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Keltnertown Stump Negotiations - peace at the country store

Writer Phillip Coffey called to say he thinks we need a bit more in the news than just the virus. While he's cooped up, he is sharing good stories like this one given to him by Columbia's George Keltner.

By Phillip Coffey

George Keltner (GK) who is a native of perhaps the center of all things that matter - near Mell, KY - regaled a story to me about his ancestor with the same name, George Alford Keltner, who fought bravely with General Hobson at Shiloh and other locales. The elder George Keltner was the younger GK's Great Grandfather.

After returning home victoriously with the 13th Ky. Regiment, George the elder built the first Keltner General store. The first store burned and upon being told of the loss he simply moved the store's location about 100 feet or so from the original. There were several different proprietors of Keltner General Store including my Uncle Ural (1944-81) over the 100 plus years of its existence. About July 08,1967 the second store burned after being struck by lightning. Uncle Ural built a third 'Keltner' store which included cement blocks. His son Danny and I carried the blocks for the two masons. (Hod carriers)

Soon after the dust had settled from the U.S Civil War, a decade or two later, a 'Johnny Rebel' come traveling through Keltnertown hellbent on whuping any Union soldier. Surely he had enough of the local illegal White Lightning to 'whip' em all'.

Mr. Keltner was fetched to calm him. After a cooling off period, Mr.George invited his ole foe to supper.

After eating Mrs. Keltner's good fixings worthy of company to eat, the two war foes walked behind Mr. Keltner's house which was located about 150 feet north of the store. They found two stumps behind the house to sit on while they talked about each of his glory days.

The discussion began by talking about the Shiloh battle fought, as I recall April 07-08, 1862 in southern Tennessee with U.S. Grant soldiers of the Union Army facing the Confederates led by General Sidney Johnson. (General Johnson was killed in the battle). The Shiloh Battle was the first major battle of the war. There were more causalties in the Shiloh battle than all of the battles combined in American history. Now these ole foes on Keltner Ridge were seekng peace with it decades after it.

Johnny Reb began the discussion by saying, "We (Confederacy) won the first day of the Battle of Shiloh," which of course is true. After the first day the Rebels thought they had won the battle. Mr. George Keltner replied, "but I wasn't there the first day," which was also true. The Thirteenth Ky. Regiment and Brigadier General Hobson's men arrived with his superior General Buell of Ohio, crossing the Tennessee River on the night of the first day's battle.

Mr. Keltner had 'check mate' Johnny Rebel with his earlier reply by saying "I was not at the battle when we (North) lost. If I had been there with my buddies the first day it would have been a different story. We would have won it then and there." On the second day of the battle the Union Army won the battle fair and square. The Rebels retreated to Corinth, Mississippi to fight another day. 'Unconditional Surrender Grant' had made his mark the second day with help from the Thirteenth and others.

The meeting of the ole soldiers from the U.S. Civil War continued, telling tales and spinning yarns about each others heroic exploits, the misery and horrors each experienced in war while chawing down upon their 'backer'. They were found by Mr. Keltner's family still sitting on the stumps at daylight. Mrs. Keltner fixed a hot breakfast for the ole soldiers to share after a peaceful agreement had been reached. An everlasting truce had been made by the old U.S. Civil War foes. The 'Keltnertown Stump Negotiations' had been successful; peace had been achieved.

This story was posted on 2020-03-31 09:36:04
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