Sunday, October 25, 2015


But not for the reasons you might think!

Duke Homestead
While in Durham, NC, I went to the Duke Homestead.  It was an old wooden home and free museum that I really just looked at as a time-killer.  I was surprised how effective this little free museum, film, and walking around the homestead were, and the sweet story it portrayed.

Washington Duke impressed me as a man with perseverance.  He married and lost his wife to typhoid after only 5 years.  The same thing happened with his second wife of 6 years!  He did end up with 5 children from them. When he fought in the Civil War he was taken prisoner.  When set free at the end of the war, he walked back home.  He walked 130 miles!!  When he got home, his farm was left in ruins, being inhabited by the Union Army during that time.  All he had left was a little tobacco.  Do you know what he did?  He  took what he had and made an entire farm crop of tobacco, and you guessed it, he did well.  He got his sons involved in the tobacco business and his youngest, Buck, was a very innovative thinker for his time.  In the early 1900's he convinced his father to take a chance on a cigarette rolling machine.  This machine improved their company and their wealth grew.  Buck was also ahead of his time in marketing, being the first to create advertising on the little cardboard inserts that went into the packages of cigarettes.

But this family didn't hoard their wealth.  They convinced Trinity College to move to Durham, and it was renamed Duke University!  They gave a large financial gift and it still blesses people today.

Approaching Duke chapel
 Gorgeous chapel doors
Fall leaves with the chapel tower peeking through

I love this story as I think about all the hardships young Washington Duke went through as a young soldier, returning home to virtually nothing, and making himself a new life.   I wonder about what he dreamed about as he walked home those 130 miles.  He took his freedom and did something astounding with it.

As an American, I live in a free country.  As a Christian, I live free from the burdens of sin and have the hope of eternity in Heaven.  Do I really value my freedom?  Do I think about it much?  Do I live in such a way to do anything valuable with what I have?  Am I using what I have to bless others?

These are the thoughts I've been left with as I retold the story of Washington Duke to my family.  How about you?  What stories of freedom or perseverance inspire you?


Lori said...

Great story and great thoughts!

Summer Lashley said...

Wow. Who knew? Thanks for sharing this interesting story.

Amy Arbuckle said...

Thanks for sharing. I've never been to NC.

Amy Arbuckle said...
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Amy Arbuckle said...
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