Winder, who was 7.

The Confederate Army of Tennessee attacked the Federal Army at 4pm on November 30, 1864. What resulted was a massive frontal assault and one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. The majority of the combat occurred in the dark and within very close range. For that reason it’s believed that both sides killed some of their own soldiers just because it was so pitch black and they couldn’t see.

The battle lasted barely five hours. Casualties numbered 9,500 soldiers being killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate troops.

On November 30, 1864, Carnton became the largest temporary field hospital for tending the wounded and dying after the Battle of Franklin. The McGavocks opened their home to as many as 300 soldiers although it’s believed that at least 150 died the first night.

The upstairs bedrooms were used for surgeries and the floors of the restored house are still stained with the blood of the men who were treated there. Amputated arms and legs were tossed right out the window and lay in the yard in a heap. Hundreds of dead bodies were spread out all over the property.

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Carrie McGavock donated food, clothing and supplies to care for the wounded and dying. Witnesses said her dress was blood soaked at the bottom. The children witnessed the carnage and even helped provide some basic assistance to the surgeons.

On December 1st, 1864 the Union forces headed to Nashville leaving all the dead and wounded behind. It was then that the residents of Franklin were left with the daunting task of figuring out what to do with over 2,500 dead soldiers.

The McGavock’s designated approximately 2 acres of their land to be used as permanent graves for the soldiers. In 1865 many of the Union soldiers were moved to the Stones River National Cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.


Carrie oversaw the care and maintenance of the cemetery until her death in 1905. Her son Winder inherited the property but died just 2 years later. His widow moved out of the home and sold it in 1911 ending a century of family ownership. It passed through several hands and was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. W.D. Sugg in the 1950’s. The property fell into disrepair in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

In 1977 the Carnton Association was formed to raise money to buy, restore and maintain the mansion. In 1978 Dr. and Mrs. Sugg gave the house and ten acres to the Association. The Association acquired an additional 38 acres and began restoring the home and grounds. The restoration was completed in the 1990’s and today the home and property are open to the public. 









My son took me to this little hole in the wall place for some Pho a while back. Not sure how or why he went in there in the first place since it was so secluded and hidden.

I was kind of amazed to find this place packed and we even had to wait a few minutes for a table.

There were several choices on the menu but gazing around the room it was obvious why every one was there, and that was for the Pho.

I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with this gigantic bowl of soup when it arrived. My son advised me that I was supposed to put some of the things the waitress had put on the table in it for seasoning.

I watched what he did and tried to do the same as our tastes are fairly similar. Oh my! Mine didn’t come out anything like his at all!

Being the gentleman that he is he insisted that we trade. I felt bad but he ate it all so it couldn’t have been that bad.

Don’t think I’ll be going back for Pho any time soon but it was fun to try something new. More than that, it’s always a pleasure to spend an afternoon with my son.

The Meaning Behind Those Coins You See On Headstones

Have you ever gone to visit a loved one at the cemetery and noticed some graves have coins on them? Have you ever wondered what that means?

The tradition dates back to Greek Mythology where it was believed that Charon, the ferryman of Hades, required a coin as payment to ferry your loved ones soul across the River Styx that separates the living from the dead. Coins were placed in the mouths or over the eyes of the deceased. People who can’t pay the fee are said to be doomed to wander the shores of the river for 100 years.

The tradition of leaving coins on the headstones of military personnel only really became popular in the United States during the Vietnam War as a way of leaving messages for the families of the deceased without contacting them directly.  It was a way of letting the deceased soldier’s family know that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect, and a way of telling all who pass that the person buried there was loved.

Sometimes coins are left as a “down payment” for the deceased as a promise to buy them a drink in the afterlife.

The coin tradition goes as follows:

  •  a penny indicates that you knew the deceased
  • a nickel means you trained in boot camp together
  • a dime signifies serving in the same company
  • a quarter tells the family that you were with them when they died.

The featured picture was taken at McGavock Cemetery in Franklin Tennessee. The marker indicates that there are 230 soldiers buried in that area from Tennessee. The coins, in this case, are a symbol of remembrance and respect.

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