Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Thanksgiving 2014 (with a bit of oral history)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Retro Thanksgiving 2

Although it’s not exactly a Thanksgiving story, it’s still appropriate in a way. It’s a transcription of a vocal recording made by my father’s older half-brother as transcribed by his daughter. All typos are mine.

Old Jimmy Stephens was born about 1765 or 1766, sometime along in there. Whether he was the only child or not I don’t know, but he and his family were living in South Carolina at the time of the Revolutionary War. South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina were pretty strongly Tory during the Revolutionary War and the Stephens family was pretty strongly Whig, which is anti-King [of England].

One day, a band of Tories stopped by the Stephens house and demanded the mother cook dinner. I suppose there must have been about twelve in this detail, all mounted, of course, and the mother started in and cooked a big dinner for these Tories. After they had eaten and satisfied themselves, they decided to leave, one of them said, “Let’s take this boy with us,” and that was my great, great, grandfather Jimmy Stephens, he was about twelve years old.

Well, they grabbed him to take him along.

His mother then grabbed him [Jimmy] and begged them not to take the boy away. One of the men picked up a rolling pin and knocked her down with it. Then, to intimidate the boy, they punched him in the breast with a horse pistol. The barrel of an old horse pistol like that was pretty thin around the muzzle due to the wear of the ramrod. Anyway, these Tories cut his breast up and he carried these scars to his grave.

The Tories took him with them and he, being a pretty smart boy, decided to get into the good graces of these Tories and watch for his chance to get away. To that end, he picked out the best and the fastest horse in the whole group. They made him feed, curry, water the horses, carry wood, etc., and finally they took him for granted. They never paid much attention to him, and one evening, after the men had a hard march and were just a little bit drunk, he left the watering of the horses until the last thing. When the time came, he mounted the fastest horse, drove all the rest of them away, and left this Tory band afoot. He made his way back to his home and they weren’t bothered anymore by the Tories.

I have often wondered if his father or any other men folks, his older brothers, were away at the Battle of Kings Mountain at this time; it would be interesting to find out.

[…]

When the Stephens family was still living in South Carolina, it’s unclear whether the person was Jimmy Stephens or not, but they were working at the edge of a clearing and heard their mother scream. The man looked around and saw an Indian up at the house. All he had was his axe, he let out and ran for the house. When he got up there, the Indian never moved, just looked at him and held out a bucket and pointed to the cow, so they gave him some milk and he [the Indian] left.

The sites of several old Cherokee towns can still be seen down around Ellijay, Georgia, on the creek bottom, and there is one old Cherokee townhouse there, though the timbers have fallen in. My friend, Lawrence Stanley, told me that the Indians would build a town and they would live in it until it got so dirty they couldn’t stand it, and then they would move on.

My grandfather told me that they started fires with flint and steel, he showed me one time how to do this. He took his pocket knife and with an arrowhead I had given him, struck fire with it. He told me when he was a boy, he used a flintlock rifle and about going barefoot in the winter time, and about not having any kind of a Christmas. Now all this was during the civil war when people almost starved to death in that part of the country.

[…]

Also, I want to insert something else: my grandfather used to tell about having to go out in the woods, chop down trees, cut up the wood, and chop the knots out of the planks. They had a box that they set by the fireplace, and when they wanted more light from the fireplace, they would throw a pine knot in. I suppose the same thing was done at my grandfather Stephens house, and all the other people, in that day and time.

[Family lore, transcribed by Barbara D. from audio tapes made by her father.]

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Hot Links – Now With 10% Less MSG

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Robert Goddard Patent 1914

A happy dog in a pile of leaves [via].

Dog puzzle.

What a hurricane sounds like: Hurricane Ike 2008 [via].

“Hey, yinz. Stillers ain’t jagoffs. We gotcha tear-bull talls, yah.”  This long linguistic analysis of Pittsburghese is missing one thing: audio examples of the dialect [via].

It’s also come to my attention that the Pittsburgh “yinzer” accent was voted the most annoying dialect in the Nation, and I disagree. The New York accent that pronounces the word “all” as “ohl” is worse than the Southern California accent (made famous in Zappa’s “Valley Girl“) that inflects statements into questions?

Shipwrecks.

Amazing wood carving.

Sparkling bat poop [via].

Robert Goddard’s 1914 Patent for a liquid-fueled rocket. Consider that in 1914 we barely knew how to design airplanes. In those days, the fuel gauge was a pocket watch hung on a nail.
[Top image from here.]

A Small Motor-Driven Machine To Which Can Be Attached Various Implements

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Hair Drying Device 1923

[Popular Science, 1923. Found here.]

“Friday The 13th Comes On A Monday This Month…”

Monday, 13 October 2014

Van Gogh

“… so we got a whole week of bad luck.”

[The Friday the 13th snark was coopted from Walt Kelly’s classic comic strip Pogo. Image from here – it’s a charcoal sketch by Vincent Van Gogh captioned “Worn Out: At Eternity’s Gate.”]

Saturday Matinee – The Great McGonigal, Super Chikan & The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Great McGonigal, aka W.C. Fields, knew his cigar boxes.

Guy’s playing a Diddley Bow. Pure awesome, and here’s his website.

And since the sentient voters of Scotland wisely chose to postpone secession from Great Britain for now, here’s this:  my favorite Scottish band ever:

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band was oddly under appreciated in the US (except for a cult following in Cleveland) but was popular in the proto-punk theater-rock scene in Great Britain. Vambo Rools.

Have a great weekend, folks, and be back here tomorrow for more inanity.

Heinrich Hoffman’s Contribution To The World

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Harriet & The Matches

 “The Dreadful Story about Harriet and the Matches”
from Der Struwwelpeter (1845) a popular German children’s book by Heinrich Hoffmann.

Hoffmann was the German precursor to Charles Addams, writing and illustrating short stories/poems for children that can only be described as violent and bizarre. Judging by his popularity, both children and adults loved them (and still do) and he was translated into many languages. Mark Twain’s English translation was published posthumously, and he took some liberties to make the stories rhyme.

Check out Hoffman’s “Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher” or “The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb.”

Hoffman, besides being a writer of satire for both children and adults, despised authoritarianism (he even did a lampoon of Adolf Hitler), worked as a psychiatrist in an insane asylum treating paupers. His Wiki bio is interesting.

[Image and caption found here; Our non-comprehensive Archive of “Contributions To The World” here.]

11 September 2001 – NEVER FORGET.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

911

Happy Labor Day

Monday, 1 September 2014

Detroit Machine Shop 1903

November 1903. “Assembling room, Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Co., Detroit. Men working in foundry and machine shop that produced automobile engines and merged with Cadillac Motor Co. in 1905.”

[Image and caption found here. Brief history of the origins of Labor Day here.]

Home Wrecker (Not Napa California)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Home Wrecker

That’s an AP photo of destruction caused by the 23 February 2011 earthquake, Christchurch New Zealand.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/newzealand/8340925/Christchurch-earthquake-as-it-happened-Feb-23.html

[Found in here.]

[Update: Corrected date of Christchurch earthquake.]

RAF Supermarine Spitfire

Monday, 18 August 2014

RAF Supermarine Spitfire WWII

[Image found here, history of the Spitfire here, and wiki here.]


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