Friday, November 29, 2013

Greylock from "Greylock View" 1905, with second note on location.

A gift from Leonard Hall today.

I believe the view is toward Mt. Greylock looking north north west from atop the ridge which extends from Dalton to Cheshire.  I’d say the vantage point would be somewhere east of Rt. 8 above the present day Petricca concrete structures plant.  That long body of water is Cheshire Lake (a.k.a. Cheshire Reservoir).  That view is not available today since what was pasture in 1905 is now pretty dense woods. 
So says my resource friend Ruth's resource friend Bob D. People who know their stuff are treasures. 

Bob kept gnawing at this:

By the way, I used Google Maps to more accurately determine the sight line to Greylock in that photograph.  My earlier assessment was accurate; but I can now say with some certainty that the site was from a point on the hill rather nearby here.  That hill site is known locally as “The Boulders” for some neat glacier-carved rock outcroppings on top.  It is still owned by Crane & Co; I expect that inviting meadow was a popular picnic spot in 1905.  It is wooded now, but it might be possible to see some of that view in winter, after the leaves have fallen off the hardwoods there.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Richard Brodhead's "Broomstick"

"Richard Brodhead, Duke’s president, got out his broomstick and suspended the accused students, fired the lacrosse coach, cancelled the rest of the team’s season, and pandered to every possible PC interest, but especially to those baying for the heads of the accused. (One commentator estimated that only 3 percent of Brodhead’s statements could be construed as supporting the accused students.)"--from the following article.

Aftermath of the Duke lacrosse rape case

November 24th, 2013 - 9:35 am

Remember the so-called “Duke lacrosse rape case”? That was the scandal that briefly riveted the nation’s attention not once but twice. The first time was in March 2006 when a black stripper called Crystal Mangum accused three Duke University lacrosse players of kidnapping and rape. Yikes. The bien pensant commentariat went into overdrive to condemn not just the three lacrosse players, but the entire Duke lacrosse team and indeed the “racist” culture of white privilege at Duke.

A few days ago, Ms. Mangum was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend who died from wounds she inflicted with a kitchen knife. That hasn’t made too many headlines, but its is a sad, if ironically apt, coda to the whole sorry story.

Travel back to 2006. Syracuse University early on got into the act when it decided not to accept as transfers any students from the Duke lacrosse team—not just the three accused chaps, mind you, but anyone contaminated by having played lacrosse for Duke. “I think it would be inappropriate,” sniffed Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross. (Where is he now? Llama farming in Peru? Nope. Still athletic director at Syracuse.)

But there are at least two other aspects of the case that deserve comment. One is the role of the media, which pounced on the story with unseemly delight. Oh, how The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and countless other bastions of liberal self-satisfaction loved it! Race. Class. Sex. Victimhood. It was the perfect morality tale. Those white jocks at “the Harvard of the South” just had to be guilty. And what a good time we were all going to have lacerating the malefactors while at the same time preening ourselves on our own superior virtue!

The editorials, the op-eds, the comments, the analyses poured forth non-stop,
demonstrating that one of the deepest human passions is the urge to self-righteous pontification. The novelist Allan Gurganus epitomized the tone in an op-ed for the Times in April 2006: “The children of privilege,” he thundered, “feel vividly alive only while victimizing, even torturing.” You don’t say? Even sports writers got into the act. Selena Roberts located Duke University “at the intersection of entitlement and enablement, . . . virtuous on the outside, debauched on the inside.” By August 2006, as North Carolina Attorney General [really, District Attorney] Michael Nifong’s case was betraying worrisome fissures, the Times published a 6,000-word article arguing—“praying” might be a more apposite term—that, whatever weaknesses there might be in the prosecution’s case, “there is also a body of evidence to support [taking] the matter to a jury.” As the Times columnist David Brooks ruefully noted after the tide had begun to turn, the campaign against the athletes had the lineaments of a “witch hunt.”

Indeed. Richard Brodhead, Duke’s president, got out his broomstick and suspended the accused students, fired the lacrosse coach, cancelled the rest of the team’s season, and pandered to every possible PC interest, but especially to those baying for the heads of the accused. (One commentator estimated that only 3 percent of Brodhead’s statements could be construed as supporting the accused students.)

And then there was the Duke faculty. As Vincent Carroll, writing in the Rocky Mountain News, noted, “the most astonishing fact, hands down, was and remains the squalid behavior of the community of scholars at Duke itself. For months nearly the entire faculty fell into one of two camps: those who demanded the verdict first and the trial later, and those whose silence enabled their vigilante colleagues to set the tone.”

Particularly egregious was the behavior of the “Group of 88,” a congeries of faculty activists and fellow-travelers who signed “What Does a Social Disaster Sound Like?,” a full-page manifesto published in April 2006 in the Duke student newspaper. The statement, which purported to be “listening” to students on campus, mingled anonymous student comments with racialist agitprop. “Regardless of the results of the police investigation,” ran part of the introductory comment, “what is apparent every day now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism.” There followed a mosaic of histrionic proclamations: “We want the absence of terror,” one student is supposed to have said. “But we don’t really know what that means.” “This is not a different experience for us here at Duke University. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists . . .”

Some of the Group of 88 were common or garden-variety academic liberals—timid souls whose long tenure in the protected purlieus of the university surrounded by adolescents has nurtured their risible sense of self-importance and political enlightenment. But a good percentage were radicals more devoted to political activism than scholarship. Indeed, one scandal that still has not received sufficient publicity is the preposterous pseudo-scholarship purveyed by many trendy academics. A look at the CVs of many members of the Group of 88 provides a case in point, partly shocking, partly embarrassing. It’s 99 percent race-class-gender gibberish embroidered with a toxic dollop of ill-digested lit-crit-speak and infatuation with the dregs of pop culture. “Shuckin’ Off the African-American Native Other: What’s PoMo Got to Do with It?,” Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic, etc. This is scholarship at one of America’s best universities?

6 November 1810 to Col. Smith at Fort Hampton, TN: Who would call these people anarchists? Only a historian.

16 November 1810, the Nashville REVIEW:
               The greater part of our crops of every description are yet in the fields; our stocks wandering in the woods, our debts unliquidated and uncollected; your fellow citizens laboring under extreme sickness. There is not one family out of twenty, we will venture to say, is exempt from this affliction. Few waggons in the reserve for the removal of citizens; few boats to be got, and none yet prepared, from the recentness of the orders, to effect the same. Our situation is truely distressing. If there is no mitigation of the orders, in addition to our calamities and sacrifices, we must inevitably lose the labors of the present year, which are our principal dependance for support for our families. We shall be turned adrift iinto a wide world, to seek a scanty maintenance for ourselves, wives, and little children. To what extremity, and where, the storms of fate will drive us—the God of Heaven knows. The foxes have holes, the fowls of the air have nests, but we have not where to lay our heads.
               To hear the child cry for bread and the parent not to have wherewithal to supply the calls of nature—this must be the situation of many of your fellow citizens without an extention of the orders. Your fellow citizens know you are an agent of the government, and that you are bound to obey. And in consequence of that, your fellow citizens will pledge their honor, and every thing that is sacred, that they will afford you nothing of a disagreeable nature in consequence of their removal. They will obey you promptly.
               The only thing we crave, ask, and pray for, is indulgence to effect the same; in obtaining of which, your petitioners will ever feel themselves in duty bound, to pray for your future welfare while in life.
               (Presented 6th November. Time prolonged until lst January.)

When your grandmother has been burned out of her house by U S troops in 1810 and left to camp out in a makeshift shelter all winter . . . .

then you think about things a little harder, especially if you are part Choctaw and part Cherokee.

Who calls Grandma Kezziah Sims an Anarchist? Smile when you say that, Historian!

David W. Miller in THE TAKING OF AMERICAN INDIAN LANDS IN THE SOUTHEAST (2011) concludes his chapter on “Jefferson after the Louisiana Purchase and Anarchy in 1810” with comments on a petition sent to President “Maddison” by more than 200 families from Hawkins County, Tennessee, who had settled on what had until recently been seen as Cherokee land and was now abruptly and arguably Chickasaw land, just south of the Tennessee line in what a few years later was Limestone County, Alabama. Following Jefferson’s lead, Madison sent soldiers from nearby Fort Hampton who a second time burned the settlers’ cabins and their fences. The petition was received in Washington DC in October 1810. Here is how Miller describes it in the last paragraph of his chapter:

Anarchy was afoot. The petition said the settlers could not agree to move and thereby “bring many women and children to a state of starvation mearly to gratify a heathen nation Who have no better right to this land than we have ourselves and they have by estimation nearly 100,000 acres of land to each man Of their nation and of no more use to government or society than to saunter about upon like so many wolves or bares whist they who would be a supporte to government and improve the country must be forced even to rent poor stoney ridges to make a support or rase their famelies on whilst there is fine fertile countrys lying uncultivated and we must be debared even from injoying a small Corner of this land.”

Miller’s footnote is to THE TERRITORIAL PAPERS OF THE UNITED STATES, Vol. 6, p. 107. His next chapter takes up without looking back at the anarchy.

“Anarchy was afoot”?  Let’s think about it. The petition, although Miller does not say so, was written by members of the “Sims Settlement” (which in the last couple of years finally has a highway marker and other signs identifying the location). The first two signers were William and James Sims. The leader of the expedition had been their brother, Parish Sims, who died there in 1807 in what became Limestone County. I assume the Sims brothers wrote the letter. I have not seen the original but notice that what Miller prints seems to be very close but not exactly what is in the TERRITORIAL PAPERS. The men did not spell perfectly, but they were eloquent, and were not anarchical. Let me quote a little more from an online transcription:

we look to you the boddy of government as a friendly father to us and believe it Compleatley within your power Whilst you are administering Justice between us and the chickasaws to say with the greatest propriety that we have once purchased this land and we will not remove our fellow citizens off but let them remain as tennants at will untill the chickasaws may feell a disposition to sell us their clame therefore we your humble petitioners wish you to take our standing duely into consideration and not say they are a set of dishoneste people who have fled from the lawes of their country and it is no matter what is done With them.for we can support our carractors to be other ways and it is our wish and desire to protect and supporte our own native Government we must informe you that in the settling of this country men was obliged to expose themselves very much and the Climate not helthy a number of respectable men have deceased and left their widows with families Of arphan children to rase in the best way they can And you might allmost as well send the sword amongst us as the fammin the time being short that our orders permits us to stay on we wish you to send us an answer to our petition as soon as posable and, for heavens Sake Pause to think what is to become of these poore alphan families who have more need of the help of some friendly parish than to have the strictest orders executed on them who has not a friend in this unfeeling world that is able to asist them Either in geting off of said land or supporting when they are off we are certain in our own minds that if you could have A true representation of our carractor the industry we have made. and the purity of our intentions in settling here together with the justice of our cause you would say in the name of God let them stay on and eat their well earned bread.

These people were not anarchists. They were respectable and even prosperous citizens of Hawkins County who in 1807 had “solde our possessions and Came and settled here . . . without any knoledg or intention of violating the laws of government or infringing on the right of another nation.”

What happened to them? James McCallum in a Centennial history of Giles County Tennessee remembered: “the Reduses and Simmses and those who settled Simms’ settlement, were driven off and they went back over the line and built camps and shanties which they covered with bark which they stripped from trees like tan bark. A considerable number of these camps were together, and the place was called Barksville for a long time. I saw the camps with the bark covers on them when a boy.”

BARKSVILLE was built in the Winter of 1810-1811.

What happened to Uncle William and Uncle James Sims, the prose stylists of the Sims Settlement? I don’t know. 

What happened to the Widow of Parish Sims, the Grizell Sims on one list and Kezziah Sims on another? What was her maiden surname? Who was she, anyhow? Not Kezziah Royster, as is often said. Well, we know what happened to her, anyhow.

GGGG Grandma Kezziah Sims survived Barksville and married again and married well--William Cocke, who had been one of the first two U S Senators from Tennessee. William Cocke took her to Columbus, Mississippi, where he built her a two story dogtrot cross hall log house—a big pile of logs, he said—overlooking the Tombigbee River. He was good to her children. Bartlett became the first sheriff of the county. Martin became a translator to the Choctaw. Absalom started the Piney Gove Methodist Church there before going back to Alabama and marrying Catherine Keiser (fresh down from Pennsylvania Dutch country) and going to Arkansas where their daughter, my great great grandmother Martha J. Sims was born.

GGGG Grandma Kezziah an Anarchist? Nyaaa! The Hawkins County Sims family were Baptists, whatever their son Absalom did.Sometimes historians need to write their stories from the ground up as well as from the top down.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

At breakfast asked my wife when everybody started using the idiotic phrase "back in the day"

So I was delighted at finding this in the Urban Dictionary:

Urban Dictionary
Back in the day
Completely meaningless phrase which has gained inexplicable global popularity. It's an incomplete thought: Back in what day? It's a redundant way of saying "Once, I..." or "I used to..." and adds words without adding any extra meaning. Similar to the equally pointless "at the end of the day..." popularised by English soccer stars. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Since 2007 I have had the Cadillac of Keyboards, the Avant Stellar--Losing it? A Calamity

Luckily, the cord was just loose--the connector with a round attachment at one end and the flash-drive looking rectangular attachment at the other end.

But oh, what a calamity if it died. Avant Stellar is out of business. eBay has no used Avant Stellar keyboards for sale.

The keyboards for sale now are jittery little toys.

What do you do if you need a 20 1/2 inch wide keyboard with function keys on the left and function keys also on the top? What do you do if you need solidity and stability?

I had one of the first Welbilt bread makers and after a few weeks saw that what it was was an excellent dough mixer. When it died I found that all the newer bread mixers were tinny little jobs that rattled on the counter so I bought a Kitchen Aid mixer and have used it for mixing dough for 20-odd years. The Avant Stellar has that kind of heft. It has Presence. It has Power.

I did not know what a treasure I had.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pride--Pride in Will Graves's citing me in a Footnote in Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements and Rosters

Some of you know I have been working part time for years on ORNERY PEOPLE: WHAT WAS A DEPRESSION OKIE?
You know that Will Graves with the help of C. Leon Harris and a few others has constructed a magnificent site, the one named in the title.  I don't know of another contribution to American history so herculean as this attempt to put online all the Southern Campaign pension applications under the 1832 law. And he has made it supremely searchable.
One of the puzzles was a word in my GGGG Grandfather Ezekiel Henderson's application for a pension under the 1832 law. He said he served under a Major Wm Penigood or Periegood or Puriegood, in Will Graves's transcription. Very responsibly, Graves included a facsimile of the name--Periegood, maybe the closest reading.
I spent many an hour over a few years looking for the Major.
The official NC site on the American Revolution in the state, Chatham County Regiment of Militia, lists among known "Majors" "Maj. William Penigood."
The only source for this major is grandpa's applicaton.
What a puzzle for a GGGG grandson.

Well, recently I was reading as many applications as I could by men who might have served with Ezekiel Henderson. He was laconic, like his descendants, and I wanted more detail of his skirmishes with the Tories. Had he been face to face with David Fanning, the psychopathically murderous Tory?

In Graves's transcription of the application by James Gardner I saw the mention of a French officer named "Feregood." Gardner was wonderful: "He does not recollect whether Feregood was a Captain or a Colonel and never having seen the name of said Feregood or Ferrygood in print, he does not know the correct spelling of that name, but he knows it was pronounced as above spelled."

Graves's fn suggested that this might be a reference to Jorge (George) Farragut, the father of the admiral. Oh my oh my oh my. Later Graves transcribed the application of Joseph Linton, who said specifically that he has served under "George Farragut, a Frenchman." Now, this is a separate problem: all his men thought Farragut was a Frenchman. Maybe these Scotch-Irish boys (they were boys) thought any foreign ally was French. Anyhow, Linton validated what Graves had decided about Gardner's officer.

Think about it. Graves was transcribing thousands of applications. You think I exaggerate? No. He was doing so over years and years, on his own. When you are looking at specific words 10 years apart you don't connect them. I know, from transcribing hundreds of documents into THE MELVILLE LOG. You focus on the document at hand, unless something jumps out at you.

If you are a GGGG Grandson wanting to find out who grandpa was referring to and if you have more time than money, and if you have access to Graves's magnificently searchable site, you can start looking. I tried variants of Feregood and Periegood. I did not find any P variants. As Graves says, who knows how toothless veterans sounded and who knows how competent or incompetent the bureaucrats were? Some of the hirelings who took applications were plausibly accused of being drunk at the job. One of them denied a decrepit veteran his pension because he played Gotcha!--you mention a battle at Alamance? Ho ho ho, you dottering fool, the battle of Alamance was in 1771! That reminds me of the bureaucrat in San Luis Obispo who in 1998 said I could not have Social Security because I would have income from books, maybe. [I stood up tall and said, "Then I will walk on the beach for a year and not write but you ARE going to enroll me." She did.]  See the amazing dissertation on corruption in office in Virginia by C. Leon Harris in a footnote on the Southern Campaign site for David W. Sleeth S6111. Anyhow, there are reasonable ways of accounting for Grandpa's "P." He may have heard it wrong. Our hearing is not the greatest.

So I started looking and found that in John Banes's application Graves had correctly identified Ferrigot as Farragut. I saw that John Wyatt had served under "Captain Ferrygood (a Frenchman)." I saw that Joseph Williams had served under "Captain D. Faragood." John Mebane had served under "Major Ferigood (a frenchman)." Charles Smith had served under "Colonel Ferrigood," an "officer in the State troops." Jesse Jones had served under "Col. Faragood in the Continental Line."

Will Graves was delighted to hear all this and consulted the work of J. D. Lewis and promptly varied his Gardner footnote for the other applications. Now, there are new records for historians of the Revolution and for students of the Farraguts and for Farragut descendants! Now Farragut's name can go in that official North Carolina site for officers in Chatham County! Vindication for the funny-talking furriner "Frenchman"!

And Oh, Brave Will, Oh Herculean Will--Will Graves put my name in the fns. Can you imagine my pride in being named as helping to resolve a crux in the Revolutionary War Pension Application of my GGGG Grandfather Henderson? I used to be a textual scholar, some of you may remember. See, if you can find a copy, FLAWED TEXTS AND VERBAL ICONS (1984). Can you imagine my pride at being acknowledged in a footnote for clarifying something in grandpa's pension application?

I still have the job of trying to verify and improve J. D. Lewis's chronology by analyzing the pension applications, and still have the job of correlating the information from those who served under Farragut with what several dozen other applicants who overlapped with Ezekiel Henderson say.  But the Southern Campaign site is so splendidly searchable that riches are available to any seeker.

Retirement will be fun. Bob Sandberg is coming up today to work on Melville.

P. S. I keep saying herculean about Will Graves. Well, it's fitting. But it is in my mind because the father of Ezekiel was the Regulator, Argulus Hercules Henderson.Too bad I can't make the Quakers change their mind and bury him properly.

P.P.S. I have been footnoted fairly often, but this is the footnote that gives me greatest pleasure.