Seattle lies on a narrow strip of land between the salt waters of Puget Sound and the fresh waters of Lake Washington. Beyond the waters lie two rugged mountain ranges, the Olympics to the west and the Cascades to the east. It is a city built on hills and around water, in a mild marine climate that encourages prolific vegetation and abundant natural resources.
White settlers came to the Seattle area in 1851, establishing a townsite they first called New York, and then, adding a word from the Chinook jargon meaning “by-and-by,” New York-Alki. They soon moved a short distance across Elliott Bay to what is now the historic Pioneer Square district, where a protected deep-water harbor was available. This village was soon named Seattle, honoring a Duwamish Indian leader named Sealth who had befriended the settlers.
The new town’s principal economic support was Henry Yesler’s lumber mill at the foot of Mill Street (now Yesler Way), built in 1853. Much of the mill’s production went to the booming city of San Francisco, but the mill also supplied the fledgling towns throughout the Puget Sound region. A brief Indian “war” in the winter of 1856 interrupted the town’s development, but when the Territorial legislature incorporated Seattle in 1869, there were more than 2,000 residents.
The 1870s were fairly quiet, despite the discovery of coal near Lake Washington, and the consequent growth of another extractive industry whose product also found its way to San Francisco. In the early 1870s the Northern Pacific Railway Company announced that its transcontinental railroad western terminus would be at Tacoma, some forty miles south of Seattle. Despite local leaders’ disappointment, Seattle managed to force a connection with Northern Pacific shortly after its completion in 1883, and the town’s population soared in the late 1880s. Lumber and coal were the primary industries, but the growth of fishing, wholesale trade, shipbuilding, and shipping also contributed to the town’s economic expansion and population growth. One estimate is that in the first half of 1889, Seattle was gaining 1,000 new residents per month; in March alone, there were 500 buildings under construction, most of them built of wood. The explosive growth was slowed but not stopped by a devastating fire on June 6, 1889, which leveled the buildings on 116 acres in the heart of the city’s business district. No one died in the fire, but the property damage ran into millions of dollars.
Enthusiasm for Seattle was little dampened by the fire. In fact, it provided the opportunity for extensive municipal improvements, including widened and regraded streets, a professional fire department, reconstructed wharves, and municipal water works. New construction in the burned district was required to be of brick or steel, and it was by choice on a grander and more imposing scale.
The 1890s were not so prosperous, despite the arrival of another transcontinental railroad, the Great Northern, in 1893. A nationwide business depression did not spare Seattle, but the 1897 discovery of gold along and near the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory and in Alaska once again made Seattle an instant boom town. The city exploited its nearness to the Klondike and its already established shipping lines to become the premier outfitting point for prospectors. The link became so strong that Alaska was long considered to be the personal property of Seattle and Seattleites.
During the early 1900s, Seattle, now having discovered the rewards of advertising, continued to experience strong growth. Two more transcontinental railroads, the Union Pacific and Milwaukee Road systems, reached Seattle and reinforced the city’s position as a trade and shipping center, particularly with Asia and the North Pacific.
The city’s population became increasingly diversified. Scandinavians came to work in fishing and lumbering, African Americans to work as railroad porters and waiters, and Japanese to operate truck gardens and hotels. There were significant communities of Italians, Chinese, Jews, and Filipinos. The International District, home to several Asian ethnic groups, was largely developed during this period.
With its population now approaching 240,000, Seattle announced its achievements by sponsoring an international fair in 1909. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition celebrated the economic and cultural links Seattle had forged along what is now known as the North Pacific Rim. The forty-two story L.C. Smith building was completed in 1914. For more than four decades it was the tallest building in the American west and a symbol of Seattle’s booster spirit and metropolitan aspirations.
World War I transformed the city’s shipbuilding industry, which turned out 20 percent of the nation’s wartime ship tonnage. The war also brought Seattle national attention when, early in 1919, workers struck the shipyards to maintain their high wartime wages. This event soon led to the Seattle general strike of February 6-10, the longest such strike in American history. The strike lacked a cogent objective, but its success fueled postwar American fears about radicals and socialists. Along with the city’s early ventures into municipal transit service and public electrical power, the general strike helped establish Seattle’s reputation as a hotbed of political radicalism.
Seattle also had a reputation for a boom-and-bust economy, and the twenties brought depressed conditions in shipbuilding and the lumber trade. The Depression of the 1930s hit Seattle particularly hard, and a “Hooverville” of shacks and lean-tos housing nearly 1,000 unemployed men grew up at an abandoned shipbuilding yard south of Pioneer Square. World War II sparked an economic rebound as shipyards flourished again. The Boeing Company, a modestly successful airplane manufacturer founded in 1916, increased its workforce more than 1,200 percent and its sales from $10 million to $600 million annually during the war years. The war’s end, however, brought an economic slump to the area that persisted until the middle 1950s.
When Boeing successfully introduced the 707 commercial jet airliner in the late 1950s, it heralded another burst of municipal optimism. In 1962 Seattle sponsored a full-fledged world’s fair, the futuristic Century 21 Exposition. The fair left the city a permanent legacy in the Seattle Center and its complex of performance, sports, and entertainment halls, as well as the Pacific Science Center, the Monorail, and the Space Needle.
Since Century 21, the city population has remained fairly stable around the half-million mark, while suburban areas have grown explosively. The Boeing Company suffered a slump in the early 1970s that severely depressed the local economy. The region’s economy has subsequently been steadied and diversified. Weyerhaeuser and Boeing have been a part of that development, along with such high-technology firms as Microsoft. The political strength of Washington Senators Warren G. Magnuson and Henry Jackson in the postwar decades greatly contributed to growth at such research institutions as the University of Washington, and in defense related activities. Seattle has also enjoyed an expanded air and sea trade with Asia, Alaska, and the North Pacific.
Seattle has always exhibited a spirit of optimism, enterprise, and self-promotion. At one time this was institutionalized as “the Seattle Spirit,” a movement that enabled the city literally to move mountains by washing down high hills to improve building sites, to connect Lake Washington and Puget Sound with locks and a canal, and to build the world’s largest man-made island at the mouth of the Duwamish River. More recently, this spirit can be credited with accomplishments like the Forward Thrust program of the 1970s, which built the Kingdome arena and numerous parks throughout the city, including Freeway Park that spans the I-5 freeway with waterfalls and hanging gardens.
Seattle is proud of its arts and cultural institutions, the many live theaters, and the downtown art museum. It is proud of its parks, of its professional and collegiate sports, of Pioneer Square and the Pike Place Market, and, above all, of the beauty of its surroundings. Seattle is also a city of parades, not always respectful of its own brief heritage, not as radical as its legend would have it; a city of homes that has many who are homeless, a city that wants great growth but demands that somehow the setting remain untouched.
- Seattle’s first rep theater drew crowds (seattletimes.com)
- Seattle’s little freighter that could, ca. 1901 (seattletimes.com)
- Road Trip! – Seattle (thatgirlwhit.wordpress.com)
- Seattle takes first step toward hosting 2024 Summer Olympics (seattlepi.com)
- Car2Go West Seattle expansion: The map, and the 1st vote (westseattleblog.com)
This is a small collection of images and video of (what I believe to be) ghostly manifestations, captured.
Legendary Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen was a veritable institution in the movie industry, representing everyone from filmmakers to producers and composers. She orchestrated the Oscar campaign for Driving Miss Daisy, and was recently organizing Oscar pushes for Alice in Wonderland and for actor Michael Douglas, who reprised his role as Gordon Gekko in the sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. But in the early hours on Nov. 16, while driving home from the Hollywood premiere of the film Burlesque, Chasen’s Mercedes coupe was shot at five times and her body was found slumped over in her car. The murder has many in Hollywood scratching their heads and sparked a massive police hunt, with some sources claiming it was a planned hit. Adding to the mystery, the leading suspect in the murder reportedly committed suicide, according to The Daily Beast.
Read more about Ronni Chasen:
Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.
Rapper Tupac was shot from a white Cadillac while stopped at an intersection on the Las Vegas Strip in Sept. 1996. Just six months later, fellow rapper Notorious B.I.G. was shot from a red Impala while stopped at an intersection in L.A. You can take your pick of the many theories as to who was behind the shootings. Did Notorious order a hit on Tupac and the Bloods retaliated against B.I.G.? Was their rival gang the Crips responsible for both murders—Biggie ordering the hit on Tupac, then reneging on the deal and getting shot for it? Were the rappers accidental victims of hits targeting their labels’ CEOs, who were both at the scene of the rappers’ murders? Did their labels’ CEOs actually order the hits themselves as a plan to boost the East Coast/ West Coast rivalry that was selling so many records? In 1999, detective Russell Poole, who suspected dirty cops to be behind the hit, resigned in protest and 13 years later, both murders remain unsolved.
Read more about Tupac Shakur:
Read more about Notorious B.I.G.:
Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia)
It remains, to this day, one of the most gruesome and puzzling murders to ever hit Hollywood. Elizabeth Short was a 22-year-old aspiring actress with long, dark hair and piercing blue eyes, whose mutilated body was found in the Leimert Park district of Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1947. Her corpse had been severed at the waist and drained of blood and her face was slashed from the corners of her mouth to her ears. The media sensationalized the already horrifying case, claiming at the time of her murder that Short was wearing a tight skirt and sheer blouse as opposed to the black tailored suit she was allegedly last seen wearing. And although it was reported that she received “The Black Dahlia” nickname from a drugstore, some say it was the media’s effort to paint a portrait of Short as a femme fatale. The crime was the basis for author James Ellroy’s 1987 book, The Black Dahlia, which was later adapted into a 2006 film of the same name, directed by Brian De Palma and starring Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson. But more than 60 years and many rumors later, Short’s death remains unsolved.
Read more about Elizabeth Short A.K.A. The Black Dahlia:
Best known for his role as a Shaolin monk in the 1970s television series Kung-Fu, David Carradine became a successful character actor in Hollywood films, including memorable roles as a stumbling drunk in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and the scheming villain in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill franchise. But on June 4, 2009, Carradine was found dead in his hotel room in Bangkok, where he was shooting a movie. The actor’s body was found hanging in the closet with a rope tied to his neck, wrist, and genitals, in an apparent act of autoerotic asphyxiation. Following his death, two of Carradine’s ex-wives, Gail Jensen and Marina Anderson, stated that Carradine indeed had a self-bondage fetish and an overall penchant for “deviant sexual behavior.” Since then, Anderson has publicly claimed that she conducted her own investigation of Carradine’s death, ruling he was murdered.
Read more about David Carradine:
Born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, Wood became a successful child actor with her role in the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, later transitioning to an ingénue opposite James Dean in 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause. The part earned Wood an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress—as did her performances in Elia Kazan’s Splendor in the Grass and West Side Story. But Wood was also known for her high-profile relationships with many men, from Elvis Presley to Dennis Hopper. On the evening of Nov. 28, 1981, she was in Catalina Island taking a break from filming the sci-fi film Brainstorm with her co-star, Christopher Walken, and her husband (for the second time), Robert Wagner, when she allegedly slipped and fell into the water while trying to secure a dinghy. According to Time, Wood’s autopsy revealed she drank “seven or eight” glasses of wine. A passenger on a boat nearby claimed she heard someone yelling cries of help that evening and heard another voice answer: “Take it easy. We’ll be over to get you.” In the wake of Wood’s death at the age of 43, her lawyer said, “It was not a homicide… not a suicide. It was an accident.”
Read more about Natalie Wood:
The inquest into the fatal stabbing of Hollywood bodyguard Johnny Stompanato was a major television event, with both his girlfriend actress Lana Turner and gangster Mickey Cohen testifying before 120 journalists filling the courtroom’s 160 seats. There was even an unidentified man shouting “Lies! All lies! This mother and daughter were both in love with Stompanato! Johnny was a gentleman!” as he was dragged from the courtroom. But as the story goes, Stompanato was anything but a gentleman as a bodyguard to Cohen, a rumored blackmailer, and an alleged abusive boyfriend to Turner. Though the star’s daughter Cheryl Crane was found guilty of justifiable homicide when she stabbed Stompanato with a kitchen knife at Turner’s house during a fight, rumors persisted that Turner had murdered Stompanato herself and passed off the crime to her daughter, who was 14 at the time.
With his hulking physique and square jaw, George Reeves was an ideal fit for the lead role in the 1950s television series, Adventures of Superman. However, after the series, Reeves had trouble finding work and was in dire financial straits due to his extravagant Hollywood lifestyle. According to the Los Angeles Police Department report, between approximately 1:30 and 2 a.m. on June 16, 1959, Reeves reportedly shot himself in the head in the upstairs bedroom of his Los Angeles home, while his fiancée, playwright Leonore Lemmon, and friends William Bliss, writer Robert Condon, and Carol Van Ronkel were partying downstairs. The houseguests allegedly heard a single gunshot and Bliss ran into the room to find Reeves’ lifeless body. Police reports at the time said that Reeves was depressed because he wasn’t earning roles, but his mother refused to believe Reeves was the type to kill himself. Other theories place the blame on Reeves’ relationship with married ex-showgirl Toni Mannix, wife of MGM general manager Eddie Mannix, as did the 2006 film Hollywoodland, which starred Ben Affleck as the late Superman star.
Read more about George Reeves:
Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee
Bruce Lee, a Hong Kong martial arts master, became a star after his performance as Kato alongside Van Williams in the TV series, The Green Hornet. He went on to star in many martial arts films and famously pummeled Chuck Norris in the legendary final scene of Way of the Dragon. However, on July 20, 1973, six days before the release of his latest movie, Enter the Dragon, Lee met with producer Raymond Chow to talk about a new project, Game of Death. The two then drove over to Lee’s colleague’s home, Taiwanese actress Betty Ting Pei. When Lee complained of a headache, Pei allegedly gave him an Equagesic—a combination of aspirin and a muscle relaxant. Lee reportedly decided to take a nap, but never woke up. The only substance found in the actor’s autopsy was Equagesic and it was later ruled that he died due to a hypersensitivity to the muscle relaxant in the drug. However, many conspiracy theorists claim that Lee was either murdered by the triads, he died from a Dim Mak (“death strike”) he received some time earlier, or his family was cursed. The final theory resurfaced when, on Mar. 31, 1993, his son Brandon Lee was accidentally shot to death while filming his character’s death scene in the film, The Crow.
Read more about Bruce Lee:
Read more about Brandon Lee:
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was one of the first movie stars and with that, he was also at the forefront of one of the first Hollywood scandals. The 350-pound silent-era comedian was accused of killing a young actress named Virginia Rappe. As the story goes, at a party at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco on Labor Day weekend 1920, Arbuckle ruptured Rappe’s bladder when he allegedly forced sex on her with a bottle, according to Time. Though he was never convicted—despite going through three trials—his image as a jovial, pie-throwing comedian was ruined, and his career never recovered.
Read more about Virginia Rappe:
Bob Crane, the star of Hogan’s Heroes, had a hard time getting roles after his show was canceled. He did, however, go on to make an extensive collection of home movies of his sexual escapades with the technical help of his friend John Carpenter. Though there were plenty of people with reason to be angry at Crane—he didn’t always tell his partners they were being filmed—Carpenter’s video experience made him the prime suspect in Crane’s murder. On June 28, 1978, Crane was found bludgeoned to death with what was believed to be a tripod and a VCR cable had been tied around his neck. Nevertheless, police couldn’t collect enough evidence and Carpenter wasn’t charged until 14 years after the murder. He was acquitted and four years later, he died of a heart attack.
Read more about Bob Crane:
No witnesses, no suspects: Jack Nance, the star of David Lynch’s Eraserhead, left investigators with a very cold case. He died of a subdural hematoma caused by blunt-force trauma on December 30, 1996. Before he was found dead at his home, Nance told friends that two young Hispanic men had punched him in the eye outside a Winchell’s Doughnuts at 5 a.m. after he’d allegedly told them to change their baggy clothes, get haircuts, and get jobs. But the owner of the Winchell’s didn’t recall the fight and Nance gave no other information about his attackers. In fact, with a blood alcohol level of .24 at the time of his death, some suggest Nance got drunk, hit his head, and made up the story. “I mouthed off and I got what I deserved,” the late actor reportedly said after his alleged attack, according to Premiere.
Read more about Jack Nance:
William Desmond Taylor
The murder of silent-film director William Desmond Taylor—who was found shot in the back in his home on February 2, 1922—involved a Hollywood-worthy cast of characters. Some suspected comedian Mabel Normand’s cocaine dealers since Taylor was allegedly protective of Normand and trying to separate her from her pushers. Normand’s lover, director Mack Sennett, was also believed to have possibly murdered Taylor out of jealousy over the comedian’s possible infatuation with the director. Another suspect was Taylor’s former valet, a shady character from Ohio who faked an English accent, embezzled money, and enlisted and deserted the Army three times under three different names. Young actress Mary Miles Minter was also a possible guilty party—her motive? Unrequited love. Despite the plethora of colorful suspects and a confession from one of Taylor’s actresses three decades later, no arrests were ever made.
Read more about William Desmond Taylor:
- John Sowden House, Alleged ‘Black Dahlia’ Murder Home, Hits Market for $4.89 Million (athomesense.com)
- New Probe in Black Dahlia Cold Case (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Black Dahlia Haunting Gets Distro (dreadcentral.com)
- Cold Case Canine! How Buster The Wonder Dog Is Helping Solve The Black Dahlia Murder Mystery (eyeoncelebs.com)
- Black Dahlia case may be solved by death-sniffing dog (upi.com)
Hope this works
Japan panic: the slit-mouthed woman
Stories of 口裂け女, the slit-mouthed woman, emerged from urban Japan in the late 1970s. At first they were particularly passed around between school children, then in the mass media. By the first half of 1979 Asahi Shinbun was highlighting kuchisake onna as a buzzword (hayari kotoba) of the year. In true, random Japanese style one of the others was “rabbit hutches”.
Occasionally Kuchisake onna was reported as a genuine physical threat, a criminal would-be kidnapper or murderer rather than a supernatural being. At times she was somehow both a real world abductor and a folkloric monster simultaneously. (See Hyaku-monogatari for the Edo origins of modern yōkai storytelling) Satoshi Kon’s extremely uneven but in places brilliant series 妄想代理人Mōsō Dairinin [Paranoia Agent] is obviously heavily inspired by the mass hysteria over Kuchisake onna. A woman with long hair and a white…
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HAHA! Another falls prey to the addiction of GHOST HUNTING!
Because I am mildly obsessed with paranormal shows like Destination Truth and UFO Files, I recently joined a local ghost-hunting group. The investigation took place at a very old movie theater that was being renovated. “Legend” has it that the projectionist committed suicide in the projection booth but there were no records to back that info up, so I have my doubts.
I was impressed with all the professional equipment my fellow ghosthunters showed up with — EVP recorders, video cameras, laser grids to track movement, etc. Our fearless leader, a lovely woman called Annette, took pity on me and loaned me an EMF detector (AKA a “K2” to the cool kids.) Sadly, I didn’t get a haunted vibe about the place (although it was creepy as hell, esp. with all the lights out.) But this is only my first ghost hunt and I am sure the next one…
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“It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago. She outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them.” – Mark Twain, 1883
Trying to put together a brief history of the city of Chicago isn’t an easy undertaking. The city is so deep in rich and colorful history that a writer could spend entire weeks trying to capture it all, and still feel as though it wasn’t complete. I suppose that I should get used to that feeling, considering that the next few cities that I poke around at are generally in the same historical boat. With Chicago, I decided that the Illinois Indians were the perfect place to start.
The Illinois Indians
The name “Illinois” itself is an Algonquian Indian word. It comes from the Miami-Illinois tribal name Illiniwek, which means “the people.” The Illini Indians were not the only Native Americans in Illinois, however, despite the fact that no nationally recognised tribes exist within the state of Illinois today. The state of the Illinois Indian tribes today is not due to extinction, but rather to forced relocation. Like many other native tribes, they were forced to move to Indian reservations in Oklahoma by the American government.
At the time of the first white settlement the Potawatomi Indian tribe inhabited the Chicago region.
Illinois is often remembered for the beauty and intrique of the natural earthen formations found within her region, the mounds being one of the main objects of curiosity and controversy. The narture of these mounds has been a rousing debate and heated point of conversation for even the first settlers in the territory. For many years theories of all sorts have been thrown around, some attributing the mounds to a race of “mound-builders” who were supposed to have come from Asia, Mexico, or even more remote places. Others theories often linked them to some sort of “faerie” mound, or possible burial sites.
The Bureau of American Ethnology undertook a survey of the mounds in the eastern United States late in the 20th century. The reports which resulted from this work helped to offer some much less speculative and more scientific views of the anomallies. The following general facts were uncovered by the project…
While many of the mounds are obviously prehistoric, some of them have been proved by their contents to be post-Columbian. According to the pamphlet Indians of the Chicago Region, With Special Reference to the Illinois and the Potawatomip, “...a great amount of historical evidence, moreover, clearly shows that the Indians occupying the mound region at the time they were visited by the first explorers, were actually “mound builders,” and raised both towns and places of worship on these artificial eminences. The human remains found in the mounds that have been excavated to date, are all of the American Indian type, and represent only the recent period of geologic time.”
Several types have been found, but the most interesting (to me) are the effigy mounds which seem to represent animals of several varieties. Ancestors of the Winnebago, and nearby peoples of Siouan stock seem to be the closest in origin.
In 1682, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle had claimed a large territoryof the Illinois area, including what is now Chicago , for France. In 1763 the French ceded this area to Great Britain’s Province of Quebec following the French and Indian War. Great Britain then ceded the area to the United States at the end of the American Revolutionary War.
Chicago’s first permanent resident was a trader named Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, a free black man apparently from Haiti, who came here in the late 1770’s. He traded furs with the Indians on the north bank of the Chicago River, where he lived with his wife Catherine until 1796. He and his family then left with their children and moved to Peoria, Illinois.
A United States fort built in 1803 beside the Chicago River in what is now Chicago, Illinois, Fort Dearborn was constructed by troops under Captain John Whistler and named in honor of Henry Dearborn, then United States Secretary of War. Settlers thought it would keep them safe from invading forces, but they were wrong, it didn’t. In 1812, the U.S. had another war with England, except this one was unique in that the English joined the Native Americans to try to win back their territory.
When the war of 1812 broke out between Great Britain and the United States, the government ordered for the abandonment and closure of Fort Dearborn, and because of this, onn August 15, 1812, many soldiers and settlers left Fort Dearborn to go to Fort Wayne in Indiana. As the last of the travelers were in process of relocating , over 500 natives attacked. About half the people in the group were killed by natives, the rest were taken prisoner. Natives then burned Fort Dearborn to the ground.
The Fort lay unoccupied and in ruin, until 1816 when American soldiers rebuilt Fort Dearborn.
Fort Dearborn was rebuilt in 1816, and slowly, settlers started to come back, but settlers were still afraid of the Native Americans. In 1818 Illinois became a state. South parts of Illinois had a population of about 40,000 people. Around then, only about 100 people lived in Chicago.
By 1820, despite a hault in shipping caused by a quarantine of the city due to a recent outbreak of yellow fever, Savannah had grown to become the eighteenth-largest urban area in the United States. Savannah may have seemed slow, but it was growing in wealth and reputation, and by 1820, Savannah was exporting $18 million worth of goods. The ugly truth about Savannah at this time, was that the wealth accumulated was mainly the product of slave labor an the forced removal of indigenous peoples of the region.
Officially slavery had been banned by General Oglethorpe and the founding Trustees within the 13th colony. Unofficially, slavery in Georgia was stillpracticed by importing enslaved laborers from South Carolina while the politicians in Savannah had their backs turned. Though a shifty excuse for the practice of slavery-it was a constant topic among Georgia colonists, who incessantly preached that the colony would never see prosperity unless it followed in suit with the example set by South Carolina. Tired of hearing the arguements, and mildly afraid of public backlash, the Trustees gave in and slavery was officially permitted in the beginning in 1750. Officially, slavery existed in Georgia one hundred fifteen years.
By the end of the 18th century the slave population exceeded the free population in Savannah (5,146 free and 8,201 slave in 1800). There is very little actual documentation as to the exact numbers outside of those found within the Census Bureau which state that between 1810 and 1830, there was a decrease in the number of slaves in the city, followed by an increase in the slave population from 9,478 in 1830 to 14,018 in 1850. Even as the population of free people of color began to boom and had risen by 68 percent between 1850 and 1860, the slave population remained relatively stable.
Buddy Sullivan, Georgia: A State History (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Press, 2003).
- Did Black People Own Slaves? (amren.com)
- Esclavage: Les Noirs aussi ! (Black people owned slaves and fought to defend their right to it) (jcdurbant.wordpress.com)
- Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans And The End of Slavery (atlantablackstar.com)
Research is becoming a little bit more interesting this week, with the expansion of the history of the city of Savannah Georgia, outbreaks of the yellow fever, the invention of the Cotton Gin, and (finally) some very solid cultural accents which may contribute to the ethnographic relevancy of hauntings in Savannah.
While researching for “History of Savannah, Georgia (part 2)”, I found myself deeper and deeper in the economic infancy of seaport Savannah, from it’s conversion of rice to “King Cotton“, to the yellow fever and possible genetic immunities of blacks to fever outbreaks in 1820 and beyond, to the Revolutionary War and the Seige of Savannah.
Revolutionary War- The Seige of Savannah
…or the Second Battle of Savannah, was an encounter of the American Revolutionary War in 1779. Just a year before, On December 29, 1778, the colonial capital fell to British troops and the city of Savannah was captured by expeditionary corps lead by Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell, with the help of a slave who reportedly showed the troops a secret passage behind the American lines. The rebel defenders were routed, losing 550 captured or killed. Patriot forces were swept from the state. The events of the siege consisted of a joint attempt to retake Savannah by Franco-American forces from September 16 to October 18, 1779, followed by a failed attempt against British seige works on October 9. With the ugly failure of the joint American-French attack, the entire seige turned out to be a loss, and the British remained in control of Savannah until July 1782.
Yellow Fever and Cotton: Cotton is King
In 1755 James Habersham and Francis Harris established the first import-export businesses of the colony which sold cattle and cattle related products. What began as an important seaport, and mainly rice-supported economy, converted to the import/exportation of cotton about the year 1820, after the first deaths contributed to a series of outbreaks of yellow fever were recorded. Though there had been many outbreaks previous to 1820, the epidemic became most notable in 1820’s, when the racial breakdown of the death tolls showed that blacks seemed to have a natural genetic immunity to the fever.
Outbreaks of the yellow fever continued well through the 1880’s.
An 1876 newspaper article from the Galveston News entitled, “Yellow Fever Ravages: A Review of the Epidemic in Savannah,” shows the severity of the disease. In a four month span between August and November in 1876, there were 1,574 deaths. Of this total, 940 of them were diagnosed with yellow fever, while the remaining 634 were categorized as having other diseases. The racial breakdown of these deaths showed that whites were affected more by these diseases than blacks seeing that 1058 of the deaths were whites and the remaining 516 were blacks. This can show a genetic resistance to the disease between the races even though it must be kept in mind these numbers could be skewed for various reasons. The author does not clearly state how accurate these numbers are when dealing with the racial breakdown of the population.
Up until the major crop conversion , all of the products of agriculture and trade with the Indians were sent back to England for approval, which could sometimes take weeks, and often did. After the yellow fever ravaged the newly established city, the rice culture was abandoned and cotton became the dominant crop, partially thanks to the Cotton Gin, created by a tutor and Yale graduate named Eli Whitney. It was easier to plant and harvest. The cotton gin revolutionized the cotton industry and cotton production soared. “King Cotton” became Savannah’s dominant export crop. In 1790 Savannah exported 1000 bales of cotton, but by 1820, they were exporting ninety thousand bales a year.For nearly a century, trading in the Cotton Exchange on Savannah’s waterfront set world cotton prices.
There is a fascinating article about disease and dying in Savannah, on the Ghost City Tours and Events blog site. Click here to check it out!
Robert L. Usinger, “Yellow Fever from the Viewpoint of Savannah,” The Georgia Historical Quarterly Vol. 28, No. 3 (September, 1944): 146-147.
Kenneth and Virginia H. Kiple, “Black Yellow Fever Immunities, Innate and Aquired, as Revealed in the American South,” Social Science History Vol.1, No.4 (Summer, 1977), pp. 419-436. Duke University Press. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1170791
- Savannah, Georgia Southern work to unearth a piece of history (savannahnow.com)