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 It was used several times in historical documents, including Second Treatise on Civil Government by John Locke in 1690 and by Patrick Henry in his famous, Give me liberty or give me death speech.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.

 

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Stagecoach Mary

In 1832, she was born a slave in Tennessee, she was freed in 1865 at the age of 33.

When she was freed she worked for Judge Dunne, who some believe had been her owner. When his wife died in 1883, Mary took his children to their aunt’s home in Ohio. The aunt was Mother Mary Amedeus the Mother Superior of a convent. Mary stayed near Mother Mary Amedeus until the Mother Superior was transferred to Montana to start a school for Native American girls. In 1884, Mary heard of Mother Mary falling ill with pneumonia. She traveled to Montana to nurse her back to health.

So far this sounds like a loyal slave caring for former owners. But Mary Fields was no subservient ex-slave. Unlike most slaves, she had been taught to read and write. She stood six feet tall and weighed 200 lbs. To say she was an imposing figure, would be putting it lightly. If the persona didn’t intimidate you, be aware, she carried a pistol under her apron and a shotgun in her hand. She smoked hand-wrapped big black cigars and usually had a whiskey jug someplace close by her.

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Mary Fields was not afraid of anyone or anything. And was know to not back down from a fist fight. She stayed at the convent, when the Mother Superior got well, to help out. She hauled freight, chopped wood, did laundry and cared for the chickens and garden. The Native Americans called her White Crow because she acted like a white woman but had black skin.

In 1894, her temper got the better of her when a male worker made derisive comments concerning a black woman getting higher pay than him. Mary grabbed her gun and went after him. They had a shootout behind the convent. A bystander was slightly wounded by a stray bullet which was the only injury after Mary and the male worker had emptied their six guns. The Bishop told Mary she would have to leave, he was tired of her temper and foul language.

The Mother Superior helped her open a restaurant but it went broke in ten months. Mary made a habit of feeding people whether they paid or not.

Then in 1895, at the ripe old age of sixty, Mary found her calling. Having the fastest time hitching up a six horse team, she won the job of US postal carrier. This made her the first black woman postal carrier and the second black woman ever hired by the US postal service. She delivered mail with a team or with her mule, Moses. If the snow was too deep, she’d put the mail on her back and hike the trail in snowshoes. She once walked ten miles through the snow. She never missed a day. Her dependability earned her the name Stagecoach Mary.

When she hit seventy, she quit the postal service. She started doing laundry and ran an eating establishment. At seventy-two, a man tried to stiff her on a laundry bill. She reared back and laid him on the ground with one punch. Mary was still a force to be reckoned with.

I am Mary Fields.  People call me “Black Mary.”  People call me “Stagecoach Mary.”  I live in Cascade, Tennessee.  I am six feet tall.  I weigh over two hundred pounds.  A woman of the 19th Century,  I do bold and exciting things.  I wear pants.  I smoke a big black cigar.  I drink whiskey.  I carry a pistol.  I love adventure.  I travel the country,  driving a stagecoach,  delivering the mail to distant towns.  Strong, I fight through rainstorms.  Tough, I fight through snowstorms.  I risk hurricanes and tornadoes.  I am independent.  No body tells me what to do.  No body tells me where to go.  When I’m not delivering mail,  I like to build buildings.  I like to smoke and drink in bars with the men.  I like to be rough.  I like to be rowdy.  I also like to be loving.  I like to be caring.  I like to baby sit. I like to plant flowers and tend my garden. I like to give away corsages and bouquets. I like being me, Mary Fields.

Mary Fields

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.

Hugh Glass – Left For Dead

hugh glassIn 1823, Hugh Glass, in his forties, left with a nine person trapper expedition party, up the Missouri River to South Dakota. In August, while scouting, he surprised a grizzly with her two cubs. The bear attacked, picking Glass up and slamming him to the ground. He had been unable to get a shot off but he did have his knife and fought for his life. The other men, hearing his screams, ran to his aid. He was severely mauled and unconscious. The bear was dead.

HughGlassBearAttackMajor Andrew Henry was sure Glass was going to die and asked for volunteers to sit with him till the end came. Nineteen year old, Jim Bridger, (yes, the famous one) and twenty-three year old, John Fitzgerald agreed to stay. They dug a grave and sat to wait. They waited three days with Glass in and out of consciousness. After three days, Indians came into the area and Fitzgerald convinced Bridger they had to make a run for it. They moved Glass near water, took his equipment and gun and took off. They figured he was dead anyway and reported him dead when they caught up to the rest of the party.

Glass regained consciousness enough to realize he was alone and unarmed. Rage filled him at the men who would leave him in this state. His wounds were now severely infected. He had a broken leg and exposed ribs on his back. He set his leg and with one good leg and one good arm began crawling. He headed south toward the Cheyenne River about a hundred miles away. Maggots ate at the infected flesh on his back.

As he crawled he continued to pass out. When he was conscious he would eat berries and roots. At one point, he was able to gorge himself on the remains of a bison killed by wolves. As he grew stronger, he was able to stand and walk. Some Sioux, took pity on him, cleaned his back and gave him food. It took six weeks but he made it to the river. There he built a raft and traveled down to Fort Kiowa, approximately another hundred miles.

When he was healthy enough, he set off after the expedition party. They had continued on to Yellowstone. He caught up to them in 1824 and confronted a very shamed Jim Bridger. Glass let Bridger live, cause he was so young, and set out after Fitzgerald.

He eventually caught up with Fitzgerald but couldn’t kill him as planned. Fitzgerald had joined the Army and they wouldn’t let a civilian kill a soldier. He got his rifle back and a collection of money from the troops. He left knowing he had at least shamed Fitzgerald in the face of his other soldiers.

 

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.

 

Will Jesus Have A Tattoo?

 

Jesus-Christ-Pics-2301Tattoos have never been a big deal to me. You can have them if you like, but I think I would be bored with it after a couple of years. Kind of like wearing the same piece of jewelry.

I had never heard of churches preaching against tattoos till I moved to the Midwest. I do understand the passage in the Old Testament concerning marking your body. But I believe, this  refers to the practice of cutting and heathen markings.

I ran across a scripture the other day, it caused me to really think about the subject. I’d like to get your opinion.

Rev. 19:16 “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

So is ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ actually written on His thigh or just on His garment? Let me know what you think.

Did Noah Really Save Two Of Every Animal?

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Did Noah really gather the animals two by two? We learned this in Sunday School. But sometimes things in Sunday School have been simplified for children. Noah didn’t board two of every animal. The clean (acceptable for eating) Noah brought seven, the unclean (not acceptable for eating) he brought two. But was it seven, male and female mixed or seven pairs, which would make it fourteen. Also was it two, male and female or two pairs. This is the way my Bible reads in Genesis 7:2,3. This is New American Standard version.

“2You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; 3also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.”

I’m starting to lean to the 7 pairs and 2 pairs. What do you think? Grab your favorite version of the Bible, and read Genesis 7:2,3, then let me know.

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