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Asaph was born in 1870 on a rural Forsyth County Georgia (external map) farm in the community of High Tower (external map), but lived most of his adult life 15 miles to the west in the Cherokee County town of Canton. Born the year Georgia emerged from Reconstruction, Asaph grew up at a time that exuded both confidence and remorse. A child of the "New South" Asaph would go places and experience life in a way that his father might have never dreamed. His parents, James K. and Arabella would end up with a brood of seven; Asaph being the third. He had two older brothers, Charles and Buman, and four younger siblings, Luis, Carry (the only girl), Tilden, and Gay.

 

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Writing the story

 

We were intrigued with the reality that Asaph was born at a crucible in American history. Georgia emerged from Reconstruction in 1868, just two years before Asaph was born. The shape and form of the New South was being established as James and Arabella brought young Asaph into the world. Although the New South is but a minor context within which we wish to present Asaph's story, we do think it represents an interesting way of considering the story.

 

Henry Grady, the onetime editor of the Atlanta Constitution and booster of new South industrialism, famously told a group of New England businessman in 1886 that, "The new South is enamored of her new work. Her soul is stirred with the breath of a new life." This was the place and time where Asaph would come of age. Asaph was 16 years old when Grady made this speech. He was living just 30 miles north of Grady's home in Atlanta, the center of the New South. Maybe Asaph read Grady's paper. Maybe he was influenced by his ideas. At minimum, we think that Asaph must have fit comfortably in the world Henry Grady saw emerging.