Novels of the Old South

Novels of the Old South

Friday, February 3, 2017

March 26, 1998. Mississippi. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Perfect verse for today. Daddy is in the presence of the Lord. We buried him today under blue skies. After all was said and done, we—the children, Mother, and our extended families—sang over Daddy's grave, as we picked flowers for ourselves, a constant reminder of the resurrection of the body. We would see him again.

A thousand images of Daddy raced through my mind. He was a giant of a man. A prince, loving, carring. A hard worker, but never a slave to anything or anyone but the Lord and his family. He had no enemies. His presence filled a room. His laughter was contagious. His compassion, unsurpassed. The sting of death did not touch him, though it left us aching inside.

From HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS, published 2007.
Jane Bennett Gaddy
Daddy, I will miss you till the day I die,
and I love you even more—

Charlie Patterson Bennett, Sr.
February 3, 1910—March 24, 1998
New Albany, Mississippi

Monday, January 2, 2017

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle
were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made
with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan,
earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house
which is from heaven."
II Corinthians 5:1-2
On Sunday afternoon, September 11, 2016—compelled by some strong move of God's Spirit, we loaded up Mike and Gloria's SUV and drove across the hills of three counties in Northeast Mississippi to just a few miles from Bruce—Charlie and Mary Clark's homeplace. Oh, we had been there many times, always received with such gracious hospitality. This time was a little different.

In the past, we roamed the countryside with Charlie in his big truck or on four-wheelers, or just sat comfortably in the beautifully decorated cottage, listening to Charlie weave stories and share memories of our ancestors who courageously defended the Old South in the War Between the States.

Charlie Clark was the "Keeper of the Treasures"! The very first time we were together, he gave me copies of everything ephemeral he had that significantly honored the memory of our great-great grandfather, T.G. Clark and his sons, Jonathan and Albert Henry, who fought, bled and died in the War. He said to me, "Use any and all of this in your books—anything that belongs to me, I am giving you full permission to use in writing about those Mississippi Boys." I treasure every word of his essays, copies of personal letters, and photos he kept through the years that related to our ancestors. He even gave me his DNA number that was used to try and locate any evidence of T.G. and the boys. Their dust, we are reasonably certain, remains on the hills of Gettysburg. Charlie was devoted to the Cause for which our ancestors so bravely contended.

You wonder why I am so dedicated to telling the Story? My inspiration came from Charlie Clark who did everything he possibly could to share the history of our family with me.

Yes, we have the letters from those Mississippians. But, more than that, I had Charlie Clark, the historian who knew the tiny details and freely shared them.

On that sunny Mississippi Sunday afternoon, 9-11-16, we sat listening to Charlie and Mary weave the beautiful stories of the past. Mary slipped in some love stories of her and Charlie when he was in the Army. These two were so in love. The most beautiful people, inside and out. Meant for each other. 

I knew ... it would be the last time 
we would see him this side of Heaven.
He sat in his chair, breathing steadily of oxygen
from his tank, struggling with each breath, but not
wanting us to leave, and we didn't.
It was Mike, Gloria, Dewey and me.

One of the boys went to the back of the house with Mary. She pointed to Charlie's reading chair, pulled to the big windows in his bedroom. She had arranged his chair so he could see the old familiar places of home without going outside. Confined, but happy! Propped against a huge tree in the backyard was one of the millstones from T.G.'s gristmill, an old landmark of the Clark home place at Sarepta. The perfect resting place for that ancient millstone.

Two years ago, Charlie had arranged for us to go to the Clark Place. I had no idea the memories I would bring back. None of us did. I posted about it on this blog. The pictures are on the sideline.

Charlie walked to the precipice with us, told some stories that surely were of the War years, and walked back to the four wheeler and waited until we had filled up all our senses with how it might have been when our ancestors lived, loved, worked and played on top of that hill and in the valley of McGill Creek.

After Teresa read TO LOVE AGAIN, she wrote this, which I consider a tribute to her daddy.

Maybe the opposite of being "chilled with experience" as Oscar experienced, I was moved from deep within, squeezed with emotion until my eyes leaked, when Rachel said to Oscar, "This is McGill Creek." So very much of my experiences with Clark family history are centered in the very spot you describe Rachel standing upon. I treasure all my visits there and the history of that time we've learned, yet one will always stand out, especially now. It was a time when only Dad and I WALKED it, up and down those tall cliffs, wading in the creekbed, and WALKED out. Oh, how I miss those times before COPD! And Thank you for showing Sam to be a young man with wisdom beyond his years as shown when he could say to Oscar that he was a "man ... worthy of my mama have measured up." Although I never met Sam and Harriet I saw their character in their offspring and thank God for them. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to our family. God has given you a special gift and I'm so glad you honor Him as you share it. I love you lots. Teresa


Yesterday, October 19, 2016, our Charlie Clark went home to be with Jesus. I know there were many people he was happy to see—T.G. and the boys being among the crowds of people who gathered around to welcome Charlie Home. I could be jealous.

But we will see him soon!
Verse 2: "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven."

He waits for us—with Jesus.
Until then, God bless you Mary and your beautiful daughters, Renee and Teresa. And Thomas; And Trey, Misty, and Briley, and all your extended family.

Charlie Wayne Clark—
we will love you forever!

Jane Bennett Gaddy
Proud Clark Descendant

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Game On!

First signing at Atlanta Bread Cherrydale Point in Greenville, SC was awesome! Thank you, Jeff and Amber Massey for hosting us! It was great to see old friends from the past, new ones I had never met in person, and those that have kept in touch through the years. From as far away as Waynesville and Hendersonville, NC they came! And locals from Simpsonville, Easley, Piedmont, Travelers Rest, Greenville, Taylors—I couldn't believe it. I started signing at a little past 5:00 and hubs and I didn't leave until 9:00. I was able to get a few pictures, but if you were there and you have some to send me, please email to I will love you for that! 

Thanks to Claudia Burns for assisting me with this first signing. She is an incredible friend and stuck right with me till the end. She used her power and influence to get us in the TR electronic paper. They ran a great ad with a photo of the book cover. Travelers Rest is such a grand place to be and live and visit.

GREENVILLE, S.C — Local author Jane Bennett Gaddy will host a book signing event for her newest book, "To Love Again," on Fri., Aug. 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Atlanta Bread Cherrydale Point.

(The title is a hot button. Click on it and go directly to my book at Paperback is on sale! But if you are going to attend a signing, wait for me!)

A sequel to "Rachel After the Darkness" and a continuation of five southern novels, "To Love Again" blends reality with imagination to bring us another unforgettable narrative of the Old South.
Set in Sarepta, MS, and Manhattan Island, NY, worlds apart by virtue of custom and culture, in the year 1876 and forward, Gaddy, through her beloved heroic Rachel Payne, reveals the dreams and desires of all her characters collectively and individually, as time takes them beyond the disheartening years that followed the War Between the States, its aftermath, and into the next generation. They each have a story to tell, and though death and sorrow have drawn lines of separation through the years, Gaddy, in her novels, has kept the remaining characters bound with loving ties.

Atlanta Bread is located at 3203 Pleasantburg Dr., Greenville, SC
Great Job, eh!
I will be posting my book tour schedule soon, maybe this evening. I have twelve signings in Mississippi and Tennessee in the first three weeks of September. I was told I could not be gone a month this time! So I will be quickly hopping from one southern town to another. One of those days (September 15) I have three signings. In one day?  You're killin' me!

Thanks, friends, for attending the Atlanta Bread signing! It was great to see all of you, to sign my books, and fellowship for those hours. Let's go there again—soon!

Jane Bennett Gaddy