Little Bits of History

Who Knows?

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 31, 2013
The Shadow

The Shadow

July 31, 1930: A new show comes to radio. The program stayed on the air until December 26, 1954. Detective Story Magazine was put out by Street & Smith Publication. The New York City publishers began selling inexpensive paperbacks and magazines in 1855. They hired David Christman and William Sweets to develop a radio show adapted from stories in the magazine. The two men felt the stories should be narrated by a mysterious man with a “sinister” voice. They bandied about names for the unknown narrator. The Inspector and The Sleuth lost out to the man who knew. The Shadow.

Radio listeners began to ask newsstand attendants for “that Shadow detective magazine” which did not exist. Street & Smith weren’t “the nation’s oldest and largest publisher of pulp magazine” for nothing. They immediately filled the void. Magician and author Walter B. Gibson began writing under the pen name Maxwell Grant. He was not the only author to use the name as it was created for all The Shadow stories regardless of actual authorship.

Gibson was born in 1897 and wrote many non-fiction works under his own name. He wrote more than 100 books on magic, psychic phenomenon, true crime, and a variety of other subjects. He worked as a ghost writer for other magicians and spiritualists. He wrote 282 of the 325 Shadow novels, turning out two novels a month at his top speed. He also scripted The Shadow comic books and comic strip. He wrote young adults novels under the pen name Andy Adams.

The man called Shadow evolved over time. The vigilante hero wore a black slouch hat, obscuring his face. His crimson-lined black cloak with the upturned collar hid his identity. He lurked in the shadows. If that wasn’t enough, he hypnotized people and clouded their minds, rendering himself virtually invisible. His alter ego was real life World War I ace Ken Allard who took to a life of fighting crime after the war ended. Or else he was Lamont Cranston or maybe Henry Arnaud, Isaac Twambly or Fitz. Who knew who the Shadow really was?

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh! The Shadow knows … ” – Frank Readick Jr. at the beginning of each radio broadcast

“You turned on the radio and heard all kinds of things.” – Luc Ferrari

“I did radio back in the era when we did radio drama.” – Martin Milner

“TV gives everyone an image, but radio gives birth to a million images in a million brains.” – Peggy Noonan

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The Shadow’s Lamont Cranston was voiced by Orson Welles. He was born in Wisconsin in 1915 and became an actor, director of both films and live theater, a screenwriter and playwright, as well as a film producer. He was also a radio personality. He was active in his profession from 1931 until his death in 1985. His last television appearance was on The Merv Griffin Show. After leaving the show, he went home to work on his notes for a project that was to begin filming the next day at UCLA. He was found on the floor, having suffered a heart attack. He died on the same day as co-star from Battle of Neretva, Yul Brynner.

Also on this day: Mount Fuji – In 781, Mount Fuji erupts for the first time in recorded history.
First US Patent – In 1790, the first US patent was granted.
All Wet All-Stars – In 1961, the baseball game ended in a tie.

Follow the Money

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 30, 2013
Paul Sarbanes and Michael G. Oxley

Paul Sarbanes and Michael G. Oxley

July 30, 2002: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is signed into law by President George W. Bush. Senator Paul Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland, and Representative Michael G. Oxley, a Republican from Ohio, co-sponsored the bill. The bill passed the House with a vote of 423-3 and the Senate with a vote of 99-0. The law established new or enhanced standards of US public company boards, management, and public accounting firms. It contains 11 titles or sections and does not apply to private companies. Being a public company means it is registered on the stock exchange, i.e. public.

At the beginning of the millennium, there were many highly publicized business irregularities. Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Adelphia, and Peregrine Systems showed the nation and the world the sleazy side of business in a big way. The boardroom failures, auditor conflicts of interest, the securities industry’s conflict of interest, irregular banking practices, bursting the Internet bubble, and obscene executive compensation lost billions of investor dollars both at home and abroad.

The law established an oversight board with nine different sections specifying what to oversee. Auditor independence and corporate responsibilities were spelled out. Enhanced financial disclosures were defined, including off-balance-sheet transactions. Analyst conflicts of interest were addressed to help restore investor confidence. The commission’s resources and authority along with studies and reports were delineated. Corporate and criminal fraud and white collar crime were addressed with penalties increased for infractions. Corporate tax returns and accountability were defined and penalties made explicit.

Proponents claim the law was sorely needed and has helped to restore investor dollars to the markets. Detractors say that the costs of compliance reached $5.1 million per Fortune 500 company in 2004 alone. They claim the regulations stifle creativity, especially in small startup companies in the technology sector. Other countries, including Canada, Japan, Australia, France, Italy, and South Africa have similar laws on the books with amounts of strictures and penalties involved for corporate malfeasance spelled out.

“Morale is faith in the man at the top.” – Albert S. Johnstone

“All men’s gains are the fruit of venturing.” – Herodotus

“The morale of an organization is not built from the bottom up; it filters from the top down.” – Peter B. Kyne

“If you can build a business up big enough, it’s respectable.” – Will Rogers

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act does create costs for business. However Finance Executives International has been monitoring these costs. In 2007, they looked at 168 companies with average revenues of $4.7 billion. The cost of compliance for each was on average $1.7 million or (0.036% of revenue). These costs have continued to decrease. However, when asked if the price of compliance has saved more than the cost of compliance, less than a quarter of those polled agreed. Those who believe the Act has helped cite the increasing cross-listing in foreign firms has taken place compared against those not under the auspices of this Act. Another concern, however, has been the shift of business from New York to London in order to escape the compliance costs.

Also on this day: Where Did He Go? – In 1975, Jimmy Hoffa disappears.
Exterminated – In 2003, the last old style Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.
House of Burgesses – In 1619, the legislative body first convened.

Irish Unrest

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 29, 2013
The Rising of 1848 in Tipparary, Ireland

The Rising of 1848 in Tipperary, Ireland

July 29, 1848: The police quash a revolt in Tipperary, Ireland. Ireland is an island immediately to the west of England first settled ≈ 8000 BC. The Normans invaded both islands, beginning with England in 1066. By 1536 Henry VIII decided to bring the Emerald Isle under British control. The British crown sponsored colonization and the establishment of Plantations. Religious persecution followed with Anglicans the favored religion. Catholics were the major victims of the newly established Penal Laws.

There were rebellions led by Irish Patriots hoping to return to home rule and religious freedom. The success or failure of the revolts were tied to the poor Catholic farmers. The “Great Famine” between 1845-1849 was caused by a potato blight. A water mold called phytophthora infestans spread throughout Ireland destroying the potato crop. The population of the island was decimated. About 1,000,000 died of starvation and another 1,000,000 emigrated. Potato crops failed across Europe but in Ireland, nearly one-third of the population depended entirely on the crop for their sustenance.

The Young Ireland political movement began influencing all aspects of Irish society in the late 1830s. The leading men of the Irish home rule contingency formed a group to unify their cause. They solidified their goals and objectives and began to publish The Nation, a newspaper advocating for a free Ireland. The paper lasted six months before government suppression closed the venture in 1843.

As Ireland continued to suffer devastation from the potato blight, and the government did nothing to alleviate the suffering, a group of patriot/rebels led by William Smith O’Brien began to agitate for physical action. The men led a revolt across several counties. In Tipperary, they erected a barricade to prevent the arrest of O’Brien and other leaders. The police were ensconced inside Mrs. McCormack’s house with her children held as hostage. O’Brien came to a window to negotiate with police. A gunfight broke out with several men killed. In the aftermath it became clear the British were sending in reinforcements. The rebel-patriots dispersed and faded away, ending the Rebellion. For a time.

“Irishness is not primarily a question of birth or blood or language; it is the condition of being involved in the Irish situation, and usually of being mauled by it.” – Conor Cruise O’Brien

“I showed my appreciation of my native land in the usual Irish way by getting out of it as soon as I possibly could.” – George Bernard Shaw

“The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill.” – Harold Nicolson

“The problem with Ireland is that it’s a country full of genius, but with absolutely no talent.” – Hugh Leonard

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Ireland is the third largest island in Europe and twentieth in size throughout the world. The island is divided with the Republic of Ireland, about 5/6 of the land mass, a sovereign state in Europe. The capital is Dublin. The other 1/6 of the island located in the northeast corner is Northern Ireland, which remains a part of Great Britain. There are about 6.4 million people living on the island with about 4.6 million of them in the Republic of Ireland and the other 1.8 million living in Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland declared independence from Great Britain on April 24, 1916 and it was ratified on January 21, 1919. She was recognized on December 6, 1922 and left the Commonwealth on April 18, 1949. There was unrest in Northern Ireland which escalated from the 1960s to the 1990s. Since an agreement signed in 1998, this unrest has substantially subsided.

Also on this day: Arc de Triomphe – In 1836, the Arc de Triomphe is inaugurated.
I Spy – In 1864, Isabella Boyd was captured.
USS Forrestal – In 1967, a fire broke out on the aircraft carrier.

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Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 28, 2013
Lord Jellicoe

Lord Jellicoe

July 28, 1958: Lord Jellicoe, member of the British House of Lords since July 25, 1939, gives his maiden speech. After 19 years of silence, he spoke during the debate called The International Situation: The Middle East. He was not aligned with any particular political party when he spoke about the Baghdad Pact and Iraq. Once he began talking, he became quite vocal, even opening a debate the following July on Western Aid for Uncommitted Countries.

George Patrick John Rushworth Jellicoe was the 2nd Earl Jellicoe. He was a politician, diplomat, statesman, and businessman. He was the sixth child and only son of his parents. The 1st Earl Jellicoe was a naval commander during World War I and the hero of Jutland, the largest naval battle of that war. King George V and Princess Patricia of Connaught were two of George’s sponsors when he was christened. He won the Vere Herbert Smith history prize while at Winchester College.

He signed up at the first wartime intake at RMC Sandhurst (today RMAS), joining the ranks as a cadet in 1939. He was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1940 and sailed to the Middle East in 1941. He was mentioned in three dispatches during this time and wounded once. By 1943 he was named Commander of the Special Boat Regiment Middle East and made Lieutenant-Colonel. For the rest of the war, he was involved in secret and dangerous missions along the coasts of Italy and Yugoslavia.

After the war he served in the Foreign Service, stationed in various posts around the world. He also served as a Cabinet Member from 1970 – 1973. He held a series of non-government jobs, positions of importance in the business and academic worlds. He first sat in the House of Lords in 1939 and served in that capacity until his death in 2007. He is one of the longest serving parliamentarians in the world with 68 years of service in the distinguished House. He was known as the Father of the House of Lords from 1999 to 2007. He was succeeded by Lord Carrington.

“Having lately lived for a year or so in Baghdad I confess that I have not been untouched by the charm of that ugly yet fascinating city, and, if I may say so, of the diverse peoples of Iraq… Like all your Lordships, I felt, and feel, a deep sense of shock, indeed revulsion, at the brutal butchery of the young King and his family, and of that great, and greatly human, statesman, Nuri Pasha.” – George Jellicoe, from his first speech in the House of Lords

“Just as the Roman roads are with us to-day, so these great new roads may be with our successors 1,000 years hence. With this in mind, can my noble friend assure us, first, that the advice of the Advisory Committee [on the Landscape Treatment of Trunk Roads] to which he referred will in all cases in future be sought at a very early stage in the planning of these new roads ; and, secondly, that permanent professional advice will be enlisted from the outset at the planning, the reconnaissance stage, in order to ensure that these great new roads blend as harmoniously as possible with the land-scape through which they pass?” – George Jellicoe

“Lord Jellicoe… has been as good a leader of this House as we have known.” – Lord Shackleton

“‘He was a man in the Macmillan mould’, it was said last night, ‘He gave the impression of a solid and straightforward approach to life, to the cut and thrust of debate-but at the same time he was an extraordinarily subtle person.'” – Daniel McGeachie

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Aristocracy in Britain today is known as Peerage. There are five Peerages, one each for England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and of the United Kingdom. The lowest rank is Baron and comes from the German, baro or freeman. It was created in 1066. Next is Viscount and comes from Latin, vicecomes or vice-count. It was created in 1440. Earl is next and comes from Old English, eorl or military leader. It was created between 800 and 1000. The name may have been influenced by the Old Norse jarl, meaning free-born or warrior. Marquess is next and comes from the French marquis and references the borders between the countries. The highest rank before royalty is Duke. It comes from Latin, dux meaning leader. The first Duke in Britain was bestowed in 1337.

Also on this day: Dusting for Prints – In 1858, fingerprints are first used – sorta.
Plane Flies into Building in New York – In 1945, the Empire State Building was hit by a plane.
B-17 Flying Fortress – In 1935, a test flight for the WWII bomber was made.

Reign of Terror

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 27, 2013
Maximilien Robespierre

Maximilien Robespierre

July 27, 1794: Maximilien Robespierre is arrested. The French Revolution (1789-1799) took France from an absolute monarchy to a form of government based on citizen rights. The Revolution led to the Reign of Terror and later brought about changes throughout Europe. France went from monarchy, to republic, to a return to a constitutional monarchy, and two empires. Finally she emerged as modern day France – a republic headed by a President who appoints a Prime Minister. There is also a bicameral National Assembly.

On September 5, 1793 the period known as the Reign of Terror began. Fifteen months after the Revolution started, disagreements over leadership arose. Both the Girondins and the Jacobins wished to control France. Girondins were a political faction with shared ideals rather than a true political party. Jacobins were also united by principles, only more “left wing” since they sat on the left side of the Parliament Hall. They slowly amassed power and the initial support of the citizens of France.

Robespierre was born in 1758 to a dysfunctional family. He was a gifted student and studied law. He was granted a judgeship in 1782 when he was just 23 years old. He renounced his role as judge after refusing to pronounce the death penalty. He returned to the practice of law representing the poor. He believed in representative government and was sent to Paris. There he joined the Jacobin Club. He vehemently opposed the Austrian War. King Louis XVI was executed and Robespierre rose in power in the National Convention.

With the king’s death, the country was thrown into chaos. Robespierre attempted to root out the enemy within Paris. There is no accurate count of the number of enemies Robespierre found. Guillotine executions were in the thousands with numbers from 17,000 to 40,000 cited. Even within the Jacobins, there were disagreements and as power shifted once again, Robespierre was arrested. During the struggle to detain him, he was shot in the jaw (it may have been a suicide attempt). He did not have long to suffer. He, himself, was under the guillotine blade the following day. He was 36.

“To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is cruelty.”

“This is no trial; Louis is not a prisoner at the bar; you are not judges; you are – you cannot but be – statesmen, and the representatives of the nation. You have not to pass sentence for or against a single man, but you have to take a resolution on a question of the public safety, and to decide a question of national foresight. It is with regret that I pronounce, the fatal truth: Louis ought to perish rather than a hundred thousand virtuous citizens; Louis must die, so that the country may live.”

“Terror is only justice: prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country.”

“Crime butchers innocence to secure a throne, and innocence struggles with all its might against the attempts of crime.” – all from Maximilien Robespierre

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: On October 10, 1789 Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin offered the following six articles for consideration at the National Assembly. 1. All offenses of the same kind would receive the same punishment regardless of the rank or status of the offender. 2. All death penalty sentences would be carried out by decapitation. 3. The guilty party’s family should not be discriminated against or tainted by guilt. 4. Only judges could publicly reprimand. 5. The condemned person’s property should not be confiscated. 6. The body of the condemned should be given to the family (upon request) to be buried and no reference to the nature of death should be registered. The guillotine was not the doctor’s invention, rather it was created by a committee headed by Antoine Louis. Death was supposed to be quick and relatively painless. Guillotin was embarrassed by his name being associated with the device and tried to get the device called something else.

Also on this day: What’s up Doc? – In 1940, Bugs Bunny made it to the silver screen.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – In 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh brings tobacco to England.
Olympic Bomb – In 1996, a bomb goes off at the Atlanta Summer Olympics.

First Railway

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 26, 2013
 The Surrey Iron Railway

The Surrey Iron Railway

July 26, 1803: The Surrey Iron Railway opens for business. The nine-mile long narrow gauge railway linked Wandsworth (then in Surrey) and Croydon – now all parts of South London. There had been prior plateways used to move goods, but they were all parts of canal systems. Surrey Iron Railway was first proposed as yet another canal. Diverting water for the venture would have adversely affected many water-powered mills and factories, the customer base of the proposed transport system. This new venture, the first ever to be funded by an Act of Parliament – the railway – was started.

The track gauge was 4 feet, 2 inches. Today’s standard gauge is 4 feet, 8 ½ and any rail system with the tracks running closer is considered narrow gauge. Most still-operating narrow gauge tracks measure 3 feet, 6 inches or less. Narrow gauge tracks are cheaper to build, equip, and operate. They are especially useful over mountainous terrain. Many industrial railways use the smaller gauges.

Surrey Iron Railway used horse-drawn wagons to move goods along the River Wandle valley. It worked like modern day turnpikes with people supplying their own transportation and paying for the use of a viable route. The railway was extended in 1805 and was shut down by 1838. William Jessop was involved in the entire project and chief engineer for the second phase. The rail line reached Coulson and was opened to the Merstham quarries.

Jessop was a British civil engineer who worked on a number of projects throughout the Empire. His last major project was the Surrey Iron Railway. He was instrumental in the original construction choice, pushing for a railway rather than a canal. As illness overtook him, he brought his son with him to complete the expansion project. The total length reached 18 miles. The tracks were not built to support the weight of the new steam locomotives. Eventually, the newer technology overtook the small railway and steam locomotion required different tracks built over a different substructure. However, some of the original railway still exists.

“Only now did I recognize the reciprocal relationship which exits between manufacturing power and the national system of transportation, and that the one can never develop to its fullest without the other.” – Friedrich List

“The waste of capital, in proportion to the total capital, in this country between 1800 and 1850, in the attempts which were made to establish means of communication and transportation, was enormous.” – William Graham Sumner

“There can be no doubt that the transportation sector is the most critical sector of our economy.” – Robert Brady

“Transportation made sublimation literal. It conveyed evil to another world.” – Robert Hughes

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The earliest extant evidence of a rail system is the Diolkos wagon way, a 3.7 mile railway across the Corinth isthmus in Greece. It dates from the sixth century BC. Slaves pushed trucks which ran in grooves in the limestone. It lasted for more than 600 years. A stained glass window in Germany dating from 1350 depicts a railway of the region. It is the earliest record of a rail transport system. It, too, was operated by human power but also could use animals for dragging the car. The line still exists in an updated version and is the oldest still operating system. By 1550, narrow gauge wooden rails were being used throughout Europe in the mines. These were useful in getting materials over land to the shipping lanes nearby. The first iron plate railway used cast iron and came into use in 1768. Development of the steam engine created a new set of problems. The weight meant that a sturdy system with an adequate bed had to be used. The new age of rapid transportation was just ahead.

Also on this day: The Polite Bandit – In 1875, a strange, but polite, man commits his first robbery.
As the Worm Turns – In 1989, Robert Morris was indicted.
Feebs – In 1908, the FBI was formed.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 25, 2013
toilet paper

Toilet paper

July 25, 1871: Patent #117,355 is granted to Seth Wheeler of Albany, New York. This patent allowed for perforations. Today some products are made without this wonderful inventive process, but special dispensers are then used. By February 13, 1883 another patent was granted to Wheeler to have the perforated product wrapped around a central tube. He made and patented brackets to hold the tubes. The burning question remains: is it possible for men to use these? Over 100 years later we still wonder if men can change a roll of toilet paper.

The first mention of toilet paper was in China in 589 and in 851, Arab-Muslims were so impressed with the Chinese item, they confirmed its use in writing. By 1300, Zhejiang province was producing 10 million packages of paper with 1,000 to 10,000 sheets in each. Sheets measuring 2 x 3 feet were produced in 1393 – 270,000 of them – for use by the royal court. Elsewhere wool, lace, and hemp were used by the wealthy while the poor were stuck using rags, wood shavings, leaves, grass, hay, stone, sand, moss, water, snow, seashells, corncobs, or one’s own hand. In ancient Rome, a sponge on a stick was used then replaced in a bucket of saltwater for the next person.

By 1877, Wheeler’s Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Co. was selling rolls of TP in drug stores. It was free of “all deleterious substances” in order to prevent the formation of hemorrhoids. If that didn’t work, he sold paper “heavily charged with ointment” to help cure hemorrhoids. The term “toilet paper” was first used in the New York Times in 1888. Plumbing improved and flush toilets (and bidets in Europe) became ever more popular.

Northern Tissue advertised itself as “splinter-free” in 1935. In 1942 two-ply tissue came on the scene along with soft and hard paper. By the 1990s several brands were produced containing aloe. Some interesting facts: It is said that the Pentagon uses 666 roles of paper per day. The best way to buy the product is by the case and the normal roll will last 5 days in the most used bathroom of the house. According to Charmin, we use on average 8.6 sheets per trip or 57 sheets per day or 20,805 sheets per year. And it is all splinter free.

“He who uses paper on his filthy bum, will always find his ballocks lined with scum.” – François Rabelais

“France is a place where the money falls apart in your hands but you can’t tear the toilet paper.” – Billy Wilder

“My dad always told me, yesterday’s news is today’s toilet paper.” – Syneca Puryear

“I have realizations, like that life is bigger than us. People forget that, but I’m always aware of it. Like when I’m in the bathroom looking at my toilet paper, I’m like ‘Wow! That’s toilet paper?’ I don’t know if we appreciate how much we have.” – unknown

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Joseph Gayetty is given credit for bringing commercially successful toilet paper to the US. He marketed his paper first on December 8, 1857 and it originally sold for fifty cents per pack of 500 sheets each bearing a watermark of his name. This early product contained aloe and was marketed as an anti-hemorrhoid medical product. It was licensed to others and sold into the 1920s. Moist toilet paper was first introduced in the UK by Andrex in the 1990s and came to the US in 2001 when Kimberly-Clark brought the product westward. Kimberly-Clark is the manufacturer of both Scott products and Cottonelle. There are 26 billion rolls of toilet paper sold per annum in the US alone. That accounts for $2.4 billion worth of paper being flushed away.

Also on this day: Oh Joy! Louise – In 1978, Louise Joy Brown is born.
Free Press – In 1925, TASS is established.
SS Andrea Doria – In 1956, the ship was struck out at sea.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 24, 2013
Map of the United States with Tennessee highlighted

Map of the United States with Tennessee highlighted

July 24, 1866: Tennessee becomes the first state to be readmitted to the Union after the American Civil War. The war was fought between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865 with the last battle ending on May 13. Long before the first shots were fired in anger, there was a rift between the North and South. The agricultural South was dependent on slave labor. Issues with State Rights over Federal interference were of major importance. As the country grew, more states were included in the Union, further upsetting a delicate balance.

On December 24, 1860 South Carolina issued a legal proclamation setting forth the causes she felt would justify Secession from the Union. First was States Rights to choose whether to be slave or free. Secondly, the Fugitive Slave Act was not being enforced, thereby diminishing the authority of the Southern States. Even before Lincoln took office, seven states seceded from the Union. South Carolina first then Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas – in that order – left the Union and established the Confederate States of America (CSA). After the attack on Fort Sumter, four more states (Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) joined the CSA.

Reconstruction began even before the war ended. The period covers 1863-1877. The era is defined as the time when slavery was abolished and the CSA was totally eradicated. The Emancipation Proclamation began the journey towards reuniting the war torn country. Reconstruction began in each state as federal troops took control of the region. The period’s end date coincides with the Compromise of 1877 where the last three Republican supported state governments were removed.

Tennessee was the last state to officially join the CSA. East Tennessee tired to remain aligned with the US. Many battles were fought inside the state’s boundaries. By the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, most of Tennessee was under Union control (which is why the state isn’t named in the Proclamation). The Tennessee state legislature outlawed slavery on February 22, 1865 with the state’s voters approving in March. In 1864 Andrew Johnson, a War Democrat from Tennessee, became Vice President with Lincoln’s second term. After Lincoln’s assassination, Johnson’s leniency toward Tennessee allowed members to be admitted back into the US Congress on this date. This allowed for Tennessee to be the only seceded state to avoid being ruled by a military governor during Reconstruction.

“All we ask is to be let alone.” – Confederate President Jefferson Davis

“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.” – President Abraham Lincoln

“[The house Rhett Butler built for Scarlett] could have been in Omaha so little does it resemble any dwelling in the Atlanta of the Reconstruction period.” – Margaret Mitchell

“Gettysburg proved a significant turning point in the war, and therefore in the preservation of the United States and abolition of slavery. The Civil War ended lingering doubts since its conception about whether the United States would survive.” – James McPherson

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. It was an order to all segments of the Executive branch of the US including the Army and Navy. The order stated that all slaves in Confederate territory were free. Thus, 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves in the country were immediately freed. It further proclaimed that “suitable” people among the now free ex-slaves should be enrolled in the paid services of the US forces. Because the President is Commander in Chief of the military, this order was issued constitutionally. It was not a law passed by Congress and it could not be enforced in areas still in rebellion. However, there was already much of the South that had been subdued and in these areas, the slaves were now freed. This order did not involve the five slave states that were not in rebellion and did not outlaw slavery itself. It also did not compensate the owners for the loss of their property nor did it make the ex-slaves citizens.

Also on this day: The Manly Peak – In 1911, Machu Picchu was found – again.
Oh, Henry – In 1901, William Porter was released from prison.
Eastland – In 1915, the SS Eastland capsized.

World War I

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 23, 2013
Franz Ferdinand and his family

Franz Ferdinand and his family

July 23, 1914: Serbia ignores an ultimatum issued by Austria-Hungary. Franz Ferdinand Karl Giuermo Anikò Strezpek Belschwitz Mòric Pinche Bálint Szilveszter Gömpi Maurice Bzoch János Frajkor Ludwig van Haverbeke Josef von Habsburg-Lothringen was an Archduke, Prince Imperial, Royal Prince, and next in line to assume the throne of Austro-Hungary. Franz was supposed to wed only someone of royal lineage. He was smitten by a young duchess and lady-in-waiting. After great upheaval and ignoring pleas from the Pope, a Tsar, and an Emperor, the couple married.

On June 29, 1914, the Archduke and his wife were assassinated while riding in an armored car in Sarajevo. The car was a convertible and the top was off. They had come to Serbia, knowing it was dangerous. Europe was already involved in an arms race, increased nationalism, and imperialism. Serbia wished for freedom from Austrian rule. The Black Hand, aka Unification or Death was intent on uniting Serbs, Croats, Macedonians, and Slovenes – all the South Slav populations – in a free nation. Franz was one of Serbia’s strongest advocates in Vienna.

Vienna wasn’t overly outraged at his death as he was not popular in the court or with the general public, but the affront would have to be dealt with in some fashion. An ultimatum was sent on this date demanding that Austro-Hungarian police be permitted access to hunt the murderers on Serbian soil along with other demands. All were met except for the police presence.

Danilo Ilić formed a cell of Black Hand adherents in Sarajevo in 1914. On June 28, 1914 the group threw a grenade at the Archduke’s car and it bounced off the hood, injuring several bystanders. Franz and Sophia insisted they go with the victims to the hospital. Their car made a wrong turn and 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip was able to shoot both occupants at close range. He was eventually arrested and died of TB in prison. The Austrian government was outraged at not being granted access to the hunt and capture of the assassins. Instead, on July 28, they declared war – and so began WWI.

“Sophie dear! Don’t die! Stay alive for our children!” – Archduke Ferdinand’s last words to his wife

“I am the son of peasants and I know what is happening in the villages. That is why I wanted to take revenge, and I regret nothing.” – Gavrilo Princip

“[Sophie] could never share [Franz Ferdinand’s] rank … could never share his splendours, could never even sit by his side on any public occasion. There was one loophole … his wife could enjoy the recognition of his rank when he was acting in a military capacity. Hence, he decided, in 1914, to inspect the army in Bosnia. There, at its capital Sarajevo, the Archduke and his wife could ride in an open carriage side by side … Thus, for love, did the Archduke go to his death.” – A. J. P. Taylor

Count Harrach: “Is Your Imperial Highness suffering very badly?”

Archduke: “It is nothing.” (repeated several times – his last words)

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Franz Ferdinand was born in 1863 in Graz, Austria. His father was the youngest brother of Franz Joseph and Maximilian. When Franz Ferdinand was eleven, Duke Francis V of Modena died and named his young cousin heir if Franz were to add Este to his name. With the name change, the child became one of the richest men in Austria. When he was 25, another cousin – this time Crown Prince Rudolf – committed suicide. This left Karl Ludwig and then Franz Ferdinand as next in line for the throne. Karl denounced his claim in favor of his son. This put Franz as successor to the vast holdings of the Habsburg dynasty. He married Sophie, a mere Countess, after much distress in 1900. They had four children; the youngest was a still born son. Princess Sophie of Hohenberg lived until 1990 outliving both of her younger brothers. Maximilian (Duke of Hohenberg) died in 1962 and Ernst (Prince of Hohenberg) died in 1954.

Also on this day: “Wanna see something really scary?” – In 1983, Vic Morrow and two children are killed on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie.
Like Riding on Air – In 1888, John Dunlap patents a new tire.
Telstar – In 1962, the first live transatlantic TV program was broadcast.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2013
General Moses Cleaveland

General Moses Cleaveland

July 22, 1796: The Connecticut Land Company names an area after the superintendent of the surveying party – General Moses Cleaveland. The 57 wealthiest men in Connecticut formed a company to explore the Old Northwest Territory. The region included all of modern day Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois along with most of Wisconsin and a small part of Minnesota. The Land Company was headed by Oliver Phelps, the richest man in Connecticut. Moses Cleaveland was one of the members.

Cleaveland was a lawyer, politician, soldier, and surveyor. He led the party to survey the Western Reserve. This was a narrow (120 mile) strip of land between the forty-first and forty-second-and-two-minute parallels. It ran from the border of Pennsylvania westward and covered more than three million acres. The survey party left Buffalo, New York and sailed on Lake Erie heading west. They stopped on July 4, 1796 at the mouth of Conneaut Creek. This was named Port Independence. After paying off the local residents, they were permitted to survey the area.

The survey party slowly coasted along the shore and on this date came to the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. The lush region held a flat plain covered by a great forest gently sloping to the river. It was thought to be the perfect place to build a city. It was surveyed into town lots and named Cleaveland. Moses left the area in 1796 and never returned. There were only four settlers the first year and the population grew slowly. By 1820 the population finally reached 150. The town was incorporated in 1814 and dropped the first “a” from the name in 1831.

Today, the City of Cleveland encompasses 82.4 square miles and is home to 478,400 people. The Greater Metropolitan area has 2,230,900 residents. Cleveland’s Playhouse Square Center is the second largest arts center in the US. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is there, looking out over Lake Erie. They have several sports teams including the Cleveland Indians (baseball), the Cleveland Browns (football), and the Cleveland Cavaliers (basketball). The manufacturing and port city has seen a shift in population as the decline in heavy industry has affected the job market. The following quotes are all from famous Clevelanders.

“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.” – Drew Carey

“There is a lot of pressure put on me, but I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I feel if I play my game, it will take care of itself.” – LeBron James

“While being called beautiful is extremely flattering, I would much rather be noticed for my work as an actress.” – Halle Berry

“I wasn’t allowed to see movies when I was a child. It was against the religion I was raised in, Fundamentalist Baptist. I didn’t go into a commercial movie house until I was a senior in college, and that was on the sly. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I immersed myself in films. Then, I went to see all the films by Bergman, Fellini, etc.” – Wes Craven

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Cleveland has many other names. It is called The Forest City, Metropolis of the Western Reserve, The Rock and Roll Capital of the World, C-Town, The Cleve, and Sixth City. Because it is so close to Lake Erie, it is also called The North Coast and insultingly, The Mistake on the Lake.  The people who live there are called Clevelanders. The decade between 1830 when there were 1,075 people and 1840 saw the biggest growth in the region when population swelled by 465%. Large increases for the next few decades continued with 180%, 155%, and 114% increases so that by 1880 the population was 160,146. Growth slowed but was continual until the 1930s when population slightly dropped. The highest population was 914,808 in 1930. Nearly a quarter of the population fled the city in the 1970s with another 20% decrease in the new millennium.

Also on this day: Public Enemy #1 – In 1934, John Dillinger met his end – maybe.
Falkirk – In 1298, the Battle of Falkirk took place.
And They’re Off – In 1894, the first motorized vehicle race was held.