A rough history of public transportation in Tulsa

I was recently tasked to try and find some records that precede the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority running the bus system.  It turns out we don’t have them at TU.  It did spark a need to track down -what- was the public transportation like in Tulsa before that.  So I started digging.  There is an interesting typed unpublished History of the Tulsa Street Railway Company and Successor United Service Company by B. L. Hilburn (1972) that is housed at the Department of  Special Collections and University Archives at The University of Tulsa.

Streetcar on tracks

“Students arriving” at Henry Kendall College c. 1915 via the Tulsa Street Railway Co. approximately Lewis and 11th.

So it appears that the Tulsa Street Railway Company was established in 1905.

In 1909 the Oklahoma Union Traction Company was established to take streetcars out to the Swan Lake.

By World War 1 there were a few independent “Jitney” operators.  A Jitney derives from a slang term for a 5 cent piece, a jitney. A jitney bus/jitney omnibus was a motor vehicle carrying passengers for a fare, originally five cents. They tended to be unregulated and of low quality.


Jitney Bus

Typical Jitney

From the 1915 song, “Gus, Gus, Gasoline Gus,
Gasoline Gus and his jitney bus.
He packed them on the fenders and he packed ’em on the hood.
He packed ’em by the dozen and another dozen stood.
From out the heap there came a cry:
“Please take that suitcase out of my eye.”
Gus, Gus, Gasoline Gus,
Gasoline Gus and his jitney bus.”

In order to compete the Tulsa Street Railroad began to run the occasional enclosed buses along set lines.  By December 1921 the city ordinances began to heavily regulate Jitney operators and many were forced to convert to safer enclosed buses.

In 1926, the United Service Company replaced the Tulsa Street Railroad lasting until 1935 when they sold out to the National City Lines, a company that in conjunction with GM began to phase out city railroad lines.  The legal cases around this conversion from trolley’s to buses have been heavily documented.  The NCL also began to scoop up the smaller independent operators.  This is very likely the Tulsa City Lines Co.


Postcard featuring a Tulsa City Lines Bus

Interestingly according to a Federal court ruling, all the earlier records were eventually destroyed.

By 1957, the NCL was starting to collapse and in Tulsa the buses were being taken over by the MK & O (Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma) bus lines.  They kept people moving until August 1968, when the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority was established.

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The tale of two Dorothy’s

Sigh. Not all historical questions can be easily answered. A couple of years ago, Special Collections acquired the Dorothy Carman memory and autograph books, 1928, 1938-1942 2015-037. It’s a memory/scrap book of a young woman through her high school years, and three autograph books containing signatures and notes, mostly from notable musicians, such as Louis Armstrong, and the Kansas City Rockets. These items were retrieved from a storage unit that had lapsed.

The Scrapbook is definitely Dorothy Carman. The Autograph books are signed as Property of Dorothy Ogles and Dorothy Ogles Lockhart. The obvious assumption is that we are dealing with one person.

As I general try to do when I process collections, I look for some biographical material to give context to a particular collection. In Dorothy’s case, I find a mystery.

IMG_3252Dorothy Gladys Carman was born 7 Nov. 1910 and graduated from Central High School in 1928. Father Jesse Oscar Carman, (7 Feb 1881-27 Jan 1933), mother Nora (1881-). According to 1920 & 1930 Census, they are from Missouri. Sisters Zelma (1908-), Lillian (Jul 28 1909-November 1972), Fern Lavona (27 June 1915-15 Feb 1976, married Ceile O. Swafford).

Until 1930 she and her sister Zelma worked from the phone company. In 1930 she married Forrest E. Steele, and continued to work for the phone company even after giving birth to Ronald W., their son, in 1933 By 1938 they had moved to a lovely little house at 1308 S. Gary Pl., a short walk to the phone company building at 12th and Harvard. She stayed there even after Forrest’s death in 1976. Ronald died in 1996. Dorothy finally died in 2002 and is buried at Rose Hill.

The autograph books have a different set of names as previously mentioned.

Dorothy Mae Ogles was born 20 October 1917. She and her sister Geneva appear in the 1930 census living with an aunt and uncle Ed and Josie Reid on a farm. She appears

The first autograph book has the address 2132 E. 32nd St. and has dates from late 1938 and 1939. The 1939 city directory has her at that address as a maid working for Glade R. Kirkpatrick, president of the Guarantee Abstract Co.

In the 1941 and 1942 city directories has her working as a maid for Edward F. Shea, a geologist living at 2440 Owasso Place.

IMG_3254In October 1942, she married Matthew Marshall Lockhart, who doesn’t otherwise seem to exist. And the 2nd autograph book begins giving her address as 121 1/2 N. Greenwood.

In 1943 Dorothy Lockhart was the manager of the Chestean Rooms, 121 1/2 N Greenwood. Previously, in 1942, Mrs. Rosetta C Hollingsworth had this job.

The dates in the 3rd autograph book range from 1945- 1960. In 1946 Dorothy Lockhart was a clerk for Herbert Louvertise Byars at 347 1/2 N. Greenwood, where in 1951 Dorothy Lockhart resided.

She died in 2005 and is buried at Crown Hill cemetery.

So the major question is how did these wind up in the same storage unit?  And they will need to be processed separately.

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Ira Louis Reeves

1894-003-1-1-17-003A new research rabbit hole.  I’ve gone back to trying to pull together information of Henry Kendall College in Muskogee (1894-1907); and in particular the faculty.  I was looking for this picture (which I still can’t track down) because one of the people has been torn off.

IMG_3197I noticed it was from Twin Territories, the Indian MagazineTwin Territories, as we all know, was a monthly published between December 1898 and May 1904, and contained a wide range of articles, local news, biographical materials, Native American history and other topics.  As I was searching, I found in the June 1903 issue this photograph, labeled Captain Ira L. Reeves and discussed his establishment of the Henry Kendall College Cadet Corps.

Now, I’ve heard of the Cadets. We have several images in archives, some with descriptions written in my late wife’s handwriting (she was secretary in Special Collections long before I started up here).  But I’ve never heard of Reeves before.

So I start looking.  There are several ‘biographies’ of him on the internet, none of which really mention his time in Indian Territory – including the one he wrote in a letter to W. E. B. DuBois..  So I’ve been digging through other sources.  It turns out he was quite a busy gentleman.  While it is possible that there were two Ira L. Reeves married to a Carolyn in Muskogee, I. T. in the early 1900s…

So, here we go.  Information I have added in are in boldface italics.

Ira Louis Reeves was born on March 8, 1872 in Jefferson City, Missouri, United States. Son of Martin Rhodes and Rebecca (Zimmerman) Reeves.

He first joined the Missouri National Guard as a private, 1891-1892.

In December 1893, he enlisted in the U. S. Army and served as a private, corporal, and then sergeant in Company B, 4th United States Infantry, 1893-1897.

He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 17th United States Infantry, April 19, 1897.

Recommended for brevet “for bravery and unexcelled energy,” Santiago Campaign, 1898.

Ira Reeves married Carolyn Louise Smith on December 28, 1898

He was a First lieutenant in the 17th, 4th and 16th Infantry, 1899-1902.

Student Purdue University, 1902.

He retired with the rank of captain, November 11, 1902, due of wounds received in action in Philippine Insurrection.

Commandant and professor military science, Purdue University, 1902

President of the Reeves-Jordan Real Estate Company, by April 1903 (according to Muskogee newspaper).

Commandant and professor military science, Henry Kendall College, Muskogee, 1903.

Established the Muskogee Electric Traction Co. to build the first trolley’s in Muskogee, as well as the power plant and first electric light company, March 1904.

Rode in the first trolley in Muskogee, March 1905.

Ran for mayor of Muskogee and lost, April 1909. (This is reflected in the Reeves Papers, see below).

Commandant and professor military science, Miami (Ohio) Military Institute, 1910.

Commandant and professor military science, University of Vermont, 1912-1915.

Battalion quartermaster Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, 1912-1914.

Captain and adjunct, 1st Infantry, Vermont National Guard, 1914-1915.

Continuing education, University of Vermont, 1915.

Colonel 1st Infantry, Vermont National Guard, 1915-1917. Commanded 1st Infantry, Vermont National Guard on Mexico border, July-September 1916.

Captain Vermont Rifle Team, national matches, 1915.

President Norwich U., November 1, 1915-October 1918.

Doctor of Letters, Norwich U., 1916.

Doctor of Laws, Middlebury College, 1917.

Chairman Vermont Committee Public Safety, 1917.

Returned to active list United States of America, August 5, 1917, with grade of major. Lieutenant colonel, August 23, 1917. Colonel, December 1917.

Assistant and Executive officer Militia Bureau. Adjutant general and inspector general’s departments, June 1917-September 1918. Member 7th, 31st and 35th divisions in France.

Wounded November 11, 1918.

President, commanding officer American Expeditionary Force University, Beaune, France, February 9-June 15, 1919.

Member War Claims and War Credits Board, 1919.

President Ira L. Reeves and Associates, Chicago. Western manager “Crusaders,” opposed to prohibition, 1931-1933.

Chevalier Legion of Honor (France). Distinguished Service Medal and Purple Heart (United States).

Bibliography of Reeves’ publications:

Bamboo Tales.  Kansas City [Mo.]: Hudson-Kimerly [sic] Publishing Co. 1900

A manual for aspirants for commissions in the United States army. Kansas City, Mo., Hudson-Kimberly Pub. Co., 1901

Manual for the instruction and guidance of the cadets of Purdue University. [Lafayette, Ind.]: Burt-Terry-Wilson Co. Press, 1902.

The A B C of rifle, revolver and pistol shooting. Kansas City, Mo.: Franklin Hudson Pub. Co., 1913

Military education in the United States. Burlington: Free Press Print. Co., 1914.

Ol’ rum river: revelations of a prohibition administrator. Chicago: Thomas S. Rockwell Company, 1931.

Prohibition menaces America. Chicago: American Forum Pub. Co., 1932

Is all well on the Potomac? Chicago, Ill.: American Forum Pub. Co. 1936

Selected Sources:

Ira Louis Reeves Papers.  Norwich University Archives. Kreitzberg Library. Norwich University.


Letter from Ira L. Reeves to W. E. B. Du Bois [http://credo.library.umass.edu/view/full/mums312-b187-149]  W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312) Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

“Education in Indian Territory; Henry Kendall College” Twin Territories; the Indian Magazine. June 1903. pp.214-219.


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Spanish American War correspondence of Eugene Gilmore

The Spanish American War correspondence of Eugene Gilmore can be found in the Papers of the Robertson and Worcester families, 1815-1932 (1931-001) at the Department of Special Collections, McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa.

First some preliminary information.


Maurice “Eugene” Gilmore


Milo Hendrix


Thomas Meagher

Maurice “Eugene” Gilmore was a student at Henry Kendall College, Muskogee, Indian Territory.  In May 1899, he and fellow students Milo Hendrix and Thomas Meagher joined the 1st Volunteer Cavalry.




Alice Robertson

Alice Robertson was a teacher who had established the girl’s Mission school in Muskogee that eventually became Henry Kendall College.  In 1907, Kendall moved to Tulsa and in 1922 that became The University of Tulsa.


Captain Allyn Capron



Captain Allyn Capron was a Regular Army officer, raised troops L and M of the Volunteer Cavalry.  He became the first US officer killed in battle in the Spanish American War.


Alice Crosby

Alice Crosby was a mathematics teacher at Henry Kendall College.

Sam is likely Sam Matthews, another student at HKC.

All spelling errors are in the original letters.



Henry Kendall College, Muskogee, I. T.

L Troop U. S. V. C.
San Antonio Tex.
May 24, 1898

Miss A. M. Robertson
Muscogee, I. T.

Dear Miss Robertson

I was very sorry to let Milo beat me writing to you but I have been so busy since I came that I have had no spare time to even go down town. I have had charge of several guard details and camp work besides 3 drills each day and sometimes Mounted drill. I hope you understand that I am not unthankful for all your kindness to me, for I can never forget how you worked to make the last few hours of our stay in Muscogee happy and comfortable and how well you succeeded. Tell Mr. George that Milo and myself are rustlers for self and always get plenty if it is to be had. Milo has been sick several days and that is why he has more time to write; but I think he is alright now and will be up in a day or so. That most delicious lunch which yourself and Mr. George fixed for us has not been gone long we saved those cans for some time and they were fine. We have plenty of regular soldiers fare which is very good if only it was well cooked but the privates are detailed to cook by squads and they don’t know much about it. I am standing the drill as well or better than many of the boys who have just come off the ranches and am getting fat. We had mounted drill again this morning and I am awfully proud of L troop and Capt. Capron. The whole troop and officers received the commendation of the commanding officers for their good work in the field. The whole troop learns fast and they executed some very difficult maneouvers much quicker than any of the troop and some of them have been here a month. We have received almost all of our equipments and are ready to at a moments notice. Indeed it was rumored through the camp last evening that an order had arrived for the 1st squadron consisting of troop A, B, C and D to move perhaps to the Phillipine Islands but I hardly credit the rumor. There was also a rumor that all of the Rough Riders under 22 were to be sent either to Ft Gibson or Ft Smith but I think that was also a mistake and I dont think I would have to go any way. If they should do so half or over of the regiment would have to go and they would have to open a new recruiting office. We had a delightful trip down and if there was even a heaven blessed country it must be Texas. The beautiful flowers almost of tropical hues, the cactus and trees covered with long beautiful grey moss, the grain ripe and in shock in many places, the pretty little cities scattered here and there make it indeed a very beautiful sight. San Antonio is not so very Mexican after all and there are many fine buildings in it. We marched through it the other day although it is almost impossible to get a pass to town because of the expected order to move. We march mounted many miles away from camp every morning and we get to see many of the beautiful moss an cactus-covered missions most of which are in ruins. They are beautiful old buildings of ancient styles of architecture built with very thick walls. We also visited the Alamo San Pedro Park and Ft. Sam Houston where there can be fifty thousand soldiers quartered. The boys are all very proud of our fine handsome young captain and would not trade him for even Wood or Roosevelt and he knows more about Military tactics than any other man in the regiment. I think he will make a Troop out of our boy that the Indian Territory will be proud of if he is not promoted before he has them in training. He was offered the Adjunctancy of the regiment but refused it saying that he would rather be with his men. Well I suppose this will be enough to make all of tired of us so I will close for this time I will tell you about our equipments, camp life discipline etc in another letter. You dont know how it pleases us to receive those nice long letters of yours so often. How kind it is of you to take your valuable time to make us truants happy for a time to recieve letters and to know that some one remembers us and that you are all praying for us. I doubt now sometimes that we will be back in time for school next fall though I hope we will. Tell all the folks to write to us we are going to try to write to every one but we have so little time that I am afraid we will never get around. Tell every one “Hello” for me and I am going to send a list of names to Miss Crosby and some more money to get pictures with so please tell the girls not to be mad for I have not forgotten them. Regards to every one. I am

Your Friend Pupil


Miss Robertson I hope you will overlook mistakes, dirt, and penmanship as I am – desk, water and time.

In Front of Santiago
July, 6th, 1898

Miss Alice M. Robertson
Muscogee I T.

Dear Miss R:

We are encamped in front of the defenses of Santiago which must soon be stormed if they do not surrender. We have had two battles as you no doubt have heard before now and have suffered severely. The 1st U. S. V. C. has lost 89 men in the last engagement one of which was my own dear Milo. In the first fight Tom Meagher was wounded so I am now alone so far as Muscogee boys are concerned We charged defenses at the battle of San Juan in the face of a raking fire from the enemy and were poorly supported by a small amount of field artillery of small calibre and with old style black powder, thanks to our penurious legislators, and this has lost for us many precious lives. Of course our Gov’t has come to the front with great resources but on account of the tardiness many a heart has been made sad. We may not have a fight here but even if we do and then have to go on to Havana I think I will be with you again next fall. I write a letter or rather a note to Sam along with yours and will ask you to please hand it to him. I also send a more lengthy letter to my sister and have asked her to let you and Sam read it as there might be some news in it for you although I suppose the papers a fairly bubbling over with news and the wires are hot with messages We are all writing letters now that those little mausers are giving us a rest. There has been a great mistake made in calculating the fighting propensities of the Spanish and the aim of their gunners. With love to you Susanne and everyone


In camp near
Santiago De Cuba
July, 26, 1898.

Mr. R. M. Gilmore
Muscogee I. T.

Dear Papa:

I received your letter some days ago while we were yet in the rifle pits but could not answer it then nor since because I have not been able to get writing material.

I would have written to you soon after the first fight if I had been able to get paper. We landed in Cuba on the 22nd of June at Baiquiri and was indeed surprised at the Cubans and Cuba.

I will relate the process of our operations and then try to give you an idea of the country and the inhabitants. On the 23rd of June we made our first march to Siboney 9 miles began at 4 oclock and went to bed in Siboney at 9 oclock. It was a hard march and we were very tired. there was a valley between two ranges of mountains paralell to the coast extending from the bay of Santiago to the coast at Siboney. The next morning morning Gen Young with one Squadron of the 1st and one Squadron of the 10th supported by a light battery of Hotchkiss cannon belonging to the 10th marched up the alley toward Santiago knowing that there was a force of Spaniards near. At the same time our regiment of squadrons 560 strong marched after a hasty meal up the rang of Mountains nearest the sea coast. L Troop was at the head of the column and we were marching in a column of skirmishers up a narrow trail. L Troop had out an advance guard but the Colonel failed to throw out flankers until the worst of the fight was over when we were flanked by G on the right and T on the left. Capron was in the advance guard and when they passed a dead Spaniard in the road he remarked to the boys that they would soon have hell now. In a few minutes the boys in valley began driving the enemy up the valley firing in volleys and using the Hotchkiss. We could now hear the bullets begin to sing. Our advance guard now discovered the enemy in front of us lying in a sunken road almost as good as a rifle pit and the advance guard says that they had a rapid fire gun. The advance ought to have waited until reinforcements came up or retreated to the main body. However Tom Isbell saw a Spaniard and Sgt Byrne told him to shoot him and he did so and then the fun began We hurried forward and all of us lay down in the road which was washed out and afforded us some protection else we would all have been killed.

We now discovered that there was a strong force on our right lying in the under-brushes and we poured a heavy fire both in front and to right and left. Now remember we were not in a skirmish line yet but a marching column of skirmishers lying in the road and so were all protected and when we made a right face we were in a line of battle looking toward the valley and facing the force in ambush. there was a perfect hail of missles and there was not any bushes large as your thumb which were not shot all to pieces Many times you could see a large limb shot several times in the same place and off or just hanging by small shreds. You would be amazed to see the modern guns work and see how much ammunition one man can use and how much noise one troop can make. There was a thick underbrush and I could not see the Spanish devils and so did not fire more than 40 rounds from the road but one of our boys shot 261 rounds. Our guns got so hot they would blister our hands. Now in the heat of the fight T and G troops were thrown out to flank us and and we soon had the enemy flying and in the meantime the enemy who were driven up across our front poured a cross fire into us. However we were now thrown out into a skirmish line and soon the whole regiment was marching bearing to the right and in the course of a mile we fell in with the forces of Gen Young and satisfied that the Spanish had retreated to Caney we pitched camp and soon were reinforced by thousands of infantry (You know those engaged were cavalry dismounted) The Spanish use both Mausers and a .50 cal. Remington with a copper jacket which bursts. I was back several times after the battle and it was a wonder to see how any of them escaped. Many of the boys had their guns shot one Wylie Skelton had his left arm just grazed three times. I have seen the papers and they give pretty good accounts. The next day I went back to carry the body of Capt Capron and wrote to Minnie from there.

I don’t know why my letters have not been received but it seems they haven’t. I have written lots of them. After a few days rest we marched one night to a small place near Santiago on a hill and early next morning our artillery opened while we were standing in line ready to move. For some time we wondered that the Spanish did not reply but soon a shell from a gun using smokeless powder came right over the crest of the hill and exploded about ten steps from the end of our line. It was right funny to see the boys run and scoot along the ground hunting shelter and it was a sight to see some Cubans fall off a house from which they were watching the bombardment. It was the first time either our boys or the Cubans had heard a shell but they soon got used to them. We now got shelter and lay in a road until near the middle of the day with some little loss from shells. After awhile however we were ordered to charge across an open field filled with tall grass like millet and up a hill to a block house surrounded with trenches. The Spanish poured a heavy fire until we got close to them and then they couldnt stand it and run like the devil to the second line of pits. We were now losing lots of men and when we reached the top of the hill we were in the open and the Spanish were across the valley in strong trenches reinforced by those from the line, We had already taken. They also knew the range which was about 800 yds and had a battery of Hotchkiss throwing shrapnel into us. We lost piles of men now and were firing at the Spanish in trenches I crawled through a fence and took a tree when there was but one now up there. It was evident that they were fixed for just such places for we had been firing but a few seconds when the rest of the troop having come up, the boys began to fall all along the line. Milo Hendrix had been keeping near me all during the fight and was killed by a shrapnel which burst just to my left although I didn’t know it until some half an hour later. He was not buried until 2 days later when it was impossible to touch him. He was merely covered up and when I went on the 6th to fix his grave and mark it one of his hands was uncovered and it was a horrible sight. The hill was covered with graves. One of the boys was shot three times while firing over my shoulder and I don’t see how I was missed. He almost fell on me. There were about 8 or 10 men shot within 25 ft of me. We soon had the Spanish running from the trenches, however, and passed the 2nd line and started for the 3rd line. I was now separated from my troop and was fighting with the 10th Cavalry who are negroes. Right here I want to express my admiration of those boys. They fought right along with the “Rough Riders” in both fights and the 9th also who are darkies. I will always have a better opinion of them and more respect. They are fine fighters and afraid of nothing. We now pressed on to the brow of the hill and I thought we were going on into the town as we afterward learned we could have done. However as there were but a few of us and not many of the 10th we lay down and waited for the rest of our boys. We finally got an order to hold the hill and retreated a little to get cover as we were under a hot fire and were losing men. We fell back about 50 yds and found Roosevelt and the “Rough Riders” lying under cover. We lay here until night and had but few causalties. I went after water several times under fire and came out all right. All that night we dug trenches so that we would be on equal footing with the Spanish and all next day we lay with but little water and food in the rifle pits under fire. It was very exhausting but we held out and the next day at noon the flag of truce went up. We now had rest until the 10th with the exception of guard duty when the ball opened again and continued until the next day when a truce was a truce was again declared and this lasted until the 17th when I witnessed the surrender of Santiago. You get a correct account of most everything in the papers although of course more than actually happens. You know all about Sampson. We were tickled to death at that as they were throwing shells at us from the fleet. There is much mistake in regard to the Spanish. In the first place they have fine guns and can shoot faster than us if such be possible. When coming over the Spanish pits I passed lots of dead Spaniards and could have gotten many souveniers but I was too hot after them however I picked up a loaded Mauser rifle and fired at the fleeing devils and I like the guns quite well. The Spanish are good shots and are all right as long as you don’t advance on them but they cant stand charging and I dont think we could ever get close enough to them to have a hand to hand fight. We have ten thousand over here who are going to be sent to Spain soon and they are much better than the Cubans. The Spanish do not know mercy and when captured would beg to be killed immediately as they did not want to have a long march and then be killed. This is a fine country and the soil is 3 or 4 feet deep. There have been many fine houses here but they have been ruined by the war One which I visited was as beautiful as any I ever saw with marble walks and fountains. There are all kinds of fruit including Pineapples, Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Dates, Cocoanuts, Bananas, Mangoes Guavas and others. The country used to be open and in cultivation but owing to war and destruction is now grown up with underbrush. It is bad to fight in. The Spanish would never advance enough to get into an ambush and so we get the chance of being ambuscaded. There are many people deserving of pity here. When the refugees came out of Santiago I saw old women and children starving to death, many of them falling by the road and the fools were carrying large loads of stuff. But the men are worthless and of no account. They let the women kill themselves and will not carry the bundles. They do not fight but rob our haversacks and rolls while we fight. We do not like them at all and they are a sorry lot to die for. The soldiers of Garcia are on our right and may be some better although they let 2000 Spanish soldiers get into Santiago without much of a fight. Gomez may have a better outfit up at Havana but I doubt it. I am willing to fight for the women and children but not the men. We don’t know when we are going but hope to come to the states until fall. When we will come back if Spain has not asked for peace. We had rather go to Porto Rico as to stay here. Hope I will soon be home and the war will be over. We are all in good health and no fever yet although we are under quarantine. I am feeling fine and weigh about 175. Let Sam read this about the fighting as I havn’t time to write another long letter. Good bye

love to all Eugene

Grandpa from what Sam said in his letter I think the people of Muscogee are misinformed as to my being promoted. It is very unfortunate for me as it would not be conducive to my interests to have false reports circulating. I would have stood a good chance of being a Lieutenant now but for the fact that after we left Muscogee and I had no influence Lieutenant Day of Vinita had Capron to rearrange the officers and he put in all Vinita boys leaving Milo and myself out this time. Milo was 1st Corporal and I was 5th Sgt. Do not think that we were reduced for punishments as we were not. I was reprimanded once since we arrived in Cuba for leaving camp without the permission but that was after I had been reduced and I would not have been reduced for that anyway. The non commissioned officers were Vinita men almost to a man until we went to leave Tampa when some New York boys

In Camp near
Santiago De Cuba
Aug 4th 1898

Mr. Thomas Owen
Muscogee I. T.

Dear Tom:

I was surprised to hear from you and most agreeably too as there is no balm for gloom like that of a letter from home. Our mail communications are very bad and I dont suppose we get more than half our mail. We were landed at Baiquiri on the 22nd day of June after a tiresome voyage of almost three weeks about 20 miles from Santiago. On the 23rd we began our march toward Santiago at 400 P.M. and camped late that night at Siboney, 9 miles away. After a hasty breakfast next morning we prepared to march up the mountain along a narrow trail while Gen Young marched up a valley on our right between two mountain ranges with one squadron of the 1st cav and one squadron of the 10th colored cav all regulars and dismounted. The Cubans had brought in reports of a large force of Spanish in the hills back of the town. We toiled in a broiling sun up a mountain several hundred feet high and our canteens were soon emptied while the boys began to throw away their heavy rolls. After reaching the top of the mt. our troop (L) being the advance guard was obliged to march along the narrow trail in a column of skirmishers flanked on either side by an impenetrable under brush. And here I want to describe one of the most dreadful species of cactus Which grows here and which we call Spanish Daggers. They have long stiff prickles all over them and are long strap-shaped leaves with an acute tip growing from a corm. It is impossible to get through them without lots of work cutting them down. We had out an advanced guard and two Cuban guides. We discovered that we were near the enemy but did not know their numbers or position. In the meantime the cavalry over in the valley were engaging the enemy and we could hear them using the battery of Hotchkiss cannon belonging to the 10th who are fine fighters and great friends of the Rough Riders. Some of our flankers saw 15 Spaniards go into a house on our left and soon our advance guard saw them in the road ahead of us. They waited for the rest of the column to come up and then one of our boys saw a Spaniard standing up and shot him This opened the ball and a perfect hail of bulletts flew in on us from front and sides but as luck would have it or Providence the road was a little wider here and some what sunken and laying down afforded us very good protection else we would all have been killed or wounded. As it was we laid down and gave them back as good or better than they sent. Capt Capron was With the advance guard and was soon killed He was game to the last and the last thing I heard him say was “Did my men fight well?” It is claimed by our advance guard that they had two rapid fire guns trained down the road on us but I did not see them. We fought them for some time in this way and then G Troop came down in battle order flanking us on the right and F on the Left and we soon had them on the run. We now deployed to the right and left as skirmishers and engaged the column which was being driven along our front by Gen Youngs command. They were soon all flying toward Santiago however and after moving forward a mile or so we went into camp for a week to recruit strength from the fine mountain air and water. we lost three men killed and eight wounded among whom was Capt Capron and Hom Fish killed and Tom Meagher and Lieut. Thomas wounded. On the 30th of June we were about 5 miles from town and late that evening we marched toward Santiago meeting with no resistance Late that night we camped in a district known as El Pozo about 2 mi’s from the city while Grimes battery was planted on the hill above us during the night. Early next morning at daybreak before we had finished breakfast we could hear and see Capt Capron’s (the father of our Capt.) battery throwing shells into a stone fort at El Coney and soon we could hear the rattle of Lawtons (who commanded the right division) Musketry and the battle was on over there in earnest. Soon after breakfast Grimes battery began operations and we were all cheering it as it threw shells into Santiago and some Cubans were watching its effect from the top of an old convent when at the 10th shot the Spaniards replied using smokeless powder while we were using the old style black powder. They had a great advantage on this account as we could not locate them. They had but very little artillery but we had only 24 pieces using black powder. They had our range from the start and seemed to have the whole country measured as they always had it. The first shell a big seven inch one came right over the hill and exploded about 10 yds from the end of L Troops Line, but luckily no one was hurt. It stopped the cheering and it was funny to see the boy fall to the ground and hunt things for shelter while those Cubans just actually fell off that convent. They were making the shells whiz to close around our ears so we sought shelter. Half an hour later we moved forward a mile and and lay in a road which ran parallel to the first row of hills and rifle pits carrying on a heavy rifle fire.

At 1100 am we began the charge. Over a field we went through tall grass across a creek at the foot of the hill and then up the hill. Milo had been by my side all the time and through the fence on top of the hill just behind me. The Spanish had run and we were in possession of San Juan hill. They had their guns set for us and a Hotchkiss battery threw shrapnell into us. We had almost no protection except a few trees some large iron vats and a block house and they made targets of these places. I went to a tree straight in front of me and began firing. Milo came through just behind me and was struck by a charge from a shrapnel and was killed almost instantly although I did not know it at the time. One boy who fired over my shoulder while I was kneeling was shot three times and almost fell on me. As many as a dozen were shot within speaking distance and a hundred in as many yds. We soon run them from the second line of defenses and as we passed over the trenches we saw many dead Spaniards and I had lots of chances to get souvenirs but was to busily engaged to stop. I picked up a loaded Mauser and fired at the Spaniards as they ran and could have gotten any amount of them. We now advanced to the western crest of the hill and lay down for protection. I had become separated from my troop and was fighting with a detachment of the 10th cav. They are magnificent fighters and I think I will always like negros better after this. I thought we were going to run the Spaniards into the city but we were too few and lay down. Soon D Troop of the Rough Riders came up but were ordered almost immediately to fall back. We soon got orders to fall back also and hunt for protection. We found Col Roosevelt back here with what was left of the Rough Riders and he told us that he had orders to hold the position. We were dry, tired and hungry it being late in the afternoon so some of the boys went back and got a mess the Spanish had been fixing up for dinner but had to leave it in too great a hurry to throw it out. It was very good and we all relished it. We captured any amount of arms and ammunition. We lay here until night and then without anything to protect us from the dew and chilly night we dug trenches all night to use on the morrow. I got permission to go back about a mile after water and went by to see Milo as I had only gotten a glance at him before. I could only go by and look at him for a moment as I was within range of the Spanish trenches and they made it hot for me. After digging trenches all that night the devils began firing at us with the first break of dawn and we went to our pits in a rush. The fighting continued all day and that night we repelled a sortie killing 400 of them. The 3rd passed with fighting still going on but that evening a truce was agreed upon which lasted a week until the 10th during which time they were trying to arrange terms and each side was strengthening their defenses. L Troop had 25 men to roll call now although some came in later and only half were killed or wounded. On the 2nd I was able to go by and see Milo again and he had been turned over and covered with a slicker. He was buried on the 3rd and on the 5th I went over with a detail and fixed and marked his grave. On the 10th the truce was declared off and we had fighting on the 10th and 11th when a truce was again arranged which lasted until the 17th. This was a grand day for America and I was blessed with the opportunity of witnessing the fall of Santiago. On the 5th or 6th Ges Seaver who was left behind to guard troop stuff shot himself through the foot. We were moved after the surrender to the foot of the Altores mts to get away from the dirty sickly city and now it is hard to get a pass to go in there although I have been in once. We hope to be away from here soon now and back in the U. S. We have orders to move as soon as we can get transports to Long Island. I am always hilarious when mail came in from home and you dont know how much it helps a sick soldier. I am not exactly sick now but my system is full of malaria and I do not feel very well all of the time. I had been enjoying good health until I had a slight days attack of fever and suppose I will soon be alright when I get to Long Island. There is no yellow fever and outside of the malaria the soldiers are all well. However there has been more cases of malarial fever in our reg’t than there are men in the regiment. This is indeed a beautiful country and the soil is from 3 to six feet deep while the climate permits of 2 or 3 crop being raised yearly. There are many many kinds of tropical fruits birds and flowers. I would like to come down here and study Natural History. There are perhaps 2 doz. different kinds of fruit which ripen at all seasons of the year. Among them are Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Pineapples Bananas, Mangoes, Guavas, Cocoanuts and many kinds of which I do not know the names. The country has at one time been under a state of cultivation but is now devastated by war and grown up in dense under brush. There houses scattered here and there which have been real palaces but their gardens are grown in brush and fountains dry while their mahogany walls are being torn down by soldiers. Their owners have long since evacuated them. The inhabitants are for the most part negroes while about 1/4 of the pop. are pure blooded Cubans. Of course this is excepting the towns but they are not much better. The men are good for nothing and lazy and join the army to get food and escape work. They let the women do all of the meanest part of the work and I have seen them walk along the road empty handed, strong and well fed while women actually starving carried great bundles by until they fell exhausted by the roadside. The women and children are the ones who suffer and if it were not for them I would feel that we were fighting for an unworthy cause I may be prejudiced by what I have seen and Gomez and Garcia’s men may be of a much better class. The women and child Refugees whom I have seen coming out of Santiago carrying huge bundles were actually starving and carrying all of their possessions with them. Some of them were crooked and crippled as if from punishment, horrible sights. I have seen them stagger and fall by the roadside often to die. They are really almost naked but that does not matter because the climate is so very warm. I am glad that no more of my friends came to Cuba because I have lost too much already and of course more might have been killed. No I do not know Garland McKinny and cannot find him he must be at Tampa. Reed Parnell and myself are all the Muscogee boys who are here now the rest are either hurt or left at Tampa. Hope to be at home soon. As Ed Lowe says “if Spain wants to apologize I am ready to accept. But if she will keep this thing going we will make her deathly sick of it next fall.

Regard to all Friends

Your friend

Eugene Gilmore
“L Troop” Rough Riders”
Santiago De Cuba

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Blogging update

A year and three quarters ago, my wife died suddenly. I don’t mention it for attention or sympathy — it’s just a fact. Understandably that messed with me and made it difficult for me to do much of anything, even as I tried to normalize. What with one thing and another I started to come out of my funk at the beginning of 2019. I am hoping that will continue and I can get back to research. That means I will be posting again.

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Revisiting Alice Welford

So for those of you who actually read this, two years ago I did some work on the Alice Welford Photograph Album.  You can read more about that research at the following links: Here, Here, and Here.

At work we have gotten a new archival catalog system that is open to a lot more in-depth processing, and I decided to try to migrate the old digital collection for Welford we have on ContentDM. Well thatdid not go as well as I’d hoped so I am getting the  opportunity to reprocess the whole album again.

Today I discovered these two images:


Picnic near “The Queen of Spain’s Chair”. 2010-064-1-8-1



Picnic […] [Herdana], Lowe, Constable, Carpenter (missing), Welford. 2010-064-1-8-5

Welford was in Gibraltar for 1915-early 1916.  The date for these photos is Jan. 1916.  With a little bit of research I discovered that “The Queen of Spain’s Chair” is an old British term for the high ground north of Gibraltar  and the town of La Linea de la Concepción historically called “The Queen of Spain’s Chair.”

In the first image, there are two people, one with her back to the camera.  Except, if you look at the second picture (and since I did this the first time, I’ve gotten better at reading Alice’s handwriting) the actual caption should read: “Picnic – Linea. Herdman, Lowe, Constable, Carpenter (missing), Welford.”  That means that based on her attire, the woman in front looking away from the camera is E. M. Constable. (Who I still can’t prove to be Edith May Constable).

We could speculate that the missing Carpenter might be the person in the white jacked and trousers in the first image, but there is currently no evidence to support that.  I will say though  that it is likely that the Carpenter missing from the second image is possibly Carpenter.

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Life in the 1500’s/The Bad Old Days

This as been making the rounds again, so I though I’d be a little proactive in commenting on it (I’ve already been asked several times about it). It may have been originally meant as satire, but has been passed along often enough since it first appeared in April 1999 (at least that’s the earliest appearance I know of) that some people are passing along as the truth. Personally, I think there is enough fakelore out there about the Middle Ages that we don’t need to make more up.

A variation of this was posted to REC.ORG.SCA on 2 May1999 under the subject “Interesting Trivia Behind Old Sayings…” and attributed to Dawn Fry (SKA Lady Banba MacDermot, herald for the Stronghold of Lost Forest, Calontir)

The major problem is that this sort of thing feeds into the basic assumption that -we- are better than -they- were. There is an unspoken assumption that permeates our culture that people in the past were less intelligent, less capable — somehow deficient. This assumption actually parallels a similar one that we have about poor people, but that’s better looked at in another web page.

“Life in the 1500’s” (aka “The Bad Old Days” – which appears where is noted below)

— Original source is as yet unknown

[1500s]          Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare.

[1500s]         She married at the age of 26.

The average age for women marrying in the Tudor period seems to have been about 26 (Alison Sims. The Tudor housewife)

[1500s]        This is really unusual for the time. Most people married young, like at the age of 11 or 12.

This is a fascinating assertion – *some* may have married early (early marriage was not unheard of even in the US as recently as the last century). But not “most”.Most people were too busy working, serving as apprentices, and so on to marry that much earlier than they do today. Median age of about 19.   Barbara Hanawalt. Growing up in Medieval London

[1500s]        Life was not as romantic as we may picture it.

This IS true, particularly considering the sorts of romantic crap that people see about the past. The past is mostly made up of non-romantic people, living non-romantic lives; working trying to feed their families and so on.

[1500s]        Here are some examples: Anne Hathaway’s home was a 3 bedroom house with a small parlor, which was seldom used (only for company), kitchen, and no bathroom.

[1500s]        Mother and Father shared a bedroom. Anne had a queen sized bed, but did not sleep alone. She also had 2 other sisters and they shared the bed also with 6 servant girls. (this is before she married) They didn’t sleep like we do length-wise but all laid on the bed cross-wise.

[1500s]        At least they had a bed. The other bedroom was shared by her 6 brothers and 30 field workers. They didn’t have a bed. Everyone just wrapped up in their blanket and slept on the floor. They had no indoor heating so all the extra bodies kept them warm.

[1500s]        They were also small people, the men only grew to be about 5’6″ and the women were 4’8″.

Actually, based on the extant garments, people may have been a few inches shorter than the over-nourished giants we are raising today, but nothing bizarre.

[1500s]       So in their house they had 27 people living.

Just to be picky: the numbers that have been presented are

2 Sisters
6 servant girls
6 Brothers
30 Field hands

That would be 47 people living in that three bedroom house.

[BOD]           Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be…. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Just because you SAY something is a fact, doesn’t mean it IS one.

[Both]           Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June.

Considering the number of bathhouses in the 1500s, and the fact that there was great consternation about their licentiousness, I would say that “most” people bathed more often than just once a year. Moreover, there’s a considerable difference between a bath and washing clean, so even if they weren’t going to have a “bath” regularly (the factualness of which is in itself is in doubt) they were quite capable of keeping clean. In the 19th and early 20th century in America, regular baths weren’t a frequent thing, but people were not dirty.

[Both]          However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

I don’t remember where the bridal custom came from, but considering the fact that after the plague it was generally believed that if you could smell something, it might be carrying a disease, a bride you could smell would be a Bad Thing. OTOH, it would be more likely the guests who would be carrying flowers to smell, not the bride. (Disease transmission was believed to be by “bad air” and foul smelling air).

[Both]           Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children-last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it–hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”

I believe the phrase is 19th century, and comes from this practice in the old West. I could be wrong here.

[Both]          Houses had thatched roofs — thick straw – piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.

[Both]          When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof-hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

Ok, I’ll grant you that it’s possible that a thatched roof might have vermin living in them, but you’ll notice the phrase isn’t raining rats and bugs. But the term is from the 17th century, and the origin is debated (possibly derived from the German “katzenjammer”) – but this aint’ it.

[Both]          There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

If you only bathe once a year, I really doubt some bugs falling from the roof would be that big a deal. You’ve already GOT bugs in your bed. If memory serves, the four poster beds with canopies derive from the lack of heating. Also, since it was the rich who could afford 4 poster beds, they also had ceilings.

[Both]          The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying “dirt poor.”

“Dirt Poor” is a 19th/20th century Americanism and has nothing to do with 16th century British.

[Both]          The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway — hence, a “thresh hold.”

Look up the etymology of the word “threshold.” It relates to “thresh”,
“to beat the stems or husks to separate something”. The threshold was
something that separated something or demarkated something (as in “a
pain threshold”). Therefore, the threshold was what separated the inside
from the outside.

[Both]          In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot.

This is more or less the origin of a lot of “poor people” stews. Your point being? That because they were poor and had to stretch things that they were somehow stupid or icky?

[Both]         They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat.

[Both]         They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.

[Both]          Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while-hence the rhyme, “peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”

[Both]          Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man “could bring home the bacon.”

There are some differences of opinion here, but pretty much the experts found all say that this is bogus (I really like the greased pig explanation, although some folks assert it’s because married people would get a gift of bacon. Even so, the OED doesn’t note its use before 1924 in English – as a phrase in PG Wodehouse.

[Both]          They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and “chew the fat.”

“Chew the fat” means to talk, period; not to eat. It comes from the
excessive jaw action required to chew rubber, er, fat… hence working
the jaw a lot (i.e., talking) is “chewing the fat.”

[Both]          Those with money had plates made of pewter.

Actually, those with money used plates made from really expensive imported pottery.

[Both]          Food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death.

This might have been true if the lead were corroded or with if the food was really acidic If lead were really that risky, it wouldn’t have been that popular with plumbers for pipes for centuries.

Note, the Romans didn’t all go insane from lead poisoning. Chemical evidence from the bones of dead Romans show higher levels of lead than, say the Middle Ages, which – even with all the lead used were really low, but considerably less than we have today)

We have been brainwashed to think that all lead must be bad, without realizing that we breathe in more lead from lead that’s been burned than people in the Middle Ages and Ancient Rome ever had to deal with. This was/is even more true where lead has been added to gasoline to stop knocking of a car’s engine.

[Both]          This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

So, who ate them before that? The Romans? (If so, then why didn’t they stop eating them, since they used a lot more lead in their cooking). Tomatoes were thought poisonous because they are members of the nightshade family.

[Both]          Most people did not have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers were made from stale bread, which was so old and hard that they could be used for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed and a lot of times worms and mold got into the wood and old bread. After eating off wormy, moldy trenchers, one would get “trench mouth.”

Trench Mouth is from WWI; The Trenches; and is a result of a bacterium.

[Both]          Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or “upper crust.”

More or less; the term “upper crust” was first used to refer to society
folk in 1836, however.

[Both]          Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey.

Really? I thought lead dining ware went away after Rome fell. You are confusing lead with pewter, and you discuss that above this.

[Both]          The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days.

Lead is not an anesthetic. It gradually build up in your bones – if you are actually getting any lead from the pewter, which is not terribly likely the result is not instantaneous, but as result of lead build up in the organs.

[Both]          Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up–hence the custom of holding a “wake.”

It is true that the purpose of the wake may have been to see if the poor bugger was really dead, but I fail to see why ale or whiskey from lead cups would knock someone out for a “couple of days”.

Really, a wake is a vigil, where one sits awake the night before an event. A wake for the dead is sitting up with the corpse before it’s buried, honoring the dead and remembering .. From that people decided to throw a party.

[Both]          England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people.

[Both]          So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a “bone-house” and reuse the grave.

[Both]          When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive.

[Both]          So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the “graveyard shift”) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be “saved by the bell” or was considered a “dead ringer.

This is Victorian, not 1500s.The fear of burial while still alive was a big thing in the mid-1800s.

A ringer is someone who looks like another person, or more specifically, a horse that looks like another horse and may be swapped for them. A “Dead Ringer” is someone who really looks like someone else.

Saved by the bell is, of course, a modern boxing term; a fighter about
to go down is not “out” if the bell rings first.

“Graveyard shift” may have become popularized during WWII, but the term goes back as far as 1907, and probably derived from the late 19th century sailor’s term “Graveyard Watch” (12-4 am, possibly because so many disasters occurred during that time).

And that’s the truth… (and whoever said that history was boring)


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Canon Episcopi

The Canon, or Capitulatum Episcopi was first attributed to the Council of in Ancyra (314 ce) by Regino of Prum, Abbot of Treves about 906, and was, until the 13th century, the official and accepted Doctrine of the Church. The document (translated below) essentially states that the acts of Witches were all illusions or fantasies of dreams. Therefore, belief in the actuality of witchcraft is pagan and heretical.

“Bishops and their officials must labor with all their strength to uproot thoroughly from their parishes the pernicious art of sorcery and malefice invented by the devil, and if they find a man or woman follower of this wickedness to eject them foully disgraced from the parishes. For the Apostle says, “A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition avoid.” Those are held captive by the Devil who, leaving their creator, seek the aid of the Devil. And so Holy Church must be cleansed of this pest. “It is also not to be omitted that some unconstrained women, perverted by Satan, seduced by illusions and phantasms of demons, believe and openly profess that, in the dead of night, they ride upon certain beasts with the pagan goddess Diana, with a countless horde of women, and in the silence of the dead of the night to fly over vast tracts of country, and to obey her commands as their mistress, and to be summoned to her service on other nights. “But it were well if they alone perished in their infidelity and did not draw so many others into the pit of their faithlessness. For an innumberable multitude, deceived by this false opinion, believe this to be true and, so believing, wander from the right faith and relapse into pagan errors when they think that there is any divinity or power except the one God. “Wherefore the priests throughout their churches should preach with all insistence to the people that they may know this to be in every way false, and that such phantasms are sent by the devil who deludes them in dreams. Thus Satan himself, who transforms himself  into an angel of light, when he has captured the mind of a miserable woman and has subjected her to himself by infidelity and incredulity, immediately changes himself into the likeness of different personages and deluding the mind which he holds captive and exhibiting things, both joyful and sorrowful, and persons, both known and unknown, and leads her faithless mind through devious ways. And while the spirit alone endures this, she thinks these things happen not in the spirit but in the body.  “Who is there that is not led out of himself in dreams and nocturnal visions, and sees much sleeping that he had never seen waking? “Who is so stupid and foolish as to think that all these things that are done in the spirit are done in the body, when the Prophet Ezekiel saw visions of God in spirit and not in body, and the Apostle John saw and heard the mysteries of the Apocalypse in spirit and not in body, as he himself says “I was rapt in Spirit”.  And Paul does not dare to say that he was rapt in his body. “It is therefore to be publically proclaimed to all that whoever believes in such things, or similar things, loses the Faith, and he who has not the right faith of God is not of God, but of him in whom he believes, that is the devil. For of our Lord it is written, “All things were made by Him.” Whoever therefore believes that anything can be made, or that any creature can be changed to better or worse, or transformed into another species or likeness, except by God Himself who made everything and through whom all things were made, is beyond a doubt an infidel.”

Text from Lea, Henry C. Materials Toward a History of Witchcraft. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1939.

This is in diametric opposition to the later view that Disbelief in Witchcraft was heretical.

It is possible to document that of ALL the trials I have studied, only one set, in 1390 Milan, involved women tried for practicing rites led by the pagan Goddess Diana. The bulk of the trials between 1400 and 1700 involved diabolism, Luciferianism, and acts relating to the Devil. Before 1400, the majority of trials (and there weren’t THAT many) were focused on the use of magics to harm others, to practice treasonous divination and spells against a monarch.

It is my contention that most of the Witchcraft trials, from which we get terms like “Transvection” (Witch’s flight), Ligature (A form of “Malefica” (or working of evil magic)), Sabats and Esbats (which are used to refer to the diabolic orgies practiced by “Gothic”  Witches) are based on the persecution of  nonPagans.

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Cattle in the Middle Ages


Just don’t ask…

About Cattle

Domesticated cattle (B. Taurus).
Height of 150 cm (59″), and weigh 410-910 kg (900-2,000 lbs.). Eat 70 kg (155 lbs) of green grass a day Eat 1.4 kg (3 lbs) of silage or .45 kg (1 lb) of hay for every 100 lbs of body weight. Lactating cows require an additional .45 kg (1 lb) of grain or feed for every 3 lbs of milk it produces
[2.7-4.4 gallons per day. Milk weighs 3.9 kg (8.6 lbs) per gallon].

Cattle were raised principally in history for either milk production or for muscle. Beef and leather are byproducts of an animal that has either died or is somehow otherwise surplus.

“Just how big were cattle in the Middle Ages anyway?”

To determine size, we look at two standards. The height to the top of the shoulder (aka the whithers), and/or the weight. This information will be given in the following manner: [female cm (in.); kg (lbs)/male cm (in.); kg (lbs)]

  • Postglacial Aurochs (Bos Primigenius)
    [147 cm (57.9″)/157 cm (61.8″) or 150 cm/180 cm]
  • Neolithic Domestic (c2600 BCE)
    [125 cm (49″)]
  • Late Neolithic, Beaker, and Early Bronze Age (c1900 BCE)
    [122 cm (48″)]
  • Middle Bronze Age (1000 BCE)
    [109 cm (43″)]
  • Iron Age (300 BCE)
    [107 cm (42″)]
  • Romano-British (1st -4th C)
    [112 cm (44″)]
  • Anglo-Saxon & Scandinavian (7th-10th C)
    [115 cm (45.3″) or 104.6-121.4 cm (40.9″-47.8″)]
  • Saxo-Norman and High Medieval (11th-13th C)
    [110 cm (43.3″) or 100-130 cm (39.4-51.2″)]
  • Later Medieval (14th-15th C)
    [109 cm (42.9″)]
  • Tudor (late 15th-16th C)
    [120 cm (47.2″)]
  • 18th C
    [138 cm (54.3″)]
  • Modern English Longhorn
    [130-140 cm (51″-55″)/150 cm (59″)]
  • Modern Dexter
    [91.4-106.7 cm (36″-42″)/96.5-111.76 cm (38″-44″)]
  • Greenlander (extinct)
    [100-110 cm (39.4″-43.3″)]

Therefore, in Britain, at least, cattle in the Middle Ages were smaller than the “average” modern cattle (I *think* 110 cm: 150 cm is about 73% and about 3.6″). On the other hand, the different breeds can give you a different idea of what an average Bovine should look like.

“What Breeds existed in the Middle Ages, and would that have an effect on the statistics?”

Most breeds of cattle can not be dated accurately before the 1700s, so it may be difficult to determine what breeds existed then. Let’s look at some breeds assumed to have existed before the 17th century.

  • Alderney
    Channel Islands – Extinct.
  • “Alpine”/Swiss Brown
    Brown Cow from the Lower Alps in Switzerland and Germany. May stretch back to one of the oldest cattle breeds. Large. Work/Milk.
    [130 cm (51″); 636 kg (1,400 lbs)/145 cm (57”); 909 kg (2000 lbs)]
  • Aurochs (Bos Primigenius, auerochse, ur, boeuf sauvage, oeros, oerrund)
    Extinct, with the last being killed in a Polish forest in 1627. There are modern “bred back” recreations. A second shorthorned species was also described (B. Longifrons or Brachyceros) from which many modern shorthorned breeds are thought to descend, although some people think that this shorthorned breed may be just the female Aurochs.
    [147 cm (57.9″)/157 cm (61.8″) or 150 cm/180 cm] (n.b. The modern humped cattle are alleged to derive from Bos Indicus or B. Namadicus, now extinct)
  • British (“Park”) White (or White Park, Ancient White Park, White Forest, White Horned, Wild White)
    England. Medium (or Small) and Shaggy. Longhorns and polled varieties exist. White fur with black points. The Chillingham Park herd allegedly has not had any interbreeding with other herds since 1220/50. Genetically related to the Galloway and Highland.
    [636 kg (1,400 lbs)/954.4 kg (2,100 lbs)] depending on your sources. Others place the Chillingham herd at
    [386.4 kg (850 lbs)/454.5 kg (1000 lbs)] Other herds are at Cadzow, Chartley, Vaynol. (NOTE: Do not confuse with the British White (aka, the “Polled Park White”), which is an entirely different Breed, although may be decended from the Park White).
  • Canadienne
    France, related to the Normande, Jersey, and Alderney cattle, these milk producers were imported in 1541 to Quebec by Cartier. Milk.
    [122 cm (48″); 550 kg (1,210 lbs)/137 cm (54″); 813 kg (1,790 lbs)]
  • “Celtic” Black
    Britain (from which the Welsh Black, the Galloway, the Highland, and the Angus may have derived).
    [110 cm/120 cm]
  • Corriente
    Spain, imported to the New World by the Spaniards in the 15th and 16th centuries, their descendants remain in Northern Mexico, and are the also ancestral to the Texas Longhorn
    [99 cm (39″); 363 kg (800 lbs)/99 cm (39″); 454.5 kg (1000 lbs)]
  • Galloway
    Scotland (SW Islands) – May be the southern Scots polled cattle referred to since the 11th Century, they may only be 18th Century when the first solid records of them reach back to.
    [122 cm (48″); 575 kg (1,265 lbs)/137 cm (54″); 813 kg (1,790 lbs)]
  • Greenland
    Extinct. Known only from archarological remains. Decended from Norwegian cattle (see “Norsecattle”). Milk
    [Size based on bones: 100-110 cm]
  • Guernsey
    Channel Islands – The Guernsey began c1000 when monks imported cattle from France.
  • Highland
    Scotland (NW Islands) – Medium. Although cattle similar to this have been mentioned in records since the 12th Century, and some scholars place them back to the Iron Age, they may only be 17th Century when the first solid records of them reach back to.
    [107 cm (42″); 363.6-454.5 kg (800-1000 lbs)/122 cm (48″); 454.5-590.9 kg (1000-1300 lbs)]
  • Icelandic
    Decended from Norwegian cattle (see Norsecattle”). Small. Milk (long body/short legs)
    [340.9-500 kg (750-1100 lbs)/454.5-772.7 kg (1000-1700 lbs)]
  • Longhorn
    England (uplands). Large.
    [130-140 cm (51″-55″); 500-600 kg (1000-1320 lbs)/150 cm (59″); 1000 kg (2200 lbs)]
  • Maol
    Ireland. Extinct? “Hornless” Medium size? Work.
    [636kg (1400 lbs)/909 kg (2000 lbs)]
  • Marchigiana
    Italy (Near Rome) Large. Work. Almost pure “Italian Podolian”, or Russian steppes cattle, brought to Italy in the 5th Century. May be ancestral to the Chianina.
    [590.9-691.8 kg (1300-1500 lbs)/909 kg (2000 lbs)]
  • “Viking Cow”/Norsecattle (North Finncattle/Mountain cattle (Fjallko)/Blacksided Trondor) – Finland, Sweden, Norway. (Long body/short legs) Small. Milk. Seems to be related (if not ancestral) to a number of other cattle types in Europe.
    • Norwegeian Blacksided Trondor
      [318-409 kg (700-900 lbs)/636 -772.7 kg (1400-1700 lbs).
    • Swedish Mountain cattle
      [318-409 kg (700-900 lbs)/454.5-613.6 kg (1000-1350 lbs)
  • Romagnola
    Italy (Lower Po) Very Large. Work. Almost pure “Italian Podolian”, or Russian steppes cattle.
    [656-795.5 kg (1450-1750 lbs)/1156 kg (2500 lbs)]
  • Shorthorn
    England (NE lowlands)
    [12 cm (48″); 590.9-636 kg (1300-1400 lbs)/137 cm (54″); 909 kg (2000 lbs)] Originate from the shorthorned:

    • Holderness
    • Teeswater (also partially ancestral to the Ayrshire).

Other English Shorthorned Cattle:

  • Devon
    England. An ancient Red shorthorned breed typical of those found all over southern England. May be descended from B. Longifrons. Work.
    [122 cm (48″); 431.8-590.9 kg (950-1,300 lbs)/137 cm (54 cm); 772.7-1000 kg (1700-2200 lbs)
  • Hereford
    England. An ancient Red shorthorned breed typical of those found all over southern England.
  • Lincoln Red
    Bred from the local Shorthorned Red stock with the “Norsecattle” in the 8th-10th centuries.
  • Norfolk
    A small, hardy, beefy Red cow.
  • Suffolk
    A large dun colored dairy cow (possibly decended from a Galloway related breed, crossed with the
  • Sussex
    England. An ancient Red shorthorned breed typical of those found all over southern England. Reported as a draft ox as far back as 1066. Work.
    [137 cm (54″); 590.9 kg (1,300 lbs)/145 cm (57 cm); 1000 kg (2200 lbs)]
  • Welsh Black (Gwartheg Duon Cymneig)
    Wales. Now Medium sized. Historically, the Northern black was considerably smaller. May only be as old as the 17th Century.
    [122 cm (48″); 454.5 kg (1000 lbs)/137 cm (54″); 863.6 kg (1900 lbs)]

    • Anglesy
      Small. Long, beefy body.
    • Pembroken
      Medium. Milk.
  • Wisent/Bison
    Bulgaria, Romania
    [170-180 cm (66.9″-70.9″); 726-910 kg (1,600-2,000 lbs)]


  • Whitefaced redbodied
  • Red-and-white
  • Danish Red
    Denmark. Descended from the old German Angln, local island cattle, and the Bally.
  • Black and white
  • Black and white
    N. Netherlands. These pre-17th Century proto-Holsteins are known to exist from records.
  • Belted black and white
    Netherlands. The pre-17th Century cattle appear in early paintings.
  • Fromont du Leon
    France. ???
  • Norman Brindle
    France. ???
  • Golden, Long legged cattle from the valleys
  • Red-to-Straw colored Mountain cattle

“Are there any other modern breeds that might have remained unchanged from the Middle Ages?”

The following breeds appear or claim to be pre-17th century “landraces”.

  • Alentejana
    Portugal. Large. Work
    [545.5 kg (1200 lbs)/818.2 kg (1800 lbs)]
  • Brittainy Black Spotted
    France. Small. Once work, now milk.
    [363.6-409.1 kg (800-900 lbs)/545.5-681.8 (1200-1500 lbs)
  • Camargue
    France (Rhone delta) *Small* Sport and Festival.
    [295.5 -341 kg (800-900 lbs)/545.5-681.8 kg (1200-1500 lbs)]
  • Chianina
    Italy (central) Alleged to have existed since Roman times, although this is debateable. EXCEPTIONALLY LARGE Work
    [818.2 kg (1800lbs)/upto 1818.2 kg (4000 lbs)].
  • Dexter
    Ireland (Kerry) *Very Small* May only be 17th Century, or may be from the oldest of breeds
    [91.4 cm-106.7 cm (36″-42″); 341 kg (750 lbs)/96.5 cm-111.76 cm (38″-44″); under 454.5 kg (1,000 lbs)].
  • Flamande
    France. Work/Milk.
    [590.0-681.8 kg (1300-1500 lbs)/upto 1136.4 kg (2500 lbs)]
  • Fresian
    Netherlands – *probably* post-1700, descended from Northern Jutland Black-and-White cattle.
    [636-681.8 kg/1400-1500 lbs)/1045.5 kg (2300 lbs)]
  • Grauvia (Grigia Alpina)
    Austria, Italy (“Grey cattle” or “Grey Mountain Cattle”) Tyrolian. Some claim to be tracable back to the Romans. Medium to Large. Milk.
    [454.5-545.5 kg (1000-1200
  • lbs)/681.8-818.2 kg (1500-1800 lbs)]
  • Grey Steppe
    Romania, Russia?. “Medium Sized”
    [454.5 kg (1000 lbs)/636.4-681.8 kg (1400-1500 lbs)]
  • Hawaiian Wild Cattle
    Hawaii – Abandoned by Cook?
    [318.2 kg (700)/545.5 lg (1200 lbs)]
  • Herens (Eringer)
    Switzerland. Work/Sport/Milk.
    [119 cm (46.9″); 450-500 kg (990-1100 lbs)/122 cm (48″); 600-650 kg (1320-1430 kgs)]
  • Iskur
    Bulgaria. “Medium Sized” Bred from Grey Steppe Cattle, with some northern breed “in the remote past”. Work (some milk).
    [454.5 kg (1000 lbs)/636.4-681.8 kg (1400-1500 lbs)]
  • Kerry
    Ireland “Medium” size. Milk. (long body/short legs) May only be 17th Century
    [354.5-454.5 kg (780-1000 lbs)]
  • Longhorned
    [1430- kg (650-750 lbs)/454.5 kg (upto 1000 lbs)]
  • Mertolenga
    Portugal. Large. Work
    [545.5 kg (1200 lbs)/818.2 kg (1800 lbs)]
  • Modenese
    Italy (Lower Po) Very Large. Work.
    [659.1-759.5 kg (1450-1750 lbs)/1136.4 kg (2500 lbs)]
  • Modicana
    Italy (Sicily) Introduced by Normans after a plague wiped out the Sicilian cattle. Medium size. Work/Milk.
    [409.1-590.9 kg (900-1300 lbs)/454.5-727.3 kg (1000-1600 lbs)]
  • Murciana
    Spain. Work.
    [545.5 kg (1200 lbs)/818 kg (1800 lbs)]
  • Native Cattle
    Greece. A Grey Steppe derivative. Very small.
    [204.5-272.7 kg (450-600 lbs)/???]
  • Piedmontese
    Italy. Work/Milk. Medium-Large.
    [636 kg (1400 lbs)/909 kg (2000 lbs)]
  • Pirenaica
    Spain (Pyrennes). Large. Work/Milk.
    [ ???/upto 909 kg (2000 lbs)]
  • Prete
    Italy (Sicily). Small. Some work.
    [318-364 kg (700-800 lbs)/ 454.5 kg (1000 lbs)]
  • Rodopska
    Bulgaria. *Small*. Mountain cattle from the south. Look like goats. Work (some milk)
    [1760 kg (800 lbs)/1980 kg (900 lbs)]
  • Norwegian Red
    Norway –
    [122 cm (48″); 600 kg (1,320 lbs)/137 cm (54″); 1100 kg (2,420 lbs)] An amaglamation of several old local breeds, including:

    • Dole
    • Hedmark
    • Hordaland
    • Jarlsberg
    • Lyngdal
    • More
    • Ramsdal
    • Red Tronheim
    • South Norwegian
    • Vestland Fjord
    • Vestland Red Polled
    • West Norwegian
  • Polish Red
    Poland – Dark Red. Medium to Large. Resembles the German red. Milk.
    [;400-500 kg (880-1100 lbs)/500-550 kg (1100-1250 lbs)]
  • Tarentaise
    France Alpine. Medium. First work, now milk.
    [590.9 kg (1300 lbs)/upto 1090.9 kg (2400 lbs)]
  • Telemark
    Norway – An amaglamation of several old local breeds. Small. Milk
    [400-500 kg (880-1100 lbs)]
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The Roman Army

Some Notes:

Phase I (c753 BCE – c510 BCE) The Monarchy

The first army of Rome was a simple assemblage of warriors gathered together under the Latin tribal “banner”.  As far as I can find out, they didn’t wear much armor, if any, and may have used a Greek style “leaf shaped” sword in addition to a spear, but that’s about it.

Phase II (c510 BCE – c350BCE) The Phalanx

The army was actually organized, I believe, by Servius Tullius, and was a combined force of Etruscans, Romans, and Latins, and were classified into “Ranks” by the level of their wealth.  There were 5 ranks, from the first to the fifth, and then the Cavalry.  Each “Century” contained 100 men.

Cavalry  (Nobles)[a Maximum of 18 Centuries possible]

First Rank (Heavy Infantry)(Upper Middle Class)[78 Centuries total; field army would have 39]

Armed in Hoplite fashion with a Bronze Helmet, Cuirass, and Greaves; a Long spear, a Greek Style Sword for backup; and an “Argive” style shield (Round and faced either in bronze or leather)

Military Engineers (Upper Middle Class) [2 Centuries; field army would have 1]

When armored, armored as above.

Second Rank (Medium Infantry)(Middle Class)[20 Centuries; field army would have 10]

Armed in hoplite fashion with a Bronze Helmet and Greaves; leather or linen Cuirass; Spear; Sword; and a oval “Scutum”.

Third Rank (Light Infantry)(Upper Lower Class)[20 Centuries; field army would have 10]

Bronze helmet; Linen Cuirass; Spear; Sword; Scutum.

Fourth Rank (Light Infantry)(Lower Class)[20 Centuries; field army would have 10]

Spear; light javelin; Scutum

Fifth Rank (Irregular troops)(Pond Scum)[30 Centuries; field army would have 15]


Phase III (c350 BCE – c100 BCE) The Manipal

After the Roman got the stuffing kicked out of them by the Gauls in the 4th Century BCE and Rome was sacked, the Dictator Camillus reorganized the army into a form that was a bit more maneuverable than the standard phalanx, and laid the groundwork for the Roman army as we think of it, based on a Legion (or “levy”) of about 5000 men.  This was further divided into three battle lines or “Ranks” led by a front rank of lighter troops.  Each rank was made up of Maniples, each consisting of 2 centuries.  In battle these Ranks would be separate waves 80 meters apart.

1st Rank “Velites” (Light Infantry)(Lower Class)[10 maniples of 2 30 man centuries]

Greek Sword or Kopis (aka Spanish Falx); Pilum (Javelin); small shield (round, wood or wicker covered in hide); bronze
helmet (perhaps covered in fur)
After the enemy was closed upon, the Velites would stop, the other ranks would move ahead of them, and the Velites would join up with the Tirari.

2nd Rank “Hastati” (Heavy Infantry)[10 maniples of 2 60 man centuries)

Bronze Helm; bronze breast plate (not large), Scutum, Pilum (light and heavy).  After c200 BCE, they might wear mail* and/or carry the Gladius “Hispanicus” and/or wear the “Celtic/Itallic” helmet.   (*Mail was developed by the Celts and was originally (according to an example found at Kirkburn (c300 BCE)) was 10 gauge BUTTED mail.)

3rd Rank “Princeps” (Heavy Infantry)[10 Maniples of 2 60 man centuries]

Bronze Helm; bronze breast plate (not large), Scutum, Pilum (light and heavy).  After c200 BCE, they might wear mail* and/or carry the Gladius “Hispanicus” and/or wear the “Celtic/Itallic” helmet.

4th Rank “Triari” (Light Infantry)[10 maniples of 2 30 man centuries]

Lightly armored spear men.

5th Rank “Rorari” and “Accensi”

Poorly equipped “reserves” (These disappeared from the army as a concept fairly early on).

There were also “Squadrons” of cavalry of 30 men each trained to perform close order drills.  Also, a detachment of Engineers.

Phase IV (c100 BCE – c25 BCE) Post-Marius’ Reforms

The General Marius restructured the Roman Army based on lessons learned in the Punic Wars.  He first did away with the social basis of the army; disposed of the Velites and the Triari; and standardized the weapons of the troops (Pilums and Gladius).  The army was then restructured into “Cohorts” made up of 6 centuries (essentially a legion marching in formation at you would
be 10 waves of men, each 6 men deep and 100 men wide.

Attached to the Legion were Cavalry units (still mostly noble) and foreign auxiliaries (mostly slingers and bowmen).  Also, each legion maintained a corps of Engineers.

Phase V (c25 BCE – 236) The Imperial Legion.

Augustus changed very little of the army, but his was the first government to actually PAY his troops, and to maintain permanent units of auxiliaries.  He reduced the number of legions from 60-288, as well as lowering the number of men in each “Century” to 80.

The regular legionaries wore, as a rule, the famous “Lorica Segmentata”, which was inexpensive to make and easy to repair in the field.  However, it would not be uncommon to find Mail and Scale armor in the same unit.

Phase VI (236-c290) The Centralized Army

The emperor Gallienus tried to centralize the army, leaving the borders under the protection of the Limtanei “Border Guards” who were to merely slow down an invading force long enough for the Main Body to arrive.

At this point the troops were equipped with Mail, a pilum, a round shield and a Spatha (A form of longsword).  The Imperial Itallic Helm began to be replaced by a Spangenhelm (“helm of plates”) pattern that in many ways resembles the helm found at Sutton Hoo.

Phase VII (c290-c323)  Diocletian’s reforms; The Horse Soldiers

Under Diocletian, the army remained much the same, but training slackened as more attention was paid to the Cavalry.  Also Conscription was begun for what had been for a thousand years an all-volunteer army.

The cavalry was divided into 4 “armies” each sent into a portion of the empire for “quick reaction: attacks.  Each army had lightly armored lancers (Chain shirt, large round shield), lightly armored archers and heavily armored Cataphractos.

There is a debate among historians regarding the Roman Cavalry and the so-called “Celtic” or “Roman saddle” (a frame with 4 “horns” one at each corner).  One school of thought says that the “4 Prong” Roman saddle  is just a pack saddle, and that the Roman cavalry was ineffective since it had no stirrups on its otherwise normal rigid saddles.  The other school of though
says that by experimentation they have proven that the four prong saddle diminishes the need for stirrups for cavalry actions.  Take your pick (me, I lean on the side of the experimenters).

Phase VIII (323-400)

The army was further reduced in 323 when the legion was redefined from 5000 to 1000 men.  They gave up the Pilum.

The Cavalry was organized into “Palatinae” (units of 500 troops, mostly German).  Fewer Romans were to be found in the army.

Phase IX (400- )

After 400, the legion still existed as a concept, but not really as an effective unit.  Moreover, the “Cavalry” had devolved into what were essentially German war-bands, and anyone with a 1000 troops in one place had an “army”.

The Celts

These were essentially “Light Infantry” units locked into the “cowboy mentality” of every man for his own personal honor, and screw the team.  Armor consisted of generally wool tunics and trews, and only the chieftains in chain and bronze helms.. They used large round shields, small bucklers;  “long swords”; slings; bows; and spears.

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