1880s

From Pens to Pistols

Free Lance, Tuesday, March 6, 1888

VIRGINIA EDITORS IN A DEADLY DUEL

A Newspaper War Ends in a Tragedy—Ellis Williams Shot Through the Heart, and Edwin Barbour Seriously Wounded— [illegible]

CULPEPER, VA, March 1. — One of the most desperate and deadly shooting affrays that ever happened in this vicinity occurred here this morning, between Edwin Barbour, editor of the Piedmont Advance, and Ellis B. Williams, son of Governor Williams, editor of the Culpeper Exponent, resulting in the death of Williams and the serious wounding of Barbour.  Both are young men and their families are highly-connected. The cause of the trouble seems to have grown out of a newspaper article, in the shape of a letter, dated from Washington and Signed “Jack Clatterbuck,” which was published some weeks ago in the Piedmont Advance.  The letter made some sharp and caustic allusions to Mr. Williams, of the Exponent.  Last Friday’s issue of the Exponent contained a bitter article denouncing the editor of the Advance and all connected with it, saying the editor was more an object of pity than of resentment, and that he was not the principal, but was put up to it by someone else.  To day’s issue of the Advance contains an editorial in which the editor brands Mr. Williams as a liar, and further says that “his conduct in this matter has been cowardly in the extreme, and highly unbecoming a gentleman, of which class we shall no longer consider him a member,” and winds up the article in this wise “At times it becomes necessary for a gentleman to turn and strike the dog that is barking at his heels.”

Cowboys of the Wild West

By Russell Freedman

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Describes, in text and illustrations, the duties, clothes, equipment, and day-to-day life of the cowboys who flourished in the west from the 1860's to the 1890's

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The Johnstown Flood

By David McCullough

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"...a tragedy that became a national scandal. Graced by David McCullough's remarkable gift for writing richly textured, sympathetic social history, The Johnstown Flood is an absorbing, classic portrait of life in nineteenth-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly."

Also available on audio.

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Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883

By Simon Winchester

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"When Krakatoa, an island volcano off the coast of Java, erupted on August 27, 1883, it spewed debris 24 miles into the air, was heard 4000 miles away, and caused barometers throughout Europe to go berserk. Tsunamis destroyed 165 villages and killed 36,417 people, but... the eruption's devastating effects were not only environmental ... but also political. Winchester notes that prior to the eruption, a Javanese Muslim priest had predicted that floods, blood-colored rain, volcanic eruptions, and death would precede the beginning of a holy war against the infidel. The resulting rash of murderous attacks by fundamentalist Muslims against European colonists living in their midst, he argues, was also a reaction to the escalating threat of Western imperialism into Muslim territory".
(From Library Journal)

Also available on audio and in a children's edition.

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The Negro Cowboys

By Philip Durham and Everett L. Jones

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"More than five thousand Negro cowboys joined the round-ups and served on the ranch crews in the cattleman era of the West. Lured by the open range, the chance for regular wages, and the opportunity to start new lives, they made vital contributions to the transformation of the West. They, their predecessors, and their successors rode on the long cattle drives, joined the cavalry, set up small businesses, fought on both sides of the law. Some of them became famous: Jim Beckwourth, the mountain man; Bill Pickett, king of the rodeo; Cherokee Bill, the most dangerous man in Indian Territory; and Nat Love, who styled himself 'Deadwood Dick.' They could hold their own with any creature, man or beast, that got in the way of a cattle drive. They worked hard, thought fast, and met or set the highest standards for cowboys and range riders."
Originally published in 1965.

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The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Long Winter

The constant beating of the winds against the house, the roaring, shrieking, howling of the storm, made it hard even to think. It was possible only to wait for the storm to stop. All the time, while they ground wheat, twisted hay, kept the fire burning in the stove, and huddled over it to thaw their chapped, numb hands and their itching, burning, chilblained feet, and while they chewed and swallowed the coarse bread, they were all waiting until the storm stopped.

It did not stop during the third day or the third night. In the fourth morning it was still blowing fiercely.
“No sign of a letup,” Pa said when he came in from the stable. “This is the worst yet.”
 
On the television series Little House on the Prairie, the sun is almost always shining—not surprising since it was filmed in Simi Valley, California. On television, the weather was hardly ever a problem. The TV stories are usually about how people interact with each other. But in the books, the Ingalls family was up against much more than that mean Nellie Oleson. The Long Winter of 1880-1881 begins with family on their South Dakota homestead, bringing in the hay crop on a lazy August day when all seems well.

The Way of a Ship: A Square-Rigger Voyage in the Last Days of Sail

By Derek Lundy

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When, as a young man in the 1880s, Benjamin Lundy signed up for unimaginably hard duty aboard a...commercial sailing vessel -- one destined for a treacherous, white-knuckle passage around...Cape Horn -- he had no idea that his experience would also provide a window into an epochal transition that would fundamentally change man's relation to the sea.

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Reconstruction and the Rise of Jim Crow: 1864-1896

By Christopher Collier, James Lincoln Collier

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Describes the struggles following the Civil War to decide how to deal with the newly freed slaves, through the years of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, sharecropping, and segregation.

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Hunter's Island Vineyard

In 1883 Charles E. Hunter, an industrious Fredericksburg foundryman, purchased what was then known as Beck's Island just below the dam in the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg.