McClurg Jam

McClurg Jam

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Lorena is an old song from the period of the Civil War. As I mentioned recently, they used it on the soundtrack for the John Wayne movie classic by John Ford, "The Searchers".

This got me to thinking about my own families memories from that time and what a different era and culture. The folks in my old area around Centerville School just south east of Rockford Il in Winnebego County were farmers.

Like other areas, they were mostly people of eastern regions who had migrated due west and hailed from New England and points further east along the eastern seaboard as far north as Maine and south as far as the mid atlantic states.

Being in northern Illinois, they had Yankee attitudes and notions. They loved America and wanted to see it preserved and slavery abolished.

So, the local lads and gentlemen formed themselves into groups of enlistee's and in preparation for the big show they had military drills. They were eager for the excitement of the war but had no idea how it was really going to be.

So it was that my ancestor, a young lady of elementary school age reported standing on her tippy toes to peek into the stone school house windows to watch the young men "drill" with corn stalks as ersatz muskets.

This stone school house still stands today. Unfortunately someone has used it as part of their house and while it is attractive, it remains a shame that it was not properly preserved.

I am proud to say that when the men returned from the war they brought back a freed black man and remained in contact with him to the end. He of course moved into Rockford and they remained on farms.

We look back on that period like it was a kind of movie but it was very real to those folks. It is good to realize that we could find ourselves in great difficulties as well and that we have not escaped history and the events that can and do overtake societies.

So, let's listen to Lorena and empathize for the lonely people that suffered and felt it. Maybe even remember that free black man no longer in the bonds of slavery but yet still not free.

All is quiet on the Potomoc Tonight


  1. I think it was songwriter Charlie Williams who used the old lyrics and changed the chords, possibly around late 1950s/early 1960s. Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and others recorded that version.

    Keep up the good work!


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