David Yarbrough grew up to become a young man of twenty-one years almost like an only child. Always to remain their baby boy, William and Frances doted on the lad, especially since William Henry had been gone from home for several years. Frances was always knitting him mittens or socks and keeping measurements on him to see how tall he was each passing year. His father, William, showed him Christian ethics, the plan of salvation in the Presbyterian faith by his own example, along with how to treat your fellowman. Also, how to farm, fish, hunt, and shoot a rifle and a shot gun. How he loved that boy, and now to think that in just a few days, he would be heading out on his own. How lonely would it be at home when William and Frances no longer could see his always smiling, handsome face, hear his laugh, his voice, or force a chuckle at his corny jokes. That day had finally arrived.
Frances dabbed her eyes with her crumpled handkerchief. "I know, Son, it's all for you because we are so proud of you and love you so much. David, you won't realize what a parent feels in a situation like this until you become one yourself."
"Where's Daddy? he told me that he wanted to drive me to Greensboro to meet up with my outfit that will be headed on down to Mobile."
"He'll be here directly, Son. Are you sure you have everything packed in your bag? Do you have those mittens and extra socks I made for you? You know it can get really cold in Mobile during the winter."
"Yes, Mama, no worries. I have everything ready to go, just waiting to see my father."
"I guess he is bringing the buggy around to the front porch," Frances said while she and David left his room.
Frances stood on the porch beside David while they watched William bring the buggy from the back yard, down the tiny access road, and turn onto West Lafayette Street where he stopped the two mule team in front of the house. David picked up his bag, kissed his mother goodbye, and headed down the steps to meet his waiting father. He pitched his bag into the back seat of the buggy and jumped into the front seat beside his father. Looking back as the buggy began to pull away, David threw up his hand in a farewell wave to his mama while Vangie suddenly appeared on the porch to hold onto Frances to help steady her.
"I love you, Son," Frances cried out. "Don't forget to write!"
"I will, Mama, and I love you, too!"
Frances pulled away from Vangie and ran down the front steps and into the street where she watched the buggy travel all the way down to Washington Street until it made the corner and turned. Her boy was gone now from her view, but he would always remain in her heart.
Private William Henry Huntington of the Porter King Militia Home Guard C.S.A. had only been serving Perry County four months when he encountered his first deserter. It was almost dusk on 14 January 1863 while he and Pvt. John Brennan were riding patrol out close to Heiberger. John and Henry had only met since joining the home guard, so neither of them knew each other very well.
John Lewis Brennan lived on his farm located north of Perry Ridge. John, now at age forty-five, was a tall, burly man, single, who had been a farmer all his life. He was the father of a young son and daughter by two different women. John had a muscular build from working all his years in the field and around the farm. He wore his sandy blond hair cut to a medium length with a goatee and small moustache and had green eyes. A small scar ran down his cheek on the left side of his face that he received at age nineteen in a bar room brawl in Perry Ridge. He was tanned from working in the fields, which provided his deep bronze complexion. His large hands were rough and calloused. His face would never be considered as handsome, but overall, he made his appearance as only average in looks. He rarely smiled, but when he did, his teeth had yellowed from all the years he had smoked tobacco. His voice was low-pitched, gruff, and raspy, most likely from smoking all the time.
Henry had never worked with John before, so they passed their time on horseback in mutual conversation to get more acquainted while they had pulled duty today with each other for the first time. Henry and John pulled their mounts to a halt as they observed the sun while it began to disappear below the tree line that lay on the mountainside just ahead. By the time they reached the first sight of the church yard, the two privates decided to pull up to the front porch of the Heiberger Methodist Church and camp there until early morning. The dark of night was about to settle in and they would only have the moonlight to guide them back to Marion if they chose to leave now.
"Did you see that?" John said in a low voice while they both pulled their horses to a sudden stop as they were about to turn onto the church yard.
"I thought I saw a flame around back of the church, and now it is out. I swear it was a flash that lit up for a few seconds."
"No, I didn't see anything, John. Maybe it was a shooting star."
"Now, dammit, I smell smoke! Somebody's had a fire going around back, and whoever it is has probably seen us already. We need to check it out," John said while he started to move out in that direction.
There was no one else in the store while the young lady in a fashionable long pink dress walked from the counter to the table to inspect the beautiful crafted items on display. Her long auburn hair fell from her shoulders while her bright blue eyes accentuated her pretty face. She began to touch several pieces while she ran her hand over the assortment of gold, bronze, and silverware which lay on a black velvet cloth on the table.
Several minutes later, the door swung back as Roswell entered the showroom while sweating profusely like a pig roasting on an open fire pit. He wore a soiled leather apron over his blue wrinkled long-sleeved shirt and black gabardine breeches. His long dark brown hair had fallen from the back of the small leather cap he usually wore to keep his thick mane of hair in place while he was working. A few strands were also protruding along the left side of his face where they slightly covered one of his dark brown eyes. He pushed the hair back from his face.
A bit startled at his sudden entrance, the young lady looked up from the table in surprise while nearly dropping the silver spoon she was holding in her hand. She quickly observed the unkempt store owner, looking rather like a common field hand, while she gave him the once-over without trying to appear so obvious. He was tall and extremely good looking with long slender fingers and big feet.
Roswell Huntington was smitten while he stood there for the time being and sniffed the fading fragrance of Miss May Palmer's sweet rosewater cologne. He began to whistle while he went back to work.