Author Topic: Research challenge  (Read 2825 times)

Randi

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #45 on: May 04, 2017, 10:11:48 pm »
You know, just a day or two ago I commented to Michael that what I like about this place is that I am not the only one that is crazy...
 ;)

Kathy

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #46 on: May 04, 2017, 10:56:21 pm »
Lordy, yes - you ask a question like that, and I can't help it - I have to find out! It is a form of insanity...:)

AvastMH

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #47 on: May 05, 2017, 07:21:41 pm »
Obsessive insanity!  I love it. When I was a nipper I had three favourite books - they were all encyclopedias. Dad used to do the Sunday Express crossword which was general knowledge. When I was a young teenager I used to finish it by raiding the Encyclopedia Britannica down at the local library and I've loved hunting things down ever since then :)

jil

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #48 on: May 06, 2017, 11:14:53 am »
The Sunday Express General Knowledge crossword was a traditional Sunday evening activity in my family, and we usually ended up with loads of the reference books scattered about. I remember the Pears Cyclopaedia had a useful, if slightly random, mix of facts. Although I never went as far as going to the library - obviously not dedicated enough!

I think that and the Skeleton cryptic crossword (you had to fill in the black squares yourself!) was the only reason we bought the paper!

AvastMH

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #49 on: May 06, 2017, 08:32:58 pm »
I think that and the Skeleton cryptic crossword (you had to fill in the black squares yourself!) was the only reason we bought the paper!

Oh gosh, jil I had forgotten about that crossword - that was my speciality - Dad didn't bother with it much so it was mine to play with :D  Happy memories  :D

Kathy

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #50 on: May 12, 2017, 05:21:29 pm »
I'm not sure that Franklin A. Graham is who seem to think he is - Graham also served on the Frolic (per wife's application for pension after his death) and I can't find anything that mentions African-American officers on the Frolic...

Randi

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2017, 05:36:48 pm »
Or perhaps our assumption that he is African-American is incorrect :-\

In any case, we have uncovered all sorts of interesting information ;)

Randi

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2017, 10:44:04 pm »
Kevin asked me to post the following since he is traveling and has only an iPhone.





Here is an authoritative response to the first 'research challenge' and a note of caution. This morning Mark and I met Dr. Joseph Reidy of Howard University, a leading scholar in this area (see link) - I presented the problem to him and he graciously agreed to provide his interpretation to post on the forum.

http://coas.howard.edu/history/faculty_Reidy.html
I was intrigued by the mystery you raised, Kevin, regarding the possibility of a man of African ancestry serving as an officer aboard Kearsarge at the time of her encounter with CSS Alabama. After we met, I decided to take a quick look at Fold3 to see if either of the names you referenced had pension records. As it turns out, both did.
Franklin A. Graham's pension record clearly indicated that his color was white. Moreover, his prewar occupation was machinist and his home was Philadelphia. That raises as many questions at it seems to answer, one of which might be that one of his parents or grandparents was of African descent (or at least dark complexioned), and he managed to slip into the navy as a white man in order to qualify for a warrant either unbeknownst to officials or with their tacit consent. Another possibility is that the existing photo is a flimsy piece of evidence on which to base speculation about his ancestry (or any of the other officers for that matter). Either way, we can add his case to the pile of others that we have where the existing evidence points in two or more directions to the point where it becomes impossible to know for sure. Knowing as I do how hidebound the naval officer corps was and how protective of its membership and privileges, if the man in the photo is indeed Graham, he would have had to adduce a convincing, and perhaps even exotic, explanation -- such as a Fiji-Island mother -- to allow him membership into the exclusive club, which would have been impossible if he were suspected of having any African blood.
Charles H. Danforth (note that the caption for the photo you showed me lists his middle initial as "C." but the crew list published in the Navy Official Records lists the initial as "H." as does the pension record) was an acting master's mate in 1864 and later an acting ensign. Although my quick perusal of the pension documents did not give a clear indication of his color, it is extremely unlikely that he was black. Apart from the fact that he was from Colorado, there is no record of a black man being commissioned in the U.S. Navy until World War II and the evidence is just too flimsy that he might be the exception to the rule. The case for Danforth is even flimsier than that for Graham.
 Through every one of these exercises, I am reminded of discussions I have had with anthropologist colleagues (and historians too) who caution about the inherent risks in trying to "race" someone on the basis of such evidence as photographs and physical descriptions collected by third parties. It's tricky business to say the least.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 10:47:13 pm by Randi »

AvastMH

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #53 on: May 12, 2017, 11:10:51 pm »
Well how did Roarin Mike Heeley manage? He was sent to NY for his education because he had a black slave mother and a white Irish father. In the Southern States he could not have had an education leading to the privileged life he led. His sister became the first black abbess in the USA, his brother the first black head of a university (?Ivy League). Sorry these details are a bit rushed - I recall reading more about them a year or so ago. They were highly accomplished siblings. :-\

Randi

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #54 on: May 12, 2017, 11:35:06 pm »
Possibly because he was in the United States Revenue Cutter Service rather than the United States Navy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_A._Healy
(It says: "At the time, his African-American ancestry was not generally known; he was of majority-white ancestry and had identified with white Catholic and maritime communities."
It also says that his mother was "African-American mixed-race".)



Have a look at http://forum.oldweather.org/index.php?topic=4652.msg140499#msg140499 and http://forum.oldweather.org/index.php?topic=4652.msg140501#msg140501
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 01:53:38 am by Randi »

Kathy

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2017, 01:04:04 am »
I thought I read at the beginning of this thread that there were African-American officers on the Kearsarge - my lesson learned is to re-read something.  The hunt has been enjoyable though, and I did find a Franklin Graham, in the Navy who was described as having a dark complexion.

Addendum: Well, I found the marriage certificate for the son of Franklin A. Graham, George B. Graham, and he is listed as white.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 03:06:16 am by Kathy »

Kathy

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #56 on: May 13, 2017, 11:52:17 pm »
Hey - does Old Weather Whaling have the Kensington out of New Bedford? I ask because Joachim Pease was a crewman on her before enlisting in the US Navy.  I still want to try to identify the men in the photo correctly, and I stumbled on this fact in the process. Old Weather Whaling is currently down -

Randi

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Re: Research challenge
« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2017, 12:32:32 am »
We don't now, but we are going to have more ships.

For now, you can use this site to scroll through the log: http://pplspc.org/nicholson/rj5_nicholson_378/html/rj5_nicholson_378r-0608.html
Note:  To view larger images of the black and white logbooks, right click the image and download or view in a new browser tab.
** Try starting with http://pplspc.org/nicholson/rj5_nicholson_378/jpg/rj5_nicholson_378r-0608.jpg and then walking the links **
Clicking the image enlarges it ;)