September 19, 2023 - #13 Millard Fillmore
The many one-term presidents between Jackson and Lincoln take the blame for the Civil War, as if they could have prevented it. This is not the case at all if you study their lives in this perspective. Born in 1800 from New York, Fillmore was mostly a self-taught man like most in those days. He was a Whig but did not always follow their paths. He made no statements against slavery through his early politics. This put him at odds with abolitionists and anti-slavery New Yorker's. (These factions started forming in the 1830s and were different from one another.) Fillmore believed the constitution gave this power only to the states (as it did) and there was nothing Congress could do with it.
Fillmore became president when Zachary Taylor died in office in 1850. This was while the Compromise of 1850 was still called the Omnibus Bill. Fillmore's first success was to kill the bill which allowed it to become individual compromises. After the Compromise of 1850 was signed into law, Fillmore was a supporter of it. His NY rivals,Thurlow Weed and William Seward did not, and this posed a war in NY state politics between them.
His most controversial act was following The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which strengthened the current law. Fillmore was hell bent on enforcing it. He even proposed a federal police force (if you will) to help Southerners find runaway slaves even if states did not want to assist. This put northerners in the camp of "state's rights activists" since re-captured slaves had no right of trial by jury. But this also paid large dividends to the South.
His wife Abigail would be with him in DC in which the first presidential library was made in the White House. They had a daughter and son. Abigail would die right after the election of 1852. She got sick after attending the Inauguration of Franklin Pierce.
Fillmore deserves great respect for his sacrifice to the good of the Union. While the U.S. was swamped in division, he worked tirelessly through his life to keep the Union together and his people united. He was not the typical power-hungry, old, white man. He would give up credit for anything if it meant harmony within the party and country. He wanted the Union remain strong. Sectional and decisive politics win votes, but not without a cost. Fillmore had more integrity in that area. In the end, the Compromise of 1850 and efforts by Thurlow Weed split the Whig party and formed the National Republican party. Fillmore believed the Republicans were too strong and pushing the South to war. He had a great understanding of people and their slowness to change. In that way, he was a statesman. Fillmore definitely slowed down the push to civil war. That's all you could hope for in those days.
September 3, 1993 - THROWBACK
I found this note I wrote back in third grade. What did Mrs. Lott think of this?
August 19, 2023 - Little D is Little Me
We call David “Little D.” But he sure looks like little me. Here is the airplane show last weekend. What boy does not want to fly an airplane?
August 16, 2023 - The Revolutionary
America is not only different or its founding, but also for a revolution that took place under law and order. Most revolutions transform to anarchy until a power fills the vacuum, such as the case of the French Revolution during the same time. It was Boston where the American Revolution started - more than 10 years before 1776. Samuel Adams is most responsible for both the revolution and its law and order. He organized the Committees of Correspondence to protest Stamp Act, Coercive Acts, etc. through the 1760s. He termed ‘The Boston Massacre’ after seven men were shot by General Gage's troops. He helped organize the Boston Tea Party, though details of his involvement are unknown. Samuel Adams, James Otis and John Hancock put the courage in the people to resist Governor Hutchison and King George III.
Adams truly covered his tracks and stayed low key, which is why we no detailed information from him. He had the intelligence to architect a revolution but not the vision to see the history made. John Adams was afraid all the history would go to the Virginians when James Otis had been calling for resistance in the 1760s. This new book by Stacy Shiff tells it all.
August 7, 2023 - St. Augustine
For six years I dug into people's lawns in Thomas County, GA to figure out turf issues. I learned a lot about St. Augustine, but most importantly that this grass is a high maintenance grass. The house we bought is one of the few in town with St. Augustine. I was not excited. Today, I do all the things to this lawn that I advised people to do in Thomasville. It is an aggravation to manage it, and it only looks this good in July and August.
My St. Augustine tips:
- Cut it high
- Water very deep and very infrequent
- No post-emergent herbicides
- Be ready for Brown Patch, Take-All Root Rot and Chinch Bugs
August 4, 2023 - 1st Day of 1st Grade
July 3, 2023 - Atlanta Airport
We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel by the airport for the first time. There were alot of planes to see. A thunderstorm came in that night. I could not help but think about the cockpit voice recorder of Delta Air Lines Flight 191 in August of 1985, “There's lightening in that one.”
June 19, 2023 - Bye Bye Douglas
The last family connection to Douglas has been severed with Momma and Daddy moving out of the house built in 1998. I stood in the same place on this day that the below photo of us cousins was taken the summer before we moved in. A lot of life happened during these 25 years; but nonetheless, we were spared serious loss and tradegy living in this house.
May 25, 2023
“History is what people are trying to hide from you, not trying to show you. You search for it in the same way you sift through landfill, for evidence of what people want to bury.” - Hillary Mantel
May 17, 2023 - Choices
May 14th, 2023 - David Turns 3 on Mother's Day
Here is a sweet mama with her sweet boys. One of them entered his third year on this day.
April 18, 1775 - “The Regulars Are Coming Out!”
The British trampling the rights of colonists started with the Stamp Act of 1765, passed by a legislation in Parliament in which the colonists were not represented. The Stamp Act came a long seven years of the French and Indian War, Great Britain amounted a large debt. They were reversed in 1766 but replaced with the Townshend Acts of 1767, which taxed glass, lead, paper and tea. Then the colonists started to boycott British goods (Importation). This lead to the Coercive Acts being reduced in 1770, except for the tax on tea. The Quartering Act of 1765 began to plague as British Troops moved into Boston and provoking citizens and soldiers. The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770. The Tea Act of 1773 lowered tax on British tea which followed with Samuel Adams (Sons of Liberty) organizing the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773. British response was the Coercive Acts of 1774 designed to shut down the Boston harbor. At the end of the year, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. At this point, war was inevitable. In April of 1775, the British were trying to destroy munitions in Concord. This is when the Boston Committee of Safety sent Paul Revere and William Dawes to alert the countryside and get Minute Men. The British were also after John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Paul and William went to this parsonage, built by Hancock's grandfather, to alert them.
April 5, 2023 - Pre - Emergent Herbicides in Pecan
On two very hot days, I wore this COVID-hazmat suit with a CO2 sprayer on my back set at 20psi, walking at 3.1mph applying 13.5 gallons of water per acre to apply 10 different pre-emergent herbicides, three replications each in a randomized plot design at the Vidalia Onion Research Center. Due to the increase in price of glyphosate and glusosinate, these easy-to-use, post-emergent herbicides now cost more money per acre than pre-emergent herbicides. In pecan, we are fortunate to have many herbicides with different modes of action. I am using our most common pre's and also looking at two newly labeled herbicides along with less popular but effective herbicides. We will have a field day later this year for growers to observe for themselves which ones they like.
These herbicides were mixed with 2 qts glyphosate + 24 oz glufosinate per acre.
Alion 5 oz
Alion 3.5 oz
Broadworks 6 oz
Brake On 43 oz
Centrus 5 oz
Centrus 3.5 oz
Chataeau 6 oz
Matrix + Prowl 4 oz / 3 qt
Pindar 2 pt / 3 qt
Simazine + Prowl 3 qt / 3 qt
March 21, 2023 - The West Coast Braves
6U baseball for 2023. Jonathan playing for the Oakland Athletics.
March 13, 2023 - #8 Martin Van Buren
“The Red Fox of Kinderhook” or “The Great Magician” was the first president to be born as a US citizen (1782), not in a British colony and our first ethnic president (Dutch). Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, New York. He was raised in a tavern and grew up listening to all the gossip and politics from the wave of speculators that came through. As a lawyer, he was influenced by the Jeffersonians. He rose to Congress and became a rival with DeWitt Clinton. He married Hannah Hoes which we know little about. She dies in 1819 and leaves VB with four boys.
Much of Van Buren's negative judgment comes from the Panic of 1837, which was out of his control. But what really caused it? This is where the established historians fail to judge based on human action (Ludwig Von Mises) and motive. Out of the Panic of 1819 came the Jacksonian movement - men like Jackson, Thomas Hart Benton, James K. Polk were all converted to hard money and 100-percent reserve banking. During the War of 1812, America fell into a one-party system in which the Democratic-Republicans adopted the Federalist program re-establishing the Bank of the US. This lead to Van Buren's greatest political accomplishment, the creation of the Democratic Party.
Van Buren was a political whiz with a great rapport to the South. A mastermind for organization, he took Jackson's tantrums and turned them into policy. Van Buren sought to impose order upon a very disorganized political system. He built alliances and emphasized the need for a disciplined platform. He organized the party's message. Once Jackson was elected in 1828, Van Buren became his Secretary of State. The banking crisis started right after Jackson denounced the Second Bank in his first annual message which brought the showdown between he and Nicholas Biddle (Bank's President). This was also pushed by Henry Clay in a effort to get the recharter sooner and bring Jackson down.
Jackson survives the showdown after vetoing the new bill and Congress failed to pass it over his veto. He then wins re-election in 1832. Van Buren became closer to Jackson through the Petty Coat Affair, as he treated Peggy Eaton with respect. The divided cabinet let Van Buren to become his VP. Jackson's popularity walks Van Buren into the president seat in 1836.
But nothing of his doing will reverse the worst economic downturn in the US to this date, the Panic of 1837. Mass unemployment, bankruptcies and starving families led everyone to blame the destruction of the Bank of the US and shifting government funds to the may “pet banks.” But when looking at insanely reckless inflation from the Bank, the conclusion to blame is much different. During the 1819 Depression, the Bank of the US increased its notes and deposits 5.9 % (1820 - 1823). The nation's total money supply remained about the same. Once Nicholas Biddle took over, the Bank's notes and deposits rose from $12 million to $42.1 million, 27%. As a consequence of this, the total money supply rose at an annual increase of 10.2 %. The Bank of the US under Biddle was clearly on the inflationary.
What about the wholesale price rise of 52% from 1834 to 1837? It turns out, the wholesale prices rose before this as well, 20% from 1830 - 1833. The reason the price rose is because the money supply rose from $109 million to $159 million in the same years, 46%. Insane! Both price and money inflation was all spurred by the Bank of the US, still in operation. What about after 1833?
Same nonsense. The total money supply rose from 21% per year from 1834 - 1837, $150 million to $267 million.
This was not caused by liberated state banks. If state banks used their freedom to pyramid on top of specie, their pyramid ration would have risen risen or conversley, their reserve ratio of specie to notes and deposits would have fallen. Their reserve raio was 0.16 in 1837 meaning they did no more pyramiding following the demise of the Bank than they had done before. This adsolves the Jackson administration from blame of the 1833 - 37 inflation.
This is the power of the central bank that is so dangerous to the freedom and standard of living of its people. Biddle threatened to suspend specie payments, contract the loans if Jackson vetoed the bank. Van Buren called a special session of Congress where he proposed an independent treasury where all government money would be deposited and be out of the banks, unable to create easy credit, speculation and inflated land prices. The Senate passed it, but the House did not thanks to a group of ‘soft money’ Democrats led by Nathan Tallmage of NY and William Rives of VA.
March 1, 2023 - Prophecy of Tyranny under Big Government
“I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people or the tyranny of the rulers. I imagine sir, you will find the balance on the side of tyranny.”
- Patrick Henry at the Constitutional Convention in response to George Washington's claim that anarchy will ensue without the Constitution
February 22, 2023 - #6 John Quincy Adams
It is fitting to write this review on the anniversary of his death. I admit that I did not think I would like John Quincy Adams. He was the last of the Colonial Elite presidents, and the first son of John and Abagail Adams. He learned much from his father since he traveled with John to France during the Revolution at the age of 12. When John became sick with fever, John Quincy went by himself to Russia. This helped him become one of our greatest diplomats.
Though he was considered a Federalist, he was extremely independent minded. And he was that almost to a fault. Politically, his greatest downfall was that he did not campaign for himself. Adams believed that if a person was good enough for the job, then the voters should vote for them. There were no organized campaigns during this time regardless. But Louise did more to campaign for Adams that he did for himself.
As secretary of state under Monroe, I respect Adams for many of his positions which were contrary to most Federalists. Adams supported Monroe when he decided to send Andrew Jackson to Florida to fight Seminoles and runaway slaves that were killing Americans in Georgia. Adams wrote the response that Monroe delivered to Congress, which explained the treaty that we had with Spain. And that treaty would not allow anyone in their area to attack Americans outside of that area. That position was not popular where Adams came from.
His main issue was being ahead of his time, promoting internal improvements when American way of life remained small and simple. When he talked of Rome and quoted philosophers, he was over the head of the American public, and did not connect. Andrew Jackson made a mockery of Adams talk of concern for outter space when debtor prisons were full of people who were not criminals. Not to mention the “corrupt bargain” that Adams and Henry Clay created to steal the 1824 election from Andrew Jackson. Ultimately, the 1828 Tariff of abominations hurt Adams the most for reelection.
He was able to accomplish more outside of the presidency, however. After being elected to the House of Representatives, he brought in discussion against slavery. He helped the abolitionists position themselves as people for human rights as opposed to secessionists. This is where Southerners issued the Gag Rule, used against John Quincy. He gained support after being reelected into Congress. He continued to fight back and the Gag Rule taken out. As a member of Congress, Adams passed away during session on February 22, 1848.
No one outside of the Revolution served their country more than John Quincy Adams. There was great technology and advancement that happened during his service. Steamboats and also photograph, called daguerreotype. John Quincy Adams was the first president to be photographed. The picture below was believed to be taken in 1842. (His first photo was actually lost.)
January 1, 2023 - #5 James Monroe
My favorite of the first six presidents is probably not your first guess. He is the 4th of the Virginia Dynasty and 3rd of the Jefferson Dynasty, which I favor. I like James Monroe (1757 - 1831) because of the elite presidents, he was closest to the common man.
As a student at William and Mary, he protested against Virginia Governor, Lord Dunmore as he attempted to take the gun powder. Monroe marched a with the Don’t Tread on Me flag. He then fought in the Revolutionary War and was in the Battle of Trenton. At Trenton, Monroe was shot in the shoulder and bleeding on the street. A medic (if that is what they were called) saved his life, stopping his bleeding. He also survived Valley Forge.
He was a congressman, senator, governor of Virginia, US minister to France and Great Britain, secretary of state and secretary of war before becoming president. He and Robert Livingtson purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon (who basically stole it from Spain) in 1803.
Monroe served as Secretary of State under James Madison. The War of 1812 began as a disaster but ended well because of men like William Henry Harrison (Indiana Territory), Andrew Jackson (New Orleans), Oliver Hazard Perry (Lake Erie) and James Monroe (Washington D.C.). The British burned DC after the Secretary of War said the they would not attack DC. Monroe took over as Secretary of War while James and Dolley Madison fled the president's house (not yet called The White House).
Monroe's respect for Washington led him to emulate his administration after Washington’s. He must have loved Washington since Washington allowed Monroe to be blamed for the failure of the Jay Treaty. Unlike Washington, Monroe never put down a rebellion or take any sides with any Federalists. On the contrary, Monroe was the first president since Washington to travel the country in a political effort to see the people. As a matter of fact, Monroe would have been unanimously elected president, just as Washington was, if it was not for an elector who voted against him for the very reason that ‘only Washington deserved the unanimous vote.’
My favorite part of Monroe's presidency was something less known. During his time, Spanish controlled Florida. Rebel slaves and Seminole Indians would come into Georgia and attack and kill settlers. Monroe ordered Andrew Jackson into Florida to put a stop to this. Technically, Monroe needed congressional approval. He did not do this which made adversaries angry. Brilliantly, Monroe and Secretary of State John Quincy Adams decided that since Spain was under Treaty to protect the US from Indians and runaway slaves, they were not upholding their treaty and therefore, no declaration of war was necessary. Andrew Jackson took care of business and increased his hero status. It was John Quincy who wrote Monroe's (state of the union) address to congress in which he told the story of a family that Sequoia's men murdered by grabbing the feet of their toddlers and banging their heads into the side of their boat.
It was also John Quincy who authored the “Monroe Doctrine”. The US became prosperous under Monroe and greatly expanded its territory. And Monroe died owning almost nothing, living in his sisters home in New York after he sold his home and plantation to pay his debts that the U. S. owed him. He was mentored by every president before him. Only John Quincy Adams would have been more qualified to be president.
February 2, 2023 - Pecan Planting Homecoming
Behind the Coffee High Marching Band field, which Andrew was member from 2000 - 2003, new pecan trees were planted. Coffee County Young Farmer's Teacher, Spencer Highsmith, organized the planting of new low-input pecan varieties and coordinated a pecan planting clinic taught by Andrew. Coffee High students helped plant trees followed by this crew below, which turned into a homecoming from Andrew and his 4-H Agent, Kevin Tatum. The practice field is in the background with the tower in the middle. Both Andrew and Kevin played in the Coffee High Marching Band and also the UGA Redcoat Band.
From L - R: Andrew Sawyer, Kevin Tatum (Former Coffee Co 4-H Agent), Ashley Smith (Coffee Co ANR Agent), Spencer Highsmith (Coffee Co Young Farmer's Teacher) and Madison Britt (Coffee Co 4-H Agent).
February 2023 - Geraldine Thompson
The month of February is Heart Month. We celebrate the medical breakthroughs that give life to people born with the world's number one birth defect and most of the world's number one cause of death, heart disease. This month presents ‘love’ with a different meaning. For those born with heart defects, living a short life was your prognosis until around the 1980s. Many pioneer and renegade surgeons across the U.S. worked on the edge of the great medical slogan - ‘first, do no harm’ - to accomplish this great feat.
To Mr. Dan Thompson, of Texas, the cost was more than a child. It all started when eight-year-old Leslie Thompson was diagnosed with a VSD (ventricle septal defect, a hole between the bottom two chambers of the heart). The family visited doctors around the U.S. who only promised an early death. Until she met Dr. Walt Lillehi at University Hospital in Minneapolis. Up until this time, Dr. Lillehi had success with a very dangerous method for operating on complex heart issues called cross-circulation. At this time, no heart-lung machine existed. Dr. Lillehi would cross circulate the blood of his patient with a donor - usually a parent. Knowing their daughter's prognosis, the Thompsons felt this to be Leslie's only chance. Mrs. Geraldine agreed to be the donor for her daughter on October 5, 1954.
Before the surgery began, a terrible mistake occurred. An anesthesiologist overseeing operating rooms dropped by and saw an empty IV bottle. He mistaken it for being full and squeezed it. Air, not solution, was released into the line going into Geraldine's brain. The operation was stopped. Geraldine left the operating room in a coma, and it was clear that she would never be the same again. She dragged her left foot while walking, clinched strongly in her right hand, had terrible hallucinations. Ultimately her mind remained in 1954.
Mr. Dan was told by Dr. Lillehi he must sue to take care of Geraldine. The court case began in 1958 in which the jury found clear Geraldine was not normal. The hospital offered to settle, but Dan hoped for a sympathetic jury. After a deadlock, the jury declared a mistrial. Six months later, a federal judge dismissed the case. They never got their money after all.
Leslie went on to have heart surgery at a government hospital in Maryland where she died in post-operative care. Mrs. Geraldine was later placed in a mental hospital where her mind stayed frozen in 1954. She lived to the end of the century believing her husband had been kidnapped by the government. Nonetheless, her heart remained strong.
A family destroyed not just by loss of life, but also by quality of life. Courageous people like Dan and Geraldine Thompson DO NOT exist in America today. The least we can do is celebrate their lives, their losses and ultimately, their contributions to the greatest medical breakthrough of our lifetime - open heart surgery.
December 8, 2022 - #4 James Madison
After the Revolution, we needed a government. Jefferson, Adams and Franklin were in Europe while younger minds like Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison were deciding what our government would be. James Madison was insanely intelligent and a great thinker. He was devoted to the the cause of liberty almost to a fault of his own life. He finally got married and definitely married up to a wonderful girl named Dolley. James was gifted in his ability to deal with people. His wisdom was in his patience. Certainly he had his own ideas of what the rule of law should be. In working with people, other ideas will surface. He did a great job of communicating, being patient and convincing others of his ideas. During the Constitutional Convention, one of the few persuasions he lost was representation by population. This was a good thing in the end, since cities would eventually control the country. Back then, Virginia was the most populated state and would remain that way until New York took its place in the 1820s.
If there is one credit that should be added to accounts of his presidency, the Republicans survived the War of 1812 thanks to Andrew Jackson beating the British in the battle of New Orleans. Otherwise DC did not handle the war well. The most famous story being as the British moved onto DC, the cabinet and those in the President's house had to flee on horses. Dolley and James were separated during this fiasco. And it was Dolley, not James, who retrieved Washington's famous portrait from the wall so it could not be burned. James Monroe took over as Secretary of War during this time as Armstrong said there was no way they would come to DC from Baltimore. Ha!
No matter how it happened, the Second Revolution was most likely inevitable and assured we were treated as independent, not just as an idea signed on a piece of paper. The Constitution (Fathered by this man) enabled it and the War of 1812 solidified it.
November 7, 2022
“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, no internal or external controls on government would be necessary. “ – James Madison
October 4, 2022 - #3 Thomas Jefferson
The father of the idea of individual liberty, he was 33 years old when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, Vice President, 3rd US President, founder of University of Virginia, Jefferson was human. He loved states rights, but he did not want to let go of the Union. He did not believe the Bible, yet was one of the greatest advocates of religious liberty. He hated slavery, but did not want to let go of his own. He despised public debt, but lived a personal life of debt. He didn't like the power of the executive branch but would use the power of his knowledge and influence to accomplish what he believed right.
Jefferson's ideas of government were rooted in his belief of the people. When given the chance to decide, people will do the best for themselves. The opposing idea that people are incapable of making good decisions for themselves and ultimately need a higher power to tell them how to do so is the most immoral of ideas and places governing authorities in the place of God.
He was 33 during the Revolution and lost 3 of his 6 children and wife Martha before leaving for France. While in France, he lost his 4th child to “wooping cough.” His relationship with John and Abigail Adams was unique. He and John were friends during the Revolution but became enemies during Washington's administration as the two parties formed.
Jefferson's presidency would endure great tests. Our country was young and not respected in the world. There were things Washington, Adams and Jefferson did that was stictly against the Constitution. It was a different time; Congress and Senate were not around. The government is a faction, and it was a new faction. Britian impressed our sailors to fight their war again Napoleon, pirates of Tripoli showed no respect to our seamen, and Britain gave weapons to Indians to slow western migration. Our government was tested through his administration and not only survived, but became stronger. Evan after the Embargo, Madison's huge win proved the public liked Jefferson's ideas after all. There is no president to have the influence on future presidents as Thomas Jefferson. Those who followed his principles and called themselves Jeffersonites were James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, James K. Polk and Franklin Pierce.
After Jefferson's presidency, but he and John corresponded more than their earlier years becoming good friends again. The great ending to the story is Jefferson and Adams dying on the same day of July 4th, 1826 just hours apart. When Adams died, his last words were, “Jefferson lives!” But in fact, Jefferson had died a few hours earlier at Monticello, both dying 50 years to the day of the birth of the nation they formed.
September 8, 2022 - First Lady of Country Music
"If it's important, sink your teeth in like a bulldog and don't let go." - Tammy Wynette
September 4, 2022 - #2 John Adams
If Jefferson was the pen, Washington was the sword, then Adams was the voice of the Revolution. This maybe my favorite presidential book by David McCullough. The detail is incredible thanks to the letters written by John and Abagail. Adams was short, opinionated and stubborn, not a way to make friends. But Adams' personality was also the reason his "words moved men in their seats" as Jefferson said. Without John Adams, there would have been no Independence. The strains the revolution had on his families life is worth respecting for this country's founding. John and Abigail saw the dead from the Battle of Lexingon and were in Boston as British cut their trade. They saw their best friends leave on the ship to Britain after Washington's troops deefeated the British in 1775. John stayed in France for seven years, and two of his songs and Nabbi went without a father for their childhood. Adams, Franklin and Jefferson were trying to get help from France in the war. Without France, America would not be independent.
As president, Adams was similar to Washington in his hatred for political parties. He loved his country. I personally don't believe he was influenced by the Britain Monarchs. True he disagreed with the French Revolution, but how do we know not for personal interest in his time spent there? My only reservation in making him my favorite president is the Alien and Sedition Acts. It was a Federalist Congress that initiated them, but Adams still signed off. And they may have only went after 12 people, but the principle is contrary everything they fought against as well as the U.S. rule of law.
If it was no for Alexander Hamilton, Adams would have won a second term. The drama in Washington's two administrations - where Adams was Vice President - was no different than politics today. Adams, Washington and Hamilton took to the Federalist side with a central bank and strong executive. Jefferson and Madison, Anti-Federalist, formed the Republican Party during this time. I appreciate how much Adams and Jefferson wrote each other after both presidencies were over and renewed their friendship.
Adams son Charles became an alcoholic and died. John and Abigail had to see Nabbi suffer to her death of breast cancer. John Quincy became a true statesman a generation later as John got to see him elected president in 1824 before he died July 4th, 1826.
August 5, 2022 - Buck Belue
Mark another Bulldog great that myself and Kathryn had the pleasure to meet. Quarterback from the 1980 National Championship Team, Buck Belue, spoke at the annual recreation department fundraiser! My favorite story from his book is being recruited by Coach Bear Bryant at Alabama.
“So, your from Valdosta?… What's this about you wanting to play baseball at Alabama?” - Coach Bryant
“Yes sir, I want to play football and baseball in college” - B. Belue
“Belue, let me tell you something…we've never had a football player play baseball at Alabama and we sure as hell aren't going to start with you.” - Coach Bryant
June 19, 2022 - Who Looks Like Me?
When you see this picture, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Look at how much Kathryn looks like me! Wow!
Oh, there's David too.
May 5, 2022 - A Gator in the Family
Here is my beautiful cousin Sarah Sawyer at her graduation from the University of Florida! I promise, this is no joke! I am wearing blue; I am in Gainesville; and I did take my picture on top of the Gator logo in the basketball arena. It's okay, I'm coming back to Georgia soon. Either way, I am very proud of Sarah. Her degree is Industrial Engineering and headed to work in Boston, MA!
April 25, 2022 - #1 George Washington
My doctor showed me a few biographies to read, ones I should have read a long time ago. I then decided I would read one of every president after he showed me this one by Ron Chernov. Today I finished this in-depth look of Georgia Washington's life. If you judge a man by all the characteristics a man should have, Washington meets all of them.
Long story short, everything about Washington can be summed up in two things:
- A great Leader
- A Patriot to America
January 10, 2022 - Ambrosia Beetle Research
We finally have some data on painting newly planted pecan trees to control Asian Ambrosia Beetle (AAB). With more and more acres of pecan planted in Georgia, this is the most common insect management question. Thanks to our new Entomologist Dr. Angel Acebes-Doria, we now have definitive research from two sites in GA to determine that painting trees alone does not stop AAB from attacking trees. Painting with insecticide sprayed on wet paint was statistically better than painting alone.
At the Dodge County location, spraying trees every 7 days with a pyrethroid insecticide was the best control. At the Cook County location, paint with insecticide was statistically the same as spraying insecticide. Angel's team conducted this in Cook County, and I performed the research in Dodge County. This is important for pecan growers because it is difficult to spray trees each week. This orchard in my photo is an 800 acre orchard planted in 2019. If painting trees with or without insecticide works, the grower's time is better saved. This work also showed the AAB go into the herbicide guards to attack trees. This means growers must spray down into the herbicide guard if they so choose. This is more labor intensive than using an airblast sprayer since it can only be accomplished with a handheld sprayer.
In the above picture, a tiny ambrosia beetle is seen attacking this log representing the CONTROL treatment. Generally you only see the tiny holes. I counted holes on 20 total logs representing 5 treatments replicated 4 times each week for 2 months. I was glad when it was over.
December 20, 2021 - Edwards Sapien 3 Heart Valve Approved
I read a news article today that a new heart valve has been approved by the FDA to replace in pulmonary position. Interestingly, the implantation of this heart valve DOES NOT require open-chest surgery. This could not be greater news for children born with pulmonary atresia, pulmonary stenosis, Tetrollogy of Fallot, etc. Instead of their ribs being “cracked open” multiple times throughout their life, this low-invasive technique accomplishes the placement of a brand new valve without the knife. It's not even called surgery, only a procedure. What a breakthrough for cardiac science.
And, I have a another secret for you:
I WAS ONE OF THEIR TEST SUBJECTS…
December 19, 2021 - Andrew LIVE on Wolf Country 97.5FM 'Home Grown Howlin'
From 10:00 to 11:00, Andrew is LIVE with Scott Morrison to promote his new record, 'Storytellin'! This is Andrew's second appearance with Scott this month. A big thanks to WUFF Country for promoting local, home grown music. This hour will feature ONLY Andrew's music! Andrew will talk about the inspiration from songs off the record and other little known facts about their production.
November 19, 2021 - Selling CDs
I dropped by Douglas on the way home to see Mr. Danny Maley at his new music store, O'Malley Instruments. He has supported us since “Four Letter Word” music video allowing us to film the last scene in the restaurant (with people in there.) Not to mention half of our graduating classes worked for Danny at Danny's Pizza during our high school years.
November 15, 2021 - STORYTELLIN' Makes 2nd Album by Andrew
After 17 music videos and one industry-produced record, Andrew now has another country music album! This is the second studio record for Andrew recorded at Studio D in Moultrie, GA and produced by Gary DiBenedetto. Following the release of A New Tradition in Southern Sound in 2014, the music videos did not stop. With five new singles, Andrew and Gary went in the studio to add 6 more tracks.
Previous singles include "Don't You Know" (2016), "I'll Get Over You" (2017), "Jim Beam Me Up" (2019), "Tennessee" (2020) and "Bobble" (2021). There is one previous single that was re-recorded for this record. "Set'em Up Joe" was the third music video filmed in 2009 starring Todd Vickers and Megan Coogle. "I want to re-record one of the old ones on each project I do from here on out." says Andrew. "South Georgia Pine" was re-recorded for the first album.
New songs on the record include "If The Lord Be Willin'", "Charlotte", "Workin' Man" and "Dear Santa". The musical performance on this record is a step up from the first. Led by fiddle, Storytellin' takes you back to the 80s and 90s country music. Pedal steel. Fiddle. Chickin' pickin' electric guitar. Mastered by Steven Cummins in Murfreesboro, TN, there is a story for everyone on this new record.
Now available on ITunes, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify and many more!
August 13, 2021 - David Greene
I never thought in a million years I would meet Georgia Bulldog quarterback David Greene! He was the guest speaker at the annual recreation department fundraiser. David played on at least one, if not two National Championship teams that NEVER won the title. He was Coach Richt's first QB and mine and Kathryn's favorite.
It was interesting because the young people in attendance didn't know him. And David was younger than the older people. That left few people talking to him at the front. So, David and I talked for probably 15 minutes. I asked him about certain plays that I remembered from his days. I also told him about Uncle Joel and me attending 21 GA-FL games in a row. I then told David how well I remember when Terrance dropping the pass where we were driving to score the go-ahead TD against Florida in '02. When David spoke to the audience, he actually said, “I think this upcoming team can win the National Championship.” (And they did.)
The best thing about David is how down to earth he is. I found out from the recreation director the conversation to ask David about coming down:
“David, I really need to get this fundraiser up a notch. I need to get a good speaker." - Spook
“Yeah, Spook, I would love to help you get somebody.” - D. Greene
“No, I want you.” - Spook
David did not let the recreation department pay him. Instead, he gave them a donation. Truly a humble guy.
June 12, 2021 - BOBBLE Music Video
If there is any song to out-compete "South Georgia Pine" this would be the song! A surprise indeed. While working on Andrew's second album, Andrew met with his Sawyer family in Seminole County. Talking with his cousin Randy, Andrew remembered a song Uncle Norman (brother of Roy Sawyer, Andrew's grandfather) wrote years ago. "Randy sang me the hook for the chorus. I went back home and pulled out the song. I polished up some extra verses Uncle Norman wrote. I added a verse about him painting the alligator."
Yes that is true! Norman Sawyer once painted the back of an alligator red, white and blue on Spring Creek. The gator was sunbathing one spring morning. Uncle Norman got a paint brush, tied it to a pole and started painting the alligator. You can't make this up!
On June 12th, five generations of the Sawyer family came together to film the great piece written by Uncle Norman. This song produced by Gary DiBenedetto in Studio D is as country as country gets. Jason Roller lays down a sweet fiddle and electric guitar.
The video also brought back together Andrew and video producer Riley Martin. The Thomas County era ended with seven music videos. Bobble makes the 8th video by Riley Martin. Enjoy some summer time fun!
April 12, 2021 - CAN YOU TAKE THIS HEARTACHE OFF ME Music Video
Andrew wrote this song just before his 6th open-heart operation, now more than 10 years ago. Born without a pulmonary valve (pulmonary atresia), Andrew has undergone six operations by age 25 to correct this disorder. By the mid-80s, heart operations were more common. As a matter of fact, the first heart transplant performed in Georgia occurred the year Andrew was born - 1985. However, congenital heart defects were still being researched. One reason for Andrew's many operations was that his first three were conducted in 36 straight hours to place a BTT shunt to re-direct blood around the undeveloped pulmonary valve. The shunt clotted following the first two operations until the surgeon used a shunt size for a 3-month old baby. It worked. Since then, Andrew has in its a place a real heart valve. The only treatment now is to monitor the condition of the valve and replace it when necessary.
"There's no way I can write a song to convey the details of these operations, so I thought I'd just make fun of it. What else can you do?" says Andrew. He dedicated the video to his pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Jane Todd, who passed away in August of 2020. She was the first doctor to see him off the helicopter at Egleston in 1985. She saw Andrew for 21 years. “She was so kind, caring, smart and intuitive. She gave reassurance, not just instruction. She was writing the book as we lived.”
Though the song was written to Dr. Brian Kogon, Andrew already has a newer valve replaced by interventional cardiologist Dr. Vasillus Barbaliaros. A heart valve made by hand from bovine tissue is sewed on to a stent. It is then placed into position with catheters through your femoral arteries. Andrew became the 3rd patient at Emory - and 1 of 52 in the U.S. - for a research heart valve for the FDA to receive more data on its pulmonary position. This less invasive procedure will eliminate many heart operations for children born today with the same condition.
January 6, 2021 - From the diary of Harry Truman
On January 6, 1947, Harry Truman drew comfort in the ghosts of the forgotten presidents during the dark days of the Cold War:
"The floors pop and crack all night long. Anyone with imagination can see old Jim Buchanan walking up and down and worrying about the conditions not of his making. Then there's Van Buren who inherited a terrible mess from his predecessor as did poor old James Madison. Of course Andrew Johnson was the worst mistreated of any of them. But they all walk up and down the halls of this place and moan about what they should have done and didn't. So - you see. I've only named a few. The ones who had Boswells and New England historians are too busy trying to control heaven and hell to come back here. So the tortured souls who were and are misrepresented in history are the ones who come back. It's a hell of a place."
November 4, 2020
“Always vote principal. Though you may vote alone, you can cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” - John Quincy Adams
August 2020 - Robert Lawrence
A great inspiration for the love of music, Director Robert Lawrence, passed away from COVID. A former member of the U.S. Army, Mr. Lawrence taught middle school band at West Coffee Middle School in Douglas. Andrew and many friends were raised under the direction of Mr. Lawrence. This picture was taken in 1999 when Andrew was in 8th grade with their one of many Superior trophies.
This was given to Mr. Lawrence by that same 8th grade class with a famous quote from him:
July 4, 2020 - The Lion of Liberty
A great lawyer and orator, the first Governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry was the first cry for independence in outside of Boston. From Virginia, he was not of the elite, Tidewater, Aristocrats like Washington and Jefferson. He was, however, the ultimate defender of the farmers and frontiersmen. His idea of freedom was a man and his land, free to roam, hunt and fish. All issues were handled at the business end of a musket. Even Georgia Washington thought Henry's ideas would equal to anarchy. Patrick Henry led the Anti-Federalist against the ratification of the Constitution - mostly based on its lack of fundamental human rights. He argued against James Madison (it's own father) and earned great respect of his defense of the common man against the ultimate partnership between the elite and the government. Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, James Monroe and Edmond Randolph (who later flipped sides) are the reason the Bill of Rights were added to the Constitution.
Other notable Anti-Federalists are:
Richard Henry Lee
James & Mercy Warren
May 11, 2020 - Mama's Boy
Jonathan is definitely Mama's boy. Kathryn and Jonathan pictured with David (somehow not yet a human being just a non-living FETUS) inside her belly.
May 9, 2020 - TENNESSEE Music Video
A fitting music video for Mother's Day weekend. A singer writes a letter to his mom before leaving for Tennessee to chase a dream in country music. The song takes an all too familar spin as the singer stops by the grave of Hank Williams along the way. Tennessee is the 15th music video from Runaway Cotton Records. The video has three main features: A trip to Hank William's grave, a 1971 GMC pick up truck and "Lazy Len" Robinson's voice on radio.
Andrew says, “I knew I could not ask Riley (video producer) to go to Alabama. It's just too far. I had to give a pecan presentation at a national meeting in Louisiana. I took my wife and we came back through Montgomery. I had a stabilizer for my phone, so we took it out there and filmed the shots at Hank's grave. The shots looks great for amateur. The storm in the background played into the video so well. We stayed in Montgomery for the weekend to see all of Hank's stuff.”
The video also features a 1971 GMC pickup truck, owned by Andrew's father-in-law. Andrew shifts with three speed on the column as he drives in downtown Eastman, through the graveyard and a few country roads in Dodge County, GA. "I love his truck. We actually took pictures of me on this truck a few years ago for some promotion material. This truck was perfect for the video as we wanted to take people back in time."
Perhaps the greatest surprise is hearing Len Robinson of WPAX and WTUF of Thomasville, GA on the radio. "Lazy Len" has been generous to Andrew over the years allowing him radio time for his South Georgia Pine Ag Update and to play his latest songs. "I remember like yesterday the first night I moved to Thomasville. I found 106.3 on the radio station and fell in love with the station as they played traditional country music. Everyone at work told me about "Lazy Len" and how he built that station. A few years later, he called me and asked if I would like to do a radio program for my farmers. I was elated to meet him. It means alot for me to have him on this song."
Easter 1988 - THROWBACK
Here is me with Grandaddy at my childhood home at Quail Hollow in Douglas. The four-wheeler in the background is a 1987 Suzuki, which Daddy would drive Momma, me, Mark and Jennie through woods of the “power lines” (also) in the background. (This is where the line from the chorus in “South Georgia Pine” came from). That four-wheeler still works and is at my house today which takes me, Kathryn, Jonathan and David on four-wheeler rides underneath the shade of many Dodge County pine trees.
April 27, 2020 - Talkin' Song I Don't Want to get the Virus Blues
While waiting on the final touches for the "Tennessee" music video debut, I recorded a new song while in quarantine. Co-writer and colleague, Dr. Glen Harris of UGA Extension offered me the hook to this song.
April 2021 - Checking Casebearer Traps
Here is Jonathan in a ‘Stuart’ pecan orchard checking for Pecan Nut Casebearer moths. We don't recommend spraying for them, so why check the traps? Jonathan just likes bugs.
March 26, 2020 - TENNESSEE Released as New Single
Written when Andrew was in college, inspired by the greatest country singer of all time, produced with the purest sound of country music, Tennessee is released as the first single from Andrew Sawyer for 2020. This song is a sweet ballad of a man leaving home carrying only a note from his mother and a guitar. He stops in Montgomery, Alabama to pay respect to the one who defined country music. Producer Gary DiBennedetto is the mastermind behind the sound and tone heard in this song. Gary composed the most gentle ballad you will ever hear from a fiddle echoed with a ghostly steel guitar as Andrew looks on Hank's grave.
"I love this song for a few reasons. One, of course, is the story and it being about Hank. As a child, I was taught that his name was not Hank Williams 'Senior' but just Hank Williams. He is the REAL Hank Williams. This song means alot because I wrote the original song in 2009 while in college. I was immature in writing songs but new the chorus to this song was good. Everyone who heard it loved it. As I got better at writing, I re-wrote the verses to tell a more complete story. Originally it had 3 verses. But the chorus is still the same. I've written worse songs since this, and that is why I love it so much."
To listen to the song, click the media player at the bottom of Andrew's website.
February 14, 2020 - Andrew Plants Pecans for Legendary UGA Coach Vince Dooley
Vince Dooley, 1980 National Championship winning head coach for the Georgia Bulldogs, is now on the list of Georgia's pecan producers with the help of Andrew. While working as Area Pecan Agent for Southeast Georgia, Andrew was needed to help deliver and plant pecan trees for Coach Dooley and his son-in-law Desry. The Georgia Pecan Grower's Association Director Samantha McLeod made contact with Coach Dooley, an avid gardener since retiring from coaching, about planting a pecan tree. Former UGA Coach said he would love to plant one if she would bring him one. That is where Andrew came in.
Slated to pick up the trees from Clough Nursery in Blackshear, Andrew brought with him the patented, Excel cultivar discovered on the Clough farm years ago. A seedling with a large nut and good quality, it has remarkable resistance to scab - the dreaded disease of pecans. Thus making it a suitable cultivar for Coach and Desry.
Members of the GPGA helped dig holes and prep trees. Andrew showed everyone how the roots should be pruned and trees planted. Then Coach Dooley took the opportunity to chop some roots himself and prune back the remaining stalk. The day ended with Mrs. Barbara Dooley fixing chili for the tree planters followed by Coach giving a tour of his UGA memorabilia.
When asked about the experience, Andrew commented about an award Coach Dooley received from the Florida Gators representing his coaching in the rivalry, "I was taught early that beating Florida was the most important thing Georgia could do each season - even greater than winning a National Championship. I have not missed a GA-FL game in Jacksonville sine 1997. I acknowledged this award and told him the same thing and said, 'Coach, your record there was real good.' And he replied, 'Well, I lost many games there as well.' He was being humble, but he took the GA-FL game serious and was successful in that rivalry. I appreciated the respect they showed him by giving him this plaque in 2003."
November 7, 2019 - JIM BEAM ME UP Music Video Released
The 14th music video released from Runaway Cotton Records, Jim Beam Me Up becomes a big hit on facebook. Filmed in Barwick, GA, the video stars Ashleigh Childs and JT Wynn as well as Billiards Bar N Grill's infamous, "One Beer Bob" Coleman. The setting was perfect for a traditional band shot featuring five additional players almost all wearing cowboy hats.
With 103 shares and 6,000 facebook views, fans say it is the best work on a music video. Director Riley Martin captures all the emotions while portraying the story of the song. "He knocked it out of the park on this one. If I do one thing well, it is to stand back and let Riley work his magic. He has a vision of what he wants. From my perspective, I'm fortunate to work with somebody who knows what I want, and what they want, and put it all together. It's incredible how much we think alike."(Andrew)
September 2019 - JIM BEAM ME UP Released as New Single
After 2 years behind the scenes, Andrew releases a brand new song titled 'Jim Beam Me Up' to social media and country radio. The song was produced by Gary DiBenedetto at Studio D in Moultrie, GA. In this new song, Andrew tells the story of someone caught up in their own comical dream, waking up to find out the girl he was with was way too young. He can't tell if his friend Jim (Beam) helped him or fooled him.
The song is classic country led by the fiddle. It carries the original sound of country music in the early 90s. Described as fun and upbeat, Jim Beam Me Up may be the best song and record released from Andrew.
It is available on iTunes, CD Baby and many other music outlets. Take a listen here:
Andrew credits both a former colleague and former 4-Her for inspiration for the song. As a salesman for a pest control company in Nashville, TN, Andrew came up with the name of the song and pitched it to David Butler. Butler called back and said, "I have the hook of your new song, 'Jim Beam me up one more time, I got a fist full of dollars and I'm going to let it ride." That hook stuck with Andrew, and he drafted the song. But it wasn't until he moved to Thomas County, Georgia where the song would be complete.
One day, Andrew took out ole Jim Beam and started singing it. His colleague Robin Nelson said, "I'm not eavesdropping on your song, but I have to tell you a story about Hope (Robin's daughter) at the state horse show." The story was so amusing to Andrew that he re-wrote the last verse and made the song into a hit.
June 2019 - April Witkowski
April Witkowski graciously designed the CD cover and pages for Andrew's 2014 album A New Tradition In Southern Sound. April, her three children, and her husband Peter live in Virginia where Peter serves as pastor of Amissville Baptist Church. In May, April was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer following a CT scan to identify pain in her back.
April has been seen by oncologists at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where she is undergoing hormonal treatment under the direction of a research study. If the hormonal treatment does not fight the cancer, she will being chemotherapy.
It is certainly a challenging time for their family. Please keep them in your prayers. If you would like to read Peter's blog for updates, visit witkowskiblog.com.
May 2019 - Southeast Georgia Area Pecan Agent
Andrew joins the UGA Pecan team as the new Area Pecan Agent for Southeast District. This position is from a partnership between University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and the Georgia Pecan Commission. Andrew serves both county agents and growers in Southeast Georgia. His territory stretches from Washington, Jefferson counties north to the Florida line south. It includes everything from the Ocmulgee River to the east coast. Pecan acreage has grown in the southeast for the past 5 - 10 years, and Hurricane Michael's devastation will likely see a shift in pecan varieties in Georgia when replanting new trees.
Andrew previously served as County Extension Coordinator in Wilcox County from 2017-2019 and County Ag Agent in Thomas County from 2011 - 2017. His work in pecans includes Asian Ambrosia Beetles and Pecan Leaf Phylloxera. His programming has focused on young trees, particularly pruning.
Below Andrew is pictured with UGA Pecan Horticulturalist Dr. Lenny Wells:
March 2018 - South Georgia Pine Ag Update Radio Program
A brand new tab added to the website includes each week's radio agriculture program from Andrew, the County Agent. Working as an agriculture consultant with UGA Extension, Andrew's radio show became popular while he served in Thomas County, Georgia. Since moving to the upper coastal plain, Andrew's radio program continues on the stations listed below:
- Wolf Country WUFF. 97.5FM Eastman - Throughout week
- Hot Country WWKM, 91.3FM Rochelle – Throughout week
- Your Country WDXQ, 96.7FM Cochran – Throughout week
- Solid Gospel WULS, 103.7FM Douglas – Monday thru Friday at 6:50am
- WPAX, 103.7FM / 1240AM Thomasville – Saturday at 7:50am
- Classic Country WTUF, 106.3FM Thomasville
May 9th, 2017 - LITTLE BLACK DRESS MUSIC VIDEO DEBUT
The 13th music video from Runaway Cotton Records since 2008. It was a great experience to bring this song to life. Filmed in Boston, GA, Andrew says, "I hear more about this song than any other song from the record. It has to be the saddest, heart-breaking song on there. I spent so much time crafting this song - so much that I get to where I don't even play it or sing it much anymore. It's amazing how many people like it. I always thought it would be too sad to film, but having the kids makes a difference. The kids did great - Callie, Cara, Jack and David. I'm glad the parents let them do it. Riley did a fantastic job on the video. I'm glad he brought this one to the table."
March 2017 - "Every Story Has A Song"
College friend from ABAC, Christy Layfield, - and owner of Thomasville Magazine - features Andrew in the 2017 Spring issue! The article presents the story of how Andrew transitioned from performance music into songwriting, his love for country music, and music videos filmed in Thomas County, GA. Visit local business in Thomasville to pick up a copy or find the story on their website.
"People don't write music. It's given to them." - Hank Williams