Today’s another “Behind the Book” bonus episode, in which I talk with some “subject-matter experts” about a topic related to the life of Daniel Morgan. In this installment (recorded about nine months ago) I talk with the staff of the Clarke County Historical Association, Nathan Stalvey and Mary Morris.
Clarke County wasn’t founded until 1836, when it was split out of Frederick County. Most of Daniel Morgan’s life was spent in the part of Frederick that became Clarke. He built two houses there, and supervised the building of the mill you see in the watercolor above. Clarke is a lovely place, which I liked long before I knew that Morgan had lived there, or that I would write a biography of him. I’m convinced that to understand Morgan, you have to understand Clarke. You have to know the man’s terroir in order to understand the man. So in this episode you’ll hear the three of us talking about that terroir, and what it has meant for its residents.
So you can also think of this as one of HT’s occasional episodes that investigates concepts of place, like the conversation I had with Thomas Gieryn back in Episode 106 on the importance of place as a way of believing in something. But it’s also a return to thinking about the importance of local history with people who actually do local history, and believe in its importance. (For more on local history, see Episode 49, with the great Joe Amato, and Episode 24 with Bob Beatty.)