Going Up To Shiloh is the name that I have given to the set of family memoirs that I am writing about my ancestors. I have chosen this name because it images the kind of journey I am inviting readers to join. Shiloh is an actual place (on Peanut mountain in Scott County, Arkansas) in the Quachita National Forest to which we can all go. But is is more than a spot where my family first settled. The name “Shiloh” also has other associations, including the Battle at Shiloh in Tennesee (1862) and the Methodist camp meeting in Western Georgia where a circuit rider named David Stripling (Eliza’s stepfather) died while preaching his last sermon
In sum: the word Shiloh evokes a storied past (biblical as well as secular) and a hopeful future. In that sense, I invite readers not merely to join me as I explore the past (personal and collective) but also to anticipate reunions of one kind or another. Join me as I tell the stories of various members of the Cartwright, Starr, Sullivan, and Wooten families (as well as the people they encounter) in their respective journeys from east to west and north to south as well as the journeys from the west (back) to the east and from south (back) to north. Let’s go up to Shiloh where family members have gathered on other occasions. Let’s go up to Shiloh in anticipation of the time when, according to Luke’s Gospel, “people will come from east and west and north and south and feast together in the kingdom of heaven” (Luke 13:29).
Just as there is an ultimate sense of the word, there are also more provisional usages of a word like “Shiloh.” Readers should take seriously that I intend to inquire about a broad range of things. I will resist the temptation to make any of these questions an “all or nothing” proposition — as if our knowledge about the past can ever be absolute this side of eternity. With that in mind, each week, I plan to post a “question of the week” and I will also announce a “monthly mystery” as well as flag what I believe to be some of the “$64,000 questions” that can be asked. (See the Questions of the Week and Month page)
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