Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Earlier Kings Speech

Portrait by Allan Ramsay, 1762
On October 31, 1776, in his first speech before British Parliament since the leaders of the American Revolution came together to sign of the Declaration of Independence that summer, King George III acknowledges that all was not going well for Britain in the war with the United States.
In his address, the king spoke about the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the revolutionary leaders who signed it, saying, "for daring and desperate is the spirit of those leaders, whose object has always been dominion and power, that they have now openly renounced all allegiance to the crown, and all political connection with this country." The king went on to inform Parliament of the successful British victory over General George Washington and the Continental Army at the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776, but warned them that, "notwithstanding the fair prospect, it was necessary to prepare for another campaign."
Despite George III's harsh words, General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Howe, still hoped to convince the Americans to rejoin the British empire in the wake of the colonists' humiliating defeat at the Battle of Long Island. The British could easily have prevented Washington's retreat from Long Island and captured most of the Patriot officer corps, including the commander in chief. However, instead of forcing the former colonies into submission by executing Washington and his officers as traitors, the Howe brothers let them go with the hope of swaying Patriot opinion towards a return to the mother country.
The Howe brothers' attempts at negotiation failed, and the War for Independence dragged on for another four years, until the formal surrender of the British to the Americans on October 19, 1781, after the Battle of Yorktown.

“Commenced Raining in the night and rained until nearly noon today and we cleaned up a load of wheat and drew it up to lowe (54) and cleaned up another load to draw in the morning.”
Leesah

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Verrazzano

Antique clothing button picturing Verrazzano
Giovanni da Verrazzano (sometimes spelled "Verrazano") (1485–1528) was an Italian explorer of North America, in the service of the French crown. He is renowned as the first European since the Norse expeditions to North America around AD 1000 to explore the Atlantic coast of North America between the Carolinas and Newfoundland, including New York Harbor and Narragansett Bay in 1524. The bridge over the opening of New York harbor and a naval vessel of the Italian navy, a destroyer of the Navigatori class, are among his numerous eponymous honors.

“We brought down our small potatoes this morning.   Then I went up town; was drawn on jury but got home about 11 o’clock and picked up a pit of potatoes before dinner.  After dinner, I took up a load that was on the wagon and picked up 40 bu. and took them in the cellar.  Pleasant day.”
Leesah

Monday, October 29, 2012

Betty Ferreri Murder Trial

On October 26, 1948, Betty Ferreri kills her husband, Jerry, in their Los Angeles, California, home with the help of house caretaker Alan Adron. When Jerry, a notorious womanizer, brought a young model to the couple's home in the upscale Hancock Park neighborhood, Betty became upset and threatened him with a large wrench. Although Jerry fled, Betty was worried that he would return in a violent state, so she asked for Adron's assistance. When Jerry later returned, he began dragging Betty by her hair. Adron shot him twice, but the gun jammed before he was dead, so Betty finished him off with a meat cleaver, striking him in the head 23 times.
Betty and Jerry met in New Jersey in the early 1940s. Although Betty's parents disapproved, she and Jerry, a small-time thief and the son of a well-connected New York politico, eloped and moved to Los Angeles. Jerry rarely worked, but his parents gave them enough money so that they could buy a 15-room house in Hancock Park.
But their marriage had more than its share of problems. Beating Betty on a regular basis, Jerry once asked his wife to have sex with an auto mechanic to pay off a bill he owed. When she refused, he ruptured her eardrum. Then, angry about the doctor's bill, he struck her other ear, reportedly saying, "Maybe he'll give you two for the price of one." On another occasion, he brought a puppy home for the couple's young child but then killed the poor animal with a baseball bat in front of the boy. Despite the clear evidence of abuse, prosecutors decided to charge Betty Ferreri and Alan Adron with premeditated murder.
At first, the defendants' attorney wanted to claim that Adron was mentally incompetent and unable to stand trial. But Adron refused and hired his own lawyer, who argued that he was only insane at the time of the killing. Due to the salacious details about Jerry's prodigious exploits with other women, the trial became the talk of the town.
In 1949, both Betty Ferreri and Alan Adron were acquitted.


“Drew three loads of potatoes today.  Will’s man helped me pick up.”
Leesah

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Statue of Liberty


The statue's head on exhibit at the Paris World's Fair, 1878
The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.
Bartholdi was inspired by French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye, who commented in 1865 that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and American peoples. Due to the troubled political situation in France, work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s. In 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the pedestal and the site. Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions. The arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in 1876 and in New York's Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the World started a drive for donations to complete the project that attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was constructed in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe's Island. The statue's completion was marked by New York's first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.
The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service. The statue was closed for renovation for much of 1938. In the early 1980s, it was found to have deteriorated to such an extent that a major restoration was required. While the statue was closed from 1984 to 1986, the torch and a large part of the internal structure were replaced. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, it was closed for reasons of safety and security; the pedestal reopened in 2004 and the statue in 2009, with limits on the number of visitors allowed to ascend to the crown. The statue, including the pedestal and base, was closed for a year until October 28, 2012, so that a secondary staircase and other safety features could be installed; Liberty Island remained open. Public access to the balcony surrounding the torch has been barred for safety reasons since 1916.


“Drew up the load of potatoes this morning and then took the sow to Mr Hozletons boar this forenoon.  After diner we picked up another load and I drew it up. Pleasant day.”


Leesah

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Charge of the Light Brigade


The Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava by William Simpson (1855), illustrating the Light Brigade's charge into the "Valley of Death" from the Russian perspective

The Charge of the Light Brigade was a charge of British cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. Lord Raglan, overall commander, had intended to send the Light Brigade to pursue and harry a retreating Russian artillery battery near the front line, a task well suited to light cavalry. Due to miscommunication at some level in the chain of command, the sabre-armed Light Brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault into a different artillery battery, one well-prepared with excellent fields of defensive fire. Although reaching the battery under withering direct fire and scattering some of the gunners, the badly mauled brigade was forced to retreat immediately, producing no decisive gains and very high British casualties. It is best remembered as the subject of the poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, whose lines emphasize the valor of the cavalry in carrying out their orders. Blame for the miscommunication has remained controversial, as the original order from Raglan itself was vague.


“Commenced raining soon after midnight and rained until nearly nine this morning quite hard.  And another hard shower about noon.  I husked corn until half past four and cleared out the barn.  Then we picked up what we had and drew it to the crib. About 45 bu. And about 10 or 12 soft corn besides.”


“I commenced picking up a load of potatoes about 9 o’clock.  Got my load picked up about 2 o’clock and took them up and we picked up another load.  Has looked like rain some but no rain today.”
Leesah

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tom Horn

Thomas "Tom" Horn, Jr. (November 21, 1860 – November 20, 1903) was an American Old West lawman, scout, soldier, hired gunman, detective, outlaw and assassin. On the day before his 43rd birthday, he was hanged in Cheyenne, Wyoming, for the murder of Willie Nickell.
On July 18, 1901, Horn was working near Iron Mountain when Willie Nickell, the 14-year-old son of a sheepherding rancher, was murdered. Horn was arrested for the murder after a questionable confession to Joe Lefors, an office deputy in the US Marshal's office, in 1902. The prosecutor in the case was Walter Stoll.
During Horn's trial, the prosecution introduced a vague confession by Horn to Lefors, taken while he was intoxicated. Only certain parts of Horn's statement were introduced, distorting the significance of the statement. Additionally, testimony by at least two witnesses, including lawman Lefors, was presented by the prosecution, as well as circumstantial evidence that only placed him in the general vicinity of the crime scene.
Glendolene M. Kimmell, a school teacher who knew the Miller family, testified that Jim Miller (no relation to the Texas outlaw Jim Miller) was nervous on the morning of the murder. Jim Miller and the Nickell boy's father had been in several disputes with each other over the Nickells' sheep grazing on Miller's land.
Starting on October 10, 1902, Horn’s trial went to the jury on October 23, and the jury returned a guilty verdict the next day. A hearing several days later sentenced Horn to death by hanging. Horn’s attorneys filed a petition with the Wyoming Supreme Court for a new trial. However, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the District Court and denied a new trial. Horn was given an execution date of November 20, l903, which was carried out in Cheyenne.
It is still debated whether Horn committed the murder. Some historians such as Chip Carlson believe he did not, while others like Dean Fenton Krakel believe that he did, but that he did not realize he was shooting a boy. Whatever the case, the consensus is that regardless of whether he committed that particular murder, he had certainly committed many others. Chip Carlson, who extensively researched the Wyoming v. Tom Horn prosecution, concluded that although Horn could have committed the murder of Willie Nickell, he probably did not. According to Carlson's book Tom Horn: Blood on the Moon, there was no actual evidence that Horn had committed the murder, he was last seen in the area the day before the murder, his alleged confession was valueless as evidence, and no efforts were made to investigate involvement by other possible suspects. In essence, Horn's reputation and history made him an easy target for the prosecution.
In 1993, the case was retried in a mock trial in Cheyenne and Horn was acquitted.
Tom Horn has the distinction of being one of the few people in the "Wild West" to have been hanged by an automated process. A Cheyenne, Wyoming architect named James P. Julian designed the contraption in 1892, earning the name "The Julian Gallows," which made the condemned man hang himself. The trap door was connected to a lever which pulled the plug out of a barrel of water. This would cause a lever with a counterweight to rise, pulling on the support beam under the gallows. When enough pressure was applied, this would cause the beam to break free, opening the trap and hanging the condemned man. Tom Horn was buried in the Columbia Cemetery in Boulder, Colorado.



“I helped Will Holmes pick up potatoes today.  Arthur Murman worked for me.  They had a digger and we got out about 3 ½ acres which finished their piece.”

“We finished digging our potatoes today.  We had the digger and Will and his man helped me.  We dug about 3 ½ acres.”
Leesah

Friday, October 19, 2012

DeLorean

John Zachary DeLorean (January 6, 1925 – March 19, 2005) was an American engineer and executive in the U.S. automobile industry, most notably with General Motors, and founder of the DeLorean Motor Company.
He was best known for developing the Pontiac GTO muscle car, the Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac Grand Prix, and the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car, which was later featured in the 1985 film Back to the Future, and for his high profile 1982 arrest on charges of drug trafficking. The alleged drug trafficking was supposedly an attempt to raise funds for his struggling company, which declared bankruptcy that same year. He successfully defended himself against the drug trafficking charges, showing that his alleged involvement was a result of entrapment by federal agents.


“Dug potatoes since Wednesday morning.  Have got the “Giants” and “Rurals” dug.  Has been very fine weather all the week.”
Leesah

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

William Longley

William Preston Longley (October 6, 1851 – October 11, 1878), also known as Wild Bill Longley, was an American Old West outlaw and gunfighter noted for his ruthless nature, speed with a gun, quick temper, and unpredictable demeanor. He is considered one of the deadliest gunfighters in the Old West.
Little is reliably known of the youth of William Longley, or "Wild Bill" as he was later aptly called. But it is certain that before he was even 20 years old, Longley had already killed several men, and the evidence suggests he was probably what modern-day psychologists would term a psychopath. Notoriously short-tempered, Longley frequently killed for the most trivial of reasons. More than a few men died simply because he believed they had somehow slighted or insulted him, like an unarmed man named Thomas, who Longley murdered in cold blood for daring to argue with him over a card game. He had a particularly strong dislike of blacks, and African-Americans in Texas avoided him whenever possible.
Wherever Longley traveled he left behind a trail of pointless murders, but most of the details of his life are shrouded in myth and supposition. Legend has it that Longley was once hanged along with a horse thief; but shots fired back by the departing posse cut his rope, and he was saved. Reports that he was imprisoned for at least a time and once lived with the Ute Indians are more believable, though not confirmed.
After fleeing to Louisiana to escape punishment for killing a minister named Roland Lay, Longley was captured and returned to Lee County, Texas, where he was tried and found guilty of murder. Sentenced to hang, during his final days Longley became a Catholic, wrote long letters about his life, and claimed that he had actually only killed eight men. On the day of his execution, October 28, 1878, he climbed the steps to the gallows with a cigar in his mouth and told the gathered crowd that his punishment was just and God had forgiven him. After kissing the sheriff and priest and bidding farewell to the crowd, the noose was fitted around his neck, and he was hanged. Unfortunately, the rope slipped so that Longley's knees hit the ground, denying him a quick and painless death. After the hangman pulled the rope taut once more, the famous killer slowly choked to death. It took 11 minutes before he was finally pronounced dead.

“I picked our Gruing and Baldwin apples today.  About four barrels.  Pleasant day.”
Leesah

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mata Hari

Mata Hari on a 1906 postcard
Margaretha Geertruida "Margreet" Zelle (7 August 1876 – 15 October 1917), better known by the stage name Mata Hari, was a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan, and accused spy who was executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I.
During World War I, the Netherlands remained neutral. As a Dutch subject, Margaretha Zelle was thus able to cross national borders freely. To avoid the battlefields, she travelled between France and the Netherlands via Spain and Britain, and her movements inevitably attracted attention. In 1916, she was travelling by steamer from Spain when her ship called at the English port of Falmouth. There she was arrested and brought to London where she was interrogated at length by Sir Basil Thomson, Assistant Commissioner at New Scotland Yard in charge of counter-espionage. He gave an account of this in his 1922 book Queer People, saying that she eventually admitted to working for French Intelligence. Initially detained in Cannon Street police station, she was then released and stayed at the Savoy Hotel. A full transcript of the interview is in Britain's National Archives and was broadcast with Mata Hari played by Eleanor Bron on the independent station London Broadcasting in 1980.
It is unclear if she lied on this occasion, believing the story made her sound more intriguing, or if French authorities were using her in such a way, but would not acknowledge her due to the embarrassment and international backlash it could cause.
In January 1917, the German military attaché in Madrid transmitted radio messages to Berlin describing the helpful activities of a German spy, code-named H-21. French intelligence agents intercepted the messages and, from the information it contained, identified H-21 as Mata Hari. Unusually, the messages were in a code that German intelligence knew had already been broken by the French, leaving some historians to suspect that the messages were contrived.
On 13 February 1917, Mata Hari was arrested in her room at the Hotel Elysee Palace, on the Champs Elysee (now the HSBC French headquarters), in Paris. She was put on trial, accused of spying for Germany and consequently causing the deaths of at least 50,000 soldiers. Although the French and British intelligence suspected her of spying for Germany, neither could produce definite evidence against her. Secret ink was found in her room, which was incriminating evidence in that period. She contended that it was part of her make-up. She wrote several letters to the Dutch Consul in Paris, claiming her innocence. "My international connections are due of my work as a dancer, nothing else [...]. Because I really did not spy, it is terrible that I cannot defend myself." She was found guilty and was executed by firing squad on 15 October 1917, at the age of 41.
German documents unsealed in the 1970s prove that Mata Hari was truly a German agent. In the autumn of 1915, she entered German service, and on orders of section III B-Chief Walter Nicolai, she was instructed about her duties by Major Roepell during a stay in Cologne. Her reports were to be sent to the Kriegsnachrichtenstelle West (War News Post West) in Düsseldorf under Roepell as well as to the Agent mission in the German embassy in Madrid under Major Arnold Kalle, with her direct handler being Captain Hoffmann, who also gave her the code name H21.
In December 1916, the French Second Bureau of the French War Ministry let Mata Hari obtain the names of six Belgian agents: five of whom were suspected of submitting fake material and working for the Germans, while the sixth was suspected to be a double agent for Germany and France. Two weeks after Mata Hari had left Paris for a trip to Madrid, the double agent was executed by the Germans, while the five others continued their operations. This development served as proof to the Second Bureau that the names of the six spies had been communicated by Mata Hari to the Germans.

“Started over two loads of corn in the corn-house this morning and then husked corn until noon.  Picked apples this afternoon.  Commenced raining about 4 o’clock and rained quite a good deal until in the evening.”

“First snow of the season fell today.”

“I dug potatoes this forenoon.  I picked them up after dinner and Father blacked the coal stove.  Then we set up the stove and then went and got the potatoes.  Ice formed on water this morning and the ground was frozen quite hard.  Pleasant but cold day.”

Friday, October 12, 2012

Edith Cavell


Edith Louisa Cavell (4 December 1865 – 12 October 1915) was a British nurse and patriot. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from all sides without distinction and in helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during World War I, for which she was arrested. She was subsequently court-martialed, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

She is well known for her statement that "patriotism is not enough." Her strong Anglican beliefs propelled her to help all those who needed it, both German and Allied soldiers. She was quoted as saying, "I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved". Cavell was also an influential pioneer of modern nursing in Belgium.




“Husked Corn in the field this forenoon.  Drew in two boxes full after dinner and drew in fifty shocks of corn in shock.”
Leesah

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Boer Wars

Boer Commandos at Spion Kop
The Boer Wars — known in Afrikaans as Vryheidsoorloë (literally "freedom wars") — were two wars fought during 1880-1881 and 1899-1902 by the British Empire against the two independent Boer republics, the Oranje Vrijstaat (Orange Free State) and the Republiek van Transvaal (Transvaal Republic). They are increasingly referred to as "the South African War" since the black population of South Africa was also involved in the conflicts.
The First Anglo-Boer War (1880–1881), was a rebellion of Boers (farmers) against British rule in the Transvaal that re-established their independence. The conflict occurred against the backdrop of the Pretoria government becoming increasingly ineffective at dealing with growing claims on South African land from rival interests within the country.
The Second War (1899–1902), by contrast, was a lengthy war—involving large numbers of troops from many British possessions, which ended with the conversion of the Boer republics into British colonies (with a promise of limited zelf-bestuur). These colonies later formed part of the Union of South Africa. The British fought directly against the Transvaal and the Oranje Vrijstaat, defeating their forces first in open warfare and then in a long and bitter guerrilla campaign. British losses were high due to both disease and combat. The policies of "scorched earth" and civilian internment in concentration camps (adopted by the British to prevent support for the farmers/Boer commando campaign) ravaged the civilian populations in the Transvaal and the Oranje Vrijstaat.

“Finished husking what corn was in the barn this forenoon.  Picked it up after dinner and then put away the tools.  Pleasant this afternoon.”
Leesah

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Charles Darwin

Darwin, aged 45 in 1854, by then working towards publication of “On the Origin of Species”
Charles Robert Darwin, (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.
Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870s the scientific community and much of the general public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favored competing explanations and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution.  In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.
Darwin's early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.
Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin began detailed investigations and in 1838 conceived his theory of natural selection. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories. Darwin's work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871 he examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.
In recognition of Darwin's pre-eminence as a scientist, he was honored with a state funeral and buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.

“I commenced husking corn in the field this morning but it rained and I quit and husked in the barn until noon.  After dinner, I took some chickens to Dowdle & Townsend 61#.  Rains tonight.”
Leesah

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Roger Touthy

Roger Touhy (September 18, 1898 – December 16, 1959) was an Irish-American mob boss and prohibition-era bootlegger from Chicago, Illinois. He is best remembered for having been framed for the 1933 faked kidnapping of gangster John "Jake the Barber" Factor, a brother of cosmetics manufacturer Max Factor, Sr. Despite numerous appeals and at least one court ruling freeing him, Touhy spent 26 years in prison. Touhy was released in November 1959. He was murdered by the Chicago Outfit less than a month later.
On October 9, 1942, Touhy and six other men escaped from Stateville prison. After a month, Touhy and the others were discovered living in a Chicago boarding house. Touhy and three others surrendered peacefully. The remaining two escapees tried to fight their way out and were killed. Touhy re-entered Stateville on December 31, 1942, and was sentenced to an additional 199 years in prison for the escape.
On December 16, 1959, 22 days after his release from prison, Roger Touhy and his bodyguard were gunned down by mob hit men. Touhy and his bodyguard were entering the home of Touhy's sister, Ethel Alesia, at 125 N. Lotus Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. Touhy and Walter Miller, a retired Chicago police detective, were climbing the steps to the home when two men appeared from the shadows behind them. Touhy and Miller turned, and Miller showed them his police badge and told the men he was a police officer. The two men then pulled shotguns from beneath their overcoats, and fired five shots. Touhy was struck twice, once in each leg above the knee. Miller was struck three times, but managed to draw his revolver and fire three shots at the departing gunmen. While being rushed to a hospital, Touhy told a newsman, "I've been expecting it. The bastards never forget!"[27] Miller was taken to Loretto Hospital, where he eventually recovered. Touhy was taken to St. Anne's Hospital, where he lived for an hour before dying of shock and loss of blood.

“I husked corn nearly all day in the field.  Cool day.”
Leesah

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Kennedy-Nixon Debates

The key turning point of the United States presidential election of 1960 were the four Kennedy-Nixon debates; they were the first presidential debates held on television, and thus attracted enormous publicity. Nixon insisted on campaigning until just a few hours before the first debate started; he had not completely recovered from his hospital stay and thus looked pale, sickly, underweight, and tired. He also refused makeup for the first debate, and as a result his beard stubble showed prominently on the era's black-and-white TV screens. Nixon's poor appearance on television in the first debate is reflected by the fact that his mother called him immediately following the debate to ask if he was sick. Kennedy, by contrast, rested and prepared extensively beforehand, appearing tanned, confident, and relaxed during the debate. An estimated 70 million viewers watched the first debate. It is often claimed that people who watched the debate on television overwhelmingly believed Kennedy had won, while radio listeners (a smaller audience) believed Nixon had won. A study has found that the alleged viewerlistener disagreement is unsupported. After it had ended, polls showed Kennedy moving from a slight deficit into a slight lead over Nixon. For the remaining three debates Nixon regained his lost weight, wore television makeup, and appeared more forceful than his initial appearance. However, up to 20 million fewer viewers watched the three remaining debates than the first debate. Political observers at the time believed that Kennedy won the first debate, Nixon won the second and third debates, and that the fourth debate, which was seen as the strongest performance by both men, was a draw.
 

“I husked corn most of the forenoon.  Went to the preparatory service his afternoon.  Pleasant but cool.”


“Went to Batavia to the county convention today.  Drew in a few shocks of corn this morning before I went away.”
Leesah

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Dalton Gang

Dalton gang following the Coffeyville, Kansas raid. Left to right: Bill Power; Bob Dalton; Grat Dalton, Dick Broadwell
The Dalton Gang, also known as The Dalton Brothers, was a family of both lawmen and outlaws in the American Old West during 1890–1892. They specialized in bank and train robberies. They were related to the Younger brothers, who rode with Jesse James, though they acted later and independently of the James-Younger Gang. The three Dalton brothers involved in the gang were Gratton "Grat" Dalton (b. 1861), Bob Dalton (b. 1869), and Emmett Dalton (b. 1871). A fourth brother, William M. "Bill" Dalton (1866–1894), also had a career as an outlaw, but operated as a member of the Wild Bunch.
Bob Dalton wanted to make sure his name would long be remembered. He would, he claimed, "beat anything Jesse James ever did—rob two banks at once, in broad daylight." On October 5, 1892, the Dalton gang attempted this feat when they set out to rob the C.M. Condon & Company's Bank and the First National Bank in Coffeyville, Kansas. Since the locals were aware of what they looked like, they wore fake beards. But they were still identified by one of the townspeople.
While the gang was busy trying to hold up the banks, the people armed themselves and prepared for a gun battle. When the gang exited the banks, a shootout began. There were three townspeople shot, and Town Marshal Charles Connelly was killed when he ran into the street after hearing gunfire, returning fire before he died killing one member of the gang. Grat Dalton, Bob Dalton, Dick Broadwell and Bill Power were killed. Emmett Dalton received 23 gunshot wounds and survived. He was given a life sentence in the Kansas penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas, of which he served 14 years before being pardoned. He moved to California and became a real estate agent, author and actor, and died in 1937 at age 66. Bill Doolin, "Bitter Creek" Newcomb, and Charlie Pierce were the only members left of the Dalton Gang, although none was present at the Coffeyville shootout. Speculation later suggested that there had been a sixth man holding horses in an alleyway and that he had escaped, and that man was believed to have been Bill Doolin. However, that has never been confirmed.
Emmett Dalton would say years after the robberies, and after his release from prison, that Deputy US Marshal Heck Thomas was a key factor in their decision to commit the robberies. According to Emmett, Thomas was relentless in his pursuit of the gang, keeping them on the move constantly. With one big score from the two banks, the gang intended on leaving the territory for a time, hoping the heat brought down by Thomas would subside.


“I repaired a veranda roof for Mr Van- this morning which took about two hours.  Husked corn until about two o’clock – it rained and I went to work and finished a 24 ft ladder.”
Leesah

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lincoln - Douglas Debates

Lincoln at the time of the debate

Stephen Douglas
The Lincoln–Douglas Debates of 1858 were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois, and the incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate. At the time, U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures; thus Lincoln and Douglas were trying for their respective parties to win control of the Illinois legislature. The debates previewed the issues that Lincoln would face in the aftermath of his victory in the 1860 presidential election. The main issue discussed in all seven debates was slavery.
In agreeing to the debates, Lincoln and Douglas decided to hold one debate in each of the nine congressional districts in Illinois. Because both had already spoken in two—Springfield and Chicago—within a day of each other, they decided that their "joint appearances" would be held only in the remaining seven districts.
The debates were held in seven towns in the state of Illinois: Ottawa on August 21, Freeport on August 27, Jonesboro on September 15, Charleston on September 18, Galesburg on October 7, Quincy on October 13, and Alton on October 15.
The debates in Freeport, Quincy and Alton drew especially large numbers of people from neighboring states, as the issue of slavery was of monumental importance to citizens across the nation.  Newspaper coverage of the debates was intense. Major papers from Chicago sent stenographers to create complete texts of each debate, which newspapers across the United States reprinted in full, with some partisan edits. Newspapers that supported Douglas edited his speeches to remove any errors made by the stenographers and to correct grammatical errors, while they left Lincoln's speeches in the rough form in which they had been transcribed. In the same way, pro-Lincoln papers edited Lincoln's speeches, but left the Douglas texts as reported.
After losing the election for Senator in Illinois, Lincoln edited the texts of all the debates and had them published in a book. The widespread coverage of the original debates and the subsequent popularity of the book led eventually to Lincoln's nomination for President of the United States by the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago.
The format for each debate was: one candidate spoke for 60 minutes, then the other candidate spoke for 90 minutes, and then the first candidate was allowed a 30-minute "rejoinder." The candidates alternated speaking first. As the incumbent, Douglas spoke first in four of the debates.

“Husked corn until about two o’clock and then drew in about 80 bu. And a few stalks to feed the cows.  Has looked rainy this afternoon but not much rain.”
Leesah

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Woody Guthrie

Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land." Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jeff Tweedy and Tom Paxton have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence.
Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression when Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs, earning him the nickname the "Dust Bowl Troubadour." Throughout his life Guthrie was associated with United States Communist groups, though he was seemingly not a member of any.
Guthrie was married three times and fathered eight children, including American folk musician Arlo Guthrie. Guthrie died from complications of Huntington's disease, a progressive genetic neurological disorder. During his later years, in spite of his illness, Guthrie served as a figurehead in the folk movement, providing inspiration to a generation of new folk musicians, including mentor relationships with Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan.

“Cleared up two bags of wheat for flour this morning and husked corn rest of the forenoon.  Father went to mill to Caledonia this afternoon and I helped Will Holmes in thrashing.  Pleasant day.”

“I helped Will finish thrashing today which took until about two o’clock. Mr & Mrs Van spent the afternoon here.  Lettie and I went to the Robinson-Keeney wedding at the Bapetist Church this evening.  Rained considerable last night.”
Leesah

Monday, October 1, 2012

Post Mortem Pictures


Victorian era parents posing with their deceased daughter
The invention of the daguerreotype in 1839 made portraiture much more commonplace, as many of those who were unable to afford the commission of a painted portrait could afford to sit for a photography session. This cheaper and quicker method also provided the middle class with a means for memorializing dead loved ones.

These photographs served less as a reminder of mortality than as a keepsake to remember the deceased. This was especially common with infants and young children; Victorian era childhood mortality rates were extremely high, and a post-mortem photograph might have been the only image of the child the family ever had. The later invention of the carte de visite, which allowed multiple prints to be made from a single negative, meant that copies of the image could be mailed to relatives.

The practice eventually peaked in popularity around the end of the 19th century and died out as "snapshot" photography became more commonplace, although a few examples of formal memorial portraits were still being produced well into the 20th century.

“I picked some Pumpkins this morning.  Husked corn after that until about three then Van and wife came over and I visited with them.  Very pleasant day.”
Leesah