Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Fall of Saigon Was 40 Years Ago Today

But, as Charlie Daniels would sing, "Still in Saigon."

From the April 30, 2015, "40 Years Later: The Fall of Saigon" by AP.

I can still remember seeing the crowds trying to get to those helicopters.

"Forty years later, the images remain searing.  Throngs of desperate South Vietnamese civilians trying to scale the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, hoping to squeeze aboard one of the helicopters evacuating U.S. personnel and their associates in the face of the onslaught by North Vietnamese forces.

"U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin, in fear of spreading panic, had delayed launching the evacuation until the last opportunity.  As a result, potentially better plans for transport planes or cargo ships were scrapped -- and the helicopters, with space for fewer refugees, were called on April 29, 1975.

By late afternoon, perhaps 10,000 desperate Vietnamese had converged on the embassy."

And, I never thought it would happen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The "Old Senator" in St. Augustine

We are at the Howard Johnson Motel in St. Augustine on San Marcos Drive (US-A1A) and there is an absolutely huge oak tree on the grounds near the entrance called the "Old Senator."  It is reputed to be over 600 years which means it was here when Ponce de Leon found his Fountain of Youth which is several hundred yards from the motel.

It is a live oak and has been core tested to be over 600 years old.  There are benches and tables under it so you can rest or eat under a very old tree.

That tree has seen a lot of history.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Doing the Forts of Savannah

Yesterday, I visited Fort Pulaski, named for the Polish general who died fighting for American independence at Savannah during the American Revolution.  It was the site of a major Civil War battle in which rifled cannons proved to be more than a match for masonry forts.

Today, we go to Old Fort Jackson, built during the War of 1812.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Savannah's History: Oglethorpe's Town

February 12, 1733:  General James Oglethorpe and his band of colonists build the first houses.

Nov. 30, 1735:  The Scots celebrated St. Andrew's Day.

1736:  Oglethorpe returns from England with the Reverends John and Charles Wesley.  John preaches his first sermon in America near Trinity Church.

July 1742:  The Battle of Bloody Marsh defends the city from the Spanish.

1752  The colony becomes a royal providence.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Augusta's History

Perusing some brochures about Augusta, Georgia's history at the continental breakfast at the hotel.

Augusta was originally where Native Americans crossed the Savannah River.  In 1735, two years after James Oglethorpe established Savannah, he sent troops up the Savannah River with the order to build at the head of the navigable part of the river.  This was led by Noble Jones.

Oglethorpe named the new settlement Augusta in honor of Princess Augusta, future mother of King George III.  Augusta was the second capital of Georgia.  It is in the area of Georgia referred to as the Black Belt, for the large cotton plantations that grew up in the area.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bits O' History: Tomb of the Unknown-- Last Trip of USS Enterprise

1.  TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN--  Oct. 29, 2012, ABC News.  An inspirational picture making internet rounds of the elite soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery.  Picture actually taken in September.  The Army's 3rd Infantry Regt., "The Old Guard" keeps watch 24-hours, 365 days a year, regardless since 1948.  They were on post during Hurricane Sandy.

2.  LAST TRIP FOR USS ENTERPRISE--  Nov. 21, 2012, KVOA, Tucson, Az--  The world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier finished its 25th and final deployment Nov. 4th and returned to its home base at Norfolk, Va.  Its reactor will be removed and it will be towed to Washington State to be scrapped.  It was the Navy's second-oldest ship after the USS Constitution.

Scotty and Kirk Won't Be Happy--  Cooter

Monday, April 20, 2015

10 Things We Owe to Black Death

From the Jan. 28, 2015, Listverse by Larry Jiminez.

In the 1340s, it killed an estimated 75-200 million people. To humans, it definitely seemed like the end of times.  Even with as horrible as it was, there were some good things that grew out of it according to the list.

I'm just listing.  For pictures and details, go to the site.

10.. Healthier People
9.  Perfume Industry
8.  Hospitals

7.  Sex Comedies
6.  More Functional Homes (The lack of skilled artisans led to simpler building design.)
5.  Predominance of English
4.  End of Feudalism

3.  The Middle Class
2.  Freedom of Thought
1.  Humanism

Some interesting things in this list.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Japanese Battlecruiser Ibuki

From Wikipedia.  While researching Herbert Leach's transportation to war, the HMAT Hororata, I came across a photo of that ship with this ship in the background.  Had this been World War II, the two ships would have been engaged in battle, but being the previous war, japan was an ally.

The Ibuki was commissioned in 1907 and mounted four 12-inch guns and eight 8-inch ones.

During World War I, it escorted Commonwealth convoys to the front.  It participated in the hunt for the German light cruiser raider SMS Emden.

It escorted a convoy of ten troopships carrying the main body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force to Australia and then met up with the HMS Pyramus and Minotaur.  They then left Western Australia with ANZACs in a 36-ship convoy carrying 20,000 men and 7,500 horses across the Indian Ocean.  Perhaps this was Herbert Leach's convoy to war?

The ship fell victim to the Washington Naval Treaty after the war and was sold for scrap.

Allies Back Then.  --DaCoot

Battle of Flers-Courcelette: First Use of Tanks in Warfare

From Wikipedia.

I had never heard of this battle before starting these entries dealing with the Naours Cave.

The battle took place during the Somme Offensive in the summer and autumn 1916.  The object of this battle was to cut a hole in the German line by using massed artillery and an infantry attack.  That hole was then to be exploited by cavalry.

Overall, the attempt here failed, but the villages of Courcelette, Flers and Martinpuick were captured.

This battle was significant because it marked the first time tanks were used in battle.  Tanks were referred to as "Land Battleships."  It was also the first battle the New Zealand and Canadian Divisions participated.

Kind of interesting that cavalry was originally to be used to exploit the anticipated hole in the German lines and this was the first use of tanks, the cavalry's replacement.

Way, Heigh, Over the Bounding Land.  --Cooter

Friday, April 17, 2015

Herbert John Leach's Grave

From the GWGC site.  Cemetery File.

Herbert John Leach, private.  Service Number : 1975.  Death: 23/06/16  Australian Infantry A.I.F., Australia.  I have been unable to find out any more information on him.

The main Battle of the Somme began 4 days after his death, so perhaps his death occurred at some point as the Allies were preparing for it.

What Was the A.I.F.?

While researching this past week, I came across the letters A.I.F. on several occasions.  I'd not come across it before so good old Wiki time.

A.I.F. stood for Australian Imperial Force.  This was the main expeditionary force of the Australian Army in the First World War.  It was formed 15 August 1914 and originally consisted of one division and one light horse brigade.  It fought at Gallipoli from April to December 1915.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

HMAT Hororata A20-- Part 2

There is a photo accompanying of the site of the Hororata being loaded with troops.  Perhaps one of these men was Herbert Leach?

I found another photograph of the Hororata c. Nov. 1914 with the caption: "HMAT Hororata A20 cleaning engines.  In the distance is Japanese cruiser Ubuki, one of the battleships that escorted the first Australian and New Zealand convoy.

The Japanese were among the Allies in World War I.

There is another photograph of the Hororata at the Gallipoli Association Forum.


HMAT Hororata: A20-- Part 1: Australian World War I Troopship

These last however many blog entries all started with an article I printed last week on April 9th about Wold War I graffiti discovered in Naours Cave in France and then has gotten all the way here.  No wonder it takes so long to do these blogs.  One things just leads to another.  So far I have written 11 entries stemming from this.

Anyway, this is the ship that Herbert John Leach embarked on for World War I and his death.

From Australian War Memorial site.

HMAT stands for His Majesty's Australian Transport.

A fleet of ships was leased by the Commonwealth to transport troops in various A.I.F. unites overseas.  This fleet was made up of British and captured German ships.  The HMAT Hororata was 9,400 tons with an average cruising speed of 14 knots owned by the New Zealand Shipping Co., Ltd. of London and leased by the Commonwealth until September 11, 1917.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ANZACs: Australian and New Zealand Army Corps

From Wikipedia.

For those of you unfamiliar with what an ANZAC is.

Herbert Leach was an ANZAC.

This was the first World War Army Corps of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, formed in Egypt in 1915 of units from Australia and New Zealand.  They operated during the Gallipoli Campaign.

Disbanded in 1916 after withdrawal from Gallipoli. Reformed as the I and II ANZAC Corps.

Also fought in Second World War.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Herbert Leach's Embarkation to the War

Yesterday, I mentioned this Australian from Sydney who left his name at Naours Cave near Flers, France, and the fact that he was killed a month later.  Doing further research on him, I came across his Embarkation Roll from Australia to the war.

From the Australian War memorial site.

HERBERT JOHN LEACH:  Service number 1975/  Tank: Private /  Roll Title: 10th Infantry Battalion--  1-8 Reinforcements (December 1914-September 1915.  //  Date of Embarkation: 20 April 1915  //  Place of Embarkation:  Adelaide  //  Ship Embarked On:  HMAT Hororata A20.

Just Some More Information.  --DaCoot

Australian Cemetery in Flers, France-- Part 2: Where Tanks Used for First Time

Flers was captured during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, where tanks were used in combat for the first time.  The village was later recaptured by the Germans in March 1918 and recaptured by the Allies in August.

The cemetery was begun by Australian medical units posted in neighboring caves from Nov. 1915 to Feb. 1917.  The original graves are in Plot 1, Rows A and B.The great majority of the graves date from the autumn of 1916, but there is one from 1914.

Other bodies were moved here after the war.  Currently there are graves for 3,475 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War either buried or commemorated.  Some 2,263 are unidentified.  In addition, 170 French military and even there Germans are buried here.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Australian Cemetery at Flers, France-- Part 1

From GWGC site.

In the last blog entry, I mentioned that Private Herbert John Leach, who had signed his name in the Naours Cave, had been buried at the Australian Cemetery in nearby Flers, France.  I did some more research on it.

It is referred to as the A.I.F. Burial Ground, Flers.  Then there was mention of 1212 casualties which I wasn't sure if that meant these were men who were killed or wounded there during fighting as that number didn't match up with the number of burials.

The cemetery is located 2 kilometers north of Flers, Department of the Somme.

A lot of fighting occurred at and around Flers, which was captured from the Germans 15 September 1916,. in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.  The village was entered by the New Zealand Division and 41st Division.


Names of 731 Anzacs Found at Naours Cave in France: "Merely a Private"

From the April 6, 2015, AuWorld "Rge Names of 731 Anzacs found in cave under World War I battlefield in France' by Greg Keller.

ANZACs were soldiers from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Allied soldiers left similar inscriptions in the tunnels of Arras and Vimy, but Naours, well back from the front lines in World War I, were not used as shelters and hospitals like other Western Front quarries.

Naours is just a few miles from Vignacourt, a town used as a staging area for troops moving up to and back from the Somme battlefield to the east.  Young soldiers would take a break for some sightseeing and these were nearby.

The diary of Wilfred Joseph Allan Allsop, 23, private from Sydney noted on Jan. 2, 1917, "At 1 pm 10 of us went to the famous caves near Naours where refugees used to hide during time of Invasion."

Herbert John Leach, 25, from Adelaide wrote his name, a message and the date, "H.J. Leach.  Merely a private.  13/7/16.  SA Australia."  Sadly, he was killed August 23, 1916, at the Battle of Pozieres barely a month after he left his message.

On his grave at the Australian Cemetery in nearby Flers, his father inscribed this on his marker "Duty Nobly Done."


Sunday, April 12, 2015

8th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry

I was looking tofind out if I could find anything more specifically about James Cockburn's 8th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry since he signed 8th Durham L.I. after his name.

I found out it was raised in Durham in August 1914.  After training in Britain, they went to France arriving April 17, 1915 and soon saw action at the Battle of Yrpes in June and after heavy casualties, merged with the 6th Durham L.I. to become the 6/8 Durham L.I.

They saw action again at the Battle of the Somme and Battle of Lys.

In August, the 8th DLI transferred to the 117th Brigade, 39th Division and were disbanded in France after November 1918.


The Durham Light Infantry-- Part 2

During World War I, the unit fought at many of the worst battles, including Ypres, Loos, Arras, Messines, Cambrai, Somme and Passchendale.  They earned 54 battle honors and six Victoria Crosses but lost some 12,000 dead.

James Cockburn signed his name on April 1, 1917, so this would have been right before the Battle of Arras which began on 9 April and was intended as a diversion for the French attack at Nivelle.  The British and Durham Light Infantry advanced 4,000 hard-fought yards through the Hindenburg trench system until April 10th.

The Battle of Messines was 7-14 June 1917 and Somme Offensive began July 1917.

So, James Cockburn sure had a busy time before him.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Durham Light Infantry-- Part 1: James Cockburn's Unit in WWI

From Wikipedia.

The previous two entries were about graffiti left in the famous Naours Cave in France during World War I.  On of the nearly 2,000 sightseeing soldiers who inscribed his name on the chalk wall was one James Cockburn, 8th Durham L.I. and he signed it for the date April 1, 1917, now 98 years ago.

I decided to see if I could find out any more information on him.  I couldn't, so I don't know if he survived the war or not.

I did find out some information about his unit.


British Army Infantry Regiment 1881-1968 formed from the 68th Durham Regt. of Foot (Light Infantry) and 106th Regt. of Foot (Brumby Light Infantry) along with militia and rifle volunteers from County Durham.  They served in the Boer War, both World Wars and the Korean War.

During World War I, they were expanded to 42 battalions.  Mr. Cockburn probably belonged to the 8th Battalion.

More to Come.  --Cooter

Thursday, April 9, 2015

World War I Graffiti Found in French Cave-- Part 2; History of the Naours Caves

The Naours underground city is a 2-mile-long complex of tunnels with hundreds of chambers dug out over the centuries in the chalky Picardy plateau.  During the Middle Ages villagers took shelter in the caves from marauding armies crisscrossing northern France.

By the 18th century the quarry's entrance was blocked off and forgotten.  In 1887, a local priest rediscovered the site and it eventually became a tourist attraction.  That is most-likely the reason James Cockburn and the nearly 2000 others were there.  A little break from fighting..


World War I Graffiti Found in French Cave-- Part 1

From the April 7, 2015, Chicago Tribune "WWI cave graffiti sheds light on soldiers" by Greg Keller, AP.

Naours, France.  It's 100 feet underground and by headlamp you can see the name "James Cockburn 8th Durham L.I..  The date beside the name is April 1, 1917.  Right in the middle of World War I.

It is just one of nearly 2000 nearly century old inscriptions that have recently been found in Naours, a two-hour drive north of Paris.  When written, the huge battle of the Somme was going on just a few miles away which resulted in over one million casualties.

Photographer Jeff Gusky has tallied 1,821 individual names: 731 Australians, 339 British, 55 Americans, a handful of French and Canadian, and 662 others whose nationalities have yet to be traced.


Wrigley Field As a Work in Progress-- Part 4: A Perpetual Work in Progress

Today there are many pointing out that Wrigley Field is a mess.  It is.  This past crummy Global Blah Blah Blah winter really set construction back.  But, Wrigley has been a mess before and it will be a mess for the next four years as different "improvements" continue.

According to Blair Kamin, Tribune Cityscapes: "Architecture is never frozen in time.  It is always evolving, perpetually subject to wind, the rain and our ever-shifting requirements and preferences..

"With Wrigley's latest features still under construction -- the big new left field video board is supposed to be ready for opening night, the left field bleachers are scheduled to be done by May 11 and their right field counterparts by Mid-June -- it remains to be seen whether this latest chapter in the Wrigley story is a tale of graceful evolution or something to regret."

Then, There Is That $8.50 Beer.  --Cooter

Wrigley Field As a Work In Progress-- Part 3: New Bleachers and Scoreboard in 1937

In 1937, the Cubs were contending for another National League pennant and construction began  on July 9th while the team was on a long road trip.  Work crews tore out the small left field section called the "jury box," and took apart the centerfield scoreboard, which was topped by a pair of elflike figures promoting Wrigley's Doublemint gum.

They discarded one-third of scoreboard (the American league side).  the rest was moved to the left field corner.  Construction would normally stop about 2:30 p.m., a half-hour before game time at 3.  Of course, in August, there was the unfortunate bonking incident that I mentioned in the first post.

The new bleachers were finished by September 19, 1937.  The new, and still standing, centerfield scoreboard was fully operational by October 1st.

Naturally, the Cubs did not go to the World Series in 1937, but they did win in 1938 and made a last appearance in 1945.  That was their last trip, 70 long years ago.

I Love That Old Sign.  One of the funniest things I ever saw was back in the 1970s when the San Diego Chicken was at Wrigley and poked his head out of it.

Chicken All the Way.  --DaCoot

Wrigley Field As a Work in Progress-- Part 2: Originally Weeghman Park

In Wrigley's first year owning the club, in 1914, Wrigley Field was still called Weeghman Park and home to the Chicago Federals of the old Federal League, workmen began working on parts of the park just after it opened.  The left field wall was pushed back 25 feet because its former site made it too easy to hit home runs.  So, renaming things isn't a new thing in Chicago

Then there was the miserable winter of 1926-1927 which slowed work on the upper decks.  Only the one along the third base line was completed in time.  the one along the first base side was finished the following year.

The year most like this one was in 1937, when P.K. Wrigley replaced the awkward outfield bleachers that had been in place since 1922 "with a gracefully curving, symmetrical configuration designed by Chicago architects Holabird & Root."

This was major effort to increase seating after the Cubs had been forced to build temporary bleachers outside Wrigley when the Cubs played in the 1929, 1932 and 1935 World Series.

What, Cubs, World Series?  Too bad they didn't have those rooftop places back then.

Saw Many games at Ol' Weeghman Park.    --Cooter

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wrigley Field As a Work in Progress-- Part 1: Bonked On the Head

From the April 5, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Blair Kamin.

Much is being made of all the work being done on Chicago's Wrigley Field these days, what with the bleachers and the huge new video board as well as the ongoing wars with the rooftop owners across from the ballpark.

Some thing of Wrigley field as always being the way it looked last year, but that is not the case.  The venerable old ball field has undergone renovations quite often.

Case in point would be August 6, 1937, during the second game of a double header with the Boston Bees (now the Atlanta Braves).  Cubs catcher and future Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett, hit a home run over a temporary left field fence placed there because of construction on the new Wrigley bleachers.  The ball bonked a construction worker doing cleanup.  He was given the rest of the day off.  This according to Cubs team historian  Ed Hartig.

Watch Out for Home Runs.  --Cooter

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fox Lake Historical Society Hears Old Time Radio Group-- Part 2

This is the second time we've seen the Those Were the Days Radio Players and they are quite the talented group, regular stage performers if you will, only they get to read the scripts.  Their show is complete with sound effects and involves lots of crowd participation, even if we don't really need the applause or laugh cards to do our part.

And, they make sure their skits are humorous.

They began with an old radio show called "Life With Luigi" where Luigo Vasco writes his mama in Italy about what is going on in Chicago where he lives.  A recurring person is 300 pound Rosa, who her dad Pasquador is trying to marry off as a great catch.

The show itself started in 1948 on CBS Radio and ran until 1953.  It was even on TV in 1952, but never caught on.

Friend Pasquelli set up :uigi for a "dance date" in this episode

They also did "The Magnificent Montague"  about a Shakespearean actor now forced to act in a soap opera starring Monty Woodie.


Fox Lake Historical Society Hears Old Time Radio Group-- Part 1

November 15, 2014 Meeting of the Fox lake/Grant Township Historical Society in Fox lake, Illinois.

The next meeting in January the group will hear a presentation on Boats and Boat racing on the Chain of Lakes written by a man who has published a 575 page book on it.  Cost of the book is $70 with tax.

The group also will a presentation of Fox Lake in 1963 on Feb. 12th at 7 p.m. at the Fox lake Library.

The meeting's presentation was given by the Those Were the Days Radio Players.  They started in 1992 in Chicago and with 4 groups of entertainers and eventually got to 8 groups.  A few of them are still working and they promise that one day they'll actually get it right.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Looking Back to 1945: No Paved Road for Autoists and Watch Out for Trains

75 years ago.

**  Autoists who use the Sycamore-Burlington Road (today's Plank Road) who were hoping they would be connected by a blacktop between now and January 1, 1941, are in for a disappointment.  It will not be built this year according to Frank O. Larson, county superintendent of highways.  reason was lack of funds.

**  Old Age Assistance recipients on the state rolls fell to 624 this month.  It was 637 in February.  The 624 recipients received a total of $12,158, an average of $19.48 a person.

**  Two railroad crossing grades in Sycamore where people were killed in train-auto accidents are being looked at by state authorities.  One is where Route 64 passes over the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Line five miles west of Sycamore.  The other is the Great Western crossing at Richardson.


Looking Back to 1915: Don't Sell Liquor Illegally From a Nuisance

From the March 3, 1915 Mid Week, 100 years ago.

**  Sycamore Fence Company will begin using the new Lohman process of coating wire which absolutely prevents rust and makes the wire practically indestructable.

**  In county court on Monday, Judge Pond sentenced Clara Christensen of DeKalb, convicted in January for illegal selling of intoxicating liquor in DeKalb.

She was convicted on seven counts: 6 for illegally selling it and one for keeping a nuisance.

She will pay $50 on each of the first two counts and $20 on the next four.  For the nuisance charge she will pay $250 and spend twenty days in jail.

The sheriff was ordered to close the premises of the nuisance.  (Nuisance= bar?  Was the a college (Northern Illinois State Normal School (NIU))


Looking Back to 1890-- Part 2: Don't Get Drunk and Steal in Genoa

**  The -11 degrees on Sunday was the lowest of this winter.

**  A new timetable for the C &NW RR.  The Sunday passenger train is discontinued.  Because of this, Sycamore will not be receiving Sunday newspapers from Chicago.

**  The prohibition office was leased by two Chicago gentlemen who will start a Democratic paper.

**  Fred Davis, 19, got drunk in Genoa and stole a watch and some money.  he pleaded guilty Tuesday.  It was his first conviction and in view of his youth, given the lightest sentence possible.  One year in prison.


Looking Back to 1890-- Part 1: Don't Try to Beat the Train Across the Tracks

From the March 4, 2015 Mid Week  (DeKalb County, Illinois)

Some news from 125 years ago.

**  The riot case against Buntis Petrie and Chester Frane is expected to come before court this morning.  Riot Case?  Fighting each other perhaps?

**  The freight train on the C, St. P & KC Ry ran down a boy and a team at Wasco Sunday morning, killing the boy and both horses.  (So even horse and buggies tried to cross before the train got there.

**  The Women's Relief Corps will give a supper at the G.A.E. hall  (probably GAR Hall) Thursday 5-9 p.m..  For the benefit of the relief fund.  (The Women's Relief Corps was an auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union Civil War veterans group.)

Yum, Food!!!  --Cooter

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Isaac L. Ellwood, Barbed Wire King from DeKalb, Illinois

In yesterday's blog, I mentioned this man going to Washington, D.C. and meeting with President Harding at the White House in 1890.  Must be an important man.

He was.

From Wikipedia.

Born 1833, died 1910.  American rancher, businessman and barbed wire entrepreneur.

Born in New York and went out West during the California Gold Rush.  In 1855 moved to DeKalb, Illinois and opened a hardware and implements store.

In 1872, a farmer from nearby Waterman patented a form of barbed wire.  Ellwood, Jacob haish and Joseph Glidden improved it and patented a new type of barb wire in 1974.  With Glidden, he formed the I.L. Ellwood Manufacturing Company to make it and they became extremely wealthy men.

Ellwood also played a big part in getting the state to open a normal school to train teachers in DeKalb.  Today, this place is called Northern Illinois University, Liz and my alma mater.

I.L. Ellwood's house in DeKalb is now a museum.  The DeKalb High School team is called the Barbs.

Hung Up On the barbed Wire Again.  --DaCoot

Looking Back to 1915, 1940 and 1964 in DeKalb County, Illinois

Dec. 30, 1915, 100 Years Ago

**  25-30 additional men were hired to disinfect farms to prevent the spread of hoof and mouth disease.  300 applied for the jobs.

**  The land of the late John Gibson sold for $250.50 an acre, one of the highest prices ever paid for farmland in DeKalb County, Illinois.

January 3, 1940, 75 Years Ago

**  Mary Bimbo, 50, the self-styled "Queen of the Gypsies" was ordered out of DeKalb County in 1938, escaped from the Kankakee State Hospital last week.

**  18 people were killed in auto accidents in DeKalb County in 1939.  Three of these died Christmas week.

**  Emil E. Johnson's building in Sycamore was leased Friday to Montgomery Ward & Co. for a period of years.

December 30, 1964, 50 Years Ago

**  204 people died on DeKalb County roads in the last 14 years.  In 1951, only 4; in 1957-- 27; 1964-- 29.

Ah, the Good Old Days.  --Cooter

Friday, April 3, 2015

Looking Back to 1890

From the December 31, 2014, Mid Week (Sycamore, Illinois) "Looking Back."

Some interesting items from 125 years ago.

JANUARY 1, 1890:

**  No one gave Fred Davis a Christmas present last week, so he helped himself to one.  he entered the house of John Gray, north of Genoa, while the family was at supper, and stole a gold watch and some money.

**  There is an epidemic of sore throats, boneaches, headaches and fever in DeKalb.

**  Mr. I. L. Ellwood, while in Washington, D.C., last week had a personal interaction with President Harrison at the White House.  (Ellwood was prominent in the production of barbed wire and quite wealthy.)

**Arch Miller of Hinckley gave land for the city water tank and will be supplied with free water for 99 years.

**  The Army reports for November show 158 desertions out of 24,000 enlisted men.  Desertion from colored regiments was less than from white ones.


Loretta Perfectus Walsh-- Part 3: Navy's First Woman

Loretta Walsh was one of the 13,000 World War I yeoman (F)s.

She caught influenza in the great epidemic and later contracted tuberculosis, dying on August 6, 1926, age 29, at Olyphant. Pennsylvania, and was buried at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Olyphant.

A monument marks her grave and has these words on it:

Loretta Perfectus Walsh
April 22, 1895- August 6, 1925
Woman and Patriot
First of those enrolled in the United States Naval service
World War 1917-1919
Her comrades dedicate this monument
to keep her alive forever
memories of the sacrifice and devotion of womanhood

Now, I Know.

Loretta Perfectus Walsh-- Part 2: U.S. Navy's First Woman

On January 31, 1917, Germany announced it would henceforth begin unrestricted submarine warfare on all ships, including U.S. flagged ones.  On March 12, 1917, all American merchant ships in war zones were ordered to be armed and to fire on any U-boats they encountered.

It was during this period that Loretta Walsh enlisted for a four-year term.  On March 19, 1917, the U.S. navy Department authorized the enrollment of women in the Naval Reserve with a yeoman and other ratings.  This was in anticipation of a manpower crunch forthcoming.  The women yeoman received a Yeoman (F) classification.  They were commonly referred to as Yeomanettes.

Just twelve days after her enlistment. President Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war, which it did on April 6, 1917.

After the war ended, the Navy began a numbers reduction and by 1919, just 4,000 women remained in the ranks.  At that time, Loretta Walsh and all others were released but continued in inactive reserve status.  She continued that until the end of her four-year enlistment on March 17, 1921.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Loretta Perfectus Walsh-- Part 1: First U.S. Navy Woman

From Wikipedia.

I had never heard of her until yesterday's entry on my World War II blog so looked her up.

LORETTA PERFECTUS WALSH ( April 22, 1896-August 6, 1925)

Regarded as the first active duty (non-nurse) Navy woman, the first woman to enlist in the U.S. Navy and the first woman allowed to serve in any U.S. armed forces service other than as a nurse.

She enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve on March 17, 1917 as the United States was gearing up for World War I.  She became the first female Navy petty officer when she was sworn in as Chief Yeoman four days later on March 21, 1917.

Loretta Walsh was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Heinz and Kraft Brands-- Part 4: Claussen Pickles and Lea & Perrins


The Chicago staple started in 1870, when farmer Claus Claussen Sr. turned a bumper crop of cucumbers into pickles.

In the 1960s, the founder's great-grandson, Ed Claussen, helped create their touted crunchy version, know for being sold in the refrigerated section.


The famous Worcestershire sauce probably began as a mistake.

Chemists Lea and Perrins regarded it as a mistake and put it in a cellar.  The key ingredient turned out to be time.  Years later, they gave it a taste and there it was.  That famous taste.

It became a part of Heinz in 2005.

And Bloody Marys Came to Be.  Say Worcestershire Sauce Ten Times Real Fast.  --DaCoot

Heinz and Kraft Brands-- Part 3: Oscar Mayer and Cheez Whiz


Oscar Mayer began in Chicago in 1883, at the time the center of meat processing and packaging.  It began in Oscar F. Mayer's butcher shop.

They stepped into hot dog marketing history in 1936 with their famous Wienermobile, a vehicle shaped like a giant hot dog.


The all-purpose cheese sauce was inspired by a simple dish of melted cheese over toast.

The product hit the market in 1952, with its first slogan being "Spoon it, Spread it, Heat it."  Its first part of te slogan became unnecessary in 1993, when Kraft introduced the squeeze bottle.

Always Wanted to Ride in That Wienermobile.  --Cooter

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Heinz and Kraft Brands-- Part 2: Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Kool-Aid


The famous cracker and bagel spread was created in 1872, not in Philadelphia, but about 140 miles north in Chester, NY.  The "Philadelphia" part of the name was a marketing move about 1880 to tie the product with the city at that time known for its quality cream cheese.


The powdered fruit drink (which I sure drank a lot growing up) grew out of an experiment by Edwin Perkins in 1927 when he was looking for ways to reduce shipping costs for a liquid concentrate fruit drink.

The mascot for the brand, that liquid-filled, smiley-faced pitcher with arms and legs, started in the 1950s.  His catch-phrase, "Oh, Yeah!" is now embedded in pop culture.