Lies We Learned Along the Way: Betsy Ross, George Washington and Humans With Tails

It was raining our first day in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, so we decided on attending indoor venues. One was Alcatraz East and the other was Buttonwillow Civil War Theater.

We thought it was going to be a Civil War documentary film, but was an actual play. It turned out to be much better than what we anticipated. 

This fascinating performance tells the story of two cousins from East Tennessee. One is pro-Union, and one is pro-Confederate. Both struggle to understand the other’s view of saving the South. It was written and acted in by Steve Gipson, filled with facts and little regard for political correctness.

Audience members found it refreshing to learn the truth about history not taught in schools or shown in Hollywood movies.

One of the most astounding discoveries was to learn that the ‘Rebel Flag’ we associate with the Confederacy because of Hollywood and political propaganda, was not what we’ve been led to believe.

There were at least a dozen assorted Confederate flags which caused great confusion even in battle. Southerners have lost sight of their past by allowing false history to be taught. Some major Civil War movies, History Channel documentaries and media show Confederates carrying the flag when it didn’t even exist yet at particular phases and battles of the War.

We laughed and literally cried during the performance. Even a few days later, we find the play to be emotionally with us. If every university American history professor and students would see this show the country would be far better off than it is right now.

Right off the bat, the tall and distinguished Gipson–who has been researching the real history of America by actually reading and investigating National Archives documents–warns the audience they’ll not be given a false CNN or New York Times version of history.

Gipson says that today’s history teachers and historians aren’t performing their jobs accurately.

“Because of the massive pressure from our current society’s special interest groups, people who wrote or edit our public education’s history books have to skirt real-life scenarios and morays,” Gipson said. “They tend to insert 21st century filters into their accounts, rendering the truth almost undetectable.”

We bought Gipson’s book God Save the South! (True American History With a Side of Southern Humor and Dodie has been reading me excerpts as we drive through the Smokies and Shenandoah National Parks. 

This prompted us to explore other facts we were never taught in schools or media. Here are some of what we learned:

🇺🇸John Hanson was the first President of the United States. In 1781 he was elected President of the Continental Congress and while serving his one year term, authorized the Great Deal of the United States.

President John Hanson

We had seven other one-year termed presidents: Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, John Hancock, Nathaniel Gorham, Arthur St. Clair, and Cyrus Griffin.

🇺🇸It wasn’t until we ratified our Constitution that we elected George Washington as the ninth president of the United States.

When he gave his first inaugural address in 1789, Washington had just one remaining natural tooth. It is a fact he wore a series of dentures, some made from ivory, gold, and even lead. The common schoolhouse myth that he wore wooden teeth, however, is exactly that — a myth.

🇺🇸Robert E. Lee’s Virginia estate, named Arlington House, was confiscated by the Union and turned into a cemetery during the war. The idea—supported by Lincoln–was that if Lee should ever return, he would “have to look at these graves and see the carnage that he had created.”

Lee House

🇺🇸In 1877, George Washington Custis Lee sued the federal government for confiscating Arlington illegally, and the Supreme Court awarded the estate back to him. What did Robert’s son do with an estate littered with dead bodies? He sold it back to the federal government for $150,000. That’s worth $3,662,771.43 in 2020 dollars.

🇺🇸Paul Revere never yelled “The British are coming.” Most accounts indicate he warned “The regulars are coming out,” referring to almost 800 heavily armed British Regulars.

Revere was captured and unable to ride all the way to Concord. But another rider-messenger did. He was Dr. Samuel Prescott, a young physician.

🇺🇸We were taught the 13 stripes on the American flag represent the 13 original colonies. But there were only 12 at the start of the revolution.

Delaware was part of Pennsylvania until June 15, 1776, when the Assemblies of the Lower Counties of Pennsylvania declared themselves free of both Great Britain and Pennsylvania. Also, Britain had two loyalist Florida colonies that didn’t take part in the revolution.

🇺🇸Betsy Ross did not design the final version of the first American flag. The real person who designed the first American flag was an otherwise obscure signer of the Declaration of Independence named Francis Hopkinson.

In May of 1780, Hopkinson wrote a letter to the Board of Admiralty requesting compensation for having designed the first American flag.

The Board approved Hopkinson’s claim as genuine, but refused to provide him with compensation since he was not the only one who had contributed to it.

Betsy Ross was a real seamstress who lived in Philadelphia at the time of the American Revolution and she really did sew American flags, but she did not design the flag, nor is it even probable that she sewed the first one.

Ross was originally buried in the Free Quaker Burial Grounds in Philadelphia. In 1856, her skeleton was dug up and moved to the Mount Moriah Cemetery.

In 1975, it was decided that her skeleton and that of her husband would be moved to the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, despite the fact that she probably never lived there. The cemetery workers, however, found that there was no skeleton under the grave marked as hers, so they literally just dug up a random skeleton from her family burial plot, assumed it to be hers, and moved it to the Betsy Ross House.

🇺🇸Communication was slow and bad in the 1860s.  Many Northerners thought Southerners “ran around half naked and ate raw animals.”

It wasn’t uncommon for those in the South to believe those in the North had tails.

🇺🇸People who displayed seashells in their home indicated their wealth. They had enough money to travel to the ocean, and others could be paid to handle their domestic duties.

🇺🇸26% of the South owned slaves in 1860. 74% of the South did not own slaves.

🇺🇸Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson got his nickname during the first battle of Bull Run. Soldiers stated he stood “like a stone wall” in the midst of battle. He was accidentally shot and killed by his own men.

🇺🇸Amputation was the most common treatment for broken or severely wounded limbs during the American Civil War. There were too many wounded men for doctors to do time-consuming procedures like removing part of a broken bone or mending damaged flesh. More than half of leg amputations at the thigh or knee ended up being fatal. 83% of amputations were fatal if the amputation was done at the hip joint.

🇺🇸During the American Civil War, a man named W.V Meadows was shot in the eye during the Battle of Vicksburg. Not only did he survive, but he coughed the bullet out of his mouth 58 years later.

🇺🇸Boston Corbett, the man who shot John Wilkes Booth, was totally insane from handling mercury as a hatter. Years prior to shooting Booth, he calmly castrated himself with scissors.

Boston Corbett

🇺🇸Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was limited in effect — first limited to slaves in rebel states, and then not universally known. The holiday of Juneteeth celebrates the moment June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers rode into Galveston, Texas, to tell America’s last remaining slaves they were free. This was news to the slaves, who had never heard of the proclamation, signed 2½ years earlier.

🇺🇸The term “fly off the handle” is saying that refers to cheap axe-heads flying off their handles when swung backwards before a chop.

Jack with actors Steve Gibson & Andrea Thone.

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