It was exciting to bear witness to the vibrancy at a ballpark surrounded by thousands of spectators watching a duel between two pitchers, as was the experience of men’s fastpitch softball at its highest level, the Class “AA” Majors. The game was fast-paced as the short base paths and the closeness of the pitcher, caused the action to be compressed and hurried. The outfield fences were moved up because a 12” softball didn’t carry as far as a tightly wound baseball, causing the seasoned professional baseball players who enlisted, difficulty to assimilate.
Fastpitch softball originated during the Great Depression and quickly spread across the nation, forming teams like the Fox Hill Hillian’s, the greatest fastpitch softball team to emerge out of Virginia, and players like; “Big” John Caynor, one of its finest pitchers of their 1973 “miracle year.” This story documents the history of fastpitch softball’s emergence, to its disintegration, while chronicling “Big” John’s remarkable life and career as the Fox Hill club chased the dream of a lifetime; to win the world tournament. Fox Hill’s 1973 miracle year was their best finish in 54 years as Caynor’s courage and mind pushed him further than his damaged body could go.
“Big” John Caynor’s eight-pitch cache, including a signature 100 mph fastball, gave rise to the nickname “The Fireballer.”
NOTE: “Big John” was inducted into the Tidewater Virginia Softball Hall of Fame in 1990 as one of 22 members of the Fox Hill All-Stars.
"The Gallant 60th, Vol. I"
This is a two volume publication of the trials and tribulations of the 60th Virginia Regiment of Infantry during America’s Civil War. The book's title, "Independence or Annihilation,” seemed only fitting given it was the regiment’s motto. Volume I is a narrative of a regiment that fought in some of the most grievous battles occupying American soil. Externally, the regiment would have appeared like any other, but internally, they were unique as they were on many occasions directed to the most crucial segment of the battlefield where the onslaught and overwhelming pressure were applied by their adversary. On a few of these occasions, their line broke, and the battle was lost. The question is why would an ordinary regiment be placed in such vital and strategic points upon the battlefield on so many occasions? The answer is uncomplicated, it’s because their commanders had faith that they could do the unthinkable. That this regiment was the best. That these few battle-hardened veterans could succeed where others couldn’t. The truth is that these men were asked to do what no mortal man could do, which is to overcome the primary focal point and assault of a battle with a regiment that never amounted to more than 600 men on the field.
This publication has loads of information and an additional case study on slavery within the members of the regiment. You will be able to easily identify the difference in the social classes of these men as well as the number of first-generation immigrants serving alongside third or fourth generation men. It is not difficult to envision the youth of America as a country, which persevered through this crisis only eighty odd years after its creation, but this war, would define us.
"The Gallant 60th, Vol. II"
Volume II is primarily the regimental roster, biographies, statistics, and identifies locations of regimental campsites throughout the war and encompasses additional soldiers not located previously as well as more information related to some of its participants. This well-researched two book set was compiled to find the slightest nugget to better understand these men who elected to secede from their Union, and some of these so-called nuggets are boulders. Anyone interested in the Civil War, the Confederacy, the 60th Virginia regiment, the battles they participated in, or the relationships with who was fighting and why; age, social class, education, immigrant status, and occupation, will enjoy and be fascinated by this momentous work. There are no Confederate regimental books that speak to slavery or illustrate who in the regiment was associated with the institution. The recognition of slavery should not be excluded as it is one of the primary reasons for the Civil War. Most within the regiment never owned a slave and served with a premise of gaining sovereignty and independence for Virginia, others, primarily in leadership and higher social standing most probably had more motivations in mind.
This two volume set is offered in an 6" x 9", softback or with a hardback dustjacket binding; with 2,053 soldier names and biographies. The contents include 155 more soldiers not identified in J. L. Scott's 1997 contribution to the H.E. Howard series of Virginia regimental histories. This compilation contains almost one-thousand pages between the two volumes, which contains biographies, storylines, statistics, and countless photos and illustrations. This published work is the definitive resource for the 60th Virginia Regiment.
This is a historical portrayal of the Caynor family and the ancestors that intertwined through marriage. Their lives paralleled American history and begins in Virginia’s colonial period with indentured servant Mathew Caynor. Mathew earned his freedom and joined the Continental Army in 1777, and sacrificed for our nation’s independence. His service included surviving the harsh Valley Forge winter of 1777-78. Eighty-three years later, Mathew’s descendants enlisted in both armies in the War and Rebellion. His grandson, dressed in gray, faced General George Armstrong Custer and future presidents, Hayes and McKinley, on the battlefield. Where he battled to gain independence, others fought to preserve a nation or to free the enslaved.
The Caynor’s emigrated from England and settled in the Fauquier and Culpeper’s county regions of Virginia in the eighteenth century. However, two descendants would leave the state and begin a family lineage that reached several hundred. One ancestor migrated with his young family to western Virginia in 1843, while another joined a wagon caravan to Missouri during the Gold Rush migration of 1849. By the turn of the twentieth century, almost all the Caynor’s in the United States had descended from these two families.
Take a journey through history as this family embarks on the fears and apprehension of life in the New World, while America defines herself. These adventurers settle western Virginia and the frontier of the west and encounter triumphs and tragedy.
"Without a Scratch"
Unbelievably, a complete Civil War diary of Corporal William H. Morse was unearthed fifteen odd years ago. This amazing rendition of the war sparked a tireless research commitment to record his amazing saga. Morse had a superb view of many pivotal battles in the eastern theater, including Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Rappahannock Station, Winchester, Cedar Creek, Petersburg, Spotsylvania, and Sailor’s Creek. He was also present at General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. His recorded involvement became paramount to publish as his observations during this turbulent time mirrored American history and afforded eyewitness testimony of significant encounters in battle and daily soldier life.
Morse recorded 42 months of service with the 5th Maine Regiment. After being discharged in 1865, he could have returned home, but he chose to enlist in the 1st Maine Veteran Regiment to continue the fight. His diary gives an excellent portrayal of daily life as a soldier in the Army of the Potomac, and his written observations of battle are visionary depictions that allow one to see the action as if being present on hallowed ground.
The astonishing part of Morse’s story is that he was selected as the regimental color bearer, putting him in the front line of fire where he was showered with bullets and shells but astonishingly deprived of a fragment hitting its intended target and thus he escaped “Without a Scratch.” His narrative is a masterpiece of Civil War history as Morse wrote in his diary almost daily, giving little room for the misperception of the soldier’s experience, and thus it’s a realistic portrayal of the life of these resilient and heroic men.
"Before the Ink Dries"
This is a narrative about the world of electric cooperatives. Although electric cooperatives serve 42M people and maintain 42% of the distribution lines spanning 48 of the 50 states, many residents in urban areas don’t even know they exist. This narrative dissects the non-profit’s model and principles and explains the challenges facing the environment today. Follow the author when he expounds from 33 years of experience that has taken him from an apprentice lineman role to Chief Executive Officer, and from as far east in this beautiful country, to as far west, in order to learn the industry, and further advance his knowledge and understanding. Learn the differences and complexities between systems, utilities, non-profits, and the cooperative model. Other concentrations are Linework, leadership, management, collective bargaining, and learning to lead, collaborate, or follow. The key to success is ingrained in one's ideology and values. If you don’t understand it to see it, you can’t do anything about it. We are all mere facilitators in the wheel of the electrical grid.
"Patriotic Resolutions of a Lost Cause"
During the great Civil War that defined us, there was a gathering of thoughts and attitudes vocalized and printed, for and against secession, emancipation, and the reasoning of division that culminated to bloodshed.
As the war progressed the validation for what was proposed to be a skirmish was silenced, when the reality of a long war was realized, government officials created partisan arguments to fuel the fire of war. These divided United States endeavored to bolster patriotic opinion in one’s state, town, city, or brigade, through declarations, proclamations, and resolutions of inspiration and justification. In order to build a strong army one must build a strong mind of unity through morale.
The primary questions were related to slavery and the right of secession. The first question was not the main objective of the Union who didn't enact the Emancipation Proclamation until two years into the war (1863), but it is termed as the cause today. The second question was the primary cause of the bloodshed. The north wouldn't have invaded the south if it were not for secession and the south's capture of the federal fortifications in southern states.
During the war, citizen's rights to habeas corpus, the implementation of conscription, and personal and property taxes to pay for the war effort fostered further debate and outrage.
One of the most noticeable displays of public patriotic rhetoric in the south occurred after the Hampton Roads Peace Conference in 1865, when an outpouring of southern patriotic sentiments was displayed from soldiers and citizens around the Confederacy. For the last time in their war for independence, these men described their struggle on a national level and voiced their resolve to continue, to the death, if need be.
Six weeks later, southern legislators authorized the enlistment of black soldiers into the southern arm forces, altering the aims of southern ideology. However, it was too late, as emancipation had already occurred two years earlier and many of these African Americans were supporting the war’s end, with a Federal weapon in hand.
This narrative is a thought provoked dissection of hundreds of resolutions identified depicting the philosophies and logic behind the sacrifices and fortitude for the victor and the defeated, which would assist the modern reader to understand why there was a war that led eleven states to secede from our Union.