Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baby Born During Battle of First Manassas


The Lewis family of “Portici” found themselves at the center of the First Battle Manassas. Confederate officers notified the Lewis family that a battle was imminent and that their house would be exposed to fire. They evacuated, taking everything they could with them, but left valuable and heavy furniture behind. The furniture was stored in a small room in an angle of the house, and the room securely nailed shut. The only shot that struck the house during the battle struck this room and destroyed all of the furniture. Furniture was a trifling matter however. Fannie Lewis was in her ninth month of pregnancy and went into labor as they began to evacuate the house. Servants found a nearby ravine and dug a small earthen hollow into the bank. They covered this with greens. It was here that Fannie Lewis delivered her first baby, John Beauregard Lewis.

My titles on Amazon

My titles at Barnes & Noble

The best reading experience on your Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.

The British at Mount Vernon

In April, 1781 the British warship H.M.S. Savage anchored off George Washington’s plantation, Mount Vernon. The British raiders took seventeen of Washington’s slaves from the Mount Vernon plantation. Lund Washington, a cousin who was watching over the plantation during the General’s absence, went on board the Savage, took refreshments to the British officers, and tried to negotiate the return of the slaves. He failed. A week later Lafayette wrote General Washington criticizing Lund’s actions, “This being done by the gentleman who, in some measure, represents you at your house will certainly have a bad effect, and contrasts with spirited answers from some neighbors, that had their houses burnt accordingly.” The General sent the unfortunate Lund a stinging letter rebuking him for “ …communing with a parcel of plundering Scoundrels….”

18th Century Customs

Spanish Explorers in Virginia

Most people think that the English were the first Europeans to explore what is now Virginia, founding Jamestown in 1607. There is evidence, however, that the Spanish beat the English to Virginia by several decades.

An attempt at colonization was made in 1570, when Governor Pedro Menendez of Florida, authorized an expedition. At the time, it was believed that the Chesapeake Bay was the long sought short passage to China. Jesuit missionaries convinced the Governor to send their small unarmed expedition to the area as a forerunner to future colonization. On September 10, 1570, a small band of Jesuits headed by Father Segura, vice provincial of the Jesuits settled near a place the Native Americans called Axacan. The nearest surviving Indian word that suggests the name, is "Occoquan”. One historical school places the unfolding drama in a village located on the Occoquan River in Northern Virginia.

The Jesuits were convinced that they could gain the trust of the natives and willingly convert thousands to Christianity for one simple reason; they were accompanied by a prince of that country who had converted to Christianity in Spain itself.

Read about the Rebel blockade of the Potomac River, the imprisonment of German POWs at super-secret Fort Hunt during World War II and the building of the Pentagon on the same site and in the same configuration as Civil War, era Fort Runyon. Meet Annandale's "bunny man," who inspired one of the country's wildest and scariest urban legends; learn about the slaves in Alexandria's notorious slave pens; and witness suffragists being dragged from the White House lawn and imprisoned in the Occoquan workhouse. 

Thursday, April 08, 2010

American Werewolves?


What are the explanations for werewolves? Hypertrichosis is a scientific explanation.

Hypertrichosis (also known as “wolfitis”) is a rare medical condition which results in the growth of abnormal amounts of hair all over the body. A number of people suffering from hypertrichosis became famous sideshow freaks working for American impresario P.T. Barnum. Fedor Jeftichew (picture #1), born in St. Petersburg, Russia, signed on with P.T. Barnum at the age of sixteen in 1884. Barnum made a point of pointing out how much Jeftichew resembled a dog and he was known as “Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy”. Jeftichew barked and growled for gawking crowds to enhance his image as a half man-half beast monster. “Lionel the Lion Faced Man”, was another victim of hypertrichosis who worked for Barnum. “Lionel”, actually named Stephan Bibrowski (picture #2), was born in Poland in 1891 and began appearing in the Barnum and Bailey’s Circus in 1901. Bibrowski’s body was entirely covered by hair except for the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet. Hair hung eight inches from his face and four inches from the rest of his body. In real life, Bibrowski was well educated and spoke five languages.

My titles at Amazon

My titles at Barnes & Noble

The best reading experience on your Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.