Little Bits of History

February 14

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 14, 2017

1983: The United American Bank (UAB) collapses. Jacob “Jake” Butcher was born in 1936 in Union County, Tennessee. His father was a general store manager and president of the bank in Union County. Jake attended the University of Tennessee and Hiwassee College and then served in the United States Marine Corps. He and his younger brother, CH Butcher, Jr., worked at their father’s bank while teenagers. The brothers began buying stock in many Tennessee banks in 1968 and by 1974 owned or controlled eight banks. Their United American Bank controlled 39% of the banking reserves in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In the late 1970s, UAB built a 27-story headquarters in Knoxville and it was, and remains, the city’s tallest building. Plaza Tower was joined by CH Butcher’s City and County Bank’s Riverview Tower, the second tallest building in the city. Jake expanded his area of influence in the early 1970s by entering politics. In 1974, he hoped to gain the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor of Tennessee, but lost in the primary. He did get the nomination in 1978 but lost the election to Republican Lamar Alexander. There was talk of his running again in 1982, but he supported Knoxville Mayor for the race. His brother supported Alexander’s bid for a second term. Alexander won.

The 1982 World’s Fair open in Knoxville, a project which had greatly benefited from Butcher influence. It was considered to be a success with over 11 million visitors in the six months it was open. The site remains in use as a park in Knoxville. By 1982, UAB owned over half of Knoxville’s business loans and Jake’s personal net worth was listed at about $34 million. There were rumors the brothers had engaged in illegal banking practices. On November 1, 1982 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sent in 180 federal bank regulators to all 29 bank branches and offices owned by the brothers simultaneously to prevent transfers of funds to cover malfeasance.

The investigation revealed illegal loans, forged documents, and various other forms of fraud. On this day, the USB bank failed, the fourth largest bank failure in the country – up to that time. Seven other Butcher-controlled banks and a separate loan entity run by CH failed during the remainder of the year and three more failed in 1984. The FDIC estimated the losses connected to these collapses to be approximately $382.6 million. Jake Butcher was also found to be penniless. His assets were listed at nearly $12 million but his liabilities were $32.5 million. He pled guilty to bank fraud in 1985 and was sentences to twenty years and received parole in 1992. CH was also sent to prison and was paroled in 1993. He died in 2002. Jake is reportedly working as Toyota distributer and real estate developer near Atlanta, Georgia.

There is no evidence that more regulation makes things better. The most highly regulated industry in America is commercial banking, and that didn’t save those institutions from making terrible decisions. – Wilbur Ross

It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning. – Henry Ford

Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. – Josiah Stamp

There’s a loss of faith in the banking system that for so long has been the backbone of prosperity and growth. – Lucy Powell



Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 14, 2015
Great Ormond Street Hospital

Great Ormond Street Hospital

February 14, 1852: Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is founded. It was originally called the Hospital for Sick Children and was the first in-patient hospital in England specifically for children. Dr. Charles West was born in London in 1816 and became one of the great physicians of his time. He specialized in obstetrics and pediatrics. Under his guidance, GOSH came into being on this day with just ten beds available. Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens were both early supporters of the hospital and helped it to become one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. Other notables from England who have helped were Audrey Callaghan, wife of former Prime Minister, and Diana, Princess of Wales who served as president of the Hospital from 1989 until her death.

St. Christopher’s Chapel, part of the hospital, was designed by Edward Barry, son of the architect who designed the Houses of Parliament. The chapel was built in 1875 and dedicated to Caroline Barry, sister-in-law of Edward. It was Caroline who donated £40,000 to build the chapel as well as provide a stipend for the chaplain. It was built in an “elaborate Franco-Italianate style” and decorated in the Byzantine style. It is located in the Variety Club Building of the hospital. Since it was built to minister to sick children and their families, many of the details refer to childhood. At the back of the chapel, a row of teddy bears and other soft toys form the Teddy Bear Choir.

The old hospital was demolished in the 1980s. The chapel was considered a work of art in itself and was moved to its new location via a “concrete raft” in order to prevent damage while en route. The stained glass and furniture were removed during the move and refurbished prior to reinstallation. The chapel was reopened along with the new Variety Club Building on February 14, 1994 with Princess Diana, then president of GOSH, doing the honors.

In April 1929, JM Barrie gave his copyright to the Peter Pan works to the hospital, with a provision that the income from this source not be disclosed. GOSH controlled the rights to these works and was entitled to royalties from any performance of the play or publications of the novel. Barrie died in 1937 and so fifty years later the copyright ran out. The UK government granted the hospital a perpetual right to collect royalties for public performances, commercial publication, or other communications to the public of the work. The UK copyright was later extended to 2007 by a European Union directive in 1996 meeting the standard of EU terms of the author’s life plus 70 years. GOSH and US have been in dispute over this since in the US, copyright is based on publication date and the novel was published in 1911. This would put the work in the public domain. GOSH claims the 1928 version of the play is still under copyright in the US.

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

Life is a long lesson in humility.

Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough, You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.

Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary? – all from James M. Barrie

Also on this day: Opening Night – In 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest opened in London.
Smooch – In 270, St. Valentine was executed.
Scarface vs. Bugs – In 1929, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre took place in Chicago.
Apostles – In 1835, The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were first named.
Women Can Vote – In 1920, the League of Women Voters was formed.

Women Can Vote

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 14, 2014
League of Women Voters

League of Women Voters

February 14, 1920: The League of Women Voters is founded. The National American Woman Suffrage Association was founded in May 1890 as the merging of previous smaller suffrage groups. It was at the last meeting of this group that the League was formed. Women were close to getting the vote in the US. The Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920. This amendment had been drafted by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cody Stanton and was first considered by the Senate in 1878. There it sat in committee until a vote could be taken and it was rejected 16 to 34.

It wasn’t until 1914 that the amendment was again given consideration but the Senate once again rejected the idea. In 1915, the proposal for women’s suffrage was brought before the House and they, too, voted it down. On January 10, 1918 the proposal was once again before the House, the day after President Wilson made a widely publicized appeal. It needed a two-thirds vote to pass and made it with one extra vote. However, the Senate was also required to vote on it and they did not pass it, being two votes short. A second vote was held in February 1919 and it failed, this time by one vote. President Wilson worked tirelessly and on May 21, 1919 the proposal passed the House with 42 more votes than needed and on June 4, 1919, the Senate finally passed with a vote of 56 to 42.

Wisconsin was the first to ratify the Amendment on June 10, 1919. Tennessee was the last needed to ratify the Amendment for it to pass and they did so on August 18, 1920. Mississippi finally ratified the Amendment, the last and 48th state to do so, on March 22, 1984 (Alaska and Hawaii were not states at the time of the proposal). Women were poised and ready to begin casting their votes. The League of Women Voters and all the predecessor associations had finally persuaded the men in power to allow all adult citizens affected by the outcomes of elections to actually cast votes. The League still exists today as a nonpartisan group of about 150,000 members working to get voters to the polls. Today, Elisabeth MacNamara is the President.

The League was founded by Cassie Chapman Catt who had served as the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association as well. Her efforts to persuade Congress helped bring Amendment XIX into being. Catt also ran as a US Presidential candidate in 1920. She did not just believe that women in America should be given a voice in their government, but thought women around the world should be granted the same right. She helped to found the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in 1902 and served it its president from 1904 to 1923. It, too, remains active to this day.

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. – Winston Churchill

The vote is a trust more delicate than any other, for it involves not just the interests of the voter, but his life, honor and future as well. – Jose Marti

Your every voter, as surely as your chief magistrate, exercises a public trust. – Grover Cleveland

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Also on this day: Opening Night – In 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest opened in London.
Smooch – In 270, St. Valentine was executed.
Scarface vs. Bugs – In 1929, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre took place in Chicago.
Apostles – In 1835, The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were first named.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 14, 2013
St. Valentine

St. Valentine

February 14, 270: A holy priest of Rome is executed. Legend states the man was martyred because he refused to renounce his Christian faith. Or else, he was a Roman temple priest who defied Emperor Claudius. Although his biography is uncertain, ruins in catacombs prove the existence of St. Valentine. The saint is said to have been beaten with clubs and then beheaded. Saints are not to rest in peace, but must perform miracles and intercessions even after death. St. Valentine is the patron saint of affianced couples, happy marriages, love and lovers along with epilepsy, plague, and bee keepers.

While in jail awaiting his execution, Valentine cured the jailer’s daughter of blindness. On the eve of his demise, he penned a farewell letter addressed to the girl and signed it, “From your Valentine.” In 1260, Jacobus de Voragine wrote Legenda Aurea, a best seller in the High Middle Ages. Golden Legends was a collection of fanciful tales about the lives of the saints. According to this book, the jailer’s daughter was cured of deafness, too.

Another legend states Emperor Claudius noted single men made better soldiers than their married counterparts, since married men worried about their wives and children back home. In a burst of governmental logic, Claudius outlawed marriage. Valentine, in defiance of the law, continued to marry young couples. Some claim Valentine’s Day was fortuitously moved to mid-February in order to mask the Lupercalia, a Roman holiday culminating in a rite where bachelors each drew a maiden’s name from an urn and so formed a pairing for the coming year. The couple lived together and many of them eventually married.

Valentine’s Day as practiced in the Americas and Europe is a celebration of romance, passion, and heart-shaped remembrances. The US Greeting Card Association estimates 1 billion cards are exchanged on this day. Untold dozens of roses (usually red; sometimes pink or other colors) or else possibly hyacinths, crocuses, or buttercups are sent with each flower type holding a different message. Chocolates, often arranged in heart-shaped boxes, are another popular present. A really hot gift is ice – in the form of diamonds.

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

“Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.” – Anais Nin

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.” – Zora Neale Hurston

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Roses are beautiful and come in many different colors. Those colors are imbued with meaning. The traditional red rose means love, beauty, courage, and passion. White is for purity and innocence. Pink denotes appreciation, grace, and happiness. Yellow is for joy, gladness, friendship, and delight. Orange shows enthusiasm or desire. Peach is appreciation, sincerity, and gratitude. Coral shows desire. A single rose of any color communicates devotion. Two roses twined together says, “Marry me.” Six roses show a need to be loved or cherished. Eleven roses tell the recipient they are deeply loved and thirteen indicate a secret admirer.

Also on this day: Opening Night – In 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest opened in London.
Scarface vs. Bugs – In 1929, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre took place in Chicago.
Apostles – In 1835, The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were first named.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 14, 2012

Joseph Smith, Jr. portrait

February 14, 1835: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is first named. On April 6, 1830 Joseph Smith, Jr. founded the Latter Day Saint movement in New York. In 1827, when he was 27 years old, he announced an angel showed him some golden plates five years earlier. These were eventually translated and published as the Book of Mormon in 1830. The plates came into Smith’s possession and sworn affidavits by eleven others say they also saw and handled the ancient plates, too.

The Three Witnesses, three of those who had seen the golden plates, were instructed by Smith to select the original twelve members for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of Twelve. The chosen were announced on this day and anointed as apostles. These were the leaders of the church, also called LDS or Mormons. They are Restorationist Christians. They are not part of the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, or any variety of Protestant religion.

Smith moved to Kirkland, Ohio in 1831. He continued to preach the tenets of his church and proffer the Book of Mormon for instruction. While preaching, Smith and his family lived as guests in believers’ homes. He met with problems and one night an angry mob dragged him from his bed, beat him unconscious, and tarred and feathered him. He was almost castrated, as well. This hastened his move to Missouri. The group arrived in Independence, then a small village of about twenty homes.

The Mormons met with disapproval in Missouri, too. There were also problems within the ranks of church members and some of the twelve apostles were expelled. Hostilities between Missourians and Mormons escalated. Smith was jailed but was permitted to “escape” on his way to trial. Brigham Young had assumed leadership while Smith had been incarcerated. Smith was killed by a group of assailants when he was once again in custody. There was a mad dash to see who could manage to take over the leadership of the church. Brigham Young suggested the Quorum lead the church together. He was the leader of the group of twelve.

Mormons think they live in their own world, … and that Utah’s this place where it’s supposed to be perfect. “God is here.” But he’s not. Not any more than he is in Compton. – Quinn Allman

It’s a lot more common now for someone to know a Mormon rather than just know of Mormons out in Utah, … We seem more normal. We’re not as exotic. – Brigham Young

Education is the power to think clearly, the power to act well in the worlds work, and the power to appreciate life. – Brigham Young

If my life is of no value to my friends, then it is of no value to me. – Joseph Smith, Jr.

Also on this day:

Opening Night – In 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest opened in London.
Smooch – In 270, St. Valentine was executed.
Scarface vs. Bugs – In 1929, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre took place in Chicago.

Scarface vs. Bugs

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 14, 2011

Al Capone's mugshot

February 14, 1929: A territorial war on the North Side of Chicago is settled when seven members of George “Bugs” Moran’s gang are executed by five members of Al “Scarface” Capone’s gang. Bootlegging was big business and the profits were high. Capone and Moran had long been fighting over territory. Moran’s men had made a attempt on Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn, a member of Capone’s gang. McGurn planned to eliminate Bugs, or at least eliminate his power.

McGurn’s plan was carried out: he and four other men, with two of them dressed as policemen arrived at the warehouse to “sell” Moran’s men some bootleg whiskey. When Moran and his lookouts saw a police cruiser arrive, they left. The “police” entered the garage and ordered the remaining seven of Moran’s men against the back wall. The thugs, not fearing mere police, did as asked. They were gunned down by Capone’s men who used Thompson machine guns. Then the men in civilian clothes lifted their hands over their heads, the “police” took them to the waiting police car, and they all left the scene.

Bugs has come to Chicago at age 19 in 1910 and came to power with his gang in 1924. He attempted to kill Johnny Torrio in 1925. Although injured, Torrio survived. He wanted to return to Italy and so he gave over the reins to Capone, then only 26 years old. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre effectively ended Moran’s power base. It also brought national attention to Capone who was eventually charged with income tax evasion. While imprisoned, Capone full of bluster, but without his network of support, declined in spirit and health. He died of a stroke that was followed by pneumonia in 1947 at age 48. Moran lived to age 65 and died of lung cancer in 1957.

The garage where the massacre took place was demolished in 1967. However, the famous back wall was dismantled brick-by-brick and the bricks were shipped to George Patey in Vancouver. There they were used to set the mood at the Banjo Palace, a Roaring Twenties themed bar.

“Yeah, I know who you are, greaseball. And if you don’t get back to the end of that fucking line, I’m gonna’ know who you were.” – James Lucas, fellow inmate at Alcatraz in an altercation with Capone.

“Possibly it wasn’t too important for the world to know that we couldn’t be bought, but I did want Al Capone and every gangster in the city to realize that there were still a few law enforcement agents who couldn’t be swerved from their duty.” – Elliot Ness

“I am like any other man. All I do is supply a demand.” – Al Capone

“Make no mistake; they’re not just ordinary drug traffickers. To call them that would be something akin to calling Al Capone a tax cheat.” – Karen Tandy

Also on this day:
Opening Night – In 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest opened in London.
St. Valentine – In 270 St. Valentine was executed.


Opening Night

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 14, 2010

The original production of The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895 with Allan Aynesworth as Algernon (left) and George Alexander as Jack (right)

February 14, 1895: Oscar Wilde’s last play, The Importance of Being Earnest, opens at the St. James’s Theatre in London. Wilde’s fame was at its peak as his classic comedy of manners is brought to life on the stage. The Importance of Being Earnest is considered by critics and scholars to be the wittiest play written in English. The play is replete with witting bon mots and satirizes many of the Victorian foibles and pretenses. Two of the lead characters become embroiled in a web of lies as they each go by two different names.

Wilde was born into a wealthy Irish family and was an outstanding student at Trinity College in Dublin. He won the Berkeley Gold Medal, the highest award given to students studying the classics. He fell in love with Florence Balcome who eventually married Bram Stoker. Wilde was so upset that he left Ireland.

While studying at Magdalen College, Oxford, Wilde became involved in the aesthetic and decadent movements. The followers of these movements were anti-Victorian and thought that art would best serve if it were to provide sensuous pleasure rather than present a moral tale.

Wilde married Constance Lloyd and had two sons. However, he was involved in several homosexual affairs and met with male prostitutes. He fell in love with Lord Alfred Douglass, son of the 9th Marquess of Queensberry. Wilde brought suit against the Marquess for libel but ended up having to defend himself against the illegal act of sodomy. He was sentenced to two years at hard labor. Prison life proved harmful to his health. After his release, Wilde exiled himself from artistic circles and lived in poverty until his death in 1900.

“Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”

“The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”

“A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.”

“Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.”

“Only the shallow know themselves.” – all from Oscar  Wilde

Also on this day, in 270 St. Valentine was executed.