Friday, November 4, 2016
The Victory with No Name: The Native American Defeat of the First American Army by Colin G. Calloway
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was excited to see a new book on one of my favorite periods of US history. I've read many accounts of this battle and events which were included in other books, as well as "Wabash 1791: St Clair's defeat" by John Winkler that came out in 2012. Both are fantastic and worthy reads on this overlooked era of American expansionism but I feel that Colin G. Calloway's book captures a better understanding of the political and societal background issues in the US at that time while Winkler's 2012 book delves more into the details of the military campaign itself which in my opinion is correctly identified by Calloway as an "American Invasion".
On a personal note I thought it was interesting that I decided to read and then finish this book exactly 223 years to the day of St. Clair's Defeat on November 4th 1791. I also just now realized the first book I read on the Shawnee was Calloway's "The Shawnees and the War for America" four years ago. I guess I will be checking out more of his books!
View all my reviews
Saturday, October 1, 2016
|WHH never slept here|
In the election of 1840, Democrat incumbent President Martin Van Buren and his re-election team attempted to smear his Whig opponent William Henry Harrison by portraying him as a hard cider drunk and a hayseed. It didn't matter that WHH was once a US Ambassador, US Congressman (both kinds), Governor of the Indiana Territory, Secretary of Northwest Territory, a US Army General and a celebrated war hero. He had an impressive resume, was college educated, and came from a wealthy family just like Van Buren and most politicians of that era. I'm not entirely sure what Harrison’s drinking habits were as a younger man. Most men back then drank quite a bit. Supposedly he was a teetotaler later in life.
What Would WHH Do?
|1840 campaign medal|
The truth is, Harrison never once lived in a log cabin. His campaign team, again taking a page from Jackson, accented the old General's War of 1812 war hero status by coming up with the very first presidential campaign slogan and song "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" emphasizing his win at the Battle of Tippecanoe. The Log Cabin and Hard Cider Campaign was on, complete with cups, plates, flags, and sewing boxes made with his image on them.
|Booz...but not from the 1840s|
Back to the booze...
Now it is known that there were variants of the word “booze” associated with drunkenness going back to the 14th century Dutch word “búsen” and even in early America, adjectives such as “boosy” meant "drunk". It has been said that Harrison's Presidential campaign popularized the term again in 1840. It's serendipitous to note that Martin Van Buren was of Dutch ancestry and spoke Dutch as his first language. He later learned English in school.
As the legend goes on to say, WHH commissioned the E.G. Booz Distillery (erroneously listed as E.C. Booz at times) in Philadelphia to make log cabin shaped whiskey bottles with the “Booz” surname featured prominently. Harrison allegedly gave away this free booz(e) at campaign stops to potential voters. I've seen this mentioned in an antique glass bottle book from 1920. It's even in the 1941 biography William Henry Harrison, His Life and Times by James A. Green and repeated in many other publications. I myself believed the boozy tale and even wrote about it here*.
Not so fast...
It would be interesting to find the earliest mention of the booze story. I know for example that the Harrison speech/hat and coat/pneumonia story doesn't appear in print until 1939 in the Freeman Cleaves biography "Old Tippecanoe", long considered the go-to book on WHH which incidentally doesn't mention the "booz" story at all, whereas Green's 1941 book does. Hmmm.
Edmund G. Booz was born in 1824, which would make him only 16 years old in 1840. As it turns out, Edmund didn't start selling log cabin shaped whiskey bottles embossed with his family name until 1858. This was at a time when the brand new Republican Party, founded by former Whigs, was gaining popularity with another up and coming log cabin guy named Abraham Lincoln. Since Harrison, the first Whig President, had the famous Log Cabin campaign with lots of other swag, he likely stamped one of them with the 1840 year as a tribute...or possibly as a deception. Either way, this allusion apparently led folks to believe the bottle was from 1840 election and the tale developed from there. I've also learned that Clevenger Brothers Glass made reproductions of the bottles in the 1930s. Sometimes these are sold mistakenly as 19th century originals. This leads me to believe that the story originated not in the 1850s but in the 1930s, which is around the time Green wrote his book.
So while it is feasible Harrison gave out free booze or hard cider (in regular type bottles with no "booz") in 1840 to lubricate thirsty voters and E. G. Booz, with his convenient, name re-popularized an old term for alcohol in the 1860s, it’s just not possible that William Henry Harrison or his campaign had anything to do with it in 1840.
*Note: This is a rewrite of a post from December 2011 that originally credited the 1840 Harrison campaign with popularizing the term "booze". As explained above, new information had come to my attention that indicates this wasn't true.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
|General Harrison statue |
Although born in Virginia and Governor of the Indiana Territory, Harrison would adopt Ohio as his home state, serving in various Ohio political offices and residing in North Bend OH when he became President. I've probably written more blog posts about Harrison than any sane person ever would. Here is a short one to match his brief Presidency.
1812 - Hey what do you know, another WHH entry!...On September 17th William Henry Harrison is made Major General of the US Regular Army by President Madison. Harrison would later defend Ohio from Indian and British advances by building Fort Meigs near Toledo in the War of 1812.
|Hendricks is the only VP on US money|
|grade school book |
I have to admit I didn't know much about Hendricks or Woodhull before researching for this post. I definitely would like to read more about Woodhull. Notorious Victoria by Mary Gabriel is on my Goodreads to do list.
I have several blog posts about the next four items which are linked in the text.
1855 - Illinois lawyer Abraham Lincoln Rudely was rudely greeted in Cincinnati on September 20th. One of the impolite greeters was Steubenville OH born Edwin Stanton who would later become Secretary of War seven years later under President Lincoln during the Civil War. Politics makes strange bedfellows they say. Upon Lincoln’s death in 1865, it was Stanton who tearfully said the famous words “Now he belongs to the ages.”
|Taft birthplace in Cincinnati|
Random thought: If Hillary Clinton becomes President in 2016, she will have become the first FLOTUS to become POTUS. Bill would become the first...FGOTUS? Anyway...
|Garfield Tomb in Cleveland|
1881 - On September 19th, Moreland Hills OH born 20th President James Garfield succumbed to his bad doctors one excruciating month after an attempted assassination. I recommend reading the riveting Destiny of the Republic by Candace Millard which is all about that. It's a great book and one of my favorites. I've read it twice!
|McKinley Tomb in Canton|
1901 - Well we made it to the 20th century! Just 20 years after Garfield, on September 14th, 25th US President William McKinley died after being shot by an assassin eight days earlier in Buffalo NY while headed to Cleveland. McKinley was born in Niles OH and spent most of his life in Canton where his tomb is. He was the 39th governor of Ohio from 1892 to 1896. Rutherford B Hayes was McKinley's commanding officer during the Civil War in the 23rd Ohio Regiment and were both at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862. For more on McKinley's assassination, I recommend The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
|an appropriately dreary day|
I like cemeteries. They are historical records and the last word on the person. Some gravestones are quite beautiful and ornate. Others may have a likeness of the deceased. They may have a remark about the persons legacy or their wishes for the afterlife. However, nothing seems bleaker or more desolate than a prison cemetery. Don't get me wrong, many of the people buried in them were the worst of society. Other times they were a lost soul who had a hard life that ended here. Either way you certainly won't find any epitaphs that read "husband, father, mass murderer" or "beloved son, in the wrong place at the wrong time". It's a pretty inauspicious place to spend eternity.
Camp Sherman, a WWI training camp, named after William Tecumseh Sherman. This is likely a stone from that era, although no records seem to exist to explain any further. Apparently a similar stone was found under the CCI Administration building basement. I guess that still doesn't explain it fully. Maybe it was a newly arrived as yet unknown recruit, one of the nearly 2,000 soldiers that died of an influenza outbreak in 1918. Life was hard and cruel 100 years ago.
Of the inmates buried here, there are the usual types of offenders you would expect. Then there are the notorious and truly despicable. Looking through records on findagrave.com led me to the following people buried here:
Stephen Allen Vrable shot and murdered his girlfriend and their 3 year old daughter in 1989. He put their bodies in a refrigerator and lived in the apartment for a month before leaving. The bodies were discovered several weeks later. He was executed in 2004.
|plain wooden crosses among simple gravestones|
Then there is Frank Spisak, a neo-Nazi who even sported a Hitler mustache. He killed three people and injured several others in a racially charged 1982 shooting spree on the campus of Cleveland State University. Spisak was executed in 2011 and expressed no remorse when given the chance in his final words. Instead he read from the Book of Revelations...in German. Like many here, no one claimed his body afterward.
Although this post is more about the cemetery rather than the prison, there have been some noteworthy folks that passed through the corrections facility itself. Cincinnati born 17 year old Charles Manson was housed here from 1952-1954 before his notorious 1969 Family murders. Country singer Johnny Paycheck did 22 months at CCI for shooting a man in a Hillsboro OH bar in 1985. His friend Merle Haggard performed for the inmates in 1989.
Anyway back to the cemetery.
I only intended to research the unknown grave. I do wish I could find some information on the "regular" folks that are buried in this stark cemetery, the ones that just made terrible mistakes or were in the wrong place at the wrong time, paid their price and ended up dying here. They were still sons, fathers, brothers...Now they lie here almost as if they never existed. For some of them like Vrable, Lundgren, and Spisak, that's fine by me.
other sources and further reading:
-Grave Addiction on CCI
-Gehio cemetery posts
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Here's the story.
A few months ago I ran across an item on eBay and ended up purchasing it for about $12.
It's a mint condition 62mm (2 ½ inch), 16-gram (.5 ounce) 1953 brushed aluminum medal commemorating the sesquicentennial of Ohio statehood.
The obverse features the Ohio State Seal surrounded by busts of the eight Ohio US Presidents:
William Henry Harrison (9th), Ulysses S. Grant (18th), Rutherford B. Hayes (19th), James Garfield (20th), Benjamin Harrison (23rd), William McKinley (25th), William Howard Taft (27th), and Warren G. Harding (29th).
The reverse notes the company and location "Osborne Coinage Co. Cin. 25, O." At first I didn't know what the "25" signified. I discovered that it references the zip code of the company location which would be "Cincinnati Ohio, 45225" in the Camp Washington area.
Osborne traces its beginning back to to 1835 as the Z. Bisbee Co. originally located on 5th Street in downtown Cincinnati a few miles from Osborne's present location in Camp Washington.
During its 181 year history Osborne produced everything from campaign coins for eight presidents including Lincoln and FDR, food ration tokens in WWII, subway tokens, Alcoholic Anonymous sobriety coins, casino coins, commemorative sports coins, and Chuck E. Cheese tokens. In other words, pretty much anything that was coin-like and wasn't legal tender.
If you need a custom coin, head over to Osborne and tell then Gehio sent you.
related Gehio posts:
- Happy 58th Birthday to our 49th State...Ohio!
- Ohio Statehood Day!
- Ohio History on a Stick
- 1997 LA Times article on the Osborne Coinage Co.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
The other day I meant to go to my blog and ended up searching Google instead. I saw a few of my posts in the results, some of my Instagram info (follow me, one of my pics even won an award!), as well as a GEICO insurance ad.
I thought I made that word up! Remember? Geocaching+History+Ohio = Gehio.
I should know better by now from all the history I read that there is nothing new under the sun.
It turns out "gehio" (a variant of gehiago) means "more" in Basque.
Ummm, so what's Basque? Dad joke warning...I know bisque is a kind of delicious creamy soup! <rimshot>
To be honest I only had a vague notion of what Basque is. I thought it was just a part of Spain. It is. But it isn't. "Basque" itself is a language spoken by over a half a million indigenous ethnic people in the so-called Basque Country, which is, per Wikipedia:
Make sense? OK I don't quite get it either. Maybe it's like Norwood. A autonomous area of Cincinnati, entirely within the boundaries of the city of Cincinnati. An enclave. People in Norwood kind of speak their own language right? Sure. I'll just go with that.
By the way, if you aren't at work or school, you should accidentally do a Google Image Search for "Basque". Preliminary results indicate that "basque" is also an article of meant-to-be-seen women's undergarment. Apparently the French popularized it after adopting it from Basque tradition. This may require more (gehio?) research but...you're welcome! Reminder: NSFW-ish.
June 27th 2016 marks the 5th anniversary of Gehio. This is post 118. Thanks for reading and look forward to gehio Gehio soon!
Sunday, May 1, 2016
|moth and flame in Xenia OH|
#3-29 (alleged) Birthplace of Tecumseh
|a simpler time, when history was blue and white|
The new-fangled markers have a number series in the lower right corner such as "14-31". The second number represents one of the alphabetical 88 Ohio counties. The first number is the order of the signs unveiling. If you see a marker that says "2-1", this is the 2nd marker erected in Adams County. "4-88" would be the 4th marker in Wyandot County.
If you are in the Cincinnati area, you are in Hamilton County which is 31st alphabetically. So when you come across a marker that has "14-31", this is the 14th marker erected in Hamilton County. Easy.
Speaking of Hamilton County... did you know that it was Ohio's 2nd county created on January 2, 1790 and named by Governor Arthur St. Clair for Alexander Hamilton? He was a fellow Federalist and 1st Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington. You've seen him on the $10 bill and is also the guy that Vice President Aaron Burr shot to death in a duel. Secretary Hamilton also the subject of a hit Broadway musical. Maybe that should be on a sign!
|new and improved, double-sided with graphics!|
#4-19 Treaty of Greenville
The first of these Ohio markers placed was in 1957 in Summit Co, Akron OH. #1-77 "Portage Path" denotes the significance of the route between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers. This path was important to the Indians and French and English traders in the 18th century.
One of the more recent markers is #15-83 General Charles Clark, Confederate States of America, placed in November 2014 in Lebanon OH. Clark was a Yankee born Kentucky lawyer who decided to go with the South in the Civil War.
More Ohio county trivia: Washington County was the first Ohio county on July 27, 1788 also named by Arthur St. Clair after President Washington. As you can tell, the Governor of the Northwest Territory adored the Father of the Country. St. Clair also belonged to an organization called the Society of the Cincinnati. This was a club for Revolutionary War Veterans, a tribute to George Washington, farmer turned leader turned farmer just like the Roman statesman Cincinnatus. St. Clair renamed Losantiville to Cincinnati after this group.
|fun for the kids!|
#23-31 Cincinnati Observatory
(John Quincy Adams spoke here)
Monday, April 4, 2016
|March 4th 1841|
|Practicing oratory skills with Tecumseh in 1810|
|April 4th 1841|
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
The Whigs eventually defeated Little Van with William Henry Harrison in 1841. We know how that went. He died 31 days after his inauguration. Harrison's VP (and Mangum's 1836 running mate), John Tyler then assumed Harrison's term after a brief Constitutional crisis regarding Presidential succession. The Vice Presidency was then vacant from 1841-1845.
"His Accidency" John Tyler was having all sorts of problems. As a result there was a failed impeachment attempt in 1842. Had it succeeded and the President removed from office with no VP, the Presidency would have gone to President pro tempore of the Senate. This was now Willie Person Mangum. More likely than what happened in '41 but the real chance came two years later.
Three times for Willie.
|The beer that denied us|
And what of Willie Mangum? His name was floated around as a possible Presidential or VP candidate in the next couple of elections. He finished his Senate term and retired to his home in North Carolina where he died in 1861 at age 69.
- Military.com article on the USS Princeton
- Washington Post
-Wikipedia entry on the 1836 election
-A great detailed account of the disaster
- Biography of W.P. Mangum
- FindaGrave entry for W.P. Mangum
Friday, February 5, 2016
Decades earlier, as the US Civil War was beginning and as photography was being perfected and optics were getting better, several different inventors experimented with viewers or scopes that provided an individual photographic "peep show" of simulated motion.
The first patent, US #31,310, for one of these "moving picture" devices was granted on February 5th 1861 to a Cincinnati inventor named Samuel D. Goodale. He called his invention a Stereoscope, a crank-driven machine that used flickering photographic cards to simulate motion to a single viewer. This was just one of many similar devices patented around that time. I suppose there was a patent war going on here too because Coleman Sellers' device, called the Kinematoscope, was patented 47 numbers later the very same day as US #31,357. Sellers, who tends to get more credit in this history, also lived in Cincinnati in the 1850s before moving to Philadelphia. Sellers and Goodale had to of known of each others work right? Hmm. Was this perhaps the VHS vs Betamax War of the era?
|Edison's 1895 Kinetoscope|
looks like Goodale's
Stereoscope and named
similar to Sellers'
Did you notice that a generation and a half separate Goodale from Edison? One thing is true. The names of those things are just awesome. Phasmatrope? Zoopraxiscope? That's good stuff. Edison is known to have begun working on motion pictures after seeing a lecture by Eadweard Muybridge who no doubt knew of the others. Like the Wright's, Thomas Edison filed many infringement lawsuits against his competitors in the late 19th century. The courts ruled he had an unfair monopoly. By 1918 Edison abandoned his involvement with motion picture.
And what of Samuel D. Goodale? I can't even find a photo of him or his invention, just the patent drawing. He barely gets a mention, or he is left out entirely of the history of cinema altogether. He doesn't get a Wikipedia entry.
|1876 toy pistol patent|
According to the OCR text of the Sunday, April 6, 1884 Cincinnati Enquirer a "Samuel D. Goodale" died in Du Quoin IL in 1884. The obituary mentions an event in Texas (which seceded Feb 1 1861): "during the early part of the war he had a personal encounter with a Texan, growing out of a political discussion, which resulted in his receiving a wound in the leg. As soon as he was able to walk he returned to Cincinnati, and engaged in business here as an optician until he retired a few years ago from active pursuits, and went to Du Quoin to live. The paralysis which caused his death was ascribed to the wound in his leg." This S.D.G. was moved to Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati by his family in 1918. Records there confirm his cause of death as "paralysis - effect of a gun shot wound". Are these two Samuel D. Goodale's one in the same? The name, age, years, locations, and occupations certainly seem to suggest this. Perhaps his injury and resulting paralysis in the early 1860s is why his legacy faded. Also noteworthy is that the infamous Cincinnati Courthouse Riots occurred in late March 1884, a week before Goodale's death. The Hamilton County Courthouse and all of its important records were burned in that event. Cincinnati lost a lot of history that day.