Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Augustus Porter Could Have Danced All Night

Bookmark and Share

Previous: Breakfast At Black Rock Then On To Tonawanda

Judge Augustus Porter, Source: Orsamus, Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York, Jewett, Thomas & Co., 1849, p.358a

Anna Spencer Foster loved the Genesee Country. Born in East Haddam, Connecticut in 1777,1 by the time she was nineteen in 1796 she was living in Palmyra (then in Ontario County) with her first husband Moody Stone.2 The young couple traveled freely through the challenging frontier of Greater Western New York. That year, the young couple forded the Genesee River above the falls to visit her sister and brother-in-law. On the way, they passed through Irondequoit and Rochester (where “there was but one house”).3

Late in the fall of 1796, Nathan Harris hosted a “husking frolic” at his home in that growing settlement.4 In general, these social events allowed neighbors to gather to work on a particular task, then party upon the completion of that task. The tasks could range anywhere and included “husking bees, raisings, quiltings, and pumpkin pearings.”5

Harris, known as “Uncle Nathan,” as the jolly newcomer soon became known as, had Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Augustus Porter Could Have Danced All Night”

Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Peter B. Porter’s Home Sweet Home

Bookmark and Share

Previous: Regal Reception In Buffalo’s Blossoming Queen City

Residence of General Peter B. Porter, overlooking the Niagara River, near Ferry Street (Black Rock). Built 1816. Many years residence of Hon. Lewis F. Allen, and for a short time of his nephew, Grover Cleveland. Torn down in 1911. Source: Hill, Henry Wayland, Municipality of Buffalo New York A History 1720-1923, Volume I, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, 1923, p. 100a

Peter Buell Porter woke up early that morning. Yesterday, despite all its pomp and circumstance, was just a prelude to today. For it was on this day, Sunday, June 5th, 1825, the General would host the General. General Porter would soon entertain General Lafayette for breakfast at his Black Rock house.

For nearly a quarter of a century, Peter Porter had lived in the Greater Western New York Region. During the last fifteen years, he had fought—both literally and figuratively—for his beloved home of Black Rock.

Born in Litchfield, Connecticut in 1773, Peter B. Porter graduated from Yale College before studying law in his hometown with Judge Reeves (who, incidentally, was the brother-in-law of Aaron Burr)2. He couldn’t, however, resist the lure of “the far famed ‘Genesee Country’ — of its fertile soil, its genial climate, of its beautiful lakes and rivers.” In 1793, he and a Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Peter B. Porter’s Home Sweet Home”

Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Overview Of His 1824-1825 American Visit (Part I)

Bookmark and Share

Previous: Why Lafayette?

“The spirits of the defenders of the American liberty are visiting him during his passage, the genu protectors of America drive away the storms,” Moreau and Dubouloz (1825). Source: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

When Lafayette arrived at the harbor in New York, he came with two traveling companions. They would remain with him for the entire journey. During this excursion, they would witness and experience the raw emotion of the reunion between old friends.

The most prominent of Lafayette’s party was his son, Georges Washington Louis Gilbert de La Fayette. Contemporary American newspaper accounts refer to him as “George Washington Lafayette.” This makes sense, given the patriotic zeal that enveloped the country.

Lafayette’s son was born on Christmas Eve 1779. This was the year Lafayette was Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Overview Of His 1824-1825 American Visit (Part I)”

Where Does The Term ‘Fallen Flags’ Come From?

Bookmark and Share

Are you a fan of The Big Bang Theory? Do you remember Sheldon Cooper’s hilarious “Fun With Flags” podcast? It’s a comedically inane spoof of those mindless YouTube shows. It’s all about vexillology.

You say you have never heard of the term?

Vexillology, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “the study of flags.” It comes from the Latin word vexillum, which translates to drape or flag. Vexillum itself derives from the Latin velum, meaning “sail.” At some point in the 1950s, someone attached “ology” to vexillum and—voilà!—vexillology.

It’s not clear where and when the word was first used. A 1968 UPI article that ran in several papers, quotes Nathaniel Abelson, then head of the United Nations’ library map department. Abelson claimed the UN’s terminology unit invented the term, but Continue Reading “Where Does The Term ‘Fallen Flags’ Come From?”

Jack Kemp: All American

Bookmark and Share

A lot of people were much closer to Jack Kemp than I, but a lot more people did not know him as well as I did. Only a few remaining Americans can say what I can: “I was there at the beginning.”

Jack Kemp, who passed away in 2009, emerged on the national scene not in the political arena passing historic legislation, but on the gridiron field and into passing history. He was forged in a time when most Americans believed in and followed the Boy Scout Law. He played among those people, he lived among those people, and, eventually, he came to represent those people. I know. I was one of them.

Friends, conservatives, liberals, and countrymen, I write not to rebury Jack Kemp, but to Continue Reading “Jack Kemp: All American”

CONFIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM TO PRESIDENT TRUMAN – 17JULY 1945

Bookmark and Share

N.B.: In Spring of 1981, as part of an assignment for History 111B – The American Nation, 1865-Present, the following paper was submitted as though it was written by a scientific liaison to President Truman at the July 1945 Potsdam Conference. Naturally, to keep within the time frame, the preceding character had many limitations. Scientists, even important ones like Oppenheimer, had no inkling of the military situation and were not informed of the diplomatic situation.14 For this reason, the character does not discuss the political ramifications of outdoing the Soviets because he would not know of the oncoming break in relations. Every attempt was made to draft this hypothetical report in the manner which a science writer in July of 1945 would have written it. This was done by diving into various science-oriented and news-oriented periodicals during that period. Please remember, the language of this fictitious report may seem naïve, ignorant, or even offensive by today’s standards, but it reflects what was known and thought on July 17, 1945.

CONFIDENTIAL

* * * * * SECURITY 1 PRIORITY * * * * *

MEMORANDUM TO PRESIDENT TRUMAN

 

SUBJECT:Continue Reading “CONFIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM TO PRESIDENT TRUMAN – 17JULY 1945”

Is Obedience To Authority A Virtue Or A Crime?

Bookmark and Share

Advertisement for Milgram Experiment subjects. The original uploader was Poolisfun at Wikipedia., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

World War II marks a turning point in almost every facet of mankind. From science to engineering, from business to politics, to the very core of our culture, the world changed as America rebuilt Europe and reframed Japan. You see a shift from a feudal/monarchical-centric philosophy towards a populace/organizational-centric viewpoint.

Within the academic arena, research on authority moved from the Sociology Department to the Psychology Department. In fact, one of the most famous and useful psychology experiments of the mid-twentieth century represents this shift. It answered the most compelling question regarding the nature of authority to come out of the Second World War.

The Psychological Origins of Authority

You might not recognize the name Stanley Milgram, but you’ll instantly recognize his Continue Reading “Is Obedience To Authority A Virtue Or A Crime?”

How To Steal An Election (And Get Away With It)

Bookmark and Share

Photo by Obi - @pixel6propix on UnsplashAllow me to disclaim the following up front: I do not condone the stealing of elections. I believe every voter should be given a fair opportunity to vote and that every vote should count. I also don’t condone shoplifting.

Now, back to reality.

First you must recognize that national politics is no longer about doing good. It’s simply a business.

There’s no other way to describe it. When that much money is involved, and people have figured out a way to profit from all that money, well, that’s the very definition of a business.

There’s a word for those who seek to do good through running for public office. We call Continue Reading “How To Steal An Election (And Get Away With It)”

Why You Should Tell Bad Jokes

Bookmark and Share

Let me clue you in on this from the very beginning: this is another business metaphor. I’m telling you up front this time so you can begin to think about the connections from the moment you start reading it.

I was strolling through the National Comedy Center in Jamestown the other day, taking in with delight the many funny people who have entertained so many for so many years, when a thought struck me. Why do good comedians tell bad jokes?

When a comic sits down to write gags, it becomes an exercise of no-holds-barred brainstorming. This is by necessity. You don’t know what’s really funny while you’re creating it, so you don’t want to restrict yourself in any way.

James Mendrinos, in his book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Comedy Writing, writes: “You have to force yourself to stain the pages, even if you think the jokes aren’t your best work. I’m not saying that bad jokes are better than no jokes. I am saying that if Continue Reading “Why You Should Tell Bad Jokes”

40 Years Later And The Ties Still Bind

Bookmark and Share
Yale 82 Davenporters

D’porters (et al) begin to assemble at Yorkside

Heraclitus has visited this page in the past (“You Can’t Go Home Again… Or Can You?Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, September 22, 2016). For those new to this column, he’s the Greek fella who said “You can’t step into the same river twice.”

Get it? It might be the same river, but the constant current means the water isn’t the same. It’s a nifty little metaphor about the ever-changing world.

Cool. You can live with that, right?

Now, let me throw a monkey wrench into those churning waters of the relentless Continue Reading “40 Years Later And The Ties Still Bind”

You cannot copy content of this page

Skip to content