Little Bits of History

March 1

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 7, 2017

1872: Yellowstone National Park is established. The 3,468 square mile park lies mostly in Wyoming, but also extends into Montana and Idaho. The first US National Park was signed into law on this day by President Ulysses S Grant. It is (arguably) the first national park in the world. Native Americans have lived in the region for at least 11,000 years. There were few others who explored the area until the late 1860s. The newly established Park fell under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior who at the time was Columbus Delano. The US Army was given oversight of the park from 1886 until 1916 and then in 1917 it finally came under the newly created National Park Service. There are more than 1,000 archaeological sites within the park.

The most famous of the features include Yellowstone Lake and the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano in North America. Half ot he world’s geothermal features are in Yellowstone Park and are fueled by lava flows from this one supervolcano. It is also the headwaters for the Yellowstone River, the feature for which the park was named. The lands were set to be explored earlier in the century, the US Civil War got in the way and so the first official exploration of the region took place in 1896, the Cook-Folsom-Peterson Expedition. The Hayden Geological Survey was done in 1871 with government sponsorship and the report returned helped to convince US Congress to remove the lands from public auction.

Hayden was not the first to believe a public park should be created in order to preserve this unique ecosystem, but he was one of the strongest advocates. He was worried commercial interests could turn the area into another Niagara Falls. Opposition from locals was intense at first but eventually it was found to be a boon to the local economies. There are nearly five million pilgrims who come to see the steaming sulfur beds and the most amazing of all of the features in the Park, Old Faithful. It was the first of the more 1,200 known geysers to be named, although others have since been given the honor.

Old Faithful eruptions have been recorded more than one million times and a formula for both the duration and the intervals and their relationship to each has been described. Anywhere from 3,700 to 8,400 gallons of boiling hot water are sprayed into the air to heights of 106 to 185 feet. The blast can last from 1.5 to 5 minutes and the intervals between them are anywhere from 35 to 120 minutes with an average of 66.5 minutes back in 1939 but closer to 90 minutes today. Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles call the Park home as do a range of land formations from mountains to river valleys, forests to grasslands; it is the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in Earth’s northern temperate zone.

AN ACT to set apart a certain tract of land lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River as a public park.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That the tract of land in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming … is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people;

And all persons who shall locate, or settle upon, or occupy the same or any part thereof, except as hereinafter provided, shall be considered trespassers and removed there from …
Approved March 1, 1872. – all from The Act of Dedication

Wives Wanted

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 1, 2015
The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence

The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence

March 1, 752 BC: Romulus celebrates victory. Romulus founded Rome, according to legend, in 753 BC. The conquerors began looking for wives and entered into negotiations with the Sabines, peoples already living in the area. The Sabines feared the emergence of a new and rival society and refused to allow their women to marry the Romans. During the festival of Neptune Equester, people from many other societies were engaged in a joyous celebration. Included with the Savines were Caeninenses, Crustumini, and Antemnates. The Romans were also invited to participate. At a signal given my Romulus, the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the men. They left with their prizes. The Rape of the Sabine Women tells the story of the event. However, the term “rape” comes from the Latin raptio and in this context means “abduction” rather than sexual violence.

Livy, the Roman who tells the story, claimed there was no sexual assault. However, there may have been a bit of seduction. Romulus was said to have spoken with each woman carried away and promised her many things if she were to accept a Roman as her husband. He also blamed the entire capture on the “pride of their fathers” who had refused their previous offers of marriage. The women were asked to accept the Romans as husbands and then they would be given free choice as well as civic and property rights. What the Romans were seeking were families and needed women to make the children they coveted. There was no promise from the men to help actually raise the children.

After the women were carried off, the king of the Caeninenses entered Roman territory with his army to retrieve them. Romulus and his men met them in battle where they killed the king and routed his army. Romulus then attacked Caenina and took it on the first assault. He returned to Rome and dedicated the first temple of Rome to Jupiter Feretrius. The spoils from the enemy king were offered as spolia opima (the armor, weapons, and other effects stripped from an opposing commander slain in single combat). According to legends, the celebration was held on this day.

Next the Antemnates attacked and were defeated and then the Crustumini attacked. They, too, were defeated. The Sabines finally declared war and were led into battle by king Titus Tatius. The Sabine king nearly captured Rome due to the treasonous actions of Tarpeia, daughter of the governor of the citadel on the Capitoline Hill. She opened the gates to the Sabines who took the citadel. The captured Sabine, now Roman, women intervened. They pled with their Sabine fathers and Roman husbands to stop the killing for the sake of the children. The battle ended and the Sabines agreed to unite in one nation with the Romans. Titus Tatius and Romulus reigned jointly for the next five years.

A good marriage is where both people feel like they’re getting the better end of the deal. – Anne Lamott

A happy marriage is still the greatest treasure within the gift of fortune. – Eden Phillpotts

Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them. – Sydney Smith

The difference between courtship and marriage is the difference between the pictures in a seed catalogue and what comes up. – James Wharton

Also on this day: Peace Corps – In 1961, the Peace Corps was formed.
Saint David – In 589, St. David of Wales died.
Salem Witch Trials Begin – In 1692, the mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials started.
The Buckeye State – In 1803, Ohio became a state, but it took until 1953 for it to be official.
Time is Flexible – In 1700, a Swedish calendar went live.

Time is Flexible

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 1, 2014
Swedish calendar with the peculiar date of February 30

Swedish calendar with the peculiar date of February 30

March 1, 1700: The Swedish calendar takes effect. The goal of implementing this peculiar-to-Sweden calendar was to bring the country and her possessions into line with the Gregorian calendar without making an instant leap from the Julian calendar then in use. It was decided that rather than jump forward the eleven days between the two systems, Sweden would simple drop the leap year days for the next forty years and eventually they would be aligned with the calendar used by much of the world. They dropped the leap year day during this year and then promptly abandoned the idea.

Since they did not follow their own plan, they matched neither calendar and had their own date for all of their colonies. This became inconvenient enough so that on March 1, 1712, they reverted back to the Julian calendar as proclaimed by King Charles XII. However, this calendar was not aligned with the solar year and it made planning the date for Easter difficult. It did give Sweden the unique date of February 30, 1712 to realign their trial calendar with the older one. Finally, in 1753, again on March 1, they finally adopted the more accurately aligned Gregorian calendar. Because Easter is based on an older Jewish calendar which is a lunar calendar, the whole system was in chaos.

Julius Caesar had the same issues back when he assumed control of the Roman Empire. The Romans were supposed to add an intercalary month to the year when it was needed to bring the calendar back in line with solar year. Certain dates were considered auspicious and sometimes adding to the calendar would have interfered with actual battles and wars which were even more important than when to plant crops. Since the entire thing was out of alignment, the Julian calendar neatened things up. Unfortunately, the time it takes the planet to make one full rotation around the sun is not 365 days on the dot. Instead, it takes 365 days and 6 hours – about. The tropical year is around 11 minutes and 14 seconds less than that.

This precise type of measurement was not available in Rome or not as important. It took hundreds and hundreds of years before the calendars were no longer accurate enough to start bothering the citizens of the world, or at least Europe and the Americas. So further refinements were made and backed by Pope Gregory XIII. All this took place after the Protestant Reformation and countries that were not Catholic were somewhat hesitant to adopt the new calendar since it was seen as overbearing nonsense from the Vatican. The longer the Julian calendar was used, the further from alignment with the true solar year it became. More and more countries adopted the new Gregorian calendar. Today, it is used worldwide for international transactions although there are still many other calendars used locally and religiously.

I’ve been on a calendar, but I’ve never been on time. – Marilyn Monroe

I don’t wait for the calendar to figure out when I should live life. – Gene Simmons

I’ve never been one of those who wanted to fill my calendar up 90 percent of the time. – Gilbert Gottfried

You are right that I don’t have a lot of spare time because I love to stay busy and keep my calendar full. – Kiana Tom

Also on this day: Peace Corps – In 1961, the Peace Corps was formed.
Saint David – In 589, St. David of Wales died.
Salem Witch Trials Begin – In 1692, the mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials started.
The Buckeye State – In 1803, Ohio became a state, but it took until 1953 for it to be official.

Saint David

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 1, 2013
Saint David of Wales

Saint David of Wales

March 1, 589: St. David of Wales dies. He was born on a stormy night high on a cliff top. His father was royalty or at least nobility (translations of his name vary) and his conception was “through violence.” His mother was named Non, but with translation difficulties present, the word could have meant nun as a religious sister. He was educated by St. Paulinus of Wales. His Welsh name was Dewi Sant and he was born less than 100 years after the last Roman troops left Wales.

He preached and lived a life of asceticism. He or his monks pulled the ploughs without using draft animals. They drank only water and ate only bread with salt and herbs. They spent their evenings in prayer and owned nothing. Even saying “my book” was an offense. Their followers were to give up beer drinking and become vegetarian. St. David’s symbol is the leek or green onion. Once, when preaching to a large crowd, those on the edges couldn’t hear. The saint placed a small cloth on the ground and as he stood on it, the ground rose so all could hear him. Or so says Rhygyfarch who wrote the saint’s biography 500 years later.

Legend says St. David lived more than 100 years. When he died, the monastery was “filled with angels as Christ received his soul.” David, unlike other saints of the British Isles, was actually born where he preached. He was very popular and was officially recognized as a saint by Pope Callixtus II in 1120. His feast day is celebrated by the Welsh around the world. While not as flamboyant as the celebrations for St. Patrick, there are parades held on this day in St. David’s honor. Prince Charles has spent the feast day in Wales since 1990.

“Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.” – St. David’s last sermon

“A man does not have to be an angel in order to be saint.” – Albert Schweitzer

“Perfect holiness is the aim of the saints on earth, and it is the reward of the saints in Heaven.” – Joseph Caryl

“He that falls into sin is a man; that grieves at it, is a saint; that boasteth of it, is a devil.” – Thomas Fuller

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Rhygyfarch, the biographer, also credits Saint David with the establishment of Glastonbury Abbey (among other churches). The Abbey is located in Glastonbury, Somerset, England and is listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. A fire destroyed the buildings in 1184 and it was rebuilt. By the 14th century it was one of the richest and most powerful monasteries in England, which would have horrified Saint David. King Henry VIII suppressed the power of the abbey during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and went so far as to having the last Abbot, Richard Whiting (Whyting) hung, drawn, and quartered as a traitor. This area also has connections with King Arthur with some saying the Abbey was Avalon. Other legends say the abbey was founded by Joseph of Arimathea in the first century.

Also on this day: Peace Corps – In 1961, the Peace Corps was formed.
Salem Witch Trials Begin – In 1692, the mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials started.
The Buckeye State – In 1803, Ohio became a state, but it took until 1953 for it to be official.

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The Buckeye State

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 1, 2012

Ohio's state flag

March 1, 1803: President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally grants Ohio statehood retroactively to this date. Ohio is listed as the seventeenth state of the United States of America. It was the first of five states to be created from the Northwest Territory. The debate towards adopting statehood was politicized with Federalists (who controlled the Territory) against the plan and Democratic-Republicans seeking statehood. According to the 1800 census, Ohio had 45,365 citizens and the requirement for statehood was 60,000. The citizenry issue was resolved by assuming the population had or soon would reach the critical number.

The US Congress sent the Enabling Act to President Thomas Jefferson who signed it on April 30, 1802. The Act set the boundaries for the proposed state. The governor of the Territory, a Federalist, was still trying to keep the area under his party’s control. By November, 35 delegates met to draft the state constitution. It was then to be submitted to Congress for approval, the final requirement for statehood. The constitution was written and then approved on November 29, 1802. Thomas Worthington brought it to Washington, D.C. and arrived on December 19. He presented it to Congress on December 22 and it was approved on February 19, 1803 making Ohio the seventeenth state.

At the time, all requirements were met and nothing more was done – or needed to be done. By 1812 Congress began declaring an official date of statehood as Louisiana joined the Union – the eighteenth state. In 1953 when Ohio was turning 150, it was noticed no formal resolution had been passed admitting the state. Since the Ohio General Assembly sat for the first time on March 1, 1803, that date was chosen as Ohio’s birthday. A new petition was proposed in the Ohio Legislature, carried on horseback to Washington, D.C., and on August 7, 1953 President Eisenhower formally welcomed Ohio to the Union, retroactively to 1803.

Ohio is the 34th in size of the fifty states and encompasses 44,825 square miles. The capital of the state is Columbus with Cleveland and Cincinnati as two other large metropolitan areas. There are 2.2 million people living in rural areas and another 9.2 living in urban regions. There are still ≈ 75,000 active farms in Ohio. The state is divided into 88 counties. The State Flag is the only non-rectangle state flag – its shape is called a burgee. It was designed by John Eisemann and adopted in 1902.

America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true. – James T. Farrell

America is a passionate idea or it is nothing. America is a human brotherhood or it is chaos. – Max Lerner

Some Americans need hyphens in their names, because only part of them has come over; but when the whole man has come over, heart and thought and all, the hyphen drops of its own weight out of his name. – Woodrow Wilson

America is great because it has as much diversity in geographies as it does in peoples. – Aurora Raigne

Also on this day:

Peace Corps – In 1961, the Peace Corps was formed.
Saint David – In 589, St. David of Wales died.
Salem Witch Trials Begin – In 1692, the mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials started.

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Salem Witch Trials Begin

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 1, 2011

"Witchcraft at Salem Village" by artists F. O. C. Darley, Wm. L. Shepard, Granville Perkins, etc.

March 1, 1692: Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba are brought before the local magistrates. This is the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials which took place in Salem Village, now Danvers, Massachusetts. The accusations of witchcraft and the trials spread across the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts. The hysteria lasted until May 1693. In the Court of Salem Town, over 150 people had been arrested and imprisoned. Of these, 26 went to trial and all were convicted. In other courts in the area, 31 more witchcraft trials were held, but with only three more convictions. Nineteen of the accused were hanged and one other man was pressed to death.

Sarah Good was homeless and described by her peers as filthy, bad-tempered, and detached from the rest of the village. She was associated with death of livestock throughout the area. She went door to door asking for handouts and if refused, would walk away muttering to herself. She claimed she was reciting the Ten Commandments while those who turned her away said she was cursing them. On February 25 she was accused of witchcraft when two girls began acting strangely. When Rev. Samuel Parris, the father of one of the girls, asked who was tormenting them, they answered that it was Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba.

Sarah Osborne was born Sarah Williams and married a prominent man named Robert Prince. They moved to Salem Village in 1662 and had three children. Prince died in 1674 and Sarah remarried. Her second husband was of much lower status. She became ill and did not attend Sunday services for nearly three years. She was still dealing with legal issues with a powerful family, the Putnams, to whom her first husband had been related. It is thought that the girls were helped along by the Putnam family in naming Goody Osborne as one of their assailants.

Tituba was slave [most likely of Native American heritage] belonging to the Parris family. When brought in for questioning, Tituba not only confessed [under coercion] but implicated others. She embroidered quite a tale of wild animals, strange creatures, and weird activities. She is credited with inciting the mass hysteria with her colorful tales. Sarah Good was hanged on July 19, 1692. Sarah Osborne died in jail on May 10, 1692. Tituba was eventually released from jail and was lost to history.

“Oh Lord, help me! It is false. I am clear. For my life now lies in your hands….” – Rebecca Nurse, one of the “witches”

“I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of it.” – Bridget Bishop, one of the “witches”

“…I am wronged. It is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits.” – Martha Carrier, one of the “witches”

“I have no hand in witchcraft.” – Susannah Martin, one of the “witches”
[all quotes taken from tombstones]

Also on this day:
Peace Corps – In 1961, the Peace Corps was formed.
St. David of Wales – In 589, St. David of Wales died.

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Peace Corps

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 1, 2010

Peace Corps

March 1, 1961: R. Sargent Shriver gives his report to President Kennedy and the Peace Corps is established with Shriver as its first director. President Kennedy made establishing the Peace Corps one of his first missions as the new leader of the US. He commissioned Shriver, his brother-in-law, to convene a task force to see how best to organize this new agency of the Department of State. While Kennedy is credited with creating the Peace Corps, the initiative came from Senator Hubert H. Humphrey from Minnesota. Humphrey introduced the bill in 1957.

This was not an entirely new concept. Since the end of the Second World War, there were proposals in Congress to set up an “army” of “missionaries of democracy” to assist the peoples of the Third World nations. Privately funded, non-religious volunteers were assisting the underprivileged since the 1950s.

On September 22, 1961 the Peace Corps Act was passed. By that time the first group of volunteers were already in Ghana and Tanzania. More than 40 nations had begun requesting volunteers. Today, the Peace Corps sends volunteers around the globe to more than 70 countries. There, these devoted people work with governments, schools, non-profit and/or non-government organizations and entrepreneurs. They help with education, business, information technology, agriculture, and environmental issues.

The Peace Corps mission statement, is: 1) Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their needs for trained men and women. 2) Helping to promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served. and 3) Helping to promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of all Americans. To date, there have been 182,000 volunteers working in 138 countries. The current number of volunteers and trainees is 7,810. Aaron S. Williams in the current and eighteenth Director, sworn in on August 24, 2009. He is the fourth Director who once served as a volunteer for the Peach Corps.

“The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.” – Author Unknown

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” – Sam Ewing

“They have done impossible things in impossible places. I think it’s a great use of that altruism that is built into the Peace Corps. These are people who want to give of themselves.” – James Walsh

Also on this day, in 589 St. David of Wales died.

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