A hodgepodge of historical facts

Published 7:30 am Saturday, February 12, 2022

Did you ever wonder how the name of sideburn {the hair grown on each side of a man’s face), originated? It came from a Union general, Ambrose Sideburn, who was known for his own face adornment.

I was skimming through several books with information relating to our role in history and ran across some facts I would like to share. I quizzed my daughter on them and she had the right answer for each of them. I should have known since she once taught history. I had to give her an A for her perfect score. I admit mine was not nearly as good.

Here is one we learned at an early stage in our education. Of course, everybody has heard about Christopher Columbus who was credited with the discovery of America. What you might not remember, or maybe never knew, was it took Christopher Columbus nine years to get King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to agree to finance his trip. It was his friendship with a friar he met on his way to the queen’s court that helped put him in good stead with the queen.

Here are a few more facts that may or may not strike a chord in your memory:

Explorers Meriwether and William Clark captured a bear from the Louisiana Territory and presented it to President Thomas Jefferson. It was kept on the White House lawn for the duration of his administration.

President George Washington had a fear of being buried alive.  He requested that he not be buried until three days after his death.

Remember Tomas Payne who wrote the heart-stirring pamphlet “Common Sense?” In it he voiced the demands of the American colonists for freedom. He was born in England and had once been a corset maker. He left for America at the urging of Benjamin Franklin who he had met in London.

I have often read about the hardships pioneers of this country endured as they plodded along with their covered wagons.

For every mile of the 2,000 miles it took the pioneers to travel from Oregon to Missouri, 17 people died. Speaking of covered wagons. the back wheels were as tall as a man. The hoops were at least 11 feet high.

Taking livestock along those early trails presented its own kind of problems. Cows died of thirst if they didn’t freeze to death during a blizzard.

Children riding in the wagons sometimes lost their lives when rough movement bounced them out of the wagon onto the path of following wagons.

Now to end this bit of, hodgepodge, I have a focus on romance for you. President John Adams was deeply in love with his wife Abigail. Since he was always traveling, he was often away from home. He and Abigail wrote to each other. In later time, their love letters were compiled in a book.