The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 352
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of course, a great deal of historical matter. He liked a good
anecdote and could tell many a one. His laughter was some-
times tinged with that irony often associated with clear think-
ing. If I called him over the telephone and someone else an-
swered it, I could hear his cheerful whistling a long way ahead
of his "Hello."
He never did come to live in the past, though some time after
the present World War broke out, his frail condition made it
necessary for him to quit listening to the radio--at the very
time when failing eyesight was forcing him to read less. I
would say that he began to lag in being a contemporary with
the moving world about the time he had to stop driving his
old T-Model Ford. I can see his immense frame in it now. He
had mental and spiritual powers that made him at home in
many eras, so that being interested in life was not dependent
upon keeping up with the procession. He had a rare and deep
liking for friends and seemed always hungry for their com-
pany-though there was plenty of company that he did not
After the death of his wife in 1934 he began, partly to over-
come loneliness, the writing of his autobiography. While thus
engaged, he enjoyed composition, the act of creation, but he
frequently complained that he could not fill out details, that
his mind was primarily concerned with basic facts. Yet he knew
that details are necessary to vividness and interest, and he
filled the outline of his life in with many interesting concrete
On December 12, 1935, under the title of Recollections of a
Long Life, his autobiography began running in the Pontotoc
Progress, of Pontotoc, Mississippi. It came out weekly until its
conclusion, July 9, 1936. Having been born in 1852, and being
endowed with the vise-like memory that he kept to the end, Mr.
Shettles was old enough during the years of the Civil War to
observe. The observations he records in his autobiography, how-
ever, are not primarily of military movements. He was of the
abiding opinion that secession resulted largely in a rich man's
war and a poor man's fight. His people were poor, very poor.
It was his considered judgment that the Civil War did more to
liberate the poor people of the South than to liberate the
Negroes. A student would have to search a long way to find
a more illuminating account of how the poor people in the
South lived before, during, and immediately after the War
than he will find in this autobiography.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/391/: accessed July 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.