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Volume 36, No. 9 – September 2023

The President’s Message:

Good News! We will be having a Round Table meeting on Wednesday, September 13th at 7:00PM at the Lake Clarke Town Hall.  I look forward to seeing everyone there.

Better News!  Patrick Falci, actor and historian, will be out March, 2024 speaker.  His topic will be the Four Interments of A.P. Hill or Your Can’t Keep a Good Man Down.  I know that it will be a very interesting meeting.

We will have some books for sale at the meeting so bring your spare change.


September 13, 2023 Program:

The program in September will be Interesting Personalities You May Not Know about in the Civil War presented by Gerridine LaRovere and Janell Bloodworth.

Story by Gerridine:

The Formidable Miriam Beck Forrest Luxton

MiriamGerridine has produced this small essay about Miriam Beck Forrest Luxton.  Some people have a commanding presence and a peculiarity that eludes prediction.  Miriam was one of them.  She was born in 1802 into a family of strict Presbyterians of Scottish ancestry in South Carolina.  In 1810, they moved to Caney Springs, Tennessee and settled on the Duck River.  

At the age of eighteen Miriam married William Forrest who was a blacksmith by trade.  On July 13, 1821 she gave birth to a set of twins — a son, Nathan and a daughter, Frances, called Fanny by the family.  They would have a total of eleven children during their marriage.  In 1834, the Forrest family moved from Tennessee to Tippah County in northern Mississippi that had been Indian Territory.  When they first settled in Mississippi , the nearest neighbor was ten miles  away via a very narrow path.

William Forrest died in 1837.  By this time Miriam also lost two sons and three daughters to “pestilent fevers.”  With her son, Nathan Bedford, and his five surviving brothers, the family cleared and drained swamp land for farming.   Miriam remarried in 1843 to Joseph M. Luxton.  She gave birth to three more sons and one daughter.  By the beginning of the Civil War, Joseph Luxton died, and Miriam owned and operated a successful plantation near Memphis.  During the War, family history claims that all but one son fought for the Confederacy.  None of her other sons rose to the prominence of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

What kind of person was Miriam?  She was almost six feet tall with a large muscular frame and weighed approximately 180 pounds.  Her eyes were a blue-grey color and she had dark brown hair.  People said that her expression was gentle and kind.  However, she possessed a no-nonsense strong-willed personality with courage and dogged determination.  She was extremely straight forward and finished any task that she started.

Some said that she was set in her ways which were always the right “way.”   Miriam ruled her household with an iron fist.  Although she was strict and severe with her children, it was said that she loved them dearly.

Miriam rose before daylight in order to get everything ready for work by the time the sun came up.  On weekdays everyone on the farm had breakfast together and often by candlelight  in order to start doing chores early.  Miriam and her sister, Fannie Beck, spun yarn and cotton thread.  They wove the cloth on looms, made clothes and knitted socks.  They performed all the other tasks of a home maker.  The only supplies that were purchased were coffee, sugar, and tea.

One day Miriam and Fannie visited a distant neighbor.  When they left in the late afternoon, their friend gave the sisters a basket containing several young chickens.  Within a mile of their home in near darkness, they encountered a panther.  It had picked up the scent of the chickens and began chasing them.  The frightened horses broke into a run over a very narrow trail.  Fannie begged Miriam to throw the chickens to the panther, but she refused to do it.  She said that she was not going let that varmint have her chickens!

When they reached the creek near their cabin, they had to slow to a walk in order to cross safely.  The panther sprung and clawed Miriam on the side of her neck, ripping the clothes off her back, and leaving severe wounds.  The panther also clawed the horse who threw off the panther.  Throughout the ordeal Miriam held onto the basket of poultry.  Nathan immediately left with his dogs and tracked the panther for miles.  The dogs cornered the animal in a tree.  At daybreak, Nathan shot it.  He cut off the ears and scalp and presented them to his mother.

In 1861, Miriam was living on the plantation near Memphis.  Her eighteen year old son, Joseph Luxton, joined the Confederate army.  On a Friday afternoon he went to visit Miriam dressed in his spiffy new Confederate uniform.  His mother told him that he would be the one to take her corn to the mill for grinding the next day.  Early Saturday morning he absolutely refused to take the corn to the mill.  In a flash Miriam cut peach tree switches and thrashed him thoroughly.  A day he remembered probably for the rest of his life.  He did go to the mill.  Miriam said, ”Soldier or no soldier, my children will mind me as long as I live.”  She was a firm believer in the proverb that if the rod is spared, the child will be spoiled.

Ira and Eliza Camp were close friends of the family.  They left Mississippi in 1846 and settled in Navasota, Grimes County, Texas.  The Camp’s built a stone house and an inn where Sam Houston was often a guest.  In 1863, General Forrest had his mother and her two younger children escorted from Tennessee to the safety of Ira and Eliza Camp Inn.  Miriam always considered the Camp family’s inn a safe haven for herself.  After the War, Miriam and her children moved to Texas.Marker

In 1867, James Madison Luxton, a son from her second marriage, was wanted for an undescribed crime committed in Tennessee.  He found his way to Grimes County and became a deputy sheriff.  James fell seriously in the fall of 1867.  Miriam rushed by carriage to his aid.  As she stepped off the carriage in Navasota, a nail penetrated her foot.  She subsequently suffered blood poisoning and died at Camp Inn on November 15, 1867.  She was buried in the Ira Camp family cemetery in Navasota.  In1924, the Hannibal Boone Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy placed Marker 523 on her grave in honor of her son Nathan Bedford Forrest, a controversial figure.

Her son James survived and eventually raised a family in Uvalde County, Texas.  Miriam rose before daylight


Last changed: 08/31/23