Saturday, December 29, 2012

George Washington & Mr. Ford

December 29, 2012 – I can’t believe I never posted this!
Today, Mr. Ford took my brothers and I out to the St. Louis History Museum to see an exhibit on George Washington.
The exhibit told the story of Washington from his upbringing, to surveying, to the French and Indian War, the Battle of Monongahela and Fort Necessity.
It’s hard to describe what a treat it was to tour an exhibit on one fathers in the founding era of our nation - with the historian and antiquarian, Mr. Ford!  He knows so  much about the writings of the time and about the founders, that several people were subtly following Mr. Ford as he gave us an impromptu history tour.
This incredible diorama shows the house and the surrounding buildings of Mt. Vernon
I liked how a significant portion of the exhibit was dedicated to the estate of Mt. Vernon.  George Washington's role in the military and politics really overshadowed his role as an agricultural innovator and businesses man.  He originally had been growing tobacco, but found it unprofitable, so he experimented with over 60 different kinds of crops.  He also built a new grist mill that ground corn meal and flour.
Cutaway showing how the gristmill operated
This shows how the exterior of the Mt. Vernon home were designed to look like stone.
1) Boards were cut and beveled to resemble stone blocks
2) A ship’s varnished was applied to seal the wood
3) The first coat of white paint is applied
4) Finish coat of paint is applied and thrown sand is applied
After the War of Independence, the rule of the new country was really George Washington’s if he’d wanted it, but instead he went back home to enjoy the benefits of the very thing he had been fighting for.
Being sworn in as the first President of the United States
Incidentally, this exhibit probably had the most-depth information on Washington’s teeth (or lack of them.)  They had several of his dentures and had a timeline of Washington’s dental history.

Civil War in Saint Louis

While we were at the History Museum with Mr. Ford (this post is a sequel to a post I haven’t written yet Smile), we also visited the exhibit on the Civil War in Missouri.  We’d studied the Civil War last year, but it would be neat to learn the history specifically in Missouri and even more specifically in Saint Louis.
Birthplace of the Free Population of Saint Louis City and County for 1860
(Total Population 186,178)
United States: 90,092
Missouri: 57,634
Foreign Countries 96,086
Germany 50,510
The exhibit made the point that Missouri was a divided Claiborne_fox_jacksonstate, but it seemed to me that most of the state was Confederate and it was the city of Saint Louis that was the most divided (at least until the Camp Jackson affair and the riot.)   Much of this division was contributed by the heavy population of immigrants, primarily from Germany.  They were mostly Catholic and some of them were refugees from the failed Revolution of 1848 in the German states.  This revolution had a somewhat liberal bent and was strongly nationalistic, which may explain why German-Americans were the largest ethnic contingent to serve in the Union Army.  And the only other state that contributed the most German-Americans to the Union Army over Missouri was New York.
Missouri’s governor, Claiborne Jackson was a strong advocate for secession, but the Missouri General Assembly voted it down and decided to remain neutral.  Meanwhile, Lincoln requested that Missouri provide 3,123 troops to attack the Confederacy and Gov. Jackson gave him this bold reply:
There was a Federal Arsenal in Saint Louis w20121227_160440here all of the armaments were held and Governor Jackson made secret plans to place the arsenal's 39,000 small arms into the hands of the Missouri Volunteer Militia.  Governor Jackson called up the militia for maneuvers just outside Saint Louis, at Camp Jackson.  These maneuvers was perfectly legitimate, but the commander of the arsenal,  Union Captain Nathaniel Lyon, surrounded the camp with 6,000 Union troops and placed the 669 militia men under arrest when they would not take the oath of allegiance to the Federal government.
  One of the German militia “clubs” of Saint Louis
This was the Missouri state flag from Camp Jackson
They were marched back into Saint Louis as prisoners under guard of the Union German volunteers.  The sight of this march enraged many in the city and a riot broke out wherein 28 people died and up to 100 were wounded.  The “Camp Jackson Affair” polarized much of Missouri and Saint Louis and the riot in which some women and children were killed, influenced many to embrace secessionist views.
  Well, to make this a short story…after an unsuccessful meeting with the Union Captain,  Nathaniel Lyon, Governor Jackson was chased across Missouri to Jefferson City where he escaped with some of the Missouri General Assembly to Southern Missouri near the Arkansas border.  It was here in Neosho that the remnants of the General Assembly and the Governor voted to secede from the Union and to join the Confederacy, even though they didn’t control the state or its capitol.  However, this is how Missouri got its own star on the Confederate flag, because it attempted an unsuccessful secession.
  Governor Gamble
20121227_161030    Meanwhile, Union troops had captured Jefferson City and a provisional state legislature was formed.  Former Missouri Supreme Court Justice and Unionist, Hamilton Rowan Gamble, was placed as Governor of Missouri and he complied with Lincoln’s call for troops.
  The city of Saint Louis was placed under martial law during the war and was a major Union resupply point for the armies in the Western theater and helped ensure that the Union army would control the Mississippi river during the war.  However, even though they were under Union control many of the people who lived in the city were southern sympathizers and helped smuggle supplies and prisoners out of Saint Louis.

Map of Saint Louis showing the major buildings and military installations including the Federal Arsenal.  Many of the older roads that exist today are also on this map.
   That was a very watered-down, short story version of one of the most pivotal points in Missouri’s (and specifically Saint Louis’) history.  The exhibit had a lot of information from the important events leading up to the war (such as the border ruffians, Bleeding Kansas and the Dred Scott decision) to the battles and skirmishes in Missouri throughout the war.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Spanish Circle–Christmas Ball 2012

Also known as the Spanish waltz

Filmed at the 19th Annual Christian Home Educators Fellowship Christmas Ball. The caller is Jeremy Suermann and filming and editing is the work of J. Andrew Wong.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Strip the Willow–Christmas Ball 2012

A Scottish dance with a lot of ree-eeling!

Filmed at the 19th Annual Christian Home Educators Fellowship Christmas Ball. The caller is Jeremy Suermann and filming and editing is the work of J. Andrew Wong.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Yellow Stockings–Christmas Ball 2012

Filmed at the 19th Annual Christian Home Educators Fellowship Christmas Ball. The caller is Jeremy Suermann and filming and editing is the work of J. Andrew Wong.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Circassian Circle-Christmas Ball 2012

This simple, but always popular -well, maybe not ALWAYS popular (see 3:25)- dance was setup in three large circles.

Hundreds of dancers gathered on a winter evening in Saint Louis, Missouri at Saint Xaviers Cathedral for the 19th Annual Christian Home Educators Fellowship Christmas Ball. The dances were called by Jeremy Suermann and filming and editing is the work of J. Andrew Wong.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Ball 2012

It has taken a little while to get the dancing videos from the 2012 Christmas Ball prepared, but in the meantime I wanted to share the new intro.  (This video was only a test and the dance title/background are not the same dance.)

Next video Gotham Jubilee!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Ball-Videos Coming Soon!

Dancing videos from the 19th Annual CHEF-MO Christmas Scottish Ball will be available over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned!  If you have any dances you'd like me to prioritize, please leave a comment.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dancing Photos


  Trying to decide whether to post the videos from the last dance or just wait until the Christmas ball.  By the way, if anyone has any creative ideas on how I could get some good camera angles  at the ball (especially shots from above) please let me know!  I’d like to rig something up that will be above everyone’s heads.