Tag Archives: American History

What is On My Mind Today: A Good Habit to Have….Reading!

In addition to working on the same oil painting for the past six months, I have been reading lots of books.

Many of the books I have been reading are historical diaries.  It is fascinating to read first person history to learn about the situations and challenges faced by past generations from those who were actually there.

As a college-educated woman, I took several courses dedicated to instilling fear into the hearts of historians regarding the twin bogeymen of bias and braggadocio and how they taint first person historical accounts. Being able to discern fact from fiction is a good skill for any reader to have…especially historians. It seems to me that too few of today’s “historians” or historical experts immerse themselves in primary sources before diving headlong into the the shallow water of secondary sources such as the ever present, easily accessed and factually challenged internet.

A good example of this type of study would be of the Christian who reads a lot of Facebook posts about scripture and who can expertly google biblical verses required to further a narrative, but who neglects spending time reading the actual Bible.

While I do read my bible frequently, I must confess that I have never read the whole Bible from cover to cover.  After applying some thought to the matter, I found the situation unacceptable.  So,  I have spent the past several months doing just that.  I am through the New Testament and am in the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament.

What a wonderful experience it has been!  I have learned so much.  There is definitely only one God and he’s it;  Jesus is the Messiah; and creating us humans and giving us free will must make God constantly bang his Holy Head against a heavenly wall. And yet, he still loves us.

In addition to working through reading the Bible, my reading list from this summer has been somewhat extensive and I must say there has not been a dud in the bunch. Well, one was close to being a dud, but I muscled through.  I strongly recommend picking up any of these books and giving them a read.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  This World War II story will clue the reader in pretty quickly as to why you stand for the national anthem and our flag.  This book puts you right along side the downed airman and his trials adrift in the ocean and vividly describes the horrors he experienced as a Japanese prisoner of war.

douglass3

The Classic Slave Narratives edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr.   This book includes:
The Life of Olaudah Equiano; The History of Mary Prince; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.  These accounts are real and heartrending.

Eyewitness to the Alamo by Bill Groneman.   I may have never physically been to the Alamo nor seen the American’s fight to prevent the Mexican Army from taking the fort; however, after reading this book, I have in my mind.

Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel.  This is a thoughtful read even though about two-thirds of this book is dedicated to Ms. Schlissel advancing her theory that women were the great bulwark and victims of western expansion. According to her, they did more than their share of the work and suffering.  Not only do statistics undermine her conclusions, but so do the actually women in their diaries. This book is a good example of a modern Monday morning quarterbacking type of historical bias.  As to  her repeated claim that women cared more for the dead along the Oregon Trail than did men, because women kept count of the graves in their diaries and the men just noted the death.  I would like to point out that the men were driving a large oxen team and the women were riding in the wagon or walking behind it.   Once the gals made sure that all of their kids were accounted for, and not likely to fall out the wagon, what else did they have to do?  It’s not like there were telephone poles to count.

These Is My Words, The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1902, Arizona Territories, by Nancy E. Turner.  This book is a fictional adaptation of the author’s great-grandmother’s diary.   For those who are familiar with the desert southwest, this is a quick must read.  Good story.

The Ox Team on the Old Oregon Trail 1852-1906 by Ezra Meeker.  Ezra was there, did that and then, many years later, did it again to teach a nation just how hard pioneers on the Oregon trail had it.  It is a great read and a “how to” book on going west with oxen. Theodore Roosevelt even gets a mention.

The Fetterman Massacre by Dee Brown.  This is a military history about the second largest massacre of United States troops by Indians where no white soldier’s survived.  I had never heard of this event and thought it would be good to learn about it. The battle of Little Big-Horn where General George Armstong Custer died was the largest Indian Battle with no United States military survivors.

Captivity of the Oatman Girls by R. B. Stratton.  The Oatman Family was massacred in 1851 by the Gila River while on their way to California.  Two of their daughters, Mary and Olive, were taken captive by those who had slain the rest of their family.  One brother, Lorenzo, also survived the attack when he was left for dead.  I decided to read this book, because I saw a picture of Olive Oatman and her facial tattoos.  I wanted to know her story. It’s quite a story! It includes Mormon church history, bravery, love, cowardice, slavery, and freedom.  What a strong beautiful young woman!

Olive Oatman
Olive Oatman

Adeline and Julia, edited by Robert Myers and Janet Coryell.  These two sisters kept diaries.  The younger girl describes a very thorough picture of what growing up in Victorian times meant for a principled feisty female child who liked to be a tom boy. The older sister and a couple of her friends, decide to try their luck at homesteading in Kansas Territory.  These girls have a good time, survive hardship and always seem to make money in their business adventures including running a sod house boarding house.  This is a great book and should be required reading for all young women.

Butter in the Well by Linda K Hubalek.  This sweet bit of fiction is based on the Swedish homesteader’s experience.  It even comes with traditional recipes.

Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart.  This is the best woman’s diary I have ever read!  I read it a second time, because it was hard to believe that it is a real account of Elinore’s life, but it is.  Ms. Pruitt-Stewart has many virtues that I admire: bravery, independence, kindness, practicality, a sense of adventure and excellent marksmanship skills. I strongly recommend this book.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Elinore Pruitt-Stewart

Life in the Far West by George Fredrick Ruxton.  After reading so many stories about people who decided to leave everything behind and go west.  I decided to try and find one of the books that these early pioneers had read that inspired them to take on such an adventure. Mr. Ruxton, an Englishman,  died before reaching the tender age of thirty, but he packed a lot of living into those few short years.  This book was first published in 1849 and describes the life of a fur-trapper in the Rocky mountains.  Surprisingly, this book is written like a novel using the vernacular of time which has been sprinkled lightly throughout with wit and where the author adds a pinch of  ironic humor and observation now and again.  It is a book that is hard to put down once began. He ends this account of his life in the mountains on a surprisingly pleasant and happy note.

ruxton

I also have read a book on German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and a rather long history of the Rothschild banking family.  My current read is a book called, “A Woman in Berlin.”  It is an anonymous diary that a woman began keeping in April of 1945 just as the Russians entered Berlin at the close of World War II.  This book graphically tells about the fall of Berlin from a woman’s prospective including her victimization by Russian soldiers.

I hope you find time, even if it is just a half hour a day, to pick up a book and read!

 

 

`

Advertisements

Letter’s From Grandma Pat: Three-fingered Kenny and 4th of July Trivia

july 4th

Howdy!  Hope that your week is going great and that you are having a lot of fun during your summer vacation from school.   However, fun, no matter how inviting or exciting, is never an excuse for not being careful and safe.  Brains were not made by God to set on a shelf, they are meant to be used. You have a good one, use it.

Which brings me to the point of this week’s letter…not blowing off your fingers or toes, or blinding yourself with fireworks. Fireworks are great fun to see, hear and have during our nation’s birthday celebration on the 4th of July.  However, they are dangerous and demand respect. I know its fun to shoot off a firecracker or two, but safe first!

I once knew a kid in high school that did not have respect for the power of gun powder. He became known as “Three-finger, Kenny.”  And, those three fingers were just gnarled and twisted red stubs.  The only good thing was that he could never again be a right-handed nose-picker.

Fireworks have been enjoyed by humans for a very long time. The first recorded fireworks rockets were made in China around 600 A.D and were used to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck and happiness.  I guess if all evil was chased away,  there would be only good luck and happiness.

Before fireworks were invented, there were explosives and projectiles used as weapons for war. The Chinese were the first to develop “black powder.”  Black powder is the earliest known chemical explosive, and is made with sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter.

I know you know what sulfur and charcoal are, but what is saltpeter? Saltpeter is potassium nitrate. In addition, to helping make explosives, saltpeter has been used as a food preservative since the middle ages…for over 1500 years.  It is interesting that saltpeter was used to preserve food, since, at that time, it was made from bat poop, or people or animal urine.  In fact, during the Civil War, women collected urine to help make black powder, but that’s a different story.

The first fireworks that the Chinese made were not colored.  They boomed loudly, but only produced faint golden light and orange flashes.  It wasn’t until the 1830’s that Italians added trace amounts of metals and other chemicals to produce the bright colors we see in today’s fireworks. The Chinese are still the biggest producers of fireworks in the world.

Once seen, it wasn’t long before fireworks became very popular in Europe especially among kings, queens and nobility.  The earliest recorded fireworks display in England was in 1486 for King Henry VII’s wedding day.  French kings shot off fireworks, among other things, at their palaces. The Russian Czar, Peter the Great, celebrated the birth of his son with five hours of fireworks.

The first display of fireworks in the New World was in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608.  The American colonists took to the idea of explosives for entertainment with their usual gusto and by 1731 the colony of Rhode Island banned fireworks due to, “mischievous use.”

It was John Adams, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the second president of our country, who felt that our nation should use fireworks to celebrate independence from Great Britain.  On July 3, 1776, he wrote a letter to his wife Abigail that said, ” The day will be most memorable in the history of America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.  It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfire and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward and forever more.”

Fireworks have been a part of 4th of July celebrations since the birth of our nation. Actually, even before the Declaration was signed, colonists used to celebrate the king’s birthday with the ringing of bells, bonfires, parades, fireworks and long public speeches. This tradition changed when the colonists declared their freedom from the English crown.  In 1776 many colonists held mock funerals for the English King to symbolize and celebrate the end of the monarch’s rule in America.

The city of Philadelphia, known as the city of brotherly love, got the colonists back on the high road when they held the first official independence day celebration in 1777. There were concerts, bonfires, parades, and the firing of cannon, muskets and fireworks. Also, in Philadelphia on July 8, the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence took place. The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence.

The July 4th holiday continued to be celebrated throughout Revolutionary War years. Soldiers fighting in the war, received a double ration of rum to recognize the day. The first state to make the day an official state holiday was Massachusetts in 1781.  The oldest, continuous, observance takes place Bristol, Rhode Island.  This city has had a 4th of July parade every year since 1785.  Thomas Jefferson hosted the first 4th of July celebration at the White House in 1801.

Folks did and do still take this patriotic holiday very seriously.  In Swan, Colorado, in 1884, angry miners blew up the post office, because it hadn’t supplied fireworks for their 4th of July festivities. I guess exploding dynamite isn’t as exciting as firecrackers and rockets.

Currently,  285.3 pounds of fireworks will be needed to supply the over 14,000 public fireworks displays and numerous private celebrations. American’s will spend $6.77 billion on food and will consume 155 million hot dogs.  To go with those hot dogs, $92 million will be spent on chips, $167.5 million on watermelon, and $341.4 million on beer.

But, is July 4th the real birthday of our country?

Not according to our second president John Adams.  The members of the Second Continental Congress from the 13 original colonies actually voted on July 2, 1776 to declare independence.  John Adams felt that July 2, should be the day for Independence Day celebrations.  The final draft of the declaration was approved by congressional committee on July 4.   It wasn’t until August 2 that all of the delegates finally signed the document.  However, when the document was sent to the printer, the date of July 4 was printed in big letters at the top of the sheets of paper.  So, July 4th it was!

The Declaration of Independence was actually designed by committee.  A committee of five to be exact.  The members were John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.  Thomas Jefferson wrote the actual document.  He was only 33 years old at the time.

The signers of the Declaration all knew that the penalty for revolting against the King was death.  Even knowing that they could be hung or shot for putting their names on the document, they signed it.  John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed it first, big and bold.  Fifty-six men, from the 13 original colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, signed.

It is not true that the declaration was the beginning of the Revolutionary War.  The first battles of Lexington and  Concord, Massachusetts, took place in April 1775.   Crispus Attucks, a fugitive African-American slave, was the first American to die when British soldiers fired upon the colonists in 1770, at the “Boston Massacre.”

The Americans were certainly out manned, gunned and financed during the Revolutionary War. At the time that the Declaration of Independence was issued the total population in the 13 original colonies was about 2.5 million people. (Our population today is over 300 million.)  In 1776 the city of London, alone, had a population of almost a million.

The cost of over eight years of war was immense.  Our nation spent over 151 million dollars to win independence from the king.  The war was also hard on the small population of the colonies. During the height of the war there were 80,000 men serving as militia or continental Army soldiers.  Over 8,000 soldiers were killed in battle, 17,000 died of disease, and 25,000 were wounded.  One in 20 able-bodied white males died. England had 24,000 soldiers killed in battle.

White men were not alone in serving in the Continental Army, so did African-American Slaves. Every state north of the Potomac river offered slaves their freedom in exchange for their service in the military.   While the northern colonies actively recruited black soldiers, the southern colonies were very opposed to the idea.  Between 5,000 to 8,000 African-Americans became veterans of this war. Black soldiers served as wagoners, cooks, waiters, craftsmen and carried weapons and fought.  Several all-black military units, commanded by white officers, saw action, fought bravely and gained a reputation as being, “the most neatly dressed, the best under arms, and the most precise in its maneuvers.”

It would be almost a century later and take an even more bloody Civil War to legally end the slavery of African-Americans.  Only then was the promise of freedom expressed in the Declaration of Independence no longer reserved for a select few, but became, as God always intended…a sacred human right for all people.

Here are some other interesting 4th of July facts:

The only president to have been born on the 4th of July was Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president born in 1872.

Three of the first five presidents died on the 4th.  They were John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.  Oddly enough, Adams, the second president and Jefferson, the third, died on the same day in 1826, on our country’s 50th birthday.  Adams final thoughts were that all would be well because Jefferson still lived, he did not know that Jefferson had died several hours before him.

Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the only signer to recant his signature, swear allegiance, again, to King George III.  Traitor!

Every Independence Day the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped 13 times in honor of the original 13 colonies.  It cannot be rung, because of the crack in it.

Contrary to popular legend, Betsy Ross did not design the U.S. flag.   No one knows who sewed the first flag, but chances are it wasn’t Ms. Ross.  Her ancestors created the story a century after the revolution. This cute legend was kept going by being included in grade school books.

The modern 50-star flag was designed in 1958 by Robert G. Heft, a high school student. This teenager, from the state of Ohio, was given a history assignment to create a new national flag that included the recent statehood of Alaska and Hawaii. His flag design only earned him a B-minus from his teacher. However, after his design was chosen by President Eisenhower to be our nation’s new flag, the lad’s teacher changed his grade to an A.

Each color in our National flag has a different meaning. Red symbolized hardiness and valor. White is for purity and innocence. Blue stands for vigilance, perseverance and justice. The 50 stars represent the 50 states and the 13 stripes are for the 13 original colonies.

The patriotic song, “Yankee Doodle” was originally sung by British military officers before the Revolutionary War to mock the disorganized American colonists.

Our national anthem the, “Star Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 and is set to the tune of an old British bar, or pub, song called “To Anacreon in Heaven.” It did not become the official national anthem until 1931.

Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are responsible for the bald eagle becoming our national bird.  Benjamin Franklin, on the other hand, supported the wild turkey.

July 4th:

1944—United States troops fired a 1,100 gun salute at German lines in Normandy

1942—The United States air offensive against nazi-German began.

1939—The New York Yankees retire the first player’s uniform…Lou Gehrig #4

1914—The first motorcycle race in the United State took place.  It was 300 miles long.

1911—Ty Cobb goes 0 for 4 and ends a 40 game hit streak.

1911—Ed Walsh, White Sox, ends Ty Cobb’s 40-game hitting streak.

1895—The song “America the Beautiful” is published.

1894—Elwood Haynes successfully tests one of the first American made cars.  Top speed               was six mph.

1888—Prescott, Arizona holds the first organized rodeo competition.

1884—The Statute of Liberty is presented to the United States in Paris.

1828—Construction begins on the first United States passenger Railroad the  B and O                     (Baltimore-Ohio).

1817—Work began to build the Erie Canal.

I hope you have a wonderful time, safely, celebrating the 4th of July.  There really is a lot about our nation to celebrate.  And, despite all of the differences that our country seems to have at this time, I still believe the words of President John F. Kennedy hold true, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”

Sending lots of love and hugs,

Grandma Pat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to my Grandson: Cat Warfare….Political Cat Fight–November 8, 1864

Abraham Lincoln in 1861                                  Dixie 

Dear Grandson:

Howdy, I hope your week is going well and that you are pacing yourself with Halloween candy consumption and homework.  Too much of either can make a boy your age feel sick.  Just like all of those political ads messing up television viewing can give a person a headache.  It’s a good thing video games were invented so you kids can avoid them.  In my day, were just stuck watching them…we did not even have remotes.  If you wanted to change a channel you had to get up and do it yourself.  Hard times….hard times.

There is always hard times during any war. This week’s Cat Warfare letter is about a different kind of war…politics.  There is an old saying that all is fair in love, war and politics.  No rules at all. I can answer your questions on the war and politics, but any other questions should be directed to your dad.

Elections can sometimes feel like a war and can seem almost scary.  This election seems to have divided our nation more so that many in recent memory.  However, when people go to vote on November 8, 2016, this country is not even a little bit as divided as when our nation’s voters cast their ballots on Election Day….November 8, 1864.

 President and Vice President Canidates Republican and Democratic 1864 

The election of 1864 was the first held during a time of war since 1812.  Even worse, we were at war with ourselves. By the time of this election, this nation had survived three long and bloody years of Civil War. The Civil War was fought over the issue of black slavery and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  Lincoln once said that if anyone liked the idea of slavery, he’d like to be the first one to try it on them. The north fought to end the abomination of human slavery and the south fought to keep it.

When first elected in the fall of 1860, Abraham Lincoln, tried to appeal to southern political leadership to work together to avoid a war between the states, but the south just would not have it.  Shortly, after he was sworn in as President, the south, on April 12, 1861, opened fire on Fort Sumter and the war began.

The first three years of the Civil War did not go well for the north or for Lincoln.  The south, because of superior generals and very enthusiastic and brave soldiers, seemed to win battle after battle.  The loss of life was absolutely appalling.  It wasn’t until July of 1863 that the war started to turn for the north when the city of Vicksburg surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant and General George Meade won a battle in a small town in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg.

To give you an idea of just how bloody Civil War battles were.  The number of men wounded and killed at just one battle, Gettysburg, would have filled the seats at old Metrodome to almost capacity…over 51,000.  It was said that on some Civil War battlefields the dead lay so thick that you could walk from body to body and never touch the ground.

                  Confederate and Union Army Dead at Gettysburg

In his second inaugural address Lincoln gave meaning to the horrendous loss of life during the war when he said that God, “gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense (slavery) came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? (Justice) Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”  Yes, Lincoln believed in God.  The Nation’s sin of slavery was paid for in soldier’s blood.

There were many empty chairs in homes throughout the north. As the time neared for Lincoln to seek re-election it was obvious to him that he faced two wars Civil and Political.

Lincoln, as much as he is loved now, during his lifetime had far more haters than supporters.  When he first entered the oval office, even his own cabinet members thought that he was not experienced or smart enough to be president.  The decisions he made to save our nation were oftentimes made alone and were highly criticized by “friend” and foe alike.   Lincoln had very few people in his life that were a comfort to him.  Even his wife was a big pain in the butt.

      Campaign Art from Lincoln’s Time 

When Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois after being elected President the first time, he decided to leave his dog, Fido, with friends.  When he got to Washington D.C., Secretary of State William Seward, who also thought Lincoln fell far short of qualities needed to be president, gave Lincoln two kittens.  It has been noted that this kind, thoughtful man was often seen in the company of his two pet cats Tabby and Dixie.

Lincoln positively doted on these two cats. Once he was caught by his wife feeding Tabby from the table during a formal White House dinner.  She later scolded Lincoln saying that it was, “shameful in front of guests.” Lincoln replied, “If the gold fork was good enough for former President James Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby.”

Visitors to Lincoln during those dark war years recall how he would pet and talk to those cats for up to an hour at a time.  He once commented that his cat Dixie was smarter than his whole cabinet and what he liked even better was that she did not talk back.

While his cats may not have talked back to Lincoln, it must have seemed to him that everyone else did.  By 1864, Lincoln felt that there was no way that he would win the election, and that if the country were to be saved he would have to accomplish that after the election was lost, but before he left office.

The race for president that year started out as basically a three-way race between Lincoln, John C. Fremont and General George McClellan.  Lincoln of course was a Republican.  However, a group of Republicans who did not think Lincoln could win, formed a party called the Radical Democracy Party.  They nominated John C. Fremont as their candidate.  George McClellan was the Democratic Candidate and ran on a “Peace” platform that would have retained slavery to end the war.

orge-b-mcclellan-retouched
     General George McClellan, Lincoln’s popular good-looking Democratic opponent 

The summer of 1864 had not been a good one for the north.  The confederates had won several major battles.  The public thought that General Grant was a butcher because of high battle casualties and blamed Lincoln for putting him in charge of all of the Union Armies.  “Peace at all costs” offered by the Democrats looked pretty darn good to many Union voters.

McClellan was thought to be the heavy favorite to win and Fremont’s campaign was off to a good start, taking many potential votes from Lincoln.  Then, Fremont read the Democrat’s political platform and decided that they must be beaten at all costs.  This famous former explorer and Union general who certainly had a personal axe to grind against Lincoln, Fremont had lost his military command for insubordination by Lincoln. Fremont put his country before all of his personal feelings and ambitions and threw his support to Lincoln.

Selflessness is always the mark of a true patriot.  Fremont and his supporters wholeheartedly joined with War Democrats and Republicans to form the National Union Party, with Lincoln at the head of the ticket.  Bet, you had never heard of the National Union Party before…had ya?

fremontGeneral John C. Fremont, another good-looking young general. 

With the full strength of the National Union Party, whose slogan was, “Don’t change horses in the middle of a stream,” behind Lincoln; General William T. Sherman’s capture of the city of Atlanta, Georgia, on September 2; and the introduction of absentee ballot voting which was used so that soldiers at the war front could vote,  Lincoln won the election in a landslide.

Twenty-five states participated in the 1864 election.  Eleven states were still in rebellion.  People living in the newest states of Kansas, West Virginia and Nevada voted in their first presidential election.  The states of Tennessee and Louisiana who had seceded, but had already been re-conquered by Union armies voted for electors, but Congress did not count those votes.

The most amazing and humbling part of this election for Lincoln was that the men who had borne the misery of battle…the soldiers….voted for him by a margin of greater than three to one.

Lincoln would live to see the end of the war…just barely.  Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General U.S. Grant on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865.  Lincoln would be shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater on Good Friday, April 14 at 10:15 p.m.  He would die the following Saturday morning April 15 at 7:22 a.m.  Lincoln was 56 years-old when he died…younger than both grandpa and me.

Throughout his life Abraham Lincoln was noted for his extraordinary kindness.  Shortly before his death, he went to visit the soldiers who had just recaptured the confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.  On that visit he stayed on a boat with the Admiral of the Navy, David Porter.

Admiral Porter later fondly recalled seeing the president “tenderly caressing three stray kittens.  It well illustrated the kindness of the man’s disposition, and showed the childlike simplicity which was mingled with the grandeur of his nature.”  As Lincoln was petting the cat’s fur, he was overheard telling them, “Kitties, thank God you are cats, and can’t understand the terrible strife that is going on.”  He then continued the meeting with his military officers.  When the meeting was over, before Lincoln left the tent, he turned to a young colonel and said, “I hope you will see that these poor little motherless waifs are given plenty of milk and treated kindly.”

It has always struck me as odd that the Civil War started and ended during the same week of April.  It began at Ft. Sumter on April 12 of 1861, and for me ended with Lee’s surrender on April 9 and Lincoln’s death on April 15, 1865.   How such a kind man, as Abraham Lincoln would end up being in charge of such an awful bloody war, is beyond me.  Thank God, though that he was!   Funny how things work out sometimes.

Lincoln  oldt
            One of the last pictures taken of Abraham Lincoln, with his son Tad.
Notice how much older he looks in just five years. 

I hope you get outside this weekend to enjoy this beautiful fall weather that we are having.  I plan to!

Sending lots of hugs and kisses,

Grandma Pat