HORACE:The Bridge Builder King is an hour long documentary about a freed slave in the 1800s named Horace King. His Master, John Godwin always treated Horace as a partner or as an equal in all of their business dealings. He was well known around the south for constructing town lattice truss covered bridges. He was in the bridging building business from around 1820 until around 1885. Born in Cheraw District of South Carolina a slave. The Alabama Legislature freed Horace King on Feb 3, 1846 by an Act of the Legislature in order to keep his talents in Alabama. Horace built gun boats for the Confederate Navy during the Civil War and is likely, the only slave ever to have erected a moment on a master's grave. Horace did just that in 1859 and the monument is still located at the Godwin Cemetary in Phenix City, Alabama.
Historical Consultants: Thomas French, Jr. RLS - Dr. John Lupold, Ph.D., Columbus State University - William H. Green, Ph.D., Lexington, Kentucky -Richard Bailey, Ph.D., Montgomery, Alabama Karl-Heinz Reilmann, Richmond, Virgina Kaye Minchew, Archivist-LaGrange, Georgia
Trivia: Somewhere around 1995-1996, while the production was full under way, Tom Lenard and Thomas French, Jr (noted Horace King Historian) had the good fortune to be able to speak with noted Ken Burns "Civil War" historian Shelby Foote when he visited Auburn University to present a Franklin Lecture and to talk to a history class. Tom Lenard arranged a meeting with Shelby Foote in the hopes of having Shelby Speak or address how well the covered bridges were built and thus made it difficult for the Union Troops to prosecute the War. When Tom Lenard asked Shelby Foote about the bridges that Horace King built in the South Shelby replied, "Well, frankly, I didn't know there were any covered bridges in the south during the Civil War!"...Both Tom Lenard and Thomas French, Jr were speechless at that point. Mr Foote said he was sorry and thus, not able to add any tidbits that could be used in the documentary on Horace King. Amazing that someone who supposedly knew which General had a headache before a certian battle or which one had broken a shoelace would not be aware of covered bridges in the south during the Civil War is really surprising.