Ed Bearss is coming. To Civil War buffs, that's almost as exciting as when Paul Revere cried out, "The British are coming!"
Ed Bearss is probably the most famous, and likely the most important, historian in America. He has won almost every national honor that the "history crowd" can bestow. He has been honored by every major historical society or group. He has a legend of followers who attend his seminars and join his "history tours," People around him just hang on to every word.
Not only is Ed an encyclopedia of knowledge, he has lived a life that is steeped in history. In many ways, he is "history on feet," a walking history book. And he's coming back to Newtonia next Wednesday.
Ed is 88 years young and has more stamina and pep than many people half his age. It is a real chore to keep up with him when he is put on a battlefield. His big, booming voice is like cannon fire as he describes the actions that took place. He creates a picture as he tells about this army moving across a creek or that unit slowly fighting their way up the blood nob. It's amazing and those of us who have witnessed his "battlefield performances" will long remember them.
Newtonia celebrated the sesquicentennial of its first battle just a couple of weeks ago so having Ed come so soon afterward is just the frosting on the cake. At the sesquicentennial, Ed was made a member of Newtonia's Order of the Tin Cup, so we will get to present the cup in person to him next week. We will present the cup and a special T-shirt to Ed at the luncheon we are preparing for the 32 people who will be on the bus tour.
Ed always loves bringing groups to Newtonia because they get a home cooked meal. After several days on the road eating restaurant food, home cooking is most welcome. I might add that we are feeding the group at 11 a.m. that morning so all the cooks need to have their dishes at the community center by 10:30, which is a little earlier than planned.
Looking up information on Mr. Bearss, I found his early life very interesting. He was born on a ranch near Sarpy, Mont., in 1923. Ed's father was a Marine in World War I and he read stories of military campaigns to Ed and his brother when they were boys. Ed was so inspired with military history that he named the animals on the ranch after famous generals and battles. His favorite milk cow was named "Antietam."
Ed himself joined the Marines during World War II, serving in the South Pacific. He fought during the invasion of Guadalcanal, the Russell Islands, and in New Britain. He was wounded by machine gun fire at "Suicide Creek" and was evacuated to California to spend 26 month recovering in several hospitals. The old battle warrior still carries the many scars of "Suicide Creek."
Page 2 of 2 - Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.