HURRICANES AND KEY WEST CEMETERIES

I was traveling through Islamorada on my way back to Key West after escaping Irma. As with 80 percent of my fellow Key West citizens, I got out of Dodge when it was reported Irma might hit Key West as a category 5.

Better safe than sorry.

Islamorada was a disaster. Everything where it did not belong. Boats on land, houses in the ocean and canals, cars everywhere except on roads and in driveways.

I was traveling on US 1 when to my right I saw something I will probably never see again. A big tree to with a huge refrigerator laying on its side on two heavy branches about 20 feet up.

Such was not the first time a Keys’ hurricane had transported something unnatural onto trees and in a wooded area. The hurricane that struck Key West on October 11, 1864, did also. Hurricanes not named back then. Nor designated by category.

Historians today label the 1846 hurricane a 5.

The wind was the strongest ever recalled. The wind, flooding, damages, and suffering unparalleled in Key West history.

Key West was wiped out. Leveled.

Residential dwellings approximately 400 at the time. Only 10 left standing. Commercial buildings in excess of 500. Only 8 left standing.

Death toll unknown. Records were not kept at the time.

The wind blew wood and stone over the island. A witness described the air as “filled with missiles.”

Interestingly, very little rain. A storm surge of some magnitude, however. Five to eight feet high, traveling at 6 miles per hour. Covered the island swiftly.

No Sloppy Joe’s in 1846. Where Sloppy Joe’s stands today was a 200 foot long salt pond. A bridge to get across. The wind blew out the bridge. People needed the bridge to get to higher ground to escape the surge. They were forced to swim. In water filled with all kinds of debris.

There were two Key West cemeteries at the time. The public one behind a natural dune ridge paralleling the southern beachfront. The other, a military cemetary. Located near the Marine Hospital.

Both cemeteries destroyed. The scene especially macabre in a forest nearby the public cemetery. The hurricane had disinterred buried bodies. Blown some into the forest. One witness described the scene: “The dead were scattered through the forest, many of them lodged in trees.” A refrigerator following Irma. Dead bodies in 1846.

The military graveyard “…..entirely washed away.”

Remember William Hackley of Key West Citizen fame? He wrote in his diary: “The hurricane of 1846 has made cowards of us all.” It was that bad.

A community needs a cemetery. Especially a growing one. The very next year the Key West Cemetery was opened. In Old Town. Nineteen acres.

It is estimated 100,000 are buried in the new cemetery. Sixty of them reinterred from those bodies blown out of graves  and scattered nearby. Including the forest.

The cemetery averages 100 new interments a year.

Although the new cemetery was opened in 1847, some of its headstones go back as far as 1829. Stones that survived the 1846 hurricane.

Irma was bad enough. There are parts of the lower Keys still  recovering. Rebuilding, clean up, not even close to completion.

We are still ahead of the game, however. We have learned and continue to learn. Advance warnings, preparation, building codes, FEMA, other governmental assistance, etc.

I assume we build our cemeteries better. I really don’t know. It may take a category 5 to find out.

 

WORLD IS RUNNING OUT OF SAND

The world supply of water is insufficient. A fact well known for years. Man is doing his best to develop means to avoid a life and death crisis.

Sand is important to man’s existence. Primarily for new construction (making of concrete) and the replenishment of shorelines where sand has been depleted because of storms.

Sand is gold. A natural resource. Only so much. Non-renewable. Presently in short supply. In researching the sand problem, I came across a comment that was right on: Sand Shortage – A Shore Thing!

The primary source of sand is river beds. The world presently uses 50 billion tons of sand a year. Twice the amount produced by all river beds. Clear evidence the world is running out of sand.

Forget desert sand. Too fine for any uses.

Where does all the sand go? What are its uses that take so many tons?

Cities are exploding world wide. More and more people moving to cities. More and more construction required to accommodate them. The U.S. a major real estate developer and user of sand. China way ahead of the U.S. From 2011-2013, China used as much sand for construction purposes as the U.S. had in all of the 20th century.

Fracking in recent years in the U.S. has increased the amount of sand used by the U.S.

Ninety percent of the world’s beaches have shrunk an average of 40 meters over the past 10 years, requiring sand to replenish them.

India a most interesting place. Sand a hot commodity. The field taken over by organized crime. Known as the Sand Mafia. Sells sand on the black market.

India’s Sand Mafia as well organized as a central American drug cartel. They employ 75,000 persons to dive for river sand. The 75,000 work a 12 hour day. Each dives up to 200 times a day. Drivers are paid a miniscule $15 per boat load.

Other sources for usable sand must be discovered.

Initiation of wars in Africa and the Middle East under consideration. To the victor goes the spoils. The excellent sand in those two areas will belong to the victor.

Man has to figure out how to use desert sand. How to treat and develop it so it will be the same quality and intensity as river bed sand.

Recycled glass a possibility. Glass is basically made from sand.

Transportation of sand from Mars to be used on Earth. It has already been determined that Mars has large supplies of blue sand usable for Earth construction.

Recent volcanoes a tragedy. However a benefit in the making. Black sand a result. A volcano’s emissions when dried become weathered fragments of volcanic glass.

Finally all else failing, construct buildings from wood rather than concrete.

Keep in mind that sand is a non-renewable natural resource. Once used, gone forever.

Man is not going to stop constructing concrete buildings. The U.S., China, etc. will continue to do so big time. Until there is no more usuable sand.

Those who have the wisdom to get into alternative building sources are likely to be the billionaires of tomorrow.

SIT AT ATTENTION OR DIE

 

Trump is enamoured with authoritarian figures. He especially admires people who permit their leaders to enjoy absolute power.

Simply stated, means that Trump when he speaks does not know what he is talking about.

A perfect example is his new found relationship with Kim Jong Un.

Trump said he wants “my people” to “sit up at attention” as they do in North Korea when Kim speaks.

If Trump knew anything about recent North Korean history, he would be aware that they do so because they fear death.

Two 2016 episodes are proof.

A deputy premier for education was executed by a firing squad for exhibiting “disrespectful posture” in a meeting. A general fell asleep in a meeting. He was executed with an anti-aircraft gun.

Kim randomly executes anyone in his way. Before Trump’s visit, three generals. Last year, a half brother by chemical poisoning at a Malaysian airport. An uncle he had killed with anti-aircraft machine guns following which the body was incinerated with flamethrowers.

Nice guy!

Trump loves dictators. I suspect because he wants to be one. He forgets he was elected to represent the people, not the people to represent him.

Authoritarian figures are sick dogs. Go to bed with a dog who has fleas and you wake up with fleas. Trump does not see this. He does not care. He wants to be one of them.

Here is what being one of them means if Kim is a man you admire.

Rule by fear. Kim has concentration/detention camps. Holding more than 120,000 at any given time. Most are political enemies. Some economic, others for retraining.

No trial. Arrested and sent away. Not just the accused. The accused’s entire family Covering three generations. Yours, the elders behind you and the young ones next in line. Kim believes arrest one member of a family and the rest remember and will do you harm. So he automatically arrests three generations at one time.

Camp numbers remain the same because those sent do not live long. Kim starves them. Death keeps the numbers at a maintainable level. In addition to starvation, torture, disease, arbitrary brutality, and execution.

Kim needs money first and foremost for weapons and luxuries. Luxuries for North Korea’s ruling elite. Not to feed the Korean people, in or out of jail.

There are many camps. Only one experiments on human subjects. Pregnancies a problem. Even in a concentration camp, people find ways to mate. Kim’s solution abortion. Done by shooting a hypodermic needle filled with gasoline into a woman’s stomach.

Children educated from day one to have absolute obedience to Kim. They turn into cult figures. They are also taught to hate the official enemies of North Korea: The U.S. and Japan.

Christianity is considered a serious threat. Practice of any Christian religion forbidden. Caught reading a Bible results in instantaneous execution.

Trump is a bad guy in his own right. Look at the discourse he has created. In only 1.5 years. His own party is afraid to speak up against him.

Trump has another 2.5 years in office. How much more damage will he do?

My greatest fear is that there will be no Presidential election in 2020. You may think me crazy. However consider the wrongs he has wrought so far.

In recent days, Trump has said how nice it was that Kim is a leader for life. No election. China’s Xi was recently elected President for life. Putin wins in Russia continuously, forgetting that Putin kills or jails his opposition.

Trump wants to be them.

FBI OF TODAY THE JEWS OF YESTERDAY

Lie. Lie big time. The lie must be bigger than people think a lie can be. It must be difficult of belief. Repeat it, repeat it, and repeat it again. Eventually, the people will believe the lie to be true.

Thank you Adolph Hitler. Thank you Donald Trump.

History recognizes Hitler as a great liar. Donald Trump follows in his footsteps. Hitler initiated the lying program, Trump adopted it.

The big lie is simply unbelievable propaganda repeated rhetorically. Till a point is driven home. Hitler coined the expression “big lie” in Mein Kampf. In Chapter X, he wrote that the lie used must be so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone could “distort the truth so infamously.” He continued, the big lie has to have a “certain force of credibility.” That people “more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie.”

The information composing the big lie generally is of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

Hitler is recognized as having been a great orator. He swayed the masses. Repeating constantly the same lies.

Hitler used the big lie to turn simple anti-Semitism into mass murder. He first blamed World War I on international Jewry. Then sold the Germans the belief that Jews were the real power in Britain, Russia and the United States. Concluded his onslaught with the belief that Jews were involved in a “war of extremism” against Germany.

The big lie took hold. Thereafter, it was a simple matter to make the German people believe a duty and right existed to “exterminate” and “annihilate” Jews as a self-defensive mechanism.

Professor Emeritus Bruce Loeba of Idaho State University wrote at length re Hitler’s oratorical abilities and his repetition of falsehoods till believed.  He further said, “People were most willing to follow him, because he seemed to have the right answers.”

Ivana Trump in a 1990 Vanity Fair interview revealed that husband Donald kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed. My New Order repeated Hitler’s speeches from his earliest days to the Phony War of 1939.

Trump denies ever reading it.

The U.S. Office of Strategic Services during World War II prepared a paper setting forth traits peculiar to Hitler. Included were the following: Take advantage of every opportunity to raise a political whirlwind, never allow the public to cool off, never admit a fault or wrong, never concede there may be some good in an enemy, never accept blame, concentrate on one or a few enemies and blame them for everything that goes wrong, people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one, repeat the big lie frequently enough and people will sooner or later believe it.

Donald Trump sounds like the reincarnation of Hitler trait wise and thought wise. Trump manifests most of Hitler’s characteristics. Especially those he blasphemes who he believes are opposed to him.

An organization Trump seeks to destroy is the FBI. A most respected group till Trump became President. Now becoming the worst thing in America. Liars, spies, law breakers, etc. He throws mud on the previously clean and pure reputation of the FBI.

His words re the FBI lies. Big ones. Repeated so much that some have begun to believe them. Resulting in the FBI of today becoming the Jews of yesterday.

 

BLACK CAESAR…..KEYS PIRATE

 

In 1718, the notorious pirate Black Caesar was hung in Williamsburg, Virginia. A man of color. As were 5,000 other pirates who worked the Florida straits and Gulf of Mexico. The colored pirates constituting 25 percent of the overall pirate population between 1700 and 1725.

History places Caesar in the top echelon of pirate leaders. Color not an issue in the then pirate world.

Caesar’s life began in Africa. He was a respected and feared tribal chieftain. He was aware slavers were constantly capturing blacks to sell into slavery. He and his men were careful to avoid capture.

Caesar was a party man. Enjoyed women and drink. His downfall.

A ship captain had taken a small boat to shore. He was showing off that which he had to sell. Jewelry, colorful scarves and liquor. He brought with him a young woman. Caesar and his men were assured there were more on the ship.

Caesar and his men went out to the ship. Began partying. They were not aware the boat had lifted anchor and was slowly drifting out to sea. A small fight ensued. Caesar and his men were overcome.

Caesar was on his way to being slave in the new world.

He was chained and thrown below. Difficult to control. Constantly ranting and raving. Refusing to eat.

A white sailor befriended him. Caesar began accepting food and water only from the sailor.

Nearing the Florida coast, a hurricane arose. Caesar’s sailor friend freed Caesar so he would not go down with the ship. Caesar freed his men. Topside was in chaos. Everyone fearing death. Caesar and his sailor friend opted to leave the ship. No one wanted to join them. Caesar felt a smaller vessel was safer.

Caesar commanded a long boat. Took some guns and supplies. The storm pushed the long boat to shore. They survived. The ship went down, with no survivors.

Caesar and his friend pirated for several years by taking the long boat out when they saw a passing ship. Just the two of them. They made like they had survived a wreck. When close, they showed their guns and threatened to sink the ship. Every ship provided them with supplies, guns and treasure.

The two amassed a fortune playing this ruse. They were operating out of Elliott Key. Lore has it their treasure is buried on Elliott Key. No one has found it to this day.

Elliott Key is just north of Key Largo and to the east of what is now Homestead.

Caesar’s sailor friend had taken a young lady as booty off one of the ships. She became his girl friend. Caesar’s also. The two fought a duel over her. Caesar won. The sailor was killed.

Caesar expanded his piracy efforts. Took on men and began attacking ships on the high seas. When U.S. or European military vessels sought him out, he hid in the mangroves.

Elliott Key became quite the place. Caesar lived like a Caesar. He kept a harem of 100 women.

He wanted more booty quicker. He joined up with Blackbeard. He became Blackbeard’s Lieutenant on the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Joining Blackbeard was a mistake. Everyone wanted to capture Blackbeard. U.S. Navy Lt. Robert Maynard killed Blackbeard in a battle.

Caesar was captured in the same battle.

It was all over for Black Caesar. He was transported to Williamsburg, tried, convicted and hung.

 

I’M THE PRESIDENT, AREN’T I?

Russia is a problem today. Russia was a problem yesterday. It has been a problem since the Russian Revolution of 1917. More so following World War II. Then a hiatus from 1989 till the ascendency of Vladimir Putin to power.

By 1961, Berlin had been divided into two different entities. East Berlin under Russian control and West Berlin under U.S. and West Berlin control.

People did not like living under Russian domination in East Berlin. They began escaping into West Berlin. The Russians did not approve. In August 1961, construction of a Russian inspired wall began to keep the East Berliners in East Berlin. The wall composed of barb wire and concrete.

The wall became known as the Berlin Wall.

The wall eventually started coming down 28 years later in 1989.

During its existence, 100,000 persons tried to escape to West Berlin. Only 500 made it. One hundred forty died trying.

Ronald Reagan became President of the United States and Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia. They learned how to get along.

Gorbachev knew Russia was suffering. Its war with Afghanistan was costly and a drain on Russia’s economy. He also knew Russia had to reform its political system if it were to survive.

Reagan was scheduled to speak at the wall’s Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987. He wanted the speech to be special. He wanted it to make a point.

His speech writer was Deputy White House Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein. Duberstein wrote a dramatic line. Even more powerful when Reagan would deliver it with his acting fervor. The line: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

Reagan liked the line. No one else. Secretary  of State George Shultz and National Security Adviser Colin Powell were vehemently opposed. The line too strong.

Those involved with the speech argued for weeks right up to the day of the speech whether the line should remain.

Reagan wanted the line in.

On the day of the speech, Duberstein and Reagan had this memorable exchange.

REAGAN: I’m the President, aren’t I?

DUBERSTEIN: Yes sir, Mr. President. We’re clear about that.

REAGAN: So I get to decide whether the line about tearing the wall down stays in?

DUBERSTEIN: That’s right, sir. It’s your decision.

REAGAN: Then it stays in.

Stayed in it did! Reagan’s words for history. Two and a half years later, the wall began to come down.

A GENERAL WHO NEVER WON A BATTLE NOR LOST A COURT MARTIAL

There are times when it is not uncommon for high ranking military persons to do wrong. To dishonor themselves and their country. Money the motivating factor. The most recent example being General Michael Flynn.

During the American Revolution, it was General James Wilkinson. A man at the time considered by many even worse than Aaron Burr.

Historian Samuel Eliot Morrison described Wilkerson as “a traitor to every cause he embraced.”

Wilkinson was a soldier and statesman. Scandal and controversy followed his every step. Corrupt and treacherous, history has described him as a scoundrel, sneak, and spy. And most importantly for Wilkinson himself, a survivor.

During the Revolution, he plotted to overthrow General George Washington. He was twice tried for wrongdoing only to win at military hearings. He was returned each time to duty and rank.

He teamed with Aaron Burr at one time to have several states slip from the Union and form an independent country. Burr failed only because Wilkinson “flipped” on him to use a term commonly heard these days. Wilkinson informed on Burr to save his own ass.

While a General, he spied for Spain. For monetary gain. He was well paid in silver. So much that Wilkinson had difficulty in getting it transported to the United States. The barrels full of silver were too heavy.

In order to work his arrangement with Spain, he was required to take an oath of allegiance to the King of Spain. Which he did.

The American Army had the position of “clothier general.” The title speaks for itself. Wilkerson became “clothier general.” He was forced to resign after an audit showed he was siphoning money off for himself.

He was lacking in military genius. A military bumbler. During an invasion of Canada during the War of 1812, his army consisted of 4,000 men. They were defeated by 180 Canadians.

Wilkinson had certain traits that inured to his benefit. He was a charmer. One who knew how to flatter those in high places. He was a master of intrigue and an expert at covering his misdeeds.

All of which resulted in his becoming Commander in Chief of the American Army in 1796.

Theodore Roosevelt commented re Wilkinson: “In all our history, there is no more despicable character.”

Worse than Aaron Burr and we never heard of him!

 

CAN AN INDEPENDENT BE ELECTED PRESIDENT IN 2020?

 

The soon to be asked question. One which will be asked immediately following the 2018 legislative elections. Can an independent be elected President in 2020?

I say yes. Matters are rapidly fomenting in this country. Matters which will send throngs of people to the polls to vote for the independent candidate. The perceived need for change which elected Trump will be the motivation. Except the people will not make the mistake of electing a Trump this time.

Independents and third party candidates have failed in the modern era. Money and organization the reason. Not an issue this time. In the drive to elect an independent in 2020, money will back the independent. From rich and poor alike. Organization will follow. Money for computers and staff will assure organization.

Political organizations have not been forever in the United States. Parties have come and gone. We are at the stage not only where an independent can be elected President, but also where one of the present day major parties could die.

Our first President George Washington was an independent. He was elected twice. There were no political parties when he ran. Our Founding Fathers failed to address the issue in the Constitution. The reason simple. There were no voter based political parties in the 1780’s into the early 1790’s in the United States. In fact, there had never been any at any time in the history of the world.

Political parties first came into being in 1792 in the United States. They continue to this day. There have always been two major parties. Minor ones also. The major parties changed names, philosophies, and membership along the way. Several times.

Statistically, 42 percent of Americans are independents. Twenty nine percent Democrats. Twenty six percent Republicans. Independents continue to increase in numbers. Four in ten voters do not want a political party. Blacks are going independent.

Most importantly, the people continue to be pissed off. This time however, organized.

The anti-gun groups, Women’s March supporters, March for Truth, Black Lives Matter, other black groups, and the millennials will make the difference. They are already organizing. Together. To defeat Republicans in 2018. If they hang together, they can elect an independent in 2020.

Who?

Governor John Kasich of Ohio is prominently discussed. Joe Scarborough quietly. He became an independent with Trump’s candidacy. There will be others.

A leader in the money end of the movement will be former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. A person of financial substance with friends equally well heeled.

If an independent is elected, I predict the Republican Party’s demise will be on its way. Though in power in recent years, they are are diminishing in number and influence. Other major parties have come and gone in the past 226 years. Today’s Republican Party is no different.

Change! Big time! On its way!

 

Congress To Blame For Post Office Debt

Trump has decided the Post Office is in debt. He is correct. One hundred billion dollars plus in debt. He blames Amazon who contracts with the Post Office for many of its deliveries. Big dollars to the Post Office. In 2017, $7 billion. In reality, Amazon’s $7 billion is the Post Office’s life line.

 

The Post Office of course gives Amazon a discount. Any business that gets that volume of work provides a discount. The Post Office still makes a significant profit.

 

The real reason Trump is on Amazon’s ass is because the owner of Amazon also owns the Washington Post. The Washington Post is constantly investigating Trump’s activities. Trump is trying to get even with the Post by going after Amazon.

 

Last thursday, Trump announced he had created a task force to study the Post Office’s financial problems. Trump continues to assert the Post Office’s problems arise because of pricing in the package delivery market.

 

Trump has failed to do his homework.

 

Up through 2005, the Post Office was debt free. Made money. Understand the Post Office is set up to receive no tax dollars. It subsidizes itself by revenues from postage and services.

 

The Post Office was a cash cow. Congress recognized it. Congress devised a scheme whereby certain Post Office funds could be channeled into the national fund. To pay various government obligations.

 

In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act which was signed into law. It set up a system that would bankrupt any business.

 

The law mandated payments to pre-fund health care benefits for postal retirees – 75 years into the future. To make it even worse, the total of the payments had to be paid in 10 years. Project costs 75 years, but pay full amount in 10 years. The cash cow got fatter.

 

The law is quirky. Experts say full of accounting gimmickry. An example being the law only required pre-funding to actual current and past employees at the time of its passage in 2006. Theoretically, it has to include new entrants beyond that date and/or not born yet for accounting purposes. Making the program even more onerous.

 

Note that the Post Office is the only enterprise in America required by law to pre-fund future retiree healthcare benefits.

 

The new law required the Post Office to pay roughly $5.5 billion a year in pre-funded benefits. Any wonder why the Post Office was solvent in 2005 and in debt 2 years later.

 

A point was reached where the Post Office could not pay the pre-funded dollars. The ten years ended 2016. However at that time instead of 100 percent prefunded, only 49 percent had been paid. The Post Office owes the rest.

 

The Post Officewas required to pay, if it could, $115 million per month. Tough!

 

The solution is to change the law. Perhaps lower the amount. Even better, get off pre-funding and go to pay as you go like everyone else.

AN AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR HERO WHO LOST HIS HEAD

Joseph Warren was a leader in the early days of the fight for freedom. In the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, he was out in front as a protagonist. He died at the Battle of Bunker Hill early in the War.
Few today know of him. I did not till this past week when I came across a short story which mentioned him. Roused my curiosity. Motivated me to learn more about him.
He was a man!
Warren was born June 11, 1741. Died, June 17, 1775. His life short lived. Thirty four years. Much accomplished however during that time.
He was part of the fomenting years leading up to the Revolutionary War. Trained as a physician, he began his practice at the age of 22. In Boston.
Warren was considered a foremost physician. His patients from the upper crust. Men such as Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
Even prominent loyalists sought his professional services. His patients included the children of the Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson, the British General Thomas Gage, and Gage’s American born wife Margaret.
Warren used his medical practice to spy on the British. His wife had died. He became involved with General Gage’s wife Margaret. Margaret provided Warren with advance notice of the planned British movement on Concord. Margaret being American born was disposed to the colonial cause. She was a constant source of information.
General Gage finally dealt with the Margaret problem. He put her on a British vessel and sent her off to Britain. She played no part in colonial matters thereafter.
Warren was a leader of the Sons of Liberty. A foremost patriot. As time went on, his patriot disposition became more apparent. Open and public.
There was a time he was a grave robber. As such, a member of Spunkers. Spunkers was a group of Harvard medical students who raided grave yards, jails and poor houses in search of bodies. Bodies that could be used for medical training purposes.
The Boston Massacre occurred in 1770. It became a rallying point for those opposed to British treatment of the colonists.
The Boston Massacre was commemorated each year thereafter. Warren twice spoke to two separate annual meetings.
The second such meeting took place on March 6, 1775. The meeting was held in the Old South Meeting House in Boston. The enemy was present. Hundreds of British officers and soldiers surrounded the building and were stationed inside.
The crowd of colonists spilled into the aisles.
Warren had no fear. He was a man of brass testicles. He appeared at the meeting dressed as Cato. A flowing white Roman toga. A symbol of democracy at the time.
Not intimidated, Warren delivered a rousing address.
Warren was the Masonic Grand Master of St. Andrew’s Lodge of Freemasons. A big deal. The group met at the Green Dragon Tavern. The Tavern was considered the early headquarters for the Revolution.
Many of the Masons meeting were members of the Sons of Liberty. Paul Revere was one. Warren and Revere were best friends.
The Boston Tea Party did not go over well with King George III and Parliament. The colonists were considered upstarts who needed to be put in their place. Taught manners. Made to know who their uppers were.
Parliament passed the Intolerable Acts of 1774. The Acts suspended colonial government and closed the Port of Boston till payment was made in full for the lost tea.
No way the colonists would accept such submission. It was not part of their psyche. Warren in September 1774 drafted a radical set of resolutions in opposition for Suffolk County communities. Boston area communities. Titled the Suffolk Resolves.
The Suffolk Resolves stated, “No obedience is due” to the Intolerable Acts. The Resolves called for a boycott of British goods and for local militias to prepare for armed resistance.
The Suffolk Resolves were endorsed overwhelmingly by the Continental Congress. The British called the document “undoubtedly treasonable.”
Warren sensed fighting might take place soon. He sent Paul Revere on a five day ride to Philadelphia to warn of the possibility. This was not the famous Paul Revere ride. The “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” That was to come later.
The time did come later. Warren learned the British troops were preparing to cross the Charles River and march to Lexington. The British intended to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Then on to Concord to seize colonial munitions. Thank you, Margaret Gage.
Warren dispatched Paul Revere on the famous midnight ride. He sent Revere across the Charles River and into the surrounding country side. He dispatched William Dawes on the longer land route.
Boston was under siege following Lexington and Concord. The patriots needed cannons to give them the firepower to force the British out of Boston.
Where to get them? Benedict Arnold said, “I know.” There were 80 canons at Fort Ticonderoga which at the time was under British control. The British force defending Ticonderoga was small. Arnold was confident he could overtake the force and capture the cannons.
Warren gave Arnold approval to try. Arnold succeeded. The canons were a major help in evicting the British from Boston in March 1776.
Warren also served on the Boston Committee of Correspondence.
It was June 1775. Warren was supposed to be at a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Instead, he opted to fight in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Three days before, Warren had been appointed a Major General by the Massachusetts Provincial Congress.
Thirty four years old at the time.
When he arrived at the site of the battle, the two commanders already there wanted to turn command over to Warren since he outranked them. Warren had no battle field experience. He declined and asked where the toughest fighting was taking place. Breed’s Hill. Warren grabbed a musket and went to Breed’s Hill to fight as a private.
At this stage, it is important to understand how the British viewed the colonials. As traitors. They had opted to fight the mother land.
King George III stated that any colonials in arms against royal authority were traitors and to be treated as such. Death by hanging.
The British normally provided a trial first. Not in the colonies, however. For whatever reason, treason trials were not held. The colonials were either immediately hanged or sent to prisoner of war camps.
Hanging might have been better. The colonials held in prisoner of war camps were maltreated. Brutally. Even beheadings. Torture common place. Much like the Japanese treatment of Allied prisoners of war during World War II.
More American sailors and soldiers died in prisoner camps than from combat itself.
British atrocities of colonials of either sex were commonplace. The British of Revolutionary days were not the nice guys of today. Traitors were scum and to be treated accordingly.
Having set the prevalent British mental attitude, we return to Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Serving as a private at Breed’s Hill.
The colonials bravely fought off the first two advances of the British. The third overwhelmed the colonials.
Warren was out of ammunition. As his fellow colonials were withdrawing, Warren remained behind to fight off the British as best he could. He did not survive long.
British Lt. Lord Rawdon knew Warren. Most British did. As Rawdon came over a small hill, he found himself directly in front of Warren. Not more than a foot apart. Rowdan shot his musket at Warren’s face. The bullet entered his forehead area and came out the back of his skull.
Rawdon neither liked nor respected Warren. Obviously. Otherwise, he would not have shot him.
Rawdon then proceeded to strip Warren’s body of all clothing. Other British soldiers arrived. Warren’s dead body was bayoneted till unrecognizable.
There was a shallow hole nearby. British Captain Walter Laurie pushed Warren’s body into the hole together with a dead colonial farmer. Laurie recollected that as he pushed Warren into the grave, he “stuffed the scoundrel with another rebel into one hole, and there he and his seditious principles may remain.”
Two days later, British Lt. James Drew went to the site. He opened the grave, spit on Warren’s face, and then cut his head off. Following which Drew is reported to have committed every act of violence upon Warren’s body.
Warren’s head was left with his body in the shallow grave. Dirt thrown over.
Though respect was lacking for Warren by lower ranking British officers and soldiers, some higher ranking persons did think well of him for whatever reason. General Gage on learning of Warren’s death said, “Warren’s death is equal to the death of 500 men.”
The British thought Warren’s death would discourage the colonial cause. They were mistaken. Warren’s death encouraged the revolutionary cause. He was viewed as a martyr.
Had Warren lived longer, he would have played a prominent role in the American revolution and the political life of the new nation thereafter.
Many historians of the era believe Warren would have achieved the summit of political life in the United States.
Note that nowhere is Washington’s name mentioned. Turns out that at the time Warren was better known and perceived as a better leader than Washington. Loyalist Peter Oliver surmised in 1782 that if Warren had lived, George Washington would have been “an obscurity.”
Ten months after Warren’s death, Paul Revere and Warren’s brothers exhumed Warren’s body. A question arose. Which body was Warren’s? The one without the head or the one with. Remember, Warren had been buried with a farmer.
Revere was known as a silversmith. He had other talents. He was a dentist of sorts.
Warren had lost his left upper eye tooth. Revere had made an artificial tooth and secured it in Warren’s mouth with a golden wire.
The body without the head was Warren’s. As was the severed head. Therein lie the artificial tooth and golden wire.
Warren left four children. Penniless. His wife had died several years earlier. Warren was engaged at the time of his death. His fiancee Mercy Scolley took the children in and cared for them.
The issue of their education was a matter of concern. Where was the money to come from? His friends and the Continental Congress took care of the situation.
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John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Mercy Oates Warren and Benedict Arnold assumed the responsibility together with the Continental Congress.
Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote several lines of poetry that many believe are referable to Joseph Warren: “My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; But ah, my foes and oh, my friends, it gives a lovely light!”
Too bad Joseph Warren’s story is little known. At the very least, his life should be reflected in school history books. There is always room for one more American hero.