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tv   Trish Regan Primetime  FOX Business  March 7, 2020 3:00am-4:00am EST

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day. what a week we've had. follow me on facebook and instagram. e-mail, kennedy at fox business. go wash your hands >> i have been called to lead my people from bondage. >> a preacher slave unleashes holy hell. >> he felt that his purpose was to be a redeemer. >> their ancestors nearly wiped out... >> did you know of the connection to nat turner? >> it was just something that we kind of talked about quietly. >> their strange inheritance? a piece of history. >> did you think to yourself there's any chance this really could be nat turner's bible? >> my first reaction was one of, "is this a crank call?" >> what do you think it's worth? >> i was told several millions of dollars. >> what will the family do? >> it wasn't the proper place and time to really talk about it. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ]
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[ bird caws ] ♪ >> i'm jamie colby in southampton county, virginia. i'm here to visit a family, some of whose ancestors were murdered in the nat turner slave revolt. their strange inheritance? a powerful and some would say holy relic of that bloody and historic rampage. >> my name is wendy creekmore-porter. my stepfather inherited a bible with a controversial past. he's 88, and his memory's going, so he asked me to tell our family's story. >> hi, wendy. i'm jamie colby. so nice to meet you. i meet wendy at persons methodist church. the forebearers of her stepfather, maurice person, started the church in 1838, seven years after the family is nearly decimated in nat turner's slave rebellion. i can't think of a more
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appropriate place to learn about an old bible that survives from that bloody day. what did the bible look like? >> tattered. it's missing the cover, very small. it was obviously something that you could carry on you. >> and, according to person family lore, the centuries' old book belonged to the uprising's leader. >> we all kind of talked about it here on these grounds at the family reunion. i knew it was significant. we grow up here knowing the story of nat turner. >> after all, nat turner's story begins in southampton county before it reverberates across the country and through the ages till today. >> till then, we remain steadfast, ready to strike at the moment of the lord's call. we'll destroy them all. >> he probably had a genius iq, but it was encased within a body that was supposed to be nothing. >> bruce turner is a
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great-great-great grandson of nat turner. he says nat, born in 1800, learns to read the bible and by his teens is preaching to his fellow slaves. >> he had a very loud, commanding, and fiery voice to where he could mesmerize them when he would stare at them with his eyes. ♪ >> it's around this time turner is baptized in a pond on the person family property. did he know your family? >> he knew the family. my great-great-grandfather, john person, owned the land. >> mark person is maurice's cousin. your family, they were slave owners. >> yeah. they did own slaves. but a lot of the neighbors didn't like john person 'cause he was too kind to the slaves sometimes. but he said, "hey, it's my land. everybody's welcome." and nat turner approached him and said, "i'd like to be baptized here." >> after the baptism, nat becomes inspired by the story of
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moses leading the israelites to freedom and by the fiery visions in the book of revelations. >> and nat became, in his own words, a free man to god at that time. he felt that his purpose was to be a redeemer. and he felt that slavery was a moral wrong, and so, therefore, he was entitled to seek revenge for that. >> he slowly came to the idea that he was chosen by god to engage in a rebellion against slavery. the end of the world being near, he would kill everybody. >> historian kenneth greenberg tells me a series of visions and voices that turner thinks are from god only reinforce his beliefs. >> he sees blood on the corn. he sees christ's arms stretched out across the heavens. >> then, in 1831, turner's awed by a solar eclipse. >> nat saw that as an absolute sign that he was now being given
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directions from god to go ahead and start putting the insurrection into motion. >> and he says that christ had laid down the yoke he had born for the sins of men, and now nat turner was gonna pick that yoke up. >> august 21, nat turner's moment arrives. >> he suddenly shows up at a farm and asks african-americans on that farm to join him in a rebellion. everybody knows how dangerous this is. you're certain to be killed. >> the slaves had become so enamored into nat and respectable of him that they felt that he would not lead them wrong. they felt that their liberty was just as dear to them as it was to him and that they were willing to give up their lives. >> it's a scene harrowingly depicted in the sundance-winning film, "the birth of a nation." around 2:00 a.m., turner leads his group, armed with axes, hatchets, and knives, to a nearby slaveholder. nat strikes the first blow.
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>> then, his confederate finished him off with a blow over the head with his bigger ax. >> the mob moves from farm to farm, including the persons'. lost a lot of family members. >> yeah. there were families killed, some of my ancestors. and it's very tragic. >> but maurice persons' great-grandmother, lavinia francis, survives the raid. >> maurice's great-grandmother was home alone. she was pregnant at the time. and a slave next door, he had gotten word what was happening, and he ran next door and warned everybody. >> nat turner's on his way. >> he's on his way, and another slave, red nelson, gets word of it. they hide her in the cubbyhole and put blankets on her, and they saved her life. >> the slaves? >> the slaves did. >> so, if it wasn't for the kindheartedness of these wonderful people, who could have easily have given her up, we wouldn't be here to tell this story, for sure. >> all told, the rebel slaves kill at least 55 white men,
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women, and children. nat turner himself eludes capture. most-wanted man in the area. >> most-wanted man probably in u.s. history at that time. everybody's out looking for him. >> and on the run, the preacher holds fast to the book whose words inspired his rampage, a bible that will become a relic of history and maurice person's strange inheritance. >> apparently, when they found nat turner, he had it on him. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question... which of the following hymns was used to signal an escape attempt by the underground railroad? the answer after the break. (dramatic music)
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- [narrator] this is my house. my parents helped build it. now we don't get wet when it rains. i don't get too hot or too cold inside. i can play with my sister, i can play with my brother, i can play with my mother, my father, my family. this is my house! - this is my house. - this is my house. - this is my house. - this is my house. - [narrator] visit to find out how you can help more families like mine. my twhe didn't have anyas an autisfriends as a result
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it broke my heart. ♪brother let me be your shelter♪ that was the inspiration behind my non-profit "score a friend" go! educating people to include the people with differences is so important because when jacob's included he feels like he can succeed in life and he feels like he actually has a purpose. [ door creaks ] ♪ >> so, which of these hymns did the underground railroad use to signal an escape attempt? if a slave heard this song, the underground railroad, the sweet chariot, was coming south, swinging low, to take him north to freedom. >> in 1831, nat turner leads the deadliest slave revolt in u.s. history, killing more than 50 whites in southampton county, virginia.
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he eludes capture, as whites send their own violent message, killing an estimated 120 blacks. >> there were quite a number of slaves who were beheaded or gutted open and left on tree trunks as a warning to all slaves that they should not rebel. >> turner surrenders after two months on the run. >> it's clear he doesn't feel that he's guilty because he believes he's chosen by god. and the bible is the key to his certainty. >> so, turner's bible is an exhibit at his trial for conspiring to rebel and making insurrection. he's found guilty, and on november 11, 1831, he is hanged and decapitated. but his name lives on. does the rest of the country react, as well? >> yeah the white abolitionist leaders condemn nat turner. what they would say was that nat turner is a result of
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slavery. "unless you end slavery, there will be more nat turners." >> the south learns a different lesson. >> the states all pass laws to prohibit slaves from gathering. the slaves could be summarily killed if they could read and write. by the time the civil war happened 30 years later, you were still having the effects of nat turner's actions. >> as one generation gives way to the next, the person family, nearly wiped out in the turner revolt, doesn't dwell on their role in history. >> how open do you think the family was about talking about what had happened to your family? >> there was a significant part of our past, and it was kind of like out of sight, out of mind. you just don't talk about those things. >> then, out of the blue, in 1912, the local courthouse contacts maurice's father, walter person. >> they were just cleaning out the vault there, and they had this bible. >> not just any bible.
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they say it's the personal copy of nat turner, which had been locked away in the evidence room for the past eight decades. >> they knew that since walter person had ties to nat turner, they said, "here. would you like the bible that nat turner left behind?" >> walter person not only accepts, he displays the bible in the living room, on the family piano, for the next 30 years. some people would be shocked that the bible was given not to nat turner's family but to a white family who wasn't the only family that lost people. >> right. >> didn't you ever feel you should give it to the turner family? >> well, the times were very different. slavery's still a very sensitive issue. >> walter dies in 1945. that's when his son maurice inherits the old, tattered bible. unlike his dad, maurice moves it out of plain sight. >> it just sat in a closet in the dark, wrapped in a cotton
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towel. >> was it because he was ashamed, or he felt it was a private matter? >> it wasn't the proper place and time to really talk about it. i just don't think he knew what to do with it. >> you'd ask him a question, and he might change the subject or just didn't elaborate. >> it takes decades more before the person family is ready to talk about it. >> it's still a very sensitive subject, but i think we're opening up now. >> so, you're able, even though you lost so many family members, to talk to me about it very openly. but how does that make you feel, telling this story? it's your story. >> no hard feelings against nat turner. i think it was real difficult time for the slaves, and he needed a way out. >> does maurice feel the same? >> i think he does. >> is he as forgiving? >> i think maurice is very forgiving. the fact that he held onto that bible so long, he knew the significance of it. >> and he's about to learn its value.
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>> i was told by a very reliable source, who could have written a check. he said several millions of dollars. >> coming up... >> i must admit my first reaction was one of, "is this for real?" >> here's another quiz question for you... the gutenberg bible, printed in the 1450s, was the first mass-produced book in europe. what language was it printed in? the answer when we return. the all-new silverado hd adds to the legendary capability of the strongest, most advanced silverados ever. with best in class camera technology and larger, more functional beds than any competitor.
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access to the most 4k content. and your movies and shows to go. the best tv experience is the best tv value. xfinity x1. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity. the future of awesome. it's our most dangerous addiction. so we took our worst vice, and turned it into the dna for a better system. we created bionic and put the word out with godaddy. what will you change? make the world you want. ♪ >> so, what language was the gutenberg bible printed in? only 21 complete copies of the
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gutenberg bible still exist today. each is valued at around $30 million. >> in 1831, ancestors of maurice person are slaughtered in nat turner's infamous slave rebellion. but maurice's great-grandmother survives. eighty years later, in 1912, virginia court workers discover a bible in the turner evidence file. they give it to maurice's father, who dies in 1945. the bible is maurice's strange inheritance and a valuable one, too. >> what do you think it's worth? mark person is maurice's cousin. >> i was told by a very reliable source, who could have written a check. he said several millions of dollars. >> we could have sold it, certainly. but it never crossed our mind. >> you've walked away from millions of dollars. >> i know, but i'm not gonna earn money off of slavery. that would be wrong, and i still see it that way.
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>> and she says her stepfather, maurice, agrees. >> he said, "it belongs to history. it belongs to the world." >> so, maurice entrusts wendy and mark to find it an appropriate home. >> i wanted him to be able to not worry about it anymore. it was something that was always on his mind, about having this bible. >> but finding that new home is harder and more time-consuming than they ever imagine. they take the bible to a traveling appraisal show in 2009 to see if the experts can give them some guidance. >> i said, "this is the bible that was on nat turner when he was captured in southampton county." >> and they say? >> "okay. next?" >> that's it? >> that's pretty much it. they were very nice, but they didn't seem very interested. >> were you concerned people wouldn't believe you? >> it never crossed my mind, 'cause i have always heard, since i was a little child, this bible was on nat turner when he was captured. >> wendy doesn't give up. she e-mails the smithsonian in washington, d.c. surely, someone there will show
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some interest...right? >> i got the standard, "should we be interested, we'll contact you." and i didn't hear anything. >> but unbeknownst to wendy, someone is interested at the smithsonian, and he's thinking maybe, just maybe, he's onto the discovery of a lifetime. >> it began to convince me that what i was looking at was something that could be authentic. >> putting the bible to the test, next. what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, while the world keeps fighting for your attention. we'll keep building smarter suv's. to help keep you focused on the road ahead. and. the road beside. did we mention the road ahead. with an available best in class.
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where's tommy? (sfx: stage doors opening) i thought he was with you? no jack! (sfx: piano plays "twinkle twinkle little star" tommy? (sfx: audience laughing) go get him! don't stop. keep playing. (sfx: pianist playing masterful duet) here we go here's the fun part did you do this? great job! (sfx: audience applause)
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♪ >> now back to "strange inheritance." >> it's 2011, and rex ellis, an associate director of the smithsonian institution, has just been given a tip. a virginia woman is claiming her stepdad inherited the bible that slave preacher nat turner carried on his bloody rebellion.
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did you think to yourself there's any chance this really could be nat turner's bible? >> i must admit, my first reaction was one of, "is this a crank call?" >> but ellis wants to know more. so, he takes a trip to southampton county to see the bible for himself. he's surprised when wendy creekmore-porter hands him a dish towel, and underneath is a pocket-sized bible. pocket-sized -- did that mean something to you? >> well, to me, it meant that it was portable. to me, it even legitimized the fact that someone like nat turner could own it. >> that's because turner is rumored to have carried the bible with him at all times. >> it began to convince me that what i was looking at was something that could be authentic. >> wendy allows rex to take the bible back to washington, where a team of researchers will put it to the test.
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step one -- evaluate the bible's age. they do so by tracking down one that was printed by the same publisher in the same city on the same date. how old was that bible? >> it was published in 1782. >> which fits turner's timeline perfectly, as he was born in 1800. next, they uncover this photograph of a bible authenticated as turner's in the university of virginia archives. they learn it was taken by an historian in 1900 and donated to the school. when the picture is enhanced, paper experts are able to match a page in the photo to a page in the bible itself via a pattern of stains and markings. that's a eureka moment. >> yes, ma'am. >> their conclusion? the bible really belonged to nat turner. how significant is this find for
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you personally? >> i don't know of anything i was involved with that is as significant and as important as this bible. >> the smithsonian wants to make it a centerpiece of its african-american history and culture museum, being built in washington, d.c. >> i had always said since i was a little girl, "this bible belongs in the smithsonian." it's an amazing artifact. it all just made sense. and i was so honored to be able to help the bible live on. >> the family's donation is worth millions. and it pays off in vip treatment, when the museum opens its doors in september 2016. >> i had an invite, and i'm sitting there, and it's like 20,000 people. president obama comes on stage. then, george w. bush mentions nat turner. >> for centuries, slavery and segregation seemed permanent parts of our national life.
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but not to nat turner or frederick douglass. >> a day i'll never forget. >> may god bless us all. >> since then, millions have come to the museum. add me to the list. i could understand that this could be one of the greatest discoveries you've made in your career. >> it is so important. this bible indicates the faith and the hope that one day african-americans would be free. >> and right below the display, forever tied to turner and his bible, the name maurice person. >> he's not able to travel, due to his health, but he's seen pictures. so, he knows. he's happy to have it there. what do you think of this bible being in the most famous museum in america? >> i guess it's all right, yeah. >> it's all right. it's pretty cool, huh? >> that bible is now where it belongs. it's very important for people to understand that some of the principles that he stood for -- equality, freedom -- those are
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the same principles regardless of what your nationality or ethnicity is. >> we see this bible as an act of reconciliation from our family. that bible, it's very powerful. it's a healer. >> it's powerful stuff. >> very powerful. >> a month after the museum opening, the descendants of nat turner had another reckoning with the past. a skull, believed to be that of nat turner himself, was returned to the family. it seems that after turner was hanged and decapitated, his skull was given to local physicians. at the time, doctors and scientists studied craniums to prove theories about the racial superiority of whites. the turner descendants have handed the skull over to the smithsonian for dna testing. assuming it's proven to be their famous ancestor, the family says they will give the skull the proper burial it deserves.
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i'm jamie colby. thanks for watching "strange inheritance." ♪ >> dad had a talent. >> there's nobody out there who does what he did. he was just that good. >> but it's lost on his son. >> when you're 16 or 17 years old, the last thing you're worried about is your dad up in a building, building models. >> this strange inheritance ultimately brings them together. >> when his father was alive, he did not want larry to touch them, and i can only imagine what he's thinking now. >> how would you describe this inheritance? >> a little bit more of a journey than i was prepared for. >> so, is it time to take a new tack? >> i know you've said, larry, that you'd never seriously considered selling, but now that you hear this... ♪
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[ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] i'm jamie colby, and today i'm driving into the oldest settlement in louisiana. it's called natchitoches. it's rich in southern charm and civil war history. battles raged nearby, both along and on the red river. well, that history inspired one man's remarkable craftsmanship. but it left his son wondering what the heck to do with all the crafts. >> my name is larry atteridge. in 2008, my father passed away and left behind his life's work -- a massive fleet of amazingly detailed model ships he built from scratch. >> hi, larry. i'm jamie. >> well, hi, jamie. nice to meet you. >> great to meet you. thanks for inviting me deep into louisiana. it sure is pretty. >> well, i've got a lot to show
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you. come this way. >> larry invites me in to see some of his father's civil war ships. this is one cool viewer submission. which one is that? >> this is the eastport, which was on the red river here in natchitoches parish. it was one of the largest ironclads of the civil war. it was 280 foot long, and it weighed 770 tons. >> with the civil war, i first think of great armies clashing at gettysburg, shiloh, and antietam, not naval battles. but that's the story these miniature vessels tell. when war between the states breaks out in 1861, union general winfield scott creates the anaconda plan. the idea -- blockade southern ports, take control of the mississippi, and, like a huge snake, squeeze the south into submission. the union builds a navy of more than 600 ships.
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>> they would commandeer boats from people -- ferry boats, paddle-wheelers, anything that floated and they could put a gun on it. >> larry's father, william, made models of many of them. there's the c.s.s. gaines, a wooden side-wheel confederate gunboat built in mobile, alabama. there's the u.s.s. vicksburg and the c.s.s. alabama -- a massive propeller-driven ship built in secrecy in england for the confederacy. all are made precisely to scale. 1 inch here translates to 8 feet on the real vessel. where did this all begin? did dad buy a book on ship building? >> i don't remember anybody ever teaching him how to do this. it's just something you have to be born with. >> william atteridge jr. is born in 1929 in highland park, illinois, a suburb of chicago.
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from an early age, he's fascinated by the ships he sees on lake michigan and dreams of one day setting sail. in 1951, during the korean war, william joins the navy and travels the pacific on the u.s.s. valley forge. the 22-year-old specializes in cosmetic maintenance, doing the detail work. >> the "45" that you see on the u.s.s. valley forge, he was one of the guys that painted the numbers on the aircraft carrier he was on. >> william is honorably discharged in 1955, returns home, gets married, and starts a family. larry's the youngest of three kids. the family settles in central louisiana, where william's artistic skills lead him to a job. >> he started out as a draftsman for the mobile-home industry. he just had an incredible talent for artistry.
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>> did you inherit the artistry gene? >> no. >> when he's not buried behind a stack of blueprints, william loves to travel the country. >> he took us to national parks all over the united states. but it seemed like we always ended up at a naval air base or some military museum. >> then, in the mid-1970s, a trip to vicksburg, mississippi, sparks william's creative passion. more than 100 years earlier, the u.s.s. cairo was the first vessel ever to be sunk using a mine remotely detonated by hand. william's there to watch it go on display after being raised from the yazoo river. >> he started getting involved with the museum people over there, and next thing i knew, he was building ships. >> the 46-year-old father of three starts with his own
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miniature version of the massive cairo -- piece by piece, out of pine and cypress. the smokestacks... the deck boards... cannons... even miniature ropes. it takes two months. >> you know, he would make the little doors and the little lifeboats. and then he would paint them and he would drive little nails into the deck. >> it's amazing. >> he just went haywire with it, really. >> over the next decade, william builds a civil war flotilla. there's the c.s.s. virginia, the first steam-powered ironclad warship, built by the confederate navy. the u.s.s. neosho, a union vessel with a steam-powered front-gun turret that can spin 360 degrees. that's some firepower. and the c.s.s. calhoun, a civilian steamer converted into a 500-ton side-wheel gunboat.
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all with the precision you'd expect from a career draftsman. >> before he built a ship, he'd study it. he had blueprints from the smithsonian institution, and if they didn't exist, he would draw his own set of blueprints. >> down to the finest detail. >> he was a fanatic about it. >> was your mom applauding his efforts? >> not really. i recall her not being all that thrilled with dad spending a lot of time in the shop. >> but he wouldn't stop. >> oh, no. it became an obsession. >> by the time william retires in the early 1980s, he's churned out more than 500 ships. that's when the hobbyist decides to share his fleet with the world. he built an annex on his property, next to the family home in arcadia, louisiana -- his very own civil war naval museum. let's be honest -- most people would build, maybe, an addition to their house.
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your dad told your mom, "i'm gonna build a museum for the ships." >> you know, for lack of better terms, i think he didn't really listen to much about what my mother had to say. >> william doesn't even let his son touch his delicate crafts. not that larry's interested. >> as a young man, i didn't pay as much attention to what he was doing. when you're 16 or 17 years old, the last thing you're worried about is your dad up in a building, building models. >> but outside the family, word is spreading about a reclusive shipwright in the woods of louisiana. they call from around the country and around the world. civil war buffs and private collectors not only want to see his work, they want to buy it. was this profit-making for him? that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. the c.s.s. virginia was a confederate ironclad warship also known by what name?
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the answer after the break.
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>> so, by what name was the c.s.s. virginia also known? the answer is "b" -- the merrimack. it was a union ship salvaged by the south and rechristened as the virginia. in 1862, it faced off against the monitor in the first duel
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between ironclad ships. >> by the 1990s, william atteridge has built an armada of nearly 1,000 model ships. visitors from around the world travel to his makeshift museum in the louisiana woods to see his amazing craft. did he charge people to come in? >> his museum was donations only. they would drop a couple dollars in a bucket and he'd let them go through there and he would talk them to death. and, finally, it was almost like, "okay, we got to go." [ chuckles ] >> one of his early patrons -- louisiana state university historian gary joiner. do you remember the first time walking in? >> absolutely. the first thing i saw was this giant model of the c.s.s. arkansas. and i said, "you know what you're doing." >> was he a teacher? >> he was to me. he was a historical sponge. >> gary commissions william to
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build ships to use as visual aids in his classes -- 17 in all. what'd you pay? >> i think i paid $175 at the time. >> was it a steal? >> oh, yes. without a doubt. he was just that good. later, even museums commissioned ships from william. was this profit-making for him? >> he didn't make enough. my dad was a very kind soul, and he did a lot of things out of the goodness of his heart. >> what would it cost for a ship? >> back in those days, he might get $300 or $400. and he would spend two months building it. >> year after year, he churns out models. then, in 2005, william is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given six months to live. larry has long since moved out. he now owns a successful ambulance company two hours away. but he starts making the trip
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back and forth every week. it's the most treasured time he ever spends with his father. >> during that period of time is when he taught me the most about these ships and about him. the realization came forward that we didn't really know each other. >> do you wish you had spent more time with him? >> absolutely. we loved each other, but we just didn't have that closeness. >> william atteridge outlives his prognosis by three years. he dies in 2008 at age 78. were you with him when he passed? >> yes. it was just me and him. i just told him i loved him and, you know, kissed him on the forehead, which is probably the first time i ever remember kissing my father. >> and with that, larry comes into his strange inheritance -- more than 100 ships, the blueprints he built them from, as well as the records of another 1,000-plus models he's sold through the years --
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an archive of the hobby his father elevated to an art form. have you had this collection appraised since you inherited it? >> i did when he first passed away. and i think it was around $130,000. >> would you sell? >> not for $130,000. the emotional attachment, to me, is worth a great deal more than that. >> but things can change. and, as you will see, they do for larry -- more than once. how would you describe this inheritance? >> it was a little bit more of a journey than i was prepared for. >> that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. extra credit if you can name the war during which it was deployed. there's a company that's talked to even more real people
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than me: jd power. 448,134 to be exact. they answered 410 questions in 8 categories about vehicle quality. and when they were done, chevy earned more j.d. power quality awards across cars, trucks and suvs than any other brand over the last four years. so on behalf of chevrolet, i want to say "thank you, real people." you're welcome. we're gonna need a bigger room.
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>> the answer is "a" -- the turtle. its inventor tried and failed to attach a time bomb to the hull of a british ship in new york harbor during the revolutionary war. >> it's 2008, and larry atteridge has just been left his strange inheritance -- more than 100 scale-model civil war ships built by his father, stacks of blueprints, and a request. do you remember your last conversation? >> what he asked me to do was to take the collection, to show them in his honor, and keep them together. >> so you're guarding the fleet? >> yes. [ chuckles ]
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>> with his father's ship collection more than two hours away from his home, larry decides to move them to a closer port. a bed-and-breakfast in nearby natchitoches agrees to put them on display. these are so delicate. how do you even go about moving that many ships? >> i rented a 26-foot u-haul truck. we got furniture tarps and put them on the floor. >> larry's wife, pam, lends a hand -- with some hesitation. >> when his father was alive, he did not want larry to touch them, and i can only imagine what he's thinking now. >> the ships go on exhibit in natchitoches, with larry serving as the curator. but just a year later, with his ambulance business growing, larry decides he no longer has time to manage them. >> all of a sudden, i realize that i have to move these again. >> he reaches out to the state of louisiana, and they're on board.
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for a second time, larry carefully packs up his sprawling and delicate fleet. this time, he ships it to a state museum in tioga, louisiana. five years pass. then, larry receives an alarming phone call. the museum's unstable -- literally. how unstable? >> it was about to cave in. then it became kind of a panic situation for us. >> for a third time, larry scrambles to relocate his strange inheritance. he decides just to bring it home, where the boats will be absolutely safe -- he thinks. then, early one morning... >> my stepdaughter came into the room and said, "hey, the house is on fire." >> the whole house, within five minutes, was in flames. >> in the 40 minutes it takes the fire department to reach their rural location, the atteridge house burns to the ground.
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>> we lost everything. >> so, you escaped with your family, but the ships? >> they were still in the museum. >> thankfully, there'd been a delay in delivering custom-built cabinets to the house, and the models stayed put. wow. someone was protecting them. >> it was just by the grace of god, i think. >> unfortunately, most of his father's sale records for ships that he had sold were in the house and are lost in the fire. have you ever had a moment where you've said, "i do need to sell them"? >> yes. it's crossed my mind. >> we know one potential buyer -- our michael wall, founder of the american marine model gallery in gloucester, massachusetts. when larry called us, we called michael. >> i've never seen a collection like this, especially of civil war models. >> so, what's involved in appraising a collection like this? >> well, for example, i chose this model of arkansas because
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it's probably one of the biggest ones in the collection. i love it because of the artistry that is done with the finish. i feel something like this would probably be worth between $5,500 and $6,500. >> wow. [ cash register dings ] >> the appraiser says william atteridge's model of the u.s.s. cairo would also go for about $6k. and larry has about 100 more. michael, what do you sense could happen if larry were willing to part with the collection? >> basically, i broke down the collection in three parts -- the high-end, the mid-range models, and then the low-range. the total was $279,000. >> okay. [ chuckles ] >> quite a collection. >> so, i know you've said, larry, that you'd never seriously considered selling, but now that you hear this...
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that's next. what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, ♪ it's surprising how the bigger a city gets... the smaller it starts to feel. which makes it even more surprising, how big it feels in here. with sliding rear seats... and more available second row legroom than say... a chevy suburban. this is the completely reimagined 2020 ford escape.
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>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> larry atteridge is weighing his options after receiving an appraisal of $279,000 for more than 100 civil war model ships that his late father painstakingly built over a lifetime. so, larry, how does that compare to the appraisal you got years ago? >> well, it's a big surprise. it's much higher than it was. >> well, your dad did great work, and i think it's just a testament to what he put into this. >> in fact, when you consider that larry's father sold at least 10 times as many models as he kept, there may well be $2- to $3 million of william atteridge originals floating around the world.
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pretty impressive for just an old guy with a hobby. so, larry, i know you've never seriously considered selling, but now that you've heard this, do you change your mind? >> [ inhales deeply ] well, got a lot to think about. um... i believe i'll hold on to them, keep them in the family and... >> great. >> the bloodline. >> it's a lot of money. you couldn't use the money? >> obviously, we could use it, but we're not in that situation, so... >> yeah. >> ...we'll just hold on to them and keep them in dad's honor. >> and, finally, in a permanent home. ♪ >> well, here they are. >> very, very impressive. ♪ yep. those display cases finally arrived. so, inside their new house, larry and pam have created a mini-maritime museum --
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a contemporary version of the one william had out in the woods all those years ago. minus, of course, the workshop, the donation bucket, and the model-ship builder -- ready, as his son recalls, to talk his visitors to death. do you see your father in these? >> absolutely. you know, i wake up every day, and there they are. and i think it's my long-lasting relationship with my father. you know, if it wasn't for that, i don't know that i'd have anything. >> in that house fire, larry lost records from about 1,000 of his dad's models. well, he's hoping you can help him locate those missing ships. if you look closely at bill atteridge's work, you can sometimes find a sticker with his name, like this one here. and if you see one, e-mail me a picture at
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thanks so much for watching. and remember -- you can't take it with you. >> treasures stashed in the attic! >> they hadn't been touched for 40 years. that was like [gasps] shocking and exciting. [ camera shutter clicking ] >> history saved from the trash! >> she was a dumpster diver. >> she absolutely was. >> can these heirs cash in on their startling discovery? >> it's hard to believe that you had an ansel adams lining a drawer. >> and your reaction? >> "wow." [ chuckles ] [ camera shutter clicks ] >> but it's not so black and white. >> did you say to yourself, "uh-oh -- legally, maybe i can't do this?" >> i was concerned about that. >> will this photo finish... bring riches...or regrets? >> i was also feeling like, if i sold too many, then i would lose that part of my mother. [ do


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