Skip to main content

Strong Feelings

March 2023
1min read

As I read your March article “The South’s Inner Civil War,” I felt as if I were still hearing stories told to me by my family. When one is reared with living history stories, it is surprising to discover that they are now well known.

My family is from Carter County in the upper east corner of Tennessee. My great-grandmother Evie Custer Perry told about the bitter division in her family during the Civil War. Her mother’s family was very strongly pro-Union, but her father, Calvin Custer, was a doctor in the Confederate army. When he returned to Carter County after the war, his wife’s family refused to allow him to remain. My great-grandmother said that the last thing that she could remember about her father was seeing him as he rode over a hill on his horse, leaving for St. Louis.

Even when I was a child in the 1940s, we still had two Methodist churches in our small town of Elizabethton—one Northern and one Southern. Or as my eighty-five-year-old great-aunt tells me, “Don’t call it the Northern Methodist! There was only one real Methodist Church. Those Southern Methodists left it.” Strong feelings still exist among families of East Tennessee.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "July/August 1989"

Authored by: The Editors

John Philip Sousa and his seventyfive-piece band were brought to town to celebrate the building’s opening.

Authored by: The Editors

James Madison and the Republican Legacy

Authored by: The Editors

Missionary for the Modern

Authored by: The Editors

Colonial Revivals and American Culture, 1876–1986

Authored by: The Editors

A Biography

Authored by: Garry Wills

When the French Revolution broke out two hundred years ago this month, Americans greeted it enthusiastically. After all, without the French we could never have become free. But the cheers faded as the brutality of the convulsion emerged—and we saw we were still only a feeble newborn facing a giant, intimidating world power.

Authored by: The Editors

The ubiquitous legacy of America’s favorite Frenchman

Authored by: John Kobler

In the years between the dedication of the Statue of Liberty and the First World War, the Divine Sarah was, for hundreds of thousands of Americans, the single most compelling embodiment of the French Republic

Authored by: Mark Jenkins

Remember the excitement of the 1924 Olympics in Chariots of Fire? That was nothing compared with what the U.S. rugby team did to the French at those games.

Authored by: Albert B. Stephenson

The Tin Lizzie carried us into the twentieth century, but she gave us a hell of a shaking along the way. Now a veteran driver tells what everybody knew and nobody bothered to write down.

Featured Articles

The world’s most prominent actress risked her career by standing up to one of Hollywood’s mega-studios, proving that behind the beauty was also a very savvy businesswoman. 

Rarely has the full story been told about how a famed botanist, a pioneering female journalist, and First Lady Helen Taft battled reluctant bureaucrats to bring Japanese cherry trees to Washington. 

Often thought to have been a weak president, Carter was strong-willed in doing what he thought was right, regardless of expediency or the political fallout.

Why have thousands of U.S. banks failed over the years? The answers are in our history and politics.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.