Little Bits of History

September 18

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 18, 2017

1984: The first solo transatlantic balloon flight is completed. Joseph Kittinger was born in Florida in 1928. He was interested in all things flight oriented and was solo flying a Piper Cub by the time he was 17. He also raced speedboats as a teenager. He joined the US Air Force as an aviation cadet in 1949 and completed his training one year later. His first assignment was in West Germany flying the F-84 Thunderjet and F-86 Sabre. In 1954 he flew the chase plane which monitored Colonel John Stapp’s rocket sled and the two became friendly.

By now Captain Kittinger, in 1957 he was part of Project Excelsior, which was part of a research team into high altitude bailouts. He made three extreme altitude parachute jumps from an open gondola carried up by large helium balloons and set a record of 102,800 feet on his last jump in 1960. Also part of Project Stargazer, Kittinger and William White took an open-gondola helium balloon up to 82,200 feet and stayed for 18 hours to perform astronomical observations. Not just a research pilot, Kittinger also served three combat tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was shot down and held as a POW for 11 month in the infamous prison known as Hanoi Hilton.

Kittinger retired from the Air Force as a Colonel in 1978 after  having amassed a great many awards. He went to work for what is now Lockheed Martin Corporation in Florida. He never lost his interest in ballooning. During this time, he set the world record for the AA-06 size class gas balloon distance in 1983 when he floated 2001.5 miles. Next, using Balloon of Peace, a 106,000 cubic foot gas balloon, he left for a trip across the Atlantic on September 14 and arrived at his destination on this day, the first to cross the ocean. The flight was organized by Canadian promoter Gaetan Croteau and it was the longest gas balloon distance flight ever recorded in the AA-10 size category. He covered 3542.7 miles.

Kittinger also advised Felix Baumgartner on the Red Bull Stratos project when Baumgatner would jump from an even higher altitude than Kittinger had done in 1960. In 2012, the new record was set at 128,100 feet and Kittenger was part of the record breaking day. He also has been assisting Jonathan Trappe as he attempts to be the first to cross the Atlantic by cluster balloon. The FIA keeps statistics and records for all these feats. They also maintain specifications for different types of flights, including what constitutes a “gas balloon”. There are man-carrying balloons using hydrogen for buoyancy and introduced in 1763, early in ballooning history. These balloons give greater lift by volume.

How posterity will laugh at us, one way or other! If half a dozen break their necks, and balloonism is exploded, we shall be called fools for having imagined it could be brought to use; if is should be turned to account, we shall be ridiculed for having doubted. – Horace Walpole

The best way of travel, however, if you aren’t in any hurry at all, if you don’t care where you are going, if you don’t like to use your legs, if you don’t want to be annoyed at all by any choice of directions, is in a balloon. In a balloon, you can decide only when to start, and usually when to stop. The rest is left entirely to nature.  – William Pene du Bois

The balloon seems to stand still in the air while the earth files past underneath.  – Alberto Santos-Dumont

We’re at 103,000 feet. Looking out over a very beautiful, beautiful world … a hostile sky. As you look up the sky looks beautiful but hostile. As you sit here you realize that Man will never conquer space. He will learn to live with it, but he will never conquer it. Can see for over 400 miles. Beneath me I can see the clouds… . They are beautiful … looking through my mirror the sky is absolutely black. Void of anything… . I can see the beautiful blue of the sky and above that it goes into a deep, deep, dark, indescribable blue which no artist can ever duplicate. It’s fantastic. – Joseph Kittinger (aboard Excelsior III on August 16, 1960

 

 

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September 17

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 17, 2017

1928: The Okeechobee hurricane makes landfall in the US. On September 6 reports first came in about a storm forming near Dakar, Senegal. Reports filtered in until September 10 when the SS Commack reported the storm about 900 miles east of Guadeloupe, the most easterly position for the storm. By 6 PM UTC, the Hurricane Research Division (par of NOAA or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) had classified the storm as a hurricane. It continued to intensify as it headed for the Lesser Antilles and on the evening of September 12, the eye passed over Guadeloupe with a barometric pressure of 940 millibars and winds at 140 mph, making at a Category 4 hurricane.

Quickly moving on, it passed over Saint Croix and then neared Puerto Rico with the eye measuring 15 miles across. It took eight hours to pass over Puerto Rico on September 13 and then continued on. Passing over land usually weakens a hurricane and this was no exception. The storm was a Category 5 hurricane with winds at 200 mph at landfall, but had lowered once again to 140 mph as the storm moved past the island. The storm moved through the Bahamas and was once again gaining speed. It was a strong Cat 4 as it passed Nassau. It was hoped the storm would miss Florida.

At around midnight, the hurricane made landfall at West Palm Beach with winds at 145 mph and a pressure reading of 929 milibars. Peak gusts of winds hit 160 mph. It weakened as it passed overland, but because of its large size, it maintained hurricane status for several more days. It moved over Lake Okeechobee, and that is the name given for this particular storm. As it crossed Florida, it took to sea once again and then strengthened slightly before turning around and at 8 AM UTC, it made landfall again near Edisto Island in South Carolina. Winds were down to 85 mph by that time. It was finally downgraded to a tropical storm on September 19 and dissipated over Ontario September 21.

It was one of the deadliest Atlantic hurricanes of history. The storm killed almost 4,100 people overall with most of them in Florida where the death toll rose to 2,500. It is the third deadliest natural disaster in the US with only the Galveston hurricane of 1900 and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake claiming more lives. Katrina, the deadliest hurricane of this millennia and third overall, claimed 1,836 lives. The Okeechobee hurricane destroyed 1,711 homes in West Palm Beach with the storm surge contributing greatly to the problem. It reached a height of 20 feet and swept away homes throughout the region. The storm continued to damage properties up the eastern seaboard and the total damages in Florida were assessed at $25 million. The damages throughout the path of the storm totaled $100 million or about $1.3 billion today.

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. William – Arthur Ward

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. – Henry Beston

To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind. – Bruce Lee

 

 

September 16

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 16, 2017

1956: TCN-9 begins broadcasting. Television is the broadcasting of moving images and sound, beamed from one location as radio waves and into a specialized receiver made for the purpose and set at the same frequency as the broadcast. Early transmissions were only possible in monochrome or black and white. The first television station in the world was developed in Schenectady, New York at the General Electric facility there. They first sent programming out into the world in 1928. The methodology of the time has been totally superseded by new technology, but the idea remains the same. A station sends out signals which the owner’s receiver decodes into images and sounds.

TCN remains Sydney, Australia’s flagship TV station of Nine Network in Australia. On this day, they began broadcasting which made them the first station in Australia to begin regular transmissions. They had been testing for months prior to this with the first test run on July 13. These began with a simple still slide and went on to documentaries and dramas. The first words spoken on the station were when John Godson introduced the station and were audio-only and took place shortly before the first program aired. That first program was This is Television and that was introduced by Bruce Gyngell. He is often given credit as the first to appear on Australian TV because he was both seen and heard.

Sir Frank Packer headed Television Corporation Ltd and was issued four licenses, two in Sydney and two in Melbourne, as the beginning of Australian TV. TCN remains today, the home of the NRL coverage and national level Nine News bulletins. Nine Network (aka Channel Nine or just Nine) is a division of Nine Entertainment Co. and is a commercial free-to-air network. They are based in Willoughby, outside Sydney. They were the highest rated network in Australia until 2006 and have since been in the top two along with Seven Network. They began their second station in Melbourne, GTV-9, later that year and broadcast the 1956 Sumer Olympics. By 1959 they opened two more station, one in Brisbane and one in Adelaide.

One of TCN’s earliest programs (which in Australia would be a programme) was Bandstand launched by Brian Henderson. It lasted for 14 years and launched many careers for Australian performers. Sir Frank died in 1974 and ownership of Nine Network passed on to his younger son, Kerry, even though his brother, Clyde, had been groomed for the job. The father and son fought in the early 1970s and so ownership changed. Today, Nine Entertainment Co. is publicly traded and headquartered in Sydney. Peter Costello is Chairman and Hugh Marks is CEO. James Packer, Sir Frank’s grandson, quit the concern in 2008 and has moved outside the media industry.

Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome. – T. S. Eliot

Television is chewing gum for the eyes. – Frank Lloyd Wright

Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there – I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. – Andy Warhol

Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye. – Bill Hicks

 

 

September 15

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 15, 2017

1958: A Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ)  train derails. The CRRNJ built the Newark Bay Bridge to replace an older track built in 1901 which itself replaced a wooden bridge built in 1864. The bridge was opened in 1926 and had a pair of lifts which raised to permit ships to sail underneath. The longer of the two spans was 299 feet and the shorter was 211 feet. Vertical clearance went from 135 feet  when opened to 35 feet when closed and able to support rail traffic. Each span was independent and many safety features were built into the construction.

Safety measures included a set of markers before the bridge. Three signals (the first three-quarters of a mile before the bridge, the second a quarter mile, and a third 500 feet before the draw bridge, were part of this system. Also included was an automatic derailing device fifty feet past the last signal or 450 feet before the gaping span. The raised spans had to both be lowered and locked electronically before the signals and derail device could be cleared. Also, all the devices had to be in their most restrictive mode prior to one or both of the spans being raised.

During this day’s commute, all the signals were flashing in their restrictive modes as the span was raised. Despite this, commuter train #3314 did not stop at the signals. It was derailed by the final safety measure, but that was designed to knock the wheels off the track and stop an already slowing train. The train was moving at too great a speed for the final safety feature to be of any use. There wasn’t enough time for the train to grind to a halt before the two diesel locomotives pulling the train, along with the first two coaches of passengers plunged into the Newark Bay and sank, killing 48. A third coach was snagged by its rear truck and hung for two hours before it also fell into the Bay.

Three different entities investigated the wreck. All found that no “dead man’s control” was in use and was the primary cause of the accident. Since the crew were killed in the accident, they were unable to explain their actions and/or inactions. The 63 year old conductor was found to have heart disease but he died of drowning and so it was not thought to be the immediate problem. The 42 year old fireman was found to be healthy and there was no explanation as to why he could not or did not stop the train. Although the locomotives were raised, their brakes were found to be in working order. They were refurbished and put back into service without further incident. The supposed cause of the accident was thought to be the incapacitation of the engineer and without a dead man’s control and the fireman’s inaction, the train plunged into the waters. CRRNJ went out of business in 1976 when filing for bankruptcy for the third time. The bridge closed in 1980 and was dismantled in 1988.

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. – Corrie Ten Boom

If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

People’s lives are in the care of the railways when they get on a train. The railways should remember that. – Nina Bawden

 

 

September 14

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 14, 2017

1914: AE1 goes out for patrol. Formally known today as HMAS AE1, she was an E-class submarine used by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Laid down on November 14, 1911 and launched on May 22, 1913, the sub was built by Vickers Armstrong, a British shipbuilding concern. These were the class of submarines used as the backbone of the navies throughout the British Commonwealth. AE1 was part of the group 1 boats and cost £101,900 per hull. The subs went through several modifications as time went on and as more improvements were made, the price per boat increased as well. Most of the subs were built prior to World War I even starting and they were all taken out of commission by 1922.

The biggest improvement over the D-class subs was the additional broadside torpedo tubes. AE1 was 181 feet overall and had a beam of 22.5 feet with a draft of 12.5 feet. This class of submarine was designed to have a diving depth of 100 feet but because of the way they were built with watertight bulkhead which strengthened the hull, they were able to dive up to depths of 200 feet. They were powered by two diesel engines, each operating its own propeller and had an electric motor to supply breaking power. Top speed was 17 mph on the surface and 12 mph submerged. They could carry 40 long tons of fuel giving them a range of 3,500 miles. A full crew was 34 officers and enlisted men.

When World War I broke out, AE1 was commanded by Lieutenant Commander Thomas Besant. The sub was part of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. AE1 and AE2 were the two subs included in the mission to take German controlled New Guinea. This was the site of wireless radio operations in the Pacific and harming German communications was a priority. The Force was able to take control of Rabaul on September 13, 1914. The next day, AE1 left Blanche Bay, Rabaul along with SMAS Parramatta around 7 AM. They were to patrol off Cape Gazelle. By 8 PM, when they had not yet returned, several ships were sent out to look for them. No trace of the sub was ever found and they were assumed to be lost as sea with all hands.

The probable cause of the disappearance was a wreck on a reef or other submerged object. It was Australia’s first major loss of World War I. As the war raged on, no further searches were carried out until the 1970s when a RAN officer, John Foster, learned of the loss and wanted to find the submarine. Over the years, many tries have been made, but all potential sites are either other wrecks in the area, and they are many, or natural landscape features. Find AE1Limited announced, 101 years after the disappearance, a plan to make another attempt to find the sub. So far, AE1 remains elusive and despite all the attempts to find her, remains hidden away in the deep.

I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea. – H. G. Wells

In the long course of history, having people who understand your thought is much greater security than another submarine. – J. William Fulbright

I think a submarine is a very worthwhile weapon. I believe we can defend ourselves with submarines and all our troops back at home. This whole idea that we have to be in 130 countries and 900 bases… is an old-fashioned idea. – Ron Paul

Some ships are designed to sink… others require our assistance. – Nathan Zelk, stationed on USS Montpelier

 

 

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