THE UNFOLDING JOURNEY is a new blog written in association with Legacy Genealogy.

This blog is a blend of disciplines that reveal the rich texture of culture and history that surrounded your ancestors' lives, as well as your own. We will take you beyond just the names, dates, and places to give you the "back story" for the reasons your ancestors thought what they thought and did what they did. We invite you to also visit us at the Legacy Genealogy facebook page at http://facebook.com/legacygenealogy

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On July 19, 1848, the very first Women’s Rights Convention was convened to discuss the role of women in the American society. It was held over two days at Seneca Falls, in northwestern New York (midway between Rochester and Syracuse).

This historic event signaled the beginning of the women’s rights movement in the United States. It was organized by five women - Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Jane Hunt. The most important document coming out of the convention was its “Declaration of Sentiments,” a list of grievances with a demand for action. The struggle, begun in Seneca Falls, would last for more than another century, and many believe it still has not met its objectives.

You can judge for yourself if their “DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS” is justified by reading some of the excerpted passages below. Space does not allow us to include all of the provisions but here are some of the most important.

“The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:

“He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise. (no right to vote)

“He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice. (no right to make laws)

“Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has opposed her on all sides. (no representation in government)

“He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead. (no right to enter into legal contracts)

“He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns. (limited property rights)

“He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper cause of divorce; in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given. (no right to divorce an abusive husband or gain custody of their children)

“He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration. (no equal pay for equal work)

“He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known. (barred from certain professions)

“He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education - all colleges being closed against her. (barred from higher education)

“He allows her in Church but in a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry. (barred from holding office in the church)

“He has created a false public sentiment, by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women. (held to a different moral standard than men)

“He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own power, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life. (repressed civil rights leads to poor self respect)

“Now, in view of this entire disenfranchisement of one-half of the people of this country, their social and religious degradation; in view of the unjust laws mentioned above, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, WE INSIST THAT THEY HAVE IMMEDIATE ADMISSION TO ALL THE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES WHICH BELONG TO THEM AS CITIZENS OF THESE UNITED STATES."

One hundred people ratified and signed this document (32 were men).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The English Colony at Jamestown was a failure. Unlike the Plymouth Colony, which was founded thirteen years later, Jamestown (1607) was not a refuge for people fleeing religious persecution or pioneers searching for a new home land. It was an economic venture that was focused on making a profit. Over the 16 or so years of its existence, it was plagued by every kind of difficulty imaginable; and five thousand of the total six thousand settlers died there. They came in several stages but each succeeding group barely lasted 24 months. Textbooks tell us that in spite of great adversity, the settlers persevered, but they did not.
Since little remains of the settlement site, historians try to piece together its story from scattered artifacts and the journals of men who were there, such as John Smith. Theories abound about why this English mission failed. Included are starvation, disease, poisoning, war with the Indians, incompetence, and even mass suicide. There seems to be some evidence for all of these.
In 1610, three years into the Jamestown venture, a disastrous winter struck the colony. Only 60 of the 500 colonists survived the FAMINE, now known as “the starving time.” Climactic records also indicate that the area was in the midst of worst drought in 800 years. Tree-ring analysis indicates that the native population was already suffering a serious crop shortage due to drought before the first settlers stepped ashore. The additional task of helping to feed the “helpless” colonists during hard times put a strain on both cultures.
Archeologists from the Jamestown Rediscovery Project are now beginning to theorize that a form of the PLAGUE may have manifested itself among the settlers. Excavations have found the remains of black rats mixed in with the remains of food supplies. They believe that the famished settlers may have been eating the rats. Black rats are common only in Europe and are not an American species. More than likely, the rats made the sea voyage with the colonists. They are major carriers of the plague. Also unearthed were more than 70 skeletons that appear to have been buried in a great hurry by people anxious to avoid contact with the bodies, which also suggest the presence of a contagious agent. 
Malnutrition lowered the immunity of the settlers who more readily contracted diseases like MALARIA and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Traditional thought says that malaria was a New World disease for which the colonists had no resistance, but this has now been proven wrong. In fact, it is now believed that the malaria strain “P.vivax” was brought by the colonists from England. When combined with the African strain “P. falciparum,” carried by the slaves brought in for labor after 1619, the mix was lethal. Other researchers suggest that the high level of mortality is actually more consistent with TYPHOID FEVER.
Some pathologists contend that many of the deaths were the result of ARSENIC POISONING; perhaps at the hands of undercover Spanish operatives sabotaging the settlement. The heavy metal arsenic attacks the body’s energy producing mitochondria located in the cells. This would disable every system in the body as tissues shut down, followed by death. Pathologists have found parallels between the symptoms recorded by the settlers and arsenic poisoning; including bloody diarrhea, weakness, skin peeling, delirium and sudden, fatal heart attacks. Other researchers theorize that the settlers, since drought was ever present, ingested water from the swampy brackish waters near the settlement; which may have brought on salt poisoning, pellagra, and scurvy.
From the beginning, the Jamestown settlers were besieged by INDIAN ATTACKS from the Powhatans, a tribe of the Algonquian Nation. In the early days of the colony, John Smith and Pocahontas were able to maintain an uneasy peace, but Smith sailed for England in 1609 and never returned. Later problems with the Powhatans began to grow over two issues. First, the only cash crop developed by the colony was tobacco, which needed a lot of land to be raised profitably; and Jamestown was a commercial venture. More and more Indian land was usurped by the settlers. Periodic Indian attacks were a demonstration of Indian power as they tried to contain the colony. In 1610, the Indian attacks caused the settlers to abandon their small town and retreat into the Jamestown Fort. Second, the Powhatans saw the English attempts to Christianize and civilize them as a threat to their way of life. Their silence in the earlier years was interpreted by the English as subservience.   
In 1622, it was apparent to the Indians that the English intended to expand again. The Powhatan Nation unleashed a massive attack upon the Jamestown colony. They killed families in the plantation houses and servants and workers in the fields. Almost four hundred settlers were left dead. The harsh treatment of the bodies was symbolic of their contempt for the English. In addition to the loss of life, the settlers also lost the valuable crops and supplies that they dearly needed to survive the next winter. Another 400 settlers died as a result.
The numerous arrivals of new settlers included many “gentlemen of privilege” who possessed no practical skills to survive in the wilderness. They could neither farm nor fight. There were recordings in journals that describe the INCOMPETENCE of these men. Their presence offered no contribution to the success of the colony, but only a drain on colony supplies.
A more recent theory contends that widespread depression caused people to stop holding onto life in the colony and turn to SUICIDE. The hungry settlers lived mainly on Indian maize (corn) which lacks the chemical tryptophan, an amino acid. The absence of tryptophan inhibits the synthesis of serotonin, resulting in severe depression and, over time, leads to an increased rate of suicide. The settlers own records indicate that they didn’t go out and hunt animals and were generally lethargic. Pioneering types are especially vulnerable to a loss of hope. In 1880, suicides on the American western frontier were 100 times higher than today. Letting the body chemistry get out of balance, a person’s biology can lose the ability to renew itself. 
Whatever the cause, or causes, the Jamestown settlement seems to have been doomed from the beginning. Eighty percent of the settlers who ever lived in the early Jamestown colony died in some horrible manner -  starvation, disease, poisoning, Indian attacks, their own incompetence, and suicide.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Civil War History of the 57th Indiana
(#11 of 52)

Retreat from Tennessee to stop the Confederates from invading Indiana.
“For some time the enemy had been gathering a large force at Chattanooga which, under command of Gen. Bragg, was intended as one of three grand columns then forming for the purpose of invading the northern states. At the council of war, held in Richmond, Virginia, July 4, 1862, by the leading Confederate generals, they unanimously favored an offensive movement northward. One column, under command of Gen. Lee, was to cross the Potomac and enter Maryland; another, under Kirby Smith, advancing from East Tennessee, was to cross the Cumberland Gap, move through Kentucky, and strike the Ohio River at Cincinnati; while the third, outnumbering the second, was to march from Chattanooga, cross the Cumberland Mountains, and, by a rapid movement, reach the Ohio at Louisville, before the scattered forces of Buell could be concentrated for resistance.
“Early on the morning of Wednesday, the 8th of September, we took up the line of march northward, through thick forests of oak timber, with which the ground was covered. In this season out tents were rarely unloaded from the wagons, unless there was an appearance of rain. Beds were made on the ground, on bunches of leaves or small bushes, and when convenient, under the shelter of trees, so as to prevent the dampness caused by falling dew. We camped in a dense cedar thicket, with a corn field nearby, which furnished a good supply for cooking.
“On Saturday, we reached a road filled for miles with troops, citizens, and negroes, who were on their way north. A large number from the vicinity of Shelbyville, both whites and colored, dreading the oppression of Confederate rule, were on their way to Nashville. When yet a few miles out, we were met by some ladies in a fine carriage, doubtless, spies, engaged in counting the number of troops. Occasionally, they expressed their disgust at the appearance of the dirty soldiers, and finally returned to the city (Nashville).
“We were now four miles from the Kentucky state line. When we arrived at the line, the Kentucky boys in our brigade gave rousing cheers for their native state.
“The dust on the road was nearly ‘shoe-mouth’ deep, and the constant motion of so many men caused it to rise in perfect clouds. At times it was impossible to see from one end of the company to the other. Col. Wagner came by, and gave the regiment commanders orders to send one man from each company with all the canteens, dismount negroes and all persons riding surplus or government horses, mount them, ride ahead of the column, and fill the canteens with water.
“Upon our arrival at the town of Cave City, it was reported that the enemy were near. Advancing a short distance, a line of skirmishers was sent forward, which soon demonstrated that the enemy was not far off. The brigade then formed in line of battle, and preparations were made to give them a reception, if they should attack us. No forward movements were made, owing to the fact that no very large force of our troops had yet arrived. In the afternoon reinforcements came up, and Thomas’ division took a position still nearer the enemy than the one we occupied. Large numbers of troops arrived in the evening, and that night the country around Cave City was lit up by the glare of many camp fires.
“The prisoners that had been captured (earlier) by the enemy were paroled by them, and sent through their lines so that they could make their way to our camp. The enemy were doubtless aware that we were scarce of provisions, and this act of inhumanity was perpetuated intentionally, though it was but the beginning of their more systematic modes of starvation. These men came inside our lines to the number of four thousand, almost famished with hunger, and many of them robbed of valuables and clothing. Our rations, such as they were, were divided with them.

“It was now ascertained from citizens and negroes that the heavy force of cavalry which had been stationed in our front had withdrawn nearer the river. When within two miles of them, sharp firing was heard, and immediately the order was given to advance double-quick. Hascall’s brigade gained some distance. We could see the brigade advancing, with the 3rd Ohio on the right. Gradually our men pressed back the rebel skirmishers, and a cheer announced the charge. Our cavalry made a brilliant dash, and drove the enemy, who retreated to the north side of the river. They at once opened fire from two batteries posted on the north bank, which was responded to by the battery belonging to Hascall’s brigade. Moving to the top of a hill, our artillery had a commanding view of the rebel guns, they were soon hurling shot and shell thickly upon the foe. An artillery duel ensued, lasting till dark, when the enemy retreated, leaving twenty killed and wounded.
“At 3 o’clock a.m. of Friday, September 26th, we reached Louisville. The advance troops of the “Army of the Ohio” thus closed a retreat of near three hundred miles. Cheerfully, the citizens threw open their doors and welcomed to their tables the men who had come to save their city from destruction.
“How changed the appearance of the regiment, since the time we first marched into Louisville! Then, we came with more than eight hundred men, but now with scarce three hundred who were able to bear arms. According to an account kept by members of the regiment of the distance marched, we had covered over sixteen hundred miles; and now we were back again upon the same ground from which we started.
(Tennessee and Kentucky, September, 1862)
Excerpts taken from “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


February of 1938, MGM Studios announced that it had acquired the rights to Frank Baum’s children’s novel “The Wizard of Oz” and would shortly begin production on a feature film of the story to be released early the following year. They also announced that young star Judy Garland has been named for the principal role of Dorothy in the film.
Well, the rest is history as they say. The film’s script, direction, production, cast, and release are all Hollywood legend. So much trivia is now known that it could easily fill a book. We have gone through some of the stories and came up with our favorite anecdotes about the making of “The Wizard of Oz” which are listed here.
The title role, the Wizard himself, was originally offered to actor Ed Wynn who turned it down as he considered it a cameo role. MGM executives actually preferred W.C. Fields for the role; but he declined after not being able to get the $100,000 he wanted. Frank Morgan, who did the role, was the third choice.
Ray Bolger was originally cast as the Tin Man but insisted that he wanted to be the Scarecrow. Buddy Ebsen was given the Scarecrow role but agreed to switch with Bolger just before shooting began. The change turned unlucky for Ebsen, however, after ten days of shooting. The Tin Man costume contained aluminum dust which entered his lungs. He had an allergic reaction and couldn’t breathe. Ebsen was rushed to the hospital. He survived of course but his role was immediately given to Jack Haley. Ebsen considered that the biggest humiliation of his career. No one told Haley the real reason that Ebsen left the production, he just assumed the man was fired.
Early on Shirley Temple was considered for the role of Dorothy. She was closer to the character’s age in the book. A deal was struck whereby her studio contract with 20th Century Fox would be exchanged (for one film) with MGM’s contract for Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. The deal was voided when Harlow suddenly died. Shirley Temple’s vocal talents were seen as inadequate for the singing role.
The Munchkins were played by members of the “Singer Midgets,” a touring group of small actors from Europe. Several took advantage of their trip to Hollywood to immigrate and escape the Nazis. The roles of the singing Munchkins had to have the voices dubbed in because few of them spoke English, or they were unable to sing. The Munchkins on the set were paid $50 per week for a six-day week. Terry the dog (playing Toto the dog) was paid $125 per week.
Bert Lahr’s inspiration for the role of the Cowardly Lion was Curly Howard of the Three Stooges.
The role of Toto, Dorothy’s dog, was played by Terry. One of the Witch’s guards (called Winkies by the way) accidently stepped on Terry. They had to get a double for Terry for several weeks.
Judy Garland had to wear a painful corset device around her torso to make her appear younger (she was 16) and flat-chested. It also made her eyes “bug out” slightly which the executives liked.
Many of the Wicked Witch of the West’s scenes were trimmed or deleted entirely. The actress Margaret Hamilton’s performance was believed to be too frightening for younger audiences.
The costume of the Cowardly Lion weighted 90 pounds (and was made from a real Lion skin). The lights used in filming raised the temperature on the set to over 100 degrees. Actor Bert Lahr used to sweat so profusely that the costume would be soaked by the end of the day. Two technicians were assigned to spend each night drying the costume. It was occasionally dry cleaned, but the crew still reported that “it reeked.”
The wardrobe department found a shabby looking coat at a local second-hand store which was considered perfect for the character of the Wizard. One day on the set, Frank Morgan casually turned out one of the pockets and discovered that the coat was made for Frank Baum, the author of the “The Wizard of Oz.” The coat was confirmed as genuine by Frank Baum’s widow.
The song “Over the Rainbow” was almost cut from the film. Executives felt that it made the Kansas scene too long and would be too far over the heads of the potential children’s audience. They also believed that it would be degrading to have Judy Garland singing in a barnyard.
During the scene where the song “We’re Off to See the Wizard” was performed there is a disturbance off to the side that for a long time many believed was a member of the crew or one of the Munchkins committing suicide by hanging himself. In fact it was just a large bird stretching its wings.
In the haunted forest scene, several actors playing the Winged Monkeys were injured when the wires from which they were suspended broke dropping them to the floor.
The horses in Emerald City that keep changing colors were actually colored with Jell-O crystals. The scene had to be shot quickly before the horses started to lick it off.
The “Ruby Slippers” were originally silver. Louis B Mayer, MGM Chief, realized that a Technicolor film would be improved by having the slippers a brighter color. Seven pairs of slippers were made in various designs. Today, the whereabouts of several pairs are still unknown. One pair is in the Smithsonian (they are mismatched). Each pair is valued at about $1.5 million. When the Witch tries to remove the slippers from Dorothy, fire strikes her hands. This was done by having dark apple juice spew out of the shoes. It was sped up to make it look like fire.
Behind the Scenes
The film had five different directors. Richard Thorpe directed for a few weeks in the beginning. He was replaced by George Cukor. Victor Fleming then took over for the majority of the film but was transferred to the set of “Gone With the Wind.” King Vidor and Mervyn LeRoy finished up.
Fourteen writers took a hand in writing the screenplay, including Ogden Nash. The early scripts contained new incidents designed to lighten up the story. The original idea was to turn it into a slapstick comedy.
Walt Disney wanted to make “The Wizard of Oz” but MGM owned the rights to the book and refused to sell them to him.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

(and we’re bringing another one home to you)

Almost everyone who was alive a generation ago in 1970 remembers watching the incredibly tense flight of Apollo 13; and those born after have probably seen the 1995 movie. This seventh Apollo mission was planned to be the third Moon landing by U.S. astronauts. The Mission Commander was James Lovell. He and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise were to land on the Moon’s surface while Jack Swigert orbited above. Haise and Swigert were spaceflight rookies.
Three days into the mission, and 200,000 miles from Earth, while conducting routine “stirring” of an oxygen tank, the tank exploded. It caused extensive damage to the Command Module forcing the crew to use the Lunar Module as their lifeboat. No Moon landing was now possible; and the astronauts’ safe return to Earth seemed like a slim hope as electrical power and water were critically low. The ingenuity and training of both the crew and ground support people led to radical makeshift repairs to the craft in flight. It reentered Earth atmosphere three days later to the relief of people following the drama around the world.
The three astronauts were safe, but here is a part of the story you may not know. Since no Moon landing was attempted, the Lunar Module was still attached to the main Command Module. The Lunar Module was jettisoned just before reentry and burned up in the atmosphere. But it carried a device, planned to be left behind on the Moon, which did not burn up. It survived to crash into South Pacific waters near Fiji. It is called an “RTG”, a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator.
An RTG is a nuclear device that acts as the power plant for operations on the Moon. RTG’s could pose a risk of radioactive contamination if the container holding the fuel leaks. There are seven known accidents involving satellites and space vehicles carrying RTG’s (5 Russian, 2 American). The RTG is filled with Plutonium-238 which has a radioactive half-life of only 88 years. This is the good news. But it is 275 times more toxic than other Plutonium isotopes, the bad news. The fuel can irradiate biological tissue if ingested (or inhaled) and must be kept cool and within its container.
The nuclear material from Apollo 13 will remain radioactive for the next 2,000 years. The container the Plutonium-238 is housed in is expected to remain viable for the next 870 years. You can do the math.
The U.S. Government has conducted atmospheric and seawater sampling since the device entered the ocean and has determined that the container is intact and is not leaking; and that no release of Plutonium-238 should occur. But anytime the government says “no problem” or “there is nothing to worry about”, that starts us worrying. While it’s not time to panic, what do you think about this?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Every school child for the past 100 years has learned that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity in a famous experiment using a kite, a key, and a bolt of lightning. It’s an American legend.
Old Ben flew a kite out a window in a thunderstorm causing electricity from the storm’s lightning to be conducted down a line from the kite to charge a metal key that was kept in a Leyden Jar. He had therefore proved that lightning was a form of electricity. End of story? Well maybe not. Many historians contend that Franklin’s experiment never happened.
Historical Concerns
It is not known exactly when the experiment was done, possibly sometime in June of 1752. There is a huge lack of details as Franklin never wrote any formal report about the experiment. The only “witness” to the event was Franklin’s son William, aged 21, who never said a word about it, ever.
Others had a similar experiment in mind before Franklin. A Frenchman named Balibard conducted the same experiment using a 40 foot iron rod instead of a kite (and he stood well back from it). Franklin was probably aware of Balibard’s work.
The first mention of the experiment (aside from Franklin’s theorizing its possibility) was 15 years after he was to have done it, in a book written by Joseph Priestley in 1767. Why would Franklin never speak about an experiment he risked his life to perform?
Scientific Incongruities
You can’t fly a kite out a window or from inside a barn. How would you launch it, and how would you control it?
Any conducting metal wire from the kite to the key would be instantly burned up by a lightning bolt. An electrified key in a glass-lined jar wouldn’t “rattle” as reported later, it would explode.
Since Franklin knew enough about the physics of lightning to invent the “lightning rod” several years earlier, he wouldn’t have been so foolish as to ground himself as the story indicates.
Some stories say that Franklin and his son were standing in an open field for the experiment, and while they could launch and control the kite somewhat, the danger of a lightning strike conducted downward would prove a fatal jolt. Later on, some would-be scientists who tried to duplicate Franklin’s experiment were electrocuted.
One Proposed Explanation
Some historians believe that Franklin was frustrated by the British Royal Society which had been ignoring his letters to them about his earlier research into electricity, and that he may have proposed this deadly experiment to them as a joke. When news of his “experiment” reached France, it was taken seriously. So Franklin decided to play along with the story.
Well, legend or not, everyone will have to decide for themselves what they believe. What do you think the truth is?