“Few of their children in the country learn English… The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages … Unless the stream of their importation could be turned they will soon so outnumber us that all the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious.”
…the language so vexing to him was the German spoken by new arrivals to Pennsylvania in the 1750s, a wave of immigrants whom Franklin viewed as the “most stupid of their nation.”
My great uncle died earlier this year, in February. He lived to the age of 101. Before his death, I interviewed him in-depth multiple times about his life and what he remembered.
He taught me a bunch, indulging what corn cribs are, the storms of the Dust Bowl, and a slew of humorous stories, his particular talent, which I wish had been documented in some way.
While living in Seattle, from 1939 to 1941, he was recorded in the phone book, which are quite hefty to lug around. He lived with the Neilson family, who came from the same South Dakota town as him, Lake Preston.
Nineteen forty-one was a pivotal year. Everett married his longtime girlfriend, his father died from cancer, and the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, prompting America’s entry into the Second World War.
The death of his father, George Hay, impelled him and his newlywed wife to return to South Dakota, where he took over operation of the family farm, until doctor’s orders made him give it up in 1953, the year they returned to the Pacific Northwest, moving to a berry farm in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
“Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Ēostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing donned by people who were baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English.”
April 16, 1521: German reformer Martin Luther arrives at the Diet of Worms, convinced he would get the hearing he requested in 1517 to discuss the abuse of indulgences and his “95 Theses.” He was astounded when he discovered it would not be a debate, but rather a judicial hearing to see if he wished to recant his words. In defending himself the next Day , Luther said, “Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds of reasoning . . . then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me! Amen!” When negotiations over the next few Day s failed to reach any compromise, Luther was condemned (see issue 34: Luther’s Early Years).
I was typing away, nearly ready to publish when I discovered this discrepancy.
Three hundred and ninety-two years ago, King James I of England died — on March 25, 1625. Twenty-one years previously, in 1604 at the Hampton Court Conference, he had authorized the translation project that produced the King James translation (KJV) of the Bible.
“Henry hates John. John abhors Henry. Andrew can’t stand Henry or John—and neither of them have any use for Andrew.”
Henry is Henry Clay, Speaker of the House for decades. John is John C. Calhoun, a proud southerner who developed the idea of nullification. And Andrew is Andrew Jackson, war hero and eventual president of the United States.
I discovered this incredible summation of affairs in the book Distory: A Treasury of Historical Insults by a man named Schnakenberg.