Archive for February, 2023

Daniel Sickles’ Temporary Insanity

February 21, 2023

A few weeks ago I wrote about Alice Pendleton, youngest daughter of Francis Scott Key. In passing I mentioned the murder of one of her older brothers, Philip Barton Key, by Daniel Sickles. There is a lot more to the story.

Daniel Sickles was a 32-year-old junior state assemblyman from New York City and notorious womanizer  when he married Teresa Da Ponte Baglioli, a teenager half his age, in September 1852. The next year, President Franklin Pierce appointed Sickles to serve as secretary of the U. S. legation in London under the leadership of James Buchanan. He allegedly brought prostitute Fanny White with him, leaving his pregnant wife at home. He supposedly presented her to Queen Victoria with the alias of the family name of a political opponent instead of her own. Married just seven months Teresa gave birth to their only child, Laura Buchanan Sickles. After his return to the U. S. he was elected to the New York State Senate, which censured him for bringing Fanny White into its chambers. The Sickles moved to Washington in 1856 when he was elected to Congress as a Democratic representative for the 3rd district of New York.

In Washington, Teresa made the acquaintance of U. S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Philip Barton Key II and began an affair with him in 1858. A “friend” wrote Sickles of his wife’s infidelity, enraging him. He forced his wife to confess and put her confession to paper. Sickles saw Key sitting on a bench outside his home signaling to Teresa, apparently unaware they had been found out. Sickles ran out screaming, “Key, you scoundrel, you have dishonored my home, you must die.” He repeatedly shot the unarmed Key, killing him in Lafayette Park. Defended by Edwin Stanton, Sickles pled temporary insanity and was the first person in the United States to be acquitted using that defense. Newspapers declared Sickles a hero for saving women from Key.

Teresa Sickles

Shooting Down Balloons

February 14, 2023
Two of the planes I worked on in the Far East

An unexpected article popped up on my phone this afternoon possibly because fighter planes have recently been shooting down airborne “items.” A little background is needed as to why this got my attention. From February 1967 through mid-August 1968 I maintained the FCS of F-102 aircraft in The Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. The Deuce, as F-102s were often called, wasn’t a sexy airplane at that time. The F-106 was faster and the F-4 carried a much larger variety of weapons. Being an old plane, half of the F-102s, maybe more, were then flown by National Guard units. In spite of its age, the Delta Dagger, the plane’s official nickname, was chosen for overseas duty because it was more reliable and more easily supported logistically than the newer interceptor, the F-106.

The article linked to below tells of one pilot’s experiences flying the plane against a very fast target, the B-58 bomber. In order to better understand the article some abbreviations and acronyms need to be defined.

FCS stands for Fire Control System. This has nothing to do with putting out fires. It has to do with aiming and firing the plane’s weapons. The F-102 used the MG-10 weapons control system built by Hughes Aircraft. It used radar and infrared to seek and track targets. Most of its circuits used vacuum tubes. Only a few functions utilized solid-state components.

ECM stands for Electronic Counter Measures, devices used to defeat or confuse the interceptor’s radar.

IRST stands for Infra Red Search & Track (or sighting & tracking). An IR seeker head resembling a chrome ball was located just forward of the cockpit. Targets could be located and tracked using either radar or IR or both together. Follows is an anecdote of both methods being used together:

One day at Bien Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam we had the radome off to do some work on the radar antenna . About the time we needed to test the system after finishing making the adjustment the adjustment an Air Policeman guarding the revetments in which our planes were stationed walked by smoking a cigarette (it was 1967). I locked the infrared onto his cigarette and shifted the mode to IR/Radar Slaved. Normally there is no external indication as to what the system is doing but, with the radome removed, the antenna is visible. With IR locked on to his cigarette and radar slaved to it, the radar antenna followed him as he walked past. He, not surprising, was unnerved by this.

If the Chinese balloon/items had floated by back in the day, F-102s very likely would have been assigned the job of shooting them down.

A New Review of My Latest Book

February 8, 2023

In all of the years that I have been reading and studying about college football, the team representing the Carlisle Indian School has always taken on somewhat legendary proportions. Much of this probably came from reading about Jim Thorpe and his association with the school, or in reading about other schools that had to play the dreaded Carlisle Indians. Over the years I have read several books that deal at least in part with the Carlisle football team. However, I have never come across any publication that tells the entire story of that team, until now.  Therefore, when I was asked to review this significant new book I leapt at the opportunity.

The active time for the Carlisle team was from 1893-1917, with 1894 being the first year to feature a complete schedule of about 10 games. When you consider that this was well over 100 years ago, and that for at least it’s first few years the Carlisle team was hardly known around Pennsylvania, much less the rest of the country, the amount of material that the author has uncovered from this time period is truly amazing. There is no bibliography included in the book; but, the notes listed for each chapter (no less than 25 pages of them) in essence serve as the book’s bibliography. If anyone cares to research a game or a season further, the references are right there.

Although the author acknowledges many people for their help with this project, the story could have used some better editing in two areas. The first is to clear up the player identification ambiguities that are often encountered in the game accounts. Virtually every game that Carlisle ever played is covered in detail based on the available newspaper accounts. With all of this material to decipher and organize, the telling of the story of each season’s games at times suffers. The names of the players from both teams in a game are often used without clearly identifying the team to which they belong; especially confusing when the Carlisle players have non-Indian names. This leads to some confusion for the reader and the need to reread the account to make sure of each player’s team affiliation.

Secondly, the author does a great job in trying to recreate the game action based on what the newspapers reported. However, these recreations stick too closely to the often dry reporting of an early 20th century newspaper sports reporter, a reporter from an era before the reporting of football really took off. Using more exciting prose, without changing any of the facts of the play or the game, would have definitely livened up these accounts and resulted in a more exciting read.

There are two sections of the book which I also feel are placed incorrectly. Appendix A, Origin of the School, tells the story of the Carlisle Indian School from its founding to just before the organizing of the school’s first football team. When I was first perusing the book and came across this Appendix, I decided to read it first. I was correct in doing so, as it is a natural introduction to the rest of the book and should have been used as either Chapter 1 or as the Introduction.

The other section that appears to be misplaced is Chapter 8, Captain Leadership, which relates in great detail something that took place during the 1902 season. Instead of including this material in Chapter 6, which covers the 1902 season, or making it Chapter 7, it is placed after the material covering 1903, which seems out of place to me.

Despite the imperfections mentioned above, they are minor when compared to the total amount of material presented and the research done, i.e., the overall excellence of this work. This is an incredibly detailed story of one of the most legendary of college football teams, one whose reputation is still strong more than 100 years after its final game was played. Few programs have been covered in such detail. If you are a student of college football, this book is a must for your football library.

Since this is a brand new book, there are no copies currently available from any of the used book sources. My suggestion would be to order directly from the source, (See ad in this issue), or Amazon.

                                                                                                                                         Timothy Hudak

                                                                                                     Sports Heritage Specialty Publications

Dorothy Genevieve Rainey (1904-1987)

February 4, 2023

After reading my postings on Junia Smart, a former classmate asked if I had researched MISS Rainey, the Latin teacher. I hadn’t, so I gave her a look.

Dorothy Genevieve Rainey was born on January 20, 1904 as the first child of  William W. and Ethel Shaver Rainey. She would later be joined by three younger brothers. Her father worked as a clerk in the Litchfield, Illinois post office, so they were probably living there at the time. The 1910 US Census had them living at 1224 Franklin Street in Litchfield. Her parents owned their home and had an 18-year-old servant, Mina Aikman, living with them. Dorothy’s brothers hadn’t been born yet. Not quite six,Dorothy didn’t attend school and couldn’t read or write at that time.

In 1920, the family was living on a farm in Cahokia Township, Macoupin County, Illinois but William was still working as a mail clerk along with farming. His mother-in-law, Francis Shaver, was living with the family which had expanded to include the three boys. The farm was located west of Litchfield, north of Mt. Olive and east of Gillespie. Dorothy was attending school and could read and write. Her college yearbook entry indicated that she had graduated from Litchfield High School, probably in 1921. That seems about right considering that she had an October birthday and would graduate when still 17.

SIUE has digitized the Shurtleff College yearbooks and has made them available to peruse on-line. Miss Rainey’s senior page accompanies this piece. She was quite active at Shurtleff, particularly with the French club. One of the nice things about high school and college yearbooks of this period is that they are gossipy. A few interesting quips about her follow:

Who put the salt in Dorothy Rainey’s bed? (1923)

Dorothy Raney steps out in white slippers. (1923)

Meigs makes a date with Dorothy Rainey for John Wones and takes her to the show himself. (1923)

Miss Walker and Dorothy Rainey let the St. Louis car go by and have to sit in the depot all night. (1924)

Dorothy Rainey oversleeps and misses breakfast. (1924)

Dorothy Rainey has the mumps. (1924)

Case—Crum [probably George Crum Walbaugh] and Dorothy Rainey. (1925)

The fall after graduating with her Bachelor of Philosophy degree, she took a teaching job with the Mattoon, Illinois school district. She appears to have started by teaching junior high but had shifted to Latin by the time she resigned in January of 1927 due to ill health. She apparently returned home then.

In June of 1929 she attended a Shurtleff College reunion. In 1930, the family, except for Dorothy, was back in Litchfield but lived at 1119 Jackson Street, a house worth $3,500 that they owned. With the Great Depression in full force she may have had difficulty finding a job and decided to go to graduate school. She supposedly earned a masters degree from the University of Iowa at some time. The period between the Mattoon and Marine jobs would be the likely period during which she would have gone to grad school.

She wasn’t mentioned in the press again until 1934 when she attended the funeral for the Shurtleff librarian. Dorothy was living in Marine, Illinois at that time. The likely reason for her relocating to Marine was that she was working there. Otherwise, she would have stayed with her parents.

In April 1935 her name appears in the “Marine News” column of The Edwardsville Intelligencer for the first time. Her social and professional activities were reported on in this column from this date forward until her death many years later. This time the mention was for attending a lecture on foreign languages in St. Louis. In May she was reappointed as a teacher at Marine High School. This suggests that she had teaching there for at least one previous year. Dorothy became very active in Marine by joining the Marine Evangelical Church, the PTA she helped found and served as its first Vice-President, the Red Cross, and the Draft Board. She hosted Latin Club meetings at her home and was active in teachers’ organizations. Close to her family, she spent part of each Christmas break and summer vacation with her parents. That changed in 1945 when her parents retired and moved to California. She continued teaching at Marine High School through the spring of 1951 after which Marine merged with two other schools to become Triad High School in Troy, Illinois.

Miss Rainey started teaching at Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto, Illinois in fall of 1951. Now teaching journalism, she and Mrs. Smart started the school newspaper The Eaglet. At CMHS she became more involved in statewide and national organizations and took students to compete in various contests. She also became more adept at getting press. The two local newspapers, The Alton Evening Telegraph and The Edwardsville Intelligencer, frequently ran pieces covering her activities. Something else that changed, possibly due to her parents relocating to California, was that her travel radius expanded over time from places no father away than Chicago to across the U. S. and eventually to going abroad. Olga (and sometimes Agatha) Deibert was a frequent travel companion.

One thing that didn’t change was her involvement with Marine. The Marine newspaper column continued to run news of her. It wasn’t clear if she moved her residence to Bethalto or, if she did, how long she lived there. She kept her ties to Marine strong.

In 1955 she had a special boy for a student. 15-year-old Charles Brunk of Cottage Hills liked languages. He bought a Hebrew reader and learned the language by correlating the symbols. He learned Latin in school and Greek after school from Miss Rainey.

She continued her education by attending summer sessions at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Tufts in Massachusetts. In 1962 she fell and broke her wrist. This was about  when I arrived at CMHS and may have seen her wearing a cast. Not taking any classes with her, our only interactions were admonitions from her about my associating with underachieving friends.

She bought a house in Marine in 1965 and used a Marine address in her letters to the editor which became more frequent during this phase of her life. She retired from CMHS in June 1970 but remained active in teachers organizations. She died on January 2, 1987 at age 82 and was buried alongside her parents in Elmwood Cemetery in Litchfield, Illinois.

Information found in later searches follow.

A February 2, 1934 Edwardsville Intellingencer article reported on a farewell party for Fred C. Durbin that had been held by students at Marine High School. He had substituted for Miss Rainey during the first semester of the 1933-34 school year. The reporter gave no reason for her absence.

To some extent this information fills in the gap in Miss Rainey’s life between completing her master’s degree in 1930 and teaching at Marine High School in 1935. The article makes clear that she was or at least was scheduled to teach at Marine High in the fall of 1933. While not stated, it seems logical that she would have been teaching there at least since the 1932-33 school year and possibly earlier. If not, why would she have been considered the regular teacher if she was absent for the first semester of her employment by the school? Left completely out was the reason for her absence.

Most recent find:

Late this afternoon I realized that I hadn’t done a search on Dorothy Rainey on, one of the tools I usually use when researching people’s lives. A quick search of her name for the 1930-1935 period returned a couple of pieces of new information. Illinois State Journal for May 2, 1932 reported that she had taken a job teaching Latin at Marine High School starting in the fall. It also reported that she had been taking a secretarial course at Greenville College prior to this. Now we know when she started at Marine High School—fall 1932—and what she was doing immediately before that. What we don’t know is when she started the secretarial course.

I emailed the library at Greenville University (the current name of the institution) requesting whatever information they have on her. I will share whatever they send me.

This article confirms that Miss Rainey wasn’t about to sit on her duff and wait for something that might never happen happen. She was proactive. If teaching jobs weren’t available she was preparing herself for an office job that might be. I wonder how much she put to work what she learned in the secretarial classes. One would think some of it could be applied to producing school newspapers, something she later did. What do her former students think?