Category Archives: History

I love seeing a flag at the grave of the Hill family patriarch, James, in Ohio. #July4th

The star is a veteran marker, noting his service during the War of 1812. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1763, witnessing the Declaration and the ensuing war against the British Empire. Remarkably, James died in 1862. His life spanned the end of the French and Indian War, before nationhood, and the beginning of the Civil War, with Abraham Lincoln at the helm.

ajh

“It was one of the few occasions on which the bayonet was decisively used.”

Douglas MacArthur wrote the following about July 26, 1918, the day one of my great grandmother’s brothers was dropped by German machine gun fire. He was hurried to a field hospital, the 165th, which was attached to the 165th regiment of Ohio, where he died days later.

“…the 167th Alabama assisted by the left flank of the 168th Iowa had stormed and captured the Croix Rouge Farm in a manner which for its gallantry I do not believe has been surpassed in military history. It was one of the few occasions on which the bayonet was decisively used.”

ajh

The Children’s Blizzard is “the gripping story of an epic prairie snowstorm…”

TheChildrensBlizzardsmall

The Children’s Blizzard, a book by a man named David Laskin, is “the gripping story of an epic prairie snowstorm that killed hundreds of newly arrived settlers and cast a shadow on the promise of the American frontier.”

My mother’s grandparents had arrived the year before, in 1887, from Germany with two of their children, Emil and Otillie, who was named after an aunt. What happened to these two no one knows. I’ve been looking and looking for years.

Obviously, death must have taken them away, since besides the immigration paperwork, they are never mentioned again. Did they get caught up in the blizzard like so many others? I will keep hunting for details. They deserve to be remembered and their stories told.

ajh

At one point, the world witnessed fifty thousand deaths a day in World War I, totaling seventeen million by its end.

“ . . . the Great War, as it was initially called, sucked up lives at rate of almost 50,000 a day at one point. The Germans committed atrocities against civilians in Belgium, and reduced the Cathedral of Arras to rubble. The soil of Northern France, pockmarked with war craters, is all one big burial ground for lost souls — the graveyards you see, 410 military cemeteries, and the graveyards you don’t see.

When the war ended, after 17 million deaths worldwide, a headline in Britain’s Daily Mirror proclaimed: ‘Democracy Triumphs Over the Last of the Autocrats.’”

My great-great uncle was one of those 17 million.

ajh

Well, I never. Ben Franklin wasn’t keen on non-British immigrants, particularly Germans into Pennsylvania.

Ben Franklin

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.”

ajh