Categories
Historic America

St. Lawrence in Flames

In 1813, war raged between Great Britain and America. The Saint Lawrence River, dividing the two powers in North America, became a thoroughfare for bloody conflict.

The War of 1812, fought between the United States and Great Britain between 1812 and 1815, arose from a dispute over maritime trade and U.S. territorial ambitions on British Canada. The war went badly for the U.S., with British troops burning Washington, DC in August 1814. The St. Lawrence River, as the border between the United States and Canada, was a vital waterway that saw dozens of small naval battles as each side sought to control it. Both sides attacked vulnerable supply shipments being ferried up and down the river.

Battle of Ogdensburg

At the mouth of the Oswegatchie River on the south bank of the St. Lawrence River, Ogdensburg was originally a French trading settlement and home to more than 3,000 Iroquois Indians. By 1812, American settlers had built a small village and established trade with British Canadians across the seaway.

With the outbreak of hostilities, Brig. General Jacob Brown used Ogdensburg as a jumping-off point for raids on British shipping. The Americans began building Fort Oswegatchie between what is now Franklin and Elizabeth Streets on Riverside Drive to defend the village.

Categories
Mysterious America Photography

Fort Fisher’s Sentinel

Fort Fisher was built by Confederate forces during the American Civil War to protect Wilmington, North Carolina. It fell on January 15, 1865 after hours of brutal fighting. Since then, visitors to the fort’s ruins have reported numerous strange encounters, including sightings of a mysterious sentinel, as well as its commander, Col. William Lamb. Others report hearing disembodied footsteps, phantom screams, and gunshots. In 1961, the site was declared a National Historic Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places five years later.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: William Mahone

Maj. Gen. William Mahone (1826-1895), born in Southampton County, Virginia, fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War and was later a U.S. Senator from 1881 to 1887. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and was a railroad engineer before the war. During the war, he rose from colonel of a regiment to division commander and was present with General Robert E. Lee at the surrender at Appomattox Court House. After the war, he was elected Mayor of Petersburg and became a leader in the Readjuster Party, a bi-racial coalition against the wealthy planter class in Virginia. He is buried in Blandford Cemetery, 319 South Crater Road in Petersburg, Virginia.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Bockscar

Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Bockscar” at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. This was the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man”, on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Bockscar was commanded by Maj. Charles W. Sweeney. Its single atom bomb destroyed approximately 44% of Nagasaki, killing 35,000 people and injuring 60,000.

Categories
Mysterious America

The Ghost of Mary Hawkins and the Legend of Pemberton Hall

Sometimes Mary manifests herself as a prankster. Other times, she appears as a benevolent matriarch who makes sure doors are locked at night and warns “her girls” of trouble. But at all times, Mary Hawkins commands the respect and admiration of students at Eastern Illinois University, even 103 years after her death.

Jessica and Ashley sat in their dorm room, a cool autumn breeze blowing in from the window. A single lamp illuminated the room in a soft yellow glow, casting shadows of stuffed animals on the walls. Ashley sat on the floor with a tablet in her lap playing Angry Birds, her back resting against the bed. Jessica, her roommate, sat on her mattress curled in a pink Snuggie.

Without warning, a door down the hallway slammed shut, followed by the sound of something scraping across the old wooden floor. Jessica and Ashley jumped.

Ashley put down her tablet. “Oh my God, what was that?” she asked.

“Maybe it was Mary,” Jessica (or Jess for short) replied. Seeing her roommate’s puzzled expression, she continued. “You know this place is haunted, right?”

“Shut up.”

Categories
Mysterious America Photography

Powers-Jarvis Mansion

The Powers-Jarvis Mansion, 357 W. Decatur Street in Decatur, Illinois, is among the most unique in Decatur, from its red tiled roof, to its copper trim, leaded glass windows, and blond brick. Businessman Charles Powers, owner of the Hotel Orlando, built this 9,400 square feet Greek Revival home in 1909. The Bachrach family owned it from 1988 to 2005, when they sold it at auction. It was auctioned again in 2017. According to local author Troy Taylor, rumors of it being haunted began in the 1960s when it was abandoned. Passersby witnessed lights floating around inside or translucent figures in the windows. Later, some men staying in the house reported personal items went missing or their bed shook without explanation.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Andrew Alexander

Monument to Brig. Gen. Andrew Jonathan Alexander (1833-1887) in Fort Hill Cemetery, 19 Fort Street in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York. Alexander was a staff officer and Union cavalry commander during the American Civil War, rising from the rank of captain to brevet brigadier general. He was born in Kentucky, but his mother emancipated their slaves. He fought in several battles, including Fredericksburg, Aldie, Upperville, and Atlanta on his horse named “Black Sluggard”. After the war, he continued his military service and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.