Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vols and Volleys at Tennessee Society Dinner

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vols and Volleys at Tennessee Society Dinner

Article excerpt

ROSEMARY PICKLE and her husband, Bob, a former president of the Tennessee Society of St. Louis, took Andrew Jackson home and stored him under Rosemary's bed. His picture, that is, which once was lost and now is found, rests quietly in Clayton in between the society's annual meetings.

At the 102nd annual banquet on Jan. 11 at the University Club, Andy looked heroic in the dining room. That was consoling, because a rumor was circulating over cocktails that the dinner speaker that night planned to reveal racy facts about Jackson's legendary leap into the spoils system.

In fact, Estelle Powers, who functions as in-house historian for the lads, whispered that the material was so hot that the speaker had told her over lunch that he was not publishing it till after his death. She said the speaker feared the loyal Tennesseans would lynch him for what he had uncovered in his years of researching and writing about Jackson's papers as Presidential Scholar at the University of Tennessee. Stellie said that she hoped the news wouldn't be about her ancestress, the often maligned Rachel Donelson, Andy's cherished wife (sometimes spelled Donalson). Newspapers in those days did not concern themselves with libel or bias and, during Jackson's presidential campaign in 1828, what Stellie calls "confusion about the legality" of Rachel's divorce from an earlier marriage made headlines in anti-Jackson papers. Stellie didn't know what her sons, Tennessee Society members all and particulary David Powers, current president of the group, would do if they heard Rachel being dishonored. She stopped speaking because her pastor, Msgr. Jerome Wilkerson, was beginning an invocation so polished and erudite that one wanted to take notes. The monsignor with the Ph.D. prayed aloud, thanking God for many things about Tennessee, including its casting the deciding vote for women's suffrage.AS Then followed the salad course and traditional toasts: To the Great State of Tennessee, by D. Scott Fenton. To President of the United States, Andy Jackson, by Edgar C. Sparks in rhyming, well-scanned verse. To the Magnificent & Beautiful Ladies of Tennessee, by William F. Trent Jr., a toast tending with "In the never changing harshness of the new frontier, they are steel magnolias. Being a woman does not mean being weak. Being strong does not mean being any less of a woman." To Volunteers Far From Home, by Sam Flora, saluting both Tennessee as the Volunteer State, and his aunt and uncle from Fresno, Calif., Squire Bill and Martha Corbett, who flew in for the weekend to attend the party. soci During dinner, Harold D. Moser, the after-dinner speaker, regaled me with titillating historical findings about Daniel Webster and John Quincy Adams. fMsswp We were ready, even anticipating Moser's speech. …

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