Sunday, May 3, 2020

Hartford CT. Events that fostered free speech, Frederick Douglass 1848, Barack Obama 2008.

Hartford has a history of efforts to loop back to find injustices and fostering a remedy. Occasionally.  Not always, not for all, but often enough to add to our pride of place. Here, Hartford's Center Church, at the Ancient Burying Ground.

I.  Frederick Douglass, black abolitionist, was on a circuit of rallies in 1848 and was denied the pulpit by the congregation for giving an address inside Center Church, First Church of Christ, next to the Ancient Burying Ground.  The clergyman, the Rev. Joel Hawes,  was an abolitionist but under other social pressures, so provided instead the courtyard outside which is now labeled and set aside as a commemoration. Until 2017, the tribute was a small plaque downtown; then in 2917 this step toward correcting an early wrong was taken. The Hartford Courant records it.

II. From 1848 and a place for speech, move to 2008, where then-presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke to a capacity crowd at downtown Hartford's Civic Center, now the XL Center.  Representative Rosa DeLauro, Senator Ted Kennedy Caroline Kennedy and others of the birds and beasts of the day were there.  The Press Corps milled about in a relaxed way, and politics were optimistic.    

The teletron!  Barack Obama, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, Rosa DeLauro. See Wiki photo.

Did somebody get to, because their article is gone:  mustn't let the kids know?

He drew the biggest crowd at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, since Hannah Montana rocked the stage in December. On February 4, Barack Obama held a rally of about 17,000 excited supporters at the center. They were doing the wave and clapping to the music while waiting for the candidate for the Democratic nomination for President to arrive."

So let's show some more.  We were in a top tier.

Friday, April 3, 2020

NYC. The Riverside Rehab. Site rooted in name of Native American Saint Kateri 1656-1680

Saint Kateri.  She who bumps into things. Vision affected by smallpox. She became the patron saint of the Kateri Residence, that became the Riverside Rehabilitation. Track a building in an old city. First, get there.

Aim for The Riverside Premier Rehabilitation and Healing Center tat #150 Riverside Drive, 10025 to visit a soul-mate, brother and Dan's uncle, suddenly needing long-term care, and find a fine old New York building: Responsive care, good choice, but focus here is on its roots -- revive the patroness Kateri from long ago.

Inside,is a healthy aviary.  Excellent.  But what is behind this building, so New York solid.

1. The site was  a hotel, then a care residence named for Kateri, known as the Lily of the Mohawks; a Roman Catholic saint ultimately. What she achieved in 24 years of life -- and with a vision handicap, and smallpox scars.

Timeline,  Kateri Tekathwika
[See also Wiki
"The Lily of the Mohawks"

1658 - Birth of one Kateri Tekathwika , whose mother was an Algonquian convert to Christianity; and her father was Mohawk.  Dedicated her life to Christianity.  The name is Mohawk.  Afflicted with smallpox, vision affected, called,"she who bumps into things."  Miracles and works.
1680 - Death of Kateri,
1943 - Pope Pius declared here "venerable"
1980 - Pope John Paul II beatified her and declared her "blessed"
2011 - Pope Benedict XVI canonized her, approving as a needed second miracle the healing of a boy, Jake Finkbonner, who had a "flesh-eating disease."
There are attestations of other special favors and healings. Much detail at Wiki, above.

Wiki states there is a bronze representation of Tekakwitha as part of the bronze doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral, NYC.

2. 1920's.  Site at 150 Riverside Drive as an apartment-hotel combination, see

1968-1970's.  Building was converted to a nursing home.

1970's-1981 -- Roman Catholic Diocese  through Catholic Charities assumed responsibility for the nursing home. See. .
Cardinal Cooke chose Kateri as patroness

1981 -- Ownership went to Kateri Residence organization

2019 -- Hello, home away from home.  Courteous, capable staff, really good food I see, and responsive to out of town relatives asking about Bed X. Life in the time of Corona. Thank you.

1999-2004 -- Renovations and improvements

The Kateri Residence, a skilled nursing facility was established at 150 Riverside Drive.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

2673 Bainbridge Avenue in 1905, The Bronx, New York City, NY. McConaghy. Hilliard. Northern Ireland

America and immigration from Northern Ireland. Dan likes to know everything about everybody. This is about his great grandmother. Every family has its stories. Ours on this one side stems from Northern Ireland, proudly English roots, or indigenous landowners, and very protestant. Find the old pictures. Then look up the address and find someone who says the house was built in 1915.  Our records, not so: 1905. Complete with beams on the long wagon, with horses.  Then ask, what did it cost to build a single family home in the Bronx in 1905? No idea, but this is a fine middle-ground house. There used to be a snowball bush in front, my mother, Marjorie, would say.

We know that my grandmother was funded from Ireland, with recurrent visits by her natural father, William Brien (of the Lodge), and that she spent down what he provided when her husband died in his early 40's, and she had 5 surviving children to support in that house. Her mother, known as Nana, and an aunt, I believe, also lived there, top floor. My mother imitated Nana calling, "DorothEEE? DorothEEE" for Dorothy, the second daughter, who was the favorite gopher.

2673 Bainbridge Avenue, the Bronx, New York City, single family home, being built in 1905

My grandmother, Lucinda Louise Hilliard arrived second class on the ship with her mother, Margaret  (we have the ticket) at 18 . Margaret, was all of 32 by then, which tells you something.  It might have been a #me-too situation except Mr. Brien was honorable given the times, and supported my grandmother and visited her here, and was always concerned and respectful as to Margaret Hilliard.  Louise married here, to Robert McClure McConaghy. Had they known each other in what is now Northern Ireland?   Support?  Secret, but generous. Mr. Brien gifted stock, that Grandma sold off to support the children and others, until the two sons found out, and then worked to pay their own way at Columbia.late in high school, Girls did not go to college.

Little Robby, the eldest child, died at 6  in about 1914 (flu) and is buried with most of the others at Woodlawn in NY,. There is still a stained glass little lamb window in his memory in the Sunday School at Bedford Park Presbyterian Church, the Bronx, and we asked recently if couldn't room be in Robby's plot for cremains of another descendant. Apparently, in the less than finest Dickens tradition, the Board was horrified at allowing such a thing. La de dah. We will ask again.  Cemeteries are still peopled with the dead. You can write them on our behalf at The time has not yet come.  It is not too late.  The little lamb placed on Robby's headstone, is gone, though.  Careless mowers, grim reapers.

Listen -- What is that you say? This old regular and irregular family wants to add one more, as cremains in due course, in a little box tto be set in a plot with what is left of a casket with a 6-yr old planted there in 1914? Surely the little lamb, Robby, would like company after 106 years?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Montpelier. James Madison, Originalist, at home, VA.

Montpelier, Virginia. VA.
Violence of Faction;  Right of Conquest; 
How to preserve an original balance when times change.

Each framer of our constitution had to balance interests and principles. What they considered, and the context, is as important as the result. For James Madison, whose home was at Montpelier, VA, his context at home was rural, agricultural, see  Yet in many ways he was a Big Government man, see  Government that is republican in form, a matter of governance by representation.   Here, Madison's Federalist No. 10, the paper that drew the balance point between the excesses of a majority in democracy; and natural law -- basic principles.   "Control the violence of faction."  See site.

1.  That angle of Originalism, however, favoring a strong government, is itself ambiguous because what happens when the representatives are corrupted, but their power is so great by that time that they are difficult to dislodge.   Any position over time becomes ambigous in applicaiton later, see

  • Are there any "original" texts that are not ambiguous in application  See, for example, the Declaration of Independence issue if minutia writ large --  the comma or a period at    
  • And Biblical texts are so ambiguous that major religions spend more time trying to figure it out and squeeze its oft-translated and mistranslated versions into their contrived ideologies (the better to control you with, my dear)  than they do with the vestiges of what might have been said by whom.
2.  Originalism is a mindset, a tool for preserving the interests that were protected at the time of a text. What happens when those early protected interests are o longer protected -- like slavery. The head swivels backward to see who benefited economically and socially at the time, and to what degree, if any, such should govern who benefits now.  What gives rise to that violence of faction.

  •  Originalism and property.  A much-discussed ambiguity is property related, property defined: whether original circumstances and socially accepted beliefs that human beings shall be owned property,  should prevail as a mindset centuries later.  To some, the answer is simple.  Stay with the original?  If the people disagree, then appoint judges who do agree.  
  • See President Trump's nominees to the judiciary: a political negative take, here, but it gets the point across -- Samantha Bee at  The Federalist Society is the membership du jour that rules who becomes a nominee. 

3. Originalism on a positive note is also a  backcheck.  A factcheck. Is a later representation of words or a text accurate, or is it truncated, misleading, unfair in summation. A misquote by an Originalist , for example, would be a betrayal of Originalism itself. 

  • So: Is one solution to start with the accurate statement of the original position:  but the contextualist would then say, hos to shape the interpretation of which sections to meet current needs and sea-changes in culture.

4.  Scholars identify two kinds of originalism: That of Antony Scalie' and the other of Clarence Thomas, see Summary:
Thomas :  Declaration of Independence teaches natural-law, and that is an authoritative guide for the judiciary.  'Judicial actiism' of the right.
Scalia, Judicial restraint comes not from the tradition of natural law, but from hewing to the written text of the Constitution, established views of founders, and statutes making those ideas operative.
All of those positions are choices, not solutions.  None remove the foundational ambiguity: what of application to other times. None of that removes ambiguity. And so to former mayor of NYC, Rudy Giuliani, 2007, speaking to the Federalist Society, See . On the Scalia side. Who ultimately is served, which sectors of society.   The Federalist Society Board of Directors:  No women, see  Somebody go vet.  The background picture to "background" -- all white guys. The medium is the message. See

Federalist Society:  Proudly begun in the McCatrhy era.  Ongoing dedication: See The Paradox of Professionalism: Lawyers and the Possibility of Justice, ed. Scott L. Cummings  2011  at 221 ff.  Scroll down to the chapters available;  At Ch.6, How and Why do Lawyers Misbehave.  A professional credential does not neessarily mean ethical behavior.

5.  Islamic originalsm. Amish originalism (read When the English Fall by David Williams 2017, review at   Choose among many choices: militant, vengeful, sharing, and tolerating -- but with areas of firm exclusiion, counterig the altruism.   All originalism.

6.  Articles of Confederation.  Here is an example of governance by mere majority, an "excess" of democracy -- where mere majority rules,. How easy it is to manipulate what majority gets to vote, and based on what information.  See the criticism of  Eldridge Gerry,  George Mason, delegates (who ultimately opposed the Constitution -- as being too responsive to the people, and not protecting natural rights enough.  Both agree on principle:  Too much democracy fails to safegard the rights of the people; but then, figure out where to draw the line, See

Democracy's excess:  Alwys an issue.

7,  Islam is not the only religion with its extreme originalists, its ultra-conservatives who accept no changes from earliest practices and beliefs, who espouse absolute dedication to their own selected authorities' framing of required ideology systems (often developed long after a Founder's words).  That extreme originalism is also part of western Christian sects, without public beheadings but threats and killing of dissenters like Dr. Tiller, approved by militias and others.

8.  For a Trump, what matters is not any theory at all, but whether the exploitation being applied furthers the interests of the interest group.  It is fine to take advantage of one people, in order to better ones own.   An espouser of the violene of faction.

That makes Trump not an originalist at all in its original sense of balance between excess and rights,  except in the Confederacy sense of majority wins -- mere majority, no matter how you manipulate it, wins by the vote.  " *** After all, who can blame a country for taking advantage of another country for the benefit of its own citizens***  "  See  The operative word  clearly is "citizens".   Keep people from becoming citizens., so they have no voice, and the resulting majority that is not a majority wins.

Originalism as a principle of interpretation of otherwise ambiguous (perhaps) declarations of a founder or founding text makes it possible to kill or persecute rivals, nonbelievers, nonconformists, read heretics, apostates, virtually at will because the accepted authority declares such to be the will of a deity; or some deified Founder. Originalism can be religious, or secular. Originalism as justification for suppression of change is Originalists in the West followed the same mold, but beginning some 500 years before Islam began the march.

Violence of faction when just getting the job done counts more than rights of people. Right of conquest.  Charlemagne beheaded 4500 Saxon prisoners of war in a day and night at Verden, now Germany, in about 782 CE; the dominant Western church institution sect forced conversions on pain of death, destroyed works of thinkers coming to different conclusions from texts, conducted centuries of crusades even against other Christians, inquisitions, demeaned women, abuse is Biblical, Ya-da.

That is the rub.  This is now, and our own religious extremists continue to think they are so right, with text interpretations that stem from somebody's believed revelation, The persecuted Yazidis see CAIS site, others in some out of the Abrahamic Old Testament and following tradition.

Compare this anti-heresy activity, and drive for ideological dominance, however, with the far more

(1)  Please put that course online, for a fee, of course.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Annapolis Roots. Religious Freedom, Chivalry in Naming, Slavery, and Wealth. Anomalies. MD.

Annapolis, Maryland, MD.  Roots of Annapolis. Annapolis' history and anomalies.

Annapolis' Roots in religious freedom, women, slavery, and Ego Alley.
Lord Baltimore's Religious Revenge.

1.  Annapolis, the town, has roots in religion.  As a colony, it reflected religious tolerance by the Roman Catholic Lord Baltimore in offering land there as a sanctuary for persecuted Puritans, their settlement known as Providence; and for his wife. Then came Protestant preeminence with naming for Queen Anne Stuart of England, and then what? Is that freedom of religious observance now tilted back in the Academy in favor of Lord Baltimore with the prominent placement of the sectarian chapel in Bancroft Hall, the huge common residence, see the disparity of Place for various religions at USNA, see Bancroft Hall, Annapolis, Naval Academy. Pride of Place for One.

2. Annapolis Roots in women.   Annapolis, after the Puritans lost center stage, also reflects, new interests as they arose, the chivalric nod to roles of women (the usual diminution) who furthered the rank of the men.  The child-bride of Lord Baltimore, Anne Arundell, who was age 13 at her marriage in England, inherited vast lands that her husband used to establish the Maryland colony.  Without that where would he be, pray tell? Her Anne Arundell's Towne became Annapolis later, however, for city of (polis) Anne.  This Anne was different, however. The town was now to be known for its original benefactress, but for Queen Anne Stuart of England.  See 

So, tradition easily gave way to the new interest du jour.  Expedience, and pleasing the Powers of the time. This is not new -- colonies and their dominant towns changed names for those reasons frequently.  Ethnic backgrounds, politics.

3.  Annapolis' Roots in slavery.  CityDock, just outside the Naval Academy gates, shows other city roots. 

 The port here was used for the loading and unloading of slaves.  CityDock now displays a memorial to Alex Haley's Roots.  Alex Haley:  author, 1921-1992.  Read Roots.  It is not just for TV, see  Alex Haley also wrote a biography of Malcolm X, documenting the struggles of black Americans during and after slavery,  but that aspect is not memorialized that I could see at Annapolis.  Just show cute kids, and not too close to each other.

Kunta Kinte: a root-main character in Roots. You can sit on the bench and squirm around to read it.


4.  Annapolis' Roots in Ego Alley.

This docking area in the larger marina is also a place where slaves were downloaded. It is at the end of the narrow waterway known as Ego Alley, see

This vast marina and CityDock sets a holiday mood, drink and spend invitation for the military overhang just on the next block. Enjoy a BLT with this local and splendid addition:  with fried softshell crab.  Roots in spending money.  Is this Washington-Military-Wall Street Whatever.  Ego Alley in motion.  Whose yacht?  This is Spring Day, out of Yakima Washington.  See, as a start.  Little children in an inflatable motorized dinghy are enjoying the ego of Ego Alley.

 Spring Day, motor launch at CityDock, Annapolis, out of Yakima Washington

A yacht registered in Yakima.  Has it set wet foot there?  Or can it be registered by mail?  Scoot it through the Panama Canal to get here?

Annapolis.  What religion prevails:  not the Puritans, who lost Providence to Anne Arundell's Towne.  Not Anne Arundell's, Catholicism, who lost out to Queen Anne Stuart and her Protestantism.  Not Queen Anne who -- if a passerby is asked, might not even know who she was;  perhaps the military industrial complex.  But that idea depends on tracing the yachts so close to Washington DC and so easy to get away and not see.

Religion at Annapolis:

Lord Baltimore's religious revenge:  the chapel located right in the main residence hall, Bancroft Hall at

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Annapolis. USNA. Tecumseh, Tamamend, as Sideshow. MD.

 Annapolis, Maryland.  MD. Tecumseh.  Dignified, dedicated warrior, leader. Skilled opponent. 
Why turn him into a racist, gender-ridiculing cartoon? 

A walking tour of the Naval Academy soon arrives at the annually dolled up statue of Tecumseh at, yes, Tecumseh Court there. It turns out to be Tamamend, or Tamiment, instead of Tecumseh, but each is a venerable leader, revered in his time.  At this site, they are treated as one and the same, see  It is disquieting. The paint job, apart from the female costume imposed, is apparently inspired by the figurehead of the American Privateer vessel, the General Armstrong, from a battle in the War of 1812 in the Azores, see  The figurehead is in the Naval Academy Museum Collection USNA 1922.001.0075:

1.  First, Tecumseh.  As an opponent warrior, who lost, does he nonetheless deserve this? Is it really all good fun, or is there an element of making the powerless more so?

Tecumseh, Shawnee chief 1768-1813, from Ohio area, opposed the European white settlements expanding past the Appalachian mountains.  He  worked to establish an effective confederation of tribes to resist, and joined the British in the War of 1812 against the United States. Other tribal leaders were turning to religious inspiration to rally more of their people to defend against the usurper whites. Surprising?  No.  As with Christians, and Muslims, and probably many other religious groups seeking autonomy or control of others, he said, "The Great Spirit above has appointed this place for us, on which to light our fires, and here we will remain. As to boundaries, the Great Spirit above knows no boundaries, nor will his red people acknowledge any.” See He died in that war, at the Battle of the Thames in Canada, 1813.

Tecumseh.  His life was dedicated to serious causes, issues with us today, his implementation of strategy was thorough, skillful.  This warrior deserves respect.  See him at the Naval Academy. What had been a fine statue of Tecumseh, arrows at his back, a dignified visage, has become a caricature, cause for jokes and painted costumery to the raucous jeers of the ignorant. See his other masquerades at google images, a search for Annappolis Tecumseh statue.  It has become an officially sanctioned joke.  Paint it up and get good grades?  That's a zero.  Next?  

Surely the public relations people at the Academy might see a contemporary problem here. Yet, see the  Public Affairs Office (et tu?)) at the Academy ha-ha-ing it at 

2.  What if this is not Tecumseh. Does it make a difference if the Native American is somebody with less gravitas

This indeed is not Tecumseh, but the tale gets no better for it. The caricature is of another, with equal or more gravitas.  Meet Tamamend, chief of the Lenni Lenape; and that that identification had been made back in 1914.  Can't tell the good folks at home, though.  Too embarrassing.  Truth be damned.  See Sarasota Herald-Tribune (May 6, 1971) news/  The original statue, has always been Tamamend, and is at the Smithsonian, says the article.

  • At this Baltimore Sun 11/28/2005 article, however, with a woman painting him up, he is identified as Tamamend. See,0,  

3.   Is the derision acceptable if Tamamend is less admirable so we excuse it because it is not Tecumseh?  No.  

Use a goat instead of a venerable minority leader.  No derision is ever acceptable where the undercurrent of powerlessness, inferiority, speaks loud and controls.  If the Navy must deride somebody, do a Goat, so it is clear nobody intends to insult anyone.

I can get you the address of this goat, to use instead of Tecumseh.

So:  Tamamend.  Tamamend  was a dignified, honorable leader of his people.  Look up TAMAMEND: Chief, Leni Lenape tribe, 1628-1698, Pennsylvania area See.  

The name means affable, or easy to talk to, according to that site.  Traits:  include loyalty, friendship to colonists. Knew William Penn and both respected each other. Tamamend sold (!) land to the colonists and got back "guns, axes, blankets, knives, matchcoats and other supplies."  Did that shock the conscience of anyone? Loved peace. Famous words, "We will live in peace with William Penn and his children as long as the creeks and rivers run, and as long as the stars and moon endure."  Seen as wise by his people.
  • But was Tamament Wise?  Not in ways he had to be faced with early capitalist exploiters. The tribes had never had to deal with colonists before.  Out-bid, out-negotiated, no meeting of minds at all, exploitation start to finish.  We look from our property-worship perspective at the naivete of the Native Americans.  
  • But the site notes they thought they were sharing land, no concept of actually selling or even owning land.  Land could "belong" to a tribe and still be shared with others.  Shall we give it back, in penance?
His territory:  Philadelphians will recognize his people's farming grounds, along Neshaminy Creek. Visit Neshaminy Mall sometime.  Is the Shackamaxon Country Club near the old Shackamaxon as well?
  • More Tecumseh:  Facebook jokes continue with collage of photos at
4.  Finish your walking tour of the Academy at the Museum and -- ye gods, what is this.  Tecumseh -Tamamend again? Wasn't once enough? Or is this someone else entirely.  No idea.  Jesus had a beard, we are told.  Or is this a centurion? With what at his chest?  Research continues.

5.  In parting.  Is this institutional sideshow, that everybody seems to approve, really still ok?  Are we to be impressed with the sensitivity of our military, or is that just lame.  If they are to represent the interests of a nation, however, lame is not good enough.  No.  Institutional derision of others' prominent historical figures is not ok.

  •  Ask:  What is "off" here?  Just transgender and beard the dude up anyway for jokes and better grades, we are told ha ha.  But the undercurrent is derision.  You could do the same to George Washington, for example, and it might be funny.  Do it to a minority respected leader, and it is not so much. Doll up Susan B. Anthony and the message is different as well. 
  •  Power and powerlessness make the difference.  This instance is a power play.  Ask a Native American. There are 17 Native American cadets in the class of 2017, some 1.4%.  Poll them.  Do they think this is hilarious? See cadet class demographics at

Monday, October 6, 2014

Arlington Cemetery, General Pershing. Virginia. VA. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing.

Virginia. VA.  A walkabout in Arlington Cemetery. General 'Black Jack' Pershing.

1.  Pershing's life: Examine his record and find there is no heroism without ambivalence. His times defined his actions, when he acted in ways we would call unethical; but he stood out in his sympathies with blacks, his drive to understand war opponents and their language and culture. Ethicists will always argue whether cultural setting should excuse otherwise heinous acts, inhumanities, such as looking at his obedience to orders in the slaughter, blocking the escape of the Apache from Wounded Knee. 
  •  The Pershing formula, tweaked:  The humanitarian sought to understand allies and opponents, both; but the pragmatist, loyal military man, did not hesitate to use the violence ordered to carry out a mission; or question it. 
  • Accordingly, Pershing was respected and did work among and with blacks, led the segregated black Cavalry regiment (the 10th) with the men serving with distinction and were in turn praised by him (thus the Black Jack derisive term of others in the Army toward him and his sympathies); learned Apache and Lakota ways, then as surely blocked their escape from the Cavalry slaughter at Wounded Knee, among other circumstances. Fostered US economic and political imperialism in Mexico, pursuing Pancho Villa (unsuccessful) with lessons there on "terrorism" -- who engages in it, perils of the chase). Ambiguity.
  • Relationship with the 10th Cavalry.  General Pershing was no opportunist, coming late to command blacks.  Instead, he had taught in a black school as a young man to earn money for college.  The black segregated Cavalry unit he led was known as the buffalo soldiers because of their hair, resembling buffalo, said some.*  
  • Relationship with Mexican first friends then opponents.He participated in nation-changing (Mexico) and punitive slaughters of Mexicans acting against American economic interests in Mexico, and led expeditions in Mexico to find opponents of American policy, wearing out the Mexican government's welcome (the opponents also had been enemies of the government) and then forced to leave.  See  
  • As a Cavalry officer on the Western frontier, he cut off the escape of native Americans during and after the slaughter of them by the Cavalry at Wounded Knee.  See  
    • Genocides and massacres and brutal economic empire-building are part of American history.  Clear out the pagans, the different, to make room for us, the superior.  Clear out the heretic, said the religious institution and crusaders and inquisitors until recently, to make room for us, the superior and only interpreter of text. Clear out the infidel say others now, in their turn, and before.  Plus ca change.
2.  Location, location. To find General Pershing, skip the bus. Take the tourist center map, weave around the roads, the lettered big lots. If heat overcomes, sit in the shade. Ask, looking about, what is the significance of memorial stone choices. What does the choice of stone, absence of pomp, communicate about the person, or is all bureaucratic happenstance fitting everyone in.

General Pershing is buried with a plain stone, facing the direction of WWI soldiers, his "doughboys."  This brings to mind General George C. Patton in Hamm Cemetery, Luxembourg, whose grave also is marked with a modest stone, facing his men.  He had served as an aid to General Pershing (Mexico, pursuit of Pancho Villa, whom they never found and then had to leave because the American soldiers were getting rambunctious and obnoxious in the Mexican towns, see

3.  Life in detail. The breadth of Pershing's American experience: sources vary on some facts, see sites above glommed here, and including at; and

1860.  Born, Missouri. Father a railroad switchman, findagrave, or traveling salesman after losing family farms in an eonomic depression, see
1877.  Taught black children, Prairie Mound rural school in Charlton, used money to enter college.
____. Entered Kirksville Normal School (Truman State University); then went back to Prairie Mound, decided to be a lawyer, returned to Kirksville

1882.  Entered West Point, became class president, cadet captain, graduated 30th out of 70. Cavalry. Learned Apache dialect, and sign language used by Plains Indians.
 ____. Orders: Serve on Western frontier, under General Nelson A. Miles, Orders: subdue the Lakota, eliminate a religious movement among them, the Ghost Dance. Known as Wounded Knee Massacre, Got citation. He had blocked the escape of the Indians after the Cavalry slaughter of 200-300 of them; some 25-30 Cavalry were killed. 

  • "Black Jack" nickname.  Pershing commanded a black regiment, the 10th Calvary, that some called the "Buffalo Soldiers."
1891-95+. At University of Nebraska, as professor of military science.  Got law degree. Returned as tactical officer to West Point
1898.  Spanish-American War. Philippines:  earned Silver Star. Known as "cool under fire." Theodore Roosevelt noticed him. Pershing set up the administrative bureau still serving the Philippines and Puerto Rico. Was made captain.  At San Juan Hill battle in Cuba, Pershing again led his 10th Cavalry, the black regiment, and praised their work to others, unusual for that time, see
1899.  Back to Philippines, against tribes known as "Moros" resisting the US cultural-economic takeover; studied the culture of the Moros, was respected by them; put down an uprising, more people noticed him.
1904.  Russo-Japanese War.  Military attache, American embassy in Tokyo.
ese War.

1905.  Married Helen Frances Warren, a Senator's daughter, which Senator also chaired the Senate Military Affairs Committee.
1906. Resentment. Perceived nepotism. Pershing was promoted by his father-in-law, advancing up four grades and over some 840 officers in line before him, see Pershing served well, including back in Philippines as military commander.

1914. Mexico. President Woodrow Wilson put him under command of General Frederick Funston. Orders: "pursue and disperse" Pancho Villa and guerrillas.
1915.  Tragedy intervened:  a home fire where his wife and children lived (the Presidio, military base in San Francisco) killed his wife and three daughters, leaving only a surviving son,  Francis Warren age 5, whose life was saved by a family maid who led a rescue party into the burning house.  There had been "inadequate and antiquated" fire equipment at the Presidio, and nine people had died of fires in the last three years, see full archive article.
  • Who was the maid? Research:  the "family maid" who saved little Warren Pershing was an elderly black servant woman, see  What was her name? Surely she deserves to be remembered? Fill in here ____________________.
  • Warren:  1909-1980. In Army as private, died NYC, ashes buried place unknown, see

1916 ff. US government opposed Victoriano Huerta, and Pershing invited two Mexican Generals to meet with him, Pancho Villa and Alvaro Obregon, all then supporting Venustiano Carranza. Power struggle.  The friendship did not last. Pancho Villa raided into New Mexico, killing 18 soldiers and civilians, and wounding 10 more. Details at  Back to Mexico: did not capture Villa, Mexico would not let the RR be used for US supply lines, but resentments of Mexicans grew also because of skirmishes of Army with them. Pershing did stop the "terrorism" (Terrorism? Villa responding to protect his own nation's interests against colonial-economic power of US?  Research needed.  President sought to avoid a war. 
  • Fair use quote, Pershing's response to being ordered to stop the search in Mexico for Pancho Villa:  "Pershing described the failed mission as 'a man looking for a needle in a hay stack with an armed guard standing over the stack forbidding you to look in the hay.' " See 
 Promoted to Major General.

1917. WWI.  America declared war on Germany, troops to be sent to France. President Wilson, advised by Major Douglas McArthur, named Pershing to create and command American Expeditionary Forces for France. From some initial 130,000, numbers of troops rose to some 2,000,000 in a year and a half.  Good PR:  Pershing laid wreath at grave of Marquis de Lafayette. Pershing's aide declared: "Lafayette, we are here!" A repay for France's assistance in the Revolutionary War. Pershing would not allow American troops only to replace depleted ranks of British or French, and insisted that the Americans fight as one unit, no lending out.
1918.  Success: Americans won over Germans at St. Mihiel Salient.; fought well along Hindenburg Line at Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Cut German lines at Sedan. Then Armistice.
  • Return to US, hero, Thanks of Congress and promoted to General of the Armies of the United States, a rank Congress created for Geo. Washington in 1799, but Washington never accepted it, but Congress foisted it on him posthumously. Pershing also declined the 5 stars to which that rank entitled him. Always wore 4 stars. Thus, Washington remains the senior ranking officer US Army.
1921 - 1924:  Army Chief of Staff, then retirement.
1925 ff.  Chaired American Battle Monuments Commission, wrote memoirs and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Lived at Walter Reed, gave advice as called upon WWII for Gen Geo. C. Marshall who had earlier held his own against Pershing in pressing for better conditions, supplies, transportation for WWI soldiers, Pershing became best man at Marshall's marriage.

1948.  Death. President Harry S. Truman, also a veteran of WWI (doughboy) led procession after the funeral to Memorial Amphitheatre. Only 9 people have been honored at the Amphitheatre.  Pershing: requested to be buried with his men, and was interred on a knoll in front of them, with the usual regulation tombstone.  Other honors: the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star,and many foreign awards.
Buried beside him:    grandsons, Second Lieutenant Richard Warren Pershing, Vietnam vet, killed there; see; and Colonel John Warren Pershing III, who died of vascular disease, see

Dan Widing at grave, General John H. Pershing at left, and grandson 2d Lt. Richard Warren Pershing on right (killed in Vietnam war) (or is that other grandson John Warren Pershing on the right?  Both are up there), Arlington Cemetery

4.  Leave with admiration, and sadness for our own blindness in dealing with our own.  John Joseph Pershing was a man of his times, with lessons for us grappling with similar issues of reactions to American civilian-capitalism and nation-control activities abroad (we call it terrorism), race relations, family tragedy, dedication to duty, superior performance and what qualities bring it about. What should be relegated to history so that all are supposed to start with a fresh slate now? Can we expect others not to use the same tactics we ourselves used to become, in our view, on top. Is our past so noble. In some ways, yes, in others, not at all.
* Folksong, Buffalo Gals Come Out Tonight: see there said to refer only to the girls of Buffalo NY, and the name of the town could change where sung.  But is that the earliest derivation of how "buffalo" is used, or is the usage a later resolution of a cultural ambiguity, how to refer to blacks as in the Indian term for Buffalo Soldiers for black soldiers?  In about 1844, it was sung (credited to, but what other sources lay behind?) by a blackface minstrel, see

Friday, October 3, 2014

Arlington Cemetery VA, at DC. Arlington House. Virginia. Robert E. Lee Memorial. Kennedy Graves.

Virginia. VA.  Confederate General Robert E. Lee, graduate of West Point, never owned many places associated with him:  his birthplace at Stratford Hall, where he was bor; and Arlington House, where his wife, Mary Custis, had a life estate only, and the property was by will of her father to go to her son, George Washington Custis Lee (see bloodlines at  Robert E. Lee, then, was only a custodian after the death of Mary, charged with leaving the estate in good order for the next in line, as fate might or might not have it.  See

Arlington House looms large in photographs, with the Greek Revival big pillars.

Ted Kennedy's grave, Senator Edward Kennedy, on the other side, also is a simple ground-level plaque and cross.  Do I have them mixed here?

From the side, however, Arlington House is modest, small family-size.

The Lees were forced to vacate at the outset of the Civil War.  To be sure they never returned, the Union Army buried its soldiers right up to the house itself, long rows.  

Robert E. Lee was creative, and an engineer.  He devised his own lounge chair with fold-down table at the left arm.  Was he left-handed?  this was a speculation when he favored leading with the left while planning a heavy right, see  He signed the peace treaty at Appomattox with his right hand, however, show the paintings, and a wax figure at Appomattox.  He wrote to Mrs. Lee, however, at one point, that he had been injured and was just beginning to use his left hand for dressing etc., see General Lee: A Biography of Robert E. Lee, by Fitzhugh Lee.  A relative? 

The chair indeed reclines. This is in the bedroom.

Old trees at Arlington: see

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stonewall Jackson. VA. Track last days. Chancellorsville to Guinea Station. The man, the arm.

 The Three Losses of Stonewall Jackson
Chancellorsville to Guinea Station, Virginia. VA. The wounded, then the dying man.

Confederate Major Stonewall Jackson stands for opposites of victory and loss, and for irony. He had brought victories to the Confederacy in the early years of the Civil War. Then came the losses, in threes as the sages warn. His arm, his life, and his birthplace as Confederate.
  • On May 2, 1863, Stonewall Jackson was shot, by mistake, and his left arm was amputated on May 3.
  •  On May 10, he died. 
  • Then, on June 20, after his death, he lost part of his legacy: the character of the State of his birth.  Parts of Virginia, including the town of his birth, Clarksburg, seceded to become West Virginia, and not Confederate. A loyal Confederate Virginian: Would he ever accept West Virginian? See  
Each of these losses was also was a loss for the Confederacy, even a tragedy as events then turned, and especially for General Robert E. Lee who considered Major Jackson to be his right arm. 

Here, follow the trail of Stonewall Jackson from Chancellorsville, where he was shot and his arm amputated, to where he was taken for a hoped-for recovery at Guinea Station. The route of the ambulance-wagon is well mapped.  Drive it. Leave for another day visits to West Virginia.

1.  Chancellorsville.  The battle; Confederates prevailed.

 Stonewall Jackson was an orphan of poor background who rose to graduate from West Point, He was serving under General Robert E. Lee in 1863, when, returning from a reconnoitre patrol, he was shot in the arm by his own men, a case of darkness misidentificaton.  He was first laid here, where this simple stone marker replaces one first set by Stonewall's staff.  It is located a little indecorously behind the -- yes -- tourist center. See

 Stone marker, the wounded Stonewall Jackson, Chancellorsville VA

His left arm was amputated at a nearby tavern also at Chancellorsville, and to be tossed on the heap. Someone thought this would not be appropriate, and retrieved the arm, and buried it at a nearby farm, Ellwood Manor, with connections to Stonewall Jackson. But is it really still buried here, was it ever, if not here, where is the arm? Nearby?  Never?  Stories conflict, see

The building is open for tours, but don't miss the fine lowest step at the main entrance.

 The ambulance route.  There is no major VA road heading diagonally south.  Straggle around the crossroads. Avoid major interstates unless you have to give up, as we did.  GPS has to be updated.  Ours was not. Ergo, the Big Interstate.

2.  Guinea Station, a railway stop.

The Jacksons had family ties in Guinea Station, and I understand that he and his wife and baby daughter stayed there for a brief few weeks together away from the battles, not long before.  He was brought here by ambulance wagon after the amputation of his arm.  He died there on May 10, 1863.  See

Farms had formal names, in addition to its identity as the Chandler plantation, it had the name Fairfield, at Guinea Station. The only structure remaining -- now a kind of shrine -- is the home-office of the overseer where Stonewall Jackson was brought for treatment, away from the battlefields, and he died a few days after.  His wife stayed in the main house, now gone.

The structure is more administrative offices for the overseer, but he also lived here.

The guides tell us that the bed is the original, and some of the bedding, where Stonewall Jackson died. 

Story goes:  That a train was set to arrive with special doctors to treat Stonewall Jackson, but the Union held it up so it could not pass. True?  That would not be an unusual tactic.  Jackson himself, when told of the bravery of the Union soldiers, is said to have said -- more tales -- to kill them all anyway.  He did not want them brave. He wanted them dead. Such is war.  Am checking the source.

Stonewall Jackson's last words are said to be: "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."    Here, view down the road at Guinea Station, from Chandler's plantation.  The Matta River is nearby, see;

Upstairs, the overseer slept, and while Stonewall was below, also friends and visitors.  These narrow beds were are told are fainting couches, handy for extra guests, but usually in the big house where the lady could catch a few winks without disturbing her dress; or recover from shortness of breath from the spanx of the day.

History. Its angles, spin, fabrications, motives of the victor who records, and spins and fabricates.  We haz baggage.  No story can ever be told to the satisfaction of both victor and defeated.  Is that why anger festers.

3.  Virginia and Son of Virginia.  Favorite Son.

Thomas Jonathan Jackson.  He remains, of course, a Virginia favorite son.  And secession. A zero sum game. A tool of warfare, putting force of politics and power ahead of force of armed warriors. See  

West Virginia was admitted as a State in 1863, during the Civil War itself.   Boundaries of the original colonies were set largely by original grants, patents and charters from England, but some were modified as custom and acceptance, or lack of acceptance, determined.  With time, some boundaries in outlying areas of the colonies themselves were jockeyed about and divvied, or new, previously unsettled (read, no whites) territories sought statehood.  West Virginia was one of a very few states formed by secession from a colony.  Dozens of Virginia counties were absorbed into the new West Virginia in 1863, and since the Civil War was in process, some votes had to be postponed or results later ratified.  That's that, quoth the government, promoting the union of the nation.   See

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Walkabout, Congressional Cemetery DC. National Burying Ground. Washington DC

Washington DC. The national burying ground.  Surprise. Enjoy a graveyard. Treat yourself to a leisurely walkabout, after the pomp and monotony of Arlington, with its grim adulation of force as the ultimate problem solver. This is the world's second-best cemetery, the first being the Merry Cemetery, Sapinta, Romania, where each deceased's manner of death, or earlier occupation, is carved as a scene on a cheerful wooden marker.  A cemetery with variety in message, attitude: what do some folks say about themselves as they lie here. after the ball is over. Knock knock.  Who's here?

Dogs, for one.  The canines are welcome.  "Permissible to Unleash Dogs Beyond This Point." And there is the nice hose not only for watering plants, but to service the doggy dish. 

Congressional Cemetery DC, dogs permitted, with a simple registration. And it works.

This is not a public dog park, however.  People have to register if they want to bring dogs, and we found no stray poops. What are the criteria for registering as a dog visitor in this nice cemetery? So sensible. Go online at  No panicky broad exclusions contemplating chaos if force is not applied, just sensible rules for a caring community. 

And there are limits. Dogs are to be kept out of the garden.  Fine.

2.  Imagination, for two.  How shall we remember thee? Let us count the ways.

2.1   The Man of the Up-tipped Cube. Meet  Charles Fowler, noted on his grave-block as a writer, educator, sportsman and advocate for arts education.

This balancing is clever and sleek, and not, clearly, set up by a blockhead.  Consider coming grouping 2.3.

2.2  Bar-code Man.  Adam Sean Ziolkowski.  Sic mors non potuit quot dare vita dabit.  Have tried translator sites, so far none pithy or sounding right.  Since death is unable, what gives life or what? 

2.3  Men of the Cenotaphs.  A Cenotaph means empty tomb, says the brochure; and about 80 Congressmen are buried here, another 85 or so are not -- the block remains.  The purpose was to honor people who died in office. Do we care?  Unless the office was a cause of death, the significance escapes. Thank one George Frisbie Hoar in 1870 for stopping the practice, see  Congressmen could pay a fee and, if they died in office, could enjoy the knowledge that their names would be forever on identical blocks in rows on pedestals with pointy tops.

On and on they go.  The ego of it all.

3.  Our own.  Native Americans are also here.  A serious topic, and here, fine people.

3.1 .  This, the marker for Push-Ma-Ta-Ha, Choctaw Chief, and also a diplomat and warrior, and officer (soldier?).  He served in the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans.  This marker seems inconsistent with those views shown at, but the insciption, "That the big guns be fired over me," is the same and known as the Push-Ma-Ta-Ha inscription.  And the Washington guns indeed fired, with a huge procession for him.

Irony: The Government owed money to the Choctaws.  Push-ma-ta-ha came to collect, but he died before he got the job done, in 1824:  of croup.  Finally in 1881, Washington paid the Choctaws.  Did they get interest?  See bio at  An earlier marker called Push-ma-ta-ha a friend of the white man.  Is that because the white man calls anyone friend who does not succeed in collecting on debts owed by the white man? At least, not for a long time?

3.2 . Taza, Son of Cochise.  His tribe was the Chiricahua Apaches, and he was the chosen leader, trained by his father, to succeed him.  The story of Taza is more typical of the fate of many indigenous people who get conquered:  he was put in little theater shows by the Indian Agent at the time, one John Clum, so the Indians could finance their own trip to Washington.  Their purpose was to protest the closing of reservations, so whites could take the land. The Indians they became part of a side show, those Wild West shows. He was a man of honor. See  

Taza is featured in the brochure at the National Burying Ground.  Some put remembrance stones on his gravestone, however, as seen on graves of some of the Jewish persons here. His story formed a basis, somewhat, of the film, Taza, Son of Cochise, from 1954 and with Rock Hudson. Name: also spelled Tahzay.

3.3  Shrouded dead.  Green burials. The Congressional Cemetery receives Green Burials, the body merely wrapped, shrouded, and lowered into the ground, no coffin required.  See No vaults, no liners, no embalming required.  Headstones are optional.  The fee depends on how deep the hole must be at time of need, see  To use your plot, for which you have purchased an interment right, it must be fully paid for.  Your purchase lasts 75 years and if you do not use it in that time, it reverts.

4.  Now to force, sneaky compiler of dossiers. Now to Hoover.  Must we?  Yes.  J. Edgar Hoover.  He fences himself in, and provides a nice bench to contemplate his final resting place.  Head on. Why does the design of the bench legs evoke a certain authoritatian symbol of the 20th Century?  Imagine them together. Angled. Fused.

5.   Welcome simplicity.   A stone, literally, with Hebrew inscription, for one Michael Taylor Epstein

A quick search did not unearth a biography.  To continue.  Fine stone, and a subtle Star of  David.

6.  A cluster for human rights:  The rights of gays, lesbians, same-gendered couples to each other, and dignity.

6.1  A gay Vietnam veteran, as the inscription tells us:  Leonard Matlovich, see  He had been in the Air Force, and discharged when he declared his sexual preference.  He died of AIDS, but his life and open declarations spurred a movement.

Another, in the area: "If you have done nothing to erase prejudice, wherever it exists, best weep for yourself and your country."  Cliff Anchor.

Bronze star:  for Leonard Matlovich.

6.2  Barbara Gittings, and Kay Tobin Lahusen, gay civil rights:  Pioneers

"Partners in life, married in our hearts." Inscription.  "Gay pioneers who spoke truth to power. Gay is good." Inscription.  Gittings, Lahusen.

6.3  Family support here. An aunt and benefactor of Barbara Gittings, reads this inscription. Katherine Batchelder.

7.  Benefactor:  Focus beyond self.  Ruth Rappaport, funds for fine causes, a life from pre-WWII turmoil, through it, uprootings, finding her relationship, an inspiring life, see

8.  And the sound of our times for any celebration, parade, dusting.

Musician.  John Philip Sousa, and his family's plots also.  Do a video search for the marches. Volume up.

He and his father were each a marine.  He is here with all the other sousaphones.

Were you surprised? Did you actually enjoy a graveyard,  especially after the bowing to the awe and determined cultural grandeur, deifying force, and the tragedies resulting from force, in Arlington. The best part of Arlington is the Lee house.

This is a Cemetery for Choice: Individual choices on how to set self up after self has expired.  Compare: Arlington Cemetery is exhausting and uniform in the sense of memorializing military violence mostly, and those who learned and lived by it. Tourist buses glide by there, but not here.  No room or interest.  Arlington wheels go round and  round. Photo op here, photo op there. Better off walking, scrambling about.  .

 Find fine photographs at

Congressional Cemetery, National Burial Ground, jimson weed. Lovely anyway.