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Video Review - History Channel - 51 Amazing Facts about America

History Channel - 51 Amazing Facts about America

Amazing people, amazing places and amazing things! This special zips across the US looking for the facts.
Runtime: 41 minutes
Original air date: October 11, 2014


Maine is closer to African than Florida
Maine is the only state that borders one other state.
In 1824 there was oyster-flavored ice cream
The U.S. has no official language
The Library of Congress records all tweets from twitter
Highway 550 through Colorado is the "Million Dollar Mile" because it contains gold - please don't try to dig it up either
President Hayes had the first telephone and the first typewriter installed in the White House
Florida has some 8,000 year old bones which date 2,000 years before the Pyramids in Egypt
Alaska - more people walk to work than anywhere else
1 in 8 Americans have worked at a McDonalds restaurant
There is a desert in Maine (due to farm erosion). The largest desert in the world is Antarctica.
Grover Cleveland was a deputy sheriff and executioner. He is the only President to marry in the White House.
Alaska is the most-Eastern, most-Western and most-Northern state.
Alaska also has the longest coast line.
Hawaii keeps growing (thanks for volcanic activity)
President Harrison was the oldest President elected, his inaugral speech was the longest, and he died after 1 month in service from a cold.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826 (the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence)
Einstein's brain was sliced up and portioned into jars and sent to different labs for research

Check your local library for a copy, youtube, your cable provider, or you can find view it through Amazon here:

Book Review - Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith

Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier (Oklahoma Paperbacks Edition) Paperback – April 15, 1998 by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith - ISBN#0-8061-3054-7

Pioneer Women provides a rare look at frontier life through the eyes of the pioneer women who settled the American West. Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith vividly describe the hardships such women endured journeying west and making homes and communities on the frontier. Their hopes and fears and, most of all, their courage in the face of adversity are revealed in excerpts from journals, letters, and oral histories. Illustrated with a fascinating collection of seldom-seen photographs, Pioneer Women reveals the faces as well as the voices of women who lived on the frontier.

The authors portray a wide variety of women, from those who found liberty and confidence in undertaking "men’s work" to those who felt burdened by the wind, the weather, and the struggle of frontier life.
Paperback, 144 pages, Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; Oklahoma Paperbacks Ed edition (April 15, 1998)


1834 - The Great Migration
1842 - Preemption Act
1880's - The Transcontinental Railroad had "emigrant cars" for those moving cross country. This car could hold household goods, family members, about 6 head of cattle, grain and hay.
1889 - Indian Territory became the Oklahoma Territory
Guidebooks were created for emigrants, such as "The Emigrant's Guide to Oregon and California" in 1845.
Prairie Schooners (wagons of the 1860's): 10ft long x 4 ft wide x 2 ft deep; canvas top (waterproof) stretched over bows with pockets sewn inside; there was a narrow aisle in the wagon to walk through; strapped to outside were buckets of grease, tools for farming, water barrels, etc; when fully loaded the wagon weighed up to 2000 lbs; 4-6 oxen pulled the wagon
1851 - Women's bloomers became popular
Making soap was actually a lengthy and dirty process: First, made lye by leaching water through ashes, then add it to grease. Boil this mix until soap can be skimmed off and poured into a tin bucket. This was then poured into wooden boxes lined with cloth, left to harden, and then cut into bars.
Typical jobs for women included servant, laundress, dressmaker, midwife, cook, seamstress, cook.

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here:

Book Review - Ray Miller's Texas Forts

Texas Forts - Ray Miller - ISBN#0-89123-036-X

Ray Miller's Texas Forts captures the flavor and the history of the Texas frontier, concentrating on the federal forts in the years between 1845 and 1855.
Paperback, 223 pages, Publisher: Gulf Publishing Co (December 31, 1998)


1820's - Stephen F Austin established the Texas Rangers to cope with the Comanches
1839 - Sam Colt's revolver reached the frontier (and became popular)
1845 - There were 8,349 officers and men in the U.S. Army
May 8, 1846 - The first real battle of the Mexican War at the Rio Grande River. 2000 Americans led by Zachary Taylor versus 4,000 Mexicans. The Americans won.
Fort Marcy was the first military establishment in Texas to display the U.S. flag. The first units arrived July 27, 1845.
During the Mexican War, the Army grew to over 47,000. After 1848, President Polk reduced the forces down to 10,000.
There were 3 mounted units during this war: 1st and 2nd Dragoons and the Mounted Rifles
Volunteer Texas Rangers did most of the scouting for the army.
1848 - A wagon road (for settlers) was started from Austin to El Paso. 4,000 immigrants with 1,200 wagons waited at El Paso for guides to help them get to California. El Paso was not yet a town, but the immigrant traffic through there helped boost its start and hasten the development of a federal fort system.
1876 - A Federal fort was established in San Antonio
Rough Riders were trained and outfitted at Fort Sam Houston

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here:

Book Review - The Irish Texans by John Brendan Flannery

The Irish Texans by John Brendan Flannery - ISBN#0-933164-33-5

An essential reference book concerning the history of Irish immigrants into Texas and how they settled and created the towns/cities we know and love today. Contains lots of interesting anecdotes and the evolution of Irish names and customs as they adapted Mexican or American culture.
Flannery, John Brendan. The Irish Texans. San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1980, 173p, bib, index, illus.


Places of heavy concentrations of Irish of early Texas: Staggers Point, San Antonio, Refugio, Corpus Christi, Houston
Between 1717 and the Revolutionary War, around 250,000 Irish immigrated to the American Colonies
After the English Act of Union of 1800 (which created one nation of Scotland, Ireland and England), many Irish escaped to America
1835 - the population of Irish in Texas was about 30,000
1836 - Battle of San Jacinto - 100 Irish-born volunteers participated in the battle
Interestingly, many Irish became Mexican citizens to obtain large tracts of land
1835-1840 - School teachers in Austin were Irishmen
Dallas was founded by John N Bryan who came in 1841 and built a cabin on the east bank of the Trinity River (which was part of Peters Colony)
San Patricio (named after St Patrick) established October 1831 on the east bank of the Nueces River. By 1836 there were 500 people living there. The railroad bypassed the town (1886) and many moved out. 1919 a hurricane destroyed much of the town and the old St Patrick's church.
1840's - a large influx of Irish to San Antonio; one area was known as the "Irish Flats" (1842)
Henry L Kinney founded Corpus Christi. There were 27 blocks of "Irishtown". The area had its own firefighting unit, the Shamrock Hose Company. In 1875 there was a hurricane in Corpus Christi.

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here: