Carry Me Back, A Clarke County Family Chronicle

For over 60 years Arthur Pope has been engaged in a love affair with the legends surrounding his family history as it unfolded in the 19th and early 20th centuries in Berryville and Clarke County.  As a child growing up in Newhallville, an idyllic neighborhood in New Haven, Conn., he was beguiled by family legend filled with emotional tales of landscape, tradition and people.

In October he published Carry Me Back, An American Journey in Time and Place. It’s a Clarke County tale that travels from the Civil War to modern times. His great grandfather participated in the Third Battle of Winchester, the largest and bloodiest battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.

Growing up, there was an old trunk in his attic that had been shipped North in the 1930s when the last family members to live in Berryville died.  The trunk was filled with photographs and memorabilia of Berryville, Clark County,  the Antebellum South, German immigration, Methodism, Stones Chapel, the Confederacy and its heroes, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, and American small town southern life.

As Pope grew older and moved beyond the mysteries and emotions that all of this evoked, many questions began to arise, such as how his family dealt with the larger issues of slavery and American apartheid and how the history of Berryville, Clark County, has evolved to the present.

The book describes how over the years he was to learn that his own family history was really a prototype of American history, and how we all are connected to our past in a myriad of ways that decades cannot erase.  He concludes, “Sometimes memories get twisted and sometimes the past is illusive, but to live again in its enclosure can be one of most enriching and enlightening experiences that life has to offer.”