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Posts Tagged ‘myths’

Mansplaining about Dr. Joseph Warren (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

The first book devoted to Dr. Joseph Warren was Stories about General Warren: in Relation to the Fifth of March Massacre, and the Battle of Bunker Hill, a biography for young readers published in 1835. The anonymous author was the doctor’s niece Rebecca Brown (1789-1855), shown here courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Stories about General Warren took the form of a dialogue between a mother and two children named William and Mary, who say things like, “Did not all the boys like him, mamma? I am sure I should have liked him.”

The book was reviewed ...

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The Legend of Betsey Hagar (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

In his History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania (1891), Henry C. Bradsby set down this unusual anecdote of the aftermath of the Revolutionary War’s first day:
Betsey Hagar…was born in Boston in 1750, and at nine years of age was left alone in the world to shift for herself. She grew up on a farm, was of a strong muscular frame, and learned to do all rough farm work, as well as being an expert at the loom.

When the Revolution broke out she was at work for a man named Leverett, in his blacksmith shop; he was very ingenious, and ...

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Jeremiah Lee’s Very Bad Night (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Jeremiah Lee was a non-battlefield casualty of the fight on 18-19 Apr 1775. On the one hand, that’s appropriate because he was central to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress’s effort to build up an artillery force, which prompted the British army march tp Concord. On the other hand, Lee’s death was probably unnecessary.

Lee was a Marblehead merchant, militia commander, and member of the congress’s Committee on Supplies. He was the conduit for its payments to the Salem painter David Mason as he collected and mounted cannons.

On 18 April, Lee attended a joint meeting of the Committee ...

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“A humorous story told about town of one of the deserters” (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

On 20 Aug 1774, the young lawyer John Trumbull sent the following to his legal mentor John Adams, then on his way to the First Continental Congress:
There is a humorous story told about town of one of the deserters, though I cannot say it is absolutely to be depended upon as a fact: a soldier, whose name is Patrick, deserted sometime ago and settled in a country town at some distance, and there undertook to instruct a company of about fifty men in military exercises.

A sergeant and eight men were sent to apprehend deserters, ...

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Did Gouverneur Morris Slap Washington on the Shoulder? (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

A footnote in Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington, written largely by George Washington Parke Custis and edited by Benson J. Lossing in 1861, passes on this story:
It is related of the Honorable Gouverneur Morris, who was remarkable for his freedom of deportment toward his friends, that on one occasion he offered a wager that he could treat General [George] Washington with the same familiarity as he did others. This challenge was accepted, and the performance tried. Mr. Morris slapped Washington familiarly on the shoulder, and said, “How are you, this morning, general?” Washington made no ...

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A Mohegan Woman’s Deathbed Remarks (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

A recent issue of the Yale magazine offered a look at a newly recognized document in the handwriting of the Rev. Samson Occom. Apparently in 1776 he took down the deathbed statement of a young woman:
That December, a daughter of Mohegan leader Robert Ashbow, motivated by a religious vision, returned home after what appears to have been a long absence. By the end of the month, the young woman was dying. On Christmas Eve, Occom wrote an account of the last moments of her life, which included a conversation with her mother. (The daughter’s name, unfortunately, is ...

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Washington Jumping Rope and Sleeping with a Black Soldier (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Here are two anecdotes of Gen. George Washington and an African-American soldier from Massachusetts, as reported by the Rev. Henry F. Harringon in Godey’s Magazine and Lady’s Book, July 1849:
There lately died [in 1842 actually], in the city of Boston, a very respectable negro, named PRIMUS HALL. He lived to an advanced age, and was the possessor of considerable property. Throughout the Revolutionary war he was the body servant of the late Col. [Timothy] Pickering, of Massachusetts. He was free and communicative, and delighted to sit down with an interested listener and pour out those ...

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“Snowballs covering stones” at the Massacre (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

In his 1789 History of the American Revolution, the South Carolina physician and historian David Ramsay (1749-1815, shown here) wrote that the crowd at the Boston Massacre was “armed with clubs, sticks, and snowballs covering stones.”

I believe that’s the first printed statement that Bostonians packed snow around rocks to throw at the soldiers. Earlier I’ve said that the earliest place I’d found that detail stated was in Sgt. Roger Lamb’s Journal, published twenty years later. It appears Lamb picked up the detail from Ramsay.

Or from intervening authors. The “snowballs covering stones” also appeared in ...

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The Roots of the “Black Robed Regiment” in 2010 (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Yesterday’s look at Oklahoma legislator and minister Dan Fisher showed how he’s active in the “Black Robed Regiment,” a movement among some Christian pastors to be more militantly involved in politics.

I’m sure the “Black Robe(d) Regiment” phenomenon is worthy of deeper study. The short version, as summarized at Media Matters and at Wikipedia, is that it arose from a conversation between author David Barton and broadcaster Glenn Beck (shown here) in 2010 and was quickly picked up by like-minded ministers eager to become more involved in political affairs.

Barton’s Wallbuilders site includes an page promoting the movement while ...

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“Fisher is pushing for Christian-based governance” (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

The Oklahoma legislator who introduced the bill I quoted at such length yesterday is the Rev. Dan Fisher, pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in the city of Yukon.

The Tulsa World newspaper provided more background on how Fisher views the intersection of politics and religion:
As a member of the Black Robe Regiment, Fisher is pushing for Christian-based governance and challenging religious leaders to get political in the pulpit. The group also promotes Christian themes in education, including in history, civics and economics classes.

For years, Fisher has been giving public presentations in costume with his version of American ...

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The Ongoing Battle over Advanced Placement U.S. History (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

To continue this series of postings on controversial intersections of early American history and current American politics, here’s an update on the conservative attack on the new Advanced Placement U.S. History (“APUSH”) framework.

As I noted last fall, the school board in Jefferson County, Colorado, voted to create a special committee to review U.S. History classes. This month, however, the board decided the existing curriculum review process could do the job just fine.

In other parts of the country, state legislatures have taken up the anti-A.P. cause. There’s a bill in the Georgia senate that’s closely modeled on the ...

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Another Dimension for Battle Road? (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Last week the University of Pennsylvania library announced the purchase of a collection of manuscripts about the occult and alchemy.

The original collector was Charles Rainsford, a British army officer during the Revolutionary War (shown here). But he spent that period enlisting soldiers in the German states, as a ceremonial aide-de-camp to King George III, and suppressing riots in London. So ordinarily that news would hold limited interest for Boston 1775. But then I spotted a familiar name in Mitch Fraas’s announcement:
It was with excitement then that my colleagues and I read the catalog for the ...

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The Real Story of the Fake Sarah Munroe Letter (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Last week I noted a letter describing George Washington’s Presidential visit to Lexington in 1789. And I said it looked like a fake.

Polly Kienle of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum helpfully commented on that post confirming that young Sarah Munroe didn’t write that letter. Rather, it came from the pen of James Phinney Munroe (1862-1929), president of the Lexington Historical Society. And he spent years trying to live it down.

On 5 Nov 1889, J. P. Munroe wrote, he was invited to speak about the hundredth anniversary of Washington’s visit at a public dinner. He recalled, “Wishing ...

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Top Honors from the Journal of the American Revolution (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

The Journal of the American Revolution just announced its 2014 Book of the Year Award.

The winning title is Dangerous Guests: Enemy Captives and Revolutionary Communities During the War for Independence, by Ken Miller. The Continental authorities housed 13,000 British and Hessian prisoners of war around Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and this is an in-depth study of how that affected the community. I haven’t read this book myself—without a New England connection, other titles keep going higher on my list—but I’ve heard good things.

Shortlisted and receiving honorable mentions are:
Nick Bunker, An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to ...

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President Washington in Sickness and in Lexington (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Having spent many autumn days outdoors meeting lots of American citizens, on 26 Oct 1789 President George Washington…got sick.

He wrote in his diary:
The day being Rainy & Stormy—myself much disordered by a Cold and inflamation in the left eye, I was prevented from visiting Lexington (where the first blood in the dispute with G. Britn.) was drawn. . . . in the Evening I drank Tea with Govr. [John] Hancock & called upon Mr. [James] Bowdoin on my return to my lodgings.
(The President’s encounters with Gov. Hancock will be the focus of T. ...

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John Hancock and the Bombarding of Boston (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

On 4 July 1812, the young Attorney General of the United States, Richard Rush, delivered an Independence Day oration to the House of Representatives. His main message was about how wise it was to go to war with Great Britain again.

For that speech Rush had consulted notes of his father, Dr. Benjamin Rush, about details of the last war with Great Britain, which had gone so well. According to Henry A. Hawken’s study of Fourth of July orations, Trumpets of Glory, the elder Rush wasn’t pleased that his son pulled him into the debate over the ...

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“Sergeant Smith and His White Horse” (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

In Anecdotes of the American Revolution, published in 1845, the anonymous compiler John Lauris Blake included this story titled “Sergeant Smith and His White Horse”:
At the very first exhibition of American courage, which proved so fatal to the British troops in their excursion to Lexington and Concord, Sergeant Smith showed himself a skilful marksman. Learning from rumor, which seemed to have spread that night with a speed almost miraculous, the destination of the detachment, he arose from his bed, equipped himself with cartridges and a famous rifle he had used at Lovell’s fight at Fryeburg, saddled ...

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The Sons of Liberty Medal (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

In 1874 James Kimball wrote in the Essex Institute Historical Collections:
The following is from a private manuscript in my possession, written by Col. John Russell in 1850, whose father was one of the “Sons,” and an active participator during those stirring scenes (with Paul Revere, [Thomas] Melville, [Samuel] Sprague, etc.), a school master living during the war on Temple street, Boston.

Col. Russell says, “The Sons of Liberty consisted of an association of spirited men, who were determined to resist the oppressive edicts of the British Ministry, and to sustain and support each ...

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Who Said “Hang Separately”? (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

In his Memoirs of His Own Time, first published in 1811, Alexander Graydon wrote:
Both the brothers, John and Richard Penn [shown here], had been governors of Pennsylvania; the former being in office at the beginning of hostilities.

By yielding to the torrent, which it would have been impossible to withstand, he gave no offence, and avoided reproach; though it was deemed expedient to have him secured and removed from Philadelphia, on the approach of the royal army in the year 1777. Mr. Richard Penn, having no official motives for reserve, was even upon terms of familiarity with ...

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Inoculation Lecture in Weymouth, 19 Nov. (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

On Wednesday, 19 November, the Abigail Adams Historical Society in Weymouth will present a program on “The History of Inoculation and Vaccination: The Experience of the Adams Family and the Modern Perspective.”

David Jones, M.D., Ph.D., the A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, will provide a historical perspective on smallpox inoculation, highlighting the experiences of the Adams family.

John Adams’s mother was a Boylston, niece of the doctor who had done the first inoculations in Boston decades before, Zabdiel Boylston. His work as a lawyer riding the circuit ...

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Inoculation Lecture in Weymouth, 19 Nov. (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

On Wednesday, 19 November, the Abigail Adams Historical Society in Weymouth will present a program on “The History of Inoculation and Vaccination: The Experience of the Adams Family and the Modern Perspective.”

David Jones, M.D., Ph.D., the A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, will provide a historical perspective on smallpox inoculation, highlighting the experiences of the Adams family.

John Adams’s mother was a Boylston, niece of the doctor who had done the first inoculations in Boston decades before, Zabdiel Boylston. His work as a lawyer riding the circuit ...

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“Washington Elm” Exhibit in Cambridge (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

On Thursday, 13 November, the Cambridge Historical Society hosts an opening reception for its special exhibit on “The Washington Elm,” featuring the photography of Bruce Myren (one example shown here).

That elm, as I’ve discussed, was associated in the late 1800s with a moment on 3 July 1775 when Gen. George Washington was said to have taken command of the Continental Army, often pictured as drawn up in ranks for his review.

In reality, Washignton probably took command indoors on 2 July 1775 when he met Gen. Artemas Ward, and he and Gen. Charles Lee inspected the ...

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The Evidence for Paine as a Staymaker (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

As I discussed yesterday, a claim appeared on Wikipedia last month that Thomas Paine started out making stays for sailing ships, not stays for women to wear, and that Paine’s political enemies misrepresented him as a maker of underwear.

This fraud apparently fooled every historian and biographer who has written about Paine. At least, the citations that Wikipedia editor “Jkfkauia” inserted after that statement did not actually name any scholar who had seen through the ruse. In fact, those citations offer no outside support for the new statement.

Normally I’d point out that “Jkfkauia” has the responsibility to ...

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This Season’s New Paine Claim (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Last month, on 24 September, someone signed in to Wikipedia as “Jkfkauia” in order to revise the Thomas Paine entry. He or she explained the editing this way:
(I am correcting a widely repeated piece of insulting misinformation about Thomas Paine. He was involved in youth with making rope stays used on sailing ships, NOT the stays used in corsets. This lie about his life story was invented by his foes.)
Wikipedia records four other edits by “Jkfkauia” in 2012 and 2013, none having to do with eighteenth-century history.

The section on Paine’s early life now reads in part:
...

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