Little Bits of History

September 13

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 13, 2017

1848: Phineas Gage is injured. Born in 1823 in New Hampshire, he was the first of five children. Little is known of his childhood except that he was literate. He worked with explosives on the family farm and as a young man he worked on construction of the Hudson River Railroad. By the time of his accident, he was a blasting foreman on construction projects and was said to be efficient and capable as well as a good business man. He was energetic and able-bodied. He had commissioned a custom-made tamping iron which was used for setting explosive charges.

On this day, Gage was supervising a work gang blasting rock for the Rutland & Burlington Railroad in Vermont. A hold had been bored deep into an outcropping of rock. Blasting powder and fuse were added and then using his special rod, sand, clay, or some inert substance was tamped into the hole above the powder. Gage was in the middle of this task when he was distracted by men working behind him. It was around 4.30 PM as he looked behind him to talk to the men and brought his head lower, right in line with the blasting hole. His rod sparked against the rock and the powder exploded.

The tamping rod was blown from the hole and entered the left side of Gage’s face in an upward angle just forward of the lower jaw hinge. The bar was 1 ¼ inches in diameter and 41 inches long. It weighted 13 ¼ pounds. The rod was angled so that it passed behind his left eye and through the left side of his brain. It exited out of the top of his skull through the frontal bone. While the case was called the “American Crowbar Case” at the time, the bar was perfectly straight and relatively smooth. The tamping iron was found, covered in blood and brains, about 80 feet away from where Gage had been hit.

Gage was thrown onto his back by the blast and had some convulsions immediately after the injury. Within a few minutes he was able to speak and was able to walk a short distance with a little help. An oxcart was brought to the scene and he sat upright for a ride of about ¾ of mile back to his lodgings. About 5 PM, Edward Williams, a local doctor, found Gage who was talking to him coherently. When Gage got up later to vomit, it caused brain material to bulge through the exit wound in his skill. By 6 PM, John Harlow took over since the army surgeon seemed to have more experience with this type of wound.

Gage survived and lived for another twelve years. In that time he was studied closely and much was learned about the functions of neurology, psychology, and neuroscience. Personality changes were noted and it became evident that the brain had various localizations for functions. Since Gage’s frontal lobe was destroyed as the bar pierced his brain, personality changes were studied and new theories were advanced as the working of the brain or mind. Although Gage physically recovered and worked at odd jobs after his accident, he had a seizure disorder which eventually led to his death when he was 36.

When I drove up he said, “Doctor, here is business enough for you.”

I first noticed the wound upon the head before I alighted from my carriage, the pulsations of the brain being very distinct. The top of the head appeared somewhat like an inverted funnel, as if some wedge-shaped body had passed from below upward.

Mr. Gage, during the time I was examining this wound, was relating the manner in which he was injured to the bystanders. I did not believe Mr. Gage’s statement at that time, but thought he was deceived. Mr. Gage persisted in saying that the bar went through his head.

Mr. G. got up and vomited; the effort of vomiting pressed out about half a teacupful of the brain, which fell upon the floor. – all from Edward Williams, recounting his first seeing Phineas Gage



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September 12

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 12, 2017

1910: Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony premieres. Mahler was born in 1860 in Bohemia, now Czech Republic and at the time part of the Austrian Empire. He was both an orchestral conductor and a Romantic composer. He was one of the forces who brought 19th century Austro-German traditional music into the modern era. During his lifetime, his music gained a high degree of popularity but it was actually banned throughout much of Europe during the Nazi era. After World War II ended, his music was once again rediscovered.

Mahler’s earlier works combined song and symphony but during his “middle” years of composing, he worked on symphonies without including any choral aspects. This work marked his return to his earlier style and included a large choral component. It also marked the end of his “middle” period. This piece is structurally unconventional. Rather than several movements, as was customary, it is written in two parts. The first part is based on the Latin text of an early Christian hymn, Veni creator spiritus – or Come, Creator Sprit. The second part is based on the closing scene of Goethe’s Faust. The entire work centers around the common notion of redemption through the power love. This optimistic view was in stark contrast to Mahler’s normal pessimism.

Mahler’s work as a conductor gave him time after the closing of the season, to retire to Maiernigg, a town in southern Austria, where he could work on composing music. He wrote several of his symphonies there. Like several years before, Mahler arrived for his summer interlude in June 1906 and began to write his next symphony, this time with not just a choral element, but with an almost overwhelming choral presence. He worked quickly and the work was finished in all essentials by mid-August even though he had taken time off to return to Salzburg. Since he used vocals throughout the piece, rather than just at the end, it was the first completely choral symphony to be written.

The work was scored for a very large orchestra and the choirs assembled were large in number. In fact, the piece took so many performers to offer it completely to the audience, it was billed as the “Symphony of a Thousand” against Mahler’s expressed wishes. This date’s performance was played at Neue Musik-Festhalle in Munich. Mahler was conducting. There are some discrepancies  regarding the number of people involved in the production. One source claimed there were 850 in the chorus, including 350 children along with 157 instrumentalists and eight soloists for a total of 1,015 but a second source claimed not all the Viennese choristers made it to the hall in time and so the number was less than 1,000. The 85 minute production was a rousing success and after the last notes faded, applause followed – for the next twenty minutes. Eight months later, Mahler was dead. This was his last work to be premiered during his lifetime, but more work was produced after his death.

A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.

It should be one’s sole endeavor to see everything afresh and create it anew.

Fortunately, something always remains to be harvested. So let us not be idle.

I am thrice homeless, as a native of Bohemia in Austria, as an Austrian among Germans, and as a Jew throughout the world. Everywhere an intruder, never welcomed. – all from Gustav Mahler



September 11

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 11, 2017

2001: Four planes crash in the US. American Airlines Flight 11 took off 14 minutes late from Boston’s Logan International Airport and headed to Los Angeles. Aboard were 11 crew and 81 passengers, five of them terrorists who hijacked the plane at 8.14 while still over Massachusetts. At 8.46.46 AM, the plane was crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The plane was intact as it struck 1 WTC between the 93rd and 99th floors. The tower collapsed at 10.28.22, one hour and 42 minutes after the impact.

United Airlines Flight 175 took off from Logan, also bound for Los Angeles. They were also 14 minutes late on takeoff and carried nine crew and 56 passengers, five of them terrorists. Between 8.42 and 8.46 the plane was hijacked while over Albany, New York and turned south. It was 140 miles away from New York City and at 9.03.00 this second plane crashed into South Tower between the floors of 77 and 85. The starboard engine flew off of the plane and landed six blocks away. At 9.59.00 the South Tower collapsed just 59 minutes after impact.

At 8.20 American Airlines Flight 77 left Washington Dulles International Airport headed for Los Angeles. There were six crew members and 58 passengers, five of them terrorists. They left ten minutes late. Between 8.50 and 8.54 they were hijacked over Ohio and turned southeast. At 9.37.46 it crashed into the western side of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a violent fire began to burn. At 10.50.19 the Pentagon lost five stories in that part of the building as it collapsed due to the fire.

At 8.42, United Airlines Flight 93 left Newark International Airport headed for San Francisco. There were seven crew members and 37 passengers, four of them terrorists. They were 42 minutes late for takeoff. The plane was hijacked over northern Ohio and turned southeast. There is speculation passengers aboard had gotten news of plane crashes in New York and Washington. Passengers and crew fought off the hijackers and the plane crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It has been speculated its target was either the Capitol or the White House.

The attacks killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others. All people on the planes (265) died in the attacks and another 2,606 died in the World Trade Centers which included 343 firefighters, 72 law enforcement officers, and 55 military personnel. Another 125 people died at the Pentagon. There was at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage and $3 trillion in total costs. The attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda and orchestrated by Osama bin Laden.

I am certain that I speak on behalf of my entire nation when I say, today we are all Americans. In grief, as in defiance. – Benjamin Netanyahu

September 11 was, and remains, above all an immense human tragedy. But September 11 also posed a momentous and deliberate challenge not just to America but to the world at large. The target of the terrorists was not only New York and Washington but the very values of freedom, tolerance and decency which underpin our way of life. – Tony Blair

We strongly condemn the events that happened in the United States at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We share the grief of all those who have lost their nearest and dearest in these incidents. All those responsible must be brought to justice. We want them to be brought to justice, and we want America to be patient and careful in their actions. – Embassy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Islamabad

I bow my head to the victims of terrorism. I am highly impressed of the courage of New York residents. The great city and the great American nation are to win! – Vladimir V. Putin

I’m fighting so I can die a martyr and go to heaven to meet God. Our fight now is against the Americans. – Osama bin Laden (wish granted May 2, 2011)



September 10

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 10, 2017

1936: Wembley Stadium hosts a race. Motorcycle speedway is a sport which usually has four to six riders competing over four counter-clockwise laps of an oval circuit. The motorcycles use only one gear and have no brakes. The track is usually dirt or loosely packed shale (sometimes dolomite is used in Australia and New Zealand). The surface is used to slide the bikes sideways through the bends. There is some evidence such races were held even prior to World War I. Many individuals helped to popularize the sport and by the 1920s,  it was becoming more widespread with several meets taking place in the United Kingdom. The Speedway World Championship was unofficially held from 1931 until 1935.

On this day, the first official Speedway World Championship was run at London’s Wembley Stadium, the host for the World Final for a record 26 times. The Wembley Lions were a motorcycle speedway team formed in 1929. The team’s red and white colors were in the winners’ circle many times even as they changed leagues, first in the Southern and then in the National. World War II intervened and motorcycle sports were put aside, but they were able to resume in 1946 and the team stayed active until 1971. Other sporting events were also held there and today it is known as the Empire Stadium, an updated version of the original. The last time they hosted the World final was in 1981.

On this day, the Individual champion race was already controversial. The prize was decided by bonus points accumulated in previous rounds plus the score from the final round. Each race was run between two motorcyclists and Lionel Van Praag, of Australia, faced Eric Langton, of Great Britain. As they lined up, Langton broke the tape which should have disqualified him. Van Praag claimed he did not wish to win by default and so the two raced with Langton leading the way for most of the race. On the last lap and at the final bend, Van Praag sprang through a tiny gap and won by less than a wheel length. This gave him first place and a charge of having “fixed” the race.

Bluey Wilkinson, another Australian, was unbeaten in the Final and even so was only awarded Third place for the Championship listing. It was charged that Langton and Van Praag had colluded to decide the winner and agreed to split the prize money. The leader at the first bend was supposed to win the race and yet, Van Praag burst forward and took the lead at the last second. He is also said to have paid Langton £50 of “conscience money” later. Van Praag had 12 semifinal points and 14 final points for 26 to Langton’s 13 points for both sections. Wilkinson had 10 semifinal points and 15 final points, putting him in third even though he didn’t lose the final race.

Driving a motorcycle is like flying. All your senses are alive. When I ride through Beverly Hills in the early morning, and all the sprinklers have turned off, the scents that wash over me are just heavenly. –  Hugh Laurie

You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle! – Dan Aykroyd

A motorcycle is an independent thing. – Ryan Hurst

Note to self: Never ride a motorcycle in stilettos and a miniskirt. – Maggie Grace



September 9

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 9, 2017

1739: The Stono Rebellion begins. Sometimes called Cato’s Conspiracy or Cato’s Rebellion, it was a slave revolt outside Charleston, South Carolina. Although the revolting slaves were called Angolan at the time, they were Catholics who spoke Portuguese and were therefore more likely originally from the Kingdom of Kongo, in west Central Africa. Jemmy, their leader, was also called Cato by the whites of the time, indicating he was owned by the Cato or Cater family. For at least a generation, the population of South Carolina had been mostly African slaves since both cotton and rice cultivation was labor intensive.

The Kingdom of Kongo had converted to Christianity after their leader’s conversion in 1491 and the language of education and trade there was Portuguese. As the British colonies needed more slaves, many were captured in Africa, brought to the West Indies and “seasoned” before being brought to South Carolina. At the time, Georgia was still an all white colony. Spain controlled what is today Florida and in order to make problems for the British, offered escaped slaves who made it to their borders, land and freedom. Another factor leading to the rebellion was a malaria outbreak in Charleston which left the white population weakened.

Jemmy led 22 enslaved Africans to the Stono River, about 20 miles southwest of Charleston. On this day, a Sunday, most locals would be in church and unarmed. A law had recently passed making it illegal for any whites to not have weapons even in church but it was not yet fully enforced. The slaves attacked Hutchenson’s store at the Stono River Bridge. They killed the two storekeepers and seized weapons and ammunition. They raised a flag and took off for Spanish Florida, 150 miles away. Their flag had the word “Liberty!” on it and they chanted the word in unison. They gather more slaves, some unwillingly, as they moved south.

While marching, they ran into William Bull, the lieutenant governor, and five of his friends. They were on horseback and escaped to raise the alarm. The next day, a militia of 19-99 men, depending on the source, came upon the escaping slaves and a battle ensued with 23 whites and 47 blacks killed. Some of the slaves escaped and were tracked down by hired Chickasaw and Catawba Indians. Those found were also killed. The rebels heads were placed on stakes along major roadways as a warning to others who might try to make a run for the border. As a response to this, the largest slave uprising in colonial America, the Negro Act of 1740 restricted slave education, assembly, and movement.

Now I’ve been free, I know what a dreadful condition slavery is. I have seen hundreds of escaped slaves, but I never saw one who was willing to go back and be a slave. – Harriet Tubman

I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted. – Frederick Douglass

We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labor that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies would also provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories. – Cecil Rhodes

The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of a common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable. – Andrea Dworkin



September 8

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 8, 2017

1862: The grand opening of the Millennium of Russia takes place. Rurik, a Rus we know of only from the 12th century Primary Chronicle, was the chieftain who fought for control of Ladoga and built a settlement near Novgorod, which was the founding of the Kievan Rus in 862. In 1859, as the thousand year mark approached, Alexander II wished to mark the anniversary with some spectacular display. He held a competition to design a monument. The winners of the contest were Viktor Harmann, an architect, and Mikhail Mikeshin, an artist. Mikeshin, born in 1835, worked for the Romanov family designing a number of outdoor statues throughout the large cities of the Russian Empire.

Mikeshin was noted for his battle paintings and it was his sketch of the Millennium of Russia proposal which helped to win the contest, but he was not a sculptor and it was not he who would create the 129 individual statues included in the work. His notoriety grew after this design was selected and he was given many more commissions afterward. Hartmann, born in 1834, was both architect, helping with the construction of the monument, and an artist. He worked mostly in water colors and died at the young age of 39. After his death, an exhibition was held and over 400 of his paintings were displayed.

The 50-foot tall monument has a bell crowned by a cross and then surrounded by tiers of encircling sculptures. Included in the figures are Russian monarchs, clerics, generals, and artists who were important to the 1,000 year history. There was an intermixing of personalities throughout the work with tsars and commanders ranked side by side along with other famous persons. The most famously absent person was Ivan the Terrible. Since he was responsible for the 1570 pillage and massacre of Novgorod, he was not welcome on the statue celebrating its long existence. Included were not just Muscovites, but also Lithuanian dynasts were part of the monument. Rurik also holds a prominent spot on the work.

The massive monument was the most expensive ever built, at least up to that time, and cost 400,000 rubles. Money was raised mostly by public subscription. Because it was so massive, a pedestal of sixteen blocks of Sortavala granite were brought in for the base, each of which weighed over 35 tons. The bronze monument itself weighs 100 tons. In 1862, critics found it overloaded and garish, but supporters felt it was in sync with the setting of the Kremlin. It resides in the square between the Cathedral of St. Sophia and the Government’s offices. During World War II, the Nazis dismantled the work to ship to Germany but the Red Army regained control of Novgorod and restored the monument in 1944.

Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. – Winston Churchill

At last, Russia has returned to the world arena as a strong state – a country that others heed and that can stand up for itself. – Vladimir Putin

I first came to Russia because of the culture, literature and music… and my interest in the 19th-century revolutionary spirit of Herzen, Bakunin and Kropotkin. Russia is a wonderful place to bring new clowns because Russians give back a wonderful response. – Patch Adams

For us in Russia, communism is a dead dog, while, for many people in the West, it is still a living lion. – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn



September 7

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 7, 2017

1923: The International Police Organization (INTERPOL) is formed. The intergovernmental organization helps to facilitate international police cooperation. In 1914, a first attempt was made to establish such an organization, but it was put forth by politicians and legal experts rather than by police themselves and was not capitalized upon. The second such attempt was made in 1922 but failed to gather international attention. In 1923, at the International Criminal Police Congress held in Vienna, the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) was formed and INTERPOL followed from that. The original list of countries ranged from Austria to Yugoslavia and numbered fifteen. The United Kingdom joined in 1928 and the US joined in 1938.

INTERPOL fell under the control of Nazi Germany in 1938 and headquarters were moved to Berlin. Most of the members withdrew their support during this period and between 1938 and 1945, all the presidents were generals in the SS with Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the fourth of these, the highest ranking SS officer executed after the Nuremberg Trials. After World War II ended, the organization was revived as an international group with headquarters outside Paris, where they remained until moved to Lyon in 1989. Before 1980, INTERPOL did not intervene in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals in accordance with their Charter, prohibiting intervention in “political” matters.

Despite what is shown in movies or on TV, INTERPOL is not a supranational law enforcement agency and they have no agents with which to make arrests. They function as a network of agencies from different countries working in unison with INTERPOL acting as liaison between different nations. They provide database assistance to help coordinate information sharing between member nations’ separate law enforcement agencies. INTERPOL has a membership of 190 countries and is the second largest political organization in the world with only the United Nations being larger. Their annual budget is €78 million with under a thousand employees at the INTERPOL General Secretariat, their headquarters.

There are seven regional offices outside their headquarters and they opened a Special Representative Office to the UN in New York City in 2004 as well as the European Union in Brussels in 2009. They built the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore to help with research and development and as a place to investigate digital crimes which officially opened in 2015 although it was functional prior to that date. There have been eight secretaries-general with Jurgen Stock of Germany holding that position today. There have been 28 presidents with Meng Hongwei of China in that position now. INTERPOL issues notices when required and in 2013 there were 13,637 of them with 8,857 of them being Red Notices or the highest of the eight types.

Every day, in every city and town across the country, police officers are performing vital services that help make their communities safer. – Eric Schneiderman

It is a lot harder now to be a police officer than what it used to be. – Steven Seagal

The police must obey the law while enforcing the law. – Earl Warren

The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence. – Robert Peel



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September 6

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 6, 2017

1916: Piggly Wiggly is founded. Clarence Saunders was born in Virginia in 1881 and left school at the age of 14 to become a clerk in a general store. He worked in a coke plant in Alabama and then a sawmill in Tennessee before he returned to sales. In 1900, at the age of 19, he was earning $30 a month as salesman for a wholesale grocer and two years later he formed a grocery wholesale cooperative in Memphis. While watching other business fail, he grew to understand their lack of success was due to extending too much credit which was defaulted upon and high overhead costs. In 1915 he formed Saunders-Blackburn Co. and sold wholesale groceries for cash only and encouraged retail outlets to do the same.

On this day Saunders opened his own grocery store at 79 Jefferson Street in Memphis, Tennessee. It was the first self service grocery store. Customers entered the store through a turnstile and then gathered together the items they wished to purchase. Items were displayed on shelves and had prices marked on them. This new concept allowed for lower overhead as clerks did not have to select items from a storeroom but instead each customer was in charge of gathering their groceries together before lining up at a cash register line to pay, in cash, for their food.

This innovative shopping method was patented by Saunders in 1917. He also was the first to organize his merchandise into departments and had 605 items for his customers to choose from. This not only changed the face of shopping, but also changed the face of manufacturing and packaging. It now became important for companies to package and brand their wares in such a way as to be recognizable to individual customers and brand recognition was born. In order to help clients gather together more groceries as they wended their way through the maze of aisles, Saunders provided shopping carts in 1937, the year they were first introduced. They sold franchise rights to the concept and in 1932, Piggly Wiggly was operating in several states with 2,660 company operated stores and annual sales topping $180 million (nearly $3 billion today).

In 1922, Saunders attempted to manipulate his stock, running share prices up from $40 to $120 and made millions, at least on paper. He was caught and forced out of his own business, losing a reported $9 million in the process. After this, he was no longer involved in Piggly Wiggly at all, but kept an eye on how grocery shopping had changed. Piggly Wiggly was divided into strategic units and sold to regional grocery chains. The franchise stores remained intact and continue to operate today under the auspices of C&S Wholesale Grocers. There are, today, over 600 independent stores in 17 states. You can still shop at The Pig, complete with self service and with your loyalty card proving you are a valued customer.

One story says that, while riding a train, he looked out his window and saw several little pigs struggling to get under a fence, which prompted him to think of the rhyme. Someone once asked him why he had chosen such an unusual name for his organization, to which he replied, “So people will ask that very question.” – from their website, answering why the store was named Piggly Wiggly

The best way to get anybody’s attention is dinner. I have good kitchen skills and good grocery shopping skills. – Al Roker

If people want to find me, they can. They’ll see a middle-aged woman wandering around the grocery store, looking to see what to buy for dinner. – S. E. Hinton

Going to grocery stores is almost my favorite thing to do to calm myself down. There’s something about just walking aisle after aisle making mundane choices. ‘Do I want that? No, I want the one that has the low sodium.’ And that feels like a good exercise to be doing when there isn’t anything to be doing. It’s like a kick-starter in some way. – Shane Carruth



September 5

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 5, 2017

1836: The Republic of Texas holds their first elections. This independent sovereign nation was part of the North American continent from March 2, 1836 until February 19, 1946. Although the land had been part of New Spain, it was not colonized by Spaniards until the French at Fort St. Louis encouraged Spain to establish permanent settlements in the region. Sporadic missionary settlements were all that preceded the establishment of San Antonio. Native Americans were left in peace throughout the region until the land was traded back and forth between France and Spain. By 1810, the territories of New Spain north of the Isthmus of Panama sought independence from Spain in the Mexican War of Independence. Many Americans fought on the side of Mexico.

Texas along with Mexico, received their freedom via the Treaty of Cordoba. Stephen F Austin led a group of Americans who negotiated for the right to settle in Texas, but who was the owner of the land and had the right to rule remained contentious. Texas fought against Mexico for self rule and the struggle for rule continued until the Texas Revolution led to separate states with the signing of the Treaties of Velasco. The first of these was signed on May 14, 1836 and the second was signed by Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and interim President of Texas, David Burnet on April 21, 1836. Neither of these was ever ratified by Mexico because Santa Anna had signed under coercion while being held prisoner. Texas considered itself a free state.

On March 1, 1836 the Convention of 1836 came to order and on the following day, the leaders declared independence from Mexico and the establishment of the Republic of Texas. An interim government was set up and many of the issues of creating a new country were taken care of. Even as outside interference continued, they penned the constitution of the land and carried on as a separate nation-state. On this day, they held their first elections. They created a bicameral Congress and elected 14 senators and 29 representatives. Their first President would serve for a period of two years and subsequent Presidents would serve three-year terms. In order to hold office, one must be a citizen of Texas.

Not everyone who lived within the disputed borders was considered a “citizen” and so were not permitted to vote or hold office. Some of the inhabitants were not even legally considered eligible to remain in Texas and needed the consent of Congress to live there. Decisions in this regard were based on ethnicity with the constitution claimed that Africans, descendents of Africans, and Indians to not be eligible at all. White settlers had to live within Texas’s borders for six months before becoming citizens. On this day, there were three men running for the office of President. Stephen Austin received just 10.3% of the votes while Henry Smith got 13%. Sam Houston won the election with 76.7% of the votes. Elections were held four times before Texas became part of the US with Houston winning this and the third elections.

A leader is someone who helps improve the lives of other people or improve the system they live under.

Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.

Texas, to be respected must be polite. Santa Anna living, can be of incalculable benefit to Texas; Santa Anna dead, would just be another dead Mexican.

I am aware that in presenting myself as the advocate of the Indians and their rights, I shall stand very much alone. – all from Sam Houston



September 4

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 4, 2017

1882: The Pearl Street generating station goes live. Thomas Edison was born in 1847 in Ohio as the youngest of seven children. He was raised in Michigan and was home schooled. He increased his curriculum by reading extensively. He saved a toddler from being struck by a runaway train and the child’s father, station agent JU MacKenzie, trained young Thomas as a telegraph operator. He experimented, got into trouble, and was rescued by kind souls – all the while learning as much as he could and beginning his impressive life as an inventor. Some of his earliest inventions concerned telegraphy. He moved to New Jersey and began to churn out new ideas at an astounding rate. Many of his later ideas centered on electricity and it’s many uses.

Edison was a proponent of direct current (DC) and founded Edison Illuminating Company in 1880 in order to compete with gas street lighting. He patented his system for electricity distribution and on this day opened his Pearl Street Station in New York City. It provided 110 volts of DC to 59 customers in lower Manhattan. There is another way to distribute electricity, alternating current (AC) and this was supported in America by Westinghouse Electric Company. The two electric giants battled extensively in the War of the Currents before AC finally won out.

Europeans invented transformers which allowed for AC to be transmitted over long distances and while Edison maintained this was dangerous and continued to support DC energy. His system supplied electricity to street lamps and private dwellings. By January 1883, he was using overhead wires in Roselle, New Jersey. The Edison Illuminating Company’s stations were a prototype for other local illuminating companies throughout the US during the 1880s. The company was purchased by Consolidated Gas between 1898 and 1901 and by 1936, electricity sales were so much higher than gas sales, the company changed the name to Consolidated Edison.

Today, Con Edison or Con Ed is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the US. They had about $13 billion in revenue in 2016 with $47 billion in total assets. They continue to supply electricity via 93,000 miles of underground cables and about 36,000 miles of overhead wires. Their gas distribution has about 7,200 miles of pipes and delivers enough gas each year to fill the Empire State Building about 6,100 times. They also produce 30 billion pounds of steam each year to heat and cool buildings in New York City. It is the largest district steam system in the world with some pretty famous customers – the UN complex, the Empire State Building, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If the presence of electricity can be made visible in any part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence may not be transmitted instantaneously by electricity. – Samuel Morse

We believe that electricity exists, because the electric company keeps sending us bills for it, but we cannot figure out how it travels inside wires. – Dave Barry

We forget just how painfully dim the world was before electricity. A candle, a good candle, provides barely a hundredth of the illumination of a single 100 watt light bulb. – Bill Bryson

Ben Franklin may have discovered electricity- but it is the man who invented the meter who made the money. – Earl Warren