Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Review: What Caused the War of 1812

What Caused the War of 1812 by Sally Senzell Isaacs, Crabtree Publishing Company, St. Catharines, Ontario, 2011.  The title of is book asks a question I have wondered about.  It only gives a partial answer.  It says basically the war was declared by President James Madison because Great Britain did not respect our rights on the sea and would board our ships and press people to be in their navy.  It later talks about more complexity.  However this war was the closest vote in congress ever over a declaration of war.  The vote was along party lines.  Other factors entering in were the desire by some to annex Canada, the disruption of westward expansion because of British interference and the British would arm the Indians.  Also playing a role was the French and British wars which lead to both sides putting a blockade against America.  They final word was that being recognized as a free country with a right to the seas.  It was felt Britain did not respect this right.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Documentary Review: The War: Episode Two: When Things Get Tough

This second film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick for PBS deals mostly with the war against the Nazis.  The Americans enter the war in Northern Africa, and soon realize they are ill prepared and lack experience.  The experience they have to get very quickly after being abused by General Rommel and his men.  When General Patton takes over the U.S. II Corp.  With renewed morale the Britsh and American were able to force the Nazis out of Africa.
However the Russian Allies were depending on the Americans to create a second front in Europe.  This was first done in Cicily, and then moving into Italy itself.  The A.llies were able depose Musolinni, but the Nazis put up terrible resistance and prevented the taking of Rome.
The air campaign over Europe was brutal for the American flyers who were sent on daring daytime raids.  Trying to knock out a ball bearing factory they lost hundreds of planes in two attempts, losing over 1000 flyers.  Life expectancy among the flyers was terrible.  The U.S. Could not cover them with fighter escorts all the way.  After these two tragic missions, e leaders rethought their strategy, with only closer runs being made until longer range fighters could be developed.  They also changed their focus toward they German air forces.  They were able to wear them down.  The Germans continued to make planes faster than they were lost, but couldn't train pilots fast enough, especially with shortages of fuel.
This episode does not deal with the Pacific Campaign other than showing the plight of the POWS.  They were kept in missereble conditions, often tort ores or executed.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mormon Handcart Rescuer: One-armed George Washington Bean (25)

That a one handed man would be part of the rescuers is unusual.  George had lost his hand at the age of 18 when test firing a canon.  The officer firing with him was killed and George severely injured.  During his life over 200 splinters were removed from his body, from the ramrod that disintegrated.  His hand was torn off, and arm amputated 3 1/2 inches below the elbow.  He was near death and for some time wished he could die.  He could not see as he had scabs over his eyes from burns.  Brigham Young asked him if he wanted to live.  He said yes, if he could do any good and Brigham blessed him rebuking the destroyer.  From that point he started to recover.  The scabs fell from his eyes the next day and he could see.
His family was among those of Quincy Illinois, who took the Saints in when they were so distressed.  They accepted the gospel, and were driven out with the Saints when the left Illinois.  He married at age 21 to a girl he met in Utah.
One service George performed was to learn native American languages.  The Indians called him Poorets, meaning one-armed man.  He was able to solve many problems between white settlers because of his language skills but also because of his empathy.
He had to retrain himself how to do things with one hand.  He developed a knife fork combo for himself.  One of the hardest things for him to learn was how to drive a team with one hand, as it would have four harnesses.  He was able to teach himself this skill, and drove a team carrying supplies to the handcart pioneers.  After this odyssey, the took S.S. Jones form the Martin Handcart Company into their home.

Taken from "Tell My Story Too" by Jolene Allphin

Friday, September 25, 2015

Documentary Review: The War: A Necessary War (2007)

This is the first episode of the PBS WWII series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.  In this series they introduce us to four communities, Sacramento, California; Mobile, Alabama; Waterbury, Connecticut; and Luverne, Minnesota.  We see life in the United States during the first part of the war, before the U.S. involvement.  The war started in 1939, and the U.S. became involved in 1941.  The show does a very good representation of Pearl Harbor and the reaction around the county.  It gives individual accounts on why people enlisted, or how they were drafted.  This first episode documents in internment of over 100,000 Japanese Americans.  It points out that early in 1942, the Axis were in control.  The U.S. were defeated in the Philippines with the surrender of 85,000 men in the Bataan Peninsula.  This is the most Americans ever surrendered in one event.  However by the end the Allies had gained their first victory in the Pacific at Midway; and were on Guadalcanal and repelling all efforts to oust them.  They would hold the island.
I really enjoy this series so far because it relies on actual footage, and interview with people who were there; and not on reenactment.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mormon Handcart Rescuer: James Barker, 29

James Barker, 29
James Barker is a rescuer who would bear the burden of the effects of the cold the rest of his life.  James Barker settled in the Ogden area after immigrating to Utah in 1849.  He was married in 1851.  In 1856 he accepted a call to help with the rescue of the handcart pioneers. 
He and a companion were sent to bring back a couple cattle that had wandered away from the rescuers.  It was very cold. It took them a couple of hours to find the cattle.  By the time they did, the campfire had gone out and they had difficulty finding camp.  They eventually did find camp but Brother Barker was frost bit in his hands and would have arthritis in his hands the rest of his life.  They were practically useless.
Even so he was a successful farmer.  He was the first to introduce the red delicious apple to Utah.  He used many farm hands, and family hands to help with his farming enterprise.  His goal was to leave a farm to each of his male children, and make sure his daughters were also provided for.  His wife, Polly was a noted midwife and local curer.  She received calls from many locals as well as Native Americans. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mormon Handcart Rescuer and Wellsville Settler: Nathan Bankhead

It is notable that an African American slave was among the handcart rescuers.  Dan Jones made a list of the rescuers, and included Tom Bankhead.  This was actually Nate Bankhead.  Nate had come to Utah in 1848 with the John Bankhead family as a slave.  The bank heads were from the South.  There were no laws about slavery, so basically it was tolerated, but the slave could choose not to be a slave.  Nate likely preceded his master's family to Utah to prepare the way for them.  He and his brother also drove wagons in support of the immigrants.  In 1856 he was asked to help with the rescue.  Not much is known about his service, but he was with the first wave of rescuers, an subject to. The same winter storms and cold.  He likely helped the Willie Company into the Valley.
Even though Nate Bankhead may have still been a slave, he was basically emancipated.  However he still an interest in the war and was routing for the South to be defeated.  In 1859 he traveled with John Bankhead to Cache Valley to help the early settlers with threshing.  He stayed and settled in Wellsville where he had a large garden.  One of his sons, George, settled in Mt. Sterling and gives the name to Cooky's Hollow, his nick mane.  
Nathan and his brothers and children in the area were a Lively group and sought out to provide music for dances.  Nathan was a caller.  They could also add to any social occasion with conversation and good spirit.  The color of their skin was really not an issue, and one of Nathan's daughter said she didn't realize she was Black as a child.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mormon Handcart Rescuer: Robert Angus Bain

As a 26 year old young adultRobert Bain had a special interest in the handcart rescue, his family was traveling with the Willie Handcart Company. Despite his poor health he felt he must help.  His health improved as he traveled.   He was behind the first rescuers.  He looked for them at Fort Bridger, but was disappointed as they were not there.  He finally met the handcart pioneers after they had crossed the Green River.  He found all but his mother, who had just wandered off to die, but not in front of her children.  He found her under some sagebrush.  She was wasted away.  He gathered her in his arms and gave her some bread he had.  He brought her to camp and every day she regained more of her health.  Upon arriving they were taken in by Brother Willie.
Summarized from "Tell My Story Too" by Jolene Allphin

Monday, September 21, 2015

Handcart Rescuer: Redick Newton Allred

Redick Allred was quick to volunteer for the rescue operation, and was with George Grant, rescuer captain, with the first group that headed east with ten wagons of supplies.  They encountered an early storm and from that time he suffered with pleurisy.  They continued on but they were met with another storm. This was the same atom that got the stranded the handcarts.  Redick was asked to stay and watch cached supplies.  This would afford supplies for the pioneers after they were rescued, give more room for pioneers on the wagons and allow them to leave much of he slower cattle behind.  He waited for them at South Pass.  Some of the other rescuers who  stayed with him became convinced the pioneers were dead or stopped in the East. They tried to convince Redick to return to the Valley. This he would not do.  His determination earned him the nickname of "bulldog" from Captain Grant.  Brother Allred put it this way in his journal:
Brother Allred mentioned when he met Captain Grant on 17 Nov, 30 days after being left, Captain Grant said, "Hurrah for the Bull Dog—good for a hang on." (Allred, CH)  Allred, a former member of the  Mormon Battalion made this comment about his efforts.  “Thus ended one of the hardest & most successful Missions I had ever performed, for although the Mission with the Mormon Battalion was long hard & tedious, & therefore very severe, yet this was Short & Sharp in the extreme.” (ibid)

Taken from "Tell My Story Too" by Jolene Allphin and the unpublished history I am writing of Isaac Wardle.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Documentary Review: The Cokeville Miracle: Inside Room 4: The Survivors' Testimonies

This is part of the bonus material for The Cokeville Miracle movie.  The Cokeville Movie is the story of a terrorist attack on the elementary school of Cokeville, in which over a hundred students and their teacher were held hostage for over two hours under the threat of being shot or bombed.  They brought a home made bomb with them.  The bomb in fact went off in the school.  However no one was killed but the attackers.  Many of the children described angels who were with them.  These angels often turned out to be deceased ancestors.  One of the attackers, Doris, accidentally ignited the bomb and set herself on fire.
These interviews are fascinating.  In the interviews we see and hear the real people from the movie, albeit almost 30 years after the fact.  There are interviews with townspeople, students kindergarten to sixth grade at the time of the bombing, high school students, parents, and public officials.  It is truly an incredible story, and made even more real and poignant by the interviews.   The officer who conducted the investigation, who did not believe in angels, described how he came to believe.  The physical evidence matched what people were telling him, and when the two match, what other choice is there.
The students were able to talk about the emotional scars they still carry.  Some are hyper-vigilant to this day, and some avoid crowds.  It seems the process of coming together to talk about the event for this film was a healing process for those who took part.  However, I am sure there is more healing to do.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Book Review: Abraham Lincoln'c Gettysburg Address Illustrated

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address Illustrated by Jack E. Levin preface: Mark Levine, Threshold editions, New York, 2010.

This is just what the title says.  An illustrated version of the Gettysburg address with line by line illustrations.  It shows the men who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and reminds us to not let their deaths be in vain.  In the preface Mark Levin tells about his father, and how he came to produce such a book.  How fighting for freedom is important, and without being vigilant then freedom can be lost.  The last page of the book is a signed and dated version of the address.

Mormon Handcart Rescuer: Marshall Franklin Allen

Marshall Franklin Allen 23 when he participated in the rescue of 1856.  Frank at first decided not to go on the rescue.  It was too dangerous to be in the mountains that time of year and the risk was too great not knowing how far he would have to travel.  However he made it a matter of prayer, and had an answer before he had finished his prayer.  When Frank arrived at the Martin Compny campsite, he felt the need to go farther and look for stragglers.  He saw something in the hills, a speck.  However on investigating he discovered a young man who had been praying to die.  Frank got him on the horse and brought him to safety.  Frank settled in Hyrum, Utah.  Many years later he related this story to his grandchildren, with their ore grandparents present, George Housley.  George recognized the story as himself being rescued, and said it was his mother's prayers which kept him alive until help arrived.  George was almost 20 at the time, but small in stature,andthinfrom lack of food so looked younger.
Taken from "Tell My Story Too" by: Jolene Allphin

Thursday, September 17, 2015

John Toone: Martin Handcart Company Leader

John Toone heard the missionaries, and new what they preached was true, however did not join the church until five years after as he was entrenched with the Methodist Church and unsure what to do.  When he decided to be baptized, his wife followed shortly after.  John and his wife were acquainted with hardship as two of their first five children died young.  He and his family emigrated to Utah in 1852.  John Toone played the cello.  He managed to transport this in the wagon when he came to Salt Lake.  At one point he used the instrument to calm a group of Native Americans who came into camp.  He settled in the Avenues area of Salt Lake City.  He was called on his first mission in 1854, and had just been released for health reasons when he traveled with those who would join the Martin Handcart Company.  For the first part of the trek he traveled with the Jesse Haven group as the sub-captain.   This group combined with the Martin Handcart Company in Florence, Nebraska.  While in Florence, Langley Bailey’s mother came John Toone seeking a blessing.  He declined saying he could not raise the dead.  Subsequently Franklin Richards gave Langley a blessing, promising he would make it to the Valley.   
Brother Toone played a prominent role in the performing arts community of Salt Lake City.  He was instrumental in the construction of the Salt Lake Theater and played in the Mineer Band.  He also served the community as school teacher and doctor.  He was instrumental in administering vaccines when they were first available.  He relocated to Croydon, Morgan County Utah, but still continued to visit Salt Lake regularly to perform and visit his children. 
Mineer Band, John Toone on right with cello
Taken form "Tell my Story Too by; Jolene Allphin and Langley Bailey writings from LDS.org

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Elizabeth White: Hunt Wagon Company Pioneer

Elizabeth White was eighteen when she traveled with her mother and siblings.  They traveled in the Hunt Company, which traveled with the Martin Handcart Company and were available to give them assistance.  They assisted the handcart pioneers at the last crossing of the Platte.  "Some of our man went through the river seventy-five times."  Elizabeth it seems was lively and optimistic.  Someone wrote a poem about her.

"While some were discouraged, downhearted and sad
Kind words were spoken which made our hearts glad
By little 'Miss White,' for that was her name
'Twill be brighter tomorrow so do not complain.'"

The hardest part of the journey was getting over Big Mountain in the snow.  She had to wear men's boots.  She was too short to fit into the footprints already made in the snow.  Upon seeing Salt Lake City it appeared "a patch of sagebrush covered with snow". Only upon arriving in town could the actually see it.
She was taken in by the bishop of Draper, whom she married, being his second wife.  The had eleven chiodren.

contributors: Tell My Story Too by Jolene Allphin and I Walked to Zion by Susan Arrington Madsen

Friday, September 11, 2015

Documentary Review: Chariots of the Gods

This film is older, but opened up my mind many years ago to the thought of extraterrestrials.  It starts with talking of the impossibility of the pyramids and then goes throughout Africa and Europe showing ancient pictures of astronauts.  It then switches to The Americas where we see the pyramids in Mexico, Aztecs and Mayan.  This film ends in the desert of Peru, where there are lines in the desert, which make interesting designs from the air--a humming bird, an eagle, a beetle.  Makes you think.  I see some of the things they quote as evidence of Jesus' visit to the Americas.

9/11 MXL - Not for the faint hearted (18+ ONLY)

This documentary explores the jumpers among other things.  You see Mayor Giuliani's reaction to seeing someone jumping.  If you don't want to see this, don't watch the documentary.  One thing I didn't remember about this day was how close the two attacks were to each other; Only fifteen minutes apart.  This documentary concludes with the collapse of the two buildings.  There is a brief comment by the engineer who designed the buildings.  This film makes you think and remember that horrible day.
I also noted that there are available through You Tube numerous live newscasts form the day.  watching these more than anything reminds me of this terrible day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Documentary Review: Memories of a WWII Hero: Captain Brown's Story

This biographical documentary tells the story of Eric Brown who served in WWII as a Navy pilot.  He became a pilot before the war, and was invited to Nazi Germany on a couple of occasions; as propaganda trips for the Nazis as he was shown the might of the German pilots.  He witnessed Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics.  He also happened to be in Germany when war between the German's and the British began.  He was arrested, and then escorted to the Swiss border and released with his car.
At the beginning of the war he was assigned to a carrier.  This carrier had been converted, so the landing deck wasn't long.  However Brown was very good at landing all the same.  This boat was sunk by a submarine, and most of the men aboard perished.  Brown was with a couple other pilots who survived.  He was then transferred to test piloting, focused on landing and taking off from aircraft carriers.  After the war he continued as a test pilot.  He was part of the attempts to break the sound barrier.  A fellow pilot's plane disintegrated.  When he had made the same flight he also had problems, and only in slowing the plan did he save himself.  He also felt his small stature played a part.  His nick name was winkle because of his stature.
He was the first person to land a jet on an aircraft carrier.  He also took off.  Thus began a new era in aviation and military warfare.  He flew planes from bi-planes to supersonic jets.  During his career he flew 487 different types of aircraft making a record.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Documentary Review: Fleetwood Mac: Behind the Music

Fleetwood Mac is an enigma in terms of bands are concerned in that this band included two couples.  Along with that there marital spats, and breakups.  The couple were Christine and John McVie and Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.  The fifth member was drummer Mick Fleetwood.  All this was over the background of the band becoming famous in a very short time.  Fleetwood Mac was an English band, which was joined by a couple form the U.S., Nicks and Buckingham. Their second album, Rumours, is one of the biggest selling of all time with over 40 million copies sold.  The relationship problems predate the release of this album.  These issues, as well as drugs, would wear the group down over time.  They stayed together for years in this environment.  The separated for about ten yers are then came back together.  Christine is not a current member of the band.

Historic Iowa Amana Colonies

The Amana Colonies were established in 1856.  The included seven communal communities.  They were founded by Germans, who had left Germany because of religious persecution.  The called themselves "The Community of True Inspiration." They were able to maintain and independent lifestyle for over 80 years.  They made their own furniture and clothes.  They brought their craftsman skills with them from Germany, and then handed these skills down from generation to generation.   They used only hand, wind, horse and water power.
It was the depression that forced a change in focus.  Many of the communities during this time were having financial difficulties.  The communities were reorganized into two societies.  The religious would remain non-profit while the industry would reform as afor profit incorporation.