Saturday, January 29, 2005

Mary Ingelman, the First Witch of Winnsboro, S.C.

Mary Ingelman, the First Witch of Winnsboro, S.C. Describes the illegal trial where a lady named Mary Ingelman was accused, found guilty and tortured for being a witch in 1792 in Fairfield County, South Carolina, USA.

From the site:

The Salem witch trials were not the last of its kind to be held in North America. In 1999 I visited the history museum in Fairfield County, South Carolina and was shown some news paper articles and one article from FATE magazine that all referenced a manuscript written before 1854 by Mr. Philip Edward Pearson. It talks about an illegal trial where a lady named Mary Ingelman was accused, found guilty and tortured for being a witch in 1792 in my county. I had always thought that in America there were no other witch trials after 1692. Now I wonder how many other "witch" trials have been held in our country, hidden away and not talked about.

Mr. Pearson practiced law in South Carolina and had served for many years as the Solicitor of the South Carolina Middle Circuit which included Fairfield County. He later moved to Metagorda Texas, but not before selling his manuscript, History of Fairfield County, South Carolina to a Dr. John H. Logan. The manuscript ended up in Mr. Lyman C. Draper's historical source-material collections which is now in the library of the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin.

In the year of 1792 in Fairfield County there were many strange things happening to the people that lived there. At that time, in a neighboring county, a group called the Gifted Brethren were broken up for practicing hypnosis and mis teaching the trinity of the Christian church. One of its founders was tried in Charleston S.C. for heresy and found guilty and hanged. Also in 1792 many cattle got sick and people began to act possessed.

Friday, January 28, 2005

History of China

History of China. This is a decent summary and overview of the history of the Asian nation of China.

From the site:

China is the oldest continuous major world civilization, with records dating back about 3,500 years. Successive dynasties developed a system of bureaucratic control that gave the agrarian-based Chinese an advantage over neighboring nomadic and hill cultures. Chinese civilization was further strengthened by the development of a Confucian state ideology and a common written language that bridged the gaps among the country's many local languages and dialects. Whenever China was conquered by nomadic tribes, as it was by the Mongols in the 13th century, the conquerors sooner or later adopted the ways of the "higher" Chinese civilization and staffed the bureaucracy with Chinese.

The last dynasty was established in 1644, when the Manchus overthrew the native Ming dynasty and established the Qing (Ch'ing) dynasty with Beijing as its capital. At great expense in blood and treasure, the Manchus over the next half century gained control of many border areas, including Xinjiang, Yunnan, Tibet, Mongolia, and Taiwan. The success of the early Qing period was based on the combination of Manchu martial prowess and traditional Chinese bureaucratic skills.

During the 19th century, Qing control weakened, and prosperity diminished. China suffered massive social strife, economic stagnation, explosive population growth, and Western penetration and influence. The Taiping and Nian rebellions, along with a Russian-supported Muslim separatist movement in Xinjiang, drained Chinese resources and almost toppled the dynasty. Britain's desire to continue its illegal opium trade with China collided with imperial edicts prohibiting the addictive drug, and the First Opium War erupted in 1840. China lost the war; subsequently, Britain and other Western powers, including the United States, forcibly occupied "concessions" and gained special commercial privileges. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 under the Treaty of Nanking, and in 1898, when the Opium Wars finally ended, Britain executed a 99-year lease of the New Territories, significantly expanding the size of the Hong Kong colony.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Story of My Misfortunes

The Story of My Misfortunes. Full text from Peter Abelard's Historia Calamitatum, which recounts his affair with Heloise and subsequent castration. Love hurts!

From the site:

Peter Abelard (1079-1142) was one of the great intellectuals of the 12th century, with especial importance in the field of logic. His tendency to disputation is perhaps best demonstrated by his book Sic et Non, a list of 158 philosophical and theological questions about which there were divided opinions. This dialectical method of intellectual reflection -- also seen in Gratian's approach to canon law -- was to become an important feature of western education and distinguishes it sharply from other world cultures such as Islam and the Confucian world. Abelard's mistake was to leave the questions open for discussion and so he was repeatedly charged with heresy. For a long period all his works were included in the later Iindex of Forbidden Books. The text here gives a good account of Abelard's pugnaciousness.

He is perhaps as famous today for his love affair with Heloise (1100/01-1163/4) and its disastrous consequences, which resulted in her giving birth to son (called Astrolabe), to Abelard's castration by Heloise's angry relatives, and to both their retreats to monastic life. Heloise was one of the most literate women of her time, and an able administrator: as a result her monastic career was notably successful. Abelard, a intellectual jouster throughout his life was notably less happy as a monk. He incurred the displeasure and enmity of abbots, bishops, his own monks, a number of Church councils and St. Bernard of Clairvaux . The last months of his life were spent under the protection of Peter the Venerable of Cluny, where he died. The tomb of Abelard and Heloise can now be visited in the Pére Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

The Historia Calamitatum, although in the literary form of a letter, is a sort of autobiography, with distinct echoes of Augustine's Confessions. It is one of the most readable documents to survive from the period, and as well as presenting a remarkably frank self-portrait, is a valuable account of intellectual life in Paris before the formalization of the University, of the intellectual excitement of the period, of monastic life and of a love story that in some respects deserves its long reputation.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum. This is an article from Modern Drunkard Magazine on the alcoholic adventures of the pirates of the Caribbean. While I am a bit loathe to blog an article from such a source, it is surprisingly good and gives a decent account of pirate drinking culture.

From the site:


The word conjures images that have been with us for centuries: a white skull and cross-bones on a flag of black silk; a parrot on the captain’s shoulder; buried treasure; daggers clenched in teeth; walking the plank; eye patches; black-bellied schooners roving free under a Caribbean moon. Pirates were outlaws, carousers and two-fisted warriors, epically lusting after life. They drank with a gusto that was truly magnificent. Their intoxicated exploits are a vital part of our shared Drunkard History. And while they weren’t always pretty, in thought or in deed, pirates were and remain symbolic of our desire to live our lives according to nothing but our personal desires. They lived, killed and died by a very simple ethos: No Quarter Asked, and None Given.

What we understand about pirates, the stereotypical picture in our heads, is a blend of fact and fancy, coming to us in equal parts from literature, the movies, and the reality of their lives.

Daniel Defoe set the stage, from the literary end, with his novels Robinson Crusoe and Captain Singleton, as well as the nominally non-fiction tome The Four Years Voyages of Captain George Roberts, a lengthy account of Roberts’ adventures while a prisoner of the dreaded pirate Edward Low, which is now believed to have been wholly invented by Defoe. Defoe’s descriptions of pirates and life aboard a sailing vessel are surprisingly factual, though he is done one better by Robert Louis Stevenson in his classic novel Treasure Island.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

President George H.W. Bush Speeches

President George H.W. Bush Speeches. Here are some of the official speeches that the first President Bush gave when he was in office.

Inaugural Address of George Bush
State of the Union Address 1989 -- Note that this speech is not officially listed as a State of the Union Address. Regardless, it was perceived as being a State of the Union Address by the press and the public at the time it was delivered and is commonly remembered as being a State of the Union Address.
State of the Union Address 1990
State of the Union Address 1991
State of the Union Address 1992

Monday, January 24, 2005

History of Chad

History of Chad. This is a short but interesting overview to the history of the African nation of Chad.

From the site:

Chad has a long and rich history. A humanoid skull found in Borkou is more than 3 million years old. Because in ancient times the Saharan area was not totally arid, Chad's population was more evenly distributed than it is today. For example, 7,000 years ago, the north central basin, now in the Sahara, was still filled with water, and people lived and farmed around its shores. The cliff paintings in Borkou and Ennedi depict elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, cattle, and camels; only camels survive there today. The region was known to traders and geographers from the late Middle Ages. Since then, Chad has served as a crossroads for the Muslim peoples of the desert and savanna regions, and the animist Bantu tribes of the tropical forests.

Sao people lived along the Chari River for thousands of years, but their relatively weak chiefdoms were overtaken by the powerful chiefs of what were to become the Kanem-Bornu and Baguirmi kingdoms. At their peak, these two kingdoms and the kingdom of Ouaddai controlled a good part of what is now Chad, as well as parts of Nigeria and Sudan. From 1500 to 1900, Arab slave raids were widespread. The French first penetrated Chad in 1891, establishing their authority through military expeditions primarily against the Muslim kingdoms. The first major colonial battle for Chad was fought in 1900 between the French Major Lamy and the African leader Rabah, both of whom were killed in the battle. Although the French won that battle, they did not declare the territory pacified until 1911; armed clashes between colonial troops and local bands continued for many years thereafter.

In 1905, administrative responsibility for Chad was placed under a governor general stationed at Brazzaville in what is now Congo. Although Chad joined the French colonies of Gabon, Oubangui-Charo, and Moyen Congo to form the Federation of French Equatorial Africa (AEF) in 1910, it did not have colonial status until 1920. The northern region of Chad was occupied by the French in 1914. In 1959, the territory of French Equatorial Africa was dissolved, and four states--Gabon, the Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), and Chad--became autonomous members of the French Community. On August 11, 1960 Chad became an independent nation under its first president, Francois Tombalbaye.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Blackbeard: Teach's Hole

Blackbeard: Teach's Hole - Exhibit and Pyrate Specialty Shoppe dedicated to Blackbeard the pirate, who died in Ocracoke, NC. Detailed history of Blackbeard, also general information on piracy.

From the site:

Blackbeard went by the name Edward Teach. Most historians agree that he was born about the year 1680 in Bristol, England. He was able to read and write which suggests his family had money.

As with most pirates, little is known of his early life. Sometime in the early eighteenth century, Teach left Bristol for Jamaica to sail on the ships of privateers. When England revoked the privateer’s license, Teach joined forces with Captain Benjamin Hornigold. Hornigold took Teach under his wing and taught him everything he knew about taking ships. This alliance lasted for a little over two years. It was during this time that Teach first came to Carolina.

By March of 1718, Blackbeard had decided to leave the Caribbean and sail up the east coast of America. On his way he encountered several ships who joined forces with him. By the time they reached Charleston in late May, Blackbeard had nearly seven hundred men under his command.