Maroon Friday


Happy Maroon Friday, everyone!

We Ring True. Go MSU! Source: Mississippi State University

We Ring True. Click the image for the video. Go MSU! Source: Mississippi State University

College football season starts tomorrow; my beloved Mississippi State Bulldogs aren’t even RANKED this week. Huh.

I seem to remember a certain team that also entered the first week of college football season unranked in 2014, only to climb to the top of college football rankings in the U.S. and remain there for five weeks?

I wonder.

Hail State!

Hail State!



The 100-Year Uphill Climb


Several weeks ago, at the start of football season, I mentioned my alma mater, Mississippi State University, and how I love my team, good, bad, and mostly terrible, because — let’s face it — MSU has never been number one of anything in football, has never been considered for a championship.

Until this year.

You gotta hand it to a team that’s the poorest in the SEC from the poorest state in the nation that earned its place as #1 in the country right now. MSU has had a 100-year uphill climb to get to that point, and I’m proud of my team.

MSU is not number one anymore, according to the football ranking gods/polls this week. But you know what? I don’t care.

Win or lose, MSU will always be #1 with me.

There was a great article in The Washington Post about last Saturday’s game (Yes, The Washington Post!). To quote, “So this is your day, America, to cheer for the littlest and the least. This may be the last day in life you get to say “Mississippi State is No. 1” and not be institutionalized.”

Hell. I’d still say it, whether the team is ranked nationally as #1 or #101 and dare the guys in the little white jackets to take me away.

We just might get to the championship game, Alabama or no Alabama. You never know. We never expected MSU to have this outstanding season this year, either.

Go Bulldogs!

PS: What does this have to do with Emmett Wilson’s research? Emmett was a guy who also had a lot of team spirit. He played on the West Florida Seminary baseball team, and supposedly was on the West Florida Seminary football team. He was proud of his alma mater too — now Florida State — which is unbeaten at present.

Clenched Fist Typing; Research Update


I know it has been a little quiet this week; I sat down today while the game was on to catch up, but trust me, you can’t type with clenched fists.

But thankfully, things are much better here at the DC-MSU Bulldogs Annex:

This game got a little too tight for my comfort here and there. Image source:

This game got a little too tight for my comfort here and there. Image source:


I promised an update, and I won’t disappoint! It has been a good week for new information.

First, I think I’ve found out where Emmett’s father went to medical school in 1859 — right before the Civil War broke out. I had thought Dr. Francis Wilson had attended the Medical College of Virginia during that time, since his family history said that he was enlisted in Lynchburg. Logistically, it made sense, because at the time, his extended family lived around Lunenberg, Virginia. Unfortunately, the archivist at MCV reported no record of Dr. Francis C. Wilson.

However, the archivist suggested I look in Alabama, because she thinks he likely joined a military company in Alabama, which was then reorganized into the 11th Alabama in Lynchburg. I hadn’t considered that possibility — just goes to show what an outside, fresh set of eyes can see for you.

So, I jumped right on that lead and contacted the Alabama archivists she recommended. I’m waiting to hear back from them. Progress!

Second, I’ve been reading an interesting book about how physicians were trained in the 19th century.

American Physicians in the 19th Century, published right up the road, The Johns Hopkins University Press

American Physicians in the 19th Century by William G. Rothstein. Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Rothstein — also a faculty member with the University of Maryland system — has written this book in an interesting and readable style, definitely not what I expected in a textbook.

One of the main reasons I got this book is because of an extensive and well researched chapter on medical education after the Civil War, which gives me a very good understanding about Dr. Wilson’s medical training.

Here are just a few items of interest from the book relevant to my research on Emmett’s father:

Dr. Wilson didn’t go back to medical school after the Civil War ended, but he worked with a preceptor, a master physician. Dr. Wilson was this physician’s apprentice, and he had to pay for the privilege of being this doctor’s lackey, basically. Rothstein said that on average, an apprentice could pay about $100 a year for the privilege of studying with the preceptor, but rate could be higher depending on who that doctor was (and his expertise). This was rather expensive for Dr. Wilson, especially if he would have had to provide for his own equipment, room, board and the like.

Also, physicians who did not attend medical school did train with preceptors back then; it was an accepted practice, but not without problems. Rothstein said the medical training apprentices received was only as good as that preceptor’s training. For example: If Dr. Wilson-the-apprentice was only studying under a physician with mediocre skills, and that physician was in a rural area without access to hospitals or laboratories, the Dr. Wilson-the-apprentice’s education and resulting skill development would be limited.

Fortunately, I believe Emmett’s father had good training; otherwise, I do not believe Dr. Wilson would have been as successful in his career as he was.

I thought I’d have some more content written, but I’ve been deep into the reading of this book, and shaping the notes around Dr. Wilson’s story. Also, I’m planning to contact Dr. Rothstein to ask a few questions that would pertain to Dr. Wilson’s training.

So, the writing is not going as quickly as I had hoped this past week, but I have more information to use in shaping that story. It is all good.



No offense…


Really. Nothing against Emmett. I love him dearly, but you have to admit, this guy:


Emmett Wilson, football player, probably tight end (LOL)

…would probably not have done this:

Prescott takes a hit in the groin and still makes the touchdown pass. Hail State!

Prescott takes a hit in the groin and still makes the touchdown pass. Hail State! Source:

Different time, different game, different, er, protective gear.

Or maybe he did, and that explains why he’s not on the 1900 WFS football team roster.

The ‘Tell My Story’ household is still giddy from this weekend’s game results; but today, it is back to the serious stuff (another chapter to write and final papers to grade, as two of my classed ended today). As I mentioned earlier, over the weekend, I completed a second chapter and will start the third (hopefully) tomorrow.

I am really enjoying how the story is coming together. It is not exactly how I expected to go about it, but then, I never expected to ‘meet’ Emmett and write his story, either. Whatever. It all just feels right, and that’s what counts.

I’ll be back in a day or so with an update.

Oh Hell Yeah!


It was a productive day! I worked on Emmett’s book this afternoon, watched this outstanding contest…



…and, converted an FSU fan to MSU! Yeah, baby! Productive!


Emmett went to West Florida Seminary, which later became Florida State. But now, he’s cheering for the SEC!

I’ll report back on the writing progress (it is going well)! Hail State!


Rolling Right Along…


Good news: The narrative style is working. It lets me channel the research such that Emmett is narrating his story (with a little bit of help from me in the background)!

When I started writing about 10 days ago, I used a standard, very structured, academic, follow-the-outline writing method, and frankly, it didn’t work. My words sounded like a stiff, not-fun-to-read history tome, and I KNOW Emmett would not have appreciated that.

Thank God, here's our exit. Source:

Thank God, here’s our exit. Source:

If Emmett weren’t already dead, he’d have died of boredom reading it.

That academic style was enthusiasm-sucking, and frankly, not my preferred way of writing, which is to jump right into a topic, usually somewhere in middle, and start writing.

I’ve been living with Emmett and his research for over a year now; I believe that’s what he’d want anyway, because now the story just feels natural in its telling. It is Emmett’s voice coming through, maybe not loud, but definitely clear.


The rest of my day will be dedicated to more writing, because tomorrow is set aside for my beloved MSU Bulldogs:

MSU vs Auburn on CBS  Source:

MSU vs Auburn on CBS

So, for now, back to the manuscript.

More later!