Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014: Year in review

   In comparison to the last few years 2014 was a pretty low-key year as far as my hobby of visiting historic sites go. 

   Starting out the year winter was rough and things were pretty busy at work which occupied most of my weekends. Then in March my Grandma who I was very close to passed away. 

   So by the time Spring rolled around I was itching to do some little day trips on the weekends to some places I've been before, some places I haven't, but just enough to feed the habit, so to speak. 

  In April one Saturday my kids and I visited the gravesite of Annie Oakley in Greenville, Ohio. Shewas a sharpshooter for the Buffalo Bill Wild West show and I remember my Grandpa talking about how he saw her when Buffalo Bills show came through the area when he was little boy.

   On the same day we stopped in Sydney, Ohio at the county courthouse where I heard there is a historical marker pointing out that in 1912 both former President Theodore Roosevelt and President  William Howard Taft both made speeches here at different times while each one campaigned for President

   My kids standing in the footprints of Presidents.

     I had been skimming through my President pages on this blog and saw what I was missing pictures of inside President Hayes library and museum in Fremont and so I made I point to revisit Fremont, also on this trip I found the Hayes family plot at a nearby cemetery in Fremont. this is where most of Hayes children are buried it's also where Hayes and his wife were originally buried before they were moved back to the house in the early 1900s, where they are buried today.

   Hayes Speigel Grove home

      Hayes gravesite

     In Hayes museum

     My son Nicky kept sneaking away to checking out the train set that belonged to one of Hayes sons

      Hayes Inaugural Bible

     On the Saturday before Mothers Day my wife was working and my kids were with my in laws for the weekend. For awhile I had tickets to take it a tour of Benjamin Harrison's house in Indianapolis for free and I thought this would be a good opportunity to redeem those. So my Mom and my Niece tagged along as we went and toured the house for the first time it was a really great two hour tour that I really enjoyed.

    With Ben Harrison's Inaugural Bible

    Ben Harrison's gravesite

    While in Indianapolis I stopped by the site where in April 1968, Bobby Kennedy was at a planned campaign event in his effort to get the Democrat Nomination for President. Kennedy informed the crowd that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot and killed in Memphis, TN that day. Kennedy urged the crowd to not react in violence. He is credited as the reason that Indianapolis didn't riot like many other cities. Bobby Kennedy himself was shot and killed just 2 months later. I thought this was a pretty cool monument they had there to honor the site.

  June 19, 2014 marked 10 years of marriage for my wife and I. The only big trip we took in 2014 was sort of a Anniversary trip, just the 2 of us to Myrtle Beach. Luckily I was able to work in some sites on the way there and back

    We stopped in Lexington, KY on the way down. Here I am revisiting the grave of James Buchanans VP John C. Breckinridge. 

    Also in Lexington is Henry Clays "Ashland" home

    Before Myrtle Beach we spent a day in Charleston, SC. At the top of the "to see" list was Fort Sumter. 

   On the boat almost to Ft. Sumter.

         Inside the Fort

       After Ft. Sumter we walked around Charleston, visiting some shops, street markets and of course some old church cemeteries. Here is the gravesite of VP John C. Calhoun.

    Gravesite of John Rutledge, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

    Since I was a kid I liked the 1980's mini series North and South. It's starts out about 2 West Point cadets in the 1840's. George Hazard from Pennsylvania  and Orry Main from South Carolina. They quickly become best friends and naturally have ups and downs in the years leading up to the Civil War. In the series, the Hazards home in Lehigh Station, PA was filmed at the "Calhoun Mansion" (picture above) in Charleston.

    The Mains home Mont Royal was filmed at Boone Hall Plantation outside of Charleston. Above is the dramatic Avenue of Oaks leading up to the house. 

Boone Hall Plantation. 

    We had a great time at Myrtle Beach

On the way home we stopped in Columbia, SC at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. It was cool to see since it just reopened after a 9 year renovation. 

    The bed in which Woodrow Wilson was born. On display in the Wilson Family home

     We also hit a couple of President Birthplaces on the way home. Jackson and Polk. In the case of Jackson he has 2 States that claim him, so 2 markers to visit. Above is the South Carolina and below is the North Carolina marker. 

    Memorial marking Polks birthplace

    One Saturday in July while my wife was working I packed up the kids and headed to Grand Rapids, MI. I wanted to revisit the Gerald Ford Museum and look up some other Ford related sites there.

     Fords gravesite

    Ford boyhood home

    On the way home from Grand Rapids I stopped by South Bend to cross another VP grave off the list.

    I took a day trip in August down to the Lincoln's Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana. I hit a few spots along the way. Above is Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Ohio. Site where George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act. The site is commemorated with a series of statues including one of President Bush. 

     WH Harrison's Tomb in North Bend, Ohio

    Ben Harrison's birthplace, also in North Bend.

    Ben Harrison boyhood home site near North Bend

    I picked up my President history enthusiast friend Roger Johnson in Cincinatti. It is always nice to have company on these trips who share this passion for travel. Above is the gravesite of Lincoln's mother at the boyhood site.

    This is the bronzed foundation of one of Lincoln's cabins here. 

   A working farm similar to what it was like when the Lincoln's lived here

    In October I revisited President Hayes birthplace on his birthday.

    I also stopped by Harding's Birthplace on his birthday in November.

  When I originally posted this post, this was the end of it. But I was able to get the last few days of the year off somewhat unexpectedly with extra vacation time and so on December 30, 2014 I made a day trip to Chicago one that I had been wanting to do for quite a while. Here are some highlights of the day. 

    Gravesite of Olympian Jesse Owens

    I hit a few Obama sites, the biggest is his house here in the Hyde Park area of Chicago.

   Tomb of Stephen Douglas. With a closed gate

    Grave of Calvin Coolidge's Vice President Charles Dawes

    Monument at Battlefield of Tippecanoe . WH Harrison's campaign would be "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!"

     That is officially it for 2014, here's to a good 2015.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Great Triumvirate

   Somewhere along the line. Starting out with Presidents graves, moving onto birthplaces, homes, libraries, VPs graves ect. I thought it would be cool to visit the graves of the 3 members of The Great Triumvirate - Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun. After all, Calhoun was already on the "to see" list being a former Vice President. Clay is buried in the same cemetery as VP John C. Breckinridge and Webster is buried not far from Quincy, Mass. Home of John and John Quincy Adams. So it was all very doable. It would just take some time.   

   As the picture below illustrates, the term "Triumvirate" originally referred to 3 powerful Roman Generals - Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. Who each represented their own respective group or class. 

    In the same way, in the decades leading up to the American Civil War, the 3 members of the Great Triumvirate would represent their own respective areas of the country. Daniel Webster in the North, John C. Calhoun in the South, and Henry Clay in the West. All 3 men served as U. S. Congressmen, U. S. Senators and all at different times were Secretary of State. They were powerful and influential in an era of mostly weak Presidents

              Henry Clay (1777 - 1852)

   Me at Henry Clays home "Ashland" in Lexington, Kentucky

               Henry Clays "Ashland"

    Henry Clay's Tomb in Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky. It is so large and surrounded by trees that it is tough to get a good picture of the whole thing.

   Statue of Clay on top of the tomb

             Clays final resting place

                         Clay and I

  Clay was born and raised in Virginia. He set up his home in Kentucky after marrying a woman from Kentucky. In 1811, on his first day serving in the U. S. House of Representatives, he was chosen to be Speaker of the House. Which is the only time that ever happen except for the Houses first day in session in 1789. 

    Clay ran for President 3 times and lost all 3 times. He was Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams and was a U. S. Senator off and on for over 40 years. 

        Daniel Webster 1782 - 1852

        Plaque at Websters gravesite

             Webster family gravesite

                     Webster and I

   Daniel Webster was born in New Hampshire. When he was first elected to the US House of Representatives it was as a representative from New Hampshire. He eventually moved to Boston where he became a US senator from Massachusetts. 

   All in all he spent 10 years in the House of Representatives, 19 years in the U.S. Senate, and Secretary of State under William Henry Harrison John Tyler and Millard Fillmore. 

   In 1840 he was offered the Vice President spot on the Whig party ticket with William Henry Harrison. He turned it down. Of course Harrison won and after one month in office he died. Had Webster excepted the Vice President spot on the ticket, he would've become President. Instead he had to settle for being Secretary of State into the Tyler administration. 

         John C. Calhoun 1782 - 1850

     Calhouns gravesite in St. Phillips church cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina.

                      Calhoun and I

    Calhoun was born and raised in South Carolina where he lived all of his life. Besides serving in the House and Senate , he held many important political offices including Secretary of War under James Monroe and Secretary of State towards the end of John Tyler's administration. He is also one of only two Vice Presidents to serve under two different Presidents. He won the Vice Presidency in 1824 and served as John Quincy Adams Vice President.  He then won reelection in 1828 and continued being Vice President during Andrew Jackson's first term.   

    As the Representative from the south of the three. Calhoun embodied the southern gentleman and everything that went with it. Whereas guys like Thomas Jefferson and Henry Clay viewed slavery as a necessary evil with no immediate solution, Calhoun viewed it as all positive.  

    In 1957, a Senate Committee chose Clay, Webster and Calhoun as 3 of the 5 greatest Senators in U. S. History along with Robert Taft and Robert La Follette.