Tuesday, May 31, 2011

All Gave Some, Some Gave All: Memorial Day-- Part 1

To use those words from Billy Ray Cyrus' song.

Yesterday's Northwest Herald newspaper, serving McHenry County where we live, had a list of all McHenry military personell who died from the Civil War to the present.

This blog is a perfect place to list them, but over a long time as there were a lot of them. I'll be listing the Civil War ones in my Civil War blog, http://sawtheelephant.blogspot.com.

The source of the list was the McHenry County Historical Society.


Phil J. Anderson
Carl H. Bartlet
Charles Bartumis
Harold Beebe
Maurice Blake
Ernest W. Blank
Fred Boyle
Horace Bratzman
Burdett A. Briggs
David Brown
Harry L. Carlson
Carl J. Dittman
Arthur Dollman
Eugene Drill
Arthur Dunker
John Farrell
Harry G. Fulton
Paul Gehrke
Charles Geske
A.C. Grauppner
Eugene P. Griebel

And More to Come.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bill "Moose" Skowron-- Part 1: Out with the Yankee Clipper and Monroe

I was sorry to find out that one of my all-time favorite Chicago White Sox players, Bill Skowron, has lung cancer, but is battling it in typical stubborn, positive and witty style.

From the May 22nd Chicago Tribune Musings of Moose" by Jim O'Donnell. They had a page and a half spread on him with two pictures in the article: a close-up of Moose today and one of him on the dugout steps with Roger Maris, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle. Talk about a sluggers row and mostly Hall of Fame at that.

And, of course, he has some great baseball stories to tell.

He tells of one night during spring training when they begged Joe DiMaggio to take them out to dinner with his wife, Marilyn Monroe. Said Skowron, "I shaved four times that day. She was great--charming, funny, wanting to learn more about baseball. And absolutely gorgeous."

However, he noticed Marilyn had been slyly checking out another man. When the Yankee Clipper went to the bathroom, her glances got chancier. DiMaggio was known for being extremely territorial.

"All I thought was, 'If DiMaggio comes out and sees this, we've got problems,'" Skowron said. "Thank God she had the sense to cut it out when he got back."

I write about Bill Skowron because he was one of my first favorite baseball players, even if he did play for the Yankees.

Da Moose. --Cooter

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dead Page: One of Barney's Boys


A Brainy 'Barney Miller' Cop

Comic actor who played intellectual Detective Arthur Dietrich in the long-running ABC sitcom "Barney Miller" died December 20th. He was believed to have been 74.

"Barney Miller" starred Hal Linden in the title role as a New York police captain running an offbeat group of officers in a Greenwich Village police station.

The show ran from 1975 to 1982, and included Abe Vigoda as Detective Phil Fish, Ron Glass as Detective Ron Harris and Max Gail as Detective Stanley "Wojo" Wojciehowicz.

This was one funny, funny show.

From the Dec. 22, 2010, Chicago Tribune.

Friday, May 27, 2011

One Thousand Children-- Part 2

In 1990, a book by Judith Baumel, "Unfulfilled Promise" was published about OTC.

In 2000, Leonore Moskowitz and Iris Posner found the names of virtually all the children brought over and located about 500 who were still alive.

A three-day reunion was held in Chicago, Illinois, in 2002 with about 200 attendees

Britain had a similar operation called Kindertransport which is better-known, From 1938-1939, 10,000 Jewish children were removed from harm's way. VIVO, the Center for Jewish History in New York City is now the repository for the entire OTC archival collection.

Besides Wikipedia, you can find out more at www.onethousandchildren.org.

Quite a Heartwarming Attempt. --Cooter

One Thousand Children-- Part 1

Earlier this week, I wrote about the teenagers who got two ladies together who came to the US under this little-known program before and during World War II.

I had never heard of it and did some quick research on good old Wikipedia.

Approximately 1400, mostly Jewish, children were rescued from Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied or threatened countries. This was done by entities and individuals in the US. All came without their parents.

There is a One Thousand Children (OTC) organization whose primary goal is to explain and document this little-known part of World War II.

Some facts:

** Children came from Europe to US 1934-1945
** Aged 14 months to age 16
** Arrived unaccompanied by parents
** Placed with foster families, schools and facilities across the US

The first small group came arrived in New York City in November 1934. After that, about 100 annually came in small groups. Before 1941, small groups were the norm because of US hostility to foreigners during the Great Depression.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Navy Week at Old Photos Blog

This past week, the Old Photos Blog at http://www.oldphotos.blogspot.com ran photos of all things naval.

MAY 21-- The mystery photo was of Union Civil War Admiral J.A. Dahlgren.

MAY 22-- USS Hartford, Admiral Farragut's flagship at Battle of Mobile Bay.

MAY 23-- US aircraft carrier during World War II with a plane ready to take off and a 48-star flag flying in the foreground.

MAY 24-- USS Onondaga, Union monitor in the James River, Virginia.

MAY 25-- On board a Union monitor.

MAY 26-- USS Maine entering Havana Harbor in 1898 before the explosion.

MAY 27-- Navy pilots aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific 1945. In a waiting area before their mission.

A Great Collection of Photographs. Check Them Out. --Cooter

Thursday, May 26, 2011

USS Till (DE-748)

The naval ship named after Robert Tills was a Cannon-class destroyer escort of 1,240 tons capable of 21 knots with a crew of 15 officers and 200 men. It was launched 3 October 1943, sponsored by Till's sister Miss Helen Irene Tills. It was commissioned 8 Aug 1944.

Much of its active duty was on convoy duty in the Pacific where it escorted small aircraft carriers and went on hunt-kill missions.

You have to wonder if it ever put into Malalog Bay, where its namesake was killed.

After the war, it was sent to St. John's River in Florida for decommissioning, but reactivated in 1947, with the later-famous Lt. Cmdr Elmo Zumwalt, Jr, as its commander.

After decommissioning, it was recommissioned in 1961 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A year later, decommissioned, then stricken from the registry in 1968 and used as a target ship and sunk off Virginia 3 April 1969.

The Story of a Man and a Ship. --Cooter

World War II Pilot's Remains Found-- Part 2

Robert Till's sister, Jean Alpin, 78, was 11 at the time he was killed. When she was notified of his body's identification, she searched for and found Lee in Hendersonville, North Carolina. She said "Airplanes and flying, that was his passion."

Until 2008, he was one of 78,000 World War II veterans still marked as missing.

Vicki had mourned the loss of her love, but later married Robert E. Lee for 53 years until he died. He was to return from duty on Christmas 1941 and they were to be married. There was no wedding.

Till's remains were buried March 23, 2009, in Arlington National Cemetery and Lee planned to attend. Both women sat together at the ceremony. Ensign Till is buried in Section 60, Site 8998.

In 1943, a Navy destroyer escort, the USS Till (DE-748) was named after him. It provided escort duty to convoys during World War II then became a training vessel before being sunk in a training exercise of the US east coast in 1969.

These Are Good Stories. --DaCoot

World War II Pilot's Remains Found-- Part 1

From the Dec. 27, 2008, Raleigh (NC) News & Observer.

Vicki Quandt Lee was 22 when she learned Navy Ensign Robert G. Tills had been killed in the Philippines when his plane was shot down in Malalog Bay, Dec. 8, 1941, right at the outbreak of hostilities between the US and Japan.

They had first met as students at Northwestern College in Watertown, Wis., in 1936. Tills eventually transferred to another college and then joined the Navy.

They wrote often and planned to marry when he returned to the US in December, 1941.

On December 8, 1941, nine Japanese planes swooped down on Malalog Bay in the Philippines and strafed and sank two US Navy PBY-4 Catalina seaplanes. All crew members escaped except Ensign Robert George Tills of Manitowac, Wisconsin. He became the first US Naval officer killed in the Philippines.

His body was never recovered, but family members always thought Fillipinos had recovered it and buried him somewhere.

However, the plane was found in October 2007 and his remains determined through dental records on Dec. 1, 2008.

More to Come. --Cooter

Good News About That Alamo Cannonball!!

I realize Dec. 2008, is a bit old, but I'm trying to catch up on articles I've written about in my notebooks.

Since it was almost three years ago, I did some further research and after awhile found that the cannonball had been returned.

From the Dec, 30, 2008, KSAT TV.

The cannonball was found at O.P. Schnabel Park on the city's northwest side, by Nicos Esquivel, who was biking on the park's trails.

He saw an open bag, "I kicked it and it felt heavy. I looked at it and opened it up and thought it was a bowling ball at first, but then some walkers came up and said, 'That's a cannonball.'"

The cannonball had been missing from the Fairmount Hotel in San Antonio since December 22nd and a $5,000 reward had been offered. So I imagine Mr. Esquivel is a bit richer.

The cannonball had been certified as authentic from the Battle of the Alamo by the Institute of Texas Cultures.

Congratulations and Thanks. --DaCoot

Cannonball Linked to the Alamo Swiped

From the Dec. 24, 2008, San Antonio News.

A softball-sized cannonball originally owned by the Mexican Army was stolen from a plastic case in the lobby of the Fairmount Hotel in San Antonio over the weekend. Police believe it was stolen sometime between 9 pm Sunday and 3 am Monday. They have no clues or suspects, but it appears to have been done skillfully. A reward is offered.

It was found in the spring of 1985 when the hotel moved from Bowie and East Commerce to its present location. This still holds the record for largest-ever structure moved on wheels.

Before the move to the new site at South Alamo and Nueva, an archaeological study had to be done of the former parking lot as per city ordinance. Archaeologist Joe Labadie did not expect to find much there, but did.

What they found was "the largest single discovery of artifacts associated with the Alamo. It was especially significant because it told the story of the Mexican side of the war."

Also found at the site was a longer, hollow cannonball along with dozens of musket balls and pieces of China dishes and a cup in am L-shaped trench beneath the parking lot.

During the battle, this is where Santa Ana's cannons were located that fired hundreds of "wall banger" cannonballs at the Alamo's south wall.

Archaeologists suspect that this particular cannonball was not fired.

Always Hate to Lose History Like This. --Cooter

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pigeons at War

From the Dec. 14, 2008, People of Pigeons Blog.

Richard Topus, a World War II pigeon trainer died at age 84.

In January 1942, the call went out for pigeons. The problem was that trained pigeons were few, mostly in Brooklyn, NY, where pigeon racing was quite popular.

World War II became the last large-scale use of pigeons in war. More than 30,000 pigeons served. They were assigned to the Army Signal Corps as part of the US Pigeon Service.

Many were shot down and the Germans used falcons to intercept and kill them.

About twelve were at Camp Ritchie, Md., and several other installations had the pigeons. The army phased out pigeons in the fifties.

And You Didn't Like Pigeons? --Cooter

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On My 60th Birthday

Number One Songs on May 24th by the decade:

2011 ROLLING IN THE DEEP-- Adele when I turned 60. Does that make me old?
2001 ALL FOR YOU-- Janet when I was fifty.
1991 I DON'T WANNA CRY-- Mariah Carey when I was forty.
1981 BETTE DAVIS EYES-- Kim Carnes when I was thirty.
1971 BROWN SUGAR-- Rolling Stones when I was twenty.
1961 TRAVELIN' MAN-- Ricky Nelson when I was ten.
1951 HOW HIGH THE MOON-- Les Paul and Mary Ford when I was Day 1.

Other birthdays today (that I at least know who they are):

Gary Burghoff (Radar on MASH) is 68.
Bob Dylan is 70.
Tommy Chong (Cheech and Chong) is 73.

Some Events May 24th:

1883-- After years of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River, opened to traffic.

1935-- The first Major League baseball game at night. FDR throws the switch. It was Phillies vs, the Reds at Crosley Field.

1951-- My Birthday-- Racial segregation at Washington, DC, restaurants ruled illegal.

Sixty Years Old. Don't feel a Day Over 59. --Cooter

Monday, May 23, 2011

Teens Link 1938 Friends-- Part 3

The students then found another important clue, a 60th wedding announcement dated from last year.. The Madison teens then felt they were confidant enough to find Gerda Frumkin's phone number.

A call was left. Frumkin's husband Perry responded via email and then found Chapman's blogpost about her mother's search

The long-lost friends have since spoken several times by phone and plan to reunite in Seattle this June. O'Boyle says her students will be watching via Skype.

Hopefully, there will be newspaper coverage of the reunion.

That is amazing when you think that the students at Madison are about the same age as Gerda and Edith back in 1938. Who knows how many historians we are going to get out of this class of eighth graders?

Now, That IS Some REAL History, Not Just from Books. --Cooter

Teens Link 1938 Friends-- Part 2

I had never heard of this One Thousand Children Program so definitely will be doing some more research on it. On the cruise ship was where Edith Westerfield (then Edith Schumer) met Gerda Frumkin (then Gerta Katz) met. They quickly became inseparable. For ten days on the ship and three days in New York, the two formed a bond to fill the void of their families left behind.

In New York, they saw the Rockettes and Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at Radio City Music Hall.

They parted ways when Gerta headed to Seattle and Edith to Chicago, both to stay with family. They never met again, until now.

For 73 years, Edith Westerfield kept a photo of her friend she nicknamed Gertie. "21 Marz 1938. Zur Erinnerung Deine Freudin, Gertie Katz," theback of the photo read. "March 21, 1938. For remembrance. Your friend, Gertie Katx."

After Chapman's visit, Madison social sciences teacher Catie O'Boyle told her students that teaching the Holocaust always made her wish there was something she could do. Her students suggested they try to find Gerda.

Chapman had tried to do that as well but had been unsuccessful.

The students spent four days in the school's Learning Rsources Center using Google, Facebook and newspaper databases.

A clipping from a Seattle newspaper in the late 40s revealed that Gerda Katz was now Gerda Frumkin. An important find.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Teens Link 1938 Friends-- Part 1

From the May 14th Chicago Tribune by Mick Swasko.

"Two who fled Nazi Germany as girls are reconnected by Naperville students' efforts.

Here is a group of teens who are getting a great history lesson.

"It was a brief email that rekindled an equally short childhood friendship 73 years ago." Gerta "Gertie" Frumkin is living in Seattle and the email made it to Edith Westerfield, 86, in Skokie, Illinois.

Determination and technical knowledge enable eighth grade students at Naperville, Illinois' Madison Junior High School, got the two together for the first time since they spent about two weeks together escaping Nazi Germany in 1938.

Edith Westerfield's daughter, Fern Schumer Chapman, had visited the students earlier this year to discuss books she had written about the 1930s, based primarily on the experiences of her mother who traveled to America as a twelve-year-old without her family.

Westerfield was part of a small and little-known American effort called One Thousand Children to remove Jewish children from Germany.

"This was a very quiet program," she said. They took ten kids out (at a time) on cruise ships."

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Elephants-- Part 4

8. AN ELEPHANT PARADE OF ONE-- When the Lincoln Park Zoo acquired Judy from the Brookfield Zoo in 1943, the 35-year-old elephant refused to ride in a flatbed truck, so she walked the 18 miles to her new home.

She received a zoo staff and motorcycle cop escort and set off at 7 pm, resting two hours in Garfield Park before arriving at Lincoln Park at 2:15 am.

I guess she was doing her part for the war effort and saving gasoline.

9. "DUMBO, THE FLYING ELEPHANT"-- Walt Disney bought the rights to "Dumbo" from husband-and-wife team Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl, for $1,000. The original was published as a rare roll-a-book (picture book on a scroll). The movie was released in 1941. Old Walt sure made a good profit on that purchase.

This was the film the Army general wanted to see in the hilarious movie "1941."

10. ALDERMAN "BATHHOUSE JOHN" COGHLIN, one of Chicago's most corrupt and colorful politicians, bought a Lincoln Park elephant named Princess Alice for a reported $3,000 around 1905 and shipped it off to his private zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Another fine and well-researched job by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer.

And That's the Trunk of It. --Cooter

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Elephants-- Part 3

By the way, I strongly recommend seeing the movie "Water for Elephants."

5. For both African and Asian elephants, PREGNANCY lasts about 22 months. Because of gestation and lactation time, a female elephant may have only six offspring her entire life.

6. DANGER!!-- Sexually mature males go through periodic states known as musth, in which they produce high levels of testosterone. They are extremely dangerous and aggressive during this time and secrete a foul-smelling liquid from a gland behind their eyes.

7. A horrific example of ANIMAL CRUELTY occurred in Erwin, Tennessee, in 1916. A trainer with a traveling circus was killed by a five-ton elephant named Mary, Circus owners were afraid other towns might cancel the show so they took Mary to a rail yard and hanged her by the neck from a crane in front of 2,500 spectators, many of them children.

The first attempt failed when Mary's weight snapped a chain, causing her to fall and break her hip. A second attempt succeeded. She was buried in a grave dug by a steam shovel.

Look up "Mary elephant" in Wikipedia for more information and a photo of the hanging.

Got Peanuts? --Cooter

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Elephants-- Part 2

3. ELEPHANTS IN OPERA?-- Giuseppe Verdi's "Alda." Before soprano Maria Callas lost weight, a critic quipped that "it was difficult to discern Callas' ankles from those of the elephant..." Another quip at heft contralto Marietta Alboni went "the elephant that swallowed a nightingale."

4. JUMBO--The word jumbo might not have originated with the massive elephant in the Barnum and Bailey Circus, but he definitely popularized it. He was a huge draw in more ways than one. he was killed in 1885 by a train in St. Thomas, Ontario (Railway City Brewing in that town makes a beer called Dead Elephant Ale).

Jumbo's stuffed body toured for four years after that until given to Tufts University where he became the school's mascot.

Big Enough for You? --Cooter

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Elephants-- Part 1

Yesterday, I finally got to see the current movie "Water for Elephants." I had tried one time before when it was first released, but the theatre was overrun by old folks (like me). I don't like crowds, so left.

Excellent movie and I think it should receive nominations for an Academy Award (but probably released too early).

The May 15th Chicago Tribune had one of their excellent "Ten Things You Didn't Know" articles on elephants because of the movie. As usual, Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer do a great job.

1. African and Asian elephants (Rosie, from the movie, was an Asian). The African savanna elephant is taller and heavier, has bigger ears and a concave back. The Asian's trunk ends with just one lip. The Asian has one pair fewer ribs, but more toenails and are hairier, as they are more closely related to the extinct woolly mammoth.

2. Duchess, Lincoln Park Zoo's first elephant, once escaped in October 1892, she ran through a pond before leaving the grounds at what is now about Clark and what is now Dickens. During her rampage, she demolished the door to the Bartholome & Leicht's Brewing Co.'s saloon, wreaked havoc inside Griesbach's Saloon and killed a horse. She was chased down by zookeepers, residents and police after plunging through wooden sidewalk boards along Cleveland Avenue. Zookeepers finally stopped her by getting ropes around her legs and tying her to trees.

I imagine those folks in the bars really thought they were seeing things, "Honey, you'll never guess what I saw today at Griesbach's." "And, just how much did you have to drink?"

I Know Rosie Was Fond of Whiskey in a Bucket. Duchess Probably Ordered a Pink Elephant. --Cooter

Back to the Revolution: The Hunt for the Bonhomme Richard-- Part 1: US Navy Underwater Archaeology Branch

Another Revolutionary War story with a famous quote, even though I had never heard the "Come and Get It" quote before I came across the McIntosh story.

From the Oct. 23, 2010, Seattle Times "Navy in hunt for John Paul Jones' famous sunken ship, the Bonhomme Richard" by Annys Shin.

The search for the famous ship, sunk September 25, 1779, off the coast of Yorkshire, England, has been going on for decades. Even in English waters, the wreck is legally the property of the United States Navy.

Bob Neyland, chief archaeologist of the Navy's Underwater Archaeology Branch based at the Washington Navy Yard, heads up a small unit responsible for identifying and preserving sunken and historically significant vessels from the colonial era to World War II fighter planes.

The branch was created in 1996 and once had eight members, but budgetary problems have reduced it to four members now. (This is a job I'd be willing to come out of retirement for.) Their annual federal budget is $37,000, but that is augmented by other Naval officers, non-profit groups as well as state and federal agency grants.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Fort Morris "Come and Get It"-- Part 2

The fort also protected the town of Sunbury.

The first fort at the site was constructed in 1741 to protect a plantation. In that same year, it was attacked by Indian allies of the Spanish in Florida. Several soldiers were killed and the fort captured. The plantation was ransacked.

A second, 100 yard square fort mounting eight guns was built during the French and Indian War but fell into disrepair after 1762. It was rebuilt for the Revolutionary War.

During the Civil War, it is believed the fort was used occasionally by a small group of Confederates based in Sunbury. After Sherman arrived, Union soldiers removed some of the fort's cannons.

I'll have to visit the next time I go to my sister's place in nearby Richmond Hill.

"Come and Get Your Lead." --Cooter

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fort Morris "Come and Get It"-- Part 1

I had never heard of Fort Morris before reading about Lt. Col. John McIntosh (see May 13th, so had to do some research in Wikipedia.

Fort Morris is a Georgia State Historical Site. In the past, it defended the southern approach to Savannah along the Medway River.

It was most famous for the November 25, 1778 battle between American forces led by Lt. Col. John McIntosh and a British force during the American Revolution. When the British demanded their surrender, McIntosh simply replied, "Come and Get It." The English eventually had to withdraw, but returned 45 days later, on January 9, 1779, with a larger force and did capture it, renaming it Fort George.

Today, the fort is one of the few remaining Revolutionary War-era earthwork fortifications.

However, a fort stood at the site back in 1741 and was attacked by Indians allied with Spain (Florida was a Spanish colony at the time). Also, there was activity at the site during the French and Indian War, War of 1812 and even the Civil War.

In 1812, it was named Fort Defiance.

More to Come. --Cooter

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Colonel James S. McIntosh and Georgia's "Fighting McIntoshes"

The son of Lt.-Col. John McIntosh whose third funeral was discussed yesterday.

Col. James McIntosh was a hero of the War of 1812 and Mexican War.

Wounded by bayonets at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma in 1846. When an officer found him and asked if he could be of assistance. Col. McIntosh replied, "Yes, give me some water and show me my regiment."

He recovered and returned to combat where he was mortally wounded leading his brigade storming El Molina del Ray on September 8, 1848.

He was a member of the "Fighting McIntoshes."

His son, James McQueen McIntosh became a general in the Confederate Army and was killed iat the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas. Another son, John Baillie McIntosh, served in the Union Army where he lost a leg at the Third battle of Winchester, Virginia.

Lachlan McIntosh was Georgia's ranking continental officer in the Revolutionary War.

You Want Them on Your Side. --DaCoot

Death of World War I's Last Combatant, Claude Choule-- Part 3: The Secret to Longevity

From the May 7th Sydney Morning Herald.

When asked how he attained such longevity, Mr. Choule replied, "Don't die." Definitely worthy of a Yogi Berra quote. No wonder he was nicknamed "Chuckles."

Mr. Choules did not even own a car until he was 50 and he bicycled everywhere before that. According to the Herald, his brothers served in the British Army. I have also read that they were in the Australian Army. Either way, they served at the disaster at Gallipoli and the Western Front. Brother Douglas was gassed and died a year later.

Dropping out of school at age 14, Choules lied about his age and joined the British Navy in 1915 where he received his initial training on the HMS Impregnable which was once a square-rugged 140 gun ship-of-the-line.

He also was in the military during World War II, this time for Australia. Besides being chief demolition officer for German mines, in 1942, with Japanese attack imminent on the port of , he was put in charge of preparing harbor facilities and oil tanks for destruction. He also planned to destroy any ships that couldn't escape with depth charges.

For three months during the Australian summer of 1943-1944, he was on the patrol vessel Kingbay to clear Broome Harbor of flying boat wrecks. Fifteen aircraft there being used to evacuate Dutch refugees were destroyed during a Japanese attack in March 1942 with heavy loss of life.

Quite a Man. --Cooter

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Come and Take It" McIntosh's Third Funeral

Revolutionary War hero Lt. Col. John McIntosh was reburied October 23, 2010, at a service held at the Mallow Plantation Historic Site in Eulonia in McIntosh County, Georgia. His great, great grandson was at the reburial. This was the colonel's third burial.

On November 25, 1778, British Lt.-Col. Lewis Fuser demanded that McIntosh surrender Fort Morris at Sunbury. McIntosh's reply was simply, "Come and get it." The British withdrew.

In 2006, an 1850s style "Fisk" iron casket was found in a marsh adjacent to a bluff where 1800s records indicate the colonel's body was buried. The Sapelo River washed it out. Since then, it was kept at the Darien funeral home and was not opened.

Records also indicate that McIntosh was the only male buried at the site and a piece of male clothing was found sticking out of the casket.

However, iron caskets were not invented until 1848 and McIntosh died in 1826. However, during the 1850s, six major hurricanes hit the area and it is believed that the colonel's casket was washed out and then his body place in an iron casket.

"Come and Get It" Ranks Right Up There with "Nuts" As far As Surrender Replies Are concerned.

The Colonel's Home at Last. --Cooter

Thursday, May 12, 2011

World War I's Bloodiest Battle-- Part 2

"I was wheel driver then of "A" sub section gun team, my riding horse had his nose blown off and was still alive.

I shot him and put him out of his agony quickly and put a gunner's horse in his place. Then the hind center horse of our team got hit broadside and we had to shoot him.

One fellow, a bombardier, was hit in the thigh and had three fingers blown off and a piece of shell in his head. As I lifted him up, all the blood off the stretcher ran down and over me like a spring bath.

Two more fellows went mad, and in all, we had 17 men killed and wounded and about 30 horses killed or had to be shot.

At 4:30 pm, we had the order to get out of it and we limbered up the guns and got away, some gunners riding astride the muzzle. The Germans shelled us all the way for three miles.

That was our first real baptism of fire. But I'm pleased to say that every man did his work right up until we came away."

This battle was called Passchendale.

A Real Taste of the Horrors of War. --DaCoot

World War I's Bloodiest Battle-- Part 1

From the Oct. 22, 2010 MailOnLine.

In honor of the recent death of World War I's last combatant, Claude Choules, I came across this article on the discovery of a diary by Private Bert Camp, age 25, and a carriage driver for the Royal Horse Artillery.

He never talked much of his war-time experiences, but did keep a diary. He was at the Battle of Ypres which lasted for six weeks during October and November 1914.

His diary was recently discovered and reveals the horrors of war.

"It was murder, as we could see the shells bursting from where we were and they were tearing holes into the ranks of the German infantry. Still they came on.

Their idea was to 'rush the guns.' But nothing doing, as they had no artillery with them. We shortened our range and gave it to them for all we were worth."

The next day, the fortunes were reversed.

"The Germans started shelling...and for two hours we had a lively time of it. Horses were getting killed and wounded, also drivers and gunners.

One team of black horses and the three drivers were smashed up into pulp as a shell burst in right amongst them. And I shall never forget the sight when the smoke cleared away, you couldn't recognize anybody as the flesh of man was mixed up with the horse."

More to Come. --Cooter

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Death of World War I's Last Combatant, Claude Choules-- Part 2

Mr. Choules' two older brothers, Henry and Douglas, and sister emigrated to Australia where they joined the Australian Army, surviving fighting at Gallipoli and France.

In 1925, as a leading torpedo man, Claude Choules was seconded to the Australian Navy. He took the steamship Diogenes to his new home and along the way, fell in love with a children's nurse, Ethel Wildgoose from Scotland. The two married soon after reaching Melbourne on December 3, 1926.

The Australian Navy sent him back to England for training on the new heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra being built there. His new wife accompanied him and their first daughter, Daphne, was born in Portsmouth.

In 1931, Choules was briefly discharged from the navy, but joined the reserves and served two short stints on the cruisers Canberra and Australia. he reenlisted in 1932 as chief petty officer torpedo instructor and trained sailors for nine years.

During World War II, he was chief demolition officer on Australia's west coast. As such, he investigated the first object to wash ashore which proved to be a dummy mine from the German raiser Orion.

The Last of Another Great Generation. --Cooter

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Death of World War I's Last Combatant, Claude Choules

From the May 7th Victoria and Vancouver (Canada) Times Colonist.

Clausw Choules was born March 3, 1901, but went through life being called Charles.

At the outbreak of World War I, Mr. Choules tried to join te British Army as a boy bugler by lying about his age. Instead, in 1915, he was sent to a boys training ship, the HMS Impregnable.

His first assignment in the Royal Navy was October 1917 on the battleship HMS Revenge as a boy-seaman, first class. The revenge had fire more than 100 15-inch shells at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

Choules' next assignment was the fast battleship HMS Valiant where he witnessed the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet at Firth of Forth in November 1918. After the war, he joined the crew of the HMS Eagle, Britain's first purpose-built aircraft carrier.

Quite a Life, But More to Come. --DaCoot

Unrestored Tucker Sells for $797,500 at Auction-- Part 2

From the Jan. 30, 2011, Chicago Tribune.

Part 1 was April 28, 2011.

Even though the Tucker automobile never became, interest in it continues today. The Tucker Automobile Club of America has several hundred members.

Tucker No. 1010, the car in the article was bought from the factory on July 16, 1948, by Philadelphia Tucker Sales. On June 15, 1956, there was classified ad in the Oakland Tribune offered "One of the fabulous originals--Tucker engine--it runs--4-door sedan-- near new condition. Make an offer. Olympic 8-4238. By Owner."

Don and Mignonette bought the car four days later and would own it for more than 50 years. By then, the original blue color had been painted turquoise and reupholstered. Wright was president of the Tucker Club 1980-1981, but remained secretive about the car and wouldn't sell it.

The odometer reads 9,819 miles but in the 1980s, Wright reported it had turned 109,819 miles, while other sources say it might have gone over 200,000.

There were at least nine confirmed owners before June 1956, so it is highly unlikely that it would need a new paint job and upholstery in just 8 years and only have driven 9,819 miles.

The low-number cars received a lot of testing and were driven to dealerships.

I'd Like to Have One, But Not Enough Garage Space. And, Then There's That Pesky Price Problem. --Cooter

Monday, May 9, 2011

70th Anniversary of Avro Lancaster Bomber

From May 8th Calgary (Canada) Herald.

This past weekend, the 70th anniversary of the first flight of one of World War II's most successful bombers, the Avro Lancaster in January 1941 was marked with a ceremony held at Nanton, south of Calgary.

It also commemorated the anniversary of VE-Day when the Allies accepted Germany's unconditional surrender May 7, 1945.

Lancasters were operational by 1942 and were the workhorses of the Canadian and British air forces.

The museum at Nanton restored one and fired up the two working engines of the four on the plane.

It also honored World War I Alberta pilot Captain Wilfrid (Wop) May who fought in the same battle Germany's Red Baron was killed. Check out Wikipedia for a very interesting article on May.

A Famous Plane. --DaCoot

Hull Was Second Heaviest Bombed English City

From the May 2nd BBC.

Hull ranks as the second-most bombed English city, after London. Nearly 90% of its buildings were damaged. Survivor Denis Grout recalls seeing Hull ablaze from one end to the other after one attack.

Between May 7th and May 9th, German raids killed 420.

The city was targeted because of its large industrial area and port.

More than 86,000 homes were damaged and 152,000 were left homeless during the 82 raids during the Battle of Britain. There were a total of 1,200 deaths as well.

Today, the city is looking to turn a building that survived into a memorial for those who died.

You Always Hear About London. --Cooter

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Claude Choules, World War I's Last Combatant Dies-- Part 2

After the war, Mr. Choules moved to Australia and was seconded to the Royal Australian Navy in 1926. As acting torpedo officer at Freemantle in Western Australia, he disposed of the first German mine to wash up on Australian soil. He also was tasked with preparing explosives to sink the Australian fleet in Freemantle Harbor in the event of Japanese capture of that place.

Choules remained in the navy after the war for awhile and finished his working career in the cray fishing industry at Safety Bay, south of Perth.

He was married for 80 years to Ethel, who died at age 98.

As other World War veterans died off, his friends urged him to write his autobiography, which he did. The "Last of the Last" published in 2009, made him the world's oldest first-time published author at age 108.

The Last of a Great Generation. --Cooter

Tuskegee Airmen

From the December 18, 2008, Chicago Tribune.

One of Indiana's last surviving Tuskegee Airman, Quentin Smith, 90, will get the chance to go to Washington, DC to be at the Obama inauguration with lots of help from friends. After the war, he was on the Gary, Indiana, city council and principal of a school.

Walter Palmer, 89, of Indianapolis, can't go because of his battle with stomach cancer.

From Danny Westmont's column in the Dec. 14, 2008, Seattle Times.

There are six surviving Tuskegee Airmen in the Seattle area.

Bill Holloman II remembers coming back from Europe by boat in the fall of 1945 after flying 19 combat missions. The 21-year-old landed in New York and seeing signs "Whites to the right. Coloreds to the left." "I saw that and knew I was back in the good ol' USA."

During the war, 994 pilots and 15,000 ground personnel trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. All were black in the segregated US Army at the time.

Westmont spoke with four of the survivors.

George Hickman, 84
Bill Booker, 86, in poor health
Perry Thomas, 85
Edward Drummond, 82
George Miller, 82

Holloman became the Air Force's first black helicopter pilot and flew combat missions in three wars" World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War. "I always say we were fighting two wars. The war against Hitler and the race war at home. Both were to preserve democracy."

Definitely Heroes of the Highest Caliber. --DaCoot

Frying Pan Lightship (LV-115) Now a Party Ship

This ship served off the entrance of the Cape Fear River by Wilmington, North Carolina and is still afloat, only today in New York City and hosting parties and gatherings.

Nine lightships guarded the infamous Frying Pan Shoals of the Cape Fear River from 1854 to 1964 with the exceptions of the Civil War and World War II. The lighthouse at nearby Bald Head Island was not strong enough to warn shipping.

The LV-115 was built 1929-1930 and stationed at Frying Pan Shoals from 1930 to 1942 and again from 1945 to 1964, when it was replaced by a light tower. During World War II (1942-1945) it was an examination vessel, used to check all shipping coming into the Cape Fear River. Examination ships generally mounted one or more machine guns and were supported by shore batteries so I imagine it was stationed near Southport.

It sank in 1986, was raised the following year and restoration began in 1988.

It still has the name Frying Pan on the sides. Probably a good name for what is actually a floating bar today.

Getting Fried at the Fry. --Cooter

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Claude Choules, Last World War I Combatant Dies-- Part 1

From May 4th AFB.

Earlier this year, Frank Buckles, the last surviving United States soldier from the Great War died. Sadly, Claude Choules, the last-surviving British combatant from the war has joined Mr. Buckles as the next-to-last member of their era.

Only one survivor of World War I remains, Florence Green, 110, who was a mess waitress for the RAF.

Mr. Choules, 110, was blind and nearly deaf, nicknamed Chuckles, and was also Australia's oldest man.

He was born in Worcestershire, England and joined the Royal Navy at age 15 in 1916, serving aboard the HMS Impregnable. He was present at the surrender of the German Imperial Fleet in 1918, as well as that fleet's scuttling at Scapa Flow in Scotland.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Redcoats on the River-- Part 2

British troops occupied Wilmington in January 1781. After that, Loyalists used the city as a base to strike the Patriots.

The British Royal Navy quickly blockaded the Cape Fear River and North Carolina coast. Enterprising Patriots like Cornelius Harnett, chartered small fast ships to continue trade with the West Indies, the first blockade-runners, preceding the better-known ones from the Civil War.

Salt became scarce and salt-works were erected at Topsail Inlet and other sites. The same happened in the Civil War as well.

Thomas Peters, a Wilmington slave, took up the British offer of emancipation and enlisted with the Loyalists. he fought throughout the war and later became a founder of the African country of Sierra Leone.

Herron's Bridge was a 403-foot draw-bridge that spanned the Northeast Cape Fear River about where I-40 does today.

Sounds Like an Interesting Book. Cooter

Redcoats on the River-- Part 1

Book Review in Dec. 4, 2008, Wilmington (NC) Star-News by Ben Steelman.

People in Wilmington know about Moore's Creek Battlefield and the Burgwin-Wright House "Cornwallis' House, but not many know that Wilmington lawyer William Hooper signed the Declaration of Independence for the state of North Carolina.

Not many Colonial and Revolutionary War and early Federal structures remain Wilmington because they were wood frame and fires claimed most. Civil War sites are much-better known.

Author Robert M. Dunkerly of the National Park Service has written a book "Redcoats on the River" to fill in the area's history during the Revolutionary War. Much of that conflict revolved around extremely brutal guerrilla war between Patriots and Tories/Loyalists (as the backers of England were called).

The Revolution pitted brother-against-brother, neighbor vs. neighbor. Two of Hooper's brothers remained loyal to the crown.

In Bladen and Duplin counties, the two sides burned each other's homes and scattered livestock.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Let Aussies Find the Centaur

Going back to Dec. 7, 2008, Courier Mail.

Ted Graham, whose foundation found the HMAS Sydney wants the discovery of the final resting place of the Australian Hospital ship Centaur to be an Australian one. The government of the country is giving $4 million for the search for the Centaur which was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine east of Moreton and North Stradbroke islands. Two hundred and sixty-eight people lost their lives, including eleven nurses.

Martin Pash is one of only three-living survivors of the 64 rescued, has said the ship was brightly lit at the time of the attack with a large red cross on the side when the torpedo hit at 4:10 am.

Of course, the ship has since been found by British undersea explorer David Mearms.

A Great Story. --Cooter

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Remembering 9-11

With the death of Osama bin Laden Sunday, there has been lots of talk of that day almost ten years ago where that awful name was forever thrust into our collective memory, September 11, 2011.

That day, I was teaching 7th graders at John T. Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Illinois. After first period, while I was doing hall duty, a fellow teacher came up to me and told me that planes had flown into the Twin Towers in New York City.

I immediately threw out all my lesson plans and this became the topic for the rest of the day. We located New York City, Washington, DC, and central Pennsylvania along with the Middle East. We looked up items in the history book about the Middle East.

We had horrible TV reception at Magee. In these days before the school's cable hookup, I tried, but finally gave up. We had just gotten computers, but I couldn't get online. We settled for listening to the radio.

The kids also wrote down an account of their experiences that day.

I taught for five more years after that and every class had to write a report on what they remembered from the day.

Sadly, today's 7th graders were too young at the time to remember anything about it.

Just Some Memories. --Cooter

Monday, May 2, 2011

Medal of Honor

Right now, at 11:06, watching CNN as President Obama awards two US soldiers Medals of Honor. Both men fought in the Korean War.

This was a pre-arranged news conference and the first since last night's announcement. Two true heroes.

The honorees died 60 years ago in the Korean War and they are receiving their Medal of Honor posthumously. Both were killed during the action for which they are being honored. Several Korean War veterans are also in attendance as are former Medal of Honor winners.

One was from Hawaii, Tony Kaho'ohanohano. The other was Henry Svehla.

Both men's accomplishments on the battlefield were exemplary.

Heroes, Both.

Osama and Adolf

Two of the most evil men in history share something beside their level of depravity.

From the May 2nd New York Daily News (whose headline read "Rot in Hell," guess we know where they stand on the issue) "Osama bin Laden, Adolf Hitler both declared dead on May 1."

Both have something in common beside their "towering reputation of evil--and also an anniversary.

Of course, late last night, the world learned that mass-murderer Osama bin Laden was dead.

Late on May 1, 1945, about the same time at the president's announcement, German radio announced that Hitler had fallen "fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany.

He had actually committed suicide the day before.

A Coincidence?

Major World Event: Bin Laden Killed

Great news for the United States and freedom-loving people all over the world today. Mass-murderer Osama bin Laden is dead!! He was killed yesterday in a US military special operations team attack on his compound in Pakistan.

To President Obama's credit, once in office, he continued to direct the US military to keep looking for the world's greatest scaredy-cat and probably all-time champion at hide-and-seek.

Even Liz stopped what she was doing last night on the internet and watched Obama's announcement. Usually, she has a few choice words and watches something else when the president speaks.

He was killed in Pakistan in a high security compound in a large town about 70 miles north of the capital. Even more surprising, the compound was within a mile of a military post. That either that country's government or people in it were in on the harboring of the man is definite. The president mentioned that Pakistan was in on the strike, but I'm sure they weren't as he would have been tipped off and escaped.

The compound has been there five years and is huge. There is no way that Pakistani authorities couldn't have figured out that he was there.

I see that his body was buried at sea, no doubt because of possible problems with those who would have wanted it back.

I would also expect his organization to launch some terrorist attacks in revenge.

Personally, I thought he was dead a long time ago.

Justice Done, But There Are Still Others Out There.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Get Your History Here in Springfield, Illinois

Sitting here in the capital of Illinois, Springfield (and some believe the "real site" of Homer Simpson's Springfield). Liz is sleeping so I'm taking the opportunity to get caught up on e-mails and blogs, especially since this is the first day of the month,

Of course, the city is known for all its Lincoln stuff, and rightfully so. But that's not all the history there is. Some other places:


Bill Shea's Gas Station Museum
Cozy Dog Drive In
Several Route 66 alignments through the city as well as the Dirksen and Stevenson Expressways, the Route 66 By pass.

Signage makes following the alignments easy.
Route 66 Hotel and Convention Center in the first Holiday Inn in Illinois.
Several bars dating back to the road including the Curve Inn and Lake Springfield Tap.


Edwards Place built 1833
Elijah Iles House and Museum of Springfield History. Oldest surviving home belonged to Springfield's founder.
Executive Mansion-- Governor's house where Blago wouldn't stay.

Vachel Lindsay Home-- known for his poetry. Born and lived here all his life.
Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Closed for repairs but open in the summer 2011.

John H. Lewis Home-- leader of United Mine Workers Labor Union.

And, That's Not All. --Cooter