John’s Believe It Or Not… August 4th

In 1701 – Louis de Callières signs “The Great Peace of Montreal” with 38 Huron and Iroquois chiefs. 1944 Anne Frank captured. In 1753 Washington becomes Master Mason. In 1927 Country legend Jimmie Rodgers is recorded for the very first time. In 1964 Slain civil rights workers found. 

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John Fioravanti standing in fron of his classroom blackboard.

It’s Friday! TGIF! Did you know…

 

* 1701 – Louis de Callières signs “The Great Peace of Montreal” with 38 Huron and Iroquois chiefs.

(In 1701 the French concluded a peace agreement with the Five Nations IROQUOIS, bringing to an end almost a century of hostilities marked by atrocities on both sides. CHAMPLAIN inaugurated this series of military expeditions and guerrilla raids in 1609 when he joined a war party of ALGONQUIN, MONTAGNAIS, and HURON against the MOHAWK of the Lake Champlain region. He had inserted the French into the pattern of North American aboriginal warfare in the interests of the fur trade monopolists. There ensued successive indecisive expeditions against Iroquois villages under governors COURCELLE in 1665, LA BARRE in 1684, and DENONVILLE in 1687. It was only in 1696 that Governor FRONTENAC was able to stop the Iroquois raids on New France and destroy the villages and food supplies of the Onondaga and Oneida.

In July 1700, delegates from 4 of the Iroquois nations (the Mohawk were absent) met with Governor Callière of Montréal to inaugurate peace talks with the French and their native allies. A meeting of all the tribes was scheduled for the following summer in Montréal. Thirty nations sent a total of 1300 delegates to discuss over several weeks, at great expense to the French hosts, terms of collective action. The Iroquois protocol of the condolence ceremony, the exchange of gifts and the exchange of prisoners preceded the solemn “signing” of accords, whereby the several nations undertook to remain at peace with each other.

The Iroquois League undertook to remain neutral in the event of a war between England and France. All agreed that in the event of disputes among them they would resort to the governor general of New France to mediate their differences. This in fact recognized a special kinship relationship with the French and virtually undermined the effectiveness of the COVENANT CHAIN with the Anglo-American colonies. The Montréal peace accord assured France superiority in dealing with native issues and freedom to expand its military presence on the continent during the next half century.)

A Native speaker in Montréal holding a wampum belt, and the governor de Callière on his chair, 4th of August, 1701.
A Native speaker in Montréal holding a wampum belt, and the governor de Callière on his chair, 4th of August, 1701. (Quora)

* 1944 Anne Frank captured.

(Acting on a tip from a Dutch informer, the Nazi Gestapo captures 15-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family in a sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse. The Franks had taken shelter there in 1942 out of fear of deportation to a Nazi concentration camp. They occupied the small space with another Jewish family and a single Jewish man and were aided by Christian friends, who brought them food and supplies. Anne spent much of her time in the “secret annex” working on her diary. The diary survived the war, overlooked by the Gestapo that discovered the hiding place, but Anne and nearly all of the others perished in the Nazi death camps.

Annelies Marie Frank was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on June 12, 1929. She was the second daughter of Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Hollander, both of Jewish families that had lived in Germany for centuries. With the rise of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in 1933, Otto moved his family to Amsterdam to escape the escalating Nazi persecution of Jews. In Holland, he ran a successful spice and jam business. Anne attended a Montessori school with other middle-class Dutch children, but with the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, she was forced to transfer to a Jewish school. In 1942, Otto began arranging a hiding place in an annex of his warehouse on the Prinsengracht Canal in Amsterdam.

On her 13th birthday in 1942, Anne began a diary relating her everyday experiences, her relationship with her family and friends, and observations about the increasingly dangerous world around her. Less than a month later, Anne’s older sister, Margot, received a call-up notice to report to a Nazi “work camp.” Fearing deportation to a Nazi concentration camp, the Frank family took shelter in the secret annex the next day. One week later, they were joined by Otto Frank’s business partner and his family. In November, a Jewish dentist—the eighth occupant of the hiding place—joined the group.

For two years, Anne kept a diary about her life in hiding that is marked with poignancy, humor, and insight. The entrance to the secret annex was hidden by a hinged bookcase, and former employees of Otto and other Dutch friends delivered them food and supplies procured at high risk. Anne and the others lived in rooms with blacked-out windows, and never flushed the toilet during the day out of fear that their presence would be detected. In June 1944, Anne’s spirits were raised by the Allied landing at Normandy, and she was hopeful that the long-awaited liberation of Holland would soon begin.

On August 1, 1944, Anne made her last entry in her diary. Three days later, 25 months of seclusion ended with the arrival of the Nazi Gestapo. Anne and the others had been given away by an unknown informer, and they were arrested along with two of the Christians who had helped shelter them. They were sent to a concentration camp in Holland, and in September Anne and most of the others were shipped to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. In the fall of 1944, with the Soviet liberation of Poland underway, Anne was moved with her sister Margot to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Suffering from the deplorable conditions of the camp, the two sisters caught typhus and died in early March 1945. The camp was liberated by the British less than two months later.

Otto Frank was the only one of the 10 to survive the Nazi death camps. After the war, he returned to Amsterdam via Russia and was reunited with Miep Gies, one of his former employees who had helped shelter him. She handed him Anne’s diary, which she had found undisturbed after the Nazi raid. In 1947, Anne’s diary was published by Otto in its original Dutch as Diary of a Young Girl. An instant best-seller and eventually translated into more than 50 languages, The Diary of Anne Frank has served as a literary testament to the nearly six million Jews, including Anne herself, who were silenced in the Holocaust.

The Frank family’s hideaway at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam opened as a museum in 1960. A new English translation of Anne’s diary in 1995 restored material that had been edited out of the original version, making the work nearly a third longer.)

This bookcase hid the secret door to the upstairs rooms at The Anne Frank House
This bookcase hid the secret door to the upstairs rooms at The Anne Frank House (Pinterest)

* 1753 Washington becomes Master Mason. 

(George Washington, a young Virginia planter, becomes a Master Mason, the highest basic rank in the secret fraternity of Freemasonry. The ceremony was held at the Masonic Lodge No. 4 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Washington was 21 years old and would soon command his first military operation as a major in the Virginia colonial militia.

Freemasonry evolved from the practices and rituals of the stonemasons’ guilds in the Middle Ages. With the decline of European cathedral building, “lodges” decided to admit non-stonemasons to maintain membership, and the secret fraternal order grew in popularity in Europe. In 1717, the first Grand Lodge, an association of lodges, was founded in England, and Freemasonry was soon disseminated throughout the British Empire. The first American Mason lodge was established in Philadelphia in 1730, and future revolutionary leader Benjamin Franklin was a founding member.

There is no central Masonic authority, and Freemasons are governed locally by the order’s many customs and rites. Members trace the origins of Masonry back to the erecting of King Solomon’s Temple in biblical times and are expected to believe in the “Supreme Being,” follow specific religious rites and maintain a vow of secrecy concerning the order’s ceremonies. The Masons of the 18th century adhered to liberal democratic principles that included religious toleration, loyalty to the local government, and the importance of charity. From its inception, Freemasonry encountered considerable opposition from organized religion, especially from the Roman Catholic Church.

For George Washington, joining the Masons was a rite of passage and an expression of his civic responsibility. After becoming a Master Mason, Washington had the option of passing through a series of additional rites that would take him to higher “degrees.” In 1788, shortly before becoming the first president of the United States, Washington was elected the first Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22.

Many other leaders of the American Revolution, including Paul Revere, John Hancock, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Boston Tea Party saboteurs, were also Freemasons, and Masonic rites were witnessed at such events as Washington’s presidential inauguration and the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.–a city supposedly designed with Masonic symbols in mind. Masonic symbols, approved by Washington in the design of the Great Seal of the United States, can be seen on the one-dollar bill. The All-Seeing Eye above an unfinished pyramid is unmistakably Masonic, and the scroll beneath, which proclaims the advent of a “New Secular Order” in Latin, is one of Freemasonry’s long-standing goals. The Great Seal appeared on the dollar bill during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, also a Mason.

Freemasonry has continued to be important in U.S. politics, and at least 15 presidents, five Supreme Court chief justices, and numerous members of Congress have been Masons. Presidents known to be Masons include Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Gerald Ford. Today there are an estimated two million Masons in the United States, but the exact membership figure is one of the society’s many secrets.)

On this date in 1753, Bro. George Washington received his Master Mason degree
On this date in 1753, Bro. George Washington received his Master Mason degree. (Pinterest)

* 1927 Country legend Jimmie Rodgers is recorded for the very first time. 

(The Father of Country Music, Jimmie Rodgers, is recorded for the very first time on August 4, 1997, during the legendary Bristol Sessions.

The term “country music” did not exist in the summer of 1927, when Ralph Peer, an engineer and talent scout for the Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey, set up a makeshift recording studio in the upper floors of an empty warehouse in Bristol, Tennessee. He was preparing for what Johnny Cash would later call “The single most important event in the history of country music.”

The historic 12-day marathon now known as “the Bristol Sessions” began on July 25 with a recording session with Ernest Stoneman, one of the few established names in what was then known as “hillbilly music.” It continued with a string of mostly unknown musicians drawn to the railroad town of Bristol, on the Virginia-Tennessee border, by newspaper stories and advertisements promising $50 for any song Ralph Peer chose to record. Peer’s efforts would have been judged a resounding success even if he’d stopped after August 1, when he recorded an unknown act called the Carter Family—a group that would come to be known as the First Family of country music. But on August 4, 1927, the Bristol Sessions took on truly historic dimensions when an itinerant, tubercular blues yodeler from rural Mississippi, named Jimmie Rodgers walked into Peer’s studio. The recording session that followed would lay the foundation for Rodgers’s undisputed status as the “Father of Country Music.”

Born in 1897 and raised back and forth between southeast Mississippi and southwest Alabama, Jimmie Rodgers followed his father into the railroad business, where he would earn one of his several famous nicknames, “the Singing Brakeman.” When tuberculosis forced Rodgers off the railroad in the mid-1920s, he began to pursue his longstanding passion for music professionally, first making a name for himself in western North Carolina through weekly appearances on WWNC out of Asheville. It was his decision to travel roughly 100 miles north through the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Bristol Sessions, however, that would make his career.

In his first-ever recording session on this day in 1927, Rodgers cut two test recordings, “The Soldier’s Sweetheart” and “Sleep, Baby, Sleep,” which were released two months later on the Victor label to moderate success. His follow-up session in October 1927 in Camden, however, yielded “Blue Yodel,” his first smash hit and the song that launched him on a short but brilliant career as a recording, radio and movie star. Rodgers died at the age of 35 of a lung hemorrhage on May 26, 1933.)

Jimmy Rodgers playing his guitar.
(Mississippi History Now)

* 1964 Slain civil rights workers found. 

(The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, also known as the Freedom Summer murders, the Mississippi civil rights workers’ murders or the Mississippi Burning murders, involved three activists that were abducted and murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi in June 1964 during the Civil Rights Movement. The victims were Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi. All three were associated with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and its member organization the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). They had been working with the Freedom Summer campaign by attempting to register African Americans in Mississippi to vote. This registration effort was a part of contesting over 70 years of laws and practices that supported a systematic policy of disenfranchisement of potential black voters by several southern states that began in 1890.

The three men had traveled from Meridian, Mississippi, to the community of Longdale to talk with congregation members at a church that had been burned. The trio was thereafter arrested following a traffic stop outside Philadelphia, Mississippi, for speeding escorted to the local jail and held for a number of hours. As the three left town in their car, they were followed by law enforcement and others. Before leaving Neshoba County their car was pulled over and all three were abducted, driven to another location, and shot at close range. The three men’s bodies were then transported to an earthen dam where they were buried.

The disappearance of the three men was initially investigated as a missing persons case. The civil rights workers’ burnt-out car was found near a swamp three days after their disappearance. An extensive search of the area was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), local and state authorities, and four hundred United States Navy sailors. The three men’s bodies were only discovered two months later thanks to a tip-off. During the investigation, it emerged that members of the local White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Office and the Philadelphia, Mississippi Police Department were involved in the incident.

The murder of the activists sparked national outrage and an extensive federal investigation filed as Mississippi Burning (MIBURN), which later became the title of a 1988 film loosely based on the events. After the state government refused to prosecute, in 1967 the United States federal government charged 18 individuals with civil rights violations. Seven were convicted and received relatively minor sentences for their actions. Outrage over the activists’ disappearances helped gain passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Forty-one years after the murders took place, one perpetrator, Edgar Ray Killen, was charged by the state of Mississippi for his part in the crimes. He was convicted of three counts of manslaughter in 2005 and is serving a 60-year sentence.[6] On June 20, 2016, federal and state authorities officially closed the case and dispensed with the possibility of further prosecution.)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holds picture of the slain workers at a press conference.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holds the picture of the slain workers at a press conference. (The Daily Beast)

Today’s Sources: 

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology  http://canadachannel.ca/todayincanadianhistory/index.php

* The Canadian Encyclopedia                                                         http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/peace-of-montreal-1701/

* Wikipedia                                                                                                                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murders_of_Chaney,_Goodman,_and_Schwerner

* This Day In History – What Happened Today                             http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/

Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (http://fiorabooks.com), to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

17 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… August 4th”

  1. Visiting Anne Frank’s hiding place in Amsterdam was a very salutary experience. Her book was quite a masterpiece that made it so real.
    I think the Canadians treated the Native Indians a lot better than the Americans.
    My Daughter lived in Louisiana for a spell. Travelling through Mississippi was tremendous for me. I went through the areas where the three civil rights workers were murdered, where Emit Till was murdered and ended up in Memphis where Martin Luther King was murdered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You certainly are more traveled than I, Opher. Perhaps Canadians have treated the Natives better, but our track record is still abominable – and the racism is still rampant. This year, as Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, the Natives are boycotting it because of a VERY long list of broken promises and outstanding issues.

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  2. The Great Peace of Montreal must have been something. The story of Anne Frank is one of bravery and hope. Master Mason Washington. Glad he kept being a general. Jimmie Rodgers was terrific. The slain civil rights workers became a turning point in civil rights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure the Peace of Montreal was mostly about the fact that the violence was bad for business for both sides. Interesting how the French undermined the English relationship with the Iroquois to some extent. Gwen’s anecdote about the civil rights workers was downright scary too. Thanks for your comments, John!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another incredible post….thank you, John. It is always hard for me to revisit the civil rights era. In December 1965, I was in college in northern California and was part of a group headed to the South to help with registering Black Americans to vote. In the end, I could not go because I had bronchitis. The group went without me and met up with strong resistance. One of my friends was gang raped by the KKK. This is something not easily forgiven or forgotten. She never returned to school, and I never saw her again. But, in my book, she (and so many others) are unsung heroes who with innocence and courage have helped create a more just society. Wow, I didn’t expect this painful memory today – time for prayer….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, I’m so sorry that triggered this painful memory for you, Gwen. Thank goodness you were forced to miss that trip. The KKK and their unholy sympathizers have a lot to answer for. I hope you can enjoy the rest of your day. Hugs!

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