(December 1957, Willie MargaretTalbot Kittrell wrote a paper describing the Talbots. This excerpt, taken directly from her work, describes a scene that her father, William Simpson Talbot, told to her about the Civil War. The text has not been placed in quotes but the reader is advised that it is quoted material.)
In a brief story of the highlights of his life which he wrote for me in his 75 year he mentions having been born "near Dadeville, Ala, (which must have been a small community in or near Opelika) " as the old family clock on the wall was striking 12 Midnight" and it was always a moot question - was he born June 30, or July 1st, 1854? He says his "mother, Nancy Haney, was a school teacher and exceeding anxious that we all have the best education possible." That "at the age of 5" she had him "reading aloud from the Bible." He goes on " When General Sherman made a raid thru Miss. after burning Hillsborough, 6 miles from us he passed by where we lived....within 200 feet of the house. My oldest sister, Betty(Elizabeth Melvin), fearing he would burn us out too ran back into the house and put on my father's Masonic Apron and came back to the porch to face a dozen of Sherman's men standing at the fence.
"A Captain sang out an order that the first one of his men to cross that fence into the yard, he, personally, would shoot. -- so a grateful Betty went back into the house and came out with a large pound cake she had made and insisted the Captain take it --altho at first he refused.
"I was only a tiny boy and what I did then was the act of a child - not a thinking adult. I tugged at the Captain's coat and asked if General Sherman would pass by and he smiled and said yes. I replied that I wanted to see him - and the Captain took me up on his saddle and rode down the road apiece to meet the great General-saying to General Sherman "Here is a little Southern boy who wants to meet you!" The General, tired, soiled, grim looked ferocious and for a moment I was scared - then he smiled the sweetest smile and when I reached into my pocket and pulled out an unwrapped piece of cake and offered it to General Sherman he not only took it but praised the taste and thanked me very much! Then we saluted each other and he rode on. When I ran back to the house my family was quite upset that I had been "so friendly."