There are a few special people
involved with this project. By naming them there's always
the possibility that I do harm by leaving someone out. I'll
risk it for these folks.
Don Johnson is the creative genius behind most of the photographs, illustrations, and other graphics in my book and on this website. There are few who can equal his photographic eye. Fewer still are those who give so generously and ask so little in return. Don followed me around for many of my book signing events in 2005 and took hundred of photos. He's given me permission to use them here. Don Johnson is my friend- that's the best part.
Linda Hallmark has sort of adopted me as her local New York mascot. I really enjoy Linda. When a northeastern boy wants to know something about Kentucky, you couldn't get a better (or quicker) answer than what Linda will offer. She knows about the history of every rock in Henderson County and is always willing to share whatever she knows. She also read my manuscript before it was in print. When she said it was good I felt confident that I had the story.
Kay Lant is the person who helped me with the Newburgh side of things. During the last fifty years various people have taken a step or two in the direction of publishing the Newburgh story. After I was more than half way through my work, a rumor surfaced that someone else, too, was writing a book on the Newburgh raid. I immediately went to Kay and asked if anyone had seen her about the raid outside of me. She said, "No." I was relieved. I knew that anyone who hadn't talked to her about the Newburgh raid wasn't going to get to first base.
Kay gave me the type of advice an inexperienced author needs to hear. About a year into the project, I went over what I had in terms of my first run-through on the story. She listened and then told me that I hadn't yet captured it. I was crestfallen, but she was right. Another year did the trick. She read the final manuscript and gave her approval. I knew I was getting close at that point. After the book was published, Kay led the way in getting me my first customers. Her Newburgh History Club purchased the first fifteen or so books. I owe her a lot and I intend to repay it all somehow.
Mike Johnson is the most enthusiastic booster of the Newburgh raid and its history. It was his love of the history of the raid that first hooked me. He talked to me for hours and answered every question. He was overjoyed that someone was finally really going to write about the raid. He reviewed pieces of my manuscript and gave me welcome advice. If I hadn't met Mike at just the right time, I'm not sure if all this would have happened.
Susanne Siria is one of the modern-day descendants of Elliott Mefford, the famous Newburgh conspirator. I'm so glad she found me. I only wish we could have met earlier. Susanne and her mother, Sandra Smith, are proud of the Mefford line. Although Elliott was killed the day after the raid, and Andrew Mefford died in Camp Douglas, Susanne and Sandra came through Elliott's remaining son, Taylor. Taylor Mefford, only fifteen at the time of the raid, was also likely involved with the Rebels on July 18, 1862. Like many others, Susanne and Sandra are glad that their ancestors and the Newburgh story are getting some overdue attention. They have been extremely kind and helpful to me in learning more about Elliott. It was fun to sit at a table together and try on theories as to what motivated Elliott on July 18, 1862. I'm so grateful I know them.
John Hallowell is the driving force behind Texas Hill Country Magazine. Without John, there's no chance I would ever have had my memorable experiences in Texas. John does things because they are fun, interesting, and adventurous. Boy, was my trip to Texas an adventure. We spent almost every waking minute together during my time in Texas, and I'm proud to call him my friend. Naturally, we've kept up since then. All the Texas photos on these pages are ones that he took while I was meeting people and talking about the raid. John gave me one of the great thrills of my life when he introduced me to Jo Hammond, Adam Johnson's Granddaughter, and Ross Johnson, Adam Johnson's Great Grandson. For that, words won't be enough, but they're all I have. Thank you.
Harold Utley is another person who opened himself up to me. When I first talked to him it was like he had been waiting for me to call for thirty years. Harold set me straight on the Battle of Browning Springs. When we met I was still piecing things together and I was a long way off from understanding where the Madisonville attack fit into the grand context. Harold generously walked me all around the sites in Madisonville and connected me to the Hopkins County Historical Society. Harold and the Society have supported me every step of the way. Harold is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Kentucky Historical Society.