Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Review: The Navajo: by Geraldine Woods

The Navajo: by Geraldine Woods, Watts Library, New York, 2002.
This is a very good brief book about the history of the Navajo or Dine which is the Navajo word for the people.  The Navajo represent the largest reservation, and the Native American people with the largest population of over 250,000.  The Navajo had been removed for a time to Bosque Redondo.  Kit Carson and the military lay siege to the Navajo.  They killed many, and destroyed their food supplies, and forced over 10,000 to a reservation in New Mexico.  This is known as the long walk.  During the walk, and the three years of incarceration at Bosque Redondo, over 2000 died.  Barboncito, a leader of the Dine, convinced the government to let them return to their traditional area. 
The Navajo went through a similar period as many other tribes where that attitude was, “Kill the Indian, save the man.”  This resulted in many children being sent to boarding schools where they were not allowed to speak their language or practice their traditions. 
The Navajo were traditional a clan organization, with no central leadership.  However when oil was discovered on the reservation, people need to negotiate with someone to lease the land.  The Navajo Nation was born with tribal council and representatives. 
The Navajo have been very good at sheep raising, and weaving of wool for blankets and clothes.  (At one time the tradition women’s clothing was two blankets sewed together.)  However there was a time when the land was over grazed.  The government stepped in a killed many animals by force.  As a result the heards became stronger.  However there was a period of poverty as the livelihood had been taken away. 
A period of great honor for the Navajo people was WWII.  The Navajo code talkers developed a system of communicating, based ontheir native language, which the Japanese could not break. 
Today the Navajo people struggle with the idea of being part of a modern world, while maintaining their traditions.  Much of the reservation is very isolated, with poor electric and phone service. 

Book Review: Perspectives on the Trail of Tears: The Tragedy of the American Indians

The Trail of Tears: The Tragedy of the American Indians by Katie Marsico, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, New York, 2010
This book has a very good explanation of Andrew Jackson’s decisions with regards to the Native Americans, and requiring them all to move west of the Mississippi.  They were allowed to stay, but had to give up tribal affiliation and become American Citizens.  Jackson’s attitude always favored the Georgians, and their right to expand their state.  He favored encroachment on Indian lands which had been given them by treaty.  When gold was found on Indian land, this sealed the fate of the Native Americans, and confirmed Jackson’s ideas.  He said:

Can it be cruel in this government when, by events which it cannot control, the Indian is made discontented in his ancient home to purchase his lands, to give him a new and extensive territory, to pay the expense of his removal, and support him a year in his new abode?  How many thousands of our own people would gladly embrace the opportunity of removing to the West on such conditions!  If the offers made to the Indians were extended to them, they would be hailed with gratitude and joy.

Someone should have answered his question, and told him not all people have the same goals or desires.  Some did disagree with Jackson, and saw this as a great evil.  However the Indian Removal Act of 1829 was passed, which gave the president the authorization to remove the Native Americans to Indian Territory in the West.  The Supreme Court sided with the Cherokee.  Jackson responded by saying the Supreme Court would have difficulty enforcing their edict, and went ahead with the removal.  They did this by negotiating a treaty with prominent Cherokee, but not the legitimate government.  The treaty gave the Cherokee two years to vacate their lands. 
Some of the Cherokee left early for the new territory, while most lingered, hoping beyond hope that John Ross could negotiate something different with the government.  General Winfield Scott was given the task of seeing that the Native Americans were removed:

My troops already occupy many positions in the country….and thousands and thousands are approaching from every quarter. … Obey them when they tell you that you can remain no longer in this country.   Soldiers are as kind-hearted as brave…  We are commanded by the president to act toward you in that spirit, and much is also the wish of the whole people of America.  …Will you then, by resistance, compel us to resort to arms?  God forbid!  Or will you by flight, seek to hide yourselves in mountains and forests, and thus oblige us to hunt you down?  Remember that, in pursuit, it may be impossible to avoid conflicts.  The blood of the white man or the blood of the red man may be spilt, and, if spilt, however accidentally, it may be impossible for the discreet and humane among you, or among us, to prevent general war and carnage. 

That sounds pretty much a threat of obliteration.  Not all Cherokee who refused to leave gave up their affiliation.  A small group went to the Great Smokey Mountains and now has a reservation and are known as the eastern band. 
The trip was difficult.  It was not meant as a way to exterminate the Indians, however many died along the trip.  The mortality rates vary, but estimates put the death total at about 4000 of the 18,000 forced to emigrate passed away.  Most often those who passed away were the elderly or the children.  It was a brutal journey.  Those who took the water route on steam boats also had their own problems, and Cherokee had difficulty burying loved ones in the river as they preferred a land burial with ceremonies. 
After arriving in Indian Territory there were still bitter feelings between the different factions, those who traveled earlier and those who traveled later.  John Ross was the recognized leader, and he wanted to be sure .
The “Never-Ending Trail” is a poem composed by Del “Abe” Jones.  The poem concludes:

Each mile of this infamous "Trail"
Marks the graves of four who died -
Four thousand poor souls in all
Marks the shame we try to hide -

You still can hear them crying
Along "The Trail Of Tears"
If you listen with your heart
And not with just your ears.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: Sioux: History and Culture

Sioux: History and Culture: Native American Library, Helen Dwyer and D.L Birchfield, Gareth Stevens Publishing, New York, 2005.
This is an adequate brief story of the Sioux people.  It talks of how the Sioux were pushed west by the Ojibwe and white influences.  The Black Hills are sacred to them, and from where they believe they emerged.  This gives a history of the wars between the different Sioux groups, Lakota, Dakota and Nakota.  The Lakota had a long drawn out war from 1854 to 1862.  At the conclusion a mass hanging of thirty-eight Sioux was the largest mass execution in the U.S.
Several wars followed.  To protect a gold trail to Bozeman, Montana, forts were constructed in the Sioux sacred territory.  They fought the forts, and eventually prevailed.  As part of this war were two Sioux victories.  The Battle of Rosebud and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Lieutenant Colonel Custer was killed with his men. 
However another tactic proved effective and forced the Sioux to the reservations.  That was to destroy their way of life.  By mass killings of the buffalo, the Sioux were no longer able to support themselves in their traditional way.  The final battle took place in 1890.  At this battle Sitting Bull was killed.  The Indians though they would be protected by their ghost shirts which the wore for the Ghost Dance.  They were wrong.  150 Native Americans were killed.  From there the Native Americans entered a period of reservation life and acculturation.  The practice of sending the children to Indian Boarding Schools had as its goal the assimilation of native Americans into white culture.  This was not an easy time, and lead to many being alienated from their culture and not really fitting into another. 
Today the struggle continues.  The courts have decided that the Black Hills were taken illegally.  The Sioux have been awarded compensation.  However they do not want the money but the Black Hills.  They are waiting for congress to give the hills back to them.
Traditionally, people have become leaders among the Sioux by having characteristics that are valued by the community.  These include wisdom, courage, generosity, compassion for the needs of others, and an ability to gain spiritual guidance from dreams and visions.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Biography: William Walker (filibuster)

This is someone I had never heard of, and some events I did not know about.  This individual, between the period of the Mexican American War and the Civil War, attempted to establish countries in Mexico and South America, which he hoped would become part of the United States as slave states.  This activity was known as filibustering; and in it Walker found his calling. 
He first asked to be granted land in Mexico, and being denied that, with a group of men invaded Baja California and established the Republic of Lower California.  He then expanded into Sonora.  However eventually Mexico had enough of him and their resistance and his own lack of supplies caused him to retreated..  He was arrested in the United States and tried for conducting and illegal war.  However, because of sentiments of manifest destiny, he was acquitted.
He next set his sights on Nicaragua, and with a larger group of men, and using local conflict of two political groups to his advantage, he was able to conquer the country and set himself up as dictator.  He ruled for almost a year 1856-57.  His government was even recognized by President Franklin Pierce of the United States.  He ruled with an iron fist.  Part of his maneuvering included interfering with transportation through Nicaragua.  This eventually went too far, and several different groups and countries united against him and ousted him; killing several of his men.  He again escaped, but did not give up his hopes. 
Over the years he tried to invade Nicaragua again several times, without success.  In 1860 he tried again, invading Honduras first.  Honduras was a protectorate of Britain and he fell into British hands.  They turned him over to Honduran officials, who had him shot.  He died at the age of 36 in 1860.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Documentary Review: Our Spirits Don't Speak English: Indian Boarding School

I am familiar with the Boarding School program.  Growing up, Brigham City, where Intermoutain Indian School was located was just over the mountain, and we would often drive by, when traveling to Salt Lake City.  I also went there to scout a game as Weldon's team played them one year.  I also traveled there during Junior High to compete in track and field there.  It was there that the discuss got away from someone on our team, and struck someone in the head. 
Indian schools started in the 1800s.  First with missionary schools.  Later with Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.  The goal of the school was not necessarily to educate and nurture; but to assimilate.  "Kill the Indian and save the man."  Often, student came very young to school, and would spend the entire school year away from home, only returning to their people in the summer.  Every person who came to the schools had to deal with an onslaught on their traditional way of life.  At times they were given American names.  They were punished if they used their native languages.  In fact, cases of abuse, physical, emotional and sexual have been documented. If without abuse, the experience was very traumatic.   The high point of Indian school usage was in the early 1970s.  In 1973 there were 63,000 students at Indian schools.  Most Indian students are now educated close to home.  Many Native Americans live in urban settings.  Sometimes tribes have their own schools.  As of 2007 there were less than 10,000 students.
A for Intermountain Indian School it opened in 1950 for Navajo students.  Because of deceased enrollment, in 1974 it was opened to other tribes, and had people from over 100 different tribes attend before closing for good in 1984. 

Documentary Review: Black Indians: An American Story (2001)

Having lived in Eastern Utah, the story of their being Black Indians is not knew to me.  There were some among the Ute population who had mixed blood.  However, this story shows much more prevalence of this population than I was aware.  This movie also talks about racism against this population.  The Native American part of the ancestry was often just ignored because of this.  They also talk about the racism based on the color of one's skin, and the gradation of the color.  Much of the low representation is that often and individual would identify as one race or the other, based on what advantage this may be to his family. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Biography: Sarah Winchester


Sarah Winchester is an interesting and strange person.  She is included in a book I am reading called "The Good, the Bad and the Mad."  She was the heiress of the Winchester estate.  Her husband died in 1888.  She moved west, purchased a property.  She became convinced that she needed to be working on the home constantly, but it should never be complete.  By this she would be able to keep evil spirits at bay, the spirits of those who had been killed by the Winchester rifle.  "'She had a good many spirits to appease, so that when she was told by the psychic that she should appease those spirits, it may have contributed to obsessive compulsive behavior,' says house guide Laurel Johnson.  'The psychic apparently told her that if she was to appease those spirits, she should build a house and never complete the house.'"
SO that is what she did.  SHe hired 18 to 20 workers, who worked around the clock.  They worked with no master plan, but following the directions of the heiress.  There are stair cases going no where, rooms without entrances, upside down pillars and doors that are side wise.  Reportedly this is to confuse the spirits.  After the San Francisco earthquake she boarded up part of the house, it ws reopened after her death.
The Winchester Mystery House, as it is now called, is now a tourist attraction and open to paid tours.  There is also free self guided tour of the gardens and the Winchester rifle museum.  It is in San Jose off of Winchester Avenue. 

Book Review: Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass

Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2012.
This is a brief short story of how Frederick Douglass learned to read and write, and gained his freedom.  It is taken from his own autobiography “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”.  The title of the book is not really accurate.  He attempted to gain his freedom using pass letter he had written for himself and same friends, however his plot was foiled.  He asked everyone to swallow the letters so he wouldn’t be punished for knowing how to read.  He later gained his freedom, after he had been shipped to Baltimore because his master didn’t think he would be any good where he was.
When Frederick was young he was sent to Baltimore to work as a house boy.  He had a mistress who taught him his letters, and he learned very quickly.  When the mistress bragged to her husband about teaching Frederick his letters, his chances to continue learning and reading went away.  The library was locked to him and he wasn’t suppose to read.  However he was still young, and in doing errands he would read word on signs in town.  He would also practice his letters using chalk and fence posts or stones or whatever was handy.  Sometimes he would play games with other boys in town, see who can write the best letters, or spell a particular word, and in this way he was taught how to read more and more.  When his master died, he was sent back to work on the farm as a field hand.  However he had enough knowledge to read about freedom, and then he wanted to be free.  This lead to the above story about his writing the passes.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Book Review: Ojibwes: Native American Peoples

Ojibwes: Native American Peoples, Sierra Adare, Gareth Stevens Publishing, Pleasantville, NY 2003.
This book introduced me to a people I had not hear of, at least by this name.  I had heard of the Chippewa.  The name preferred by the group themselves is Anishinaabe.  It would be accurate to call them the Great Lakes Indians, because their traditional land was around the Great Lakes on both the Canada side and the U.S. side.  Today they number about 120,000 on the U.S. side and at least 40,000 in Canada.  Their history includes the encroachment of Whites, and other Native American groups who had been forced out of the East.  Their land became smaller and smaller.  They were placed on reservations, but with the promise of continued hunting on their traditional lands.  They have had to go through the courts to reestablish this right.  The reservation period was sad as the traditional ways of supporting oneself were gone.  They would use hunting, harvesting of wild rice, and harvesting of maple to make sugar as their primary means of support.  They are also known for birch bark canoes.  There was also a period of forced assimilation with boarding schools and forced migration to urban areas.  However through all this the culture has survived.  Today they have Native American schools, taught in Ojibwe, and with cultural lessons. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Review: Fields of Fury: The American Civil War, James. M. McPherson

Fields of Fury: The American Civil War, James. M. McPherson, Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2002.
This book is written by the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for “Battle Cry of Freedom.”  This book takes much of the information from that book, and combines it with many pictures, to tell the story of the Civil War.  It is mostly a chronological telling of the story, but also has other information.  It has a good explanation of the Anaconda Plan, which became the strategy of the North—to surround the South, cut it off and then squeeze the advantage.  There are chapters which dealt with paying for the war, brother fighting against brother, and slavery.  There are chapters comparing President Lincoln and President Davis.  There is another chapter comparing General Lee and general Grant.  This book adds some good insight into the Civil War.  One thing I didn’t know was that the Battle of Chickamauga was the battle with the second most casualties in war.  The South almost over rode the North in that battle, but the Rock of Chickamauga, General George H. Thomas was able to fill the breach. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Documentary Review: Civil War Ken Burns (9) The Better Angels of Our Nature

This presentation shows several critical elements.  It deals with the aftermath of the Civil War.  John Wilkes Boothe assassinates President Lincoln.  The first sitting president murdered.  Boothe for his own part is shot in the neck a few days later, is paralyzed and dies moments later.  This shows many members of both sides, mostly generals, and what came of them after the war.  Some moved on, and others didn't.  Some had pain from wounds sustained for the remainder of their lives, some of the wounds would eventually kill them.  Shown also were Civil War remembrance days, including a film of the 75th anniversary of Gettysburg.  Those men by this time were very old.  The film also shows the after effects of the war with regards to the Black people.  They had won abolition, but not civil rights.  That struggle would continue for another hundred years.  Such groups as the Klu Klux Klan hindered efforts in this regard, which was too violent for even Nathan Bedford Forrest.  There was still more to pay.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Documentary Review: The Mormon Rebellion: The American experience (1997)

This is a movie produced by The History Channel.  It talks about events of 1857 and 1858.  Their last movie I watched about a Mormon issue was not very good and very biased.  This movie, based on the title "The Mormon Rebellion" hints of the same continued bias. Growing up in Utah this is the Utah War, not the Mormon Rebellion.  As the movie indicated, the Mormons didn't even know they were in a war and tell some month after the troops were already headed to Utah.
In fact most of those interview (although not identified as such) I felt had a non Mormon bias.  The focus of the film was the Mountain Meadows Massacre.  I have never thought of this massacre as part of the Utah war; but is the focus here.  I guess that is because there really know deaths in the Utah War, while there were 120 in the massacre.
I would have been very interested in more about the prepared war.  It does saw Brigham Young called up 3000 men for the volunteer militia.  It mentions some raids on wagon trains which left the army hungry, and cold.  However it really doesn't explain how the 3000 men were to be used.  it does not talk about Brigham Young's scorched earth policy.  Nor does it mention the vacating of Salt Lake City while members traveled south.  It does not talk about people being at the ready to torch the town, if Johnstons's Army did not do as agreed and just march through town and then keep headed to Camp Floyd.  It doesn't even mention the Albert Sidney Johnson took over as the leader of the invading army.  They were able to enter Salt Lake City peacefully after a peace was negotiated.  However, if they hadn't been able to slow the army down, and they had entered Salt Lake Valley the year prior there would have been a great deal of bloodshed. 
The Mountain Meadows reconciliation shown at the end of the presentation I think saved this film, as it showed healing and moving on. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Documentary Review: Civil War by Ken Burns 8, War is all Hell

This movie begins with Sherman's march to the sea.  Sherman said, "I can make this march, and I will make Georgia howl!" General Sherman and his troops cut a wide swath marching from Atlanta to Savannah, with little resistance, Sherman's troops scavenged for provender, and ate as well as they ever had, off of the Georgia farm land.  They also reaped havoc as the went.  The heated the railroad rails, and twisted them in to a fashion that became known as Sherman's neckties.  They burned mansions, as well as crops.  They destroyed anything which could in some way have been used by the armies of the Confederacy.  This march also of course freed the men held at Anderson Prison.  Not a pretty site as men were skin and bones. 
Of course after reaching Savannah all was not over.  The then did the same thing, but to a more harsh degree as the traveled north through South Carolina.  South Carolina was the first state to secede, and where the war started, and so deserving of the greater punishment.
In the mean time, Grant continued to lengthen his line around Petersburg.  The Confederacy suffered desertion, and low morale, and eventually their line was too thin and inviting a break, which happened.  After which it was a race to see if Grant could surround Lee's army and cut it off and force surrender.  This eventually happened at Appomattox, and Lee asked for terms and the surrender was negotiated.  The official surrender took place with General John B. Gordon, Gordon and his troops surrendering to General Joshua Chamberlain. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Documentary: Karl Malone: ESPN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzR-23AQZa0

This is an ESPN biographical documentary about Karl Malone.  I really enjoyed watching the combo of Karl Malone and John Stockton for many years.  They came so close.  That game six loss really hurt.  The documentary focused on Michael Jordan overcoming Karl Malone.  It said nothing about the Howard Eisley three-pointer being taken away by the official, which was clearly before the clock, while another shot was allowed for Chicago which was after the 24-second clock.  That turn of five points would have made Jordan's heroics a mute point.  I feel the NBA owes the Jazz a big apology for that one; but it will never come. Don't believe watch her.  The announcers in Spanish agree with my point as the watch the plays.  You would think with instant replay the result would have been different, but I doubt they would have even looked.  The Jazz were cooked.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGSiEEpF3WM
This documentary reveals several things about Malone's life which I didn't know, including three children from before he came to the NBA.  I watched Malone's career, and how he was so willing to work hard to achieve success. 
Malone and Stockton got to the point where they were poetry in motion.  It was beautiful to watch.  The pick and roll was beautiful, and how many different ways they ran that, back and forth and then cut to the basket.  Fantastic! 
I love watching about Karl Malone, and the additional information was very revealing.  I just wish they would have added the piece about the refs screwing the Jazz.  It wasn't all Jordan.

Book Review: The Chumash of California

The Chumash of California: The Library of Native Americans, Jack S. Williams, The Rosen Publishing Group Power Kids Press, New York, NY, 2002
The Chumash inhabited the coastal areas of California, around Santa Barbara.  They also inhabited the Channel Islands.  The different clans spoke the same language, and had similar customs, but were also their own groups with different accents and some unique traits.  The story, “Island of the Blue Dolphins” is likely about such a group of Native Americans, and how most of the people were evacuated to a mission, with a couple of children left behind.  This is how it was for many of the Chumash.  For many years they had lived in this area, they had developed an ocean going canoe, they took food from the sea and land.  Their dwellings looked like big straw stacks, they made a frame of wood, and then this was covered with bulrushes.  They would weave mats with which to cover the framework of poles and were able to make a rain-tight dwelling.  They left a hold in the center for smoke to escape, which they would cover during the rain.  Their artwork included rock art in caves.  The fashioned fish hooks from abalone.
As the Spanish mission system arrived, many Chumash became involved with the missions.  Building four or five missions in the area including Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, San Buenaventura and La Purisima.  The native Americans were divided on their acceptance of the missions.  Things took a turn for the worse when Mexico gained its independence.  The Mexican government was no long interested in the mission program and the missions were secularized.  Many Mexican coveted the property and homes of the Chumash.  The property rights of the Chumash were ignored.  There was a battle, which was not joined by enough of the Chumash to gain victory.  Many of the Chumash ran to the mountains, were killed, or mixed with the local population.  Things did not improve when the United States conquered the area.  In fact, the police of the United States and California was to exterminate the Native Americans. 
It took several years for the Americans to begin to accept native Americans.  In 1924 all Native Americans were granted citizenship.  There are about 1500 Chumash in the Santa Barbara area.  There is a reservation, Santa Ynes with 350 residents.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Documentary Review: The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy

The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy, Rich Heape Films, Presented by Wes Studi, Narrated by James Earl Jones (2006)
The trail of tears is one of the darkest episodes in American history.  It involved the forced removal of Native American people in the East, to Indian country in Arkansas and Oklahoma.  For the Cherokee this was the forced removal of 14,000 Cherokee.  They had been given to years to move, due to a treaty negotiated between a minority of the Cherokee, and the U.S.  Before the removal, many Cherokee had already passed away during the round up.  Many were kept in a stockade, in less than optimal conditions.  Of those who made the trip, thirteen different groups, taking many different routes from Georgia and Tennessee to the West, 4000 would die on the trip.  Those who most passed away were old people and children,  One commentator mentioned that the arrived in Oklahoma without past and without future.  However they survived.
This movie made effective use of historical reenactment, of the trail, conditions in the stockade, and political conditions.  It tells the story of three murders, of those who signed and negotiated the treaty.  It also tells the story of John Ross, who worked tirelessly to avoid the removal, but his efforts were in vain in the end. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Life During the Gold Rush

Life During the Gold Rush: The Way People Live, Victoria Sherrow, Lucent Books, San Diego, CA 1998.
 
This book gives a good description of the California gold rush.  It starts with the “forty-eighters” who arrived at the mines earlier than the rest.  The author does not do a good job describing the Mormon involvement.  She mostly said the Mormons in California left Utah and Brigham Young to come and look for gold; while in fact, the Mormons who were in California were here for other reasons, having immigrated with Sam Brannan, or been members of the Mormon Battalion, or having come on other overland journeys to California.  The opposite was mostly true.  The majority of the Mormons left California after mining that first year, and relocated to Utah and with the Mormons. 
The author describes the sea route, and the land route.  She then does an adequate job of describing camp life.  She also talks about treatment of minority minors—including those coming from other countries, as well as the treatment of Native Americans.  In both this areas, the people in California were less than honorable.  Thinking only of themselves the murdered many native Americans, often with government support and encouragement.  Also they were able to have enacted a foreign worker tax of $20 a month.  It did not matter that the Californios were here before the Americans.  They too were considered outsiders.
The author describes the growth of San Francisco; again without mentioning the Mormons, Sam Brannan or the members of the Ship Brooklyn company who had a significant role in 1846.  What is impressive is the rapid growth which came to California as a result of the rush.  The population growth was 400 percent in 10 years, and caused some significant growing pains.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: Ute

Native American: Ute, Barbara A. Gray Kanatiiosh, ABDO Publishing Company, Edina, Minnesota, 2004.
 
This is a brief introduction to the Ute people.  The native area for the Ute extended through Utah, Colorado and northern Arizona and New Mexico.  Because they were able to acquire horses, their area of influence expanded and they were able to hung buffalo in season on the great plan.  There are now four Ute reservations, two in Colorado and one in Utah. 
There is much about the Ute culture.  There is a picture of Bear dance.  This is a springtime festival and the dance is a couple’s dance.  There is talk of the creation of the world.  Also a picture of a Ute cradle board.  There are also pictures of people dancing.  The story of Chief Ouray is presented.  It talks of the Ute population losing much of their land and being forced onto reservations. 
I lived on the Ute reservation in Utah for many years, and this is an interesting look at this people.  However it is not a very extensive research, but only scratches the surface.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Documentary Review: Civil War by Ken Burns: Most Hallowed Ground 1864 (7)

In 1864 after General Grant laid siege to Petersburg, and General Sherman advanced towards Atlanta, the Union stalled on all fronts.  This is described as the darkest days for the Union.  To get to Petersburg, Grant had lost 60,000 men and now faced impenetrable trenches and a reinforced position.  Sherman also faced a similar type of reinforced trench work, and General Joe Johnston was abiding his time waiting to be attacked.  On the political from, President Lincoln faced reelection, and it looked like General George McClellan would be the next president.  That would have been an ironic switch.  McClellan was running on a campaign of peace negotiations with the South.  He was the South's best hope. 
The battle at the crater, which had a lot of promise, did not turn out.  The Union mined 200 feet underneath the Confederate defenses, and set of a tremendous amount of TNT, which ripped a gigantic crater into the defenses.  They took an hour to mount an offensive, and when they did they marched into the trenches, with no way out.  The became stuck with no way forward or back and many were killed, the black troops even after they surrendered.
Nathan Bedford Forrest, the cavalry general was making things difficult for Sherman outside ATlanta.  He was attacking the supply, and was able to keep from being caught.  At Camp Pillow, his men slaughtered 400 African American troops, after they had surrendered.  This action, and other similar action lead General Grant to stop the exchange of prisoners. 
The increase in the number of prisoners lead to bulging POW camps.  In the South they could not handle this.  In Georgia, a camp for 10,000, held 33,000 men.  13,000 would die.  Those who survived were not much more than walking corpses.  On man who weighed 160 when captured, sad he was one of the husky ones at 96 pounds when released.
President Davis tired of Johnston's defensive moves, and replaced him with General John Bell Hood.  When General Sherman tried to flank and hit the rail lines, Hood came out of his defensive positions.  They had success for a while, but were eventually driven back, and Hood lost a third of his men.  He fell back into Atlanta.  When Sherman attacked the other flank, Hood was forced to flee Atlanta, and the Union had their victory. 
The election was held.  Lincoln won all but three states.  The American people wanted to see the war through to the end.  So did the military as most reenlisted.
The most hallowed ground is Arlington Cemetery.  Other federal cemeteries were over crowded, and so the estate of Robert E. Lee was chosen for a federal cemetery.  Federal troops were buried outside his door, making it so it could never be used again as a dwelling. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review: Inca Life

Early Civilizations: Inca Life by David Drew, Ticktock Guides, Baron’s Educational Series, Spain, 2000
This is a short book with lots of pictures, and includes a ton of information about the Incas, and their way of life.  Some of the most prominent features are the way they were able to work stone without the aid of mortar.  A three tiered great wall around Cusco, Sacsahuaman would have taken many people years to build with some stones weighing as much as 100 tons and having to be moved quite a distance.  (I and my missionary friends visited here on our tour of Machu Picchu.)  Their diet contained very little meat.  Guinea Pigs were the primary source of meat.  Llama and Alpaca were too precious to kill for meat.  They had no written language, but used a quipa, a bunch of knotted cords, to relay information.  They had an extensive system of trails.  In places relay runners were set up to take messages quickly from place to place.  They would also deliver food from the sea to Cusco for the royalty.  They could make the trip in as little as two days, from the ocean to Cusco.  The Inca, and many other people’s in the Andes created beautiful art, mostly as a tribute to the gods.  When Pizarro first invaded he took the Incan emperor, Atahaulpa hostage, and demanded ransom.  They brought a room full of gold as ransom.  He took the gold, and killed the emperor.  It is valued at $50 million at the time of printing 2000.  The Spanish tried to spiritually conquer the Inca.  They did this by destroying all idols (melting them and sending gold to Spain.)  They also destroyed many buildings.  In Cusco there are many buildings build on top of the walls of the Inca.  The stone work of the Inca has withstood the ages, while that on top has crumbled due to earthquake or other causes.  The Incan had a highly sophisticated medical practice, including brain surgeries.  They also used many different types of herbs as medicine.   Something different than what I have read before.  This book contends human sacrifice was relatively rare, but more common among the peoples the Inca conquered.   I find the Inca fascinating and am always interesting in reading about them. 

Book Review: We the People: The Trail of Tears

We the People: The Trail of Tears, By: Michael Burgan, Compass Point Books, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2001.

The relationship between the U.S. government and the native Americans who first inhabited this land is one of great sorrow to our country.  In no story is this relationship more prominent than in the “Trail of Tears” or “the trail where the cried” translated from the Cherokee.  They had participated in the revolutionary war, as well as the French Indian War.  They were one of the so-called five civilized tribes.  The Cherokee had negotiated several treaties with the U.S.  Each subsequent treaty took more and more land.  However this was not enough, and the United States passed  The Indian Removal Act, setting the goal of removing the eastern tribes.  Chief John Ross opposed removal, but he was undercut  by a smaller group of Cherokee lead by Major Ridge.  President Andrew Jackson was a key proponent of the removal of the Indians.  They negotiated a treaty for the removal of the Cherokee to Oklahoma.   They ratified this when only a few Cherokee were present, even though the majority of Cherokee opposed removal.  Ross wrote to congress, “We are stripped of every attribute of freedom….We are deprived of membership in the human family!”  
The first to leave left by barge and on waterways.  Those who came after traveled by land, taking several routes through Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and Tennessee.  The trip was about 800 miles.
General Winfield Scott enforced the removal, supported by 7000 troops as well as many local militia.  General Scott tried to treat the forced evacuees with respect, but the militia did not.  17,000  were forced from their traditional homes.  4,000 died on the trail due to conditions, starvation, disease.  The concluding statement of the author, “ Many American Indians suffered because of U.S. government policies.  The Trail of Tears remains the most tragic reminder of the violence and broken promises that the U.S. government used to force Indians off their own land.   

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: Shoshone by: Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh

Shoshone Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh ABDO publishing Company 2003
This is a short little book, written for a younger age, but gives you an idea of the Shoshone people.  They say is pronounced with two syllables and the last e making the o long.  However I always used three syllables.  The Shoshone people covered a wide area.  The extend all the way into California, Death Valley area, through about half of the state of Nevada, into Idaho, almost to Montana and then into Wyoming and Utah.  There is a map of their traditional area, which I thought was a bit large, as I knew some of the area was Ute territory.  However the book explained that the Shoshone had difficulty getting guns, and therefore their traditional area was greatly reduced.  When the Mormons came to Utah, the Shoshone only extended as far south as Ogden or so, and then the rest was Ute territory.  There was some area which went back and forth, but the Ute Indians dominated the Uintah area. 
Shoshone are a nomadic people.  Tony Baca explained this to me in the Duckwater area where I lived for a couple years.  The traditional people there would live in the valley during the summer, where there was water and grazing land.  However during the summer they would migrate to the mountains where they could keep from the warm sun, and hunt deer and larger animals. 
It talked about gathering nuts, which is something I did with them.  However it did not give a very good explanation.  It said the children would remove the nuts from the cones.  However, the cones often had to be roasted to get the nuts out.  They would place their blankets under a tree.  Then with a long branch with a crook or joint in it at the top, they would shake the tree vigorously so the pine cones would fallout.  I imagine this is something similar to the way the acorns are harvested with the acorn tree shaker.
For food they relied on small animals caught in snares, elk, deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep.  They also would trap fish in nets, using spears or with hook and line.  Women collected pinon nuts, fruits, seeds, berries wild vegetables and camas roots.  They generally had a permanent community with teepees.  However when they were on the move they would sleep in brush shelters or lean-tos. 
Shoshone are very good at crafts.  They women traditionally used porcupine quills to decorate clothing.  After meeting French trappers they traded for beads which they work with needle and rawhide or quills.  They are also very adept at weaving willows from which they make cradle boards for their babies, as well as baskets.  Some so tight they can hold water. 
It mentions two famous Shoshone, both from the eastern Shoshone (Wyoming) area. 
Sacajawea who lead Lewis and Clark, and Chief Washakie.
This book is short, but it gives an interesting look at the Shoshone.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review: Documenting U.S. History: The Civil War through Photography

Documenting U.S. History: The Civil War through Photography  Darlene R. Stille, Heinemann Library, Chicago, Illinois, 2012.
 
This is not a very good history of the Civil War; but is a better history of photograph and wartime photography.  It starts with a god explanation of primary sources versus secondary sources in term of documenting history.  Primary sources are letters, diaries or newspaper articles written by witnesses to an event.  Official reports such as orders would also be a primary source.  A picture also would be a primary source, such as a map drawn to show a path, or a drawing or photographing of a first person witness. 
Secondary sources are such things as reports or pictures drawn based on the witness of someone else.  This would include biographies or paintings. 
Photography had gone through several stages.  The first photograph was mad in 1826 by French inventor Joseph Niepce.  Fellow Frenchman Louis Daguerre invented the Daguerreotypes which had better image and was us mercury vapor.  Tintypes were invented in the 1850s and were easier to use.  Glass plates also came into use in the 1850s.  The difficulty about photography was the photographer had to take a dark room with him in order to develop the pictures. 
Mathew Brady was a famous Civil War photographer.  However he more organized teams of photographers because of his failing eyesight.  Alexander Gardner and others worked for him and did the actual photography.  Because of the limitations of photography, action scenes were not possible.  However there are many camps scenes, personal portraits, pictures of officer staff, artillery crews with their cannon.  Many after battle pictures were taken.  This included photographing dead soldiers.  This is the first time this had ever been done.  There are also many pictures of the destruction of war; buildings destroyed, mostly in the South.  There is documentation through photography of the conditions in prisoner of war camps as well as hospitals. 
As I said, a better history of photography rather than the Civil War.  I could have used more pictures, but it pointed to a web site which you can search Library of Congress Civil War pictures.  They have over 7500 pictures in the public domain. 

Book Review: Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad, Division of Publications, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., 1998.

This book is produced by the National Park Service at the request of congress.  It is a book which tells the story of the Underground Railroad, and not so much as to where or what building were involved.  Because accurate records were generally not kept on purpose, as they could be incriminating, many of the stories have basis in fact, but also tend to myth. 
This book gives the best history of slavery I have come across.  450,000 Africans were sold into slavery in the United States.  This was due mostly to the need for labor and slaves worked in agriculture, mining and other businesses.  The journey from Africa could be hazardous.  Slaves were generally transported in the hold, with a roof between four and two feet.  They were very crowded, and often feet and heads over lapped.  There was no facility for using the restroom, and so the slaves had to lie in their own filth.  It is said that you could tell a slave ship was coming by the smell, before you could see it.  The mortality rate was always over 10 percent, and sometimes much higher.  It is estimated several million African died being shipped to the Americas (both North and South). 
Slavery was practiced in all the original thirteen colonies.  However all of the Northern States eventually did away with slavery.  By 1860 only 15 states allowed the practice of slavery.  In this year there were almost 4 million slaves in the United States.  There were 488,000 free blacks.  These were from self-purchase, children of freed blacks, and because in the North many owners had freed their slaves as laws with regards to slavery changed.
In the South, it was difficult for a slave family to remain intact.  The statement, “sold down the river” referred to the process of the slave trade, where the more northern Southern states were used for breeding, and then the slaves were sold south to the cotton fields or other needs.
The Underground Railroad was active from when the first slave tried to escape.  For the most part this was a way to refer to those helping escaped slaves.  They used railroad terms, but in no way ran an actual railroad.  Terms used included conductors (those who helped the fleeing slaves), stations (homes where they could layover), routes, cargoes (fleeing slave), packages and passengers.  The word underground refers to the clandestine nature of the help, not to an actual tunnel.  The goal for most fleeing slaves was Canada.  This is because in 1830s the British Empire had outlawed slavery, and British courts had ruled there was no requirement to return slaves.  Other destination might include Europe, Mexico, the West, and the Caribbean.  There are many daring tales of escape.  This include shipping yourself in a box, the wife of a husband and wife pair dressing her as a Southern master and traveling in disguise.  There are also many heroes of the Underground railroad, including Blacks and Whites.  Frederick Douglas was an outgoing spokesman, as well as a station master.  Some cities were known for their efforts in this regard, including Oberlin and Ripley, Ohio, Washington D.C. and other communities. 
After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850,  even free Blacks were kidnapped and taken south.  There were groups formed to keep an eye on slave-hunters.
This book is very concise and very informative.  I enjoyed it greatly.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Movie Review: ****Lincoln (2012)

This movie is fascinating.  It is directed by Stephen Spielberg and stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field as the president and his wife.  This movie is a historical presentation of the thirteenth amendment and the difficulty with getting it passed, and President Lincoln's desire to get it passed during the lame-duck congress, after the Democrats had been defeated in the house.  He did not want to wait for the new congress to be seated, for if the war should conclude he might lose the people's motivation to pass the amendment; and that in passing it might quicken the end of the war. 
The movie does not present the early parts of the war, in fact Lee and Grant are already facing each other at Petersburg, and Lincoln has won reelection, in the same election that swept many Democrats out of congress.
The passing of the thirteenth amendment was not easy as the movie portrays, and the movie shows the political moves, and promises Lincoln pulled out to official abolish slavery in the United States.  Political victory would require 20 votes from across the aisle, while not losing any votes from the Republican Party. 
The witticisms of Abraham Lincoln made for an enjoyable part of the movie, and I remember thinking during the movie, I wish I had written that down.  Also his humorous stories kept the movie light, because the movie was heavy. 
This movie was not a biography of Lincoln, nor was it a history of the civil war.  It had very little of the actual action, other than some Africa Americans telling their story, and showing the result of battle.  The Gettysburg Address is recited at the beginning of the move, and towards the end we see words from Lincoln's second inauguration. 
The movie also does a very good job of portraying the son's of Mary and Abraham Lincoln.  Robert, his oldest who wants to be in uniform rather than at school.  He finally gets his wish, being placed on Grant's staff.  Tad, his youngest is dealing with the death of the middle brother, Willie.  He views lithographs of slaves, and is very much interested in the freedom of the slaves.
The other actors do a very good job.  You would think a movie spending much of its time showing congress would be boring.  In this case it was not, because the story took place in congress, and the manipulations, name calling, and in some cases restraining of one's opinions to get the amendment passed, were fascinating. Tommy Lee Jones as Representative Stephens from Ohio was terrific.
A very enjoyable movie.

Documentary Review: Secret Lives

At the start of WWII there were 1.5 million Jewish Children in eastern Europe.  Only one in ten would survive.  All would be effected.  More would have not survived if not for people who stepped forward as rescuers, and took the children in despite the risks to themselves and their neighbors.  For many this risk could have included execution. 
How does a country get to a point where they feel they are entitled to eliminate a race, killing innocent men, women and children by the millions.  They obviously had no humanity. 
This movie is made by a survivor of the holocaust, Aviva Slesen.  She found her rescuers after many years, and decided to find more, as well as those rescued.  She talks to a small group of rescuers as well as rescued.  The stories are fascinating.  The daughter of a rescue family, who resented her parents putting them at risk and the parents being taken away by the Jewish children  The boy who after so many years of silence, at the end of the war grabbed a Dutch flag and took to the streets, "I am Jewish, I am Jewish!"  The girl who couldn't accept her Jewish mother as her mother, she had no hair, was thin and ill, and she was a Catholic.  There are a few who stayed with their rescuers.  There are many who were orphans.  Some were taken in by relatives.  There was a move by the Jewish community that the children be repatriated.  They had lost enough of their people. 
This movie keeps one thinking, and is well presented.  There are no easy answers sometimes.  Every Jew was effected by these horrific events.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Documentary Review: 9/11: ***Day that Changed the World

This documentary film is very interesting.  It wasn't produced until ten years after the events of 9/11, but make effective use of interview, and existing video of the day, to tell the story of what the government was doing this day, including the federal government as well as the city government.  The story of president Bush was generally known.  He was at the school talking about their reading program when informed of the attacks.  He then is whisked to Air Force One and basically flown around for a while with a couple of stops, and then returns to Washington.  There are interviews with people from his press entourage, his own press team and others, as well as video footage which document this day.  We also see Dick Cheney at the White House in the bunker.  Sometimes communication was good between the president and the White House, and other times not so good. 
We also have the story of Rudolph Giuliani in New York.  I didn't know that he had actually been caught in the dust cloud in New York, but he was.  At one point there was a worry whether or not he had survived.
Another interesting tidbit is that the Secretary of Defense actually went and helped with rescue efforts, helping carry a stretcher before he realized he should be at his post and communicating with the president.
One must admit the world has been different since 9/11.  Security is more tight.  We have been through two wars; and Afghanistan and Iraq are still unsettled, as well as most of the Middle East.  We as Americans will never take for granted that we are safe from the reach of terrorism.
Great use of video and a great reminder of the horror.  200 people jumped off the towers to avoid the horror of the flame.  Almost 3000 people died that tragic day.
I would recommend this documentary.  It seems to give a more fair and balanced assessment of the day.  It also explains what was happening behind the scenes. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Documetary Review: Victory at Sea: Full Fathom Five

This is part of a series of TB episodes about WWII.  It was produced by NBC NEWS and first presented in 1953.  It is released now by The History Channel.  There is an added narrator, Peter Graves which seems to have been added after it aired originally as he is in color and the rest in black and white.
This film makes a point that within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the submarine force was given orders and the go ahead to do what ever they could to stop Japanese shipping.  This included the go ahead to torpedo any Japanese vessel.  This documentary talks about the success they had in doing this, and shows many of the torpedo shots.  It also describes the vessels overcoming counter attack by the Japanese destroyers.  52 submarine vessels did not return during the war and were mark lost, presumed dead. 
The original narrator has an attitude of glorifying war, which is OK for 1953  but not so much for today.  However it is fascinating to see men in their environment, doing what they had to do.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: The Underground Railroad: A Primary Source History of the Journey to Freedom

The Underground Railroad: A Primary Source History of the Journey to Freedom, Philip Wolny, Primary Sources in American History, Rosen Publish, New York, NY., 2004.
 
I like this book.  The idea of including primary source material in the book is very good, and at the end of the book there is transcribed versions of some of the material used.  This book focuses on the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad.  It includes a political map of the United States, and shows the great division in terms of free and slave states.  It also talks of the Underground Railroad as an entity of people helping slaves reach freedom.  Some traveled to the South, and went disguised as a gentleman or a field hand, so as to get close to the slaves and inform them of the chance to run.  Others worked behind the scenes, helping the slaves head North.  Canada was the likely destination as there they were beyond the reach of the slave hunters.  This talks provides information about anti-slave newspapers, the climate in which these newspapers were published, and the measure people went to, to gain their freedom, including shipping yourself in a box.  Secret messages were passed in songs, and in quilt squares.  It talks about the conductors, people who lead the slaves, and the station houses, houses where runaways could hole up..  Often these homes were marked with a candle in an upper room.  Hiding places were sometimes elaborate.
The book talks about prominent abolitionists including Frederick Douglas and John Brown.  One of the primary sources was excerpts from the statement made by John Brown before he was hung.  Open revolt was rare, but it did occur.  The most famous was Nat Turner, who with a group of other slaves murdered over 55 people in a rampage before he was caught.  Those murdered were all white and included women and children.  John Brown predicted that the only way to resolve the issue of slavery was with much blood.  He was right.  This book concludes with Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation.
I didn’t like the introduction.  It uses the imagine if you and tries to put the reader in the shoes of a runaway slave.  Imagine if doesn’t get to me. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Review: The Mormon Battalion from Sam Brannan and the California Mormons


Sam Brannan and the California Mormons Paul Bailey, Westernlore Press, Los Angeles, CA, 1943
Sam Brannon and his story are intermingled with the history of California, and especially Mormons in California.  There are a couple chapters that deal almost exclusively with the Mormon Battalion. 
The Mormon Battalion:  In 1846 the United states government asked the Mormon church for 500 volunteers to help in the war against Mexico.  This was a method for the government to help support the migration of the Mormons, while also having the services of these men to secure Southern California.  They began their march to San Diego July 20, 1846; first to Fort Leavenworth to be outfitted and armed.  The original commander was Colonel James Allen, who became ill and died.  Lieutenant A.J. Smith took over command as the highest ranking regular.  The Battalion did not like him, nor the Dr. George Sanderson who came with him.  The doctor would give Calomel and arsenic for treatment of malaria, while before they had related on herbs and priesthood power.  The poor treatment by the Lieutenant and the doctor are documented in this poem by Levi Hancock: 
A doctor which the government
Has furnished, proves a punishment!
At his rude call of “Jim Along Joe,” (his concoction)
The sick and halt to him must go.
Both night and morn, this call is heard;
Our indignation then is stirred,
And we sincerely wish in hell,
His arsenic and calomel.
Many of the battalion were sent back in sick groups so as to not slow their progress.  These congregated to Pueblo and then regrouped with the migrating Saints.  When they reached Santa Fe, the lieutenant was replaced with Colonel Philip St. George Cooke.  At Santa Fe also all the women and more invalid troops were sent to Pueblo.  The men respected him more, but still hard things were required of them.  The hard things included pioneering a trail, which meant taking a wagon with them.  They men had to pull the wagon, which was a hardship.  The not only pioneered a southern trail, but also dug wells.  They arrived at the Pacific north of San Diego, and followed the coast to San Diego where they were employed making improvements.   In San Diego the troops were divided, with some garrisoning San Diego and others to make a fort in Los Angeles to protect against Indian attack.  General Kearney had arrived some weeks before the battalion and finished the fighting with General Pico.  Mustering out for most of the battalion took place July 18, 1847.  Only a few stayed on for garrison work.  Colonel Cooke praised them heartily.  “History may be searched in vain for a equal march of infantry.  Half of it has been through a wilderness, where nothing but savages and wild beasts are found, or deserts where, for want of water, there is no living creature.  There with almost hopeless labor, we have dug wells, which the future traveler will enjoy.  Without a guide who had traversed them we have ventured into trackless tablelands where water was not found for several marches.  With crowbar and pick, and axe in hand, we worked our way over mountains, which seemed to defy aught save the wild goat, and hewed a pass through a chasm of living rock more narrow than our wagons.  To bring the first wagons to the pacific, we have preserved the strength of our mules by herding them over large tracts, which you have laboriously guarded without loss.”
 

Movie Review: Harriet Tubman: Family History Classics

Nest Entertainment produced this animated historical film using the talents of Richard Rich.  This is generally an accurate portrayal of Tubman's exploits.  She was truly a hero.  She was a slave, who ran to freedom, and then returned to slave country to rescue her family and others.  There were a couple changes I would like to have seen.  One of the characters shows a map of the underground railroad.  I do not think any such map would have been used as people did not want to leave such physical evidence.  Above all the system was secret, and each person would do their bit, but avoid knowing too much about the next person.
I also would have changed the music.  I understand Tubman would sing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" to let people know she was around, and that conditions were good to make a run away.  This presentation had a syrupy modern song.  The original African music would have been more appropriate. 
The presentation points out the Tubman made 17 dangerous trips into slave territory, even when there was a $40,000 reward on her head.  She brought over 300 people to freedom.  She was known as Little
Moses to the slave community. The film ends showing them taking this picture when she was 93 years old.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book Review: Sam Brannan and the California Mormons Paul Bailey, Westernlore Press, Los Angeles, CA 1943

This book is a good read to someone fascinated with California Mormon history.  My only complaint is the author ascribes emotions to Brannan he may not have had.  It tells the life of Brannan, the Mormon Battalion and the founding of San Bernardino.  In this section I talk about Sam Brannan.
 
Sam Brannan and his story are intermingled with the history of California.  He was the state’s first promoter, first millionaire, first defendant in a civil case.  He was also much more, building cities in Sacramento and san Francisco.  Within this book are more stories than just the story of Sam Brannan, but also other early California Mormons.
Sam Brannan and the Brooklyn.  Because Brannan was convinced he was pioneering the way for a large Mormon community, into the hold of the Brooklyn went “agricultural and mechanical implements for eight hundred men; scythes, plows, hoes, forks, shovels, plow-irons, glass; blacksmith, carpenter and millwright tools; equipment for three grain mills; turning lathes and sawmill irons; printing equipment and two years’ supply of paper.  There were such staples as brass, copper, tin and crockery ware, dry goods, and an immense supply of school books and slates.  Two milch cows, forty pigs, and crates of fowls were loaded aboard to make certain Zion had an agricultural start.” (P 58)  Other interesting items on board was a case or two of smooth bore muskets.  The voyage carried 238 passengers, 70 men, 68 women and 100 children.  The ship was captained by Captain Richardson.  “To prepare meals a Negro cook and Negro steward had been hired.
All was not easy sailing for this vessel.  The hit storm conditions shortly after leaving New York, which storm took them almost to Africa and the Cape Verde islands.  Brannon dealt with the fear and nervousness by telling the Saints to sing.  They sand “The Spirit of God” and “We are going to California.”  The captain gave up hope at one point, telling the passengers to prepare for the worst.  “He was astonished and shamed by their show of composure in the face of danger.  And then, when death and watery grave seem most imminent, the wind suddenly shifted, and died to sailing breeze.”  (p 60)  They rounded the Cape Horn, and tried to resupply at Valparaiso.  A storm prevented this, so they stopped at Juan Fernandez Island, where they were able to get fresh water, and fresh meat (wild pigs and goats, and fish) without price. 
Their next stop was The Sandwich Islands or Hawaii.  They had to unload cargo there.  Commodore Stockton was there, and had a private meeting with Brannan.  He encouraged him to go to San Francisco (there goal all along) so as to Easternize and conquer the area for the United States.  While in Hawaii the passengers of course learned of the Mexican War and that the United States was fighting to take over California.  150 stands of military arms were placed on board the Brooklyn at Hawaii. 
Sam Brannan and Company was organized as a United Order, and signed by the Saints while on board the Brooklyn.  This gave Brannan considerable control of the assets of the group.  Among other things they would give the proceeds of their labor to fund for six years; the fund was controlled by Brannan. 
The men drilled with the muskets for part of the voyage.  They also had uniforms made.  Brannan was hoping to take California for the United States.  Captain Richardson prevented such drilling after they left Hawaii.  He was a peaceful man and his ship was a merchant vessel. 
When the Brooklyn arrived in San Francisco, the sloop Portsmouth had preceded them, and conquered Yerba Buena for the United States.  Brannan’s chance for military glory and conquest was foiled, but most of the settlers were relieved.
One of the first activities was to pay the debt to Captain Richardson.  They did this by harvesting redwoods from the Marin Peninsula.  Another item of business was to construct a house for Brannan and his family.  A house where most Mormons were not welcome as Brannan gained financial success and status. 
 
The first jury trial took place in Yerba Buena (shortly to be renamed San Francisco after the bay)  was many of the Mormons suing Sam Brannan for the strict nature of the Sam Brannan and Company agreement.  The civil mayor ruled in favor of Brannan.
With the Company resources, Brannan purchased the ship Comet, and sent it up the Sacramento, and San Joaquin rivers with 20 men, to where he had heard of fertile fields.  The New Hope group found the fertile soil, on the banks of the Stanislaus River just before it empties into the San Joaquin.  They planted the first wheat in the valley.  However they could not overcome their grievances towards each other.  William Stout, who was the leader of the small group, declared that the first home and farm built would be his.  He was following the pattern he had seen with Sam Brannan.  All were upset.  When Brannan visited, he declared the first house would be for the apostles.  He then headed east to present Brigham Young with the idea of moving the body of the Saints to California.
He traveled through the Sierra’s in early Spring.  This had been the year of the Donner Party.  He did not stop to bury the dead but left this to others.  He found Young in Wyoming, still far from the Great Basin.  Try as he might, Young was insistent that the Saints were not going to California.  The Lord had other plans.  He returned with a Captain of the Mormon Battalion, the invalid company who was coming to California as payee for the other invalid members who had traveled to Pueblo and then met with the Saints in Wyoming, to request the discharge pay for the members.  (This discharge pay would purchase Fort Goodyear which would become Ogden.)  The Battalion Captain was also entrusted with letters for the Saints. 
Brannan became upset, and left the Captain behind on the return trip.  He reported to the Brooklyn Saints that Young was not coming to California.  A few days later they received word from Young that the Saints were gathering in the Great Basin, and they could either come there or get jobs in California for now.  The majority traveled to the Great Basin, but some remained in the area, including the Battalion members who helped in the discovery of gold.
More than anything Brannan was a Californiac.  He published the California Star, and prepared a paper to sent east describing the positive aspects of California.  Just before this paper was published, Brannan heard of gold on the American River and included a paragraph.  Brannan made preparations, buying all available stock and setting up a store in Sacramento.  It was also Brannan, who when he was prepared, emptied San Francisco by getting some gold in a medicine vial, and going through San Francisco with “Gold, gold, there is gold on the American River.”  San Francisco basically emptied.   
Sam Brannan built and empire.  He is California’s first millionaire.  Another think should be told about Brannan’s start.  Who would visit the gold fields and collect tithing from the Mormons, usually at a rate of 20 percent.  This collection never reached the church.  It became the seed money for Brannan’s endeavors.  All efforts by the church to get this money were fruitless.  Brannan said he would require a note from God to deliver the money.  Brannan became bitter towards the church.  Brigham Young had written to Brannan, “But should you withhold, when the Lord says give, , your hopes and pleasing prospects will be blasted in an hour you think not of—and no arm can save.” (P 174, Journal history April, 5, 1849)
Brannan prospered for some time.  His wife and children all went to Europe.  His children went to school there.  However san Francisco had a period of lawlessness and problems.  There were four or five arson fires in succession, which were used as times to gather the property of others.  Brannan was instrumental in organizing a vigilance committee.  The local law enforcement were enmeshed with the outlaw community.  The committee hanged some of the criminals, and some they sent back to Australia.
In addition to San Francisco and Sacramento, Brannan became interested in developing Calistoga.  However the people there were not as interested in have someone from San Francisco buying up properties.  He was shot visiting Calistoga, and walked with a limp after this.
Brannan and his wife Eliza grew more and more apart.  She, like her husband stopped affiliating with the church.  Finally Eliza petitioned for divorce.  She wanted half of everything, but she didn’t want property, she wanted cash.  Brannan had to sell off many properties, and less than they were worth to pay off his wife for over just under a million dollars.  This was the beginning of the end of Brannan’s empire.  Lack of funds after selling so much to pay his wife, left him on a down ward spiral.  He had donated money many places, but there was no one to stop his own personal crash. 
He had given money and raised troops for Mexico to oust the French, and was able to finagle this into a land grant.  He hoped to set up a community of North Americans paying high properties for his real estate.  This did not happen.  In poor health he returned to the United States, San Diego area.  He passed away destitute.  His body laid in a vault for over a year before his nephew came and buried him.  No one attended his funeral, and there was no head stone until many years after his burial. 
His wife also lost all her money.  She squandered it in bad investments and gambling.  Her children were also left without the financial resources they once had.  Brannan in his will left each of his children $1.  He said this was because his wife took all his money, and then turned the children against him.  He was a bitter man even to the end.