Are sugar cubes bad for you?

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Sasha Baron Cohen’s recent speech is being linked many times on Facebook. I’ve also noticed that the speech is not really getting major attention despite being acclaimed as a “very important speech”. Who knows, is Mr. Cohen’s Facebook reach being compromised by Mr. Sugar-cube’s algorithms, whose recent uncomfortable appearance in Washington had the bitter taste of lukewarm tea? Or are those who see themselves vindicated by Mr. Cohen’s message generally uncritical?

At the start of his speech, Mr. Cohen defends himself convincingly as a comedian. “At times, some critics have said my comedy risks reinforcing old stereotypes.” He realistically assesses his career as being half “absolutely juvenile and the other half completely puerile”, and then points out his method of uncovering “racism, hate and bigotry” in society. Then, he confuses prejudice against people and criticism of ideas by quoting a disingenuous attitude: “I am racist, against Muslims” – it showed the acceptance of Islamophobia.” Perhaps, that confusion shouldn’t be emphasized too much in consideration of his better arguments which follow. It does however, illustrate how propaganda works: by mixing people and ideas, and making them inseparable and appear irrefutable.

Demagogues have always appealed to our worst instincts. The very intent is to go mainstream. One historical example is when local governments by means of religious ideology and “scientific consensus” heated up the witchcraft craze (“hate crimes”) in Europe during the Age of Reason. One important factor was the new efficient media of printmaking, invented in Germany, in 1440. During the following decades, only few people had access to the printing presses, but were exposed to more populist ideas. Elite academics and scientists were suddenly able to spread their ideas – and “shared lies” – , and also make money from propaganda and pornography. The popularity of the Malleus Maleficarum in 1487 and Luther’s Ninety-five Theses in 1517 relied entirely on the printing press. In an earlier era, Luther may have been executed or ignored.

“Think about it.” The printing press deliberately “amplifies the type of content that keeps readers and listeners engaged – stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear.” What was “real” news back then, and is today?

“And it’s no surprise that the greatest propaganda machine in history has spread the oldest conspiracy theory in history – the lie that Jews are somehow dangerous.” Is Mr. Cohen talking about the United Nations, where anti-Semites, gangsters and racists expound their theories in respected auditoriums? “Just Think What Goebbels Could Have Done with Facebook” or the United Nations, or a team of moderators, could do today!

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Actually, a Goebbels doesn’t need Facebook. Actually, in the Nazi-era, the propaganda machine was controlled by government and fact-checkers, and fed by top scientists and conspiracy theorists.

“A 1922 Times article suggested Hitler’s anti-Semitism wasn’t genuine and shouldn’t concern readers. In 1941, the Times let Hitler use its opinion page to publish an article literally titled, ‘The Art of Propaganda,’ which included excerpts from ‘Mein Kampf.’

“And let’s not forget that TIME Magazine chose Hitler as its Person of the Year in 1938. The magazine gets away with such choices by saying the designation is not an honor or award but simply recognizes the person or group of people that have ‘done the most to influence the events of the year’ whether that influence was good or not.” Now, that’s subtle reasoning! 

Mr. Cohen is shocked at “how easy it is to turn conspiracy thinking into violence.” I would suggest he read more more history books and learn how governments amplify conspiracy theories through controlled media to attain certain ends.

That the American President tweeted “he was considering designating Antifa – anti-fascists who march against the far right – as a terror organization” is indeed a confusion between ideas and people. Mr. Cohen promotes the same confusion by mixing racism with “Islamophobia”. Personally, I don’t want to accept any extremists, no matter what they call themselves. Any ideology which is intolerant of criticism or ridicule is a dangerous ideology. Society needs more people like Sacha Baron Cohen.

Mr. Cohen then proceeds to criticize Mr. Sugar-bump, and rightly concentrates on Facebook as a monolithic social platform. He notes: “Sadly, there will always be racists, misogynists, anti-Semites and child abusers.” Although “the first amendment says that ‘Congress shall make no law’ abridging freedom of speech“, there are laws and law enforcement which are there to counter criminals and law-breakers. If Mr. Sugar-bump is giving “people, including some of the most reprehensible people on earth, the biggest platform in history” and at the same time, denies any responsibility for how the platform is used, then that platform should be taken away and opened up for all to use, as roadway networks are public and can be used according to certain regulations and laws. Criminals should be charged according to specific laws and given the opportunity to access lawful courts. Speeders can pay fines or go to court. 

“It’s like we’re living in the Roman Empire, and Mark Zuckerberg is Caesar. At least that would explain his haircut.” That’s funny.

Mr. Cohen goes on to suggest that “internet companies hire enough monitors to actually monitor, work closely with groups like the ADL, insist on facts and purge these lies and conspiracies from their platforms.” Facts are often, but not always, a matter of opinion. History tells us that, repeatedly. And Mr. Cohen alludes to that: “Drawing the line can be difficult.”

No, I don’t want law enforcement privatized or algorithms regulating free speech. More moderators can’t be the answer; what if these moderators are mostly in Iran, China or in Saudi Arabia? What if these moderators are not versed in national and international law? Or just lack humor?

Here’s Mr. Cohen being funny, unwittingly, or is he being ironic: “It’s time to finally call these companies what they really are – the largest publishers in history. And here’s an idea for them: abide by basic standards and practices just like newspapers, magazines and TV news do every day.”  And then he goes on about: “standards and practices in television and the movies”. Which countries or news media is he thinking about? 

Mr. Cohen ends on a good point: “It all comes down to what kind of world we want. In his speech, Zuckerberg said that one of his main goals is to “uphold as wide a definition of freedom of expression as possible”. Yet our freedoms are not only an end in themselves, they’re also the means to another end – as you say here in the US, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But today these rights are threatened by hate, conspiracies and lies.”

 

 

 

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Sugar Bumps

Upon reading about the death of the psychopathic ISIS leader, al Baghdadi, I posted on my Facebook page (October 27) a photo of Islamists holding weapons and standing behind a row of kneeling prisoners – with blurred-out faces – who apparently were to be executed. The AFP (Agent France Press) photo was printed by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz  in December of 2014. To the photo I added a phrase I found online from a Washington Post headline in which al Baghdadi is described as an „austere religious scholar“. Since that religion isn’t explicitly named, it becomes a guessing game for their readership. If a psychopath like al Baghdadi is a scholar, what was Hitler, a charismatic intellectual? With my post I wanted to express, in an ironic way, my disgust about such trash news.

Facebook didn’t approve of that post; for some reason unknown to me, it went against their „community standards“. So it was deleted and I was blocked completely from Facebook for 7 days, as a sort of punishment, I guess. But, Facebook does condescendingly allow for a review. About an hour after my request for a review, my post reappeared with the standard text, „We’re sorry we got this wrong,“ which meant little, since the 7-day-block was nevertheless upheld. There’s no direct way to ask for a review of such an unnecessary block.

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After the seven days were over, I posted a screen shot of the same post with Facebook’s initial decision to delete along with the apology. Within two hours that post was deleted by Facebook and I received yet another seven day block. I asked for a review, which has been going on for six days now. Oddly, the original posting from October 27th is still visible on my page.

Just before the anniversary of 9/11 I was banned for seven days for posting an absurd front page of a large German newspaper. „Terrorist pilot Mohammed Atta’s last girlfriend reveals: She lived with him in Florida just before the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. He massacred her cats and was a loser in bed.“ In large red print: „Sex with Atta was horrible.“ In the face of nearly 3000 murdered innocent civilians, this woman’s complaint is absurd, even surreal. What motivated Facebook to react so quickly and delete the post, is ridiculous.

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Hundreds of millions of Facebook users have built an entire infrastructure which surpasses any other communication network today, and is just as large as the worldwide telephone net and roadway system.

The roadways can be used by anyone who has a driver’s license or who travels as a passenger. Laws and rules, pertaining to speeding and aggressive driving, as well as legalized consequences, are clear. In the world of Facebook, rules are non-specific and although legal aspects are considered, the police and judge are one in the same. Since charges and punishments are non-specific, there’s no need for a court.

Without Facebook’s infrastructure, I would never have even known about many people with whom I’ve since met in persona. I reflect rather on those I’ve met, and helped and amused, and vice versa. There are those who are very thankful for my support, and are undoubtedly interested I remain on the „playing field“. Who knows how many interesting contacts I may make in the future, especially with those who are interested in my artwork. How much time I spend online or outdoors has no bearing on my criticisms of the Facebook system. Whether Facebook even notices me and my online friends is beside the point. How many „Likes“ or comments are strewn is of no real importance. Facebook has no idea who I am; likewise I have little idea who Mr. Sugarbump is. Just as those who drive on the roads won’t be particuraly worried about the opinions and judgments of highway workers who built the roadway system, but rather about obeying clear traffic laws and signs. The system must be maintained to function for all.

The Facebook network offers a public forum. Beyond all that is communicated, political and social statements in a free society should not be hindered and censored, if those expressions don’t run contrary to specific laws present in a democratic society. It would be better if more people were to express themselves openly. And not fear the arbitrary judgements and punishments of Mr. Sugarbump and his employees.

William Wires, November 13, 2019

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Edgar James McMellen (1891-1954)

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(From Left to Right) Leslie Edgar (2nd son), Edgar James, Edgar J. (4th son) and the small boy is Larry, Leslie’s son. Picture likely circa 1950s. Photo Courtesy Brian & Theresa McMellen.

Edgar James McMellen, second cousin to my maternal grandfather, Hugh Lawson Porter, Jr.
https://migenespro.com/edgar-james-mcmellen/

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Charles O. H. Fritzsche

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On an August day in the year 1865 a young man of 23 years arrived at a New York City port having sailed on the “Deutschland” from Bremen, Germany. He must have traveled the 250 mile trip from his hometown village in Saxony to Bremen by coach and/or boat. He was born in January 9, 1842 in Wildenfels; his father was from Glauchau, towns both situated near Zwickau in the Kingdom of Saxony.

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Five years later on January 8, 1870, Carl Otto Hermann Fritzsche married sixteen year old Hermine Frederike Zutterkirch in Acquackanonk (1917 Clifton), Passaic, New Jersey. She was the only surviving child of the German immigrant and prominent Paterson jeweler, Joseph Anton Zutterkirch. Hermine’s first child, Maria Dorothea, named after  her mother, died at just barely three years old. Next came Johanna, known as “Jennie”. Lastly, Ottolie Hermine, who died only eight months after her 23 year old mother died. Of young Jennie’s closer family remained merely her father and her maternal grandmother. There was also a cousin, Joseph Carl Zutterkirch, who continued the jewelry shop in Paterson.

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Jennie – and Joseph – are both fourth cousins of my mother’s paternal grandmother, another Zutterkirch descendant from the same German village of Berlichingen in the Hohenlohe district.

Carl insisted on Charles, even in Dresden where he lived out the remaining two decades of his life in a kind of exile. In his correspondence with the authorities he was very keen on holding on to his American citizenship. By the way, the American consul in Dresden, T. St John Gaffney, was a controversial figure. „Gaffney’s resignation from the consular service was forced by the State Department in 1915 at President Wilson’s instance, following complaints that Gaffney was so pro-German as to offend the British at a time when this country had taken over British consular and diplomatic interests on account of the war. Gaffney is a native of Ireland and a naturalized citizen.“

Charles O. H. Fritzsche was naturalized a US citizen in 1875 in Paterson, NJ.

At the beginning of 1879 Charles was engaged as an engineering consultant for the Union Bolt Works in Paterson; he was previously with the Delaware Bridge Company (Lambertville, NJ). However, only a few months later in the same year, Charles applied for a passport and left for Germany with his five year old daughter. He had already been to Germany the previous year – his first return trip to Germany – to visit his ill mother in Kitzen (now Pegau), a village south of Leipzig. In Germany once again the following year, he remarried to the young widow, Johanne Henriette, born Sigismund, of Leipzig. Unexplained is why they married in a different German kingdom, in Dillenburg, Hessia. Hermine was left to live with her uncle, Dr. Reuther of Leipzig. The newly wed couple travelled to the United States, where Charles was faced with a lawsuit instigated by his first wife’s cousin, Joseph Zutterkirch. It was reported in the local press, but I haven’t found a final judgment on the case. The following is from The Paterson Press, February 4, 1881.

A PECULIAR CASE

A respectable German Citizen Charged With Defrauding His Own Child —The Family History of Two Prominent German Families as it Appears in Court Proceedings.—Both Sides of the Story

„Testimony is being taken at present in a case which involves two prominent German families and which promises to be a legal contest of considerable interest. It is charged on the one side that a father das defrauded his only child out of real estate valued variously at from $12,000 to $15,000, this real estate being the property situated on the corner of Market and Hotel streets mud at present occupied by John P. Mayer as a saloon. In order to fully explain this rather complicated story we will be obliged to go back a number of years to get at the source of all these complications. We will first tell the story as viewed by the complainant in the case.

„Joseph A. Zutterkirch some years ago was a prominent jeweller of this city and when he died he owned the property situated on Market and Hotel streets. Hs left an only daughter, the wife of Charles O. H. Fritsche. Mr. Zutterkirch had no great affection for his son-in-law and so in his will provided that his daughter be paid the sum of $40 monthly out of the estate and after her death this sum was to be paid to her children until they attained their majority when the property was to be divided up among them, share and share alike. The executor of the estate was Dr. Robertson. At the time of the death of Mr. Zutterkirch there was a mortgage of $2,000 on the real estate in question and it Is alleged by the complainant in the present proceedings that Mr. Fritsche did all in his power to hinder the executor from carrying out the provisions of the will and that Mr. Fritsche objected to every move made on the part of the Doctor, so much so, in fact that he was induced to resign. The court then appointed Mr. and Mrs. Fritsche administrators with the will annexed and they proceeded to manage the property to suit themselves. The first step taken by Mr. Fritsche was to pay off the mortgage on the real estate, although the person who held the mortgage did not want the money. The mortgage was then assigned to a Mrs. Krauer, the grandmother of Mrs. Fritsche, and it was proposed that she begin proceedings in foreclosure, so as to sell the property. For some reason or other this plan was abandoned, it is alleged, because the old lady did not prove as pliant as had been expected, and she was induced to assign the mortgage to two gentlemen, Ernst and Charles O. Schneider. These at once began foreclosure proceedings and the property was sold at the first time it was advertised to be sold, that is without the customary adjournments, and it was bought in for $2,200 –  just the amount of the mortgage and costs – by Mr. Fritsche. The complainant avers that the property was valued at that time at $15,000, and the executor, Mr. Robertson, swears that he had that sum offered for the property. Upon cross-examination of the Doctor he could not mention the name of any person who could be found who had offered him that sum for the property, At any rate the property passed into the hands of Mr. and Mrs. Fritsche, and the deed was made out in their name. Mrs. Fritsche died shortly afterwards and the property passed absolutely into the hands of Mr. Fritsche, who owns it to this day. When matters had reached this state, Mr. Fritsche paid a visit to Germany taking his little five-year-old daughter along with him. When he returned he had left his daughter in Germany but had there married again and returned here with his second wife. It It is claimed that as matters stand now the little girl will not get a cent of the property willed to it by old Mr. Zutterkirch, but that it will alI go to the children of the second wife of Mr. Fritsche. For this reason Mr. Joseph O. Zutterkirch, a cousin of the child and a well known jeweler, has brought a suit in Chancery to have the conveyance of the real estate to Mr. Fritsche set aside and the title vested in a trustee for the child. He is doing it altogether at his own expense and because he thinks that injustice has been committed. It is claimed that when the property was sold at Sheriff’s sale it was bringing in $1,200 per year and still it was sold to Mr. Fritzsche for $2,200. Mr. Edward R. Weiss is counsel for Mr. Zutterkirch. He says that in the answer of the defendant he sets up that the sale of the property was necessary to pay the debts of the estate and that it was done in accordance with an order from the Orphans’ Court. This Mr. Weiss says is absurd, as there were to debts it the time, as sworn to by Dr. Robertson, and that besides the estate did not bring more than just the value of the mortgage.

„Of course there are two sides to every law case, and so in this case, the defendant tells an altogether different story. It is claimed on his part that the will of Mr. Zutterkirch provided for the payment of his just debts and that over and above the debts there was not near enough to pay $40 per month out of. Just here there occurs what appears a peculiar contradiction in the testimony or Dr. Robertson. The Doctor testified that there was no need of selling the property to pay any of the debts and still a document is produced from the Surrogate’s office in which the Doctor sets out that the is a deficiency of some $3,800 between the debts and personal property of the deceased. The Doctor consequently asked for an order to sell the real estate. Being shown these documents the Doctor admitted having signed them. It was than that the trouble occurred between Fritsche and Dr. Robertson and it is claimed on the part of the defendant that this trouble occurred on account of the disposition of sorne of the personal property of the testator. Dr. Robertson, himself drew up the will. After he had resigned the management of the property as executor and Mr. and Mrs. Fritsche had been appointed, the Court ordered the properly sold to pay the debts of the estate, including the $2,000 mortgage. In the meantime Mr. Fritsche had used his own money and borrowed other sums and payed off the $3,800 debts what Dr. Robertson had reported. This of course, gave Mr. Fritsche a claim of $3,800 against the estate. The sale or the property took place as any other Sheriff’s sale, openly and at auction at the Franklin House. It was shortly after the panic and real estate was being slaughtered it every sale. The property did not bring enough to pay the amount of the mortgage and costs and so Mr. Fritzsche, in order to protect the interests of his child, bought in the property. Since then Mr. Fritsche has frequently offered to place the property in any way most beneficial to his child, and it is claimed that he certainly has the interest of his child more at heart than her cousin. Mr. Fritsche bears a first-class character and it will be a hard matter to convince his friends that he intended to injure his child or any one else. Mr. Fritsche, without taking this property into consideration, is comfortably fixed, and the lady he married in Germany owns property in her own name than Mr. Fritsche himself. He left his child by his first wife in Germany to be educated and is paying her expenses out of his own pocket. It is alleged that the property of the late Mr. Zutterkirch was never worth enough to pay $40 per month out of and that the child, as matters stand at present, will fare far better pan if the strict interpretation of the will, according to young Mr. Zutterkirch, had been followed. Mr. Tuttle is counsel for Mr. Fritsche.”

Exactly when – or if Charles returned to Germany after the trial, is unknown to me. His second marriage was relatively short. A divorce was granted in 1883 in Leipzig. Before that he was most likely in the United States, having applied for a patent for a locomotive turntable design. On Oct. 31, 1882, he was granted Patent No. 266,955. In 1913 a New York newspaper reported:

“The Railroad Gazette of this week contains a long description and a number of illustrations of a new turn table invented and patented by Mr. C. O. H. Fritzsche, formerly of this city, but at present residing in New York. The turn table is a success and a number of them have been constructed for the New York, West Shore & Buffalo, the New York city & Northern, the Connecticut River, the Bangor & Portland, the Carolina Central, the Western Railroad of Cuba and other roads.

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Father and daughter must have been in Paterson, when they applied in the summer of 1889 for a passport to travel to Germany. Her cousin, Joseph, died at only 36 years of age the previous year.

 

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Industries of New Jersey: Hudson, Passaic and Bergen counties; Richard Edwards, Historical Publishing Company – 1883, p 984


In 1894, they were back again in Paterson when 20 year old Jennie filed paperwork with the county probate court concerning the family estate which she transferred to her father as executor and trustee. They then immediately returned to Germany with an intent to return “within two years”. Hermine seems not to have been in the best of health. She never returned to the United States. She no longer had relations there.

In 1908, Charles wrote to the American Consulate in Dresden:

I spent a long time with my daughter in different parts of Germany, on account of her poor health, she died in Dresden in the year 1899; at that time my own health had become so undermined, that I did not dare to take her body to my burial plot in Paterson, N.J., as intended; she was interred in Dresden. Although a sick man yet, I went back to the U.S., the same year yet, remained in New York City for over one year. On account of poor health, and in order to see my old feeble mother – she was 83 years old – I came back to Germany in 1900. Sometime after my arrival I fell sick to such an extent, that I was not even able, to be present at the funeral of my deceased mother. I was laid up with Ischias, long standing kidney and heart troubles, accompanied by chronic catarrh, which latter was much aggravated by the climate in America. To make the cup overflowing I was run down by an electric car in the Grosse Plauensche Gasse in Dresden in 1901, which serious accident left some weak spots in my body,…”

After a short stay in New York City during the summer of 1900, he returned to Dresden and bought a villa at Zittauer Str. 27 in the 18th century residential neighborhood of Radeberger Vorstadt, also called the Prussian Quarter. He may have then sold his properties at 122-126 Greenwich Ave. in Manhattan. He did retain at least a farm property in Totowa, a town bordering Paterson. That property was later confiscated and auctioned off by the Office of Alien Property Custodian after his death in 1921, although on October 14, 1912, his US passport for the purpose of identification was affirmed. His 1917 passport application includes a photo. Interestingly, Charles was freely cooperative with Totowa municipal authorities when he readily donated a section of his property for the benefit of widening and improving the adjacent Totowa Road. He also sent donations to the local fire department and for needy children during Christmas.

 

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Address book Dresden, 1902, Charles O. Herm. Fritzsche listed as owner (E=Eigentümer) of Zittauer Strasse 27, residing on the II floor (first floor).


During the last two decades of his life in Dresden, Charles rented out apartments in his villa, regained some health through gardening on his property, enjoying the moderate and healthy climate of the Elbe River valley, maintained his engineering profession by giving lectures and his tenuous American identity through contact with the US consulate.

“It always was and is yet my earnest intention, to return to my adopted country, where I belong.”

His unique type of patriotism was anchored in his will and caused wonderment after his death in January 1921. The Evening World (New York) of July 13, 1921 explains:

FUND IN WILL FOR U.S. CREW SINKING FIRST JAP WARSHIP
„Interest on 5,000 Marks (Present Value $84.50) Was to Aid Poor of Paterson.

„Heirs of Charles O. H. Fritzsche, civil engineer of Paterson and inventor of the modern locomotive turn table, are duly gratified of course that he remembered them in his will. But there is a certain dazed dissatisfaction among them. The last will and testament of Mr. Fritzsche, as ungodly frequenters of race tracks would say, „is a Dutch book,“ which is to say it works to the disadvantage of the persons who expected to reap the greatest benefit from it.

„It was in terms of German marks that Mr. Frltzsche distributed his $100,000 estate.

„According to Edward R. Weiss, a lawyer and banker who was the closest adviser of the late Mr. Fritzsche, the engineer was on April 19, 1910, when the will was executed, a citizen of the United States by naturalization and a good American. But he had a great and encompassing affection for his memories of the Fatherland and quaintly expressed it in the use of German financial terms in his bequests. (Quaintly isn’t quite the way some of the heirs put it on July 13, 1921, with German  marks at 1.36 cents instead of at 23.8 cents as when the kindly document was penned.) 

„The will has been offered for probate to Surrogate Frederick Beggs, who has deferred admitting it until the citizenship of Mr. Fritzsche shall have been established. According to Mr. Weiss, Mr. Fritzsche, who was in Dresden when the World War started, made every effort to get back to this country but was prevented. Doubt regarding his nationality was held by the Alien Property  Custodian who took over many of the items included in the estate.

„One item In the will indicates that Mr. Fritzsche took a militant Interest in the fortunes of the United States. He left a trust fund of 5,000 marks (to-day $84.50), of which the interest should be expended for the purchase of firewood for the poor of Paterson until the declaration or war between the United States and Japan, when the principal should be divided among the members of the first American crew to sink a Japanese ship. 

„About 133,000 marks, or now $2.281,50 instead of the $38.475 he intended, was disposed in bequests to Paterson charities. The remainder was distributed among friends.“

This past autumn (2019) I aimed to trace the footsteps of Charles Fritzsche in Dresden, except those that led to his mishap with a streetcar. The large cemetery in the Neustadt has no record of his burial, but there are other places I haven’t checked. Sadly, his villa at Zittauer Str. 27, as well as neighboring villas, were replaced by a not so pretty retirement home. The entire neighborhood appears intact, and may not have suffered under the bombing of 1945.

William Wires, 27 Oct. 2019

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Ghoulville

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„The chief descendants of the Anasazi are the Hopi and Zuni tribes, which have never practiced cannibalism and object to archaeologists‘ inferences of cannibalism by their prehistoric ancestors.“

That’s not true: „As late as 1700, for instance, several Hopi villages attacked the Hopi pueblo of Awatovi, setting fire to the community, killing all the adult males, capturing and possibly slaying women and children, and cannibalizing the victims. Vivid and grisly accounts of this massacre were recently gathered from elders by Northern Arizona University professor and Hopi expert Ekkehart Malotki.

„Archaeologists think that cannibalism among people in the American Southwest occurred between A.D. 900 and 1150 but was then fairly rare, probably occurring when the community was faced with starvation.“

In a strenuous effort to create quality journalism, the New York Times defines the time period AD 900 – 1150 as prehistoric. By the way, those years were marked by best climatic conditions with plentiful harvests and wildlife. Since the above quoted article, written in the year 2000, more recent evidence shows that cannibalism in the Anasazi culture was a common and culturally defining custom. Dining on the cooked brains of children was a delicacy: „They first examine the bodies of two children – one five year old, the other six months old – found at Coxcatlan Cave in Puebla (Fowler and MacNeish 1972). The five year-old child’s skull had been cut off, roasted with the brain still in the skull, then broken open (The Nahua Newsletter).“

„Until recently, because of a popular and ingrained perception that sedentary ancient cultures were peaceful, archaeologists have been reluctant to acknowledge that the Anasazi could have been violent. As University of Illinois anthropologist Lawrence Keeley argues in his 1996 book, War Before Civilization, experts have ignored evidence of warfare in preliterate or precontact societies.“

„Many of today’s Pueblo Indians were deeply offended by the allegations, as were a number of Anglo archaeologists and anthropologists who saw the assertions as exaggerated and part of a pattern of condescension toward Native Americans.“

I wonder if archaeologists would want to excuse or deny that the crusaders killed Jews on their journeys to the Holy Lands. How does this title sound: „New Data Suggests Some Antisemitism By Ancient Europeans“? As the New York Times would explain, those were prehistoric times when the Crusades occurred. And besides, the Crusaders may have been illiterate. Should Europeans feel „deeply offended by the allegations“ when history and archeology prove their ancestors were antisemitic?

Sheesh, what are scientists today so afraid of?

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Perkins Memorial

Recently I was at the Perkins Memorial Tower in Bear Mountain Park, which is 1200 miles from the start of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and 1,305 feet above the Hudson River. The views in all directions are magnificent.

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The person after which the tower and the road leading to it is named, caught my attention. The middle name Walbridge refers to a pioneer family from Bennington, Vermont. After a little research, I discovered that George Walbridge Perkins, Jr is a fourth cousin of my paternal grandfather, having a common ancestry in Henry Walbridge and Anna Safford.

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George Walbridge Perkins Sr, although a controversial businessman and politician, was in charge of a project which motorists in North Jersey can appreciate: the beautifully landscaped Palisades Parkway which leads to the George Washington Bridge.

„In 1900, New York governor Theodore Roosevelt appointed Perkins president of the newly formed Palisades Interstate Park Commission. It had been formed with the aim of stopping the destruction of the Palisades, a line of steep cliffs along the west side of the lower Hudson River in northeast New Jersey and southern New York. Although the Palisades and the Hudson Highlands were admired for their beauty and were featured in paintings of the Hudson River School, they were also viewed as a rich source of traprock (basalt) by quarrymen seeking to provide building material for the growth of nearby Manhattan Island. By the early 1900s development along the lower Hudson River had begun to destroy much of the area’s natural beauty. The Commission was authorized to acquire land between Fort Lee and Piermont, New York; its jurisdiction was extended to Stony Point in 1906.

„The Commission was expected to raise the funds needed for the acquisition of land from private sources. Needing at least $125,000, Perkins turned first to J. P. Morgan. Morgan offered to put up the entire sum on the condition that Perkins would become a Morgan partner. Perkins agreed, with the immediate result that quarrying along the Palisades was stopped on December 24, 1900. (Wikipedia)“

He was also responsible for financing the creation of Bear MountainHarriman State Park.

 

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Little Red Schoolhouse

In „The History of Cambridge, Vermont“ on page 61 is an example of a teaching license. It was granted to 22 year old Jane E. Wires, a daughter of the farmer, John Wires. Not only was she qualified to instruct pupils in various subjects, she also sustained a good moral character. WiresJane teacher.jpg

Jane soon married a local Cambridge farmer, Robert C. Holmes, who suddenly died at the age of thirty. After barely a year of marriage she was left a widow with a son, Byron. Jane never remarried. She and her son resided with her brother, Harlow Wires, who took over the homestead and farm on the Seymour River  – actually a small stream – in Pleasant Valley (Cambridge, Vermont). Robert was a nephew of Amanda Holmes, who was married to John Frank Wires, Jane’s much older half-brother.

Byron R. Holmes, a skillful harness maker, attracted the attention of Mary E., of the influential Wheelock family. They married in 1879. Her father was the Reverend Edwin Wheelock, who was minister of the local Congregationalist church for many years; he was a freemason and also superintendent of the local school system. When the two Holmes girls were in their teens, Byron and Mary were living at Saranac Lake in New York State; later the family was in St. Albans, a Vermont town situated on Lake Champlain. Mary Holmes‘ sister was Lucy Wheelock, who „as an educator, served as president of the International Kindergarten Union, and created her own early educator training school, Wheelock College in Boston“.

Byron, the leatherman, must have been quite a character. In the Cambridge, Lamoille County, Vermont Directory 1883-4 he is noted to have „refused information, (being) a very smart man, in his own estimation.“ Byron is a cousin of mine, John Wires being his grandfather and my third great grandfather.

I’d like to add a note here about character, concerning Byron’s father-in-law, the Rev. Wheelock. In „The History of Jericho, Vermont“,  it’s noted that „Elias Bartlett (also married to a Wheelock woman) was a man who took a watchful interest in the Congregational Church at the Center and his religious views were strictly orthodox. Rev. Edwin Wheelock preached there one Sabbath in exchange and Bartlett thought the sermon was tinctured with too liberal ideas. He met Mr. Wheelock the next day and said to him, „You have come down here and preached a Universalist sermon, and I want you to come down again and preach an antidote to it.“ He was a man well read and of a strong mind and an excellent citizen.“

Byron and Mary’s daughter, Laura (Wheelock, class of 1910), was employed at her aunt’s college as an administrator and assistant principle for many years. She also taught – as noted in the 1940 census – at the private women’s liberal arts school, Simmons College, part of the educational complex at Riverside in Boston.

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Laura? with her aunt Lucy Wheelock, Wheelock College Library
Archives

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A Handbook Of Private Schools For American Boys And Girls, An Annual Survey, 1931 by Porter Sargent

Byron’s other daughter, Helen, married the Harvard law school graduate, Archibald Campbell McKillop, undoubtedly of Scottish extraction. Unfortunately, the successful lawyer died a young man in Gila County, Arizona during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1919. Helen McKillop then returned to the Boston area with her three sons. They resided in a beautiful home in the Chestnut Hill section of Newton, Massachusetts. Annual local taxes for this home stand at $13,500 (2019).

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One of the three sons

William Wires, 3 Sep 2019

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