Wednesday, October 18, 2017

People Stealing Bicycles

From the Feb. 1, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942. 75 Years Ago.

"Warning!!  Lock your bicycle inside your garage or home.  A bike stealing blitz is believed started.

"Sycamore police reported that three bicycles were stole from two front porches within a few blocks of each other Thursday night."

I liked the newspaper calling it a "blitz."  A little war terminology goes regular.

And, you thought people were so honest back then.

Sounds Like a Crime of Opportunity.  --Cooter

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sycamore Gets a New High School in 1917

From the February 1, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

Sycamore, Illinois.  Wonder of it is still there?

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The Sycamore high school pupils will occupy the new school building beginning next Monday.

"The public will be invited to inspect the building the following Sunday."

A New School.  --Cooter

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Great Gumball Heist

From the February 1, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"In the men's waiting room at the depot in DeKalb there is a penny slot gum machine and this morning when the day force got on the job, it was found that the machine had been broken and almost $1.50 had been stolen.

"Officer Rowe got on the job and says he has the guilty party located, and it is probably that he will receive a reprimand for the petty theft."

Look for the Guy Whose Pants Are Falling Off With All Those Pennies, Officer Rowe!  --Cooter

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Where U.S. Presidents Were Born-- Part 2: Seven of First Twelve Born in Virginia

**  More than half of them come from just four states:  Virginia, Ohio, New York and Massachusetts with 24.

**  Most come from the East Coast, only eight born west of the Mississippi and just two west of the Rockies:  Nixon in California and Obama in Hawaii.

**  Ten of the original colonies had presidents.  Only Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island didn't have one.

**  Seven of the first 12 presidents were born in Virginia.  Only one since, Woodrow Wilson.  Virginia was once the most populous state until overtaken by New York in 1810.

**  Seven of 17 presidents between 1869 and  1923 were born in Ohio.

**  Vermont leads in presidents per capita.  It had two presidents, Chester A. Arthur and Calvin Coolidge.

**  The three most populous states today:  California, Florida and Texas have had just three presidents between them (none from Florida).

** Trump is from New York.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Where U.S. Presidents Were Born-- Part 1: Two Each From Texas, N.C. and Vermont

From January 20, 2017, Yahoo! News  "MAP:  Where every U.S. president was born" by Nathan Grannini.

Virginia 8
Ohio 7
New York  5

Two each from Texas, North Carolina and Vermont

One each from :  Ca., Neb., Iowa, Illinois, Mo., Ky.,, Ga, S.C., Pa., N.J., Ct., N.H..


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WW I Concrete Ship SS Palo Alto Smashed in Half-- Part 2

24 new concrete ships were ordered.  Concrete ships, reinforced with steel were cheaper and more available.

Concrete floating ships were an invention of the French inventor of ferro concrete, Joseph-Louis Lambol who had created a concrete dingy a half century earlier.

In 1917, Norway had built an 84-foot long ship of concrete, but no one was sure how even bigger ships like the Palo Alto would do.

Their capabilities, however, were untested during the war.  By the time the 420-foot Palo Alto was completed at the Naval Shipyard in Oakland, California, the war was over.  It remained at Oakland until 1929 when it was towed to Sea Cliff Beach and scuttled.  It soon was just referred to as the Concrete Boat and became a tourist destination.

In 1930, a pier was constructed out to the ship and the Cal-Nevada Co. installed a 54-foot long heated pool, a casino and a dance floor on it.  It lasted until 1932 when it was hit by a storm and then the Great Depression which closed it.

The State of California bought it and it has been closed to the public since 1950.


Monday, October 9, 2017

World War I Concrete Ship, SS Palo Alto, Smashed in Half By Storm

From the January 23, 2017, Vancouver Sun by Ben Guarino, Washington Post.

This is a curious artifact of American history, the crumbling, but famous World War I-era tanker SS Palo Alto.

Since 1930, the unusual concrete hull, a symbol of Santa Cruz County, has been sitting at the end of the pier jutting out into Monterrey Bay.

Saturday, record high 34-foot waves pounded the ship.

During World War I German submarines, U-boats,  were sinking so many Allied ships that there was a fear that we would run out of steel.  In 1917, the Emergency Fleet Corporation was formed under President Woodrow Wilson.

Twenty-four concrete ships were built.

Sounds Heavy to Me.  --Cooter

Ice Skating Fun in 1942

From the January 18, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"Ice skating has again become a popular sport and during the past few days the Teachers College (NIU) pond (the Lagoon) has been crowded with skaters.

"The college pond is not the only popular spot for skaters.  The artificial pond on the Everett playground, near the Haish school, is also well patronized at the present time."


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Looking Back to 1942: A Fire Break

From the January 18, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago

"At 8:45 o'clock this morning, the DeKalb fire department had enjoyed a 24-hour period without a fire call.  This is news because the company had its nineteenth call in thirteen days, yesterday morning."

A Much Needed Break from the Flames.  --Cooter

Friday, October 6, 2017

History Back in History

From the August 23, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"Today in Sycamore, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution of which several DeKalb people are members are making final plans for the placing of two markers on historic spots in DeKalb County.  In the spring time, the board of supervisors will willingly make an appropriation of $200 for the placing of the markers and the fund has been greatly increased by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

"The markers will be placed near Hinckley the location of the first permanent settlement in the county and at Coltonville the site of the first session of DeKalb County court."

Even History Back Then.  --Cooter

Thursday, October 5, 2017

"For Sammy in France" 1917

From the August 23, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb Couty, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"General Pershing has sent the request that we send our papers and magazines to the boys in France.  It is only necessary to roll two or three together, tie securely, write on the margin, "For Sammy in France," and put on a one cent postage stamp.

Just think how we miss our morning paper if for any reason it does not reach us each morning by breakfast time.  The boys will be very greatly pleased even though the news be a week or two old."

The War Effort.  --DaCoot

Some More on the Attack on Base Hospital No. 5 in WW I

Continued from September 28, 2017.

Also killed in the attack, besides Lt. Fitzsimons:

Leslie G. Woods, Streator, Illinois

Rudolph Rubino, New York City

Oscar Tugo, Boston

Army Hospital #21 in Aurora, Colorado was renamed Fitzsimons Army Hospital in 1920

There is a Fitzsimons Fountain in Kansas City at the corner of 12th and Paseo del Mayo dedicated May 30, 1922.

In 1947, the American Legion Post No. 8 became the Fitzsimons-Battenfield Post.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

SS Antilles-- Part 2: The New War Insurance Law

The S Antilles sailed from New York to France in a four ship convoy, arriving September 24, 1917.  The Antilles and another ship from that convoy, the SS Finland were torpedoed on their way back to the United States.

On 17 October, three days out of Saint Nazairere, France, the Antilles was torpedoed by the U-62 and reportedly sank in four and a half minutes.  There were 118 survivors and 67 deaths.

The survivors landed in France 21 October and were cared for by the Red Cross.

Those who died came under the new war insurance law that allowed payment of $6,000 to families of the deceased in installments of $25 a month over twenty years.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

SS Antilles, Sunk Oct. 17, 1917-- Part 1: U.S. Army Chartered Transport

In the last post, I mentioned the SS Antilles being sunk on October  17, 1917.

From Wikipedia.

American passenger-cargo ship launched 1907.  Chartered by the Army in 1917 as a troop transport.  Sunk by a submarine and 67 lives lost, at the time of its sinking October 17, 1917, this was the largest single loss of American lives up to that point in World War I.

The ship was 6,879 tons , 421 feet long and had a beam of 53 feet.

It was selected by the Shipping Control Committee and turned over to the U.S. Army for use as a civilia,1917-crewed U.S. Army Chartered Transport (USACT).


World War I Combat Chronology, October 2017: Antilles Sunk, Americans relieve French Troops

From the April 2017, VFW Magazine.

OCTOBER 17--  Army transport Antilles is sunk by a German submarine on its return trip to the United States -- 70 lives are lost.

OCTOBER 21--  United States 1st ID troops relieve French forces for the first time in the Luneville Sector near Nancy, France.


Civil War Trust Battles of October-- Part 2: John Brown's Raid

14th--  1863:  Battle of Bristoe Station, Va.

16th--  1859:  John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry, Va. (now W. Va.) begins and lasts for three days.

18th--  1859:  U.S. Marines storm engine house at Harpers Ferry and capture John Brown

19th--  1781:  British General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Va.

19th--  1864:  Battle of Cedar Creek, Va.

21st--  1861:  Battle of Ball's Bluff (Leesburg), Va.

25th--  1864:  Battle of Mine Creek, Kansas


Monday, October 2, 2017

Civil War Trust Battles in October-- Part 1: First Union Ironclad, USS St. Louis, Launched

3rd--  1862:  Second Battle of Corinth, Ms. begins

8th--  1862:  Battle of Perryville, Ky.

9th--  1864:  Battle of Tom's Brook, Va.

12th--  1861:  First ironclad in U.S. Navy, the USS St. Louis, launched at Carondelet, Mo.


Civil War Trust Battles in September-- Part 2: Battle of Antietam

14th--  1862:  Battle of South Mountain Gap, Md.

15th--  1862:  Capture of Harpers Ferry, Va. (now W. Va.)

17th--  1862:  Battle of Antietam, Md.

18th--  1863:  Battle of Chickamauga, Ga. begins

19th--  1864:  Battle of Third Winchester, Va.

28th--  1781:  Siege of Yorktown, Va. begins

29th--  1864:  Battle of New Market Heights, Va. begins


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Civil War Trust Battles in September-- Part 1: Fort McHenry Bombardment

1st--  1862:  Battle of Chantilly, Va.

2nd--  Federal forces occupy Atlanta, Ga.

8th:  1781:  Battle of  Eutaw Springs, S.C.

11th--  1777:  Battle of Brandywine, Pa.

11th--  1814:  Battle of  Lake Champlain, N.Y.

12th--  1814:  Battle of North Point, Md.

13th--  1814  Bombardment of Fort McHenry, Md.  You know,  that Star-Spangled thing.

Oh, Say Can You See.  --Da Coot

Civil War Trust Battles in August-- Part 2: Burning of Washington, D.C.

19th--  1812:  The USS Constitution defeats the HMS Gueriere

23rd--  1863:  Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, Kansas

24th--  1814:  Battle of Bladensburg, Md.

24th--  1814--  Burning of Washington, D.C.

25th--  1864:  Second Battle of Ream's Station, Va.

27th--  1776--  Battle of Long Island, N.Y.

28th--  1862:  Second Battle of Manassas, Va. begins

30th--  1862:  Battle of Richmond, Ky.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Civil War Trust Battles in August-- Part 1 Battle of Mobile Bay, Battle of Camden

From the Civil War trust: Celebrating 30 Years 2017 Calendar.


5th--  1864:  Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama

9th--  1862:  Battle of Cedar Mountain, Va.

10th--  1862:  Battle of Wilson's Creek, Mo.

16th--  1780:  Battle of Camden, S.C.

17th--  1863:  Federals begin the great bombardment of Fort Sumter


Thursday, September 28, 2017

WW I Attack Base Hospital No. 5-- Part 5: New Air Raid Warnings Devised

The last and most fatal bomb resulted in the deaths of Privates Woods and Rubino and wounded Privates Mason, Sloane, Stanton and McLeod.  Five amputations were necessary for Aubrey S. McLeod, whose legs were shattered by the terrific force of the explosion.

After the attack, flags at No. 11 (Harvard U.S.A.) General Hospital were flown at half mast.  Plans were to have memorial services on Sunday evening, September 9, but they were terminated because of an air raid warning.

In addition, everyone was expected to dig a trench by their tent in which to take shelter in new air raids.  A new method of air warning was also developed.  Three one-minute blasts from the cement factory whistle served as the warning.  Five shorter ones  meant all clear.

For the remainder of September and well into October,  air raid warnings were often heard, but most often were false alarms.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Attack On Base Hospital 5-- Part 4: Wounded and Killed

Flying fragments of the bombs wounded Lieutenants Rae Whidden, Thaddeus Smith, Clarence McGuire and Private Hiram Brower.

Fragments from two bombs killed Private Oscar Tugo and several patients, while other patients were wounded.

Mrs. Eva Parmelee, nurse on duty in C-6 escaped wounding but her dress was penetrated by flying shrapnel.  She remained cool and collected. ministering to newly wounded and comforting others.  She received an honorable mention from General Pershing and had the honor of being the first American nurse awarded the Military Medal by King George V.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Attack on Base Hospital No. 5 in WW I That Resulted in 1st American Deaths in France-- Part 3

Lt. William T. Fitzsimons heard the explosions and summoned Private Hiram Brower to find out what was going on.  The private told him and then went on about his patrol.  Scarcely a minute had passed when there was another explosion.  An aerial torpedo had been dropped at General Hospital No. 18, but it landed in an athletic field and did no damage other than making a deep hole several yards wide.

The plane then went into a semicircular course and a similar bomb was dropped into the reception tent of General Hospital No. 4, followed almost immediately by two bombs dropped within about eighteen inches of each other in from of Lt. Fitzsimons' tent.

He was killed instantly by the first two bombs and then three others were dropped.

I have been unable to find out how these bombs were dropped.  I would say definitely not from bomb bays like in World War II.  I believe most likely by the pilot or another crew member if they had others, dropping them over the side of the plane.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Attack on Base Hospital No. 5 in WW I-- Part 2

On the night of September 3, 1917 there was an air raid attempt on the coast of England which was turned back by coastal guns.  The next day, a German scouting plane came over Base Hospital No. 5 and it is believed that it might have taken a photograph of the huge U.S. flag by the headquarters and the Germans then decided to make an example of it, even though they knew it was a hospital.

And, this hospital was caring for 2,000 sick and wounded, when the attack came.

Another German raid on England on September 4.  was turned back.At 10:30 the hospital received warning about possible enemy planes.  Anti-aircraft guns at two places in the distance opened fire for a few minutes before the all-clear was sounded.

At 10:55 p.m., without any warning whatever and while all the hospital's lights were on at the 12,000 bed facility, an enemy aeroplane swooped down and started dropping bombs.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Concerning the Attack on Base Hospital No. 5-- Part 1

There is a book published on Base Hospital No. 5 in France during World War I.  It is titles "Concerning Base Hospital No. 5."

It is dedicated to members who made the supreme sacrifice:

Captain Charles R. Rund, Capt. Harry A. Bullock, Lt. William Fitzsimons, Lt. Rae Whidden, Sgt, Walter Sullivan, Pvt. Oscar C. Tugo, Pvt. Rudolph Rubino, Pvt. Colin Powell, bugler, Pvt. Leslie G. Woods and Private John Lydon.

Lt. Fitzsimons, and Privates Tugo, Rubino and Woods were killed in the September 4, 1917, bombing attack.


Oscar C. Tugo, One of First Americans Killed in France in WW I

From the Harvard Collection, Harvard University.


Photo October 18, 1921.

Private Tugo (1893-1917) enlisted in the Army on May 7, 1917, and was killed as a night orderly during the September 4, 1917 attack on Base Hospital No. 5 which also resulted in the death of Lt. William Fitzsimons.  This hospital was under the auspices of Harvard University.

In October 1921, the public space adjoining the Harvard Medical School quadrangle was named in his honor.  He was one of the first enlisted men killed in France.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

World War I Chronology, 100 Years Ago This Month



Two members of the 11th Engineers of teh American Expeditionary Force (AEF) are wounded in action (WIA) by German shellfire at Gouzeaucourt --  the first Americans wounded while serving with a United States on the front lines of battle.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Obituary of Lisa Grimm Oda: A True Child of the 60s

From the September 17, 2017, Chicago Tribune Death Notices.

Born August 4, 1949  Died September 11, 2017.

After reading her obituary, I'd have to say she really lived and fulfilled the life of what we might call a Hippy.

"Always the explorer and adventurer, during the turbulent 60's, Lisa spent time in a commune in Berkeley, CA..  This foretold a lifelong quest to seek truth and wisdom and question the status quo.

"After a few years working for Price Waterhouse in Chicago, she left to embark on her quest to enrich others with her compassion, creativity, ethics, selflessness, thoughtfulness, spirituality, and nurturing spirit and being.

"A very spiritual person, Lisa studied many religions and philosophies, endeavoring to live life in as good a way as possible.  She found aspects of Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism and Native American Spirituality that gave her clarity and truth."

She Must have been Quite An Interesting Person.  A Real Flower Child.

World War I Chronology, 100 Years Ago This Month


Merchant transport Minnehaha is torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Ireland -- 48 men drown.


First Americans Killed Overseas in World War I-- Part 7: Ex- President Theordore Roosevelt's Response to the Attack

Lt. Fitzsimons was not the only American soldier to lose his life that night.

Privates Oscar Tugo, Private Rudolph Rubino and Private Leslie Woods were also killed in the raid.

There is no doubt that the raid was deliberate.  The German fliers even dropped German coins to show the Americans who had bombed them.

On a page one editorial in the Kansas City Star on September 17, 1917, former President Theodore Roosevelt blasted Germany for Fitzsimons' death saying that they had demonstrated "calculated brutality" and "carried on a systematic campaign of murder against hospitals and hospital ships."

After the war, the U.S. government had a program to enable parents and family to visit the graves of their family overseas.  On July 5, 1930, Lt. Fitzsimons' mother, Catherine Fitzsimons, visited his grave at the Somme American Cemetery and Memorial in Picardie, France.


Death of Lt. William T. Fitzsimons-- Part 6: "Before the Lifeless Remains of Lt. Fitzsimons, I Stood Dazed"

The lieutenant had a calling card on him  reading "Dr. W. T. Fitzsimons, United States Army."  It was ripped by shrapnel from the bomb which is now on display at the memory Hall at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City.

Nurse Louise McCloskey described the aftermath of Fitzsimon's death:  "Words are futile to describe that night, the dead, dying, wounded lying on the floor.  With only a flickering candlelight, someone whispered, 'Lt. Fitzsimons has been killed.'  In the daylight before my misty eyes, coffins were lying side by side holding lifeless bodies of soldiers killed that night.  Before the lifeless remains of Lt. Fitzsimons, I stood dazed."

National World--DaCoot

Death of Lt. William T. Fitzsimons-- Part 5: Should Not Have Been a Target

William Fitzsimons was the hospital base adjutant and second in overall command. as well as commander of the headquarters company and inline for promotion to captain at the time of his death.

The hospital should not have been a German target that night.  Its lights were on, and they knew it was a hospital.

At 10:30 p.m., September 4, 1917, the hospital received warning that German planes were approaching along the coast.  At 10:50, Fitzsimons was in his tent and heard bomb explosions.  he came out and called to the sentry, Hiram Brower to ask if all was alright.  Brower started to answer when a second explosion occurred.  This one killed Fitzsimons instantly.



Monday, September 18, 2017

Death of Lt. William T. Fitzsimons-- Part 4: Valuable Target

Fitzsimons returned to Kansas City from Europe on March 27, 1917, and joined the Army Medical Corps and was commissioned a lieutenant.  On April 27, 1917, he entered active duty.

Because of the German Navy's unrestricted warfare against merchant ships, it took three weeks for his ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean, reaching Liverpool on August 13, 1917.  Two weeks later, he was at Base Hospital No. 5 at Dennes-Camiers, south of Calais, France.

This was a 12,000 bed facility, but unfortunately it was located close to a munitions storage area and a cement factory, both targets of enemy bombers.

Colonel Robert Patterson, commander of the U.S. hospital, insisted that a large American flag be flown from a very tall flagpole to assert American presence to the Germans.

Quite the Ripe Target for a German Ariel Attack.  --Cooter

Friday, September 15, 2017

Something Fishy in Fox Lake on September 16

Tomorrow, at 9:30 a.m., the Fox Lake Grant Township Area Historical Society will be having a monthly meeting at the Grant Hall Museum at 411 Washington Street in Ingleside, Illinois.

Topic of the meeting will be Commercial Fishing and Seining for Carp.

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the organization, same as the 20th anniversary of the McHenry County Civil War Round Table which I also am a member.

Always something interesting.


Death of Lt. William T. Fitzsimons-- Part 3: Served in Europe Before U.S. Entry Into the War

Historian James Heiman has written a book "Voices in Bronze and Stone: Kansas City's World War I Monuments and Memorials."  he has a whole chapter on Lt. Fitzsimons.

He was born April 18, 1889 in Burlington, Iowa, the oldest of six children.  Fitzsimons attended St. Mary's College in St. Mary's and then in 1908, transferred to the University of Kansas' School of Medicine, receiving his BA in 1910 and two years later his medical degree.

After a year of internship at St. Mary's Hospital, he spent 14 months studying surgery in New York City.

While still a civilian, he went to England as a Red Cross volunteer, arriving September 13, 1914, just a few weeks after the war started.  From there he went to Belgium to treat wounded civilians and soldiers, returning to the United States on December 10, 1915.


Death of Lt. William T. Fitzsimons in the Hospital Attack-- Part 2: First American Officer Killed in World War I

I did some more research on yesterday's post.

From the September 3, 2017, Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal "100 years later:  First officer killed in WW I was a doctor in Kansas" by Steve Fry.

Lt. William T. Fitzsimons was a northeastern Kansas surgeon in the U.S. Army, who was killed just three weeks after he arrived in France in 1917.

On September 4, 1917 a German aircraft made a late-night raid over the massive military hospital he was assigned to.

He had stepped to the door of his tent when a bomb landed within a dew feet of him and blew up, killing him instantly.  He was 28 at the time and became the first U.S. officer killed in the war.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

World War I Chronology, Sept. 1917-- Part 1: First Americans Killed


First American killed in France

Germans bomb American  hospital units at Dannes Carriers.  Four were killed and wounding nine Doughboys.

One of the men was the first American officer killed in the conflict, Lt. William Fitzsimons of Kansas.  Also killed were Privates Oscar C. Tugo, Rudolph Rubino and Leslie G, Woods.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

World War I Chronology, September 1917, 100 Years Ago: 1st U.S. Aero Squadron Arrives in France

SEPTEMBER 3--  1st U.S. Aero Squadron arrives in France.  U.S. planes to the rescue.

From Wikipedia.

The 1st U.S. Aero Squadron is the military's oldest flying unit, established 5 March 1913.  Today it still exists as the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron (1RS), USAF and is assigned to the 9th Operations Group based at Beale AFB, California.

It was organized originally for operations along the U.S.-Mexico border during the Pancho Villa days.  Pancho Villa crossed the border and attacked Columbus, New Mexico, on 9 March 1916 and the 1st Aero Squadron was sent to Columbus and took part in the Punitive Expedition.

They were still in Columbus, N.M. when the United States entered World War I on 6 April 1917.  They were ordered to Fort Jay, New York, and accompanied the U.S. First Division to Europe by boat, departing 13 August 1917 and arriving in England 1 September.  They crossed the English Channel the next day.

Lafayette, We Are Here.  --Cooter

About That War 100 Years Ago-- Part 5: This Means War!!

Given a free hand by Germany, Austria was determined to punish Serbia, and Russia, similarly encouraged by France, mobilized for defense of their fellow Slavs.

Mobilization, in the eyes of Germany, was tantamount to war, and, when Russia refused to order demobilization, Germany declared war (August 1).  Two days later she declared war on France, and, when the German army invaded Belgium, Great Britain entered the war (August 4).

Before many months, all of Europe, with the exception of Spain, Holland, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Scandinavian Peninsula, was involved.

Forsaking the Triple Alliance, Italy remained neutral until 1915, when she joined the Allies, followed by Romania and Portugal (1916) and Greece (1917).  Turkey (1914) and Bulgaria (1915) were brought into the war on the side of the Central Powers.

This Means War.  --DaCoot

"Some Damned Foolish Thing In the Balkans"

German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, giving a speech at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, ably summed up what he thought would start a general war.

"Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal... a single spark will set off an explosion which will consume us all ...  I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where   Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off."

By Jove, I Think He Got It.  --Cooter

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

U.S. Flags Still Up Today and Tomorrow

I have six United States flags up here at the house in Spring Grove, Illinois.  Sad to see that so few people flew flags yesterday.  Kind of was a flag thing to do.

And, I will have them up today and tomorrow.

Never Forgetting.

Flag of Honor and Flag of Heroes

As I was looking around the internet for 9-11 material, I came across these two flags. Both are United States flags, but the stripes are not one block of color.

The Flag of Honor to honor the people who died on September 11, 2001.  Their names are written on the stripes of the flag.

The Flag of Heroes is to honor emergency personnel who died on that day.  Their names make up the stripes.

I am thinking about getting one, perhaps both, for the next commemoration.

Monday, September 11, 2017

9-11 Observances Across the United States: New York, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pa.

From USA Today.

In New York City, the observance begins at 8:46 a.m., ET, when the first tower of the World Trade Center was struck.  The second plane hit the second tower at 9:03 a.m..

At 9:37  a.m., President Trump will lead the observance at the Pentagon Building outside Washington, D.C..  That was the moment the third plane hit.

The observance near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, will begin at 10:03 a.m. ET, when the fourth plane crashed.

The names of all victims will be read at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

About That War 100 Years Ago-- Part 4: "Some Damned Foolish Thing In the Balkans"

With Europe indulging in an orgy of militarism, imperialism, and nationalism, it was unlikely that this balance of power could be indefinitely maintained.

It was finally upset in the Balkans, where racial hatreds and nationalistic striving were complicated by the conflicting ambitions of Austria and Russia.

One of the Serbian intrigues against Austria, encouraged by Russia, came to a head on June 28, 1914, when Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was assassinated while visiting the city of Sarajevo in the Austrian province of Bosnia.

Doggone Balkans.  --DaCoot

About That War 100 Years Ago-- Part 3: Forming Alliances

Italy, since her unification, would extend her boundaries to include Italian-speaking peoples to the north and east;  Austria-Hungary, cut off from expansion to the west, looked upon the Balkans as a normal region for expansion and thus came into conflict with Russia.

Obviously, there was enough tinder here for a dozen conflagrations, and it is amazing that, with the exception of the Balkans, Europe maintained peace over a long period.

For this period of peace, Germany was primarily responsible.  Wedged in between hostile nations and anxious to maintain the status quo in Europe, she constructed in 1882 the Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy.

To protect herself, France achieved an alliance with Russia in the early nineties and a close understanding with Great Britain, while the later attempted to iron out her conflicting imperialistic rivalries with Russia and Japan.

Just Waiting for a Spark.  --CootWar

Friday, September 8, 2017

About That War 100 Years Ago-- Part 2: Nearly Everybody Wanted Something

"While smaller nations sought to pick up the crumbs of imperialism let fall from the feast of their more powerful neighbors.

"In this scramble for markets and territories Africa had been carved up into colonies and protectorates, and there was every indication that the same fate awaited Asia.

"While colonial rivalries kept the chancelleries of Europe on the qui vive and precipitated numerous diplomatic crises, serious European rivalries were a continuous menace to peace.

France had never been reconciled to the separation of Alsace-Lorraine, and the more warlike of her statesmen awaited only the right moment to regain her lost provinces;  Russia, without an outlet to the Mediterranean, had her eyes fixed on Constantinople and sought to dominate the Balkans.

Just Waiting for the Spark.  --Cooter

Thursday, September 7, 2017

About That War 100 Years Ago-- Part 1: Doing That Imperialism Thing

From the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society January 2017 newsletter.

Text from "American Political and Social History" by Harold Underwood Faulkner, published May 1937 by F.S. crofts & Co., New York.


"...As the nations of Western Europe became industrialized, they sought an outlet for manufactured goods in the less developed regions of the world.  Great Britain had obtained the lion's share, but the decade after 1870 other nations moved aggresively to obtain what was left.

"Behind this imperialistic rivalry was France seeking to restore her national spirit after her defeat in 1870 (the Franco-Prussian War);  Germany, with an amazing industrial development and with the most powerful army in the world, demanding "a place in the sun"; Russia in search of an ice-free port on the Pacific; and Japan looking for markets to support her teeming population."


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Big Ben Goes Silent-- Part 2: Longest Period of Silence Ever

Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock, said that the clock mechanism will be dismantled piece by piece, and its four dials will be cleaned and repaired.  The 15.1-ton bell will be cleaned and checked for cracks.

Big Ben has been stopped several times since it first sounded in 1859, but the current restoration project marks the longest period of silence.

Parliamentary officials say, however, that they will ensure that the bell still sounds on major occasions like New years Eve and Remembrance Sunday.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Big Ben Goes Silent-- Part 1: No Bongs for Four Years

From the September 3, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Big Ben to fall silent for 4 years" by AP.

If you're going top visit London with the idea of hearing the massive bongs of Big Ben, you're too late.  At least for the next four years, Big Ben goes silent.

Big Ben, the huge clock bell of Britain's Parliament has fallen silent as a four-year restoration project gets underway.

The bongs of the iconic bell stopped chiming at noon on August 21 to protect workers during the $38 million repair job on the Queen Elizabeth Tower which house Big Ben and its clock.  (Most people think Big Ben is the name of the tower.)  It isn't due to resume service until 2021.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Claude R. Pfaff-- Part 7: Fishing and Active in the Community

In the 1960s, Claude and Atha retired from the dairy farm and spent from early spring to late fall at the cottage at Carolina Beach.  Daughter Gerri says her father practically lived on Fisherman Steel Pier at Carolina Beach, coming home only when his wife demanded he eat or sleep.

In those years he became a member of the Carolina Beach Presbyterian Church and an active member in the life of the local community, often sitting on the benches of the boardwalk and people-watching while Atha played bingo.  There used to be a lot of bingo parlors and at one time the boardwalk was right by the ocean in the days before the dunes were established.

They saw Carolina Beach go into decline in the 1950s, which continued through to around 1980, when it started coming back to being the tourist destination it is today.

Claude died in November 1983 and Atha in September 1986.

Gerri Cohen is their last surviving child and currently lives in Wilmington, but still uses the cottage in the summer, sharing it with her extended family.  She is a member of the Federal Point Historical Society and generously offered her father's World War I uniform for display during the war's centennial.


Claude R. Pfaff-- Part 6: Carolina Beach During World War II

Often during World War II, the Pfaff family ended up sharing their small cottage at Carolina Beach, "The Lullaby" with a family of strangers.  because of the shortage of housing in Wilmington area, property owners were required to rent out their houses in order to provide the families of the enlisted men due to ship out soon a place to spend a week at the beach before they separated.

Only office space was exempt, so Atha designated one room as an office.


Claude R. Pfaff-- Part 5: Summers At Carolina Beach, N.C.

Gerri Cohen (their daughter) remembers that as soon as her school was out the family would get on US Highway 421 in Winston-Salem and take it to Carolina Beach where they would stay all summer until just before school began in September.

Now, that's the life.  Beach bum for the summer.  I'd only get to do that for about a week and definitely not every summer.  Perhaps if we had continued living in North Carolina and had Hurricane Hazel not destroyed my grandparents' cottage on Carolina Beach's Southern Extension, I might have been able to do that as well.

Us Highway 421 goes right through Carolina Beach and ends at the "Rocks" by Fort Fisher, about four miles away.  I have taken  US-421 from its northern terminus in Michigan City, Indiana, all the way to the "Rocks."  Before I-40, it was the way to go from Winston-Salem (which it passes through) to Carolina Beach.

Carolina Beach, One of My Favorite Places in the World.  --CootBum

Friday, September 1, 2017

Claude R. Pfaff-- Part 4: A Carolina Beach Connection

In the 1920s, when he was working for the Realty Bond Real Estate Company, the firm would send its salesmen on vacation to Carolina Beach so that they would come back and tell their customers how wonderful the beach was, and hopefully sell more lots at Carolina Beach.

Throughout his years of living in Winston-Salem, Mr. Pfaff most enjoyed going to Carolina Beach for the fall fishing season.  His friend Ellis Freeman taught him how to fish, and Ellis' wife Annie, taught him how to cook what he caught.

In 1927, the Carolina Beach Hotel stood across from where Claude and Atha were staying, and one evening, while they were sitting on the porch of their place, they watched waiters and employees carrying out linens, silverware and other valuables from the hotel.  The next night the hotel "mysteriously" burned to the ground.

In the early 1930s, Claude built a cottage near Carolina Beach Lake as a birthday present to Atha, who named it "The Lullaby" for the choruses of frogs that sang around it at night.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Claude R. Pfaff-- Part 3: After the War, Jobs and Carolina Beach

Now a civilian again, Claude worked for the Colonial Motor Company and then as a salesman for the Realty Bind Company in Winston-Salem.  He married Atha Wolff of Tobaccoville, N.C., in June 1919 and they had two sons, Harry and Bob, and one daughter, Geraldine.

In his later years, Claude Pfaff worked as a retail coal dealer then a dairy farmer before retiring and spending most of his time in Carolina Beach, N.C., and much of that time fishing for king mackeral off the Fisherman's Steel Pier.

Both of my grandfathers were avid fishermen and loved to get out on piers.  My father's father, was killed in an accident coming back from a pier at Topsail island, N.C..


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lt. Pfaff's WW I Experience Much Like My Grandfather and Great Uncle's

The last two posts I wrote about Claude Pfaff and his World War I experience.  He had his training at Camp Jackson near Columbia, South Carolina, as did my grandfather, William Graham Hood.  And like Mr. Pfaff, my grandfather never had to ship off to France.  Also, my grandfather was honorably discharged at Camp Sevier.

My Great Uncle, David Mabury Prince was a lieutenant, but trained at Camp Sevier and went overseas.

Find out about my grandfather and great uncle by clicking the David Prince and William G. Hood labels.

Small World.  --Cooter

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Our World War I Soldier, Claude Pfaff-- Part 2: Camp Jackson and Camp Sevier

Claude Pfaff enlisted and was sent to Camp Jackson, a major training and staging base established near Columbia, South Carolina.  Here, battalions were formed before being sent overseas to fight in France.

Claude was promoted to Band Sergeant and assigned to the 156th Depot Brigade.  Using his musical talents, he played the bugle for military ceremonial occasions as well as morale-lifting events at such locations as the base hospital, the Red Cross Convalescent House and the Liberty Theater, which seated 3,600 soldiers.

On September 26, he was transferred to Camp Sevier, Greenville, South Carolina, and in October, he was commissioned out of the ranks to lieutenant.

With the war coming to an end and the Armistice going into effect on November 11, 1918, the military quickly demobilized and Pfaff was honorably discharged on November 30, 1918 as a second lieutenant and returned to civilian life.

A World War I Story.  --Cooter

Monday, August 28, 2017

Our World War I Soldier, Claude R. Pfaff-- Part 1: Student at UNC-Chapel Hill and Volunteered for the Army

From the April 2017 Federal Point Historic Preservation Society Newsletter.

CLAUDE R. PFAFF-- 1892-1983

2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army--  1918

The society's History Center in Carolina Beach, N.C. has a new exhibit marking the centennial of the U.S. entry into World War I and his uniform is on display, thanks to its loan by member Gerri Cohen.

He was born September 1892 in Pfafftown, Forsyth County, North Carolina.  He was of Moravian heritage and spent his formative years playing in the Bethania Moravian Band.  After attending Bethania High School, he earned his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Class of 1917 (1917?)).  As part of his matriculation, he taught school at Mount Tabor.

In 1917, the United States formally entered World War I.  Pfaff, like most young men to graduate that spring, knew he was likely to be drafted into the military as soon as he graduated.  The university offered to waive all final exams to anyone who volunteered so he joined the Army.


Friday, August 25, 2017

200 Years Ago, the Erie Canal-- Part 7: "Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight"

**  As the Erie Canal's original Lake Erie terminus, Buffalo became America's eighth largest city.  To emphasize that heyday heritage, Buffalo has excavated and revived its largely abandoned canal bed as Canalside, an urban park and recreational  development where you can catch a concert or rent kayaks.

In Victorian times, the Canalside was where crews of east-bound Midwest grain freighters were paid -- and where their wages were squandered on booze and floozies.

Larry Mruk, who leads walking tours for Explore Buffalo said this is the spot that inspired the folk song "Buffalo Gals"  They were the painted ladies who would come out at night and dance by the light of the moon.

What was the song George Bailey and Mary Hatch had in "It's A Wonderful Life?"

Well...  Something I Definitely Did Not Know About That a Song.  --Cooter

Thursday, August 24, 2017

200 Years Ago, the Erie Canal-- Part 6: Locks and Wurlitzer

**  The Rochester Museum and Science Center has a hands-on model of a lock, while the town of Lockport is where seven locks initially raised and lower canal boats 167 feet, the same distance as the natural plunge at the nearby Niagara Falls.

Today, there are just two locks at Lockport.

You can take a narrated boat trip here with Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises.

**  North Tonawanda, the canal's western terminus since the 1917-1918 enlargement of the waterway, is where the canal feeds into the Niagara River.  A beautifully developed canalside docking area is located in the spruced-up downtown, once home to factories for Wurlitzer organs and Herschell carousels.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

200 Years Ago, the Erie Canal-- Part 5: A "Wizard of Oz" Connection

**  The City of Little Falls had the foresight to keep its old canal warehouses intact.  Today they house boutiques in what's called Canal Place.

**  At tiny Chittenango, once a hub of canal-boat building and repair, the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum features a replica canal boat.  "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" author Frank Baum was born in Chittenango in 1856 and the village has various Oz-inspired touches, including the Yellow Brick Road Casino.

**  In downtown Syracuse, where the original canal flowed, you can see dozens of artifacts and look around a canal boat replica at the Erie Canal Museum in the old Weighlock Building, where tolls were assessed by poundage.

I wonder if there are any original canal boats remaining?


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

200 Years Later, the Erie Canal-- Part 4: Places to Go on the Erie Canal

Some places to see on the Erie Canal:

**  Historic downtown Waterford, which pushes it status as the eastern end of the original Erie Canal.  (The canal's eastern terminus is now less than a half-mile sout on the deeper Mohawk River channel.)  Pleasure craft can dock at the town's landing and the city is dotted with painted, life-size fiberglass mules as a public art project.  Mules, of course, were the main source of power for the 1800s canal boats.

There are hiking trails, exhibits, scenic overlooks.  Learn about the canal's histort at Waterford Historical Museum.

**  At Fort Hunter, west of Schenectady, there is the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site where yoy can see the remains of an aqueduct created for the early 1800s canal.  The picturesque town of Amsterdam is nearby on the Mohawk River.


Monday, August 21, 2017

200 Years Later, the Erie Canal-- Part 3: 4.5 MPH on the Erie Canal

Portions of the Erie Canal were widened (originally 40-feet-wide) and deepened before the Civil War and expanded again a century ago.  Some parts are essentially weed troughs and narrow.

Many towns that once depended on shipping along the canal, now push tourism with inns and eateries catering to recreational boaters and visitors who hike and bike along paved trails running alongside the corridor.

The Donnellys have a blog (  and say they are moving along at a 4.5 mile-an-hour pace, just a little faster than back in the day when mules pulled boats of people and products back in the 1830s.

Donnelly Great Loop Adventure 2017.  Appears they are up around Mackinac and preparing to go down Lake Michigan.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

200 Years Later, the Erie Canal-- Part 2: 35 Locks To Your Destination

Recreational boats traveling the full length of the Erie Canal are lifted or lowered through 35 elevation locks and can dock at towns built alongside the canal.

The labor intensive construction (remember this is before the machine age) was completed in 1825 and the canal enabled settlers to sail west while grain and agricultural products moved east.  The boats were slender, shallow-draft wooden vessels.  It transformed New York City into America's largest port and turned outposts like Cleveland and Chicago into mercantile hubs.

Construction of the Erie Canal was essentially a learn-as-you-go engineering technology and advances made on this helped the later (and bigger) Suez and Panama canals.

You can drive alongside much of the 338-mile canal and the state of New York has issued driving and bicycling maps and brochures for the Erie Canal's bicentennial.  Instead of taking the 4 1/2 hour zip along the I-90 tollway, you can enjoy a leisurely trip along the old canal.

And Sing "Low Bridge, Everybody Down, Cause We're Coming to a Town."  --Cooter

Thursday, August 17, 2017

200 Years Later, the Erie Canal-- Part 1 Used More for Pleasure Craft Now

From the July 23, 2017, Chicago Tribune "200 years later" by John Borden.

Last week, I wrote about the man who took the Erie Canal out to the Great Lakes in 1836.

The Erie Canal altered the face of commerce in the United States, but now traffics in tourists.

The Donnelly family of Annapolis sold or stored everything they owned and bought a 36-foot catamaran and intend to take it through the Erie Canal to the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi, along the Gulf Coast and up the Eastern Seaboard back home.  Quite a trip.  The Donnellys, like many people, are using the Erie Canal for pleasure, not business , which is a big change from when the canal opened and business was its aim.

The Erie Canal connected the Hudson River with the Great Lakes.  Construction of it began 200 years ago this month.

It has since been surpassed by railroads and the New York State Thruway, both of which follow along the canal's path.  Barges still haul freight too large to be shipped by air or land, however, but by far, it is used primarily by pleasure craft that glide through the stunning countryside.


Marines Came of Age in WW I-- Part 6: A National WW I Memorial in D.C.!!

While Marines can proudly sing of the halls of Montezuma and the shores of Tripoli, in many ways, the Marine Corps became the fighting force it is today because of the grueling combat they experienced at Belleau Wood.

The World War I Centennial Commission was created by Congress to preserve and promote such stories.  The commission was also authorized to create the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., to commemorate those who served during that global war, a tribute long overdue.

I am sure glad to find out that there is going to be a National World War I Memorial in D.C..  But I wish they had done it while we had the last veteran of that war alive, Frank Buckles.


Marines Came of Age in WW I-- Part 5: "The Deadliest Weapon In the World Is ....

The human cost of the Battle of Belleau Wood was horrifying.  There were 1,811 Americans killed and 7,966 wounded, but their action stopped the German advance.  They killed and wounded thousands of Germans and captured more than 1,500.

In the eyes of the world, the Marines who fought at Belleau Wood proved that the "Teufel Hinden" (Devil Dogs) could stand toe-to-toe against the most experienced combat troops in the world and win.  General Pershing was so amazed by their tenacity that it brought about a famous quote from him:  "The deadliest weapon in the world is a United States Marine and his rifle."

The fortitude, discipline, courage instilled into the Marines of the 5th and 6th regiments can greatly be attributed to their noncommissioned officers.  Heavily relied upon as the "backbone of the Marine Corps," the NCO's long-standing profession as small unit leaders stands form today through every rank and file.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Marine's Came of Age in World War I-- Part 4: Marines Met Every Challenge in Belleau Wood

Belleau Wood would be among the first large-scale battles involving American troops, and the enemy knew it would set the tone for how the Americans would see themselves.  They attacked hard.

What happened at Belleau Wood was nothing short of ferocious -- a close-range pitched battle, through dense woods, where troops from both sides were desperate to advance the line and succeed the mission.  Machine gun fire, poison gas, mortars, grenades and bayonet counterattaxcks were all inflicted with hellish delivery.

The Marines met every challenge, mounting major frontal attacks on the enemy six different times for nearly a month.

That Answers Whether the Americans Came to Fight Or Not.  --Cooter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Today's Marine Corps Came of Age in WW I-- Part 3: Rushed Into Battle

It was then that the Marine Corps would undergo a radical transformation to do what it was asked to do.  Following boot camp (for the enlisted men) and Officer Candidate School (for officers), Marines would take a more advanced garrison and field training both stateside and following their arrival in France.

Before this Marines were primarily attached to ships and used in smaller operations.  (I attended Officer Candidate School in 1971 in Quantico, Virginia.)

However, the German Spring Offensive of 1918 altered that training, causing an immediate movement of undertrained troops to the outskirts of Paris.  The Marine mission was to stop the German Army breach into the Chateau-Thierry, the front line at a place known as Belleau Wood.


Today's Marine Corps Came of Age in WW I-- Part 2: Increase in Fighting Force

Despite the limited experience in the Philippines and along the Mexican border, it was going to be very different on the battlefields in France "where machine guns, artillery and chemical warfare were capable of killing 10,000 men in a day."

The Marines, which at the time had less than 15,000 men, had seen combat action in China and Nicaragua, but even that experience wasn't enough to prepare them for what they were about to face.

Army General John "Blackjack" Pershing was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to command the American Expeditionary Force.  He determined to keep the American units fighting as separate units rather than being supplied piecemeal to British and French forces as replacements.

America was now at war and the Marines would be called upon.  Congress approved an additional 31,000 Marines to increase their fighting strength.  General George Barnett, commandant of the Marine Corps, successfully orchestrated a nationwide recruiting campaign to enlist and commission the best of America's volunteers.


One Man's Travels By Water in 1836-- Part 6: Texas Vagabonds "Drinking Bad Whiskey" and the Alligator Incident

In Galveston, Texas, David Crandall observed a sandbar with "tents and a few shanties and the population consisted of Mexican prisoners taken at the Battle of San Jacinto" overseen by "vagabonds in Texas uniform ... who divided their time between drinking bad whiskey, playing poker and tormenting their Mexican prisoners."  (Well, at least the Mexican prisoners were still alive, which was not an option for the Texan defenders of the Alamo earlier in the year.)

Across from an old Spanish village at the head of Galveston Bay, Crandall saw a wide sandy beach "literally covered with water fowl."  He borrowed a a dugout canoe to go on a "shooting excursion" but didn't have much luck.

Intending to crawl under a nearby log to "get one fair shot," he approached slowly to avoid alarming the game.  However, "the log became alarmed and while I was yet thirty steps away, it started for the water at top speed.  ... What I had supposed to be a log proved to be a huge alligator."


Monday, August 14, 2017

Today's Marine Corps Came of Age in WW I-- Part 1: Just How Well Would They Perform?

From April 24, 2017 Army  by Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia (ret).


(Sgt. Major Brysan B. Battaglia served 36 years in the Marine Corps including as the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2011-1016).  Quite a record for him.

America's initial entry into World War I, which came three years after the war began, was more promise than power for the Allies.  Military experts on both sides of the Atlantic knew that  the Americans had the numbers, but their was little experience as far as combat troops.

The Army had been deployed to the Philippines to fight insurgents and units (and National Guard) had served along the Mexican border during the Pancho Villa times during the Mexican Revolution.

But this service was to be different from what they had faces.


Friday, August 11, 2017

One Man's Travels By Water in 1836-- Part 4: The Horse Race

In Louisville, Kentucky, "a match horse race came off between the states of Kentucky and Tennessee.  The chivalry of Kentucky staked their bottom dollar on the (bay gelding) Randolph, while the sporting men of Tennessee bet their last nickel on the brown filly Angora."

Randolph won "and the Tennesseeans were stripped to their shoestrings.  Large numbers of them were unable to pay their hotel bills and many were reduced from an easy competence to abject poverty."

After a stop in Cairo, Illinois, "which consisted of one building -- a tavern,"  David Crandall took the Madison, another steamer, to New Orleans, where he had his first glimpse of slavery:  "I found much food for reflection among a people who made slavery in its most brutal aspects the corner stone of their civilization and the chief element of their commercial prosperity."

He Wasn't Much Impressed With Slavery.  --Cooter

Thursday, August 10, 2017

One Man's Travels On the Erie Canal (and Beyond) in 1836-- Part 3: Ohio's Canals and Two Presidents

David Sprague Crandall next crossed Lake Erie by steamer, landing in Cleveland.

Ohio's recent work on their canal system allowed him to travel several more days to the Ohio River, where he traveled again by steamer which he described as, "a little squeaking stern-wheeler which was aground half the time and the passengers kept running back and forth across the boat to rock it through through the sand bars."  I take it he was not overly impressed.

It was in Cincinnati that he saw President Jackson as well as William Henry Harrison, two War of 1812 heroes.  Of course, Harrison would himself be elected to the presidency four years later.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

One Man's Travels on the Erie Canal in 1836-- Part 2: A Baby Squall?

The canal boat David Sprague Crandall boarded was bound for Buffalo, at the western end of the canal.

"Just as we made the light of S. Pendleton Clark's grocery the ever rolling banks of Townawanda Creek bearing sou'west by south half south & a little southerly we were struck abaft of the main hatch by a squall from the cook's baby.

"The captain was equal to the emergency and immediately gave orders to club-haul the boat, take a double reef in the overboard and pray for daylight.  The squall was short, sharp and uneventful, so that we made with cheerful alacrity," Crandall recorded in his journal.

Not sure what sort of storm they encountered here.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

One Man's Travels on the Erie Canal in 1836-- Part 1: A Journal

From the July 23, 2017, Chicago Tribune by Stephanie Reynolds.

As we mark the 200th anniversary of the beginning of construction on the famous Erie Canal, connecting the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, a huge step in American transportation and quite an undertaking without the equipment we have today, here is a look back.

It was 1836, the same year as the Battle of the Alamo in Texas, David Sprague Crandall left his hometown in Lockport, N.Y., to travel on the Erie Canal and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers all the way to Galveston, , Texas.

He took paddle-wheel steamers  and slow-poke line boats pulled by mules on a tow path.  Along the way, he encountered an alligator, a horse race that pitted Tennessee against Kentucky and President Andrew Jackson.

Fortunately for us, he kept a journal of his trip for his 9-year-old grandson, George Lee Thurston II.

Crandall was a journalist and eventually became the owner of the Lockport Courier.  But, on August 8, 1836, he boarded a "shovel-nosed line boat" that was propelled by two mules and a ragged boy."  He was in poor health and going west to seek a change of climate.

he was heading west to Buffalo, NY, at the western end of the canal, at a speed somewhat slower than a person walking.

But, at least he wasn't doing the walking.


My Experiences in the Vietnam War in My Down Da Road I Go Blog

Even though I did not go to Vietnam and fight, I sure enough came close to being there.

I have been writing about my experiences in my Down da Road I Go Blog.  You can go to it by looking at the Blogs I Follow section to the right of this entry and clicking on the blog.

To me it was The War That Would Never End.  Then there was that draft lottery thing and college.

Give It a Look.  --CooterAlmostThere.

Monday, August 7, 2017

World War I Australian "Diggers" Get Photographed in Front of the Great Pyramidin Front of the Great Pyramid

From the July 25, 2014 Yahoo! 7: The West Australian "The story of the Cheops pyramid picture" by Malcolm Quekett.

Just weeks before many of them died at Gallipoli, Diggers (what Australian soldiers in WWI were often called) of the 11th Battalion, 703 Australians, camped out in Egypt and receiving final training were ordered to a nearby landmark for a group picture.  It was likely the last picture ever taken of some of them as many died at Gallipoli.

The 11th Battalion was raised primarily in the state of West Australia, Australia.

Captain Charles Barnes wrote:  "After Church this morning, the whole Battalion was marched up to the Pyramid (Old Cheops) and we had a photo took or at least several of them."

The officers were in the front and the men on the steps of the pyramid.

Legend has it that one of the men in the photo was actually a dead body, dressed in uniform and propped up.

So far, 154 in the photo have been identified.  They want Australian families to help with identification.

At Gallipoli, on the first day, April 25, 1915, the 11th Battalion was among the first Australian units to land and they lost 57 men of the 620 Australians killed that day.

A very interesting picture.  Look it up.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

GAR Veterans Do a Flag-Raising in 1917

From the July 5, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago

Even though 1917 was 52 years after the Civil War ended, former Union soldiers participated in a patriotic flag-raising in Waterman, Illinois, for World War I.

"Yesterday was an important one in the history of Waterman when several thousand people gathered there for the flag raising ceremony which has been previously announced.

"The members of the Grand Army of the Republic had the ceremony in charge and four of the old soldiers held the large banner, while one pulled it to the top of the staff.  As the flag was being raised to the top of the staff, Company A fired 21 rounds in salute while the bugler blew the colors."

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was an organization made up of former members of the the Union Army, Navy and Marines from the Civil War.

And now, these old men were about to witness another American War.


Friday, August 4, 2017

The 21st U.S. Infantry: 1905 to World War I

Yesterday I wrote about the 21st U.S. Infantry at the Plattsburgh Barracks in Plattsburgh, New York.

From 1905-1906, the regiment was on garrison duty in the Philippines.  From 1909 to 1912 they were back in the Philippines.  Then they were based at Vancouver Barracks. From March 1916, they were on the Arizona-California border protecting citizens from Villista raids.

In December 1916, the 21st participated in the Panama-California Exposition defending against a simulated attack by U.S. Navy cruisers Frederick and San Diego and several aircraft.

With U.S. entry into World War I, in April 1917, they were transferred to Camp Kearney and were subordinated to the 16th Division's 31st Infantry.  Not quite sure what subordinated means.  Perhaps it has something to do with training soldiers.  They trained troops for fighting in France with the American Expeditionary Force.

In March, they returned to the Vancouver Barracks.


Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 2: Prewar and World War I

During World War I and the years leading up to it, the Plattsburgh Barracks were a part of the Civilian Military Training Camp of Plattsburgh.

It was the brainchild of Army General Leonard Wood and the forerunner of today's ROTC.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Plattsburgh Barracks-- Part 1: The War of 1812 and "The President's Own"

From Wikipedia "The Old Stone Barracks"

I have been writing about these barracks for the past week in my War of 1812 blog "Not So Forgotten."

These barracks were constructed at Plattsburgh, New York in 1838 to replace barracks that had been in use since the War of 1812.  The famous Battle of Lake Champlain/Battle of Plattsburgh took place here.

In the 1890s, the Barracks were the home of the 21st U.S. Infantry, known as "The President's Own."

President William McKinley gave them that nickname because he frequently summered at the nearby Hotel Champlain and would often visit the post to review the troops.

The 21st Infantry left here to participate in the Spanish-American War where on 22 June 1898, they fought at the Battle of Santiago and on July 1, they were in on the attack on San Juan Hill.  They were then withdrawn from Cuba in August because of disease.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August 2 in History: Declaration, Census, Bad Day for Wild Bill, Black Sox and Gulf of Tonkin

From the Chicago Tribune.

**  1776   Members of the Continental Congress began signing the Declaration of Independence.  (And most people think it was signed on July 4, 1776.)

**  1790   The enumeration of the first U.S. census began.  When it was over, the final total was 3,929,214.

**  1876   "Wild Bill" Hickok was fatally shot from behind while playing poker in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory.  He was holding two aces and two eights, a combination that became known as the "Deadman's Hand."

**  1921   After two hours of deliberation, the jury in the "Black Sox" trial of eight White Sox players returned a verdict of not guilty in the plot to fix the 1919 World Series.  (However, Baseball Commissioner Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis banned them from baseball for life.)

A real sad day for us Sox fans as we might have had that successful reign that the Yankees had after that.

1964   The Pentagon reported the first of two attacks on U.S. destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.  This was a major step for the U.S. escalation in the Vietnam War.

--  SadSoxCoot

Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 6: His Death in 1917

Details about his personal life are sparse.  He was apparently married, but his wife's name is unknown.  He had two daughters, at least one of them, Neva, was brought back to Antioch and cared for by friends when Wild Jim was on tour.

In his later years, in ill health with bladder cancer, he moved to the home of his daughter Neva in Copiaque, New York, where he died on February 13, 1917.  A funeral service was held at her home and his remains transported back to Antioch, Illinois, where he was buried at Hillside Cemetery.

His daughter, Neva French Imig, was born in Chicago in 1891 and spent her childhood in Antioch where she married Arthur Imig.  She died at age 35 of stomach cancer and was also returned to Antioch for burial

This information came from Ainsley Wonderling of the Lakes Region Historical Society in Antioch.  She has discovered that she is distantly related to the French family.


Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 5: Wild Jim's Shooting Exhibition

A reporter from the St. Paul Daily Globe wrote about Wild Bill French's shooting exhibition on board the steamboat Bald Eagle which was accompanied by her sister ship, the Minneapolis.

"First he took shots at 30 glass balls tossed into the air and broke 28 of the 30 with his shot.  Then with the rifle pointed backwards over his shoulder, broke the two balls reflected in a mirror held in front of him."

He followed this up by hitting each of four apples thrown with force directly at him.  In spite of the motion of the boat shaking on the wave he was able to maintain accurate shots.

Wild Jim wrote and published his own ten cent novels exploiting his many talents.  These novels spread his fame and encouraged people to come and see him when he was in town.  He distributed fliers as well.  Cost to attend his shows were 25 cents for men, half price for boys and women were admitted for free.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 4: Antioch's Wild Bill French

While his show could not compete with Buffalo Bill's show in size or variety, he did have a successful run exhibiting his unique shooting skills.  He was the primary attraction and known for his daring feats in the saddle.

His riding and handling of firearms won him fame and distinction.

Known as Wild Jim or Captain J.C. French, he was said to have been a hunter on the plains of the West since he was age 12.  (Not true.)

One of his exhibitions took place on the Bald Eagle ship making its way from Dubuque to Minneapolis.  As reported in the St. Paul Daily Globe, "Captain French gave a fine exhibit to other passengers of the Bald Eagle and sister ship Minneapolis."

What He Did, Next.  --DaCootShot

Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 3: Wild Jim French's Wild West Show

During the peak of the Wild West Shows, other people had similar presentations, like the one by Wild Jim French, who had an Antioch, Illinois, connection.

He was born in August 1851 in Saugerfield, Oneida County, New York and had nine siblings.  Like other eastern families, the French family moved west, with the hopes of starting a better life.  There was a lot of land available in northern Illinois and the family settled in the area now known as Antioch.

Jim French grew up in Antioch, but eventually sought his fortune elsewhere and found it in Texas.  He adopted the name Wild Bill French and was an avid horseman and skilled shot.  With the popularity of the Wild West Shows, he established his own show.


Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 2: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

In 1893, Buffalo Bill's (William Frederick Cody) Wild West Slow performed at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and reportedly drew 18,000 spectators.

Along with acts, Buffalo Bill had re-enactments of the Pony Express, an Indian Attack on a wagon train and stagecoach robberies.  It was said that he closed with an re-enactment of Custer's Last Stand with Cody playing the role of Custer.  But most often it ended with an Indian attack on a settler's cabin with Cody leading a group of cowboys to save them.

Unfortunately, in the late 1800s, the country's economy reached a low and people did not have the money to purchase tickets.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show closed in 1913.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Those "Wild West Shows"-- Part 1: Buffalo Bill, Annie and Wild Bill

From the July 18, 2017, Hi-Liter "Wild West had local flair" by Sandra Landen Machaj.

In the late 1800s, people in the United States and Europe started showing a distinct interest in the American frontier and as a result, there were Wild West Shows which were popular and well-attended.  They'd move from town to town and were essentially circuses, with performers and animals.

Among the first ones established was the one of William Frederick Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill.  He had his first show in 1883 and continued until 1913  His shows were huge and carefully choreographed with up to 120 performers including animals like horses, buffaloes and even Texas Longhorns.

Popular names of the day could be found among his starts like Will Rogers, Tom Mix and Wild Bill Hickok.  Wild Bill earned his reputation as a gunfighter and marshal out West and was popular in 10-cent novels of the day.

And, there were a few women in the shows, including Annie Oakley, considered to be the first female sharpshooter.  She was also featured in those dime novels.


Friday, July 28, 2017

A Ducky Traffic Jam in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1967 and a New Art Building for NIU

From the July 5, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1967, 50 Years Ago.

"East and westbound traffic near the lake (Lagoon) at Northern Illinois University was tied up in both directions this morning for a few minutes.  The reason for this was not the usual heavy traffic on the Lincoln Highway.  This time it was  "the call of the wild," four ducks taking their morning constitutional."

**  "Final plans for a $3,715, 465 art building on the east campus of Northern Illinois University were approved by the Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities meeting at the NIU campus."

Of Ducks and Art.  --Cooter

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Elva Women Doing Their Part in World War I Effort in 1917

From the July 5, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago

"The larger clubs of Elva, that is, the Homemakers, the Woman's Club and Woman's Christian Temperance Union, have discontinued their meets for an indefinite period, turning their interest toward Red Cross work."

The war is on.

Elva is located five miles south and southwest of DeKalb, Illinois, and was developed by Joseph Glidden, the inventor of barbed wire, and named for his daughter.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Problem With Finns in 1917: Fighting It Out

From the July 5, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back.

1917, 100 Years Ago

"A gang of Finns up in the northeast part of DeKalb got into a melee yesterday and riving the fracas one man was the victim with with two others the guilty ones.  The victim's shirt was torn and he suffered a fracture of a thumb.

The police were called to the scene and with the aid of the public safety wagon, the offenders were bought to town, and it is probably they will be assessed a stiff fine for their fun of besting up the other guy."


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

World War I Preparations in Plattsburgh, NY, Lead to "Metallic Relics of Ancient Days"

From the July 24, 2017, Plattsburgh (NY) Press-Republican  "Look-back:  Week of July 24 to July 31."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The erection of wooden bunkhouses at Plattsburgh Barracks has resulted in bringing to light a number of metallic relics of ancient days -- relics innocently trodden underfoot by the splendid young men eagerly studying the arts of  modern warfare.

"Among those are a pewter button that no doubt dates to the War of 1812 because similar ones have been found upon the site of battlefields in Canada.

"Also found was the exceedingly rusty remains of an iron tomahawk."

An Archaeology Thing.  --Cooter

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ruth Ann Steinhagen

From Find-a-Grave.

Born December 23, 1929, in Cicero, Illinois.     Died December 29, 2012, in Chicago.

Lived in obscurity after she shot Eddie Waitkus.

Burial Unknown

From Wikipedia.

Died of a subdural hematoma suffered in an accidental fall in her home.

Her death was unreported for three months.  A Chicago Tribune researcher was looking into another death when he came across her death.

There were no immediate survivors.


Friday, July 21, 2017

JUly 21... Events On This Date

From the Chicago Tribune.

1862--  See my Civil War blog.

1925--  The so-called Monkey Trial ended in Dayton, Tennessee with John Scopes convicted of violating the state's law about teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution.  It was later overturned.

1949--  The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.

1954--  The Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into northern and southern countries.  And, we all know how this turned out.

1969--  Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buss" Aldrin blasted off from the moon aboard the lunar module.  And that sure was scary.  Would they be able to get off the moon?


July 20.... Events On This Date

Quite a few things happened of not on July 20.  here are some:

1862--  See my Civil war blog.

1881--  Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull, a fugitive since the Battle of Little Big Horn, surrendered to federal troops.

1917--  The World War I draft lottery began.

1919--  Mountain climber and Antarctic explorer Edwin Hillary, the first man (with Tibetan mountaineer Tenzig Norgay) to climb Mt. Everest, was born in Auckland, New Zealand.

1923--  Mexican revolutionary and guerrilla leader was assassinated at age 45.

1937--  Inventor and physicist Guglielmo Marconi, winner of the Nobel Prize for his work in developing wireless telegraphy, died in Rome at age 63.

1944--  See my World War II blog.

1969--  Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon as they stepped out of their lunar module.

I sure remember that as I was glued to the TV with friends.  There is a story about the "Moon Dust" out now.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Eddie Stephen "Eddie" Waitkus

From Find-A-Grave.

Mr. Waitkus was an Major League All-Star three times, twice with the Cubs and once with the Phillies.

"While the Phillies were in Chicago to play the Cubs in 1949, he was shot by a deranged female fan who was obsessed with him.  He was severely injured and missed the rest of the 1949 season, but recovered to play in all of the 1950 Phillies' pennant winning games the next season.

"The incident was the real-life inspiration for Bernard Malamud's baseball novel "The Natural" which was made into a movie of the same name starring Robert Redford."

He is buried in Cambridge Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Plot WWII Lot, Tier 22, Grave 39.



Death of Ruth Ann Steinhagen in 2012-- Part 4: Her Original Plans

She used to go to all of the Chicago Cubs home games while Eddie Waitkus was with them.  But, when he was traded to the Phillies, she didn't get to see him as much.  This led to a mental breakdown.

She moved into a small apartment and turned it into a shrine to Eddie Waitkus.

Her original plan for after killing him was to commit suicide.

Eddie Waitkus fought in the Pacific Theater during World War II and saw especially heavy action in the Philippines.  For three years he braved Japanese bullets without a scratch.  he then came home and was almost killed by Ruth Ann's bullet as a civilian.


Death of Ruth Ann Steinhagen-- Part 3: Became a Recluse Afterwards

In 1970, she moved into a small house in Chicago and lived with her parents and sister and became a recluse.  She died December 29, 2012, at the age of 83.  Her death was not noted despite of her notoriety.  It wasn't until a reporter for the Chicago Tribune was researching another death that her death was discovered by the newspapers on March 15, 20143.

She was born in Chicago on December 23, 1929 and had a penchant for falling in love with unattainable men.  She had crushes on actor Alan Ladd


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Death of Ruth Ann Steinhagen in 2012-- Part 2: "Now You're Going to Die"

Ruth Ann Steinhagen was a 19-year-old typist for an insurance agency.  She had planned to stab Eddie Waitkus, but he came in quickly and sat down.  She went to the closet and got a .22 rifle.

She told him, "I have a surprise for you."  She trained the gun on him and told him to stand up and move to the window.  "For two years you've been bothering me, and now you're going to die."

Then she shot him.

She was arrested and charged with assault with intent to murder.

Less than three weeks afterwards, a judge declared her insane and committed her to a psychiatric hospital where she spend three years and was released.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Death of Eddie Waitkus' Shooter, Ruth Ann Steinhagen-- Part 1: Planning the Trap

From the March 23, 2013, New York  Times  "Ruth Ann Steinhagen Is Dead at 83; Shot a Ballplayer" by Bruce Weber.

On June 14, 1949, a huge tip back then of $5 was given to a bellhop at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago to deliver a note to another guest.  Even though the two people had never met, the note said that she needed to see him right away.  She called herself Ruth Anne Burus.

She then ordered two whiskey sours and a daiquiri from room service and sipped them while waiting for the guest to arrive.  Eddie Waitkus received the note and knocked on her door at 11 p.m..  She told him that she had already gone to bed and needed to dress and asked if he'd come back in a half hour.

Only, her name was Ruth Ann Steinhagen and she was planning on killing Eddie Waitkus.

And They Had Never Met.  --DaCoot

So, How'd the Eddie WaitkusTrade Go for the Cubs?

From Baseball Almanac.

One thing about the Chicago Cubs and that on occasion, they  have made some bad trades.  I got to wondering whether the Eddie Waitkus and Hank Borowy trade to the Phillies for Monk Dubiel and Dutch Leonard was a good one or not.

All players were with the teams they were traded to for at least two years, so here are the stats.

The other three players were pitchers.

Eddie Waitkus   1949--  .306  // 1950--   .284
Hank Borowy   1949--  12-12  Record,  .4.19 ERA  //  1950--  0-0 record,  5.68 ERA.  Traded to Pittsburgh Pirates.

From the Phillies to the Cubs

Monk Dubiel  1949  6-9 record, 4.14 ERA  //   1950--  6-10,   4.16 ERA
Dutch Leonard:   1949--  7-16 record, 4.15 ERA   //   1950--  5-1 record,  3.77  ERA

I'd have to say, because of Waitkus, the Phillies got the better trade.

However, As Far As Nicknames Are Concerned, I'd Say the Cubs Did Better.  --Cooter

Monday, July 17, 2017

Eddie Waitkus' Major League Stats

Born September 4, 1919 in Massachusetts.  Died September 16, 1972.

Lifetime .285 Batting Average and 24 home runs, so not likely to hit one to blow up those lights like in "The Natural."

His rookie year was in 1941 with the Chicago Cubs when he played in 12 games at the end of the season.

From 1942-1945, he was in military service in World War II.

In 1946 he played in 113 games with 441 at bats, 55 RBIs, 4 Home runs and batted .304.  The next two years with the Cubs, he batted .292 and .295.  In 1949, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.  In his time there he hit .306 (the year he was shot), .284, .257, .289 and .291.

And You Thought You Would Have to Worry About A Beanball.  --CootNat

Friday, July 14, 2017

MLB's Eddie Waitkus, Shot By His Stalker in 1949-- Part 3: Was Basis of the Book "The Natural"

Eddie Waitkus returned to the baseball diamond that same year, on August 19, 1949, and finished the season with a .306 batting average.  He was the leadoff hitter for the Phillies' "Whiz Kids" that won the 1950  National league Pennant.  He led the team with 102 runs scored.

Author Bernard Malamud was not a big baseball fan, but he used basic elements of Waitkus' story and other baseball legends (notably Chicago White Sox's Shoeless Joe Jackson for his 1952 book "The Natural."  In 1984, it was made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Glenn Close.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Eddie Waitkus, Philadelphia Phillies, Shot in 1949-- Shot At Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel

Eddie Waitkus quickly became a popular media figure.  He was well-educated and could speak fluently in Lithuanian, Polish, German and French.

The ladies especially loved him.  One of them, Ruth Ann Steinhagen, became an obsessed fan who shot him at Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel on June 14, 1949, in what became one of the earliest recognized cases of criminal stalking.

She had been infatuated with him while he was with the Cubs, but got to see him during all home games.  But now that he was with the Phillies, that was a rare instance.  So, while he was in town, she checked into the Edgewater under the name of one of Eddie Waitkus' former classmates.  She sent word to him that they needed to meet.

When he arrived at the room, she shot him with a .22 caliber rifle, just missing his heart.  She immediately called the front desk to tell them there had been a shooting.  When help arrived, they found her cradling his head in her lap.

Eddie Waitkus nearly died several times on the operating table before the bullet was removed.

Steinhagen was never tried but was in a mental institution for a short time.


Eddie Waitkus, Former Cubs Player Shot in 1949-- Part 1: "The Natural"

From Wikipedia.

In the last post, I mentioned that along with Billy Jurges being shot by a jilted lover in 1932, another former Cub by the name of Eddie Waitkus, was shot by a woman in 1949 while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Born September 4, 1919 in Massachusetts.  Died September 16, 1972 in Massachusetts.

Played first base for eleven years:  Cubs and Phillies in the National League and the Orioles in the American League.  He was a member of the National League All Star team in 1948 and 1949.

As a rookie, he was known as "The Natural" for his baseball abilities.  (Sound familiar?)  He played a few games with the Cubs at the end of the 1941 season, but then served in the military during World War II, taking part in the battles in the Philippines.  During that time he was awarded four Bronze Stars.

Returning to baseball in 1946, he quickly became a star for the Chicago Cubs.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Billy Jurges, Played With a Great Cubs Infield

Born May 9, 1908.  Died March 3, 1997 in Clearwater, Florida.

Known as a light hitter and good fielder.  Right handed.  In 1932 anchored an infield of Stan Hack (3rd), Billy Herman (2nd) and Charlie Grimm and Phil Cavarretta (1st).  Recovered from wound in 1932 and helped the Cubs win the National league pennant.

Played with the New York Giants but missed 80 games in 1940 after being hit in the head by a pitched ball.

Later coached under Charlie Grimm and then held managerial jobs with several minor league teams.

I also found out another Chicago Cub player named Eddie Waitkus was shot i n 1949 (but playing with the Philadelphia Phillies at the time).


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Billy Jurges' Stats

Since I'd never heard of Billy Jurges before, I decided to find out something about him.

From Baseball Almanac.

In 1932, the year he was shot, these are Jurges' stats:

It was his second year in the pros and second with the Cubs.

115 games, 396 ABs, 40 runs, 100 hits, 24 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs.52 RBIs and batted .253.

He was with the Cibs from 1921-1938, the New York Giants 1939-1945, and finished his career back with the Cubs 1946-1947.

Had a career .258 batting average, 721 runs, 43 home runs and 656 RBIs..  His best year was 1937 with the Cubs when he batted .298 with 114 hits.

And, He Led the League in Getting Shot in 1932.  --DaDuckNextTime

Monday, July 10, 2017

Cubs Shortstop Billly Jurges Shot 85 Years Ago-- Part 3: Girlfriend Also Dated Leo Durocher and Al Lopez

The story of Billy's shooting became national headlines.  Newspaper photographers and reporters burst into Violet Popovich Valli's hospital room and daily reports of "the chestnut-haired divorcee" and the dark-haired chorus girl" filled the papers.

But nothing ever happened with her case.  Jurgess refused to press charges.

He rejoined the Cubs less than a month later and the '32 Cubs went on to the World Series where they got swept by the Yankees.

Popovich later dated Leo Durocher and Al Lopez, who went on to become managers of the Cubs and White Sox respectively.  She later married former boxer Charley "The Duluth Dynamiter" Retzlaff in 1947.

If I were Durocher or Lopez, I would have been very, very careful.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Cubs Shortstop Billy Jurges Shot 85 Years Ago-- Part 2" More Than a Lover's Spat

According to the Chicago Herald and Examiner article related, according to Jack Bales:  "Violet received a telegram on July 6, that intimated Jurges had been out with other women.  And a resident of the hotel overheard Violet telling a friend, 'If he denies this I'll forgive him, otherwise, I'll give him the works.':

She pounded on Jurges' door and confronted him with a .25 caliber gun.  As they were wrestling for the weapon, one shot ricocheted off Jurges' rib, another struck a finger on his left hand and the third traveled through Popovich's arm.

Was It Worth It?  --DaCootShot

Cubs Shortstop Billy Jurges Shot 85 Years Ago-- Part 1: Shot By His Lover

From the July 6, 2007, Chicago Tribune 'Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges' marks anniversary" by Phil Thompson.

Cubs history can be a bit bizarre, but July 6, 1932, it got just a bit stranger when Cubs shortstop  Billy Jurges was shot in his hotel room by a spurned lover.

Violet Popvich Valli shot him and the whole affair is the subject of an article by Jack Bales in "The Show Girl and the Shortstop:  The Strange Saga of Violet Popovich and Her Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges."

Most accounts say the problems started in New York when she pressed Jurges about their future.  During homestands, Jurges lived at the Hotel Carlos in Chicago, now an apartment complex on Sheffield Avenue.    Popovich stayed there on occasions.

--And, the Plot Thickens.  --CootCub

Thursday, July 6, 2017

DeKalb's Population at 9,482 in 1917

From the January 18, 2017, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"According to the estimates of the Washington census bureau which are just out there were 9,482 persons in DeKalb on the first day of July of last year.

"The census estimates is supposed to be pretty accurate as we feel that DeKalb is well along to the 10,000 class.  If we could fond some way to increase our population to get into the five figure class we would be a real metropolis."

DeKalb's 2010 population was 43,862, so guess they made the 10,000 with room to spare.


About a DeKalb Local Armory in 1917

From the May 31, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"Although the local DeKalb (Illinois) men who have been pushing the project have not given up, present indications are that the matter of the purchase of the armory building by the state of Illinois for the use of the local militia contingent will have to go over for  the present session of legislature."

Remember, we were on the eve of World War I for our country in May 1917.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Program for the Dead of Past Wars in 1917

From the May 31, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back.:

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"A Program will be given by Hattie Chesbro's eighth grade of the Haisch school at 9:30 o'clock at the Lucinda Avenue bridge over the Kishwaukee to commemorate the memory of the many dead in the past wars.  (DeKalb, Illinois)

"The program is always very appropriate and the public is invited to attend.  While a reading is given by Lola Maxwell, flowers will be scattered on the water and a salute to the flag given."

This, of course, would be Memorial Day/Decoration Day.

And, the United States was just weeks away from declaring war and entering World War I.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

History of the Fourth of July

From History site.

Also known as Independence Day or July 4th.  It has been a federal holiday since 1941, but its traditions go back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later delegates from thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

From 1776 to the present, July 4 has been celebrated as the birthday of American independence with festivals, fireworks, parades, coverts, family gatherings and barbecues.

Happy B-D, U.S.A.!!  --Cootstarsandstripes

DeKalb Woman's Club Deeds Annie's Woods to the City in 1917

From the May 3, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"This is an epochal day for the DeKalb Woman's Club.  After about five years of hard work and planning the big project of the club whereby its members bought and paid for the Annie's Woods, one of the prettiest places in DeKalb vicinity and a favorite recreation spot.

"This afternoon the board of the Woman's Club met with mayor P.N. Joslyn and Judge McEwen to deed over the woods to the city."

And, Annie's Woods is still there, right by the Kishwaukee River and the eastern edge of Northern Illinois University.

Thank You Ladies!!  We're Still Enjoying It!!  --DaCoot

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

From their site.

The museum is in Kansas City, Missouri and was formed in 1990.  They have photographs and artifacts from the late 1800s through the 1960s.

Its permanent 10,000 square foot facility opened in 1997, sharing the new 18th and Vine museum complex with the American Jazz Museum.


Monday, July 3, 2017

French Leader Invites Trump to Bastille Day Event to Honor WWI Troops

From the June 28, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

French President Emmanuel Macron invited President Donald Trump to a Bastille Day celebration next month to celebrate the arrival 100 years ago of the American troops who fought alongside the French during World War I.

An official of the presidential Elysee Palace said the invitation to Trump and first Lady Melania Trump was extended Tuesday during a telephone conversation to prepare the two leaders' meeting during the G-20 summit in Germany on July 7-8.

France celebrates Bastille Day with a military parade down the Champs-Elysees every July 14.  The official says the White House is examing the feasibilty of a Paris visit.

Here's hoping the president goes.  This was payback for the American Revolution.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Chronology of World War I, June 1917


In the Pacific, the German commerce raider Wolff captures and sinks the American bark Beluya.  Fourteen people, including two women, are taken prisoner.



(Dr.) Louis J. Genelba is wounded in action by a shell splinter while serving with the British Medical Corps at Arras, France.


Armed American oil tanker Montano is torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Ireland:  16 crew members and eight Navy gunners drown.


Some More On the Negro League's Leland Giants and Homestead Grays Negro Leagues Teams

From Wikipedia.


Originally were the Chicago Union Giants and played 1901-1910.  The Leland Giants name came from their owner and manager Frank Leland.

In 1911, they were renamed the Chicago American Giants.


Formed in 1912 and operated for 38 years.

They were originally based in Homestead, Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburgh, but soon relocated and played all their games in Pittsburgh.

From 1940-1942, they played half their home games in Washington, D.C. and half in Pittsburgh.  By 1943, more than 2/3 of their home games were played in Washington, D.C..


Negro League Throwback Uniforms: Leland Giants vs. Homestead Grays

Earlier I wrote about the uniforms the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates were wearing on June 9 of this year. They definitely weren't the usual Cubs or Pirates ones.

From the June 10, 2017, Chicago Tribune.

The teams wearing the jerseys was part of the Pittsburgh Pirates annual Negro Leagues Heritage Game at PNC Park.

The Cubs were wearing the jerseys of the Leland Giants, one of the top Negro leagues teams in the Midwest in the early 1900s.

The Pirates were wearing the uniforms of the Homestead Grays who were from Pittsburgh.

The Pirates definitely had the better looking uniforms.  But I was pulling for the Cubs anyway.

Go Leland!!  --Cooter

Friday, June 30, 2017

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum-- --Part 2: To Keep It From Being Forgotten

All of its endeavors cost money and Major League Baseball and the players union have stepped in and presented the museum with a $1 million grant to help with operating costs, expansion plans and educational opportunities.

The integration of baseball in the 1940s and 1950s led to the decline of the Negro Leagues, and the last teams folded in the early 1960s.  By the late 1980s, the era was largely forgotten.

Tony Clark, the first black executive director of the players union, said the grant will help ensure the Negro Leagues and their players are never forgotten.  "Today's players are committed to providing opportunities for underserved populations to play baseball," Clark said.  "We all believe the Negro Leagues' storied history can play an important role in our game's future by inspiring minority youth to play."

Well, I am hoping most of the money will be going to preserving the history of the Negro Leagues.  Kids can always pick up a glove and a bat and learn to play on their own.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Gets $1 Million Grant From MLB-- Part 1

Just a few days ago the Chicago Cubs played the Pittsburgh Pirates and both teams were wearing strange uniforms.  We were sitting at Sunnyside Tap in Johnsburg and trying to figure out where the uniforms came from and then it seemed to me that the uniforms worn by the Pirates had the name of an old Negro League team on it.

A guy looked it up on his "Idge"phone and found out both teams were wearing old Negro League jerseys.

From the June 22, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Museum gets boost with $1M grant"  AP.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded nearly 30 years ago in a one-room office and set out to preserve an important yet quickly fading era of America's pastime.

Its mission has evolved over the years to where it is not only the caretaker for the past but a bridge to the future.  The Buck O'Neil Education and Research Center and a $19 million urban youth academy is in development to attract more kids to the game.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Vietnam Medic Receives Medal of Honor-- Part 2: James McCloughan

James McCloughan was then a 23-year-old private first class who had been drafted the previous year after earning a degree in sociology from Olivet College.  He repeatedly entered the "Kill Zone" to rescue wounded comrades despite the flying shrapnel from rocket propelled grenades.

He "voluntarily risked his life on nine separate occasions to rescue wounded and disoriented comrades" said the White House.

McCloughan described the shrapnel as a "real bad sting."  In 2016, then Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recommended him for the honor which usually is supposed to be awarded within five years of the event, but Congress can waive that time limit which is what happened in McCloughan's case.

Congratulations Mr. McCloughan!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Vietnam Medic Receives Medal of Honor-- Part 1

From the June 14, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Medic 1st to get Medal of Honor from Trump" by Mike Householder, AP.

Members of Army medic James McCloughan's unit in Vietnam called him "Doc."

Now, these soldiers, several of whom McCloughan saved during the ferocious days-long Battle of Nui Yon Hill in 1969 will call him Medal of Honor Recipient.

James McCloughan, 71, of South Haven, Michigan will become the first to receive the nation's highest military honor from President Donald Trump.  "I feel honored to be able to accept this for the 89 men that fought that battle.  Those were the U.S. combatants, dozens of whom were killed, wounded or missing in the 48-hour battle fighting hundreds of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong.

The Bravest of Brave.

Monday, June 26, 2017

50th Anniversary "Summer Of Love"-- Part 5: "Turn On. Tune In. Drop Out"

Said Dennis McNally, longtime publicist of the Grateful Dead:  "Every fantasy about the summer of '67 that was ever created -- peace, joy, love, nonviolence, wear some flowers in your hair and fantastic music -- was real at Monterrey."  he has curated an exhibit at the California Historical Society on it which will run through September 10.

The exhibit, "On the Road to the Summer of Love" explains how the epic summer came about and why San Francisco became its home..

The national press paid little attention to what was going on in San Francisco until January 1967, when poets and bands joined together for the "Human-Be-In," a Golden Gate Park gathering that unexpectedly drew about 50,000 people.  It was there that LSD-advocate Timothy Leary said "Turn On.  Tune In. Drop Out."

But, that Summer of Love had its drawbacks.  Tens of thousands of youths looking for free love and drugs flooded to San Francisco, living in the streets and begging for food.  Parents journey to the city looking for their young runaways.  There was an epidemic of toxic psychedelics and harder drugs hit the streets.

Oh yes, And Peace Signs Too.  --FlowerCoot

Friday, June 23, 2017

50th Anniversary "Summer of Love"-- Part 4: All Those Great Bands

Jefferson Airplane eventually bought a house a few blocks away on Fulton Street, where they hosted legendary wild parties.

"The music is what everyone seems to remember, but it was a lot more than that," said David Freiberg, 75, bassist for the Quicksilver Messenger Service who later joined the Jefferson Airplane.  "It was artists, poets, musicians, all those beautiful shops of clothes and hippie food stores.  It was a whole community."  Counter-culture all the way.

The bands dropped by each other's houses and played music nearby, often in free outdoor concerts at Golden Gate Park and its eastward extension known as the Panhandle.

They developed an exciting new breed of folk jazz and blues-inspired electrical music which became known as the San Francisco Sound.  Several of its most influential local acts -- the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company (which launched Janis Joplin's career) became famous during the summer of 1967's Monterrey Pop Festival.