Sacagawea, also spelled Sacajawea, (born c. 1788, near the Continental Divide at the present-day Idaho-Montana border [U.S.]—died December 20, 1812?, Fort Manuel, on the Missouri River, Dakota Territory), Shoshone Indian woman who, as interpreter, traveled thousands of wilderness miles with the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–06), from the Mandan-Hidatsa villages in the Dakotas to the Pacific Northwest.

Separating fact from legend in Sacagawea’s life is difficult; historians disagree on the dates of her birth and death and even on her name. In Hidatsa, Sacagawea (pronounced with a hard g) translates into “Bird Woman.” Alternatively, Sacajawea means “Boat Launcher” in Shoshone. Others favour Sakakawea. The Lewis and Clark journals generally support the Hidatsa derivation.

A Lemhi Shoshone woman, she was about 12 years old when a Hidatsa raiding party captured her near the Missouri River’s headwaters about 1800. Enslaved and taken to their Knife River earth-lodge villages near present-day BismarckNorth Dakota, she was purchased by French Canadian fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau and became one of his plural wives about 1804. They resided in one of the Hidatsa villages, Metaharta.

When explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark arrived at the Mandan-Hidatsa villages and built Fort Mandan to spend the winter of 1804–05, they hired Charbonneau as an interpreter to accompany them to the Pacific Ocean. Because he did not speak Sacagawea’s language and because the expedition party needed to communicate with the Shoshones to acquire horses to cross the mountains, the explorers agreed that the pregnant Sacagawea should also accompany them. On February 11, 1805, she gave birth to a son, Jean Baptiste.

Departing on April 7, the expedition ascended the Missouri. On May 14, Charbonneau nearly capsized the white pirogue (boat) in which Sacagawea was riding. Remaining calm, she retrieved important papers, instruments, books, medicine, and other indispensable valuables that otherwise would have been lost. During the next week Lewis and Clark named a tributary of Montana’s Mussellshell River “Sah-ca-gah-weah,” or “Bird Woman’s River,” after her. She proved to be a significant asset in numerous ways: searching for edible plants, making moccasins and clothing, as well as allaying suspicions of approaching Indian tribes through her presence; a woman and child accompanying a party of men indicated peaceful intentions.

By mid-August the expedition encountered a band of Shoshones led by Sacagawea’s brother Cameahwait. The reunion of sister and brother had a positive effect on Lewis and Clark’s negotiations for the horses and guide that enabled them to cross the Rocky Mountains. Upon arriving at the Pacific coast, she was able to voice her opinion about where the expedition should spend the winter and was granted her request to visit the ocean to see a beached whale. She and Clark were fond of each other and performed numerous acts of kindness for one another, but romance between them occurred only in latter-day fiction.

Sacagawea was not the guide for the expedition, as some have erroneously portrayed her; nonetheless, she recognized landmarks in southwestern Montana and informed Clark that Bozeman Pass was the best route between the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers on their return journey. On July 25, 1806, Clark named Pompey’s Tower (now Pompey’s Pillar) on the Yellowstone after her son, whom Clark fondly called his “little dancing boy, Pomp.”

Lewis and Clark ExpeditionHeadwaters of the Missouri River, detail from Lewis and Clark Expedition map by William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, 1804–06.Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, Washington, D.C.
Pompey’s Pillar, near Billings, Mont., U.S.Travel Montana

The Charbonneau family disengaged from the expedition party upon their return to the Mandan-Hidatsa villages; Charbonneau eventually received $409.16 and 320 acres (130 hectares) for his services. Clark wanted to do more for their family, so he offered to assist them and eventually secured Charbonneau a position as an interpreter. The family traveled to St. Louis in 1809 to baptize their son and left him in the care of Clark, who had earlier offered to provide him with an education. Shortly after the birth of a daughter named Lisette, a woman identified only as Charbonneau’s wife (but believed to be Sacagawea) died at the end of 1812 at Fort Manuel, near present-day Mobridge, South Dakota. Clark became the legal guardian of Lisette and Jean Baptiste and listed Sacagawea as deceased in a list he compiled in the 1820s. Some biographers and oral traditions contend that it was another of Charbonneau’s wives who died in 1812 and that Sacagawea went to live among the Comanches, started another family, rejoined the Shoshones, and died on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation on April 9, 1884. These accounts can likely be attributed to other Shoshone women who shared similar experiences as Sacagawea.

Lewis and Clark ExpeditionRoute of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804–06.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Lewis and Clark Expedition: Corps of Discovery annotated member listAnnotated list of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery from William Clark’s journal, 1825–28. Clark notes that Sacagawea (“Se car ja we au”) is dead, among others.The Newberry Library, Gift of Everett D. Graff, 1964

Sacagawea’s son, Jean Baptiste, traveled throughout Europe before returning to enter the fur trade. He scouted for explorers and helped guide the Mormon Battalion to California before becoming an alcalde, a hotel clerk, and a gold miner. Lured to the Montana goldfields following the Civil War, he died en route near Danner, Oregon, on May 16, 1866. Little is known of Lisette’s whereabouts prior to her death on June 16, 1832; she was buried in the Old Catholic Cathedral Cemetery in St. Louis. Charbonneau died on August 12, 1843.

Sacagawea has been memorialized with statues, monuments, stamps, and place-names. In 2000 her likeness appeared on a gold-tinted dollar coin struck by the U.S. Mint. In 2001 U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton granted her a posthumous decoration as an honorary sergeant in the regular army.

Jay H. Buckley

Franklin Seduced France with Coonskin Cap Diplomacy

Featured image

In 1778, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was in France attempting to secure support for the United States Colonies during the War for Independence.

Great Britain and France had been at odds with one another for many years as the two most powerful nations in the world.

The American Continental Congress knew that enlisting aid from France would further infuriate King George III.

The Americans were fully aware they could not win the war with Great Britain alone. They had no navy, and military supplies such as guns and ammunition were hard to come by as the Colonies depended on Great Britain for most of their supplies.

The British had recruited North American Indian tribes to fight for their cause — promising if Britain retained control of the Colonies, the Native Americans would be left alone. The only hope the Colonists had was to enlist foreign aid.

The Colonies were forbidden to trade with foreign countries, but smuggling had been going on for years.  American rice and tobacco were to be shipped only to Britain but were secretly shipped to northwestern France and Amsterdam in exchange for much-needed items such as tea, fabric for clothing, gunpowder, arms, wig powder and other necessities.

Great Britain was aware of the illegal trading but mostly ignored the situation until they found out about the weapons and gunpowder. In 1774, the British sent ships to Texel Island in northern Holland to curtail the trade with Amsterdam.  According to Aermican Herritage by the beginning of 1775, the British had unknowingly sent almost six million dollars’ worth of war munitions to the Colonies.

At the age of seventy-one Benjamin Franklin was sent to France, along with Silas Deane and Arthur Lee, to gain help from Louis XVI. On May 2, 1776, the French King signed documents making France an American ally which dishonored her treaties with Britain.

In 1770 Massachusetts appointed Franklin as the first foreign ambassador to France. By 1778, Franklin, Deane and Lee had negotiated the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with their new ally.

Franklin had already proved his worth in the Colonies by his writings, inventions, research of electricity, and his brilliant use of diplomacy. Although he was self-taught, Franklin held honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and Oxford University in England.

He also helped found the University of Pennsylvania in his hometown of Philadelphia. The French, fascinated by Franklin, welcomed him with open arms. He learned French and was set up in a house in the Parisian suburb of Passy.

His charm, wit and humble dress made him one of the most popular people in Paris. He wore a coonskin cap to play up the French belief that Americans were wild frontiersmen. In fact, Franklin was so popular in France that even today some French citizens think he was an American president. Franklin was criticized by his contemporaries for living the high life, going to balls and parties and hobnobbing with the wealthiest of society.

For Franklin to have mixed with the poorer people would have alienated him from the king and wealthy potential donors to the cause. It was the eve of the French Revolution, and the public had had about enough of squalid living conditions while the wealthy flaunted their money in over the top decadence.

At the end of the Revolutionary War Franklin successfully negotiated the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Having spent about ten years in France, Franklin returned to Philadelphia in 1785. He assisted in the creation of both the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution.

In April of 1790, Franklin died at the age of eighty-four at the Philadelphia home of his daughter, Sarah. According to Biography, Franklin had written his own epitaph when he was twenty-two:

“The body of B. Franklin, Printer (Like the Cover of an Old Book Its Contents torn Out And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding) Lies Here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost; For it will (as he Believ’d) Appear once More In a New and More Elegant Edition Revised and Corrected By the Author.”

Alas, the inscription on his headstone in Christ Church Burial Ground reads “Benjamin and Deborah Franklin 1790.”  The Poor Richard Club mounted a plaque near the grave with Franklin’s epitaph for himself and another with a timeline of Franklin’s life.

 Ian Harvey

The future is streamlined locomotives, welcome to the 1930s

Featured image

It’s hard to grasp now how much the introduction of railroads and railway services during the late 18th century and early 19th century forever changed the way we commute, travel, and transport our stock and goods.

It was a grand leap of faith into a new future, similarly to how the picture changed decades later with the introduction of commercial flights. In both cases, the world went faster, stronger, better.

Depending on the decade, different combustible resources such as timber, coal, or oil helped power the locomotive machinery.

During the 20th century, the appearance of the first streamliner locomotives, which are now the epitomes of the era, was of utmost importance.

Of the thousands of streamliners that entered services across America, only a small fraction were employed for passenger train operations. Their sound boomed from the one end of the continent to the other.










Streamliner Trains – America’s Beautiful Locomotives





















The Hudson 4-6-4 locomotive is now recognized as a classic of the New York Central Railroad. (4-6-4 refers to it’s wheel arrangement of four leading wheels, six driving wheels, and four trailing wheels.) Its design was out there by the mid-1920s but the new machine had to wait at least a decade before it officially started operations.

The Hudson model developed because the New York Central was in dire need of a stronger and more powerful steamliner, one which could more efficiently move the ever-growing number of travelers from the east to the west. Devising the Hudson was no mistake by any means and the company added almost 300 in its inventory. They hauled the railroad’s flagship trains including the 20th Century Limited and the Empire State Express.

With the supersonic trains we have today, the Hudson locomotives may seem to be of little use. Except they treat us with their beauty and allow us to muse on everything they symbolized back in the day: progress, faith in technology, civilization, and new journeys.






Model trains on display at Red Mountain Library






There were other models that were introduced by the New York Central Railroad after the Hudson, such as the 4-8-2 Mohawk steam locomotive. This one looked as if it were a twin of the 4-6-4 type and it was also initiated.

The Milwaukee Railroad was widely praised when they introduced the first Hiawatha streamliner in the spring of 1935. The Hiawatha became the Milwaukee Railroad’s success story, and dozens of these were employed for its services. The machine was able to maintain an average speed of 80 mph.

The streamliners snaked across the country, fast enough that they are even credited with helping the Allies win World War Two. Their usage continued well after the war.

 Alex .A

When hippos nearly saved America

Featured image

In 1910 an extraordinary conversation took place at the House of Representatives, when Congressman Robert F. Broussard of Louisiana opened up discussion of H.R. 23261, or to give it a more familiar title, the “Hippo Bill.”

The bill was designed to address a make or break issue for the future of America, namely the “Meat Question.” With a burgeoning population, the U.S. had eaten its way through the national beef supply.

The days of the cow seemed to be numbered, and hippopotami were being eyed as the next item on the menu.

There was a slight problem, however, in that they weren’t on the same continent as hungry Americans.

The plan was to bring the animals over from Africa and add this juicy new staple to the food chain. A quarter of a million dollars would be needed to set the plan in motion.

The scheme sounded strange, but compelling. It also took care of another tricky situation for the enterprising Congressman.

At that time Broussard had a major problem in his backyard: water hyacinths.

The Japanese introduced the persistent plant to New Orleans as a present in the late 1800s, but this soon turned from a blessing into a curse. The hyacinths had spread and were now clogging up the rivers.

Fish were being wiped out. Something had to be done.

Thankfully for Broussard, a man was waiting in the wings with a bold concept. American Frederick Russell Burnham was a true adventurer and a major inspiration for the international Scout movement. A decorated soldier and a fearless spy, Burnham had spent his fair share of time in inhospitable situations and eaten some weird meals as a result.

As quoted by author Jon Mooallem (author of American Hippopotamus) in his piece for Atavistmagazine, Burnham reasoned that “man’s stomach, like his hand, can be trained to adapt itself to many strange uses.” Burnham believed the hippo was the United States’ salvation, and associated its arrival with a new chapter in the American story.

Some may have thought the plan sounded crazy, but to him it was bold. The media took to his idea, depicting the roaming creature in cozy, familiar terms. The most famous description came from the New York Times, which somewhat optimistically labeled hippos as “lake cow bacon.” Conveniently for Broussard, this bacon source also liked to munch on water hyacinths.

Broussard had brought Burnham to the House in order to talk up the Hippo Bill. However, Burnham wasn’t the only voice in the room. Another expert had been consulted on the matter, and he too spoke in the corridors of power about the benefits of importing African animals.

His name was Fritz Duquesne and he was from South Africa. Like Burnham, he’d served in the military and was renowned for his deadly skills. The pair were certainly aware of one another. In fact they’d spent a lot of time trying to kill each other during the Second Boer War, under orders from their respective governments.

The two men were different in many ways. Burnham was steady as a rock, the “King of the Scouts,” whereas Duquesne was regarded as calculating in his methods. He was referred to by the menacing title “Black Panther of the Veld.”

Having them under the same roof could have been catastrophic for Congressman Broussard. Yet despite this rivalry, the pair had a common goal, and it revolved around the unlikely subject of hippopotamus exploitation.

As Jon Mooallem explained: “These two men will seem larger than life, but they lived at a time, a hundred years ago, when, I would argue, life in America seemed larger than life—when what was unimaginable still felt feasible and ideas that looked ridiculous could still come true.”

Check out this baby pygmy hippo

Burnham, Broussard, and Duquesne formed a company, the New Food Society, with the aim of promoting their exotic agenda and making H.R. 23261 a reality for American dinner tables. The two soldiers formed a respect for each other in business, putting their professional hatred aside.

It helped that the group’s endeavors had backing from the highest places in government. As detailed by Mooallem, “Theodore Roosevelt, a friend of Burnham’s, had been so impressed with the idea a few years earlier that, newspapers reported, he’d pledged ‘his hearty approval and promise of cooperation.’”

Duquesne had his own association with the former President. When he came to live in America, he advised Roosevelt on hunting tactics for a forthcoming trip to Africa. Then he used his skills as a journalist to write columns for newspapers about what the Commander in Chief might be shooting at over there.

He was adept at self-publicity, developing the theme into a series of lectures. It was natural that Broussard would hear about him, and invite him to become part of his national drive alongside Burnham. Duquesne became the public face of the operation.

Meanwhile, Burnham and Broussard were devoting time to their respective and somewhat busy lives. At that point, a new figure entered the fray for the New Food Society, a writer and inventor by the name of Eliot Lord. Unfortunately, his forward style was not to Burnham and Broussard’s liking, and he operated more in partnership with Duquesne.

It appeared the men were diverging as a team, and that hippos would never wind up on the plates of needy patriots.

There was, of course, another factor that put a fly in the African ointment… the outbreak of war. Duquesne was carrying with him the trauma of the Second Boer War. His family had reportedly been brutalized and murdered by British soldiers. At least that was the picture painted by Clement Wood in a 1932 account, researched by Mooallem.

Duquesne had a reputation for embellishing his personal history, though. His partners were ardent Americans, but Duquesne’s loyalties were more divided.

World War One saw him adopt the alias of Captain Claude Stoughton, a British military man. The “Black Panther of the Veld” was back in action as a saboteur. In 1917 he was investigated by the New York City Police’s bomb squad, who uncovered a network of secret identities and evidence of violence happening in the name of German supremacy.

He was arrested but famously pretended to be paralyzed, using this subterfuge to escape to Europe. Eventually he was caught as ringleader of the Duquesne Spy Ring in 1941, one war later, and sent down for 18 years. Peter Duffy’s 2014 book Double Agent focused on William Sebold, who worked with the FBI to topple the ring.

The Daily Mail published a piece on the book, in which the writer observed that “The timely arrests served to deprive Adolf Hitler of the help of spies at the time he would need it the most, the convictions coming down on December 12, 1941, one day after war had been formally declared against Germany and Italy by the United States.”

By this point, the idea of hippos as a solution to the food crisis had been kicked into the long grass, along with the water hyacinths. Factory farming and mass production processes had given the cow a new lease of life, or should that be death?

The dreams of Burnham and Broussard would go unfulfilled. All three principal players in the saga had made achievements following different roads. However, that one strange chapter featuring hippos will remain a fascinating footnote in their biographies.

 Steve Palace

Amazing Color Photos That Capture Everyday Life of Reno, Nevada From the Early 1960s

Reno is a city in the U.S. state of Nevada. It is in Northern Nevada, approximately 22 miles (35 km) from Lake Tahoe.

Known as “The Biggest Little City in the World”, Reno is famous for its hotels and casinos and as the birthplace of Harrah’s Entertainment (now known as Caesars Entertainment Corporation). It is the county seat of Washoe County, in the northwestern part of the state.

Reno sits in a high desert at the foot of the Sierra Nevada and its downtown area (along with Sparks) occupies a valley informally known as the Truckee Meadows. It is named after slain Union general Jesse L. Reno.

Reno is the most populous Nevada city outside the Las Vegas Valley, and part of the Reno–Sparks metropolitan area, which consists of all of both Washoe and Storey counties.

These amazing photos from Barb Henry were taken by her parents that captured everyday life of Reno from the early 1960s.















By Barb Henry  May 18 2018

Earliest Portrait Photos Ever Taken Bring Americans From the 1840s to Life After Being Colorized

These amazing photographs were all taken in the 1840s using the daguerreotype which had just been invented. Images show various people from 1840s New York and bring to life how people looked and dressed in that era. They believed to have been taken by legendary early American photographer Matthew Brady, show a selection of 11 portraits taken as daguerreotype images.










(Images: My Colorful Past/mediadrumworld, via Daily Mail)  May 18, 2018