Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Romantic Poem Series- Poem #1 Edgar Allen Poe

Romance by Edgar Allan Poe

Romance, who loves to nod and sing
With drowsy head and folded wing
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been—most familiar bird—
Taught me my alphabet to say,
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child—with a most knowing eye.

Of late, eternal condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky;
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings,
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away—forbidden things—
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.


 EDGAR ALLEN POE was born in Boston, January 19, 1809, and after a tempestuous life of forty years, he died in the city of Baltimore, October 7, 1849.

His father, the son of a distinguished officer in the Revolutionary army, was educated for the law, but having married the beautiful English actress, Elizabeth Arnold, he abandoned law, and in company with his wife, led a wandering life on the stage. The two died within a short time of each other, leaving three children entirely destitute. Edgar, the second son, a bright, beautiful boy, was adopted by John Allen, a wealthy citizen of Richmond. Allen, having no children of his own, became very much attached to Edgar, and used his wealth freely in educating the boy. At the age of seven he was sent to school at Stoke Newington, near London, where he remained for six years. During the next three years he studied under private tutors, at the residence of the Allen's in Richmond. In 1826 he entered the University of Virginia, where he remained less than a year.

After a year or two of fruitless life at home, a cadetship was obtained for him at West Point. He was soon tried by court-martial and expelled from school because he drank to excess and neglected his studies. Thus ended his school days.

In 1829 he published "Al Aaraaf, and Minor Poems." "This work," says his biographer, Mr. Stoddard, "was not a remarkable production for a young gentleman of twenty." Poe himself was ashamed of the volume.

After his stormy school life, he returned to Richmond, where he was kindly received by Mr. Allen. Poe's conduct was such that Mr. Allen was obliged to turn him out of doors, and, dying soon after, he made no mention of Poe in his will.

Now wholly thrown upon his own resources, he took up literature as a profession, but in this he failed to gain a living. He enlisted as a private soldier, but was soon recognized as the West Point cadet and a discharge procured.

In 1833 Poe won two prizes of $100 each for a tale in prose, and for a poem. John P. Kennedy, one of the committee who made the award, now gave him means of support, and secured employment for him as editor of the "Southern Literary Messenger" at Richmond. After a short but successful editorial work on "The Messenger," his old habits returned, he quarreled with his publishers and was dismissed. While in Richmond he married his cousin, Virginia Clem, and in January, 1837, removed to New York. Here he gained a poor support by writing for periodicals.

His literary work may be summed up as follows: In 1838 appeared a fiction entitled "The Narrative of Arthur Gorden Pym;" 1839, editor of Burton's "Gentleman's Magazine," Philadelphia; next, editor of "Graham's Magazine;" 1840, "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque," in two volumes; 1845, "The Raven," published by the "American Review;" then sub-editor of the "Mirror" under employment of N. P. Willis and Geo. P. Norris; next associate editor of the "Broadway Journal."

His wife died in 1848. His poverty was now such that the press made appeals to the public for his support.

In 1848 he published "Eureka, a Prose Poem."

He went to Richmond in 1849, where he was engaged to a lady of considerable fortune. In October he started for New York to arrange for the wedding, but at Baltimore he met some of his former boon companions, and spent the night in drinking. In the morning he was found in a state of delirium, and died in a few hours.

The most remarkable of his tales are "The Gold Bug," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Murders of the Rue Morgue," "The Purloined Letter," "A Descent into Maelstrom," and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar." "The Raven" and "The Bells" alone would make the name of Poe immortal. The teachers of Baltimore placed a monument over his grave in 1875.

Poe has been severely censured by many writers for his wild and stormy life, but we notice that Ingram and some other prominent authors claim that he has been willfully slandered and that many of the charges brought against him are not true. His ungovernable temper and high spirit led him into disputes with his friends, hence he was not enabled to hold any one position for a great length of time. Like Byron and Burns, he had faults in personal life, but his ungovernable passions are sleeping, while the sad strains of "The Raven," the clear and harmonious tones of "The Bells," and the powerful images of his fancy live in the immortal literature of his time.

Biography from:


Marathon of Hope

Marathon of Hope

Terry FoxThe Marathon of Hope is a name given to the cross-Canada run undertaken by cancer patient Terry Fox in 1980. It is commemorated each year with the Terry Fox Run which is an international event that raises money for cancer research.

The initial goal of the run was to raise $1 million to be used for cancer research. After running through Port-Aux-Basques, Newfoundland, Terry changed his goal from raising $1 million to raising $1 for each person in Canada at the time ($24 million).

Beginning in Newfoundland Terry Fox was to run across the country ending on Vancouver Island - a distance of 5,000 km (3,107 miles) at a pace of 42 km (26.1 miles) a day. Unfortunately, Terry Fox's cancer returned while he was in Northern Ontario, and he had to stop the run on September 1, 1980, just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The goal of the run was to raise money and awareness for cancer research. In order to get the Canadian Cancer Society to support him he had to get corporate sponsorship for the run. Terry Fox sought no personal or financial gain for his efforts. His run was also a 'true' run across Canada; not taking the fastest route, he made sure that he would pass by the most populous regions of the country.

The run

The run begins

Terry Fox began the marathon on a foggy April 12, 1980 from St. John's, Newfoundland. He started by dipping his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean. The beginning of the run was marked with little fanfare; only one camera crew from the CBC Television was there to witness his start. He was joined that first day by the mayor of St. John's, who ran for a portion of the marathon.

While running through Gambo, Newfoundland on April 21, Terry was quoted as saying:

"It was an exciting day in Gambo. People came and lined up and gave me ten, twenty bucks just like that. And that's when I knew that the Run had unlimited potential."

Two weeks later while in Port-Aux-Basques, Newfoundland, Terry's idea of raising $1 for each person in Canada was born. In less than 2 hours, the community of 10,000 people, raised $10,000, equal to one dollar per person. Several weeks after Terry left Newfoundland, he found out that this total increased by another $4,000.

The run enters Central Canada

On June 10th Terry entered the Province of Quebec. Still largely unknown, he found it difficult as rude drivers honked their horns or nearly ran him off the road. Some thought he was a hitchhiker and offered to give him a ride. Since he spoke no French, he found it difficult to communicate with Quebecers. As he made his way to Montréal, he garnered more attention from the media and the general public. In early July, Fox arrived in the national capital of Ottawa, where he met with Governor-General Ed Schreyer. On July 4, he met with Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, but the meeting was awkward because Trudeau had returned from a trip to Europe and was not briefed on Fox's situation.

Into Toronto

By the time Terry finally reached Toronto, he had become a media sensation. The streets of the city were lined with thousands of supporters, and a public rally at Toronto City Hall had a crowd of over 10,000. His achievements also began to gain international attention. He was interviewed (while running) by the then popular American current events show That's Incredible!.

The run ends

Statue of Terry Fox overlooking the Trans-Canada HighwayOn September 1, 1980, his run stopped just northeast of Thunder Bay. Poor breathing prevented him from running further; Terry visited a local hospital, where he discovered that his cancer had spread to his lungs. Due to his poor health, from both the return of the cancer and the grueling pace of his running, he had to stop his journey across Canada. By this point he had run for 143 consecutive days totalling 5,373 km.

He returned to British Columbia for further medical treatment. While in hospital, Terry received a telegram from Four Seasons hotel executive Isadore Sharp (who had recently lost his own son to cancer) telling him that his Marathon of Hope would be continued in his honour with an annual run, and that they would not stop until Terry's dream of beating cancer was realized.

Today, a life sized bronze statue of Terry Fox in motion is located in a memorial park along the Trans-Canada Highway, overlooking the spot where he had to end his run.

c.1905 Edison Phonograph w/HP ROSES MORNING GLORY HORN-Exquisite!

I came across this beautifully exquisite 1905 Edison Phonograph! I was on Google looking for Morning Glory photos and this site popped up with all these gorgeous photos and descriptions. The site I landed on was selling this vintage piece, but the listing had ended and it wasn't sold. Oh, how i would love to have it, but it is out of my price-range. So at the end I will include all the info and if any of you are interested, you'll have the contact info!


c.1905 Edison Phonograph w/HP ROSES MORNING GLORY HORN

This is the Edison Home Model (B?) with model C reproducer and was manufactured by Edison's National Phonograph Co. We believe it dates from 1905 to 1911. (Prior to 1905 the decal was small and on top of the case.) (The history and additional information about this gramophone can be found on pages 105 to 107 of the "Edison Cylinder Phonograph Companion" book by George L. Frow.) Exquisite beautifully handpainted horn. Oak base with dovetailed rounded corners and fancy "Edison Home Phonograph" decal in Excellent condition (vertical streak in photo is a reflection from camera).

Floral detail and gold striping on horn is in very good to excellent condition, with some paint loss generally restricted to the background painting around the opening and on the outside of horn. Gold designs are bright and clear with only the center part of outer line behind the crane showing wear from use. Overall, the florals are vibrant and fresh as the day they left the factory -- extraordinary condition for an all original antique. We did not see any dents or damage to the horn itself. (We like the character of the aged look but if you wish, with a little retouching this would look like new!) The serial number is 152832.

This is all original as far as we can tell but we think the tube at the base of the horn that connects it to the machine may have been replaced at some point. Finish, paint, decal and all other parts, including case, base, decals, motor, winding shaft, weights, springs, and lid, as far as we can determine, are all original, clean, and in close to mint condition. Includes front-mount horn crane, with original foot and chain. As you can see in the photo, the black plate is exquisitely detailed in gold and shows minimal wear.

This is a beautiful Victorian style horn that looks like it came straight out of "Dark Shadows" or a Victorian Gothic tale. Plays 2-minute black wax cylinder type recordings, not records. It is super clean. We do not have any cylinders, but a friend who owns a similar machine tried one of his cylinders on it and it did work. We will include a copy of the original instruction booklet that came with the gramophone. (We do not have an original - only the copy, but we will give it to the lucky new owner of this fabulous piece of history and art!)

Dimensions: Base measures 16.5" wide, 9.5" deep, and 12" high. Horn is about 20"

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How I hope whoever buys this piece or who has already acquired it enjoys this bit of history!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Fort Mims Massacre 1813

Fort Mims massacre

Part of Creek War

The Battle

Date August 30, 1813

Location 35 to 40 miles north of Mobile, Alabama near Bay Minette, Alabama

Result: Red Stick Victory


Creek Indians

(Red Sticks) American Settlers


Peter McQueen

William Weatherford Daniel Beasley

Captain Bailey


800 Red Stick Creek 175 militia

375 non combatants

Casualties and losses

200 killed 400 to 500 killed

Creek War

Burnt Corn - Fort Mims – Tallushatchee – Talladega – Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek – Horseshoe Bend

The Fort Mims massacre occurred on 30 August 1813, when a force of Creeks, belonging to the "Red Sticks" faction under the command of Peter McQueen and William Weatherford "Red Eagle", his cousin by marriage, killed hundreds of settlers, mixed-blood Creeks, and militia in Fort Mims.

BackgroundAt the start of the Creek Civil War, settlers north of Mobile, Alabama, particularly mixed-blood Creeks from the lower towns, began to take refuge with the American settlers in the stockades of Fort Mims. About 550 settlers, including 175 armed militia, were gathered at Fort Mims, which was located about 35 to 45 miles (50-70 km) north of Mobile on the eastern side of theAlabama River.

Upon learning that Peter McQueen's party of Red Sticks were in Pensacola, Florida, obtaining arms from the Spanish, Major Daniel Beasley, Captain Dixon Bailey, and Colonel Caller, led a disorganized force to intercept the Red Sticks. The resulting ambush is known as the Battle of Burnt Corn.

Weatherford eventually agreed to take part in the attack, with the hopes of preventing a slaughter of the women and children in the Fort, and to seek vengeance upon his personal enemy, Captain Dixon Bailey. Captain Bailey, a native of the town of Auttose, was a half-breed Creek, who had been educated at Philadelphia under the provisions of the treaty of New York of 1790.

Alabama Historical Association Fort Mims marker.

Impending Doom

On August 29, 1813, two African American slaves who were tending cattle outside the stockade reported that "painted warriors" were in the vicinity. However, mounted scouts from the fort found no signs of the war party, and Beasley had the second slave flogged for raising a "false alarm".

The Attack

Although Major Beasley, the commander, stated that he could "maintain the post against any number of Indians", the stockade was poorly-defended, and at the time of the attack, the East gate was partially blocked open by drifting sand. According to anecdotal evidence the gate was open "...when the officers all got drunk and were playing cards and left the gate open, and it rained and washed the sand in the gate so it could not be shut and Father left with Mother and the children, and the Indians killed all that stayed."

The attack occurred the next day during the mid-day meal, when no American scouts were out. The "Red Sticks" rushed the fort and tomahawked Beasley, who was desperately trying to close the blocked gate.

Inside Fort Mims looking at the West wall and gate.They then seized the loopholes and the outer enclosure. The settlers, under Captain Bailey, held the inner enclosure, and fought on for a time. However, the Red Sticks set fire to a house in the center, which spread to the rest of the stockade.

The warriors then forced their way into the inner enclosure and, despite the attempts of William Weatherford, massacred most of the mixed-blood Creeks and white settlers. 500 people were dead, and 250 scalps had been taken. Most of the African Americans were spared, to become slaves of the Red Sticks. About 15 people escaped, including Bailey, who was mortally wounded.


The Red Sticks' victory at Fort Mims spread panic throughout the Southeastern United States frontier. The massacre marked the transition from a civil war within the Creek tribe (Moscoge) to a war between the United States and the Red Stick warriors of the Upper Creek Nation.

Since Federal troops were occupied with the northern front of the War of 1812, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Mississippi Territory mobilized their militias to move against the Upper Creek towns that had supported the Red Sticks' cause. After several battles, the Battle of Horseshoe Bend ended the Creek War.

Today the site is maintained by the Alabama Historical Commission.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just A Pickin'

Many, many moons ago when I was a child, I would disappear into the woods and thickets surrounding my home. I was fearless! Nothing delighted me more than being outside by myself. Those glorious August days when the wild blackberries and dewberries were ripe was nothing short of miraculous to me! The scratching of the thorns did not bother me at all. And in that wild patch of heaven those berries were as big as my thumb! With all those wonderful memories available to me, I decided I'd share that bit of my childhood with my daughter, Gracie!

Now, this 7 year old daughter of mine is a girly-girl through and through! Luckily, blackberries grow in abundance all over our town of Issaquah, Washington. So we wouldn't be battling our way through a never-ending thicket of thorns! You can't walk more than half a block without seeing blackberry bushes along the sidewalk! In Washington state these Himalayan and Evergreen blackberries have been declared a noxious weed! They were originally introduced from Europe for fruit production, but have
naturalized. Because of Washington's mild climate and plentiful rain these bushes have taken over!

But I will admit that it is wondrous to me to walk down a city sidewalk and to be able to gather a basket of berries! Be still my heart!

Gracie started out very excited about what we were doing, but my girly-girl didn't like the thought of spiders and webs! Oh , don't get me wrong! She picked and picked, but first she had to knock the spiders and webs away with my cane! and of course she ate as many as she put in the basket!

Yes, she wants to go berry-picking again soon!

Take a gander at what we picked in a distance of 1/2 block along the sidewalk!

Like I said! Be still, my heart!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

75-Yr Old Mystery: 2 Fetuses Found in U.S.

75-year-old mystery: 2 fetuses found in US

On Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 property manager Gloria Gomez holds objects found stored in a steamer trunk along with two infant skeletons in Los Angeles. Gomez and the property owner found the remains wrapped in 1930s newspapers, as they were cleaning out the basement Tuesday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - As Yiming Xing peeled back the tattered Los Angeles Times papers from a small bundle, hoping to discover well-preserved antiques beneath the 1930s newsprint, she found instead the remains of two human fetuses.

The bundles had been placed in doctor's bags inside an unclaimed green steamer trunk from the 1920s. They had been there for more than 75 years in the basement of Xing's apartment complex, a four-story brick building in Los Angeles' Westlake district, a once-elegant early 20th century neighbourhood west of downtown.

The Glen-Donald building was home to doctors, lawyers, writers and actors when it opened in 1925 and the basement had once been a ballroom and the site of elaborate galas.

Xing was helping her friend, Gloria Gomez, the building's onsite manager, clean out the basement late Tuesday when she made the discovery.

The trunk was inscribed with the initials JMB and also contained a certificate giving "Miss Jean Barrie" membership in the Peter Pan Woodland Club mountain resort, which burned down in 1948; a typing manual bearing the signature "Jean M. Barrie;" ticket stubs from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games; wedding photos and other items.

The women called 911 after discovering the first mummy-wrapped skeleton. Coroner's officials began investigating, leaving residents to speculate about the trunk's owner, the possibility of secret abortions in an era before the procedure was legal and an odd fact: Peter Pan was created by Scottish author James M. Barrie, who died in 1937.

"This building is a historic building. It has a lot of stories there and now it's getting more interesting," said Xing, 35, a six-year resident and genetics researcher.

Faced with a mystery three-quarters of a century old, however, no one could immediately say whether there was a connection between the unknown Jean M. Barrie and the fetuses, whether someone else might have hidden them in the trunk, and whether the Peter Pan connection was anything more than a coincidence.

"We're trying to piece all of the parts of the puzzle together," coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter told news radio station KNX-AM. He described the remains as fetuses and said they were wrapped in newspapers dated 1933 and 1935.

Building residents were given until Aug. 14 to claim their items in the communal storage space, and the condo board told Gomez she could have anything that was left.

While cleaning, Gomez and Xing had tried several keys on the steamer trunk but finally had to pry it open with a screwdriver. The drawers were full and they found items that included a pearl necklace, a girdle, a bowl, a toilet figurine, books, photos, documents and a cigar box painted with pictures of saints.

Then they found the two black leather doctor bags.

Xing opened the first soft bundle and found what looked like a piece of brown, dry, very old looking wood.

Coroner's investigators unwrapped the second bundle to find the larger set of remains.

Xing said those remains "looked exactly like a baby" with a head and hair "and looked very developed."

Coroner's investigators took the remains, drawers, medical bags, photos, personal letters and postcards, Gomez said.

Former building manager John Medford, 68, who has lived there for 22 years, was among those speculating that the fetuses were from abortions.

"In 1936, abortion was illegal," he said, recounting the era of back-alley procedures. "Women were in desperate straits then."

Police were awaiting results from the coroner's office.

"We'll try to reconstruct the circumstances based on what the coroner tells us, based on the history of the residence and based on science," Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times. "We have many more tools and technology available to us than before, which may allow for identification of the victims and closure to any family members."

The 94-unit Glen-Donald building, which has elaborate interior woodwork and a grand lobby, is being converted from individually owned apartments to condominiums.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This Day In History August 10, 1977- "Son of Sam" Arrested!

Aug 10, 1977:

Son of Sam Arrested! 

On August 10, 1977, 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz is arrested and charged with being the "Son of Sam," the serial killer who terrorized New York City for more than a year, killing six young people and wounding seven others with a .44-caliber revolver. Because Berkowitz generally targeted attractive young women with long brown hair, hundreds of young women had their hair cut short and dyed blond during the time he terrorized the city. Thousands more simply stayed home at night. After his arrest, Berkowitz claimed that demons and a black Labrador retriever owned by a neighbor named Sam had ordered him to commit the killings.

David Berkowitz was brought up by adoptive parents in the Bronx. He was traumatized by the death of his adoptive mother from cancer in 1967 and thereafter became more and more of a loner. In 1971, he joined the army and served for three years, where he distinguished himself as a talented marksman. In 1974, he returned to New York and worked as a security guard. His mental condition began to severely deteriorate in 1975 (he would later be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic). Feeling isolated from the world around him, he became an arsonist and set hundreds of fires in New York City without being arrested. He began to hear voices of "demons" that tormented him and told him to commit murder. On Christmas Eve, 1975, he gave into these internal voices and severely wounded 15-year-old Michelle Forman with a hunting knife.

In January 1976, he moved into a two-family home in Yonkers, a suburb of New York. Berkowitz became convinced that the German shepherd that lived in the house and other neighborhood dogs were possessed by demons who ordered him to murder attractive young women. One of the neighborhood dogs was shot during this time, probably by Berkowitz. He also began to see his neighbors as demons.

In April, Berkowitz moved to an apartment house in Yonkers, but his new home also had dogs. His neighbor, retiree Sam Carr, had a black Labrador retriever named Harvey, who Berkowitz believed pleaded with him to kill. He also saw Sam Carr as a powerful demon and was referring to him when he later called himself Son of Sam.

On July 28, 1976, Berkowitz quit his job as a security guard. Early the next morning, he walked up to a parked car in the Bronx where two young women were talking and fired five bullets from his.44 revolver into the vehicle. Eighteen-year-old brunette Donna Lauria was killed instantly, and her friend Jody Valenti was wounded. Police could find no motives or leads in the shooting.

In the early morning of October 24, Berkowitz struck again, critically wounding 20-year-old Carl Denaro as he sat in a car and talked with a female friend in Queens. A little more than a month later, on November 26, 16-year-old Donna DeMasi and 18-year-old Joanne Lomino were shot and seriously wounded in the street on their way home from a movie. On January 30, 1977, Berkowitz fatally shot Christine Freund as she sat in a car in Queens with her fiancee. Police began to suspect that these crimes were perpetrated by a single killer, but few bullets were found intact to confirm the assumption.

On March 8, 19-year-old college student Virginia Voskerichian was shot to death as she walked home in Manhattan. A bullet was found intact, and it matched a bullet found at the scene of Berkowitz's first murder. The New York police announced that a serial killer was on the loose, known to be a white male in his 20s, with black hair and of average height and build. A large group of detectives was organized--the "Omega" task force--to track the killer down. On April 17, 18-year-old Valentina Suriani and 20-year-old Alexander Esau were shot and killed by the same gun as they kissed in their parked car near the Hutchinson River Parkway. This time, the .44-caliber killer left a note in which he referred to himself as the Son of Sam.

On April 29, Berkowitz shot Sam Carr's Labrador retriever. He had previously sent an anonymous, threatening letter to Mr. Carr concerning the animal. The dog recovered, and the Yonkers police began an investigation. Meanwhile, Berkowitz began sending bizarre letters to other neighbors and his former landlords. These individuals began to suspect Berkowitz to be the Son of Sam and reported their suspicions to local police. The Omega task force was subsequently notified, but the detectives had received thousands of reports of Son of Sam "suspects" and were having a difficult time sifting through all the dead-end leads.

On June 26, the Son of Sam struck again, wounding Judy Placido and Sal Lupo as they sat in their car after leaving a Queens disco. Public concern over the rampaging serial killer grew to panic proportions, and New York nightclubs and restaurants saw a dramatic drop in business. A blistering heat wave and a 25-hour blackout in mid-July only increased the tension. On July 31, just two days after the anniversary of his first killing, Berkowitz shot a young couple kissing in a parked car in Brooklyn. Twenty-year-old Stacy Moskowitz was fatally wounded, and her boyfriend, Bobby Violante, lost his left eye and nearly all the vision in his right eye.

A few days later, a major break in the case came when an eyewitness came forward to report that she had seen a man with what looked like a gun minutes before the shots were fired in Brooklyn. Her information led to the first police sketch of Berkowitz. More important, she reminded investigators that two police officers had been writing parking tickets on her street that night. A search of tickets issued eventually turned up Berkowitz's car.

At the same time, Yonkers police investigated Berkowitz after he escalated a harassment campaign against one of his neighbors. Convinced he was the Son of Sam, they informed the Omega task force of their findings. The Omega detectives finally put two and two together, and on August 10 David Berkowitz was arrested while leaving his Yonkers home. He gleefully admitted to being the Son of Sam. On his person was a semiautomatic rifle, and he explained he was on his way to commit another murder. The .44-caliber revolver was also recovered.

There was some question about whether Berkowitz was mentally fit to stand trial, but on May 8, 1978, he withdrew an insanity defense and pleaded guilty to the six .44-caliber murders. He was given six 25-years-to-life sentences for the crime, the maximum penalty allowed at the time. He has since been denied parole. Since 1987, he has been held at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where he allegedly converted to Christianity.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Henry Starr-The Cherokee Badman

Henry Starr

The Cherokee Badman

Henry Starr is no doubt one of the most interesting characters who ever came out of the Old West. During his 32 years in crime, he claimed he had robbed more banks than both the James-Younger Gang and the Doolin-Dalton Gang put together. However, in all of his life as a criminal he only killed one man, a U.S. Deputy Marshall who was about to arrest him. He started robbing banks on horseback in 1893 and ended up robbing his last in a car in 1921. He was the first bank robber to use an automobile in a bank robbery. A total of 21 bank is what he is alleged to have robbed. If he did pull all of those robberies, he would have made off with nearly $60000.00.

Henry Starr was born near Fort Gibson, I. T. on Dec. 2, 1873 to Tom Starr and Mary (Scott) Starr. His uncle was the notorious Sam Starr who was married to Belle Starr, the "outlaw queen". He was 1/4 Cherokee. His father died at an early age and his mother remarried a man named C. N. Walker. Henry hated his new stepfather and this caused a lot of hard feeling and was the driving force of Henry leaving home at an early age.

Henry was working on ranches near Nowata, I. T. when he had his first run-in with the law. He was driving a wagon to town one day when two deputy marshals caught him with whiskey and arrested him for "introducing spirits into territory." He went to court and plead guilty to the offense, although he always maintained that he was innocent because he had borrowed the wagon and didn't know the whiskey was in it. He was only 16 years old.

Henry found himself back at Nowata, working as a cowboy, when his next brush with the law came. He was arrested for horse theft, another charge he denied, and was thrown in jail at Fort Smith, Ark. His cousin paid his bail, and Henry was out. The problem was he wasn't going back. He jumped bail.

The path was clear to Henry now, and there was no turning back. He joined up with Ed Newcome and Jesse Jackson and went on a tear robbing stores and railroad depots. However, the law was after him now.

U.S. Deputy Marshals Henry C. Dickey and Floyd Wilson were hot on the trail of Henry near Nowata, when the event that would nearly cost Henry his life, twice, happened. In a shoot out with the marshal, Henry killed him. He was now wanted for murder.

With the law on his trail, Henry's Gang became more bolder, as they started robbing banks. On March 28, 1893 they robbed their first bank in Caney, Ks. Then they robbed the bank in Bentonville, Ark. But it was heating up for them in the territory, so Henry and Kid Wilson made tracks for California. They were captured in Colorado Spring, Co., and returned to Fort Smith to stand trail.

Caney, KS

Henry stood trail for the murder of Floyd Wilson in the court of Judge Isaac Parker. Although he maintained it was self defense, because he didn't know that Floyd Wilson was a marshal with a warrant for his arrest, he was found guilty and sentence to hang. His attorney appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court which overturn Parker's decision and granted Henry a new trail. The second trail ended with the same results, Henry was guilty and he was sentence to hang. His attorney once again appealed and won him a new trail. At the third trial Henry plead guilty to manslaughter, and was sentenced to 25 years in the penitentiary.

It was during his stay in jail at Fort Smith, awaiting trial, that one of his most amazing deeds was accomplished. Fellow prisoner, Cherokee Bill attempted a prison break with a gun smuggled him by a trustee. There was a gun battle between Bill and the prison guards, in which one of the guards had been killed. However, the guards were unable to disarm Bill and it was stand-off. Henry was a friend of Bill's and offered to disarm him if the guards would in turn promise not to kill Bill. The promise was made and Henry entered the cell where Bill was at, and retrieved the weapon.

It was this incident that would secure Henry his freedom. When Henry, with help from his family and the Cherokee Tribal Government, applied for a pardon in 1903, President T. Roosevelt admired the man for his courage in the Cherokee Bill incident so much, that he reduced his sentence and Henry was released from prison in 1905.

After his release from prison, Henry returned to Tulsa, I. T. and worked in his mother's restaurant. It was here he met and married his first wife, Miss Ollie Griffin, shortly after his son, whom he named Theodore Roosevelt Starr, was born. Henry manage to behave himself until 1908, when Oklahoma became a state. Under the fear of being extradited to Arkansas, he took to the brush of the Osage hills, and fell in with his old partners.

On March 13, 1908, Henry and his gang crossed the Kansas border and robbed the bank at Tyro, Ks. With the law hot on his tracks again, they fled Oklahoma heading west. Their next job was the bank in Amity, Co. From there Henry fled to Arizona, where he was captured by the law and returned to Colorado to stand trial.

In November of 1909, Henry plead guilty to robbing the Amity, Co. bank and was sentenced to 7 - 25 years in the Canon City Prison. It was during his stay at Canon City that Henry not only work as a trustee, he study law in the prison library, and wrote his autobiography, Thrilling Events, Life of Henry Starr. On September 24, 1913 he was paroled by the governor and free again.

In the autumn of 1914, the first in the worst series of bank robberies in the Southwest occurred in Oklahoma. Between Sept. 14, 1914 and Jan. 13, 1915 a total of 14 banks were robbed. At first officials were at a lost to figure out who was committing the crimes. Then one of the victims was able to identify a picture of the bandits. Henry Starr was back to his old tricks. A $1000 reward was offered the governor of the state, for Henry. The reward was payable "Dead or Alive".

It was during this time Henry pulled one of his slickest moves, while the law was searching all over the brush of the Osage hills and other known hideouts for him, Henry was living in the heart of Tulsa, at 1534 East Second Street, just two blocks from the Tulsa county sheriff and four blocks from the mayor of Tulsa.

Then on March 27, 1915 Henry and six other men rode into the town of Stroud, OK. and proceeded to rob both banks in the community. Word of the holdup spread throughout the town and the citizens quickly took up arms against the bandits. Henry and another bandit named Lewis Estes were wounded and captured in the gun battle. The rest of the gang had escaped with $5815, thus pulling off a double daylight bank robbery.

Once again Henry found himself in jail, on August 2, 1915 Henry entered a plea of guilty in the Stroud robbery, and was sentenced to 25 years in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester, Ok. On March 15, 1919 he was paroled and released from prison.

Upon his release from prison, Henry returned to Tulsa, and with the urging of friends entered the motion picture industry. Henry produced and starred in the silent movie A Debtor to the Law, which was a movie about the double bank robbery in Stroud, Ok. The movie was an immediate success. For his part Henry was alleged to have netted $15,000. He went on to star in a couple of other movies, and was offer from Hollywood to do a movie out there. He turned it down from fear that if he went to Hollywood the authorities in Arkansas would try to extradite him for his part in the Bentonville robbery. It was during his time in the movies that Henry met and married his second wife, Hulda Starr from Salisaw, OK. They were married on February 22, 1920 and moved to Claremore, OK.

On Friday morning, February 18, 1921, Henry and three companions in a high powered touring car drove into Harrison, Ark. They entered the People's State Bank and robbed it of $6000. During the robbery, Henry was shot in the back by the former president of the bank, and his partners fled leaving him to face the music alone. He was carried to the jail where doctors removed the bullet. However, on Tuesday morning, February 22, 1921, Henry died from the wound. His wife Hulda, his mother, and his 17 year old son were at his side.

Henry had died as he had lived in a violent manner, but true to the code of the outlaws, he never revealed a single partner in any crime. He never shot anyone in the commission of a crime, and served his time in jail like a man. He had succeeded where others had failed by robbing two banks at once, and by robbing more banks than any others.

A little proud of his record, he boasted to doctors at Harrison the day before he died: " I've robbed more banks than any man in America."

Thanks to The Wild, Wild West!

Friday, August 6, 2010

This Day in History -65th Anniversary - The Bombing of Hiroshima

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima by the United States during World War II, which was the first use of this weapon of mass destruction. Watch clips of President Harry Truman discussing his decision to use nuclear force. On Aug. 6, Hiroshima (get facts about the city) was destroyed.

Paper lanterns float in the Motoyasu River in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 2010, to mark the 65th anniversary of the World War II atomic bombing. Representatives from more than 70 nations, including for the first time the United States, joined tens of thousands at the emotional event.

Days later, a second city was wiped out. Thousands of lives were lost in the bombings, documentaries were made detailing the accounts (watch clips), words about that day are still etched in American history, and a Peace Memorial Museum was built in memory of the dead. This year, the United States will pay its respects.

Here's a look at the facts about the Hiroshima bombing and a man who captured snapshots of one of the most infamous days in history.

The History of the Bombing

The dropping of the first atomic bomb (what was its nickname?) was a deliberately exclusive mission assigned to just three U.S. planes, including this one, which carried the ordnance the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, and two other B-29s that followed at a safe distance to record the effects of the blast. How much did the uranium bomb weigh?

Other Allied aircraft were barred from the area of southern Japan, mostly because scientists who built the bomb didn't know exactly what it would do. What was the code name for this plan?

But there was one more B-29 in the sky over Hiroshima at the moment that the bomb was dropped, and its crew witnessed the event that helped end World War II.

The photographer who captured it all

The iconic image that comes to mind about the bombing of Hiroshima is that of a mushroom cloud of smoke (see pictures). John McGlohon and his 10 Army Air Force crewmen are now credited with snapping those shots. When the bomb blew up, they didn't get the order to stay away from Hiroshima. Instead, they continued on a routine photography reconnaissance mission. (Check out some of the squadrons).

Because McGlohon's plane wasn't supposed to be in the area, lab techs would not have known he took the picture. So, it was credited to one of these planes, which was miles away at the time.

McGlohon's adventures in photography didn't stop with the Hiroshima photos. He helped map what would become this scenic route and this part of the Himalayan Mountains. The man who captured shots of Hiroshima became fire chief in this Asheboro, North Carolina town and served on the city council. But it is that day in August that will always be etched in his memory.

"We saw cities burning every day," McGlohon says.