I followed a link on Clarence's blog the other day that discussed the phenomenon of "six degrees of separation". It got me thinking of historical events that we don't always connect to each other. For example we often think that when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 they found a relatively uninhabited land (except for the indians), but the Spanish explorer Coronado had claimed what is now New Mexico in the year 1540, and Santa Fe was established as its capitol in 1610.
The Lewis and Clark expedition set out in 1803 to explore the vast, uninhabited (except for the indians) west, yet California had been claimed for England by Sir Francis Drake in 1579, and the city of Los Angeles was dedicated by Father Junipero Serra in 1781 with 44 original settlers.
The day general Custer and his men were massacred at Little Big Horn, the St. Louis Cardinals (known then as the Brown Stockings) were playing baseball in St. Louis.
I did some research on my own family to find out what historical events were happening at the birth and death of my ancestors. Here is what I found:
Peter. O. Blue was born in Scotland in 1745, the same year "Bonnie Prince Charlie" Stuart defeated the British in battle and advanced toward Derby. He was defeated at Culloden the following year. Peter came to America in 1771, 5 years before the Revolutionary War. He died in 1828, the year Andrew Jackson was elected president, Alexandre Dumas wrote "The Three Musketeers", Jules Verne was born, Webster's dictionary was published, and Gilbert Stuart, the painter of George Washington's portrait died.
Peter's son Malcom Blue was born in 1785, the year Mozart performed the Six "Hadyn" String Quartet, and the seismograph was invented. When Malcom died in 1866, Dostoevsky wrote "Crime and Punishment", H.G. Wells was born, Degas painted the ballet series, and Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.
Malcom' son, James Daniel Blue was born in 1838, the year Queen Victoria was crowned; Dickens published "Oliver Twist", William Clark, from the Lewis & Clark expedition died; Great Britain had 90 naval ships, Russia 50, France 49, and the U.S. 15. When James Daniel died in 1908, LBJ was born, Ian Fleming (author of James Bond stories) was born; General Motors Corp. was formed, and Ford produced the 1st Model T.
James Daniel's son Homer Blue was born in 1881, the year that James Garfield was assassinated; Picasso was born; the population of London was 3.3 million, Paris 2.2 million, New York, 1.2 million, and Tokyo, 800,000. When Homer died in 1952, Eisenhower was elected as president of the U.S.; the Korean War was in progress; Ernest Hemingway wrote "The Old Man and the Sea"; Norman Vincent Peale published "The Power of Positive Thinking"; Movie: High Noon; popular songs: "I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Clause", "It Takes Two to Tango", "Your Cheatin' Heart"; first hydrogen bomb exploded.
Homer's son Homer G. Blue was born in 1915 at the start of WWI, that year Booker T. Washington died; Einstein postulated the General Theory of Relativity; the first transcontinental phone call was made. When my dad died in 1985, Ronald Reagan began his second term, John Irving wrote "The Cider House Rules", Garrison Keillor wrote "Lake Wobegon Days"; the Academy Award for best picture went to "Amadeus"; and the U.S. deficit reached 130 billion dollars.
One week before I was born in 1945 a nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima; also that year George Orwell published "Animal Farm"; the boxer of the year was Rocky Graziano, and the Empire State building was struck by a B-25 bomber.