Wednesday, July 08, 2009

T.S. Stribling

I had to sit down and figure this out: author T.S. Stribling is my second cousin, twice removed -- by one reckoning, since there's a spot in our ancestry at which two first cousins marry. But for now, it's enough to know that a common ancestor of ours was John Birdsong Stribling (ca. 1790-1875). One of John Birdsong Stribling's grandsons was Christopher Columbus Alvarado Thomas Stribling, who was T.S. (Thomas Sigismund) Stribling's father, and who served the Union; and another grandson was Samuel Henderson Stribling, who was my great-grandfather, and who served the Confederacy. If your family goes back long enough on this continent, you're bound to find such circumstances.

One of these days, I need to post about Adm. C.K. Stribling of the U.S. Navy, whose son John served in the Confederate Navy. I also need to visit the Naval Academy in Annapolis, so I can walk down the Stribling Walk.

T.S. Stribling (1881-1965), man of letters, lived part of his life in Clifton, Tennessee. I'll say at this point that I've never read any of his books, though somewhere at my mother's house is an aged copy of The Store (1932), which earned him his Pulitzer. Some time ago, I noticed that Clifton has a small museum in his honor, though I didn't investigate further until I was planning to visit Shiloh.

Then I noticed that Clifton wasn't far downriver from Shiloh. So I dropped in to visit Tom Stribling's visible legacy early in the afternoon of June 19, en route to Land Between the Lakes. I missed his '20s-vintage Craftsman Bungalow house the first time I drove by, turned around, then found it to be not only a museum, but Clifton's library. I told the librarian on duty that I too was a Stribling, though I'd have to sit down and figure out exactly what sort of cousin I was (see above). She invited me to take the tour, refreshing in its informality -- take down the ropes and go into the rooms and look around at my leisure.

So I did, examining T.S. Stribling's sturdy desk and manual typewriter, the collection of books and other items in his office, his wife's piano, and even more books in their large personal library upstairs. (Other downstairs rooms had the municipal collection, along with computers, where I checked my e-mail.) It's a Stribling house all right. It has many, many books. It's also probably the only Stribling house that will ever be on the National Register of Historic Places.

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At 4:40 PM, Blogger corbitt callis said...

I am also a Stribling descendent, on both maternal and paternal sides...although my parents were never able to connect the 2.
Do you know who Christopher Stribling's parents were?
My email address is
I would appreciate any info you have.


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