Friday, March 15, 2013

Michael D. Harter

During the 52nd and 53rd Congresses, a gentleman named Michael D. Harter served as a Democrat in the House of Representatives. These meetings of Congress saw the women of Colorado be granted the right to vote, the first protest march to Washington (Coxey's Army), and the passage of the Geary Act. This act required all legal Chinese residents to carry proof of citizenship and also allowed for Chinese people to be unlawfully detained in the event of an arrest. This law reminds me of the treatment that many Hispanic Americans face, illegal or not. It is unfortunate that we have not learned anything from this historical event.

Unfortunately, Michael D. Harter's story is one that is cut short by the tragedy of suicide. 

We can't know what was going on in his head, but this article details some of the circumstances regarding Mr. Harter's death:

Saturday, March 9, 2013


This symbol looked like a dollar sign at first glance. Its origins are Christian rather than monetary, however, and it is sometimes referred to as a Christogram. Some say the words stand for Iesus Hominum Salvator (which means "Jesus, Savior of Men). It could also stand for an abbreviation of the term In Hoc Signo Vinces, or "In This Sign You Will Conquer". According to legend, the first Christian emperor, Constantine I, saw this motto in a dream or vision, accompanied with the sign of the cross, just before he was to fight an epic battle. The most simple and likely of explanations is that the first three letters of Jesus' name in Greek are IHS, and this is a symbol of devotion to him.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Giants of Seville

I love discovering weird and wonderful stories! The Giants of Seville were Martin and Anna Bates, former side show circus performers turned small town farmers. Mr. Bates fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Yankee soldiers told frightful stories of an incredibly tall, strong man who fought ferociously. Mrs. Bates was by all accounts a gracious, gentle woman. The couple's London marriage was the talk of the town, and even Queen Victoria sent gifts and congratulations! The couple had a son who weighed over 20 pounds when he was born, and only lived for a few hours. His post mortem photo can be seen here:

Both of them had to have custom caskets built for them because of their stature. The statue that graces their monument in Mound Hill Cemetery is supposedly a likeness of Anna that Mr. Bates had custom sculpted in Europe. 

More information: