Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New pope gives pause for thought

Well, we have a new pope. The leader of one-billion plus Catholics is from Argentina and seems to be a humble, well-intentioned servant of God.

That said, he has 24-7 access to a helicopter, lives in a palace-like dwelling in the Vatican, has his own gourmet cook (I am sure) and dresses in long-flowing (expensive, regal) garments. I'd say his papal attire could not be purchased at J.C. Penney or Sears.

All this excessive religious royalty at the same time a Catholic school is being closed in downtown New York City (the very same school that helped shape one of our U.S. Supreme Court justices--Sonia Sotomayor). It's being shut down for lack of funding from the church.

Maybe sell the helicopter and fund the school.

As an aside (while I'm on spiritual topics), one of my favorite pastors, Mike Lowery of Impact Community Church in Rock Hill, had this to say last Sunday about what God's plan is for us. God, according to Lowery, wants us to:
1. Allow Him to love us.
2. Be part of His family.
3. "Become" (fulfill His specific plan).
4. Bless others and be a blessing to others
5. Bring others into His family.

That last purpose might be the most important one, Lowery said, because God is gathering a family that will love and live with him forever. Thus, His purpose in creating us was to move us into His family. But we have free will. It's our choice to accept him or not accept him.

Anyone, Lowery asserted in his sermon at Impact, who calls on the name of lord will be saved.

And remember: Only two things will last forever: truth (the Bible) and our souls. Lowery admonishes us to invest in people and the truth. Build genuine relationships--with God and with others. Nothing else matters, he says. And always remember: Do not look to the world for peace. Look to God.

Lowery also reminded us of what Jesus did with his time and energy on this earth. None of us is as perfect as the Son of Man, but we ought to take heed of his accomplishments. (All of the following, by the way, while not having a place to lay his head at night):

1. Planted a church
2. Equipped servant leaders
3. Assisted the poor. Ministered to them.
4. Cared for the sick. Preacher, teacher, healer.
5. Educated the next generation. "Don't turn the little children away from me."

Food for thought and nourishment (I hope) for the soul.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Legacy of slavery in Timbs clan

My ancestors owned slaves. And a plantation in South Carolina.

I’m not proud of this, but it’s a fact.

Recently, for example, I’ve come across the last will and testament of James G. Timms. (Yes, I know that today we spell my family’s last name “Timbs,” but in the late 1700s and early 1800s, our name was “Timms.”)

Seems that James Green Timms was an ancestor/predecessor/contemporary of my father’s great-great granddad, Amos Timms (born in 1816) of Chester County, S.C.

James Green Timms lived in Chester County, S.C. (then known in court records as the “District of Chester.”

His last will and testament was probated on Jan. 29, 1824. The document apparently can be found in courthouse records in Chester County, S.C. recorded in Book I, Page 86, Apartment No. 67, Package 1040.

Here’ are a few tidbits of interest—quoted verbatim from James G. Timms’ will:

•“I give to my Mother Patsy Timms one Tract or Parcel of Land Containing forty acres more or less Joining my brother Amos Timms land & also one negro Girl named Jane and one Sorrell Mare, one bay mule & five head of Cattle during her life and and at her death I give the Said Land, Girl, Mare & mule & Cattle to my Sister Hannah Timms.”

•“I give to my Sister Hannah Timms One negro Girl named Annis.”

Amos Timms’ will was probated in “the State of South Carolina and the District of Chester” on Nov. 21, 1831. Items of interest from this document—Recorded in Book K Page 203-204, Apartment No 67:

•“It is my will that my Bay Horse (Buck) and my Sorrell Mare (June) and my Cattle be Sold by my Executors & my Stock of Hogs to be Kept for the use of the family—and after Enough of my Present Crop is Reserved for the use of the family the remainder be Sold.”

•“I will and bequeath unto my Belovid Sister Johannah Timms My Plantation or tract of land whereon I now Live Containing one hundred & twelve acres more or less to her and the hers of her Body and if She Should die without any Children Then My Will is that the aforesaid Tract of Land be equally Divided between my Two nephews Thomas Tims Roden and Benjamin J L Powal and farther I will that my Three Negroes Dan Joe & Hannah be Sold at Public Sale and after paying my debts out of the Sale of my Horses & Crop & Catle and Negroes Whatever mony money that may Remain on hands in any maner Whatsoever is to be equally-divided between my Sister Johanna Tims & Thomas T Roden and Benjamen J. L. Powal Equaly.”

Joseph Timms’ first will was probated (again in the “District of Chester” in South Carolina) in September 18?? (cannot make out year)—recorded in Book B, Page 212, Apartment No. 66, Package No. 1039. Items of interest:

•“I give to my son Amos timms one negro man Named Jessee. I give to my Son John tims one Negro Man Named Nathaniel. I give to my Son Joseph Tims one Negro man Named Jeremiah. I give to My Daughter Sarah Estes one negro woman Named Hanah. I give to my Daughter Mary Carter one negro girl Named Dinah. . . I give to my Daughter francis Boyd one negro girl Named Lucey. I Give to my Daughter Elizabeth tims one Negro boy Named Ned & one Negro Girl Named Jude.”

And then, curiously, we have Joseph Timms’ second will (State of South Carolina, Chester District) probated November 1844. (Recorded Book A1 Page 32, Apt. 89, Pkg. 1417):

•“I give and bequeath unto my son Vincent Brown Tims . . . one Negro wimin named Mary and apoart of my adjoining Mrs. Robertson Lands.

•“I give and bequeat nto my beloved wife Winifred Tims a Negro Girl named Lucy and one boy named Ned and a Tract containing fifty and one half acres more or less known by name of the Peetree Tract and Eight..”

Note: Thanks to Lucille Brown of Johnson County, Tenn., for mailing me a copy of these documents this week. Lucille, my second cousin, is the resident historian of the Timbs family.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Manuscript complete

A writer friend, Michael Manual of Hampton, Tenn., and I have accomplished a milestone. A big one.

We have just completed a rewrite of a 1981 self-published book "Tragedy at Old Fish Springs." The book was written by my father, the late Lawrence C. Timbs.

Actually, to be more accurate, Michael and I have completed a rewrite of a rewrite of a rewrite of Dad's book.

That's right: we've rewritten Dad's book three times.

And we've re-titled our final version manuscript. It's called:
"Below the Surface: Secrets, Tragedies and Triumphs at Fish Springs, Tennessee."

Now comes a challenge: getting our manuscript accepted by a regional or national publisher.

Dad always said anybody can write a book, but it takes a genius to get one published.

Guess we'll find out.

But for now--exhilaration at getting a long, tough writing assignment completed. Michael and I put everything we had into this venture--all our heart, soul, guts, mental acumen, imagination, writing skills, patience, endurance, intestinal fortitude, determination, research (and whatever else it takes to create a novel).

Thanks, Michael, for putting up with me and for being my partner in this project.

Now we wait--for acceptance from a publisher.