Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Interview with John Haueisen

What meant the most to me about doing this project was getting to know more about my cousin, John. I knew he was a local celebrity, but I never knew that much about him. I really enjoyed hearing him tell historical stories. He knows how to make history interesting. It meant a lot to me to learn more about John’s life, as well as to witness his storytelling abilities.
 I learned that transcribing takes a lot more time than I thought it would, and it is hard to narrow down the interview to what you want to put in your paper when there is so much to choose from.
Here is my favorite part of the essay:
How did you get started in historical research?
Well, a lot of that just came up because…First of all, there was a little old lady in the neighborhood who seemed to know a lot about the history of places. One day I asked her, just to make conversation, “Where was this Worthington Manufacturing Company you’re always talking about?” She says, “John, you go past it every day when you walk your dogs!” Then I thought, “Oh gee, I should’ve known.” So I thought, “I ought to learn a little bit.” I read some books in the Historical Society library and the first thing I’d ever heard about the Civil War and Worthington. It said, “Worthington had a regiment that fought in the Civil War. They were led by Colonel Tom Worthington who was court-martialed and thrown out of the army.” I thought, “Wow! I wonder what he did! It must’ve been terrible!” Then my big surprise when I got into the records…First, it was hard to find records. It was like they’d erased him from history. Then I found little things where all he did was, he promised the parents of his soldiers, “I’ll try my best to be a parent in your place and bring your boys home alive to you.” He tried his best to keep his soldiers from getting killed and General Sherman didn’t like things like that. General Sherman said, “Send ten thousand over there! Yeah, they’ll get blown-up by the cannons, but that’ll make the other men madder and they’ll be better fighters in future battles!” So it’s interesting. We all, grow up thinking everything that’s in books tells us the truth. A lot of times books lie. Sometimes they’re printed by people who had an interest in it. Like, why is it so hard to find anything about Colonel Tom? It’s because General Sherman’s brother was a U.S. Senator and he called all the newspapers and said, “Quit telling stories about what General Sherman did at Shiloh. Hush up that guy, Worthington, and throw him out!” [chuckles] And so they did!

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