Famous Historical Figures

Fowler T. Brodhead (1828-1902), famed linguist and foreign language teacher to President Grover Cleveland

New York. Grand ovation to Governor Cleveland in the city of Buffalo, October 2nd. Scene on Main Street / From sketches by C. Upham. 1884. (Credit Library of Congress digital archives http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c07331); Cleveland was 28th Governor of NY (1983-1985) and prior to that had been Mayor of Buffalo in 1882.

While perusing some old papers on Fulton History, I came across several exceedingly sad obituaries for the very gifted and talented Fowler Thayer Brodhead, who at one point in his life had taught foreign languages to a young Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), but in later years seems to have completely withdrawn from society. He died at 75 from what appears to have been a great deal of self-neglect, in spite of having substantial financial means at his disposal. While the articles seize strongly upon what became of Fowler after his mother’s passing in 1885, an event that supposedly sparked his mental and physical decline, his gifts and talents cannot be denied and deserve to be remembered, especially by those of us who share his Brodhead DNA.

From the Illustrated Buffalo Express, February 16, 1902: “Fowler T. Brodhead, famed as a linguist, teacher of Grover Cleveland, later a hermit, was buried in the Brodhead family plot in Forest Lawn last Friday. […] The story of his life is a tale of sadness. His father came to Buffalo from Hudson in 1830, a lawyer and graduate of Williams College, whose wife was Miss Nancy Thayer of Lee, Mass. The first American Brodhead was Captain Daniel Brodhead of the Yorkshire Regiment that came from England in 1664 and wrested New Netherlands from the Dutch. The Brodheads lived at Washington and Huron streets in 1837 and for years thereafter. The father was a law partner of Judge Masten. Fowler Brodhead was born in Hudson in 1828. He attended Fay’s Academy at Washington and Huron streets and then went to Albany to study medicine. He returned to Buffalo without finishing his course and studied French and German. He taught in the high school and gave private lessons. He became known as a proficient linguist, speaking several languages fluently. It, was related of him that be once sat down with a Frenchman, German, Italian and Spaniard and conversed with the four, each in his own language, fluently, and with ease. He wrote poems in several languages and wrote a play, The Burning of Buffalo, for the old Metropolitan Theater.”

I checked the online records for Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo and found Fowler and his parents William W. Brodhead and Nancy Thayer Brodhead. I went ahead and created memorial pages for them on the Find a Grave website. The three are located in Section: BB Lot: 143-N PT Spaces 1, 2, 3.

Volume 4 of The Brodhead Family has William listed on page 303. William Wheeler Brodhead (F-401) was the son of Luke Brodhead (1777-1845); Luke was a son of Daniel Brodhead and Hester Wyngart and a brother of my fifth-great-grandfather Garret Brodhead. William was baptized on 10 September 1797 at Linlithgo RDC, Livingston, Columbia County, NY, and married Nancy Lucretia Thayer on May 25, 1825 in Westfield, MA.  William “lived in Red Hook, NY at the time of his marriage and later lived Buffalo, NY where he was an attorney in 1850 and a private school teacher in 1860.” Fowler is listed as G-1226, but no information is given for him.

The newspaper articles point to Fowler’s withdrawal from society as coinciding with the death of his mother Nancy in 1885; he died with $4,000 to his name which was a substantial sum in 1902 (about $111,000 today). He lived at 82 10th Street in Buffalo; where the house once stood is now a vacant lot.

A notice of sale that appeared in the Buffalo New York Courier on October 24, 1903, offers the names of several Brodheads: two of Fowler’s nieces and a great-nephew. Charlotte Brodhead and Mary Gertude Brodhead (b. 1829 and 1837 respectively) were daughters of James Oliver Brodhead (1803-1841; Brodhead Family F-404) and wife Caroline Wackerhagen. James Oliver Brodhead was the brother of William W. Brodhead. Francis Reynolds Brodhead (b. 1863) was a nephew of the two sisters via their brother Thomas C. Brodhead (1835-1877), son of James Oliver Brodhead.

As sad as Fowler’s end was, clearly his was a life well lived at least up to a certain point. I’m glad I came upon his story. I do not want him to be forgotten especially since he had no wife or children to pass his story down along the line to today’s generations.

Illustrated Buffalo Express – 16 February 1902 (Credit: FultonHistory dot com)

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Buffalo Morning Express, 12 February 1902 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

Buffalo Morning Express, 12 February 1902 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

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Buffalo NY Courier 12 Feb 1902 (Credit: Fulton History)

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Buffalo New York Courier, 24 October 1903

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Categories: Brodhead, Cleveland Grover, Death, New York, Obituaries | Tags: , | 2 Comments

“Family” recipe Friday: 1904—Madame de Ryther writes about custards and blackberry pie

I’ve written so much about opera-singer-turned-food-writer Madame de Ryther, she almost feels like family, so I think it is safe to include her thoughts and recipes in this Friday’s post.

The Rome Citizen, October 1, 1884; Credit: Fulton History dot com

But before I do that, I wanted to mention that quite some time ago, blog reader Bill S., who also developed a bit of an obsession with Jule, alerted me to the fact that he’d come across information proving that Madame de Ryther had indeed once been married. Prior to that, I’d wondered whether she had adopted the name because it sounded somewhat exotic and would have been useful for her singing career.

Bill sent me a couple of obituaries for Jule’s husband John de Ryther, who died “at home” in his room at the Arlington Hotel in Rome, New York, on September 30, 1884. He was roughly 50 years of age. The cause of death was given as lung congestion and “asthmatic difficulty.”

The Rome Citizen article indicates that John had not been well for a number of years. I wonder whether a fall he’d taken in an elevator shaft the previous year had perhaps hastened his demise. Surely it could not have helped.

The Syracuse Sentinel, October 3, 1884; Credit: Fulton History dot com

The Utica Morning Herald, April 18, 1883, reported under the heading “Rome Matters”: “John De Ryther. who fell thro’ the elevator well at the Arlington yesterday, is much more comfortable this evening.” I found another article in the Rome Citizen dated July 13, 1883, that mentioned a little girl had fallen the same distance as John down an elevator shaft (24 feet), but that she came away unscathed, while he had been “disabled for weeks”. Such a fall certainly could not have helped someone who already had a history of health problems.

In any case, it’s clear from the obituaries that John was a highly beloved and popular citizen who had held many important positions. At the time of John’s death, Jule was in her late 40s and living in New York City, where her singing career was still going strong.

Bill also sent me a ton of links to loads of Jule’s food and recipe articles, and he even managed to find an image of Jule’s face in an old newspaper he found on Newspapers.com. Unfortunately, I cannot display it here until I find it on a website like Fulton History that places no restrictions on usage. Bill wondered why, given Jule’s success in life as an opera singer and food writer, that he could find no bona fide photos of her anywhere. I find that quite strange too. But hopefully one or more surface some day so I can include them here.

I found the two Jules De Ryther articles below on Fulton History; they are from 1904. The custard article, which includes instructions and ideas for custard pies and baked and boiled custards, would have been good to include in the post I did with my great-grandmother’s custard recipe, but, alas, that ship has sailed.

As for the blackberry pie recipe, it really sounds heavenly. I am going to give it a whirl when blackberries are in season and at their best (and the price is reasonable). Her recipe calls for 1.5 quarts per pie, and she insists that no lard be used for the crust and that the pie should be eaten immediately and never refrigerated.

Finally, for anyone planning to try Jule’s recipes that require baking, a reminder that oven temperatures were referred to differently back then:

  • Slow Oven = 325°F (163°C)
  • Moderate Oven = 375°F (191°C)
  • Hot or Quick Oven = 425 °F (218°C)
  • Bread or Pastry Oven = 360°F (182°C)

Happy Friday!

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New York Press, 1 May 1904 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

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New York Press, 1904 (Credit: Fulton History dot com)

Categories: Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Madame Jule de Ryther, New York, Rome | Tags: , | 2 Comments

“Walking” around the 1870s and “bumping into” two amazing sisters

Business card from the Chiropodal Institute, operating at 208 Broadway, at the corner of Fulton Street, New York City

I found Dr. W. E. Rice’s business card on the floor of my mom’s garage when I was clearing it out last spring. I have no idea whose it was or why they chose to keep it, or why nobody in the last 149 threw it out. And, seeing as how it’s been “here” so long, I certainly wasn’t going to be the one to do it. Besides, it’s kind of fun to look at, warts and all. Imagine all the feet shuffling along Broadway in agony in the 1870s only to enter No. 208 to have their “lives” transformed.

As you can see, I managed to trace this podiatry business back to the 1870s. It was not hard to do (but what came next was a big surprise). My quick Google search brought up two copies of Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, a publication I’d never heard of. One issue from February 14, 1874, and the other from September 13, 1873. Expecting it to be an average, mild-mannered magazine from that period, I quickly realized this was an entirely different animal, for along with the masthead’s proclamation:

P R O G R E S S ! F R E E  T H O U G H T ! U N T R A M M E L E D  L I V E S !
BREAKING THE WAY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.
…my visit to the ad pages at the end of each issue turned up ads for the services of clairvoyants and mystics, and an illustrated mail-order book about sexual physiology, mentioning words one never would expect to find on the pages of any Victorian-Era publication.

Dr. Rice’s ad in the September, 13, 1873, issue of Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly

My first thought was: why did Dr. W. E. Rice decide this was a good place to advertise?! Assuming there was method to his madness, I decided to do a bit of research on Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, initially thinking, of course (given the time), that this was a paper named after two gentlemen. Two eccentric gentlemen? Perhaps, my mind wandering, this Woodhull was some descendant of Abraham Woodhull, the Washington spy…? (Watch the AMC TURN series, if you have not already.) But, no, what I found was something even more interesting: amazingly this was a publication, a highly controversial one, produced by two sisters: Victoria California Woodhull and her younger sister Tennessee Celeste Claflin.

From the February 14, 1874 issue; the sisters had many followers and no doubt made a small fortune from these sales.

Way ahead of their time, and perhaps even ahead of our time in some ways, the two tackled all sorts of subject matter, including women’s suffrage, free love, supposed scandals (some of their own invention), vegetarianism, and spirituality, and made their mark in some then men-only careers. They were among the first women to run a publication; they were the first women to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street; they were leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, and Victoria even ran in the presidential election of 1872. The running mate she named? Frederick DouglassWoodhull & Claflin’s Weekly did not last too long; at its height, 20,000 issues were sold, but over time, the controversies associated with its content (mostly written by the two sisters, Victoria’s husband Colonel Blood, and an anarchist by the name of Stephen Pearl) and its own scandals dragged it down. Advertisers fled. By 1876, it was breathing its last.

Cabinet photograph of Victoria C. Woodhull. Albumen silver print on card. Date between 1866-1873. Source: Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Historical Photographs and Special Visual Collections Department, Fine Arts Library; Author Mathew Brady (1822-1896). US PUBLIC DOMAIN – Wikimedia Commons

Fortunately for me (and you, if you are interested in learning more), the Museum of the City of New York has a blog that has published a two-part story about these Ohio-born sisters, the children of a snake oil salesman father and a religious fanatic mother, and how they ended up in Manhattan befriending Cornelius Vanderbilt, and I encourage you to give it a look when you have time. Their lives were truly fascinating. (For Part I, click here, and for Part II, here.)

When I come upon such interesting historical figures, whether I agree with their thoughts and views or not, I wonder why I’ve never heard of them before and realize, in the overall scheme of things, I know very little about American history beyond what I learned in school. Discoveries like this always make me want to learn more.

Tennessee Celeste Claflin. Author Geo. Stinson & Co., publishers, Portland, ME. Source: Wikimedia Commons – US PUBLIC DOMAIN

I was somewhat surprised to learn that later in life these two firebrands walked back and even reversed many of their positions, and that they eventually moved to England and lived out their lives there…  I was expecting a much more fiery finish in this country for these ladies. But, nonetheless, they made their mark, and are worth knowing about in this 21st century of ours.

Anyway, I hope you’ve learned something new by stopping here today.

I am now tucking Dr. Rice’s business card away for one of the younger crowd to find some day.

Categories: 1870s, Advertisements, Claflin Tennessee, Woodhull Victoria | 1 Comment

Linderman children info updated; October 1889: Albert Brodhead Linderman returns from quick trip to London and Paris

Sinking of the Cunrad Line's steamer SS Oregon, 14th march 1886, 15 miles off Long Island.

Sinking of the Cunard Line’s steamer SS Oregon, 14th march 1886, 15 miles off Long Island. Nathaniel Currier & James Meritt Ives, 1886 (Wikimedia Commons – Image in public domain in US due to publication in the US prior to 1923.)

One of this blog’s readers, Steve, is actively engaged in researching his wife’s Linderman & Brodhead ancestors. He recently emailed me some Linderman tree info I was lacking in my post on Rachael Brodhead, wife of John Jordan Linderman. To view that post, click here. Scroll down and you will find Steve’s tree showing the seven children of John and Rachael. Anyone with additional info to share, please, by all means, leave a comment.

Port Jervis Evening Gazette, 9 October 1889 (Credit: Fultonhistory.org)

Port Jervis Evening Gazette, 9 October 1889 (Credit: Fultonhistory.org)

Coincidentally I came upon an October 1889 article about one of the children, Albert Brodhead Linderman, who’d have been about 57 at the time of publication. It’s a brief article but is packed with interesting little details. Albert was just returned from a brief trip to London and Paris, and seems to have been heavily involved in the railway industry. He was described as “a great traveler and a great talker” (the gift of gab always seems to go to at least one member of a family!) and a survivor of an 1886 ship collision off the coast of Long Island, New York. I can imagine that that disaster, only three years in the past, was still very fresh in people’s minds. For a description of the fate of the luxurious 650-passenger SS Oregon whose last journey was from Liverpool, England, to New York, click here. Thankfully, all of the Oregon‘s passengers were rescued.

Yes, Albert definitely got around. Upon further investigation, I found evidence (see article on the right) of his plan to purchase the island of Cuba (!) and his involvement in draining Lake Okeechobee here in South Florida to make way for agricultural expansion:

The State authorities of Florida have entered into a contract with I Coryell of Jacksonville and A B Linderman representing capitalists of Philadelphia and San Francisco to drain Lake Okeechobee in Southern Florida. The scheme if successfully carried out will reclaim millions of acres of excellent sugar lands and result not only in the reclamation of the bed of the lake itself but it is believed in that of the two vast swamps known as the Everglades and the Big Cypress which lie south of the lake and cover the greater portion of the lower end of the peninsula. The Everglades is sixty miles in length and about the same width really constitute a vast lake from one to six in depth studded with thousands of small islands. (From The Friend, Volumes 54-55, The Society of Friends, pub. 1881)

To my knowledge, the lake—the seventh largest freshwater lake in the US—was never drained, however, due to devastation and loss of life in the 1920s as a result of some hurricanes crossing over the lake and creating a storm surge, a dike was built around the lake in the 1930s. I remember setting off with my husband to the east coast 8-9 years ago and deciding to travel in such a way as to travel along the west and north sides of the lake on our trip east and then drive along the east and south sides on our return. We’d no idea the dike existed and were expecting to see some scenic views of the lake on our journey. Boy, were we disappointed for there really were very few places to catch a glimpse of it. You have to climb up to the top of the dike to see down below. A 109-mile walking/cycling trail—the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail—goes around the perimeter of the lake, often on top of the dike, but you are fully exposed to the sun, something to take into consideration especially at the hottest time of year. One of the best viewing spots we found was in the town of Pahokee (with a name like that, you just have to stop to be able to say you have been there), but that is not saying too much since it’s not like you’re climbing up to any great elevation.

The fishing in the lake is supposed to be very good, and it seemed like every home along the water’s edge had a boat, but, of course, there are lots of gators in there too. We were in Boston several months after that trip and were chatting over a B&B breakfast with some German tourists who were heading down to Miami the following day. One of their top priorities was going to be to go off to swim in Lake Okeechobee. We nearly choked on our French toast, and once the powdered sugar dislodged from our throats, strongly advised them against that idea!!!

Anyway, I have gotten way off track… Back to Albert. I don’t know why he is called Colonel. Had he served in the Civil War? Anyone with some thoughts on that or anything else to do with the Linderman children, feel free to comment below. Have a good day, all.
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Update 7/5/16 – Some additional information kindly provided by aforementioned researcher Steve Hatchett:

  • Albert Brodhead Linderman patent1882 patent
  • Article on land deal in Florida involving Linderman and prominent men from Great Britain
  • Part owner of a business enterprise with brother HR Linderman – for the link, click here
  • Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States of America

    Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States of America – Public Domain image

  • Linderman meets President Chester A. Arthur Google Books link – Eve Bacon writes in Orlando: A Centennial History that when Arthur’s train reached Kissimmee, Colonel A.B. Linderman greeted the President and announced, “We flatter ourselves that we have among us not only the president, but the next president.” Arthur, in no mood to make a politcal address, answered, “We are not here to look after the next president. We are here for rest and quiet,” Bacon writes.
  • Hamilton Diston - Image in public domain - Florida Memory Archives call number Rc02832

    Hamilton Diston – Image in public domain – Florida Memory Archives call number Rc02832

  • Although Linderman is not mentioned by name, this Wikipedia article about Linderman’s associate, Hamilton Disston details some of the dealings in which Linderman was involved in Florida. AB Linderman was an agent and business associate of Hamilton Disston. Disston’s agents arranged the purchase of something like 4 million acres in Florida, one of the largest private land purchases at the time. This was related to the draining projects. Disston sold some of the land to Sir Edward James Reed of Great Britain. One of the articles above mentions Linderman involved in land deal with prominent Great Britain people including another Sir that was also an M.P. Reading some of the news articles about the draining made it sound like a flakey thing, but Disston was the real deal, and was moving and shaking in Florida. Note in the Wikipedia article the mention of President Arthur going to Kissimmee. That seems directly tied to the mention above of Linderman meeting Arthur in Kissimme.
  • H.R. Linderman, sometime between 1865-1880. Library of Congress image - No known restrictions on publication

    H.R. Linderman, sometime between 1865-1880. Library of Congress image – No known restrictions on publication

  • There is also a US Mint pamphlet that mentions him helping the Mint in reviewing contract bids during Henry Richard Linderman‘s term there. So ABL had his fingers in a lot of things.
  • Categories: Brodhead, Hamilton Disston, Linderman, President C. Arthur | Tags: , | 6 Comments

    Missionary Dan Crawford (1870-1926) – photo

    For some reason, my 2012 post on Dan Crawford, Scottish missionary to the Belgian Congo, has been attracting lots of views this past week, and serendipitously I just found a photo of him while continuing with my mission to clean out the garage. I’m sure it belonged to my great-grandmother Elizabeth Sargent Trewin who was a big supporter of his. The photo is undated, and the reverse side shows a Manhattan address, perhaps where he was staying at the time, or maybe this was an address through which his US correspondence was handled.

    Some interesting links:
    “The Diary and Notebook of Dan Crawford, Brethren Missionary in Africa” (blog post) – University of Manchester
    Bio – GFA Missions website
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    Categories: Africa, Belgian Congo, Crawford, Missionary Dan, New York City | Leave a comment

    Newspaper clipping of Nettie Angus Moulden’s February 1, 1955, meeting with President Eisenhower

    I recently discovered this Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal clipping of Nettie Angus Moulden’s February 1, 1955, meeting with President Eisenhower reported in this previous post. Thanks go to my grandmother for putting it in an envelope for me to find decades later. (Her handwritten date up top is a year off.) Perhaps, Angus descendants will learn something new here. Have a good week, all.

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    Categories: Angus, District of Columbia, President Eisenhower | Leave a comment

    Jule & Juliet, 1896: Madame De Ryther’s “Roast Saddle of Venison” — a recipe from the Adirondacks

    Hound and Hunter (1892) – by Winslow Homer. Per Wikimedia: Homer’s watercolor sketch for Hound and Hunter showed, lying behind the boy, a rifle that the artist later painted out. When this final canvas was exhibited in 1892, its subject was condemned as a cruel sport then practiced in the Adirondacks. Some viewers believed the youth was drowning the deer to save ammunition. The artist curtly responded, “The critics may think that that deer is alive but he is not—otherwise the boat and man would be knocked high and dry.”

    Hound and Hunter (1892) – by Winslow Homer. [image cropped] Per Wikimedia: Homer’s watercolor sketch for Hound and Hunter showed, lying behind the boy, a rifle that the artist later painted out. When this final canvas was exhibited in 1892, its subject was condemned as a cruel sport then practiced in the Adirondacks. Some viewers believed the youth was drowning the deer to save ammunition. The artist curtly responded, “The critics may think that that deer is alive but he is not—otherwise the boat and man would be knocked high and dry.”

    One new thing I’ve learned about late 19th-/early-20th-century food writer Madame Jule De Ryther comes from the New York Times, March 1, 1896, article “The Secrets of the Carver; An Early English Dinner. Studies in the Operative Surgery of Animals” by Juliet Corson. It featured a roast saddle of venison recipe, “traceable to Adirondack hunters and guides,” that belonged to Madame De Ryther, “the descendant of a line of hunters and hosts whose forest cookery has long been famous.”

    John George Brown (American, 1831-1913) Claiming the Shot - After the Hunt in the Adirondacks

    John George Brown (American, 1831-1913) Claiming the Shot – After the Hunt in the Adirondacks

    While Jule De Ryther, a famous concert soprano, found a second career discussing and sharing her knowledge about food, Juliet Corson (1841-1897) spent her whole career trying to educate the public about food and cookery, and healthy and economical eating, particularly among society’s poorest. She was a proponent of letting nothing go to waste and making the tastiest and most nutritious meals possible no matter how small the budget. At 35, she founded the New York School of Cookery and operated it for seven years before ill-health forced her to close it down. She traveled the country, between bouts of ill-health, to promote the need for cookery classes in public schools. The French Consul General in NYC even consulted with her to see how her methods could be adapted to France.

    Miss Corson’s numerous publications included Fifteen-Cent Dinners for Workingmen’s Families, published by the author for free distribution to working-people earning $1.50, or less, a day (New York, 1877), Twenty-Five Cent Dinners for Families of Six (1879), and Practical American Cookery & Household Management (1886); for links to other publications, click here. I’ve not had time to read any of them, but I am sure she has plenty of tips that could apply to us today. Many of us are always looking for economical ways to feed our families and maximize our resources. One can only speculate what else Corson may have taught us had her life not been cut short at age 56 by a debilitating tumor (NYT obituary – “Death of Juliet Corson; The Well-Known Writer and Teacher of Cookery and Dietetics Expires Almost Alone”).

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    Juliet Corson (Credit: Wikipedia)

    By the time Miss Corson penned this article in 1896, she was near her life’s end. You can tell from the article how passionate she is about food, and how knowledgeable. I was going to include just the portion about Madame De Ryther, but decided to include the entire article since it contains so much interesting information on the history of food and the preparation of game, an art that was already being lost in this country back then when venison was “the only wild meat ever seen freely in the New York market,” and is now in most places a great rarity, which is understandable of course, but it’s still interesting to get a sense of how our ancestors lived and worked, and what they ate. And how they may have prepared it.

    Have a good Monday, all!

    PS: Receipts = recipes; frumenty = thick wheat porridge usually served with venison (in Medieval times).

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    Categories: Adirondacks, Corson Juliet food educator, Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Hunting, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

    1825 newspaper reports the astounding survival story of frontiersman Hugh Glass

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    Hugh Glass, b. cir 1780, Pennsylvania; d. 1833, Yellowstone River (Credit: Wikipedia Commons; Author unknown)

    If you’ve been to the cinema recently, you may have seen the brief but brutal trailer for Leonardo Di Caprio’s latest film Revenant (“one that returns after death or a long absence” per Merriam-Webster’s). Based on true events, the film recounts what happened in August 1823 to frontiersman Hugh Glass when he—at roughly age 43  (a senior citizen by early 19th-century standards)—was deliberately abandoned in what is now South Dakota by two men who had been ordered to stay behind with him after a brutal bear attack left him almost dead. The men were members of a corps of 100 men, led by General William Henry Ashley, who were traveling up the Missouri River on a fur-trading expedition. (For more on “Ashley’s Hundred,” click here.) (If you are planning to see the film and don’t want to know the back story, stop reading here!)

    Seriously wounded, Glass regained consciousness to find himself alone with no provisions or weapons two hundred miles from the nearest American settlement. Determined to survive, get back his weapons, and hunt down his betrayers, Glass bound his broken leg and crawled for six weeks through the wilderness, surviving initially on berries, before making it to Fort Kiowa (in present-day South Dakota) where he recovered. Then he set off again, still in pursuit of his belongings and betrayers, surviving more near death experiences before wandering into Fort Atkinson (present-day Nebraska) in June 1824—much to the astonishment of all those who recognized him and thought him long dead. Glass had gone there because he’d heard the second of his betrayers was at the Fort (he’d already tracked down and pardoned the first). But by then that second betrayer was serving in the Army so Glass spared his life.

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    “Back-Trailing on the Old Frontiers — Drawing by Charles M. Russell” (Milwaukee Journal, July 2, 1922) – Credit: Wikipedia

    Out of curiosity as to what was actually reported in the press at the time, if anything, I did a bit of research on the Fulton History site, and discovered the below article from an 1825 issue (exact date not clear but sometime between June-December 1825) of the New York Spectator in which Hugh Glass’s harrowing adventures are recounted. (see below.) It’s not hard to imagine our American ancestors living at that time reading this article with rapt attention, and recounting its contents to family, friends and neighbors. Having read the article and some other materials about Hugh Glass, I can see why the film trailer looked so brutal. By today’s standards, those were extremely stark times, and what Glass went through could not look anything but raw, gritty, and downright harrowing. I’m still weighing up whether I want to see the film.

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    “The 200-mile route of the 1823 odyssey by Hugh Glass” (Credit: Wikipedia)

    The frontiersman, already the stuff of legends, eventually lost his life in winter 1833 to attacking Arikara Indians. Glass’s story could not help but fuel the imaginations of future generations of Americans.

    In 1915, Glass’s adventures inspired John G. Neihardt, future poet laureate of Nebraska (1921), to write the 120+ page epic poem The Song of Hugh Glass. In 1923, on the 100th anniversary of Glass’s amazing feat of survival, one Nebraska English professor, Julius Temple House, announced his plans to recreate the journey exactly as it happened (of course, minus the bear attack, open wounds, real broken leg, Indian attacks, etc.): “Professor, with Leg Bound, Will Crawl 100 Miles; Would Duplicate Feat Hunter Had to Do in 1823” (Buffalo Courier, 19 August 1923). (Scroll down for the article.)

    Professor House had been a contributor to Neihardt’s The Song of Hugh Glass and in 1920 published a biography: John G. Neihardt: Man and Poet. Did Professor House ever make the journey? I found no evidence of that, so, perhaps, it was a publicity stunt or the professor was simply swept up in the romanticization of the old West and the yearning for a frontier that was no more. The Professor found romance in a different form ten years later when, as a widower, he met and married his childhood sweetheart from 50 years before, and took up a teaching post in Athens, Greece (October 2, 1933, The New York Sun). Perhaps, by then, he no longer had any need to channel his “inner Hugh Glass.”

     

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    Categories: Hugh Glass frontiersman | Tags: | 7 Comments

    Job Angus’s daughter visits President Eisenhower on the occasion of her 100th birthday

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower, official portrait, 1967 (Credit: Wikipedia)

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower, official portrait, 1967 (Credit: Wikipedia)

    I recently came upon a remarkable little film clip showing Mrs. Nettie Angus Moulden’s February 1, 1955, visit to the White House where she met with President Eisenhower on the occasion of her 100th birthday. (Nettie was in remarkable form and went on to survive almost another 6 years.)

    Nettie (1 Feb 1855 – 22 Jan 1961) was the daughter of Antoinette G. Hopper (1823-1899) and Job Angus (1821-1909) about whom much has been written in this blog, Job having been a good friend of President Lincoln, the superintendent of buildings and grounds at the White House, and the manager of many building projects in Washington DC and elsewhere. Job Angus was my 2nd-great-grandfather James Angus‘s brother.

    President Eisenhower signed Nettie’s autograph book which already contained the autographs of a number of US Presidents, beginning with President Lincoln and including Pres. Andrew Johnson,  Pres. US Grant, Pres. Benjamin Harrison, and Pres. Grover Cleveland. She had been to all the inaugurations since Lincoln’s and passed away on the eve of JFK’s*.

    Nettie’s secret to a long life?: “I like having a good time and being happy—and I like to eat”!

    To view the clip, please click here

    For newspaper clippings on the event, click on the below links:

    Sarasota Herald Tribune, 2 February 1955
    Ocala Star Banner, 1 February 1955
    Reading Eagle, 1 February 1955
    Daytona Beach Morning Journal, 2 February 1955
    The Southeast Missourian, 3 February 1955

    *See: Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America by Thurston Clark, Penguin 2010.

    Categories: Angus, President Eisenhower | Tags: | 2 Comments

    1904: Madame Melba prompts Madame De Ryther to write about puddings

    Nellie_Melba_1

    Australian opera singer Nellie Melba (1861-1931), 1896 (Credit: United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b11681–Public domain in US)

    Well, it’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, and food is now the farthest thing from my mind. I’ve cooked and baked enough in the last week to happily sail through the next few months without doing either, but I promised you a series of “Madame De Ryther Mondays” until Christmas… So here is a 1904 article in which she discusses how to make puddings: rice pudding, tapioca pudding, chocolate pudding, and one other whose name is concealed by the Fulton History site’s logo label. Since I honestly can’t bear the thought right now of unwrapping another stick of butter or spooning heaping tablespoonfuls of sugar into anything, I am currently psychologically unable to try any of these recipes out myself. But don’t let that stop you if you have managed to remain “on your kitchen feet,” both mentally & physically, in the aftermath of Thanksgiving ;-).

    In her article, professional-singer-turned-food-writer Madame De Ryther opens with a comment made by Madame Melba (1861-1931), an Australia-born, world-renowned opera star, with whom Madame De Ryther was obviously acquainted, their singing careers, perhaps, having brought them together at some point.

    Who was Madame Melba?  Per Wikipedia: Dame Nellie Melba GBE (19 May 1861 – 23 February 1931), born Helen Porter Mitchell, was an Australian operatic soprano. She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century. She was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician. She took the pseudonym “Melba” from Melbourne, her home town. And, yes, “Peach Melba,” “Melba toast,” “Melba garniture,” and “Melba sauce” were all created in her honor by a French chef named Auguste Escoffier. I must admit that I often heard mention of Melba toast and peach Melba while growing up, but it was not until writing this post that I’d heard of Madame Melba (I’m embarrassed to say) and was able to put 2 and 2 together (much like discovering Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini last year, and making the link with Chicken/Turkey Tetrazzini). (Note: Viewers of season 4 (2013) of Downton Abbey would have seen Madame Melba (played by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, New Zealand’s famed soprano) perform for Lord and Lady Grantham; I was not a Downton viewer at that time.)

    The_Magic_Pudding

    Australian children’s classic: The Magic Pudding (1918) by Norm Lindsay; Yes, Madame Melba was from a country that most certainly knows a thing or two about pudding! (Credit: Wikipedia – Image in Public Domain in US)

    Getting back now to the article, Madame De Ryther reports that Madame Melba had once lamented to her the lack of good puddings in America, and having traveled the world and sampled desserts along the way, she indeed must have known a thing or two about the topic. In 1904, when this article appeared, everyone in America would have heard of Madame Melba, so using Melba’s opinion about America’s lack of good puddings was certainly a clever way for Madame De Ryther to hook her readers.

    However, the food writer is not all that excited about replicating European puddings, more specifically English puddings, which she considers to be too heavy by American standards (and if you’re familiar with British cuisine, you know what she means—puddings here in the US are very different; Jello-type pudding comes to mind or rice pudding or tapioca, not hearty, classic fare like sticky toffee pudding, bread & butter pudding, spotted dick, and the like—puddings that I personally like, albeit usually in small doses).

    The recipes Madame De Ryther includes here are for much lighter and “daintier” versions that she feels would suit the American palate better than English-style puddings which were designed to “to drive the heavy fog from [English] stomachs,” according to one French chef.

    Of course, at this point neither a heavy pudding nor a light one could drive away the heavy Thanksgiving fog in my stomach! But that is neither here nor there. I’m sure Madame De Ryther’s recipes helped her readers “whip up” some divine puddings.  I’ll just wait ’til I’m fully “recovered” to give them a try! 😉

    PS: With Christmas fast approaching, for a fun and superbly informative post on English Christmas puddings that has lots of great images, click here. And for a few Madame Melba YouTube videos, scroll down below the article. Have a great day, all!

    New York Press, 1904 (exact date unknown) - Credit: FultonHistory dot com

    New York Press, 1904 (exact date unknown) – Credit: FultonHistory dot com

    Categories: Christmas, Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Luisa Tetrazzini, Madame Jule de Ryther, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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