Destruction of the 1890 Census

1890 United States Federal Census Fragment sample image.

Genealogists and historians have lamented the loss of the 1890 census for more than a century. When researchers inquire about the 1890 census, their questions are quickly dismissed with the explanation that a fire destroyed the records. The truth, however, is more complicated. The 1890 census records did sustain extensive smoke and water damage in two different fires (1896 and 1921), but the damaged records sat languishing in a warehouse until the 1930s when Congress ordered their destruction.

The 1890 census was unique for several reasons. For the first time, officials decided to gather data on a separate schedule for each family. Families answered questions about race, immigration and naturalization, the number of children born and living, and questions relating to service in the Civil War. It was also the first census that used punch cards and an electrical tabulation system.

After enumerators finished the 1890 census, the Department of the Interior stored portions in Washington D.C. in the basement of Marini’s Hall. On March 22, 1896, a night watchman discovered the rear of the building was on fire and notified the fire department. Firefighters arrived to find dense smoke pouring from the basement. Though they extinguished the flames before sunrise, the fire damaged or destroyed the special schedules for mortality, crime, pauperism, benevolence, special classes (e.g., deaf, blind, insane) and portions of the transportation and insurance schedules. The general population schedules, however, were safe and stored in the basement of the Commerce Building.

The Washington Post, January 11, 1921

On the evening of January 10, 1921, an employee at the Commerce Building noticed smoke rising through the elevator shaft and sounded the fire alarm. For hours, firefighters soaked the building with water to quench the flames. When the smoke cleared, archivists found 25 percent of the 1890 census schedules destroyed, while half of the rest sustained serious water damage. Government officials debated whether the burnt and waterlogged records could be salvaged.

This tragic fire spurred discussion about the need for national archives to hold public records. While awaiting funding for an archive building, Census Director William Steuart warned the damaged records would continue to deteriorate. Not much is known about what happened to the census records between 1922-1932, but in December 1932, the Chief Clerk of the Bureau of Census sent the Librarian of Congress a list of documents deemed no longer necessary and scheduled for destruction. Included in the list were the 1890 damaged census records. The Librarian approved the list and forwarded it to Congress who authorized it and the damaged records were destroyed. Ironically, just one day before Congress authorized the destruction of these records, President Herbert Hoover laid the cornerstone for the new National Archives Building.

In 1934, the National Archives Building opened in Washington, D.C. In 1942, officials found a damaged bundle of 1890 census records from Illinois that escaped destruction. In 1953, they also found fragments of records from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and the District of Columbia. These rediscovered records comprise just a tiny fraction of the 1890 census, leaving 99.99 percent of the original records lost forever. Visit Ancestry.com to see the surviving 1890 census fragments, or search Newspapers.com to see more clippings about their destruction.

Share using:

The Texas Revolution

On October 2, 1835, ongoing clashes between American settlers in Texas and the Mexican government escalated into an open rebellion called the Texas Revolution, or the War of Texas Independence. Texas colonists led by Sam Houston fought against Mexican forces led by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna of Mexico. The war resulted in Texas declaring independence from Mexico and the founding of the Republic of Texas which was later annexed by the United States.

The Richmond Enquirer October 23, 1835

In 1820, American Moses Austin asked the Spanish government in Mexico for permission to settle on a tract of land in Texas. Austin intended to establish a colony for 300 families to settle near the Brazos River. He died shortly after, and his son Stephen F. Austin took over the project. In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain and the Mexican government allowed American Colonists to occupy the land in its northern reaches that was primarily occupied by Native American tribes. They also suspended tariffs and taxes for the settlers under the Colonization Law of 1823.

In the following years, settlers poured into Texas until Americans outnumbered the Mexicans. Fearing the United States may want to annex Texas, the Mexican government sought to stem the tide of US citizens in Texas in 1830 by prohibiting any further immigration of US citizens. They also reinstated tariffs on the settlers already living there.

The Arkansas Gazette May 4, 1830

Unhappy with the new rules, in June 1832, American settlers clashed with Mexican military forces near modern-day Houston and the eastern bank of the Brazos River in the Battle of Velasco. They later organized conventions in 1832 and 1833 and asked the Mexican government to repeal the tariffs and immigration laws. During the conventions, Sam Houston was named commander-in-chief over Texan forces and David Burnet as provisional president. Americans were moving closer to a full-scale rebellion. Meanwhile, Gen. Santa Anna used heavy-handed tactics to suppress dissent and directed Mexican soldiers to move into Texas and retake a cannon that settlers had used in defense against Native Americans. When Mexican soldiers arrived, a skirmish ensued resulting in the first battle of the revolution, the Battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835.

Additional battles were fought including the Battle of the Alamo, where Gen. Santa Anna’s forces overpowered a group of volunteer Texas soldiers occupying a mission near present-day San Antonio killing close to 200; and the Goliad Massacre, where more than 400 captured soldiers were executed by Santa Anna’s troops. The cruelty of the killings acted as a rallying cry for Texas troops who shouted, “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!” during the final battle of the revolution, the Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836. The battle lasted just 18 minutes. Texas soldiers captured Gen. Santa Anna as he tried to flee, and his army retreated south. Held prisoner, Santa Anna was forced to sign the Treaty of Velasco recognizing Texas as an independent republic. In 1845, the United States annexed Texas and it became the 28th state. If you would like to learn more about the Texas Revolution, search Newspapers.com today.

To see more headlines from Texas history, see our Newspapers.com topic page.

Share using:

Spokane Falls for Historic Newspapers!

If you have an interest in the history of Spokane or ancestors from that area, we’re happy to announce the digitization of The Spokesman-Review 1968-2019; and other related newspapers including The Semi-Weekly Spokesman-Review 1883-1981; the Spokane Chronicle 1890-1992; the Spokane Daily Chronicle 1890; the Spokane Evening Review 1884-1885; the Spokane Falls Review 1885-1891; The Spokane Review 1891-1894 and the Spokane Weekly Chronicle 1944. The Spokesman-Review was named one of the 25 best newspapers in the country by the Columbia Journalism Review magazine in 1999!

Our archives date back to 1883 when Washington was still a territory and just two years after the railroad came to town bringing new settlers and growth to the area. Around that time the discovery of gold in Coeur d’Alene brought growth to Spokane (then called Spokane Falls) because the city acted as a service center for the nearby mines.

In 1889, a terrific fire engulfed the city. To prevent the spread of flames, officials blew up a row of buildings to prevent the fire from spreading. As the flames approached Cannon’s Bank at Wall and Riverside, a horse-drawn cab loaded the bank’s wealth into a carriage and drove it to safety. When the smoke finally cleared, the fire destroyed 30 downtown blocks and burned many businesses, homes, and several newspaper presses.

Japanese Balloon Bombs Land in Spokane During WWII

During WWII, the Spokane Army Air Depot (later known as Fairchild Air Force Base) opened to provide repairs for damaged aircraft. The depot attracted skilled workers and provided job opportunities for civilian workers. In 1945, the war hit close to home when the Japanese launched balloon bombs that landed near Spokane. News of the incendiary devices brought public concern. The newspapers tried to keep reports about the balloon bombs under wraps to bolster national security. The Semi-Weekly Spokesman-Review encouraged readers to refrain from spreading the news about balloon incidents.

Our archives contain great stories to help you piece together your family tree. For example, this 1909 story in the Spokane Chronicle tells the story of a father reuniting with his son after 47 years! The two became separated during the Civil War and had no way of contacting one another. One day, the son met a man who shared his last name and soon discovered it was his uncle. He was delighted to learn that his father was 79-years-old and living in Nebraska. Later, the two were joyfully reunited.

Do you have ancestors that filed a homestead claim in Spokane? The lure of homesteading, and the ability to travel on railroads and steamships brought more settlers to the Pacific Northwest. Newspapers reported homestead applications at the land office like this one in The Spokane Review in 1891.  When searching for your family, search through the newspaper birth announcements, wedding announcements, anniversary notices, and obituaries.

Start searching our archives for The Spokesman-Review today on Newspapers.com!

Share using:

The Development of the Polio Vaccine

In 1894, doctors in Vermont noticed a strange illness spreading throughout the state. Symptoms included fever, sore throat, aches, and difficulty breathing. In some instances, the disease caused paralysis or even death. The virus attacked the nervous system and seemed to hit small children especially hard. The outbreak resulted in 18 deaths and 132 cases of permanent paralysis in Vermont that year. After careful study, doctors finally identified the culprit as poliomyelitis – or polio. Polio ravaged the country and terrified Americans for more than fifty years until a 1955 vaccine promised an 80-90% success rate in preventing the disease. However, within two weeks of being inoculated with the new vaccine, six children developed paralysis and the vaccine was found defective. This incident, known as the Cutter incident, led to changes including increased government oversight in the manufacture and regulation of vaccines.

The 1894 polio outbreak shined a spotlight on polio, which was often referred to as infantile paralysis, and sparked scientists to search for a cure. In 1916, a large polio epidemic hit New York City infecting more than 9,000, resulting in more than 2,000 deaths. Perhaps the most public figure diagnosed with polio was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He contracted the disease in 1921 at the time when nearly 15,000 new cases were diagnosed each year.

Advances in polio treatment led scientists to develop the iron lung in 1928. Some patients lost the ability to breathe on their own when polio paralyzed their chest muscles. The iron lung acted as a respirator using air pressure to expand and contract a patient’s diaphragm, essentially breathing for them at the rate of 16 times a minute. In 2008, America’s longest-living survivor in an iron lung passed away after a power outage shut down her iron lung and a backup generator failed.

In the 1930s, early efforts to create a polio vaccine were unsuccessful. By the 1950s, Dr. Jonas Salk experienced a breakthrough and successfully developed a vaccine using an inactivated strain of the poliovirus (IPV). His vaccine was based on three virulent strains of the virus that were inactivated using a formaldehyde solution. Salk was so confident in his work that in 1953, he vaccinated his own family. A larger trial began in 1954 that provided vaccinations for more than 1 million children, and in April 1955, authorities announced the trial was a success and mass vaccinations could begin. That meant the vaccine needed large scale production and the pharmaceutical industry stepped up to help.

The cheers and relief experienced by Americans quickly turned to shock when within two weeks of receiving the vaccine, six children became paralyzed. Officials discovered that all six children had been inoculated using a vaccine created by Cutter Laboratories in California. The Cutter vaccine was recalled but not before 380,000 of the company’s doses had been administered. It was discovered that the formaldehyde solution Cutter Laboratories used was defective and did not inactivate the virus. Instead, the vaccines administered contained the live poliovirus. The defective vaccine led to 220,000 new infections and caused 164 to become severely paralyzed. Ten children died. The Cutter incident led to a dramatic change in government oversight of vaccine production and also changed medical liability lawsuits when Cutter was found guilty and liable without fault during the trial. Despite the tragic Cutter incident, Salk’s vaccine was successful in the fight against polio. However, the Salk vaccine was replaced in the 1960s when Albert Sabin introduced an oral polio vaccine (OPV) that relied on a weakened poliovirus and proved highly effective.

Do you have family members that suffered from polio? Learn more about polio and the development of a polio vaccine on Newspapers.com.

Share using:

The Great Solar Storm of 1859

On September 2, 1859, a massive solar storm composed of subatomic charged particles slammed into the earth’s protective magnetosphere. It ignited countless fires and caused sparks to spew from telegraph machines, shocking their operators. It also created a dramatic show of aurora borealis, or northern lights, as far south as the Caribbean. Solar storms occur when enormous bubbles of superheated plasma are periodically ejected from the sun. Scientists believe that if a similar solar storm were to happen today, it would cause catastrophic damage by crippling power grids, satellites, GPS, and communications systems. Such an event could leave North American without power for months or years and could carry an economic impact as high as $2 trillion.

While conducting observations from his private observatory outside of London on the morning of September 1, 1859, British amateur astronomer Richard Carrington noticed patches of intense white light erupt from the sun. The eruptions lasted about five minutes before dissipating. Little did Carrington know the flare he observed sent solar wind shock waves carrying supercharged plasma racing towards the earth. Hours later, those particles slammed into the earth’s magnetic shield, creating auroral flashes and clouds in vivid colors of red, violet, pink, and green. This single solar storm carried the energy equivalent of 10 billion atomic bombs and is known as the Carrington Event.

The Cahaba Gazette, Alabama: Sept. 9, 1859

The colorful auroras of the Carrington Event were so bright that even in the middle of the night, birds began to chirp and California Gold Rush miners woke up to prepare breakfast. People in Missouri could read without any light source after midnight, and some assumed a great fire was burning on the horizon. Telegraph lines across the country experienced “one of the most startling as well as singular electrical phenomena,” when “a superabundance of electricity in the air” allowed telegraph machines to work without the aid of batteries. The Washington Star reported, “A series of currents of electricity, entirely independent of batteries, seem to have taken possession of the wires, and to such an extent that the National Telegraph was actually enabled to send messages from New York to Pittsburg, (Penn.) correctly.”

Our sun operates on solar cycles that last an average of 11 years. The Carrington Event occurred during Solar Cycle 10, which lasted from December 1855 until March 1867. Solar Cycle 24 began in December 2008 and is just wrapping up. The current forecast predicts Solar Cycle 25 will be relatively weak.

Will a future solar cycle bring a repeat of the Carrington Event? Scientists say it’s not only possible but inevitable. According to a 2008 report from the National Academy of Sciences, a similar-sized solar storm would include, “disruption of the transportation, communication, banking and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of distribution of potable water owing to pump failure, and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of the lack of refrigeration.” Researchers studying evidence of historic solar storms say a large solar storm “would be a threat to modern society.”

To read more personal accounts of the Carrington Event in 1859, and to learn more about solar storms, search Newspapers.com today.

Like this post? Try one of these:

The 1871 Peshtigo Fire

Lake Nyos Disaster

Major Earthquake Strikes San Francisco

Share using:

New Papers Added from Arizona and Indiana!

In 1867, Tucson became the capital of the Arizona Territory and by 1870, census records showed the population had topped 3,000. If you have ancestors from Tucson or an interest in Arizona history, you’ll be thrilled to know that the Arizona Daily Star has added historic Tucson newspapers to their archive, and you can access them on Newspapers.com! We have The Weekly Arizonian (1869-1871); the Arizona Weekly Citizen (1870-1897); the Tucson Citizen (1879-2007); El Fronterizo (1882-1908); and the Tucson Daily Citizen (1941-1977).

Arizona Daily Citizen: May 4, 1898

Early editions of the Arizona Weekly Citizen were filled with accounts of skirmishes with Native Americans as westward expansion encroached upon Native American lands. Upset over Indian attacks, in 1870 the paper highlighted an offer by the Mexican government to pay a $300 bounty for each Apache scalp. The hostilities came to a head in the early morning hours of April 30, 1871, when a group of men from Tucson massacred more than 100 Apaches in the Camp Grant Massacre. Officials arrested the men but a court later acquitted them.  

The invention of air-conditioning to combat sweltering Arizona heat led to significant growth in Arizona’s population. During the 1930s, the first public buildings in Tucson got air conditioning, followed by homes in later decades. If you are tracing ancestors that lived in Tucson, search for marriage, death, and birth announcements. If you’re lucky, you just might find a biographical sketch of your ancestor like these for members of the 1883 Territorial Legislature.  

If you have ancestors from Jasper, Indiana, you’ll be excited to hear we’ve added The Dubois Herald and the Jasper Weekly Courier to our archives. The Dubois Herald began as The Jasper Herald, a weekly that started in 1895. In 1946, the paper, known then as The Dubois County Herald, started publishing six days a week. That tradition continues today, and The Dubois Herald has chronicled Jasper’s history for 124 years. Jasper has strong German roots and many of today’s residents can trace their heritage back to the mid-19th century when Father Joseph Kundek, a Catholic Priest, promoted Jasper to German immigrants. That heritage is celebrated annually during the Strassenfest celebration. If you have ancestors that lived in nearby townships like Cuzco, Ferdinand, or Ireland, the Correspondence Column included updates from citizens of those communities.

Spanish Flu Quarantine in Jasper – 1918

The Jasper Weekly Courier’s archives date back to 1858 when the paper was founded as an organ of the Democratic Party. Dubois County’s German immigrant population was flourishing and the first issue of the paper included a German announcement for those who couldn’t read English. The Weekly Courier reported on the Civil War and soldiers serving from Dubois County. It also participated in honoring surviving veterans and fallen soldiers after the war. The archives include reports of visitors in town, local accidents and injuries, and other life events like births, marriages, anniversaries and deaths.  

To explore these Arizona and Indiana newspapers, and newspapers from other locations, search Newspapers.com today!

Share using:

Hawaii Becomes A State: August 21, 1959

On the morning of August 21, 1959, nearly 100 people crammed into the Governor’s office in Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii. They arrived long before 10:00 a.m., the scheduled time for the anticipated phone call. Minutes ticked by and a nervous hush permeated the room. At 10:08, a string of firecrackers ignited within earshot of the palace, followed by the blaring of car horns – but the phone remained silent. Finally, at 10:15 a.m., the Governor’s phone rang, and the room let out a collective sigh of relief. The call from Washington relayed the news. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had just signed the proclamation making Hawaii the 50th state. Governor William F. Quinn made the announcement to the cheering crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, Hawaii is now a state!” The announcement came from the same palace where 66 years earlier, Hawaii’s final monarch was ousted during a coup that led to Hawaii’s annexation as a US territory. 

Hawaii’s journey to statehood was long and bumpy. The Hawaiian Islands were originally settled by Polynesian voyagers centuries ago. In 1778, British explorer Capt. James Cook came upon the islands while searching for the Northwest Passage. He named his discovery the Sandwich Islands. He named his discovery the Sandwich Islands.

The islands were originally comprised of warring factions, but united under a single monarchy in 1810 under King Kamehameha I. In 1818, Kamehameha was reportedly unhappy with the name Sandwich Islands, saying that each island should have its own name and the chain of islands should be known as the “Islands of the King of Hawaii.”

During the 1830s, the first sugar cane plantations were established in Hawaii bringing immigrants and trade. The rise of steamship travel in the 1840s opened the door to reliable transportation to the islands. With increased commerce, a group of white businessmen and landowners associated with sugar and pineapple plantations, and cattle ranches developed considerable power in the islands.

In 1887, they forced King David Kalakaua to sign the Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which limited the power of the monarchy. It became known as the Bayonet Constitution. After Kalakaua’s death in 1891, his sister Queen Liliuokalani became Hawaii’s last reigning monarch. Just two years after her accession and amid attempts to adopt a new constitution to restore power to the monarchy, she was overthrown in a coup at Iolani Palace. The coup was organized by powerful white residents with the help of US Marines.

Around the time of the Spanish-American War, the US realized the strategic military importance of Hawaii and established a military outpost that later became Pearl Harbor naval station. In 1898, Hawaii was annexed and became a US territory. Sanford B. Dole was named the president of the Provisional Government of Hawaii. The territory had no voice in the US government and rich plantation owners benefited by allowing plantation owners to import cheap labor and export products to the mainland with low tariffs.

For the next 60 years, there were many petitions for statehood. In June 1959, Hawaiians’ voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Union. Months later, Eisenhower, who had advocated for Hawaii’s statehood during his campaign, signed the proclamation admitting Hawaii as the 50th state.

If you would like to learn more about Hawaii’s road to statehood, search Newspapers.com today!

Share using:

New Pennsylvania Papers Added!

Our Pennsylvania archives are expanding! If you have ancestors from Pennsylvania or are interested in the history of the area, we’ve added papers from Pottsville, Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton.

Republican Herald: The Republican Herald was founded in Pottsville in 1884 as The Daily Republican. We have issues from the Pottsville Republicanand the Republican and Herald in our archives. Pottsville is located in Pennsylvania’s coal region where America’s oldest brewery, D.G. Yuengling & Son, made beer for thirsty coal miners. When Congress passed the National Prohibition Act it meant big changes for the company. The brewery created three near beers and even branched into ice cream production to keep the business running until the 18th Amendment was repealed. If you are researching ancestors from Pottsville, check birth announcements, obituaries, and even the Society Page

The Lattimer Massacre, 1897

Standard-Speaker: Based in Hazleton, the Standard-Speaker is a daily that traces its history back to the Hazleton Sentinel which merged with the Plain Speaker to become the Standard-Speaker.  Our archives date back to 1879. The coal industry in Hazleton attracted immigrants from a variety of countries. They often lived in “patch towns,” or small towns owned by the mining company. This part of Hazleton’s heritage is celebrated annually during Patch Down Days. In 1897, harsh conditions and reduced pay led local miners to strike. Rising tensions evolved into a confrontation referred to as the Lattimer massacre where 19 unarmed strikers were shot and killed, and dozens wounded by a sheriff’s posse. If you have ancestors from Hazleton, the archive contains community columns, birth announcements, obituaries, wedding notices, and more.

Citizens’ Voice: The Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre was founded in 1978 by striking employees of the Wilkes-Barre Publishing Company. Angry employees learned their paper, the Times Leader, was being sold. They banded together and with help from the community and unions, started the Citizens’ Voice. The Voice soon became a strong competitor to the Times Leader and has advocated for the local citizens of Wilkes-Barre. The Citizens’ Voice has covered natural disasters, like the September 2011 flooding along the Susquehanna River. When the river finally crested, it strained levees and forced evacuations.

The Times-Tribune: Scranton is home to the Times-Tribune and our archive includes these additional titles: the Scranton Tribune, The Tribune, Scranton Weekly Republican, Scrantonian Tribune, and The Weekly Scranton Times. The earliest paper in this collection dates back to 1866! Scranton’s namesake, brothers George and Seldon Scranton, arrived in the area in the mid-1800s and later developed the Lackawanna Steel Company. Steel, coal, textile mills, and other industrialization fueled Scranton’s growth which brought immigrant workers to the area. The Scranton Lace Company was a premiere producer of Nottingham lace for over 100 years until the company shut down in 2002. If you have ancestors from Scranton, search family reunion notices for a genealogical gold mine!

Start searching these and other Pennsylvania papers today at Newspapers.com!

Share using:

Horse and Buggy: The Primary Means of Transportation in the 19th Century

Today’s high-performance cars can have upwards of 700 horsepower. But in the 1800s, typical horse and buggy transportation consisted of one or two horsepower – literally! Horses and other animals including oxen and donkeys provided the primary means of transportation all over the world through the nineteenth century. A single horse could pull a wheeled vehicle and contents weighing as much as a ton.

Transporting people and goods was a costly venture in the 19th century. Animals required large quantities of food and water. Roads usually consisted of two dirt paths with a grassy strip in the middle and they were rough and bumpy. Wagon wheels formed deep ruts that in some places are still visible today, and those same dirt paths turned into a muddy mess when wet.

To meet transportation needs, a variety of types of wagons were available. Some were simple farm wagons, others elegant private carriages. Stagecoaches provided public transportation. Let’s take a look at some of the options our ancestors used for travel in the 1800s.

Buckboard Wagon

Buckboard Wagon: The no-frills buckboard wagon was commonly used by farmers and ranchers in the 1800s. It was made with simple construction. The front board served as both a footrest and offered protection from the horse’s hooves should they buck.

Gig Carriage: A gig was a small, lightweight, two-wheeled, cart that seated one or two people. It was usually pulled by a single horse and was known for speed and convenience. It was a common vehicle on the road.

Gig Carriage
Concord Coach

Concord Coach: American made Concord coaches were tall and wide and incorporated leather straps for suspension that made the ride smoother than steel spring suspension. They were also extravagant, costing $1000 or more at a time when workers were paid about a dollar a day. Wells, Fargo & Co. was one of the largest buyers of the Concord coach. Today the company still displays its original Concord Coaches in parades and for publicity.

Barouche

Barouche: A barouche was a fancy, four-wheeled open carriage with two seats facing each other and a front seat for the driver. There was a collapsible hood over the back. It was a popular choice in the first half of the 19th century and was used by the wealthy. It was often pulled by four horses. This barouche carriage carried Abraham Lincoln to the theater on the night of his assassination.

Victoria Carriage: The Victoria carriage was named for Queen Victoria and renowned for its elegance. It was a low, open carriage with four wheels that seated two people. It had an elevated seat for the coachman.

Victoria Carriage

Phaeton: The Phaeton was a sporty four-wheel carriage with front wheels that were smaller than the rear wheels. The sides were open and that exposed a gentleman’s trousers or a lady’s skirt to flying mud. The seat was quite high and required a ladder to access. Phaetons were fast, but also high-centered leaving them vulnerable to tipping. They were pulled by two or four horses.

Phaeton Carriage

Landau Carriage: The Landau carriage was considered a luxury city carriage that seated four. It had two folding hoods and was uniquely designed to allow its occupants to be seen. It was popular in the first half of the nineteenth century. Pictured here is Queen Elizabeth in a Landau carriage.

Landau Carriage

Brougham Carriage: Designed by England’s Lord Brougham, the Brougham carriage was lightweight, four-wheeled carriage with an enclosed carriage. It was popular because passengers sat in a forward-facing seat making it easy to see out. It was also lower to the ground and easier for passengers to climb in and out of the carriage. The Brougham was driven by a coachman sitting on an elevated seat or perch outside of the passenger compartment.

Brougham Carriage

Rockaway Carriage: The Rockaway originated on Long Island. It was a popular vehicle with the middle class and the wealthy. One distinguishing feature of the Rockaway was a roof that extended over the driver, while the passengers were in an enclosed cabin.

Rockaway Carriage
Conestoga Wagon

Conestoga Wagon: The Conestoga wagon was large and heavy and built to haul loads up to six tons. The floor of the wagon was curved upward to prevent the contents from shifting during travel. The Conestoga was used to haul freight before rail service was available and as a means to transport goods. Conestoga wagons were pulled by eight horses or a dozen oxen and were not meant to travel long distances. The Conestoga wagon is credited for the reason we drive on the right side of the road. While operating the wagon, the driver sat on the left-hand side of the wagon. This freed his right hand to operate the brake lever mounted on the left side. Sitting on the left also allowed the driver to see the opposite side of the road better.

Prairie Schooner

Prairie Schooner: As families moved west, a prairie schooner pulled by teams of mules or oxen was a common choice. It was like the Conestoga wagons, but much lighter with a flat body and lower sides. They were typically covered with white cloth and from a distance resembled a ship. Travelers in prairie schooners often traveled in convoys and covered up to 20 miles a day which meant an overland trip could take 5 months.

Stagecoach: The stagecoach was a public vehicle where passengers paid to ride long distances. Stagecoaches ran on a schedule and were typically pulled by four horses. Periodically, horses were changed out for a fresh team.

Stagecoach

To learn more about these types of carriages and others, search Newspapers.com today.

Share using:

The 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing: July 20, 1969

On July 20, 1969, the world collectively held its breath as astronaut Neil A. Armstrong slowly backed out of the Lunar Module Eagle and cautiously climbed down a nine-rung ladder before stepping foot on the surface of the moon. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” were Armstrong’s now immortalized words.

Just four decades earlier, Charles Lindbergh made history when he flew the Spirit of St. Louis 3,600 miles across the Atlantic. Stunning advances in aviation technology followed. In 1962, amidst the Cold War and Space Race, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “We choose to go to the moon!”

That goal became a reality when on July 16, 1969, Armstrong and fellow astronauts Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. and Michael Collins strapped into Apollo 11 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Apollo 11 was a 363-foot tall Saturn V rocket containing the Command Module Columbia that housed the astronauts; a Service Module; and the Lunar Module Eagle. At 9:32 a.m. the rocket blasted off for a 240,000-mile journey that would bring them into a lunar orbit by July 19th. On July 20th, Armstrong and Aldrin transferred to the Eagle and descended to the surface of the moon. Collins remained in lunar orbit manning Columbia.

The Eagle has landed,” proclaimed Armstrong as an estimated worldwide audience of 500 million watched the landing. The call sign for Eagle immediately changed to Tranquility Baseonce the lunar module touched down.

Armstrong was first to the lunar surface, joined by Aldrin a short time later. The astronauts spent about two hours accomplishing a series of tasks including collecting samples, taking photographs and planting an American flag before entering back into the lunar module to sleep. After a rest period, and more than 21 hours on the surface of the moon, they returned to Columbia for the journey home.

With all three astronauts safely reunited in Columbia, the crew maneuvered into a trajectory that would return them to earth. On July 24, 1969, the USS Hornet which had been practicing recovery efforts for weeks off the coast of Hawaii moved into position to recover the crew of Apollo 11 after splashdown in the Pacific. On board the Hornet, all eyes scanned the horizon anxiously. Just before 7:00 a.m. (Hawaii time), Columbia splashed down in relatively calm seas. A smoking marine marker was dropped to mark the location and Navy swimmers jumped from a helicopter to attach inflatable flotation collars to the capsule. The astronauts were loaded in a raft, transferred to a basket, and hoisted up to the helicopter. The astronauts and crew members donned clean biological isolation garments in case the astronauts were contaminated with biological hazards.

Back on the Hornet, a cheering crowd that included President Richard Nixon, greeted the returning astronauts. They were ushered into a mobile quarantine facility where President Nixon congratulated them through a window as the three smiling astronauts peered out from behind the glass. Where were you the day men walked on the moon? If you would like to see more of the headlines and stories from the historic Apollo 11 mission, search Newspapers.com today!

For more on the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, see our Newspapers.com topic page.

Share using: