Saturday, November 28, 2009

My great great great uncle. Richard Kasidick ..Who had a great career as an artist.

Richard Kasadick
A high resolution copy of a photo of his studio and a painting.
The only painting I know to be done by him in January 1898.
This is the only photo I have of my great great great uncle. He was an artist,and was in the first graduating class of Cooper Union. He was famous for a number of paintings. I have always wanted to find one of them. I am sure they exist somewhere.
The painting he is doing here was presented to the Lutheran Church on Wayne Street in Jersey City, New Jersey. I have to go look and see if that church is still there.

His studio was in Jersey City. The photograph here was taken in January 1898 at his studio. He proudly poses with the painting that would be at that church and may for as much as I know, still be there.

I found the graves of the Kasidicks at Bay shore Cemetery. Sadly the grave site which is quite large, has no names marked on it. All the cemetery records were destroyed in the 1960's during the riots in Jersey City, when all the nuts burned and destroyed everything in their stupid path. Sadly, they also destroyed history.
I will never know much more about my family and the artists who once were a part of it. I can only say that Richard Kasidick's (May be Kasidict's) son was an artist also. He did a number of art pieces for Coke a Cola in the early days of the 20th century. I wonder when I see art from Coke, if perhaps my great great uncle may have done it. I will never know, it was all anonymous.

But I thought I would honor my great great great uncle, Richard ..Who I never knew, but will always know.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The George Washington Centennial in New York City in the Magazine of American History.July 1889, and a momento token of that event.

Here is a token from the event you will read about in this article. These were sold during the event and usually had a ribbon tied into the small hole in the token. On the front it mentions the anniversary of Washington assuming the office as the first President.
On the reverse is the Brooklyn Bridge which was said to be the 8th wonder of the world.

Here is a wonderful and large story in the Magazine of American History of the 100th anniversary of the start of George Washington's term as President. He took the oath of office in New York City on April 30, 1789.
100 years later President Benj. Harrison came to honor that very important event, where it happened.

This magazine of course was made on rather acidic paper, which was in pieces. I have tried to put it together as well as I could. However, there are places where I just could not. But in this way I can preserve it well as I can. Enjoy this large and very detailed article.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Civil War Thanksgiving...November 24, 1864. As drawn by Thomas Nast

This is the original Thanksgiving cartoon by Thomas Nast. For November 24, 1864

Thanksgiving became a official federal holiday in 1863. It had existed of course for many years. But during the American Civil War it became a true legal holiday. In 1864 there was a lot of cartoons about the holiday, perhaps none as unique as this one by Thomas Nast.

The holiday was declared by Abraham Lincoln as mentioned in 1863, but by 1864 there was much more going on for the holiday. Also the holiday was centered around the war.

In the various pictures in this cartoon there were some of the evil confederates, the peace keepers, the sailors, and thanks to Maryland, for freeing her slaves. (Not that they wanted too!)

In the blow up of the main picture you see Lincoln and his generals standing on a rebel flag. This was a Thanksgiving like none ever, as it was the last one of the Civil War period.

Lincoln would die the following April, and the holiday would take on a more thankful, rather than militaristic stance after his administration.
But as in the beginnings of all holidays, it had to get it's roots, and style.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Evacuation Day...New York City...November 25, 1783

It was a long hard war for independence. The American revolution was a war that went on from 1775 till the early 1780's. There is a celebration in Boston every year called Evacuation Day. It honors the date of March 17, 1776 in which the British were pushed out of Boston and they evacuated.
It is not of this event in which I will speak, I will speak of the great evacuation of New York City which was the final act of the Revolutionary War.

New York City was under complete English control throughout the entire revolution. It truly was an occupied city. There had been a great fire in New York in 1776, started it is said by the inhabitants of the city themselves. As they saw the city was to be taken over by the British, they did whatever they could to give as little too them.

The time of the British occupation was not a pretty one. Many patriots were housed in prison boats all around the island. In fact over 11,500 colonist patriots died in those ships. That is more than all who died in every battle of the American revolution. The life for anyone who was not a loyalist was pure hell in New York. The British were most cruel in New York. Today the remains of the over 11,500 patriots are buried in Brooklyn at the Prison Ship Martyr's memorial in Brooklyn. The lofty monument is shown below. The death toll in New York was the greatest in the new nation's attempt at freedom.

There was a great hatred for the British and when it was plain that the war was over and it had been won. One of the great wishes was the reclaiming of New York to its rightful owners. This was easier said than done. New York had become a City of Loyalists and British Soldiers. It was not at all an American city, it was an extension of Britain.

The Treaty of Paris which was the peace treaty between the now called United States and England was signed on September 2, 1782. It was ratified on April 17, 1783. This would get the ball rolling.

Shortly after that the head of the British forces in North America, General Guy Carleton was instructed to evacuate the British forces in total. Most at this point were in New York City. There had to be a massive evacuation of loyalists to various countries. Soldiers needed to be re routed back to England, and there was the nasty matter of slavery. The British had freed the slaves in New York and in most of the areas they had controlled. This was a personal affront to many of the patriots who wanted their property back. Even Washington pushed to have slaves returned, but the British refused basically. So it looked like they were not going to get them back as many had long since left the area or would go with the British as they evacuated and were guaranteed their freedom in England. This was one of the few great things England did.
The area of slavery would be as John Quincy Adams so well put it "The final battle of the American Revolution". It would take another 80 years before that would be addressed.

The date for evacuation was set for November 25, 1783 at noon. George Washington and his troops were stationed right outside of the Island to give the British a chance to get out and make sure all was done in a timely manner. The last of the British forces were out completely at 1 pm, followed very shortly by Washington and Clinton and a bevy of very happy and proud soldiers. Many had died for this day, many gave as much as they could for this day. All had given much, and yet as we have come to honor the 4th of July as our independence day, it is really not. For Evacuation Day indeed it was truly the first day of complete American Independence. On that day the country was free from those who had held control of it since the days of the Dutch. It is not to take anything away from July 4th, even though for histories sake independence was declared on July 2! The actions of that day inspired the country to fight on for the very thing that paper desired.

General George Washington arrives with Governor Clinton and troops in New York on Evacuation Day

The British loaded small boats with soldiers, loyalists, freed slaves, and those who were afraid to be a part of this wild rebel country. This was done under the watchful eyes of all the colonists who were very happy to see them leave. There was a good deal of hate on both sides. It was not a pretty moment for either side. There was some bad actions on both sides that day.

The British sail by Battery Park and see the Stars and Strips on the flag pole. They had not thought they would see it as they had greased the pole and kept the Union Jack flying. But a Mr. Van Arsdale, a veteran of the late war was able to climb the pole and tear off the Union Jack and replace it with the Stars and Stripes.

The public on shore was jeering the British as they left and one of the gunboats leaving was so incensed by this act that he ordered his ship to fire a cannon at the crowd. The shot was fired but fell harmlessly into the water, and that truly was the last shot of the American Revolution. The war was over, the British were gone, and America truly enjoyed her first day of true independence.

The Kennedy assassination..November 22, 1963 . A date I will always remember. What was it like that day for me. My memories of that sad day

It is amazing that is was 46 years ago. Today the death and assassination of JFK is as old as he was when he was shot.

I was a boy in the 1960's..But from the time I could first read, listen, and study...I had a profound interest in history.
My earliest memories are of the Cuban missile Crisis...I recall the fear and terror of that event. There was so much we did not know. I started reading newspapers at that time. Although I did not know many of the words I was trying to learn and understand. It was an important moment in our history. Brought to everyones homes through the medium of TV.
John F. Kennedy was very much the star of this TV drama...His star rose quite a bit as it was well orchestrated. It was a much simpler time, we listened to everything that was said and we believed it. Today with the Internet I doubt the story would have been at all the same.

We survived that crisis and at this point, I really started to enjoy watching John F. Kennedy on TV. He had a wonderful sense of theater, and was smart. He had a happy talent for the spoken word, that is where he excelled. I thrilled at some of his press conferences.
As a young boy he became my first hero, I remember I used to make believe to be him and sign bills and make laws.I still recall so well doing that.
In 1963 I was in school and found my hero was no more.
Gunned down in Dallas. This I found out in class, as one teacher ran into the classroom and my own teacher started to cry. It was kind of funny for us, we were kids. But soon I was made aware of the gravity of it all.

I was picked up by my mother, who was crying,(my mom can cry reading a telephone directory, sadly so can I). But she was shattered that day.
We went to the dry cleaners, they were crying...and then we went home. I never left the TV each day and watched the whole solemn ceremony of death, and mourning. I cried that night.

I also had a very strange and bizarre dream that night which was so very odd. I dreamed that I was walking around and went to George Washington's grave, and put a band aid on him and he came back to life, and I went to Abraham Lincoln's grave and put a band aid on him, and he came back to life, and then I went to President Kennedy and put a band aid on him and he came back to life.
So I and the 3 Presidents were marching together. I have always remembered that Dream from that sad time in 1963. It is amazing how real it was to that 6 year old boy. But I understand that dream and still I feel the vivid nature of it.

Over the weekend the pageant went on, sometimes my mother joined me watching it, she was very upset by it all. She had voted for Kennedy cause she said he was real good looking.
I always enjoyed my mothers political value system. She would carefully weigh the issues and then vote for the best looking candidate!

She was very upset by the assassination, she ate an entire bag of tootsie rolls as she watched the funeral..My mother would eat if she was upset, she still does.

It was a great moment for me, one that I always will remember. The world changed a bit that day. I know it did for me.
I went out and bought all the newspapers I could find at that time. I was being a careful historian already. But what was it like, that day 46 years ago...It was day of outrage, sadness, helplessness, and confusion. I remember oh so well that day, I was saddened by Kennedy's death. I was saddened that I was not going to have my TV shows with my hero, and lastly I found Lyndon Johnson so boring.

You have to remember I am looking at this through the eyes of a 6 year old, but a 6 year old who was trying to capture every bit of this moment in history, as he knew this WAS history. That 6 year old watched the entire event on TV...Saw the live murder of Oswald and the grand pageant of a presidential funeral....The nation as I recalled was in deep shock, everything was a mess, all the stores closed! Of course there was no school on Monday morning of the funeral.

Today I find that much of what we all thought Kennedy was, was not, but I still admire him. I know as a historian he was pulling the wool over our eyes, but still I admire him.

In my thoughts of Kennedy there will forever be that 6 year old boy who thought JFK was one of the coolest people around, and my intellectual powers will never convince that 6 year old otherwise.

The world changed on that date, November 22, 1963, I cannot see that date without being transported to that moment. As I said before it was a simpler time, and I pray that this never happens again, but in a world that is a violent one the odds are that it will. But I do not think the world will be as loving, understanding, and shaken as it was in 1963. We have become a harder people and that is sad, but sadly true. But as I wrote about the assassination in 1988 in a book I had purchased about him. That I will be forever haunted by the terrible days of November in 1963. I am sure everyone who remembers is as well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

John Brown in the Adirondacks. Story on the famous fellow who led the Harper's Ferry raid in 1859 and died for it, and his home and grave in 1896.

December 2, 2009 will be the 150th anniversary of the hanging of John Brown. He was the leader of a slave insurrection at Harper's Ferry in 1859. His death and martyrdom became a symbol for the north during the civil war. Even his name became part of a song "John Brown's body lies a moldering in his grave...etc. This article was done in September of 1896 in the magazine Review of Reviews. This article deals with his house and the state of New York acquiring it.

Enjoy the article as it was hidden in the back of the magazine as there was a Presidential election going on that year. I do not think it has been read much at all since that time in 1896.