Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
Amy Kane

"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

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Under the patronage of St. Tammany



Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

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Irish Elk
Wednesday, May 30, 2007  

Random Picture of Old Minneapolis

Casablanca Cafe & Bar, 408 Hennepin, Minneapolis, 1945.

Via Ye Olde Evening Telegraph:

"America's Oldest Daily Blog -- Founded AD 1753"

* * *


The Babe: 1924

The Babe: 1923

Remarkable pics. Shorpy could become addictive.

* * *


13 Photographs That Changed the World


Tuesday, May 29, 2007  

Lost Bayou Ramblers at Festival Acadiens

Getting in touch with the Acadian roots:

Cajun Music mp3 has recordings going back to the '20s.




The Quintessential Bay State Story o' the Day:

Rangers flood State House instead of parks

With the unofficial launch of the summer season this past weekend, the state has only five park rangers assigned to the 400,000 acres of parkland outside Greater Boston, but 50 assigned to patrol the State House -- a distribution level protected by the Legislature.

Perhaps there is a greater threat of picnic baskets being filched on Beacon Hill?

Some environmental advocates object to the deployment of trained park rangers -- complete with khaki shirts, green pants, and Smokey Bear-style broad-brimmed hats -- to guard the State House, a job the rangers have been doing since 1995, when the Legislature evicted the State Police.

That seems an unusual arrangement – particularly after 9/11. Why did the solons kick out the Staties?

The park rangers took over responsibility for State House security 12 years ago, after lawmakers decided they had had enough of the State Police handling security on Beacon Hill. Lawmakers complained that troopers had been rude to staff and members and had cracked down on legislators' cherished parking privileges.

Of course – to beat the parking tickets!

* * *

Anita O'Day: "Massachusetts"

* * *

Llama Robbo, returned from Maine, considers Massachusetts drivers.

* * *

Boston 1775: History, analysis, and unabashed gossip about the start of the American Revolution in Massachusetts.

* * *

House on Lovells Island * Via Universal Hub



On perusing Vox Nova:

Some thoughts:

Do liberation theology-reading anarcho-pacifists who quote Dorothy Day while demanding America renounce military force feel that revolutionary movements like the Sandinistas should likewise have laid down their arms?

Were Catholic priests who aided and abetted armed Marxist revolution failing in their Christian duty? Is violence bad when committed by the nursing Sandinista mother above with the AK-47? Or is violence committed by the American military somehow worse?

And if America encourages a national mythology, paraded on holidays like Memorial Day, do anarcho-pacifists rely at least as much on their own myth, of Uncle Sam as reactionary imperialist Monopoly Guy?

(Via Against the Grain)

* * *

And some restoratives:

'Where did you meet her?'

'On top of a bus. Her name is Charlotte Corday Rowbotham.'

'My God!'

'It's not her fault, poor child. Her father had her christened that because he's all for the Revolution, and it seems that the original Charlotte Corday used to go about stabbing oppressors in their baths, which entitles her to consideration and respect. You must meet old Rowbotham, Bertie. A delightful chap. Wants to massacre the bourgeoisie, sack Park Lane, and disembowel the hereditary aristocracy. Well, nothing could be fairer than that, what?'

-- From The Inimitable Jeeves, by PG Wodehouse (via Bully Says)

* * *

From Time Magazine, Jan. 12, 1925:

"Big Bill"

Who should stagger across the threshold of the Near East Orphanage at Alexandropol in the Soviet Republic of Armenia but Big Bill Haywood, Communist exile, wanted by the U. S. as an inmate of Leavenworth. He begged food, clothes, overnight shelter.

Said he (according to the intensely anti-Bolshevik Chicago Tribune): "I am Bill Haywood, but I ain't a Bolshevik any more. I wish I had never run away from Leavenworth. I am hungry and homesick, and if I cannot find work in Constantinople I am going back to the United States. I had rather live in Leavenworth any time than Bolshevist Russia. It ain't a white man's country."

Next morning, he and his companion, one ''Williams," another U. S. Communist in exile, resumed their trip to Constantinople. Hours later, peasants saw them near the Turkish frontier as they plodded wearily through a blinding snowstorm. Then the impenetrable blanket of the storm enveloped them. They have not since been heard of.



Lost Boston: 10 Comm. Ave.

From The City Record & Boston News-Letter


Monday, May 28, 2007  

Memorial Day, Holliston, Mass.




For Amy's Carnival of Ice Cream:

We are fortunate in our corner of New England to live a short hop from two fine local soft-serve parlors.

The Tasty Treat, in Ashland, Mass., pictured above, scores higher on roadside kitsch, with its miniature golf course with dinosaur. I tend to go for the classic chocolate-dipped cone.

C&L Frosty, in Sherborn, Mass., is more sylvan. The kids recommend the lemon sherbet.

* * *

The Brigham's vanilla with jimmies remains, for me, the ne plus ultra of ice cream cones. And on any list of worthy Brigham's take-home flavors: coffee, mocha almond and pistachio.

* * *

On trips home from the beach when I was little we would stop at Friendly's, where the ice cream cones of choice were the black raspberry and the maple walnut. At the Friendly's of old, the hamburgers were served on toast, to be washed down with Friendly's version of a frappe, the Fribble.

Unfortunately, the chain was sold in the '80s and is not what it was. Articles in the WSJ and the Globe detail the rancor between one of the original founders, now in his 90s, and the current corporate owners. And a Boston.com message board asking people their favorite Friendly's memory is filled with flames: so much for nostalgia.

* * *

A trip to the Swan Boats once meant a visit to Bailey's ice cream parlor, a now-vanished Boston institution, where overflowing sundaes were served in old-fashioned silver dishes.

When the former owner recently passed away, a Globe obit recalled the Bailey's of old:

It was once an important stop on any shopping trip to Jordan Marsh, Gilchrist's, R.H. Stearns or other long-forgotten downtown retail outlet: the venerable ice cream parlor, Bailey's of Boston.

"Where else could you get two and half ounces of ice cream with hot fudge poured over it served in a silver bowl?" Bailey's owner, Mr. Franklin Wyman Jr., often said, according to his friend and colleague John Wright.

Mr. Wyman, who was also an executive with R.H. Stearns and facilitated acquisitions and mergers late in his career, died of leukemia April 19 in his home in Brookline. He was 86.

For more than 100 years Bailey's on West Street served hand-made chocolates, gooey hot fudge sundaes, and chopped ham-and-sweet-pickle sandwiches to customers who sat at marble-topped tables.

The restaurant was founded by candymaker John Bailey in 1876 in a 19th-century home once owned by naturalist Louis Agassiz, who was reputed to have kept a pet bear cub in the basement. Bailey began selling barley candy bears, chocolates, and other confections.

Bailey chocolates were sent to every president from Theodore Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy. Calvin Coolidge favored Bailey's "delicious delights," fudge balls dipped in fondant and chocolate, Mr. Wyman said in an interview with the Globe in 1988.


Saturday, May 26, 2007  

John Wayne Centennial

Sheila O'Malley: Katherine Hepburn's tribute to the Duke.

AP: You're 100, Pilgrim

The Irish Elk's favorite John Wayne movie: Fort Apache * TCM has movie clips accompanied by Peter Bogdanovich commentary

(Runner-up: The Quiet Man. Honorable mention: Flying Tigers.)


Friday, May 25, 2007  

Ice Cream Carnival

Amy at Atlantic Ave. has put out a call for entries for a Carnival of Ice Cream.

Entries are invited between now and Memorial Day.

The assignment:

Taste your local ice cream – beach shack, grocery store, homemade, roadside, etc. – and blog about it. Or write anything at all about ice cream. Let me know by linking, commenting or emailing.

Well you don't have to ask the Irish Elk twice.

As inspiration to other bloggers in the area who would like to take up the challenge, here's a post from Hidden Boston on some classic ice cream stands in the Boston area.

The cow sign above is from Great Brook Farm in Carlisle, Mass., which belongs on any list of outstanding ice cream in New England.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007  

Assorted Lynx

I think I've found a way around the gremlin that's been foiling permalinking here since the New Model Blogger was imposed.

Take the Jeeves & Wooster post below. Click on permalink and this URL is returned:

The duplicate #8523006532991101859 at the end messes up the link. But snip off the extra #8523006532991101859 and you can link to the post.

* * *

When I come across items that interest me in the course of the day I e-mail them to myself, with the thought of posting them at some time or another. The backlog has been growing. Time to clean out the inbox:

Atlantic Ave.: A great pileated woodpecker, aka Indian hen, is photographed in Amy's oak tree

Telegraph: "Gumboot barons" return to their German lands

FirstWorldWar.com: a remarkably comprehensive multimedia history of the War to End All Wars.

Shorpy: the 100-Year-Old Photo Blog. (Via Zajrzyj tu)

Letters in Bottles: from Madison, Wisc.

Daily Mail: "Why I changed my mind seconds before I had an abortion."

OpinionJournal: Five Best Books About France

Scribal Terror: The kangaroo meets the Cook Expedition * How to chew tobacco in church

Standing on My Head: Fr. Dwight Longenecker

NY Sun: Historian of Vietnam finds academe hostile to a hawk

Telegraph: Maharajah's WWI bomber spreads its wings again

A Historian's Craft: Book P*rn

Thomas H. Benton: Red Hot Library Lust



Jeeves Saves the Cow Creamer

A bit of Jeeves & Wooster in honor of Hugh Laurie, OBE, who had reason today to don his best soup and fish.

(Via the Llamas.)

* * *

Currently in the car I'm listening to The Code of the Woosters. I find myself listening to snippets at a time, as the turns of phrase are so rich you have to pause to digest. Oh, to craft one sentence as deftly witty as each of Wodehouse's in succession – never mind a paragraph. I'm reminded of the Kenyan marathoners: Who among us can run a mile in 4:50? They run 26 of them in a row and appear barely winded at the end.

A Rutgers mathematician has posted some excerpts.

And here's a rather nice-looking original edition from the Copenhagen Drones' virtual bookshelf.

* * *

Hugh Laurie: "Wodehouse saved my life":

So the great P. G. was making his presence felt in my life once more. And I soon learnt that I still had much to learn. How to smoke plain cigarettes, how to drive a 1927 Aston Martin, how to mix a Martini with five parts water and one part water (for filming purposes only), how to attach a pair of spats in less than a day and a half, and so on.

But the thing that really worried us, that had us saying "crikey" for weeks on end, was this business of The Words. Let me give you an example. Bertie is leaving in a huff: "'Tinkerty tonk,' I said, and I meant it to sting." I ask you: how is one to do justice of even the roughest sort to a line like that? How can any human actor, with his clumsily attached ears, and his irritating voice, and his completely misguided hair, hope to deliver a line as pure as that? It cannot be done. You begin with a diamond on the page, and you end up with a blob of Pritt, The Non-Sticky Sticky Stuff, on the screen…

Naturally, one hopes there were compensations in watching Wodehouse on the screen - pleasant scenery, amusing clothes, a particular actor's eyebrows - but it can never replicate the experience of reading him. If I may go slightly culinary for a moment: a dish of foie gras nestling on a bed of truffles, with a side-order of lobster and caviar may provide you with a wonderful sensation; but no matter how wonderful, you simply don't want to be spoon-fed the stuff by a perfect stranger. You need to hold the spoon, and decide for yourself when to wolf and when to nibble.

* * *

Lance Mannion ponders the question: Would Peter Wimsey have been chummy with Bertie Wooster?


Monday, May 21, 2007  

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s laughter and dancing and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!

-- Hilaire Belloc

(Via Mrs P)

* * *

Dean Esmay: The Celebration of the Eucharist

(Via Llama Robbo)

* * *

Our daughter made her First Communion this past Saturday, which accounts for the theme of this post. She received as a present from her godmother (my eldest sister) a holy medal her godmother had received on the occasion of her own First Communion, 57 years ago today.

Another POD gift was a little plastic holy water font from Ireland now nailed to her bedroom door jamb. After Mass on Sunday we collected some holy water from the takeout urn in the church foyer. A lady behind us said when she was a girl, her mother would sprinkle holy water around the house whenever a thunderstorm threatened, to prevent lightning strikes. Apparently it worked.

The picture above is returned by a search on First Communion at the Robert Runyon Photograph Collection of the South Texas Border Area.

* * *

St. Philip's Boys Choir, Norbury, UK: "Panis Angelicus"


Monday, May 14, 2007  

Five in a row

Today this site marks its fifth blogoversary.

Many thanks to all who have visited over the past half-decade!

Some links for the day:

Louis Armstrong's Hot Five

Red Nichols' Five Pennies

Glasgow door numbers

Leo Reynolds: Fives



Paw Sox vs. Mud Hens

Mother's Day, McCoy Stadium, Pawtucket, R.I.


Sunday, May 13, 2007  

Happy Mothers' Day

How we spent it.

Heard on the radio on the way home. A trend? Go Sox!


Thursday, May 10, 2007  

The Children of Lir

…as soon as Aoife saw them out in the lake she struck them with a Druid rod, and put on them the shape of four swans, white and beautiful. And it is what she said: “Out with you, children of the king, your luck is taken away from you for ever; it is sorrowful the story will be to your friends; it is with flocks of birds your cries will be heard for ever.”

* * *

Tír na nÓg

"Delightful is the land beyond all dreams,
Fairer than aught thine eyes have ever seen.
There all the year the fruit is on the tree,
And all the year the bloom is on the flower.

"There with wild honey drip the forest trees;
The stores of wine and mead shall never fail.
Nor pain nor sickness knows the dweller there,
Death and decay come near him never more.

"The feast shall cloy not, nor the chase shall tire,
Nor music cease for ever through the hall;
The gold and jewels of the Land of Youth
Outshine all splendours ever dreamed by man…"

-- "Oisín in the Land of Youth"

* * *

"I don't think there's any point in being Irish if you don't think the world is going to break your heart eventually."

-- Daniel Patrick Moynihan



Shadow Ads

-- Via Obscurorant


Tuesday, May 08, 2007  

Hamas Mickey Mouse teaches hate

So bizarre it almost defies comment.



"Rawjah Clemens is BACK!"

Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman once sang opposite Richard Kiley in Man of La Mancha, and her recent Clemens-inspired ecstasy, which has been compared to the yawping of wrestling announcers and of Meg Ryan in the deli in When Harry Met Sally, certainly was theatrical. Think Hindenburg in reverse. (Apt, given the Zeppelin-like qualities of the Rocket.) To listen, click on the headline above, or go here and click on the audiofile "Roger Clemens is BACK!"

Clemens' salary per day: $153,846


Saturday, May 05, 2007  

Flashman, Maximilian &c

Some interesting Flashman news: Celtic Films and Picture Palace Productions, which did the Sharpe series on TV, have announced plans to bring Flashman to television, with a screenplay for Flashman at the Charge being done by George MacDonald Fraser.

According to the Wikipedia entry on Flashman, author Fraser has confirmed he plans another installment of the Flashman Papers, fueling speculation on his choice of subject.

One possibility is the French intervention in Mexico, from which Flashman escapes at the outset of Flashman on the March:

The action opens with Flashman accompanying the corpse of Maximilian, the Habsburg who became, in the way of that eccentric dynasty, Emperor of Mexico, on its voyage back to Trieste. En route, Flashman deflowers the great-niece of Admiral Tegethoff, commander of the vessel, a romantic interlude soon revealed to the world…Thus Flashman reaches Trieste desperate to escape from the clutches of the Austrians.

Will Flashman's previous adventures in Mexico be described in the next book?

* * *

Here's how Flashy describes the ill-fated Maximilian's last moments before the firing squad:

[Maximilian] cried "Viva Mejico, Viva la indepencia! Shoot, soldiers, through the heart!" Which they did, with surprising accuracy for a platoon of dagoes.

* * *

On Cinco de Mayo, Irish Elk likes to raise a Corona and lime to the memory of the late Emperor of Mexico and his Empress, to a playing of the favorite song he asked to hear before he met his end. Yradier's "La Paloma," as rendered by music box from 1895, is first in this gallery of sound files posted by the Musical Box Society of Great Britain.

* * *

From Time Magazine, Jan. 31, 1927:

"Empress' Funeral"

Over a thousand Belgians braved a raging blizzard in Brussels last week, trudged on foot four miles behind a coffin draped with the flags of Mexico and Belgium.

Thus they paid homage to a lady great in sadness, Marie Charlotte Amelie Augustine Victoire Clementine Leopoldine, daughter of the late King Leopold I of the Belgians, once Empress of Mexico. Her story: At 17 she was the radiant bride of the Archduke Maximilian whose brother was Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary; at 23 Empress of Mexico, set beside Maximilian upon that throne by the Emperor Napoleon III of the French; at 26 a distracted woman, kneeling before Napoleon III, begging him to deliver her husband from the revolted Mexicans, crying when Napoleon III declared he could do no more: "My Fate is what I deserve! A granddaughter of Louis Philippe should never have trusted herself to a Bonaparte!"

Thereupon she fainted, and, when she recovered was found to have lost her reason so that she did not know her husband was murdered a year later (1867). Mercifully unconscious of his death during the 60 years of her madness (up to her death at 86, last week) she was always expecting the Emperor Maximilian to return to her, would sometimes don court regalia in expectation of his coming, and say, "He will come soon. He will come very soon now."

Lady of sadness, Death came to her in a white wintry robe. Eight young officers bore her coffin to the royal crypt in the Laeken Cháteau, near Brussels. Albert, King of the Belgians, and the Royal Family paced behind it slowly to the sad measures of Chopin.


Friday, May 04, 2007  

Searching on the 40 Martyrs

Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live;
Not where I love, but where I am, I die.

-- St Robert Southwell, SJ, one of the 40 Martyrs of England & Wales

* * *

"The martyrs of the London Charterhouse," Msgr Mark Langham, administrator, Westminster Cathedral:

Last evening, I celebrated one of the most moving liturgies of my priesthood, as the clergy and choristers of Westminster Cathedral celebrated Vespers at the London Charterhouse - the first public Catholic ceremony to be held there since the Reformation.

Following Vespers, we processed to the Garden of the Charterhouse, to the site of the monastic Church. There, before the plaque commemorating the martyrs, stands a model of the Tyburn scaffold. As the name of each martyr was read aloud, a member of the current Charterhouse came forward and placed a rose in the model.

As we concluded, the bells from the nearby Church of St Bartholomew the Great started ringing. They are the oldest peal in the country, having been installed in 1510 - therefore, they would have been familiar to the Carthusian martyrs.

* * *

"Hidden life of Charterhouse," by Christopher Howse, The Telegraph (5/13/06):

Surprise is the first emotion that strikes the fortunate visitor to the Charterhouse, on the edge of the City of London, for here, wedged between the traffic fumes of Clerkenwell Road and the bloody pavements of Smithfield meat market, stands a cluster of quadrangles like those of a medieval Oxford college, with hall and chapel, tranquil behind its walls and trees.

The ancient buildings are lovely, but there is an air of sadness about the place. The original monastery, dedicated to the "Salutation" (that is to say, the Annunciation of the Incarnation by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary), was built in the 14th century as a monastery for the ascetic Carthusians.

At the Charterhouse, the quadrangle today called Wash-house Court was built of medieval stonework and completed with a range of brick. The diapering of the brickwork picks out the initials JH, those of John Houghton, the prior from 1531 to 1535. In the latter year, he refused to swear an oath recognising Henry VIII as supreme head of the church, and he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn on May 4.

One of his arms was nailed to the door of the Charterhouse, but this did not dissuade 15 of his brother Carthusians from holding out. Five died on the scaffold and the other 10 were starved to death in Newgate prison.

* * *

"Two Miracles & 40 Saints," Time Magazine (6/6/1960):

The fiercest anti-Catholics of 1960 look like models of moderation beside the Anglicans of 16th and 17th century England.

Jesuit Edmund Campion was "cruelly distent" on the rack, and his fingernails were pulled out before he was executed. For permitting Mass to be said in her private chapel. Catholic Convert Margaret Clitherow was pressed to death and, according to a witness, "was in dying one-quarter of an hour. A sharp stone as much as a man's fist was put under her back; upon her was laid the quantity of seven or eight hundredweight at the least, which breaking her ribs caused them to burst through her skin.'' Altogether, from 1585 to 1680, about 360 British Roman Catholics were tortured and killed.

As early as 1594, Jesuit Father John Gerard was carefully compiling a list of the outstanding English martyrs of the church with the idea that some or all of them might eventually be made saints. The wheels ground slowly, but British Catholics continued to work and hope for their martyrs. Last month the Sacred Congregation of Rites announced that it would consider waiving the rule that each candidate for sainthood must perform two miracles, and would admit 40 of the martyrs "as a group," provided that the group as a whole could produce two miracles.

Says Jesuit Father Philip Caraman. a vice-postulator of the martyrs' cause: "I have no doubt at all that the miracles will be worked. These martyrs were English and Welsh, after all, and it's a safe presumption that in heaven they have the interests of their fellow countrymen at heart." In an office in London's Farm Street, headquarters of the canonization cause, a brand-new folder labeled MIRACLES was placed hopefully in a metal filing cabinet.

* * *

"Furor Over Forty," Time Magazine (1/19/1970):

Some of the best known among the 40 martyrs: EDMUND CAMPION, a debonair Jesuit scholar who was described by William Cecil as "one of the diamonds of England," and was patronized by high nobility, even for a time by Queen Elizabeth. Campion's treatise Decem Rationes (Ten Reasons), in which he challenged Protestants to religious debate, led to his death by hanging. In 1886, Campion was made a beatus, a preliminary step to canonization that all 40 have attained.

ROBERT SOUTHWELL, another Jesuit, whose poems were admired by Ben Jonson, executed after prolonged torture. PHILIP HOWARD, Earl of Arundel and forefather of the present Duke of Norfolk, who was caught trying to escape to France. He died after ten years of privation in the Tower of London, accused of praying for the success of the Spanish Armada.

PHILIP EVANS, called the jolliest of Welsh martyrs, who was playing court tennis when told that he had to die for being a priest ordained abroad. First, the story goes, he finished the game. MARGARET CLITHEROW, comely wife of a Yorkshire butcher, who was pressed to death with a sharp stone under her back for the crime of harboring priests.

* * *

Much of Robert Southwell's poetry, none of which was published in his lifetime, was written in prison.

Ben Jonson said he would have been content to destroy his own verses if he could have composed the following:

FROM St. Peter's Complaint, 1595
By Robert Southwell

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear ;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defilëd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callëd unto mind that it was Christmas day.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007  

Song for St. Tammany's Day

Of Andrew, of Patrick, of David, and George,
What mighty achievements we hear!
While no one relates great Tammany's feats,
Although more heroic by far, my brave boys,
Although more heroic by far.

These heroes fought only as fancy inspired,
As by their own stories we find;
Whilst Tammany, he fought only to free
From cruel oppression mankind, my brave boys,
From cruel oppression mankind.

When our country was young and our numbers were few
To our fathers his friendship was shown,
(For he e'er would oppose whom he took for his foes,)
And he made our misfortunes his own, my brave boys,
And he made our misfortunes his own.

At length, growing old and quite worn out with years,
As history doth truly proclaim,
His wigwam was fired, he nobly expired,
And flew to the skies in a flame, my brave boys,
And flew to the skies in a flame.

* * *

Did you know that a folk-legend chief very much like the Dartmouth Indian was hailed in the early days of the Republic as the "patron saint" of America? The feast of St Tammany was celebrated on May Day.

The reasons for choosing Tammany as a "Saint" in the early 1770s are twofold. First, Tammany was already a part of the folk tradition. Secondly, Tammany was portrayed as a benign Delaware chief who helped the early Pennsylvania colonists and was a friend to William Penn. By cloaking themselves as American Indians, the restive colonists could assert their new identity publicly and protest British imperial policies without attacking their own identity.

On May 1, 1772, the Sons of King Tammany met in Philadelphia as the successor to the Sons of Liberty. The Tammany Society toasted themselves, "St. George, St. Andrew, St. Patrick, and St. David." They also proclaimed that all the saints (including the American Indian, Tammany) should "love each other as the brethren of one common ancestor." Furthermore, the Tammany society believed that all the ethnic societies should unite "in their hearty endeavors to preserve their native Constitutional American Liberties."

Thus, the Sons of King Tammany attempted to unify patriotic Americans under a benign American Indian symbol...By 1773, the Tammany society in Philadelphia had grown disenchanted with King George III, so they held a mock "canonization" of King Tammany in order to change their name to the Sons of St. Tammany. With this mock canonization, the organization fused a folk holiday (May Day) with a patriotic organization. Very soon, Tammany societies began to appear in other colonies.

Celebrating a legendary Indian chief once was considered the height of patriotism. So raise a toast today to Tamanend!

* * *

This description of the Tammany May Festival in Philadelphia comes from "May games and noble savages," by Martin Walsh:

Philadelphia newspaper reports from the exuberant years immediately following American Independence allow one to make a fairly consistent composite of the sequence of events on a Tammany May Day according to the "good old custom of our worthy forefathers." The location was the banks of the rural Schuylkill River on Philadelphia's westside. Festivities began at noon with a raising of the colours on three "maypoles" festooned with garlands, the central maypole sometimes dubbed the "Liberty Pole." The flags of the Netherlands and France, America's earliest allies, flanked the Pennsylvania state flag (later the U.S. ensign) which sported a portrait of Tammany on its field. A cannon salute and a marching-band rendition of a popular theatre song in honour of St Tammany then followed, and these would continue to punctuate activities through the rest of the day...

The previous year's officers would next surrender "the ensigns of authority," which were engraved military gorgets. Then the bear-greased, face-painted, bucktailed and befeathered company formed a ring to elect a new chief and thirteen sachems (sub-chiefs), symbolic of the thirteen United States, each with its animal totem. Some of these brothers would even deck themselves out in a shaved head with scalplock fashioned from an animal bladder and horsehair. The new sachems' assumed names had an "authentic" ring, some of them belonging to major Woodland Indian leaders... A large council fire was then kindled - there seems to have also been a "council seat" - and Tammany and other Maytide songs were sung. The most important of these was the pseudo-Indian "Et hoh Song" which seems to have the status of an anthem, travelling wherever the Tammany idea travelled.

Drinking evidently began quite early while sitting about on the banks of the river, the Society never being particularly sensitive to the wide-spread problem of Native American alcoholism - one would suppose because it was a white American problem as well. The motto for the day was that of Rabelais's Abbey of Theleme,
Fay ce que vouldras...

Toward evening the company would retire to a specially constructed "cabin" or bower where the woodland feast was consumed - "The signal being given, every brother repaired with his scalping knife, to the repast." The fare was plentiful and varied: "Rounds of Beef, Barbacued Pig, Sirloin Steaks ... flowing bowls of good punch, lemonade and madeira ... leg of veal and rich spices ... perch, rock and grey squirrels," as well as the occasional sea turtle. The festival structure was decorated with a portrait of "our brave old saint" beneath his motto, together with other topical scenes, in 1783 for example, a "Siege of Yorktown." The banquet always featured thirteen toasts, which were duly printed up in the newspapers, as well as other entertainments such as new Tammany odes.

After sunset the colours were struck and the holiday ground vacated, the "warriors" marching Indian-file back to the city to the tune of "St Tammany's Day." Since the "official" reports continually stress the good order and harmony of the Tammany celebrations, and since there was, simultaneously, an undercurrent of complaint, we may safely speculate that not all these well-primed "Indians" went quietly to their beds upon returning to Philadelphia.

* * *

The saint's namesake was a 17th-century chief of the Lenni Lanape who made treaties with William Penn. The chief's name, Tamanend, meaning "affable," would come to have symbolic resonanance in a number of venues, including:

Tammany Hall. In New York City in 1789 William Mooney started a society called the Society of St. Tammany. It was supposed to be a society to help people. By 1804 it had become a political society. In 1867 William “Boss” Tweed became the head of the society. He and the other members met in a building on Fourteenth Street called Tammany Hall. There was a statue of Tamanend in an arch on the top floor of the building.

The Tammany Regiment. During the Civil War the New York 42nd Infantry was called the Tammany Regiment. They fought in the Battle Gettysburg. Their monument on the battlefield at Gettysburg has a statue of Tamanend on it.

Tamanend statue at Annapolis. The USS Delaware was a wooden war ship. It was built in Norfolk, Virginia, and launched in 1820. Its figurehead was a bust of Tamanend. The USS Delaware was sunk in 1861, but somehow the figurehead was rescued. It was taken to Annapolis, Maryland, along with other wooden figureheads, to the Naval Academy there. Midshipmen started using the statue as a good luck charm. They hoped that it could help them to get good grades. Soon no one remembered who the statue was. They called it Powhatan, then Tecumseh. Eventually the wooden figure began to rot and fall apart. In 1906 the members of the Class of 1891 had the statue carefully cast in bronze. The bronze statue was presented in 1930. It stands today at the Naval Academy.

* * *


* "Tammany" sheet music (1905)

* Tammany procession, NYC, 1870

* The mastodon connection:

In 1795, the New York physician Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchill conjured up another terrifying image of the American monster in a speech he delivered to the Tammany Society, describing the legendary chief Tammany’s battles with "alarming droves of mammoths, carnivorous animals, especially loving to feed upon human flesh."

* Tammany statue, Gettysburg

* Clip: "Pass that Peace Pipe," Margaret Whiting


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