Monday, March 29, 2010

South Dakota and Minnesota to Alberta - What's the Connection?

My great uncle on my father’s side and my great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side both went to Alberta, Canada. Neither my mother nor my father could tell me why. My great-great grandfather on my mother’s side came back to the United States while my great uncle stayed in Alberta.

In the 1900 US Census both of them were living in Minnesota, albeit in different parts of Minnesota. My great uncle Andrew was still living in Minnesota in the 1910 Census as was my great-great grandfather. However, I found my great-great grandfather in the 1906 Canadian Census living in Alberta, Canada. My great uncle Andrew moved to Alberta after 1910.

My father’s uncle Andrew was a first generation American, his parents having been born in Denmark. I really hadn’t given much thought about why my great uncle Andrew moved to Alberta, Canada. On the other hand, I was intrigued as to why my great-great grandfather moved so much.

He was born in Ontario, Canada but married my great-great grandmother in Sangamon Co., IL in 1872. My great grandfather, his son, was born in Nebraska in 1874 and his brother was born in Iowa two years later. The other children were born in Brookings Co., SD. So it looked to me that he moved a lot.

I was driven to find out more about Alberta, Canada and why some of my family would move there. I found some books written between 1895 and 1918 concerning the history of Alberta. I discovered that in 1901 the population in Alberta consisted of Canadian and native born (54%) and immigrants. The immigrants represented 6.8% from the British Isles, 16.6% from the United States and 24.4% from continental Europe (Austria, Hungry and Russia).

So why was the second largest group of immigrants to Alberta, Canada from the United States? I learned from reading The Tercentenary History of Canada Volume III by Frank Basil Tracy (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1908) that land had become so expensive in the United States because land in the Mississippi Valley was mostly claimed and crop yields were so good that farmers were realizing great crop revenues.

Between 1890 and 1897/98 land in the Mississippi River valley had gone from $32 per acre to between $50 and $60 per acre. Homestead land in the United States by 1900 was not available. So the sons of farmers in this region were faced with working on their father’s farm and not having the means to finance a farm of their own. At this same time, the Canadian Pacific Railway was opening up western Canada. A person could obtain farm land at a very reasonable price with good terms.

However in the years after 1880, Canadians from Manitoba had moved to North and South Dakota because of total crop failures due to frost, wheat rust, hail and unpredictable rainfall during the growing season in Manitoba. Even though a man could obtain farmland cheaply in western Canada, why would he be enticed to settled in western Canada if there is a threat that frost, wheat rust, hail and unpredictable rainfall could wipe out his entire crop?

Although the Canadian Pacific Railway could not control frost and hail, they recognized the water problem was something for which they could find a solution. Thus, the Canadian Pacific Railway Corporation initiated a massive irrigation project that would provide water to 3 million acres of land along the route on either side of its right of way.

It worked out well. My great uncle Andrew and his offspring and descendants have lived in western Canada since.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Long S

After reading my post on Israel Bissell in which I included the image of the Broadside that he carried on his ride, my sister asked me about the letter f used in place of s in the Broadside.

I have been reading newspapers and books published in the 18th century for quite some time and don't notice the funny letter s anymore. My brain has adjusted to this odd character and automatically reads it as just another s.

So when s
he wanted to know "When did we finally get to using 'S'.", I had to pause and think about what she was asking. I knew from reading so many old books and newspapers that American English had two lowercase symbols for the letter s. So what was obvious to me was clearly not obvious to my sister and probably a lot more people.

One of the two symbols is called the short s and is the letter s that we know and love today. The other is called the long s (ʃ), the one that looks like an f to her and to many others. When you see these two symbols side-by-side, it is obvious why one is the short s and the other the long s. The example below is from the United States Bill of Rights.

Apparently, like my sister, people when these two symbols were in use confused the letter f and the long s. So about 1820, newspaper and book publishers discontinued the use of the long s. As I thought about the 19th century books and newspaper articles I have read, I realize that the long s was not being used throughout most of the 19th century in the United States.

But my sister peaked my curiosity about this odd symbol. I had not really paid attention to how it was being used. Were there grammar rules associated with how the long s was used? The answer is yes.

The long s was never used at the end of the word and the short s was never used at the beginning of a word. Rules seem to be less concrete when it comes to using a long or short s in the middle of the word.

The long s is also called the medial s or the descending s. The name, descending s makes sense since a portion of the letter is written below the baseline. (Baseline…this should invoke memories of learning how to write.) The name medial s implies the symbol is to be found in the middle of a word. If you look at old books and newspapers, you will find many examples of this usage.

The short s is sometimes called the terminal s. To me, this implies that the short s is used only at the end of a word.
However, I am certain that anyone can find examples in which the short s was used in the middle of the word. Apparently, in the 1st half of the 18th century a short s was to be used before the letter b. But by the 2nd half of the 18th century a long s was to be used before the letter b.

Rules of usage seemed to be ad hoc. Thus, between the confusion of the long s with the letter f and inconsistent application of when to use the short s, I think that printers took that easy way out and abandoned the long s all together. The side benefit of not having two symbols for the letter s was to save the cost of the cast metal sorts (metal type) needed for printing the long s.

Doesn’t this sound like process improvement to keep costs down?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Israel Bissell

When I posted to my blog yesterday night, I meant to include an image of the Broadside that Israel Bissell carried that night of his ride.

This man rode over 300 miles to deliver this message to everyone along his route. He started out at 10 am in Watertown, MA on April 19, 1775 and arrived in Philadelphia on April 23, 1775 at 5 pm.


Tonight I was reviewing scholarship applications for the UCLA Alumni Association. One applicant who had gotten very interested in oral histories from his/her experience as a volunteer in New Orleans after the Katrina disaster began an oral history project as an extension of the material recorded in New Orleans. As I read the essay in the application, I saw a word that I had not seen before, "historiography."

I wrote it on a piece of paper so I would not forgot it before I got home and could Google it. I am touting myself as an historian as it relates to my family tree yet I did not know this word. It sounded as if it were something of which I should have some knowledge.

Well, I arrived home and after calling my husband about the status of his hospitalized-mother and checking my email messages, I Googled "historiography." I clearly need to look at this further. It is after midnight and I have a meeting tomorrow morning so further exploration will wait.

My initial view of this discipline is that it is a reaction to how some historical events are conveyed -- fact verses sensationalism, one sided view, etc.

This reminded me of how Paul Revere's ride became such a prominent part of American History because of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem. Paul Revere was but one rider. Israel Bissell was actually the most impressive rider who is virtually forgotten in US history classes taught in high school or earlier.

He rode from Watertown, MA to Philadelphia, PA. Paul Revere rode only a short distance. I saw a program on TV a number of years ago about the selling of Paul Revere. I don't recall the program but what it said made sense. If Wadsworth wanted to sell his poem, Paul Revere was a catchier sounding name than Israel Bissell. Doesn't this strike a chord with 20th century film actors like Archibald Leach, Frederick Austerlitz, Betty Perske and Alphonso D'Abruzzo? These are the actual names of Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall and Alan Alda. Looking at the times, do you think that their actual names would have been as well recognized as the made up names?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More from the Statistical Atlas of the United States 1874

Francis A. Walker created a map of the distribution of the people in 1870 with foreign parentage. The map included the United States from the eastern coast to somewhat west of the Mississippi River. This population is concentrated in the northern states and is represented in very small pockets in the southern states. Texas is the only southern state with a sizable population of people of foreign parentage.

The map of the population distribution of “colored” people is the opposite of the distribution of people with foreign parentage. The largest population of black people is in the
Gulf states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and the coastal states starting at the north with Virginia and going south into parts of Florida. Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky have large black populations but not a dense as the previously mentioned states. The northern states on the map are lightly and sparsely populated with blacks at this time.

In 1870, Irish and German immigrants are settled in the northern part of the
United States. However, the Irish are heavily concentrated in New York and New England. British Americans (Canadians) are confined to the portion of states along the Canadian-US border. Swedes and Norwegians are settled in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and northern Illinois. English and Welsh immigrants are settled in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa

Illiteracy appears to be widespread with the lowest illiteracy rates in the northernmost states along the
Great Lakes. The most illiteracy appears in the southern states.

The atlas included a chart with the distribution of church membership. Methodists represent the largest number of members in 1870 followed by Baptists. The
New England states tend to lean toward the Congregationalists whereas the southwestern states and territories at this time leaned toward the Roman Catholic Church.

I am sure that no one is surprised that agriculture represented the largest segment of “gainful occupations.”

The Wealth Distribution map was really enlightening. Wealth was primarily distributed in the north and largely concentrated in the northeast. The southern states, based on this map, have significant pockets of poverty.

I then found the Public Indebtedness map most interesting. I wonder what such a map would look like today.
Louisiana as a state has the most public indebtedness in the United States in 1870 with Maine, New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts close behind. Missouri seems to have quite a bit of public debt with West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee next. The southern states with exception of those mentioned above fair better than the northern states other than Minnesota and Iowa.

Taxation per Capita seems to be pretty evenly distributed throughout this part of the
United States. There are pockets of higher taxation most of which are in the northern part of the US. I suppose that is not surprising as the wealth seems to be concentrated there.

According to one chart the public debt of the
United States on January 1, 1835 was $37,513. (One website I visited claimed that $35,513 in 1835 translate into $770,390.49 in 2009.)

The large majority of land at this time is under cultivation. So where are specific crops grown in 1870. Wheat is grown in much of the
US with the exception of the southernmost states but Texas while rice is grown exclusively in the coastal regions of the Carolinas and Georgia. Hops are not a big US crop as hops are grown in Wisconsin and New York. Oats are a northern state crop and Cotton is a southern state crop. Like hops, sugar is not a major crop in the US as it is grown in a small area of coastal South Carolina and the southern part of Louisiana. Hay is grown in the northern part of the US. Corn is grown throughout the US except in the coastal areas of the south. Dairy products are the domain of the northeast, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and parts of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.

More people died of consumption in the northern states than the southernmost states,
South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Deaths due to malaria had a very different distribution. Florida and the coastal states of Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland were hardest hit. The south in general had more deaths than the north states. The northeast experienced the fewest deaths due to malaria.

The northern states have more cases of deaths from intestinal disease than do the southern states. Typhoid fever is fairly widespread with severe pockets in all parts of the
US. The very southernmost parts of the US appear to be exempt from the disease.

The charts in the atlas included information about deaf mutes, blindness, insanity and idiocy. These charts are harder to read. I may at some point investigate them to see what they tell about people of the
United States in 1870.

Distribution Maps from the 1870 US Census for the Decades 1830 - 1870

My last blog entry discussed the migration of non-native Americans across the United States from 1790 through 1820. I wondered why the maps would include only these years and not the decades from 1830 through 1870. I revisited the website and found a separate map for each census year from 1830 through 1870.

Between the 1790 and 1820 censuses, people are settled in the original 13 states and are slowly moving westward. This movement was represented on four maps printed on one page of the atlas. However, after 1820 people were moving westward at a faster pace as the
United States acquired more territory in North America. Thus, a larger part of today’s US was represented at each successive decade.

By 1830, people in Maine are migrating toward the north such that half the state is well-populated, and people are moving into western Georgia. The panhandle of
Florida is densely populated by this time but the peninsula portion is still sparse. The State of Tennessee is well settled. Not much is changed between 1820 and 1830 in Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Mississippi.

This decade finds people settled in southern
Wisconsin, much of Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi. People are beginning to settle in the northern parts of Florida.

The Cherokees were removed from
Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina in late 1838 to Oklahoma. This left the remaining pockets of Indian territory in these states available for settling. This was evident in the 1850 Population map that showed Georgia and Alabama well-populated throughout each state.

A portion of southwestern
Louisiana was a part of the Republic of Texas. On December 29, 1845, Texas became the 28th state in United States. By 1850, people are settled in eastern Texas south of the Red River to the Gulf coast. The states of Louisiana, Missouri and Arkansas are populated throughout each state.

By this census, people in
Texas are settled in areas in the west around San Antonio and north toward Dallas. Most of Iowa and southeastern Minnesota are settled. People have moved into Kansas and Nebraska and are settled in the southeastern part of Nebraska and the northeastern part of Kansas.

I don’t know why
California, Nevada and Utah were not represented in the maps of 1850 and 1860. These states were a part of a territory that included parts of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico and most of Arizona that was ceded to the United States in 1847. California’s population by 1850 was large enough to be granted statehood. Utah was settled by the Mormons beginning in 1847.

This map shows the continental
United States. Much has changed in the population of the western parts of the US. Coastal California and much of the mountain region in the eastern part of the state are settled. Other western states are populated in small locations mostly along rivers. The Dakotas, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, and Montana have very sparse populations.

Minnesota and Wisconsin are well-populated with the exception of the northern portions of each state. The western part of Maine is still sparse according to the 1870 map. People are moving southward in Florida and are settled north of Orlando and a little farther south of Orlando on the Gulf side of the state.

I am very interested in what changes in population the next decade brings.

Distribution Maps from the 1870 US Census

I subscribe to an e-newsletter, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, written by Dick Eastman. Yesterday the newsletter included an article entitled "What the Census Said about 1870." He had come across a link to The Statistical Atlas of the United States that was published in 1874 and included a link to the website, Radical Cartography.

I clicked on the link and found 53 map and charts created from the data gathered in the 1870 Census. Some of the maps were drawn from data collected separate from the census. These maps included physical features of the United States such as river systems, woodlands, rainfall, frequency of storm centers, coal measures, etc.

A set of maps under the heading "The Progress of the Nation, 1790 - 1820" was quite interesting. The maps illustrated the population density for each decade from 1790 through 1820, excluding the native American population.

In 1790, the population is densest along the coast from New Hampshire to North Carolina and part of South Carolina. The most densely populated states at this time are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. While the most sparsely populated states are Maine and Georgia except along the coastal region. Since most of Georgia was in Indian territory, I was not surprised to find the number of people living there small. Maine, on the other hand, has me wondering.

The upper portion of Pennsylvania and most of New York were sparsely populated. Virginia and the Carolinas are fairly well-populated throughout the state. Virginia included what today is West Virginia. With the exception of a part of Kentucky along the Ohio River, there are very few people west of the original 13 states.

The map illustrating the population distribution in 1800 reveals movement of people in Pennsylvania toward the border with New York and of people into western New York. By this time people are moving into Tennessee and more people are settled in Kentucky along the much of the length of the Ohio River. I am surprised that in 1800, Ohio is still sparsely settled as land warrants were issued for land in the Ohio Territory in lieu of pay to soldiers who fought in the American Revolution.

Since none of the maps include population information of land that is not part of the United States, the 1790 and 1800 maps do not include population information in Louisiana and in the parts of the current states that comprised the Louisiana Purchase.

The 1810 map includes population information in Louisiana. In this map, most people are living along the Red and Mississippi Rivers. The map also reveals that people are settled on the Mississippi between what is now Illinois and Missouri.

This map shows that by 1810 about three quarters of Ohio is well-populated. So some time between the 1800 Census and 1810, people moved into Ohio. People are also beginning to move into Indiana along the Ohio River while western Tennessee remains sparsely populated as is northern Maine.

Mississippi, Alabama and western Georgia are part of Indian territory and have a very small population.
A large area of northeastern New York, of northwestern Pennsylvania, and of western Virginia into Kentucky are sparsely populated and may have something to do with the topography of those areas.

The area of Virginia and Kentucky that are sparsely populated in the 1810 map shrank considerably by 1820. The area of northwestern Pennsylvania that is sparsely populated in 1820 is also smaller. However, the population in the area of northeastern New York and the northern half of Maine are not changed. I wonder why?

The map indicates that the Indian territory in Alabama is gone and people are settled throughout most of the state and into southern Mississippi. People are settling into the westernmost part of the Florida panhandle near Alabama after 1819 when the United States acquired Florida

The southern portions of Indiana and Illinois and more of Missouri along the Mississippi River and now along the Missouri River are settled by 1820. People are also settling along the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers in Arkansas.

These maps were great fun to analyze. I plan take a look at my tree to see how where my relatives settled compares to the information on these maps

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Family Forest

Yesterday, my husband and I had the great pleasure of joining a couple at a table for lunch at the de Young Museum. The couple was visiting San Francisco from Toronto, Canada. They were so fortunate to be here when the weather was so perfect. As we talked, we found the we had much in common with two people.

He was an architect who had turned to sculpting. He was anticipating a show in New Jersey in the near future. In that short exchange, we saw a connection. Not a connection as relatives, but a connection in common interests.

My husband relayed the story of how his parents selected an architect to design a house to replace their house that had burned in the Bel Air fire in 1961. He instantly realized that this young architect was Frank Gehry.

We talked about Frank Gehry and his house at the corner of Washington Avenue and 22nd Street in Santa Monica, California. I remember how the presence of that house irritated the neighbors because people would drive by to see this strange house. Frank Gehry had taken an ordinary house in Santa Monica and made it his experimental laboratory.

I was studying environmental and interior design at UCLA at this time and was learning about architectural materials. Mr. Gehry was experimenting with common materials not unusually used in architectural design. Chain link and asphalt were two such materials with which he experimented. Many of his neighbors were less than impressed and were out right enraged by the traffic his notoriety brought.

Our Canadian architect talked about Gehry's work in Europe. I told him that I had studied about many European architects of the past and one that stood out for me was Antoni Gaudi. He also agreed with me. However, his wife told us that Gaudi's buildings really didn't do anything for her. He seemed to be a bit surprised at her statement yet I could see her point.

This is a picture of Gaudi's Casa Patllo in Barcelona, Spain.

The buildings on either side are quite different because they were traditional as were all the buildings nearby. On the other hand, this building was weird. I like it, he likes it yet our spouses were not enamored with this building. So what else is new?

We should not expect that a spouse be completely in agreement with everything. How boring would that be?

So what does this have to do with a family forest?

Nothing except that we talked about my ancestors in Canada who had settled into an area around Toronto. As we talked, the gentleman told me that I did not have a family tree but a forest!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quotes from Abraham Lincoln and Some of the Founding Fathers

In my blog of March 10, I included a quote from President Taft in 1911, in which he referred to the Constitution. He said that the government is not against churches but is there to protect all churches. I found dictionaries that relate a church to Christianity while others define a church as a body of worshipers.

As I was driving back from my volunteer work today, I caught part of a radio program discussing our Founding Fathers and Christianity. The talk show host presented quotes from a number of the key framers of the US Constitution. Later, I decided to look up some of the quotes. Although most of these men were Christians in practice, they saw the hurtful side of religion.

Thomas Paine in his "Age of Reason" included the following:
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of... Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
John Adams in a letter to F. A. Van der Kamp in 1816 said:
As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that has ever existed?
But it was the quote from Abraham Lincoln that intrigued me most. I haven't found the exact quote yet, but it was something to the effect that both the north and south claimed God on its side while they were killing each other. From childhood, I could not understand how a benevolent god could be on each side when each side was intending to harm each other. As I grew older, I decided that this was a concept of wishful thinking. It had nothing to do with God.

I digress. My quest to find the quote from Abraham Lincoln led me to a bunch of his quotes. I did not find the one on religion at this time. However, as I read the Lincoln quotes that my Google search found, I was entranced by the wisdom and wit of this man. 

These are a few of my favorite quotes:
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
This is version of the parable of walking in another man's shoes. The quotes below are from a man who was a Republican. I find them humorous yet tragic in light of the economic situation of the last few years. 
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. 
These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people. 
In my opinion these last two are really wonderful quotes that I hope most of us can take to heart.
The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is why he makes so many of them. 
The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.
I found  so many great quotes from President Lincoln that I would have liked to include. Had I, this blog entry would be more than twice a long as it is. If you want to read more of Mr. Lincoln's quotes, do a Google search. and go from there.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I have, as a volunteer, been indexing records for an arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. One might disagree with the premise under which the LDS Church is so concerned with genealogy. The benefit to all of us who are into genealogy and family history makes this an incredible gift.

When I saw the appeal for persons to help indexing the images that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City held, I felt compelled to help. Making the links to these images is so important to family historians. I joined late last year and indexed many records yet not as many as I had hoped.

Earlier this week I received an email message inviting me to be an arbitrator. I was a bit reluctant because I felt that I could make a more significant contribution as an indexer. I decided to try the role of arbitrator. This has been an interesting experience.

The images are not made available via search until any differences between the two indexers of the image are reconciled by an arbitrator.

Some notes regarding Haym Salomon and the Great Seal of the United States

Last night after I posted my blog, I realized that there was more that I needed to say about the one dollar bill, the Great Seal of the United States and Haym Salomon. Today, I revisited yesterday's blog and updated it.
Last night I could not insert the picture where I wanted it. With a little searching, I learned how to place pictures in the blog. If you go back to my blog of yesterday, the picture is positioned next to the text that relates to it.
The post is a bit longer now. I included a link to a PDF file of a pamphlet published by the Federal Government on the history of the Great Seal.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Haym Salomon, American Patriot, the Second Half

This is a continuation of thoughts concerning Haym Salomon.
It continues to upset me that there is a fear of so many people concerning immigrants coming to the United States. I saw it happening at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. But it is happening again in the early 21st century.
But more than that, I am greatly concerned now of the intolerance to those people who practice religions other than some evangelical protestant religion. President William Howard Taft in 1911 made a speech at the 8th Street Temple in Washington, DC regarding Haym Salomon. He presented a lengthy talk about Mr. Salomon, but his address touched on the freedom of religion.
He said:

"One of the privileges of the President of the United States is to attend, and to feel at home at, the religious services of every denomination that is fostered under the flag, no matter what his own church.

"It is the duty of the President of the United States, in so far as he may, to testify to his interest in every religion in order that it may be understood of all men that the absence from the Constitution of the United States of any recognition of a state church gives no right to any man to infer that the government is against churches. On the contrary, the government is for all the churches, and it eliminates a state church in order that it may embrace all and support all and protect all without guiding or restricting any."

I guess that we have not come that far in accepting the differences in people whether it be race, creed or ethnicity.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Haym Salomon, American Patriot

My cousin regularly sends me messages with religious undertones. A recent message had to do with the number 13, a lucky or unlucky number. It focused on the backside of the US dollar bill and the number of items in which there are 13, such as, 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 arrows, etc.
She forwarded a message from Dr. Martin Weissman (whom I believe to be Martin J. Weissman, a urologist in Orange, California) that claimed that the 13 stars in the seal on the right side of the dollar were configured in the shape of the Star of David. The message stated that this was ordered by George Washington at the request of Hayim Solomon (sic), a wealthy Philadelphia Jew.
The message from Dr. Martin Weissman included a link that I assumed had something to do with the source of his information. When I clicked on the link the site was all about Australian sheep dogs. There are lots of pictures of cute dogs but nothing about Haym Salomon and the one dollar bill. In spite of this small diversion, I was still intrigued about Haym Salomon.
This man actually existed. I found several articles about him and his financing of the American Revolution. His son filed a claim with the US Senate to recover $353,729.43 that his father financed plus interest. Bill S. 263 was introduced in 1860. However, the family was never successful at recovering any money.
Index to the Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States for the First Session of the Thirty-sixth Congress) includes a 10-page report of March 9, 1860 by Mr. Durkee to accompany the bill under Rep. Com. No. 127 Part of the evidence (on page 7) includes a letter, dated September 21, 1848 from J. Hockley, Cashier of the Bank of North America, that showed payments to Robert Morris from Mr. Salomon's account of at least $76,000. The report shows that he financed another $100,000 payable to representatives of the French crown. My sleuthing revealed that he died in January of 1785 leaving his wife and 4 young children financially ruined.
Haym Salomon was born in 1740 in what is now Poland. He came to the British colonies in North America shortly before the beginning of the revolution.
I was suspicious of the part of Dr. Weissman's message that claims George Washington ordered 13 stars be arranged in the form of the Star of David because Haym Salomon asked that he wanted something for his people. I just didn't believe it. I found an image of the first US Great Seal approved by Congress of the Confederation in 1782. The star pattern seems to be random. A pamphlet about the Great Seal of the United States printed by the US Department of State indicates these stars are a constellation surrounded by clouds.
This seal was designed by Charles Thompson. Robert Scot is believed to be the engraver who created the brass die. The constellation and the clouds in the final seal take the shape that we all recognize. As the die became too worn, another was created. Over time several dies were made and in several instances the engraver took the liberty to modify the seal. In 1841, the eagle held six arrows and not 13 as in the original. In 1885, the positions of the arrows and olive branch were switched.
I doubt that Haym Salomon and George Washington had a conversation about the Great Seal. The seal was under the province of the Second Continental Congress in 1776. George Washington was not a member of that congress nor was he a member of the Congress of the Confederation that ultimately approved the design of the seal in 1782. George Washington was busy fighting a war.
The Great Seal has two sides, obverse with the eagle and reverse with the pyramid and eye of Providence. The first time that the two sides appeared on the one dollar bill was in 1935. There were some paper currencies printed during the Revolutionary War. I found one such paper of1776 in which the front side included "Mind your business" and the back side stated "We are one."
Coins of gold and silver were the accepted currency of the period following the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The next time that paper money appeared was in 1861 during the Civil War. Since that time, we have accepted paper. The words "In God we trust" did not appear until 1955-56.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Black Diphtheria

My grandmother's grandparents and their children were founders of Glen Cary Lutheran Church. My aunt had given me the names of my grandmother's cousins. I found most of my grandmother's family are buried in the cemetery by the church but not all.

Several years ago, I purchased a book published in 1977 by the Anoka County Historical Society entitled "Silent Cities: A Survey of Anoka County Minnesota Cemeteries." I had hoped to locate the burial sites of those not buried at Glen Cary. In particular, I was hoping to find the burial site of some of my relatives who died as children. It didn't seem to me to be very likely that these children were buried outside of Anoka County.

A distant cousin sent me copies of pages from a booklet commemorating the centennial of the founding of Glen Cary Lutheran Church. It included a comment concerning the deaths of four children of my grandmother's aunt. The year in which my grandmother was born, her father's sister lost four of her children within one week. They all died of black diphtheria according to the Glen Cary Lutheran Church booklet.

As a child I had vaccinations against diphtheria. It was not called black diphtheria so I wondered if black diphtheria was another disease. A bit of sleuthing later, I learned that people contracted diphtheria. Some survived and others died. It seems that people died of black diphtheria while others survived diphtheria.

JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), Vol. 79, No. 16, October 14, 1922, included an article by Malcolm Graham, MD and E. H. Golaz, BS entitled " Milk-Borne Diphtheria." I found a description of an advanced case of diphtheria in which the mucous membranes of the throat had changed from the normal red to a dirty, black appearance.

So now I think I have an idea why my family and others would say that a family member died of black diphtheria. But that still left me wondering where these four children were buried. I found several accounts of people recollecting that normal burials were not permitted as families were being quarantined.

One story I found talked about the quarantined family burying the dead in the middle of the night when other's in the community were asleep. Another story indicated that the undertaker dropped off a coffin and the family placed the body in the coffin. The undertaker removed the coffin. Whether the family knew what happened to their loved one or not I cannot say.

I wonder if my grandmother's cousins were buried somewhere on the family farm or secretly in the Glen Cary Cemetery. I probably won't find out the answer. But more importantly, I am not likely to ever know how my grandmother's aunt and uncle dealt with such a tremendous loss.

As a side note: I visited the cemetery with my father before we moved to California in 1960. I remember the cemetery surrounding the church. I was distinctly impressed with the graves that were outlined with stones or bricks because a number of the graves outlined were very small. Most of these graves were very near the church building.

I made a trip to the cemetery a few years ago with my sister. The church building was gone as a new much larger, more modern building was built nearby. I could not find those graves of the small children that I saw over forty years ago.