April 18 – National Columnists Day

Today April 18 is National Columnists Day. Dallas Morning News columnist Dave Lieber picked the date. On that day in 1945, the “finest columnist of the 20th century” was killed in battle. Lieber celebrated the day and the man in his column in today’s edition of the News.

Ernie Pyle
(Library of Congress)

Ernie Pyle began writing about World War II in England. In 1940, he covered the Battle of Britain. He returned to Europe in 1942 as a war correspondent for Scripps-Howard newspapers. Beginning in North Africa in late 1942, Pyle spent time with the U.S. military during the North African Campaign, the Italian campaign, and the Normandy landings. He was assigned to cover the Asiatic-Pacific Theater in January 1945. Pyle was covering the invasion of Okinawa when he was killed in April 1945.

As a war correspondent, he wrote from the perspective of the common soldier; explaining how the war affected the men instead of reporting on troop movements or the activities of generals. His descriptions of or reactions to an event in simple, informal stories are what set Pyle’s writing apart and made him famous during the war.

Mr. Lieber wrote about Pyle’s personal difficulties with his wife. She suffered with mental problems and was subjected to shock treatments.

In contrast, Lieber described his 26-year marriage partnership. His wife accompanied him on assignments often under cover to obtain the information Lieber used in his columns. She also checked his writing before it was sent to the paper.

When I read about Dave’s marriage, I noted the 54-year partnership with my own wife. She has accompanied me to over 150 American Civil War sites, proof-read my manuscripts and blogs, helped me at book signings, and provided much needed comfort and understanding of my frustration with computers, publishers, politicians.

Thank you Dave, for reminding me of how much my bride has supported me all these years.

And, yes she proofread this document and corrected three of my errors.

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Ebenezer Allen and Texas Annexation

I am pleased to announce that the Texas History Blog has published my post on Ebenezer Allen’s role in Texas’ annexation to the United States. The post explains Allen’s work as Secretary of State ad interim in Anson Jones’ cabinet.

Please visit Texas History Blog to read the blog. You can learn more about Mr. Allen by visiting Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

Please visit The Texas History Blog to learn more about the Republic’s and State’s history. The blog is managed by James Aalan Bernsen. James is an eighth-generation Texan, He was born in San Antonio, within a mile of the Alamo. He received his B.A. in Journalism and German from Texas A&M University and his M.A. in United States History from Texas State University.

Mr. Mesch is available for virtual book signings, podcasts, and presentations. You can order the book at Mercari (check for latest price), Amazon Books  (book), and Amazon (Kindle E-book)The price is $19.95.

We welcome blog suggestions or submissions from other historians.

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Ebenezer Allen Day – April 8, 2021

Ebenezer Allen was born on April 8, 1804, in Newport, New Hampshire. He was the first child of David and Hannah Allen. David Allen moved to Newport from Killingworth, Connecticut around 1800. Allen was born on May 13, 1777, in Killingworth. Around 1803, David married Hannah Wilcox who July 12, 1780. The Allens lived on a large farm on the Goshen Road in Newport. Mr. Allen ran an inn and tavern, which were popular stops when the Croydon Turnpike[1] was an important commercial road.


Old Allen Homestead in Newport, New Hampshire
(Judith M. Johnson, Johnson-Morrow Family Tree, Ancestry.com)

Other children joined the Allen family several years after Ebenezer. David Allen Jr. was born in 1806, Uriah Wilcox Allen in 1807, and Elvira Allen in 1809. The 1810 census lists nine people in the David Allen household. There were three males under ten: Ebenezer (6), David (4), and Uriah Wilcox (3); one white female under 10: Elvira (1); one white male 16-25, one white female 16-25, one white male 26-44: David Allen, one white female 26-44: Hannah; and one white female over 45.[2]  The Allen family continued to grow with the births of Nahum Wilcox Allen in 1812, Hannah Cordelia Allen in 1814, Roxanna Allen in 1817, Samuel Johnson Allen in 1819, Harriet Allen in 1821, Albert G Allen in 1823, and William Allen in 1825. By 1830, Ebenezer had four sisters and six brothers.[3]

As the eldest child, Ebenezer had many responsibilities in the Allen farm and businesses. Farm parents expected their children to contribute to the family’s productivity. Small children helped with simple, unskilled tasks. As the children grew and gained skills, their work became more difficult. Farm boys always had work because of the daily need for firewood and water. Boys cared for the livestock and guarded the animals in the pasture. The children assisted their parents in preparing the fields for planting and sowing the seeds in the furrows. At harvest, they helped gather the crops. Boys hunted and fished for recreation and to supply food for the family. Like other oldest sons, Ebenezer was “early made acquainted with labor.”[4]

David and Hannah Allen believed in education and their children attended the “common schools”[5] in Newport. The Allens enrolled their children in the Newport Academy after the school opened on June 24, 1819. The citizens of Newport and neighboring towns organized the school to give their children a “more advanced education than was to be had at our common schools” and “to fit them for college.”.[6] The school had “ample rooms nicely fitted up.”[7]

After school and their chores, the Allen children may have played Copenhagen, button, hunt the slipper, blind man’s bluff, and the grace-hoop.[8]

Most of Ebenezer’s brothers and sisters stayed in New England. David Allen, Jr. became a lawyer. Uriah W. Allen moved to Stonington, Connecticut, where he was a farmer. Uriah was married twice and had one son, Albert. Alvira Allen married Philo Fuller a “manufacturer” from Newport. The Fullers had five children Eugene, Nelson, Allen, Ellen, and Edith. Nahum W. Allen went west as a teacher and became a clergyman. He had a daughter, Harriet.

On April 8, 2021, the City of Allen Texas celebrated the 217th birthday of its namesake Ebenezer Allen.

Proclamation by Allen, Texas Mayor Kenneth Fulk

[1] The Croydon Turnpike Road was incorporated on June 21, 1804. The road went from Lebanon to, Grantham, Croydon, Newport, and Lempster. The road connected to the Second New Hampshire Turnpike in Washington, 34 miles, at an expense of $35,948. The Second New Hampshire Turnpike was chartered in 1799 and completed in 1801. This was the connecting route between Boston and Vermont. accessed February 6, 2017, New Hampshire’s Turnpike History, http://www.cowhampshireblog.com/2006/08/23/new-hampshires-turnpike-history/.

[2] Year: 1810; Census Place: Newport, Cheshire, New Hampshire; Roll: 23; Page: 201; Image: 00144; Family History Library Film: 0218684, accessed May 20, 2016.

[3] Descendants of Gideon Allen, Courtesy of Judith M. Johnson, Johnson-Morrow Family Tree, accessed May 20, 2016, Ancestry.com.

[4] James M. Volo and Dorothy Denneen Volo, Family Life in 19th-Century America. (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007), .

[5] A common school was a public school in the United States during the nineteenth century. Horace Mann (1796−1859) was a strong advocate for public education and the common school. In 1837, the state of Massachusetts appointed Mann as the first secretary of the State Board of Educationwhere he began a revival of common school education, the effects of which extended throughout America during the 19th century. Wikipedia contributors, “Common school,” Wikipedia contributors, “Common school,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Common_school&oldid=871899693 (accessed August 21, 2019).

[6] “Historical Chronology of  Newport New Hampshire,” accessed May 19, 2016, http://www.newportnh.net/aynnyd/uploaded/pdfs/history_of_newport_20101019.pdf, 17-18.

[7] Wheeler, Edmund. The History of Newport, New Hampshire from 1776 to 1878 with a Genealogical Register with Steel and Wood Engravings. Concord: Republican Press Organization. 1879 , 162-163.

[8] Wheeler, 221-222.

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Places to Buy Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

Several people have asked where they can purchase a copy of Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy. I have compiled the following list for your information.

Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy is now available at these stores:

Places to buy Ebenezer Allen biography

Barnes & Noble – $19.95 free shipping

Second Sale – $20.67

Amazon – Kindle – $8.99

Amazon Paperback – $19.95 free shipping with Prime or orders over $25

Ebay Bargain Bookstores – $23.38

Walmart – $19.95 free shipping

Mercari – $17.00 free shipping

Signed Copy – $17.00 free shipping

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What’s Your Writing Instrument?

March 30 is National Pencil Day. On this day in 1858, Hymen Lipman received a patent for attaching an eraser to the end of a pencil. For all of us erring humans, thank you.

I do the daily crossword and sudoku puzzles with a pencil so I can use Lipman’s device to correct my errors. I also use a pencil for craft and carpentry measurements. However, I use my computer for writing complete with Grammarly reviews.

Some writers like the sound and feel of a typewriter. Others like the convenience and spontaneity of a pencil. Notebooks are changing this reason.

So what do you use?

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Ebenezer Allen Day

Thanks to my efforts the Mayor of Allen, Texas has designated April 8 as Ebenezer Allen Day.

Mayor Ken Fulk read the proclamation at the March 23, 2021 City Council meeting.

Office of the Mayor

City of Allen

Proclamation

WHEREAS, The City of Allen, Texas is named for Ebenezer Allen, who served as the Republic of Texas Attorney General and interim Secretary of  State; and

WHEREAS, Ebenezer Allen worked with the Republic of Texas’ President Anson Jones in the annexation of Texas to the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, Ebenezer Allen obtained the charter for the Galveston and Red River Railway Company, later known as the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. The first locomotive of the Company was named after him as was the first station at present-day Allen, Texas; and

WHEREAS, the Allen City Council celebrates its namesake on the 217th birthday of Ebenezer Allen and recognizes the important role he had in establishing our community.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, KENNETH M. FULK, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF ALLEN, COLLIN COUNTY, TEXAS, proclaim April 8, 2021, as:

“EBENEZER ALLEN DAY”

in Allen, Texas, and I urge all citizens to take cognizance of this event and participate in all the events related thereto in this community.

Kenneth M. Fulk, MAYOR

Office of the Mayor City of Allen Proclamation of Ebenezer Allen Day

After Mayor Fulk read the proclamation, he invited me to say a few words about Mr. Allen’s life.

Mayor Ken Fulk and Allen Mesch
Allen Making Comments About Ebenezer Allen

After the meeting, I talked to representatives from the Heritage Guide of Allen about helping with any future events commemorating the day. They were interested in the idea and I am hopeful that the City of Allen may stage some activity to celebrate Ebenezer Allen’s birthday on April 8, 1804 in Newport, New Hampshire.

Allen with Proclamation

Allen presenting copy of Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy to Mayor Fulk

A video of the meeting is available at http://allentx.swagit.com/play/03232021-1792/. It is item 6.

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I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.

While writing another post, I was searching for a quote from President Harry S. Truman. I found several quotations that illustrate how he put the country before his prejudices and his political party.[1] Truman, who made civil rights a federal priority for the first time since Reconstruction, was a bigoted man who expressed strong racist sentiments before, during, and after his presidency.


National Archives and Records Administration. Office of Presidential Libraries. Harry S. Truman Library.

In 1911, Truman wrote to his future wife, Bess: ″I think one man is just as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a n—r[2] or a Chinaman (Chinese). Uncle Will (Truman’s uncle) says that the Lord made a white man from dust, a n—r from mud, then He threw up what was left and it came down a Chinaman (Chinese).″

″(Uncle Will) does hate Chinese and Japs (Japanese),″ Truman continued. ″So do I. It is race prejudice, I guess. But I am strongly of the opinion Negroes ought to be in Africa, yellow men in Asia, and white men in Europe and America.″

In 1937, Senator Truman wrote a letter to his daughter describing waiters at The White House as ″an army of coons.″ In a letter to his wife in 1939, he described an event (possibly a Juneteenth celebration) as ″ n—r picnic day.″

Truman’s attitudes toward race were formed as a boy in Missouri. His grandparents owned slaves and his mother was imprisoned by Union troops during the Civil War and she remained ″violently unreconstructed″ for the rest of her life. Truman formed ″an abiding belief in white supremacy,″ Although Truman decreased his racist expressions after entering the White House, he continued to use racial slurs in private conversation for the rest of his life.

However, instead of governing under these principles, he acted in the “best interests” of the country. ″Whatever my inclinations as a native of Missouri might have been, as president I know this is bad. I shall fight to end evils like this.″

The president appointed a committee to study civil rights abuses and later supported the panel’s call for anti-lynching and anti-poll tax legislation. He also ordered the desegregation of the armed forces and became the first president to campaign in Harlem. As a result, he was denounced by his old Southern Democratic allies.

Some of Truman’s racist attitudes surfaced after he left the White House. He continued to use racial insults and opposed the 1960s sit-ins and said they might be Communist-inspired. He called Northerners who went on Freedom Rides meddlers and The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. a troublemaker.

A 1947 report by the Truman administration titled To Secure These Rights presented a detailed ten-point agenda of civil rights reforms. In February 1948, the president submitted a civil rights program to Congress that proposed creating several federal offices dedicated to issues such as voting rights and fair employment practices. This caused a storm of criticism from southern Democrats in the runup to the national nominating convention, but Truman refused to compromise, saying: “My forebears were Confederates… but my very stomach turned over when I had learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks in Mississippi and beaten.”

Tales of the abuse, violence, and persecution suffered by many African American veterans upon their return from World War II infuriated Truman. These abuses were a major factor in his decision to issue Executive Order 9981 in July 1948 that required equal opportunity in the armed forces.In the early 1950s after several years of planning, recommendations, and revisions between Truman, the Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity, and the various branches of the military, the services became racially integrated.

″Whatever my inclinations as a native of Missouri might have been, as president I know this is bad,″ he said, ″I shall fight to end evils like this.″- President Harry Truman

Executive Order 9980 in 1948, made it illegal to discriminate against persons applying for civil service positions based on race. A third order issued in 1951, established the Committee on Government Contract Compliance (CGCC). This committee guaranteed defense contractors did not discriminate because of race.

When Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, he declared “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” That same day, he also signed an executive order to desegregate the federal workforce.

“The main difficulty with the South is they are living eighty years behind the times and the sooner they come out of it the better it will be for the country and themselves. I am not asking for social equality, because no such thing exists, but I am asking for equality of opportunity for all human beings, and, as long as I stay here, I am going to continue that fight.” – August 18, 1948

“As Americans, we believe that every man should be free to live his life as he wishes. He should be limited only by his responsibility to his fellow countrymen. If this freedom is to be more than a dream, each man must be guaranteed equality of opportunity. The only limit to an American’s achievement should be his ability, his industry, and his character.” In the speech, Truman emphasized: “When I say all Americans, I mean all Americans.”[3]


Truman’s comments on various matters illustrated his understanding of government, politics, and society. They also made great newspaper headlines and quotes.

On equality…

“When even one American – who has done nothing wrong – is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth – then all Americans are in peril.”

“You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break.”

“I have no desire to crow over anybody or to see anybody eating crow, figuratively or otherwise. We should all get together and make a country in which everybody can eat turkey whenever he pleases.”

“The human-animal cannot be trusted for anything good except en masse. The combined thought and action of the whole people of any race, creed or nationality, will always point in the right direction.”

On politics…

“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home—but not for housing. They are strong for labor—but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage—the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all—but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine—for people who can afford them … They think American standard of living is a fine thing—so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” –  October 13, 1948

“Whenever a fellow tells me he’s bipartisan, I know he’s going to vote against me.”

“Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don’t ever apologize for anything.”

On history…

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

“Study men, not historians.”

“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.”

“Most of the problems a President has to face have their roots in the past.”

On the Presidency…

“The buck stops here!”

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

“Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination.”

“When you get to be President, there are all those things, the honors, the twenty-one-gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency.”

“A President needs political understanding to run the government, but he may be elected without it.”

“A president either is constantly on top of events or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him. I never felt that I could let up for a moment.”

“If I hadn’t been President of the United States, I probably would have ended up a piano player in a bawdy house.”

On America…

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

“It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.”

“It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.”

“I do not believe there is a problem in this country or the world today which could not be settled if approached through the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount.”


[1] https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/harry-s-truman-quotes

[2] I have modified the quote to retain the use of this racist word.

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman

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Commentaries

I have added a new section on commentaries. The site has links to essays on a variety of topics. I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.

I will keep fighting for democracy for all

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Got Electricity? – How About an EBook?

I ask the question because for much of the past week (February 14 to February 20) some Texans have been without power, clean water, and natural gas. As we thaw out, we are confronted with broken pipes, water damage, and other problems.

What better time to forget your problems and settle into a comfortable chair with a eBook.

  • Teacher of Civil War Generals – Major General Charles Ferguson Smith, Soldier and West Point Commandant – Kindle Format
  • Charles A. Marvin – “One Year, Six Months, and Eleven Days” Kindle Format
  • Preparing for Disunion – West Point Commandants and the Training of Civil War Leaders Kindle Format
  • Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy Kindle Format

I would be happy to add your eBook to the list with the link you want. There should be a common topic for the book listed. eg don’t include a children’s book on a site devoted to historical non-fiction. Perhaps you might try the same idea on your author webpage. I would be happy to receive your comments etc. on this idea.

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The Professor and the Madman

The Professor and the Madman
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Professor and the Madman is a biographical film based on the book The Surgeon of Crowthorne or The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester.

The movie is about Professor James Murray (Mel Gibson), who became director of an Oxford University Press project in 1879, The New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (now known as the Oxford English Dictionary), and the man who became his friend and colleague, W. C. Minor (Sean Penn), a retired U. S. Army surgeon who submitted more than 10,000 entries while he was confined at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum at Crowthorne, England.

William Chester Minor, a retired U. S. Army surgeon, suffered from the delusion that he was being pursued by a killer. During an episode in London, Minor killed an innocent stranger, George Merrett. He was tried in 1872, found not guilty because of insanity, and sent to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum.

Doctor Brayne (Stephen Dillane) meets Minor at Broadmoor. Minor saves a guard’s life by amputating the man’s leg. Filled with guilt, Minor asks that most of his army pension be given to Eliza Merrett (Natalie Dormer), his victim’s widow. A prison guard, Muncie (Eddie Marsan), became an intermediary between Minor and Mrs. Merrett. Muncie delivers the offer Mrs. Merrett who refuses the pension. Brayne promises to protect him from his imagined pursuer, gives him room to paint, and allows him access to his library of rare books.

 Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

In Oxford, James Murray interviews for a position as editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. Murray was a self-taught scholar who left school at fourteen and had no degree. His application is criticized by some members of the Oxford University Press oversight committee is skeptical of Murray’s credentials, he is selected for the overwhelming task.

An oversight committee board member believes that “all words are valid in the language. Ancient or new, obsolete, or robust on, foreign-born or homegrown. The book must inventory every word, every nuance, every twist of etymology, and every possible illustrated citation from every English author. All of it or nothing at all.”

Murray has a solution to this intimidating assignment. He suggests that the project should enlist volunteers from everywhere English is spoken. He wrote an appeal to English-speaking people around the world and asked them to send their contributions on slips of paper. Booksellers, librarians, and newsagents distributed the request.

Muncie brings Christmas dinner to the Merretts. Finally, Eliza Merrett asks to see Minor and accepts his financial support. Minor says his life belongs to her.

Muncie and the guards give Minor a book that contains Murray’s appeal. Minor tells Brayne that he will be “all right” with this work and more books. Soon a volume of slips fills his room. Minor submits 1,000 slips to Murray and offers to take on the most elusive words, giving his address as “Crowthorne.” The slips are sent to Murray and the two men begin to correspond.

Murray makes an unexpected visit to Broadmoor. He carries a bundle of words for Minor, who Murray believes is a staff member. When Murray sees the manacles, he is not unsettled. “You are not alone—consanguineous”, he says. The word “consanguineous” means having the same lineage or origin or having a common ancestor. In this instance, I believe Murray uses the word to tell Minor that they kindred spirits and that Minor is not alone. Brayne encourages Murray’s visits.

The Professor and the Madman is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the development of the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Professor and the Madman
(Courtesy of Amazon.com)

The book was praised by the New York Times Magazine as “masterfully researched and eloquently written” and “the linguistic detective story of the decade.” the movie received poor reviews. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 43%, based 30 reviews, with an average rating of 5.50/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 25 out of 100, based on four critics, indicating “generally unfavorable reviews.” Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com gave the film 1½ out of 4 stars, calling it “the latest fiasco in bad movie history… the presence of Gibson and his co-star Sean Penn give the project a stuffy sanctimoniousness.” 

See the movie or read the book to learn about the history of the dictionary

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Amanda Gorman

Wow!

That’s all I can say about Ms. Amanda Gorman.

Her inauguration speech The Hill We Climb was amazing. I’m not going to bore you with her vita which is available at Amanda Gorman. For those of you who missed her reading of The Hill We Climb you can find the words on NewsNation and other sites.

Ms. Gorman, thank you for you words of hope and inspiration in these difficult times. May you have a wonderful and honored career.

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What Do You Chose?

President Biden’s address to the nation and its emphasis on unity and resolution of differences suggested to me that Americans had many choices that will determine the fate of our democracy. For us to work together to solve the many challenges facing our country, we must examine our values and choose the “right” ones.

I Chose …

I chose love, not hate.

Truth, not lies.

Country, not political party.

Science, not quackery.

Peace, not war.

Equality, not supremacy.

Care, not indifference.

Nonviolence, not violence.

Discussion, not accusations.

Respect, not insults.

Acceptance, not exclusion.

Honor, not cowardice.

Service, not power.

To live in the real world, not a fantasy world.

Health, not sickness.

Help, not harm.

Build, not destroy.

Education, not ignorance.

Cooperation, not disagreement.

Angels, not devils.

Clean air and water, not pollution.

What do you choose?

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Union Troops Protect Washington

The images of U. S. troops resting in the capitol remined me of another time when Union soldiers were garrisoned in government buildings in Washington. These excerpts from Teacher of Civil War Generals – Major General Charles Ferguson Smith, Soldier and West Point Commandant describe some of the events of April 1861.

By April 1861, the United States had gone from the crisis of secession to the calamity of civil war. Colonel Charles F. Smith was en route from Utah to New York City to assume the post of Superintendent of the Eastern Department of the General Services at Fort Columbus, New York. However, before he began his post in New York, he was sent to Washington to command the Department of Washington.

Colonel Smith reached the capital at eleven o’clock on April 6. Later that day, General Winfield Scott issued Special Orders No. 58 assigning Smith “to the command of all troops stationed in this city and at Fort Washington.

From his room at the Willard Hotel, Smith wrote to his wife Fanny: “My command at present consists of six companies are at Fort Washington (some 14 miles below this on the Potomac); 2 field batteries; a troop of the dragoons and 2 companies of Artillery, serving as Infantry which will soon be increased by several companies of  horse and foot.”

On April 14, Smith’s friend Major Robert Anderson surrendered the garrison at Fort Sumter. After the surrender of Fort Sumter, many Americans expected the first real battle of the war would be fought over Washington. The union capital was surrounded by the slave states of Maryland and Virginia and lacked troops and fortifications. The city was guarded by 1,500 soldiers, marines, and militia. The only aid the city might receive came from the 75,000 volunteers President Lincoln requested on April 15.

Smith’s status was clarified on April 11 in Special Orders No. 102, which stated, “The 10 companies of militia called out and mustered into service of the United States in obedience to orders from the President, dated War Department, April 9, 1861, will be placed under the command of Bvt. Colonel C. F. Smith, commanding the Department of Washington.

On April 15, Scott told President Abraham Lincoln that “Col. Smith, the commander of the Department of Washington, like myself, thinks our means of defense, with vigilance, are sufficient to hold this till reinforcements arrive.”

The military leaders focused the city’s defense on three key sites: The Capitol; the Old City Hall area, which included the White House, Patent Office, and buildings containing the War, Navy, State, and Treasury departments; and Treasury Building the places were strengthened to withstand a ten-day siege and soldiers were stationed inside the buildings at night.”

Union Troops in Washington, DC

Smith quickly put a plan of action to effect. He ordered Captain Kings Company I 1st Infantry to “take post at the Arsenal” and Brevet Major J. A. Haskins First Artillery to “proceed with his company as soon as practicable to Fort Washington.” In General Orders No. 4 on April 16, he designated “Col. Charles P. Stone, Inspector-General of the Militia of the District of Columbia” to command the “companies of volunteers from the District of Columbia now being mustard.”

On April 16, Smith wrote to Fanny, “Every disposition has been made constantly for defense.”

The government has been so tardy in its operations that we are now virtually surrounded by thousands of armed men, whilst I with a small force of volunteers (comparatively) are standing on the defensive. I hate this being cooped up. Oh! If I only had my old Utah force. But regrets are vain. I expect an attack tonight; the first occasion I have thought such a thing might occur although the military precautions I have taken many nights [and] have been of such a character to frighten timid people. I have sat in my office for the last three nights getting about two hours sleep in a chair and this with exercise of brain and body has much worried me – tho’ all say I never looked better.

By April 18th forces in Washington had increased 2 2800 two 3200 men composed of 1000 men from the army and Marines 1200 to 1500 men from the District of Columbia militia and 600 to 700 Pennsylvania volunteers “in poor order.”

To learn more about General Smith and his role in the Civil War, please see buy the book at Amazon.

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Former NFL Players Write Children’s’ Books

Congratulations to Martellus Bennett and Malcolm Mitchell for writing books which encourage children to want to read. Their efforts are very important to all authors because the children to read Bennett and Mitchell’s stories become adult readers and potential customers.

Malcolm Mitchell’s Books – Read with Michael

The Magician’s Hat

My Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World

Martellus Bennett’s Books – Martellus’s Facebook PageImagination Agency

Hey A.J., It’s Bedtime!

Hey A.J., It’s Saturday!

Dear Black Boy

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YouTube Interview by Samantha O’Daniel

Please see my YouTube interview about writing.

Order the print copy of Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

Order the E-book copy of Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

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Quotes from Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

“It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it.” – Daniel Webster about Dartmouth College

“… when I called him to that station I was almost a stranger to him personally, having never seen him but once or twice, and knew nothing of his opinions on this [annexation] or scarcely any other subject. I approved him because he had the character of possessing great ability and honesty.” – President Anson Jones on his prior knowledge of Mr. Allen

“You are well aware of the fact that I have from the beginning been decidedly opposed to the Annexation of Texas to the United States. It is my first object to defeat, if possible, the consummation of this most obnoxious measure, so decidedly hostile, as I conceive it to be, and fraught with such evil consequences to the ultimate prosperity and high destiny of this Country. If I am successful in the accomplishment of this great result, I shall consider it the proudest period of my life.” – Ebenezer Allen on Annexation of Texas to the United States

“The final act in this great drama is now performed: the Republic of Texas is no more.” – Anson Jones on Annexation of Texas to the United States

“The importance of the measure and its incalculable influence on and among the value of our lands, developing the resources; promoting the prosperity and increasing the wealth of our State, if successfully consummated, can not [sic] be questioned.” Ebenezer Allen’s application for a charter to build the Galveston and Red River Railroad

“On asking ‘who was present’! – the reply by the alphabet was, ‘Lafitte’ He went on to tell us that there was a large treasure buried in the back yard of Dr. McGuire’s house, – that the money was stolen from him by some of the men in his employ and concealed in that place – (probably while he occupied this island). He directed us to search for it and said we could obtain it and he wished us to do so. Said it would take a man two days and (as I understood) part of another to dig it out. Said it was six feet below the surface; also that he would show the spot by causing the table to march to it and stand over it. On Wednesday last (9th inst) the ladies, my wife being present, tried the experiment at Dr. McGuire’s. The table (a small four legged one of the ordinary form) immediately after moving, commenced a regular walk, moving a side at a time and moving forward through the back door and along the walk upon the ground about 15 or 20 feet then turned at right angles, to the right and advanced through the grass and shrubbery to a small figtree [sic], which it went around and stopped on the other side of it some 5 minutes. It then started again very suddenly and advanced about 6 or 8 feet further and remained stationary under a large figtree [sic]. Upon inquiry, it said ‘the table stood directly over the money.’ On the evening of the 10th inst I went to Ms. McGuires [sic] at her request, who shew [sic] me the places where the table stopped, and I struck my walking stick into the ground making a small hole at each place. The statement was confirmed by what purported to by other spirits.” – Ebenezer Allen on Lafitte’ treasure

“The flame ever springs from the dust of the slain
Where Milam hath fallen and Travis hath bled!
Then haste, lady, haste, for the soft breezes play
To waft the swift bark o’er the billows away,
Not to climes where the relics of cities are strown [sic],
And gray ruin points to the glory that’s gone.
No! Not to the time honoured [sic] retreats of the east,
Where sighs the dim shade of imperial power,
But blithely where freedom anew spreads her feast,
And invites to the land of the star and the flower!”
Mrs. Ebenezer (Sylvinia) Allen on Texas

“For, engraven [sic] on tablets more lasting than stone,
I read − “Man shall never be happy alone!”
How thrilled then my pulses with raptures untold
When my Bird flew towards me on pinions of gold,
And entranced with her notes, as from bow’rs [bowers] of the blest,
I wooed her forever to dwell in my breast.”
Ebenezer Allen “A Retrospect to his Wife

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Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

I am pleased to announce that Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy is now available on Amazon.

Paperback Edition – check out the preview

Kindle Edition – check out the preview using an e-reader

Ebenezer Allen – : Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy by [Allen H.  Mesch]

Over the next few months, I will be conducting web based (via Zoom) lectures on Ebenezer Allen’s life. I will also be offering a signed edition of the paperback at a reduced price.

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Progress Report and Petition

Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy is nearing the final stages. I don’t know the exact publishing date.

If you want a copy please see Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy on the Waldorf Publishing site.

Meanwhile, I am working on a new fiction book based on the events taking place in America in 2020. So far I have over 62,000 words and, thankfully, no footnotes, bibliography, or index.

On a completely different topic, I have been working with a colleague on a petition to change Fort Hood to Fort Oveta Culp Hobby. Please check out the Change.org page to read about this amazing lady. Also see #RenameFortHoodtoFortHobby.

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What About Post-1865 Heroes?

There seems to be an idea supported by President Trump that we should not change the names of U.S. military bases.  I question the belief that the names of these bases are etched in stone never to change and that the United States does not have many post-1865 heroes.

Names of public places are changed all of the time. In some cases, it is because the building is used for other purposes, the mission of the organization has changed, or people forget why the building was named that way. I am not talking about monuments which as I have said in the past are an issue that each community should resolve. We have plenty of heroes in the past 150 plus years. When are we going to honor them?

confederate-general-john-bell-hood

General John Bell Hood

Let’s consider Fort Hood in Texas. General John Bell Hood had mixed reviews during his time in command of Confederate troops. He was praised for his actions in the Penninsula Campaign but criticized for his actions in the battles around Atlanta and Nashville. This may have to do with the wear and tear on his body and loss of limbs.  Incidentally, he was doing exactly what his commander-in-chief Jeff Davis wanted in the Atlanta Campaign. Davis replaced Joe Johnston with Hood and ordered John Bell to fight.

 

 

Here are some Texans who might be worthy of replacing Hood.

U.S. Army

  • George Lawson Keene – Most decorated American soldier in WW I
  • Audie Murphy – Most decorated U.S. soldier in WW II
  • Staff Sergeant Marcario Garcia – Medal of Honor, WW II
    Garcia became the first Mexican immigrant to win the nation’s highest award for valor.
  • Benavidez

    Master Sergeant Roy Benevidez

    Roy Benavidez – Medal of Honor, Vietnam – He made Rambo seem like a wimp – amazing story – Please read Roy Benavidez’s story

 

 

 

 

 

  • Oveta Culp Hobby – Colonel Women’s Army Corps, first secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
  • Major_General_Dwight_Eisenhower,_1942_TR207

    Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Dwight D. Eisenhower – Army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he became a five-star general in the Army and served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of Normandy in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

U.S. Navy

  • Chester Nimitz – commander of Allied naval forces in Pacific during World War II
  • Doris “Dorie” Miller – Navy Cross for valor at Pearl Harbor 
  • David “Tex” Hill – Naval aviator, Flying Tiger ace, immortal fighter pilot

About eleven Medal of Honor honorees.

My personal choices are Eisenhower and Benavidez. 

 

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Wrong Again – Please Read History

In the last few days, I have read two erroneous statements made about the Emancipation Proclamation and Union soldiers fighting to end slavery.

Emancipation_Day_celebration_-_1900-06-19

Juneteenth Celebration

In an article about Juneteenth, a reporter wrote that on June 19, 1865, that Union General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and told the slaves that by virtue of the Emancipation Proclamation, they were free.  An article in USA Today said, “On June 19, Americans around the country will celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation in the USA.” The article was later corrected to: “Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Juneteenth’s relation to slavery. It celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation, but the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t apply to all states in the USA. The 13th Amendment brought an end to slavery.” Thanks for the correction. To learn more about this celebration, please read the 2015 Juneteenth Celebrated with Joy, Sorrow, and Courage. To learn more about the Emancipation Proclamation and laws dealing with Black Rights, please read Lincoln Freed the Slaves and Other Myths.

In President Trump’s commencement speech to West Point cadets on  June 13, 2020, the President referred to West Pointers who fought in the Civil War. However, he only referred to those West Point graduates who fought for the Union between 1861 and 1865. Trump called them, “American patriots … who fought a bloody war to extinguish the evil of slavery within one lifetime of our founding.” Let’s review the reasons why we fought the Civil War.  For a brief overview, please read the Causes of the Civil War. There are many reasons why we fought this war and they differ depending on where you stood in the military hierarchy.

  • untitled-18

    U. S. Grant

    Government: Preserve the Union and Put Down the Rebellion

  • Officers: Preserve the Union, Advance in the Military, and Enhance Their Resume (political officers)
  • Soldiers: Preserve the Union, Avoid Condemnation from Community, Friendship, and Participate in a Great Adventure (“See the Elephant”)
  • No one fought to free the slaves!

 

Confederate Perspective

  • Government: Preserve Slavery as the Foundation of their Wealth and Maintain Southern Society. The initial statements from seceding states sited preserving slavery as the primary reason. Please read Why Virginia Seceded.
  • Officers: Loyalty to State Rather Than Country (Lee refused position to lead Union Army because he would not fight against Virginia), Defend Confederacy from the North (South named war the War of Northern Aggression), Preserve Family Wealth, and Enhance Personal and Family Reputation
  • Soldiers: Defend Confederacy from the North (South named war the War of Northern Aggression), Avoid Condemnation from Community, Friendship, and Participate in a Great Adventure (“See the Elephant”). Not to defend slaveowners’ rights (“It’s a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight)

Lee_and_Generals

Lee and his Generals


Update and Correction

I received an interesting response concerning my statement “No one fought to free the slaves!” My comment was way too broad. I would rephrase it to read “Most Northerners did not fight to end slavery, but to save the Union.”  My original comment was based on things I have read which indicated this was a widespread attitude. Certainly, US Colored Troops fought to end slavery. Of course, I don’t know what every Union soldier thought. I would point out the New York City draft riots in which Blacks were killed.

Union Soldiers Condemn Slavery – “Although the attitudes of many white Union soldiers toward slavery and emancipation ranged from indifference to outright racial hostility, others viewed the issue as central to their participation in the war. The following quotations, taken from letters, diary entries, and contemporary newspaper interviews with white Union soldiers, reveal the attitudes of those who viewed slavery as both a primary cause of the conflict and a key rationale for fighting.”

Why White Soldiers Fought to End Slavery – “Historians agree that most Union Army soldiers, no matter what their national origin, fought to restore the unity of the United States, but emphasize that:  “… they became convinced that this goal was unattainable without striking against slavery.” - James M. McPherson, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, p. 118.  McPherson’s book adds that witnessing the Southern slave system first-hand significantly strengthened the anti-slavery views of white Union soldiers, leaving them appalled by the system’s brutality: “Experience in the South reinforced the antislavery sentiments of many soldiers. One Pennsylvanian Union soldier spoke to a slave woman whose husband was whipped, and was appalled by what she had to tell him of slavery. He stated that “I thought I had hated slavery as much as possible before I came here, but here, where I can see some of its workings, I am more than ever convinced of the cruelty and inhumanity of the system.” – Ibid., pp. 36-37.

The Civil War Was About Slavery. Confederate Leaders Were Totally Clear On This. – “I would save the Union,” Lincoln wrote. As for enslaved Africans, they were just pawns in his war strategy: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. … What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union.” This link contains quotes by Confederate leaders on slavery.

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Counties Named After New Englanders

Ebenezer Allen was not the only New Englander to make his mark in Texas. The contributions and importance of these immigrants are immediately evident in the names of counties in the Lone Star State.

Of the 253 Texas counties, ten are named in honor of people who were born in New England:

Connecticut            1  

James Harper Starr

Starr County – James Harper Starr (1809–1890), a treasurer for the Republic of Texas and Confederate official

Maine                    2         

      Howard County – Volney Eskine Howard (1849–1853), U.S. Representative from Texas

      Hall County – Warren DeWitt Clinton Hall a secretary of war for the Republic of Texas (1836)

Massachusetts        4

      Montague County – Daniel Montague (1844–1846), a state senator and early surveyor

Portrait of Anson Jones

Jones County – Anson Jones, the fifth president of the Republic of Texas (1844–1846) 

Lynn County – William Lynn, a soldier in the Texas Revolution who is believed to have died defending the Alamo

      Sherman County – Sidney Sherman (1805–1873), a soldier in the Texas Revolution

New Hampshire     2

      Kendall County – George Wilkins Kendall, an early journalist and sheep rancher who gained national fame as a war correspondent during the Mexican American War

      Cochran County – Robert E. Cochran (1810–1836), a defender of the Alamo

Vermont                1     

Portrait of Royall Tyler Wheeler.jpg

Wheeler County – Royal Tyler Wheeler, the second Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court

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