An Apology

By now most of you should have received several test messages. I ended up giving up on trying to get the newsletter emailer configured properly as NOTHING WORKED. I am now attempting to send the newsletter by an entirely different program that runs off my computer rather than off the server. Hopefully this will work. Sorry for all the problems in the past. Let's keep our fingers crossed!
The Worst Hurricane in American History

The news coverage of the recent hurricane named Katrina in the Gulf Coast often relates that this one was the worst in American history. As of September 10, the death toll is expected to be lower than 10,000. Not to detract from the devastation to New Orleans and the surrounding areas, but the recent hurricane WAS NOT the worst in American history. One-hundred and five years ago, almost to the week, there was a hurricane in the Gulf Coast that killed more people than any other in American history.

The setting was Galveston, Texas, in the year 1900. The month was September and the day was the 8th. Isaac M. Cline was a meteorologist in Galveston at the time. While on duty at 5 am he noticed a storm brewing at sea. He knew it was more than just a storm and that it was a tropical cyclone, as hurricanes were called at the time. From atop the National Weather Service bureau, which was at 23rd and Market streets, Cline watched the storm swells rise, the barometer drop and the winds grow stronger. Cline went about town trying to warn residents of the impending doom, but to little avail.

The 15-and-a-half foot storm surge rolled over the island from gulf to bay. Houses collapsed, and as the surge continued, a wall of debris described as at least two-stories high pushed across the island. This wall destroyed everything in its path, building force as it moved across the island.

At the time, there were 37,000 residents of Galveston. The hurricane killed 12,000 residents of Galveston - one third of the population! This does not include people that lived in the surrounding areas. The entire city was pretty much leveled. No dollar amount of loss has been compiled for this hurricane.

To read actual news reports at the time, there are three different newspaper accounts in the Online Newspaper Archive. To read them click the links below:

To view a pictorial gallery of the devastation, go to

To view actual movies taken shortly after the storm, go to:

View of Galveston from the bay after the hurricane
The Origination of Uncle Sam

During the War of 1812, Sam Wilson had a contract to supply meat to the United States military. Meat was salt cured and shipped in wooden barrels stamped with the initals "U. S." to mean the United States. (In this era, using the initals "U. S." instead of United States had not been done before.) Troops, seeing the barrels with the abbreviation often asked what it meant. Jokingly, someone related that the initials stood for Uncle Sam Wilson. The joke caught on and spread like wildfire. People began referring to anything that belonged to the goverment as being owned by Uncle Sam. Soon "Uncle Sam" started appearing in political cartoons and newspaper editorials. The first Uncle Sam drawings made him appear clean shaven and dressed in black. During the Civil War, Thomas Nast drew him as wearing red, white and blue clothes appearing like the United States flag and a beard.
July Brain Teaser

The July brain teaser asked the question: There is only one word in the English dictionary that does not contain any vowels - a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y. What is this word? The answer was "sh" - as in "be quiet." Subscriber Lynette Hernandez pointed out that there is another word in the English dictionary with no vowels. The word is "nth." I checked all three dictionaries I have and "nth" is in all three of them.

August Brain Teaser

The era is the old west in the United States. A man rides into Dodge, Kansas, on Friday. He rides out three days later on Friday. How did he do it?

Answer: The horse's name was Friday.

September Brain Teaser

Subscriber Barb Franklin has submitted a brain teaser for this issue. Her question is: Can you name a word in the English dictionary that contains all the vowels, in order (a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y?) The word is an adverb and means to be playfully jocular or humorous.

PS: If you make any money by winning bets on these brain teasers, a little commission would be nice :-) Moved to New Server has been online for almost 10 years now, since October 1995. The site now contains over 1,000 megabytes of files. Since the last issue of this newsletter was sent out, I have moved the Web site to a different server. The domain name used to access the site remains the same. Downtime was limited to 3 days or so while reconfiguring all of the files on the new server. I had simply outgrown the old server. The new server account now has room for 5,000 megabytes of space for files!

August Contest

QUESTION: What was the 48th state to be admitted to the United States?

ANSWER: Arizona.

Thirty-five people entered the contest. Eleven were disqualifed due to an incorrect subject heading or did not indicate which prize they wanted if they won. Two prizes went unclaimed.

The August winners were:

  • Stephanie Chappel - California
  • Kenny Linthicum - Maryland
  • Valerie Varela - California
  • Chris Salamone - New York
  • Murray Zuckerman - Pennsylvania
  • Candice Monhollan - Pennsylvania
  • Mary Donnely - Australia
  • John Estes - Missouri

This Issue's Question

To enter the Grand Prize Contest, send by email an essay of not more than 75 words relating why you want to win it. One grand prize will be awarded.

To enter the Alternate Contest, answer the question below and indicate which ONE prize you want if you win. (Only one of each is available.)

Alternate Contest Question: Which country sold the Louisiana Purchase to the United States?

Contest Rules

  • Contest entry deadline is Thursday, September 22, 2005. Later entries will be disqualified. Winners will be notified by email within 24 hours after the contest deadline. Winners' names and states will be published in the next issue of the newsletter.

  • Subscribers may enter both contests, but can only win one prize.

  • To enter either contest, email your essay or answer to

  • If entering for the Grand Prize, enter "Contest Entry Grand Prize" for the subject heading. Include ONLY your essay and NOT the answer to the alternate contest question. (Only one grand prize is available.)

  • If entering for any of the alternate contest prizes, enter "Contest Entry" for the subject heading and answer the Alternate Contest Question.

  • If entering both contests, send separate emails.

  • Entries with prize desires such as "any prize is OK," "any of the historic newspapers" etc. will be disqualified. You MUST select ONE prize.

  • From subscribers entering the Grand Prize contest and submitting an essay of NOT MORE THAN 75 words in length, correct subject heading, and submission received by the deadline, will be considered for winning. All other Grand Prize entries will be disqualified.

  • From subscribers entering the alternate contest, submitting the correct answer, correct subject heading, submission received by the deadline, as well as advising which ONE alternate contest prize they want to win, NINE will be selected to win ONE of the alternate contest prizes below.

  • Subscribers to this newsletter that won a prize in my trivia contests in the last 90 days are ineligible to win.

Grand Prize
(One winner will be selected)

World War II Archive
Archive includes:
  • Original newspaper from the ending days of the war
  • Two CD set of the Big Band Era's Greatest Hits
  • DVD with two documentaries:
    • D-Day - Normandy Invasion
    • War Comes to America
  • Three soldier letters to home:
    • One with an airmail stamp
    • One "Franked" letter
    • One note card
  • One unused V-Mail sheet
  • One set of emergency coinage of WWII years
  • Two photo cards issued in Germany during WWII with Hitler on each
Alternate Contest Prizes
(Only one of each offered)

Home Town Story (1951)
One of Marilyn Monroe's Early Movies

The Little Princess (1939)
Classic Shirley Temple Movie

Remember the Alamo
Documentary by the History Channel

PC Game
G. I. Combat
The Battle of Nomandy

Original Historic Newspapers

Original Columbian Centinel historic newspaper from 1805

Original New England Galaxy historic newspaper from 1826

Original The Globe (Washington, DC) historic newspaper from 1839

Original New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette historic newspaper from 1853

Original New York Times historic newspaper from 1864
With lots of Civil War reports
That's it for this issue.

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