April 2023 - Volume 36 Issue 9 Aiken’s Allure BY DAVID CHALTAS aka The Old General What is it about an event that makes it a success? Is it the location or is it the area in which it is held? Or could it be the historical significance and those interested in learning more about its past? What is its allure? The answer lies with its diversity and variety. I’ve had the honor of attending the Battle of Aiken for several years. Even in the lean years of the pandemic, there was something about the history of the town, its origin, and the pride the people have in their historical heritage. On February 25-27, 2022, I was privy to witness the rebirth of an event based on variety/diversity within our American timeline. Apparently all the stars were in alignment, as the weather smiled upon the land and a ‘perfect storm’ atmosphere was created for the Battle of Aiken. According to the Aiken Standard, Friday witnessed over two thousand children, par- ents and teachers visit the diverse education- al experiences offered. The weekend activities and living histories included numerous settings of multiplicity. Represented on the rolling hills were such presentations as Joe, a Sioux Indian from Pine Ridge Reservation, with a beautiful tee- pee. He shared his love for God, his heritage and awakened within many that Native American spirit that seemed to permeate the surroundings. Other attractions included a young mountain man who was actually a trapper and he discussed the process as he shared with the students numerous furs he had collected. A station offered actual hands-on experi- ‘Be Christ:’ The Legacy of COOK, JOHN HENRY RESEARCH & STORIES COMPILED BY LINDA ISAACS KING Written by David Chaltas John Henry Cook was a mysteri- ous man that left several questions of his life unanswered. For example, why did he move to Virginia after the war and then again to Knott County finally settling in an area known for their support of the Union during the Great Conflict? This is an ongoing effort to partial- ly reconstruct the life of and hope- fully gather more information about a man that personifies a true son of the South. But this we know. He was a true hero of the South. He was a devoted family man. It was said that he was a happy man and a quiet person that liked to stay busy. He believed that people needed to be working all the time. He must have been a devoted man to his faith for family legends reflect that one of his favorite sayings was, “Be Christ.” He was said to be a small man with small feet. One family story relates an incident in which John H. put his granddaughter Patsy’s shoes on and insisted they were his shoes. But though he was small in stature he possessed a heart as big as all out- doors. Most of the stories that revolve around John H. involve food. He appeared to have an obsession with food, because he was always hungry fighting during the war. It was stated by family legends handed down over the generations that he ‘hoed’ his sweet potato patch See AIKEN page 3 See COOK page 4 ‘Forward to the Charge!’