Meet General Sheridan

Philip Henry Sheridan, to whom the country is indebted for the great triumph at Winchester and Fisher’s hill, is a native of Perry county, Ohio, born in the year 1831. He was graduated at the West Point Military Academy in July, 1853, and at that time entered the army as a brevet 2d Lieutenant of the 1st United States Infantry. During the years 1853, 4 and 5 he served in the Indian campaigns in Texas; and in July of the last mentioned year, after serving a few months in command of one of the forts in New York harbor, he was ordered to California. Engaged for a while in the Government railroad surveys on the Pacific coast, he was detached from that service to take part in the campaign against the Indians,in Oregon Territory. In the severe campaign, under Major Raines, he greatly distinguished himself, and was highly praised by his commander for gallant and meritorious conduct in the fight at the Cascades of Columbia, April 28, 1856.

For the part he took in the settlement of the Indian troubles in Oregon Sheridan was very warmly eulogized by Gen. Scott, then General-in-Chief of the army. Just after the breaking out of the rebellion he was made Captain in the 13th infantry, and served for several months in St. Louis as President of a Military Commission convened at that place. In December, 1861, he was made Quartermaster of the army of the Southwest, then operating in Southern Missouri, and afterwards in Arkansas under Gen. Samuel R. Curtis. He remained with that army until after the great battle of Pea Ridge, in the spring of 1862, when he was appointed Chief Quartermaster on the staff of Gen. Halleck, then in command of the army before Corinth.


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Edison, Education, and Motion Pictures

On October 6,1889 inventor Thomas Edison showed his first motion picture.

These are excerpts from an article describing Edison’s ideas for using motion pictures to revolutionize education appeared in Frank Leslie’s Weekly on  September 19, 1912.  This article was prefaced by this note:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Motion pictures, as many believe, are destined before long to play a most important part in the education of the young. This article sets forth Thomas A. Edison’s ideas as to this matter and the plans he has in view for their practical application. The writer, William H. Meadowcroft, is Mr. Edison’s very competent assistant at the inventor’s laboratory at Orange, N. J., and is qualified to do full justice to the subject. As his article shows he has the true literary gift as well as scientific enthusiasm.

How Edison Would Educate Children

With an inquisitiveness that remains unsatiated after fifty-five years of experimentation, Thomas A. Edison still continues his endeavors to take a sly peep through any minute crevice he can find in the door of Nature’s laboratory. It is a long cry from the little nook in his mother’s cellar, where he began experimenting at the early age of ten, to his present elaborately equipped and well-manned laboratory.

William H. Meadowcroft is Mr. Edison’s very competent assistantEdison’s inquiring mind is ever alert, but never wastes any energy out of mere idle curiosity. Only a definite plan, based on logical reasoning, is acceptable for any specific work that may be undertaken. The experiments may call for a variety of knowledge and may lead very far afield, but there is always a well-defined object in view and specific lines of work are laid out as a basis for exploration.

It is not surprising, therefore, that he holds some pronounced views on preparing children for their later work in the world, by giving them an education that is based upon their own personal observation and the exercise of their own power of thought. While these views are not of recent origin, they have been emphasized in later years by reason of the interminable questions of his young son, who inherits no small share of the paternal inquisitiveness.

Like every other thoughtful schoolboy, before whose opening mental vision a vast world of wonders is looming up, Edison’s son finds himself hampered by the impossibility of satisfying the yearnings of his mind as to the true inwardness of things by knowledge derived from text-books and mere oral teaching. Boylike, he asks many incisive questions relating to his studies, which the father thinks might well be forestalled through the application of modern inventions to educational practice by appealing to the eye as well as to the ear and the intellect.

The extensive exploitation of the motion picture in recent years and the vast possibilities of its development have of late impressed Edison more and more with an idea of its practical value as an educational adjunct. Possibly his one infirmity, deafness, has made him more keenly alive to the avidity with which the brain grasps the meaning of things seen with the eyes. Be that as it may, however, his convictions are strong as to the permanent value of ocular demonstration in the process of educating the child.

By the time a child can talk, it has acquired an amount of knowledge that is much greater than we appreciate and probably more in extent than it ever acquires in the same period of time later in life.


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A Look Inside: The Indians of the Pike’s Peak Region

Irving Howbert’s book, The Indians of the Pike’s Peak Region was reissued long after his death with a very special addition. That is the wonderful foldout print of the Indians seen, in part, above. This picture was taken by Clarence Coil, of Colorado Springs. The original print hangs over the door in the office of Mr. Floyd Brunson, operator of Stewarts Commercial Photographers, Inc.

When the picture was taken, circa 1913, most of the people in the lineup were well known to the citizens of the Pike’s Peak region. While this photograph is not particularly germane to the text of this book, it is very germane to the time the book was written. Scenes like the one pictured do not occur any more except around a movie studio. This picture is completely authentic, and hence, we think, of interest to any student of American history. A high resolution version of the image can be seen here. The end of this post contains a key to identifying the known individuals in the photograph.

This volume can be found in our American County Histories: Colorado.


For the most part this book is intentionally local in its character. As its title implies, it relates principally to the Indian tribes that have occupied the region around Pike’s Peak during historic times.

The history, habits, and customs of the American Indian have always been interesting subjects to me. From early childhood, I read everything within my reach dealing with the various tribes of the United States and Mexico. In 1860, when I was fourteen years of age, I crossed the plains between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains twice, and again in 1861, 1865, and 1866; each time by ox- or horse-team, there being no other means of conveyance. At that time there were few railroads west of the Mississippi River and none west of the Missouri. On each of these trips I came more or less into contact with the Indians, and during my residence in Colorado from 1860 to the present time, by observation and by study, I have become more or less familiar with all the tribes of this Western country.

From 1864 to 1868, the Indians of the plains were hostile to the whites; this resulted in many tragic happenings in that part of the Pike’s Peak region embracing El Paso and its adjoining counties, as well as elsewhere in the Territory of Colorado. I then lived in Colorado City, in El Paso County, and took an active part in the defense of the settlements during all the Indian troubles in that section. I mention these facts merely to show that I am not unfamiliar with the subject about which I am writing. My main object in publishing this book is to make a permanent record of the principal events of that time.


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The Exaltation of Old Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin’s The Pennsylvania Gazette (1728 – 1800) is available to Accessible Archives subscribers. The Pennsylvania Gazette Collection, while almost completely composed of articles from The Pennsylvania Gazette, also contains approximately 2900 articles from the publication the Pennsylvania Packet and a dozen or so articles from the Maryland Gazette.

Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin - né à Boston dans la Nouvelle Angleterre, le 17 Janvier 1706

Benjamin Franklin – né à Boston dans la Nouvelle Angleterre, le 17 Janvier 1706

Of all the men who were the offspring of the mighty events which preceded the Revolution–men who stand out among their compeers of the seventeenth century as do the lofty monuments of Palmyra above the surrounding level–Ben Franklin, save Washington, becomes more and more appreciated by time–more distinctive as the representation of his age–more mighty as the great embodiment of the self-made republican man. The sword has ever been, poetry to the contrary, mightier than the pen. Our race is too evil, too destructive, to love and admire the victor who wins his laurels in the pursuits of peace and not amid the carnage of the battle-field. But old Ben Franklin, whose name we abbreviate when we mention it, from the same gushing affection we do those of our cherished “little ones,” holds his absorbing place in our affections, in spite of the clarion trumpet of war, in spite of the emblazoned glory of the conqueror; and we turn from bloody heroes who have fascinated us, to revel with equal yet more holy delight in the peaceful triumphs of the humble printer’s boy. It is no wonder that Boston, the cradle of liberty and historic revolutionary associations, honors his memory. That the capital of the old commonwealth gave him birth is as proud a heritage as that she encircles within her limits Fanueil Hall and the mighty heart of Bunker Hill.

In the excitement of the present hour, when the pursuit of material wealth, and the commercial prosperity of our people, lead us to forget the throes of the past which preceded our matured birth–when we look coldly upon the sufferings of Valley Forge, and forget the examples of patience and forbearance which characterized our revolutionary fathers–when we become regardless of the sentiments of Jefferson–the benign preaching of Madison, and even often indifferent to the dying words of the great “father of his country”–the power of Franklin loses not its hold upon the popular mind, for, while he is as mighty as the greatest in execution, he is more sympathised with than any of his compeers, because he reached the masses through a sublimer simplicity than any other human being ever possessed, and prepared the way for the affectionate admiration of posterity, by never losing sight of the humbler necessities of life, by never sacrificing realities to the more enchanting and easier gathered fruits of imaginary good.


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Market Gardeners in 1889

The short item below appeared in the April 18, 1889 issue of The Christian Recorder.

The Christian Recorder embodied secular as well as religious material, and included good coverage of the black regiments together with the major incidents of the Civil War. The four-page weekly contained such departments as Religious Intelligence, Domestic News, General Items, Foreign News, Obituaries, Marriages, Notices and Advertisements.  This newspaper is included in our African American Newspapers collection and all personal subscribers have access to this material.

While America’s modern food industry has gone high tech and produce is sourced globally, remnants of the system described here lingered on well into the 20th century.  The image above was taken in 1960.

Market Gardeners

The number of market wagons that come over from New Jersey and Long Island during the evening is exceedingly large. In order to get an idea of their traffic one has only to think of the enormous amount of vegetables, fruit, eggs and garden produce that is used every day to feed a great city like New York.

At midnight or before a start is made from the outskirts of the neighboring towns on either shore, and from that time until a few hours of daybreak the ferry boats and ferry houses are alive with wagons and carts . The horses know their duties so well that driving is scarcely necessary, and it is not an uncommon sight to see a horse pulling a cart on which is seated some old farmer quite fast asleep.

As soon as they get into town they steer for the various markets along the North River and sit on their wagons wrapped up in blankets until dawn, or until purchasers come along to buy their wares. There is considerable competition among the farmers for favorable places in which to stand their carts , and late arrivals are not so fortunate in their sales as are those who get into town earlier.

The life of a Long Island or New Jersey farmer is not altogether a happy one. He works in the field all day, and has to depend for whatever sleep he can get during the interval of his arrival in the city and 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: The Christian Recorder, April 18, 1889

Photo: Produce vendor with his horse-drawn cart at Washington Market, New York City, 1960

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