On this day in 1881, President John Garfield was at the Washington, D.C. railroad station. He was shot twice by Charles Guiteau, a demented lawyer. One bullet was of no consequence. Another was. The one in his back.
Doctors at the railroad station hurried to help the President. Others were called. They worked on the President as he lay on the dirty railroad floor.
Ninety one days later, the President died. Of everything under the sun. The bullet in his back was never found till his body was autopsied.
Doctors prodded with dirty fingers for three months his back wound looking for the bullet. Could not find it. The prodding was on th right side since the hole was on th right side. No one thought of looking somehow on the left side. The prodding fingers had moved the bullet over.
Desperation set in. The bullet had to be found or the President would die.
Alexander Graham Bell had invented the telephone five yeas earlier. He was famous. He also invented a metal detector. Referred to as an induction balance. Graham claimed it could locate the metal bullet in the President’s body. Graham had already successfully tested it on many persons. Always located the bullet.
The metal detector could not locate the bullet.
Metal box springs were new. Not yet for sale. A free one had been given the President. It was on his bed beneath the mattress. Graham and the doctors were not aware the metal bed spring was diverting the charge resulting only in static.
Guiteau was tried for murder. He said…..I shot the President, but the doctors killed him. He was convicted and hung.
I briefly write this story today because it is the day Garfield was shot. I wrioe about the incident in a KONK Life column on October 7, 2015. The Doctors Killed The President. You can read the story in detail in that article. It can be found at my website www.keywestlou.com. The bar on top of the page has an entry KONK Life Column. Hit it. Hit what comes up. Then scroll down till you come to the article.
Today is freedom day for me. I can drive again. Drink, too. Will be out this afternoon and evening.
On July 4, the Fourth of July 5K Run/Walk will take place. 7:30 at Knight Pier (formerly White Street Pier).
Few in the younger generations know of Olivia de Haviland. A famous movie star in the 1930s-1950s. Today is her birthday. One hundred years old! God bless!
Still in great shape. Except hearing and seeing diminishing. Still lovely.
Olivia won two Academy Awards for Best Actress. She starred in eight films with Errol Flynn. Swashbuckling type movies. A star during Hollywood’s Golden Age, She was featured in 49 films. Like Robin Hood, Gone With the Wind, The Snake Pit, Light in the Piazza, and They Died With Their Boots On.
The Amistad came up in my readings yesterday. The Amistad was a slave ship. On June 28, 1839, the ship carrying 53 African slaves left Havana for a sugar farm on the other side of Cuba. Five days later in the midst of a violent storm, the slaves mutinied. They were led by the slave Cinque.
Their intent was to sail to Africa. Good seamen they were not. Two months later they were off the coast of New England.
Slaves or free men? The United States Supreme Court ruled they were free men.
Amistad’s connection with Key West? The slaves never made it to Key West. None are buried here. The connection minimal. Yet when the connection occurred, it turned out to be a big few days in Key West.
In January 2003, a reproduction of the Amistad sailed into Key West harbor. It tied up behind the Key West Hilton, now the Weston. Locals and tourists alike visited the Amistad.
Enjoy your day!