Category Archives: History

A Good Cemetery Epitaph Versus A Great Epitaph

Epitaph One Upmanship – The Final Words Of A Married Couple

Since 1822 five generations of William Simpson’s ran one of New York’s oldest and most respected pawn shops. The final namesake to run Simpsons Pawnbrokers at 91 Park Row, William Rooe Simpson sold out to his partners in 1937, ending the continuous line of William Simpson’s to own and operate the hockshop. William Rooe Simpson died in 1957 and his son William David Simpson never went into the family pawn business. He became a doctor settling in Shelby, North Carolina.

When William David Simpson died at the age of 64 in 1988 he had this witty epitaph placed on his marker at Sunset cemetery in Shelby.

His wife Barbara “Bobbi” Taylor Simpson however Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #140 – July 4, 1860

Independence Day In New York Watching The Regatta 1860

July 4, 1860 regatta at The Battery. photo: Anthony

Patriotism, Parades and Pyrotechnics

In 1860 a year before the nation was split into two warring factions, New Yorkers celebrated the 84th anniversary of Independence Day in glorious fashion.

The day proliferated with excursions, theatricals, balloon ascensions, salutes, military parades, fireworks and – a regatta.

Regatta derives from Venetian, meaning a contention for mastery or contest. The New York regatta held on July 4 was a series of rowed and sailed boat races held near Castle Clinton at The Battery in New York bay.

All of the photographs seen here were taken by the firm of E. & H.T. Anthony as stereoviews. Continue reading

Managers Connie Mack & John McGraw Decide Who Bats First At The First All-Star Game

Athletics Manager Connie Mack & Former Giants Manager John McGraw Have A Contest Before The First All-Star Game 1933

Photo shows – Manager Connie Mack of Americans (left) Manager John McGraw of Nationals choose for first up with the aid of a bat.

In the game of the century played at Comiskey Park, Chicago, July 6, the picked team of the American League defeated the picked team of the National League 4-2. Photo: Acme July 6, 1933

It’s hard to believe that this is how they decided home field advantage in the American League’s Comiskey Park for the first All-Star Game, but it’s true.

Kids used to do this in pick-up games in parks to see who would bat first. Continue reading

Primitives & Savages – It’s All Culturally Relative Right?

A Different Sort Of Savagery

Marriage Among The Australian Aborigines – 1870

19th Century Australian Marriage Ceremony

We see that marriage by capture, either as a stern reality or as an important ceremony, prevails in Australia and among the Malays, in Hindostan, Central Asia, Siberia, and Kamskatka; among the Esquimaux, the Northern Redskins, the Aborigines of Brazil, in Chile and Tierra del Fuego, in the Pacific Islands, both among the Polynesians and the Fijians, in the Philippines, among the Arabs and Negroes, in Circassia, and, until recently, throughout a great part of Europe.

In Australia little real affection exists between husbands and wives, and young men value a wife principally for her services as a slave. In fact, when asked why they are anxious to obtain wives, their usual reply is, that they “may get wood, water, and food for them, and carry whatever property they possess.”

The position of women in Australia seems indeed to be wretched in the extreme. They are treated with the utmost brutality, beaten and speared in the limbs on the most trivial provocation. Few women, says Eyre, will be found, upon examination, to be free from frightful scars upon the head, or the marks of spear wounds about the body. I have seen a young woman who, from the number of these marks, appeared to have been almost riddled with spear wounds. If at all good-looking their position is, if possible, even worse than otherwise.

Excerpt and illustration taken from:

The Origin of Civilisation And The Primitive Condition Of Man – Mental and Social Condition Of Savages by Sir John Lubbock, Member Parliament, Baronet, Fellow of the Royal Society. Author of Prehistoric Times, etc. Vice President of the Ethnological Society, Fellow of the Linnean, Geological and Entomological And Other Societies. London: Longmans Green and Co. 1870

You have just read  a small sample of historic inhumanity not unique to Australia. Europe, Asia and the America’s furnish abundant examples of similar behavior in uncivilized societies.

The frightening aspect of this, is that the reality of cultural relativism has been conveniently forgotten. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #139 – Zeppelin And The Woolworth Building

The Dirigible Los Angeles Flying Near The Woolworth Building – 1929

Graf Zeppelin’s Sister – Los Angeles Joins In Great Reception For Dr. Eckener
New York – Photo shows : The dirigible Los Angeles, older sister of the Graf Zeppelin, flying above the Woolworth Building during the reception for Dr. Hugo Eckener commander of the Graf. Photo: Underwood & Underwood August 30, 1929.

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The Circus Fat Family Leaves Brooklyn For The Country

The “Fat Family” Moves To The Country – 1914

The following article is from Chicago’s The Saturday Blade newspaper July 18, 1914:

New York, July 16 – Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Tanner and their four giant children, known to circus folk as the “Fat Family” have been sent to the country by kindly disposed women who became interested in their case. Tanner is going to rest for a week or so and then he will try to get a job.

“I guess by the time we’re all rested up some show will come along that’s a real one,” said Mrs. Tanner the thin mother of the fat children.

The last show the Tanners were in was not a real one. It went broke and Mr. and Mrs. Tanner were compelled to appeal to give their babies shelter and food lest they starve to death.

“Buster” Tanner, 5 years old is the heaviest, his weight being 187 pounds. Little Doris, alias “Snookums,” is six months old and weighs 63 pounds. The others, Barnard and Alvin, 2 and 3 years old, would take prizes for weight at any baby show, though they look thin beside the youngest and oldest of the four. The home of the Tanners is Nicholson, GA.

Today the media and public would either exploit this family or call to prosecute them for child abuse. Remember the Honey Boo Boo craze? In 1914 there was nothing wrong with the word fat or being fat. Today calling someone fat is considered “body shaming” by this generation’s snowflake word censors.

We Need Food

Figuring Coney Island would be a good place to get employment the Fat Family came looking for a sideshow.

The Fat Family’s father Marshall explained to a Brooklyn police lieutenant that they had come from Chicopee, MA where the circus had gone bust owing them $100. “We had just enough money to get to New York and we came. Here we are now. We have no engagement, no money, no food and no place to sleep. Not having food is a serious matter.” And in what may be the biggest understatement, Mr. Tanner added, ” The children are fond of eating.”

The news story had no substantial follow up, and the Fat Family Continue reading

Only 357,598 Americans Paid Income Tax In 1914

Income Taxes And Who Pays Them Past and Present

A relatively minuscule number of Americans paid taxes after the federal income tax on individuals began in 1913. The entire income tax burden in 1914 was paid by 0.27% of the population. Basically the very wealthy and upper middle class carried the income tax load for America.

With a population of 98.7 million people in 1914, only 357,598 citizens paid an income tax. If you earned less than $2,500 per year, you paid no income tax. Continue reading

Jackie Kennedy Onassis And JFK Jr. Ride Bikes In Central Park

A Famous Pair Ride Bicycles (Almost Unnoticed) In Central Park – 1969

Maybe most people in Central Park on this Fall day did not pay any special attention to the woman riding a bicycle behind a young boy. But Ron Galella did.

The original news caption reads: Continue reading

This May Be The Oldest Manhole Cover In New York

A Man Made Object In Central Park Almost As Old As The Park Itself

The 161- Year-Old Central Park Relic Hidden In Plain Sight

When you need to go to the restroom in Central Park there are few choices. Last year when a friend needed to use the bathroom we headed towards the closest one.

The tennis courts were empty as it was getting near dusk. But the bathrooms near the tennis courts were open, about 100 feet from the northern part of the Central Park reservoir.

I was waiting outside the building containing the women’s bathrooms looking down at the ground.

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