Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #333

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #333

… pure fictional genius…

from-the-desk-of-001

Nearly all of the main Tallahassee characters were real people. I used their actual names and because of the volatile nature of the events, especially in the 1950’s, I may have the legal department pulling out their hair. If I had fictionalized their names, I could never have kept them all straight. Who they were and what was their relation to A.O. Campbell needed to be as is. Perhaps it is due to my simple mind, but George Lewis, Charles latobsd3-001Wilson, Franklin McLoud, the Dr.’s nurses, the Dr.’s attorneys, the Prosecutors, Starke Prison and Audrie Franich, all appearing in chapter 1 & subsequently, are real.

Now, some of the machinations surrounding his trial and subsequent imprisonment, well that is a combination of speculation and fictionalization on my part. None of this tinkering affects the end result.

Robert Ford-001Carolyn Hanes and Capt. Robert Ford do have a big role in the book. Bob Ford did indeed pilot the Pacific Clipper at the outbreak of WWII and had to fly it back to New York counterclockwise. Carolyn Hanes is pure fiction. You may think she is my alter ego. That is left for you to imagine.

Ferrell's Grocery-001   In chapter 2, the Ferrell family is foundational to the story line. Most all of them are true, in the fact that they did exist. I may have exaggerated their role, but they do and did contribute to Leon County past.

Laura Bell/Olla is a key to the complicated bloodlines of the Campbell family. She is the mother of Maggie Lou, though Maggie’s erotic conception may be subject to my imagination. Maggie Lou does go on to marry the doctor in 1916.Campbell Home-001

The Campbell family, headed by Willy and Amanda, is the all-in-all. Alfrey (A.O.) Campbell had four brothers and sisters. Hosea is the most infamous, but was he such a rascal, I do not know?

More than likely, the Campbell’s were slaves at some point, but the evil Jefferson Smythwick did not exist and his Fort Sumter South plantation occupies made-up ground. You must admit though that the escape by Alfrey et al was an exciting treat. Take that mean old slave owners!

Anti-slavery-001 Chapters 3 and 4 contain the fictional Southeast Anti-slavery Society, headed by the great Herbert Love. I call him great because he is the person, who I posit, providing for the Dr.’s education. In fact, I have since learned that A.O.’s extended family may have sacrificed holdings to finance his education.Sec. of Ag-001

Love never made Secretary of Agriculture in a McKinley administration, but he would have had the qualifications. He was engaged in farming of some sort, though he takes on a lion’s share philanthropy for my purposes.

San Luis Lake-001 Siegfried and Frieda Endlichoffer, the German couple across the lake from John Ferrell, are based on a personal acquaintance. They are a sweet augmentation to the Tallahassee landscape and what better neighbors could anyone have?

Of course the Spanish American War was real. It represents the USA’s first foray into imperial policy, which has led to our global role as policeman to the world.mckinley-at-pan-american-exposition

The Horizons of chapters 5 and 6 are the recounting of what was going on the last time we entered a new century. 1900 had as many amazing changes as we have in the Catfish AL-001year 2000. President McKinley was indeed assassinated in 1901 and that was preceded by the Galveston hurricane, the Great Plague and followed by the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

Harv Pearson is a huge player in LATOBSD. He marries Judith Eastman in chapter 7, who is fictional and they start the Pearson-Eastman Journal, a make believe publication that gives this book the legs to reach out to the entire flat world… pure fictional genius.

Continued

… one Episode to go…

Pearson-Eastman Journal-001


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #333

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #299

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #299

…“She was quite a dish, I hear. A bronze skinned beauty with fetching brown eyes that could consume a mere mortal man,” she says with a writer’s flair…

Beautiful Caribbean by Colin Garland

Beautiful Caribbean by Colin Garland

I know you and I never really talked about it… but we were lovers.”

There, she said it out loud.

Ford has had to deal with the notion before this moment; yet another slightly askew aspect to the last half of his life. “I figured as much, watching you two interacting on the Clipper and such.”

Lyn takes a step back. “No wonder that subject never came up. And to think I was terrified of what you would think, if you knew about us.” It wasn’t that Lyn never liked men. She and Sara just kind of happened. “Then why did you? … You asked me to the reception?! … Oh I get it divide and conquer! Get those girls apart and you would win my heart, was it?”

on-my-mind“Well, sort of. I really did need an escort you know and you do clean up real good,” even though he had his hands full at the time. “I was quite taken with you Lyn, I must say, but the heart thing was not foremost on my mind. And my 2nd officer, Rod, he wouldn’t stop talking about that Sara woman. Yes, we had been away from base for a while, but we were both unattached. No harm in trying.  It seemed like a natural fit for the evening and we didn’t have any expectations. Hell, we were staring 12,000 miles of  in the face… half the world away from New York and no charts to guide us.”

“I was just giving you a hard time Bob, you guys were perfect gentlemen.” More than that, she recalls she had a great time and liked the feeling of being on a man’s arm for a change. “You know, this is a great-great story, one that should be told. It would be a shame to let it slip into the cracks of history.” The gears in Lyn’s brain were grinding away. Constance Caraway could use some time off, The Hawaiian Spy-001surely having to do with that Ace Bannion guy, so, “Would you be open to collaborating with me…”

“Isn’t that what your book The Hawaiian Spy was about?”

“I meant collaborating on a book about you … and the flight of the Pacific Clipper. A story like that almost tells itself. And I can get it right from the horses’ mouth. I’m regret missing the last half of your odyssey.”

Ford inserts a pregnant pause in the previously running conversation. There is more to the story than she wants to know. He waits for the right time to let slip a gem, “But then you would find out about that girl in Port ‘O Spain.”

Lyn counters by subtly raising her eyebrows. She maintains a matter-of-fact facade. “She was quite a dish, I hear. A bronze skinned beauty with fetching brown eyes that could consume a mere mortal man,” she says with a writer’s flair.

Image result for writing with flair   How cool was that?

Now he is confused. He thought he coming of as ‘I was only kidding’, but there was that one night when they were refueling. It could have been that homemade rum, or consuming relief that they had made it across the Atlantic Ocean without tasting its salty water, but he didn’t remember why he awoke in this woman’s bed.

What he did not know, is that Lyn was merely guessing. He says nothing.


Alpha Omega M.D.

writers-flair-001

Writing with…

Episode #299


page 281

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #287

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #287

…Sara Fenwick wonders if there is any romance between that clever private eye and the dashing flyer…

sketches by Doug Widley

sketches by Doug Widley

Now, she has been replaced by Ace Bannion, for God’s sake. What a corny name! Even makes the name Fanny sound good. The only problem is that Ace lives on and Fanny is finished, at least in the pages of The Hawaiian Spy.

“Lyn?”

“Yes, hon.”

“You have been with Ford (Ace) so much lately, we never have time to talk, you know, the way we used to. And you are hardly ever at home. I’m starting to feel like a fifth wheel.”

Constance Caraway

Constance Caraway

Lyn has to measure her words carefully. Sara was returned to Earth not completely intact, missing this and that, with one exception. Her phenomenal sensitivity, the kind that knows when people need encouragement, has been somehow magnified, turning into hypersensitivity. Gone are the days when you could joke with Sara, say just about anything to her and move on. She was sweet that way.

But not anymore.

  Little things become huge, mostly because she does not understand the things she used to. And now she thinks she understands something about Lyn and Bob Ford. They have been working on that flying disk story ever since New Mexico. Whatever happens in their quest to uncover strange truths makes its way to Lyn’s typewriter. She wonders if there is any romance between the clever private eye and the dashing flyer. She has stopped reading for fear of just that.

Normally, Lyn would have shot back, ‘What’s the matter, Sare, you jealous?’ Not this time. “Robert is as obsessed with this spaceman thing as I am, and I’m the one writing the book!”

Ace Bannion sketch2-001

sketch by Steve Rude

Image result for flying disc“I’ve known you long enough to know that you like to work alone. Suddenly, Bob, oh — I mean, Robert, is with you as much as humanly possible. I don’t understand how he keeps his business going.”

          “He’s hired a friend to make his cross country trips, that’s why we bought a small plane together.”

          “You what?” Sara is stunned. She shouldn’t be.

          “I told you that I have been flying more, did you think I meant flapping my arms real hard?” Lyn mocks a bird in flight, like it was chased by a bigger, hungry bird.

          “That’s not funny! You know how I forget things!” She feels like the half-person everybody thinks she is and is mourning it. “I wish things would go back the way they used to be. I wish I could feel whole again.”

          “Some-one or some-thing did something to you during those six years and I intend to find out exactly what it was and how to correct it.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #287


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #273

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #273

…”I’m in need of a co-pilot for a flight to New Mexico.”

“What?” That comes from so far in left field that Lyn is caught selling peanuts in the parking lot…

Old Telephone by Raymond Logan

Old Telephone by Raymond Logan

“I’m sorry, Lyn, I keep forgetting Sara is gone.”

The office phone rings, severing the air of “blue” reminiscence.

Typewriter-001“Mr. Rogers? There is a Robert Ford on the telephone. He claims to know Lyn.” The Harper Books receptionist relays the information.

  Rogers covers the mouthpiece with his free hand. “Do you know a Robert Ford?”

  “Robert Ford, I don’t,” one one-thousand, “oh, yes I do. If that is Captain Ford from Pan American Airways, let me speak to him.” Lyn hated the way things were left on Ceylon. “Captain Ford?”

“It is Citizen Ford, Miss Hanes, but you could call me Dirt and I wouldn’t mind.” He had called Lyn several times that first year, but had since given up on his quest for the lady’s heart. “I’m still flying, but its cargo, not passengers. My own plane, I’m proud to say.”

Planter S Peanut & the Nutmobile

Planter S Peanut & the Nutmobile

“Congratulations!” She resists asking him if he had lost any freight lately. There are times when Lyn needs to hold her tongue, despite the urge to the contrary.

“Thank you, but I’m in need of a co-pilot for a flight to New Mexico.”

What?” That comes from so far in left field that Lyn is caught selling peanuts in the parking lot.

“This whole deal may be a dead end, but I received a call from Terry Trippe this morning. He tells me that he got a call from an Air Force base out in New Mexico. They have an unidentified woman there, with what they think is amnesia. The one thing she keeps mentioning is the Clipper.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m not saying anything quite yet; I just thought it would be worth going out there. I’ve got a load of celluloid for United Artists in Hollywood. How about me popping out to La Guardia, in say, two hours?”

Lyn doesn’t know what to think. She is awash in the newness of these developments, barely able to keep her mind from racing, getting her hopes up. Even false hope is better than the no hope she has lived with for six lonely years; six years of living someone else’s life (Constance and not very well as we found out) not her own.

 She would make one hell of a private eye and this is a great opportunity to ply that craft.

“Go,” urges Stanley Rogers. “I’ll take care of the old man… watch it, I know what you’re thinking Lyn?”

“Make it three hours and you’ll have your co-pilot. I bet you didn’t know that I have an expiring pilot’s license.”

“That doesn’t surprise me none and three hours it is… mark… that makes it 1624 Eastern Time.” Ford is nothing if not precise and probably the most unassuming hero you can find. “My plane is a white-over-gray DC-3 with Constance Caraway P. I. in yellow paint on both sides of the nose. I’ve become one of her biggest fans. I’m so glad she divorced that jerky congressman.”

“I’ll be sure to tell my editor that.”

Devoted readers are the best.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Blue Ridge Angel-001

Episode #273


page 254

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #252

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #252

…We have gone through this before, sweetie. Do remember that seven letter word: F-I-C-T-I-O-N…

Constance Caraway Cover-001

Vertical-001     Constance Caraway wasn’t going to let a good hunch go bad. It isn’t a common thing to do in Georgia, but digging up a grave is what she is setting out to do. Exhume is the word morticians use, disinter is another. Dirty job is a more apt description. Constance had read something on the death certificate, several years after the incident, while researching another, unrelated case in Atlanta.

Porter Vito is a funerary agent who resurrects people from the dead

  “Folks ‘round here ain’t used to a woman being in the mortuary, with a body and all.” Take it from someone who knows.

 “How about two women?”

 “This is my associate, Fanny Renwick. She will assist me with the evidence.”

   “Evidence? There is a body inside that box. Not in very good shape, I might add.”

        Vertical-001  “The death certificate indicates that she was to be buried with artifacts from her Indian tribe, namely a necklace she was wearing when she was killed. The report said she had marks from that chain when the body was examined.” Constance is speaking as the lid of a dirty wooden box is pried up and away. She immediately spots the colorfully beaded necklace. “Remove that please. Be careful not to touch it with your bare hands.”

   “Little chance of that, Miss Caraway,” he gently lifts the head of the cadaver, plucking the beads with right thumb and index finger! There is a larger gold scarab dangling on the bottom. Fanny is there with a bag to transport it with, not particularly thrilled with this assignment.

   “I hope you found what you were looking for. Remember, I did this as a favor for that detective friend of yours. You can thank him for this.”

   “I scratch his back, he scratches mine,” relates Caraway.

    “I’ll say!” Fanny affirms.

arrow-upFICTION-001

“Just look at this,” Sara Fenwick points at the place in Carolyn Hanes’ manuscript. “How can our characters be flirting with a man?”

We have gone through this before, sweetie. Do remember that seven letter word?”

 “F-I-C-T-I-O-N. All right already!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Storytelling by Natalia Moroz

Episode #252


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #250

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #250

…And just think, Sara, Sherlock Holmes had his Doctor Watson, Constance Caraway has her Fanny Renwick!…

Meanwhile Caption-001“I think you are taking a huge gamble, Lyn. Even if you change the setting from Tallahassee to Timbuktu, someone around here will surely figure it out,” Sara Fenwick warns her partner, who has been researching the possibility of using the death of Laura Bell/Princess Olla as the subject of her next novel.

“A story like this begs to be told, Sara, besides that, it is time I take on a serious subject. And it is also a way to portray a female heroine in a positive light. I want, Constance Caraway – Private Eye, to be the first of a series of crime/mystery books.” Carolyn Hanes has chosen a career path based on the loyalty of her readership. Which is well and good, but she has tackled one sensitive storyline for Constance Caraway’s first-told case. “And just think, Sara, Sherlock Holmes had his Doctor Watson, Constance Caraway has her Fanny Renwick!”

“Yeah, sure, an eccentric photographer with a knack for identifying suspects from witness descriptions and stray hairs.”  Sara has not been wild about her being a rough model for one of Lyn’s main characters. At least in this case, Fanny is not a seamstress. And I was wondering whether the name “Fanny” has anything to do with my bottom.” She twists her torso to view her backside, not quite as firm and high as it once was.

“Oh, sweetie, you know that a good character is really a combination of more than one person. I only give Fanny the best of your ass—ets,” she barbs.

“You and your words! I wish my needles were that sharp!”

Cobblestone (olla)-001

Carolyn Hanes is the daughter of author, Emerson Hough, who wrote many stories about the American West. He was a bit of a crusader in his own right, largely responsible for saving the shrinking buffalo population in Yellowstone National Park. Before dying, while Lyn and Sara were in Europe on holiday, which haunts her to this day, he had planted the seeds of creativity deep inside his precious little girl.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #250


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Ponce, Fink, Bean, Ross, Henry & Pilgrims – WIF Folklore

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Tales From

American Folklore

That Are

Completely Misunderstood

American folklore is a vast treasury of stories and tales which have been passed down through time, often altered in the retelling. Some are based in fact, some were created as fiction and are now accepted as fact, and some are simply tall tales. In some cases, political or personal enemies slandered their contemporaries, and their falsehoods are now accepted as history. In others, the public perceptions created beliefs which are largely unchallenged today, despite their being wrong both then and now.

Some stories became accepted as true because of locations taking financial advantage of them, along the lines of “George Washington Slept Here” signs on old inns and homes, despite the lack of supporting provenance. Others lodge in the consciousness through repetition in film and literature. Here are 10 tales of American folklore which have come to be misunderstood as historical fact, and how they became that way.

10. Betsy Ross and the design of the American flag

Betsy Ross was a seamstress in Philadelphia who legend and folklore assigns the credit for the design and creation of the American flag, consisting of a constellation of stars in a blue field, and 13 alternating red and white stripes. Those who support the belief, which has been widely debunked, have recently used the premise that there exists no proof that she didn’t. They are correct. But there is perhaps less to prove that she did. There is substantial evidence to establish that Betsy sewed flags for the Continental Navy (actually for the Navy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). But the first documented record of her creating what became the Stars and Stripes did not appear until the 1870s, coincident with America’s centennial, when it was reported by her grandson.

That gentlemen, William Canby, presented a paper around the time of the Centennial claiming Betsy had created the American flag. His sources were entirely family oral tradition. Betsy was presented as an example of patriotism and ambition to young girls of the Gilded Age as a result. However, other than the claims of Canby, and the resultant years of the story being repeated ad nauseum, there is no evidence that Betsy Ross created the American flag, and no record of her ever presenting it to George Washington. There is a record of a team of Philadelphia flag-makers presenting him the Union Flag, which contained a Union Jack in the blue field and which Washington raised above his headquarters in Cambridge, but the same record does not mention Ross by name.

9. Ponce de Leon wasn’t seeking a Fountain of Youth

Juan Ponce de Leon is widely believed to have sought in vain for a mythical Fountain of Youth in Florida, which today has many establishments using the legend to attract tourists. But it is only a legend, one in which Native Americans told the Spaniard that the key to immortality and perpetual youth could be found in Bimini. De Leon first came to the Americas as part of the second expedition of Christopher Columbus and by the early 1500s he was Governor of the Spanish settlements in Puerto Rico, acquiring significant wealth through his Royal appointment. Diego Columbus, brother of Christopher, succeeded in deposing him as governor in 1511, and de Leon decided to explore lesser known areas of the Caribbean.

His legal battles with the Columbus brothers and their allies left him with several political enemies, and it was one of these who first linked de Leon with the Fountain of Youth. De Leon made several voyages to the coast of Florida, and charted it as far south as the Keys, finally attempting to establish a permanent settlement there in 1521, after the death of his patron, King Ferdinand. Wounded in battle with natives resenting the Spanish trespass, he traveled to Cuba, where he died. A biography by Gonzalo Fernandez printed in 1535 was the first to claim de Leon had been in search of the Fountain of Youth (as a cure for impotence); later biographers picked up the unverified tale, and the legend was born. Nothing contemporaneous with the life of the explorer mentions either the search or the mythical fountain.

8. The Pilgrims didn’t land at Plymouth Rock

There were many chroniclers of the voyage of the Mayflower and the landing of the Pilgrims both on Cape Cod and later at what became Plymouth Colony, and still later Massachusetts. None of them mentioned landing on a rock. Indeed, it would have been exceedingly strange for an accomplished seaman to choose a rocky outcropping as a place to land a wooden boat laden with passengers in rough weather. The New England coast in December is seldom placid, and the Pilgrims had already landed on other sites, were concerned about the weather, and were in search of a safer location.

Over a century after the landing Plymouth Rock entered the annals of the colony, when a church elder named Thomas Faunce claimed that his father had told him the rock now known as Plymouth Rock was where the colonists first stepped ashore. The story took hold in the settlers’ collective imaginations. By the time of the Revolution it was a symbol of freedom, and a misguided attempt to move it to a place of honor near a liberty pole resulted in its being broken in two. The bottom half of the rock remained in the ground, the top later suffered another accident and was broken in two again. In 1880 what remained of the top was reunited with the bottom (using cement) and 1620 was carved into its face.

7. George Washington didn’t throw a dollar across the Potomac

Many myths exist about George Washington and a few have at least a passing reflection of basis in truth. Throwing a dollar across the Potomac isn’t one of them. The Potomac at Mount Vernon is almost one mile across. The US did mint two silver dollars of differing design in the 1790s, today known as the Flowing Hair and Draped Bust dollars. In Washington’s day they were scarce, and Spanish dollars (the famed Piece of Eight) were still in wide circulation throughout the new nation. Washington didn’t throw one of those across the Potomac either. The story of the cross-river toss was born out of another story, which featured another river and another item thrown.

According to George Washington Parke Custis, Washington’s step-grandson, the river was the Rappahannock, the site the Washington family home near Alexandria, and the item was a rock about the size of a silver dollar. But Custis heard the story from family lore. Charles Wilson Peale also told a story of Washington’s ability to throw an iron bar a prodigious distance, a popular game among young men before the Revolutionary War to test themselves against one another. Washington was also reported to have thrown a rock to the height of Virginia’s Natural Bridge. So, while he never tossed a dollar across the Potomac, he evidently had a throwing arm of considerable strength.

6. John Henry was not a steel driving man, but a composite of several men

John Henry, according to folklore, was a steel-driver drilling holes in rock to fill with explosives, part of the construction of railroads in the Appalachians. His legend is that he raced against a steam driven machine and won, only to collapse and die of exhaustion at his victory. Several locations in America claim to be the site of the race. The Coosa Mountain tunnel in Alabama is one such site. The Lewis Tunnel in Virginia is another. Yet another is the Greenbrier Tunnel near Talcott, West Virginia. Other sites which have been suggested as that of the legendary race between man and machine are Oak Mountain in Alabama, in Kentucky, and even in Jamaica.

John Henry first appeared in song, sung by the men swinging sledge hammers and handling the rods driven into rock. There were several different versions of the song depending on the area of the country but they all shared a central truth. The hard, physical labor of men with no other job prospects was gradually being eliminated by machines. Many of those workers were former slaves, or the sons of former slaves, and they sang of their woes as they worked, as had been done on the plantations of the south before the Civil War. John Henry was a legend they created out of other men they had known, the hardest worker no longer among them.

5. Manhattan was not sold to the Dutch by gullible Native Americans for $24 and change

A longstanding bit of American folklore which has acquired the authority of history is that Dutch settlers, led by the crafty Peter Minuit, purchased Manhattan Island from an Indian tribe for a collection of beads and other trinkets, worth about $24. The story at once displays the duplicity of the European settlers and the trusting nature of the Indians, who from that point on were doomed to continuous fleecing by the onrushing settlement of the whites. The truth of the matter is that the tribe with whom the Dutch negotiated, the Manahatta, didn’t own the land which they sold in the first place. Enterprising Dutch settlers had already established a fur trading and lumber camp on the tip of the island, and along streams to the north.

To protect the fledgling settlements from the depredations of roaming tribes, the Dutch approached the Manahatta, offering to purchase the lands they already occupied. The Indians didn’t live or hunt on the lands, and thus had no objection to taking Dutch goods in exchange for what was already a fait accompli. The actual value of the transaction, in today’s money, was several thousand dollars, which seems low until it is considered that the Indians sold the Dutch land for which they had no claim. Basically the Manahatta carried out the equivalent of selling their neighbor’s house and making off with the profits, leaving the Dutch to deal with an unhappy true owner.

4. The legend of Mike Fink may have been based on the adventures of several men

Mike Fink was a real person who in life and after his death took on the legends and tall tales told of other riverboat men, along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Born in Fort Pitt in 1770, he moved down the Ohio River sometime after the American Revolution and the Indian Wars in the Ohio Country ended. Although he is linked in legend to the Ohio River, there is evidence that he actually operated a freighting business along the Great Miami River of Ohio. There he carried products from the farms of Ohio to Cincinnati, and returned upriver carrying needed merchandise from the wharves of the growing city.

The river towns and frontier settlements were rough and ready places, and stories of Fink, who was well known for his size and prodigious strength, appeared up and down the Ohio, and carried along its many tributaries during his lifetime. Activities of other rivermen and travelers were related in taverns and inns, with his name attached to give them extra flavor. He undoubtedly related more than a few himself. Over time the less admirable facets of his nature made him appear as an undesirable character. When Disney featured him in a film with Davy Crockett during the Crockett craze of the 1950s, Fink was rendered little more than a buffoon. His name is still well-known along both sides of the Ohio, though few could say who he really was.

3. Paul Revere never finished his famous midnight ride to Concord

There were riders from Boston and Charlestown on the Massachusetts roads on the night of April 18 (and into 19), 1775, alerted by the famous signal from Old North Church of two lanterns, warning that the British were coming by sea. The signal was sent by Paul Revere, not to him, before he was carried across the Charles River to mount a horse locally known for its speed. From there, he is known in legend (thanks to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) for alarming “every Middlesex village and farm.” According to Longfellow it was “two by the village clock” when Revere arrived in Concord. But in truth he never made it to Concord at all. The British captured him outside of Lexington, confiscated his horse, and he walked back to the village.

The Sons of Liberty had a well-established chain of riders and church bells to spread the alarms, which had been exercised previously, and when Revere arrived in towns such as Somerset and Medford, the local militia companies sent out riders of their own. It was the sound of the bells spreading the alarm, as well as some gunshots meant to rouse the militia in Lexington, which encouraged the British patrol that captured Revere to confiscate his mount and return to the relative safety of the approaching British column, rather than confront the aroused village on their own. Revere was just one of many riders along the roads that night, several of whom alerted the village of Concord.

2. The Law West of the Pecos, Judge Roy Bean, was hardly a hanging judge

Judge Roy Bean ran a saloon in Val Verde County, near the Rio Grande River in Texas. He gained appointment as the local Justice of the Peace, and hung a sign on his business establishment which read “Law West of the Pecos.” He did have some acquaintance with the law, having been arrested himself for assault, petty theft, public drunkenness, and threatening to kill his wife. After his appointment as a Justice of the Peace was verified by Texas authorities, he used his new status to run a competitor in the saloon business out of town. He based his judicial decisions on a single law book, once letting a murderer free because he “could find no law against killing a Chinaman” in his reference.

Bean became part of the legend of the Old West, known as a hanging judge, in the sense that all who appeared before him as defendants were likely to be found guilty, and likely to receive the maximum punishment allowed. In truth he only ordered two convicted men to be hanged. He usually fined miscreants the amount of money they had on their person at the time of their appearance, which he kept for himself. As a Justice of the Peace he conducted weddings, announcing “May God have mercy on your souls” following the vows. He also granted divorces, though he had no legal authority to do so.

1. Isabella’s jewels didn’t fund the voyage of Columbus, Italian lenders did

Christopher Columbus attempted to obtain funding from several different sources, including the Kings of France and Portugal, before he approached Isabella and Ferdinand with his project. When he did, they at first turned him down. It took nearly two years of persuasion and negotiation for Columbus to obtain the support of the Catholic Monarchs, as they are known today. The longstanding and pervasive myth that Isabella pawned or sold her jewels to fund the voyage is false; the funding came from the royal treasury, which obtained them through loans from numerous sources, including Italian bankers from Genoa and Florence doing business in Seville.

The main source of the loans was the Bank of St. George, based in Genoa, with branches across Europe. The bank was operated by the powerful Genoese Centurione family, rivals of the Medici family. Security for the loans which funded Columbus was speculative, based on the expected riches he would bring back from his voyage. They were serviced, that is the interest on them was paid, through an increase in taxes in Western Spain. Christopher Columbus’s voyages to the New World were paid for in a surprisingly modern way, not by the Queen of Spain pawning her jewelry.


Ponce, Fink, Bean, Ross, Henry & Pilgrims –

WIF Folklore