Parris Island, 1943

scout-bomber

Wreckage of crashed Scout Bomber

This image was shot on Parris Island. The plane crashed in 1943 training flight, the plane is upside down laying in a wooded area just off from a river, both flyers survived.

This island was a Marine Corps Recruiting Depot. This military installation 8,095 acres

To learn more about Parris Island and this Scout Bomber wreakage, go to: SCIWAY

Another interesting site: Parris Island Museum

Middle age

Susan Brownell Anthony

•    Campaigned for the Abolishment of Slavery
•    Educational Reformer
•    Women’s Rights Activist
•    Labor Activist
•    Suffragist
•    Active in the Temperance Movement

To appreciate all that Susan Brownell Anthony actually accomplished in her lifetime you have to understand the time period in which she was born.

Susan was born on February 15, 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts to a Quaker family. Her role of activist was formed quite early I believe with having a non-traditionalist Quaker father of strong beliefs in equality. Led early on by her fathers non-traditionalist Quaker views, Susan developed a strong value system of her own in regard to what was right and wrong. Suffering of others, including her own gender, were intolerable to her and instead of talking about inequalities she put herself out in the forefront of the fight.

Abolitionist

Susan B. Anthony and her family moved to Rochester, New York in 1845. Her family were strong supporters of anti-slavery movement with the Anthony family holding meetings almost every Sunday where they were sometimes joined by Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison.

In 1863, Susan B. Anthony and her friend, Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the Woman’s National Loyal League to petition for the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery. They went further to petition for the Fourteenth (Granting citizenship to everyone born in the U.S. and protects the civil and political liberties of all Americans) and Fifteenth (guarantee’s the right to vote regardless of race) amendments. To Anthony’s and Stanton’s disappointment women were excluded from these amendments.

Little known is Anthony had newspaper called “The Revolution,” that she began publishing in Rochester 1868, where she attacked lynchings and racial prejudice in other Rochester newspapers in the 1890s.

Susan B Anthony-Age 28

Educational Reformer

At age 26, Anthony took a teaching position at a girls’ academy in 1846. Her wage was $110 a year.

In 1859 at the state’s teachers’ convention she called for equality for women in other professions and better wage.

In addition to the above she called for women to have more of a voice in convention activities and to assume actual committee positions.

Susan B. Anthony called for equality in education for all, regardless of race or gender.

By 1890s Anthony  served on the board of trustees of the Rochester State Industrial School. She campaigned for coeducation, equality and opportunities for boys and girls. She also raised $50,000 in pledges to ensure the admittance of women to the University of Rochester. That and cashing in her personal life insurance policy to get more cash to add to pledges, the University was forced to make good on promise to add women should the pledges be met. The University was obligated to make good on their agreement and women were admitted to the University for the first time in 1900.

Failure is Impossible

Woman’s Rights Activist

As a Woman’s Rights Advocate, Anthony began by campaigning for women’s property rights in New York State, which during that time period were almost nonexistent. By 1860, primarily to her due to her tireless fight became law. The New York State Married Women’s Property Bill finally allowed married women to own property, keep their own wages, and have custody of their children. In addition, in 1875 she attacked the “social evil” of prostitution in a Chicago speech, but not for the reason you think. Her reasoning was to call for more equality for women in marriage, the workplace, and at the ballot box. It was her belief that these fundamental rights would eliminate the need for women to work the streets.

Labor Activist

The Revolution, Anthony’s newspaper, advocated an 8 hour work day and equal pay for equal work in 1868. She promoted the policy of purchasing American-made goods, encouraged immigration to rebuild the South after the war and to settle the entire country.

In 1868 she encouraged working women to form a Working Women’s Association. The reasoning was women who worked in the printing and sewing trades in New York were excluded from the unions for these trades. In turn, during the printers strike in New York, she encouraged employers to hire women in the printing trade, hoping that the industry would see women could do the job as well as men, and therefore deserved equal pay. In a turnabout the Typographical Union accused her of strike-breaking and running a non-union shop at her newspaper, The Revolution, and further called her an enemy of labor.

It is interesting to note had they let women in the unions originally, their accusations would have been mute.

Temperance Movement

As a Quaker, Anthony’s family believed drinking liquor was sinful, but her support of this movement was not only owed to her religious upbringing, but also to how it families were destroyed by the effects of alcoholism.

Anthony and Stanton sited a case where a woman named Abby McFarland divorced her abusive and drunken husband only to lose her second husband when her ex-husband shot and killed the current man she was married to. It did not end there, Abby’s ex-husband was acquitted of the murder on a plea of temporary insanity and then given custody of their son.

The Temperance Society’s goal was to petition the state for a law limiting the sale of liquor, they even had a petition with 28,000 signatures but since they were from mostly women and children, the State Legislature rejected. Anthony knew the only way to get the attention of politicians was for women to have the right to vote.

In the end, the temperance group she and Stanton belonged to criticized them for promoting women’s rights over temperance issues. Anthony explained, “Women would need the vote to reach their goal.”

Both She and Stanton left the Women’s State Temperance Society in the 1870s and Anthony refused to support Prohibition because she believed it detracted attention from women’s rights.

Memorial Statue

Suffragist

Anthony continued her fight for women’s rights and started a campaign in her newspaper, The Revolution toward that goal. In 1868 the masthead of the paper read:

“Men their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less,” and the aim of establishing “justice for all.”

Susan B. Anthony campaigned tirelessly on this issue, going on speaking tours, gathering petitions from 26 states, even being arrested for trying to vote in Rochester before the women’s vote was legal. Between 1881 and 1885 Anthony, Stanton and Matilda Joslin Gage and Ida Husted Harper collaborated on and published a series of six books called the History of Woman Suffrage. (Click on the book title link to read it free at Google Books.)

Mrs Catt on Anthony

In the end

Anthony tirelessly campaigned for women’s rights not only in the United States but also internationally. At age of 80, she retired from the National American Woman Suffrage Association organization and presided over two international counsels, one as honorary president of Carrie Chapman Catt’s International Woman Suffrage Alliance.

Susan B. Anthony passed away at her home on March 13, 1906. She never was able to see fulfillment of her dream where all women would obtain the same freedoms as males in our society.

Fourteen years later, in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment which she helped draft was finally added. It was known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.

Elder Anthony

On a personal note

My reason for doing this story came from childhood actually, when I was in 5th grade I was in a school play and guess who I was to be… you guessed it, Susan B. Anthony. At the time, I researched, wrote and memorized my lines for the play, but really did not appreciate then all that this woman actually accomplished and went through so “women” could receive the same freedoms that were promised as “We the People” but only half of the American population received.

In addition, Anthony’s fight against slavery brought about riots at her meetings where her effigy was dragged burning through the streets. Yet, she continued undaunted to fight not only the freedom of women but against slavery during the Civil War.

Women lived in slavery too and for much longer time than most races or male gender in America. It was a silent form of slavery whose roots were based in old European traditions and continued in America, even though the promise of freedom was supposed to be for all, women did not get to enjoy what America was supposed to stand for. Now before I’m criticized for being a “feminist” – I will tell you I don’t really care for the word, men that have issues they fight for are not called “malinists,” so the term really is sexist and degrading in my personal opinion. Fighting for the same freedoms as established by our country’s forefathers makes you an American!

I will sum up this article with Susan B. Anthony’s final public remark, and quite possibly a testament of her life, where she proclaimed, “Failure is impossible!”

Thank you, Miss Anthony for fighting my freedoms!

References:

•    Susan B. Anthony Museum & House
•    Wikipedia: Susan B. Anthony
•    OutHistory.org
•    Susan B. Anthony’s Obituary: New York Times

Logo_of_the_Royal_Navy

The Senior Service “The British Royal Navy

The British Royal Navy’s origins date back to the 16th century with their principal formation being for Naval warfare, making it the oldest military naval force in the world, it is called the “Senior Service” for this reason.

From 900 to 1500

Prior to the 16th century, England’s naval forces were strong at times and less at others depending on period and the King that held power. During the Danish rule in the 11th century, Aetheired II had an especially large fleet which was maintained by heavy taxation. The strength of this naval fleet continued into the rein of Edward the Confessor (reigned 1042 to 1066) who maintained a standing fleet, through the same means and often commanded them in person.

In the Medieval age, seemingly as a result of the Norman conquest, England’s naval might diminished with mostly merchant ships sailing the seas. Military might was not as necessary during this time as the Vikings era was fading and the conflict with France was mostly confined to French lands of the English monarchy. It was not until the 14th century with the outbreak of the 100 Years War steeped up the France’s naval menace to England’s shores, until Edward III destroyed the French fleet in the Battle of Sluys in 1340. Herein, ended most of France’s effective naval incursions outside of raids on England’s south-coast ports. Such raids halted all together with the occupation of northern France by Henry V.

BattleofSluys

Battle of Sluys

From 1500 to 1707

The Reign of Henry VIII saw the official standing “Navy Royal” in the 16th century, a permanent core of purposely built war ships that was maintained under Elizabeth I.

From here the video below can tell the story of the Royal Navy better I can. Enjoy, it is a fascinating period of history!

The Story of Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin

One of the most famous dogs of Hollywood had a storybook beginning. During World War I, Lee Duncan a Corporal in the U.S. Army Air Service was sent forward on to the small French Village of Flirey to see if the it was suitable as his unit’s flying field. Unfortunately, the area had taken heavy hits from bombs and artillery. While he was looking around the area, he came across a kennel of the Imperial German Army. It also had taken severe damage to the structure and the only dogs left alive were a starving mother and her five nursing pups. Duncan rescued the mother and week old puppies and brought them back to his unit.

All survived and after all the puppies were weaned, the mother went to an officer and 3 pups to others in his unit. Duncan kept two, he felt the dogs were good luck. There were two dolls the French children played with before the war, named Rintintin and Nénette. They were much favored and thought lucky so after the war started people started making these dolls out of bits of fabric or yarn and sending them with their loved ones who went to war. When the Americans would enter a French town the children often called them by these two names so Duncan decided to call his two pups Rin Tin Tin (or Rinty) and the female was named Nanette. It should be noted that the names were reversed gender for the French dolls, Rintintin was the female and Nénette was the male. The two names to an American though would sound like it should be reversed, as Nanette would sound more feminine to Americans.

In the summer of 1919, Duncan bundled his two pups up aboard ship and brought them back to the States. Upon re-entry processing to the United States he stopped in Hemstead and left the dogs with a German Shepherd breeder who raised police dogs. While there the female Nanette was diagnosed with pneumonia. Duncan’s home was in Los Angeles and the pup was to ill to make the trip. The breeder feeling badly at his dog’s illness gave him another female and he left Nanette in her care. While in route by train to Los Angeles, Nanette passed and saddened, Duncan gave the breeders pup the name of Nanette II in memory.

Rin Tin Tin and Lee Duncan

Shown Lee Duncan center holding Rin Tin Tin with Nanette II and their pups.

Upon getting home, he taught Rin Tin Tin several tricks and thought he should enter him in some dog shows, which he did and also was the founding member of the Shepherd dog Club of California. Rin Tin Tin’s performed relatively well in the shows but he really shined in the agility categories. At one show he was filmed by an acquaintance who had just developed a slow-motion camera. Upon seeing the film and Rin Tin Tin’s winning leap of 11’9″ he was quickly convinced Rinty could become the next Strongheart. Strongheart the first German Shepard star of the silent screen movies.

Rin Tin Tin made his film debut in 1922 in a movie called “The Man From Hells’ River.” He went on to make 27 films and gained worldwide fame. He was even nominated by popular vote for an Academy Award for Best Actor but the Academy determined that a human should win.

Rin Tin Tin passed at the age of 14 years in 1932 and his loss was mourned by the entire nation. He and Nanette had 48 puppies through out his life, some of them went to very famous people like Jean Harlow and Greta Garbo. Rin Tin Tin has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was also given a key to the city in New York!

His son, Rin Tin Tin Jr. appeared in movies after Rinty’s death, he did not have the dark coat and face markings of his father, but he became a star in his own right.

A multitude of films, radio and television shows were made with his name and many cases his offspring. Rin Tin Tin’s bloodline dogs are trained as service dogs for special needs children and in 2011, the American Humane awarded the 12th generation Rin Tin Tin the first Hero Dog Legacy Award with Mickey Rooney narrating a memorial tribute film to the original Rin Tin Tin.

See your present through the eyes of your past.

Researching your family tree can be one of the most rewarding and insightful ways to learn about yourself. When we see who and where we came from it gives us a sense of fulfillment knowing how we came to be where we are in our current point in history. We learn about our ancestors  accomplishments and yes, even their failures, which brought us full circle to our current existence. In reality we are all an accumulation of those who came before us. Preserving the history of your family for future generations is actually like being a bit of an archaeologist, mystery sleuth and historian all rolled in one.

The advent of modern technology has facilitated your search into a much easier process then it was years ago but sometimes you still have to do old fashioned legwork (or traditional letter writing, visiting libraries, cemeteries), to obtain your goal. Each tidbit of information gleamed forms a more complete picture of your ancestors and is worth the hard work for yourself and future generations of your family.

I started my quest into genealogy through my Great Aunt, while I was visiting, she brought out some old photo albums of family members long past and I asked so many questions out of curiosity that she pulled out her genealogy records out to. It seemed no one in the family was really interested in following up upon the work she had done. Once I started reading her notes and records, family stories about when they came to America,  I was hooked. I was very fortunate that she had done a major part of the work and gave me a photocopy of her records. This is from my mothers side of the family, I haven’t gotten to my fathers side yet, as his ancestors go back to Italy, that is going to take a bit of work getting information from there. I can proudly say though I added to my Great Aunts work and hopefully I will be able to pass the torch to another family member.  If not that, at the very least I will get updated information recorded at one of the major genealogy sites for future generations.

Here are some of my suggestions for researching your family history. My way may not correspond with articles you might have already read as I have a more of an eclectic style to researching.

ONE

Beginning your research

If starting from scratch begin with yourself and your most immediate family members. Mother, Father, Aunts, Uncles, their children, your siblings and their children, etc. Take those that you know as far back as you can and don’t’ forget birth, death, place of birth, place of death, marriage dates, where they were married, any relevant data for each. When you have reached all family data you know, then it is time to start contacting other family members, the older family members will remember more information on individuals so should be your first stop. If you are very lucky they will tell you some stories on individual family members, be sure to write those down too, it all becomes part of your family legacy.

In addition, don’t forget to check out historical books on families in a specific town or city, sometimes you will find your surname there relating to a family member that was active in the community or was perhaps a town elder.

Special tip: While you are online also check out specific nationality sites. There are numerous genealogy sites for every nationally (Irish, Italian, German, etc.) They sometimes have information on your family Surname and even contacts to others who have researched them. It also makes more interesting reading to add some of the historical beginnings of each ethnic character by surname. For instance; Part of my family came over from Scotland and settled in America the 1700’s. By following the nationality of my Scottish ancestors, I learned more about why they may have come here, the Scottish Clan they belonged to, where my family line stopped here in America and then picked up again in Skye, Scotland.

I’ve included this family pedigree chart below to get you started, but as you do more research you will need the more in-depth charts that takes your family line back several more generations. I liked this one as it could be given as a gift and had well spaced areas for writing your information in.

Family Tree Form

TWO

Records

While it is convenient to use a Genealogy computer program, you will want a hard copy of your records in case of lost data, computer crash, etc. so check out Google or Pinterest and put in the words “Free Genealogy Records” in the search area. You will be rewarded with tons of sites that have free records sheets to download that will aid you in almost every part of your research.  Remember to start a new sheet for each family surname group. NOTE: I have included a list of a few good ones I found at the end of this article.

THREE

Pick a Surname

Many articles written on this subject say to pick a surname and research it until you’ve exhausted all leads. This is where I disagree a bit. While you are researching you will have some surname crossovers, by crossovers I mean if you are researching your great, great grandfather’s surname, at the same time put in your great, great grandmother’s maiden surname. There is a very good chance that both sides of the family resided in the same area. If you are at a site or visiting a location where these crossovers take place get information on all possible family members that they have records for. It does mean you have to carry more records with you or bring a laptop, android, or cellphone to remember everyone, but it will save you a lot of leg work in the future, especially if you do not plan to go back to the location down the road.

There are some programs and apps that can make your search even easier, listed below are the ones with the good reviews that are free or have minimal fees. I recommend starting your research with the free sites and when you have exhausted these resources then move up to the fee sites.

Our Worlds Past does not accept a fee from the sites listed, they are merely ones I personally tested and I was by no means able to go to visit them all. This listing is offered as a starting point only to new genealogy researchers that may wish to try alternative low cost or free sites to some of the major easy to find Genealogy websites.

MyHeritage (Offers online pedigree recording and also has an Android App) The online version is very nice, you do have to sign up, but I’ve started adding my genealogy records to it and I like it so far. It is free to load all your records and will even list any related searches to your family name, but to get details from what they find you have to pay for a subscription. Currently, all of the history they found I already had, so did not need to subscribe. It is a nice online recording site though that even lets you add GEDCOM. I couldn’t evaluate their android app as I am on a Kindle Fire.

FamilySearch Tree App (Works with most Androids, Cell Phones and Kindles.) I am trying this one as I have kindle and so far have been real happy with it (and did I mention it is free)! The FamilySearch Tree app is offered by the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). So far it is operating and integrating fine with their online records site. The only problem I ran was adding GEDCOM records, it is rather involved and does not integrate with your current records, nor are you able to make GEDCOM’s from this site yet. LDS does however offer very nice app called FamilySearch Memories app. This program is for saving all you family photos and stories in one spot. Click on the name at the site for a better description, I haven’t tried it yet, but it has good reviews. I can see where it would benefit the traveling genealogist.

FOUR

Free researching

Gather as much data as you can find on your main Surname (don’t forget the surnames of the female line of your family) search as far as you can on the free online websites, libraries in the cities your family members resided, old family bibles, cemeteries, etc. To get started though without traveling any further than your computer, these sites are some of the best and for the most part free but sure some of them appreciate donations.
A.    LDS Records (Church of Latter-Day Saints)
B.    US Social Security Death Index
C.    The USGENWEB Project
D.    Ellis Island, NY
E.    National Archives for the US
F.    Military Records
G.   Census Index

Also look for suggested genealogy links at the sites listed above. NOTE: Some other free genealogy sites that I’ve personally checked out will be listed at the end of this article.

Other FREE resource and genealogy forms sites below:

Vintage Family RecordFamily Records: They have lovely vintage forms for free download to record your families data (sample record to above). They also have a good link at their site to other interesting research sites.

Cyndi’s List – Lots of free resources here.

Free Pedigree Charts

Family Tree University
Too much information to list, mostly free. They also have several free Genealogy PDF books to download at their site. http://ftu.familytreemagazine.com/free/

Family Tree Magazine – Lots of fascinating information here, much of it free, like the forms link below:

Golden Rules of GenealogyGotGenealogy – A learning site that has courses and other helpful information like the free Golden Rules of Genealogy form above (just click on the picture for a direct link to a full size version). I don’t know if their courses are free or not, but there is other free information there that is worth checking out.

Olive Tree Genealogy – Another very informative site that offers free resources on not the USA but other countries as well!

I could keep going with this list but really all you need to do is put the search term “Free Genealogy” into your Google search engine and you will come up with tons of resources. The more specific your search terminology the better. You can even start here by putting in your ancestors name and Google does some of the hunting for you by bringing up possible relatives that have already researched and posted their family histories online.

Good luck in your family history research!

 

Anubis: Egyptian God

(wooden funerary statue of Anubis below)

Wooden statute of Anubis

Anubis was a major god and lord of the underworld in the first dynasty (3100 – 2890 BC), He also held the power as  protector of graves sites and embalmer of the dead. His role changed by the beginning of the Middle Kingdom to a lower status of usher to the souls into the afterlife.

Anubis_attending_the_mummy_of_Sennedjem

Anubis attending the mummy of the deceased.

Even with his loss of status, Anubis still played major role as to whether or not a soul could even enter the underworld. In the Book of the Dead, it clearly shows Anubis  “weighing the heart” of the worthy to see if they would be allowed into the realm of the dead. While the Book of the Dead is was a major find, his image also can be seen in many ancient Egyptian tomb engravings of the Pharaohs and Queens of Egypt.

Anubis weighing the heart from the Book of the Dead

Anubis weighing the heart of the worthy (center)

In the early texts from the first dynasty Anubis is portrayed as the son of Ra. Later between 2181-2055 BC in pyramid texts it is said he is the son of the cow goddess Hesat and the deceased king (pharaoh) which are more likely wishful thinking of the deceased pharaoh. During this same time period he is said to be the son of Ra and the cat-headed goddess Bastet… although there seems to be very little documentation of this association. He is also said to be the son of the god Set and goddess Nephthys. During the later time period of the Greek occupation of Egypt, he was changed to be the son of the god Osiris and the goddess Nephthys, which brought about a more ancient soap opera version of his parentage.

In the Greeks version Nephthys, wife of the god Seth had tricked Osiris into relations with her by pretending to be his wife, Isis, their union produced a son, Anubis. Soon after Nephthys who was also a sister to Isis abandoned her son for fear her husband Seth a mean tempered god would find out. Although Isis was betrayed by her sister, she sought out the baby and once found adopted him as her own. Anubis then became her guard and ally and was forever after known as the “son of Isis.”

The last becomes the least believable considering the source was from a later source and more closely resembles the drama of the Greek gods. Personally, unless earlier documentation comes to light, I would believe the earliest origins of Anubis’s creation.

294px-GD-EG-Caire-Musée017

Anubis’s wife and counterpart, Anput (far right)

Anubis’s female counterpart or wife was the goddess Anput. She was the goddess of funerals and mummification. Anput’s name is translated as the female version of her husband’s name Anubis. She is often seen with a standard over her head that is topped by a jackal or a large black dog. Their daughter, Kebechet, was the goddess of embalming liquid and her name in Egyptian literally means “cooling water.” It is said she would give water to the spirits of the dead while they waited for the mummification of their bodies to be complete. It is also thought her role was to fortify the body against corruption, so it would stay whole for reanimation by the deceased person Ka or spirit.

Tutanhkamun_jackal

Anubis is most often seen in two forms, a Jackal headed man or as a black coated Jackal (from the Tomb of Tutankhamun)

Anubis’s Jackal headed appearance is thought to stem from the earliest burials that were often interred in shallow graves, jackals (a smallish type of dog closely related to coyotes in appearance and behavior), often would scavenge the remains so it thought the Ancient Egyptians “fighting like with like” made the god Anubis into the Jackal headed god. It could also be seen as perhaps a Jackal headed god would be able to control or rule them as Anubis was also the protector of graves, cemeteries and tombs.

The roles and how they changed for the gods and goddesses during different time periods is quite interesting, you can see the changing mind set of the people, rulers and religion. Anubis began as major god of the underworld only to be usurped by the god Osiris in around 2000 BC. He still played an important role to the royals of the time and unlike Hollywood’s portrayal of him, he was benevolent god that was seen as taking care of the dead in his charge.

To really understand history, you must go past the movie versions and get the real facts of the gods and goddesses that were worshiped. I dislike the term “mythology” as it sounds more like a collection of fairy tales, but at one time people believed in these deities, so it was more than purely myth. It gives you a better understanding of what the people were dealing with during different time periods, their needs caused them to create a god or goddess to fulfill a need or to help them. When you study only the archeology of a time period, you only get a modern educated opinion on their lifestyles. The study of social Anthropology gives a more rounded view of the actual people and not just their royalty which seems to be all we hear about.

While Anubis is shown on temple walls most often, mummification was reserved for those that could afford the embalming process, mainly royals and upper class. But he would have been worshiped by the common people as well as he was the protector of the dead. Anubis was the one that would guide their loved ones into the afterlife and protect their grave sites. In the eyes of even the poorest Egyptian, he would held a very revered place in their lives.

To learn more, click on the photo below and watch documentary video explaining funerary rights from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Documentary sponsored by Ancient Egypt Magazine.

botd_hunefer_304x400

Mastodons

Mammoth vs Mastodon

Mammoth vs Mastodon

The earliest know species of elephant “Elephantine” to roam the earth and distantly related to Mammoths and our current species of elephants. The line of early elephants gets a little fuzzy with off shoots of linked species that diverged separately and then went extinct, like many variations of primates evolved separately with some going extinct, while others thrived.

American Mastodon or Mammut Americanum

American Mastodon Fossil Mounted

This left two main categories, the “Loxodonta” which includes both species of African Elephant and the “Elephas” which includes Asiatic (Asian) Elephants. What is known about Mastodons in general appearance and social behavior closely followed along the lines of Asian Elephants. Based on evidence from Mastodon bone sites, it appears they formed social groups that primarily included adult females and young. The males stayed with the group until they reached sexual maturity, left the main social group and formed bachelor groups.

Modern elephants molars on the left vs Mastodon Molar on the right.

Modern elephants molars on the left vs Mastodon Molar on the right.

Mastodons, although not closely related to either modern elephants or Mammoths had an overall general appearance resembled the modern Asian elephants in body. The American Mastodon even had a think shaggy coat of hair like a woolly Mammoth. Male Mastodons stood almost 9 feet at the shoulder and weighed as much as 5 short tons! The tusks were quite a bit larger than modern elephants with males being more massive and strongly curved. The one area a Mastodon separates from their modern counterparts and even their contemporaries the Mammoths is in their teeth. They had a cone-shaped tooth that resembled nipples (okay, stop laughing) that the French Anatomist George Cuvier gave the name for this species as Mastodon or “Mastodont” meaning “nipple tooth.” This form of tooth unlike other species of Elephantine was actually perfect for chewing leaves, branches and shrubs. It is considered like their long distant cousins the Asian Elephant, that they were browsers and grazers.

American Mastodon by artist, Charles R. Knight

American Mastodon by artist, Charles R. Knight

What caused their extinction?

There are several theories, some that make that should be seriously considered. There is the theory of Clovis Hunters where some hold that they decimated the Mastodon and Mammoth herds. There is evidence of both species being hunted around 11,000 years ago. Some as in the link provided below shows a Mastodon with a Clovis spearhead embedded in its ribs. There also have been Mastodon fossil remains with evidence of Tuberculosis… perhaps owing to humans moving into their environments. BUT… I personally have a problem with heaping all the blame on mankind, whatever took out both elephant species (plus several other species), did so in a short period of time. It would be convenient to make the Clovis people the scapegoats of the Pleistocene time period, but they too suffered a significant decline around the same period. So perhaps a less rigid viewpoint is needed here.

A new theory is being hotly debated currently about a Comet that may have collided with Earth 12,900 years ago. It is an interesting theory as it would logically explain a climatic event that would cause extinctions on a more massive scale. I also do not follow some academic notions that animals and people just disappear or mysteriously become extinct. I believe it takes time for that to happen as it does in modern times when due to say our actions to an environment causes the extinction of a species. It does not happen overnight unless there is a major event that would throw the climate out balance. During the Pleistocene period the earth was beginning to warm up from last ice age. A comet the size of the one that took out the dinosaurs 65,000 years ago would explain a climate shift that took out a major portion of large mammals and other large creatures such as the Saber Tooth Tigers and Giant Sloths. This would include humans that could not adapt quickly enough to this change or were taken out by the effects of the blast itself.

In conclusion

From all the evidence and new theories coming forward I believe the Mastodon extinction was from a combination of the factors mentioned above, sort of like a domino effect, each having their impact on a this species. Only by keeping an open mind and listening to new evidence/theories as they come about will we learn the truth of the past. Just because it is not immediately clear or proven does not mean it won’t lead you to the truth.

I’ve added several links below, all interesting reading on the theories expressed above, visit them and form your own opinions!

Montparnasse Derailment of 1895

Montparnasse Derailment

Montparnasse Derailment on October 22, 1895

On October 22, 1895, on a day almost like any other day, the Grandville to Paris express train No. 721 met with misfortune trying to make up time. The train entered the original Gare Montparnasse station going at a speed of 25 to 37 miles per hour which does not seem like much, but when the air brake failed, the train was carried past the buffers and 100 foot station concourse to crash through a 2 foot think wall before falling 33 feet where it landed on the nose of the steam locomotive.

One Sad Fatality

The train was carrying 131 passengers, six passenger carriages, a post van and three baggage vans (cars). Amazingly only 6 people on the train were injured. The real tragedy was Marie-Augustine Aguilard who lost her life from falling masonry. Marie was filling in at the newspaper stand nearby for her husband who went to collect the evening papers. The railway company paid for her funeral and provided a pension to care for the couple’s 2 children.

Retribution Negligible

The aftermath was the Locomotive driver was fined 50 Francs for coming into the station too fast, one of the guards was fined 25 Francs for being to preoccupied with paperwork to apply the handbrake. To give you an idea, an early equivalent of 20 Francs was worth approximately $4 US dollars back in the in the 1800s. (According to Cyberussr.com).

In The End…

The train sat in this undignified position for several days after multiple attempts to remove the locomotive all failed. Finally, in the end, it took a 250 ton winch with ten men to lower the locomotive to the ground and then lift the tender back into the station. Surprisingly, when the locomotive reached the railway workshop it was found to have barely suffered any damage.

The Great Wall of China

Great_wall_of_qi_2008_07_14

Original portion of the Great Wall from the Qin Dynasty

The Great Wall of China was originally expanded upon by the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang. In reality there were many smaller walls built in several of provinces throughout China, but during the Qin Dynasty, the first emperor connected some of them and reinforced others to help keep out nomadic invaders from the North in 214 BC.

There is very little left of the original walls, just a few sections left in the northern borders of China. The elaborate wall you see all the time in photos are really other dynasties expansions, restructuring and fortifying. The Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) can be mostly credited with Great Wall that still stands and is visited by thousands of tourists a year.

Most of the original wall that is still standing is a single stone wall like the photo above and some is even less than that, just stones and tamped earth. There were no records of the actual length or direction, but most of it that does survive is still in the northern mountainous region where Qin focused his major defenses.

As stated in a previous article on this site, the “First Emperor Qin Shi Huang,” obsession was the “unification” of China, sometimes by brutal force against his own people. He saw this wall as just another part of this unify, no matter what the cost. It is estimated that up to a million workers perished building the Great Wall. There is even a fabled tale titled, “The Legend of Meng Jiang Nü”. It is a sad but well told story from the time period of the Qin Dynasty when so many were conscripted to work on the Great Wall.

Map of the Great Wall of China

The yellow lines of the map above show where the original Great Wall stood during the Qin Dynasty. The major portions and longest spans connected up toward Mongolia where Qin was most concerned with nomadic invasion.

In an interesting twist of fate Genghis Khan and Mongol horde breached the Great Wall and conquered China in the 1300 century AD. The Mongols, (called the nomadic invaders during the Qin Dynasty), were avid horsemen and the Great Wall proved to be just a small bump to surmount. The horde would ride back and forth until they either found weaknesses in the wall or they went into so called “impassible” regions of mountains to get around the wall or they simply bribed fort officials to open the gates. So in the end of the Great Wall as a defensive structure can be summed up by this quote from Genghis Khan, “The strength of walls depends on the courage of those who guard them.”

I’ve added some interesting site links that tell more of the history on the other dynasties that contributed to the Great Wall. Pay special attention to the history of the Ming dynasty who were the architects of the Great Wall you see most current photos.

Related Article Onsite:

First Emperor Qin Shi Huang

Interesting Links:

China Mike – Great Wall of China History & Facts
Very informative in a concise and easy to comprehend style.

Facts and Details – The Great Wall of China
A very comprehensive historical site about China.

Wikipedia – The Great Wall of China

Great Wall Forum
If you would enjoy jumping into discussions about the Great Wall this site looks like a fun forum with lots of photo’s posted and friendly people.

Photos of the Week
Beautiful photographs and tidbits of history of the Great Wall of China, but not exclusive to just the Great Wall! There is a huge variety of topics and photos accompanying each.

A fascinating book that you can read free online is:

The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC – Ad 2000
By Julia Lovell

Alexander the Great’s Mosaic

Alexander the Great’s Mosaic

Mosaic of Alexander the Great

Modern day history of the ancient city of Pompeii often leaves out it’s original discovery was in 1599. While digging an underground channel to divert the River Sarno, famous architect, Domenico Fontana made the original find. At that time he unearthed some wall paintings but reburied the ruins he found. Some in academic circles believe he did so as several of the paintings had extreme sexual content and his action was a form of censorship, but I don’t agree with this assessment.

Fontana wrote a bit about it in his personal diary (mentioned in the book; Pompeii Awakened: A Story of Rediscovery by Judith Harris, link below), about his horror at the way the people died and he even requested permission to explore Pompeii. The ruling government of the time though were more interested in completion of the project. Fontana was discouraged but took great care reburying the ancient city with as little damage as possible. Little government documentation was made at the time and the city was forgotten again until 1709. During the years of excavations, in October of 1831, a floor mosaic of Alexander the Great was discovered. The floor mosaic is “believed” to be the Battle of Issus.

The mosaic is thought to be a copy of a fresco by Philoxenos of Eretra in the 4th century BC that many believe is the Battle of Issus. Pliny the Elder records the commission of a similar painting for the Macedonian king Cassander.

Alexander Mosaic Whole

Despite the damage, two figures are easily recognized. That of Alexander and Bucephalos (Alexander’s famous Horse). Darius is shown in the chariot, brother to the Persian king Darius III Codomannus. He was so distinguished in battle that upon his eventual capture at the Battle of Gaugamela, that Alexander not only treated him well but elevated him to an honorable post to his own entourage.

Some trivia about the actual Alexander floor mosaic found at Pompeii. It is estimated by the remaining tiles that it originally held one and half million tiny cube shaped colored tiles that made up the image. A project of this type and detail would have been commissioned by only the most wealthy of patrons of Pompeii’s era.

The Alexander Mosaic is safely preserved at the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy, where it resides on a wall instead of the floor. Other relics from Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae are also here along with collections from the Greek, Roman and Renaissance periods. This Museum is considered one of the most extrodinary due to their vast collections of ancient history and considered to be one the most important in the world. The Naples National Archaeological Museum should definitely be on your itinerary if you take a trip to Naples.

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