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President Harrison and the End of America

At the end of the tightly-contested 1888 election, Benjamin Harrison was elected President of the United States. Supporters of incumbent President Grover Cleveland were distraught at the selection of Harrison, proclaiming that the nation would soon cease to exist.

Americans at the time thought Harrison’s position on certain issues was far too liberal for a country founded upon conservative values. He meant to admit North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming into the union. He had also proclaimed that he would compromise with the British concerning America’s fishing rights in the Bering Sea.

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Born to European parents, Harrison was said to have been a spy intent on wrecking America.

Americans believed the newly-admitted states would weaken America as none of the states would be able to contribute – except for the occasional sackful of potatoes from Idaho. Another belief was that compromising such a valuable resource as the fish in the Bering Sea would tragically cripple the young nation.

Upon Harrison’s election, men packed up their families and either moved to Mexico or jumped from the highest buildings in their town squares. Death rates spiked, people went missing, and locusts plagued the southeast as pandemonium took hold and showed no signs of letting up. Churches saw record-high attendance in the weeks following both the election and inauguration; many proclaimed that the end of the world was upon them.

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Riots, murders, and arson swept through America.

Over the next few years people who were of the voting age during 1888 began to die out, leaving their uninformed children behind. Just as America was breathing its last, the election of 1892 took place restoring hope in America and returning a greenish hue to the grass and plants of the American landscape.

The 1960 Election Day Kidnappings

The United States saw a record-high voter turnout of 63% in 1960 despite a record-high in kidnappings at polling places. The number of missing is estimated at 92 victims across 11 states.

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A cautious voter leaves her voting booth after hearing of the kidnappings.

Authorities believe that the kidnappers were working together across multiple states, and all appear to have been volunteer workers who were helping out at the polls. An anonymous source believes that the volunteer workers slipped into the voting booths to wait for dutiful voters. Many voting booths in 1960 were made of a thick, heavy fabric that extended almost completely to the floor, enabling devious volunteers to quietly wait unseen before they attacked.

As reports of missing persons began to pop up across the nation, authorities investigated the polls and found hidden doors in the back of several of the booths. These doors led to the outside of the building the booths were in. Very little evidence was ever found at the scene of the kidnappings. None of the victims were ever heard from.

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A suspicious-looking volunteer plotting over a precinct map.

At day’s end, John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States. He never learned of the kidnappings – neither did the unaffected American public.

Protect Yourself at the Polls.

– Only show volunteers the required information to avoid identity theft.

– Do not leave your children with a volunteer, no matter how cute and aged the volunteers may be.

– Do not let volunteers escort you to a certain voting booth.

– Peek under each voting booth curtain to ensure that no volunteer is in the booth.

– Do not allow them to place the “I Voted” sticker on your person. Accept the sticker by hand.

In Memory: The Derbyshire Massacre of 1867

Out of respect for the 83 who died in the Derbyshire Massacre of 1867 on November 4, The History Bluff will refrain (only for today) from exposing history as it really happened. Our thoughts are with those who lost ancestors in the needless bloodshed. The massacre arose from an argument between Englishmen concerning which was better: Crumpets or biscuits. Notes to the victims of this tragic event may be left in the comments section.

May they rest in peace.

Temporary Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse

Although most historians will argue otherwise, the surrender made at the Appomattox Courthouse by General Robert E. Lee on behalf of the Confederate States of America was only temporary. The terms of surrender were signed and acquired by General Ulysses S. Grant on April 11, 1865, two days after their meeting at Appomattox.

To grasp the story better it must be understood that General Lee had always been a science enthusiast. He made his first egg-in-a-bottle at the age of four. The next year he contrived a small, replica volcano out of a bottle, baking powder, and vinegar. When it came time for General Lee to sign the surrender, he used disappearing ink.

General Grant signs his name under General Lee’s name, which would soon disappear.

Half an hour after General Grant and General Lee left Appomattox, Grant took out the papers to look at them. – he saw that Lee’s signature was missing. After a search that lasted almost 48 hours, Union soldiers found General Lee hiding in a two-seater outhouse hoping they would pass him by. General Grant sat down with Lee, provided him with a pen, and had Lee sign the terms of surrender. This was the end of the American Civil War.

Fortunately for schoolchildren and Civil War reenactors, General Lee left behind the instructions on how to make disappearing ink. They may be found here.

Lincoln Caught the Gettysbug

On November 19, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most recognizable speeches in American history. He delivered it amid the fiercest cold epidemic that has ever swept across the state of Pennsylvania; the epidemic is now known as the Gettysbug.

President Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg on November 18 and was greeted by several hundred people who all wanted to shake his hand. Germs aggressively spread that day as the eager admirers were in close contact with each other in such a small area. When Lincoln reached the house he would stay at for the night, he was suffering from a sore throat, watery eyes, and slight chest congestion.

Lincoln’s head cold put him in a daze during his first night in Gettysburg.

After a restless night, Lincoln woke up and immediately required medical attention because he was having difficulty breathing. Within an hour the congestion had improved, yet it was obvious from his voice that he was suffering from a severe cold.

Feeling better, Lincoln and his traveling companions traveled to the battlefield where he would give his speech during the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Several critics of Lincoln were in attendance; they took advantage of the president’s sickness with their merciless humor. One of the journalists wrote Lincoln’s speech just as it sounded with his cold. Below is the opening line to the speech as recorded by one of the critics:

“Four score and seben years ago, our fodders brought forth on dis continent, a dew dation, conceibed in Liberty, and dedicated to the propodition dat all ben are created equal.”

The only confirmed photograph of Abraham Lincoln shows the president sneezing just three hours before he was to take the stage.

Historians believe that this epidemic, that ultimately took the lives of 31 people, could have been avoided if people had washed their hands, avoided close contact with others, drank ginger ale, and gotten plenty of rest. A great resource for more on the topic of cold prevention may be found at YUWAB.com, a site that appreciates the relentless pursuit of The History Bluff to provide the world with accurate accounts of history.

Civil War Mailbag

The History Bluff Mailbag has been stuffed as full as Howard Taft’s three-piece suit so we feel it necessary to answer your questions and comments in this post.

The first question comes from Kurt of Jackson City, TN who apparently never heard of General Cuetip and argues that the account is false. He said, “The Q-Tip (or cuetip) was called just that because of the pool cue. Notice the resemblance.” After a little research it’s quite impossible to use a pool cue for this purpose. Whose jumbo ears do you think I have? President Zachary Taylor’s?

Moving on we come to an interesting piece of email from Luke of Brevard, NC who asks, “Since the Sanderson boys were conjoined, how did they arrive at the battle?” Both Malachi and Joshua received their orders just days before the battle while they were still at home since the war had only begun. Records do not show how they arrived at the battlefield, but it is safe to assume that they either walked or took one of the family’s wagons.

Allen from Atkinson, Nebraska said, “…saying ‘Siamese twins’ is politically incorrect and may be offensive. The term shouldn’t be used much. You didn’t use it in the story, but it is in the title of the story.” Thanks, Allen for that message. We’ll keep that in mind in our next story about Siamese Twins.

Our final messages comes from Ahmad from Malaysia “You’re a funny site.” Thanks very much Ahmad, but we do not consider ourselves to be just a site. We’re a valuable resource on everything history. We still have much to write about, but if you have questions we have answers.

That is going to do it for this post. Remember, if you have comments or questions you can either leave them in a comment box on a post or email TheHistoryBluff@gmail.com

Snapshot of History: General Ambrose Burnsides

A portrait of Union Major General Ambrose Burnsides whose distinct hairstyle has given us the term “sideburns.” Major General Burnsides had a most profound effect on America rivaling the effect of General Cuetip who often used small cloth-covered wooden dowels to clean his ears.