No. 1230



If you would like to expand your knowledge, especially in the area of the Civil War, I have a suggestion for you: buy and read a copy of Nancy Glenn Powell’s terrific book “Where Grass Grows High: And Slavers’ Hounds Don’t Howl”. I can promise this will do it, at least it did for me.
To begin, please allow me to pass along the “Author’s Note” at the beginning of the book. “This creative nonfiction novel is based on the life of Samuel Glenn, and contains family stories passed down through the years, as well as history surrounding the Civil War. Samuel was born November 6, 1810, in Franklin County, Georgia. Striving to avoid the effects of the anticipated war in the southeast, and keep his sons out of battle, he took his wife Catherine and 10 children to Arkansas in 1852. Most of the accounts were told to me by Roy Glenn, my dad, and to him by his dad, William Bart Glenn.” The author, then Nancy Glenn, was a very young girl when she heard most of these stories.
Before proceeding, I might add that the reason this book is so interesting, and even vital, is that it is real life as told by people who were actually there, and not some author or historian who read and did research to write a novel. The story begins with Samuel Glenn returning from Arkansas where he filed for a homestead near Greenbrier, a small community in the central part of the state. After a brief time, they have two Conestoga wagons loaded with essential items for survival and head out in a wagon train with a good number of other families who are making the same trip, headed for a new life in another state so far away.
To his credit, Samuel and three of his sons had been there several weeks before. When he returned home he left two sons in Arkansas to finish building a cabin and a corral for the livestock, so they could set up housekeeping when they arrived. While living in our modern times it is almost impossible to even think about how hard life was for these people. They had no modern conveniences, no cars or trucks, no form of communication, poorly trained doctors, no hospitals, no paved roads or any one of a thousand other things that we just take for granted. Samuel Glenn did have two things going for him: first, he was a blacksmith, a trade that was to be most useful in the coming days and years, and the fact that he was a devout Christian and reared his children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
While slavery is an ugly issue, and in many ways still divides our nation today, it is nothing like the life that slaves endured before the war that was to free them. On a return trip to Arkansas, Samuel witnessed a slave auction that made a lasting impression on him. It became very clear why slave owners did not want to give up “free” help that made life better for them. As I mentioned earlier, this is a terrific book, and you would be blessed if you could follow the Glenn family, their children who married and had families of their own, the war that came, the six sons who fought (losing one), and how they survived to make our nation better.
For me, a story at the end of the book captured the essence of a better day when Samuel came upon a former slave family with a broken wagon wheel. He took the four of them home with him, fixed the wheel, and then went to their homestead where he helped kill a wild hog that provided meat for the winter and also helped to build their cabin so they could start a new life. This was done all out of the goodness of his heart. He understood that we are indeed “Our Brother’s Keeper.” This book is available from
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)