Saturday, July 22, 2017

A French King, a War Hero, and Idella Arnell

Perhaps a little background on the lovely hamlet of Gallagher, home of the Q.G. Hampton Rentals and Housing Company. Gallagher is a sleepy southern bedroom community just outside of Mobile. Entering this historic antebellum town of 5000 +/-, one would think once they had passed I-65 they had entered a time warp. Gallagher was a combination of Mayberry, Petty Coat Junction, and New Orleans wrapped up in Spanish moss, and old families where nothing moved quickly but gossip.

The town had managed to survive due to its close proximity to Mobile. Many folks who worked in Mobile wanted a slower pace of life than the city. They found the 27 minute commute (without traffic) a small price to pay for life in Gallagher. Meanwhile the townsfolk were more than happy to smile and take their money. 

The economy on Gallagher ran on tourists, out-of-towners who rented and kept the business coffers flush, and The Blue Point Pen Company with a very generous federal government contract. No one was quite sure what was so special about these pens, to the common eye they were simple blue ball point pens. However they were not available for sale to the public. The town was also known for its famous Museum of Confederate Uniforms, Hats, and Paraphernalia. 

Originally founded in the mid 1700's by the French. the town was first named Petit. Not that its namesake King Petit  VI, Par la grâce de Dieu, Roi de France et de Navarre (translated as King Petit,  by the Grace of God, King of France and of Navarre, Most Christian Majesty) ever set foot in the town, or on the continent for that matter.  

However in 1866, the town fathers voted to rename the little hamlet "Gallagher" in honor of their fellow townsman, Col. James B. Gallagher, Confederate war hero, aide, and personal spy for General Robert E. Lee. Unfortunately Col. Gallagher failed to see the outcome of the War between the States due to his untimely death of an affliction we do not speak of out of  respect to his family. Let's just say it was a consequence of his frequent dalliances at Idella Arnell's House of Pleasures for the Lonely Man in New Orleans.   

But I digress. Wade's mother, Jesslynn, was a direct descendant of Col. Gallagher. He found the colorful side of his infamous ancestor to be quite amusing, much to the dismay and embarrassment of  his mother, bless her heart. He always promised his mother he was going to name his first daughter "Idella Arnell". This inevitably brought on the vapors for his mother and she had to send for her smelling salts. Luckily Wade never married and never claimed any offspring, so his mother was spared any humiliation.

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