Straight from the Scullery

a blog about life, love, and the pursuit of food and happiness...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Six Grandfathers

October 4, 1927

Before the Great Sioux War of 1876, the mountain we know today as Mount Rushmore had a wide variety of names. The Lakota Sioux knew the land as "Six Grandfathers." The route was part of an annual spiritual journey for Sioux leader Black Elk as he headed for the top of Harney Peak. White settlers knew the mountain as Sugarloaf Mountain, Cougar Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain, and/or Keystone Cliffs. Charles Rushmore, an attorney from New York, visited area with a group of fellow prospectors in 1885; the group included David Swanzey, who was the brother-in-law of American author Laura Ingalls Wilder. The mountain was named (obviously) in honor of Rushmore, and is a part of the Black Hills of South Dakota where gold had first been discovered in 1874.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Journey's End

September 23, 1806

Thomas Jefferson announced the signing of the Louisiana Purchase agreement to the American people on July 4, 1803. Plans were made to send several missions to the west, including the Corps of Discovery. The goal for the Corps was to find a direct water route to the Pacific Ocean across the newly acquired territory. President Jefferson also instructed Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark to declare US sovereignty along the way.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Farewell to the Nation

September 19, 1796

George Washington's Farewell Address to the Nation has been referred to as one of the most important documents in American history. President Washington, with the help of his friend and colleague James Madison, wrote the original draft of his letter in 1792. He planned to be president for one term only.

Concerns over foreign affairs convinced Washington to run for a second term in office. The divide between the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party was growing rapidly, and President Washington set the letter aside for another four years in an effort to provide stability for the newly formed nation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Not So Neighborly

September 15, 1914

President Woodrow Wilson is continually ranked in the top ten most popular presidents in United States history. The Democratic governor of New Jersey won the White House in 1912, taking office in 1913. President Wilson is remembered for cracking down on child labor, avoiding a major railroad strike, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act, and his peace statement entitled "Fourteen Points." Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his 1919 efforts to promote the formation of the League of Nations. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Titanic of its Time

September 12, 1857

The California Gold Rush was well underway by 1857, and the SS Central America had so far hauled over one-third of California's output from the northern port of Colon, Panama (called Aspinwall in 1857) to New York City. The "Ship of Gold" had transported about $1.6 million in gold (1857 value) by the time it sank in a hurricane off the South Carolina coast on September 12 of that year. 

Over 400 passengers left the San Francisco docks on the SS Sonora, one of the steamships from the Pacific Mail Steamship Line. The journey to Panama would cost $300 for a first cabin and take around two weeks, at which point passengers would take the new Panama Railroad for a four hour journey (rather than tromping through the jungle for a week) to board the SS Central America (of the Atlantic Mail Steamship Company). The gold got a baggage car of its own.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Strength of America

My generation does not have haunting memories of world wars; we have the capability to take for granted the importance of the foundations on which our nation was built. We do, however, possess an understanding of the depth to which hatred and evil can shake an individual, a family, a community, a nation.

It is not in anyone's best interest to recount for you the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. Not the details, not the destruction and despair. The depth to which our media glorifies horrific acts haunts me more than the images themselves as they are burned into memory.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Treaty by the Sea

September 5, 1905

The Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) focused on the imperialist desire both countries had, wanting control over the Manchurian Peninsula and Korea. Russia had been fighting for Manchuria since the Grand Prince of Moscow, Ivan the Terrible's conquest of 1.5 million square miles of land in the 16th century. Japan had only recently emerged in the world theatre as a potential powerhouse, having spent the past couple of centuries in isolation. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Arriving in Walla Walla

September 1, 1836

After growing up in New York state in the early 1800's, Narcissa Prentiss was swept away by the Second Great Awakening in America. Shortly after turning down one marriage proposal, she agreed to another. Dr. Marcus Whitman and Narcissa were married in February of 1836 and left the following day, en route to Oregon Territory to set up a mission.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Adopting the Stars and Stripes

June 14, 1777

The Second Continental Congress (not to be confused with the FIRST Continental Congress) resolved that the Stars and Stripes would be the official flag of the United States of America on this day in 1777. Although we often associate the Betsy Ross creation with our first flag (you know the one with the circle pattern of stars?), it was actually the flag below that Congress voted in. The stars are in a 3-2-3-2-3 pattern (it sounds a bit like a soccer formation to me) and was designed by one of the Congressmen.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Riot on Broad Street

June 11, 1837

Tension between the Irish Americans and the British Americans had been running high for quite
 some time on the eastern seaboard, leading to a brawl in the streets of Boston that is still 
considered to be the worst rioting the town has ever seen.

On June 11, 1837, firefighters were returning to the station after putting out a fire over in Roxbury. All of them happened to be Protestant Yankees, and the majority of them had stopped off in a local pub on the way back to the station. Heading down Broad Street right around the same time was a group of Irish Catholics, in the midst of a funeral procession.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Conflicted from the Start

May 31, 1913

May 31, 1913 marks the day that William Jennings Bryan announced the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. From this point forward, United States Senators would no longer be elected by their respective state legislatures. Instead, they would be elected by popular vote. 

Looking back from our vantage point, the change seems simple enough...logical enough. The controversy surrounding the Seventeenth Amendment, however, caused a "few" years to pass from the initial conversations to the actual ratification. In fact, it was debated first somewhere around the year 1787 by a Scottish-born man named James Wilson. Mr. Wilson was not only a member of the Constitutional Convention, he was one of the first six Supreme Court Justices appointed by George Washington.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Profit by Example

May 29, 1765

The Stamp Act of 1765 was not turning out to be a popular agenda in the colonies of North America. British Parliament had created the Stamp Act as a way to fund British troops stationed in the colonies at the close of the Seven Years' War. Americans argued that we didn't need any troops here; we would have no trouble defending ourselves against Native Americans without the aid of the Redcoats. If the British wanted troops here, they should be funded by London.

The Stamp Act required any printed material (including playing cards, magazines, newspapers, legal documents, etc.) in America to use the special stamped paper produced in London, and that it be paid for with British currency rather than the colonial American paper money. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Manhattan for a Song

May 24, 1626

The borough of Manhattan has been described as the "economic and cultural center of the United States." Wall Street, which can be found in Lower Manhattan, is arguably the financial capital of the world. The cost of living in Manhattan is the highest of anywhere within the USA.

Ironic, then, that the entire island was purchased for a mere 60 Dutch guilders.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Reno Gang in Scott County

May 22, 1868

The Reno brothers were born and raised in southern Indiana during the mid-1800's. "Honest Clint" and his sister Laura were the two siblings who never involved themselves with the crime sprees of their brothers. Frank, John, Bill (his involvement with the gang is uncertain) and Simeon, however, chose a path that began with cheating travelers out of money in card games and ended with a lynching in Hangman's Crossing, Indiana.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

End of the Occupation

May 20, 1902

The press has always played a part in creating drama; it could possibly be said that the Spanish American War would not have taken place had Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst had not been competing for popularity among their readers. This fierce competition among New York's journalists caused the American public to sympathize with Cuba in the late 1800's, comparing the "fierce and dominating" Spaniards conquest of Cuba to the Revolutionary War and the American fight for freedom. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Closing the Doors

January 3, 1961

After Fidel Castro gained control of Cuba in 1959, relations with the United States took a turn for the worse. Cuba was quite anti-American at that point, to say the very least, and America was concerned that communism in the western hemisphere was just a little too close to home. In 1960, Castro decided to sign a trade treaty with the Soviet Union, and in turn President Eisenhower decided it was time to train a bunch of Cuban exiles to overthrow their leader. Fidel Castro began intensifying his program that nationalized foreign properties and companies, and the US cut back on trading with Cuba. By January 3, 1961, President Eisenhower determined that the best course of action was closing the American embassy in Havana and severing all diplomatic relations.