Category Archives: Profiles

Biographical commentary on famous people – of note – and maybe not so.

The Staplehurst Rail Crash, or; How We Nearly Lost Charles Dickens Early

Any fan of Dickens will know that he died before he could finish ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’. But, if not for him surviving a train accident in Kent in 1865, his last piece of work could well have been ‘Our Mutual Friend

On the 9th June 1865, Dickens was traveling back from a holiday in France in a first class carriage at the front of the Folkestone Boat Express train. Ellen Ternan, the actress for whom he had left his wife Catherine Hogarth two years previously, and her mother were traveling with him. Also accompanying them was another important passenger; the manuscript of the latest installment of the novel he was writing at the time; ‘Our Mutual Friend’. Continue reading

Samuel Adams: The Man of the Revolution

This often overlooked Founding Father set the country on its course toward independence.

In this c. 1772 portrait of Samuel Adams by John Singleton Copley, Adams points at the Massachusetts Charter, which he viewed as a constitution that protected the peoples’ rights. / Library of Congress

Before his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson asked himself: “Is this exactly in the spirit of the patriarch of liberty, Samuel Adams?” Would he approve of it?

To understand why the new president hoped to channel Adams’s spirit is to discover not only where a daring revolutionary came from, but where a revolution did. To lose sight of him is to lose sight of a man who calculated what would be required to upend an empire, and who — radicalizing men, women, and children with boycotts and pickets, street theater, invented traditions, a news service, a bit of character assassination, and any number of innovative, extralegal institutions — led American history’s seminal campaign of civil resistance. Adams banked on the sage deliberations of a band of hard-working farmers reasoning their way toward rebellion. That was how democracy worked. Continue reading

DeWeese: What Price Liberty? A Family Answers the Call

When their ship from the Netherlands docked in the harbor of New Amsterdam (now New York City) in 1688, Garrett Hendricks DeWeese, and his wife Zytian, could not have known of the historic events that would direct the destiny of their future family. Nor could they have known how those future sons and daughters would be central figures in molding those events. Continue reading

Georgia Teacher Retires at Age 95

The kind of teacher that I used to have as a student…

Teachers often have thankless jobs — at least the teachers who aren’t trying to indoctrinate kids into everything leftist — and many of them leave their jobs out of frustration. So the story of a teacher who stuck it out until she retired at the age of 95 is impressive.

Grace Adkins, whose students affectionately call her “Ms. Grace,” retired from the Westwood School in Camilla, Ga., this month. She recently turned 95, and she taught for at least 75 years. Continue reading

Meet the Most Important Civil War Leader You’ve Never Heard Of

This NC man was one of the most important Civil War leaders…

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) – One of the most important African American leaders of the late 1800s was born in North Carolina, but his accomplishments and influence vanished from history for 100 years.

Abraham Galloway was a spy, an insurgent, a statesman, a fierce advocate of the working class and a warrior against oppression and tyranny. Continue reading

John Bozeman: The Frontier Entrepreneur Who Forged a Path to Montana

John Bozeman took two bullets to the chest and died in 1867 at age 32. One can only imagine what he would have achieved with another 32 years.

One of the most interesting exports from Georgia to Montana was the namesake for the latter state’s fourth largest city. His name was John Bozeman. His short life is a tale of risk-taking enterprise in the wilds of America’s western frontier. Continue reading

Marie Curie: We Lost This Scientist To Radioactivity In 1933…

…but her notebook still holds a serious threat!

Considered to be one of the most famous 20th-century scientists, Marie Curie is the only person to win two Nobel prizes in two different fields. Defying the expectations for what a woman should be during her time, Curie paved the way for our understanding of radioactivity. She also discovered two new elements, but not without paying a horrific price… Continue reading

The Bamboozling Bogus Baron of Arizona

An aspiring fraud put in years of hard work to become a nobleman — and still failed.

When it comes to big frauds, many names may come to mind: Charles Ponzi’s measly take of $10 million, Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion pyramid scheme, or Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay’s $74 billion accounting scam at Enron.

One other name should be included in this company: James Addison Reavis. No other fraudster worked as hard as Reavis. And none of them could match the size of his deception. Continue reading

Dangerfield Newby

Dangerfield Newby (1815 – 1859) was the oldest of John Brown’s raiders, one of five black raiders, and the first of his men to die at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

Born into slavery in Fauquier County, Virginia, Newby married a woman also enslaved. Newby’s father was Henry Newby, a landowner in Fauquier County. His mother was Elsey Newby, who was a slave, owned not by Henry, but by a neighbor, John Fox. Elsey and Henry lived together for many years and had several children, although interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia. Dangerfield was their first child.

Dangerfield Newby, his mother and his siblings were later freed by his father when he moved them across the Ohio River into Bridgeport, Ohio. John Fox, who died in 1859, apparently did not attempt to retrieve Elsey, Dangerfield, or any of his siblings. Dangerfield’s wife and their seven children remained in bondage. A letter found on his body revealed some of his motivation for joining John Brown and the raid on Harpers Ferry. Continue reading

Continuum… Why Every Child Should Read, Learn, and Know about Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was very satisfied with his job at the Swiss patent office. There he had time to study, read, and think about his time/space theory and how electromagnetism, gravity, and space-time were related. One of his great abilities was being able to search past and present subjects related to the physic questions in his mind. The search for past and present subjects gave him insight into his time-space, gravity, electromagnetism, and other thoughts and ideas.

He was especially interested in ideas by Max Plank, Isaac Newton, Niels Bohr, James Maxwell, Michelson-Morley, Galileo, and many others. Albert was an avid reader and the past physics information was a valuable asset for Einstein. Continue reading

Loudon: Why Every Child Should Read, Learn, and Know about Albert Einstein

In Almost every article, book, and publication about Albert Einstein, the words describe him as one of the greatest scientists that ever lived. His theories and discoveries about time, space and other discoveries about electromagnetism, high-frequency radiation, quantum mechanics, gravity, and Brownian motion changed the world.

He was and still is one of the examples of a normal child who became a world-famous genius. He is a great example FOR CHILDREN of how a child can use curiosity, learning, and motivation to create great scientific or other achievements. He was also motivated by his parents, teachers, and many books, publications, and information written by other scientists. Continue reading

The most interesting woman that ever lived…

An international object of desire, Mata Hari was a dancer, a spy, and everyone who knows about her casts her in a different light. She’s been described as a courtesan, a feminist, an espionage wannabe, and a victim of the military’s need to create an enemy. Regardless of how she was seen at the time, Mata Hari had a need to live a life constantly on fire. She threw herself towards excitement, which was her undoing in the end. Ted Brandsen, the choreographer and the director of the National Ballet explained:

What fascinated us is the story of a woman with an incredible lust for life and a powerful instinct to survive, and to reinvent herself and to transform herself. She had a lot of horrible things happen to her and she managed to somehow give a spin to it and find her way out.
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Meeting with Barry Goldwater taught him a lesson…

“You’ve been there before, right?”

The driver’s question shook the candidate out of his reverie.

The young man didn’t make a habit of using a car service, but with his campaign manager in a meeting, other workers putting up and repositioning signs and his wife needing the family car, a limo was the best way to ensure the candidate arrived at this important meeting on time.

“Excuse me?”

“You’ve been there before, right?”

“Nope… first time!” Continue reading

Edwin M. Stanton, Would-Be Dictator

Engraved portrait of Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln’s secretary of war

It would seem, from his commentary about others, that Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, had an inflated concept of his own abilities and a diminished view of the abilities of others. He was definitely not a practitioner of the Christian virtue of having a meek and humble spirit (James 4:6). He quite often spoke abusively of Lincoln and others in the administration. He referred to Lincoln at one point as “the original gorilla.” After becoming Secretary of War his disposition toward Lincoln did not improve. At one point he said to Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt, “Well, all I have to say is, we’ve got to get rid of that baboon at the White House!Continue reading

Crockett: Not Yours to Give

~ Prologue ~
One day in the House of Representatives, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Mr. Crockett arose:

Mr. Speaker — I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this house, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.
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