"Rummaging through my father’s desk many years ago, I discovered a long ribbon-like piece of cloth, brightly colored in deep red with a generous fringe.  With it was a worn piece of gray metal in the shape of a U with a stud at its base.

"Curious, I asked my father about them.  He told me a story that he had heard on his great-grandfather’s knee, anecdotes he gathered from his grandparents, and family lore passed down through his parents, my grandparents. 

"It was the story of George Van Norman, a Yankee stuck in the South, a story of love and war, of passion and cruelty amid the anarchy that was Middle Tennessee in 1865. 

"It was a story about the spur and the sash and how George came to have them."
-Robert Grede

Union General George H. Thomas

Confederate General John Bell Hood

Shy's Hill, circa 1880

George Van Norman, circa 1916

George Van Norman, circa 1923

  • George B. Van Norman (1842-1924)

  • Burton C. Wait (1870-1962), married Elizabeth Van Norman, youngest daughter of George

  • Arthur L. Grede (1895-1976), married Elizabeth Wait, only daughter of Burton

  • Edward A. Grede (1920-2014), son of Arthur, and the author's father

  • Henry Grede (1865-1942), father of Arthur

  • Alvin Wait (1844-1924), father of Burton. Alvin lost his leg at the Battle of Peachtree Creek

Four Generations, circa 1921 (l to r)

Carte de Visite
George Van Norman , circa 1870