July 31, 2014

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Charleston Riot: treason or self-defense?

By Leigh Morris
Our place in history
Other than the 1863 New York City Draft Riot, the Charleston Riot of March 28, 1864, resulted in the largest number of casualties of any such civil disturbance during the Civil War.
Of the 50 or so men apprehended in the wake of the Charleston Riot, all but 16 (one of these men died on April 27) were released. Lieutenant Colonel James Oakes, the acting assistant provost marshall for Illinois, was in charge of the prisoners who were being held at Camp Yates in Springfield.

A skill that technology does not help

Greetings from the Ridge.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Both of the teenage girls were star students, and one will likely be named valedictorian of her class this spring. I was sitting across the table from them at a church banquet and couldn’t help but overhear:
“So how to you do it?”

Charleston Riot: 9 killed, 12 wounded

A Democratic rally. Angry Copperheads, Judge Charles Constable holding court. Soldiers bent on teaching Copperheads a lesson. And enough whiskey for everyone. The ingredients for a perfect storm.
As the afternoon of March 28, 1864 wore on, a large crowd of civilians and soldiers milled about the Charleston courthouse square. Fueled by whiskey, the mood of the crowd had turned ominous. Democrat Congressman John R. Eden decided it would be unwise to deliver his planned remarks. Eden along with other conservative Democrat leaders urged the crowd to disperse and go home. Eden left town and Circuit Judge Charles Constable opened his court at 3 p.m.

Victim urges sexual assault victims to speak up

My name is Kynli Smith and I am writing you this letter because I am a victim of sexual assault. My abuser was just sentenced on March 10, 2014. I wanted to write this letter and share my story with you because the sad fact is I am not alone. There are so many other victims of sexual assault out there. I hope that by sharing my story with you, hopefully more victims of sexual assault will come forward like I have and break the suffocating silence. I’m going to try my best to explain my story to you, but normally the most important things are often the hardest things to say. So I am going to do my best.
I was molested by a man that I trusted and loved, a man who was supposed to go to my ball games, take me fishing and support me. Instead my abuser took my trust and innocence away when I was eight-years-old. The abuse stopped when I was around 12 when I moved away from Beardstown. I have carried the abuse, the burden and the shame with me over the years.
At first I did not realize that what was happening to me was wrong because he was supposed to love and take care of me. But, as I got older I soon realized that I am a victim of child molestation, and my abuser is a pedophile. Once I realized this I was too afraid and somewhat ashamed to tell anyone. I knew this would break my close-knit family apart, and I was also nervous about the abuse being seen as a personal weakness.

Resident calls for responsible voting

I received a flyer from Eva Lynn asking for my vote on March 18. I went to school with her daughter and know them both to be good people and Eva to have good credentials. And I believe she and her fellow Democrats do what’s best for our town and county.

End of winter . . . time to party!

Greetings from the Ridge.
I’m ready for a party. Oh, I know that living in this most blessed of nations it’s hard to say that we deserve anything, but dog-gone it, after living through a winter like we’ve just endured I think we’ve earned the right to treat ourselves to a shindig. Print up the t-shirts proclaiming, “I survived the winter of 2014!” Break out the champagne or if you’re Methodist, crack open a bottle of grape juice.
Maybe we could hold a Holi, a celebration in Northern India where the villagers douse each other with gaily colored powder and in some cases throw buckets of dyed water on each other. Before you pooh-pooh these weird native traditions, think back to the last Super Bowl celebration. I’d suggest that we commemorate the end of this God-awful winter by Holi-ing our own neighborhoods. Walk into your local coffee shop or church service and toss of bag of bright yellow cornmeal into the air and shout, “Winter’s over! We beat the bugger!” In some villages the Holi is ended by the women beating their tie-dyed husbands with bamboo sticks. I’ll have a small quantity on my front porch if the urge hits you.

D-U-H! What Were You Thinking?

Greetings from the Ridge.
Lillian Ferguson was a flibberjibbet. No other word for it. When I was a young girl growing up on the Ridge, Lillian provided hours of pleasure and amusement for the neighborhood by simply being herself.  She was the most innocently audacious woman I’d ever met and she reached the zenith of her idiocy when she’d hang her underwear on the clothesline.

Copperheads, the draft, corn whiskey, murder

Following Abraham Lincoln’s election and the subsequent secession of 11 states, there sprang an eclectic amalgam of big city bosses, laborers, immigrant groups, farmers, and others who opposed war. Their slogan, “The Constitution as it is, and the Union as it was,” supported the restoration of the pre-secession balance between the industrial North and the agrarian South.
These anti-war agitators became known as “Copperheads.” Most likely this label originated with an incident that occurred soon after Lincoln’s inauguration. In a post office near the Capitol a box broke open. Inside were two snakes. On April 10, 1861, the New York Times frantically reported Southerners had sent copperhead snakes as “weapons of war.” The story quickly spread across the country amid speculation the box had been sent to the White House in an attempt to assassinate Lincoln.
Seven days later, the Chicago Tribune calmly explained the box actually contained benign scarlet snakes, which are native to the Southern states. The newspaper speculated the box had been addressed to the Smithsonian Institution. Nonetheless, by the summer of 1861, Northern newspapers and Unionists used “Copperhead” to identify anyone who opposed the war or sympathized with the South.

Virginia’s perfect day spawns an ugly storm

It had been the perfect Indian Summer, and the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year promised to be the best day of the entire season.
In Virginia, the optimism ushered in by dawn began to change as the warmth of morning gave way to intense afternoon heat accompanied by an exceptionally strong southerly wind. Concern only grew when the wind abruptly stopped.
The eerie silence caused women to leave their kitchens and men to put aside their tools so they could look toward the heavens. The sky was blue, but the heat was oppressive. Instinctively, they knew something was wrong, very wrong.
Small groups gathered at the city’s two railroad depots, hoping the telegraph would bring some news about the strange weather. Nothing.

There’s magic in the number ‘ten’

Greetings from the Ridge.
I got snookered in. Seems like I always do. The article in the magazine was entitled, “The Top Ten Reasons for Visiting a Health Spa.” I have absolutely no desire to go a spa myself nor do I see any chance of me getting the urge in the near future, but I read the list. My curiosity had nothing to do with shape of my thighs or my hip tone, but it was a list and God knows we’re all suckers for lists.