Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shirley Temple

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Shirley Temple in July 1938
Shirley Temple Black (born Shirley Temple; April 23, 1928) is an American film and television actress, singer, dancer, and former U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She began her film career in 1932 at the age of three, and in 1934, found international fame in Bright Eyes, a feature film designed specifically for her talents. She received a special Juvenile Academy Award in February 1935, and film hits such as Curly Top and Heidi followed year after year during the mid-to-late 1930s. Licensed merchandise that capitalized on her wholesome image included dolls, dishes, and clothing. Her box office popularity waned as she reached adolescence, and she left the film industry in her teens. She appeared in a few films of varying quality in her mid-to-late teens, and retired completely from films in 1950 at the age of 22. She was the top box-office draw four years in a row (1935–38) in a Motion Picture Herald poll.
Temple returned to show business in 1958 with a two-season television anthology series of fairy tale adaptations. She made guest appearances on various television shows in the early 1960s and filmed a sitcom pilot that was never released. She sat on the boards of many corporations and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods, and the National Wildlife Federation. In 1967, she ran unsuccessfully for United States Congress, and was appointed United States Ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and to Czechoslovakia in 1989. In 1988, she published her autobiography, Child Star. Temple is the recipient of many awards and honors including Kennedy Center Honors and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
She is No. 18 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest female American screen legends of all time, making her the highest-ranked living person on the list.

“Will Holmes and wife and Lettie and I drove to Berden today to visit Geo H Wilcox and family.  Has been quite warm and tonight the roads are in very bad shape.  Very soft where the Snow is deep.”
Leesah

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Chancellor

Robert R Livingston (November 27, 1746 – February 26, 1813) was an American lawyer, politician, diplomat from New York, and a Founding Father of the United States. He was known as "The Chancellor", after the office he held for 25 years.
 
Livingston was appointed Recorder of New York City in October 1773, but soon identified himself with the anti-colonial Whig Party and was replaced a few months later with John Watts, Jr. He was a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence, although he was recalled by his state before he could sign the final version of the document.
Of the five figures standing in the center of John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence, Robert Livingston is depicted in the center of the Committee of Five presenting the draft Declaration to the Second Continental Congress. The five prominent figures depicted are, from left to right, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.
From 1777 to 1801, he was the first Chancellor of New York, then the highest judicial officer in the State. He became universally known as "The Chancellor", retaining the title as a nickname even after he left the office. Livingston was also U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1781 to 1783, under the Articles of Confederation. In 1789, as Chancellor of New York, he administered the presidential oath of office to George Washington at Federal Hall in New York City, then the capital of the United States.
In 1789, Livingston joined the Jeffersonian Republicans (later known as the Democratic-Republicans), in opposition to his former colleagues John Jay and Alexander Hamilton who founded the Federalists. He formed an uneasy alliance with his previous rival George Clinton, along with Aaron Burr, then a political newcomer. He opposed the Jay Treaty and other Federalist initiatives.
In 1798, Livingston ran for Governor of New York on the Democratic-Republican ticket, but was defeated by Governor John Jay who was re-elected.
As U.S. Minister to France from 1801 to 1804, Livingston negotiated the Louisiana Purchase. After the signing of the Louisiana Purchase agreement in 1803, Livingston made this memorable statement:
We have lived long but this is the noblest work of our whole lives...The United States take rank this day among the first powers of the world.
During his time as Minister to France, Livingston met Robert Fulton, with whom he developed the first viable steamboat, the North River Steamboat, whose home port was at the Livingston family home of Clermont Manor in the town of Clermont, New York. On her first voyage, she left New York City, stopped briefly at Clermont Manor, and continued on to Albany up the Hudson River, completing in just under 60 hours a journey which had previously taken nearly a week by sloop. In 1811, both Fulton and Livingston became members of the Erie Canal Commission.
Livingston was a Freemason, and in 1784, he was appointed the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York. He retained this title until 1801. The Grand Lodge's library in Manhattan bears his name. The Bible Livingston used to administer the oath of office to President Washington is owned by St. John’s Lodge No. 1, and is still used today when the Grand Master is sworn in, and, by request, when a President of the United States is sworn in.
After his death, Livingston was buried in Tivoli, New York.


“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  After dinner, I went down and got a long log as far as home.  Somewhat windy today.”

“I took the long log to the mill this morning and this afternoon I got another and took it to the mill.  Pleasant day.”
Leesah

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Archibald Bulloch

Archibald Bulloch (c.1730 – February 22, 1777) was a lawyer, soldier, and statesman from Georgia during the American Revolution.
Bulloch was born and educated in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of James Bulloch and Jean Stobo Bulloch. He began to practice law in South Carolina and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the South Carolina militia. His family moved to Georgia in 1758, and Bulloch moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 1764. He was elected to the Commons House of Assembly of Georgia in 1768.
Bulloch served as President of the 1st and 2nd Provincial Congresses of Georgia, and was a delegate in 1775 to the Continental Congress. There, he won John Adams's praise for his "Abilities and Fortitude". In the Continental Congress, he was a member of the Secret Committee, which was responsible for gathering war supplies. Bulloch is also recorded as having been a Freemason in Georgia. His name is listed on the 1779 Masonic rolls of Solomon's Lodge No. 1 at Savannah along with George Walton, John Adam Treutlen, James Jackson, Nathaniel Pendelton, and General Samuel Elbert.
Bulloch would have been a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but decided to return to Georgia to aid the revolution there. In 1776, he fought under the command of Colonel Lachlan McIntosh in the Battle of the Rice Boats and the Battle of Tybee Island. On June 20, 1776, he was chosen to be the first President and Commander-in-Chief of Georgia under the state's temporary republican government. When he signed the state constitution on February 20, 1777, his position transferred from president to governor of Georgia. He was thus Georgia's first chief executive under a proper constitutional government, but the third chief executive in all, following the brief tenures of presidents William Ewen and George Walton.
Bulloch died in Savannah while preparing to defend against the British invasion of Georgia in 1777. There is some speculation that he was poisoned, though this has never been proven. His death was a severe blow, as his was the only leadership that united the Whig factions in the troubled young state. He is buried in Savannah's Colonial Park Cemetery.
His son William Bellinger Bulloch later represented Georgia in the United States Senate. Archibald's great-great-grandson was President Theodore Roosevelt. His great-great-great granddaughter was First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt's son Archibald was named after Bulloch. Bulloch County, Georgia was named in his honor.

“I Drew the load up to the mill this morning and got another as foar as the corner.  After dinner, I drew it up and got another as far as here.  Pleasant day.”

“I drew up the load this morning and got another home before dinner.  After dinner, I drew it up and went to the Caman’s.  Pleasant day.”
Leesah

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Karl Marx

Marx in 1875
Karl Heinrich Marx, (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a Prussian-German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the establishment of the social sciences and the development of the socialist movement. He is also considered one of the greatest economists in history. He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Capital (1867–1894). He worked closely with his friend and fellow revolutionary socialist, Friedrich Engels.
Born into a wealthy middle-class family in Trier in the Prussian Rhineland, Marx studied at the University of Bonn and the University of Berlin, where he became interested in the philosophical ideas of the Young Hegelians. In 1836 he became engaged to Jenny von Westphalen, whom he married in 1843. After his studies, he wrote for a radical newspaper in Cologne, and began to work out his theory of dialectical materialism. After moving to Paris in 1843, he began writing for other radical newspapers. He met Engels in Paris, and the two men worked together on a series of books. Exiled to Brussels, he became a leading figure of the Communist League, before moving back to Cologne and founding his own newspaper. In 1849 he was exiled again and moved to London together with his wife and children. In London, where the family was reduced to poverty, Marx continued writing and formulating his theories about the nature of society and how he believed it could be improved, and also campaigned for socialism—he became a significant figure in the International Workingmen's Association.
Marx's theories about society, economics and politics—collectively known as Marxism—hold that all societies progress through the dialectic of class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class which controls production and a lower class which produces the labour for goods. Heavily critical of the current socio-economic form of society, capitalism, he called it the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie", believing it to be run by the wealthy classes purely for their own benefit; and he predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, capitalism would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system: socialism. He argued that under socialism society would be governed by the working class in what he called the "dictatorship of the proletariat", the "workers' state" or "workers' democracy". He believed that socialism would, in its turn, eventually be replaced by a stateless, classless society called communism. Along with believing in the inevitability of socialism and communism, Marx actively fought for the former's implementation, arguing that social theorists and underprivileged people alike should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic change.
Revolutionary socialist governments espousing Marxist concepts took power in a variety of countries in the 20th century, leading to the formation of such socialist states as the Soviet Union in 1922 and the People's Republic of China in 1949. Many labour unions and workers' parties worldwide were also influenced by Marxist ideas, while various theoretical variants, such as Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, and Maoism, were developed from them. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science. Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.

“I went down in Dr. Tailor woods and cut some pine logs to have sawed into timber.  Will Holmes helped me cut them.  We cut about 16 or 17 and skidded out about half of them.  Very pleasant day.”

“I went down and skidded up the rest of the logs today and got one load up as far as the house.  Squally part of the day.”

Leesah

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Burr Conspiracy

The Burr conspiracy in the beginning of the 19th century was a suspected treasonous cabal of planters, politicians, and army officers allegedly led by former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr. According to the accusations against him, Burr’s goal was to create an independent nation in the center of North America and/or the Southwest and parts of Mexico. Burr’s explanation: To take possession of, and farm, 40,000 acres (160 km²) in the Texas Territory leased to him by the Spanish. When the expected war with Spain broke out, his accusers said he would fight with his armed "farmers," to seize some lands he could conquer in the war.
U.S. President Thomas Jefferson and others had Burr arrested and indicted for treason with no firm evidence put forward. Burr’s true intentions are still considered unclear to historians, some of whom claim he intended to take parts of Texas and some or all of the Louisiana Purchase for himself. Burr was acquitted of treason, but the trial destroyed his already faltering political care.

“I melted snow for water for the cistern today.  Very pleasant day.”
Leesah

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Know Nothigs


Citizen Know Nothing
The Know Nothing Party's nativist ideal

The Know Nothing was a political movement by the nativist American political faction of the 1850s, characterized by political xenophobia, anti-Catholic sentiment, and occasional bouts of violence against the groups the nativists targeted. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to republican values and controlled by the Pope (Pius IX) in Rome. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856, it strove to curb immigration and naturalization, though its efforts met with little success. Membership was limited to Protestant males of British American lineage. There were few prominent leaders, and the largely middle-class and entirely Protestant membership fragmented over the issue of slavery.
Nativists had become active in politics in New York in 1843 as the American Republican Party. It spread to nearby states as the Native American Party (which appealed to native-born white citizens) and won a few thousand votes in 1844. Historian Tyler Anbinder warns, however, that the "Native American" party should not be confused with the Know-Nothings because the two different groups ran separate tickets in the same elections in the 1850s.
In the early 1850s numerous anti-Catholic secret orders grew up, of which the "Order of United Americans" and the Order of the Star Spangled Banner came to be the most important. They merged in New York in the early 1850s as a secret order that quickly spread across the North, reaching Protestants, especially those who were lower middle class or skilled workmen. Outsiders called them "Know-Nothings" and the name stuck. In 1855 the Know-Nothings first entered politics under the American Party label. The origin of the "Know Nothing" term was in the semi-secret organization of the party. When a member was asked about its activities, he was supposed to reply, "I know nothing

“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  Drove down to the woods this afternoon.  Pleasant day.”
Leesah

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Election of 1800

The United States Presidential election of 1800 was the 4th quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Friday, October 31 to Wednesday, December 3, 1800. In what is sometimes referred to as the "Revolution of 1800," Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams. The election was a realigning election that ushered in a generation of Democratic-Republican Party rule and the eventual demise of the Federalist Party in the First Party System. It was a long, bitter re-match of the 1796 election between the pro-French and pro-decentralization Democratic-Republicans under Jefferson and Aaron Burr, against incumbent Adams and Charles Pinckney's pro-British and pro-centralization Federalists. The chief political issues included opposition to the tax imposed by Congress to pay for the mobilization of the new army and the navy in the Quasi-War against France in 1798, and the Alien and Sedition Acts, by which Federalists were trying to stifle dissent, especially by Democratic-Republican newspaper editors. While the Democratic-Republicans were well organized at the state and local levels, the Federalists were disorganized, and suffered a bitter split between their two major leaders, President Adams and Alexander Hamilton. The jockeying for electoral votes, regional divisions, and the propaganda smear campaigns created by both parties made the election recognizably modern.
The election exposed one of the flaws in the original Constitution. Members of the Electoral College were authorized by the original Constitution to vote for two names for President. (The two-vote ballot was created in order to try to maximize the possibility that one candidate received a majority of votes nationwide; the drafters of the Constitution had not anticipated the rise of organized political parties, which made attaining a nationwide majority much easier.) The Democratic-Republicans had planned for one of the electors to abstain from casting his second vote for Aaron Burr, which would have led to Jefferson receiving one electoral vote more than Burr. The plan, however, was bungled, with each elector who voted for Jefferson also voting for Burr, resulting in a tied electoral vote. The election was then put into the hands of the outgoing House of Representatives, which, after 35 votes in which neither Jefferson nor Burr obtained a majority, elected Jefferson on the 36th ballot.
To rectify the flaw in the original presidential election mechanism, the Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, was added to the United States Constitution, stipulating that electors make a discrete choice between their selections for president and vice-president.
The result of this election was affected by the three-fifths clause (had slaves not been counted as persons for purposes of Congressional apportionment, Adams would have won).

“Mr. Holmes helped me and we put in a couple small loads of straw to feed the horses this afternoon.  Very pleasant but windy day.”



Leesah

Friday, February 15, 2013

Remember the Maine!

USS Maine entering Havana Harbor on 25 January 1898, where the ship would explode three weeks later. On the right is the old Morro Castle fortress
USS Maine (ACR-1) was the United States Navy's second commissioned battleship and the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after the state of Maine. Originally classified as an armored cruiser, she was built in response to the Brazilian battleship Riachuelo and the increase of naval forces in Latin America. Maine and her near-sister ship Texas reflected the latest European naval developments, with the layout of her main armament resembling that of the British ironclad Inflexible and comparable Italian ships. Her two gun turrets were staggered en échelon, one sponsoned out on each side of the ship, with cutaways in the superstructure to allow both to fire ahead, astern or across her deck. She dispensed with full masts thanks to the increased reliability of steam engines by the time of her construction.
Despite these advances, the Maine was out of date by the time she entered service, due to her protracted construction period and changes in the role of ships of her type, naval tactics and technology. The general use of steel in warship construction precluded the use of ramming without danger to the attacking vessel. The potential for blast damage from firing end–on or cross–deck discouraged en échelon gun placement. The changing role of the armored cruiser from a small, heavily–armored substitute for the battleship to a fast, lightly–armored commerce raider also hastened her obsolescence. Despite these disadvantages, Maine was seen as an advance in American warship design.
The Maine is best known for her catastrophic loss in Havana Harbor on the evening of 15 February 1898. Sent to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain, she exploded suddenly without warning and sank quickly, killing nearly three quarters of her crew. The cause and responsibility for her sinking remained unclear after a board of inquiry. Nevertheless, popular opinion in the U.S., fanned by inflammatory articles printed in the "Yellow Press" by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, blamed Spain. The phrase "Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!" became a rallying cry for action, which came with the Spanish–American War later that year. While the sinking of the Maine was not a direct cause for action, it served as a catalyst, accelerating the approach to a diplomatic impasse between the U.S. and Spain.
The cause of the Maine's sinking remains the subject of speculation. Suggestions have included an undetected fire in one of her coal bunkers, a naval mine and her deliberate sinking to drive the U.S. into a war with Spain.

“Not very cold today, but squarely.”

“Pleasant day but cold.  We bought a cow off Albert Olmsted and Rob Heaman and went and got her this afternoon.”

“I went up town with Lettie this afternoon.  Took a load to the church. Social this evening at McEwin’s”
Leesah

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Last Emperor of China

Puyi as Emperor of Manchukuo.

Puyi (Wade-Giles: Pu-i; 7 February 1906 – 17 October 1967), of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan, was the last Emperor of China, and the twelfth and final ruler of the Qing Dynasty. He ruled as the Xuantong Emperor (Wade-Giles: Hsüan-tung Emperor) from 1908 until his abdication on 12 February 1912. From 1 to 12 July 1917 he was briefly restored to the throne as a nominal emperor by the warlord Zhang Xun. In 1934 he was declared the Kangde Emperor (Wade-Giles: Kang-te Emperor) of the puppet state of Manchukuo by the Empire of Japan, and he ruled until the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945. After the People's Republic of China was established in 1949, Puyi was a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 1964 until his death in 1967. Puyi's abdication in 1912 marked the end of millennia of dynastic rule in China and thus he is known throughout the world by the sobriquet "The Last Emperor" of China.

“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  The weather is quire improved but the snow is piled up everywhere.  Two trains passed here tonight on the B. R. & P. but neither of the other roads have moved a train yet.  Has been 120 to 150 above zero all day.”

“I helped Will Holmes butcher four pigs this forenoon.  After dinner, I went to the sale at the Stanley farm north of the village.  I had to leave my horse at Frank Murrak’s and go down afoot.  Has been a pleasant day but cold about 140 to 160 all day.”   
Leesah

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder (February 7, 1867 – February 10, 1957) was an American author who wrote the Little House series of books based on her childhood in a pioneer family.  Laura's daughter, Rose, inspired Laura to write her books.
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls was born February 7, 1867, seven miles north of the village of Pepin, in the "Big Woods" of Wisconsin, to Charles Phillip Ingalls and Caroline Lake (Quiner) Ingalls. She was the second of five children; her siblings were Mary Amelia, who went blind; Caroline Celestia, Charles Frederick, who died in infancy, and Grace Pearl. Her birth site is commemorated by a log cabin, the Little House Wayside. Her life here formed the basis for the book Little House in the Big Woods.
As a child, she lived with her family in Indian Territory in Kansas, as well as in farming communities in Minnesota and Iowa. In the late 1870s, the Ingalls moved to Dakota Territory, settling in present-day De Smet, South Dakota. Laura Ingalls worked as a school teacher in the area, starting in her teens, and in 1885, married Almanzo Wilder, a local homesteader 10 years her senior. In 1886, the couple had a daughter; their only other child, a son, died shortly after his birth in 1889.

In 1894, after several years of drought in South Dakota, the Wilders traveled by covered wagon to Mansfield, Missouri, in the Ozarks, where they established a farm. Years later, Laura Ingalls Wilder began contributing essays to local newspapers. In 1932, Wilder, then in her 60s, published her first novel, “Little House in the Big Woods,” an autobiographical account of pioneer life in Wisconsin. The book became a success, and she went on to publish seven more novels based on her experiences growing up on the American frontier in the 1870s and 1880s. These books, including “Little House on the Prairie” (1935), “On the Banks of Plum Creek” (1937) and “The Long Winter” (1940), chronicled the joys and hardships (including illnesses, crop failures, blizzards, fires and grasshopper plagues) that Wilder and her family experienced. A ninth novel, “The First Four Years,” (1971) was published posthumously, as were several other books based on Wilder’s journals and letters. Wilder’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, an author and journalist, is believed to have helped edit her mother’s books, although the exact extent of her collaboration is unknown.



“I went up town with the milk this morning.  Was two below zero at 7 o’clock but got up to about 14 degree above this afternoon and about 5 o’clock it commenced snowing and one could not see a dozen rods for the flying. The wind is blowing very hard.  Not a train has moved today.”

“I went to church alone today.  The storm is somewhat abated tonight but the wind has blown very hard all day.  There were only 38present at the morning service and the service was held in the session room.  The Sabbath school was abandoned as was also the evening service.  Has not been quite as cold today.”

Leesah

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty

Cardinal Mindszenty at his trial in 1949
József Mindszenty (29 March 1892 – 6 May 1975) was a cardinal of the Catholic Church as the Archbishop of Esztergom in Hungary. He supported Church freedom. He was an opponent of communism and the communist persecution in his country. As a result, he was tortured and given a life sentence in a 1949 show trial that generated worldwide condemnation, including a United Nations resolution. Freed in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, he was granted political asylum and lived in the U.S. embassy in Budapest for 15 years. He was finally allowed to leave the country in 1971. He died in exile in 1975 in Vienna, Austria.

“This has been the worst day in years.  Mercury below zero from 20 to 80 and the wind blowing a gale from the west and the air full of snow.  No trains have been running through LeRoy since morning.”
Leesah

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Harvey Samuel Firestone

Harvey Samuel Firestone (December 20, 1868 – February 7, 1938) was an American businessman, and the founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, one of the first global makers of automobile tires.
Firestone was born on the Columbiana, Ohio farm built by his paternal grandfather. He was the second of Benjamin and Catherine (née Flickinger) Firestone's three sons; Benjamin had a son and a daughter by his first wife.
Firestone's paternal great-great-great grandfather, Nicholas Hans Feuerstein, immigrated from Berg/Alsace/France, in 1753, and settled in Pennsylvania. Three of Nicholas's sons - including Harvey's great-great grandfather, Johan Nicholas - changed their surname to "Firestone". Firestone's birthplace was moved years later to Greenfield Village, a 90-acre (360,000 m2) historical site founded by Henry Ford.
On 20 November 1895, Firestone married Idabelle Smith, and had seven children. Andrew Firestone, William Clay Ford, Jr. (the son of Henry Ford's grandson William and Harvey and Idabelle's granddaughter Martha), and Nick Firestone are among their great-grandchildren.
After graduating from Columbiana High School, Firestone worked for the Columbus Buggy Company in Columbus, Ohio before starting his own company in 1890, making rubber tires for carriages. In 1926 he published a book, Men and Rubber: The Story of Business, which was written in collaboration with Samuel Crowther
In 1938, Firestone died peacefully at his vacation home in Miami Beach, Florida at the age of 69
Firestone, Ford, and Thomas Edison were generally considered the three leaders in American industry at the time, and often worked and vacationed together. All three were part of a very exclusive group titled "The Millionaires' Club

“Not quite as cold as yesterday.  Stood about two below this morning but quite pleasant.  I went to mil l this morning.  About two o’clock I took the cow down J. C. Williams.  Sold to him last week.  The wind was very sharp from the north east this afternoon.”
Leesah

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The American Colonization Society

Three early supporters of the American Colonization Society were (left to right) John Randolph, Henry Clay and Richard Bland Lee

The American Colonization Society (ACS) (in full, The Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America), founded in 1816, was the primary vehicle to support the return of free African Americans to what was considered greater freedom in Africa. It helped to found the colony of Liberia in 1821–22 as a place for freedmen. Among its founders were Charles Fenton Mercer, Henry Clay, John Randolph, and Richard Bland Lee.
Paul Cuffee, a wealthy mixed-race New England shipowner and activist, was an early advocate of settling freed blacks in Africa. He gained support from black leaders and members of the US Congress for an emigration plan. In 1811 and 1815–16, he financed and captained successful voyages to British-ruled Sierra Leone, where he helped African-American immigrants get established. Although Cuffee died in 1817, his efforts may have "set the tone" for the American Colonization Society (ACS) to initiate further settlements.
The ACS was a coalition made up mostly of evangelicals and Quakers who supported abolition but who did not wish to socialize or interact with free blacks and Chesapeake slaveholders who understood that unfree labor did not constitute the economic future of the nation. They found common ground in support of so-called "repatriation". They believed blacks would face better chances for full lives in Africa than in the U.S. The slaveholders opposed state or federally mandated abolition, but saw repatriation as a way to remove free blacks and avoid slave rebellions. From 1821, thousands of free black Americans moved to Liberia from the United States. Over twenty years, the colony continued to grow and establish economic stability. In 1847, the legislature of Liberia declared the nation an independent state.
Critics have said the ACS was a racist society, while others point to its benevolent origins and later takeover by men with visions of an American empire in Africa. The Society closely controlled the development of Liberia until its declaration of independence. By 1867, the ACS had assisted in the movement of more than 13,000 Americans to Liberia. From 1825 to 1919, it published a journal, the African Repository and Colonial Journal. After that, the society had essentially ended, but did not formally dissolve until 1964, when it transferred its papers to the Library of Congress. 

“The weather is colder today than yesterday.  Our thermometer registered 100 below zero this morning.”
Leesah

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Abigail Fillmore

Abigail Powers Fillmore (March 13, 1798 – March 30, 1853), wife of Millard Fillmore, was First Lady of the United States from 1850 to 1853.

Abigail was born in Stillwater, New York, 1798, in Saratoga County, New York. She was the daughter of the Reverend Lemuel Powers, a Baptist minister, and Abigail Newland-Powers, Abigail grew up in Moravia, New York, not far from the Fillmore farm. Her father died shortly after her birth. Her mother moved the family westward, thinking her scanty funds would go further in a less settled region, and ably educated her small son and daughter beyond the usual frontier level with the help of her husband's library.
In 1819, she took a teaching post at the new academy in New Hope, where her oldest pupil was 19-year-old Millard Fillmore. The world of knowledge and Fillmore's steady progress in it drew them together, and gradually the relationship of teacher and student evolved into romantic attachment.
After a long courtship, Millard, aged 26, and Abigail, aged 27, were married on February 5, 1826, by the Reverend Orasius H. Smith at the home of the bride's brother Judge Powers in Moravia, New York. Without a honeymoon, they settled at East Aurora, New York. Mrs. Fillmore continued to teach school until the birth of her first son and maintained a lifelong interest in education. She shared her husband's love of books and helped build their personal library.
The Fillmores had a son and a daughter:
  • Millard Powers Fillmore (1828–1889)
  • Mary Abigail Fillmore (1832–1854)
Attaining prosperity at last, Fillmore bought his family a six-room house in Buffalo, New York. Enjoying comparative luxury, Abigail learned the ways of society as the wife of a Congressman. She cultivated a noted flower garden; but much of her time, as always, she spent reading. In 1847 when Fillmore was elected New York State Comptroller the family temporarily moved to Albany, New York; their children were away in boarding school and college.
In 1849, Abigail Fillmore came to Washington, D.C. as wife of the Vice President; 16 months later, after Zachary Taylor's death at a height of sectional crisis, the Fillmores moved into the White House.
Even after the period of official mourning, the social life of the Fillmore administration remained subdued. Pleading her delicate health, she entrusted many routine social duties to her daughter, "Abby." With a special appropriation from Congress, she spent contented hours selecting books for a White House library and arranging them in the oval room upstairs, where Abby had her piano, harp, and guitar.
At the outdoor inaugural ceremonies for Franklin Pierce in 1853, she caught a cold and the next day came down with a fever. She developed pneumonia and died just 26 days after leaving the White House, on March 30, 1853, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., the shortest post-Presidential life of any former first lady. She was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York. The memorial stone was placed by the Abigail Fillmore Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, of Buffalo.
On February 10, 1858, five years after her death, her husband married Mrs. Caroline Carmichael McIntosh, a wealthy Buffalo widow. They remained married until Millard's death on March 8, 1874.

“I went up town with the milk this morning.  Very cold.  Was below zero and quite a sharp wind.  Lettie and I went up to Will McEwins this evening.  When we came home after midnight, it was 90 below zero.”
Leesah

Monday, February 4, 2013

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Walt Disney introduces each of the Seven Dwarfs in a scene from the original 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs theatrical trailer
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a 1937 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, it is the first full-length cel animated feature film and the earliest in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. The story was adapted by storyboard artists Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Merrill De Maris, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dick Rickard, Ted Sears and Webb Smith. David Hand was the supervising director, while William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, and Ben Sharpsteen directed the film's individual sequences.
Snow White premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre on December 21, 1937, followed by a nationwide release on February 4, 1938, and with international earnings of $8 million during its initial release briefly assumed the record of highest grossing sound film at the time. The popularity of the film has led to it being re-released theatrically many times, until its home video release in the 1990s. Adjusted for inflation, it is one of the top ten performers at the North American box office.
At the 11th Academy Awards, Walt Disney was awarded an honorary Oscar, and the film was nominated for Best Musical Score. It was added to the United States National Film Registry in 1989 and is ranked in the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American films, who also named the film as the greatest American animated film of all time in 2008.
Disney's take on the fairy tale has had a big cultural impact, resulting in a popular theme park attraction, a video game, and a Broadway musical.

“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon and got a load of wood before dinner.  Drew another load home after dinner. Grew very cold this afternoon.  The wind blew strong from the west.”
Leesah

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Mary Celeste



An 1861 painting of the Amazon (later renamed Mary Celeste) by an unknown artist (perhaps Honoré Pellegrin)



The Mary Celeste (or Marie Céleste as it is fictionally referred to by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others after him) was a British-American merchant brigantine famous for having been discovered on 4 December 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean, unmanned and apparently abandoned (one lifeboat was missing, along with its crew of seven), although the weather was fine and her crew had been experienced and capable seamen. The Mary Celeste was in seaworthy condition and still under sail heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. She had been at sea for a month and had over six months' worth of food and water on board. Her cargo was virtually untouched and the personal belongings of passengers and crew were still in place, including valuables. The crew was never seen or heard from again. The Mary Celeste crew's disappearance is often cited as the greatest maritime mystery of all time.
The fate of her crew has been the subject of much speculation. Theories range from alcoholic fumes, to underwater earthquakes, to waterspouts, to paranormal explanations involving extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), sea monsters, and the phenomenon of the Bermuda Triangle, although the Mary Celeste is not known to have sailed through the Bermuda Triangle area. The Mary Celeste is often described as the archetypal ghost ship, since she was discovered derelict without any apparent explanation, and her name has become a synonym for similar occurrences. The ship was said to be "cursed" and had a long history of disasters and catastrophes, and three captains died on the ship. The ship was destroyed in 1885 when it was intentionally wrecked off the coast of Haiti in an attempt to commit insurance fraud.

Leesah

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day (Pennsylvania German: Grundsaudaag, Murmeltiertag) is a day celebrated on February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.
Modern customs of the holiday involve celebrations where early morning festivals are held to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow.
In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge,social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g'spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table.
The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Groundhog Day, already a widely recognized and popular tradition, received widespread attention as a result of the 1993 film Groundhog Day, which was set in Punxsutawney and portrayed Punxsutawney Phil. 

“I drew a load of wood o Perry Clark this forenoon.  This afternoon I drew one home.  Clear nearly all day but the air was very sharp and cutting. Therm about 120 all day.”
Leesah

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Oxford English Dictionary

James Murray (principle editor of the OED) in the Scriptorium at Banbury Road

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Work began on the dictionary in 1857, but it was not until 1884 that it started to be published in unbound fascicles as work continued on the project under the name A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society. In 1895, the title The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) was first used unofficially on the covers of the series and in 1928 the full dictionary was republished in ten bound volumes. In 1933, it fully replaced the name in all occurrences to The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in its reprinting as twelve volumes with a one volume supplement and more supplements came over the years until in 1989 when the second edition was published in twenty volumes. As of 24 March 2011 (2011 -03-24)[update], the editors had completed the third edition from M to Ryvita. With descriptions for approximately 600,000 words, the Oxford English Dictionary is the world's most comprehensive single-language print dictionary according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
The first electronic version of the dictionary was made available in 1988. The online version has been available since 2000, and as of August 2010 was receiving two million hits per month from paying subscribers. The chief executive of Oxford University Press, Nigel Portwood, feels it unlikely that the third edition will ever be printed. 

“I went to the woods and got a load of wood and drew it to Arch Stuart this forenoon.  Dwight Pierson and  came this afternoon and went home about half past three and Dave and his wife came just before they went away and went home about 5 o’clock.  Very pleasant day.”
Leesah