Monday, April 30, 2012

William Murdoch of the Titanic: Hero or Villain?

From the April 9th Bulletin "Titanic artifacts" by Peter Prengaman, AP.

I started this April 28th.

Again, it was amazing that his personal effects would survive this long and be in that good of a shape.  And, to have found the toiletry kit of a person so connected with and involved with the sinking of the Titanic is just a huge bit of luck.

RMS Titanic Inc. oversees the artifacts, many of which can be seen at Premier Exhibitions in Atlanta, Georgia.  RMS Titanic is a subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions.

William Murdoch gained notoriety for his role in the sinking because of his portrayal in James Cameron's 1997movie "Titanic."  In it, he accepts bribes, kills two people trying to get into lifeboats and then shoots himself.  According to historical accounts, he gave the order to avoid the collision and then acted selflessly to get passengers into the lifeboats.

When the movie came out, it created a furor with Murdoch's family and people from his hometown of Dalbeattie, Scotland.  The studio, 20th Century Fox refused saying the movie was not a reflection of real events and Murdoch was portrayed as a hero because of the many lives he saved.  Later, the studio issued a personal apology and made a contribution to the annual Murdoch memorial prize given out each year at Dalbeattie High School ever since 1912.

The controversy of Murdoch shooting himself did not happen before the movie.  Titanic expert and author of "1912: Facts About Titanic" Lee. W. Meredith, said, "Cameron took a lot of liberties, and that's why historians don't like the movie."

My own thought on the movie is that even if some or a lot wasn't exactly true, its extreme popularity caused millions of people who otherwise would have known little if anything about the event, now know about it.

And the Story Continues.  --DaCoot

Bits O' Titanic: Best Book-- Belfast Tourist Bump-- Titanic II

Just Some Stuff of Interest.

1. BEST BOOK--  Dozens of books and magazines out about the ship, but the top-selling one continues to be Walter Lord's 1955 "A Night to Remember."  It is at #16 on the USA Today's Best-Selling Books List.  I still can't find mine.  Walter must have it.

2.  BELFAST TOURIST BUMP--  Belfast, Northern Ireland was voted one of National Geographic Traveler Magazine's top destinations for 2012 mostly because of its Titanic connection.

3.  TITANIC II--  Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer is planning to build a liner to the Titanic's exact dimensions in China, hoping for a maiden voyage from England to New York in late 2016.  I imagine it will also look like the original as well.  Of course, it will be ultra-modern and luxurious.  I'm sure I could not afford to go on it.

Just Some Stuff.  --Cooter

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bridge Officer William Murdoch's Personal Effects Recovered from Titanic

From the April 9th Bulletin "Titanic artifacts" by Peter Prengaman,AP.

William Murdoch was the bridge officer aboard the Titanic and his personal effects are on exhibit in Atlanta.  Salvagers made a remarkable recovery from the darkness two and a half miles below the surface of the North Atlantic when they located the toiletry kit with his belongings. 

He was on duty when the ship had its iceberg encounter and tried in vain to prevent it.  The artifacts include a shoe brush, straight razor and pipe.  The kit had the initials R.M. which proved it to be his.

Recovered From the Ages.  --DaCoot

Ocracoke Lighthouse Reopens

From the Dec. 27, 2009, Hampton Roads Pilot Online.

It is not the best-known North Carolina lighthouse and you can't go all the way to the top, but, it is the state's oldest continuously operating one, since 1823.  It's interior has been rehabilitated, the last time it was was 27 years ago.

It is the shortest state lighthouse at 65 feet with a light beam visible for 14 miles and is basically in good shape.

Check It Out On the Outer Banks.  --Cooter

Friday, April 27, 2012

Even More Die in the Sultana Disaster

With all the stuff out about the sinking of the Titanic's 100th anniversary, another, worse, maritime disaster took place 147 years ago today on the Mississippi River, near Memphis.

The SS Sultana was seriously overloaded with released Union prisoners, many from Andersonville, and headed for home when there was a boiler explosion and fire.  Some 1800 died, 300 more than onthe Titanic.  Sadly, this disaster is essentially unknown to most.

But, You Know.  --Cooter

Some Titanic Facts-- Part 2: World's Largest Metaphor Hits Iceberg

**  A mostly bogus 10-minute newsreel circulated in movie theaters shortly after the sinking.  Much of the footage was of the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, which had been launched a year earlier.

**  In 1953, the movie "Titanic" starring Barbara Stanwyck, Clifton Webb and Robert Wagner opened with both real and fictional characters exactly 41 years after the sinking.

**The 1955 non-fiction book by Walter Lord "A Night to Rmember" is still the best-seller on the ship. It included many interviews with survivors and a 1958 film was based on it.

**  Survivor Margaret Brown became widely known as Molly Brown after a 1960 musical and 1964 movie "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."  Kristen Iversen, author of "Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth" writes that there is no evidence that she ever referred to herself as "unsinkable."  It is believed that a Denver gossip columnist might have given her the name after Brown gave her account to another paper.

**  James Cameron's epic tale of the tragedy was released in 1997 and became the top-grossing film of all-time until his "Avatar" passed it in 2010.

**  "World's largest metaphor hits ice-berg" The Onion satirically headlined the disaster in a joke front page dated 1912.

That Funny Onion.  --Cooter

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some Titanic Facts-- Part 1

From the April 15th Chicago Tribune Focus Maritime Milestone "A Titanic Century" by Emily Rosenbaum.

**  Captain Edward Smith was known as the "millionaire's captain" because of his popularity with wealthy passengers.  He sure looked the part of a sea captain.

**  US and British investigations proposed safety recommendations and in 1913 led to the first International Conference of Safety of Life At Sea.  One major rule was that every ship now had to have space for each passenger in a lifeboat.

**  Millvina Dean, 97, was the last survivor of the sinking, died in 2009.  She was nine weeks old when her family left London for a new life in Wichita, Kansas, where her father hoped to open a shop.  Her mother and brother survived, but father did not.

**  Researchers this year made a field map of the wreck and debris area, taking 130,000 photos to create the most in-depth picture yet of the 3-mile-by-five-mile wreckage field.

**  Researchers have often puzzled over how Captain Smith, with all his experience in the North Atlantic, seemingly disregarded the iceberg warnings.

**  The Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., features a half-scale replica of the ship's bow, complete with a never melting iceberg.  Other artifacts include a third-class menu, a deck chair and Isidor Staus' wedding band.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Titanic News Gripped City

From the April 15th Chicago Tribune Chicago Flashback by Stephan Benzkofer.

"Who was on board and who survived? That's what was being asked...."

  The late, extra edition of the Tribune for April 15, 1912, was primarily devoted to the prominent people aboard.  I have already mentioned quite a few, but others included Rock Island, Illinois, native Francis Millet, an artist who was the decorations directions for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  Also aboard was English journalist William T. Stead who was also a reformer and wrote "If Jesus Came to Chicago."

The Tribune's first full day of coverage was about rescue and the Carpathia on its way to New York City with just 866 passengers, mostly women and children and a partial list of survivors.  Most of April 17th's front page was of a list of First and Second-Class survivors.  Only three of the Titanic's passengers were Chicagoans: Ida Hippach and her 15-year-old daughter, Jean, and Ervin Levy, a jeweler.  The Hippaches survived, but not Levy.

The Hippaches were lucky this time, but not always.  Two young sons, Robert and Archie, died in the horrible Iroquois Theater fire in 1903.  Two years after Titanic, a third son died in an automobile accident.  And, in 1915, Jean was the passenger in a car crash that killed an 8-year-old boy.

Not knowing the fate of loved ones was the problem of Oscar Johnson of suburban St. Charles.  On April 17th, the paper reported that his wife, two children and his two sisters were not among those saved.  But, on the 18th, the 32-year-old businessman fainted for 30 minutes when he heard they had survived.

Good News for Mr. Johnson.  --Cooter

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Chicago Tribune Reports the Titanic's Sinking

APRIL 18, 1912


Wreck Story Told In Detail By A Reporter

Carlos F. Hurd, Newspaper Man,  Gives Account of Sinking

Heroism of the Crew

Facts About the Wreck Given by Rescued

Fight In Sea As Described By Survivor

Official Statement By Survivors

Carpathia In With Rescued From The Sea

Lands 745 Survivors of the Titanic in New York

Anxious Crowd At Pier

Only One Person From the Wreck Dies On the Way

Like I Said, It Was Sure Big News.  --Cooter

Dead Page: An Artist and a Journalist

THOMAS KINKAIDE, 54, April 6th.

His landscapes, cottages and churches made him one of the most popular artists with the regular folks here in the US.  I am familiar with his works, but had never bought one.  We are more of the Terry Redlin fans, but I liked Kinkaide's work.

MIKE WALLACE, 93, April 7th

Sure strange not to see him on "60 Minutes" anymore.  I didn't know he honed his attack interview style here in Chicago.  First, Rooney, now him.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Chicago Tribune Follows the Sinking of the Titanic

Nore headlines from the front page.

APRIL 17, 1912


List of the Survivors of the Shipwreck-- Now Aboard the Carpathia-- So Far as Reported (Long list given of all known survivors at the time.)

Hope Fading That Others Were Rescued

APRIL 18, 1912


Astor Not On Rescue Ship; Nor. Maj. Butt

Congress Plans Rigid Inquiry In Wreck of Titanic

Survivors and Line Officials Will be Called to Explain Great Loss of Life

New Laws Will Follow

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Chicago Tribune Reports the Titanic Sinking

From the April 15th Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback" which featured a two-page spread on the centennial.

These were the headlines from April 15th and days following.


In an EXTRA. EXTRA. EXTRA. edition (the Tribune prints in the morning).




Other headlines on front page:

Giant of Sea Rams Iceberg In Atlantic; Women and Children Taken Into Lifeboats While Men Remain; Rescue Ships Too Late; Wireless Calls Summon Help, But It Arrives Too Late; Women and Children Saved; Prominent People on the Titanic; Wireless from Olympic Confirms Extent of the Disaster. There was also a photo of the Titanic and it's captain.


New York, April 15--(Special)-- Confirmation of the horrifying extent of the disaster to the Titanic came late tonight in a wireless message from the Olympic which also expressed the opinion that 1,800 lives were lost. The Olympic's dispatch in full follows:

"Carpathia reached Titanic position at daybreak. Found boats and wreckage only. Titanic sank about 2:20 a.m. in 41:16 N; 50:14 W. All her boats accounted for containing about 675 souls saved, crew and passengers included. NEARLY ALL SAVED WOMEN AND CHILDREN. Leyland liner Californian remained and searching exact position of disaster. Loss likely to total 1,800 souls."

I'm not so sure the Olympic, a Titanic sister ship was on the scene, however.

A True Tragedy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The 100th Anniversary of the Titanic's Sinking-- Part 2

Continued from April 16th.

One first-class woman who survived later spent her summers in York Harbor, Maine. HELEN CHURCHILL HUNGERFORD CONDEE of Washington, DC was a wealthy divorcee and author, was 53 when she boarded. described as beautiful, she was soon surrounded by suitors (perhaps Kate Winslet's character was based somewhat on her).

Walter Lord devoted an entire section to her on his follow-up Titanic book "The Night Lives On."

Condee was rescued in Lifeboat No. 6, the same one that "The Unsinkable Molly Brown was on. She died at age 90, August 23, 1949, at York Harbor.


Baker CHARLES JOUGHIN was the only person to survive the icy waters between the 2:20 AM sinking and the arrival of the RMS Carpathia an hour and a half later. reportedly, he survived by drinking himself into a stupor before jumping into the water.

Thanks to the wireless, the newspapers in Utah, three thousand miles away was able to keep up with the latest news. That's some new technology.

Walter Lord's "A Night to Remember" is considered to be the definitive account of the Titanic's sinking.

And the Story Continues. --DaCoot

Building the Titanic-- Part 2

In 1908, Harland & Wolff submitted plans for the most magnificent "Royal Mail Ships": the Olympic, Titanic and Gigantic (later name changed to Britannic.

With the RMS designation, this assured these ships getting the best available berths at ports in order to expedite mail delivery.

In order to build these huge ships, H&W had to demolish three slips to make the one necessary. Construction on the Titanic began March 31, 1909. Each of her three engines was the size of a three-story house.

When the Titanic set sail April 10, 1912, it was the largest ship ever built, measuring 882 feet 8 inches bow to stern.

One Big Boat!! --Cooter

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Leave It Or Raise It

The April 13th USA Today had an online poll as to whether the Titanic should be raised or left where it is.

I voted and found that 56% of voters wanted to raise it and 44% leave it.

I voted to leave it.

Being into history as much as I am, however, I really would love to have it raised, but realistically, I don't think it could be done, even of the ship didn't fall apart in the effort. Plus, it makes a very fitting grave for those who died that night.

Oh Well.

Building the Titanic-- Part 1

From the April 13th USA Today "Titanic's shipbuilders tackled an olympic task" by Genevieve Sexton.

In 1907, J. Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line, was losing business in US immigration from Southampton to New York City to Cunard's two new liners, the Mauretania and Lusitania. These new and fast ships could make the run in just four days.

That speed, along with the continuing drop in prices meant that most immigrants would go with Cunard.

Harland & Wolff shipbuilders were known for their speed and efficiency as well as engineering prowess.

The idea for a new Olympic-class of "bigger, better ocean liners" was born, featuring luxurious features for the wealthy.

More to Come. --Cooter

Monday, April 16, 2012

Where's My Titanic Book?

Sunday, I mentioned that I had found my old paperback "A Night to Remember" by Walter Lord about the sinking of the Titanic. Well, I hadn't looked for it yet and when I did, I couldn't find it where I thought it was. I looked in one other place and it wasn't there either.

I have a couple other places I'll look, but if I still can't find it, I might just have to buy another copy.

I Really Thought I Had It. --DaCoot

The 100th Anniversary of the Titanic's Sinking: It Was a Class Thing-- Part 1

From the April 15th Seacoast Online "A Titanic Maven"

When the great ship sank, 97% of the First Class women survived. In Third Class, the number was 49%. Just four First Class women died, and all of them by their own choice. The poor women in Third Class didn't have the same opportunity.

The four First Class who died:

IDA STRAUS-- chose to stay aboard and die with her husband Isidor, one of Macy's founders.

BESS WALDO DANIELS ALLISON-- 25, of Milwaukee, Wi., failed to find another lifeboat after climbing out of the one she was in to search for her son. Unbeknownst to her, he was in another lifeboat.

EDITH CORSE EVANS-- 36, of New York City, gave up her seat to another woman with children in what turned out to be the Titanic's last lifeboat.

ANN ELIZABETH ISHAM-- 50, of Chicago, refuse to leave her Great Dane dog. Accounts later say the body of a frozen woman was found with her arms around a large dog.

Tragic. --Cooter

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The 100th Anniversary of the Titanic's Sinking: Events Around the World-- Part 2

Helen Edwards is carrying ashes of family friend Adam lackey, a Titanic buff from Montana who died last year. She plans to scatter his ashes over the site.

The Balmoral left Southampton April 8th and is retracing the Titanic's voyage. Besides the usual cruise things, they also are having lectures on the Titanic. I sure would have liked to be on this voyage.

Some people aboard have direct links to ancestors on that fateful trip. Others more of an indirect one. Edwards said her grandparents were married in 1911 and had been considering a boat trip back to Sweden to visit his parents, but never did because of the Titanic's sinking.

The cruise ship Journey left New York City on Tuesday and will join the Balmoral at the wreck site.

The Titanic was built at Belfast, Northern Ireland, the pride of the Harland & Wolff shipyard. Thousands attended a choral requiem at the Anglican St. Anne's Cathedral Saturday.

Also, observances were held in Las Vegas, Houston, San Diego and Singapore.

The Story of a Ship. --Cooter

The 100th Anniversary of the Titanic's Sinking: Events Around the World-- Part 1

From the April 14th AP "Events around the world mark Titanic centenary" by Jill Lawless and Lefteris Pitarakis.

There are 1309 passengers on the cruise liner Balmoral who are spending this past week retracing that final voyage of the RMS Titanic. The ship struck the iceberg at 10:40 PM April 14th and sank less than three hours later in the early morning hours of April 15th.

Two ceremonies were held earlier today on the Balmoral: one when the Titanic hit the iceberg and the other when it went beneath the waves at 2;20 AM. A minister led a prayer, floral wreaths were thrown into the sea and a shipboard band played "Nearer My God to Thee," the final song played by the Titanic's band as the ship sank.

Derek Chambers of Belfast, Northern Ireland, is on the cruise on his honeymoon. His great grandfather, a carpenter, helped build the Titanic. He has a tattoo on one forearm of the Titanic and a tattoo on the other of Captain Edward Smith. I have to wonder if his new bride finds this romantic?

More to Come. --DaCoot

The 100th Anniversary of the Titanic's Sinking: Walter Lord and the ABC Special

I don't usually post on Sunday, but this is a red-letter date in history.

Just a bit ago, I went into a a storage area I haven't been in for a long time and dug out my old "A Night to Remember" paperback by Walter Lord about the ship's sinking, that I bought at a school book sale way back when for 50 cents.

This book got me interested in the ship. Walter Lord could write interesting history better than most. I also have books by him on Hannibal, Pearl Harbor and the Alamo. To this day, these are four things that have always held my interest.

Last night, I watched the ABC special on the Titanic. Other than its big depiction of class differences and a few of the bitchiest women ever, there wasn't much new shown here. But, it is about the Titanic and I found it of interest.

I was wondering why they got to the sinking after 45 minutes of the first of four hour segments, but found out that they were going to do a lot of flashbacks to explain some of the things going on.

Looking forward to the concluding segment tonight. Is it opposite "Mad Men?" Looks like time to fire up the 'ol VCR. And, then there is the History Channel special. I was a bit surprised that no one showed Cameron's :Titanic" movie. Wish we could get the National Geographic Channel.

The Story of the Ship. --RoadDog

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Titanic: High Tech Marvel-- Part 2

But the Titanic's crowning technical glory was the advanced wireless communications system set up on Morse Code. Its main transmitter was in the Marconi Room by the bridge with antenna strung from mast-to-mast. Most ships back then could transmit from 100 to 150 miles during the day, but the Titanic had 500 miles day and 2,000 at night.

Passengers loved the idea so much that they inundated the operators on board with messages so much that this came into play on the ship's sinking.

At 11:30 PM, April 14th, the wireless operator on the SS Carpathian, sailing near the Titanic, messaged about icebergs in the vicinity. The Titanic's operator, Jack Phillips, on duty at the time, messaged back, "Shut up. Shut up. I'm working Cape Race," meaning that he was relaying messages to Cape Race, Newfoundland, some 800 miles away.

Once tragedy struck, the Carpathian did not respond to the Titanic's distress calls because the angered operator had gone to bed.

About 12:30 AM April 15th, the Titanic began sinking, one hour after striking the iceberg. The forward part of the ship went down first at 2:05 AM,where the bridge and Marconi Room were located.

Phillips remained at his station and was still sending messages at 2:17. The ship went entirely under at 2:20 and Phillips was not one of the survivors.

Sonar and radar would have helped, but in 1912, sonar was still in the experimental stage and radar was invented for another twenty years.

A Sad Occasion, One Hundred Years Ago. --Cooter

The Titanic: High Tech Marvel-- Part 1

From the April 13th Computerworld"Titanic was high-tech marvel of its time"

The Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage with 2,228 passengers and crew from Southampton, England on April 10, 1912. Late at night, April 14th (today) it struck and iceberg and sank early the next day.

It was the most advanced ship of her time.

On board was a 30 by 40 foot control panel that controlled the ship's fans, generators, electricity and many other things. Today, a simple desktop computer could do this, but this was real high tech back then.

The ship had four elevators and some of the first-class cabins even had in-room telephones, although they couldn't call ship-to-shore.

More to Come. --DaCoot

Which Came First: Fire or BBQ?

From the April 9th Bulletin "Study: Fire was in use a million years ago" by Malcolm Ritter AP.

It's been a question of debate for a long time as to when out ancestors began using fire. Right now, there is evidence that it occurred about a million years ago in a cave in South Africa. Ash and burnt bones found there suggest that there were frequent fires there.

Some experts even cite evidence putting it back as far as 1.5 million years ago, but new research at the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa makes it "a pretty strong case." Evidence has also been found in the nearby Swartkrans Cave.

It is believed that burning material was brought from natural blazes into the caves to establish fires there. Stone tools found at the site indicate the humans were Homo Erectus, a species dating back to 2 million years ago.

Hmmmn, Thor, Fire Make Meat Taste better. Pass the BBQ Sauce. --Cooter

Friday, April 13, 2012

Submarines in the American Revolution-- Part 1

You sure hear a lot about the Confederate submarine Hunley during the Civil War, but a submarine, the Turtle, operated during the American Revolution.

David Bushnel is considered the "Father of the Combat Submarine." In 1976, a replica of his Turtle, designed by Joseph Leary and constructed by Fred Fresse as a project for the U.S. bicentennial, was tested in the Connecticut River. That replica is now at the Connecticut River Museum.

In 2007, police stopped 3 men who were piloting a replica of the Turtle within 200 feet of the Queen Mary II at Red Hook, Brooklyn. They were issued a citation by the Coast Guard for having an unsafe vessel and for violating a security zone around the QM2.

The pilot was local artist Philip "Duke" Riley who wanted a photo of his submarine next to the Queen Mary. Arrested onshore were two other artists. One was Jesse Bushnell who claimed their craft, the Acom, was that of his ancestor.

Danger Under the Water. --Cooter

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Titanic: The Unsinkable Molly Brown House Museum in Denver

From Yahoo! News.

A few blocks from Colorado's state capitol and over 1700 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and a mile above sea level sits the stone Victorian home where one Molly Brown returned to after her harrowing ordeal just shy of 100 years ago.

She and her husband moved into it twenty years before the Titanic sank after he struck it rich on a gold mine.

Molly Brown was on the Titanic because it was the first ship crossing the Atlantic from Europe so she could visit her ailing son.

Today, the house is a museum.

inside is a photo of Molly Brown with Captain Arthur Henry Rostron who had helped rescue the Titanic's surviving passengers. On May 29, 1912 he was given a trophy cup award for his efforts.

Of interest in the home is a copy of Brown's insurance claims for items she lost when the Titanic went down including a $20,000 necklace (perhaps the one the movie was looking for), a brown velvet gown valued at $300 and two Japanese kimonos for $50.

A Ship of Famous History. --Cooter

Cincinnati's Chester Park

It was located on the northwest corner of Spring Grove Avenue and Mitchell. Today, the Cincinnati Waterworks partially occupies the site.

It originally operated as a horse racing club and in 1876 the first Ohio Derby was held there. On August 29, 1885, 15,000 attended the John L. Sullivan-Dan McCaffrey boxing match at the site.

In 1895, the Cincinnati Street Railway Company bought the site and turned it into an amusement park. A large lake was made with one side for boating and the other for swimming. Circling it was a boardwalk and a miniature train.

One of the highlights was a 5-story fun house called Hilarity Hill.

All this and more drew up to 30,000 patrons a day.

From 1929 to 1932 it was called Rainbow Park. A combination of the Depression and loss of beer sales during Prohibition caused most of it tp close down, but the pool remained open until 1954.

Fun and Good Times out at the Old Chester Park. --DaCoot

Coming Up on the Anniversary of Kent State

This past Sunday, Bob Stroud played music from April 8, 1970 on his Rock and Roll Roots radio show on WDRV in Chicago. It brought back lots of memories, including the events that transpired at Northern Illinois University in the aftermath of Kent State which took place later in the month.

This information from 2010 and given by Kenneth G. Trantowski, editor of the campus newspaper, The Northern Star, back then.

Four were killed and 11 wounded at Kent State in Ohio which touched off violence at most campuses.

The violence came late to NIU. On May 5th, 500+ protesters were at an anti-war, anti-ROTC rally. Dekalb, Dekalb County and Sycamore police arrested 37.

May 6th, 8,000 gathered which led to more arrests. Dekalb mayor Jesse Chamberlain pleaded with Governor Ogilvie to send in the Illinois National Guard.

These Are Some Times I Won't Forget. --Cooter

Titanic Alert

I should have done this earlier, but I just created a Titanic Alert, what with the 100th anniversary of it coming up.

Jack would be so proud.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

RMS Titanic Sets Sail for New York 100 Years Ago Today

Events were underway for the calamity about to happen as the RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, England.

There are several cruise ships retracing the last days of the "Unsinkable Ship" even as I type, ending up at the wreck site in four days.

That would be some way to commemorate the event.

Sail On, Titanic.

War of 1812: The Bicentennial in New Orleans

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune "Mayor military officers detail next month's War of 1812 bicentennial events in New Orleans" by Paula Purpura.

The Tall Ships and modern warships from various nations will dock in the city. The Navy's Blue Angels will put on a show over Lake Pontchartrain.

The Navy, marine Corps and Coast Guard will be hosting similar events during the next three years, including a grand finale on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.

This April 17-23's events will include Navy Week and Fleet Week. One of the ships will be the USS Wasp, an 844-foot amphibious assault ship and the Coast Guard's tall ship, the Eagle. Ships from England, Canada, France, Ecuador and Indonesia will be as the celebration.

Big Times in the Big Easy. --DaCoot

War of 1812: Brock Thought American Attack on Upper Canada Inevitable

From the March 3rd Toronto (Can) Star.

British General Sir Isaac Brock oversaw military matters in Upper Canada and would much had rather returned to England and be with the British Army fighting in Spain but followed orders and remained in Canada.

As early as Feb. 1812, he was warning of an approaching war with the United States and was looking to bolster his forces.

Upper Canada refers to the part of Canada farther from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.

War's A'coming. --Cooter

Monday, April 9, 2012

As We Come Up On the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic-- Part 2

** Plus, young folks can se what an ocean liner looked like before they became floating hotels.

** Belfast, Northern Ireland recently opened a $160 million "visitor experience" on the former Harland and Wolff shipyard where the Titanic was built. It also has a marine exploration center linked with the work of Robert Ballard, who found the ship in 1985.

** The Titanic is the centerpiece of the current National Geographic Magazine. (Drat, I just let my subscription expire!)

** The National Geographic Channel has two new documentaries our about it "Save the Titanic with Robert Ballard" and "Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron."

** April 15-16th, ABC will show the four-hour British-produced miniseries "Titanic."

** I just rifled through a Wal-Mart DVD $5 bargain bin and came up with one featuring several Titanic documentaries.

** Said Robert Ballard: "For me, it was not the ship. It was the story of people. When I went down there it spoke to me." And also made him rich and famous.

** On a cruise I took with my family arpund Great Britain, we stopped at Belfast and the ship tied up right by the drydock where the Titanic was built. Being that close to history. Back then, they were planning to outline the ship with light tubing.

Thanks Robert, Though, for Finding It. Salute! --DaCoot

As We Come Up on the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic-- Part 1

I am seeing a lot of articles on one of the events I consider the most interesting in history. And, it has always been a big story from day one.

From the April 5, 2012, Salt Lake (Ut) Tribune "Titanic still captures the attention of popular culture" by Scott D. Pierce.

Attention to the ship increases as we approach the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking this Saturday and Sunday.

**Recently, astronomers at Texas State University made headlines that the moon caused the disaster due to unusually high tides that enabled a much larger number of icebergs to slip out over the sea bottom to float out in the Atlantic.

** James Cameron's Oscar-winning 1997 film "Titanic," the No. 2 moneymaker in movie history, is being released in 3D. I am not a fan of 3D, but am considering seeing it.

** There are also many documentaries out now.

More to Come. --Cooter

Thinking Back to 1909

And this actually brings me to the end of the 2009 notebook of articles for history. There are still lots of World War II ones though, so I will be continuing with them for quite awhile on my World War II blog.


traffic lights
bubble gum
ball point pens
shopping carts
nylon stockings
kitty litter
milk cartons

In the U.S., 230 murders were reported, life expectancy was 47
An accountant earned $2,00- a year, dentist $2,500. The average American worker earned $200 to $400 a year.

Sugar was 4 cents a pound, eggs 14 cents a dozen.

Most women washed their hair once a month, using Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Leading causes of death: pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis, diarrhea, heart disease and strokes.

From 1909 to 2009, world population went from 1.7 billion to 6.4 billion

Interesting. Very Interesting. --DaCoot

2009 Was the 300th Birthday of New Bern, NC

New Bern is a very old city, to say the least.

It served as the Colonial capital of North Carolina (Tyron Palace), was the site of a Civil War battlefield, the birthplace of Pepsi.

Named for Bern, Switzerland, the home of its founder Christophe de Graffenreid.

Deaths in Music: 2009

I came across this list and we sure lost some talent three years ago.

DAN SEALS-- 61, March 25-- (Still love his "Bop" song.)
MARY TRAVERS-- 72, Sept. 16-- Peter, Paul and Mary
KOKO TAYLOR-- 80-- Queen of the Blues

ARTHUR FERRANTE-- 88, Sept. 19-- Ferrante and Teicher
ELLIE GREENWICH-- 68, Aug. 26-- songwriter, among her many, cowrote "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Chapel of Love."
DEWEY MARTIN-- 69, Feb. 1-- drummer with Buffalo Springfield
GORDON WALLER-- 64, July 17-- Peter and Gordon (I still get them confused with Chad and Jeremy. Sorry.)

ESTELLE BENNETT-- 67, July 17-- Ronettes "Be My Baby"
BOB BOGLE--75, co-founder of the Ventures

Some Really Fine Music Here. --Cooter

Saturday, April 7, 2012

World's Most Expensive Union Jack

October 29, 2009.

It flew at the Battle of Trafalgar and sold for a record-breaking 384,000 pounds, nearly 40 times the auction house's estimate. It is the only surviving Union Jack from the battle. Its 32 bunting panels are littered with holes and even after 200 years, still smells like gunsmoke.

It flew from the HMS Spartrate, the last ship in line behind the HMS Victory. It was originally a French ship captured in 1795 at the Battle of the Nile.

After he Battle of Trafalgar, the crew presented it to Lt. James Clephan for his outstanding performance. The eleven-by-seven foot flag was kept by his family after that, but they have decided to emigrate to Australia and decided to sell it (this should pay for the move). Plus, considering the importance of the battle, it belongs in Britain.

James Clephan, from Fife, Scitland, who was pressed into the British Navy in 1794 at the age of 26. He became a midshipman in 1801 and made a lieutenant after the capture of the French ship Chevrette and a first Lt. after Trafalgar. He was just one of sixteen press-ganged sailors to rise through the ranks of the British Navy.

Here's hoping whoever bought it will allow it to be on public display. Nothing connects with history like an old piece of cloth.

Quite an Interesting Story. --DaCoot

The actual bid was 320,000 pounds, but there was a 20% buyer's premium.

Ten Incredibly Significant Moments in History

From the Dec, 10,2009 Listverse. List Universe.

10. RENAISSANCE 1483 to 1513-- (I finally learned how to spell the word when I had to teach it.)

9. ROMAN REPUBLIC AND EMPIRE 100BC to 100 AD-- Borrowed Greek culture and expanded it, especially in engineering and architecture.

8. BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE 1855-1866-- Darwin's Theory, Pasteur, Lister and Mendel.

7. AGE OF INVENTION-- electric light, alternative current, telephone, steam and gas turbines, phonograph.

6. AGE OF ASTRONOMY, MECHANICS AND LITERATURE 1580-1610-- Galileo's telescope, Kepler's planetary theory, Don Quixote and Shakespeare.

5. AGE OF NEWTON 1660-1687-- Theory of Gravity, Newton and Leibniz invent calculus, Boyle's Law, development of chemistry.

4. INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION 1764-1790-- Watt's steam engine, chemistry, geology and economy.

3. EASTERN EMPIRES 11TH-12TH CENTURIES AD-- China, Islam, Indian, Southeast Asian



Always pictures and more information at the site.

What, No Agricultural Revolution? --Cooter

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ten Great Moments in U.S. History

Nov. 24, 2009, Listverse. Listuniverse.

10.. Barack Obama elected president in 2008.

9. Armstrong walks on the Moon in 1969.

8. The Civil Rights Act in 1964.

7. The Marshall Plan in 1947.

6. Womens' Suffrage in 1920.

5. Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

4. Lewis and Clark arrive at the Pacific Ocean in 1805.

3. Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

2. Ratification of the Constitution in 1789.

1. The Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Can't Argue Much With These. --Cooter

TenTop Naval Battles in History

Dec. 10, 2009, US Naval Academy.

ACTIUM-- 31 BC. The final war of the Roman Republic. A disaster for them.

BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC-- 1939-1945 Primarily U-boats vs. Convoys. Also off US coast.

BATTLE OF JUTLAND-- Largest Naval battle of World War I-- only full-scale clash of battleships in the war.

BATTLE OF MIDWAY-- 1942-- turning point of the Pacific War.

BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR-- France vs. Britain

BONHOMME RICHARD VS. SERAPIS-- 1779-- John Paul Jones, "We have not yetbegun to fight." Big upset.

MONITOR VS. THE MERRIMAC (CSS VIRGINIA)-- most revolutionary Naval battle ever. Two ironclads and a turret.

PELOPONESIAN WAR NAVAL BATTLES-- 431 BC to 404 BC. Athens vs. Sparta.

SIEGE OF CANDIA-- Capture of Crete after siege by the Ottoman Empire in the 1600s.

SPANISH ARMADA VS. THE BRITISH NAVY, Battle of Gravelines-- British gain control of the seas in 1588.

It's a Ship Thing, You Know. --DaCoot

World War I Trenches Preserved in a Field

From the Oct. 13, 2009, BBC News.

A second set of trenches ij Britain dating to World War I have been investigated by experts. The line has three trenches and is about two miles from others that were found last year in a field in Ross-Shire which had never been plowed.

The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments investigated around Invergordon, a key port for the Royal Navy in World War I.

These trenches may have been dug by territorial units, regular soldiers or marines based in the area. They were intended as use as training trenches and had become almost completely filled in by gravel.

I would imagine these were the same as could be found in France and served to show troops how to build them and how to fight in them.

A Bit of the Past Comes Back. --Cooter

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rosenwald Schools

From the December 7, 1941, Charleston (SC) Post and Courier "Rosenwald Schools" by Robert Behre.

In 2002, the National trust for Historic Preservation listed these schools as most endangered sites. Sears president Julius Rosenwald put up funds to match to build 4,977 new schools for blacks in the South from 1912 to 1932. There were 13 built in Charleston County, 6 each in Berkeley and Colleton counties and 2 in Dorchester.

Only a few are known to be still standing. The interior of the Lincolnville Town Hall is one.

One in southern Charleston County is now a private residence. Of the more than 500 built in South Carolina, only 10-15% survive. They are not as common in SC's Low Country as in Upstate.

About 664,000 blacks in 15 states were educated in Rosenwald Schools.

It Is Too Bad That So Few Know of These Schools That Did So Much to Further Black Lives. --DaCoot

First Lady Michelle Obama Traces Roots Back to Slavery

From the October 8, 2009, Chicago Sun Times.

Geneaologists have traced Michelle Obama's roots back to a 6-year-old slave girl in South Carolina, Melvinia, her great-great-great grandmother.

She eventually had a baby with an unknown white man after she was willed to him.

Dolphus T. Shields born around 1859 when Melvinia was perhaps fifteen.

Melvinia died in 1938.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Larry the Quaker Guy Gets a Makeover

From March 29th Yahoo! News from the Wall Street Journal "Larry; Quaker of Oatmeal Fame, gets Makeover" by Sarah Nassauer. Yes, I do write about more current items. I'm just trying to finish off some older history notebooks.

Larry, as folks at Quaker Oats call him, has been staring at us for many years from cartons of oatmeal, but is now getting a new look: haircut, losing some weight and dropping about five years.

PepsiCo, Quaker's owner, is trying to reinvigorate the 134-year-old brand. the new image is thanks to Hornall Anderson. With the hair trimmed, the shoulders are more apparent, making Larry appear stronger and more vibrant. trimming the hair also makes him appear to be lighter and thinner. The double-chin has been removed and roils on his face have been smoothed.

My dad worked for Quaker Oats for the majority of his adult life. if you cut him I'm sure he would have bled Quaker Oats.

For Dad. --DaCoot

Buying Those Historical Items: George and Edgar

From Dec. 4, 2009, Yahoo! News.

A George Washington letter was sold at Christie's Auction for $3,218,000, a record for a letter by him. It was written in 1787 to his nephew Bushrod Washington where he argued for a ratification of the country's new Constitution. It was owned by Bushrod's descendants for more than 100 years.

This is a very rare document and at presale the estimate was that it would go for between $1.5 million and $2.5 million. The previous record for a Washington document was $834,500 in 2002.

A volume of poetry by Edgar Allan Poe, including "For Annie" which has 8 handwritten verses of sixteen went for $830,000.

A rare First Edition of his first book, "Tamerlane and Other Poems" went for $662,500. Only 12 copies of the 40 page volume published in 1827 are known to exist.

Someone Had Lots of Money. Must Be Big Oil Or An Investment Banker. --Cooter

Sunken Ship

From 2009 WKTV 2, Utica, NY.

A sunken ship believed to be two centuries old may be raised from the bottom of Lake Erie and put on display.

Northeast Research, LLC, has the rights and plan to put it in a tank for viewing. It will cost $4 million and the company plans to give it to the city of Buffalo for $1 on a 99-year lease.

A 1797 British coin and an American one from 1834 have been recovered from it, so it dates to the early 1800s. It is one of 90 shipwrecks in Lake Erie.

Wonder If Pat Dailey Wrote a Song About It? --DaCoot

The Black Hawk Statue

No, this one is not to those gallant guys who play on the ice at the United Center in Chicago. This one is the 50-foot tall one overlooking the Rock River.

Back in 2009, it was coming close to being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The week before, the Illinois Historical Sites Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend it (one of the steps necessary for inclusion on the list.

It was then sent to the National Register office for a 4-5 week review.

The statue is located on a bluff of the Lowden Memorial; State Park north of the town of Oregon.

sadly, the statue is in need of repair. Cracks are appearing in it; the last major repairs having been done 20 years earlier. Chicago artist Lorado Taft designed it in 1910 and completed it in 1911 to honor Indians, but it is more commonly known as Black Hawk

The Oregon Chamber of Commerce estimates that it draws 400,000 visitors annually. We've seen it several times.

Still On sentinel Duty. --Cooter

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

War of 1812: Key Dates-- Part 2

Dec. 10th-- Brig. General George McClure and his troops burn Newark (Niagara-On-The-Lake) and retreat to Fort Niagara.

Dec. 19th-- British troops capture Fort Niagara and then burn Lewiston, Black Rock and Buffalo during a ten page rampage.


July 5th-- Battle of Chippava. British lose 148 killed and 321 wounded. American losses: 60 killed, 235 wounded.
July 25th-- Battle of Lundy's Lane. Americans lose 171 killed and 572 wounded. British losses: 84 killed and 559 wounded.
Sept. 6-11-- Battle of Plattsburgh (Lake Champlain)


January 8th-- Battle of New Orleans, 15 days after the peace treaty ending the war, was signed.

A Quick look at Some Events of the Forgotten War. --DaCoot

War of 1812: Key Dates

From March 4th Niagara Gazette.


June 18th-- President Madison declared war.
Oct. 11th-- American troops under Gen. Stephen Van Renssalear invade Canada and attack Queenstown Heights.
Oct. 13th-- British Major General Isaac Brock killed at Queenstown. American losses 90 killed, 100 wounded. British: 14 killed, 84 wounded, 15 missing.


Jan. 23rd-- Laura Secord of Queenstown hikes 20 miles to alert British troops that American invading forces would attack an outpost at Beaver's Dam (near St, Catherine).
September 10th-- The Battle of Lake Erie, Cmdr. Oliver Perry's victory.

More to Come. --Cooter

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Pirate Ship Whydah

From the Aug. 19, 2009, Boston Globe.

Barry Clifford brought up his own booty from the pirate ship Whydah (pron. WIH-dah), which sank in a 1717 storm. The late John F. Kennedy, Jr, spotted two cannons on a previous dive to the site.

The ship was discovered in 1984.

One of the cannons weighs 1500 pounds and the other 2000. several pistols and other corroded items have also been found.

In its short career in the early 1700s, the Whydah ransacked 50 other ships.

It's a Pirate's Life for Me. --DaCoot

Did You Know?

From the July 21, 2009, List Universe (Listserve).

** In the last 3,500 years of mankind, there have only been 230 with no wars.

** The model for Uncle Sam on the famous 1917 "I Want You" poster was the face of its painter James Montgomery Flagg who aged his face and added the goatee. He did this so he wouldn't have to look for a model (or pay one).

** There was no U.S. Medal of Honor until 1862, when President Lincoln signed it into law.

** Income taxes were repealed in 1865 because the government did not need the revenue. The major sources of federal income came from tobacco and alcohol at the time. So, there were sin taxes all the way back then.

The Tax Man Neareth. --Cooter

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Search On for HMS Diana from the Revolutionary War

July 19, 2009, AP.

The search is on for the HMS Diana, whose wreckage is believed to be in Chelsea Creek which separates the city of Chelsea and the East Boston neighborhoods of Boston.

The ship was involved in the first naval engagement of the American Revolution. It was part of a two day battle, May 27-28, 1775. British forces were attempting to reach friendly farmers and the Diana sailed upriver to support the ground forces. It ran aground.

The State of Massachusetts has received a $48,300 grant for the Chelsea Creek Battlefield from the National Park Service to preserve it. This money is earmarked to fill in the gaps of this largely unknown battle (I'd never heard of it) and to find the Diana.

After running aground, the ship was attacked by Continental forces and the 120 ton schooner became the first British vessel to be captured or destroyed. It was built in 1774 in Massachusetts and was an unarmed private fishing boat before being purchased by the British Navy for 750 pounds.

They mounted four six-pounders and twelve swivel guns on it.

The Diana ran into unfavorable wind while engaging Colonial forces and ran aground. They refused an offer to surrender. The crew escaped and Americans boarded and removed its armament.

I Wonder If They Found It? --Cooter