Remember Our Soldiers Who Died

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Sgt. Stubby – Dog Hero of WWI

Born in 1916 he was an average mixed breed with signs of Boston Bull Terrier. Just a homeless mutt who attached himself to a training unit at Yale University in Connecticut. Little did the troop realize, when they befriended him, how beneficial this little dog would be to the troop.

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He became the most decorated war dog of the first World War. He was the only dog issued a rank and became a sergeant due to combat. He became the mascot of the 102nd infantry division, assigned to the  26th Yankee division. He served for eighteen months and was in seventeen battles.

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Though the regiment befriended him, he had one special friend, Corporal Robert Conroy. Conroy hid Stubby on the troop ship when they were deployed and smuggled him into France. When he was discovered by the commanding officer, he was given a salute and permission to stay.

Stubby entered combat February 5, 1918. He was under constant fire, day  and night, for over a month. In April, he was wound in the leg by a grenade. He was sent to the rear to recover. While there he raised the troops morale. When he recovered, he went back to the front.

That year, he was also injured by mustard gas and issued his own gas mask. With his sensitive nose, he learned to warn the troops at the slightest detection of mustard gas. His dog hearing also allowed him the ability to warn the troops of incoming artillery. He also would find injured soldiers in the trenches and signal for help, while staying with the soldier.

He was once approached by a soldier, who he attacked and held till troops came and found him to be a German spy.

Then he was once more injured in the chest and leg by a grenade.

After the eighteen months, Conroy smuggled Sgt. Stubby home. Sgt. Stubby had been in many newspapers and came home a hero. He marched in parades and actually met Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Warren G. Harding.

In his retirement, he went to Georgetown University Law Center with Robert Conroy and became the school mascot.

Sgt. Stubby died in his sleep in 1926. His obituary was printed in the New York Times.

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Original caption: Washington, DC: Meet up with Stubby, a 9-year-old veteran of the canine species. He has been through the World War as mascot for the 102nd Infantry, 26th Division. Stubby visited the White House to call on President Coolidge. November 1924

 

The Promise – Chapter One

IMG_5662For all who have shown an interest in my books but have not yet purchased. I have uploaded a sample for you to view. I hope you will enjoy this true to life story of the orphan train riders.

THE PROMISE chap 1

Books may be purchased at Amazon.com or you may send a check for $12.95 ($9.95 plus $3.00 shipping) to Carolyn Johnson, PO Box 311, Arapaho, OK 73620. If you would like it autographed, please include name.

 

 

An Appeal To Heaven

Appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free. Gen Joseph Warren 1775.

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In 1775, this flag was used during revolutionary times. The flag was ordered by George Washington and designed by his secretary Colonel Joseph Reed. It was first used by a squadron of six schooners commissioned by George Washington, who reportedly paid for the schooners out of pocket. These ships were skilled at capturing British schooners.

In 1776, the fleet of twenty-five naval vessels sailing out of Massachusetts adopted the flag.

1885_History_of_US_flags_medThe pine tree was a symbol in New England, dating back as far as 1686. During Revolutionary times it became a symbol of  colonial outrage and resistance.

The white pine in New England grew to heights topping 150 feet. They were sought after for sailing masts. The English king, knowing the value of the trees, placed a mark on the larger trees claiming them for the crown. Colonist could not harvest these trees. They also had to get a surveyor and a license to cut the trees not marked. Not surprising, the colonists did not like being told what they could and could not do with their own trees. In 1775, this anger led to the Pine Tree Riot in New Hampshire.

This was not the only flag, at the time, with a pine tree. The flag that flew over Bunker Hill was red with a green pine tree in the top, left corner.

an appeal to heaven

The words, “An Appeal To Heaven”, was a common phrase in those days. It was used several times in historical documents, including Second Treatise on Civil Government by John Locke in 1690 and by Patrick Henry in his famous, Give me liberty or give me death speech.

In 1968, a United States stamp was issued commemorating Washington’s flag.

 

Oldest Bridge in Connecticut

I’d like to share another fascinating bridge in Connecticut. It’s called the Mill Brook Bridge. It actually was on the edge of our neighbor’s yard. Our neighbor’s daughter and I used to play under this bridge when the water flow was low in the summer. Sometimes we would sit in the four foot high cavity and let the water flow over our legs.

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This is a stone arch bridge that was built with no mortar, just the stone. It’s ten feet in length and 18 feet in width. As fascinating as that is, it’s not the most important aspect of this bridge.

This bridge, that I innocently played under, was the oldest bridge in Connecticut and one of the oldest in the entire country. It was built in 1790. That was when George Washington was president! Did George ever cross it? There’s a good chance he might have walked across it and over the property where I lived.

A couple of things point to this possibility. First, that was the main route in the area and second is the secret no one in the area cares to talk about. You see, I grew up in a small rural town called Lisbon, CT. About five miles away is the city of Norwich. Now the shameful secret of Norwich (which the town people are reluctant to tell) is that Norwich is the birthplace of Benedict Arnold. And no, there is no monument to him in Norwich, which is actually against the law seeing as he was declared a traitor.

But I like to think George and Benedict may have traveled over my bridge on their many journeys.

mill brook bridge

Unfortunately the bridge was destroyed by a flood in March 2010.

Frog Fight Of 1754

I grew up in Connecticut and visiting my sister in Mansfield, we had to cross the Frog Bridge of Willimantic. Now, you may think having 11 foot bronze frogs on the four corners of the bridge ridiculous but to the people of Willimantic it’s a badge of honor.

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In 1754, having done battle with the French and the Indians, the militia were on the alert. One night in June, they were awaken by a cacophony of noise. Some were sure it was the French, others just as sure it was Indians. The noise was so terrifying some were convinced it was the Day of Judgment and fell to their knees.

Many brave militia men grabbed their muskets and ran to the battle. Though they searched and even fired rounds toward the noise, they did not come in contact with the enemy.

In the morning an investigation began. It was soon discovered that the horrendous noise had not come from the French, Indians or even God. The town people had been in a drought for some time and most ponds had dried up. There was one pond left in the area and masses of frogs had converged and fought a huge battle over territory. Hundreds of frogs lay dead and dying at the pond.

News spread of the silly Willimantic residents being terrified by a bunch of frogs. They were shamed for a couple of decades. Then someone pointed out that they could have been being attacked and they had been armed and ready. The frog fight lost it’s shame and became a symbol of honor.

So, in Connecticut, we look at the Frog Bridge with pride for the New England spirit of readiness it symbolizes. And we secretly smile because nothing is better to a New Englander than a good joke on ourselves.

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ps The frogs sit on thimbles of thread because Willimantic was a thread mill center at one time.

Books by Carolyn Torbett Johnson

The Promise

Hungry and alone. Twelve year old Jack and ten year old Leah are on their own, living on the filthy streets of New York City in 1908. Unable to find work, they face starvation. In desperation, Jack calls out to God. Read how God miraculously unfolds a plan to provide and protect the children.

Oklahoma Bound

A sequel to The Promise. Jack and Leah have been put aboard an orphan train. They’re thrilled to be traveling to their promise land. But their new found faith will be tested as they cross the country searching for parents and a place to call home.

These books were written for ages 9 – 12 but many adults have expressed enjoyment in reading them. You may buy them at http://www.amazon.com or if you would like an autographed copy, send your request plus $14.95 ($11.95 + $3.00 shipping) to Carolyn Johnson, PO Box 311, Arapaho, OK 73620 (If you want it personalized, please add name.)

Angel Glow At The Battle Of Shiloh

battle-of-shiloh_5At the battle of Shiloh, 16,000 men were wounded and 3,000 were killed. The medics could not care for this enormous need adequately, so many of the wounded and dying were left on the battlefield for two days. This was a swampy region and many were stuck lying in mud and stagnant water. To make matters worse, it happened to be raining off and on for those two days.

While waiting in the muck and mire, some of the wounds began to glow a faint blue color. When the soldiers were finally treated, the men who reported the glow had a higher survival rate than those who did not see a glow. The wounds that glowed had less infection and healed faster. They, also, seemed to scar less. The soldiers nicknamed it, Angel’s Glow.

These accounts were chalked up as forklore until 2001.

In 2001, two high school boys, William Martin and Jonathan Curtis did a science fair project. They wanted to prove there really was an Angel’s Glow.

They showed how tiny parasitic worms known as nematodes carry a bacteria called photorhabdus luminescens which glows in the dark. Luminous_BacteriaThe nematodes burrow into larvae then vomit out photorhabdus luminescens bacteria which causes the larvae to die. It also kills any bacteria in the larvae. The boys showed how this bacteria could also have gotten into the wounds of the soldiers killing the bad bacteria.

The problem with this theory is that photorhabdus luminescens bacteria can not survive in a warm human body. The boys explanation was simple. The battle of Shiloh took place in late April, which is a cool month. The men laid in water and were rained on causing hypothermia. Their body temperatures were at a point where photorhabdus luminescens bacteria could survive, killing the harmful bacteria. When the men were warmed up, the temperature killed the photorhabdus luminescens bacteria.

Bat Bombs Of World War II

I have long been aware of bats being a gentle, beneficial part of our ecology. But I was amazed when I heard of a top secret unit in World War II working on developing a bat bomb.

The idea was conceived by a Pennsylvania dentist name Lytle S. Adams. He was a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. He outlined a plan to arm bats with bombs that could be ignited to start fires. The plan was accepted and sent to the military under top secret status.

First, a container bomb was developed to house a thousand bats. This is a container bomb from Wikipedia. It had layers of trays inside to divide bats. Each bat was equipped with a small incendiary device strapped to it. Louie Fieser, inventor of the nepalm, designed half ounce and one ounce timed incendiary devices for the creatures.

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The plan was to drop the container bomb from 5000 feet. A parachute would be attached to the bomb. The bats would be released around 1000 feet. The bats would disperse to varies places. In the morning they would hide in the cracks of the highly flammable Japanese buildings. The timed devices would then be ignited, causing widespread fires.

Plans were made to have ten B-24 bombers from Alaska carry a hundred bat shells. This would release 1,040,000 bat incendiary bombs over the industrial cities of Osaka Bay.

Tests were done. Unfortunately in one test, some bats were accidentCarlsbad_AAF_Fire_after_Bat_Bomb_Accidently released and caused fires at the military base in New Mexico.  This is a picture of the devastation on the base.

Picture from Wikipedia

 

 

 

Another test in Utah included a fake Japanese village built for demonstration. Those watching felt the bombing was a success.

The program was cancelled in 1944 after spending two million on development. It was felt that the research was progressing too slow. It was reported that the founder of the idea made a statement saying we could have devastated Japan with the bat fires and sustained very little loss of life. Instead we sent an atom bomb.

 

Hawaiians Emigrate To Oregon

While visiting our son in Oregon, my husband and I took an afternoon to visit the history museum in Portland. One display in the Oregon history piqued my curiosity. It told of Hawaiians traveling to Oregon and Washington in the 1800s. I couldn’t help but ask myself, why? Granted Oregon is gorgeous but what did it have to lure Hawaiians.

Researching the subject, here is what I found. In 1842 approximately 500 Hawaiians lived in the Northwest. It seems emigration started the beginning of 1800s. After Lewis and Clark’s expedition, fur traders became very interested in the Northwest.  Traders, such as Hudson Bay Co, often used the Hawaiian Islands (or Sandwich Islands as they were known then) as a stopping place, coming from the Orient.

One American fur magnate, John Jacob Aster, sent two ships to the Columbia River. On the way they stopped in Hawaii and picked up forty Hawaiian workers with the approval of King Kamahameha.

Some historians feel the Hawaiians were anxious to leave the island because of the devastation occurring on the islands due to measles and small pox epidemics.

The traders were glad to get the Hawaiians. They were known for being hardworking, great navigators and ship builders. They were pleasant, agreeable people. They also were excellent swimmers. This was a plus for many non-swimming trappers. The trappers would put an Hawaiian rescuer in each canoe, in case it overturned.

The law forbade Hawaiians from marrying caucasian women, so the trade companies encouraged them to marry native Americans. They hoped this would keep them settled in the Northwest.

At that time, Hawaiians were called either Hawaiian, Kanakas (Hawaiian word for person) or Owyhee. Many places in the Northwest show the Hawaiian influence. Owyhee River, Kalama Washington are just a couple of examples.

old coxThis is  a picture of Naukane or Old Cox as he was known. It is from the Royal Ontario Museum. He traveled in 1847 for the Pacific Fur Company. He was the first Polynesian to travel into the interior and helped establish the first inland post, known as Spokane House.

 

 

Other Information on the Hawaiian Emigrants:

Leaving Paradise: Indigenous Hawaiians In The Pacific Northwest by Jean Barmen & Bruce McIntyre Watson

Hawaiians In Early Oregon by Robert Carlton Clark – Oregon Historical Quarterly Vol. 35 No. 1 Oregon Historical Society