My wife Mary and I have had the pleasure of knowing Weldon and Gwen Bell since meeting them at First Christian Church a few years ago. We have visited them at their beautiful home on Callalantee Drive on a ridge high above Mountain City. They came to Johnson County a few years ago from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, following retirement from a successful seafood business. They say they love Johnson County and have adapted well here.
Gwen is the director of the Johnson County Emergency Heat for Seniors Program — a program that provides heating sources such as wood, electric, propane etc. to qualified seniors. It often is a factor in whether or not those seniors stay warm during the cold days of winter. I feel that’s the mission God put me in charge of, says Gwen. “I was terrified when we came here because I knew no one but we have come to love Johnson County and its people. Weldon agrees.
Some months ago, Gwen approached me and said they had a book they wanted me to have. She later brought the book to church and I was glad to accept it. I was surprised when I first saw the book. It was huge. The title of the book was “The War of the Nations Portfolio.” It was one of the largest books I have ever seen. The book was published in 1919.
Woodrow Wilson was the thirty-eighth president at the time. World War I, also called the Great War, involved many people. The book has pictures about the movers and shakers of that era as well as prominent battles. The book is divided into Portraits, military operations, pictures, maps and texts.
Other than President Wilson’s full-page portrait, are full-page portraits of Secretary of State Robert Lansing, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, American Delegate to the Peace Conference Colonel Edward M. House, and Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo. There are numerous pictures of other dignitaries who served during the war.
World War I was billed as the “War to End All Wars.” Of course we know that slogan’s premise never came to pass.
I will treasure the book. I will read it often and try to gain a better understanding about what took place during that momentous era of World War I. I want to again thank the Bells for their thoughtfulness. “Thank you.”