Monday, November 30, 2015

North Carolina in the American Revolution-- Part 2: Battle of Peacock's Bridge

From the Carolana site.

In the last post, I listed four engagements in the state of North Carolina, one being the Battle of Peacock's Bridge.  I'd never heard of it before so further research was needed.

This battle occurred early in Cornwallis' move from Wilmington to Virginia in 1781.  He had been defeated at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse and was recuperating in Wilmington.  He sent Lt.Col. Banastre Tarleton's Legion forward toward Virginia to gather intelligence and to force mills along the way to grind grain for the British.

His troops consisted of 180 dragoons and a few light companies of the 82nd Regiment and the Royal North Carolina Regiment of Loyalists.  All were mounted.

On the banks of the Contentnea Creek, Col. James Gorham and 400 Pitt County militia met Tarleton's force at Peacock's Bridge.  The dragoons galloped across the bridge and easily scattered the Patriots.

This took place in Wilson County, N.C., near the Wayne and Greene County border.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

North Carolina in the American Revolution-- Part 1

From North Carolina in the Revolution by James C, Crone.

Members if the North Carolina delegation who signed the Declaration of Independence:

William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn


North Carolina militia served within the state, but five regiments with around 5000 men joined the Continental Army.  They served under Washington and Nathaniel Greene with an eight year term of service being from 1775-1783.


Battle of Moore's Creek--  Feb. 27, 1776

Battle of King;s Mountain--  April 1779

Battle of Guilford Courthouse--  March 15, 1781

Battle of Peacock's Bridge--  May 6, 1781


Thursday, November 26, 2015

World War I Causes Brass and Zinc Shortages in Illinois

From the Nov. 24, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

November 2015, 100 years ago.  Sycamore, Illinois

The Turner Brass Works of this city are suffering as a result of the war in Europe.  With orders booked ahead that would tax the capacity of this large and well-equipped factory for many months, they find it almost impossible to obtain brass and zinc, which are used in large quantities, and unless this raw material can be acquired very soon, a large amount of orders must be cancelled.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Most Expensive Colleges in 2011

From Forbes Magazine.

And, remember, this is four years ago.  Tuition first, total second.

1.  Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY:  $45,201,    $$50,334

2.  University of Chicago  $42,041,   $57,598

3.  The New School, NY, NY--  $37,610,   $57,199

4.  Washington University, St. Louis--  $41,992,   $56,930

5.  Columbia University, NY, NT--  $45,290,   $56,681

6.  Vanderbilt University,  Nashville--  $38,952,   $56,334

7.  Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.--  $40,203,   $56,485

8.  Fordham University, Bronx, NY--  $39,967,   $56,454

9.  Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois--  $40,223,   $56,406

10.  Wesleyan University, Middleton, Ct.--$42,084,   $56,341

At least most of these schools, other than Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Georgetown aren't paying their athletic coaches the ridiculous amounts that other schools do.


Back Then: Giant Sea Turtle and South Vietnam

From the July 3, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then" by Scott Nunn.

I always love it when he writes one of these from news from the paper in the past.  Unfortunately it is no longer done on a monthly basis.

JUNE 19, 1915:  From Wrightsville Beach--  "A jumbo turtle weighing something like 500 pounds is on exhibit at the Oceanic hotel.  It will be kept on exhibit until tomorrow afternoon when it will be butchered by a skilled turtle butcher.

"It is expected there will be between 200 and 500 eggs in the turtle, which was caught in the surf by two experienced anglers from New York, who also caught several large drum."

You sure wouldn't be exhibiting a sea turtle and especially not killing it today.

JUNE 11, 1965:  Maxwell D. Taylor, U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that there was no plan for a dramatic increase in U.S. ground troops there.  He said there was no truth to the rumor that troop levels would be going from 53,000 to 250,000.

According to the U.S. department of Defense, in 1964 there were 23,300 there and 184,300 by the end of 1965.  The number peaked at 536,100 in 1968.)

Liar.  --Cooter

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Challenger, Columbia Wreckage on Display for First Time

From the August 2, 2015, Yahoo! News/AP by Maurice Dunn.

For the first time, NASA has a new exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center showing one piece from each shuttle as well as reminders of the 14 astronauts who died in their explosions.

The intent of the exhibit is to show how they lived rather than died.

Among the personal items:  Challenger commander Francis "Dick" Scobee's leather helmet he wore from the StarJuster biplane he and his wife used to fly and his blue "TFNG" t-shirt from the astronaut class of 1979 which was nicknamed the "Thirty-Five New Guys."

Columbia commander Rick Husband's scuffed cowboy boots and well-worn open to Proverbs will also be shown.

Each of the 14 astronauts will have an individual display case.

The Columbia blew p Feb. 1, 2003, and 42 tons of debris was collected.

The Challenger blew up January 28, 1986.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Top Ten Giant Movie Monsters-- Part 2: Beware the Kraken!

5.  UNKNOWN--  "Cloverfield" (2008)  All that found footage.

4.  GAMERA--  "Gamera the Invisible" (1965)  Who'd have ever figured a giant flying turtle?

3.  THE KRAKEN--  "Clash of the Titans" (1981)  Hey, what about good ol' Capt. Jack?

2.  KING KONG--  "King Kong" (1933)  The big lug falls for te pretty little blonde.

1.  GODZILLA--  "Godzilla" (1954)  Ravaging Japanese cities for 61 years.

They didn't list my favorite, "The Beginning of the End" (1957)  Those giant grasshoppers who ate Chicago.

Godzilla Vs. King Kong.  --Cooter

Top Ten Giant Movie Monsters-- Part 1: Mothra

From the Oct. 8, 2011, Listverse.

10.  RANCOR--  "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" (1983).  Jabba the Hut's pet.

9.  MOTHRA--  "Mothra" (1961)  Giant moth.

8.  REPTILICUS--  "Reptilicus" (1961)

7.  ANTS--  "Them!"  (1954)  See what you get with that nuclear testing.

6.  THE RHEDOSAURUS--  "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" (1953)

Mothra Vs. Godzilla.  --DaBigCoot

Spooky Chicago

From the October 3, 2011, Yahoo! Contributors Network "Spooky Chicago legends" by Janon Taylor.

There are hundreds of stories about ghosts in Chicago.  CNBC has named Chicago one of the most haunted cities in the United States.

Three Haunted Spots:

1.  RESURRECTION MARY-- Dating to the 1930s.  She was a teenager at a dance, got into an argument with her boyfriend and was hitchhiking home when she was struck by a car on Justice Avenue in Justice, Illinois.

2.  BACHELOR'S GROVE--  Cemetery in Midlothian which has hundreds of stories about balls of light, mysterious sounds and ghosts.

3.  RED LION PUB--  2446 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.  Spirits of a different sort and ghosts in the bathroom.  It dates back to the 1800s.

Like, BOO!!!  --CootScared

Friday, November 20, 2015

DeKalb County in 1940: The Sheriff's Growing Marijuana and Wants You to See It

From the July29, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

The two stalks of marijuana growing in the  county jail yard are doing well.  Being weeds, as noxious weeds, they do not need attention.  When the True Republican stated that the stalks were nine and seven feet in height, he took Sheriff William Runnel's word for it.

Last Thursday, the sheriff exhibited the stalks of marijuana.  In the meantime each one had grown two more feet, and gave indication of towering even higher.

Anyone who wants to know what this deadly Mexican looks like can see the two stalks growing in the back of the sheriff's residence.

Something You Don't Expect from 1940.  --DaCoot

DeKalb County in 1915 and 1940: Building the Modern Home and Gila Monsters

From the July 29, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."

July 1915. 100 years ago:

Art Driscoll is having a new modern home built in the Decatur Driscoll homestead, across the road from the old home.  Chas. Louchs has secured the contract for installing a lighting system in the house and barn.

July 1940, 75 years ago:

Mrs. Harvey Ide found a gila monster in her basement Sunday afternoon.

Mounds of dirt have been piled around the NIU Lagoon because of the dredging of it.

You Have to Wonder How a Gila Monster Got In Her Basement.  --Cooter

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Arthur, Ralph and Luther Roberts Recovering Bodies at the SS Eastland Disaster

From the July 29, 2015, MidWeek (Sycamore, Illinois)  "Looking Back" to 1915


Among those who rendered effective services, according to the statement of Chicago papers, after the awful disaster of the steamship Eastland on Saturday morning last were Arthur, Ralph and Luther Roberts, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Roberts, formerly of Sycamore.

These boys in their father's motor launch, 60 feet in length, were early on the scene, and from Saturday afternoon to Sunday noon assisted in picking up bodies, placing them in the launch and conveying them across the river to the temporary morgue, until they had recovered no less than 300 bodies of men, women and children.

I dis a quick search of these people and found no mention of them in connection to the disaster.  If anyone has anything about them, please let meknow.


Looking Back at DeKalb County's History-- Part 1

From the July 9, 2015, MidWeek  "Looking Back"

1915, 100 YEARS AGO--  Nelson Wood has small pox in a very light form.

1940, 75 YEARS AGO--  Fargo Theater (in Sycamore) will reopen in August, but will be renamed The State.  (The theater is still there with its "new"name.)

1965, 50 YEARS AGO--  The new NIU football stadium will have seating for 15,000 and has 1 and 1/4 miles of ramps.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

DeKalb County 100 Years Ago, 1915: Beautifying the Streets

From the April 1, 2015, MidWeek.

April 3, 1915:

**  Frank K. Balthis, landscape gardener and superintendent of grounds at the Illinois State Normal School at DeKalb (NIU), had started a movement for beautification of home grounds and streets in DeKalb and offered to do the same in Sycamore.  Beautification of DeKalb's Main Street would be of the Lincoln Highway.

He also called for DeKalb and Sycamore to "combine forces and see rto the embellishment of the new cement road (Il-23) between the two cities."

Pretty Roads.  --DaCoot

DeKalb County 125 Years Ago, 1890: Of Homes and Wolves

From the April 1, 2015, MidWeek.  DeKalb County, Illinois.

April 2, 1890:

**  David Condon sold his house and lot on West State Street to E.F. Button, who lives next door.  The price was #1.300.

**  In Rollo, Friday, W.M. Turner couldn't work in his new creamery because of a storm, so he went wolf hunting.  He captured six young wolves.  On Monday, County Clerk Conrad paid him $30 bounty for their scalps.

Things You Wouldn't Expect Today.  --CooterScalp

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

DeKalb County 100 Years Ago, 1915: Getting Tough On Liquor and Drugs Back Then

From the Frb. 25, 2015, Sycamore MidWeek.

FEBRUARY 24, 1915.

**  County Court Saturday.  Arguments will be heard in the liquor case of People vs. Hiram Gilmore involving the legality of the methods of business of the Fox River Express Company.

Judge Smiley of McHenry County rendered a guilty decision..

This is regarded as the most important so-called liquor case that have been before the courts of this county, and its effects will be far-reaching and of much import all over the state.

**  Physicians and druggist of Sycamore have been notified bt the federal government in requirements of the new internal revenue law in regard to the production, use and sale of opium and coco leaves and their derivities..  The tax for the fiscal year up to June 30 was 34 cents.

Hereafter it will be $1 a year.  Any persons or manufacturer making or dealing in anyway with opium and coco leave derivities must make record of all sales to people, also all physicians are bound to register at the Chicago Department of the Federal Government and keep a record of the use of specified drugs in their possession.


DeKalb County 125 Years Ago, Feb. 26, : Columbian Exposition

From the Feb. 25,2015 (Sycamore, Ill) MidWeek.

Feb. 26, 1890--  The old Harvester shops caught fire Sunday night of unknown cause.  The fire was fierce but fire companies were able to put it out.

**  News of the progress of balloting in the House of Representatives for the World's Fair eagerly watched by citizens.  Voting began with Chicago in the lead as was expected.  This was for the Columbian Exposition.

**  Booming sounds are being made by the prairie chickens during mating season are becoming frequent and sportsmen can expect a good hunting season.  They are a species of grouse and are now "the best game in this part of the country."  These almost became extinct in Illinois.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Illinois Veterans by War

WORLD WAR II--  70,933

KOREAN WAR--  87,394

VIETNAM WAR ERA--  253,578

GULF WAR (Aug 1990-Aug. 2001)-- 100,626

GULF WAR II (Sept. 2001-later)--  68,308



A Look at Veterans in Illinois

From the Nov. 11, 2015, Chicago Tribune "A look at veterans in Illinois."

November 11th was Veterans Day and the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are nearly 3/4 million veterans currently living in Illinois.

Veteran Population in Illinois:  727,919

Unemployment Rate for Illinois veterans:  7.0%

Illinois veterans who are women:  5.7%

Illinois veterans who are homeless:  1,234

Illinois county with lowest percentage of veterans:  Cook with 5.4%

Illinois county with highest percentage of veterans:  St. Clair County 14.9%


Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Band of Brothers and Sisters-- Part 7: Scouts and Legion Baseball

The two organizations also serve their country in other ways.

Since 1919, American Legion posts have sponsored more than 2,500 Scouting units across the country and have a $10,000 yearly scholarship to the Eagle Scout of the year.

Legion baseball was established in 1925 and today has grown to 5,400 teams.  The Legion also offers Boys State and Girls State leadership programs.


A Band of Brothers and Sisters-- Part 6: Helping Vets

Both the VFW and American Legion have made significant strides to assist veterans.  The American Legion led an effort to create the U.S. Veterans Bureau, which later became today's Veterans Administration.  They also wrote the first draft of what is known as the GI Bill of Rights in 1944.  The American Legion also donated $1 million to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for the construction of the wall in Washington, D.C..

In the past three years, the VFW has helped veterans file claims needed to recover$6.9 billion in earned benefits and compensation from the veterans Administration.  Since 2004, the VFW has also given about 3,775 grants to military families facing financial hardship

They also distribute the "Buddy" poppies each year which are made by disabled and needy veterans.  last year, ten million were distributed, raising $13 million for needy veterans.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Band of Brothers and Sisters-- Part 5: The American Legion

The idea for forming the American Legion came from a group of officers serving in the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I.  The AEF leadership was looking for ways to boost morale and approached the group of officers for suggestions.

One of the officers, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Jr., suggested an organization of veterans.  The idea was widely accepted and the first meeting was held in March 1919 in Paris and was chartered by Congress in September 1919.

There are currently 2.3 million members.

My grandfather on my mother's side was a World War I veteran and one of the earliest members of the American Legion.  I am a member of the American Legion's Sons of the American Legion Fox Lake Post 703 because of him.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Band of Brothers and Sisters-- Part 4: The VFW

There were actually two major veterans organizations predating these two.  After the Civil War, Union military members formed the Grand Army of the Republic and Confederate veterans formed the United Confederate Veterans.

The VFW was formed before the American Legion in 1899.  The American Veterans of Foreign service was founded to help veterans of the Spanish-American War.  In 1914, the organization merged with the National Society of the Army of the Philippines formed to help veterans of the 1899-1902 Philippines War.

It became the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was chartered by Congress in 1936.  there are currently more than 1.7 million VFW and auxiliary members.

A Band of Brothers and Sisters: The VFW and American Legion-- Part 3: Not the Same

The major distinction between the VFW and the American Legion is in their eligibility for membership.  The VFW offers membership to all current and former military veterans who served overseas in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan or other smaller expeditionary campaigns or occupation duty.

In contrast, the American Legion invites all active military duty or honorably discharged soldiers who have served during any of the seven eligible war eras to become members.  Reservists and National Guard members are also eligible for membership.

The service could have taken place here in the U.S. or overseas.  The seven war eras eligible include World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Operation Just Cause Panama and Persian Gulf/War on terrorism.

So, the main difference is that in the VFW you would have had to been overseas which is in keeping with its name.

A Band of Brothers and Sisters: VFW and American Legion-- Part 2

Mike LaRocco, VFW District 3 Commander and a member of the Ted Sempien VFW Post 8821 in Chicago identifies the role of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) as "being there to meet the unmet needs of veterans.  We support the homeless veterans program."  Plus there is the suicide situation which continues to get worse.  According to him, every day 22 veterans kill themselves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Band of Brothers and Sisters: VFW and American Legion-- Part 1

From the Nov. 6, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

When many think of the American Legion or VFW they think of where they attended a Friday fish fry or celebrated a wedding or anniversary.  In reality, these organizations are a lot more.

George Ma'Aytech, commander of the William McKinley American Legion Post 231 in Chicago says that a few years ago, he saw a picture of a guy panhandling who turned out to be a serviceman who served in 1945 and was in Japan after the bomb was dropped.  he kept his picture in his office.

He finally located the man and connected him with assistance services.  Today, 89-year-old Eugene Towardy is the oldest veteran at Post 231.  he is legally blind and without nearby relatives except for his buddies at the post who take care of him.

Thank a Veteran Today or Anytime.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy Birthday to USMC

This date, 240 years ago, November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress passed legislation for the United States Marine Corps.

And, the rest, as they say, is history.

Saturday I will be working at the Marine Corps 240th Anniversary breakfast and Toys for Tots kickoff at the American Legion in Fox Lake, Illinois.  Serving that Marine Corps staple SOS and scrambled eggs and lots and lots of really strong black coffee.

Ooh-Rah!!  --Cooter

Ten Adorable Cartoon Animals

From the Oct. 4, 2011, Listverse  "Another Ten Adorable Cartoon Animals.

10.  NERMEL--  a cat from "Garfield"

9.  MAXIMUS--  Horse from "Tangled"

8. MORT--  ? from "Madagascar"

7.  ABU--  monkey from "Alladin"

6.  REMY--  rat from "Ratatouille"

5.  PUSS 'N BOOTS--  cat from "Shrek"

4.  PRINCESS TIANA--  frog from "The Princess & the Frog"

3.  DORY--  fish from "Finding Nemo"

2.  ARCHIMETIS--  owl from "The Sword and the Stone"

1.  THUMPER--  Bambi


12 McDonald's Items That Failed Spectacularly-- Part 2 Arch Deluxe

7.  ARCH DELUXE--  1996.  Intended for the adult market.  A quarter-pounder with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions, ketchup and secret sauce.  Failed even with a $100 million marketing campaign.

8.  McHOTDOG--  Enough said.  Though at one time McDonald's in our area of northern Illinois had Johnsonville brats which were mighty good, even without sauerkraut.

9.  McDLT--  mid 1980s.  Separated lettuce and tomato from the burger, keeping veggies cool and the meat warm.  But the extra-double container wasn't environmentally-friendly.

10.  McLEAN DELUXE--  For the health conscious from 1991.  91% lean meat used.

11.  BIG 'N TASTY--  Another assault on Burger King's Whopper.  Like the McDLT and Big extra.  The meat was angus burger.

12.  SUPERSIZE--  1993.  the 2007 documentary "Supersize me" pretty well killed it off, but you can still go "Large."

I Liked a Lot of These, Though.  --Cooter

Monday, November 9, 2015

12 McDonald's Menu Items That Failed Spectacularly-- Part 1: McLobster

From  Business Insider, Yahoo! Finance.

1.  McLOBSTER--   Lobster in a hot dog bun for $5.95.  I once saw these offered while on a visit to maine, but didn't try it as I figured they would be offered back in Illinois.  They weren't.

2.  McGRATIN CROQUETTE--  Created for the Japanese market.

3.  HULA BURGER--  Meant for Catholics not eating meat on Fridays.  Chicken patty, pineapple slice topped with cheese.

4.  PIZZA and McPIZZA--  Late 1980s.  Made-to-order pizza, but customers not willing to wait.  The McPizza resembled hot pockets.

5.  McSPAGHETTI--  Still around in some foreign markets and has a bit of a cult following.

6.  McAFRIKA--  Beef, cheese, tomatoes and salad in a pita-like sandwich.

I Sure Would Have Liked to Try a McLobster.  --Cooter

Presidential Yacht Mayflower-- Part 2: World War II and Israel Service

During World War II, it was purchased by the War Shipping Administration from Broadfoot Iron Works in Wilmington, North Carolina on July 31, 1942 and renamed the USS Butte.  It was transferred to the Coast guard and patrolled the Atlantic Coast operating against U-boats and escorted coastal shipping.

It was also used as a radar training ship.

After the war, the ship was owned by several interests before being purchased by Israel in 1950.  It was decommissioned and broken up in 1955.


Presidential Yacht Mayflower-- Part 1: Veteran of Four Wars

From Wikipedia.

After his recovery from the wound he received at Vera Cruz in 1914, seaman Leon D. Robinson of Sycamore, Illinois, served aboard the presidential yacht Mayflower in 1915.

The Mayflower was a luxury steam yacht built in 1896 for millionaire Ogden Goelet who died on board it in 1897.  The Navy acquired it for the Spanish-American War and it was commissioned the USS Mayflower 24 May 1898.  It served off Cuba during the war and mounted six 6-pdr. guns.

It was decommissioned and then recommissioned in 1905 and played a prominent role in the negotiations to end the Russo-Japanese War which netted President Theodore Roosevelt a Nobel Peace Prize.  from 1906-1929, it served as presidential yacht and hosted many diplomatic events.

President Herbert Hoover had the ship decommssioned and sold as a money-saving effort and in 1931, it was sold to a private individual.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Battleships Ordered to Vera Cruz in 1914

On April 14, 1914, the U.S. Atlantic Fleet was ordered to Vera Cruz with all available battleships.  Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger went there in his flagship, the USS Arkansas.  Also ordered there were Leon Robinson's ship, the USS Vermont, the New Hampshire, New Jersey, Michigan, Louisiana and South Carolina.

Leon D. Robinson, from Sycamore, Illinois, was aboard the USS Vermont.

We sure had a lot of battleships.


USS Solace (AH-2)

From Wikipedia.

This is the ship that carried Leon D. Robinson to the navy hospital at New York City after he was wounded at Vera Cruz.

Hospital ship used in the Spanish-American War and World War I.  Commissioned in 1898.  returned the wounded and ill to the United States from Cuba during the Spanish-American War  From 1909-1921, served with the Atlantic Fleet.

There is a postcard of the USS Solace during the Mexican Revolution while at Vera Cruz.

This was not the USS Solace (AH-5) that was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  This ship was commissioned from 1941-1946.


Friday, November 6, 2015

USS Vermont (BB-20)

From Wikipedia.

A Connecticut-class battleship commissioned in 1907 and decommissioned 1920.  Mounted four 12-inch guns.  Leon D. Robinson was serving on this ship.

On 12 February 1914 departed for Mexico during the Mexican Revolution to protect American interests in Vera Cruz.  Arrived Feb. 17 and remained there until April 29, when it returned to the United States.


Sycamore's Leon D. Robinson, Wounded at Vera Cruz in 1914

I looked up Leon D. Robinson, whom I wrote about yesterday.  I was unable to find out where he was buried, but did come across two listings of him as one of the wounded in the U.S. Naval operations against Mexico at Vera Cruz in 1914.

The U.S. Navy Standard Publications listed him in "Names of Officers and Enlisted Men of the Navy and Marine Corps Killed or Wounded in Operations at Vera Cruz, Mexico, April 21, 22, 23, 1914."

LEON D. ROBINSON, seaman USS Vermont, right shoulder, will remove bullet; condition favorable.  Home address: Sycamore, Illinois.

Another source mentions that he was transferred to the USS Solace, later to naval hospital, M.Y.  Disposition-- on duty.

The USS Vermont (BB-20) was a battleship.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

U.S. Attack On and Occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1914

From Wikipedia.

I did some further research on the events in Vera Cruz that led to the wounding of Leon Robinson of Sycamore, Illinois.

This even was related to the ongoing Mexican revolution at the time and worsening U.S.-Mexican relations.  It was a direct result of the Tampico Affair where 9 American sailors were arrested by the Mexican government for entering an off-limits area of Tampico.

This upset the U.S. government and their release and an apology were obtained.  But a requested 21-gun salute was refused.  President Wilson ordered the port of Vera Cruz to be occupied.

On April 24, 1914, 502 Marines and 285 sailors from the USS Florida were landed. Later, another 384 sailors from the USS Utah were put ashore as well.  Fighting ensued and 22 were killed and another 70 wounded, one of who was Leon Robinson.


Looking Back 100 Years: Sycamore Resident Wounded at Battle of Vera Cruz in 1914

From the November 3, 2015, Midweek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

From October 1915, 100 years ago.

"Leon Robinson, a Sycamore boy, after being wounded in the first day's engagement of American seamen with Mexican troops at Vera Cruz over a year ago and finally recovering in the navy hospital in New York, being granted a furlough and visiting his father George E. Robinson in Sycamore and then getting married, has of late been serving on the President's yacht, the Mayflower.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Smithsonian Military Posters-- November 2015-- Part 2

Corn The Food of the Nation, Serve Some Every Meal.  Lloyd Harrison, United States Food Administration, circa 1918.

"In 1917 Herbert Hoover asked the housewives of America to register as members of the United States Food Administration.  Hoover encouraged all women involved in food preparation and management to pledge their service as household food conservators by following Food Administration recommendations for efficient preparation and consumption of food."


Smithsonian Military Posters Calendar, November 2015-- Part 1

This month's featured poster is "Corn The Food of the Nation," circa 1918.

If features a woman serving a pot of some kind of a corn product, perhaps grits?  .  It reads:  CORN

Serve Some Way
Every Meal


United States Food Administration.

There are containers of corn meal,  grits and hominy as well as a platter of muffins and pancakes and syrup.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Looking Back to DeKalb County History-- Part 3: A New Shopping Center, the Vietnam War and NIU in 1965

From the Oct. 14, 2015, Midweek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."


Ground was officially broken Monday for DeKalb's newest shopping center called Northland Plaza along Sycamore Road.  It will include a Woolco Department Store, a Kroger Super market, Super RX Drug, Leath Furniture Company and a Phillips 66 Gas Station.

U.S. military strength in Vietnam soared to a new high of 140,000 men.

U.S. Secretary of Labor, W. Willard Wirtz, a DeKalb native, will dedicate NIU's Wirtz Hall Tuesday.  NIU President Leslie A. Holmes announced this Wednesday.  The $1,750 building (I suppose this to be an error in print) building was named for William Wilbur Wirtz, the cabinet member's father who died last June 14.

He was a former NIU faculty member and served as chairman of the university's governing board.

Dredging work on the NIU campus' Lagoon is now completely finished.  They removed about 3 feet of silt from its floor in work that began in June.  The removed silt was used to build up the eqast shore of the Lagoon along the Kishwaukee River.  It is slated to be seeded and planted with trees by spring.

Lots of NIU News.  --Cooter

Looking Back to DeKalb County History-- Part 2: World War I Comes to Sycamore

From the Oct. 14, 2015, MidWeek "Looking Back."


  Holmes & Boyle in Sycamore have an interesting display of war trophies from Europe in their window.  It includes a German shrapnel exploded shell, a basket in which these shells are transported, German officer's coat pierced by bullets and stained with blood, A French officer's bayonet and cap, a Prussian's steel heel shoe and other trophies of great interest.

Of course, this was before the United States was involved in what has become known as World War I.


Looking Back at DeKalb County History-- Part 1: The WPA and a Bridge

From the Oct. 20, 2015, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back.


Work on the walk at the court house (in Sycamore) will begin on Thursday with about twenty men working on relaying the cement for the sidewalks as a WPA project.  A firmer foundation for the court house steps also will be provided.

The building of a temporary bridge north of the present bridge on Route 64 one mile west of Sycamore was started Monday. Workmen cleared weeds and shrubs along the bed of the branch of the Kishwaukee River.  After clearing, wooden pilings will be embedded  in the river and the temporary bridge constructed.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Arrest Records of 9 Men in Famed Sit-In to be Erased

From the January 28, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Meg Kinnard, AP

Nine black men arrested for integrating a whites-only South Carolina lunch counter nearly 54 years ago made them heroes in the Civil Rights movement, but the law still considered them guilty of trespassing.

On Wednesday, a Rock Hill, S.C., judge is expected to vacate the arrests and convictions of the men known as the Friendship Nine.

The eight students at Rock Hill's Friendship JuniorCollege:  Willie McCleod, John Gaines, Clarence Graham, W.T. "Dub" Massey, James Wells, David Wiilliamson Jr., Mack Workman and Robert McCullough (who died in 2006) were led by activist Thomas Gaither of the Congress of Racial Equality.

About a year had passed since the better-known lunch counter encounter at the Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C. and they decided to do it in January 1961 at the white's-only lunch counter at McCrory's variety store.

They were arrested and convicted of trespassing and breach of the peace and opted for a month's hard labor rather than post bail.

Although their records are to be cleared, the men hope their nonviolence can be an example to protesters today.  "We still insist that nonviolence is the way to go," said Clarence Graham.  I think MLK would agree as well.

I am glad this happened.  They were very brave to challenge a horrible system intended to keep blacks down.

LBJ Letter to MLK's Widow Up For Auction

From the Feb. 20, 2015, Chicago Tribune "LBJ letter to King's widow up for auction" by Ian Shapira, the Washington Post.

It was written April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.  And it was sent by President Lyndon B. Johnson to Coretta Scott King to express his condolences and determination to find the murderer.

"We will overcome this calamity," he wrote.  She kept it until 2003 when she gave it to her husband's confidant, singer Harry Belafonte.

But he considered auctioning it in 2008, shortly before Coretta King died and King's three children objected and it wasn't.

But now, it is slated to be auctioned again.  Belafonte gifted the letter to his half-sister and brother-in-law who figured it was a good time to sell it because of all the 50 anniversary of the Civil Rights movement going on these days.  The minimum bid is $60,000.

They seem to be a bit too money-oriented and should have gifted it or sold it for a low price to the Civil Rights museum in  Memphis.

A followup in March in Reuters said it sold for $60,000 to an online bidder, but auctioneers had been expecting twice as much as I am sure Belafonte's relatives were as well.  Too bad, a piece of American history gone.