There is a picture in the History Museum of Ben F. Landrum, who was born near Calhoun in 1846. He remembered the old Fort Vienna back in the 1850’s when he played around the area. The Fort itself was under the ridge or hill running beside Hwy 256, on the other side of the bridge and before the locks. This Fort was not like they were out west in the John Wayne movies. The wood palisade was on the side of the Green River, to protect the early pioneers in the 1780s against Indian attacks from the river. The other part of the Fort was tunnels dug back into the hill about twenty feet, or more. The hill which became the roof was made of solid rock, and it was curved to protect three sides of the Fort. Ben Landrum remembered about 14 of these tunnels going into the hillside. It was also used during the Civil War and seemed to have been visible even around 1900 or after. There is a large stone marker by the side of Hwy 256, on the right after you go under the bridge, marking the location of the Fort. If you haven’t seen the marker, take the time to drive down and see it. Calhoun should be proud of its long history going back to the 1780’s! One of the main foods that the soldier had to eat was the infamous hardtack! What is hardtack, you ask? Hardtack is a cracker-like biscuit made of flour, salt, and water and was one of the most typical rations issued to soldiers because it was fairly nutritious and unlikely to spoil. If they had brown sugar, it could be added to make it taste better. It was tough and hard enough to withstand shipping for weeks in barrels to the soldiers. The men would call it “tooth breaker” because it was so tough. The soldiers usually had to break the hard biscuit with their rifle butt or a blow of the fist, then soften the pieces by soaking them in coffee or soup, or frying them in bacon grease. The crackers would often become infested with weevils or worms. One soldier claimed that “All the fresh meat we had came in the hard bread!”
When Robert E. Lee turned against the United States and joined the Confederacy, he was no longer an American. Stripped of his political rights, after the Civil War, Lee applied for a complete individual pardon in 1865. He signed an amnesty oath and submitted it in 1865. His right to vote was restored in 1868. But the amnesty oath had been pigeonholed, or stuck in a drawer somewhere, and therefore his citizenship was not restored. He died in 1870, two years later, from a stroke which resulted in pneumonia. For 110 years he was a man without a country. The confederacy had dissolved and his application for U.S. citizenship and the oath were lost.
On January 30, 1975, the Senate made a resolution to restore Lee’s U.S. citizenship. It went to the House and then to the President. On August 5, 1975 President Gerald Ford signed a resolution granting Robert E. Lee American citizenship. He signed the resolution at a ceremony at Arlington House, Arlington, Virginia, where the National Cemetery is located. It was formerly the family home of Lee. Among those in attendance were a dozen of Lee’s descendants, including Robert E. Lee V, a great-great-grandson of the Confederate general.
The Treasure House has a lot of children’s toys for them to play with during the snow days that are coming! They have a lot of glassware and even a mantel with heater attached! Stop by and visit to see all their new items! All money goes to the History Museum.