Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dear Readers

It is with regret that I am closing up shop here at Recorded Memory.

I enjoyed working on this project very much and learned a great deal from it, but my life has changed considerably since first starting this blog. A few months ago, I took on the responsibility of raising my little granddaughter, now a toddler, so "free time" is just a fading memory.

Thank you for stopping by.

Good-bye and God bless,
Sandra D

December 23, 1791

President Thomas Jefferson wrote to Archibald Stuart:

I wish to preserve the line drawn by the federal constitution between the general & particular governments as it stands at present, and to take every prudent means of preventing either from stepping over it.. it is easy to foresee from the nature of things that the encroachments of the state governments will tend to an excess of liberty which will correct itself...while those of the general government will tend to monarchy, which will fortify itself from day to day, instead of working its own cure, as all experience shews. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it...

December 23, 1776

Thomas Paine published his first American Crisis essay, in which he wrote:

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: 'tis dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

December 22, 1864

General William T Sherman telegraphed President Abraham Lincoln from Georgia:

I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.

December 22, 1838

From an article in Illinois' Alton Telegraph:

The last Dubuque News brings us the first Message of Gov Lucas to the Iowa Legislature... It...expresses the opinion, that the legitimate ends of justice may be more fully attained by subjecting the atrocious criminal to perpetual confinement at hard labor, than by putting him to death; but that if the latter penalty must be inflicted in any case, it should be done privately rather than in public...

December 22, 1825

Trapping in the Snake Country, Peter Skene Ogden wrote in his journal:

Froze last night, 2 inches thick; not in our favor. If we do not soon find animals we shall surely starve. My Indian guide threatens to leave us and it was with trouble I persuaded him to remain. Few can form any idea of the anxiety an Indian guide gives. The fellow knows we are dependent on him. If we can but reach the Snake waters, he may go to the devil... Did not see the trace of an animal and as the cold increases, I feel very uneasy regarding food...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

December 21, 1881

From an item published in Kansas' Arkansas City Traveler:

A proposition has been received from the Bell Telephone company to put up their wires and instruments in Winfield, if twenty-five subscribers can be secured. The prices at which instruments are put is $50 per year for one in a business house, and $30 in a private house. Wichita has an excellent exchange, and the people are delighted with it. It is a splendid thing, and if we once get it people would not part with the privilege for twice fifty dollars a year...

December 21, 1862

From an item published in Kansas' Leavenworth Daily Times:

Poor Santa Claus, the patron saint of the holiday season, and the friend of the juveniles, hard must be thy lot now, and severe thy tasks! It is a wonder 'Nick' comes around at all in these modern days. No more the wide fire-place gapes for his entrance into kitchens where tiny stockings wait to receive their quota, but the vender of Christmas presents is condemned to a five inch stove pipe... We wonder that the corpulent 'Saint Nick' has not become disgusted at modern innovations...

Monday, December 19, 2005

December 20, 1864

From an article in the Rocky Mountain News:

The affair at Fort Lyon, Colorado, in which Colonel Chivington destroyed a large Indian village, and all its inhabitants, is to be made the subject of congressional investigation. Letters received from high officals in Colorado say that the Indians were killed after surrendering, and that a large proportion of them were women and children.

December 20, 1833

Traveling through Georgia, Mrs James Hine of New York City wrote to her mother:

When we got to Norwood's, where we were to spend the first night, evening was closing in around us... [The house] was of logs, a single story in height, presenting but one window and one door... I supposed the building to be the barn... What was my astonishment upon finding that it was the dwelling -- the house of the family with whom we were to stay!... they showed me into the little room on the end of the piazza... the bedstead was a rough specimen of home manufacture, and the bed, professedly of feathers, though there were not enough feathers in it to have made a decent pair of pillows... There was no mattress, but a dried cowhide laid upon the cords to prevent what feathers there were in the bed from sinking down between them... I felt very much as if I had got on the extreme border of civilization but one remove from savage life. I have read much of frontier life, but I never pictured to myself anything so wild as this...

December 20, 1794

From an item published in Connecticut's Windham Herald:

We understand that a party of men who went out from Fort Hamilton to bring in the body of Mr Elliott who was killed by the Indians, as mentioned in our last, among which was Elliott’s servant, who escaped when Mr Elliott fell, having got the body in a coffin and in a waggon, they were attacked by a party of Indians who defeated them, killed the servant, took possession of the waggon and threw out the body of Mr Elliott...

December 20, 1787

Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison:

The season admitting only of operations in the Cabinet, and these being in a great measure secret, I have little to fill a letter. I will therefore make up the deficiency by adding a few words on the Constitution proposed by our Convention... I will now add what I do not like. First the omission of a bill of rights providing clearly & without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction against monopolies, the eternal & unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land & not by the law of nations... Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences...

December 20, 1776

Dr James Thacher, a surgeon with the Continental Army, wrote in his diary:

Another disaster of much importance is the capture of Major-General Lee; on the 13th instant, marching at the head of his division to join the main army, he very incautiously took up his lodgings at a house three or four miles from his troops. Information of this was, by some tories, communicated to Colonel Harcourt of the British light-horse... Such is now the gloomy aspect of our affairs that the whole country has taken the alarm; strong apprehensions are entertained that the British will soon have it in their power to vanquish the whole of the remains of the continental army...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

December 19, 1881

After the Arrears of Pensions Act for disabled Civil War veterans was criticized as too costly and open to fraud, former President Rutherford B Hayes wrote:

The debt was the most sacred obligation incurred during the war. It was by no means the largest in amount. We do not haggle with those who lent us money. We should not with those who gave health and blood and life. If doors are opened to fraud, contrive to close them. But don't deny the obligation, or scold at its performance...

December 19, 1861

Following the Battle of Rowlett's Station in Kentucky, Confederate Sgt Benjamin Franklin Batchelor wrote to his wife:

Our charge was not made in front, but on a line... Our Shot Guns thew up a blaze of fire & shot almost into their faces -- the distance between our lines did not exceed ten or fifteen feet & in some instances the boys did not fire until the muzzles of their guns were within a few inches of the Enemy's heads causing horrible mutilation. Shrieks of their wounded filled the air, still the[y] stubbornly held their position till our guns and Six Shooters were nearly exhausted, and more than half their numbers were either killed or wounded... we were so close, and rushed along their line in such headlong fury -- yelling like Demons -- that they could no more draw a sight on us than they could on a Meteor... we took few prisoners; in fact the men were too much exasperated after the death of our colonel to take prisoners -- they were shot down...

December 19, 1775

British governor James Wright wrote to Lord Dartmouth from Savannah, Georgia:

In this province, My Lord, we are more unhappily circumstanced than in any other, for there are very few men of real abilities, gentlemen or men of property in their tribunals. The parochial committee are a parcel of the lowest people, chiefly carpenters, shoemakers, blacksmiths &c with a few at their head in the general Committee and Council of Safety. They are some better sort of men and some merchants and planters but many of the inferior class, and it is really terrible, My Lord, that such people should be suffered to overturn the civil government and most arbitrarily determine upon and sport with other men's lives, liberties and properties.

December 19, 1681

Josephe, a Spanish-speaking Indian, testified after the Pueblo Revolt in New Mexico:

[W]hile [Popé and his followers] were besieging the villa the rebellious traitors burned the church and shouted in loud voices, 'Now the God of the Spaniards, who was their father, is dead, and Santa Maria, who was their mother, and the saints, who were pieces of rotten wood,' saying that only their own god lived. Thus they ordered all the temples and images, crosses and rosaries burned, and this function being over, they all went to bathe in the rivers, saying that they thereby washed away the water of baptism.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

December 18, 1861

From an article in Virginia's Richmond Dispatch:

We also hear that Capt JB Ricketts, of the Federal army, who was wounded and captured in the battle of Manassas, will leave to-day for the North, having been exchanged for Capt DeLagnel. Mrs Ricketts who has shared his captivity from her own choice, accompanies him...

December 18, 1773

Boston merchant John Easson wrote to his father:

If you have any of your tea left, you must tak good care of it for there will be Non to be Gott [H]ere about a fortnight ago there arrived from England 450 chests of tea Last night the Sons of Liberty went and forced the Ships, brock all the Chests and Empt[i]ed all the tea into the Sea this I believe will be as bad as the Stamp Act.

December 18, 1727

Virginia planter Robert Carter wrote, in a letter to his grandson:

[Your] mother had very much di[s]abliged me in marrying much against my inclination but it hath been her good fortune to match with a gentleman that proves a very worthy kind husband to her and she and I are perfectly reconciled it seems you have writ a very unkind letter to her which Occasioned a great deal of disturbance to her repose Certainly you have not forgot the duty you owe to your parent and are not so unlearned to be ignorant of the seven Curses denounced by the Almighty against undetifull Children pray write to her in another stile...

December 18, 1624

Merchant adventurers James Shirley, William Collier, Thomas Fletcher, and Robert Holland wrote to Governor William Bradford and others of the Plymouth Colony:

As here hath been a faction and siding amongst us now more than two years; so now there is an utter breach and sequestration amongst us... And though we are persuaded the main cause of their this doing is want of money...yet other things are by many pretended, and not without some colour urged, which are these: 1st, A distaste of you there, for that you are (as they affirm) Brownists, condemning all other churches, and persons but yourselves and those in your way, and you are contentious, cruel and hard hearted, among your neighbours and towards such as in all points both civil and religious, jump not with you. And that you are negligent, careless, wasteful, unthrifty, and suffer all general goods, and affairs to go at six and sevens and spend your time in idleness and talking and confering, and care not what be wasted worn and torn out, whilst all things come so easily, and so cheap unto you...

Friday, December 16, 2005

December 17, 1904

From an article in the Los Angeles Herald:

Barney Oldfield dashed around the track at Agricultural Park in 54 seconds flat yesterday afternoon, establishing a new record for that course. When Barney came onto the track in the famous Green Dragon, the hearty reception he received proved that the people of the West were with him and appreciated his nerve in driving this death-dealing machine, which tears off the miles at such terrific speed...

December 17, 1903

Wilbur and Orville Wright made their first flights on the beach at Kitty Hawk, NC; afterward, Orville wrote in his diary:

At just 12 o'clock Will started on the fourth and last trip. The machine started off with its ups and downs as it had before, but by the time he had gone over three or four hundred feet he had it under much better control, and was traveling on a fairly even course. It proceeded in this manner till it reached a small hummock out about 800 feet from the starting ways, when it began its pitching again and suddenly darted into the ground. The front rudder frame was badly broken up, but the main frame suffered none at all. The distance over the ground was 852 feet in 59 seconds...

December 17, 1804

Quaker undertaker Joseph Price of Lower Merion, PA, wrote in his diary:

[T]he Graining house blue up with between 4 & 50 barrel weight of Pow[d]er in it... two Men badly Burnt one Jumpt in Race, he not so bad to appearance the other's belley privates face head nay almost all over burnt Crispt, he Cant Live, in most Excruciateing pain from his Complaint, wanted Some of us to kill him, I told him he must not talk So but pray for patians...

December 17, 1649

Janneken Melyn wrote to Cornelis Melyn from New Netherland:

[P]oor people have scarcely enough to eat, for no supplies of bread, butter, beef and pork can now be had, except for beaver or silver coin... It is so cold here, that the ink freezes in the pen.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

December 16, 1907

Susan Pecker Fowler expressed her opinion on taxation without representation in a letter to New Jersey's Vineland Evening News:

As a Tax-Paying Citizen of the United States I am entitled to a voice in Governmental affairs... Having paid this unlawful Tax under written Protest for forty years, I am entitled to receive from the Treasury of 'Uncle Sam' the full amount of both Principal and Interest.

December 16, 1878

President Rutherford B Hayes wrote in his diary:

The most noticeable weakness of Congressmen is their timidity. They fear the use to be made of their 'record.' They are afraid of making enemies. They do not vote according to their convictions from fear of consequences...

December 16, 1811

On the Mississippi River near present-day Memphis, English botanist John Bradbury wrote in his diary:

I was awakened by a most tremendous noise, accompanied by so violent an agitation of the boat that it appeared in danger of upsetting... [I] ran to the door of the cabin, where I could distinctly see the river agitated as if by a storm; and although the noise was inconceivably loud and terrific, I could distinctly hear the crash of falling trees, and the screaming of the wild fowl on the river... I was followed by the men...who, in accents of terror, were still enquiring what it was: I tried to calm them by saying, 'Restez vous tranquil, c'est un tremblement de terre'...

December 16, 1492

Shortly after his arrival in the New World, Christopher Columbus wrote in his journal:

Here there is only wanting a settlement and the order to the people to do what is required. For I, with the force I have under me, which is not large, could march over all these islands without opposition. I have seen only three sailors land, without wishing to do harm, and a multitude of Indians fled before them. They have no arms, and are without warlike instincts; they all go naked, and are so timid that a thousand would not stand before three of our men. So that they are good to be ordered about, to work and sow, and do all that may be necessary, and to build towns, and they should be taught to go about clothed and to adopt our customs...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

December 15, 1880

From an editorial in Kansas' Arkansas City Traveler:

It has been known for several days throughout the Eastern States...that the Oklahoma boomers were to enter the Indian Territory from Arkansas City, on Monday, December 6, the number of colonists being variously stated from two hundred to two thousand. The telegraph has likewise transmitted the important sequel to this intended move -- that for quite obvious reasons these hardy pioneers have postponed their invasion indefinitely, and are now very peacefully traveling back and forth along the State line, casting a wistful eye into the Territory -- their actions very much resembling those of a wild animal glaring through the bars of his cage at a coveted piece of meat...

December 15, 1860

From a young woman's letter published in Louisiana's Alexandria Constitutional:

I read in a paper the other day, that some new ornamental branches in young ladies' education were 'Cook-ology, Spin-ology and Weave-ology'... It will never do to commence the work of reform entirely on one side. I propose three branches to be added to the list of studies for finishing young gentlemen fashionable: Saw-ology, Chop-ology, [and] Split-ology... In our onward march to perfection, and in taking up the accomplishments of our grandmothers, we earnestly beg that some provision may be made against being cut off from the 'best society;' and such would be the result unless the lords of creation are willing to keep pace with us. Their lily hands would scarcely, with present views, be willingly united with those which bear marks of labor; and what a dreadful state of affairs would occur in upper snobdom, if one of the 'first families' were to marry beneath their dignity?...

December 15, 1848

From an article in The North Star of Rochester, NY:

A slave belonging to a person named Hughes, residing in St Louis, Mo, escaped the other day, and was traced to Bloomington, Iowa, where he had obtained employment as cook of the American House. His owner appealed to the Courts and arrested him, whereupon the landlord of the American and a number of citizens took part with the slave; their efforts were stoutly resisted by Mr Freeman, the master's agent, who succeeded in retaining the boy... After an investigation of his right to arrest the negro...the humane Justice discharged the boy, and decided against his being taken. This decision was hailed with applause, the negro warmly congratulated by many persons present, and to cap the climax, walked arm in arm to the American House with a respectable physician.

December 15, 1834

A number of theology students signed a statement explaining their withdrawal from Lane Seminary at Cincinnati, OH:

The ground of our secession from the Seminar is, that free discussion and correspondent action have been prohibited by law. We are commanded to discontinue anti-slavery society. We are prohibited from holding meetings among ourselves and from making statements and communications at table, or elsewhere, without permission. A committee of the board of trustees is set over us to exercise censorship, and vested with discretionary power to dismiss any student whenever they may deem it necessary so to do, without consultation with the faculty and without assigning reasons either to them, to the individual dismissed, or to the community. These prohibitory enactments have driven us from our beloved institution...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

December 14, 1943

From the diary of the 381st Bomb Group's medical detachment at Ridgewell, England:

An inspection of combat crews’ living sites was made this date and they were found to be...dirty, crowded, inadequately blacked out, damp, inadequately heated, and seem inadequate for the care of this type of personnel... The coke is distributed to the site daily in inadequate quantities and is appropriated by the first come, first served method; as a consequence the combat crews have been chopping down trees in the surrounding territory, but the green weed will not burn and the barracks are still cold and damp. Many of them spend a great deal of their times as scavengers looking for fuel. Just the other night, a clear moonlight night, a 1st Lt and first pilot, was seen running at full speed across a plowed field with a sack of coke over his shoulders and an Englishman behind him...

December 14, 1864

Seventeen-year-old Sirene Bunten of West Virginia wrote in her diary:

Oh my dear journal, once again I am called upon to mourn the loss of a beloved brother. We heard to-day that Walter is dead, starved to death by a set of fiends. There may be some mistake, oh if I only knew, this agonizing suspense is worse than certainty...

December 14, 1861

Union soldier Charles Tenney wrote to a friend in Mecca, Ohio:

How is Oil-dom generally? By the bye, I learn of a new use for Mecca Oil. A Mr Trowbridge of Meadville Pa has applied for a patent for a new bomb-shell. A quantity of rock oil is put into the shell with the powder so when the shell explodes the oil ignites and fires whatever it touches. Novel is it not?...

***
After the Battle of Camp Allegheny, Confederate soldier James Hall wrote in his diary:

The enemy at last retreated. We found a great many of the enemy lying on the field after the fight. I cannot exult over our victory. Such work is a shock to human nature. We lost too many brave men to rejoice...

December 14, 1859

William Bass petitioned the South Carolina legislature to become a slave:

That his position as a free person of color, a negro, is more degrading and involves more suffering in this State, than that of a slave... he is preyed upon by every sharper with whom he comes in contact...and is charged with and punished for every offence guilty or not, committed in the neighborhood...and lives a thousand times harder, and in more destitution, than the slaves of many planters in this district...

Monday, December 12, 2005

December 13, 1943

After a mission to Bremen, Germany, B-17 pilot Lt Vern Moncur wrote in his journal:

This was the first mission for all of us... We encountered flak on our bomb run and over the target area. The flak was moderate to heavy and fairly accurate. Since this was the first time we had ever seen flak, we didn't realize just how dangerous it really could be. The first time you see it, it sort of fascinates you. You wonder how that harmless looking black puff could possibly hurt you or your plane. It didn't take us long to change our minds!...

December 13, 1921

An item published in Iowa's Decatur Review:

The right of women to serve as jurors was upheld by the Iowa supreme court in a decision handed down this morning in the case of the State vs Walker... Charles Walker charged that conviction was due to women on the jury. He also charged it was unconstitutional for women to perform jury duty. The case was reversed, but the right of women to serve as jurors was upheld.

December 13, 1918

Serving at Base Hospital No. 53 in France, Pfc Bill Schira wrote in his diary:

My Ward is like a nut house. Always a bunch of men sneaking around and coming in to spoon with the nurses. They make my ass tired with their love affairs. Several are trying to buzz around me but I knock them all off... It doesn't amount to a damn, if they do it with one, they will do it with all, and it cannot last anyway. But dam it, I like Miss Turner but will stay out of her way. Coakley likes to make love to me when she gets a chance, but the old fart is nutty...

December 13, 1863

An Atlanta merchant wrote in his journal:

I forgot to say that yesterday I had to whip our woman Caroline for insubordination and impudence to her mistress. I am disgusted with negroes and feel inclined to sell what I have. I wish they were all back in Africa, or Yankee Land. To think too that this cruel war should be waged for them!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

December 12, 1891

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

On his death bed Dr Felix Roan, a prominent citizen of Caswell county, NC, confessed that he killed Senator John W Stephen twenty years ago.

December 12, 1862

Nurse Clara Barton wrote, in a letter to her cousin:

It is the night before a battle. The enemy, Fredericksburg, and its mighty entrenchments lie before us, the river between - at tomorrow's dawn our troops will assay to cross, and the guns of the enemy will sweep those frail bridges at every breath... the acres of little shelter tents are dark and still as death, no wonder for as I gazed sorrowfully upon them, I thought I could almost hear the slow flap of the grim messenger's wings, as one by one he sought and selected his victims for the morning sacrifice... Oh northern mothers wives and sisters...would to Heaven that I could bear for you the concentrated woe which is so soon to follow...

December 12, 1861

At Washington, DC, Horatio Nelson Taft wrote in his diary:

Tonight I put up my Shelf in the lower Hall for a Hat Shelf. I brot it from one of the Camps over the River. Much of the furniture in John A Washingtons house was destroyed, he being a rebel. This Leaf of a Table was brot to the Camp and presented to me...

December 12, 1855

Hannah Anderson Ropes wrote, in a letter from Kansas:

I cannot rid myself of the impression, that more danger lies ahead. I do not forget the long distance stretching between us and our friends; the frozen rivers, cutting off the usual means of intercourse North, south, or west, there can be seen no help for us in an emergency... How we, at the North, have always believed implicitly in the chivalry of the South, and the wide-hearted generosity of the West. It is not till we arrive in Kansas, away from everything dear and familiar, away from all the ordinary comforts of older countries, that the truth really dawns upon us. Mother, there is no indignity to be mentioned which has not been heaped upon us. But I feel myself robbed of a large estate -- my faith in human nature...

December 12, 1690

Following a disastrous raid on Quebec led by the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Sir William Phips, minister Samuel Myles wrote from Boston:

Some of the vessells are arrived, haveing lost some halfe their men, some more some even all, many are still out there being little hopes of them... Great Complaints there are that there was no suitable Care, nor provision for such an Army, men being dead in holes before mist, and some haveing their Eyes and Cheeks Eaten by Ratts before found. Those men who are arrived att Boston and other places, die up and down like rotten sheep.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

December 11, 1862

Mrs Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to her daughter:

Louisa Alcott has had her summons to the Washington Hospitals... Louisa is determined to make the soldiers jolly, and takes all of Dickens that she has, and games. At supper-time Julian came in with the portentous news that the battle has at last begun, and Fredericksburg is on fire from our guns. So Louisa goes into the very mouth of the war...

December 11, 1861

An item published in Kansas' Leavenworth Daily Times:

The Recorder's Court was principally engaged, yesterday, in examining into the cases of sundry and divers Cyprians, arraigned on the charge of keeping and being inmates of houses of ill-fame. Of course they were each fined the usual '$10 and costs,' the City Treasury received an increase, the officers of the law made a little, and the poor degraded women were made not one whit better by the operation. In a short time they will have reimbursed themselves for the loss sustained yesterday morning, and have plenty of money; the police will make another 'descent' upon their rendezvous; they will be brought before the Police Court, and another '$10 and costs' will be extracted from their purses. It may be all right, but it looks to us like a left-handed way of licensing prostitution.

December 11, 1825

George M Cooke wrote to Dr James Carmichael of Fredericksburg, VA:

My Sisters have a Negro Man who it is said has a Fistula on his posterior and the knive will I apprehend be obliged to be resorted to -- if so it will require the attention of the operator perhaps for some time and thus of so much expense as would attend visits to him at Home would be more than they could conveniently bare and have requested me to enquire of you if you would be so obliging as to take him in house and provide for him what might be necessary...

December 11, 1736

After receiving a report on the Georgia settlements, trustee John Percival, Earl of Egmont, wrote in his diary:

As to Savannah, [McBane] told me there are some who have cultivated and are diligent and thrive, but a great number are idlers and will never come to good.... the Savannah people still get at rum, notwithstanding all our care, by means of Carolina boats, which in the night time land it in creeks unknown to the magistrates...

December 11, 1621

Edward Winslow wrote, in a letter from the Plymouth Colony:

We have found the Indians very faithful in their covenant of peace with us; very loving and ready to pleasure us; we often go to them, and they come to us; some of us have been fifty miles by land in the country with them... We entertain them familiarly in our houses, and they as friendly bestowing their venison on us. They are a people without any religion or knowledge of God, yet very trusty, quick of apprehension, ripe-witted, just. The men and women go naked, only a skin about their middles...

Friday, December 09, 2005

December 10, 1887

Former President Rutherford B Hayes wrote in his diary:

I read an article on the labor question in the National Baptist... which set me to thinking of the unfair advantages given to the very wealthy in the practical administration of the laws. Is this not true -- That in proportion to the value of their estates the extremely wealthy pay far less taxes than those of moderate means? Compare the amount paid by millionaires with the amount paid by ordinary citizens. I believe that in proportion to their estates they pay less than half as much as ordinary citizens, whereas they ought to pay more...

December 10, 1864

Recent immigrant Christian H Jevne wrote to his parents in Norway:

[I] am getting along in every way as well as one could wish, considering that I am in a strange land, and among strange people, and a strange language, for I can not get these cussed Yankees to speak Norwegian, I therefore have to jabber English all day long, it is far from being of the best, but that makes no difference, because they are used to broken English. My word! How the English language is mutilated here, Frenchmen and Italians especially deal with it in a barbarous manner...

December 10, 1861

From a letter published in the Leavenworth Daily Times:

On Saturday last By Hildreth, a saloon keeper of Mound City, returned from Leavenworth with a new supply of 'choice liquors,' and having invited some of his 'best customers' to aid in unloading the cargo, was 'treating the crowd' by way of compensation, when nine able bodied women of the immediate neighborhood appeared, each shouldering an axe, and marched in 'singular file' into the groggery. One of them, the leader, and the daughter of one of our most distinguished citizens, mounted the counter, and swinging her axe to and fro with destructive force, soon demolished the last receptacle of the 'critter' within the building. The newly arrived barrels were 'stove in' and their contents left to organize themselves into miniature rivers of 'Bust Head' while the crowd even to the ruddiest toper present, sent up lusty cheers for the amazonian exploit...

December 10, 1860

An item published in Kansas' Leavenworth Daily Times:

About twenty young gentlemen of New Orleans, wishing to display their Southern spirit determined to wear no cloth but what was manufactured in a Southern State; so they bought some pieces of Kentucky jeans; and had it made up into suits, but too late they discovered that the Kentucky jeans had been made in Massachusetts.

December 10, 1859

Dr William HG Henderson wrote to his wife from California:

I am in hopes that we shall make something between this and next spring and then we are going into the river Yuba... Lo and I have six claims here and 2 on the River. If I make enough to pay my way home next fall, you will see one fellow taking a bee line for his Wife and Children. For a man has got to be verry lucky or else he does not make much in this country. It is just like a lottery, if a man happens to be lucky…he makes something, if not, he makes nothing but grub and water...

December 10, 1792

From an act of the General Assembly of Virginia:

That if any do commit the detestable and abominable vice of Buggery, with man or beast, he or she so offending, shall be adjudged a felon, and shall suffer death, in the case of felony, without the benefit of Clergy.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

December 9, 1945

Fireman Edward James Varden, aboard the USS Charles S Sperry near Nagasaki, Japan, wrote in his diary:

It was bright cool day and we played football. We played amid the rubbish of where the atomic bomb hit. The Marines cleared away the rubbish and made two athletic fields. We played for an hour and then had to go back to the ship.

December 9, 1861

Union soldier James Perry Fyffe wrote to his wife from Kentucky:

We begin to get into the region of excitement and for two days we have been meeting exiles from their homes, nervous people flying north for safety, and succour. We are the first Ohio troops that have marched this road. The refugees have been coming here in numbers from Tennessee (as they are drafting over there)... I could hardly keep from crying today to hear the poor exiles thanking god, that we had come to help them, and when I told them how the Steamboats, and cars, were all being loaded with troops that were coming from regions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and away north west even from Minnesota the tears would run down their faces...

December 9, 1846

Patrick Breen, a member of the Donner Party, wrote in his diary:

Commenced snowing about 11 Oclock wind NW Snows fast took in Spitzer yesterday so weak that he cannot live without help caused by starveation all in good health some having scant supply of beef Stanton trying to make a raise of some for his Indians & Self not likely to get much.

December 9, 1814

Representative Daniel Webster of New Hampshire asked the House:

Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage it?...

December 9, 1778

Leading an expedition against the Americans at Fort Sackville, Henry Hamilton, the British commander of Fort Detroit, wrote in his journal:

We rowed this day about 8 leagues tho the wind was ahead - An order had been given at setting out against firing at game from the Boats but did not mean to restrain the Indians, till within a certain distance from the Enemy - The wild Turkies which are in vast numbers on this river fly across in flights of several scores together, had drawn the fire of the Indians, and by the glancing of a ball, the White Fish an old Shawanese chief had his eye struck out - without emotion he said, this comes from a friend, as lamenting that he should be wounded and not in fighting...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

December 8, 1860

An item published in Kansas' Leavenworth Daily Times:

Wigfall, who misrepresents Texas in the United States Senate, boasts that before he left home he armed all his negroes, and told them to shoot all strange white men who might intrude on his plantation. If, in a sober interval, he told the truth, we advise him not to return home incautiously, for he is the strangest white man his negroes will be likely to encounter.

December 8, 1843

Robert Campbell wrote a letter to his brother from Fort William:

After our arrival here, thirty lodges of the Assenaboine Indians came...to our encampment, and stopped a night with us... We discovered them at about a mile distance, issuing out of a little ravine where they had stopped to paint themselves before appearing amongst 'The Long Knives,' as they term the Americans. They were in number about sixty; all men capable of wielding the merciless tomahawk, or sending the shaft of death; and woe to the retreating foe they pursued -- the deer is but little swifter, and a hound not more durable than these sinewy sons of the north, who esteem a horse fit only to pack the fruits of the chase. I might say their appearance was grand -- 'twas certainly imposing...

December 8, 1792

From an article in Connecticut's Windham Herald:

Intelligence from the Cherokee nation, respecting the attack on Buchanan’s Station. The party who attacked the station consisted of 197 Cherokees, 83 Creeks, and the Shawanese Warrior, with his party, consisting of 300, the whole commanded by Capt John Watts. The Shawanese Warrior, a Creek Chief, and several others were killed, and a number wounded, among whom is John Watts, who it is highly probable, cannot recover. He was shot in both his thighs; the ball passed through the upper part of one and lodged in the other. John Watts is a half-breed, a stout bold and enterprising man, about 40 years of age; and is the life and spirit of the junior part of the Cherokee nation...

December 8, 1752

Benjamin Franklin wrote to his brother:

Reflecting yesterday on your Desire to have a flexible Catheter...I went immediately to the Silversmith's, and gave Directions for making one, (sitting by 'till it was finish'd), that it might be ready for this Post. But now it is done I have some Apprehensions that it may be too large to be easy... I think it is as flexible as could be expected in a thing of the kind, and I imagine will readily comply with the Turns of the Passage...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

December 7, 1882

An item published in Kansas' Caldwell Commercial:

Recently a number of Texas capitalists, said to represent a combined livestock and banking interest of $6,000,000, have been visiting north and east for the purpose of developing a scheme to refrigerate Texas beef for shipment to the large centers of consumption. The project contemplates the final abandonment of the present practice of driving Texas cattle to Kansas to be transported thence alive by rail, for a system of home-killing, the dead meat to be carried all the way in special ways constructed for the purpose.

December 7, 1881

An item published in Kansas' Arkansas City Traveler:

The 'color' question figured prominently in the Caldwell schools recently, the teacher stating that 'if he was required to teach niggers, he would quit the school.' Upon being informed his resignation would be accepted, he cooled somewhat, and now teaches whatever pupils are sent to him.

December 7, 1864

From an article in the Austin State Gazette:

We have received a copy of the Official List of Burials in Galveston, during the late epidemic... The total number of deaths is reported at 269, of which 111 were soldiers, 6 Blockade runners and the balance citizens and negroes. Considering the great reduction in the population the epidemic appears to have been severer this year than formerly...

December 7, 1741

John Terry wrote from Savannah to Harman Verelst, accountant for the Georgia Trustees:

All the Salzburgers which were shipped in London on board of our ship landed here in very good health, no one having died during the said voyage... As to the Highlanders we lost six or seven... I wish with all my heart it was in my power to give you so an agreeable an account of the 172 Switzers...who arrived here two days after us. Forty or upwards died in the passage, and near as many died since they landed...

Monday, December 05, 2005

December 6, 1835

Benjamin Rush Milam and Edward Burleson wrote a letter to the President of the provisional government of Texas:

Yesterday morning at day light...Col Milam with a party of say about 300 volunteers, made an assault upon the town of Bexar...where they have been ever since battling with the enemy - They have so far had a fierce Contest, --The enemy offering a strong & obstinate resistance - It is difficult to determine what injury has been done him. Many Killed Certainly, but how many cannot be Told...

December 6, 1794

From an article in Connecticut's Windham Herald:

On the 20th ult. arrived [in Knoxville] Miss Alice Thompson and Mrs Caffray...from a captivity of upwards of two years with the Creeks... Miss Thompson, soon after arriving in the nation, was purchased from her captors for 800 wt of deer leather...by a white trader to treated her with humanity; but Mrs Caffray was treated as a slave, and frequently scratched and torn with Gar-Teeth, by way of punishment, and made to hoe corn, beat meal, and to perform other duties of slavery, and when released, obliged to leave her child behind her...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

December 5, 1870

Indiana schoolteacher Abbie Bright wrote in her diary:

After a while the coffin was carried out, put into a big waggon, a sheet spread over it, and they started for the church. Not a word was said -- no preacher there. Some two years ago Mrs B's husband was burried -- and his funeral sermon had not yet been preached. So at this time -- the sermon for both was to be preached. They tell me it frequently happens that the sermon is preached weeks after the burial. I suppose it is owing to the scarcity of ministers...

December 5, 1862

In camp near Falmouth, VA, Union soldier Seth Gilbert Evans wrote, in a letter to his sister:

I was comeing up from the brook...when a sheep came up on the full run and laid down in front of me... up came Hancock on the jump sword in hand mad as a dog he almost rode on me and shouted I have caught you!! You killed that sheep I saw you do it I said I had not put a hand on it he stoped me and with an awful oath said you did... I gave the old sheep a kick and up she jumped and jumped over a stone wall and off out of sight Hancock looked at her and then at me and burst out laughing...

December 5, 1861

Confederate soldier John W Rabb wrote to his sister:

About this time, our Regiment got the Measles & neumonia in camp which thined the companys down so that each company could not send more than fifty or sixty on a scout. But we kept going what could go to look for the Yankeys. When we would get back to camps, we would enquire who had died, and they would tell us of this one and this one. Most always some had died, either in the Hospitle or in camps. I have never seen a tear or heard a sigh over a solgers grave, and all the funeral they have is the firing of twenty four guns over there graves... Tell Miss Sallie to be sure and not marry till she hears that I am rubed out...

December 5, 1775

General George Washington wrote to General Philip Schuyler:

I am exceedingly sorry to find you so much plagued and embarrassed by the Disregard of Discipline, Confusion and Want of Order among the Troops, as to have occasioned you to mention to Congress, an Inclination to retire. I know that your Complaints are too well founded; but I would willingly hope that nothing will induce you to quit the Service, and that in Time, Order and Subordination will take Place of Confusion, and Command be rendered more agreeable. I have met with Difficulties of the same sort, and such as I never expected; but they must be borne...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

December 4, 1856

Wisconsin settler Olaus Fredrik Duus wrote to his family in Norway:

There are few shoemakers here, since all shoes are bought ready-made in the shops and are seldom repaired because that is expensive and the material is often poor. Shoes are usually manufactured in the eastern states and always by machine... Ninety-five per cent of all men's clothing is also bought ready-made in the shops and it too is machine-made. A sewing machine in operation is an interesting sight. All these clothes have a tendency to rip in the seams and ragged Yankees are therefore a common sight...

December 4, 1847

Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate from an American medical school, wrote in her journal:

I felt more than ever the necessity of my mission. But I went home out of spirits, I hardly know why. I must work by myself all life long...

December 4, 1834

Ornithologist John Kirk Townsend, traveling on the Northern Pacific coast, wrote in his journal:

[W]e passed along a bold precipitous shore...and on it a great number of canoes, deposited above the reach of the tides. This spot is called Mount Coffin, and the canoes contain the dead bodies of Indians...carefully wrapped in blankets, and all the personal property of the deceased...are placed within, and around his canoe...

December 4, 1783

Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Rogers Clark:

You are also so kind as to keep alive the hope of getting for me as many of the different species of bones, teeth and tusks of the Mammoth as can now be found. This will be most acceptable. Pittsburg and Philadelphia or Winchester will be the surest channel of conveyance. I find they have subscribed a very large sum of money in England for exploring the country from the Missisipi to California. They pretend it is only to promote knolege. I am afraid they have thoughts of colonising into that quarter...

December 4, 1775

Dr James Thacher, a surgeon for the Continental Army, wrote in his diary:

A considerable number of Connecticut troops have left our service and returned home; no persuasion could induce them to continue in service after their time of enlistment had expired... The people seem to be unwilling to engage in the public service, and require higher wages. The spirit of patriotism appears in some degree to have subsided, and the militia are to be employed...

Friday, December 02, 2005

December 3, 1907

In his annual Message to Congress, President Theodore Roosevelt said:

The conservation of our natural resources and their proper use constitute the fundamental problem which underlies almost every other problem of our national life... As a nation we not only enjoy a wonderful measure of present prosperity but if this prosperity is used aright it is an earnest of future success such as no other nation will have... But there must be the look ahead, there must be a realization of the fact that to waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed...

December 3, 1899

An item published in West Virginia's Charleston Gazette:

Robert Mullins and Ella Payne, for unlawful cohabitation, were fined $5 and costs each. The woman was sent to the lockup and the man will settle with the street commissioner.

December 3, 1861

President Abraham Lincoln, in his first annual Message to Congress, said:

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration...

December 3, 1860

Virginia attorney John Daniel Imboden wrote a letter to John Howard McCue:

We neither think Va ought to secede -- or rather revolt just now. You think S. Carolina ought to go out now, I think not -- and here is the only point of difference between us, so far as I can see. That the entire South will speedily have to leave the Confederacy under the present Constitution I entertain no doubt whatever, but I dont think SC has put the issue upon a defensible ground -- the mere election of a President under the Forms of law... But I fear revolution is upon us. I expect Civil War before the 1st of June. I am ready for it, if it comes but it will be awful in its consequences to the whole country...

December 3, 1791

From an article in Connecticut's Windham Herald:

By accounts from Kentucky we learn that the Indians on the 4th of last month, fired on a party of six men, who were driving a parcel of cattle to Muskingum settlement; and killed four, wounded one, and took one man prisoner; the wounded man escaped, who had many bullet holes shot through his clothes. Amongst the number killed, was a Mr Nicholas Carpenter, who has a family to bemoan their loss...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

December 2, 1870

From an article in The Reporter of Marshall County, MS:

In our last issue, we stated that the Grand Jury, at its late session, 'thoroughly sifted the Ku Klux question' that 'upwards of fifty witnesses, white and black were examined' and nothing was developed, except that the Ku Klux has been, and is, a myth, existing in the hearts of mean men, to frighten ignorant and superstitious negroes...

December 2, 1862

Confederate soldier Roland C Chatham wrote from Duck Hill, MS:

I was in quite a number of fights but never got worsted until the 1st day of Oct when 90 of our Reg being in fight for Louisville, Ky... I was shot with a pistol, when within 25 paces of their line. The ball entering the forehead & passing under the brain as I was leaning forward when I was shot and lodged in the back part of the head where it still remains. All surgeons coincide in saying that they never knew a wound of that nature that didn't kill instantly. Well it didn't kill me neither did it knock me off my horse, though I felt a little dizzy at one time... Though I don't think my wound is any better it is running all the time & shows no signs of healing...

***
A letter from Arkansas was published in the Leavenworth Daily Times:

Women are plenty here... Many are quite intelligent, some handsome, a few interesting, and one or two that I have seen, really charming. But they all, or nearly all, I suppose, have a fault that is intolerable... A few days since I again (accidentally!) dropped into a house, where I found...a beautiful, intelligent, black-eyed, bewitching widow of about twenty summers. I did the 'agreeable' to the best of my ability, and...felt my heart tenderly incline toward the 'lone widow'... But just as I was about to fall hopelessly in love, I saw her turn around in her chair, and with all the nonchalance of an old slave to the weed, squirt a large gob of tobacco into the fire...

December 2, 1861

A member of the 2nd Kentucky Infantry wrote to the Louisville Courier Journal:

On Monday we passed through Shakertown, where live the 'gentlemen of peace,' who, surrounded by every luxury of life, neither feel nor understand the importance of the agitating movements that are daily transpiring around them, but with the true spirit of their ancestors, pursue daily avocations as if nothing had transpired, and all was yet peace. These good people will neither sell or give to the soldiers, who are protecting their homes, but claim to be perfectly neutral. As our little army passed through their streets, both sexes gathered in squads, and in their curious and peculiar way wished us success...

December 2, 1859

Militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged at Charlestown, WV, for his raid on Harper's Ferry; in his final letter, he wrote:

I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away; but with Blood. I had as I now think vainly flattered myself that withought very much bloodshed; it might be done.

***
After witnessing the execution of John Brown, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson wrote to his wife:

He behaved with unflinching firmness. The gibbet was erected in a large field, south-east of the town. Brown rode on the head of his coffin from the prison to the place of execution... The open wagon in which he rode was strongly guarded on all sides. Brown had his arms tied behind him, and ascended the scaffold with apparent cheerfulness. After reaching the top of the platform, he shook hands with several who were standing around him...

December 2, 1829

James Madison, in a speech at the Virginia constitutional convention, said:

The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse... We all know that conscience is not a sufficient safeguard; and besides, that conscience itself may be deluded; may be misled, by an unconscious bias, into acts which an enlightened conscience would forbid...

December 2, 1737

Reverend John Wesley wrote in his journal:

Being now only a prisoner at large, in a place where I know by experience that every day would give fresh opportunity to procure evidence of words I never said and actions I never did; I saw clearly the hour was come for leaving this place: and as soon as evening prayers were over, about eight o’clock, the tide then serving, I shook off the dust of my feet and left Georgia, after having preached the gospel there (not as I ought, but as I was able) one year and nearly nine months...