Resting Under the Shade of the Trees..William George "Bill" Anthony 21 September 1944 – 1 June 2019
July 1, 2019 | View PDF
Dixie lost a great patriot of Southern heritage and longtime champion of our Southern way of life. Many in the Sons of Confederate Veterans [SCV] Alabama Division and small government activists at large likened it to losing a modern Stonewall Jackson, similarly difficult to replace as the 1863 General. William George “Bill” Anthony, a Kentucky boy whose roots harken back to the Commonwealth of Virginia and shores of Greece, has crossed over the river, no longer among the living on the attenuating gray line among soldiers for liberty.
The world is a poorer place without Bill’s presence. To those who didn’t know Bill well, I’ll simply type you missed a noble, impressive soul; a man of letters and books yet a man of common sense and practical application. His home was a library with hundreds upon hundreds of books on a great many subjects. He was just as comfortable in a machine shop or on a tractor as he was in the halls and offices of our State capitol in Montgomery. He was a poet who authored many verses about his beloved Dixie; a man of independence with a penchant for teaching young people about their ancestry -- their history, culture and traditions. Much like Stonewall, Bill often seemed to be everywhere at once; the enemies of liberty never knew where or when he might appear prepared to engage. Bill was most effective at revealing and blocking attempts to erase history inconvenient to politburo members and their minions’ efforts to further empower government outside their authority.
Bill knew no fear of corrupt politicians, arrogant academics, biased media... willing to stand toe to toe with any enemy of freedom and the factually correct history w.r.t. fights for independence and Constitutional limits to curb tyranny - esp. when it applied to his beloved Southland. Anyone ‘fencing’ with Bill on issues of this sort was well served show up prepared and able to defend to their position. Bill was a very formidable adversary; fighting federal involvement in our State’s educational system, defending property rights from federal, State, county and local usurpers, spreading the facts about excessive/direct taxation, standing tall for liberty and personal freedoms.
Bill was among the most updated and well informed, always ‘locked and loaded’ to fire back at contrived misinformation cycles and increasing indoctrination/propaganda all too often purposefully timed/pressed when minions of big govt. and their allies in the media forecast no one will dare counter. Bill gave tirelessly and endlessly of his time and labour to many causes. True to the Stonewall analogy, even in the most pitched and heated of battles, Bill stood calm, cool, tactful and self-assured. Although best known among his compatriots in Alabama positively impacting many lives throughout the South, Bill received admiration and affection from those as far away as Ireland and Australia. I’m among those who will fondly recall him in his trademark planter’s hat and overalls at SCV events, parades, rallies...anywhere the Cause of Liberty could be celebrated or was attacked.
A bottomless well of energy, Bill was involved in a great many projects. He played a seminal role  in staging “The Battles for the Armory” event every year and hosted School Days, the Reenactment and Period Ball on his land - an endeavour very dear to his heart. He led the way in the creation of Tallassee Carbine replicas. He was involved in flag raisings and enthusiastic friend with those in Flag Raising organizations from Alabama to Virginia. He was among those who took legal action against State legislators for misusing their office and subverting the Alabama Constitution I’ll write more on before closing. He shared his love of dancing and spread his knowledge of the old dances to our youth. He delighted in restoring old homes and furniture and was an accomplished woodworker as well as a pretty good machinist… list goes on and on.
Much of this column is a collaboration with Greg Creech, who claims the great privilege of knowing Bill two decades; best of friends from the very beginning connecting on so many levels, on almost every subject and issue. Greg oft teased Bill they were twin sons of different mothers, a brother Greg never had. I found it most heartfelt for Mr. Creech to claim he, “loved Bill to the limits a man is morally allowed to love another man. Bill was far more of a man than I could ever hope to be.” Bill was indeed an outlier who evokes me to type [Proverbs 27:17 KJV] “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Bill’s steadfast devotion to decentralized government, State sovereignty and Southern independence knew no limits or time constrictions, no petty jealousies, no self-promotion or self-glorification. He burned most passionately with the Sprit and wisdom of the Founding Fathers.
Creech observed, “As is often the case, lesser men either held Bill in high esteem or sought to bring him down. But, even among those few of his own comrades who took advantage of Bill’s generosity or who sought to undermine Bill’s influence for their own personal glorification and gain, Bill never had a harsh word to say. Bill was always loyal....to his cause, to his comrades, to his principles and to his beliefs. Unwavering.”
One of the more remarkable events Bill Anthony was a part of in the effort to stop the pro-government thugs in our State occurred (Feb. 4, 2014 addressed in a past Alabama Gazette column) when a determined group of concerned citizens from around the State served/hand delivered a Writ of Quo Warranto to Senator Del Marsh signed and notarized by 12 courageous souls. Twelve righteous men who followed the teachings of our best servant of God finally ended Roman despotism. Men of good Spirit and sound integrity following the letter and Spirit of the rule of law can and sometimes do make a difference. Their efforts played a role in undoing legislative attempts to revise our constitution piecemeal (one article at a time instead operating within the process set in our State Constitution) and sent re-write special interests and their minions back to starting line.
Few (including lawyers) are familiar with Quo Warranto. I first came across the possibility of using it during our efforts in the SCotUS to get our Civil Rights to property restored. According to the "American Jurisprudence" encyclopedia of United States law, a Quo Warranto is an order intended to prevent exercise of a power(s) not conferred by law. It is a legal instrument compelling someone of authority (in this case a legislator) to provide a document(s) which authorizes/empowers them to accomplish their stated end/purpose.
Action in Quo Warranto is not (in the strictest sense) a pleading and is heard ahead of any other cases on a court's docket to block further actions. Following the legal tradition/function of the ancient writ (order) the Quo Warranto action/inquiry is a fundamental voice of sovereignty (under our republic, sovereignty is held by the people) calling upon the defendant (e.g., Senator Marsh) to answer/provide the authority for their actions. A formidable check upon ‘public servants’ to remain within their authority if used and allowed, plaintiffs (the sovereign people) are not required to either allege or prove any facts. The burden is entirely placed upon the defendant to disclaim or justify their actions. To justify the action(s), defendants must clearly define/assert their purpose and provide facts which authorize/empower the defendant toward his/her end. The defendant(s) must tender the documents/issues on what authority claimed by defendant(s) will be used to decide the matter.
The Quo Warranto stipulated Senator Marsh must present proof the Legislature has the authority to revise/rewrite the Alabama Constitution. Failure to produce their authority within fifteen days means (s)he acquiesces/accepts the fact this authority does not exist or is not empowered to the defendant(s). When proof of authority is not provided, the individuals who submitted the Quo Warranto notify Alabama’s AG to place the matter before the proper judicial branch of government. If the AG follows the law, their office proceeds in stopping unlawful endeavours in the Legislature.
Indeed a blessing to know 12 righteous souls of this sort were still to be found in our State… we’ve just lost one. On Bill’s behalf I’ll make the call for replacements so the ranks may grow into an even more formidable force to block Montgomery big government conservative and liberal special interests from even more of their despotic ends. It was good to reminisce on the Quo Warranto fight with Don Casey (another of the brave twelve with other champions of liberty like Frank Dillman I hold dear) at Bill’s memorial service at his beautifully Spirited church in Tallassee. Young/old, black/white, Greek/Jew (Barbarian and Scythian for those who recall the Scripture) were in attendance at this warm, wonderful event filled with bittersweet joy. The most indelible moment in my recollection is all of our singing Hymns, Dixie and reciting the Lord’s Prayer in unison - not one scintilla of hate to be found.
I’ll soon be turning in my key bringing 30 years of teaching to a close, pressed to write letters of recommendation as I’ve done so many times at Clemson and Auburn University. As some may recall the most impressive text I’ve ever read is from a letter of recommendation for a Virginian to West Point. So while most have evoked the memory of Stonewall, allow me to evoke Robert E. Lee. The letter made the case to admit Lee because he was a “FINISHER.” How perfect, fitting and succinct. Bill was not a quitter. He never gave up. In the same Spirit of Mr. Creech, I feel most blessed and very lucky to have counted myself among Bill’s friends.
A poor wordsmith in comparison - I’ll ask Bill’s forgiveness posthumously if he finds this column poorly done. A selfish part of me wanted Bill (in the Spirit of Adams and Jefferson) to make to his beloved 4th of July he reveled in and venerated for as long as I can recall. It will be a little sobering this year as I customarily re-read the Declaration of Independence and think of all the genuine Patriots I know who’ve passed and are still alive. It may become more final in my mind as I move Bill Anthony from the living to dead worthy of remembrance. As the Greeks say, “Eonia Imnemi” - i.e., may Bill’s memory be eternal through Jesus Christ he venerated most… I pray he’s well received by his Heavenly Father and finally gets a “sit down” chat with Lee and Jackson he so longed for in life.
Postscript: to those who’ve asked if I knew of the Brambletts’ 5/25 deadly crash after reading my June Alabama Gazette column. The column deadline was a week prior. I addressed yet another horrific crash at the infamous “T” of US 280 and AL 147 angering many decent folks again and sending local politicians running for cover. Heartbreaking to once again witness a medical helicopter departing this intersection to rush another terribly injured member of the Auburn Family to a Columbus trauma center. It hit closer to home than usual; one of the victims was the bride of longtime colleague [Prof. Beard] I hold in high esteem. My point was simple, the course of many of these deadly results were set long before in not following access management policies, bonding requirements, properly acquiring/using right of ways, estimating traffic control devices, etc. The cancerous growth isn’t reversible. Expect more deaths (as the percentages catch up with the distorted denominator) from car crashes, violence, overburdened law enforcement, etc. This wonderful college town quality of life ended many years ago…