The world changes in the blink of an eye. In the 21st century, we have the luxury of visiting scenes from history in books, film, and documents, with the safety and conveniences of modern life. Join me to examine the lives of our ancestors, imagine their experiences, and connect with their struggles and triumphs.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

First Settlement of Ohio

From the Hartford Watchman – June 6, 1838

First Settlement of Ohio

It was fifty years on the 7th of April last, as recently stated by one of the party, since 64 persons landed at the junction of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers; under the command of Gen. Rufus Putnam, and commenced the settlement of the State of Ohio, in the presence of nearly three hundred Indians who had assembled on the opposite side of the Muskingum. The landing took place at 10 o’clock of a bright and beautiful spring morning, Says a Western paper—

What a change have these fifty years produced in Ohio; its dark forests have been swept away before the axe of the settler; farms, towns and cities now occupy the site of the wigwam; the steamboat has taken the place of the canoe; and a population of a million and upwards exists on the same territory that supplied but a scanty subsistence to a few hundreds of roving savages. Such a rapid and entire change is without a precedent in the history of the world.

Dark forests swept away....(later photo, unknown date/location)

Barbados Slavery Emancipation

Hartford Watchman
June 2, 1838, Hartford, Connecticut

Extract of a letter from Barbadoes to a commercial house in this city; dated April 30, 1838.

“In my last I alluded to the prospect that slaves, apprentices on this Island, would all be made free on the approaching 1st of August. It is now reduced to a certainty that such will be the case. The Governor, in a special communication to the House of Assembly; some time since, recommended the measure in the most explicit terms. The executive council, on the 17 instant, came to an unanimous vote in favor of it and set forth their reasons, as published in a paper which I send you herewith. Last of all the House of Assembly, on the 24th inst. after having laboriously canvassed the whole Island to obtain possession of the views and feelings of their constituents, appointed a committee, with “instructions to bring in a bill for the entire emancipation of all classes of slavery apprentices, on the first of August 1838.” I doubt whether any measure ever passed in this Island has given such general satisfaction as this. I speak not of the apprentices themselves, of whom there upwards of 80,000 to be restored to their ‘unalienable rights,’ but of merchants, planters, proprietors; from all classes there is a general expression of joy and congratulation.”—New Haven Herald.
Scene on a West Indian Plantation - Slaves receiving the news of their Emancipation
Cassell's Illustrated History of England, . . . 1820-1861 (London: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, 1863), vol. 3, p. 234


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

War Necessitates Change

Tower Tribune
Fordson High School, Dearborn, Michigan, June 11, 1943
Ten weeks passed after you got your second report card at the High school and then you came back as an eleventh grader. You were a “Junior” and proud of the title. But something happened during that semester that changed you, the school, and your future. You came to school on December 8th, 1941, and heard the war talk. Boys were going into the air corps; they knew how to get in and they’d be fightin’ “those dirty Japs” in less than six months.
War was officially declared, the talk calmed down, and most of the boys stayed in school… For a while at least.
That semester slowly reached its end and you got into the 11-A.
Halfway through Fordson, halfway left to go. It was an uneventful year.
Ten more weeks of vacation and back again—this time as a senior.
You walked up to the senior fountain and took your first legal drink. Twenty weeks of waiting followed and finally you reached the 12-A. Now almost all of this semester is gone and you set to turn another page in your life.
What’s ahead? You, as a high school graduate, are stepping into a world that’s more unsettled than ever before.
Some boys will enter the armed forces soon—they’re about the only ones who are settled.
We’re all going in different directions from Fordson High after next week…. In less than a year the same boys and girls who walk up on the platform with you for their diplomas next week will be scattered to the four corners of this round world.
Whatever you do, wherever you go, keep the thought in mind of making the most of every opportunity that presents itself and when you have a job ahead of you do it so that someday the friends that you never will meet again will be able to open their yearbooks and say, “That person’s a member of the June, 1943 class of the Fordson High School, that’s my class.”
That’s for the past and future but the coming week is yours. Today, “Skip Day”, is yours and next week is your week for parading around school with the cap and gown on. Make the most of this week…
Where did they end up?

 [Please see the Editorial Note at the bottom of the page]


Monday, February 23, 2015

The Talk of the Day

New-York Weekly Tribune
January 17, 1894

Persons who believe in luck and signs will doubtless agree that it is unlucky to be struck by lightning on Monday, or take hold of a circular saw in motion on Tuesday, or tumble downstairs with a coal scuttle on Wednesday, or be hit by a cable car on Thursday, or fall overboard on Friday, or marry on Saturday a girl who swings ten-pound dumb-bells, or be one of thirteen at dinner on Sunday, when there is food for only ten.
Unlucky Landslide on Traintracks