Saturday, June 30, 2018

Red Devils Return to Pacifica #12 -- June 30, 2018

Pacifica is one of the two cities on the San Francisco peninsula that allow the sale of fireworks. The booths arrived last week. This is the stand at the Pedro Point shopping center. I took the photo on 29-June-2019.

Many Pacificans agree that selling fireworks is a bad idea: We have steep, brush-covered hillsides that pose a fire danger. People use the "safe and sane" fireworks to mask the unsafe and insane variety. Not to mention my cat hates the Fourth of July.

Unfortunately, our charities claim that fireworks are the only thing they can sell that will generate enough money. That can't be true. What about drugs? Weapons? They're not thinking outside of the box.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Transbay Transit Center Aerial Tram -- June 29, 2018

The Transbay Transit Center Aerial Tram waits to rise from Mission Street to the rooftop park. San Francisco's only current overhead cable car is the Transbay Transit Center Aerial Tram. It will carry riders from near Mission and Fremont Streets to the rooftop park of the Transbay Transit Center. It is scheduled to open some time in 2018. The original proposal was to build a funicular, but the developer decided it would be too expensive.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Harlan Ellison, RIP -- June 28, 2018
Author Harlan Ellison has died.  He took part in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965.  He wrote a lot of fiction, and one of the best episodes of the original series of Star Trek.  I didn't read many of his stories, but I liked the ones I did read.  Some of my friends were big fans.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Hon. C.S. Rolls on the 20 H.P. Panhard -- June 27, 2018

Motor Car Journal, 15-March-1902
Charles Stewart Rolls was a pioneer of automobiles and aviation.  Two years after this photo was taken, he would team with Henry Rolls to found Rolls-Royce.  In 1910, Rolls was killed when his Wright Flyer crashed. Panhard et Levassor had sold their first auto in 1890.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Explanation of the Rope Test -- June 23, 2018

From The Book of Magic: Being a Simple Description of Some Good Tricks and How to Do Them, with Patter by Archie Frederick Collins, 1916.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Sinking of the British Battle Ship Victoria -- June 22, 2018

Washington Star, 23-June-1893

125 years ago today, on 22-June-1893, the Royal Navy's Mediterranean Squadron was performing exercises near Tripoli when the battleship HMS Camperdown rammed and sank the battleship HMS Victoria.  Blame fell on Admiral Sir George Tryon, who had given unclear orders to the ships under his command.  358 men died, including Admiral Tryon.  Victoria's XO (Executive Officer) was John Jellicoe, who later commanded the British fleet at the Battle of Jutland.  

Sinking of the British Battle Ship Victoria.
Lamentable Disaster in the Eastern Mediterranean. 
The Vessel Sank in Fifteen Minutes After the Collision. 
Report by Admiral Markham of the Trafalgar. 

London, June 23. -- A most terrible calamity has befallen the British battle ship Victoria, flagship of the Mediterranean squadron, and hundreds of lives have been lost.

The Victoria, which flew the flag of Vice Admiral Sir George Tryon, K. C. B., was run into this afternoon by the British battle ship Camperdown, also belonging to the Mediterranean squadron, and under the command of Captain Charles Johnstone.  The Victoria had an enormous hole made in her side, through which the water poured in torrents. 

The immense hull of the Victoria at once began to settle, and before those on board of her could cast loose their small boats she went to the bottom, carrying down with her nearly all on board.  Some of the officers and crew managed to get out of the suction caused by the sinking vessel and were rescued.  Among those lost is Vice Admiral Tryon. 


The first reports of the disaster stated that about 200 men had been drowned, but later dispatches show that the loss of life was far greater, not less than 400 of the officers and crew of the Victoria having gone down with the ship. 

Rear Admiral Albert H. Markham of the Trafalgar, the flagship of the rear admiral in the Mediterranean, has telegraphed to the admiralty from Tripoli, Syria, under the date of today, as follows:

"I regret to report that while maneuvering off Tripoli this afternoon the Victoria and Camperdown collided.  The Victoria sank in fifteen minutes in eighteen fathoms of water.  She lies bottom uppermost.  The Camperdown's ram struck the Victoria forward of the turret on the starboard side.  Twenty-one officers were drowned. Two hundred and fifty-five men were saved.  The injury to the Camperdown has not yet been fully ascertained, but it is serious and will necessitate her going on dock for repairs.  I propose to send the survivours to Malta."


The scene of the calamity was near Tripoli, a seaport town on the eastern Mediterranean, fifty miles northeast of Beyroot, Syria (Beirut, Lebanon - JT), and a comparatively short distance from the Island of Cyprus.  

The eastern Mediterranean has proved a most unfortunate cruising ground for the Victoria, for it was in this part of the sea that she met with her serious accident in January, 1892. 


According to the navy list the principal officers of the Victoria were: Vice Admiral Sir George Tryon; captain, Maurice A. Bourke; commander, -- Fellicome; chaplain, Rev. Samuel S. Morris; fleet surgeon, Thomas Bolster; fleet paymaster, Valentine D. J. Rickcord; fleet engineer, Felix Foreman.

The complement of officers and crew of the Victoria comprised 600 men.

The list of officers drowned include, besides Vice Admiral Tryon, Chaplain Morris, Lieut. Munro, Fleet Paymaster Rickcord, Fleet Engineer Foreman, Engineer Harding, Assistant Engineers Deadman, Hatherly and Seaton, Gunner Hommel, Boatswain Barnard, Carpenter Beall, Midshipmen Ingliss, Grieve, Fawkes, Lanyon, Henley, Gambier and Scarlett, Cadet Stooks and Clerks Allen and Savage. 

A change had recently been made in the commander attached to the Victoria, Charles L. Ottley having been detached and succeeded by Commander Fellicome, who was saved, as were also Capt. Maurice A. Bourke and fifteen other officers. 


In January of last year the Victoria ran aground off the Greek coast near Platta and she was only floated off after an immense amount of labor and large expense.  It was said that the accident was due to carelessness. 

A boat's crew from the Victoria was sent to mark with a buoy a shoal, the existence of which was known to the Victoria's officers.  The shoal is a narrow one and extends out from the Greek shore.  The boat's crew was instructed to proceed along the shoal from the shore until ten fathoms of water was reached and then to mark the spot with a buoy. 

When within a hundred yards of the end the boat got off the shoal, and as the next soundings showed ten fathoms of water the buoy was anchored.  The Victoria then came along at a good rate of speed at right angles to the shoal to take a position for torpedo practice, and, passing well outside the buoy, struck the shoal and remained fast.  Mr. Maurice Bourke, captain of the Victoria and a son of the late Earl of Mayo, who is the youngest post captain in the British navy, was held responsible for the accident and was severely reprimanded by a court martial. 


The Victoria was a twin screw battle ship of 10,470 tons and 14,000 horse power.  She mounted fifteen guns.

The Camperdown is also a first-class twin screw battle ship.  She is of 10,600 tons and 11,500 horse power and carries ten guns.

Admiral Sir George Tryon was commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean station.  He was made a vice admiral August 20, 1891.


As soon as the officers of the Victoria saw that there was danger of their ship foundering orders were given to close the collision bulkheads in order to keep the water in the compartment into which the Camperdown had shoved her ram.  The sailors tried to obey the order, but the ship was making water too fast to allow of closing the bulkheads, and while the men were still trying to shut them the vessel, with her immense guns and heavy top hamper, turned over and carried them down. 


As soon as the news of the disaster became known in London the Duke of Edinburgh, who was lately promoted to the position of admiral of the fleet, visited the admiralty and conferred with the officials there.

A meeting of the admiralty board was held and a telegram of instructions was sent to Rear Admiral Markham.

The news of the calamity has caused the most intense excitement, not only among those who had friends on board the ill-fated ship, but among all classes of the population. The admiralty office in Whitehall is besieged by relatives and friends of the officers and crew, reporters seeking further details of the disaster and throngs of people attracted by curiosity. So dense was the throng in the vicinity that the admiralty officials were compelled to summon the police to restrain the crowd. No information has been received at the admiralty since the receipt of Admiral Markham's first official telegram, which is above repeated.

The Victoria was a single-turret ship carrying two 110-ton guns mounted in a forward turret coated with eighteen inches of compound armor, one 10-inch 29-ton gun firing aft, and a broadside auxiliary armament of twelve 6-inch 5-ton guns. Of artillery of smaller nature she carried twenty-one quick-firing and eight machine guns. Her maximum speed was 16.17 knots. She could stow 1,200 tons of coal in her bunkers, and her radius of action at ten knots' speed with her full complement of coal was estimated at 7,000 knots. Her armor in the belt and bulkheads consisted of compound armor from sixteen to eighteen inches in thickness. She was built at Elswick.


All official telegrams in regard to the loss of the ship will be sent at once to the queen at Windsor Castle. As soon as her majesty received Rear Admiral Markham's dispatch, which was immediately forwarded to her, she gave orders for the postponement of the state ball, that was to have taken place at Buckingham Palace tonight.

Mr. Gladstone was greatly shocked when he was informed of the sinking of the Victoria and the great loss of life that had attended the foundering of the vessel.

The prime minister informed the house of commons of the accident and paid a most glowing tribute to the worth of Vice Admiral Tryon, who, he said, was one of the ablest and most esteemed offices in the service of her majesty.

Mr. Gladstone said that there were 611 officers, seamen and boys and 107 marines on board the ship. It was feared that the total of 718 souls 430 had been lost. He was sure that the deepest sympathy of the house would be felt for the brave men who found an early grave in the service of their country, and that it would be extended to their relatives and friends.

The Right Hon. Lord George Hamilton, formerly first lord of the admiralty, indorsed everything that Mr. Gladstone had said and expressed the deepest regret for the calamity that had befallen the country in the loss of so many brave officers and men.

In the house of lords Earl Spencer, first lord of the admiralty, referred to the disaster in terms similar to those employed by Mr. Gladstone in the house of commons.

Among those saved is the Right Honorable Lord Richard Gillford, Vice Admiral Tryon's flag lieutenant and eldest son and heir of the Earl of Clanwilliam.

Details of the accident are meager, and are received in a straggling manner, owing to the remoteness of Tripoli.


The news of the sinking of her royal majesty's ship Victoria has caused a profound sensation at the Navy Department here. No marine disaster, accompanied by such heavy loss of life, has been known in this country for many years, the nearest i kind probably being the loss of the United States steamship Huron off Nag's Head about fifteen years ago. Such great disasters are fortunately rare in naval history, although the British navy has known of them, as in the case of the sinking of the Vanguard by the Iron Duke off the Irish coast and the Germans have had a bitter experience in the case of the Grosser Kurfurst, a magnificent ironclad, which was in collision and sank when attempting to enter Spithead. People who saw the beautiful and stately Blake, flagship of the British squadron at the naval review, thought that she was a great ship, but she was of secondary importance when compared with the ill-fated Victoria, which has just gone down, for while the Blake was a large armored cruiser the Victoria was a full-fledged battle ship nearly 1,600 tons larger than the Blake. She bore about the same relation to the Blake that our new battle ships Indiana and Oregon do to the armored cruiser New York. Indeed the Victoria was of about the same dimensions as the Indiana, but being of newer design is a more formidable craft than the English ship, which had her sister in the Sanspareil.


The Victoria was built by Sir William Armstrong at the celebrated Elswick works, and in appearance she was a typical fighting machine, as unlike the ordinary conception of a ship as possible. She was rather low in the water, having eleven feet freeboard, and the forward deck being to give sweep to the great turret guns, she had something of the appearance of a monitor forward. After of her turret she carried a plain superstructure, heavily protected by the compound armor, in which was placed the secondary battery, and on the top and rear of this superstructure was the ten-inch gun in its barbette.

Her dimensions and features were as follows: Armored ship Victoria. 10,470 tons, 14,000 horse power, 340 feet long, 70 feet beam, built at Newcastle, completed in 1890; hull cost 612,522 pounds; machinery 112,335 pounds; turret and barbette, compound armor; two 111-ton guns in forward turret and one 10-inch mounted in a barbette aft; the turret and barbette had 18 inches of compound armor. Her listed speed was 16.75 knots. She had one lofty military mast of steel carrying gun platforms.


Sir George Tryon, the vice admiral, who went down in this flagship, is one of the best known British naval officers. Commander Chadwick, now in charge of the naval intelligence office here, was well acquainted with him during his residence in London as United States naval attache, and he speaks in terms of high praise of the admiral's character and ability as a naval officer. He was a man of vast experience, his service beginning in the days before steam was a prominent feature in various phases of development that were marked by the substitution of steam for sail power; of iron for wooden hulls; of steel for iron; of turrets for broadsides, and of armor for thin sheathing. He was a man who had earned the highest honors within the gift of the British nation. His name first appears in the naval list away back in the days of the Crimean war, where he served in the naval brigade before Sebastopol, during the winter of 1853-54 in the trenches, where he was wounded. He was present at all of the operations before Sebastopol and at the capture of Kinburn. He received medals for distinction and was specially mentioned in dispatches for services as director of transports during the Abyssinian war in 1868. He was private secretary to the first lord of the admiralty from 1871-74, received various orders of knighthood and received the approval of the government for the manner in which he discharged his duties on the coast of Tunis and in the (can't read - JT) commission of inquiry in 1881. He became acting permanent secretary of the admiralty in 1882 and permanent secretary the following year. In 1884 he became commander-in-chief on the Australian station and after a brief attempt at a parliamentary career was made admiral superintendent of naval reserves in 1888. He commanded one of the opposing fleets in the naval maneuvers in 1888-89-91 and was made commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean forces August 20, 1891.


In the absence of details of the catastrophe naval officers are loath to express opinions as where the fault lies. The Victoria, in her construction, embodied every safeguard known up to the recent date of her completion for the protection of the life of her officers and crew. She was a compartment ship and was supposed to be unsinkable in any ordinary collision. Probably that would have been the case had the blow been straight on the bow or stern, for the result then would have been the filling of not more than one compartment. But a blow on the side, and probably a diagonal blow at that, would doubtless rip open several of the compartments and those remaining intact would not have sufficient buoyancy to float the ship. The Camperdown, which dealt this fatal blow, was about the same size as the Victoria and the ship has never been built that would withstand the impact of ten thousand tons of shell moving at any ordinary speed. The Camperdown herself resembles the U.S.S. Charleston in general appearance, though she is twice as large. She has a central superstructure, but her decks, fore and aft, are entirely clear save two barbettes carrying heavy guns, and her sides are clad in impenetrable armor. Naval officers here feel that one result of this catastrophe will be to emphasize in a striking manner the terrible efficiency of the ram as a weapon of naval offense, for although there was no intention of using it offensively in this case, when it is presumed the ships were engaged in simple maneuvers, its availability in time of war has been amply demonstrated.


A STAR reporter called at the British Legation this morning to learn any particulars in regard to the victims of the disaster or the vessel that went down. He was informed by an attendant that Sir Julian Pauncefote and all the members of the legation were now in Newport, where a residence has been arranged for the season. A communication by mail and messenger is maintained between this city and the summer legation, so that all business is carried on as usual.


What May Have Caused the Disaster and the Lesson to be Learned.

The terrible accident off Tripoli was almost the sole topic of conversation among naval officers today. News of it reached the Navy Department early in the day, and was quickly spread to all its offices. There are several officers now on duty here who are acquainted with the officers of the British ship Victoria, and they are naturally distressed at their awful misfortune.

According to the information at hand the officers at the department, who discussed the matter with a STAR reporter, were of opinion that the accident resulted from attempting dangerous evolutions at close quarters.


"There may have been some mistake on the part of the helmsman," said one high officer who seemed to be regarded as an authority by his brother officers, "or else an accident occurred to the steering gear.

"All steering gear," he continued, "is liable to give out at the most inopportune moment. It is therefor more than probable that this occurred from an accident to that apparatus."

"Have there ever been any accidents of this kind in our navy?" asked the reporter.


"None that I know of. You know we never have any naval maneuvers at sea on a large scale. The recent naval review was probably the largest aggregation of naval vessels we have ever had in this country, and there were no special maneuvers on that occasion to endanger the ships. Squadron maneuvers, you know, are just like the maneuvers of of a regiment or a brigade. We have to change the formation and direction of the ships composing the squadron, and to insure their safety from collision it is imperatively necessary to accurately regulate the speed and direction of each ship, as they sometimes, of course, get into close quarters. Why, sometimes they maneuver only 600 feet apart, and to keep these heavy bodies safe under such circumstances necessitates very careful handling. There are several elements to be carefully observed. The three most important are speed, distance and the action of the helm. The helm must be certain and prompt. If it fails in its action there is danger at all times to ships cruising in company, whether maneuvering or simply making a passage in column."


"Such accidents as the present are extremely rare," said another officer. "Supposing speed, the action of the helm and other matters of this sort to be all they should be, the safety of the ship depends simply on the skill and judgement of her commander. An incompetent officer is, of course, and element of great danger, and even the judgement of the most skillful may fail at times, unless it is supported by constant practice in fleet evolutions. It is for this reason that it has become the practice among nations with large fleets to keep up constant squadron exercises. This is the case particularly with the great squadrons of England and France in the Mediterranean. They usually consist of about twenty ships, which are handled with marvelous ability and precision. The risk of accidents sometimes must be taken in order to educate the captains in handling their ships in battle.


"It is no surprise that the Victoria sank. Nothing could resist the destructive effects of a ram like the Camperdown, which undoubtedly tore through a number of compartments. Any one compartment of the Victoria could have filled without sinking the ship, but with several damaged, as was probably the case, she could not remain afloat. It is easy to believe that several were penetrated when you consider the impact of a mass of 11,000 tons, like the Camperdown, moving at the velocity of eight or ten knots, which is the usual maneuvering speed. Striking an object fairly it becomes almost irresistible, and no vessel could possibly survive the force of such a blow.


There is one lesson to be drawn from this most deplorable accident. That is the necessity for the constant training and the keeping in a state of high efficiency of all officers liable to have command of ships. The responsibility of an officer so placed cannot be exaggerated."


Commander Chadwick of the United States navy was personally well acquainted with Admiral Tryon, who was lost with the British flagship Victoria. He said to a STAR reporter that there was no finer officer in the British navy than Admiral Tryon. He was a man of skill and experience, with a remarkably fine record. He was a very fine-looking man, measuring about six feet three inches and weighing about 300 pounds. He was no the sort of man to lose a ship through want of skill or promptness of action, but possessed rare courage and ability.

Commander Chadwick said that the fact that the Victoria was sent to bottom so quickly by the collision did not argue any defect in the theory of the construction of heavy war vessels of the modern type. It was not, he said, supposed for a moment that two vessels of such weight could come together in direct collision without one of them going down. These vessels cannot stand ramming, but in actual battle it would be next to impossible for one of those vessels to ram another. Ordinarily they could keep out of each other's way, and, besides; the vessel attempting to run the other down would be subjected to such a fire from heavy guns as to make the attempt almost a certain failure. He was of the opinion that the Victoria must have lost her headway by some accident or that there was something the matter with the steam steering gear.


The most serious accidents of this kind on record are the cases of the British warship Vanguard and the German warship Grosser Kurfurst. The Vanguard was an armor-clad ship of 3,700 tones. She was sunk in the British channel, off the cost of Ireland, September 11, 1875, with great loss of life. She was cruising in company with the armor-clad cruiser Iron Duke of the British navy. A heavy fog arose and vessels changed their speed. The Vanguard, which was in front, slowed down and the Iron Duke, in the read, increased her speed. There was some mistake in the signals or they could not be seen in the fog. The result was a collision and the loss of the Vanguard, with over 200 lives.

The German warship was sunk off Spithead, England, May 31, 1878, in a collision with her companion ship Konig Wilhelm, and over 800 persons were drowned. The vessels were heavy ironclads and were maneuvering at the time. The Konig Wilhelm had a tonnage of 9,700 and the lost ship was about 2,000 tons lighter. The accident was due to the improper execution of an order for a change in squadron formation.

Washington Star, 23-June-1893

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Springtime Silent Movie Challenge: In the Beginning..., -- June 21, 2018

Over on my movie blog, I have been taking part in the Springtime Silent Movie Challenge: In the Beginning..., hosted by Fritzi at Movies Silently. "Here’s the challenge. Before June 21, 2018, you will:
"Watch 5 movies made between 1906 and 1914
"Watch 5 movies made in 1905 or before
"Share your experience on your blog, on social media or here in the comments (I will set up a special post for the purpose to publish on June 21)"

I decided to concentrate on movies which were pioneering efforts.

Five Movies Made in 1905 or Before:

Roundhay Garden Scene (1888)

Dickson Greeting (1891)

The Waterer Watered (1895)

The Fairy of the Cabbages (1896)

Between Calais and Dover (1897)

Five Movies Made Between 1906 and 1914:

Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)

The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

Fantasmagorie (1908)

The Adventures of Dollie (1908)

The Water Nymph (1912)

I am very happy that Fritzi encouraged us to watch early movies for this web challenge. Of then ten movies I watched, I had seen nine before, but I enjoyed each one and learned new things about each one. I enjoyed remembering where and when I had seen some of them for the first time and was happy to have a chance to write about that. Thank you, Fritzi, for organizing this challenge.

Leland Stanford 125 Years -- June 21, 2018

San Francisco Call, 21-June-1893
Leland Stanford, monopolist railroad promoter, politician, robber baron, patron of Eadweard Muybridge's experiments in photographing motion and university founder, died 125 years ago today, on 21-June-1893.  This article from the 21-June-1893 San Francisco Call is surprising positive about Stanford, considering that the Spreckels family, who owned the newspaper, devoted great energy to fighting his monopolies.  .  

He Passes Away Peacefully at His Palo Alto
The Family Had No Intimation of the Approaching
Brief Sketch of the Career of the Great Railroad Builder and
His Rise From Poverty to a Position of Wealth and Eminence— His Presidency of the Central Pacific, the Election to the Gubernatorial
Chair and Finally His Choice as United States Senator.
Special to The Morning Call.

Menlo Park, June 21.— Governor Stanford died at 12 o'clock to-night. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at his residence at Palo Alto.

Stanford went out yesterday for a drive to San Carlos and around his farm, and returned late in the afternoon, apparently in the best of health.

He retired shortly after 10 o'clock, and about midnight his valet, going into the Governor's bedroom, discovered that he was dead.

The Governor looks perfectly natural as he lies in bed, looking from all appearances to be in a deep sleep.  His body will be embalmed.

His Was a Prominent Place in California History.

Leland Stanford was born about eight miles from the city of Albany. N. Y., March 9, 1824. He is the fourth of seven brothers, all of whom are still living save one. His ancestors came over from England more than fifty years before the Revolution of 1776, and settled in the Mohawk Valley. They were farmers of  good repute, thrifty and industrious. Five generations of them have lived to till the soil of the Empire State. Josiah Stanford, the father of Leland, was a man of marked public spirit and energy. Besides cultivating his farm, he took contracts for building roads and bridges in all parts of his native county. He was among the first advocates of the Erie canal, and watched its progress and completion with the keenest interest. He saw with prophetic eye that it was but the beginning of that vast system of internal improvements that was to make his State so famous. In 1828 the locomotive burst upon the world like a miracle. More than all the agencies of previous times combined, it came charged with a power to revolutionize commerce and to immeasurably improve man's social and physical condition. The great news of the success of George Stephenson's locomotive engine, "The Rocket" on the Manchester and Liverpool road, had crossed the Atlantic but a few months before a charter was obtained in 1829 from the Legislature of the State of New York for a railroad between Albany and Schenectady. Josiah Stanford was among the foremost in the new enterprise. He took big contracts for grading and pushed forward the work with the greatest vigor, and from that day to this the Stanfords have more or less been engaged in the honorable business of railroad building.  One of them commenced work on the first iron road built in the United States, and one, the subject of this sketch, and a son of that pioneer, forty years later, drove, with his strong hand, the last spike of the great Pacific Railroad. The Albany and Schenectady Railroad, fifteen miles in length, forms one of the links in the overland road, which measures 3300 miles between the Atlantic and the Pacific.  What the father commenced his son gloriously completed two score of years afterward. Grand coincidence! precious heirloom, of which even a royal family might be proud, is this. Till he was 20 years of age young Leland's time was divided between the healthful occupations of a farm life and his studies.

In 1846 be entered the law office of Wheaton, Doolittle and Hadly, eminent attorneys in the city of Albany. After three years of patient and hard study be was admitted to practice law in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Soon after this he took Horace Greeley's advice, "Young man, go West," and set out to find a new home on the frontier. He . settled in Port Washington, in the northern part of Wisconsin, and for four years he was engaged in the practice of law at that place. He was only moderately successful as a lawyer.

His library was destroyed by fire at Port Washington and in the spring of 1852 and the young lawyer, momentarily disheartened, determined to carve out a name for himself in California. He arrived in the State on the 12th of July, and at once went into the mercantile business with his brothers, three of whom had preceded him. They had a house at Sacramento and several branches scattered over the State. Stanford, himself, settled at Michigan Bluff in Placer County, then a great place of trade with the mines.

He took an active interest in public affairs also, and early became an ardent anti-slavery man, a belief at that time calculated to make any man unpopular in California. Stanford went on nevertheless, and was early brought forward as a candidate for Governor.  Twice he was nominated, against his wishes, for office, once in 1857 and again in 1859, but the Republican ticket in neither of those years was little heard of or mentioned, the contest being almost entirely between the two wings of the Democratic party. In 1860 he was chosen a delegate to the Chicago convention.  He there made the acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln, an acquaintance that ripened into an intimate friendship, which remained warm and unbroken till the President's martyred death. Being in Washington at the time of
Mr. Lincoln's first inauguration, he remained there several weeks by special request of the President. During those perilous times, when the very air was filled with revolution, trouble was anticipated in California, for it was known that preparations were being made to take her out of the Union. Mr. Lincoln was a wise and shrewd judge of men, and he readily saw that Mr. Stanford, above all other men he had met, was the true representative man of the Pacific Coast. The President, Secretary Seward, and other members of the Cabinet took him into their confidence, and followed his advice relative to nearly all the Federal appointments for and as to what measures would preserve peace and loyalty in California. A most conscientious and capable adviser he proved to be. The policy he suggested, when adopted by the Government, produced the most satisfactory results, and the appointees made at his request proved themselves, without exception, excellent officers and abundantly qualified for their several positions. The laws of the United States were in no place better enforced than in California during the war. Learning, while in Washington, that a movement was on foot to nominate him for Governor of his adopted State, be immediately wrote a letter, declining the use of his name for that or any other political position. But his friends at home did not publish the letter as he requested them to do, and he was disappointed to find, on his return from the capital, that his nomination to the first office in California was a foregone conclusion. Seeing that he was fairly in for it and that there was no escape he entered upon the contest with all the zeal and strength there was in him, and in the fall of 1861 he was elected Governor by a plurality of 13,000 votes.

Even when he was Governor, he took a great interest in the building of the proposed Pacific railroad, and with Charles F. Crocker, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Miller a company was organized at Sacramento on July 11, 186l to build the Central Pacific Railroad.

One year from that date Congress passed an act granting to the corporation a loan of bonds averaging $35,000 per mile, principal and interest to be repaid at the expiration or thirty years. In addition to this alternate sections of unoccupied land on either side of the road were donated to the company absolutely. None of this subsidy could be obtained till fifty miles were completed and furnished with rolling-stock.  As all of the iron and most of the other material had to be transported from the Atlantic States along two oceans and across a foreign country on its way to California, but little work was done till the fall of 1863, and it was not till July 1, 1864, that the first thirty-one miles were completed. From this date commences the mighty struggles and trials of the company, The next hundred miles lay across a chain of mountains, the most difficult to pierce, grade and subdue of any in the world. Imagine a series of lofty cones one above another, till in a distance of seventy miles an elevation is reached of 7042 feet above the starting point, and that the proposition was to build a railroad up and across those mountain peaks and down the other side into the valley, 3000 feet below, and some idea can be formed of the magnitude of almost the first work commenced by the Pacific Railroad Company.

Many engineers examined the proposed road and declared it impossible to construct, and Governor Stanford himself once having climbed to the top of one of the snow-capped Sierras exclaimed with a sigh : "Is it possible a railroad can be built here ?"

Nevertheless, the work went on. The State of California donated the company $1,500,000, and bonds were placed in Europe to complete the work.

The financial troubles of the Central Pacific at last having been cleared away, its progress across and beyond the mountains was extremely rapid. Five hundred and thirty miles were built in 293 days: ten miles of it in a single day— a feat unprecedented showing the thorough discipline of the men who did it, and the perfect organization of the company which controlled them.  On the 10th of May, 1869, on Promontory Mountain, at a spot overlooking Salt Lake, the last rail was laid and the last spike driven that finished the Pacific Railroad.  A telegraph wire was attached to the handle of the silver hammer used by Governor Stanford on that occasion, and as he struck the concluding blow which completed the great work, the event was instantly flashed to all parts of the United States.  It was a day of national praise and jubilee. Celebrations, ringing of bells, the roar of cannon, and vast processions all over the country, showed how joyfully the people welcomed the news.

At the age of 26 Leland Stanford was married to Miss Jane Lathrup, daughter of Dyer Lathrop Esq., for many years a prominent merchant of Albany, N. Y. Mrs. Stanford is an estimable lady, queenly in person and endowed with an exalted sense of the duties of her high social position. Possessed of many domestic virtues, there is a daily beauty in her life and character which belongs only to those true women who are the nobility of their sex. Mr. and Mrs. Stanford had but one child, a boy, whose death was the greatest blow ever dealt to the parents, and to commemorate whom was founded the Leland Stanford Jr. University

From the time of quitting the gubernatorial office Stanford devoted himself exclusively to the interest of the Central and Southern Pacific railroads, of which he bad been elected President. In 1883, however, there was a fight on for a senatorship, the Legislature to meet in the following winter having to elect a successor to J. F. Farley, but prior to the election there was no whisper of Stanford, even should the Republicans carry the State as it was virtually conceded they would do. The coming man seemed to be Hon. A. A. Sargent, who it was understood had back of him the railroad influence, at that time all-powerful. It Is certain that Sargent had the friendship of Collis P. Huntington

The Republicans carried the Legislature, and then, suddenly, the candidacy of Leland Stanford was sprung and Sargent retired beaten and broken-hearted. The campaign manager of the railroad magnate was Henry Vrooman, Senator then from Alameda County, and it was managed with the ability for which Vrooman had always been noted. Upon Vrooman for It, too, revenge was taken by the friends of Sargent, and he too was beaten and broken.

The career of Stanford In the Senate has not been notable, but the details are of too recent occurrence to require recapitulation. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1890 and his term would have expired on March 3, 1897.

In 1888, the University was founded which bears his name and that of his son at Palo Alto. He endowed it with a magnificent endowment, estimated to be valued at $20,000,000, and immediately the work of erecting the necessary buildings was begun under the founder's own eye.

Two years ago the University, though still in an uncompleted condition, was opened Tor the reception of students. In the short time that has elapsed it has developed into a thoroughly equipped Institution of learning with a corps of professors and teachers second to none of any university in the land.

Without doubt the Leland Stanford Jr. University will be the most enduring monument of Governor Stanford's merits as a man and a philanthropist. Even at this early day no person visits California without looking in at the University at Palo Alto, and in the years to come, when the magnificent endowment has come to a full fruition, and the green swards of Palo Alto are covered with the contemplated structures for the home of learning, there is no saying that the University will not be the chief attraction among California's many points of interest.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Francesco Baracca -- June 19, 2018

Richmond Palladium and Sun-Telegram, 28-June-1918
Francesco Baracca was a Lughesi who was one of Italy's leading fighter pilots. The coat of arms of the Baracca family had a prancing stallion. He had the emblem painted on the side of his airplanes.  Enzo Ferrari later adopted the horse as an emblem for his autos.  

Baracca died 100 years ago today on 19-June-1918.  I had trouble finding mentions of the death of Baracca.  He was making a low-level ground attack near Montello, Veneto.  He failed to return.  His body was found on 24-June-1918.  He may have shot himself to prevent capture.  

The image above was published almost ten days after his death and four days after his body was discovered.  The item below is from an Italian government dispatch reprinted in the Denison, Iowa Review on 26-June-1918.  

from "Italian Victory Over Austrians"

In the region of Montello, the Italians have found the body of the aviator, Major Baracca, who had failed to return during the first days of the operations in that region. A bullet was found in the right temple. This leads to the belief that when Major Baracca saw that his disabled machine forced him to descend into the enemy's lines he killed himself rather than be captured. The loss of Major Baracca is deeply felt in Italy as he was the leading aviator of the Italian army, having to his credit the destruction of about fifty enemy machines.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Oakland vs San Francisco -- June 17, 2018

San Francisco Call, 16-July-1908
The Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals pled the Oakland Oaks at Valencia Street Park, also known as Recreation Park, on Thursday, 16-July-1908.

The Seals had won the day before by scoring four runs in the fourteenth inning.  At a meeting the same day, the four-team league expanded to Sacramento and Venice in Southern California.

On Thursday, the Seals won in the 11th.

San Francisco Call, 17-July-1908

Friday, June 15, 2018

Fly TWA Jets -- June 15, 2018

The Statue of Liberty anchors a bunch of New York City destinations in this TWA (Trans World Airlines) poster.

Some people seem to feel that images of Lady Liberty are insulting to our so-called president.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dorothy L Sayers 125 -- June 13, 2018
Writer Dorothy L Sayers was born 125 years ago today, on  13-June-1893.  I think I first heard of her when Masterpiece Theater ran Clouds of Witness with Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey.  I watched the other stories and then read many of the books during the summers.  I liked the way Lord Peter and Bunter had served together during the war and Bunter had helped Lord Peter deal with shell shock.  I saw at least one of the series with Edward Petherbridge as Wimsey, but I don't remember it.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Comic Book -- Hangman -- June 9, 2018
MLJ Comics published The Hangman, who had been introduced in Pep Comics. Here we see him battle a bunch of Nazis. Please excuse the racist language: "Everyone's Cheering the Hangman Except Nazis and Japs."

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Pulp -- The Open Road for Boys -- June 7, 2018
Aviator Jimmy Doolittle, who was born in Alameda, was a hero long before he led the Doolittle Raid against Japan.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Campbell, First U. S. Ace, Wins New Air Battle -- June 5, 2018

New York World, 06-June-1918
Douglas Campbell, a native of San Francisco, was the first American ace who flew in American-trained units.  His father was later president of the University of California.  100 years ago today, on 05-June-1918, he scored his sixth victory.  Badly wounded in the engagement, he did not fight again. 

Campbell, First U. S. Ace, Wins New Air Battle.

On the morning of June 5 Lieuts. Campbell and Meisner forced down an enemy biplane east of Ponia Mousson.

Between April 14 and May 31 Lieut. Douglas Campbell brought down six hostile airplanes, of which the destruction has been confirmed. During the same time Capt. Peterson and Lieut. Rickenbacher each brought down three, of which destruction has been confirmed, and forced down two more concerning which confirmation has been requested.

Robert F Kennedy 50 Years -- June 5, 2018
50 years ago today, presidential candidate Senator Robert F Kennedy was murdered in Los Angeles, California. He was a World War II veteran, who served on the ship named after his older brother, the USS Joseph P Kennedy, Jr. He was running for the Democratic nomination when he was shot. He wanted to help the poor and disadvantaged.  If he had lived, the world would have been a different place.

"What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled or uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people."

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Crew and Ship's Cat Taken Off the Sinking Bark Alma -- June 3, 2018

The drawing is from the 18-November-1897 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Don't confuse the Norwegian bark Alma with the San Francisco scow schooner Alma, which is preserved at the Hyde Street Pier.  

The Crew and Ship's Cat Taken Off the Sinking Bark Alma.
Pussy Is Now the Mascot of the Big British Ship Royal Forth.

The mascot of the British ship Royal Forth is a cat. It was rescued from a sinking vessel and at once made itself at home in its new quarters. When the crew that was rescued from the vessel at the same time as was the cat was transferred to a homeward-bound steamer the cat refused to go and has ever since been a special favorite with Captain Cooper and his men.

June last the lookout on the Royal Forth saw a vessel apparently in distress away in the distance. Captain Cooper was called and be at once headed for the ship, which proved to be the Norwegian bark Alma.

"She was coal-laden from Cardiff and leaking badly," said Captain Cooper yesterday. "As soon as the men of the bark saw us making for them, they deserted :he pumps and Captain Christiansen could not get them to do another stroke of work. They lowered a boat and deserted in a body leaving the captain alone on the sinking ship. When I found out the state of affairs I sent a boat and took Captain Christiansen off and my men brought the cat with them. Shortly after I got the Royal Forth on her course again the Alma went down bodily.

"Captain Christiansen was almost hysterical over the loss of his vessel. She was all he had in the world and unless fortune has favored him he is now penniless. He parted with his wife in Cardiff and gave her the money with which to insure the vessel and cargo on her return to Norway. Mrs. Christiansen was to spend a week or to in England before going home and the question was, 'Did she get the insurance on before the news or the loss of the vessel reached the agents' ? As the Alma was only ten days out when we picked up her crew I am afraid fortune favored the underwriters. We transferred the men of the Alma to the steamer Berthoum and a few days later they were landed at Rotterdam."

Friday, June 1, 2018

Gallant Airman Killed -- June 1, 2018

Sydney Mirror, 21-June-1918
Roderic Stanley Dallas was the second highest-scoring Australian ace in World War One.  His score was either 32 or 39.  100 years ago today, on 01-June-1918, he was killed in a fight with three Fokker triplanes.  


(Special to The Mirror.)
MT. MORGAN (Q.), June 14. The news of the death (killed in action) of Squadron-Commander Roderick Stanley Dallas, R.F.C., cast a gloom over Mt. Morgan, the town that claimed him as its foremost soldier. That he held an airman's record of 32 enemy machines brought down, and fought down, and that he had been awarded the D.S.O. -— in addition to mention many times in despatch, did not modify the grief of the mining town, in which, on receipt of the news, flags were flown at half-mast as the visible sign of sorrow of the people of the place in which the gallant aviator had spent some of the days of his boyhood. The bare official announcement is that he was killed in action on May 30.


The late hero of so many air fights was an Australian of the type that has filled the eye of the British and foreign admirer of the splendid young manhood of our country. He was 24 years old when he left for England (in 1915) over 6ft. in height and modelled on fine athletic lines. He was born at Mt. Stanley, near the Esk, in Queensland, the son of Mr. Peter Dallas, an underground boss of the big mine at Mt. Morgan, and Mrs. Dallas, of Taringa, near Brisbane. He was educated at The Mount, and after leaving school went into the assay office of the company, and afterwards went underground at Iron Island. In those days he was smitten with the flying fever, and made numerous models of aeroplanes and air machines. When he saw his opportunity he left the mine, paid his passage to England, and intended to get into the Aviation Corps.


He met with disappointment everywhere, and had despaired of getting into British service — he had arranged to cross to the United States — when he met Sidney Pickles, a Sydney airman, who advised him to sit for the examination for Royal Naval Air Service. He passed with the greatest credit, highest in a field of 84 competitors, secured honors in examination, and was appointed to Service. From the time he entered he was marked by the men who knew as one to do great things. And he made good. He added record to record in the air, was mentioned many times for gallant work, was awarded the D.S.C., D.S.O., and added two bars by subsequent acts of gallantry on duty, received the Croix de Guerre, and became Squadron Commander of the station in which he joined as junior among the flying fighters. He was Commander of No. 40 Squadron R.F.C., when he flew his last flight and put up his last fight, (the R.N.A.S. and R.F.C. are now under one command, with the title of the Royal Air Service).


One of his exploits is mentioned in the Gazette of Sept. 6, 1916: 'This officer (Sub-Lieut, Dallas) was brought to notice by the Vice-Admiral, for the specially gallant manner in which he had carried out reconnaissances and fighting patrols since December of the previous year. On one occasion he sighted at least 12 hostile machines, which had been bombing Dunkirk, He attacked one, at a height of 7000ft,, and then attacked another close to him. By this time his ammunition had been expended, but he immediately came down, reloaded, and then climbed to 10,000ft,, and attacked a large hostile two-seater machine off Westends. The machine took fire, and nose-dived seaward, Another enemy machine then appeared, and was promptly engaged and chased to the shore; but Sub-Lieut. Dallas had to abandon the pursuit, owing to his ammunition being exhausted. For the determination shown in this fourfold contest, and on other occasions, he was awarded the D.S.C, on Sept, 6, 1916.

He was a gallant, modest Australian — and has joined up with the Grand Army of our Splendid Dead.

Sydney Mirror, 21-June-1918