Hancock County, West Virginia, in the Civil War

Virginia, the home state of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was notably divided during the Civil War. The growing factions were evident in the state’s most northern reaches. In May 1861, pro-Unionists in Hancock County, VA(now West Virginia), decided to organize a company of men to help fulfill President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers….

Martha Ballard: American History Through a Woman’s Perspective

During the late 1700s, Martha Ballard was a midwife living in Maine. In life, she was not famous or well known but her personal diary brought her fame after death because it revealed the obscured viewpoint of early American women. Ballard’s diary entries covered topics which included textile production, dissections, courtship and marriage, money, the Scarlet…

John Forsyth and La Amistad

  John Forsyth was born in 1780 and graduated from the College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton University) in 1799. From 1813 to 1834, Forsyth served as a U.S. congressman, senator, and governor from Georgia. On July 1, 1834, Andrew Jackson appointed him as Secretary of State. He remained in that position during the Martin…

February 14, 1814: The USS Constitution vs. the HMS Pictou

In March 1794, the USS Constitution became one of the first naval ships commissioned by the United States government. Also known as “Old Ironsides”, its construction was a reactionary measure to the Barbary Pirate attacks on U.S. vessels near North Africa. The ship was named by President George Washington. Construction on the ship was not…

The Yellow Creek Massacre

  On April 30, 1774, a posse of armed colonists murdered a group of unsuspecting Native-Americans in cold blood along the banks of the Ohio River in modern day Hancock County, West Virginia. The Yellow Creek Massacre was so significant that Thomas Jefferson mentioned it in the only book he ever published, Notes on the State of Virginia. He called the…

A Dithyrambic Poem by Platt Rogers Spencer

​A Dithyrambic Poem by Platt Rogers Spencer Platt Rogers Spencer’s contribution to American history is not widely known, but it is right in front of your eyes. It can be seen when you drink a can of Coca Cola, or when you se e a Ford truck commercial. The connection is hidden in the type…