Monday, June 29, 2009

"Today In Fayetteville" November 30, 1917

Another interesting look into Fayette Countys past:                              

                               The Fayetteville News
                                       November 30, 1917

Extract from letter of Pvt. Joseph B. Speer, Baker Co., I Camp Lee, Petersburg, VA September 29, 1917

I arrived here this morning, Thursday at 10:30. We didn't leave Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga. till Wednesday on account of transportation. Woudn't send us until they could get a Pullman on fast through train. We were about 30 hours- fast riding, getting here. I passed through tunnels, over mountain passes, across big rivers and saw sights worth seeing, sure had a fine trip and you can't realize what a farewell a soldier gets on leaving his home state in passing through towns where trains stop to get water and change crews.

Many thanks for the ginger cakes, got them just before leaving Fort Oglethorpe and they sure did help out on our trip. We have good fare here, chicken, fish, eggs, butter, ham, coffee, oranges, cake ets., so don't worry on that line. We have the best cook in the whole army, he gets a good price too. Our Captain is the best ever, all of our officers are fine. Our Company is nearly all from Georgia, some from North Carolina. 

We are in a fine section of the country and fine people too, just let them find out you are in the Regular Army and 700 miles from home and they invite you to church with them and home with them for dinner, and you will have good times and plenty of friends.

Some Sunday afternoons we go to Richmond or Norfolk and down to the beach where we look out across the deep blue, toward France. It is grand to go out a mile and a half in a small row boat and go aboard a large battleship when at anchor and see the waves coming and get the spray of salt water in your eyes. I want to go across some day.

The Virginia State Fair begins at Richmond 20 miles from here next week and I will get to go.

The car line comes in from 3 cities to Camp Lee- Hopewell, Petersburg and Richmond. Hopewell is what they call a "Mushroom" city, 45,000 people live there and the city is only 8 years old.

Tell the boys to enlist in the Regular Army- Come on, let's do our part. Don't be a Slacker. Do you want your mother, your sister, wife or sweetheart to suffer as so many "over there" are suffering? Don't you want to live in a free democratic country yourself: We have lots of work to do, but come on.
I have seen only one person I ever knew since I left home and that was at a distance.

Article by Betty Anne Sims
Submitted by CB Glover

It's The 70th Anniversary of WWII: America Remembers

(StatePoint) This year marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two and Americans continue to be gripped by this tumultuous period in our nation's history.

In addition to commemorations nationwide, there are dozens of films and books that have been or are being released, bringing the war home for millions of Americans.

"It was a period of enormous personal glory and sacrifice. American was unselfishly helping the world to liberate itself from the tyranny of Fascism. And the conclusion of the war represented a clear victory for a country who thinks of itself as a proud and brave people," points out Gordon Zuckerman author of the new historical novel, "The Sentinels: Fortunes of War," explaining the war's continued popularity.

From the Tom Cruise thriller "Valkyrie" and the Spike Lee directed flick, "Miracle at St. Anna," both of which opened late last year, to this year's Quentin Tarantino directed "Inglourious Basterds" starring Brad Pitt, WWII-themed movies continue to garner big audiences. And such films also translate into awards, with Kate Winslet winning a Best Actress Oscar this year for "The Reader."

When it comes to books, the war continues to take center stage for both fiction and non-fiction audiences. Some of this year's more intriguing titles include:

* "The Third Reich at War" by Richard Evans: The third and final volume in Evans's non-fiction trilogy on Nazi Germany depicts the rise and fall of German military might from the onset of the war to its conclusion. The book interweaves narrative of the war with personal tales from generals, front-line soldiers, Hitler Youth and middle-class housewives. The destruction of Nazi Germany is all here, incorporating the war's battles and events as well as the daily experiences of ordinary Germans. For more information, visit

* "The Sentinels: Fortunes of War" by Gordon Zuckerman: This thriller doesn't center on what most WWII books tend to cover, such as violent battle scenes or depravity in concentration camps. Instead, it focuses on the role money may have played in Hitler's rise and how a few idealists try to use it to stop the world's most maniacal man. It's a fascinating theory of how Hitler came to power and a believable scenario of how six amateurs tried to pull off the biggest robbery ever. The novel delves heavily into how money played a key role in Hitler's attempt of world domination and how the loss of it helped bring him down, speculating about what may have been the real story behind the war's beginnings. For more information, visit

* "Chewing Gum, Candy Bars, and Beer: The Army Px in World War II" by James J. Cooke: It's been said armies travel on their stomachs and GIs in WWII certainly had unique chow. Dedicated to the military stores that supplied them with small pieces of home, this study takes a different approach to telling a war story. Indeed, many of the small comforts they enjoyed in civilian life - such as chocolate, cigarettes and gum - made our soldiers more popular with local residents in different countries. Cooke traces the evolution of the Px from the point of view of those who ran it and the soldiers who used it.

Could the war have been averted? And what have we learned since? Historians have been debating this for the last 70 years, and if this year's slate of films and books is any indication, so has the American public.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Tellus: Northwest Georgia Science Museum Welcomes Its 100,000th Visitor

/PRNewswire/ -- Tellus: Northwest Georgia Science Museum welcomed its 100,000th visitor on Monday, June 22, less than six months after the museum opened on Jan. 12, 2009.

Deb and Les Kalman and their three children were not expecting a big welcome when they walked through Tellus' front doors, and she had no idea what was in store for her when she stepped up to the front desk.

"It was pretty exciting," Deb Kalman said. "It was a very nice surprise. It was very cool."

The Kalmans hail from Chicago and were visiting friends in Atlanta who suggested they make the trip to see Tellus. The family received a gift bag full of Tellus merchandise, gift certificates as well as free admission into the museum.

"They told us we needed to come up here and see the museum," Deb Kalman said. "We weren't expecting this."

Tellus was originally projecting 150,000 visitors in its first full year of operation.

"It's an exciting milestone to have our 100,000th visitor," said Tellus Executive Director Jose Santamaria.

However, the museum is on track to exceed those predictions, despite the economic downturn.

"Despite the slow economy visitors from all over the state feel that we offer a great family value," Santamaria said.

Tellus opened on the site of the former Weinman Mineral Museum, which had built a reputation as a top-notch gem and mineral museum. Since its opening, Tellus has seen visitors from nearly every state in America and several foreign countries.

Tellus now sits in the location of the original Weinman and spans 120,000 square feet on more than 40 acres. The museum features four galleries: Weinman Mineral Gallery; Fossil Gallery; Science in Motion, a journey through the development of motorized transportation; and Collins Family Big Backyard, a hands-on activity gallery for children; and one of only two digital planetariums in Georgia.

With 100,000 visitors out of the way, Tellus is looking toward its next milestone.

"We have had some really great crowds since the opening, and we're now looking forward to our 200,000th visitor," Santamaria said.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Fossil Teeth of Browsing Horse Found in Panama Canal Earthworks

Rushing to salvage fossils from the Panama Canal earthworks, Aldo Rincon, paleontology intern at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, unearthed a set of fossil teeth. Bruce J. MacFadden, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida in Gainesville, describes the fossil as Anchitherium clarencei, a three-toed browsing horse, in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Paleontology.

By far the most complete fossil of a horse collected at the site in excavations spanning the last century, characteristics such as the shape of the teeth confirm the identity of two earlier finds and indicate that this horse was primarily a forest-dwelling browser living in the area between 15 and 18 million years ago. This evidence supports MacFadden’s earlier proposal that the habitat was probably a mosaic of relatively dense forest and open woodlands. The presence of this browsing horse in Panama significantly extends the southern tip of its range from previous finds from roughly the same period in Florida, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Expanding the Panama Canal waterway to make way for supersized ships is a dream come true for geologists and paleontologists, according to Carlos Jaramillo, senior scientist at the institute, who, in collaboration with the University of Florida and the Panama Canal Authority, has organized a team of researchers and students who move in following dynamite blasts to map and collect exposed fossils.

“This is one of very few places in the tropics where we have access to fresh outcrops before they are washed away by torrential rains or overgrown by vegetation, and we expect the fossils that we have been salvaging to resolve some major scientific mysteries,” said Jaramillo. “What geological forces combined to create the Panama land bridge? Was the flora and fauna in Panama before the land bridge closed similar to that in North America, or did it include other elements?”

So far, 10 million cubic meters of earth have been removed from the Canal, though the pace of operations is about to accelerate as the Canal Authority awards the final bids for the construction of a third set of locks. More information regarding the Panama Canal Geology Project is available at

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Valdosta State Biology Department Secures Natural History Collection

A 2,000-pound stuffed buffalo is one of the nearly 300 specimens the Valdosta State University Biology Department acquired when the state of Georgia began distributing items once displayed in the Georgia Capital Museum. Dr. Leslie S. Jones, associate professor of science education and equine reproductive physiology, said the extensive collections of fish, birds, reptiles and mushrooms will bring curriculum to life for students enrolled in science courses at VSU. When not being used in class, the specimens will be displayed in educational dioramas within the Hugh C. Bailey Science Center.

“This is a bona fide treasure for the biology department, and we are ecstatic about how these specimens will improve classroom instruction and up the educational value of the display cases,” said Jones, who traveled in early June to retrieve the collection with Dr. Colleen McDonough, professor of animal behavior, and Dr. Mitch Lockhart, professor of parasitological and wildlife disease. “Faculty members have been coming in to look at the collection, drooling at the educational possibilities.”

Jones said the study of fungi, for instance, is a challenge to teach because students often observe a limited collection of specimens that look like “pickles in a jar.” The addition of 45 colorful wax mushroom and fungi representations will enable students studying mycology to examine lifelike subject matter rather than picturing the species from images in textbooks.

Senior biology major Holly Dekle, who has been helping to unload and catalog the collection, said she is impressed with the nearly 130 stuffed birds in lifelike poses as well as the array of animals, reptiles and amphibians - including a sperm whale, bald eagle and alligator.

“Being able to handle and view animals and birds in natural states is going to be such an asset for students studying zoology and ornithology (the study of birds). There is just something about being able to get up close to an animal when you are studying it to truly take it in,” said Dekle. “The lab is covered with specimens right now as we unpack, and the faculty are bouncing off the walls like excited little kids.”

McDonough, who helped pack items into the 15-foot passenger van, attached trailer and truck, said the team of professors had predicted specimens would be in questionable shape after 20 years of storage. The state capital boxed up natural history items during renovations in the early 1990s, and specimens remained in storage when the state decided not to restore the exhibits after remodeling.

“We use scientific specimens in a number of our classes, but students observe from a distance. We thought these items would be in relatively poor shape so that students could handle them freely, giving students another dimension to the learning process,” said McDonough. “However, the specimens are much nicer than we imagined, so we are going to be extra careful and choosey about what and how items are handled. It is unbelievable how well they have been preserved.”

The various shells, corals plants and other items not used in classroom instruction will be displayed in educational dioramas throughout Bailey Science Center. Jones said many of the 39 fish - including an 8-foot sailfish - are wall mounts, which lend themselves to expansive sea displays. The giant American buffalo will be displayed on the second floor near windows overlooking the pedestrian walkway.

Jones and McDonough plan to dedicate two displays to biology faculty members who died recently. Dr. Linda Chamberlin, associate professor of biology, who died in 2005 after a long battle with cancer, loved the beach. Jones said the department will create an educational setting of shorebirds to honor their friend and colleague. They are also developing a display to showcase wetland birds in honor of the passionate biology professor Dr. David O’Drobinak - more commonly known as “Dr. O” - who died in November 2006.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Upcoming Lecture at the National Archives in Morrow

The Genealogical Society of Henry and Clayton Counties, Inc. invite you to join them at their quarterly meeting at the National Archives, SE Region, Morrow, June 20, 2009 10:00 am. The guest speaker will be John Vogt, who will give a program on the "American South Following the Revolution: Picking up the pieces 1780-1820" and "From Revolution to Session; Families Divided by the Rising Tide of Sectionalism, 1820-1860". There is no charge to attend and is open to the public.

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Chief William McIntosh Descendent Booksigning June 27

Native American Author Billie Jane McIntosh will be in Indian Springs for a booksigning June 27.

Billie Jane McIntosh is the great-great granddaughter of Chief William McIntosh, the Creek Indian Leader who signed the Treaty of 1825 at the Indian Spring Hotel. The author will make an appearance at 10:00 am at Generations Gallery, and sign her new book, From Georgia Tragedy to Oklahoma Frontier, a biography of Scots Creek Indian Chief Chilly McIntosh at the Indian Spring Hotel Museum from 1-4 pm.

Chief Chilly McIntosh, the son of legendary Chief William McIntosh, is Billie Jane McIntosh's Grandfather.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Oak Hill to Offer Historic Bike Tours Beginning June 20

Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum will offer Historic Berry Bike Tours every third Saturday of the month beginning June 20 at 10 a.m. Tours are free and open to the public. Reservations are encouraged but not required. Participants must furnish their own bicycles, and helmets should be worn by all riders. Call 706-368-6775 for more information or to RSVP.

Tours of the main campus will begin at Hermann Hall and will include such notable landmarks as Roosevelt Cabin, the Berry College Chapel, the “Log Cabin” campus and Berry’s famed Ford Buildings. Optional tours of the mountain campus will be offered as well.

The main-campus loop is approximately three miles in length and features a mostly flat surface with a few rolling hills. The ride is appropriate for both children and adults.
In the event of rain, tours will be canceled.

Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum is a popular attraction and the former home of Berry College founder Martha Berry (1865-1942). It is located at the intersection of Georgia Loop 1 and U.S. Highway 27 in Rome, Ga. More information is available via the Web at

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

National Archives Announces Homecoming of Long-Lost Lincoln Letter

In a press conference on May 28, 2009, , the National Archives announced the homecoming of an original Abraham Lincoln hand-written letter to Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase. Lawrence M. Cutler, a private collector from Scottsdale, Arizona, donated the letter to the National Archives.

Written on Executive Mansion letterhead, the November 14, 1863, letter states:

Hon. Sec. of Treasury
My dear Sir
Mr. Stevens, late Superintendent of the Mint at San Francisco, asks to have a copy, or be permitted to examine, and take extracts, of the evidence upon which he was removed. Please oblige him in one way or the other.
Yours truly, A. Lincoln.

In presenting the Lincoln letter to Acting Archivist Adrienne Thomas, Mr. Cutler said, “It is both a great honor and a pleasure for me to give this very important Abraham Lincoln letter back to the citizens of the United States of America, especially during this bicentennial year of Lincoln's birth. It may always remain a mystery as to how this letter left the public domain and has remained in private hands for as much as a century. However, what is more significant is that today I am returning this letter to its long lost home.”

“The National Archives is pleased to accept this important gift, the return of President Lincoln’s November 14, 1863, letter to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase” said Acting Archivist Thomas. “This brief note, written five days before President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, provides us with a window to look at a difficult personal crisis faced by Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War,” she continued.

The National Archives became aware of the existence of this Lincoln hand-written letter in 2006. Because the letter was written from the President to the Secretary of Treasury concerning a federal government matter, the National Archives launched an internal review to determine whether the document belonged in the National Archives.

The investigation revealed that at one time the letter was part of the General Records of the Department of Treasury, series 82 “Letters Received from Executive Officers, 1831-1869”. These included 141 volumes in which original letters were bound. According to the index to Volume 91, the letter should have been on page five. Upon examination of page five, it was discovered that only half of the page remained pasted into the volume---it included a one sentence summary of the letter, the date, and the author of the letter. The body of the letter was missing.

In part, the newly-found Lincoln letter is significant because the information in it was not known to Lincoln scholars or historians. The multi-volume Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln by Roy P. Basler, published in the 1950’s, does not include a copy of this letter. Although it is unclear exactly when the letter fragment was torn from the Department of Treasury volume, it appears that it predates Basler’s publication and may have happened when the volume was still at the Department of Treasury, sometime between the 1880’s when the letters were bound and the 1940’s when the records were transferred to the Archives.

Recently, the National Archives Document Conservation Laboratory examined the two parts of the letter with normal and transmitted light, ultraviolet lamp and stereo-binocular microscope. The letter and half folio were found to be identical in visual appearance. Both are on soft tan, medium-weight, smooth machine-made wove paper of even and identical formation. Both letter and half folio were measured with a micrometer and have the identical thickness of .012 millimeters. The one physical difference noted was the unevenly trimmed bottom edge of the letter. It appears approximately ⅛” to ¼” of the sheet is missing; otherwise the overall dimensions (5” x 8”) are identical.

When the folio was torn along its fold, small portions of the upper most layers of the paper support were torn, leaving behind matching indentations known as “beveled” or “shelved” areas. The small portions of the support that remain attached along the folio fold exactly match the shelved areas on the remaining folio half adhered in the volume.

At the end of March 1861, President Lincoln had approved the appointment of Robert Stevens as head of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. The President had appointed Stevens to the patronage job as a favor to Lincoln’s old friend, Oregon Senator Edward Baker. Stevens was Baker’s son-in-law. Baker, a fellow Republican, died in battle in 1861.

In 1863 Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase announced changes in the Customhouse and Mint, based on a report by special agent Thomas Brown who was sent to investigate Federal services in California. The report listed six charges against Stevens:

The hiring of bad men
Encouragement of insubordination and contempt for authority on the part of workers
Partiality as to the wages of clerks and laborers while others' were fixed much lower
“Sponges and barnacles” - many were absent without working but were still highly-paid
Purchase of inferior supplies at exorbitant rates
Being arrogant and discourteous to his managers
Based on these charges, Stevens was fired by Secretary Chase in April, 1863. For months following his removal, Stevens protested the firing, finally resorting to writing to President Lincoln.

The newly returned letter indicates that while Lincoln was not willing to override Chase’s decision, he did feel that Stevens deserved to see the charges against him. It emphasizes the President’s sense of fair-play and moral authority which served as a guide throughout his Presidency.

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