Monday, October 31, 2005

November 1, 1873

John H Crisp wrote to his son from Sao Paulo, Brazil:

I have recieved but one letter from you since I came to Brazil and am anxious to hear from you and your sister and family. After being broke up so completely after the war, I left the United States to come to Brazil and try again and make something for my children, but in that have been mistaken, only making a support. I find that an old man cannot do what a young one can... We have 70 or 80 American families in the neighborhood and surroundings of Santa Barbara and a good deal of dissification among them...

November 1, 1857

Kansas pioneer George Hildt wrote in his diary:

[T]he prairie on fire all around us... It was a magnificent sight & had been I thought well represented in paintings that I had seen. But there was some difference to look at the real thing itself coming towards 50 tons of hay worth $20 dolls a ton on the ground or $30 at Kansas City...

November 1, 1848

Captain Charles F Ruff wrote from Fort Childs, Nebraska:

Our situation at this post will be for this winter, one of extreme hardship & I fear of much suffering, we have our shelters yet to erect, both for men & horses & the weather already exceedingly cold, has every indication of a heavy snow with severe cold & the material of which this post is to be constructed (sod & sun dried brick) cannot be procured or worked in the snow... the enlisted men of this command are absolutely suffering for good and sufficient clothing...

November 1, 1777

General George Washington wrote to the President of Congress:

I would take the liberty to mention, that I feel myself in a delicate situation with respect to the Marquis Le Fayette. He is extremely solicitous of having a Command equal to his Rank, and possesses very different Ideas as to the purposes of his appointment, from those Congress have mentioned to me. He certainly did not understand them. I do not know in what light they will view the Matter, but it appears to me, from a consideration of his illustrious and important connections, the attachment which he has manifested to our cause, and the consequences, which his return in disgust, might produce, that it will be adviseable to gratify him in his wishes...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

October 31, 1864

From an article in the Richmond Whig:

Mary and Mollie Bell, alias Tom Parker and Bob Morgan, were brought to this city, via Central cars, last night, dressed in soldiers' garbs. Mollie was interesting and sprightly, and looked every inch a snug little soldier boy; her cousin, Mary, was rather reserved and gloomy, and did not make such a favorable impression as the other. They are from Southwestern Virginia, have been in the service two years, and, it is said that, during that time they have followed General Early through all his battles, killing more than a dozen Yankees with their own guns. Captain Doswell, Assistant Provost Marshal, committed them to Castle Thunder...

***
Virginian Joseph Addison Waddell wrote in his diary:

All day Thursday we heard the roar of battle below Richmond -- at night there were...rumors that no one would be permitted to leave the city next day. So it turned out Friday morning, when we arrived at the Depot. No one was allowed to enter the cars unless his passport was dated that day. I hurried back to the Passport office -- told there that no one between 15 and 55 years of age would be allowed to leave the city. So we were caught... At such times there is a sigh of terror in Richmond -- Armed guards parade the streets and sometimes search the hotels, and order all males between the prescribed ages to the 'Soldiers Home,' preparatory to sending them to the front...

October 31, 1831

From an account of Nat Turner's capture in the Richmond Whig:

He is a shrewd, intelligent fellow; he insists strongly upon the revelations which he received, as he understood them, urging him on and pointing to this enterprise. He denied that any except himself and five or six others knew any thing of it. He does not hesitate to say that, even now, he thinks he was right, and if his time were to go over again, he must necessarily act in the same way...

October 31, 1795

A letter from an officer at Fort Greenville, OH, was published in Connecticut's Windham Herald:

A peace is concluded with the Indians, and, I believe, the best that has ever been made... I have been a witness to parents receiving their children, who have been absent for 15 or 16 years and had grown to an adult state, but could not speak one word of English; likewise some of the Indians who had been with our people, and totally lost their mother tongue... The other day a beautiful girl came in who was married to an Indian; her father came here in quest of her; she had been gone about 12 years, and was seven years old when she was taken; her father despairs of having her restored to him again; she appears quite afraid of him... I believe white savages are harder to be civilized than Indians...

October 31, 1774

Following the Battle of Point Pleasant, Colonel William Preston wrote to Patrick Henry:

The Indians had crossed the River on Rafts 6 or Eight Miles above the Forks in the night and it is believed intended to Attack the Camp had they not been prevented by our men meeting them at the Distance of half a Mile. It is said the Enemy behaved with Bravery & great Caution, that they frequently Damn'd our men for white Sons of Bitches why did not the[y] Whistle now (alluding to the Fifes) & that they would learn them to Shoot...

October 30, 1944

Crew member Harold L Clark was debriefed after the sinking of the SS John A Johnson in the Pacific:

Ship was now in two separate sections. We paddled away from the bow of the ship. We saw object about three hundred feet away from us... It came to the surface and turned out to be the submarine, and it started coming toward us. About one hundred and fifty feet from us, submarine machine-gunned us... Five American flags were painted on port side of the bow. Men on the submarine were yelling 'Bonzi' and cursing at us...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

October 30, 1868

From an article in the Texas Republican:

The radical papers are endeavoring to make a large amount of capital over the death of Geo W Smith, who was killed in the jail at Jefferson, a few weeks ago... The Tyler Index says of it: 'The blood of Smith stains not only the hands of the masked perpetrators of the foul deed, but attaches to the skirts of the citizens of Jefferson, and its voice cries from the ground like the blood of Abel in the ear of Heaven for retribution'... Smith was a carpet-bagger from the North, without character, interest in the country, and perfectly destitute of principle.

October 30, 1862

From an article in Texas' Tyler Reporter:

The Washington Telegraph...says, some weeks ago, a negro man in Saline township, [AR,] for attempting the chastity of a lady...was promptly hung. Last Monday night a negro man who had been sometime runaway, and who had attempted the life of one of our citizens endeavoring to arrest him was taken in this vicinity and hung before day-light. As a matter of humanity our citizens should inform themselves of particulars of all these facts and make their slaves well acquainted with them. If any of the poor deluded fools have entertained the idea that the present times give them any impunity to commit acts unbecoming their station, it is a mercy to undeceive them, before their lives become forfeit to their ignorance...

October 30, 1859

At Pawnee Fork in Kansas, Captain Lambert Bowman Wolf wrote in his diary:

Three miles from camp we overhauled 2 Kiowa Indians with six ponies -- they were made 'good Indians' and the ponies brought into camp. In the shield of the first one killed we found 27 bunches of different human hair, supposedly his trophies...

October 30, 1845

Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet wrote:

The year 1845 will be a memorable epoch in the sad annals of the Black-Feet nation... The Crows have struck them a mortal blow -- fifty families, the entire band of the petite Robe, were lately massacred, and one hundred and sixty women and children have been led into captivity... numbers of the captives were sacrificed by the Crow squaws to the manes of their husbands, brothers, fathers or children. The survivors were condemned to slavery. The smallpox shortly after made its appearance in the conquerors' camp, and spread rapidly from lodge to lodge. The Black-Feet had suffered from this scourge a few years previous, and thousands had fallen victims to it...

Friday, October 28, 2005

October 29, 1900

Shortly before his death in an avalanche, Robert Hunter Fitzhugh wrote to his mother from Rampart, Alaska:

I have been out in the hills for the past four weeks prospecting and building a cabin. Oh! this eternal round of cabin building, when will it end? I and another fellow, a Morman from Utah, whip-sawed 600 feet of lumber last week for our floor, door and windows. The Yukoners say that when one of us has not been as good as he should dies, the devil puts him to whip-sawing; but if he is faithful and doesn't complain under the trail, he is then simply burned through eternity... Well, it is trying, this making of a saw mill of yourself...

October 29, 1864

Confederate soldier Asa Ladd wrote to his father from St Louis:

I am condemned to be shot today...in retaliation for some men shot by Reeves... I am an innocent man and it is hard to die for another's sins. You can imagine my feelings when I think you, my wife and children...

October 29, 1863

In Arkansas, Union soldier James B Lockney wrote in his journal:

Last night I talked awhile to those men who came in day before yesterday from the SW part of the state... Many of them wish Slavery abolished & slaves out of the country as they said it was the cause of the War, and the Curse of our Country & the foe of the body of the people -- the poor whites. They knew the Slave masters got up the war expressly in the interests of the institution, & with no real cause from the Government or the North...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

October 28, 1911

After a long and disastrous missionary voyage, crew member John Adamson's father wrote in his son's diary:

He was taken from the Coronet by Mrs Burnham and removed to the Marine Hospital against his will...

October 28, 1813

Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams:

I have thus stated my opinion on a point on which we differ, not with a view to controversy, for we are both too old to change opinions which are the result of a long life of inquiry and reflection; but on the suggestion of a former letter of yours, that we ought not to die before we have explained ourselves to each other...

October 28, 1756

Orders issued at Winchester, VA, during the French & Indian War:

As Colonel Washington is to hold conference with the Catawba Indians, betwixt eleven and twelve o'clock. He desires all the Officers in town to attend at that time. And during the time of conference, he orders a Sergeant and Drummer to beat through the Town, ordering all Soldiers and Towns people to use the Indians civilly and kindly; to avoid giving them liquor, and to be cautious what they speak before them: as all of them understand english, and ought not to be affronted.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

October 27, 1887

An item published in a Sault Ste Marie, MI, newspaper:

The first young girl to be cremated in America was 9 year-old Alida Weissleder, the daughter of the superintendent of the Brush Electric Light company in Cincinati. Her body was burned last week at the crematory in that city.

October 27, 1861

In camp at Federal Hill, Union Corporal Stephen H Bogardus, Jr, wrote to the Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle:

This place is in the neighborhood of a battery that was erected in 1812 by the Americans for the purpose of resisting the British fleet, which attempted to capture the city of Baltimore... What a change has taken place since that time. Then fortifications were erected to repel invasion from foreign enemies; - now for the purpose of awing traitors at home... as I approached, a feeling of awe took possession of me and I reverently uncovered my head. It was indeed consecrated ground, and I thought if those who had shed their blood in defense of their country’s flag were looking down upon us, they would bless us...

October 27, 1860

From an article in the Leavenworth Daily Times:

California papers inform us that, owing to the rearrangement of the Salt Lake and Denver mails, the famous pony express has been placed upon the retired list. The state of mind of the pony, upon receiving this cheering intelligence may be more easily imagined than described...

October 27, 1822

Thomas Jefferson wrote to Justice William Johnson:

What do you think of the state of parties at this time? An opinion prevails that there is no longer any distinction, that the republicans & Federalists are compleatly amalgamated but it is not so... All indeed call themselves by the name of Republicans, because that of Federalists was extinguished in the battle of New Orleans. But the truth is that finding that monarchy is a desperate wish in this country, they rally to the point which they think next best, a consolidated government. Their aim is now therefore to break down the rights reserved by the constitution to the states as a bulwark against that consolidation... Hence new Republicans in Congress, preaching the doctrines of the old Federalists, and the new nick-names of Ultras and Radicals. But I trust they will fail under the new, as the old name, and that the friends of the real constitution and union will prevail against consolidation, as they have done against monarchism. I scarcely know myself which is most to be deprecated, a consolidation, or dissolution of the states. The horrors of both are beyond the reach of human foresight...

October 27, 1792

An item published in Connecticut's Windham Herald:

We are informed, through a Virginia paper, that Col. Harden, one of the commissioners to the Indians, respecting a treaty of peace, and who was reported to have been massacred, has made his escape. It seems Col. Harden and his companion, Major Trueman, were sentenced to be burnt; which he saw executed upon the latter; and was himself, the next morning after his friend’s execution to have experienced the same fate; but was stolen from his confinement by eight young Wyandot warriors, who safely conducted him to Fort Washington.

October 27, 1728

During an expedition to survey the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina, Colonel William Byrd wrote in his journal:

In the evening we deliberated which way it might be most proper to return. We had at first intended to cross over at the foot of the mountains to the head of James river, that we might be able to describe that natural boundary so far. But, on second thoughts, we found many good reasons against that laudable design, such as the weakness of our horses, the scantiness of our bread, and the near approach of winter... We knew the worst of our course, and were sure of a beaten path all the way, while we were totally ignorant what difficulties and dangers the other course might be attended with. So prudence got the better for once of curiosity, and the itch for new discoveries gave place to self-preservation...

October 27, 1646

From court records of the Plymouth Colony:

John Tompson, coming into this Court and acknowledging his fault of incontinency with his wife before marriage, but after contract, was fined [and] imprisoned according to order...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

October 26, 1894

An item published in Washington's Blaine Journal:

Mrs JW Tanner is the possessor of the first ladies bicycle which was ever owned in Blaine, namely, a Faultless wheel, which arrived last week.

October 26, 1861

After his brother was appointed territorial secretary of Nevada, Samuel Clemens wrote to their mother from Carson City:

The country is fabulously rich in gold, silver, copper, lead, coal, iron, quicksilver, marble, granite...thieves, murderers, desperadoes, ladies, children, lawyers, Christians, Indians, Chinamen, Spaniards, gamblers, sharpers, coyotes (pronounced Ki-yo-ties), poets, preachers, and jackass rabbits...

October 26, 1775

General George Washington wrote to General Philip Schuyler:

The Ministry have begun the Destruction of our Sea Port Towns, by burning a flourishing Town of about 300 Houses to the Eastward, called Falmouth. This they Effected with every Circumstance of Cruelty and Barbarity, which Revenge and Malice could suggest. We expect every Moment to hear other Places have been attempted and have been better prepared for their Reception...

Monday, October 24, 2005

October 25, 1950

During the Korean War, Marine fighter pilot Lt Joseph Wosser wrote to his wife:

As you have probably gathered from some of my letters, I don't have much of a stomach for all this killing when I can actually see that I'm doing it. The precision flying -- yes -- but to actually see my guns & bombs blow people to bits is very unpleasant to me...

October 25, 1944

Mrs Adrian Portell of St Louis wrote to the Draft Board:

I am writing this to see if I can have Adrian put in the army. He is running around with other women & beats me every time he comes in. I have 2 small babies one 3 months & One 16 months. His classification is 4F but there has to be something done. I am afraid he will hurt one of the babies...

October 25, 1867

Aboard a steamship on the Atlantic, Robert Nicholson Tate wrote in his diary:

Altho we had most of our sails set going on very pleasantly, that fine vessel, the City of Antwerp, that left Liverpool a short time after we did, now appeared on our starboard quarter and soon heading us and sailed across our bow and bore away in gallant syle. It is asserted she will be in New York Harbour three days before we will... The rolling and pitching of the vessel is very uncomfortable to all... A rough night threatens us, with the wind nearly dead ahead... This will be rough among the steerage passengers...

October 25, 1777

General George Washington issued a circular to dragoon commanders:

I am sorry to find, that the liberty I granted to the light dragoons of impressing horses near the enemy's lines has been most horribly abused and perverted into a mere plundering scheme. I intended nothing more than that the horses belonging to the disaffected, in the neighbourhood of the British Army, should be taken for the use of the dismounted dragoons, and expected, that they would be regularly reported to the Quarter Master General, that an account might be kept of the number and the persons from whom they were taken, in order to a future settlement. Instead of this, I am informed that under pretence of the authority derived from me, they go about the country, plundering whomsoever they are pleased to denominate Tories, and converting what they get to their own private profit and emolument. This is an abuse that cannot be tolerated...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

October 24, 1891

An item published in a Sault Ste Marie, MI, newspaper:

George Coe, or Smith, the negro who was lynched by a mob in Omaha, Neb, recently, had his back broken in three places and sixteen wounds on his head. Notwithstanding these facts, the coroner testified in court that he died of fright.

October 24, 1874

An item published in the Dallas Herald:

There is a greater need of federal troops in Texas now than ever before -- in fact it is awful -- and each soldier should be sent with two guns, two bayonets on each gun, a hamper-basket full of pistols, and a barrell of bowie knives. Without this there will not be a radical congressman elected in the state. Radical 'men and brethren,' can't you stir up the excitement?

October 24, 1862

President Abraham Lincoln wrote to General George B McClellan:

I have just read your despatch about sore-tongued and fatigued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?

October 24, 1791

Midwife Martha Ballard of Maine wrote in her diary:

I was Calld from ye Docts to Sally, Shee was Safe Del'd at 1 h pm of a fine Son. her illness very Severe but I left her Cleverly & returnd to ye Docts about Sun Sett. Sally Declard that my Son Jona[than] was the father of her Child.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

October 23, 1943

Stationed in Italy, Pvt Joseph Flamm wrote in his diary:

A damn air-raid!... Watched the sky become criss-crossed with tracer fire. The entire sky was covered! Then a pale of smoke beginning to fall. Soon blotting out everything... A few minutes before it was all over we heard a siren sounding bomb and it sounded damn close! Boy did we hit the floor! One plane sounded as if it were right overhead…then Karaboom! A deafening crash! And right close too! Machine gun fire, Ack-Ack, anti-aircraft fire, what a show!...

October 23, 1881

In South Dakota, anthropologist Alice Cunningham Fletcher wrote in her diary:

On the prairie I saw several graves. They were those of Indians who died during the winter removed from Fort Robinson to the Ponca Reservation. Hundreds died. Some of them had a cross, some were buried on platforms. The new and old religion, death claimed alike...

October 23, 1864

Corporal Amos W Ames, a prisoner of war at Camp Lawton in Georgia, wrote in his diary:

Oh! such a horrid spectacle as the camp presented this morning! Dead and dying could be seen on every hand, having perished of cold during the night. It was an awful sight, more like a hard fought battle field with the dead and wounded where they have fallen, than anything else I ever saw.

October 23, 1862

Marching through Virginia, Mennonite minister and Confederate soldier Jacob Hildebrand wrote in his diary:

[P]assed the battlefield below Port republic seen where the Yankees buried the dead many of the graves the hogs Rooted the bodies out there are many human bones scattered in the Road...

October 23, 1855

Iowa settler Mons Grinager wrote to his family in Norway:

[I]t is quite difficult to locate an easily worked and desirable farm, even though there is an abundance of land. During the last two years vast areas have been claimed and settled in these western states. Hundreds of square miles are now under cultivation which a couple of years ago were unoccupied... Five years ago the district where I live was only a wilderness inhabited by wild people. Now all the land has been bought and settled. At that time it was priced at $2.25 per acre, which means that with $200 a person could get as large a farm as anyone needs. Now land brings from $10 to $25 per acre, depending on its location...

October 23, 1826

Englishman James Smithson wrote in his will:

In the case of the death of my said Nephew without leaving a child or children... I then bequeath the whole of my property...to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men...

Friday, October 21, 2005

October 22, 1943

On burial detail in Italy, Pvt Paul Brown wrote in his journal:

We picked up 7 more fellows. They were in bad shape. 9 days old. God what a mess...

***
After a misson to Orvieto, Italy, B-26 bomber pilot Lamar Timmins wrote in his diary:

Our flight leader was Lt Carl Hoy and his ship had received damage of a nightmarish nature. The top turret gunner of his ship had been killed by the explosion of a 20 mm cannon shell and he was practically decapitated. Blood ran back all along the outside of the fuselage to the tail as he bled to death. What a horrible and maddening sight...

October 22, 1862

Virginian Joseph Addison Waddell wrote in his diary:

[W]e have more to fear from the scarcity of bread stuffs and clothing than from the Yankee armies. The drought continues unabated -- the fields are perfectly barren -- the wheat must perish soon. Farmers are unwilling to sell the produce they have on hand... Many persons who have money can scarcely procure necessary food... Clothing is sold at extravagant prices... The small pox has spread from the Hospital into the town. Yellow fever raging in Wilmington. War, pestilence and famine!...

October 22, 1857

Sculptor Hiram Powers wrote to his friend, George Perkins Marsh:

It is clear from the words -- 'Authorizing the President to contract with Hiram Powers for some work executed or to be executed -- and suitable for the adornment of the Capitol -- a Sum not exceeding $25000,' that some work already executed was alluded to, and such indeed was the case... But Capt Meigs, who seems to have all power in his hands, touching the adornment of the Capitol -- has evidently exerted his entire influence to thwart this measure -- and...went so far as to give an order to Mr Crawford for a Colossal statue of Our Country. I knew nothing of this until the day after Mr C called upon me on his way to Washington about a year ago, when I saw in the hands of my neighbour...a photograph of his statue which is a military figure -- with helmet sword and shield -- the opposite in all essentials to mine -- for I have embodied a peaceful conception of our Country...

October 22, 1836

Horatio Bridge, a former classmate from Bowdoin College, wrote to Nathaniel Hawthorne:

I have just received your last, and do not like its tone at all. There is a kind of desperate coolness in it that seems dangerous. I fear that you are too good a subject for suicide, and that some day you will end your mortal woes on your own responsibility. However, I wish you to refrain till next Thursday, when I shall be in Boston...

October 22, 1729

Virginia planter Robert "King" Carter wrote to one of his managers:

I have a great many Observations to make of your ill managemt but I will take another time for it I am told you said you do a great deal of Work for a little money I am of the Contrary Opinion I think you do but very little for a great deal of money... if you can find a way to mend your self I shall be very Easy you have a mighty Itch of retailing a little rum by qts and pints you know This is What I peremptoryly forbid and if you get my Overseers into your debt by these practices I shall send you some where Else to look for your Pay...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

October 21, 1871

Aurelia King wrote, after the Great Chicago Fire:

We had just time to dress ourselves, tie up a few valuables in sheets and stuff them into our carriage... It was two o'clock in the morning when I fled with my children clinging to me, fled literally in a shower of fire. You could not conceive anything more fearful. The wind was like a tornado, and I held fast to my little ones, fearing they would be lifted from my sight...

October 21, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln wrote to General RC Schenck:

A delegation is here saying that our armed colored troops are at many, if not all, the landings on the Patuxent River, and by their presence with arms in their hands are frightening quiet people and producing great confusion. Have they been sent there by any order, and if so, for what reason?...

October 21, 1862

Ellen McGaughy Wallace of Kentucky wrote in her diary:

At 2 o'clock in the evening the gurillars made their appearance riding up and down the streets in companies of 35 with an air of defiance and bravado, ordering dinner at different houses. When all of a sudden the Union troops, whom they supposed on their way to Madisonville rushed upon them. They fled in every direction hotly pursued. They passed our lot, some leaping fences on horse back, others keeping the straight road under a brisk fire from the Federals. Three prisoners were taken in a short distance. The first threw down his arms and begged for quarters, when one of his pursuers rode up and recognized the prisoner as an old acquaintance, hearty greetings were exchanged and they marched on together.

October 21, 1859

From an article in the New York Herald:

Brown is fifty-five years of age, rather small-sized, with keen and restless gray eyes, and a grizzly beard and hair... His hair is matted and tangled, and his face, hands, and clothes are smutched and smeared with blood. Colonel Lee stated that he would exclude all visitors from the room if the wounded men were annoyed or pained by them, but Brown said he was by no means annoyed; on the contrary, he was glad to be able to make himself and his motives clearly understood...

October 21, 1847

Atlanta schoolmaster William N White wrote in his journal:

The city now contains 2,500 inhabitants; thirty large stores; two hotels, that would accommodate 150 each; three newspapers; and two schools... 187 buildings have been put up this summer within eight months, and more are in progress. The woods all around are full of shanties, and the merchants live in them until they can find time to build. The streets are still full of stumps and roots; large chestnut and oak logs are scatter about, -- but the streets are alive with people and the stores full of trade and bustle. Not a church has yet been built...

October 21, 1817

In Alabama, the Huntsville Republican reported:

It becomes our duty to warn our fellow citizens of the prevalence of [rabies]. On Friday last, a dog in the paroxysm of madness bit five persons in Huntsville; and no doubt communicated the disease to other animals extensively, both in town and in the country. At Fort Hampton we have heard a few days ago, a person died of this horrible complaint. Those who were bit in Huntsville have used cautery, and have also applied the stone said to have the properties of imbibing the poison from the wound, either of a mad dog or poisonous serpent.

October 21, 1728

During an expedition to survey the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina, Colonel William Byrd wrote in his journal:

The apprehensions we had of losing the horses in these copse woods were too well founded, nor were the precautions we used yesterday of driving them up sufficient to prevent their straying away afterwards, not-withstanding they were securely hobbled... One of the people was so bewildered in search of his horse, that he lost himself, being no great forester... we left two of our most expert woodsmen behind to beat all the adjacent woods in quest of him.... They fired their pieces towards every point of the compass... at last they made a lucky shot, that our straggler had the good fortune to hear, and he returning the salute... But though they lighted on the man, they could by no means light on his horse, and therefore he was obliged to be a foot soldier all the rest of the journey...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

October 20, 1887

An item published in a Michigan newspaper:

Charles DeGroat, the colored man, who was convicted of perjury at Pontiac, committed suicide, and his body was sent to Ann Arbor, for the students to hew.

October 20, 1866

From an editorial in Harper's Weekly:

The Report of the military board of inquiry into the New Orleans riot confirms the opinion which every intelligent reader had formed from the facts published at the time. It was a preconcerted massacre of white and colored Union men by late rebel soldiers, with the assistance of the mob and the police, under the general direction of Mayor Monroe... there is no reason to suppose that the bitterness and ferocity of feeling which is proved by this massacre to exist in one city is confined to that city. The riot at Memphis, if less elaborately organized, sprang from precisely the same spirit...

October 20, 1863

Confederate soldier RF Bunting wrote:

[A] cannon ball passed through the horse of W Henry Shannon, Co. C, and took off his thigh. Just after he fell we were ordered to fall back, and he was left in their hands, but would doubtless die within a few minutes. It was a melancholy commentary on the fading hopes of life. Shannon had that morning been captured, and, being retained about one hour, he had eluded them and returned safely to us amid the congratulations of his comrades. But how sad the thought! The gallant Ranger came back to us that he might meet this sudden and dreadful death. Truly the ways of Providence are mysterious...

October 20, 1861

Joseph W Chambers wrote to Georgia Governor Joseph E Brown:

I don't think that men making up companies to go off to war should take boys contrary to their parents' will... boys running off not more than fourteen and sixteen years old from their parents, persuaded by others who are going off to the war... For boys so young has but very little judgement about them or thought of consideration at best and are so apt to fall into bad habits and [be] ruined for everymore. And I think and say to you that they should not be [al]lowed to drink nor gamble in their camps at all...

October 20, 1857

Colonel Daniel Read Anthony, a Kansas pioneer, wrote to his sister, Susan B Anthony:

I have less faith now than ever in preaching or lecturing. the world is bound to go to the devil anyway and the easiest way is to slide along easy. I am infidel in almost everything. When men who stood at the gangway plank with broadaxe in hand, threatening to cleave the skull of any damned northern man who attempted to land from the steamer on Kansas soil -- when men who have perpetrated cold blooded murders publicly boast of it -- when almost every man who holds any important office in this territory has been guilty of the above or similar acts -- when these men and these men alone are the men selected by an administration to fill the various post office, land offices -- what is the use of talking? The only argument here is the strong arm of might...

October 20, 1541

Near present-day Albuquerque, NM, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado wrote to the king of Spain:

[W]hile I was engaged in the conquest and pacification of the natives of this province, some Indians who were natives of other provinces beyond these had told me that in their country there were much larger villages and better houses...and that they had lords who ruled them, who were served with dishes of gold, and other very magnificent things... after having journeyed across these deserts seventy-seven days, I arrived at the province they call Quivira... what I am sure of is that there is not any gold nor any other metal in all that country, and the other things of which they had told me are nothing but little villages, and in many of these they do not plant anything and do not have any houses except of skins and sticks...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

October 19, 1905

Wilibur Wright wrote to Octave Chanute:

We are not anticipating an immediate visit from the Britishers as we have had no word from them for several months and do not expect anything until we write or stir them up in some indirect way. We would prefer to finish up our experiments for this season before they appear. We have never had any intention of showing the machine in advance of a definite understanding in regard to its purchase. We will give the American government another chance before finally accepting any foreign contract...

October 19, 1865

New Yorker Alansa Rounds Sterrett wrote in her diary:

Pa had married sister Henrietta, but I thought I never heard his voice sound sweeter than this night when he propounded the marriage vows to Frank and me. Frank's responses were so clear and dignified I was encouraged to do likewise, altho' my heart was beating loudly and I realized the solemnity of the hour that made us husband and wife. As we passed down the aisle I could hear the audible whispers of 'Yankee and a Rebel' and I felt like saying, 'You are greatly mistaken. It is two Rebels!'...

October 19, 1861

Major Rutherford B Hayes wrote to his uncle:

The noticeable difference between North and South in this war is, that South, the leading citizens, the lawyers and public men of all sorts, go into the fight themselves. This has not been so with us in the same degree. I am less disposed to think of a West Point education as requisite for this business than I was at first. Good sense and energy are the qualities required...

October 19, 1829

Stephen F Austin wrote to José Antonio Navarro:

I have just returned from the edge of the sepulchre, it was a terrible blow the death of my only brother who was my companion in so many works and privations that we have passed together in these dispopulated lands with the only hope of seeing this country flower. I have been stimulated to sustain the life that I have passed but my brother did not stay to enjoy this pleasure. He was like myself, an enthusiast in favor of Texas...

October 19, 1752

Benjamin Franklin wrote, in the Pennsylvania Gazette:

As frequent Mention is made in the News Papers from Europe, of the Success of the Philadelphia Experiment for drawing the Electric Fire from Clouds by Means of pointed Rods of Iron erected on high Buildings, &c, it may be agreeable to the Curious to be inform'd, that the same Experiment has succeeded in Philadelphia, tho' made in a different and more easy Manner, which any one may try, as follows...

October 19, 1734

After visiting the Georgia Colony, Samuel Eveleigh wrote to General James Oglethorpe:

The Irish convicts give...a great deal of disturbance. They are constantly playing their roughish tricks, stealing from their masters and carrying the goods to some others... 'Tis the general vogue that the buying of those convicts was the worst action you did whilst there...

Monday, October 17, 2005

October 18, 1849

Forty-niner Hiram Dwight Pierce wrote to his wife from San Francisco:

[T]he shipping begins and extends for 2 miles in a body of some mile and 1/2 in breadth. It is a swamp of Spars and Masts shutting out the vision as far as water extends from a point of rocks close by on my right to the point on the left... there is some 4 or 500 ships in the harbour and almost every tide brings in others and multitudes of Emigrants are constantly arriving...

October 18, 1841

In California, John A Sutter wrote in his diary:

A party of Comodore Wilkes' Exploring Squadron, arrived from Oregon by land, consisting of the Scientific Corps, a few Naval Officers, Marine Soldiers and Mountaineers as Guides under Command of Lieut Emmons. I received them so well as I could, and then the Scientific Corps left by Land for San Jose and the Naval Officers & Marines I dispatched them on board of one of my Vessels.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

October 17, 1865

In Arizona, California Volunteer William Addison Bushnell wrote in his diary:

[A]fter leaving the bluff, on the left hand side of the road is a small enclosure about six feet square at one end of which may be seen a board bearing the crude inscription 'The Oatman Family, 1851.' Here it was that the ill fated emigrants perished at the hands of the blood-thirsty Apaches -- and over yonder bluff in a southerly direction, they bore their pale-faced captives...

October 17, 1864

Daniel K Schreckhise of Augusta County, VA, wrote to his brother:

Their will be suffering times in the valley this winter as the yanks have burnt all of the barns from hear down & all of the mills except one occasionly, all of the barns in this neighborhood are burnt up except two or three & the worst of all every body paid the yanks all of their gold & silver... Some people are ruined in tirely. They liked to ruined Wm Pence they took of both of his black men that he had bought & five head of horses & all of his cattle & sheep & burnt his barn he dident have a barrel of flour on hand. I tell you he is almost crazy & the worst of all he has to go in the army now...

***
After being taken prisoner, Union Corporal Amos W Ames wrote in his diary:

At 4 o'clock AM left Macon and took the cars for Camp Lawton, five miles from Millen Ga. 12 or 14 prisoners cut a hole through the end of the car I was in and escaped by jumping off. As the train was running at a high rate of speed it is very likely they were killed, but 'give me liberty or give me death' was their motto...

October 17, 1836

Ornithologist John Kirk Townsend, traveling on the Columbia River, wrote in his journal:

There are here several young children; beautiful, flat-headed, broad-faced, little individuals... I have often been evilly disposed enough to wish, that if in the course of events one of these little beings should die... I should like to plump the small carcass into a keg of spirits, and send it home for the observation of the curious...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

October 16, 1944

An anonymous informant at Potosi, MO, wrote to the Draft Board:

I am writing in regards to Raymond C Arndt it is a shame the way he does his wife and children. he is running around with another woman and wont support his Family he is to honory to work he has had about 4 Jobs in the last 3 months he wont stay at any thing vary long. Please investigate this and see what can be done for the sake of his children...

October 16, 1908

From an article in the Los Angeles Herald:

The fact that 'The Clansman' is to be produced at one of the local theaters has aroused the indignation of a large number of the best negro citizens, and they yesterday sent a petition to the mayor to have the play suppressed... they say 'The Clansman'... deals with features of the negro national life in such a way as to reopen wounds that have cost the life blood of the nation in their healing...

October 16, 1864

In Georgia, Captain Van Bennett of the 12th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry wrote in his diary:

There was...a member of some I'll Regt confined for murdering a negro last night while his command was passing through Resaca. The black fellow was sleeping beside the road and the soldier being tired and warn out was of course out of humor. He was so in raged at the poor innocent fellow for taking comfort that he shot him remarking 'Take that...and see if you'll sleep again when I have to march'...

October 16, 1831

Edgar Allan Poe wrote to John Allan from Baltimore:

I am sorry that it is so seldom that I hear from you or even of you -- for all communication seems to be at an end; and when I think of the long twenty one years that I have called you father, and you have called me son, I could cry like a child... When I look back upon the past and think of...how much you tried to do for me -- of your forbearance and your generosity, in spite of the most flagrant ingratitude on my part, I can not help thinking you myself the greatest fool in existence, -- I am ready to curse the day when I was born. But I am fully -- truly conscious that all these better feelings have come too late...

Friday, October 14, 2005

October 15, 1860

Grace Bedell of Westfield, NY, wrote to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln:

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr Hamlin's. I am a little girl only eleven years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are... I have got 4 brother's and part of them will vote for you any way and if you will let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband's to vote for you and then you would be President...

October 15, 1856

Virginian Joseph Addison Waddell wrote in his diary:

Dr McGill proposed to buy Selena to-day, and offered me $1000 -- I would not have sold her for $20,000, unless she desired to go, or had grossly misbehaved. This thing of speculating on human flesh is utterly horrible to me -- the money would eat into my flesh like hot iron. Slavery itself is extremely repulsive to my feelings, and I earnestly desire its extinction everywhere, when it can be done judiciously, and so as to promote the welfare of both races. Yet I am no abolitionist. The day for emancipation with us has not come, and we must wait God's time. For the present all that the most philanthropic can do is to endeavor to ameliorate the institution; but it is hard to do this in the midst of the mischievous interference of outside fanatics...

October 15, 1804

John Ordway, a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, wrote in his journal:

The Greatest Curiosity to [the Indians] was York Capt Clarks Black Man. all the nation made a great deal of him the children would follow after him, & if he turned towards them they would run from him & hollow as if they were terrefied, & afraid of him.

October 15, 1774

Following the Battle of Point Pleasant, Colonel William Christian wrote to Colonel William Preston:

From what I can gather here I cannot describe the bravery of the enemy in the battle. It exceeded every mans expectations... At first our men retreated a good ways and until new forces were sent out on which the enemy beat back slowly and killed and wounded our men at every advance... Our men could have forced them away precipitately but not without great loss, and so concluded to maintain their ground all along the line. Which they did until Sundown, when the enemy were supposed to be all gone. Our people then moved backward, scalping the enemy and bringing in the dead and wounded...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

October 14, 1943

On Black Thursday, hundreds of B-17 bombers hit the industrial areas of Schweinfurt, Germany; navigator Marshall Stelzriede wrote:

Press reports that day said that 60 American bombers were lost in the raid. Many crewmen in the Eighth Air Force were convinced that there had to be many more losses than that, because casualties appeared to be so dense in all parts of the formation. In only the areas visible to us, there were many bombers that were either damaged, burning, and/or spinning downward...

October 14, 1881

Visiting the Sioux in South Dakota, anthropologist Alice Cunningham Fletcher wrote in her diary:

Irregularity among the young men and women, said by Mr Shaw, to be rare on the whole. The child is sometimes cared for by the father, sometimes by the mother. Generally separation takes place solely for adultery. If men and women part for other cause they are in a sort of social disgrace. The white officers make terrible havoc. The half breeds thus born are never fully recognized in Indian society. 'The child of a dog' is their title. Among the Santees to call a person 'a blue-eyed Indian' is the deepest disgrace...

October 14, 1865

From an article in the Dallas Herald:

The following, in eluding some of the most respectable citizens of Van Zandt county, have been arrested by the civil authorities of that county: Bolivar Hubbard, Rev John McMillan, Judge James Harrison, Mr O'Quin, WA Eanis, and Mr Hooper... These persons are charged with the hanging, by mob law, of Reid, Holcomb, and McReynolds... The hanging took place in August 1864, and was done in Smith county... Some twenty-five citizens of Van Zandt were engaged at the hanging and other arrests will probably be made if the parties now on trial are committed. We understand the civil officers are endeavoring to arrest all parties in that county who took any part in vigilance committees &c., during the war.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

October 13, 1958

From an editorial in Georgia's Atlanta Constitution:

Dynamite in great quantity Sunday ripped a beautiful Temple of worship in Atlanta. It followed hard on the heels of a like destruction of a handsome high school in Clinton, Tenn. The same rabid, mad-dog minds were, without question, behind both. They also are the source of previous bombings in Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina... It is the harvest of defiance of courts and the encouragement of citizens to defy law on the part of many southern politicians. It will be the acme of irony, for example, if any of four or five southern governors deplore the bombing. It will be grimly humorous if certain state attorneys general issue statements of regret. And it will be quite a job for some editors, columnists and commentators, who have been saying that our courts have no jurisdiction and that the people should refuse to accept their authority now to deplore. It is not possible to preach lawlessness and restrict it...

October 13, 1860

From an article in the Texas Republican:

Few people have an idea of the extent of the silk manufacture in this country. There are now about thirty-six mills, employing from 8000 to 10,000 hands, three-fourths children, at trifling wages...

October 13, 1724

From the journal of de Bourgmont's exploration of the Missouri River basin:

Today, we saw on all sides more than 30 herds of bison. They are so numerous it is impossible to count them. There appeared to be four or five hundred at least in each herd. We see herds of deer that are almost as numerous. Our hunters kill as many as they please and choose the fattest to eat. From the others, they take only the tongue...

October 13, 1640

From the minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia:

The Court hath ordered that Wm Wootton and John Bradye as principall actors and contrivers in a most dangerous conspiracy by attempting to run out of the country and Inticing divers others to be actors in the said conspiracy to be whipt from the gallows to the Court door and that the said Bradye shall be Branded with an Iron in the shoulder, and Wotton in the forehead each of them to serve the Colony seven years... each of them to work in Irons during the time of the said censure...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

October 12, 1865

On the Arkansas River in Kansas, attorney Samuel Kingman wrote in his diary:

The council met this morning... Only the Arapahoes & Cheyennes were represented & these tribes only partially. The commission propose to treat with them first. It is apparent that these tribes have always been our friends until driven by the Sand creek massacre into hostilities...

October 12, 1864

Virginian Joseph Addison Waddell wrote in his diary:

No news to-day... Had a peculiar feeling of desolation. The country is wasted by war; and the land mourns. Now, at this usually abundant season of the year, people heretofore accustomed to live in ease and luxury, are scuffling for the meanings of life... I found a copy of the 'Staunton Spectator' published by Lyt + me in December 1858 and read it to-night with a sort of pleasant-gloomy feeling. The advertisements, everything in the paper, indicate the peace and plenty which then prevailed. Alas, how changed!...

October 12, 1848

The Oregon Spectator published no new issues between September 7 and October 12, then resumed publishing with this explanation:

The Spectator, after a temporary sickness, greets its patrons, and hopes to serve them faithfully, and as heretofore, regularly. That 'gold fever' which has swept about 3000 of her officers, lawyers, physicians, farmers, and mechanics of Oregon from the plains of Oregon into the mines of California, took away our printers.

October 12, 1843

PT Barnum wrote to Moses Kimball:

I have agreed to let John Lefton have t[he] General one night next week... I am to take General on the stage and show him off -- and have somebody in the boxes call out to ha[ve] him passed around which I shall decline but express my regret at being obliged to do so, as he must return at once to the American Museum, but that they can see him shake hands and converse with him at the Museum any day during the week! Lefton gives me $50 -- and will not detain him 30 minutes...

October 12, 1832

Captain Nathaniel J Wyeth, during an expedition to the Oregon country, wrote in his journal:

Left the party after killing a horse of the poorest kind for food in order to go ahead to find indians or whites or food...

October 12, 1823

Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams:

I write this letter as due to a friendship...now attempted to be poisoned, when too late in life to be replaced by new affections... The circumstances of the times, in which we have happened to live, and the partiality of our friends, at a particular period, placed us in a state of apparent opposition, which some might suppose to be personal also; and there might not be wanting those who wish'd to make it so, by filling our ears with malignant falsehoods, by dressing up hideous phantoms of their own creation, presenting them to you under my name, to me under your's... Be assured, my dear Sir, that I am incapable of recieving the slightest impression from the effort now made to plant thorns on the pillow of age, worth, and wisdom, and to sow tares between friends who have been such for near half a century...

October 12, 1793

A letter from Philadelphia was published in Connecticut's Windham Herald:

'You request I would endeavour to give you a particular account of the...malignant fever now raging here... there was no material danger apprehended until the death of Peter Ashton...after which the disorder was clearly discovered to be the putrid or yellow fever, and each person became afraid of his neighbours, insomuch that if they became sick they were avoided, and many fled from the sick, leaving them in a destitute situation, perhaps shut up in a house, and the neighbours alarmed, merchants & house-keepers moved into the country, and fear was stamped on every countenance; infirmness possessed the hearts of the people; little business was done, except packing up; engaging waggons to move goods into the county, and searching for shelter for their families; many families set off without having a particular place to go...'

Monday, October 10, 2005

October 11, 1878

At Giddings, TX, gunslinger Bill Longley told a crowd of several thousand spectators who had gathered to witness his hanging:

I deserved this fate. It is a debt I have owed for a wild and reckless life. So long, everybody!

October 11, 1862

From an article in the Leavenworth Daily Times:

The Rev AM Stewart, Chaplain of the 102d Reg't, has a letter in the United Presbyterian... 'The only, and too general and loudly complained of inconvenience among the boys, is tobacco. Although I detest the use of the filthy weed in all its forms, yet, as a lesser evil, it would be rather agreeable to see a decent and reasonable grocer present himself with a half dozen kegs of plug and a few barrels of cut and dry. In less than an hour my chaplain's work would become much easier. Lacking the long accustomed narcotic influence of the weed, hundreds have become so irritable you can with difficulty persuade them into anything reasonable.'

October 11, 1861

From an article in Virginia's Richmond Examiner:

The home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, which, on the settlement of his estate many years since, was purchased by one Uriah P Levy, will soon pass into the possession and ownership of the Confederate States Government. Proceedings were begun yesterday...to sequestrate 'Monticello,' as the property of an alien enemy, the present owner, Levy, being abroad in charge of a United States ship of war...

October 11, 1860

From an editorial in the Charleston Mercury:

The ruin of the South, by the emancipation of her slaves, is not like the ruin of any other people. It is not a mere loss of liberty, like the Italians under the Bourbons. It is not heavy taxation, which must still leave the means of living, or otherwise taxation defeats itself. But it is the loss of liberty, property, home, country -- everything that makes life worth living. And this loss, will probably take place under circumstances of suffering and horror, unsurpassed in the history of nations...

October 11, 1492

Christopher Columbus wrote in his journal:

[A]s the Pinta was the swiftest sailer, and kept ahead of the Admiral, she discovered land and made the signals which had been ordered. The land was first seen by a sailor called Rodrigo de Triana... At two o'clock in the morning the land was discovered, at two leagues' distance; they took in sail and remained under the square-sail lying to till day...when they found themselves near a small island, one of the Lucayos, called in the Indian language Guanahani. Presently they descried people, naked, and the Admiral landed in the boat...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

October 10, 1942

Emmett Newell, a civilian construction worker from Idaho who was taken prisoner on Wake Island and interned at Shanghai, wrote in his diary:

Had our first football game. Rats getting terrible -- 3 in bed with me last night...

October 10, 1862

Following the Battle of Perryville, Confederate soldier JK Street wrote to his wife:

I have passed thro’ the dangers of another battle and yet I am unhurt and enjoying good health... I have of late had many thoughts of home. I know that the time for your confinement has passed and how you passed that ordeal I have no way of knowing. Have I a little boy or girl at home...

October 10, 1831

Touring the eastern United States to study its prison systems, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote to his cousin:

The penitentiary system being our industry, we have to exploit it, whether we will or not, every single day. Each man finds the means to slip us a pleasant little phrase on the prisons. At all the receptions and dinners we attend, the mistress of the house or her daughter would think herself lacking in breeding if she did not begin by speaking to us of hanged men and of whipping...

October 10, 1775

Dr James Thacher, a surgeon's mate with the Continental troops at Cambridge, MA, wrote in his diary:

General William Howe...has issued a proclamation, prohibiting all persons attempting to quit the town, without a written license, on penalty of military execution, if taken, and if they escape they are to be proceeded against as traitors, and their effects to be forfeited...

October 10, 1728

During an expedition to survey the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina, Colonel William Byrd wrote in his journal:

One of the new men...was unfortunately heard to wish himself at home, and for that show of impatience was publicly reprimanded at the head of the men, who were all drawn up to witness his disgrace. He was asked how he came so soon to be tired of the company of so many brave fellows, and whether it was the danger or the fatigue of the journey that disheartened him? This public re-proof from thenceforward put an effectual stop to all complaints, and not a man amongst us after that pretended so much as to wish himself in Paradise...

October 10, 1727

Virginia planter Robert "King" Carter wrote to one of his managers:

I have better hopes of the new negro woman than you think for now she hath tasted of the hardship of the woods she will go near to stay at home whe[re] she can have her belly full Ballazore is an incorrigeable rogue nothing less than dismembring will reclaim him I would have you outlaw him and get an order of court for taking off his toes I have cured many a negro of running away by this means...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

October 9, 1897

Grace L Bickford of New Hampton, NH, wrote in her diary:

Mrs David has just been in and she told us some things about Mrs Stowe when she was writing Uncle Tom's Cabin, which are not in Mrs Field's account of her life. It seems that she was a typical author. Her housework was not done while the book was in progress. One curtain would hang by a corner, and the children wear their night-dresses all day. One day Mrs Stowe went to the store for a cod fish and slung it over her shoulder to carry it home...

October 9, 1871

Guy Sabin of Naperville, IL, wrote in his diary:

They got a dispatch that a fire had been raging in Chicago since last night, at 9 o’clock. Reports at dark said it was almost all burnt down, and the fire was still going. The light of the fire can be seen from here...

October 9, 1861

William Russell, a reporter for the London Times, wrote in his diary:

Calling on [General McClellan] the other night...I was told by the orderly, who was closing the door, 'The General's gone to bed tired, and can see no one. He sent the same message to the President, who came inquiring after him ten minutes ago.' This poor President! He is to be pitied; surrounded by such scenes, and trying with all his might to understand strategy, naval warfare, big guns, the movements of troops, military maps, reconnaissances, occupations, interior and exterior lines, and all the technical details of the art of slaying. He runs from one house to another, armed with plans, papers, reports, recommendations, sometimes good humoured, never angry, occasionally dejected, and always a little fussy...

October 9, 1812

John Luttig, a clerk with the Missouri Fur Company, wrote in his journal:

Charbonneau & Jessaume Keep us in Constant uproar with their Histories wild story telling and wish to make fear among the Engagees, these two Rascals ought to be hung for their perfidy, they do more harm than good to the American Government, stir up the Indians and pretend to be friends to the white People at the same time but we find them to be our Enemies...

October 9, 1775

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband:

I have just returnd from attending Patty to the Grave. No doubt long before this will reach you, you have received a melancholy train of Letters in some of which I mention her as dangerously sick... the latter part of the Time she was the most shocking object my Eyes ever beheld, and so loathsome that it was with the utmost dificulty we could bear the House. A mortification took place a week before she dyed...and renderd her a most pityable object. We have great sickness yet in the Town; she made the fourth Corpse that was this day committed to the Ground. We have many others now so bad as to dispair of their lives... in six weeks I count 5 of my near connections laid in the grave...

October 9, 1774

George Washington wrote to Captain Robert Mackenzie, who had criticized the behavior of Boston's rebellious inhabitants:

I confess to you candidly, that I view things in a very different point of light to the one in which you seem to consider them; and though you are led to believe by venal men...who, for honorary or pecuniary gratifications, will lend their aid to overturn the constitution, and introduce a system of arbitrary government, although you are taught, I say, by discoursing with such men, to believe, that the people of Massachusetts are rebellious, setting up for independency, and what not, give me leave, my good friend, to tell you, that you are abused, grossly abused... I think I can announce it as a fact, that it is not the wish or interest of that government, or any other upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set up for independencey...

Friday, October 07, 2005

October 8, 1944

POW Henry Clay Henderson wrote of his trip aboard a ship from the Philippines to Japan:

Zigman Budjac...shared a small amount [of water] that he had saved from the day before...Had it not been for Ziggie, I would not be here today writing this account of the most bizarre ocean voyage imaginable, that is a testimony of mans inhumanity to man. A typical reveille consisted of yelling, shake the man next to you and start sending up the dead bodies...

October 8, 1943

From the diary of the 381st Bomb Group's medical detachment:

Of those ships returning, several were badly damaged and 'Tinkertoy' ground-looped just off the runway. It had the nose shot out and the pilot 1st Lt William J Minerich, had his head blown off by a 20mm cannon shell. There was hardly a square inch of the entire cockpit that was not covered in blood and brain tissue. One half of his face and a portion of his cervical vertebrae was found in the front of the bomb bay. The decapitation was complete. The co-pilot Lt Thomas D Sellers is certainly deserving of any award that may be given him for his heroic work in bringing this ship back to base...

October 8, 1918

From an article in the Iowa City Citizen:

With sixteen deaths since last night the death toll from Spanish influenza [at Camp Dodge] mounted to forty-six today. The cases under direct treatment were increased by 996 during the last twelve hours bringing the total up to 5624 cases. Four Iowans are in the death list today...

October 8, 1902

From an article in the Iowa Recorder:

Edward E McNeel of Webster City has been sentenced under Iowa's new inebriate law to one year in the inebriate ward of Mount Pleasant state insane asylum. This is the first conviction under the law in that section of Iowa. The conviction has spread a deepset fear among drunkards, who dread the insane asylum more than any other form of punishment or attempt at reform...

October 8, 1892

An item published in a Michigan newspaper:

Thomas Spellman, a 13-year-old youngster of Ontonagon, was accidently shot last week by a companion who was carelessly handling a shot gun. He died the next morning. He is the fifth boy that has been shot there this season.

October 8, 1881

On the Nebraska plains, anthropologist Alice Cunningham Fletcher wrote in her diary:

A hateful place, full of dead horses and cattle skeletons, torn apart by wolves, hides remaining... vileness generally. Here, last winter some runaway soldiers killed the officers sent after them. Murder haunts the place. Here the Indians used to war, lurking in the gulches, peeping over the top of the banks. 'Should have been fighting yet,' Wajapa says, 'If the white man had not come.' Mrs T found a bundle of soldier’s clothing in the gulch back of our last camp - Rotten - belongs to some of the murdered men. Here women have been killed... Wajapa rode off because he heard voices, could find no one. The Indians full of dire stories. The horses even dislike the place...

October 8, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln wrote to General George Gordon Meade:

I am appealed to in behalf of August Blittersdorf, at Mitchell's Station, Va, to be shot to-morrow as a deserter. I am unwilling for any boy under eighteen to be shot, and his father affirms that he is yet under sixteen...

October 8, 1861

Horatio Nelson Taft wrote in his diary:

I was at the 'White House' this morning with Doct Dyer of Chicago. Mr Lincoln passed us on the steps. He stoped and shook hands with both of us... Mrs Everitt and Servt called this evening, she had her 'white Slave' child with her. The Servt is the mother. Mrs E bought them both [for] $1000.