Make 2020 Sane Again Timeline

Make 2020 Sane Again Timeline

An Excerpt from my book Make 2020 Sane Again available for purchase on Amazon. 


History Timeline

History as a topic in school is usually a topic that gets glossed over and seen as unimportant to people. 


There are 5.3 history majors per 1,000 college age adults.  Which means history majors are studying something that 99.4% of other adults their age are not.  These few one half of 1% of college educated adults are onto something others are not.  


Within the upper echelons of history buffs and nerds there are sort of two ways of view History. 


The first is through a quantitative narrative of looking at timelines. History happens in order as in actions we take today influence the future we live in.  The easiest way to examine where we are at today is to look back at a sequence of events and re-discover where we made a wrong turn or got lost.  We can learn to make better decisions about our present and future by viewing a Historical timeline in a similar fashion as we a business does views their taxes at the end of the year or a District Attorney and law enforcement investigates a case. Mainly by looking at documents, written material, and using artifacts as clues to piece together a narrative. 


The second way is to play detective and track down documents while asking questions and collecting family stories as you go. 

The essence of history is story telling the real lives of past individuals.  

There is also no right or wrong way to go about being a history nerd.  I met a doscent at a town historical museum who spent her free time in her retirement tracking down the original location of all the buildings in downtown Benicia.  Back in the Gold Rush time buildings were sometimes shipped from the east coast around cape horn to California.  Also sometimes buildings moved different places.  Her way of tracking down the history of her town was to spend time at time at the library, county and city records buildings, and even knocking on doors of buildings and asking strangers if there was any historical documents in their attic. 


I also met a 90 year old doscent in Benicia a couple years ago who attended Shirley Temple's 12th birthday party in Los Angeles in the 1930's.  Before Shirley Temple became a well distinguished and respected diplomate. Ms. Murphy's family were cameramen in early Hollywood and lived in the neighborhood near the studios of Warner Brothers and Disney. 



One of my family stories is that my uncle Les Von Cederholm's uncle Leon Holmes was a childhood actor during the 1920's and 1930's.  Leon Holmes was his stage name.  Leon got his start by attending a birthday party for someone in 1920 as a child around the age of 8, Frank Disney happened be attending as a guest.  Disney was creating their first live action movie in Cinderella and needed to cast some children.  Conversations happened and a few weeks later young Leon Holmes was cast as an extra, he went on to act in 42 Hollywood movies over the next 30 years all in small parts with maybe a line or two. Leon Holmes passed away on a cruise ship from Hawaii about 40 years before I was born in the 1950's.  I know this because my uncle told me he remembered going to his funeral.


IMDB the Internet Movie Database does not list his death. Sometimes authors or history people reach out to my uncle and ask for contact information on Leon.  The documents surrounding his death have become lost to history.  So in this case I am relying on first hand accounts and a family story.


One thing is for certain once an individual catches the history bug it sort of never goes away. The following is a History timeline as a narrative using facts that are easy to look up or verify.  Like most people I didn't like being marked wrong on a test for marking an event as happening in 1861 when it was actually in 1860.  In some respects it was wrong and I deserved getting marked down on it.  On the other hand, it is more important that I knew what happened and generally the part of the historical timeline it happened it than being specifically right about 1860 or 1861.  


This narrative might move around a few years here and there, but its backbone is a sequential timeline from the 1490's to present and proceeds in more or less in that order.  All of the dates and years are factually accurate, but as the ready you may read about something happening in 1690 first and then shortly after read about something that happened in 1650.  Which is not that big of a deal even though technically 1650 is closer to 1490 and should have been before 1690 but sort of like how history unfolds, nobody is perfect. 

Main Takeaway.

During The 1490's the printing press was only about 50 years old. The internet has revolutionized information and life in 2020 and it more or less began 50 years ago in 1970.  The 1490's was about the same time period removed from the invention of the printing press in 1450.  I'm not an history professor by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe there is a theory of looking at the events that occurred 50 years after a monumental transformation in technology.  World War II was just over 50(wish) years from the invention of electricity. That being said nobody is a psychic and nobody can tell us for certain what 2070 will be like. Which is the best part about history; it only is about what actually occurred in the past on not what might happen in a hypothetical possible future if x y and z happens they way people predict.


Columbus set sail in 1492 and found the "New World."  On his second expedition in the late 1490's he built a settlment in the Caribean.  He didn't find the gold he promised for Spain and was murdering Native Americans in Hispanola.  The Spanish Crown sent Admiral Alfonso Vallejo to go arrest him and bring him back to Spainin chains. 

Also in the late 1490's in Seville Spain California gets her name by the Spanish writer and story teller Montalvo.  He wrote a fictional story about a fictional island on the other side of the new world named California.  The island was ruled only by Amazonian women who murdered any man who tried to enter the island and then they fed the men to the jaguars and pumas they kept as pets.  The etymology of the word California is from this fictional story but the writer got the idea for the name from the Middle East and Arabs who were also part of Spanish culture in Spain during the 1490's. 

Montalvo's story became lost until the American writer Everette Hale re-discovered the story.  Everette Hale was related to Nathan Hale and lived during the mid 1800's.  It was during the mid 1800's Everette Hale wrote about the possible connection between Montalvo's story and the etymology of the word California. 

Adopting new things was the fashionable thing to do in the 1500.  Major changes happened in quick succession. 


The Medici house of Florence fell in the early 1500's.  Catherine Medici was 12 when she fled Florence to Rome to stay with her Uncle the Pope. 


In 1533 she went off to mary King Henry V of France.  She brought with her Italian fashion that changed French culture. 


Italian gardening became a French fashionable thing to do because of Catherine Medici. She also brought with her an army of pastry chefs and a love of moist cakes.  Which changed French culture and gave them a love for sweets.


Catherine Medici also brought with her the use of the fork.  Which historically is a Middle Eastern and Greek invention that was brought to Italy by a Greek bride when she married a Venice nobleman.  The use got bounced around the noble houses of Italy in the 13 and 1400’s but had not yet spread to France and England until Catherine Medici's marriage in 1533.(Smithsonian magazine) 

Many of the dishes we categorize as distinctly French today originated from the cooks Catherine Medici brought with her to France from Italy. 


Cassoulet is a traditional French green bean dish with duck cooked in a French oven.  Catherine Medici introduced haricot beans to France she received them as a gift from her brother Allesandro.  


The double boiler known as ban marie was a Catherine Medici cooks practice. 


In 1529 in present day Turkey they planted capsicums from the New World to make paprika.  Today we consider paprika as original to the middle east and North Africa.  People forget the origin of something culturally unique to a place today might be from somewhere else originally.  

10 years later in 1539 Potatoes reach Europe for the first time in Spain when Spanish conquistadors who brought potatoes back from the Andes Mountains in Peru. 


Between 1520 and 1540's explorers Juan de Cabrillo, Francisco Coronado, Hernando de Soto, and Cabeza de Vaca began exploring the area of the Gulf coast of Texas, southwest of the United States, and the Southern California coasts. 


In 1520 Martin Luther began the Protestant reformation by nailing his ideas the wall of a church in Germany. 


In 1579 the British explorer Sir Francis Drake anchors his ship at Pt. Reyes in the Marin Headlands of Northern California.  He spends several weeks exploring the Bay Area and names the land Nova Albion. 


Earlier in the 1500's Amerigo Vespucci who was a Medici Banker in Seville had a conversation with Christopher Columbus which sparked an interest in exploration.  He later sailed out on a voyage to Brazil and discovers that north and South America are not part of India and China.  Which to Europeans in 1500 was news and something new. A German cartographer names the North and South hemispheres after him by giving them the feminine version of his name Amerigo.  America.


In 1582 Pope Gregory ordered a new Calendar to be introduced.  The Gregorian calendar was created by Jesuit Monks and was introduced in the middle of October of 1582.  It coincided with month and days Christopher Columbus first landed in the New World.


We still use that unchanged calendar today.


The second half of the 1500's also brought new additions to the Old World of Europe in the form of food. The first restaurant in Paris opened in 1582 but it was an eating place for royalty only and the word restaurant was not invented yet.


Sir Francis Drake brought potatoes to England in the 1580's.  Potatoes back in the 1500's were only cultivated and consumed in the Americas. 


In the world of art the late 1500's began what is known as the Baroque period. It was a rejection of the geometric and mathematical approach to composition of the Renaissance. 


The English language was going through a Renaissance during this time due to the work of a single man.  William Shakespeare.

During the 1600's and 1700's Spanish explorers sail along the west coast of South and Central America.  They name Baja California along with the land to the north of the peninsula.  


In the early 1600's on the East coast of the United States Puritans began settling in North America as colonies of England. 


The Mississippi river was discovered in 1541 about 20 years before Galileo was born in 1564. 


Jamestown Virginia was founded in 1607.  Santa Fe New Mexico in 1610, and Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower was in 1620. 


Connecticut adopted the first known "Constitution" in human history.  The word today sometimes is used as a metaphor.  The British Parliament uses the word to mean something to their Common Law and House of Commons but they technically don't have a constitution like the legislatures of the United States of America have constitutions, or how the United States of America has a single Constitution written in the summer of 1787 and passed on September 17 1787 and ratified and made official on June 21 of 1788.  


Canada also sometimes refers to their government as a Constitutional Monarchy" which to me is a American colonial thing they do because 2020 is not the 1600's or 1700's where states had constitutions under the the Queen or King of England.  But 2020 Canada still officially recognizes Queen Elizabeth as their Head of State which is bizarre and odd. But it all started with Connecticut in 1639 and their Fundamental Orders.


While the rest of the world was using the Gregorian calendar without any hick ups or problems.  The Puritanical Americans continued to use different calendars such as the Julian Calendar.  This eventually caused problems with marriages, births and commerce.  Individuals could be of different religions and have lived the same amount of time on earth but may have been born in different years because one was a Quaker the other Methodist or some kind of similar variation to that. 


In 1752 of the Gregorian Calendar parts of America were still using 1750 or 1751.  To fix this problem the colonies decided to adopt the Gregorian calendar to match up the dates with the rest of the world by deleting days in March and October of 1752. 


Three years later in 1755 American Hero and official Connecticut State Hero Nathan Hale was born in Coventry Connecticut. 


Colonial America also saw the formations of the first Universities.  The first University in the United States of America is Harvard in Cambridge Massachusetts.  Harvard originally was a Theological University for puritan ministers it was founded in 1636.  Soon after the founding a fairly wealthy man in the area known as John Harvard passed away and bequeathed half his estate and his entire library to the University.  The gift was big enough for the University to change their name in his honor. 


1693 saw the creation of the college of William and Mary.  1701 is the year of Yale's creation in Connecticut as a religious school by people who felt Harvard was too liberal.  In 1718 a businessman by the name of Elihu Yale gave a large gift to the school of East India goods.  The school sold the goods to buy books and build buildings and named the University after Mr. Yale. 


1755 is the year of America's first University to offer a liberal arts education (non religious) when the College of Philadelphia.  It later became the University of Pennsylvania and originated from the Academy of Philadelphia which was created by Benjamin Franklin in 1740.



From 1769 to 1823 Spanish missionaries built 21 missions along the California coast beginning in San Diego and ending in Sonoma.


During the American Revolution George Washington had a network of spies risking their lives for the cause of Independence and Freedom.  Nathan Hale was working with his friend Benjamin Tallmedge in defeating the British.  Nathan Hale, a Yale graduate, was caught and sentenced to death by hanging by the British and their German mercenaries for spying.


Before his death American patriot Nathan Hale said "I only regret I have but one life to lose for my country."


He died on September 22 1776 in New York City. He was only 21 years old.


America's most notable turncoat is Benedict Arnold. Originally a patriot who fought against the British in the American army.  Arnold helped Ethan Allen take Fort Ticonderoga.  As a commandant at fort West Point he agreed to surrender the fort to the British in exchange for money and a commission in the British army.  Arnold died in England as a turncoat to the American fight for Independence. 


Early American diplomatic relations with foreign governments were sometimes a hit and a miss.  American Lawyer Francis Dana went to Russia in 1780 but was not recognized. However, his secretary the 14 year old John Quincy Adams gained valuable experience that served America well later on in history. John Jay's treaty in Madrid in 1786 was never ratified.  However, Benjamin Franklin was successful enough in Paris to get the French on board to fight the British.


In 1783 the Treaty of Paris officially ended the American war of Independence and Revolution.  The location of the signing of the treaty is near the modern day Muse D'Orsay which is an old train station famous for housing masterpieces of impressionist art. 


Also in 1783 in Georgetown a John Suter opens a tavern which would later be used as a place for planning the design of Washington District of Columbia by the French artist and American citizen Pierre L'Enfant. 


Pierre L'Enfant is the son of a French artist who worked in the town of Versailles.  He studied at the Louvre in the time before the French Revolution and before it was a museum but after the Royal Court had moved from the Louvre to the Palace at Versailles. 


He left Paris as a trained painter and artist to fight in the American Revolution as part of the French military.  He was friends with George Washington.


L'Enfant's future in Paris at the time was blocked by the monarchy.  His father was a successful painter for the War Department in the town of Versailles, however artists and painters never ventured into the world of government and leadership.  His father spent decades as a painter for the French court but probably never had a single conversation pertaining to war strategy or foreign diplomacy.  Pierre's future as a Frenchman at the time was simply to be an ordinary artist.  He joined the French group of volunteers to help the American revolution. The colonial army had no use for painters so they made him an war engineer.  L'Enfant became an American citizen but never learned English. 


In New York City in 1783 a man by the name of Washington Irving is born.  He went on to become a author and fictional story teller of great importance to American History and culturally relevant for today.  


Soon afterward France was going through a Revolution themselves and the United States minister to France at the time was the same man who wrote the preamble and re-worded the United States Constitution,  Gourvernor Morris.  Gourvernor Morris was a playboy who lost his leg in Philadelphia in a carriage accident while being chased by a husband who was angry for catching him sleeping with his wife. 


The founding father Morris was popular with the French aristocratic women of Paris during the French Revolution.  However, he was also a supporter of Marie Antionnette and Louis the XV and tried to smuggle them out of France before the French revolutionaries beheaded their monarchs.  


Also around the time of the revolutions in the United States and France a person of great historic and cultural importance was living his life.  Chef Antione Carame was only 12 when he was abandoned at the front gates of Paris.  His family was dirt poor and he had many siblings.  His father could not provide for him anymore so he took him out to lunch at a Tavern and left him at the front gates.  Antoine quickly found his way into an apprenticeship in a tavern as a cook.


Chef Carame wrote multiple cookbooks rewriting French Culinary tradition.  He became the Chef to Tallyrand during the Napoleonic years.  He also cooked for the English ambassador and the Russian court in St. Petersburg.  During the Congress of Vienna where the world decided to exile Napoleon to an island he was the chef in charge for the French delegation and picked up the reputation as being the "Cook of kings and the King of cooks."


Meanwhile in the United States the First American Cookbook, American Cookery, was published in Connecticut as the first edition.  The author disliked the publishers unwanted input in providing detailed instructions.  To fix it Amelia Simmons, got a second edition published in Albany New York the same year of 1796. 

Columbus and the discovery of the New World revolutionized the importation and exportation of food ingredients.  Food native to the Americas are now eaten by cultures all around the world. For example; tomatoes are native to the Americas that are now part of the regional food of Italy and Spain and was re-introduced to the American pallet by a Portuguese Doctor who showed up in Richmond Virginia expressing the benefits of eating tomatoes.  Virginian families like the Jeffersons began planting them in their gardens and it later became commercialized and processed into the most American condiment in existence by the Heinz family in Pennsylvania known as Ketchup. 


Corn is also native to America and is a staple of the Venetian diet in the form of polenta. 


During the Napoleonic wars when France and Britain were fighting each other.  The British prevented the importation of Caribbean and American slave labor sugar to France.  


To solve that problem Napoleon began to plant and produce sugar from beets.  Recent scientific advancements and research lead to the discovery that sugar can be extracted from the root vegetable and be indistinguishable from cane sugar.  France planted and successfully produced sugar from beats during the Napoleonic wars.  After the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean the world production of sugar collapsed.  European countries began to re-do Napoleon's idea and by the time of the American Civil War most European countries were producing sugar from beets.


Even today most Europeans use sugar from beets while Americans use cane sugar imported from somewhere else. 


The world economy at the time of 1700-1850's was centered around the fur trade as a major commodity of globalized trade. The importation and exportation of Beaver pelts, Buffalo hide, Seal fur, Whale oil were major sources of revenue for many nations.  It was fashionable for many wealthy Europeans to wear hats made from Beaver pelts. 


The Russian government under the Tsar was no more or less that different than other European monarchies at the the time.  The Russian American Fur Company existed in the early 1800's and had a main base in Sitka Alaska which at the time was land owned by Russians. To supply their base with grain and food the Russian American Fur Company had a second more Southern Base in Northern California along the Sonoma Coast called Fort Ross.  The Russian's named this land the same as Sir Francis Drake Nova Albion. 


Meanwhile during the early 1800's the United States Congress was conducting foreign relations expanding the land of the United States of America. 


In 1800 Washington District of Columbia became the national capital city.  The founding fathers of the United States of America named the district after Christopher Columbus. In 1803 the United States and Thomas Jefferson made a real estate deal with Napoleon for the territory known as Louisiana. In 1804 Meriweather Lewis and William Clark began their expedition to find a water passage to the Pacific Ocean by sailing from the river in St. Louis Missouri.  Through many trials and tribulations they eventually reached the Columbia River in Oregon and the Pacific Ocean.  William Clark went on to be a well respected diplomate for the United States of America with Native American Tribes.  Meriweather Lewis tragically became depressed in New Orleans and committed suicide. 


In the early 1800's California had Americans, Europeans, and Native American/Indigenous, and some Americans living together.  Around 1819 the Mexican military stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco saw a Russian seal ship sail into the San Francisco Bay.  The Mexican government saw this as a sign of aggression and ordered Alfonso Vallejo's ancestor Mariano Vallejo to go start a town near Fort Ross as a defensive garrison fort. That town is Sonoma California the site of the 21st and final mission along the El Camino Real. 


Meanwhile on the east coast trouble began brewing again with the British.

The War of 1812 saw the British burn the desks in the Senate of the United States of America.  Through providence or freak weather event the fire was put out by rain via a storm.  On August 25 1814 an unusual weather event hit Washington District of Columbia.  A tornado struck the city injuring and killing British troops who were laying siege to the city.


Meanwhile the war of 1812 also saw the emergence of Andrew Jackson as the hero of the city of New Orleans. I learned this history during a week I spent in New Orleans at a collegiate debate tournament. Andrew Jackson led a group of French Spanish and Americans along with pirates to defeat the British at New Orleans. One of the oldest bars in the United States of America is Leffite's blacksmith bar on Bourbon Street it was owned by they pirate Jean Lefitte.  During the battle of New Orleans the bar served as a munitions depot.  Andrew Jackson is also a famous President with a quirky history.  He was given a 1,400 pound block of cheese as a gift and it sat in the White House for 2 years until the end of his term where he invited “the people” to come in and eat it.  The ordinary citizens ransacked the place stealing curtains, plates, chairs, furniture, all the beer and whiskey, along with devouring the 1,400 pound block of cheese.  I guess that’s one way to go out in style. 


Around the time of the War of 1812 there was the creation of a short lived state known as West Florida.  This state had flag with a single star and was composed of Spanish who settled in Louisiana just east of the Mississippi River near New Orleans.  There was a dispute over the land being part of the Louisiana Purchase or not.  It lasted for a couple months until it became a territory due to Americans moving in. 


E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company was founded in 1802 for the manufacturing of explosives. They are one of America's oldest companies.  


On July 11 1804 Burr kills Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Hamilton is buried at Trinity Church on Broadway in New York City.


In 1809 Washington Irving publishes the best seller "A History of New York." The book is comedic mock-political history of New Amsterdam.  It begins with the fictional character Olaf leaving Amsterdam on an ark for the new world.  He arrives in New Jersey when the local native Americans are so confused by his Dutch language they go and bury their heads in the sand and die.  His colony in New Jersey needs to expand so he leaves for Manhattan where he puts his finger on his nose as a sign of peace and purchases the island from the local Native American tribe beginning the fictional historical story of New York City.  He also created the fictional historical New York Family known as the Knickerbockers. 


Irving later traveled to Europe and wrote about the winter traditions of gift giving and tree lightings in England.  In 1828 while living in Spain he wrote about the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. He also wrote the fictional story about a headless horseman called Sleepy Hollow. 


Mariano Vallejo was born into a Spanish noble family on July 4 1807 in Monterey Mexico.  He had European tutors and was trained from a young age to be noble man and explorer.  His older nephew also later became a Governor of Alta California. 


Around that same time another man was born into a European noble family and was tutored and trained to be a noble man but in the Southern State of Georgia.  His name was John C. Fremont. 


Both are founding fathers of early California History. 



John C. Fremont joined the US Army as a cartographer and led an expedition to map the Southwest and Midwest of the United States.  He explored Kansas/Missouri, Nevada, and California.  He is known as putting the city of Las Vegas on the map after spending a few days there and writing a report about the oasis in the desert being a good place to stop because it had high quality water from the virgin river.


Las Vegas at the time was small town with a pioneer ranch and a Mormon mission and fort. 


Fremont and his expedition which included the mountain man Kit Carson who he picked up along the way proceeded north to the Oregon and California border. During this time in history much of the land south of the Columbia River to Sonoma was not mapped or explored. 


From 1842 to 1846 Washington Irving was the United State's minister to Spain. In 1848 Washington Irving was President of the New York City Library.  

In 1846 Americans living in California were becoming fed up with Mexican rule.  By that time the Russians at Fort Ross pretty much left.  John Sutter of Sacramento later purchased the Fort from the Russians and it became State Park in the 20th century. 


John Fremont heard about the news of the Americans wanting to the overturn Mexican rule over California and was ordered by the US military not to intervene.  


He ignored his orders and intervened any way helping the Americans arrest Mariano Vallejo by imprisoning him at Sutter's Fort in Sacramento and raising the Bear Flag on Flag Day; June 14, 1846.  The US Navy replaced it with the Stars and Stripes a few weeks later on July 4, 1846. 


Internationally in 1846 Karl Marx published his manifesto which is historically important today for some people

A nationally important event that also happened on June 19, 1846, was the birth of modern day Baseball using the rules created by Alexander Cartwright. It was played between the Knickerbockers and the New York Club at Elysian Fields in New Jersey. 


Cartwright went on to San Francisco in search of Gold. But only stayed a little while before sailing for Hawaii and becoming a well respected and known businessman.  He is buried in Honolulu. 


Then the United States and Mexico went to War with each other and signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. 


In January of 1848 Missourian James Marshall working in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Colma California discovered Gold. News quickly spread and then everybody from everywhere began showing up acting as if they owned the place including a lawyer from Tennessee who was an Oregon politician who later became California's first Governor. Peter Burnett defended Joseph Smith as a younger lawyer.  Peter Burnett also wished to genocide the local Native American populations.  


From what I can piece together from tracking down old stories of early 1950 California.  The founding fathers of California wanted to retire. Sam Brannon retired in Napa after becoming the first millionaire in California by doing business with gold seekers in Sacramento and San Francisco.  Chief Solano went north to hang out with other Native Americans in Oregon and Washington before he (allegedly) died in a field that became my community college.  Somewhere in my town are the buried bones of the man who gave Solano County their name even after almost 200 years us Californians haven’t found the burial location.  None of the members of the founding families of California wanted to be Governor so they sort of picked this Peter Burnett guy who had only been in California for 18 months. 


John C. Fremont was the First Senator from California.  He also later became the First nominee for President from the abolitionist party known as the Republican Party. He was nominated in a music hall in Philadelphia.  He also later went on to be a General in the Union Army and Governor of Missouri.


After California became a state on September 9, 1850.  Mariano Vallejo's story pretty much ends.  He was a State Senator for a little while.  He then retired to his new home which he had shipped from Boston.  His daughter married someone from Benicia and lived in different version of the same home.  Both still exist today one is a State Park in Sonoma the other is off First Street in Benicia. 


In the 1970's Budweiser opened a brewery in Fairfield California. However, the company began in 1852 in St. Louis Missouri.  The iconic clydesdales began in the 20th century when they delivered the first case of beer after the passage of the 21st amendment repealing prohibition. 


California also indirectly played a role in the American Civil War in the form of the McCormick reaper. 


The Gold Rush caused many midwestern and northern farm workers to quit their jobs in search of riches in the Sierra foothills.  Wheat crops began to become more difficult to harvest.  Cyrus McCormick invented the mechanical reaper in the upper Mississippi Valley and began selling them for $100 in 1849.  


He paid his factory workers a good wage, allowed farmers to pay in installments, and did not go after farmers who could not pay back the $100.  The reaper went on to save the Union army during the Civil war by ensuring a consistent food supply to the soldiers.


Mr. McCormick ended up living in Chicago and was personally more in support of the Confederacy than the Union.  But his invention helped end slavery in the United States and save the Union. 


According to the 1850 census America has over 2,000 bakeries employing almost 7,000 people.  However, in 1850 over 90% of the bread consumed in America is baked at home everyday. 


The 49ers of the Gold Rush live off sourdough bread and fermented biscuits. The fermented dough from the day before is used as a starter to super charge the rising of the current day's bread.  The French call this starter dough a "poolish."  The practice is introduced to America via the city of San Francisco California by European immigrants from France and Spain.  The classic San Francisco Sourdough is born.


Buttermilk Biscuit recipe and tips.


2020 needs to bake more Buttermilk Biscuits, my tangent and secret recipe. 


1852 also changed how people make the beloved American classic recipe known as Buttermilk Biscuits. 


In 1852 self-rising flour was introduced to the world by millers John and George Hecker.  Self rising flour has an addition of what we today call baking powder and salt.  This allows people to make biscuits without having to add a leavener. 


The perfect Southern Biscuit today uses White Lilly flour which is only sold and distributed in the American South or sold on Amazon.  The flour from the brand White Lilly uses a softer strain of wheat allowing for a more tender and flaky biscuit.  


Out here on the West Coast of 2020 I use Wal Mart's Great Value Self Rising Flour and get good results.   I figured a company based in Arkansas is going to make sure they sell a pretty good biscuit flour.  


If you want to make the perfect buttermilk biscuit at home just go on youtube and find Southern Living's recipe for Buttermilk Biscuit and follow the steps exactly. But change it up a little. 


I put my kitchenaide bowl and beater in the freezer for 30 minutes before hand.  I then grate a stick of frozen butter and place it in the cold bowl with 2.5 cups of self rising flour.  After a 10 minute cool down in the freezer I mix in a cup of buttermilk.  I like to use Saco's buttermilk powder with water because the powder lasts for a year or more in the fridge and that way I always have buttermilk on hand. 


I put my kitchenaide on stir for 8 seconds before putting it on a board.  


I went to Home Depot and purchased two 3 foot by 1/2 inch sticks and cut them in half so I ensure that when I roll out the dough it is an even thickness. 


I quickly cut the biscuits out with a straight up and down motion with a biscuit cutter and place on a parchment paper brush with melted butter and bake for 15 minutes at 475 for 15 minutes.


It is okay to ignore the temperature recommendation of parchment paper so long as there is not too much extra hanging off the pan.  The paper will just get brown but not catch on fire.  It is also not at all okay to use wax paper instead that is the quickest way to catch your oven on fire and burn your house down.  Don't ever use wax paper in baking, that's just a fire safety tip.


Buttermilk Biscuit End.


In 1854 the US Army built a fort and depot the city of Benicia over San Francisco which was named Yerba Linda at the time.  Benicia was more of a strategic place for defense of California.  San Francisco is surrounded by water on 3 sides and has a narrow southern land connection.  An invading Navy could easily sail into the SF Bay and an army could land in Santa Cruz and invade to the North and surround the city on all sides.  Benicia next to the Suisun Bay with only one narrow way in and out of the SF Bay and vast access to all parts of Northern California by land was a much more logical place for a fort to defend California. 


The Benicia Arsenal is a State Park and unique.  The US Army purchased Camels from the Middle East thinking the Southwest Desert was too dry for cavalry horses.  The Benicia Arsenal therefore has a Camel Barn. Also future Civil War Hero and President Ulysses S. Grant once was stationed in Benicia and got drunk and spent a night in town jail.


In November of 1859 two interesting books were published in England.  The first is Darwin's book on the origin of species.  Everybody knows that story and why it is important. 


The other book that is a little bit of a secret but also important is the Rubiyat by Omar Khayam translated by Edward Fitzgerald.  


Edward Fitzgerald was a British aristocrat who stumbled upon a Persian poem from the 1200's written by an astronomer.  He decided to translate it by learning Persian.  I guess he was that bored.  It took him years to finish his translation. 


Only about 1500 copies of his pamphlet were published.  It didn't sell a single copy for 2 years.  


Until a British born artist from Italian parents and leader of the art movement known as the Rafealites stumbled upon the translation in the bargain bin of a London Bookstore which happened in the early 1860's 


He then talked about it non stop and it became fashionable among artists and aristocrats.  In the 1920's an early copy was sold at auction in New York City for tens of thousands of dollars which was a lot more money back then than it is today.


On November 29 five days after the publication of Charles Darwin's book Origin of the Species.  American story teller Washington Irving passed away. 


In 1862 as Governor of Missouri John C. Fremont was having a disagreement with his political rival Abraham Lincoln over the emancipation of slaves. 


Having enough of Lincoln's unwillingness to issue emancipation; Fremont issued emancipation for the state of Missouri.  This action caused enough stress on Lincoln that a few months later he issued the emancipation proclamation for the United States of America.  That happened on Janurary 1 1863. 


Later on in 1863 Lincoln still irritated at Fremont through executive action ordered Fremont's home in San Francisco to be seized.  That became Fort Mason near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. 


Also the Battle of Gettysburg was fought and won by the Union army beginning July 1, 1863.


After California became a state on September 9, 1850. A riverboat was sent up the Sacramento River to deliver the news from Washington DC.  The riverboat was named the "New World."  The boat also happened to bring cholera along with the news which made 80% of the population leave the city and killed thousands. 


California's first Capital City was San Jose.  Then it moved to the city of Vallejo before taking over the new Benicia City Hall and Solano County Board of Supervisor building in Benicia California.  Up until the 1960's the California Legislature only met for a couple weeks out of the year. 


Californians from Los Angeles and areas outside of Solano and Sonoma County began to complain that the city of Benicia was too much of a drunken shenanigan type of town and began discussing moving the state Capital. 


Sacramento was chosen to be the new Capital City in 1854.  Around that same clipper ship Captain Robert Waterman who was from Connecticut and a China trader of goods.  Got marooned in San Francisco after his crew did a mutiny on him.  Waterman then visited his friend Josiah Wing who founded the city of Suisun.  In the 1858 Waterman negotiated with the Solano County Board of Supervisors to move the County Seat from Benicia to the town he just founded known as Fairfield named after the County he is from in Connecticut. 


Internationally but also culturally important for today is what was going on in Vesuvius in the early 1860's.  Pizzaola Raffeal Esposito was cooking food for a King and Queen.  Italy was about to be united as a nation state and was about to adopt a flag using the colors of Milan with a French design.  Red White and Green.  To mark the history Pizzaola Esposito made a simple pizza of crushed tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella and basil.  He named it after the Queen, it is now known as Pizza Margharita and generally accepted as the first modern day version of the pizza we all know and love. 


On the East coast of the USA during the second half of the 1800’s many Italian’s migrated to the United States and were processed at Ellis Island.  The Esposito surname means “expose” and is the 4th most common surname in Italy and the most common surname in and around Naples Italy.  I have an Italian American uncle with the surname Esposito and it is a little bit of a sad story of how the surname has become popular.  Orphanages all throughout Italy prior to unification would kick children out onto the street or “expose” when they ran out of room.  Most orphanages gave the children the surname “Esposito” as a scarlet letter kind of mark to their origin story.  In the 20th and 21st century those practices are no longer legal and no longer exist.  However, we all eat and enjoy the creation of one of Italy’s most iconic recipes made from the pizza man from Naples with the surname Esposito. 


On July 1, 1862, Lincoln signed the Transcontinental Railroad act. Sacramento is chosen as the Western Terminus and one of the first Spikes is driven in Sacramento shortly afterward. 


In 1861 Sonoma resident and European nobility County Haraszthy is sent by Governor Downey to go to Europe and learn about wine to help grow it as California commodity.  He is given a letter by Lincoln's Secretary of State Seward. 


Two things that unite every American today became fashionable during the Civil War era. 


The first is Thomas Nast using the success of Washington Irving's fictional character Olaf as a template to create a bearded jolly man who collected letters from Union soldiers and delivered them to families.  This fictional cartoon character later became commercialized into the modern day Santa Clause. 


The cartoon depicting Santa as Jolly old St. Nick first appeared in Harper's Magazine on January 3rd 1863; 2 days after Lincoln's emancipation proclamation. Thomas Nast was a fierce supporter of Republicans like John C. Fremont and Abraham Lincoln. 


In 1870's Thomas Nast popularized the symbols of the Donkey and the Elephant to represent the Democratic and Republican parties.  The Republican elephant was a cartoon of a scared elephant running away from a donkey in costume as a lion.  Prior to the 1870’s the donkey was an Andrew Jackson specific campaign gimmick and not a symbol of the political party as a whole.  To this day the Democratic Party has not officially adopted the donkey as a mascot however, the Republican Party has officially made the elephant their mascot because of Thomas Nast. 



The second thing that became popular during the Civil War was the use of the fork as an eating utensil among everybody.  Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers brought the fork into their homes during the French Revolution.  It took several decades for the use of the fork to become widespread among everyone.  By the time the Civil War happened pretty much everyone in America were using forks as eating utensils. 


In 1867 the United States of America purchased Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million dollars.  It was negotiated by Secretary Seward. 


Also in 1867 the British Parliament decided to try to steal the thunder from the United States declaring Independence.  The Second Continental Congress met on July 1, 1776, voted on July 2, adopted the declaration, on July 4 engrossed it on July 19 and was mostly signed on August 2 of 1776.  


Knowing that history the British Parliament in London decided to pass a bill giving Canada more freedom than it had before.  Canada celebrates this act by the House of Commons as "Canada Day" as some kind of independence day.  But they never fought a war against the British and there was no surrender at Yorktown so it doesn't count as one in my American Book. July 1 also happens to be my birthday so sometimes I feel like historic British House of Common people ruined by birthdate.  



In 1869 two locomotives meet in Utah uniting the East and west coasts by rail.  Also in 1869 the California Legislature begins holding sessions in their new building known as the California State Capitol. 


In 1874 worldwide wine growers were hit with the disease known as Phyloxera.  The California Legislature appoints a commission to investigate the cause and come up with a scientific solution to the problem. 


The wine makers of Sonoma figured out how to solve the problem locally by using native American grape varieties and grafting them onto European varieties.  The French devastation was fixed by the help of Texas.  A Texan botanist by the name of Denison worked with Frenchman to come up with a way to re-root and restock French grape varieties with grapevines native to the South and Texas.  In the late 1800's the French Government even awarded Denison with the Legion of Honor medal. 


In the later 1870's and 1880's the industrial revolution began to kick into high gear with the birth of electricity. 


In world of art and also culturally important for today is the birth of photography as a medium in the second half of the 1800's. 


Photography began in France and America in the mid 1800's.  It did not become accessible to everyone until it became more portable by George Eastman and his Kodak camera in 1888. 


In the early 1890's Chicago held the Columbian World Exposition which featured a magnificent display of electricity.  The fair also marked the introduction of the Ferris Wheel. 


Historically important was the world displays by Germany which is now seen as a pre-curser to German aggression in World War I.  


No other state had a more popular and grander exhibition than the state of California.  California had a Spanish Mission designed building housing agricultural displays unparalleled by other states.  Everyday there was fresh fruit shipped from Southern California.  There also was a grand display of wine from the northern bay area wine country. The California building was second in size only to Illinois and it featured a 113 foot Moorish Dome along with an extensive roof garden.


Californian taxidermy seals from the Smithsonian Institution were also a popular display inside the US Government Building during Chicago's Columbian Exposition. 


The Columbian World's Fair represented a large display of electricity using AC current developed by Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse.  Tesla's AC current helped create hydroelectric power plants in upstate New York which have been providing pretty much clean energy for New York City for over a century.  


During the 1800's the grand avenues and large open spaces of Washington District of Columbia remained unfinished.  The original design and plans were from L'Enfant and the land was surveyed by the African American freeman and scientist Benjamin Bannecker.  However, political squabbling and inability to get anything done left much of the city unfinished. 


The United States of America's inability to complete their Capital City did not stop the French from making massive changes in the streets of Paris during the late 1800's by Napoleon III.


The Paris we know today with her grand wide avenues and open spaces are only about 150 years old.  


Shortly after massive city changes to Paris.  The United States Congress began digging up L'Enfant's designs and completing his original plans.  The early 20th century saw the completion of many of his projects and his reburial at Arlington National Cemetery. 


Arlington National Cemetery is also something that came out of the Civil War Days.  Prior to the Civil War it was land owned by the Lee family.  One of America's first cookbook author's Mary Randolph who wrote "The Viriginan Housewife" which is considered America's first Southern Cookbook was the first person buried in what later became Arlington National Cemetery. When she died it was simply a family plot of land.


The Lee family were well known in the Washington District of Columbia area prior to the Civil War.  To this day the Presidential guest house where foreign heads of state and dignitaries stay when visit our nation's capital city is the former home of the Lee family.  


General Robert Lee was offered command of the Union Army in what is today the Presidential guest house.  During the civil war the Union Army began laying to rest the dead of Union and Confederate soldiers at Lee's property in Arlington which later became Arlington National Cemetery. 



In 2015 I was in Paris during the historic United Nations Paris Climate Accords.  By almost every measure it would be considered a historic event worthy of being noted in history books. But Paris makes history everyday it really isn't anything new for that city. 


While at the D'Orsay museum I enjoyed an exhibit on female photographers in Paris in the early 20th century.  It was fascinating to see old photos of from female photographers on the streets of Paris.  There were exhibits that documented the early rise of communism and fascism in the form of political posters on Parisian streets.  Along with incredible portraits of people from every walk of life. 


I noticed a book on American female photographers at the Paris exhibition of 1900 entitled "Ambassadors of Progress." 


The book tells the story of the early days of photography during the late Victorian era.  While France was going through an art Renaissance of impressionism.  American women were becoming entrepreneurs and starting photography businesses. 


George Eastman gave a woman from Hampton Virginia named Francis B. Johnston a camera.  She was from a fairly well to do family with some connections in the political circles of government.  She began documenting the progress of the education of African American children in the post reconstruction days by photographing school children at the Hampton Institute and also schools in the deep South. 


Many women of the middle and upper class of the late Victorian era had a lot of leisure time.  They did not really have to go work to put food on the table because the husband did that.  Many families of that social class could afford nannies and tutors for the children.  Many women took up hobbies like writing and some took on the hobby of photography using the Kodak camera. 


The Kodak camera was light enough to be portable and lugged around by foot or easily moved around a home studio.  The processing of the film was fairly easy to learn and master.  Many photography clubs did not allow female members.  The hobby became popular among the women's rights and suffragist movements of the time. 


Francis Johnston began taking photographs of the men in government at the time.  For men having a portrait of yourself with a camera became a new fashionable thing to do and it was far cheeper to hirer a photographer then hirer a painter to paint a portrait.  


Francis Johnston would charge around $10 a portrait and had a fairly successful business.  Many women did something similar in Ohio Chicago and San Francisco and many were successful running a business. 


Francis Johnston worked with a suffragist networks to put together an exhibit of the photographic work of American females for the Paris exhibition of 1900.  The reviews were mixed and some mysoginist men did not like the work.  However, many enjoyed the excellent work by these American female photographers and it is considered a historic event worthy of being noted because of the obstacles these women faced in the United States at the time. 


George Eastamn established his business in 1880 but re-incorprporated in 1901 as Eastman Kodak Company due to the success and popularity of his camera due in part to the success and influence of women photographers of the late Victorian era. 


In Europe during the mid 1800’s there were a string of revolutions in countries and the overthrow of monarchies.  One of the last of the remaining European monarchies was that of Russia.  Russia during the American Civil war supported the Union Army and even anchored couple naval vessels to Boston and New York harbors during the American Civil War.  However, as the 19th century was coming to a close the Russian revolutionaries and marxists were setting their sites on the Tsar of Russia. 


As family stories go my family story of my great grandfather escaping Russia from the revolutionaries is simple.  Antone Carpowich was a well off enough guy who left everything and escaped to Lithuania where he found a bride and immigrated to the United States in the 1890’s.  They had 4 children including my Grandfather Edward and moved west eventually settling in the Kansas City Independence Missouri area.  


My Grandfather married my Grandmother Freida in Kansas City who was born in Ossowatamie Kansas, the adopted hometown of the abolitionist John Brown.  After Pearl Harbor my grandfather decided he wanted to become a pilot and filled out forms to join the Army.  He was denied because during that time they were not accepting married men with children into the Army.  He then went to the next town and filled out the forms again and lied saying he was a single unmarried man and was accepted into the Army.  


The family story about my Grandfather Edward as a pilot is that he was wild and out of control.  My aunt remembers being a child and hearing the story of him buzzing a tower like Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun and having it be an uproar among the adults.  My Grandfather was demoted from pilot to bombarder navigator.  He received multiple metals during World War II and flew dozens of missions over nazi Germany.  The Hollywood movie “Spirit of St. Louis” is a good representation of the kind of job he had during World War II.


Unfortunately I never got to meet my Grandfather because he was murdered in Louisiana in October of 1951 when my Dad was only 4 months old. Edward is buried in Kansas City.


My Grandmother remarried one of Captain Carpowich’s sergeants a Jack Tinsley and they had more children who are my aunts and uncles.  Both are now deceased and are buried in Southern California.  


Jack Tinsley was born in South Carolina and his grandfather Leonard Tinsley fought in the American Civil War on the Confederate side.  Jack Tinsley served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.  


Much of 20th century history is still being written and can be learned by simply asking people who lived most of their lives in the 20th century.  That century’s history is their story to write and tell. 


That being said I think there are some simplifications that are too easy to make about 20th century history that lead to conclusions that are too easy to make. 


The word “Progressive” is a word that is full of early 20th century history that is easily distorted leading to a false narrative and wacky conclusions.  For example; Upton Sinclair was a Bernie Sanders like progressive a hundred years ago.  He is famous for writing The Jungle about meat processing in Chicago leading to FDA inspections and government regulations.  He is also famous for his run as Governor of California in the 1930’s on a platform fighting poverty and economic redistribution.  However, he is less known for his bizarre psychological beliefs in psychic capabilities and telepathy.  He wrote books supporting pseudo scientific beliefs in the power of telepathy and psychic energy from his pseudo science lab in Southern California.  


I think the in the 21st century there is an element in believing in a future utopia based on psychic capabilities of changing one thing in the present.  For example college campuses and professors might be buying too much into the idea that if we change language and how people talk to each other in the present day then it would lead to massive changes in the 2050’s and 2060’s and some kind of progressive utopia. 


Ideas like the butterfly effect where a small change now can make a large change in the future when applied to narratives in History can lead to a distorted view of history and our present times.  


Time machines do not exist and we can’t change the past or speed up the future and make it happen before it happens.  


But if useless random 20th century pop culture like Bill and Ted or Ready Player One has taught us anything it is that learning narratives in History is important and we can move forward by examining the past and rediscovering the clues History has left behind.


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