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19, September 2013

Civil War Love Letters: September 19, 1863

Molly Kodner, Associate Archivist at the Missouri History Museum, is currently in Chickamauga to take part in the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga. She will be sending photos of the events via Twitter and will write a post on our blog next week about her experience. To see photos on Twitter, go to this link:
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17, September 2013

Gillette Family Garden: Okuru, Gombo, or Just Plain Okra

As a Ph.D. student focusing on food history and representations of African Americans in public history, I jumped at the chance to work in the Gillette Family Garden at the Missouri History Museum. For the past month, I’ve been gardening, researching, and talking with visitors and staff about this project. My favorite plant in the garden is, without a doubt, okra. These plants—decked with handsome yellow flowers and plump green seed pods—have some serious roots. The name “okra” is a cognate to okuru in the Igbo language spoken in Nigeria. Read more »

16, September 2013

An Irish Immigrant in St. Louis

I moved to St. Louis from Dublin, Ireland, just six months ago. I am hardly the first Irish person to make that journey, a fact that quickly became apparent to me. From the “Kerry Patch” to Dogtown, St. Louis has had a strong Irish connection for centuries. In fact, St. Louis has been called “the chief Irish settlement in the United States.” Read more »

15, September 2013

Civil War Love Letters: September 15, 1863

After a couple days in camp at Alpine, Georgia, James moved again, as General William S. Rosecrans concentrated his army after receiving reports of failed attacks by Confederate general Bragg against Rosecrans’s isolated corps. Major General Alexander McD. McCook, commander of the corps to which James belonged, received orders to move north to support the corps of Major General George H. Thomas as quickly as possible. On September 13, McCook’s corps started to move. Read more »

12, September 2013

Civil War Love Letters: September 12, 1863

Since James wrote his last letter on September 6, he continued to move as part of General William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Cumberland. On September 8, Rosecrans ordered his cavalry corps, commanded by Major General David S. Stanley, to make a reconnaissance toward Summerville and Alpine, Georgia, to determine the location of the enemy. Two brigades, including James’s, moved with the cavalry to provide support. On September 9, James marched from Valley Head, Alabama, across Lookout Mountain, to Neal’s Gap. Read more »

10, September 2013

Where Mark Twain and Jesse James Intersect

Last week my family and I visited Hannibal, Missouri, to check out the old stomping grounds of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). We toured his house and the houses that were the models for those of Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher. After browsing in some quaint shops such as Aunt Polly’s Treasures, eating lunch at the Becky Thatcher Diner, and gazing at the Mississippi River, we headed a mile down the road to the Mark Twain Cave.

Left: Hannibal, Missouri.

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6, September 2013

What's Old Will Become New as Cathedral Undergoes Renovation

When you’ve lived through a fire that reduced over 800 buildings around you to ash (1849) and a cholera epidemic that sent thousands coming to you for reprieve (1849), your walls can get a little dirty. When you’ve survived the shots of an irate anti-immigrant mob (1854) and a cyclone passing directly over you that killed hundreds (1896), things can get a little dusty.

Photo at left: Old Cathedral in downtown St. Louis is undergoing a restoration. Courtesy of St. Louis Review, Archidocese of St. Louis. Read more »

6, September 2013

Civil War Love Letters: September 6–7, 1863

James dated this letter August 6 but, based on the content, he actually wrote it on September 6. By that time Union general William S. Rosecrans’s movement toward Chattanooga, now known as the Chickamauga Campaign, was well under way. The forces of Confederate general Braxton Bragg were concentrated around Chattanooga. Rosecrans wanted to force Bragg out of the city, and decided to surround the city rather than attack it directly. Read more »

30, August 2013

Civil War Love Letters: August 30, 1863

In this letter, which James wrote from Trenton, Georgia, not Alabama, he explains that he left Louisville on Sunday, August 23 and rejoined his regiment the following day. By that time, the men in Union general William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Cumberland were on the move again, headed toward their next encounter with Confederate general Braxton Bragg’s forces. Bragg and his army, after being forced out of middle Tennessee, had gathered at Chattanooga. Read more »

29, August 2013

Museum Library Featured in Show on Genealogy

In a recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, actor Chris O’Donnell visited the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center to see documents relating to his great-great-grandfather, Michael McEnnis. If you missed it, the full episode can be viewed for a limited time on the Learning Channel (TLC) website. Read more »