I have no idea if any of this is true but this is what my graveyard friend told me.
At the tail end of the civil war, a man called Jedidiah Crane saw the way things were heading for the Confederacy. He decided that the only way for the south to win was to call upon forbidden knowledge of the mystic arts. He started acquiring every slave he could that was reputed to have unexplained powers, learned what he could from them, and then killed them.
When my new friend told me this, I thought that someone with magic should be able to avoid being enslaved, but that’s wrong. What does it matter if you can conjure some lights or speak to the dead when an international trade supported by multiple national world powers is arrayed against you? Maybe the truly powerful practitioners did avoid it, but someone like me would have been swept up like everyone else.
Crane and his followers learned very well how to call up the dead, but while they were busy doing that, the war ended and their side lost. They fled to Louisiana to raise an army of the dead intending on a return to liberate the south. Clearly that didn’t happen since the south remains unliberated.
The graverobber said that after the war, Crane and his crew got into a beef with a consortium of northern railroad men who were also a cabal of magicians. The railroad guys weren’t excited about the army of the dead idea. They felt that was exactly the sort of thing could cut into their profits.
There was a secret magic war, which you have to admit sounds pretty cool, and Crane and his friends got curb stomped by the alliance of capitalist railroad wizards. There was no confederate army from beyond the grave to kick off Civil War 2. Even so, the knowledge of necromancy was passed down and is still rattling around some families with southern roots.
As she was telling the story, she mentioned one of the railroad guy’s names – Raymond Pine. I got all excited and asked her if he owned a diner outside of Macon. She said “how would I know that?” When I told her about the diner, she confirmed that it’s possible for someone to live a long time with magic so it could be the same guy.
Or it could just be a guy with the same name.