The Union Recorder

June 16, 2013

Husband-wife authors to visit Mary Vinson Library

Shawn Humphrey
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Twin Lakes Library System will host a book signing at Mary Vinson Memorial Library Monday for two Central Georgia authors.

Harris and Judy Churchwell, married for more than 40 years, have both spent the majority of their lives in Georgia.

Both authors were introduced at an early age to the subjects they loved. Harris’ interest in the Civil War came from writing a United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) essay in middle school, while Judy Churchwell spent her childhood in the place that inspired her book, according to the authors’ bios.

After graduating from Georgia Southern University, Harris discovered that he could find no books written about the 12th Georgia Infantry, the Confederate Company his great-grandfather served with during the Civil War. This led him to collect as much information as he could for many years. However, he still did not feel that he had enough personal information about the infantry’s officers.

“I launched into a search-finding project on the officers, which resulted in “‘Captains at Rest’,” Churchwell said in press materials for the book.

“It was only a research project that evolved into a book.”

The novel, published in 2008, discussed the lives and backgrounds of nearly 70 officers who served in the infantry.

He won two awards for the book: Lowndes County Historical Society’s Keeper of History Award and the UDC’s National Jefferson Davis Gold Medal Award.

Churchwell decided after writing “Captains at Rest” that he was ready to write a more in-depth book on the infantry, which resulted in the book “Seeking Glory.”

“It is the story of not only the 12th Georgia Regiment, but about the officers, the men and the battles,” said Churchwell.

His goal in writing both of these books was to educate the public about the 12th Georgia Infantry Regiment, something that means so much to him.

Wife Judy moved to Hawkinsville at just 18 months old where she grew up in the Hotel Hawkinsville, which her parents owned and ran.

After graduating from Georgia Southwestern State University with a master of education degree, she went on to teach English, during which time she met and married her husband Harris. She and her husband reside in Hawkinsville, where in 2010 she completed her novel, “Tales from the Hotel.”

This book portrays the lives of people in Hawkinsville in the 1950s, as seen through the eyes of a young girl who lived and grew up in the hotel.

“The author captured the culture and personalities of the guests, staff and townspeople in such a way that caused me to feel like I had met them and knew them myself,” said Donna Simpson, writer for the Hawkinsville Dispatch & News newspaper in a review of the book.

Judy was awarded the National Daughters of the Revolution Women in the Arts American Heritage Award for her book.

The Churchwells will sign their books during Monday’s program at the library, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Local History Room. Copies of both “Captains at Rest” and “Tales from the Hotel” will be available for purchase.