|In 1776, Why Didn't Soldiers Use Bows and Arrows Instead of Muskets?|
October 22, 2010, The Straight Dope by Cecil Adams
I watched a rerun of The Patriot over the weekend and was once again reminded of how absurd the "volley trading" European style of warfare was (at least to me). From what I understand, even the best-trained troops of the era could squeeze off only three or four inaccurate shots a minute. Given that the opposing armies were standing within 100 yards of each other and wore no protective armor, why didn't they use archers? I'd think even a novice archer could fire off 10 to 15 arrows for every one gunshot from the enemy. Am I oversimplifying this?
|A Murder in Salem|
October 22, 2010, Smithsonian Magazine by E.J. Wagner
On the evening of April 6, 1830, the light of a full moon stole through the windows of 128 Essex Street, one of the grandest houses in Salem, Massachusetts. Graced with a beautifully balanced red brick facade, a portico with white Corinthian columns and a roof balustrade carved of wood, the three-story edifice, built in 1804, was a symbol of prosperous and proper New England domesticity. It was owned by Capt. Joseph White, who had made his fortune as a shipmaster and trader.
A childless widower, White, then 82, lived with his niece, Mary Beckford (“a fine looking woman of forty or forty-five,” according to a contemporary account), who served as his housekeeper; Lydia Kimball, a domestic servant; and Benjamin White, a distant relative who worked as the house handyman. Beckford’s daughter, also named Mary, had once been part of the household, but three years earlier she had married young Joseph Jenkins Knapp Jr., known as Joe, and now lived with him on a farm seven miles away in Wenham. Knapp was previously the master of a sailing vessel White owned.
|Coca-Cola Pulls Plug on Malvern, the Queen's Favourite Mineral Water|
October 22, 2010, The Daily Mail (UK) by Andy Dolan
...Queen Elizabeth I first sampled Malvern’s waters in the 16th century and, 300 years later, Queen Victoria refused to travel anywhere without it.
The current Queen is said to take it with her when she travels abroad.
The town grew in the Victorian era as visitors came to benefit from the supposed healing properties of the water. The first water cure establishment in Great Malvern opened in 1842.
|CW Acquires 18th Century British Flag|
October 22, 2010, The Virginia Gazette by Staff
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has acquired a British military flag that served as the King’s Color for the 96th Regiment of Foot during the era of the French & Indian War.
Measuring 5 1/2 feet by 6 1/2 feet, the silk standard is constructed of 12 white, 8 blue and 3 red pieces, forming a Union flag of the type in use 1707-1800. The center of the flag is embroidered with a Union wreath of roses and thistles, signifying the union of England and Scotland, and enclosing the title REGT over the Roman numerals XCVI.
|National Archives to Put the Founders Papers Online|
October 22, 2010, The National Coalition for History by Staff
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making arm of the National Archives, has announced a cooperative agreement with The University of Virginia (UVA) Press to make freely available online the historical documents of the Founders of the United States of America.
|River Raisin National Battlefield in Monroe, Michigan, Established as 393rd National Park|
October 22, 2010, National Park Service Press Release by Staff
River Raisin National Battlefield Park in Monroe, Michigan, was officially announced as the 393rd park in the National Park System. The War of 1812 battlefield was set aside by Congress with legislation (P.L. 111-11) signed by President Obama on March 30, 2009.
|Historians Think They've Found Peter Britt's Cabin|
October 21, 2010, The Associated Press by Staff
If this were a murder mystery, it would be the smoking gun that solved the case.
The bowl from a smoker's clay pipe, believed to be from the early 1850s and found during an archaeological dig at the Britt Gardens, has helped reveal the exact location of the cabin pioneer photographer Peter Britt built late in 1852.
|Did Your Ancestor Fight at Saratoga? You can Check|
October 21, 2010, The Associated Press by Staff
Descendants of Revolutionary War soldiers who fought in one of history's most important battles can now find their American ancestors in a computer database, and some day they might be guided by GPS to the exact spots where their relatives faced musket fire, cannon barrages and bayonet charges.
History buffs spent 12 years gleaning information from 200-year-old military documents to assemble the list of thousands who participated in the Battles of Saratoga. The database, recently unveiled at Saratoga National Historical Park, contains the names of about 15,000 of the more than 17,000 soldiers of the Continental Army and various state militias who defeated the British here in 1777.
|Windows Shut, Hawa Mahal Loses its Beauty|
October 21, 2010, The Times of India by Anindo Dey
The breeze that soughed across the Palace of Wind doesn't 'sing' anymore.
Call it a callous step taken as part of the ongoing renovation work at this 18th century monument or a deliberate move to ensure safety of tourists and the monument, but the nearly 365 windows of the Hawa Mahal have been shut by the department of tourism.
|GOPer Runyan Lists Dred Scott as Recent SCOTUS Decision He Disagrees With|
October 20, 2010, Talking Points Memo by Eric Kleefeld
Video - Jon Runyan, a former pro football player and now the Republican nominee against freshman Rep. John Adler (D-NJ), has added his voice to the recent constitutional jurisprudence of GOP candidates -- listing the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford Supreme Court decision as a recent case that he disagreed with.
|Opening Events forThe Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Held in Two States|
October 19, 2010, National Parks Traveler by Jim Burnett
In 1838, the United States government forcibly removed more than 16,000 Cherokee Indian people from their homelands in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, and sent them to Indian Territory—a place we now call Oklahoma. Both the route they followed and the experience itself are known as the Trail of Tears, and they are commemorated by The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
The Trail covers thousands of miles of land and water routes in parts of nine states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee) and "was designated to preserve the story, the routes, and support the associated sites that commemorate the Cherokees' forced migration." Much of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail is on waterways. People were moved onto boats and traveled along the Mississippi River, and then disembarked and walked.
|Sir Christopher Wren: The Architect Who Rebuilt London|
October 19, 2010, About.com by Jackie Craven
After the Great Fire of London, Sir Christopher Wren designed new churches and supervised the reconstruction of some of London's most important buildings.
...Tombstone Epitaph (translated from Latin): "Underneath lies buried Christopher Wren, the builder of this church and city; who lived beyond the age of ninety years, not for himself, but for the public good. If you seek his memorial, look about you."
|Dig Offers Peep at Long-Gone Brothels|
October 18, 2010, The Boston Globe by Brian MacQuarrie
A North End privy sealed for more than a century has yielded thousands of artifacts that are giving archeologists an unprecedented look at how the world’s oldest profession was practiced by improper Bostonians of the 19th century.
...And in the South End, she said, the streets echoed with the sounds of hundreds of “nightbirds,’’ streetwalkers who called to passing men from doorways. In 1851, authorities reported that 227 houses of prostitution were operating in Boston.
|Seems Everybody's on the Hunt for the USS Bonhomme Richard|
October 18, 2010, The Washington Post by Annys Shin
Captain Ahab had Moby Dick. Bob Neyland's white whale is the Bonhomme Richard.
For decades, thrillseekers, archeologists and professional treasure hunters have searched for the wreckage of the USS Bonhomme Richard, a Continental Navy ship captained by John Paul Jones during the Revolutionary War that sank on Sept. 25, 1779, off the coast of Yorkshire, England, in the choppy waters of the North Sea.
|Erotic Secrets of Lord Byron's Tomb|
October 16, 2010, The Charles Fort Institute by Mike Dash
It was hot and dusty in the crypt, and it had been hard work breaking into it. Now the vicar had gone, along with his invited guests, to take high tea. The churchwarden and two workmen armed with spades were left to wait for their return, loitering by the grave they had come to examine – the tomb of Lord Byron the poet.
...George Gordon Noel Byron (1788-1824) was born in London, the grandson of a legendary admiral popularly known as 'Foulweather Jack', and the son of a Royal Navy captain (and chronic debtor) known even more evocatively as 'Mad Jack' Byron. His distant ancestors had been gifted possession of Newstead Abbey, in Nottinghamshire, for services rendered to Henry VIII at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries – which, at least in part, explains the poet's posthumous residence in Hucknall – and despite the disadvantage of being born with a club foot, and the death of his feckless father when he was aged just four, the future poet enjoyed a privileged upbringing. He was schooled at Harrow and at Trinity College, Cambridge (where, famously, he kept a tame bear as a pet). After going down he became renowned, in almost equal measure, for his extraordinary poetry – Childe Harold made his name, and Don Juan practically ruined it – his scandalous affairs with a succession of unsuitable women, and his ever-mounting debts. So notorious did these actions make him that it has been suggested that Byron was the world's first celebrity, in the modern meaning of the term – an 1820s bad boy with all the dangerous charisma and the smouldering sexuality of the louchest modern rock star.
|Sneak Peek at Shipwreck Artifacts for 2011 Display|
October 15, 2010, WITN (NC) by April Davis
More artifacts from the shipwreck of what's believed to be Blackbeard the pirate's flagship are now on land and WITN got a sneak peek Friday.
Underwater archaeologists from the Queen Anne's Revenge's shipwreck project team spoke Friday about their dive season which began in late September and the major artifact exhibit slated to open next year.
|Campaign Launched to Build Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine|
October 14, 2010, The Telegraph (UK) by Murray Wardrop
The Analytical Engine – conceived in 1837 – remains one of the greatest inventions that never was as Babbage died before he could see out its construction.
However, John Graham-Cumming, a programmer and science blogger, now hopes to realise Babbage’s vision by raising £400,000 to build the giant brass and iron contraption.
|Barack Obama and Sarah Palin 'are Distant Cousins'|
October 13, 2010, The Telegraph (UK) by Staff
Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are 10th cousins through a common ancestor, John Smith, a 17th century pastor, according to genealogists.
Ancestry.com found that the two politicians, who could face each other in the 2012 race for the White House, are both related to Mr Smith, a Protestant pastor who was an early settler in Massachusetts.
|Bloody Gourd May Contain Beheaded King’s DNA|
October 13, 2010, Wired Magazine by Dave Mosher
Sick of taxes, a lack of rights and living in poverty, French revolutionists condemned Louis XVI to the guillotine on the morning of January 21, 1793. After a short but defiant speech and a menacing drum roll, one of the last kings of France lost his head as a crowd rushed the scaffold to dip handkerchiefs into his blood as mementos.
Or so the story goes.
|Grant Allows U.Va. Press to Make Founders' Documents Available Free Online|
October 12, 2010, The News Leader (VA) by Staff
Letters, military strategies, meeting notes, journals and other historical documents from the Founding Fathers that illustrate the building of the United States of America more than 200 years ago will be made available to the general public for free, thanks to a cooperative agreement between the University of Virginia Press and the National Archives.
The agreement will create a new website to provide free access to the fully annotated published papers of key figures in the nation's Founding Era. The project is designed to include the papers of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin.
|Time is Running Out for Historic House in Central Pa.|
October 12, 2010, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) by Len Barcousky
Options are shrinking and time is running out for a small citizens group seeking to keep the historic Justice William Smith House intact and in Mercersburg.
Bids to demolish -- or possibly relocate -- the building will be opened Oct. 28.
|Scotland’s Priciest Home Is Cheaper After Second Cut|
October 12, 2010, BusinessWeek by Peter Woodifield
Scotland’s most expensive house for sale, an 18th-century mansion with 85 rooms, had its price slashed for the second time this year as the global economic slump curbs the enthusiasm of millionaire buyers.
The owner of Yester House, 23 miles east of Edinburgh, cut the asking price to 8 million pounds ($12.7 million) after failing to attract offers at 12 million pounds. Italian-American opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti’s adopted son originally put it on the market for 15 million pounds in August 2008, the month before Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy.
|$300m 'Michelangelo Painting' Found Behind Sofa|
October 11, 2010, The Telegraph (UK) by Nick Allen
A dusty old painting stored behind a family sofa could be a Michelangelo worth up to $300 million (£190 million) and potentially one of the art finds of the century, according to an expert.
According to Mr Forcellino's investigation, a letter in the Vatican library points to the painting having been done by Michelangelo for his friend Vittoria Colonna in around 1545, nearly half a century after the young artist sculpted the Pieta.
The painting later belonged to a German baroness who left it to a lady-in-waiting, who was the sister-in-law of Mr Kober's great-grandfather. It arrived in America in 1883.
|Mona Lisa's Remains 'Lie in Florence Rubbish Tip'|
October 11, 2010, The Telegraph (UK) by Nick Squires
Lisa Gherardini died in Florence in 1542 and was buried in the grounds of Sant'Orsola convent.
Over the centuries the Franciscan convent was used as a tobacco factory and a university teaching facility but in the 1980s a redevelopment was launched to convert it into a barracks for Italy's tax police, the Guardia di Finanza.
The developers had no knowledge that it was the final resting place of da Vinci's famous model – that was only discovered in 2007 – and during work to build an underground car park, the convent's foundations were excavated, along with the crumbling remains of graves and tombs.
|Oklahoma Postpones Teach-Through-Rap Program That Refers to Founding Fathers as 'Old Dead White Men'|
October 08, 2010, FOXNews by Diane Macedo
The Oklahoma City public school district is taking a second look at a plan to teach at-risk students using rap and hip-hop after receiving complaints over one lesson referring to the Founding Fathers as "old dead white men."
The program, known as Flocabulary, is an educational tool that uses rap and hip-hop music to help students learn and memorize basic principles of vocabulary, reading, writing, social studies, math and science. The district was authorized to spend $97,000 in federal funds on the program and has already spent $10,000, NewsOK.com reported.