Clay County Progress, Hayesville, North Carolina - News for Subscribers
Atlanta History Center Acquires Important United States Colored Troops Flag
  • The Atlanta History Center acquired the regimental flag of the 127th United States Colored Troops (USCT), a rare and important Civil War artifact, at auction on Thursday. One of fewer than 25 known examples carried by African American regiments during the war, the flag helps the Atlanta History Center expand its narrative about African American service during the Civil War. The purchase price was $196,800. Credit/Morphy Auctions

The Atlanta History Center announced today its acquisition of a rare artifact key to the story of the Civil War, the regimental flag of the 127th United States Colored Troops (USCT). The flag is one of fewer than 25 known examples carried by African American regiments during the war.

Given the History Center's ongoing mission of increasing inclusivity, the organization's leadership viewed the chance to acquire the flag of an African American regiment as an important opportunity to expand its narrative about the often-forgotten service of the USCT during the Civil War. The History Center rarely makes major purchases for its collections, which have grown organically over nine decades mainly through donations of artifacts. However, on Thursday, June 13, 2019, the History Center purchased the flag for $196,800 ($160,000hammer price, plus buyer's premium), the most money the History Center has ever paid for a single artifact.

"We want to tell the entire story of the Civil War and how it impacts our country," Atlanta History Center President and CEO Sheffield Hale said. "This flag is worth it in exhibit value alone. It's one of those things that doesn't need words to tell you what it is and what it represents." 

Measuring 72 by 55 inches, the silk banner depicts a black soldier carrying a rifle and bidding farewell to Columbia, the mythical goddess of liberty. A motto above the soldier reads "WE WILL PROVE OURSELVES MEN." On the flag's reverse side an American bald eagle bears a ribbon with the nation's motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM" -- or, "Out of many, one."

This is the only surviving example of 11 flags painted with similarly inspiring scenes by African American artist David Bustill Bowser (1820-1890). Bowser was a noted Philadelphia sign-painter, portraitist, and anti-slavery activist noted for his portraits of John Brown and President Abraham Lincoln.

For many years the 127th U.S.C.T. flag was housed at the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library in Philadelphia. Because much of the silk had deteriorated, the flag was carefully restored and framed. Nearly all other USCT flags are in institutional collections: The closest USCT flag to Atlanta is on display at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore; others are located in New York, Connecticut, Ohio, and Kansas.

The Atlanta History Center is home to one of the most comprehensive Civil War collections in the nation, including the Beverly M. DuBose Family Collection and the George W. Wray Collection. These collections encompass the entire national conflict, not just Atlanta. The Atlanta History Center is also home to the 9,200-square-foot signature exhibition Turning Point: The American Civil War. In February 2019, the History Center opened a new exhibition around The Battle of Atlanta cyclorama painting. Purchasing the flag of the 127th U.S.C.T. represents the Center's continuing and concerted effort to expand its Civil War collections, including artifacts representing the United States Colored Troops. 

Objects specifically identified with soldiers or regiments of the United States Colored Troops are extraordinarily scarce.  Atlanta History Center Military Historian and Curator Gordon Jones called this flag the definition of rare. "It's an iconic knock-your-socks-off artifact," Jones said. "Even an enlisted man's USCT uniform wouldn't be as historically significant as this flag."

Black soldiers in the U.S. Army were issued the same uniforms and equipment as white soldiers, making collecting to interpret the USCT story a significant challenge. "So unless a soldier put his name on a piece of gear or it came down through the family, we will never know who used it," Jones noted. 

Among at least 11,000 Civil War objects in the Center's collections are a dozen objects identified specifically with African American soldiers or regiments. These include a brass drum belonging to a drummer boy of the all-black 55th Massachusetts Regiment, a knapsack used at the Battle of Olustee, Florida, by a soldier in the 8th USCT, and a recently acquired canteen bearing the stenciled mark of the 15th U.S.C.T., which guarded railroad lines in Tennessee during the 1864 Atlanta Campaign. 

At least 180,000 African Americans served in the United States Colored Troops, a special branch of the U.S. Army formed after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Though these were segregated units commanded by white officers, the USCT represented a revolutionary shift from slavery to freedom and beyond. It is thought that three-fourths of the soldiers were formerly enslaved men.

The 127th USCT Regiment formed at Camp William Penn near Philadelphia in 1864. Many of its soldiers were volunteers, others were drafted. It is unknown how many were previously enslaved. The 127th served during the U.S. siege of Petersburg, Virginia and was present at AppomattoxCourthouse when the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia surrendered in April 1865. Afterwards the regiment was ordered to occupation duty in Texas.  

The Atlanta History Center allocated special acquisition funds for the purchase of the 127th USCT flag from Morphy Auctions in Pennsylvania, and plans to display the banner as soon as possible. 

NEWS PROVIDED BY: Atlanta History Center
Father’s Day: My dad, my mentor, my friend
  • Clifton Penland Jr., left, made a strong impression son Scotty Penland who turned out to longest serving superintendent of schools. “If you’re digging a ditch, dig the straightest dig,” remembers Scotty.


 Father’s Day: a special recognition for fathers was first brought about by Sonora Smart Dodd, born in 1882 in Washington State, after hearing a mother’s days sermon at church.

Dodd wanted to honor her own father, William Jackson Smart, who raised her and her five siblings after their mother died in childbirth in 1898. Thus, followed the first Father’s Day celebrated in Washington state in 1910. The story of the Father’s Day celebration hit the papers and went nationwide but was slow at becoming a regular tradition. Dodd spent the next 62 years trying to gain support needed to have Father’s Day recognized as a national holiday.

In 1966 Lyndon B. Johnson set the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day through an executive order, but it wasn’t until 1972, Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday when Nixon was President. Dodd, who died at 96 years old in 1978 had accomplished her goal thus honoring her own father and leading a tradition of paying respect of fathers everywhere.

Father’s Day celebrations are diverse. There’s everything from spending time together, a family dinner, little handprints plastered on construction paper hanging with magnets on the refrigerator door, on down to the No. 1 most popular gift, according to statistics — the dreaded necktie. 

No matter how you choose to celebrate Father’s Day this year may your day be full of memories you make with your dad or memories you carry only in your heart. Here’s how two of our residents feel about their fathers, the late Clifton Penland Jr. and Randy Canup.

Douglas Scott Penland

Two things come to my mind when I think of my dad: Hard work and a kind heart. He exemplified both.

My dad, Clifton Penland Jr. gave me the necessary tools to be successful in life. He certainly taught me the value of hard work and dependability. I don’t think he ever missed a day of work in more than 50 years. He worked 14-16 hours per day, 365 days per year. He taught me to be frugal. He bought one new car in his life at age 20 and never owned a new one again.

He always stressed doing the best job you can at whatever you were attempting. He always said, “If you’re digging a ditch, dig the straightest ditch you can dig.” He always tried to portray a rough and tough image, when in reality he was kind. He seldom turned anyone away that needed credit, even if he knew he would never receive payment.

There is a great song by Josh Groban titled “You Raise Me Up.” These lyrics are how I think of my dad:

You raise me up to stand on mountains.

You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.

You raise me up to be more than I can be.

He definitely raised me up to be more than I could be.

Whitney Jane Canup 

My daddy, Randy Canup, is special for so many reasons. He’s always stood by me no matter what. Even when I’ve literally been at rock bottom, he’s always been there. He has shown me love, caring and guidance, always wanting me to be a better person.

Daddy is the best “Poppy” to my kids, loving them and playing outside with them. He has been a positive influence in their lives.

My daddy loves my mama with all his heart and has shown me how a man is supposed to treat his wife. He is a hard worker, showing me that hard work pays off and most importantly to always be able to take care of myself and my children.

He is special because my daddy helped me become the woman I am today and I’m so thankful God chose him to be my daddy.

Happy Father’s Day daddy, the boys and I love you to infinity and beyond.

By Deby Jo Ferguson: Staff Writer
Concert on the square Friday night

Don't miss the inspiring rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” performed a cappella by Rebel Union as they open the ...

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Restoration Celebration showcases facelift

Clay County’s Old Jail is being restored for 2019 and last year saw Clay County’s Historic Courthouse brought back to ...

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Town of Hayesville talks grants, budget

Two public hearings preceded the Hayesville Town Council meeting Monday, June 10. First, a 5 p.m. hearing closed out the ...

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Chatuge pool needs repairs

Swimming to beat the summertime heat is a fun pastime for many kids, especially during the long days of summer ...

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Community gives input for superintendent
  • Parent Jackie Gottleib expresses her expectations for the next selected superintendent. Ashley Kairis • Clay County Progress

On Tuesday, June 4, two consultant firm representatives hosted a meeting with the public to compile a list of desired qualities to seek out in the search for Clay County’s next superintendent. Interim superintendent Scotty Penland made a brief appearance at the start of the meeting to speak with the handful of attendees and introduce the consultants. 

“It’s been a long, tough year and I’m just wanting to help direct the board in the right direction by hiring a consulting group. It’s their job to gather information and sit with the board to look at characteristics they want to put on the application. Then they will go out and actively seek people who meet that criteria and who will fit in a small community,” said Penland. 

Both retired superintendents themselves, Ron Melchiorre and Dr. Eddie West of the Masonboro Group took the meeting on from there, explaining the process a bit further. 

“We’re here to listen to you. You tell us what you think and what you want in a superintendent and we try to find the best match. Our group’s interdisciplinary team screens our superintendent candidates very carefully by their academic and certification achievements, an extensive social media search, background checks, credit check, criminal background check and reference checks,” said West. 

Speaking on his behalf and Melchiorre’s, West said, “We have both served as superintendents in small districts, so we understand the dynamics of small communities.” 

The two men met in a group setting the morning of June 4 with 85 of the school system’s 112 teachers. According to West, everyone seemed to be “on the same page” in those discussions. 

Giving the rundown on next steps, West said the Masonboro Group will be summarizing and compiling the input they received from school staff, teachers, parents and the public and providing an update to the Clay County Board of Education during their Monday, June 17 meeting. This update will give the recommended criteria for the board to use in the application for the next superintendent. 

According to West, the board can then add to that list or delete from it before dispersing the application. The job application will then go online through the Masonboro Group’s website and the school’s website before being also sent to the N.C. School Board Association, the N.C. Association of School Administrators and all the universities in the state that produce superintendents. 

Candidates are usually narrowed down to six, according to West, and the school board would interview those six before consolidating down to a final two or potentially three and from those, one person would be selected with the hopes of a long-term and promising superintendency. Various parents and community members including a prior Clay County principal took the floor for about 30 minutes, expressing their hopes for the next superintendent. Compiling their feedback into a list and presenting it at the end of the meeting, Melchiorre shared the following 11 characteristics: 

• Someone who does not over administrate principals and delegate duties, hands-on but allows people to succeed. 

• Knows the curricula and instruction parts of the system. 

• Will move forward by holding onto traditional cultures. 

• Must get to know community, staff and students before setting high bars and goals. 

• Able to do conflict resolution and team building while holding staff and students accountable while these changes occur. 

• Will need support from school board. 

• Should be the decision maker, using the processes of listening and someone who can talk calculated risks. 

• Board should remain out of the day to day operations. 

• Excellent communication skills between board, staff and parents. 

• Have hopes to continue positive things, but also be able to address things head-on. 

• Must be able to earn respect of staff and parents by giving respect. 

According to West, when all is said and done and there is a newly appointed superintendent for the county, the Masonboro Group intends to stick with the board and the candidate for 3-6 months at no charge to ensure a healthy transition and give any needed advice. 

By Ashley Kairis: Staff writer
Investigators not backing down

Since the May 31 discovery of 17-year-old Jordan Garcia’s body, Clay County investigators have clocked more than 500 hours into piecing ...

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NASA Invests in Tech Concepts Aimed at Exploring Lunar Craters, Mining Asteroids

Robotically surveying lunar craters in record time and mining resources in space could help NASA establish a sustained human presence at the Moon – part of the agency's broader Moon to Mars exploration approach. Two mission concepts to explore these capabilities have been selected as the first-ever Phase III studies within the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.

"We are pursuing new technologies across our development portfolio that could help make deep space exploration more Earth-independent by utilizing resources on the Moon and beyond," said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. "These NIAC Phase III selections are a component of that forward-looking research and we hope new insights will help us achieve more firsts in space."

The Phase III proposals outline an aerospace architecture, including a mission concept, that is innovative and could change what's possible in space. Each selection will receive as much as $2 million. Over the course of two years, researchers will refine the concept design and explore aspects of implementing the new technology. The inaugural Phase III selections are:

Robotic Technologies Enabling the Exploration of Lunar Pits 
William Whittaker, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh 
This mission concept, called Skylight, proposes technologies to rapidly survey and model lunar craters. This mission would use high-resolution images to create 3D model of craters. The data would be used to determine whether a crater can be explored by human or robotic missions. The information could also be used to characterize ice on the Moon, a crucial capability for the sustained surface operations of NASA's Artemis program. On Earth, the technology could be used to autonomously monitor mines and quarries.

Mini Bee Prototype to Demonstrate the Apis Mission Architecture and Optical Mining Technology  
Joel Sercel, TransAstra Corporation, Lake View Terrace, California  
This flight demonstration mission concept proposes a method of asteroid resource harvesting called optical mining. Optical mining is an approach for excavating an asteroid and extracting water and other volatiles into an inflatable bag. Called Mini Bee, the mission concept aims to prove optical mining, in conjunction with other innovative spacecraft systems, can be used to obtain propellant in space. The proposed architecture includes resource prospecting, extraction and delivery.

NASA selected the Phase III proposals through a review process that evaluated innovativeness and technical viability of the proposed projects. All projects still are in the early stages of development, but this final phase is designed to mature technologies so they can be transitioned to government and industry for implementation.

"This is the first year NASA offered a NIAC Phase III opportunity, and there were many strong proposals," said Jason Derleth, NIAC program executive. "We selected two proposals because we think both of the technologies could positively impact the industry. We are excited that these technology concepts could help humanity explore space in new ways."

The NIAC program supports visionary research ideas through multiple progressive phases of study. While NIAC will award two 2019 Phase III studies, the program expects to award one Phase III per year in subsequent years.

NIAC partners with forward-thinking scientists, engineers and citizen inventors from across the nation to help maintain America's leadership in air and space. NIAC is funded by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for developing the cross-cutting, pioneering new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon within five years, NASA's lunar exploration plans are based on a two-phase approach: the first is focused on speed – landing on the Moon by 2024 – while the second will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028. We then will use what we learn on the Moon to prepare to send astronauts to Mars.

National Humane Society Celebrates "Spay or Neuter Your Pet Month" with a Porsche 911 and Tesla Raffle

As part of "Spay or Neuter your Pet Month," the National Humane Society is excited to announce a Dream Car Raffle, with prizes including a 2020 Porsche 911, a New Tesla S and the New Mid-engine 2020 Corvette. The drawing date is June 14, 2019.

This is an opportunity to help countless pets across America. Compassion will help make a difference for animals in need that benefit from lifesaving care and love provided. Support will help give them the second chance they deserve. 

By preventing overpopulation and surrenders, it will ensure that animals never need to enter a shelter.  The National Humane Society provides spay and neuter programs and free veterinarian care; we also do trap and release for feral cats. 

The goal is to end animal homelessness in America, imagine where every animal has a safe and loving home.

NEWS PROVIDED BY: National Humane Society
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