Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Westward Ho! Part 4 Arms

Excerpt from the Prairie Traveler's Hand-book ©1859


Every man who goes into the Indian country should be armed with a rifle and revolver, and he should never, either in camp or out of it, lose sight of them. When not on the march, they should be placed in such a position that they can be seized at an instant's warning; and when moving about outside the camp, the revolver should invariably be worn in the belt, as the person does not know at what moment he may have use for it.

A great diversity of opinion obtains regarding the kind of rifle that is the most efficient and best adapted to Indian warfare, and the question is perhaps as yet very far from being settled to the satisfaction of all. A large majority of men prefer the breech-loading arm, but there are those who still adhere tenaciously to the old-fashioned muzzle-loading rifle as preferable to any of the modern inventions. Among these may be mentioned the border hunters and mountaineers, who can not be persuaded to use any other than the Hawkins rifle, for the reason that they know nothing about the merits of any others. My own experience has forced me to the conclusion that the breech-loading arm possesses great advantages over the muzzle-loading, for the reason that it can be charged and fired with much greater rapidity.

Colt's revolving pistol is very generally admitted, both in Europe and America, to be the most efficient arm of its kind known at the present day. As the same principles are involved in the fabrication of his breech-loading rifle as are found in the pistol, the conviction to me is irresistible that, if one arm is worthy of consideration, the other is equally so. For my own part, I look upon Colt's new patent rifle as a most excellent arm for border service. It gives six shots in more rapid succession than any other rifle I know of, and these, if properly expended, are oftentimes sufficient to decide a contest; moreover, it is the most reliable and certain weapon to fire that I have ever used, and I can not resist the force of my conviction that, if I were alone upon the prairies, and expected an attack from a body of Indians, I am not acquainted with any arm I would as soon have in my hands as this.

The army and navy revolvers have both been used in our army, but the officers are not united in opinion in regard to their relative merits. I prefer the large army size, for reasons which will be given hereafter.

Westward Ho! Part 3 Camping Equipment

From the Prairie Traveler's Hand-book ©1859


The bedding for each person should consist of two blankets, a comforter, and a pillow, and a gutta percha or painted canvas cloth to spread beneath the bed upon the ground, and to contain it when rolled up for transportation.

Every mess of six or eight persons will require a wrought-iron camp kettle, large enough for boiling meat and making soup; a coffee-pot and cups of heavy tin, with the handles riveted on; tin plates, frying and bake pans of wrought iron, the latter for baking bread and roasting coffee. Also a mess pan of heavy tin or wrought iron for mixing bread and other culinary purposes; knives, forks, and spoons; an extra camp kettle; tin or gutta percha bucket for water—wood, being liable to shrink and fall to pieces, is not deemed suitable; an axe, hatchet, and spade will also be needed, with a mallet for driving picket-pins. Matches should be carried in bottles and corked tight, so as to exclude the moisture.

A little blue mass, quinine, opium, and some cathartic medicine, put up in doses for adults, will suffice for the medicine-chest.

Each ox wagon should be provided with a covered tar-bucket, filled with a mixture of tar or resin and grease, two bows extra, six S's, and six open links for repairing chains. Every set of six wagons should have a tongue, coupling pole, king-bolt, and pair of hounds extra.

Every set of six mule wagons should be furnished with five pairs of hames, two double trees, four whipple-trees, and two pairs of lead bars extra.

Two lariats will be needed for every horse and mule, as one generally wears out before reaching the end of a long journey. They will be found useful in crossing deep streams, and in letting wagons down steep hills and mountains; also in repairing broken wagons. Lariats made of hemp are the best.

One of the most indispensable articles to the outfit of the prairie traveler is buckskin. For repairing harness, saddles, bridles, and numerous other purposes of daily necessity, the awl and buckskin will be found in constant requisition.

Westward Ho! Part 2 Clothing

The Prairie Traveler ©1859

Excerpt on Clothing for your wagon train travel.


A suitable dress for prairie traveling is of great import to health and comfort. Cotton or linen fabrics do not sufficiently protect the body against the direct rays of the sun at midday, nor against rains or sudden changes of temperature. Wool, being a non-conductor, is the best material for this mode of locomotion, and should always be adopted for the plains. The coat should be short and stout, the shirt of red or blue flannel, such as can be found in almost all the shops on the frontier: this, in warm weather, answers for an outside garment. The pants should be of thick and soft woolen material, and it is well to have them re-enforced on the inside, where they come in contact with the saddle, with soft buckskin, which makes them more durable and comfortable.

Woolen socks and stout boots, coming up well at the knees, and made large, so as to admit the pants, will be found the best for horsemen, and they guard against rattlesnake bites.

In traveling through deep snow during very cold weather in winter, moccasins are preferable to boots or shoes, as being more pliable, and allowing a freer circulation of the blood. In crossing the Rocky Mountains in the winter, the weather being intensely cold, I wore two pairs of woolen socks, and a square piece of thick blanket sufficient to cover the feet and ankles, over which were drawn a pair of thick buckskin moccasins, and the whole enveloped in a pair of buffalo-skin boots with the hair inside, made open in the front and tied with buckskin strings. At the same time I wore a pair of elkskin pants, which most effectually prevented the air from penetrating to the skin, and made an excellent defense against brush and thorns.

My men, who were dressed in the regulation clothing, wore out their pants and shoes before we reached the summit of the mountains, and many of them had their feet badly frozen in consequence. They mended their shoes with pieces of leather cut from the saddle-skirts as long as they lasted, and, when this material was gone, they covered the entire shoe with green beeve or mule hide, drawn together and sewed upon the top, with the hair inside, which protected the upper as well as the sole leather. The sewing was done with an awl and buckskin strings. These simple expedients contributed greatly to the comfort of the party; and, indeed, I am by no means sure that they did not, in our straitened condition, without the transportation necessary for carrying disabled men, save the lives of some of them. Without the awl and buckskins we should have been unable to have repaired the shoes. They should never be forgotten in making up the outfit for a prairie expedition.
We also experienced great inconvenience and pain by the reflection of the sun's rays from the snow upon our eyes, and some of the party became nearly snow-blind. Green or blue glasses, inclosed in a wire net-work, are an effectual protection to the eyes; but, in the absence of these, the skin around the eyes and upon the nose should be blackened with wet powder or charcoal, which will afford great relief.

In the summer season shoes are much better for footmen than boots, as they are lighter, and do not cramp the ankles; the soles should be broad, so as to allow a square, firm tread, without distorting or pinching the feet.

The following list of articles is deemed a sufficient outfit for one man upon a three months' expedition, viz.:

2 blue or red flannel overshirts,
open in front, with buttons.
2 woolen undershirts.
2 pairs thick cotton drawers.
4 pairs woolen socks.
2 pairs cotton socks.
4 colored silk handkerchiefs.

2 pairs stout shoes, for footmen.
1 pair boots, for horsemen.

1 pair shoes, for horsemen.

3 towels.

1 gutta percha poncho.
1 broad-brimmed hat of soft

1 comb and brush.

2 tooth-brushes.

1 pound Castile soap.

3 pounds bar soap for washing clothes.

1 belt-knife and small whetstone.

Stout linen thread, large needles, a bit of beeswax, a few buttons, paper of pins, and a thimble, all contained in a . small buckskin or stout cloth bag.

The foregoing articles, with the coat and overcoat, complete the wardrobe.

Westward Ho! Stores & Provisions

The Prairie Traveler, a Hand-Book for Overland Expeditions ©1859

Was a very important resource for those heading west.

Here's an excerpt from the book:


Supplies for a march should be put up in the most secure, compact, and portable shape.

Bacon should be packed in strong sacks of a hundred pounds to each; or, in very hot climates, put in boxes and surrounded with bran, which in a great measure prevents the fat from melting away.

If pork be used, in order to avoid transporting about forty per cent, of useless weight, it should be taken out of the barrels and packed like the bacon; then so placed in the bottom of the wagons as to keep it cool. The pork, if well cured, will keep several months in this way, but bacon is preferable.

Flour should be packed in stout double canvas sacks well sewed, a hundred pounds in each sack.

Butter may be preserved by boiling it thoroughly,

and skimming off the scum as it rises to the top until it is quite clear like oil. It is then placed in tin canisters and soldered up. This mode of preserving butter has been adopted in the hot climate of southern Texas, and it is found to keep sweet for a great length of tune, and its flavor is but little impaired by the process.

Sugar may be well secured in India-rubber or gutta-percha sacks, or so placed in the wagon as not to risk getting wet.

Desiccated or dried vegetables are almost equal to the fresh, and are put up in such a compact and portable form as easily to be transported over the plains. They have been extensively used in the Crimean war, and by our own army in Utah, and have been very generally approved. They are prepared by cutting the fresh vegetables into thin slices and subjecting them to a very powerful press, which removes the juice and leaves a solid cake, which, after having been thoroughly dried in an oven, becomes almost as hard as a rock. A small piece of this, about half the size of a man's hand, when boiled, swells up so as to fill a vegetable dish, and is sufficient for four men. It is believed that the antiscorbutic properties of vegetables are not impaired by desiccation, and they will keep for years if not exposed to dampness. Canned vegetables are very good for campaigning, but are not so portable as when put up in the other form. The desiccated vegetables used in our army have been prepared by Chollet and Co., 46 Rue Richer, Paris. There is an agency for them in New York. I regard these compressed vegetables as the best preparation for prairie traveling that has yet been discovered. A single ration weighs, before being boiled, only an ounce, and a cubic yard contains 16,000 rations. In making up their outfit for the plains, men are very prone to overload their teams with a great variety of useless articles. It is a good rule to carry nothing more than is absolutely necessary for use upon the journey. One can not expect, with the limited allowance of transportation that emigrants usually have, to indulge in luxuries upon such expeditions, and articles for use in California can be purchased there at less cost than that of overland transport.
The allowance of provisions for men in marching should be much greater than when they take no exercise. The army ration I have always found insufficient for soldiers who perform hard service, yet it is ample for them when in quarters.

The following table shows the amount of subsistence consumed per day by each man of Dr. Rae's party, in his spring journey to the Arctic regions of North America in 1854:

Pemmican 1.25 Ibs.

Biscuit 0.25

Edward's preserved potatoes 0.10

Flour 0.33

Tea 0.03

Sugar 0.14

Grease or alcohol, for cooking 0.25

2.35 Ibs.

This allowance of a little over two pounds of the most nutritious food was found barely sufficient to subsist the men in that cold climate.

The pemmican, which constitutes almost the entire diet of the Fur Company's men in the Northwest, is prepared as follows: The.buffalo meat is cut into thin flakes, and hung up to dry in the sun or before a slow fire; it is then pounded between two stones and reduced to a powder; this powder is placed in a bag of the animal's hide, with the hair on the outside; melted grease is then poured into it, and the bag sewn up. It can be eaten raw, and many prefer it so. Mixed with a little flour and boiled, it is a very wholesome and exceedingly nutritious food, and will keep fresh for a long time.

I would advise all persons who travel for any considerable time through a country where they can procure no vegetables to carry with them some antiscorbutics, and if they can not transport desiccated or canned vegetables, citric acid answers a good purpose, and is very portable. When mixed with sugar and water, with a few drops of the essence of lemon, it is difficult to distinguish it from lemonade. Wild onions are excellent as antiscorbutics ; also wild grapes and greens. An infusion of hemlock leaves is also said to be an antidote to scurvy.

The most portable and simple preparation of subsistence that I know of, and which is used extensively by the Mexicans and Indians, is called " cold G flour." It is made by parching corn, and pounding it in a mortar to the consistency of coarse meal; a little sugar and cinnamon added makes-it quite palatable. When the traveler becomes hungry or thirsty, a little of the flour is mixed with water and drunk. It is an excellent article for a traveler who desires to go the greatest length of time upon the smallest amount of transportation. It is said that half a bushel is sufficient to subsist a man thirty

Persons undergoing severe labor, and driven to great extremities for food, will derive sustenance from various sources that would never occur to them under ordinary circumstances. In passing over the Rocky Mountains during the winter of 1857-8, our supplies of provisions were entirely consumed eighteen days before reaching the first settlements in New Mexico, and we were obliged to resort to a variety of expedients to supply the deficiency. Our poor mules were fast failing and dropping down from exhaustion in the deep snows, and our only dependence for the means of sustaining life was upon these starved animals as they became unserviceable and could go no farther. We had no salt, sugar, coffee, or tobacco, which, at a tune when men are performing the severest labor that the human system is capable of enduring, was a great privation. In this destitute condition we found a substitute for tobacco in the bark of the red willow, which grows upon many of the mountam streams in that vicinity. The outer bark is first removed with a knife, after which the inner bark is scraped up into ridges around the sticks, and held in the fire until it is thoroughly roasted, when it is taken off the stick, pulverized in the hand, and is ready for smoking. It has the narcotic properties of the tobacco, and is quite agreeable to the taste and smell. The sumach leaf is also used by the Indians in the same way, and has a similar taste to the willow bark. A decoction of the dried wild or horse mint, which we found abundant under the snow, was quite palatable, and answered instead of coffee. It dries up in that climate, but does not lose its flavor. We suffered greatly for the want of salt; but, by burning the outside of our mule steaks, and sprinkling a little gunpowder upon them, it did not require a very extensive stretch of the imagination to fancy the presence of both salt and pepper. We tried the meat of horse, colt, and mules, all of which were in a starved condition, and of course not very tender, juicy, or nutritious. We consumed the enormous amount of from five to six pounds of this meat per man daily, but continued to grow weak and thin, until, at the expiration of twelve days, we were able to perform but little labor, and were continually craving for fat meat.

The allowance of provisions for each grown person, to make the journey from the Missouri River to California, should suffice for 110 days. The following is deemed requisite, viz.: 150 Ibs. of flour, or its equivalent in hard bread; 25 Ibs. of bacon or pork, and enough fresh beef to be driven on the hoof to make up the meat component of the ration; 15 Ibs. of coffee, and 25 Ibs. of sugar; also a quantity of saleratus or yeast powders for making bread, and salt and pepper.

These are the chief articles of subsistence necessary for the trip, and they should be used with economy, reserving a good portion for the western half of the journey. Heretofore many of the California emigrants have improvidently exhausted their stocks of provisions before reaching their journey's end, and have, in many cases, been obliged to pay the most exorbitant prices in making up the deficiency.

It is true that if persons choose to pass through Salt Lake City, and the Mormons happen to be in an amiable mood, supplies may sometimes be procured from them; but those who have visited them well know how little reliance is to be placed upon their hospitality or spirit of accommodation.

I once traveled with a party of New Yorkers en route for California. They were perfectly ignorant of every thing relating to this kind of campaigning, and had overloaded their wagons with almost every thing except the very articles most important and necessary; the consequence was, that they exhausted their teams, and were obliged to throw away the greater part of their loading. They soon learned that Champagne, East India sweetmeats, olives, etc., etc., were not the most useful articles for a prairie tour.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

United States 1887

The Original Colonies and Present United States.

For convenience of description and arrangement, the United States is divided into the following sections

NEW ENGLAND STATES --Maine, *New Hampshire, Vermont, *Massachusetts, *Rhode Island and *Connecticut.

MIDDLE ATLANTIC STATES -- *New York, *New Jersey, *Pennsylvania, *Delaware, *Maryland, *Virginia, West Virginia and District of Columbia.

SOUTHERN STATES -- *North Carolina, *South Carolina, *Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisianna, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas.

CENTRAL STATES --Ohio, Indiana, Illinios, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska.

PACIFIC STATES -- California, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado.

TERRITORIES -- Washington, Idaho, Montana, Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Indian, Alaska.

*ORIGINAL STATES -- The original colonies, or states, are those that signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

When Washington formed his Cabinet it had but four members, the Interior Department being unknown, the War and Navy Departments being under one head, and the Postmaster General being subordinate to the Treasury. Nevertheless, of these four positions, he gave two to Virginians--Secretary of State Jefferson and Attorney General Randolph.

©1887 Houghtalings Handbook

Noah Webster's Dictionary

Noah Webster's Dictionary of 1828 was a huge influence at the time but it's also a very good tool for writers and historians today.

Here's a link to a word search for the dictionary. Noah Webster's Dictionary 1828

The 1828 dictionary wasn't Noah's first. His first was in 1806. He learned 26 languages to develop the 1828 dictionary and it took 27 years to complete. Unfortunately, it didn't sell well, so Noah mortgaged his home to publish the second edition in 1840. It wasn't until after his death that Noah's efforts were recognized.

Another great point for researchers and writers is all of Noah Webster's dictionaries and other books are in public domain.

Prisoners Commutation Table

Mark Twain

One of the famous authors from the 19th century and also continued work in the 20th was Mark Twain. Below is a list of the novels/books he published during the 19th century. Many of these books can be downloaded at various internet sites, my favorite is Gutenburg's.

The Innocents Abroad 1869
Curious Republic of Gondour 1870
A Burlesque Autobiography 1871
Roughing It 1872
The Gilded Age 1873
Sketches New and Old 1875
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1876
Carnival of Crime in CT 1877
A Tramp Abroad 1880
1601 1880
The Prince and the Pauper 1881
The Stolen White Elephant 1882
Life on the Mississippi 1883
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1885
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 1889
The American Claimant 1892
Tom Sawyer Abroad 1894
The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson 1894
Tom Sawyer, Detective 1896
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc Vol 1 1896
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc Vol 2 1896
How to Tell a Story and Others 1897
Following the Equator 1897

Monday, August 29, 2016

Breakfast of Johnny Cakes

Taken from "The Godey's Lady's Book Receipts & Household Hints" ©1870

Once cup of flour, three cups of meal, one cup of molasses, two cups of sweet milk, one of sour milk, one teaspoonful of soda, and one of salt. Bake one hour in a sponge cake tin.

Battle of Tippecanoe

In 1811, the Indians of the Northwest, incited by Tecum- seh and the Prophet, who were encouraged by the British, gave such marked evidences of hostility that General Harrison marched to the Wabash, where, shortly after, he was joined by Colonel J. H. Daviess and a number of volunteers from Lexington. On the 7th of November, the memorable battle of Tippecanoe took place, and Colonel Daviess was numbered among the slain.

Earthquake in Lexington, KY

"On the morning of December 16, 1811, the citizens of Lexington were startled and alarmed by several successive shocks of an earthquake,* accompanied by a sound like that of distant thunder. Fortunately no other damage was done than the breaking of window glass and the disturbance of a few bricks from chimneys."
Taken from "The History of Lexington, KY." ©1872

Lighthouse Keepers

Hi all,

Lighthouse keepers have long been a favorite of mine. For one reason, I grew up on Martha's Vineyard and we enjoyed five lighthouses on the Vineyard. Another reason, is that they were the only job paid by the government that gave equal pay for women, long before women's rights became a political issue.

In Houghtalings Handbook ©1887 there are several pages of the salaries for lighthouse keepers, starting on page 188 to page 197. There were thirteen districts. I'm going to post a couple examples for you.

First District
Saint Croix River, Me. $460
Mount Desert, Me. $820, $480, $440 (Must have had more than one keeper.)

Seventh District
Alligator Reef, FL. $820, $465, $455
Cat Island, Miss. $625

Eleventh District
Grand Point, Mich. $400
Gull Rock, Mich. $640

Thirteenth District
Cape Blanco, Ore $800, $600, $550
St. Helen's Bar range Ore. $240

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Beacon Press

In 1854, a Book and Tract Fund was established, with the goal of
raising $50,000, and educator George Emerson, cousin of Unitarian
minister Ralph Waldo Emerson, headed the fund-raising effort. New
AUA headquarters, replete with a street-accessible bookstore, were set
up at 21 Bromfield Street, near Boston Common. With the fund and the
storefront in place, the precursor of Beacon Press—then called simply
the Press of the American Unitarian Association—was officially born.

On March 9, 1854, AUA president Samuel Kirkland Lothrop
addressed a gathering at 21 Bromfield to explain why regular and
planned book publishing was the logical next step for the AUA. In the
nineteenth year of his incumbency, Lothrop was pastor of the very
wealthy, very distinguished Brattle Street Church.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Spectacles or Eyeglasses had no standard for a long time in their history. In 1833 William Beecher of Southbridge, MA. had a small jewelry and watch making business. He also felt the New England ingenuity could produce a better product. What he and four others made were standard spectacles with different lenses and the customer would pick a pair that best improved his or her eye sight.

This type of eyeglasses were the only kind until much later in the century.

Another tidbit is that sunglasses (tinted lenses) were out in 1880. Prior to 1875 the tinted lenses were used for medical purposes.


In the 19th century sponge harvesting in America started in Key West. After storms sponges would wash up on the beachs. This begin the business of harvesting sponges, which became one of the largest industries on Key West in the 19th century, in 1849. As it became an industry a fleet (about 350 boats) called "Hook Boats" soon filled the docks and shores. These hook boats were long and thin, the spongers would stand in the boat and use long poles with holes to pull the sponges from the reefs. this industry grew quickly eventually reaching 1400 men.

Sponging on Key West ended by the end of the century with the Spanish American war going on in 1898 and sponges being nearly all gone the spongers moved up to Tarpon Springs to continue their harvesting.

Library of Congress

On April 24, 1800 the Library of Congress was established with a grant of $5000.00. Originally it was established as a legislative library.

"The Library of Congress was established as the fledgling legislature of the new Republic prepared to move from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington. On April 24, 1800, Pres. John Adams approved legislation that appropriated $5,000 to purchase "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress." The first books, ordered from London, arrived in 1801 and were stored in the U.S. Capitol, the Library's first home. The collection consisted of 740 volumes and three maps.

"On January 26, 1802, Pres. Thomas Jefferson approved the first law defining the role and functions of the new institution. This measure created the post of Librarian of Congress and gave Congress, through a Joint Committee on the Library, the authority to establish the Library's budget and its rules and regulations. From the beginning, however, the institution was more than just a legislative library, for the 1802 law made the appointment of the Librarian of Congress a presidential responsibility. It also permitted the president and vice president to borrow books, a privilege that, in the next three decades, was extended to most government agencies and to the judiciary. A separate law department was approved in 1832, along with an appropriation to purchase law books under the guidance of the chief justice of the United States." taken from the library of Congress. Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress.


From the Student's Reference Work Vol.2 by Charles Belden Beach ©1893

Violet, a class of well-known plante, found mainly in temperate regions. There are over 200 species, which are sometimes divided into stemless and leafy-stemmed violets. The common violet, found wild in the United States in pastures and woods, has heart-shaped leaves and flowers usually light or dark violet, though there are white and yellow varieties, the round-leaved violet, found in the northern woods with yellow flowers ; the sweet white violet, the larkspur violet, arrow-leaved violet, Canada violet, etc., are among the many varieties. The English violet is'prized for its fragrance, and is cultivated extensively for winter bouquets. The most showy and popular variety of the violet is the pansy, or tricolor, which has been introduced from Europe. Its irregular shaped flowers, with their beautiful coloring, in white and shades of purple and yellow, are among our commonest garden flowers. They are said to have been first raised about 1810 by Lady Mary Hennett from a common weed. They are called pansies from the French word " pensées " (thoughts), "heartsease," ''none-so- pretty," "love-in-idleness," "Johnny- jump-up," and "kiss me at the garden gate."

Friday, August 26, 2016

Burr & Hamilton Duel

July 11, 1804

In the early morning hours, Burr & Hamilton sat down in separate boats in Manhattan and rowed across the Hudson river to Heights of Weehawken, NJ. This location had long been a popular dueling ground. Both men agreed on the location because dueling had been outlawed in NY.

Burr reached the site first with his second, William P. Van Ness. Ness started clearing the underbrush for the duel. The weapons arrived separately to prevent them being used on the river. Burr & Ness arrived at 6:30 AM, Hamiliton, his second, Judge Nathaniel Pendleton and Dr. David Hosack arrived a few minutes before seven.

Lots were cast to choose position. Two shots was the preferred arrangement. Hamilton fired first into the air. Burr fired back and hit Hamiliton in the lower abdomen. Hamilton died the following day.

Burr fled to South Carolina but soon returned to Washington. His political career apparently over he went out west and became involved with a filibuster to establish the Louisiana territory as it's own empire. Burr was charged with treason and later acquitted. Years later he returned to NY was tried and acquitted for his role in the duel. He died in NY and never apologized to the Hamilton family.

Bogus Butter

Houghtaling's Handbook ©1887

What Bogus Butter is Made of.

There are 17 patents on imitation butter. The Letters-patent state that the following ingredients are used in making imitation dairy products: Sugar or lead, bisulphate of lime, salt-petre, borax, boracic acid, salieylic acid, orris root, cottonseed oil, vegetable oils, bitaric acid, bicarbonate of soda, nitrate of potassa, glycerine, capsylic acid, cuparic acid, alum. capsic acid, sulphite of soda, cows' udder, commercial sulphuric acid, castor oil, either caustic potash, carbonic acid, sulphuric acid, castor oil, chalk, clippery elm bark. caul, oil of sesame, oil of sunflower seeds, olive oil, curcumine, turnip seed oil, broma chloralum, chlorate of potash, nitre, oil of sweet almonds, oil of peanuts, peroxide of manganese, stomach of pigs, sheep or calf, nitrate of soda, bennie oil, gastric juice, mustard seed oil, nitre acid, dry blood albumen, sugar, bulyric acid, bicarbonate of potash, chloride of sodium, canstic soda, corn starch, coloring matter.
No, thank you, we don't want any in ours.
End of quote.

I'm with the author, I prefer the real thing.

Fatal Boiler Explosion

This comes from "The Winfield Courier" Nov. 1885


EVANSVILLE, IND., November 19. A terrible boiler explosion occurred at Richland City, Spencer City, Indiana, ten miles west of Rockport, at two o'clock yesterday afternoon, by which two persons were killed and five wounded, one probably fatally. The boiler of a grist mill belonging to S. F. McLaughlin, in exploding, was lifted from its bed and passed through the walls of the mill and then through the store of McLaughlin, killing Mrs. McLaughlin, thence through a blacksmith shop, killing Charles Fisher, who was working at the anvil. The anvil and the body of Fisher were carried some distance, and the shop was demolished. The boiler then passed through a barn sixty feet distant, and was stopped by striking a large oak tree over 300 feet from where it started. McKinney, township trustee, was struck on the head by a brick, but not seriously hurt. Hildebrand, Jones, Bennett, and Fortune were scalded, the first named probably fatally.
End quote

I thought it important to post this news tidbit to show some of the dangers that happen when working with steam.

Motions of the Earth

Taken from "Things Not Generally Known" by John Timbs, David Ames Wells ©1857


The motion of the earth around the sun in round numbers is 68,805 miles per hoar,—so that while we are reading, or cogitating npon this statement, we are at the same time whirling along at a velocity of more than a thousand miles a minute, and nineteen miles between two beats of a pendnlnm, or in a second of time. The motion of Mercury in its orbit is much greater, being upwards of 100,000 miles per hour. If we are disposed to regard this as a rapid motion round the sun, what must the inhabitants of Neptune, who travel only three and a half miles a second, think of us, who are whirling round the sun at six times the speed of Neptune!


The Earth is believed by all astronomers to have, at this moment, not two motions only, but three !—one round its axis, which one can make evident to the very eye; another round the sun ; but what of the third? A most remarkable, and equally mysterious fact; that the sun and all his planets are moving with prodigious velocity through space at the rate of a hundred and fifty millions of miles a-year, towards a particular point in the heavens, a star [X] in the constellation Hercules!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ohio River Canals

Hi all,

I thought I'd pass on this interesting link of history regarding the Ohio River Canals. I've copied the opening paragraph from the web page to give you a taste of the author's page. Ohio's Historic Canals

Ohio's 1000-mile network of navigable canals, constructed between 1825 and 1847, provided a system of economical transportation where none had previously existed. The young state with its isolated frontier economy was transformed almost overnight. The canals opened many markets for its agriculture and industrial products, and attracted thousands of immigrants to the state. Today only a few of the deep excavations, the high earthen embankments and the massive structures of timber and cut stone are left to remind us of our debt to those who built Ohio's first transportation system.

Ohio River

From The Youth's Companion, Or an Historical Dictionary, by Ezra Sampson ©1816

OHIO RIVER, a fine river of the United States of America, which has its source in the Allegany mountains, and is called the Allegany, till its junction with the Mononeahela, at Pittsburgh, where it first receives the name of Ohio. It measures in all its meanders but little short of twelve hundred miles in length, and falls into the Mississippi. It is an excellent river for navigation with large boats, except at the rapids or falls, which are four hundred and eighty-two miles from its confluence with the Mississippi. It is one of the most delightful rivers in the world, whether we consider it for its meandering course through an immense region of forests, for its clean and elegant banks, which afford innumerable pleasant situations for cities, villages, and improved farms, or for its gentle current, clear waters, and smooth bosom which truly entitle it to the name originally given it by the French, of La Belle Review; or the beautiful river. It is a quarter of a mile wide at Pittsburgh.

End Quote

I don't know about you all but I find that references like these are very telling of the time period and what was important to the people of that period. Note that the canals weren't constructed until 1825 - 1847 for this river.


From the Student's Reference Work Vol. 2 by Charles Belden Beach ©1893

Vinegar is a weak form of acetic acid, generally produced by fermentation of the juices of fruit, and varying in flavor according to the material from which it is made. In Great Britain vinegar is usually made from malt, which is fermented in casks, which are three-quarters full, with holes for the entrance of air. They are kept at a

certain temperature (about 70°), and the process may take weeks or months. The vinegar is then filtered and cleared. What is known as the German rapid process consists in pouring the malt or fermented wort in a shower on to shavings in a cask, and drawing off the liquid and pouring it in again, repeating the process until the vinegar has the right degree of acidity. Wine vinegar is largely made in France, and other wine producing countries from the poorer wines, and the lees or settlings of the wine vats. It is white or red, according to the color of the wines used. In the United States cider vinegar is considered the best, and the process is essentially the same as that used in making malt vinegar, warmth and exposure to the air being the two necessary conditions. Homemade vinegar is often produced by putting what is known as the vinegar plant or "mother "into a weak solution of sugar or molasses. The vinegar plant is found in old vinegar barrels and is a fungus growth similar to the yeast plant. The word vinegar means sour wine. See Fermentation.

The Largest Steam Hammer in the World

From Houghtalings Handbook ©1887

The largest steam hammer in the world has been made at Pittsburgh, Penn. It is used for forging steel plates of enormous thickness and size, is ten feet square, and strikes a blow of 200 tons. The anvil block upon which its fearful impact decast upon the foundation it now rests on and it took the molten contents of six cupolas to make the block. When it was cast the Pittsburgh Fire Department sent six steam engines to the scene and kept them there for a week, or until all danger that the fearful mass of molten iron might burst its bonds or by its exploding gases fire the neighborhood, had ended. It took nearly six months for the anvil to cool so that the sand mold might be dug away, and even then workmen could not touch it with their hands.

Further research shows that the largest steam hammer was built in 1891 by Bethlehem Iron Works. I don't know if this is the same one that is mentioned in Houghtalings Handbook but there is at least a 4 year difference between the two.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Underground Railroad Churches

Hi all,

The Underground railroad was made up of houses and churches where slaves could find a place to hide and continue on their way to freedom. Here's a link to one such church in Detroit Michigan. Second Baptist Church

I've dealt with the subject of slavery in some of my historical books. When researching Lizzy's Hope, I read all I could find, at the time, from former slaves that was written during that time period. It was quite an eye opening experience. To understand how they thought of themselves and not what we've been taught today. It bode well to my characters and I received quite a few compliments from African Americans who read the book. If you're writing during this time period or about this subject, I'd encourage you to read as many books as possible by black authors during that time period.


In researching family genealogies I've discovered the valuable uses of censuses. But in the 19th century there were very new. The first census in the U.S. was in 1790.

2nd 1800 It counted Men under 10, M10 & Under 16, M 16 & under 26, M 26 & Under 45, M 45 & up as well as the same for Females. It also listed the Names of Heads of families
3rd 1810
4th 1820
5th 1830
6th 1840
7th 1850 This census marked a change they attempted to count every member of the household including women, children & slaves.
8th 1860 This census counted American Indians
9th 1870
10th 1880 This census allowed women to be enumerators.
11th 1890 Announced that the frontier region of the U.S. no longer existed. So, it was no longer needed to track westward migration. This census was also notable for the use of the tabulating machine, reducing the time to tabulate the census from 7 years to 2.5.

The First Gold Rush

There's several "First Gold Rushes" in America but I believe this one is the first.

In 1799 a 12 year old boy named Conrad Reed found a 17lb gold nugget on his family farm in North Carolina. This nugget was used as a doorstop for years. In 1802, John Reed took the nugget to a jeweler and discovered that it was gold. He wasn't paid well for this nugget but John quickly learned the true value of the gold and a lot more gold was found on the family farm.

Gold mining quickly became a major industry in North Carolina. during the first half of the 19th century gold mining became the number one occupation in North Carolina, surpassing that of farmers.

Gold mining back then was little more than picking the nuggets off the land, then by the middle of the century shafts were dug when they discovered that gold came in veins.

The Charlotte house a mint. It was the first mint to mint gold from America in the U.S.

Spirits of Turpentine A Valuable Remedy

Taken from Houghtaling's Handbook ©1887

This is one of the most valuable articles in a family, and when it has once obtained a foothold in a house, it is really a necessity, and could ill be dispensed with. It's medicinal qualities are very numerous; for burns it is a quick application and give immediate relief; for blisters on the hands it is of priceless value, searing down the skin and preventing soreness; for corns on the toes it is useful, and good for rheumatism and sore throats, and it is the quickest remedy for convulsions or fits. Then it is a sure preventive against moths; by just dropping a trifle in the bottom of drawers, chests and cupboards, it will render the garments secure from injury during the summer. It will keep ants and bugs from closets and storerooms by putting a few drops in the corners and upon the shelves; it is sure destruction to bedbugs, and will effectually drive them away from their haunts if thoroughly applied to the joints of the bedstead in the spring cleaning time, and injures neither furniture nor clothing. Its pungent odor is retained for a long time, and no family ought to be entirely out of a supply at any time of the year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

1804 Dexter Silver Dollar

The Dexter Silver Dollar, 1804 was not minted in 1804. The US Mint did mint silver dollars in 1804 but they were dated 1803, rather than make a new mold. Dexter purchased his coin in 1885 from the Chapman Brothers Auction then sued for authenticity. The US Mint settled the matter. Yes, they had minted the coins in 1834 but only a few. 15 specimens are known. They were gifts.

Dexter had a painting commissioned to celebrate his authentic coin. He also punched a small "D" in one of the clouds on the back of the coin, forever marking it as his.

In a recent auction, 1989, the coin sold for $990,000.

Men of Straw

Taken from "Things Not Generally Known by John Timbs, David Ames Wells ©1857

Many years ago, men could be easily found to give any evidence, upon oath, that might be required: and some of these persons walked openly in Westminster Hall with a straw in one of their shoes, to signify they wanted employment as witnesses; hence originated the saying "he is a Man of Straw." But the custom has high antiquity. A writer in the Quarterly Review (vol. xzziii. p. 344), on Greek Courts, says: "We have all heard of a race of men who used in former days to ply about our own courts of law, and who, from their manner of-making known their occupation, were recognized by the name of straw sheet. An advocate or lawyer who wanted a convenient witness, knew by these signs where to find one, and the colloquy between the parties was brief. 'Don't you remember? ' said the advocate—(the party looked at the fee and gave no sign; but the fee increased, and the powers of memory increased with it)—' To be sure I do.' ' Then come into court and swear it 1' And straw shoes went into court and swore it. Athens abounded in straw shoes."

Though a straw in the shoe has ceased to be the distinguishing mark, the records of many of our courts show that " men of straw " still exist, and are easily found by those unprincipled enough to require their services. They are now, however, principally employed 09 bail; and " straw bail," has become a familiar word in all our courts. Their false oath of the possession of property is often a ready means of snatching felons from the custody of the law.

Potato Croquettes

Take from "The Godey's Lady's Book Receipts and Household Hints" ©1870

Potato Croquettes, A Sweet Dish

Take some nicely baked potatoes, scoop out the mealy part, and mash it thoroughly smooth; press it through a sieve, make it into stiff paste with some cream, butter, orange flower water, powdered loaf sugar, and raw eggs well beaten. Make it into croquettes by rolling portions in sifted bread crumbs, and dipping them in white of egg whipped to a snow. fry them in plenty of lard or fresh butter.


Taken from the book "Things Not Generally Known" by John Timbs, David Ames Wells. ©1857


The title of Filibusters is a mere corruption of the English word freebooters—a German term imported into England during the Low-Country wars of Elizabeth's reign. It has been erroneously traced to the Dutch word/r/JoaJ; but the Jesuit traveller Charlevoix asserts that, in fact, this species of craft derived its title from being first used by the Flibustiers, and not from its swiftness. This, however, is evidently a mistake, as Drayton and Hakluyt use the word; and it seems to bo of even earlier standing in the French language. The derivation from the English word freebooter is at once seen when the * in Flibustier becomes lost in pronunciation.—C. W. Thorribury.
End Quote

The term was revised in the mid 19th century to describe the actions of adventurers who tried to take control of various Caribbean, Mexican and Central-American terrorists. (According to Wikipedia)

The first well known political filibuster was U.S. Senator Henry Clay with regard to a bank bill he was in favor of. This filibuster took a month in 1841 and ended on March 11th.

Filibusters continued in the Senate's history during the rest of the 19th century by the end of the century the term was in common usage.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Butternut Tree

From "The Youth's Companion or Historical Dictionary" by Ezra Sampson ©1816

BUTTERNUT-TREE, one of the valuable indigenous trees of the United States, which grows luxuriantly in many places, and is sometimes so large as to measure ten feet in circumference. The bark affords, by boiling in water, an extract that is found by experience, to possess a purgative quality. This is safe, gentle, and efficacious ; and when administered in doses, from fifteen to forty grains, operates downwards without griping. The nut of this tree is very rich, esculent and oily: the bark is used for dying cloths with various shades ot brown,—Dr. Mitchell. F 2
End quote

Today 90% of the trees have been killed. The Butternut Tree isn't listed as federally threatened by of "Special Concern" and in New York and Tennessee the are threatened.


From the Student's Reference Handbook by Charles Belden Beach © 1893

Swine are among the most important of food animals. For the wild boars from which swine are probably descended, see Boar. The word boar is now used of the male hog ; the female is termed sow—the young are called pigs, and when half-grown, shoats. A sow has two litters a year of from eight to twelve pigs each, or even more ; and it has been caculated that in ten generations the descendants of a single sow would number over 6,000,000. Pork is held to be unwholesome in warm countries, and the ancient Egyptians, as also the Jews and Mohammedans, did not use it. The wild hog is a clean animal, and the tame hog's bad habits are largely due to the way in which it is kept.

The Neapolitan hog is the finest of the Italian breeds; it is black, with a short snout, and upright ears. The Berkshire English swine are both black and white, and make fine bacon and hams. One of the most valuable of English breeds is the Essex, a black hog, which is easily fattened, and at 12 to 18 months furnishes from 250 to 400 pounds of dressed meat. Suffolk swine, though small, put on a large amount of fat for the food they eat. Chinese swine are easily fattened, but are chiefly used to cross with English breeds. Pork-

Eacking is one of the great branches of usiness in the United States. Its leading centers are Chicago, Cincinnati and Kansas City, in the order named. In 1890 the packing establishments put on the market 3,04'/,651,000 pounds of hog product, not counting hogs killed by farmers for their own use, or sold by them in towns and cities. This output was nearly three times that of 1873.


Soap making was largely a household chore until the 19th century. Here's a brief history on the development of soap.

1811 Michel Eugene Chevreul, a French chemist discovered the chemical nature and relationship of fats, glycerine and fatty acids. His studies produced the basic studies for fat and soap chemistry.

1850's A Belgian chemist, Ernest Solvay, advanced the technology with an ammonia process, which used common table salt, or sodium chloride to make soda ash. Solvay's process reduced the cost of alkali and improved the quality of the soda ash.

By 1850 the soap making industry was on of the fastest growing in America. This changed the item from a luxury to an everyday necessity. Which led to the development of milder soaps for bathing.

1857 Cotton seed oil is now being used to produce soap, in Southern areas.

During the Civil War soap became scarce. Southern women became creative and discovered a salt substitute (which was used to harden the soap) prickly pear.

In Field & Fireside dated March 8, 1862 a receipt for soap was listed.
"Take one gallon of strong lye, add a half pound of shucks, cut up fine. Let the shucks boil in the lye until they are reduced to shreds. Then fish the shreds out, and put half a pound of crackling grease in, or six ounces of lard, and boil until it is sufficiently thick to make a good soap.

By 1869 Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote, "Formerly, in New England, soap and candles were made in each separate family; now, comparatively few take this toil upon themselves. We buy soap of the soap-boiler, and candles of the candle-factor."

Facts About the Sea

From Houghtalings Handbook ©1887

The sea cocupies three-fifths of the surface of the earth. AT the depth of about 3,500 feet waves are not felt. The temperature is the same, varying only a trifle from the ice of the pole to the burning of the sun of the equator. A mile down the water has a pressure of over a ton to a square inch. If a box six feet deep were filled with sea water and allowed to evaporate under the sun, there would be two inches of salt left on the bottom. The water is colder at the bottom than at the surface.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Honey out of the Rock

Hi all,

Being Sunday I try to post something that relates to Christianity and, or Christian Churches. I make no apology for this, it is my faith, my life and my relationship with God through Jesus that has directed my writing life.

So with that in mind I'm sharing a link to an 1857 book called "Honey Out of the Rock," or old testament stories for children. I find it fascinating that children's stories from this time period were not too simple. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this taste from the past.

Honey Out of the Rock

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Steamer Atlantic

One of the fastest steamers on Lake Erie, was the Steamer Atlantic. It's been reported that she made the trip from Buffalo to Detroit in 18 hours. In 1852 on Aug. 20th at 2:00 AM she was heading westward when she collided with the Ogdensburgh and sunk. Over 200 people were lost, along with the wealth of many of the surviving passengers. She also carried a fortune in gold and other currency at the time of her sinking.

The recovery of her treasure in 1855 was one of the great stories of early deep water diving. The Atlantic was again rediscovered in 1980 and hundreds of everyday items were recovered from the wreck. The artifacts are on exhibit at the Port Dover Harbour Museum, Ontario, Canada.

Here's an image of Steamer Atlantic

Greek Revival

During the 19th century there were other architectural designs besides Victorian, and yet most of us tend to think only of the Victorian. The Greek Revival dominated american architecture during the period 1818-1850.

The Orwell Congregational church in Vermont was Greek Revival built in 1843. Here's a link to pictures of the church. Link

Here's the link to Google images with Greek Revival architecture.

Toll House

While researching my family genealogy I came across the term "Tourist Home" basically the house was used as what we call a "B&B" today. This made me think of other names for such places. Which brought me to the "Toll House."

As you can imagine these homes were where people paid their tolls to use the Canal, Turnpikes and or Railroad. They also provided a home cook meal and a place to sleep. Another unique feature of most toll houses was a distinctive Bay Front to give the guests a clear view of the turnpike, railroad or canal. These houses were not unique to America but could be found all over the world where travelers had to pay.

In Whitman, MA. one such Toll House existed. And in 1937 she developed a dessert with chocolate morsels from the Nestle company. This new dessert was "TollHouse Cookies."

Tinman or Tinsmith

Tin played an important part in the expansion of the United States during the 19th century. For most of the first half of the century tin was worked by hand. Toward the later part, machines were being used and gradually the Tinmen started to find other trades for income.

Milkpans, spouts, basins, lighting, eating utensils are just a few of the many uses of tin. What made it so practical was it's durability. It could survive the rough roads of the New World.

There's a fair amount of history regarding tinmen and not all of it was good. While researching Corduroy Road to Love, recently rereleased in Blue Ridge Brides, I learned about the tinmen and specifically what happened in the south. To sum it up, the northern tinmen would come down to the south in the spring and summer, selling their wears. They'd return north after they sold all of their wears. Some of the companies had actual salesmen, some were the artists themselves. In the end most overcharged the southern farmers and the tinwear wasn't of great quality. This information became the motivation for my southern boy to come home after learning the trade.

Here's a picture of the a tinsmiths work bench.

Friday, August 19, 2016


Hi all,

I have found a few websites that are useful. So, enjoy the links for as long as they are available.

Wikipedia has a nice article for the earlier part of the century.

Regency period extended into the first part of the century. In fact for 37 years of it. Here's a link with some neat resources.

Victorian Era Fashion, excellent site. But limited to Victorian era.

Limited site but useful information 19th century Paris women's fashions

Ladies Fashion was highly affected by the periodicals of the time period as well. Godey's Lady's Book was quite popular, not just for the color plates of ladies fashions but also for their fictional stories.

Another thing to keep in mind, is what were the fashions of the area you're writing about. For example, in the mid century in Key West, FL. There was a mixture of NY fashion, Southern and Spanish. Corsets didn't last long there, or at least the women didn't wear them too often during the heat of the day. Different cultures brought different fashion attire.

The American Riviera

In 1884 Henry M. Flagler, sometimes known as a captain of industry, came to St. Augustine, Florida. It was during that visit when he purchased some marsh land within the city gates of St. Augustine, filled it up and built Ponce de Leon Hotel. A couple years later he purchased a small stretch of track from Jacksonville to St. Augustine. This small track would eventually stretch all the way down to Key West.

Flagler purchased land to build his railroad but to also build hotels. "In fact, whenever a town was platted, arrangements were contemporaneously made to supply a church and a school--and he was not particular as to the denomination of the religion to be supplied." Flagler did not finish this work by the end of the 19th century but he wasn't too farway from it's completion. He reached Miami by the end of the century and completed on to Key West in 1912.

There is much to read about Flagler and the growth of Florida. Here's how Nevin O. Winter in his book "Florida" © 1918, began his chapter on the American Riviera.

"The east coast of Florida has already developed into one of the famous playgrounds of the world. Because of the influence of the Gulf Stream, it enjoys unusual natural advantages, and there is a splendid equability of temperature. There is a general absence of foggy and rainy days, a preponderance of sunshine, and an opportunity for sea bathing every day in the year without joining the " polar club." Although the summers are long, the extreme heat is less than would naturally be expected, and the nights are almost invariably pleasant."

NY Canals 1860

According to the History of Railroads & Canals ©1860, the state of NY reported this list of Canals.


Erie Canal. Opened in 1825
Champlain Canal. Completed in 1819
Black River Canal. (was a feeder canal to Erie)
Oneida Lake Canal. Completed in 1802
Oswego Canal. Opened in 1828
Seneca River Towing Path. completed in 1839

Baldwinsville Side-cut. purchased by the state in 1853
Cayuga And Seneca Canal. completed in 1839
Crooked Lake Canal. completed in 1833
Chemung Canal. completed in 1833
Chenango Canal. commencement of work 30th Sept. 1859
Genesee Valley Canal. completed in 1859

Burns & Scalds

This information is taken from Household Medicine Surgery, Sick-Room Management, and Diet for Invalids. ©1854 pg.239 Medicine has changed over the years so please note these were the recommended practices at that time.


Burns and Scalds are so extremely alike in their nature, that even in a purely scientific work they may be classed together, and still more so here, where the chief aim is to impart practical instruction in the most compressed form. It is almost unnecessary to say that burning clothes must be put out immediately, by laying the person on the floor and rolling a thick tablecloth, great coat, or hearth-rug over him. What still continues to burn may be put out with water, warm if possible, and not dashed over a patient seriously burnt, as such a shock has proved fatal.

The patient should then be put to bed, and a little wine or spirit and water given; if there is much pain, laudanum, in the proportion of a drop to a child a year old, up to twenty-five or thirty drops to a grown person, may be administered. The clothes must then be removed with all possible gentleness, plenty of soft cotton, wool, or wadding, being in the meantime procured. This is then laid thickly on the burned part, and secured by a bandage. In the more severe cases of burn pus will often form abundantly for days after; it should be gently sponged away with warm water, and lint laid over the part. After deep burns or scalds it often becomes necessary, as healing sets in, to keep the part on the stretch, to prevent the contraction or puckering of the skin, which causes the frightful deformities seen after these accidents, and which, by the way, when they do ensue, are generally remediable wholly or in part.

When the patient seems getting drowsy and low, and the pulse small and flickering, steps must be taken to raise the sinking powers, or death may snatch him from our grasp. This is indeed the great source of danger. Wine, ammonia, and brandy must be given, with hot beef tea or gruel. Smelling salts should be held to the nostrils, hot bricks or bottles of hot water applied to the feet, and mustard poultices over the bowels or to the calves of the legs. As a last resource, an enema, containing three or four table-spoonfuls of turpentine in a pint of gruel, may be thrown up. Death generally ensues when more than half the surface of the trunk is burned or badly scalded. Cases of recovery are on record, but they are rare exceptions.

When a child is only slightly scalded, a little violet powder may be dusted over the part, or flour may be dredged over it. The blisters should not be pricked unless they swell and seem painful; a needle may then be used to puncture them. If the dead skin separates and leaves a raw surface, it is often useful to employ a liniment containing equal parts of linseed-oil and lime-water; cotton wool is laid over this, and retained by a bandage. If proud flesh forms during healing, a weak solution of sulphate of copper (blue vitriol) may be laid on once a-day with a camel-hair pencil.

Severe scalds require to be treated just the same as severe burns. During the process of repair which follows in both, the patient's strength must be assiduously supported. Light but nutritious food must be given, and generally a little bitter ale or wine is requisite. In delicate persons, quinine or steel may be given twice a-day.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dueling In Missouri 1831

This is a true case:

Quoted from "A History of Northeast Missouri" by Walter Williams © 1913

Page 265
At the February term 1831, the grand jury of Boone County indicted Dr. Nash for sending a letter, challenging Gilpin S. Tuttle to fight a duel. The wording of the letter was very adroit, but the intention of the writer was clear. The indictment was signed by R. W. Wells, attorney general, certified by Mason Moss, foremen of the grand jury, and the trial occured before Judge David Todd, in Columbia. It resulted in the conviction of Nash and his being fined one hundred dollars, the only man ever convicted of that offense in this county. The letter is as follows:


I have always been fond of the chase, and of gunning. I have experienced great satisfaction in the chase, in the countries of West Florida and New Mexico, and in the states of Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, S. Carolina, Missouri and Tennessee,—in the extreme eastern part of the latter, I took my first chase when quite a boy. Now, Sir, the object of this communication is to let you know that there is not anything could be more greatful to my feelings than to take a short hunt with you, in some place not exposed to Indians depredations, and , as my first chase was in the East of Tennessee, I propose to take this (perhaps my ]&st) chase in the extream West of that state, say in the Mississippi bottom opposite New Madrid. I propose the hunting camp to be located some where near the Mississippi river (nigh to where the eye of Leonard flashed on Major Berry) and then and there the preliminary arrangements will be made for the hunt, by * * * say our camp keepers—and they will, no doubt, give you liberty to execute your threat of 12th of June last, on me—and if you stick close to the chase, I insure that we will have something of better colar, if not so strong scented, as that with which you plastered my letter 10th of last June.

To Capt. Gilpin S. Tuttle, Yours &c.,

Nashville, Mo. I. P. Nash.

P. S. Sir—I most seriously invite you to this hunt—you may object to the season, but 'tis the best time to save meat and skins, and the climate is more mild at New Madrid than here. I have frequently observed that men by being camp- mates (each doing his duty) would become great friends, and agreeable associates. Therefore this measure is absolutely necessary three days after this is delivered, I shall call at Nashville for an answer for this invintation, believing most confidently that you will perfectly understand this prelude at the first glance. There is an embargo (and something worse) on those who execute certain instruments of writing in Missouri, which criminal words I have, and will avoid. But there is no law (that I know of) which prohibits hunting parties.


I. P. Nash.

There's more on this colorful character of Missouri's past, if you're interested do some further research.

Census Office Salaries 1887

Here's the list of salaries taken from Houghtalings Handbook ©1887 for the Census Office

Superintendent $5,000
Chief Clerk 2,000
6 Clerks, each 1,800
7 Clerks, each 1,600
11 Clerks, each 1,400
18 Clerks, each 1,200
18 Clerks, each 1,000
15 Copyists, each 900
26 Copyists, each 840
48 Copyists, each 720
Messenger 729
2 Messengers, each 660
4 Messengers, each 600
2 Watchmen, each 600
2 Watchmen, each 480
2 Laborers, each 600

King Cotton

In the 19th century Cotton developed and thrived in America's South, by mid 19th century the southern plantations industry was coined "King Cotton". The American crop was stronger than the India crop (The leader in cotton in the previous and early part of the 19th century).

It was the invention of the 18th century item by Eli Whitney that changed the industry. In the ten years after Eli invented the Cotton Gin, the industry went from thousands per year to 8 million. That made cotton the cash crop and the south grew rapidly with the demand for more and more cotton.

This also meant that slavery increased as well.

Here's one figure on the increase of production: In 1830 the south produced 720,000 bales in 1850 it produced 2.85 million by 1860 it was nearly 5 million. This meant that by the time of the Civil War Cotton was 60% of the export crop for the entire United States, bringing in an annual income of $300, 000, 000 per year.

This brought about the famous quote from Senator James Henry Hammond of South Carolina. "Without firing a gun, without drawing a sword, should they make war on us, we could bring the whole world to our feet... What would happen if no cotton was furnished for three years?... England would topple headlong and carry the whole civilized world with her save the South. No, you dare not to make war on cotton. No power on the earth dares to make war upon it. Cotton is King."

19th Century Railroad Timeline

1800: Oliver Evans, an American, creates the earliest successful non-condensing high pressure stationary steam-engine.
1804: Oliver Evans builds his first steam-powered boat, weight: 4,000 lbs.
1804: Matthew Murray of Leeds, England invents a steam locomotive which runs on timber rails. This is probably the FIRST RAILROAD ENGINE. Seen by Richard Trevithick before he builds his loco.
1804: Richard Trevithick of Cornwall builds 40 psi steam locomotive for the Welsh Penydarran Railroad.
1807: The very first passenger train ran from Swansea to Mumbles on March 25th.
1808: Trevithick builds a circular railway in London's Torrington Square. Steam carriage Catch Me Who Can weighes 10 tons and makes 15 mph.
1812: The first commercially successful steam locomotives, using the Blenkinsop rack and pinion drive, commenced operation on the Middleton Railway. This was the world's first regular revenue-earning use of steam traction, as distinct from experimental operation.
1812: American Colonel John Stevens publishes a pamphlet containing:
"Documents tending to prove the superior advantages of Railways and Steam Carriages over Canal Navigation."
He also states,
"I can see nothing to hinder a steam carriage moving on its ways with a velocity of 100 miles an hour."
1813: Englishman William Hedley builds and patents 50 psi railroad loco which could haul 10 coal wagons at 5 mph, equal to 10 horses.
1814: Englishman George Stephenson builds Blucher, his first railway engine. Pulls 30 tons at 4 mph, but is not efficient.
1815: Stephenson's second engine: 6 wheels and a multitubular boiler.
1821: Englishman Julius Griffiths patents a passenger road locomotive.
1824: Construction begins on the 1st locomotive workshop in New Castle, England.
1824: Englishman David Gordon patents a steam-driven machine with legs which imitates the action of a horse's legs and feet. Not successful.
1825: Stephenson's 8-ton LOCOMOTION No. 1 built for the Stockton & Darlington Railroad. Capable of pulling 90 tons of coal at 15 mph. Stephenson plans all details of the line, and even designs the bridges, machinery, engines, turntables, switches, and crossings, and is responsible for every part of the work of their construction. (The passenger coaches of this time were all drawn by horses.)
1825: Colonel John Stevens builds a steam waggon which he placed on a circular railway before his house now Hudson Terrace at Hoboken, New Jersey.
1826: The first line of rails in the New England States is said to have been laid down at Quincy, Mass., 3 miles in length and pulled by horses.
1827: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is chartered to run from Baltimore to the Ohio River in Virginia. It was the first westward bound railroad in America. Wind power (sail on carriage) was tried, followed by horse power, with the horse walking on a treadmill which drove the carriage wheels!
1827: The Switch Back Gravity Railroad in Pennsylvania began operation in May of 1827 before work began on the B&O. It was the second railroad in the U.S., the first railroad in Pennsylvania and the first common carrier railroad in the U.S.
1828: Delaware & Hudson Canal Co. builds a railroad from their mines to the termination of the canal at Honesdale. Also pulled by horses.
1829: The first steam locomotive used in America, the English-built Stourbridge Lion, is put to work on the Delaware & Hudson. It is too heavy for the track (twice as heavy as had been promised by the builders), and is laid up next to the tracks as a stationary boiler.
1829: Peter Cooper of New York in 6 weeks time builds the Tom Thumb, a vertical boiler 1.4 HP locomotive, for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It hauled 36 passengers at 18 mph in August 1830. It had a revolving fan for draught, used gun barrels for boiler tubes, and weighed less than one ton.
1829: James Wright of Columbia, PA. invents the cone "tread" of the wheel, which prevents wear of flanges and reduces resistance.
1829: Stephenson's Rocket wins a competition for locomotive power at the Rainhill Trials on the Manchester & Liverpool Railway. Capable of 30 mph with 30 passengers.
1830: The Best Friend is built at the West Point Foundery at New York for the Charlston & Hamburg Railroad. It was the first completely American-built steam engine to go into scheduled passenger service. It did excellent work until 1831 when the boiler exploded due to a reckless fireman, unexpectedly ending its, and his career.
1831: The 3.5 ton De Witt Clinton hauls 5 stage coach bodies on railroad wheels at 25 mph on the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad between Albany and Schenectady. This engine was lightly built, and was retired less than two years after going into service.
1831: The South Carolina was the first eight-wheeled engine.
1831: Robert Stevens, son of Colonel John Stevens, went to England and shipped back (unassembled) the John Bull for the Camden & Amboy Railroad in New Jersey. It was erected by mechanic Isaac Dripps, who had never seen a steam locomotive. There was no assembly manual. He made this the first locomotive fitted with a bell, headlight and cowcatcher, and it remained in service until 1866. Dripps went on to become superintendent of motive power for the Pennsylvania Railroad at Altoona.
1832: The Brother Jonathon was the first locomotive in the world to have a four-wheel leading truck. Designed by John B. Jervis for the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad.
1832: The American No. 1 was the first 4-4-0, the first of its class. It was capable of regular speeds of 60 mph with its 9.5" by 16" cylinders. Designed by John B. Jervis, Chief Engineer for the Mohawk & Hudson.
1832: The Atlantic on the B&O hauls 50 tons from Baltimore over a distance of 40 miles at 12 to 15 mph. This engine weighed 6.5 tons, carried 50 pounds of steam and burned a ton of anthracite coal on the round trip. The round trip cost $16, doing the work of 42 horses, which had cost $33 per trip. The engine cost $4,500, and was designed by Phineas Davis, assisted by Ross Winans. English locomotives burned bituminous coal.
1833: George Stephenson applies a small steam brake cylinder to operate brake shoes on driving wheels of locomotives.
1855: The first land grant railroad in the U. S. is completed. The Illinois Central arrives in Dunleith, Illinois (now East Dubuque).
1856: The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River is completed between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa.
1860: Nehemiah Hodge, a Connecticut railway mechanic, patents a locomotive vacuum brake. Pressure is limited to atmospheric (14.7 psi), but practical considerations limit pressure to 7 to 8 psi. Thus, available braking power is low, especially above 3,000 feet altitude.
1862: President Abraham Lincoln signs the Pacific Railway Act, which authorizes the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. Theodore Judah had the vision to build a railroad across the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, and then to continue the railroad across the United States. The Central Pacific Railroad was financed by The Big Four: Collis Huntington, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins.
1868: Major Eli Janney, a confederate veteran of the civil war, invents the knuckle coupler. This semi-automatic device locks upon the cars closing together without the rail worker getting between the cars. This replaces the "link and pin" coupler, which was a major cause of injuries to railroad workers. A "cut" lever at the corner of the car releases the coupler knuckle making uncoupling safer.
1869: George Westinghouse, an inventive Civil War veteran, develops the straight air brake. A Pennsy 4-4-0 and a couple of passenger cars are fitted with the system and successfully demonstrated on April 13th.
1869: The Central Pacific and Union Pacific meet at Promontory Summit, Utah for the driving of the golden spike on May 10th.
1872: George Westinghouse patents the first automatic air brake. This is basically the same system as is used by today's railroads.
1876: All Southern Pacific and Central Pacific passenger cars converted to air brakes.
1883: The Northern Pacific is completed at Gold Creek, Montana.
1883: The Southern Pacific is completed.
1885: The Santa Fe is completed.
1893: The Great Northern is completed in the Cascade Mountains of Washington.
1893: Federal Railway Safety Appliances Act instituted mandatory requirements for automatic air brake systems and automatic couplers, and required standardization of the location and specifications for appliances such as handholds and grab irons necessary for employees' use. This applied only to interstate rail traffic.
1893: On May 10th locomotive #999 of the New York Central & Hudson River RR hauled four heavy Wagner cars of the Empire State Express down a 0.28% grade at record-breaking speed. Although unverified, the conductor timed the speed at 112.5 mph over 1 mile, and at 102.8 mph over 5 miles. This 4-4-0 had 86" drivers for this run, and was later fitted with more normal 78" wheels as it now has on museum display.
1893: The first mainline electrification was in Baltimore, MD. A rigid overhead conductor supplied 675 VDC via one-sided tilted pantograph to the 96 ton 4-axle, 4-motor locomotives. These were very successful, hauling 1,800 ton trains up the 0.8% grade in the 1.25 mile Howard Street tunnel, where steam was not allowed to operate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Power of Steam

In the first part of the 19th century you'll find the steam engines in factories and ships. They also played an important part in the Railroads. Today we think in terms of electricity but throughout much of the 19th century steam power developed and then faded by the end of the century.

Steam first started to be used with a pump. But steam has to be feed. You need to add water to your boilers and you need to add coal or wood to be burned to heat the boilers.

In most cases you'll find that steam was in large part the catalyst for the Industrial Revolution. It was the factories & mills that progressed the most with the use of steam.

Because we overlook it today, those of us who write historical fiction tend to over look this hugh industry and just how differently things worked. Please take time to note what kind of industries were alive and well during the time period you're writing in.

Here's a list of some of the many steam applications that played a part in the 19th century.

Winding engines
Rolling mill engines
steam donkeys
Pumping stations
steamboats, steamships
steam locomotive
traction engine
Steam tractor
Steam engines powered the cable railways & tramways
steam wagon,
steam bus also known as steam carriages
steam tricycle
steam car
steam shovel
steam roller also known as road rollers

New Orleans 1849

In 1849 New Orleans suffered from a flood. To date this flood was the worse the city of New Orleans suffered second only to what hit New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

The Sauve's Crevasse levee failed. Pierre Sauve's plantation was 17 miles up river from the city. On the afternoon of May 3rd, the levee gave way. It took weeks before the levee could be repaired but not for a lack of trying. Two engineers, George T. Dunbar & Surgi worked tirelessly for 17 days until they finally were able to staunch the flood on June 20th. It was another month before the rains disappeared and life in New Orleans could resume.


Was the first steamboat on Lake Erie. Launched in Aug. 23, 1818, the "Walk-in-the-Water" had a long first trek up the Niagara River from Buffalo to Lake Erie. She was the first steamboat on Lake Erie, Huron and Michigan and the third on the Great Lakes over all. She received her name from the Indians. Her maiden voyage carried 29 passengers. Their fare was $8.00 to Erie.

As I mentioned in an earlier post the waterways were very important in transportation during the first half of the 19th century. Even today the waterways still play an important part.

"Walk-in-the-Water" was 338 tons, length of 135feet and width of 32. The width of the beam was 8 feet and 6 inches. She had a short life. In Oct. 1821 leaving Cleveland she ran into a typical gale. The boat began to leak, she turned back for Buffalo. One of the anchor ropes broke and she began to drag on the anchor. She grounded on the beach south of Buffalo harbor. All were safe.

I mention "Walk-in-the-Water" for another reason. In 1832 the Lancaster Presbyterian Church built their present house of worship with timbers salvaged from "Walk-in-the-Water". Interestingly enough the church was organized in 1818 six months before the launch of "Walk-in-the-Water".

Salaries of U.S. Officials 1887

The Information comes from Houghtalings Handbook

Since I live in Florida I thought I'd share the list for that state.
Cedar Keys $1,200
DeLand $1,000
Gainesville $1,500
Jacksonville $2,900
Key West $1,700
Ocala $1,100
Orlando $1,075
Palatka $1,000
Pensacola $2,100
Quincy $1,000
Saint Augustine $1,600
Sandford $1,150
Tallahassee $1,600
Tampa $1,025

The District of Columbia
Washington $4,000

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Events from 1802

Hi all,

Over the years I've gathered info on events in various years of the 19th century. Most of these can be found on various websites. Here's my list of events for the year 1802.

Jan 05 John Murray names Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia.
January 25 Napoleon elected president of Italian (Cisalpine) Republic
January 26 Congress passes an act calling for a U.S. Capitol library that later becomes the Library of Congress.
January 29 John Beckley of Virginia appointed 1st Librarian of Congress
February 2 1st leopard exhibited in U.S., Boston (admission 25 cents )
February 8 Simon Willard patents banjo clock
Feb 10 In London England Alexander Mackenzie 1764-1820 knighted for achievements in the North West, and for being first to cross the North American continent by land.
March 16 Law signed to establish U.S. Miltary Academy (West Point, New York)
3/16 The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., was established on
this date in 1802 by an act of Congress.
March 16 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers established (2nd time)
March 25 France, Netherlands, Spain and England signs Peace of Amiens
March 27 Treaty of Amiens-French Revolutionary War ends
Mar 28th - Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers discovers 2 Pallas, the second asteroid known to man.
April 8/9 French Protestant church becomes state-supported and -controlled
Apr 15th - William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy see a "long belt" of daffodils, inspiring the former to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
April 26 – A general amnesty signed by Napoleon Bonaparte allows all but about 1,000 of the most notorious émigrés of the French Revolution to return to France, as part of a reconciliary gesture to make peace with the various factions of the Ancien Regime that ultimately consolidates his own rule.
May 3 Washington D.C. incorporates as a city
May 19 French Order of Legion d'Honneur forms
May 20 – By the Law of 20 May 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte reinstates slavery in the French colonies, revoking its abolition in the French Revolution.
June 2 – Indigenous Australian Pemulwuy, a leader of the resistance to European settlement of Australia, is shot dead by Henry Hacking.
Jun 4th - Grieving over the death of his wife, Marie Clotilde of France, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia abdicates his throne in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel.
June 8 – Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L'Ouverture is seized by French troops and sent to Fort de Joux for prison.
Jun 9th - US Academy at West Point founded
June 15 Toussaint L'Ouverture leaves Haiti, prisoner on French ship Heros
July – Eleuthère Irénée du Pont founds E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, the modern DuPont Company.
July 4 U.S. Military Academy officially opens at West Point, New York
5 July to 28 August – A general election in the United Kingdom brings victory for the Tories, led by Henry Addington.
July 7 1st comic book "The Wasp," is published
August 2 Napoleon declared "Counsel for Life"
August 7 Napoleon orders re-instatement of slavery on St. Domingue (Haiti)
August 25 Toussaint L'Ouverture imprisoned in Fort de Joux, Jura, France
September 3 – William Wordsworth publishes the poem Westminster Bridge.
Sep 11th - France annexes the Italian region of Piedmont a part of the French First Republic.
October – The French army enters Switzerland.
October 2 – War ends between Sweden and Tripoli. The United States also negotiates peace, but war continues over the size of compensation.
October 10 1st non indian settlement in Oklahoma
December 2 English sell Suriname to Dutch

Postage Regulations Part two 1889

Fourth Class - Merchandies, Samples, Etc. - Mailable matter of the fourth class includes all matter not embraced in the first, second and third classes, which is not in its form or nature liable to destroy, deface or otherwise damage the contents of the mail-bag, or harm the person or any one engaged in the postal service.
All matter of the fourth class is subject to a postage charge at the rate of one cent an ounce or fraction thereof, to be paid by stamps affixed.

Postal Cards - Postal cards are sold at a fixed rate of one and two cents (for foreign) each, in any quantity. Unclaimed postal cards are never returned to the writer. Anything pasted on or attached to a postal card subjects it to a letter postage.

Money Orders - Orders not over $10, 8 cents;
$10 to $15, 10 cents;
$15 to $30, 15 cents;
$30 to $40, 20 cents;
$40 to $50, 25 cents;
$50 to $60, 30 cents;
$60 to $70, 35 cents;
$70 to $80, 40 cents;
$80 to $100, 45 cents.
Postmasters cannot issue more than three orders to the same person in one day, in favor of the same payee, at the same office.

N.B.- Postal orders or notes under five dollars are issued without corresponding advices, and, when duly receipted, are payable at any money order office in the United States, selected by the bearer. The fee is three cents for each order. Postal notes are payable to bearer when presented at office of issue. The government is not liable after a note has once been paid. Postal notes are invalid at expiration of three calendar months from the last day of the month issue.

Foreign Postage- Canada - letters 2 cts.; and 5 cents on all letters to all countries belonging to the "Universal Postal Union" which embraces all parts of Europe, Mexico, Equador, Cuba, Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, Chili, Peru, Egypt, Hayti, etc. Latter rate is on each 1/2 ounce; printed matter 2 cts. for 2 ozs.

Source Houghtalings Handbook 1889

Postal Regulations Part One 1889

United States Postal Regulations

First Class Mail Matter-Letters.-This class includes letters, and anything of which the postmaster cannot ascertain the contents without destroying the wrapper, or anything unsealed which may be wholly or partly in writing--except manuscript for publication accompanied by proof sheets. Postage, two cents each one ounce or for each fraction above one ounce. On local or drop letters, at free delivery offices, two cents. At offices where no free delivery by carriers, one cent.

Second Class - Regular Publications.- This class includes all newspapers, periodicals, or matter exclusively in print and regularly issued at stated periods from a known office of publication or news agency. Postage, one cent a pound or fraction thereof.

Third Class - Miscellaneous Printed Matter. - Transient newspapers and periodicals, one cent for each four ounces or fraction thereof. Mailable matter of third class includes printed books, circulars and other matter wholly in print (not of the second class), proof sheets and manuscript accompanying the same, and postage shall be paid at the rate of one cent for each two ounces or fraction thereof, and shall fully be prepaid by postage stamps affixed to said matter.
All packages of matter of the third class must be so wrapped or enveloped that their contents may be readily and thoroughly examined by postmasters without destroying the wrappers.

From Houghtaling's Handbook

Boiled Fig Pudding

Boiled Fig Pudding taken from The Godey's Lady's Book Receipts and Household Hints ©1870
A quarter of a pound of figs, half a pound of suet, a cupful of bread crumbs, four eggs, a breakfastcupful of milk. Mix the suet, figs, and bread together; boil the milk and pour over them. Now beat the eggs and pour over the other ingredients. Let the mixture stand a little while, then put it into shape, boil it for two hours, and serve with cream or sweet sauce.

For those of you young enough not to know what Suet is, it is raw beef or mutton fat, generally a hard fat found on the loins and kidneys. With today's health conscience society I'm sure there are many alternatives to suet. During the 19th century it was quite common to make a "tallow" from the suet. Tallow would stay fresher longer.

Unfortunately I don't know what the difference is between a regular measuring cup and a breakfastcupful of milk. The best I could find is that it was/is the same as today's 1 cup = 8 ozs. In the search I found several references to a breakfastcupful out there especially in books relating to the 19th century. So, would safely assum

Monday, August 15, 2016

Statehood of States in the United States

When the 19th century began there were 16 states to the union by the end of the century there were 45.

In the columns below you'll see the number in which the state joined the union, the state and then the date.

17 Ohio Mar. 1, 1803
18 Louisiana Apr. 30, 1812
19 Indiana Dec. 11, 1816
20 Mississippi Dec. 10, 1817
21 Illinois Dec. 3, 1818
22 Alabama Dec. 14, 1819
23 Maine Mar. 15, 1820
24 Missouri Aug. 10, 1821
25 Arkansas Jun 15, 1836
26 Michigan Jan. 26, 1837
27 Florida Mar. 3, 1845
28 Texas Dec. 29, 1845
29 Iowa Dec. 28, 1846
30 Wisconsin May 29, 1848
31 California Sep. 9, 1850
32 Minnesota May 11, 1858
33 Oregon Feb. 14, 1859
34 Kansas Jan. 29, 1861
35 West Virginia Jun. 20, 1863
36 Nevada Oct. 31, 1864
37 Nebraska Mar. 1. 1867
38 Colorado Aug. 1, 1876
39 North Dakota Nov. 2, 1889
40 South Dakota Nov. 2, 1889
41 Montana Nov. 8, 1889
42 Washington Nov. 11, 1889
43 Idaho Jul. 3, 1890
44 Wyoming Jul. 10, 1890
45 Utah Jan. 4, 1896


In the 19th century American glass makers started to change the face of the industry.

In 1808 a factory was set up in PA

In 1818 the New England Glass Company was formed.

A few years later, a glassmaker named Deaming Jarvis (Originally worked for New England Glass), founded the Sandwich Glass Company, developed a new way of making glass. In the mid 1820's he began using a lever-operated press. Jarvis didn't invent the press but he did receive several patents for improvements in pressing techniques and mold designs. One of the first items that he and his company began making was the cup plate. It seems there was a custom in the early 19th century to drink tea from a saucer. The cup plate became the coaster for the tea cup.

Other areas that developed glass factories were in NY, NJ and Vermont. When Jarvis set up the Sandwich Glass Company on Cape Cod, he purchased 20,000 additional acres of woodland. The wood was necessary to turn the sand to molten glass.

Towards the later part of the century, and the development of natural gas the industry was changing. Michael Owns (Owens Bottling) developed solutions that change the hand blowing industry to a manufacturing industry.


This information comes from Ayers' Every Man His Own Doctor

The wart is an excrescence from the cutis or outer skin--a horny tumor formed upon it; it is not generally so painful as it is disagreeable and unsightly, coming nearly always upon the hands, or some other conspicuous place. The best treatment is to touch it with some caustic, or escharote. Nitrate or silver is the most effectual, but this turns the skin black, which is in many cases very objectionable. Caustic potash will answer the purpose, so will acetic acid, if of extra strength, and nitric acid. The application should be made daily, and the decayed part pared off, or cut with scissors. If it can be conveniently done, a ligature of silk tied tightly around the base of the wart will cause it to decay, and eventually drop off. Another simple method is to bind a leaf of a house leek upon it, from which you have removed the skin, for a few nights in succession, and the wart will disappear.

Brick Making

A short while ago I mentioned I'd be sharing how bricks were made. Well, I found a website that has it all laid out so, I thought I'd simply pass on the link.


With most information on the internet it is always wise to make a backup copy of the information you find that might be helpful to your research.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

What A Friend We Have in Jesus

This old hymn is still song today in many American churches. The words were written by Joseph M. Scriven to comfort his mother who was in Ireland. It was 30 years after he wrote it that he received full credit because it had been published anonymously at some point.

The music score that most of us sing today was composed in 1879 by John Zundel

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Below is a picture taken from page 30 of Houghtaling's Handbook. It's the high and low of the value of gold for each month over a sixteen year period. Since many write historical novels during that time period I thought it might be of value to some of you.

Here's the link to an enlarged image of the page. Link

Dowsing aka Water Witching

Today you might find the art of finding water with a water witch a bit old fashion to say the least but the reality is it was very common place and still is being used today. You might have heard the term as divining or doodlebugging as well.

What is it you ask? A "Dowser" (a person who uses a rod or dowsing stick to locate underground water) would use a Y shaped stick from a witch hazel branch and walk the property for the best location to dig a well. Some dowsers would prefer freshly cut sticks others would use the same one over and over again.

How does the dowser know that there is water underneath? The dowsing stick would tend to vibrate when it was over such a location. The extreme movement you can see in some movies doesn't really happen.

Historically other items have been searched for besides water but for today's post, I'm dealing with water witching. Some say it's chance, others believe it has something to do with electromagnetic fields and the Dowser's ability to detect it. Still there is no question that a Dowsing Rod or Water Witch was used to find many wells in this country.

Savannah Gray Brick

ne of the items I came across while researching in Savannah, GA. was a rare brick called the "Savannah Gray Brick." Originally called McAlpin's Gray Brick because it was made from gray clay found on Henry McAlpin's Hermitage plantation located on the Savannah River. I'm not exactly sure when the bricks were first made but they played an important part in the rebuilding of Savannah after the fire of 1820. These bricks were made by the slaves who worked on the plantation. No one today, seems to be able to replicate these unusual bricks.

These bricks today are still found through out the city however they are extremely rare to find. I found a current auction online where someone was selling 400 bricks with a starting bid of $800.

One of the reasons these bricks stood out for me was that I grew up on Martha's Vineyard and we had a the remains of an old brickyard. We also had the Gay Head Cliffs that have been photographed over and over again. I'm fortunate to have some old photographs of myself and my family standing at the Gay Head Cliffs when there still was a giant red cliff that looked like the portrait of an Indian. Today that cliff is gone but it is firmly attached in my memory.

The other reason for us as historical fiction writers to consider bricks, brickyards and anything significant about them is that they played an important part in the lives of those living in the 19th century. Many homes were built with brick and if not the entire home, the foundations and the chimneys.

Here's another tidbit concerning bricks, long before our 19th century. In the building of the first Lutheran church built in Ebenezer, GA was built with bricks. The impressions of those early settler's fingers are still in some of the bricks.

Another time I'll go into the making of the bricks.