Nestled snugly in the Texas Hill Country, between Kerrville and the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” Bandera, is the delightful Camp Verde Store and Restaurant.
Today, near our home, Dodie and I enjoy passing through historical Bandera Pass to see bison, zebra and exotic wildlife on our way to dine at the site of the old fort, situated on Camp Verde Creek.
Known far and wide as Old Camp Verde, it was here, on July 8, 1856, the noted camel post was established by the U.S. government.
War Department records explained the camp was located “On the north bank of Rio Verde, or Verde Creek, a branch of the Guadalupe River, half a mile west of old Johnson Road, leading from San Antonio to Fort Terret; about four miles from Fort Ives; about 55 miles, direct course, northwest of San Antonio, but about 65 miles leading from San Antonio, through Fredericksburg to Forts Mason, McCavett, and Concho.”
When the camels first arrived from overseas, they entered in Indianola, Texas. The herd was driven to San Antonio grazing along the route, in about 14 days.
They were kept in the “headwaters of San Pedro” creek for a few days and then moved out to the ranch of Major Howard on the Medina River, twelve miles from San Antonio, where they were kept until they moved to their permanent home in Camp Verde on August 26 and 27, 1856.
Old Spanish maps identified this as “Verde Arroyo” (Green Creek). Before the thirty-three camels arrived in 1856, a sketch had been drawn of an Eastern caravansary in Asia Minor. This drawing was used to construct a detailed reproduction at Camp Verde.
The camels were used to transport supplies and dispatched to Forts Martin Scott, Concho, Griffen, Phantom Hill, Inge, Clark, Lancaster, Hudson, Stockton, Davis, Quitman, Bliss and other forts in West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
What was formerly the officers’ barracks is where the store and restaurant is. On March 26, 1910, the headquarters abode was destroyed by fire, which took the life of Tom Blair.
The camp was continuously garrisoned until March 7, 1861, when U.S. troops surrendered the post to the Confederates, and withdrew. After the Civil War, the post was reoccupied by Federal troops on November 30, 1866, and finally abandoned on November 30, 1869.
It was rebuilt by W.H. Bonnell as an exact replica using the stone structure that survived the fire.
History shows that camels roamed the Bandera hills and many pioneers in this area actually herded them.
🔹Amasa Clark, who died at his home near Bandera at age 102, herded camels. Among his possessions was a pair of pillows made from camel’s hair, which he sheared from the animals he tended.
🔹Jim Walker, who died in 1945, owned a bell worn by the lead camel at his time working there during the Civil War.
🔹Andy Jones, a pioneer citizen of Bandera who died in the mid 1940s, often saw droves of camels miles away from the old fort. When Camp Verde was handed back to the Federal Government after the Civil War, the original 32 camels had grown to a herd of over 100, under the care of the Confederate troops.
“When I was a boy on my father’s ranch, the government kept a lot of camels at Camp Verde,” Jones said. One day we hobbled three of our horses and turned them loose near the house, and fourteen of those old camels came lumbering along.”
“The horses took fright at the sight of them, and we did not see those horses for many days,” he continued. “My brother and I penned the camels, all of them being gentle except for one.”
“We roped the wild one, but never wanted to rope another,” he recalled. “For the old humpbacked villain slobbered all over us, and the slobber made us deathly sick. However, we had a jolly time with those camels, when we got rid of the foul, sickening slobber, and we often rode broncos and wild steers, we rode camels too…They could easily travel one hundred miles a day. The Indians seemed to be afraid of the camels, and of course never attempted to steal any of them.”
President Donald J. Trump issued one of his last executive orders on January 18, 2021, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, for the construction of 250 statues in The National Garden.
“The National Garden will feature a roll call of heroes who deserve honor, recognition, and lasting tribute because of the battles they won, the ideas they championed, the diseases they cured, the lives they saved, the heights they achieved, and the hope they passed down to all of us — that united as one American people trusting in God, there is no challenge that cannot be overcome and no dream that is beyond our reach.”
“In Executive Order 13934 of July 3, 2020 (Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes), I made it the policy of the United States to establish a statuary park named the National Garden of American Heroes (National Garden),” President Trump wrote.
“Across this Nation, belief in the greatness and goodness of America has come under attack in recent months and years by a dangerous anti-American extremism that seeks to dismantle our country’s history, institutions, and very identity,” President Trump stated.”
“The heroes of 1776 have been desecrated, with statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin vandalized and toppled.”
“The dead who gave their lives to end slavery and save the Union during the Civil War have been dishonored, with monuments to Abraham Lincoln, Hans Christian Heg, and the courageous 54th Regiment left damaged and disfigured. The brave warriors who saved freedom from Nazi fascism have been disgraced with a memorial to World War II veterans defaced with the hammer and sickle of Soviet communism.”
“The National Garden is America’s answer to this reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values, and entire way of life. On its grounds, the devastation and discord of the moment will be overcome with abiding love of country and lasting patriotism. This is the American way.”
“When the forces of anti-Americanism have sought to burn, tear down, and destroy, patriots have built, rebuilt, and lifted up. That is our history.”
“America responded to the razing of the White House by building it back in the same place with unbroken resolve, to the murders of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., with a national temple and the Stone of Hope, and to the terrorism of 9/11 with a new Freedom Tower.”
“In keeping with this tradition, America is responding to the tragic toppling of monuments to our founding generation and the giants of our past by commencing a new national project for their restoration, veneration, and celebration.”
Even prominent American musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Aretha Franklin will be featured. Other musicians and singers include Woodie Guthrie, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.
The List of Statues
Ansel Adams, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Muhammad Ali, Luis Walter Alvarez, Susan B. Anthony, Hannah Arendt, Louis Armstrong, Neil Armstrong, Crispus Attucks, John James Audubon, Lauren Bacall, Clara Barton, Todd Beamer, Alexander Graham Bell, Roy Benavidez, Ingrid Bergman, Irving Berlin, Humphrey Bogart, Daniel Boone, Norman Borlaug, William Bradford, Herb Brooks, Kobe Bryant, William F. Buckley, Jr., Sitting Bull, Frank Capra, Andrew Carnegie, Charles Carroll, John Carroll, George Washington Carver, Johnny Cash, Joshua Chamberlain, Whittaker Chambers, Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman, Ray Charles, Julia Child, Gordon Chung-Hoon, William Clark, Henry Clay, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Roberto Clemente, Grover Cleveland, Red Cloud, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Nat King Cole, Samuel Colt, Christopher Columbus, Calvin Coolidge, James Fenimore Cooper, Davy Crockett, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Miles Davis, Dorothy Day, Joseph H. De Castro, Emily Dickinson, Walt Disney, William “Wild Bill” Donovan, Jimmy Doolittle, Desmond Doss, Frederick Douglass, Herbert Henry Dow, Katharine Drexel, Peter Drucker, Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Jonathan Edwards, Albert Einstein, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Duke Ellington, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Medgar Evers.
David Farragut, the Marquis de La Fayette, Mary Fields, Henry Ford, George Fox, Aretha Franklin, Benjamin Franklin, Milton Friedman, Robert Frost, Gabby Gabreski, Bernardo de Gálvez, Lou Gehrig, Theodor Seuss Geisel, Cass Gilbert, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Glenn, Barry Goldwater, Samuel Gompers, Alexander Goode, Carl Gorman, Billy Graham, Ulysses S. Grant, Nellie Gray, Nathanael Greene, Woody Guthrie, Nathan Hale, William Frederick “Bull” Halsey, Jr., Alexander Hamilton, Ira Hayes, Hans Christian Heg, Ernest Hemingway, Patrick Henry, Charlton Heston, Alfred Hitchcock, Billie Holiday, Bob Hope, Johns Hopkins, Grace Hopper, Sam Houston, Whitney Houston, Julia Ward Howe, Edwin Hubble, Daniel Inouye.
Andrew Jackson, Robert H. Jackson, Mary Jackson, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, Katherine Johnson, Barbara Jordan, Chief Joseph, Elia Kazan, Helen Keller, John F. Kennedy, Francis Scott Key, Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, Jr., Russell Kirk, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Henry Knox, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Harper Lee, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, Meriwether Lewis, Abraham Lincoln, Vince Lombardi, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Clare Boothe Luce.
Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, George Marshall, Thurgood Marshall, William Mayo, Christa McAuliffe, William McKinley, Louise McManus, Herman Melville, Thomas Merton, George P. Mitchell, Maria Mitchell, William “Billy” Mitchell, Samuel Morse, Lucretia Mott, John Muir, Audie Murphy, Edward Murrow, John Neumann, Annie Oakley, Jesse Owens, Rosa Parks, George S. Patton, Jr., Charles Willson Peale, William Penn, Oliver Hazard Perry, John J. Pershing, Edgar Allan Poe, Clark Poling, John Russell Pope, Elvis Presley.
Jeannette Rankin, Ronald Reagan, Walter Reed, William Rehnquist, Paul Revere, Henry Hobson Richardson, Hyman Rickover, Sally Ride, Matthew Ridgway, Jackie Robinson, Norman Rockwell, Caesar Rodney, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Betsy Ross, Babe Ruth, Sacagawea, Jonas Salk, John Singer Sargent, Antonin Scalia, Norman Schwarzkopf, Junípero Serra, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Robert Gould Shaw, Fulton Sheen, Alan Shepard, Frank Sinatra, Margaret Chase Smith, Bessie Smith, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jimmy Stewart, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Gilbert Stuart, Anne Sullivan.
William Howard Taft, Maria Tallchief, Maxwell Taylor, Tecumseh, Kateri Tekakwitha, Shirley Temple, Nikola Tesla, Jefferson Thomas, Henry David Thoreau, Jim Thorpe, Augustus Tolton, Alex Trebek, Harry S. Truman, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Dorothy Vaughan, C. T. Vivian, John von Neumann, Thomas Ustick Walter, Sam Walton, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, John Washington, John Wayne, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Roger Williams, John Winthrop, Frank Lloyd Wright, Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright, Alvin C. York, Cy Young, Lorenzo de Zavala.
“To begin the process of building this new monument to our country’s greatness, I established the Interagency Task Force for Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes (Task Force) and directed its members to plan for construction of the National Garden.”
“The Task Force has advised me it has completed the first phase of its work and is prepared to move forward. This order revises Executive Order 13934 and provides additional direction for the Task Force.”
“The chronicles of our history show that America is a land of heroes,” Trump penned. “As I announced during my address at Mount Rushmore, the gates of a beautiful new garden will soon open to the public where the legends of America’s past will be remembered.”
“The National Garden will be built to reflect the awesome splendor of our country’s timeless exceptionalism. It will be a place where citizens, young and old, can renew their vision of greatness and take up the challenge that I gave every American in my first address to Congress, to “[b]elieve in yourselves, believe in your future, and believe, once more, in America.”
“The National Garden will draw together and fix in the soil of a single place what Abraham Lincoln called “[t]he mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart.” In the peace and harmony of this vast outdoor park, visitors will come and learn the amazing stories of some of the greatest Americans who have ever lived.”
“In short, each individual has been chosen for embodying the American spirit of daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love. Astounding the world by the sheer power of their example, each one of them has contributed indispensably to America’s noble history, the best chapters of which are still to come.”
“The Secretary, in consultation with the Task Force, shall identify a site suitable for the establishment of the National Garden. The Secretary shall proceed with construction of the National Garden at that site, to the extent consistent with the Secretary’s existing authorities or authority later provided by the Congress.”
After the Civil War, millions of cattle running wild in Texas were worth only $2 or less per head, but worth $15 to $25 per head in Kansas. The money from the sale of cattle was responsible for bringing Texas out of the economic depression caused by the war.
From the start of the trail drives in 1867 to 1871, millions of longhorns were taken to the Kansas Railhead. It is estimated that 10 million longhorns went up the Chisholm Trail and the Western Trail before new rail lines to Texas made the long trail drives no longer necessary.
The typical herd going up the trail included approximately 2,500 cattle, 10 to 12 cowboys, a remuda of extra horses, and a chuck wagon for food and gear.
The cattle taken along the Chisholm Trail came from south Texas toward San Antonio. A large ditch, just west of modern day Commercial Avenue, was dug in concert with nearby creeks feeding into the San Antonio River. The ditch and creeks were used to keep cattle contained and watered.
Today this is known as Six Mile Creek.
By 1889, railroads were making their way into more southern routes through Texas and 34 acres just southwest of downtown San Antonio became the site of the Stockyards.
J.W. Kothmann, went into the cattle business in 1893 and became the stockyard’s first tenant. The first cattle sold by Kothmann’s new company came from H.B. Zachry’s ranch in Webb County.
Note: When the San Antonio Union Stockyards closed down after 112 years–due to urban sprawl and changing times–it was in August 2011 that a final tribute occurred.
The last cattle auctioned were brought to sale by the Kothmann company for the U-Bar Ranch, which was owned by H.B. Zachry Co.
From San Antonio, cattle were herded straight north past Belton, Waco, Fort Worth and crossed the Red River.
Many of the trail drives came through downtown Fort Worth along what is referred to today as Commerce Street before bedding down the cattle north of downtown. The drover (cowboy) would purchase supplies in Fort Worth before heading on.
Sixteen longhorns and six drovers walk in the Fort Worth Herd cattle drive that can be seen daily in the Stockyards.
Jesse Chisholm (1805 – 1868) was an important trader and plainsman of Scots and Cherokee background. He was fluent in 14 Native American languages and played an important role in many treaties between tribes and the American government. The cattle drives were adapted from his trading routes hence where the name comes from.
Joseph McCoy (1837 – 1915), was a cattle trader and largely responsible for creating the Chisholm Trail. He conceived the idea for a railroad extension to Abilene, Kansas, where he then developed cattle pens needed to house the cattle on rail cars. He then promoted the appropriate route for cattle drovers to take.
According to the Texas Historical Commission, the Chisholm Trail had various other names, including the McCoy Trail, the Great Texas Trail, the Cattle Trail, the Eastern Trail, and the Kansas Trail.
Some people assert that the Chisholm Trail was not in Texas and that it instead began in Oklahoma. However, according to the Texas Historical Commission, in common usage, the name Chisholm Trail was applied to extensions of the original Jesse Chisholm Trail covering the length of Texas. The major books on the Chisholm Trail by Wayne Gard and Don Worcester as well as the federal legislation directing the study of the Chisholm Trail and Western Trail also take this view.
Big Tech has launched a major assault on Americans’ right to free speech. In their most audacious attack, some of the most powerful big businesses in America joined together to force Parler off the Internet.
Parler, a social media site that rejects Twitter’s censorship policies, had millions of users until Google, Apple, and Amazon deplatformed the entire website, removing it from their app stores and web hosting service.
Americans must fight back against this blatant censorship. While Parler’s working through the courts to get back online, Big Tech continues to silence conservatives and trample our right to free expression.
Fortunately, independent bloggers such as CleverJourneys have found phenomenal growth in reporting what Big Tech try to censor and the “Mockingbird” Media dare not report.
We are migrating to Parler (@Jackdennistexas), Gab (Jackdennistexas), and more.
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Some of our most popular articles are JackNotes, executive summaries of books, articles, speeches and other useful information that may save you the expense and trouble of reading the entire publication….or it may spur you on to seek more information from the original source.
We are now rolling out another new feature, Accounts of the Old West as a tribute to Jack’s great, great uncle Charlie Bassett, the first marshall of Dodge City, Kansas…and James Allison Morgan–a cattle driver and cowboy, Jack’s great grandfather. (You thought TV’s ‘Marshal Matt Dillion’ was the first didn’t you?)
We also feature “Top 10 Buzz Trends of the Week” highlighting some of the best posts, memes, and photos on the web the prior week.
Another feature is T.R.A.S.H. (Trivial Relevations of A Sick Human-being), an updated version of Jack’s national and Texas award winning column from back in his Texas State University days.
Remember, we don’t just write news. You will enjoy travel, recipes, lifestyle, humor, motivation, wellness and health, how-to, history, reviews, military, crime, police, heroes entertainment, interviews, fun and so much more.
Dodie has over 38 years in the medical, health and wellness field being a registered nurse. She has trained hundreds in nutrition, prenatal and post natal care, pregnancy, parenting, nursing, and general health. Much of her time was also devoted to immunology and vaccines.
Jack is an award winning journalist, investigative reporter, and author. He was an executive for H-E-B FOOD-DRUGS for almost 30 years, a founder and first elected president of Professional Retail Store Management Association (now CONNEX), life coach and private investigator.
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In his 22 years of active duty service in the US Army, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas said he “learned many lessons in leadership” and is happy to share them “as they are enshrined on the 3×5 cards I carry.”
“Having served in combat, my first combat tour was 30 years ago in Operation Desert Shield/Storm,” said retired Lieutenant Colonel Allen West in a letter to Texas. “It became very apparent that when bullets begin to fly, it is the resilient, resolved, and focused commander that inspires victory. I have always stated, ‘no one follows a Frantic Fannie into combat.’”
“At this tumultuous time in our American history, I must reiterate this leadership maxim: ‘Cool Heads Always Prevail.’”
“This past week, after the disturbing events of Wednesday, my cell phone blew up, and it continued through the weekend. The prevailing question was, ‘Colonel, what do we do now?””
“As I drove home after our Republican Party of Texas Legislative Priorities Rally on Saturday in Austin, I had to make that ‘pause for the cause’ in Hillsboro. I decided to fill up the gas tank at the 7-Eleven there off I-35, and a young black man from Arlington, who was at the rally, came up to me. He asked, ‘Sir, can we stop the communist takeover of America?’ I looked at him resolutely and told him that we sure can, and that was why we were at the Capitol building rallying.”
“Having been in combat, I know the prudence of being calculating — yet swift to act — when engaging your adversary. I would recommend y’all read about the battles of Alexander the Great. I have had folks ask me when will President Trump enact the Insurrection Act and deploy the military? To that I respond: I pray he does not. Now, to the anxious, angry, frustrated, and upset, that is not the answer they desire.”
West wrote that the Army taught him the five forms of maneuver against the enemy:
3. Turning movement
5. Frontal assault.
“Thirty years ago, our forces in Kuwait and Iraq conducted what is probably the largest envelopment operation in military history since Hannibal’s successful double envelopment of the Roman legions at the Battle of Cannae.”
“The problem with Republicans is that we often choose the worst form of maneuver, the frontal assault. Just study Pickett’s charge on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg.”
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Hillary Clinton’s former vice president running mate Tim Kaine was on hand to watch the removal of another historical statue from the United States Capitol Building on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020.
This time it was the removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The National Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol includes 100 statues that honor two people from each state. Virginia’s other statue is America’s first president, George Washington.
The Lee statue was erected in the Capitol in 1909. According to various local Virginia news outlets, it is due to be relocated to the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam filed a request in January 2020 for a bill that would arrange for removing the statue and selecting a replacement.
In June 2020, during the apex of the China Virus pandemic, Congressional Democrats launched a strong push to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol grounds.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the statues had to be taken down because they pay “homage to hate, not heritage.”
Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) introduced a bill that tried to send 11 statues back to their donated states or the Smithsonian within 120 days. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
Click here to read “Honoring Our Heroes and Monuments…”
Serious students of real history know Saul Alinsky, a mentor to Hillary Clinton and hero to Barack Obama, taught the rules of radicals to seize power by fueling resentment and hatred among people through various forms of “consciousness”—particularly class and race consciousness. A key action for this goal is to erase history.
Through people like Clinton, Obama, George Soros, Nancy Pelosi, and now Kamala Harris, this is a key role of playing the identity politics game.
Dividing the masses by instituionalized indoctrination (universities, public schools, movies, influence peddlers, and media) is a prime tool for totalitarians to control people.
The Obama years was the great catalyst to breed enough hatred, ill will, and destruction to alienate enough followers to be baited and mobilized to do the bidding of power elites, while claiming justice and equality.
In 2020 and 2021, millions of Americans will have rejected the news propaganda arms of Communism. They recognize Democrats have evolved into a party of Socialists and Marxism whose aim is to get rid of our Constitution and replace it with something more aligned to a Communist ideology.
A Virginia state commission recently voted on replacing the Lee statue with either Pocahontas or civil rights leader Barbara Johns, with the later having the most votes.
Johns was a schoolgirl who led a walkout at Farmville’s Moton High School in 1951 to protest the students’ substandard segregated school facilities. The Farmville case led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling that found officially segregated public schools unconstitutional.
Virginia’s General Assembly must still vote to approve Johns’ statue.
Virginia Congresswoman Jennifer Wexler was also in attendance to witness the removal.
In 2008, Florida replaced Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith with civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune.
While everyone is focused on President Donald J.Trump’s legal teams progress, including Sidney Powell’s Kraken release, it is wise to pay very close attention to our military.
Because December 2020 and January 2021 could likely bring some of the most treacherous and dangerous events in our history. You should plan for your loved ones protection and, especially if you live in a Democratic controlled city (where police departments have been ostracized and defunded), their survival.
Worse case scenarios could be civil war type actions, with losses of power and communication.
Too many reliable sources are warning “be ready for total internet and news manipulation, or no communication at all,” “do not trust mainstream media,” and “how will you keep warm in winter if utilities and energy is not available?”
“Trump knows violence has been planned for the election aftermath for a long time,” said one source. “He has nothing to lose by combating them in the courts, public opinion and if necessary, militarily. Media will be in full force saying he’s trying to take over, he’s bad for America, he’s against the Constitution–but it will be lies, and thank God, most people know that by now that it’s just the opposite of what they report.”
“Think about it. If he loses they’ll be coming after his family, his businesses, just everything. His back is to the wall. Hell, all of us are against the wall, but we’vehad enough.”
These are actual quotes: “Trump is bringing troops back to the states for a reason,” “special forces will now be like a separate arm of the military, answering more directly to him” and “he removed Esper and others to protect citizens from China and (George) Soros influence.”
My sources have never let me down. I’m trusting their knowledge and advice for my family.
Realize that Trump’s former Security Advisor General Mike Flynn is knowledgeable, smart and free. The President trusts him.
Know that Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a former aide to Flynn, is now the assistant secretary of defense for special operations. He was senior director of intelligence for the National Security Council and has close communication ties with House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes. Don’t take this phenomenal move lightly. This man now reports directly to…
…Defense Secretary Christopher Miller who Trump put in that position after terminating Mark Esper the week before.
“This reform will immediately improve agility to the department and the command and will enable us to streamline the information flow, enhance decision-making and more adaptively and adeptly support our commanders and their superb soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines,” Miller said last week.
The move aligns the Pentagon with the congressional 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Congress ordered the Pentagon to raise the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflict to a service secretary-like job and report directly to the defense secretary “for issues impacting the readiness and organization of special operations forces, special operations-peculiar resources and equipment, and civilian personnel management.”
Esper appeared to have been stalling. President Trump made it happen a week after Esper was out.
“Miller is a longtime veteran of the special operations community who retired from the Army in 2014 as a colonel,” Stars and Stripes reported last week. “Miller, who was a Green Beret, spent much of his career in the Army’s 5th Special Forces Group, commanding a company and a battalion. He fought in Afghanistan and Iraq as a Green Beret, participating in the initial invasions of both of those countries in 2001 and 2003, respectively.”
“The policy change comes one day after Miller announce the first major shift for the military under his watch — the hastened withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Do not dismiss the fact that the Chairman of the Board for the Dominion ballot tabulation machines used to illegally manipulate votes in swing states, is Peter Neffenger. Remember his name. He is on the Biden Transition Team advising for national security. He was Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor. a retired vice admiral of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Meanwhile over half of all Americans, realizing Trump won the election by a landslide of legal votes, are restless and fed up.
Their anger is pointed at:
1. The Democratic Mob, who planned and put into place treasonous actions to undermine and steal the 2020 election.
2. Mainstream Media, who have lied, distorted and hid coverage to manipulate the election. They have supported riots, destruction, and anti-American propaganda. How’s Fox News doing lately?
3. The lack of Republican leadership support for President Trump and protecting the integrity of citizens’ legal votes and election honesty. We are beginning to learn exactly who has been participating in the fraud gravy train. Why aren’t Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp or Texas Senator John Cornyn saying or doing ANYTHING to SUPPORT our President?
4. The arrogant dismissal of China, Ukraine, Cuba, Venezuela and other foreign interference permeating our politics, laws, health and economy.
We are also taking note of who is supporting President Trump, patriotic Americans and the Constitution. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan, and Mike Johnson are among those who have been vocal and forthright in their actions for their constituents.
House Oversight Committee Ranking Members James Comer, R-Ky., Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., and Rep. Chip Roy, R-Tex sent a letter to Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, claiming her “silence” on the issue of liberal thugs beating innocent Trump marchers in their rally earlier this month is part of a “broader pattern of viewpoint discrimination.”
“We respectfully request a hearing on the violence directed at supporters of President Trump on November 14, 2020,” they wrote to Maloney. “These supporters were exercising their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble within the District of Columbia.”
“The failure of the city’s leaders to afford basic protections to persons who may hold different political viewpoints from their own appears to be another concerning example of viewpoint discrimination in the District.”
“Despite the violence, the mainstream media and liberal establishment were quick to minimize the seriousness of the use of violence against Trump supporters by deriding them for failing to wear masks in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and asserting that they were infiltrated by ‘white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, and far right activists,’” they wrote.
“City leaders have remained silent on the violence,” they continued. “This growing level of violence directed at others for holding different views is simply unacceptable.”
Do you know what the definition of a “truck” was before automobiles and vehicles were ever invented?
Thanks to our Grandpa Jack Dennis, I know a thing or two about that…and watermelons. (I’ll reveal the truck definition below).
Some of my favorite childhood memories are the summer time get togethers at Grandpa and Grandma’s Petaluma Street house on the southside of San Antonio back in the late 1950s and early ’60s.
All the Dennis family, including cousins (and sometimes the Grimmett’s from across the street), would spend the afternoon and evening into the night feasting on perfectly sweet and juicy slices carefully hand sliced by Grandpa and delved out by Grandma.
The melons had rested in a large metal washtub smothered in ice all morning. Grandpa took pride in selecting the biggest, superbly ripened melons that south Texas had to offer.
We’d play hide ‘n seek, tag and other games after lunch and until we were called for the traditional watermelon serving.
Oh my word, most of us were so sloppy and our bellies would get so full that we’d have to go dry off in the sun and then rest under a shade tree after the required water hose sprayoffs.
Night time brought out fireflies and gathering on hay bales or lawn chairs around a campfire. Uncle Sherman Sanders usually brought his guitar. Aunts, uncles and occasionally some of us cousins would take turns singing. Hits from Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Patsy Cline, Ray Price and Kitty Wells were special highlights.
Grandpa knew his fruits and vegetables. Since the 1920s, he worked along side his brothers in potato fields, corn patches and farms in various areas from around Kelly Air Force Base, southwest of the Alamo City, to near Floresville further southeast.
As the Dennis brothers (Jack, Burt and Bill) became more entrepreneurial, they’d hitch up a couple of horses (Dennis’s always had horses) to a large wagon each May for their annual trip to Fredericksburg.
The four or five day clever journey allowed stopovers along the Old Spanish Trail until they reached the Boerne Stage Road at Leon Springs. There, they’d take the time for swimming and fishing.
“We ate whatever we caught at our campsite each evening,” Grandpa would retell the story many times. “For some reason, Burt could always outfish us, but we didn’t mind. and he helped keep our bellies full. We usually slept in the wagon and looked up at the millions of stars.”
“One year it rained and we had to sleep under the wagon, that night” he laughed.
After their watermelons and peaches were picked and loaded, they’d bring them back to San Antonio for selling to merchants at the Farmer’s Market near downtown and some at the Stock Yards.
They would return in August for strawberries and then southward for watermelons and other seasonal offerings.
When I was 12, Grandpa began picking me up before sunrise and taking me to his “secret watermelon farm,” the place he’d been buying from for many years. About the time the sun appeared, he’d back his pickup into a friend’s property near Dilley, Texas. The watermelons were waiting for us, stacked high on platforms so I could receive them easily within arms reach from the farmer’s workers and place them in the truck bed.
We’d bring them back to my little produce stand on Commercial Avenue in south San Antonio. The profits were split 50/50 between him and me on the melons. I manned that stand until I was 15.
Over the years I saw and heard people’s various tips about how to pick the best watermelon. Some looked for a large amount of brown webbing as a good indicator of a sweet melon, or that elongated “male” watermelons are more watery and bland than rounder “female” fruits. Others insisted on looking for a green, curly tendril or a dry, brown stem. Good luck with that!
Here’s some secrets I learned about watermelons from Grandpa:
Unlike many other types of fruit, watermelon will not ripen any further once it’s harvested. It also doesn’t readily announce its ripeness; the outside doesn’t turn soft like a peach does, and it doesn’t emit a sweet scent like a cantaloupe.
The truth is, according to Grandpa, there are really only two or three things you need to look for to find the best watermelon in the bunch, whether you’re at the grocery store or a farm stand.
1. Looking for darker green watermelons that aren’t too shiny. Be alert to notice the color between the stripes and check for a yellow belly. The creamy yellow patch is the “field spot” where the watermelon rested on the ground. The whiter this ground spot is, the less time the melon had to ripen on the vine before being picked, so a deeper, more buttery shade has a better, sweeter flavor.
2. It should feel heavy for its size. This can be hard to judge if you’re not used to hefting watermelons, but pick up a few of a similar size and see if you can tell that one seems heavier. That’s your best bet. When you’re weighing the merits of your melons, also check the rind; you shouldn’t feel much give since the outside of the fruit stays firm even when ripe. The stem end should have a little bit of flex, but if there are any other soft spots, pick another one, no matter how heavy it feels.
3. Make sure it sounds hollow when you thump it. Always thump it. It takes a bit of practice, but you’ll learn that if you tap or flick the underside of the melon, it should produce a deep, low-pitched, hollow sound, rather than a dull ping. It’s not totally foolproof, but considered with the first tips, improves the chances.
A special treat was when we had “yellow meat” watermelons. These yellow-fleshed melons are a natural mutation that look the same as your standard red or pink watermelon from outside, so just pick them the same way. They tender to taste a bit sweeter, almost floral-honey like.
Now for the term “truck:”
In the 1800s, farms or family gardens that produced vegetables and fruit, would call the offerings or portions setaside for sale (rather than for the owner’s own personal use).
“What’s in your truck today?” meant “what do you have in your garden, field, box, bag, table, etc. that is available to purchase?”
Prior to the 1800s, it was a term meaning to barter or sell, as in a commodity.
In 2017, President Donald J. Trump hinted that he might finally release classified information about the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy.
“Subject to the receipt of further information,” he tweeted in October 2017, “I will be allowing, as president, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.”
What changed his mind?
Ultimately he did release some information, but concluded that some documents represented a threat “of such gravity” to U.S. national security that any public disclosure benefit was outweighed.
One of the most secret tools of modern days presidents is the “nuclear football” briefcase that contains authentication codes to launch a nuclear weapon. That briefcase is handled by a military aide who accompanies the president whenever they travel. The briefcase also includes the Presidential Decision Handbook, a top-secret document with plans for deploying nuclear weapons against different enemies and in different situations.
Zachary Taylor was the second president to die in office. Taylor spent July 4, 1850, at a ceremony at the Washington Monument. He became ill from the heat and died five days later of intestinal ailments. Recently, his body was exhumed because some believed he was poisoned, but this was proved to be false.
George Washington died peacefully at home on December 14, 1799. The first dinosaur fossil was discovered in 1824. Washington never knew dinosaurs existed.
He, like anyone else at the time, didn’t know that dinosaurs existed because they were not scientifically recognized as such until 1824, when British naturalist William Buckland first described Megalosaurus, now regarded to be the first dinosaur to be scientifically named.
When Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on their great westward expedition, they planned on the possibility of encountering dinosaurs.
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15th, 1865, just months before the Secret Service was founded. The legislation to create the Secret Service was on Lincoln’s desk on the night he died, perhaps if they were created a few months earlier they might have foiled the plot to assassinate him.
Major Henry Rathbone was a guest in the presidential booth when John Wilkes Booth fired the shot at President Lincoln. Rathbone tried to tackle him to the ground, but Booth was able to get free by slicing Rathbone in the arm with a dagger. Rathbone was never free of the guilt till his death.
Chester A. Arthur was nicknamed “Elegant Arthur” because of his fashion sense. He enjoyed walking at night and seldom went to bed before 2 a.m.
Franklin Pierce was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House.
The next time someone says “OK” think of Martin Van Buren. He was raised in Kinderhook, New York. After he went into politics, Van Buren became known as “Old Kinderhook.” Soon people were using the term O.K. referring to Van Buren and the word “okay” was derived.
President Reagan left a message in the Oval Office that read, “Don’t let the turkeys get you down,” for his successor and vice president, George H.W. Bush.
William Henry Harrison served the shortest presidency, dying just 32 days after he was elected.
Calvin Coolidge refused to use the telephone while in office.
Grover Cleveland personally answered the White House phone.
John F. Kennedy was the first president to hold a press conference on television.
John Tyler was the first vice president to ascend to the presidency upon the death of a president. He did not make an inaugural address, and he never ran for the office of the Presidency.
Jimmy Carter was the first president born in a hospital. He is a speed reader, having been recorded reading 2,000 words per minute.
Herbert Hoover approved “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem.
Warren Harding was the first to speak over the radio.
Franklin Pierce was the only president to have no turnover in his cabinet.
Ulysess S. Grant was the first president to view the Pacific Ocean in 1852. He would freak out at the sight of blood and always showered in his tent away from other soldiers during the Civil War.
James Buchanan was America’s first (and only) bachelor President. His niece, Harriet, acted as First Lady.
Teddy Roosevelt took a break from the presidency to go camping with Scottish-American naturalist John Muir for 4 days. They explored without any supervision/security. Roosevelt was so inspired by the trip that it eventually led to the creation of the National Park Service.
But back in the White House he would walk around with a pistol on his person at all times. He was also a black belt in jujitsu and champion boxer.
While campaigning for a third term, Roosevelt was shot by a would be assassin. Instead of treating the wound, delivered his campaign speech with the bleeding, undressed bullet hole in his chest.
Lyndon B. Johnson constantly asked the flight crew of Air Force One to change the temperature of the cabin. Eventually, they installed a fake control knob for him to ‘control’ the temperature himself. Then he stopped complaining.
Before he got into politics, Gerald Ford was a male model and actually owned a modeling agency. He married a model named Elizabeth Bloomer Warren, we knew as First Lady Betty Ford.
Richard Nixon had the Secret Service uniform redesigned to closely resemble that of European palace guards. The “toy soldier” uniforms were universally ridiculed and only used for a few months before being mothballed. After a decade in storage, they were sold to an Iowa high school marching band.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1826. Not knowing that Thomas Jefferson has already passed John Adams was quoted as saying “Jefferson survives,” when he whispered his last words.
John Quincy Adams, the son of John Adams, thought the Earth was hollow. His successor, Andrew Jackson thought it was flat and actually called off an expedition to the North Pole to find the entrance to inner Earth.
He also regularly would swim across the Potomac River, usually in the nude. At 58 years old, Adams was clocked at swimming the width of the Potomac in an hour.
William McKinley was the first president to campaign by telephone.
Franklin Pierce gave his 3,319-word inaugural address from memory, without the aid of notes.
James Madison was the shortest and lightest president at 5 feet, 4 inches and about 100 pounds.
Thomas Jefferson wrote his own epitaph never mentioning that he served as president. His epitaph read, “Author of the Declaration of American Independence, Author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and the Father of the University of Virginia.
Andrew Jackson kept a bullet lodged in his body for 19 years after he was shot in a pistol duel.
Lyndon B. Johnson was the only president to take the oath of office from a female official, Judge Sarah T. Hughes.
Harry S. Truman used to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to practice the piano for two hours.
We have just returned from a 32-day, 4500 mile roadtrip (June 19-July 21) from the Texas Hill Country through much of the South, Washington D.C. for July 4th, to part of the Midwest and back.
Our preconceived ideas from news and the continually changing regulations around COVID-19 were blown away with the reality we experienced. It actually restored our faith in the goodness of America.
People of all ages, creeds, races and sexes were friendly, polite and eager to be traveling. By far, they agreed that what news outlets portray and what is actually happening are not in sync. We met scores of campers and travelers who indicated they had no problems with getting reservations and lodging.
We found our routes and destinations were open to travelers, including campers with self-contained RVs.
Most restaurants and stores were open with COVID-19 restrictions varying by state, city and location.
Our plans were modified only twice because of not feeling welcomed due to tourist closures.
1. We bypassed Nashville because the Grand Old Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and Johnny Cash Museum were closed. Nearby Murfreesboro was welcoming for an overnight stay.
2. We left St. Louis immediately after driving to the Gateway Arch and seeing seedy characters in garbage, urine and feces infested tent encampments throughout the area. Wildwood, about 20 miles southwest on Historic Route 66, was awesome.
Here are some of the most notable routes we enjoyed and recommend.
Blue Ridge Parkway
A road trip gem, left Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. This scenic byway traverses the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains across Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. We especially enjoyed Appalachian towns like North Carolina’s Asheville and Mt. Airy (Andy Griffith Museum).
RVers should be aware some roads have tunnel height restrictions. Check the tunnel restrictions for your planned route. The most restricting tunnels have a maximum height of 18 feet. Cell phone reception could be an issue depending on your carrier (we had no problems with Cricket). There were very few gas stations and other amenities limited. We remained anticipatory and planned ahead just in case.
Highway 61, known as the “blues highway,” is rich with the history of musicians in the Mississippi Delta area. It’s the birthplace of the blues and the roots of much of American music.
The original route went from New Orleans to Minnesota, but most of the history of the blues is embedded in Mississippi.
We started in Vicksburg, Mississippi, a great spot to understand some of the roots of the blues. In 1863 Vicksburg was under siege from the Union Army. General John Pemberton (Confederate) surrendered Vicksburg to General Grant (Union) after sustaining huge losses and facing a catastrophic defeat by an army that greatly outnumbered his abled soldiers.
The Blues developed from slaves toiling on the cotton plantations in Mississippi. The war was over and slavery was officially abolished. Opportunities slowly merged forward toward Memphis, St. Louis and Chicago. The music permeated across the Mississippi Delta.
Some say Clarksdale, Mississippi is the birthplace of the blues. While most of the old Juke Joints have perished, we stopped by Ground Zero Blues Club (co-owned by Morgan Freeman). It’s a great place to see talented musicians perform and enjoy local food favorites including fried green tomatoes, Mississippi tamales and catfish.
At the Highway 61/49 intersection is a famous location known as The Crossroads. It’s where Robert Johnson was fabled to have sold his soul to the Devil to be the King of Delta Blues. Robert Johnson was born in 1911 and died just 27 years later.
Highway 61 leads to Memphis, the land of Elvis Presley, SUN Studio, Beale Street and Graceland. The Graceland RV Park is conveniently located next to the Elvis Memphis complex and museums.
Natchez Trace Parkway
The Natchez Trace Parkway is an excellent route to see the southern United States by RV. We loved it because no commercial trucking or 18-wheelers are allowed.
Although it’s over 440 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, we started in Tupelo, Mississippi after visiting Elvis Presley’s Birthplace. We stopped often to see waterfalls, prehistoric mounds, and other historical landmarks.
Like the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, there are maximum RV restrictions. The maximum length is 55 feet (including a tow vehicle) and a 14 feet height restriction.
Long before our current national interstate highway system, federal highways, like U.S. Route 66, were main thoroughfares. On historic Route 66, you can explore America’s Heartland and other enchanting pockets of the United States from Chicago to Los Angeles.
We did join Route 66 again later in Oklahoma City. Continuing West, we could have carved out time to visit Grand Canyon National Park, but elected to return back to Texas after four weeks on the road.
New Travel Resources
U.S. State Department’s Traveler Checklist. Read more
The TripIt app has a relative new feature that shows safety scores from 1 to 100 for neighborhoods around the world, representing low to high risk. These scores cover a variety of categories, such as women’s safety, access to health and medical services, and political freedoms. Travelers will find safety scores for their lodging, restaurant and activity locations there.
We left the Texas Hill Country on June 19th on a roadtrip through the South. On our 28th day (We’re in Oklahoma City), we sharing some interesting facts about each state we’ve learned along the way.
Louisiana has the longest coastline (15,000 miles) of any other state in the U.S.
Louisiana makes up approximately 41% of the wetlands in the U.S.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway at 23.83 miles in Metairie is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world.
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed and killed (Bonnie struck 53 times and Clyde struck 51 times) by Louisiana and Texas state police near Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Bonnie was married to another man and never divorced him. The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana, is located a few miles away from their death site.
In 1977, Luisa Harris, the only woman in U.S. history to officially be drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA), was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz basketball team.
In 2010, the world’s record for the largest pot of gumbo was set by award-winning chef, John David Folse. The pot served 10,000 people. It contained 50 pounds of white crab meat, 85 pounds of oysters, 100 pounds of crab claws, 200 pounds of alligator meat, 450 pounds of catfish, and 750 pounds of shrimp.
In 1963 the University of Mississippi Medical Center accomplished the world’s first human lung transplant and, on January 23, 1964, Dr. James D. Hardy performed the world’s first heart transplant surgery.
In 1902 while on a hunting expedition in Sharkey County, President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear. This act resulted in the creation of the world-famous teddy bear.
In 1884 the concept of selling shoes in boxes in pairs (right foot and left foot) occurred in Vicksburg at Phil Gilbert’s Shoe Parlor on Washington Street.
Guy Bush of Tupelo was one of the most valuable players with the Chicago Cubs. He was on the 1929 World Series team and Babe Ruth hit his last home run off a ball pitched by Bush.
Root beer was invented in Biloxi in 1898 by Edward Adolf Barq, Sr.
There are more horses per capita in Shelby County than any other county in the United States.
Davy Crockett was not born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, as the song says. He was born on the banks of Limestone Creek near Greeneville, where a replica of the Crockett’s log cabin stands today.
The capitol building was designed by noted architect William Strickland, who died during its construction and is buried within its walls.
Tennessee ranks number one among other states in the total number of soldiers who fought in the War Between the States.
The name “Tennessee” originated from the old Yuchi Indian word, “Tana-see,” meaning “The Meeting Place.”
Coca-Cola was first bottle in 1899 at a plant on Patten Parkway in downtown Chattanooga after two local attorneys purchased the bottling rights to the drink for $l.00.
Cumberland University, located in Lebanon, lost a football game to Georgia Tech on October 7, 1916 by a score of 222 to 0. The Georgia Tech coach was George Heisman for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.
In 2004, Chad Fell of Haleyville was certified by the Guinness World Records for blowing the World’s Largest Bubblegum Bubble, Unassisted (without use of his hands) at Double Springs High School in Winston County. He used three pieces of Dubble Bubble gum.
In October of 1989, residents of Fort Payne built a cake to celebrate the city’s centennial. The 12-layer cake was 32 feet wide and 80 feet long and weighed 128,238 pounds. It was certified by Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest Cake.
The country’s first 911 call was made on February 16, 1968, in Haleyville. Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite went to City Hall and called U.S. Representative Tom Bevill, who was at the local police station. The red phone used is on display in City Hall.
The actors who portrayed Goober and Gomer, fictional cousins on the Andy Griffith Show, were both born in Alabama. Jim Nabors, “Gomer,” was born in 1930 in Sylacauga. He died Nov. 30, 2017. George Lindsey, “Goober,” was born in 1928 in Fairfield. He died in 2012.
About 1/2 of all the people in the United States live within a 500 mile radius of the Capital of Virginia.
Over 1/2 the battles fought in the civil war were fought in Virginia. Over 2,200 of the 4,000 battles.
The first Thanksgiving in North America was held in Virginia in 1619.
Yorktown is the site of the final victory of the American Revolution.
The first English colony in America was located on Roanoke Island. Walter Raleigh founded it. The colony mysteriously vanished with no trace except for the word “Croatoan” scrawled on a nearby tree.
Mount Mitchell in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. It towers 6,684 feet above sea level.
Herbert Hoover and John Quincy Adams had pet alligators in the White House.
To date, nobody has beat Jimmy Carter’s record of watching 480 movies in the White House movie theater.
Washington DC is missing “J” Street. It uses letters for streets traveling east to west. But numbers are also used for streets. I was told it’s because “J” and “I” look too similar on street signs.
There’s a crypt under the Capitol building that was made for George Washington. Although he was not buried there, the crypt still exists; they also had a viewing chamber built so people could go by and see him.
John Adams was actually the first president to live in the White House. George Washington never lived there; it was built after he died.
There are 35 bathrooms in the White House. There are also 132 rooms and 6 levels in the residence. Even more staggering are the 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases and 3 elevators.
There’s only one U.S. president buried in Washington D.C. Woodrow Wilson is entombed at Washington National Cathedral.
The first successful parachute jump to be made from a moving airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, in 1912.
The most destructive tornado on record occurred in Annapolis. In 3 hours, it tore through the town on March 18, 1925 leaving a 980-foot wide trail of demolished buildings, uprooted trees, and overturned cars. It left 823 people dead and almost 3,000 injured.
At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, Richard Blechyden, served tea with ice and invented iced tea.
Also, at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, the ice cream cone was invented. An ice cream vendor ran out of cups and asked a waffle vendor to help by rolling up waffles to hold ice cream.
The Arch has foundations sunken 60 feet into the ground, and is built to withstand earthquakes and high winds. It sways up to one inch in a 20 mph wind, and is built to sway up to 18 inches.
The most powerful earthquake to strike the United States occurred in 1811, centered in New Madrid, Missouri. The quake shook more than one million square miles, and was felt as far as 1,000 miles away.
During Abraham Lincoln’s campaign for the presidency, a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat named Valentine Tapley from Pike County, Missouri, swore that he would never shave again if Abe were elected. Tapley kept his word and his chin whiskers went unshorn from November 1860 until he died in 1910, attaining a length of twelve feet six inches.
Situated within a day’s drive of 50% of the U.S. population, Branson and the Tri-Lakes area serves up to 65,000 visitors daily. Branson has been a “rubber tire” destination with the vast majority of tourists arriving by vehicles, RVs and tour buses. Branson has also become one of America’s top motor coach vacation destinations with an estimated 4,000 buses arriving each year.
The first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne on May 4, 1871.
Santa Claus, Indiana receives over one half million letters and requests at Christmas time.
Deep below the earth in Southern Indiana is a sea of limestone that is one of the richest deposits of top-quality limestone found anywhere on earth. New York City’s Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center as well as the Pentagon, the U.S. Treasury, a dozen other government buildings in Washington D.C. as well as 14 state capitols around the nation are built from this sturdy, beautiful Indiana limestone.
In 1934 Chicago Gangster John Dillinger escaped the Lake Country Jail in Crown Point by using a “pistol” he had carved from a wooden block.
Comedian Red Skelton, who created such characters as Clem Kadiddlehopper, and Freddie the Freeloader, was born in Vincennes.
Alma claims to be the Spinach Capital of the World, but Texas knows Crystal City really is.
A person from Arkansas is called an Arkansan.
The state contains six national park sites, two-and-a half million acres of national forests, seven national scenic byways, three state scenic byways, and 50 state parks.
The Venus Fly-Trap is native to Hampstead.
The first miniature golf course was built in Fayetteville.
Babe Ruth hit his first home run in Fayetteville on March 7, 1914.
North Carolina has the largest state-maintained highway system in the United States. The state’s highway system currently has 77,400 miles of roads.
On January 26, 1960 Danny Heater, a student from Burnsville, scored 135 points in a high school basketball game earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Nearly 75% of West Virginia is covered by forests.
Outdoor advertising had its origin in Wheeling about 1908 when the Block Brothers Tobacco Company painted bridges and barns with the wording: “Treat Yourself to the Best, Chew Mail Pouch.”
Bailey Brown, the first Union solider killed in the Civil War, died on May 22, 1861, at Fetterman, Taylor County.
The first brick street in the world was laid in Charleston, West Virginia, on October 23, 1870, on Summers Street, between Kanawha and Virginia Streets.
Boise City, Oklahoma was the only city in the United States to be bombed during World War II. On Monday night, July 5, 1943, at approximately 12:30 a.m., a B-17 Bomber based at Dalhart Army Air Base (50 miles to the south of Boise City) dropped six practice bombs on the sleeping town.
Sooners is the name given to settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma before the official start of the Land Rush of 1889.
The world’s first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935. Carl C. Magee, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is generally credited with originating the parking meter. He filed for a patent for a “coin controlled parking meter” on May 13, 1935.
During a tornado in Ponca City, a man and his wife were carried aloft in their house by a tornado. The walls and roof were blown away. But the floor remained intact and eventually glided downward, setting the couple safely back on the ground.
Bob Dunn a musician from Beggs invented the first electric guitar in 1935.
Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state, with over one million surface acres of water.
Cheeseburgers were first served in 1934 at Kaolin’s restaurant in Louisville.
Chevrolet Corvettes are manufactured in Bowling Green.
Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest cave and was first promoted in 1816, making it the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States. Niagara Falls, New York is first.
The song “Happy Birthday to You” was the creation of two Louisville sisters in 1893.
Daniel Boone and his wife Rebecca are buried in the Frankfort Cemetery. Their son Isaac is buried at Blue Licks Battlefield near Carlisle, where he was killed in the last battle of the Revolutionary War fought in Kentucky.
The public saw an electric light for the first time in Louisville. Thomas Edison introduced his incandescent light bulb to crowds at the Southern Exposition in 1883.
The radio was invented by a Kentuckian named Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray in 1892. It was three years before Marconi made his claim to the invention.
Joe Bowen holds the world record for stilt walking endurance. He walked 3,008 miles on stilts between Bowen, Kentucky to Los Angeles, California.
The most fun Dodie and I have experienced so far was riding the mile long Branson Sawmill Coaster. We were able to control the speed of our individual coaster pods.
It was raining our first day in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, so we decided on attending indoor venues. One was Alcatraz East and the other was Buttonwillow Civil War Theater.
We thought it was going to be a Civil War documentary film, but was an actual play. It turned out to be much better than what we anticipated.
This fascinating performance tells the story of two cousins from East Tennessee. One is pro-Union, and one is pro-Confederate. Both struggle to understand the other’s view of saving the South. It was written and acted in by Steve Gipson, filled with facts and little regard for political correctness.
Audience members found it refreshing to learn the truth about history not taught in schools or shown in Hollywood movies.
One of the most astounding discoveries was to learn that the ‘Rebel Flag’ we associate with the Confederacy because of Hollywood and political propaganda, was not what we’ve been led to believe.
There were at least a dozen assorted Confederate flags which caused great confusion even in battle. Southerners have lost sight of their past by allowing false history to be taught. Some major Civil War movies, History Channel documentaries and media show Confederates carrying the flag when it didn’t even exist yet at particular phases and battles of the War.
We laughed and literally cried during the performance. Even a few days later, we find the play to be emotionally with us. If every university American history professor and students would see this show the country would be far better off than it is right now.
Right off the bat, the tall and distinguished Gipson–who has been researching the real history of America by actually reading and investigating National Archives documents–warns the audience they’ll not be given a false CNN or New York Times version of history.
Gipson says that today’s history teachers and historians aren’t performing their jobs accurately.
“Because of the massive pressure from our current society’s special interest groups, people who wrote or edit our public education’s history books have to skirt real-life scenarios and morays,” Gipson said. “They tend to insert 21st century filters into their accounts, rendering the truth almost undetectable.”
We bought Gipson’s book God Save the South! (True American History With a Side of Southern Humor and Dodie has been reading me excerpts as we drive through the Smokies and Shenandoah National Parks.
This prompted us to explore other facts we were never taught in schools or media. Here are some of what we learned:
🇺🇸John Hanson was the first President of the United States. In 1781 he was elected President of the Continental Congress and while serving his one year term, authorized the Great Deal of the United States.
We had seven other one-year termed presidents: Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, John Hancock, Nathaniel Gorham, Arthur St. Clair, and Cyrus Griffin.
🇺🇸It wasn’t until we ratified our Constitution that we elected George Washington as the ninth president of the United States.
When he gave his first inaugural address in 1789, Washington had just one remaining natural tooth. It is a fact he wore a series of dentures, some made from ivory, gold, and even lead. The common schoolhouse myth that he wore wooden teeth, however, is exactly that — a myth.
🇺🇸Robert E. Lee’s Virginia estate, named Arlington House, was confiscated by the Union and turned into a cemetery during the war. The idea—supported by Lincoln–was that if Lee should ever return, he would “have to look at these graves and see the carnage that he had created.”
🇺🇸In 1877, George Washington Custis Lee sued the federal government for confiscating Arlington illegally, and the Supreme Court awarded the estate back to him. What did Robert’s son do with an estate littered with dead bodies? He sold it back to the federal government for $150,000. That’s worth $3,662,771.43 in 2020 dollars.
🇺🇸Paul Revere never yelled “The British are coming.” Most accounts indicate he warned “The regulars are coming out,” referring to almost 800 heavily armed British Regulars.
Revere was captured and unable to ride all the way to Concord. But another rider-messenger did. He was Dr. Samuel Prescott, a young physician.
🇺🇸We were taught the 13 stripes on the American flag represent the 13 original colonies. But there were only 12 at the start of the revolution.
Delaware was part of Pennsylvania until June 15, 1776, when the Assemblies of the Lower Counties of Pennsylvania declared themselves free of both Great Britain and Pennsylvania. Also, Britain had two loyalist Florida colonies that didn’t take part in the revolution.
🇺🇸Betsy Ross did not design the final version of the first American flag. The real person who designed the first American flag was an otherwise obscure signer of the Declaration of Independence named Francis Hopkinson.
In May of 1780, Hopkinson wrote a letter to the Board of Admiralty requesting compensation for having designed the first American flag.
The Board approved Hopkinson’s claim as genuine, but refused to provide him with compensation since he was not the only one who had contributed to it.
Betsy Ross was a real seamstress who lived in Philadelphia at the time of the American Revolution and she really did sew American flags, but she did not design the flag, nor is it even probable that she sewed the first one.
Ross was originally buried in the Free Quaker Burial Grounds in Philadelphia. In 1856, her skeleton was dug up and moved to the Mount Moriah Cemetery.
In 1975, it was decided that her skeleton and that of her husband would be moved to the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, despite the fact that she probably never lived there. The cemetery workers, however, found that there was no skeleton under the grave marked as hers, so they literally just dug up a random skeleton from her family burial plot, assumed it to be hers, and moved it to the Betsy Ross House.
🇺🇸Communication was slow and bad in the 1860s. Many Northerners thought Southerners “ran around half naked and ate raw animals.”
It wasn’t uncommon for those in the South to believe those in the North had tails.
🇺🇸People who displayed seashells in their home indicated their wealth. They had enough money to travel to the ocean, and others could be paid to handle their domestic duties.
🇺🇸26% of the South owned slaves in 1860. 74% of the South did not own slaves.
🇺🇸Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson got his nickname during the first battle of Bull Run. Soldiers stated he stood “like a stone wall” in the midst of battle. He was accidentally shot and killed by his own men.
🇺🇸Amputation was the most common treatment for broken or severely wounded limbs during the American Civil War. There were too many wounded men for doctors to do time-consuming procedures like removing part of a broken bone or mending damaged flesh. More than half of leg amputations at the thigh or knee ended up being fatal. 83% of amputations were fatal if the amputation was done at the hip joint.
🇺🇸During the American Civil War, a man named W.V Meadows was shot in the eye during the Battle of Vicksburg. Not only did he survive, but he coughed the bullet out of his mouth 58 years later.
🇺🇸Boston Corbett, the man who shot John Wilkes Booth, was totally insane from handling mercury as a hatter. Years prior to shooting Booth, he calmly castrated himself with scissors.
🇺🇸Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was limited in effect — first limited to slaves in rebel states, and then not universally known. The holiday of Juneteeth celebrates the moment June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers rode into Galveston, Texas, to tell America’s last remaining slaves they were free. This was news to the slaves, who had never heard of the proclamation, signed 2½ years earlier.
🇺🇸The term “fly off the handle” is saying that refers to cheap axe-heads flying off their handles when swung backwards before a chop.