Monday, April 30, 2012

Sam Adams

Samuel Adams (September 27 1722 – October 2, 1803) was an American statesman, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. As a politician in colonial Massachusetts, Adams was a leader of the movement that became the American Revolution, and was one of the architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped the political culture of the United States. He was a second cousin to President John Adams.
Born in Boston, Adams was brought up in a religious and politically active family. A graduate of Harvard College, he was an unsuccessful businessman and tax collector before concentrating on politics. As an influential official of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Boston Town Meeting in the 1760s, Adams was a part of a movement opposed to the British Parliament's efforts to tax the British American colonies without their consent. His 1768 circular letter calling for colonial cooperation prompted the occupation of Boston by British soldiers, eventually resulting in the Boston Massacre of 1770. To help coordinate resistance to what he saw as the British government's attempts to violate the British Constitution at the expense of the colonies, in 1772 Adams and his colleagues devised a committee of correspondence system, which linked like-minded Patriots throughout the Thirteen Colonies. Continued resistance to British policy resulted in the 1773 Boston Tea Party and the coming of the American Revolution.
After Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774, Adams attended the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, which was convened to coordinate a colonial response. He helped guide Congress towards issuing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and helped draft the Articles of Confederation and the Massachusetts Constitution. Adams returned to Massachusetts after the American Revolution, where he served in the state senate and was eventually elected governor.
Samuel Adams is a controversial figure in American history. Accounts written in the 19th century praised him as someone who had been steering his fellow colonists towards independence long before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. This view gave way to negative assessments of Adams in the first half of the 20th century, in which he was portrayed as a master of propaganda who provoked mob violence to achieve his goals. Both of these interpretations have been challenged by some modern scholars, who argue that these traditional depictions of Adams are myths contradicted by the historical record.

“We got our seed potatoes today.  About 65 bu White Star and 10 bu each of “while seedling and American Giants”.  After we got done with the potatoes, Father took the grist to Mill.  Pleasant day.”
Leesah

Sunday, April 29, 2012

William Randolph Hearst

William Randolph Hearst  (April 29, 1863 – August 14, 1951) was an American business magnate and a leading newspaper publisher. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887, after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father. Moving to New York City, he acquired The New York Journal and engaged in a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World which led to the creation of yellow journalism—sensationalized stories of dubious veracity. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearst created a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers in major American cities at its peak. He later expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world.
He was twice elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives, and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909, for Governor of New York in 1906, and for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1910. Nonetheless, through his newspapers and magazines, he exercised enormous political influence, and is sometimes credited with pushing public opinion in the United States into a war with Spain in 1898.
His life story was a source of inspiration for the development of the lead character in Orson Welles' classic film Citizen Kane. His mansion, Hearst Castle, near San Simeon, California, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, was donated by the Hearst Corporation to the state of California in 1957, and is now a State Historical Monument and a National Historic Landmark, open for public tours. Hearst formally named the estate La Cuesta Encantada ("The Enchanted Slope"), but he usually just called it "the ranch".

Leesah

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gristmill


Grinding mechanism in an old Swedish flour mill

The Greek geographer Strabo reports in his Geography a water-powered grain-mill to have existed near the palace of king Mithradates VI Eupator at Cabira, Asia Minor, before 71 BC.

The early mills had horizontal paddle wheels, an arrangement which later became known as the "Norse wheel", as many were found in Scandinavia. The paddle wheel was attached to a shaft which was, in turn, attached to the centre of the millstone called the "runner stone". The turning force produced by the water on the paddles was transferred directly to the runner stone, causing it to grind against a stationary "bed", a stone of a similar size and shape. This simple arrangement required no gears, but had the disadvantage that the speed of rotation of the stone was dependent on the volume and flow of water available and was, therefore, only suitable for use in mountainous regions with fast-flowing streams. This dependence on the volume and speed of flow of the water also meant that the speed of rotation of the stone was highly variable and the optimum grinding speed could not always be maintained.

Vertical wheels were in use in the Roman Empire by the end of the first century BC, and these were described by Vitruvius. The peak of Roman technology is probably the Barbegal aqueduct and mill where water with a 19-metre fall drove sixteen water wheels, giving a grinding capacity estimated at 2.4 to 3.2 tonnes per hour. Water mills seem to have remained in use during the post-Roman period, and by 1000 AD, mills in Europe were rarely more than a few miles apart.

In England, the Domesday survey of 1086 gives a precise count of England's water-powered flour mills: There were 5,624, or about one for every 300 inhabitants, and this was probably typical throughout western and southern Europe. From this time onward, water wheels began to be used for purposes other than grist milling. In England, the number of mills in operation followed population growth, and peaked around 17,000 by 1300.

Limited extant examples of gristmills can be found in Europe from the High Middle Ages. An extant well-preserved waterwheel and gristmill on the Ebro River in Spain is associated with the Real Monasterio de Nuestra Senora de Rueda, built by the Cistercian monks in 1202. The Cistercians were known for their use of this technology in Western Europe in the period 1100 to 1350.

Geared gristmills were also built in the medieval Near East and North Africa, which were used for grinding grain and other seeds to produce meals. Gristmills in the Islamic world were powered by both water and wind. The first wind-powered gristmills were built in the 9th and 10th centuries in what are now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.[


“I commenced plowing this morning but about 10 O’clock it commenced raining and I quit.  It rained until nearly night.  I helped Lettie a little about fixing some things in our room and put up a grist of corn and barley to take to mill.”
Leesah

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Shores of Tripoli

Five Marines with fixed bayonets, and their NCO with his sword at the Washington Navy Yard, 1864
After marching 500 miles from Egypt, U.S. agent William Eaton leads a small force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries against the Tripolitan port city of Derna. The Marines and Berbers were on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States.
The First Barbary War had begun four years earlier, when U.S. President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against U.S. ships by pirates from the Barbary states--Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. American sailors were often abducted along with the captured booty and ransomed back to the United States at an exorbitant price. After two years of minor confrontations, sustained action began in June 1803, when a small U.S. expeditionary force attacked Tripoli harbor in present-day Libya.
In April 1805, a major American victory came during the Derna campaign, which was undertaken by U.S. land forces in North Africa. Supported by the heavy guns of the USS Argus and the USS Hornet, Marines and Arab mercenaries under William Eaton captured Derna and deposed Yusuf Karamanli. Lieutenant Presley O' Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in the battle that Hamet Karamanli presented him with an elaborately designed sword that now serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers. The phrase "to the shores of Tripoli," from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, also has its origins in the Derna campaign.

“Finished covering the corn ground with manure this forenoon.  Plowed for oats this afternoon.  Veery fine day.”
Leesah

Thursday, April 26, 2012

David Hume

David Hume (7 May 1711 – 25 August 1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment. Hume is often grouped with John Locke, George Berkeley, and a handful of others as a British Empiricist.
Beginning with his A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), Hume strove to create a total naturalistic "science of man" that examined the psychological basis of human nature. In stark opposition to the rationalists who preceded him, most notably Descartes, he concluded that desire rather than reason governed human behaviour, saying: "Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions." A prominent figure in the skeptical philosophical tradition and a strong empiricist, he argued against the existence of innate ideas, concluding instead that humans have knowledge only of things they directly experience. Thus he divides perceptions between strong and lively "impressions" or direct sensations and fainter "ideas," which are copied from impressions. He developed the position that mental behaviour is governed by "custom"; our use of induction, for example, is justified only by our idea of the "constant conjunction" of causes and effects. Without direct impressions of a metaphysical "self," he concluded that humans have no actual conception of the self, only of a bundle of sensations associated with the self.
Hume advocated a compatibilist theory of free will that proved extremely influential on subsequent moral philosophy. He was also a sentimentalist who held that ethics are based on feelings rather than abstract moral principles. Hume also examined the normative is–ought problem. He held notoriously ambiguous views of Christianity, but famously challenged the argument from design in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1777).
Kant credited Hume with waking him up from his "dogmatic slumbers" and Hume has proved extremely influential on subsequent philosophy, especially on utilitarianism, logical positivism, William James, philosophy of science, early analytic philosophy, cognitive philosophy, and other movements and thinkers. The philosopher Jerry Fodor proclaimed Hume's Treatise "the founding document of cognitive science." Also famous as a prose stylist, Hume pioneered the essay as a literary genre and engaged with contemporary intellectual luminaries such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith (who acknowledged Hume's influence on his economics and political philosophy), James Boswell, Joseph Butler, and Thomas Reid.

“Drew manure on the corn ground this forenoon.  After dinner, I dragged the east garden and planted some early potatoes and I drew manure rest of the day.  Very fine day.”
Leesah

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald photographed by Carl Van Vechten in 1940
Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), also known as the "First Lady of Song" "Queen of Jazz" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz and song vocalist. With a vocal range spanning three octaves (D3 to D6), she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.
She was a notable interpreter of the Great American Songbook. Over the course of her 59-year recording career, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush

“Drew out manure and plowed the east garden this forenoon.  Got the manure all away from the hog pen.  Plowed for barley this afternoon but the ground is to wet to plow.  Has been a fine day.”
Leesah

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda on the NVA anti-aircraft gun
Jane Fonda (born Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda; December 21, 1937) is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an actress. After 15 years of retirement, she returned to film in 2005 with Monster in Law, followed by Georgia Rule two years later. She also produced and starred in over 20 exercise videos released between 1982 and 1995, and once again in 2010.
Fonda has been an activist for many political causes; her opposition to the Vietnam War and associated activities were controversial. She has also protested the Iraq War and violence against women. She describes herself as a liberal and a feminist. In 2005, Fonda worked alongside Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem to co-found the Women's Media Center, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content. Fonda currently serves on the board of the organization. Since 2001, Fonda has been a Christian. She published an autobiography in 2005, and in 2011, she published a second memoir, Prime Time.

“Took the sow to J. E. Hazleton’s boar this forenoon.  This afternoon, I drew out manure from behind the hog pen.  Cleared off this afternoon and is pleasant tonight.”
Leesah

Monday, April 23, 2012

James Buchanan

James Buchanan, Jr. (April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868, was the 15th President of the United States (1857–1861). He is the only president from Pennsylvania and the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor. His niece Harriet Lane played the role as lady of the house.
Buchanan (often called Buck-anan by his contemporaries) was a popular and experienced state politician and a successful attorney before his presidency. He represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives and later the Senate, and served as Minister to Russia under President Andrew Jackson. He was also Secretary of State under President James K. Polk. After he turned down an offer for an appointment to the Supreme Court, President Franklin Pierce appointed him Minister to the United Kingdom, in which capacity he helped draft the controversial Ostend Manifesto.
Buchanan was nominated in the 1856 election. Throughout most of Franklin Pierce's term he was stationed in London as a Minister to the Court of St. James's and therefore was not caught up in the crossfire of sectional politics that dominated the country. Buchanan was viewed by many as a compromise between the two sides of the slavery question. His subsequent election victory took place in a three-man race with John C. Frémont and Millard Fillmore. As President, he was often called a "doughface", a Northerner with Southern sympathies, who battled with Stephen A. Douglas for the control of the Democratic Party. Buchanan's efforts to maintain peace between the North and the South alienated both sides, and the Southern states declared their secession in the prologue to the American Civil War. Buchanan's view of record was that secession was illegal, but that going to war to stop it was also illegal. Buchanan, first and foremost an attorney, was noted for his mantra, "I acknowledge no master but the law."
When he left office, popular opinion had turned against him, and the Democratic Party had split in two. Buchanan had once aspired to a presidency that would rank in history with that of George Washington. However, his inability to impose peace on sharply divided partisans on the brink of the Civil War has led to his consistent ranking by historians as one of the worst Presidents. Buchanan biographer Philip Klein puts these rankings into context: "Buchanan assumed leadership ... when an unprecedented wave of angry passion was sweeping over the nation. That he held the hostile sections in check during these revolutionary times was in itself a remarkable achievement. His weaknesses in the stormy years of his presidency were magnified by enraged partisans of the North and South. His many talents, which in a quieter era might have gained for him a place among the great presidents, were quickly overshadowed by the cataclysmic events of civil war and by the towering Abraham Lincoln." Buchanan was the last president born in the 18th century.

“Put up panel fence from the South end of the lane east to Mr. Stowel’s line and fixed up some of the other fence this forenoon.  Split some wood worked around the house and barn this afternoon.  Cool and cloudy weather.”
Leesah

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jack Nicholson

John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson (born April 22, 1937) is an American actor, film director, producer and writer. He is renowned for his often dark portrayals of neurotic characters. His twelve Oscar nominations make him the second most nominated actor of all time, behind only Meryl Streep, and tied with Katharine Hepburn.
Nicholson has been nominated for an Academy Award twelve times and has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice: for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and for As Good as It Gets. He also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the 1983 film Terms of Endearment. He is tied with Walter Brennan for most acting wins by a male actor (three). Nicholson is well known for playing villainous roles such as Jack Torrance in The Shining, Frank Costello in The Departed, and the Joker in 1989's Batman, among many other roles.
Nicholson is one of only two actors who has been nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s decade; the other being Michael Caine. He has won seven Golden Globe Awards, and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2001. In 1994, he became one of the youngest actors to be awarded the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. Notable films in which he has starred include, in chronological order, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Passenger, The Shining, Reds, Terms of Endearment, Batman, A Few Good Men, As Good as It Gets, About Schmidt and The Departed

Leesah

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Abel Streight

Abel D. Streight (June 17, 1828 – May 27, 1892) was a peace time lumber merchant and publisher, and was a Union Army general in the American Civil War. His command precipitated a notable cavalry raid in 1863, known as Streight's Raid. He later was a politician, and served as a State Senator in Indiana, for two terms.
Abel Streight was born in Wheeler, New York. He moved to Cincinnati, as a young man, and by 1859 was living in Indianapolis, where he was a publisher of books and maps.
Streight was appointed colonel of the 51st Indiana Infantry regiment on December 12, 1861. His regiment was soon attached to the Union Army of the Cumberland.
Streight and his regiment saw very limited action during the first two years of their service, which is said to have disappointed him greatly.
In 1863, he proposed a plan to Brig. Gen. James A. Garfield (chief of staff of the Army of the Cumberland) that he be allowed to raise a force to make to raid deeply into the South. His proposal was to disrupt of the Western & Atlantic Railroad from Chattanooga to Atlanta, which carried supplies to the Confederate Army of Tennessee. The Union Army's commander, William S. Rosecrans, gave him permission.
Union forces from Streight's own 51st Indiana, 73rd Indiana Infantry, 80th Illinois Infantry, and 3rd Ohio Infantry regiments were placed under Streight's command. This force encompassed approximately 1,700 troops. The original intent was to have this force mounted suitably for fast travel and attacks; however, due largely to wartime shortages, Streight's brigade were equipped with mules. This obvious disadvantage, combined with Streight's own inexperience, was to prove disastrous.
Streight led this force to Nashville, departed Tuscumbia, Alabama, on April 26, 1863, and then to Eastport, Mississippi. From there he decided to push to the southeast, initially screened by another Union force commanded by Brig. Gen. Grenville Dodge. On April 30, Streight's brigade arrived at Sand Mountain, where he was intercepted by a Confederate cavalry force under Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and harassed for several days. Streight's force won the Battle of Day's Gap but the battle set off a series of skirmeshes that eventually led the Union forces being surrounded and captured. Streight himself was captured and taken to Libby Prison as a prisoner of war.
After ten months of incarceration, Streight and 107 other soldiers escaped from prison by tunnelling from their barracks to freedom. Eventually, Streight was able to cross through enemy territory and, on his return, gave a debriefing report to his Union commanders.
Eventually Streight was restored to active duty being placed in command of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, IV Corps. He participated in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. Streight was given a brevet promotion to brigadier general in the volunteer army dated March 13, 1865. He resigned from the army on March 16, 1865.
Streight resigned his command and left the army in March 1865, having achieved the rank of brevet brigadier general. In 1866, he and his wife built a house on Washington Street in Indianapolis. In 1876, Streight ran successfully for a seat in the Indiana Senate, serving a two year term. In 1880, he ran unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for governor of Indiana. In 1888, he was once again elected as State Senator. He died in Indianapolis four years later, in 1892. He is buried there in Crown Hill Cemetery.
Streight was the author of The Crisis of Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-one in the Government of the United States, published in 1861.
Streight's wife, Lovina (née McCarthy), joined her husband on his southern campaign, often ministering help to wounded men during the battle. She was captured three times and exchanged for prisoners. Lovina Streight was known as the "Mother of the 51st", and upon her death in 1910, her funeral was afforded full military honors.


“Went up town this morning with the milk and then painted the south end of the barn and two windows in the hog pen and two windows and a door on the south side of the horse barn.  Rained quite a good deal about 10 o”clock last night but has cleared off this afternoon and is considerable cooler.  Had quite a shower last night.”

Leesah

Friday, April 20, 2012

William McKinley (born William McKinley, Jr.; January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his death. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and maintained the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of inflationary proposals. McKinley's administration ended with his assassination in September 1901, but his presidency began a period of over a third of a century dominated by the Republican Party.
McKinley served in the Civil War and rose from private to brevet major. After the war, he settled in Canton, Ohio, where he practiced law and married Ida Saxton. In 1876, he was elected to Congress, where he became the Republican Party's expert on the protective tariff, which he promised would bring prosperity. His 1890 McKinley Tariff was highly controversial; controversy over it, together with a Democratic redistricting aimed at gerrymanderinging him out of office, led to his defeat in the Democratic landslide of 1890. He was elected Ohio's governor in 1891 and 1893, steering a moderate course between capital and labor interests. With the aid of his close adviser Mark Hanna, he secured the Republican nomination for president in 1896, amid a deep economic depression. He defeated his Democratic rival, William Jennings Bryan, after a front-porch campaign in which he advocated "sound money" (the gold standard unless altered by international agreement) and promised that high tariffs would restore prosperity.
Rapid economic growth marked McKinley's presidency. He promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition, and in 1900, he secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act. McKinley hoped to persuade Spain to grant independence to rebellious Cuba without conflict, but when negotiation failed, he led the nation in the Spanish–American War of 1898; the U.S. victory was quick and decisive. As part of the peace settlement Spain was required to turn over its main overseas colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; Cuba was promised independence but at that time remained under the control of the U.S. Army. The independent Republic of Hawaii joined the U.S. in 1898 as a territory.
McKinley defeated Bryan again in the 1900 presidential election, in a campaign which focused on imperialism, prosperity, and free silver. President McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist in September 1901, and was succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt. Historians regard McKinley's 1896 victory as a realigning election, in which the political stalemate of the post-Civil War era gave way to the Republican-dominated Fourth Party System, which began with the Progressive Era. He is generally placed near the middle in rankings of American presidents.

“Went up town with the milk this morning and then painted the cornice and doors on the grain barn this forenoon.  Went up town with the women to missionary meeting this afternoon.  Not a very pleasant evening.  Rained from about 10 O’clock last evening until after six this morning and the ground is full of water.”
Leesah

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Finish Line, 1910
On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York won the first Boston Marathon with a time of 2:55:10.
The Boston Marathon was the brainchild of Boston Athletic Association member and inaugural U.S. Olympic team manager John Graham, who was inspired by the marathon at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from the Irvington Oval in Boston to Metcalf's Mill in Ashland was eventually selected.
Fifteen runners started the race but only 10 made it to the finish line. John J. McDermott, representing the Pastime Athletic Club of New York City, took the lead from Harvard athlete Dick Grant over the hills in Newton. Although he walked several times during the final miles, McDermott still won by a comfortable six-minute, fifty-two-seconds. McDermott had won the only other marathon on U.S. soil the previous October in New York.
The marathon's distance was changed in 1908 in accordance with Olympic standards to its current length of 26 miles 385 yards.
The Boston Marathon was originally held on Patriot's Day, April 19, a regional holiday that commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In years when the 19th fell on a Sunday, the race was held the following Monday. In 1969, Patriots Day was officially moved to the third Monday in April and the race has been held on that Monday ever since.
Women were not allowed to enter the Boston race officially until 1972, but Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb couldn't wait: In 1966, she became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as "K. V. Switzer", was the first woman to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials tried to physically remove her from the race after she was identified as a woman.
In the fall of 1971, the Amateur Athletics Union permitted its sanctioned marathons (including Boston) to allow female entry. Nina Kuscsik became the first official female participant to win the Boston Marathon in 1972. Seven other women started and finished that race.
In 1975, the Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition. Bob Hall won it in two hours, 58 minutes.

“Went up town this morning with the milk and spread manure until noon.  After dinner I had to go up town after some more paint and then I strung some panels for pasture fence.  The ground is so wet I cannot drive a team on it much.  Has been a pleasant day.”
Leesah

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Paul Revere

Portrait of Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley, c. 1768–70
  Paul Revere (Late December, 1734 – May 10, 1818) was an American silversmith and a patriot in the American Revolution. He is most famous for alerting Colonial militia of approaching British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride.
Revere was a prosperous and prominent Boston silversmith, who helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the British military. Revere later served as an officer in the Penobscot Expedition, one of the most disastrous campaigns of the American Revolutionary War, for which he was absolved of blame.

“Went up town with the milk this morning and spread manure rest of the forenoon.  We hitched up “Billy” again this afternoon and went and got another jag of wood and then spread manure until night. Has been very warm today.  Beautiful day.  The Isaac Johnson heifer calved this afternoon and has got along nicely.”
Leesah

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Jag of Wood


Typically a "Good jag of wood" is a full load, as much as a trailer or log sled could handle. Picture 1800's era log sleds.  Today a jag of wood would be considered about 3 cords of wood..

“I went up town with the milk this morning and spread manure rest of the forenoon.  After dinner Mr. Rogers came down and we hitched up “Billy” on the lumber wagon and got a Jag of wood ???? in the woods.  Then we hitched up Benny and drove him over to Charley Rogers’.  Got home about six.  The stowel heifer calved just at night.  Has been a beautiful warm day.”
Leesah

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bat Masterson

William Barclay "Bat" Masterson (November 26, 1853 – October 25, 1921) was a figure of the American Old West known as a buffalo hunter, U.S. Marshal and Army scout, avid fisherman, gambler, frontier lawman, and sports editor and columnist for the New York Morning Telegraph. He was the brother of lawmen James Masterson and Ed Masterson.
His first gunfight took place in 1876 in Sweetwater, Texas (later Mobeetie in Wheeler County, not to be confused with the current Sweetwater, the seat of Nolan County west of Abilene, Texas). He was attacked by a man in a fight, allegedly because of a girl. The other man died of his wounds. Masterson was shot in the pelvis, but recovered. The story that he needed to carry a cane for the rest of his life is a legend perpetuated by the TV series starring the late Gene Barry.
In 1877, he joined his brothers in Dodge City, Kansas. Jim was the partner of Ed who was an assistant marshal. Soon after his arrival, Masterson came into conflict with the local marshal over the treatment of a man being arrested. He was jailed and fined, although his fine was later returned by the city council. He served as a sheriff's deputy alongside Wyatt Earp, and within a few months he was elected county sheriff of Ford County, Kansas. As sheriff, Bat won plaudits for capturing four members of the Mike Roark gang who had unsuccessfully held up a train at nearby Kinsley. He also led the posse that captured Jim Kennedy who had inadvertently killed an entertainer named Dora Hand in Dodge; with a shot through the shoulder Masterson eventually brought Kennedy down.
Fighting in Colorado on the Santa Fe side of its war against the Rio Grande railroad, Masterson continued as Ford County sheriff until he was voted out of office in 1879. During this same period his brother Ed was Marshal of Dodge City and died in the line of duty on April 9, 1878. Ed was shot by a cowboy named Jack Wagner who was unaware that Bat was in the vicinity. As Ed stumbled away from the scene, Masterson responded from across the street with deadly force, firing on both Wagner and Wagner's boss, Alf Walker. Wagner died the next day but Walker was taken back to Texas and recovered. The local newspapers were ambiguous about who shot Wagner and Walker and this led some later historians to question whether Bat was involved. However, the
Bat Masterson died at age 67 on October 25, 1921, while living and working in New York City. He collapsed at his desk from a heart attack after penning what became his final column for the New York Morning Telegraph. His body was taken to Campbell's Funeral Parlor and later buried after a simple service in Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, New York. His full name, William Barclay Masterson, appears above his epitaph on the large granite grave marker in Woodlawn. His epitaph states that he was "Loved by Everyone."

Deputies Bat Masterson (standing) and Wyatt Earp in Dodge City, 1876. The scroll on Earp's chest is a cloth pin-on badge

“I went up town with the milk this morning and did some errands.  This afternoon I painted some cornice (first coat) on the barn and spread some manure.  Has been a fine warm day and the snow is all gone except a few small patches but the ground is very wet.”
Leesah

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Washington Augustus Roebling


The eldest son of John Roebling, Washington was born in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, a town co-founded by his father and his uncle, Karl Roebling. His early schooling consisted of tutoring by Riedel and under Henne in Pittsburgh. He eventually attended the Trenton Academy and acquired further education at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, from 1854-57. While attending Rensselaer, Roebling became a member of the Pi Eta Scientific Society, now known as the Rensselaer Society of Engineers. Following his graduation as civil engineer (C.E.), he joined his father to work as a bridge builder. From 1858 to 1860, he assisted his father on the Allegheny Bridge project, living in a boarding house on Penn Street. Following the completion of the bridge, he returned to Trenton to work in his father's wire mill.
On April 16, 1861, during the American Civil War, Roebling enlisted as a private in the New Jersey Militia. Seeking more than garrison duty, he resigned after two months and re-enlisted in a New York artillery battery. He rose steadily in rank and was soon commissioned as an officer.
Roebling saw action in numerous battles: Manassas Junction (Second Bull Run), Antietam, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Siege of Petersburg, and most notably Gettysburg. Soon after Chancellorsville, he was perhaps the first to note the movement of Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army toward the northwest while conducting air balloon reconnaissance.
On July 2, 1863, Roebling was one of the initial officers on Little Round Top. Observing signs of Confederate troops approaching, he hurried down the hill to report to Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, for whom Roebling was aide-de-camp. General Warren and Roebling then descended the hill to find troops to secure this important tactical position. Roebling assisted in hoisting artillery up the hill, while Warren sent two of his aides, one of whom was Lt. Ranald S. Mackenzie, searching for infantry support. The two aides were able to secure a brigade from the Union V Corps. This brigade was commanded by Col. Strong Vincent whose brigade immediately occupied the hill and defended the left flank of the Army of the Potomac against repeated Confederate attacks. As Vincent's brigade began moving into position, Warren and Roebling had left the hill and Roebling was able to send the 140th New York Volunteers to the hill, not knowing that Vincent's brigade was already engaging advancing Confederate troops. However, the 140th New York provided much needed reinforcements.

Leesah

Saturday, April 14, 2012

RMS Titanic

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on 10 April 1912
RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of 1,514 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. She was the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage. One of three Olympic class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line, she was built between 1909–11 by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. She carried 2,223 people.
Her passengers included some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as over a thousand emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere seeking a new life in North America. The ship was designed to be the last word in comfort and luxury, with an on-board gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants and opulent cabins. She also had a powerful wireless telegraph provided for the convenience of passengers as well as for operational use. Though she had advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, she lacked enough lifeboats to accommodate all of those aboard. Due to outdated maritime safety regulations, she carried only enough lifeboats for 1,178 people – a third of its total passenger and crew capacity.
After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland before heading westwards towards New York. On 14 April 1912, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles (600 km) south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 pm (ship's time; GMT−3). The glancing collision caused Titanic's hull plates to buckle inwards in a number of locations on her starboard side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea. Over the next two and a half hours, the ship gradually filled with water and sank. Passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partly filled. A disproportionate number of men – over 90% of those in Second Class – were left aboard due to a "women and children first" protocol followed by the officers loading the lifeboats. Just before 2:20 am Titanic broke up and sank bow-first with over a thousand people still on board. Those in the water died within minutes from hypothermia caused by immersion in the freezing ocean. The 710 survivors were taken aboard from the lifeboats by the RMS Carpathia a few hours later.
The disaster was greeted with worldwide shock and outrage at the huge loss of life and the regulatory and operational failures that had led to it. Public inquiries in Britain and the United States led to major improvements in maritime safety. One of their most important legacies was the establishment in 1914 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which still governs maritime safety today. Many of the survivors lost all of their money and possessions and were left destitute; many families, particularly those of crew members from Southampton, lost their primary bread-winners. They were helped by an outpouring of public sympathy and charitable donations. Some of the male survivors, notably the White Star Line's chairman, J. Bruce Ismay, were accused of cowardice for leaving the ship while people were still on board, and they faced social ostracism.
The wreck of the Titanic remains on the seabed, gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet (3,784 m). Since its rediscovery in 1985, thousands of artefacts have been recovered from the sea bed and put on display at museums around the world. Titanic has become one of the most famous ships in history, her memory kept alive by numerous books, films, exhibits and memorials.

“I went up with the milk this moring and Oliver Rogers came down this forenoon and we hitched up the 4 year old colt this forenoon and drove him around on the bobs.  He goes very good.  After dinner we hitched up the 3 year old on the wagon and drove him down east as far as Joe William’s.  He goes as good as the other one.  Hea been a very warm day and the snow is going very fast.”

Leesah

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963
Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE; born February 20, 1927) is a Bahamian American actor, film director, author, and diplomat.
In 1963, Poitier became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of this achievement was later bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three well-received films To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, making him the top box office star of that year. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking 22nd on the list of 25.
Poitier has directed a number of popular movies such as A Piece of the Action; Uptown Saturday Night, and Let's Do It Again (with friend Bill Cosby), and Stir Crazy (starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder). In 2002, 38 years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Award, designated "To Sidney Poitier in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being." Since 1997 he has been the Bahamian ambassador to Japan. On August 12, 2009, Sidney Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America's highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.
 Leesah
“I went up town with the milk this morning.  After dinner, Wills man came over and helped me about two hours and I put the balance of our straw stack in the barn and then I filed the hand saws.  Has been a beautiful warm day and the snow has melted very fast.  It is not more than 5 or 6 inches deep tonight.”
Leesah

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Battle of Fort Sumter

Bombardment of Fort Sumter by Currier & Ives (1837–1885).
The Battle of Fort Sumter (April 12–13, 1861) was the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War. Following declarations of secession by seven Southern states, South Carolina demanded that the U.S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On December 26, 1860, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surreptitiously moved his small command from the indefensible Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island to Fort Sumter, a substantial fortress controlling the entrance of Charleston Harbor. An attempt by U.S. President James Buchanan to reinforce and resupply Anderson, using the unarmed merchant ship Star of the West, failed when it was fired upon by shore batteries on January 9, 1861. South Carolina authorities then seized all Federal property in the Charleston area, except for Fort Sumter.
During the early months of 1861, the situation around Fort Sumter increasingly began to resemble a siege. In March, Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, the first general officer of the newly formed Confederate States of America, was placed in command of Confederate forces in Charleston. Beauregard energetically directed the strengthening of batteries around Charleston harbor aimed at Fort Sumter. Conditions in the fort grew dire as the Federals rushed to complete the installation of additional guns. Anderson was short of men, food, and supplies.
The resupply of Fort Sumter became the first crisis of the administration of President Abraham Lincoln. He notified the Governor of South Carolina, Francis W. Pickens, that he was sending supply ships, which resulted in an ultimatum from the Confederate government: evacuate Fort Sumter immediately. Major Anderson refused to surrender. Beginning at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, the Confederates bombarded the fort from artillery batteries surrounding the harbor. Although the Union garrison returned fire, they were significantly outgunned and, after 34 hours, Major Anderson agreed to evacuate. There was no loss of life on either side as a direct result of this engagement, although a gun explosion during the surrender ceremonies on April 14 caused two Union deaths.
Following the battle, there was widespread support from both North and South for further military action. Lincoln's immediate call for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion resulted in an additional four states also declaring their secession and joining the Confederacy. The Civil War had begun.

Maj. Robert Anderson

“I went up with the milk this morning and brought Mrs. Van Valkenburgh home with me to spend the day.  Lettie and I took her home tonight.  Has been a beautiful day and the snow is more than half gone tonight.”
Leesah