Sunday, February 22, 2009

Indians of Norh America, David Bushnell

I'm trying a beta of this site, if this changes and doesn't show up in the future, go to this url for Bushnells book

Author: Bushnell, David I. (David Ives), 1875-1941

Subject: Indians of North America; Indians of North America -- Dwellings

Publisher: Washington, Govt. print. off.

Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT

Language: English

Call number: b1218906

Digitizing sponsor: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Book contributor: University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Collection: americana; ncna

Scanfactors: 2

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Secrets of Lincoln's DNA

by Janet Crain
Those who are serious Lincoln scholars probably already knew and the rest of us who watched "The Plot to Steal Lincoln's Body" last night on the History Channel now know that Lincoln's body is buried under 10 feet of concrete. This was done after a serious attempt to steal his body which could have succeeded and following many years of subsequent paranoia and anxiousness on the part of the custodians of his remains. Therefore one would assume that his DNA is safe from a prying public whose inquiring minds want to know. But that is not the case. Not all of Lincoln's earthly remains lie under those tons of concrete.

Quite a bit of Abraham Lincoln's DNA was left behind if it can only be retrieved. There is blood, hair and bone fragments capable of yielding their secrets if approached in the right way. And if today's technology isn't up to the job, tomorrow's probably will be. Of equal importance to learning whether or not Lincoln actually suffered from one or more of the three serious genetic diseases long suspected, is the possible answer to two other enigmas. What was his ethnic origin and who really was his father? Many have refused to believed a lowly uneducated farmer such as Thomas Lincoln could be his biological father. While others have speculated that the Lincoln surname and his grandfather's given name, Abraham, suggest the paternal line was Jewish. Maybe the questions will all be answered in the future, if not soon, then later.

The Secrets of Lincoln's DNA

Come along with me, past all the bicentennial hoopla, to a quiet place north of the White House. Here, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, you'll find a glass case housing the most incredible Lincoln memorabilia on the planet: the man himself. His blood on the cuff of a surgeon's shirt. Snippets of his chocolate brown hair. A handful of bone fragments removed from his skull.

Yes, Lincoln! Guess what that might mean? Lincoln's DNA! Scientists have been speculating about the president's health for decades. It's believed he had malaria, smallpox and depression. Syphilis has been debated. And there are hypotheses about three rare genetic disorders—Marfan syndrome, spinocerebellar ataxia 5 and multiple endocrine neoplasia 2B (MEN 2B). If scientists had access to Lincoln's DNA, might they be able to clarify the medical history of one of the world's greatest historical figures? Could they also sequence his entire genome, and perhaps trace his genealogical roots back to their origins? Should the 16th president's mortal remains be put to the test?

I'm not the first person to ask this question nor am I the first to think it's a very intriguing idea. As far back as 1991, a panel of experts gave scientists a "qualified green light" to test Lincoln's DNA for Marfan syndrome—decades after a physician proposed that the president might have had it. At the time, researchers decided it wasn't technically feasible to move forward, but genetic testing is far more sophisticated today.

Experts say it might be possible to extract chopped-up bits of DNA from these museum remnants, assemble them into the gene they're looking for, then make a diagnosis. There are, of course, considerable challenges: nobody knows whether there's enough DNA in good enough condition to do a gene test, or to do one conclusively. As for sequencing Lincoln's entire genome, "I don't think it's doable," says Dr. Philip Reilly, author of "Abraham Lincoln's DNA," because there are such small pieces left and there would likely be large gaps.

If Lincoln had ataxia 5, a neurological disorder, he'd have something in common with 90 relatives descended from his paternal aunt and uncle. University of Minnesotagenetics professor Laura Ranum says there's a 25 percent chance. If so, the president would be a great example of somebody overcoming physical challenges to achieve greatness, she says. She'd love to see a test. So would Josephine Grima, of the National Marfan Foundation. "It would help raise awareness exponentially," she says. "Like what Roosevelt did for polio."

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Sign Petition to Save East Tennessee's The Heartland Series

It is critical that this region's history be portrayed accurately. Please sign the petition! JC

Published by Philip Parker on Feb 13, 2009
Category: Television
Region: United States of America
Target: East Tennessee and the surrounding area
Web site:

On February 12, 2009, WBIR TV in Knoxville, Tennessee announced it will stop production of "The Heartland Series" in September. "The Heartland Series" is a long running show that highlights the history, and lore of East Tennessee and it's surrounding states and regions. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that after more than a quarter century, WBIR will stop production of The Heartland Series. The series highlights local color and reenacts local historical moments. Per the article, the show has been a ratings booster for WBIR for quite some time, sometimes garnering as much as a 7.0 plus rating! Host Bill Landry and videographer Doug Mills will be with the show through it's conclusion and per WBIR, will then "look for the next step in their careers."

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hidden America; Children of the Mountain

by Janet Crain
In an area where the people have been exploited time and time again, was the 20/20 documentary: Hidden America; Children of the Mountain with Diane Sawyer just another exploitation?

The show has angered many and prompted strong, too strong perhaps, denial that these conditions of poverty and neglect exist, by many other present or former residents of the central Kentucky region. Some others from outside the region have expressed much symphathy, others dismiss the Appalachian people as shiftless, drunken, drug addicted Hillbillies. They forget or never knew that these people's parents and grandparents contributed mightily to the defeat of Hitler and the Nazis. Signs were posted in the coal company stores, with a picture of Uncle Sam and the words; "Don't be a slacker, the country needs coal!"

And the older men and rejects from the draft board labored underground 12 to 16 hours a day in a mighty effort to meet that need. While their healthier sons and brothers died in greater numbers in battle than from any other region in WWII.

But to really understand the conditions and how they came to be, read Harry M. Caudill's 1963 book, Night Comes to the Cumberlands: A Biography of a Depressed Area
, the seminal work on the subject of how Big Timber and Big Coal destroyed the land and many of the people with it.

First the timber was sold off by people who had no idea of its value beginning back in the 1880's. And hard rains then washed away the topsoil making it much harder to earn a living by farming. The people were glad to see the coal mining come in and worked very hard for a few dollars a day. Most of their wages ended up in the company store and they drew little hard cash.
Many have been on the "dole" and prescription painkillers for over fifty years through no fault of their own.

Company doctors were unskilled and behind the times and begain the drug problem by dispensing pain killers for the slightest symptoms. Depression was the main illness from living in a dreary coal camp where women soon learned the futility of trying to keep their house clean. The company doctor would prescribe pain killers for "nerves" to dull their misery. Later when good doctors were brought in during the boom times when the industry was doing really well, they refused to prescribe the precious pills and the people would not go back to them. If they needed something serious like surgery they would go to the company hospital, but sought out the old doctors for their everyday complaints.

So you see the dependency started early. And just got worse. The land and the people have been exploited over and over again and I just don't know how this situation could be made better. But the young people are their treasure, if only their lives could be made better

Yes, many have excelled and prospered. And for many years in a row, only about 5% of High School graduates stayed in Appalachia. The region contributed their natural resources and their best and brightest young people to the rest of the nation and received very little in return.

How many times can your heart be broken until you just simply give up?

A wiser person than I once told me, "Just remember, there but for the grace of God go I."

And I will leave it at that.

Cross Posted at You Have to Be This Tall to Go on This Ride

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Doctor Thomas Walker's Journal

(6 Mar 1749/50 - 13 Jul 1750)

A Record of His Travels in

Present-day Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky

From 1729 to 1749, the dividing line between Virginia and North Carolina was based on the 1728 survey "from the Sea to Peters Creek" by the Honorable William Byrd, William Dandridge and Richard Fitzwilliams, Commissioners, and Mr. Alexander Irvine and Mr. William Mayo, surveyors. During this period, white settlements on both sides of the line had already extended much further west than Peter's Creek as is shown in a map drawn by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson in 1751 which included Mulberry Fields on the Yadkin River in present-day Wilkes County, North Carolina, executed after "The Line between Virginia and North Carolina, from Peters Creek to Steep Rock Creek, being 90 Miles and 280 Poles, was Survey'd in 1749 By William Churton and Daniel Weldon of North Carolina and Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson of Virginia." Steep Rock Creek is present-day Laurel Creek in Johnson, Tennessee's northeasternmost county, and stopping there was clearly short-sighted given Colonel James Patton's 1,946 acre Virginia grant of 1744, which included the Sapling Grove tract that is today part of Bristol, Sullivan County, Tennessee.

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A most obnoxious and dangerous population


Black Texas Women
150 Years of Trial and Triumph

By Ruthe Winegarten
Janet G. Humphrey & Frieda Werden, consulting editors

Mary Madison's Galveston neighbors considered her "a very valuable citizen, in a variety of ways: especially in the capacity of a nurse." Eighty-two of them, many of whom had probably "experienced her kindness, her attention and watchfulness," signed a petition in 1850 for her to remain in the state and enjoy the "little property" which she had accumulated. Her request was one of the few granted by the Texas legislature.

Mary Madison's petition is a sample of the rare documents that preserve scraps of information about the lives of free women of color in Texas before the Civil War. She was one of many courageous women who resisted the law and struggled to protect themselves and their families. They used a variety of strategies, including the right of petition and the judicial process, to avoid being sold into slavery or banished from their homes. Many defied the law; when their petitions were denied, they remained anyway. Some women purchased their own freedom; some were purchased by their black husbands. Others married or became the concubines of white men or served so loyally that they were emancipated by their owners. This theme of resistance by black women would resonate through the history of the state.

Although the numbers of free blacks were much more significant in the Old South, Texas had enough to count. At the time of the Texas Declaration of Independence, an estimated 150 free blacks lived in the new republic. (Most antebellum African-Americans were, of course, slaves.) The 1850 census reported 394; ten years later, the figure was 355, including 174 women living in forty counties. Historian Randolph Campbell believes that the actual number of free people of color was probably double that counted by the census.

The rights of free women of color in Texas varied with the flag. Some free people of color were drawn to colonial Texas by the antislavery position of Mexico, the lure of the land, and the greater freedom of the frontier. The women employed their domestic skills as nurses, laundresses, cooks, house servants, seamstresses, boardinghouse keepers, stock farmers, and milk women. Some used their earnings to become prosperous business women, property owners, and even slaveholders. Since children took their legal status from their mothers, the children of free women were also free.

Despite their contributions as pioneers, free people of color were legally unwelcome from the days of the Republic of Texas. Slaveholders were apprehensive because free people of color constituted a threat to some of their most cherished assumptions—that whites were racially superior and that blacks were incapable of self-government. The Marshall Texas Republican editorialized that "free Negroes are certainly a most obnoxious and dangerous population ."4 Whites feared that free people of color might entice slaves to run away or rebel, but scholars have found no evidence of this.

Under Spanish and Mexican Rule

Among the first Africans in Mexico were men who arrived with the Spaniards in the mid-1500, like the famed Esteban, a slave who was the translator for an early expedition which included Cabeza de Vaca. They often married or took as mates Native American and Spanish women. As sovereignty over Texas passed from Spain and Mexico to the Anglos, some slave and free black Spaniards and mulattoes and their descendants lost their identity in the census records and were absorbed into history as persons with Spanish surnames. Among the earliest colonists were free women of color. An official Spanish census of Texas in 1792 counted 167 female mulattoes and nineteen female Negroes, a mixture of slaves and free citizens.

Since Spain recognized free people of color, Mexican Texas became a haven for runaway and freed slaves from the nearby United States South. This kind of immigration was fueled by word of mouth and continued even after Texas independence. Felipe Elua, a Louisiana creole and slave, purchased himself and his wife, Mary Ortero, a mulatto, and their children. In 1807, they settled in San Antonio to become landowners and farmers, educating their children in Spanish and French. Another fifteen male and female Negroes were recorded in Nacogdoches in 1808, where they had fled from North American masters.

Antislavery sentiment and equality for all people surfaced as major issues when the multiracial Mexican populace rebelled against Spain. In 1821, Mexico negotiated a treaty of independence that promised citizenship along with equal rights and opportunities for all Mexican people, even though it also made Catholicism the official and only tolerated religion. For the next fifteen years, Mexico (including the state of Coahuila and Texas) passed a number of ambiguous and contradictory measures relating to the legal status of slaves. Nevertheless, opportunity for free black immigrants from the United States in Texas reached its peak during Mexican sovereignty.

The main attraction of Texas—cheap and good land—convinced many Anglo colonists to brave a few legal problems with regard to slaves. The new colonists were skillful in negotiating the everchanging legal system. In 1823, Stephen F. Austin received approval from the newly independent Mexican government to bring settlers and their slaves from the United States. The "Old 300" colonists included slaveholders and slaves, but also a few free people of color: Lewis B. and Sarah Jones, Samuel H. Hardin, and Greenbury Logan. Lewis and Sarah Jones emigrated to Texas in 1826 from Mississippi, along with their two daughters. The barber Samuel H. Hardin married Tamar Morgan in 1838. She came to Texas as a slave in 1832, but purchased her own freedom with the proceeds of her labor. By 1840, this industrious Brazoria County woman had accumulated four town lots, one hundred acres, and four slaves. Greenbury and Carolyn Logan were another Brazoria County couple. He came to Texas in 1831 and purchased Carolyn's freedom with earnings from his blacksmith shop. He was granted legal title to land in Brazoria County. After he was wounded fighting for Texas independence, the couple operated a tavern, boardinghouse, and retail store in Columbia, the first capital of the Republic.

Some free women of color were married to whites. In 1828, David Towns moved from Louisiana to Nacogdoches with his wife, Sophia, and his family, who were also his slaves. He manumitted them, and they lived together in harmony, alongside their Mexican neighbors. Other white husbands manumitted their slave wives (or concubines) in their wills.

Celia Allen sought the legal assistance of William B. Travis, later a hero of the Alamo, to help protect her status as a free woman in 1833. Her owner had emancipated her along with her four children, but a prominent pioneer, William H. Jack, claimed her as a slave. With Travis's help, she won the case and lived free until her death in 1841. Her estate at that time was valued at $214.65 and included two horses, seven head of cattle, several pigs, two feather beds, and kitchen utensils.

Some single women came to Texas already free. The most famous, Emily D. West, is better known as Emily Morgan, "The Yellow Rose of Texas." A native of New York, she came to Texas with Mrs. Lorenzo de Zavala in 1835. When General Santa Anna was on his way to fight Sam Houston's forces in 1836, Emily took refuge with the de Zavalas at James Morgan's home. There the general captured her. Texas myth credits her with ensuring Houston's victory during the Battle of San Jacinto by sending word of Santa Anna's whereabouts and "distracting" him while his enemies approached. Her passport application to return home stated that she had lost her freedom papers on the San Jacinto battlefield. She is said to have returned to New York in 1837. Few academic historians credit the myth, although there was an Emily D. West who applied for a passport back to New York.

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