Monthly Archives: June 2021

On June 12, 1942, Anne Frank, was a young Jewish girl living in Amsterdam. It was her thirteenth birthday, and as a gift, she was given a diary. Diaries have long been a big deal for girls. I know very few of those in my generation who didn’t have one. Most of those who received them, did little with them. I know that my diary (which I still have, by the way) contains mostly the gibberish of a young girl…mostly bored with the idea of journaling the meager events of my life…or at least that is how I saw them at the time. Looking back, I wish I had maybe taken the whole journaling/diary thing more seriously, because my life, while not as intense as that of Anne Frank, did have meaning, and those events that might have been considered important to my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren have been, for the most part, lost to the forgetfulness of childhood.

Many of us have heard of, read about, or seen the movie about the events of Anne Frank’s short life. One short month after receiving her diary, Anne and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in rooms behind her father’s office. Anne’s sister, Margot, received a call-up notice around 3pm on July 5, 1942. The Frank family had planned to go into hiding on July 16, 1942, but they decided to leave immediately so that Margot would not have to be deported to a “work camp.” The family left a false trail indicating that they had gone into hiding in Switzerland. According to Anne’s diary, Margot kept a diary of her own, but no trace of Margot’s diary has ever been found. This and her time in the hands of the Nazis was the main period of her diary, because as we know, Anne did not survive the Holocaust into which she and her family had been dragged. The hiding place was not discovered immediately, of course, and for the next two years, the Franks and four other families were hidden, fed, and cared for by Gentile friends. They lived in an annex, whose entrance was hidden behind a moveable bookcase. Following a tip in 1944, the families were discovered by the Gestapo. The Franks were taken to Auschwitz, where Anne’s mother died. Friends in Amsterdam searched the rooms and found Anne’s diary hidden away. They had hoped to save any personal items, so they could be returned to the family, should any of them survive.

Anne and her sister were sent to another camp, Bergen-Belsen, where Anne died a month before the war ended. Anne’s father survived Auschwitz, and after much soul searching, he published Anne’s diary in 1947 as “The Diary of a Young Girl.” The book has been translated into more than 60 languages. Had it not been for World War II, the Holocaust, and Anne’s tragic death from Typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in February 1945, the diary would have most likely have been published, or even written in the way that it was. The reality is that most diaries aren’t immensely interesting. Most are written by young girls with drama queen emotions, who are bored with their lives, because they are certain that nothing cool happens. Anne’s diary was interesting, because she wasn’t sure how long her life would be, and she wanted to know everything…before it was too late.

When the British Colonies, also known as the Thirteen Colonies or the early United States, were founded in the 1600s, the colonies were left to govern themselves for the most part. The land was really an expansion of power for Britain. Nevertheless, there were wars that took place in the new land and with them the costs of war, and because the colonies were owned by the British government, the cost of war fell on them. The cost of victory in the 1754 to 1763 French and Indian War and the 1756 to 1763 Seven Years’ War left the British government deeply in debt. The wars were fought in the colonies, but were equipped and populated with the British forces stationed there, at the cost of millions of British funds. The British government decided to impose The Stamp Act and Townshend Acts to pay for the wars, which provoked colonial opposition and unrest, leading to the 1770 Boston Massacre and 1773 Boston Tea Party. Then, came the Intolerable Acts, meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in the Tea Party protest in reaction to changes in taxation by the British Government, in spring 1774 upon Massachusetts. It was enough. These acts took away self-governance and rights that Massachusetts had enjoyed since its founding, and triggered outrage and indignation in the Thirteen Colonies, and twelve colonies sent delegates to the First Continental Congress, from September 5, 1774 to October 26, 1774. Their goal was to draft a petition to the King and organize a boycott of British goods. It was these acts…the acts that took away self-governance and other rights that triggered outrage and indignation in the Thirteen Colonies. We have often heard it called “taxation without representation” and it would never be tolerated. This nation had tasted freedom, and would never go back. These acts were key developments in the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in April 1775.

The Revolutionary War was not going to be a short war. It would rage from April 19, 1775 to September 3, 1783…eight long years. For seven years after the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress at its meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776, the war still raged on. I don’t suppose any nation would want to simply lay down its control, but the reality is that Britain had lost its control many years before, and it was time to cut their losses and go home.

It was on June 11, 1776, that the Continental Congress made the decision and selected Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft our Declaration of Independence. That moment truly sealed the fate of the Britain ownership of this nation. The words they penned would be taught in schools, put on documents, t-shirts, decals, and many other forms of media. Because John Adams knew of Thomas Jefferson’s prowess with a pen, he urged him to author the first draft of the document, which was then carefully revised by Adams and Franklin before being given to Congress for review on June 28. I don’t know how many have ever read the entire Declaration of Independence, but I have chosen to place it in its unedited entirety, because I think we need to know why our founding fathers fought so hard for our independence. The 4th of July is not about picnics and fireworks, it is about freedom, and we must never forget that…nor the five men who wrote it and the entire congress who signed it.

The Declaration of Independence
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

No country can truly be secure without an army, and the Thirteen Colonies (now the United States) was no different. After the beginning of the Revolutionary War, John Adams began to see the value of an army, so on June 10, 1775, he proposed to Congress, at a meeting in Philadelphia, that the men laying siege to Boston should be considered a Continental Army led by a general. The men who were mostly from New England, had armed themselves and rushed to surround British forces in Boston following the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Adams, who was representing Massachusetts, realized that the military effort would only succeed if the British thought the colonies were united. To achieve his united feel, Adams suggested than they appoint George Washington of Virginia, to command the Continental forces, despite the fact that New Englanders were used to fighting in local militias under officers elected from among their own ranks.

Five days later, on June 15th, Adams formally nominated George Washington as commander in chief of the Continental Army. Washington accepted the post on June 16th, and on June 17th, with no rest for the troops, the newly named army fought the Battle of Bunker Hill. John Adam’s wife, Abigail, and son, John Quincy Adams, watched the battle from their hometown of Braintree.

Just as the British had discovered the difficulties of waging war with rowdy and uncontrollable Yankees for soldiers during the Seven Years’ War, Washington was equally unimpressed when he met his supposed army. Just as the British had, he saw “stupidity” among the enlisted men, who were used to the easy familiarity of being commanded by neighbors. Upon arrival outside Boston, General George Washington organized this body of more than 22,000 men, known as the Main Army, into three divisions of two brigades each, promptly insisting that the officers behave with decorum and the enlisted men with respect. Washington had some success with this first Continental Army, but when the New Englanders went home to their farms at the end of 1775, General Washington had to start fresh with new recruits in 1776. In retrospect, I’m sure Washington had better control over the second Continental Army, because they didn’t know any other leadership style. George Washington remained the commander of the Continental Army until the end of the Revolutionary War.

Following her graduation from the University of Wyoming, my niece, Kayla Stevens took a job at the Wyoming Mental Health Clinic in Sheridan, Wyoming. The job was a good starting point for Kayla. She started out in the Substance Abuse Team, but was later transferred to the Child and Family Team. While her jobs at the Wyoming Mental Health Clinic were fulfilling, Kayla truly found her home when she switched jobs, going with the Veterans Administration in Sheridan. The work with the Veterans Administration has truly been fulfilling, and recently even more so. Kayla just received a promotion with the Veterans Administration, and a nice raise, but the best bonus of all is that her new job will include working from home. Truly, what more could a mother of a young daughter ask than to stay home with her daughter while also continuing in her life’s work and at a great rate of pay. Plus, she and my nephew, Garrett won’t have to pay for daycare for their daughter, Elliott anymore. It is so hard on a mother to have to put their babies in the care of someone else to raise, even if you know and love the person caring for them. There is no substitute for a parent when raising a child. Now, Kayla can have the best of both worlds. Truly, it is a job sent from Heaven.

Recently Kayla and Garrett had a chance to have a little getaway to Cancun, Mexico, and their daughter, Elliott is getting some one on on time with her grandmas, Alena Stevens, who had Elliott the first half of the vacation, and Lynette Smiley, who has Elliott for the last half of the vacation. I am a firm believer of occasional parent trips, without the kids. These trips are like marriage renewal trips, and parents need that time to reconnect with their spouse in the ways they did before marriage…especially that whole dating thing. I am a firm believer of life long dating of your spouse. The couple who never stops dating their spouse will always stay in love. Finding ways to continually show your spouse how much they mean to you is the best way of expressing your love. The Cancun trip has been great for Kayla and Garrett, who have been married almost five years now.

Kayla is such a sweet person, and she has been a wonderful addition to our family. She loves kids and all the kids love her. She and Garrett make a perfect couple and great parents to Elliott. They are teaching her so much, including to have a great sense of humor. I am so glad that Kayla will be able to stay home with Elliott now, because Elliott will benefit so much. The future looks really bright for Kayla, and a work from home job will fit right in. Today is Kayla’s birthday. Happy birthday Kayla!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Not everyone was surprised at the coming murders of the Jews during the Holocaust. People hoped that the rumors were wrong, and that maybe they war would end before things got that bad, but most knew that if something wasn’t done, things were going to get ugly at some point. In the end, the non-Jews were forced to make a decision…take a stand, or stand by and watch millions of people die.

A Danish ambulance driver in Copenhagen, Denmark huddled over a local phone book, circling Jewish names. He had heard that all of Denmark’s Jews were going to be deported, and he knew this was his “moment of truth.” He knew he had to warn every one of these people, before it was too late. He wasn’t alone. Hundreds of everyday Danes sprang into action in late September 1943. They all had one collective goal in mind…to help their Jewish friends and neighbors escape the horrors they knew were coming.

The plan was amazing. Hundreds of people helped Jewish people sneak out of Copenhagen and other towns. They quickly headed toward Danish shores and into the crowded holds of tiny fishing boats. Denmark was about to pull off a spectacular feat…the rescue of the vast majority of its Jewish population. Within a few hours of learning that the Nazis intended to wipe out Denmark’s Jews, nearly all of the Danish Jews had gone into hiding. Within a few days, most of them had escaped Denmark to neutral Sweden. In the end, over 90% of the Danish Jews were snatched out of the hands of Adolf Hitler and his goons, and it was all thanks to ordinary Danes, most of whom refused to accept credit for their ations. I call it a miracle, and the participants…angels!!

The German forces invaded Denmark in April 1940. The Danish government, rather than suffer an inevitable defeat by fighting back, didn’t resist the Nazi hoard. Instead, the Danish government negotiated with the Germans to insulate Denmark from the occupation. In the negotiations, the Nazis promised to be lenient with the country, respecting its rule and neutrality…like they would ever keep that promise. By 1943, tensions had reached a breaking point. Workers began to sabotage the war effort and the Danish resistance ramped up their efforts to fight the Nazis. In response, the Nazis told the Danish government to institute a harsh curfew, forbid public assemblies, and punish saboteurs with death. The Danish government refused, so the Nazis dissolved the government and established martial law.

The Nazis had always been a forbidding presence in Denmark, but now they began really making their presence known. Like everywhere else, the Danish Jews were to be their first targets. The Holocaust was spreading across occupied Europe, and without the protection of the Danish government, which had done its best to shield Jews from the Nazis after realizing that the Nazi promises were worthless, Denmark’s Jewish population was in danger. In late September 1943, the Nazis got word from Berlin that it was time to rid Denmark of its Jews. As was typical for the Nazis, they planned the raid to coincide with a significant Jewish holiday…in this case, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Marcus Melchior, a rabbi, got word of the coming raid, and in Copenhagen’s main synagogue, he interrupted services. Melchior said, “We have no time now to continue prayers. We have news that this coming Friday night, the night between the first and second of October, the Gestapo will come and arrest all Danish Jews.” Melchior told the congregation that the Nazis had the names and addresses of every Jew in Denmark, and urged them to flee or hide.

Denmark’s panicked Jewish population sprang into action, but against all odds, so did its Gentiles. Hundreds of people spontaneously began to tell Jews about the upcoming action and help them go into hiding. It was, in the words of historian Leni Yahil, “a living wall raised by the Danish people in the course of one night.” It was amazing, and it can only be classified as a miracle. The Gentile people of Denmark were taking their lives into their own hands too, but they did not care, nor did they consider the cost. All they saw was the horrific injustice of the Nazi plan, and they could not abide by it.

No pre-existing plan had been put in place by the Danish people, but the Jewish people needed their help and nearby Sweden offered an obvious haven to those who were about to be deported. Sweden was still neutral and unoccupied by the Nazis, and they were a fierce ally. It was also close. Some areas of Denmark were just over three miles away from the Swedish coast. Once across, the Jews could apply for asylum there. The Danish culture has long been seafaring, in fact since Viking times. That said, there were plenty of fishing boats and other vessels to spirit Jews toward Sweden. But Danish fishermen were worried about losing their livelihoods and being punished by the Nazis if they were caught. So, rather than put their countrymen in peril, the resistance groups that swiftly formed to help the Jews managed to negotiate standard fees for Jewish passengers, then recruit volunteers to raise the money for passage. That way the fishermen got paid for their risk. The average price of passage to Sweden cost up to a third of a worker’s annual salary.

As often happens, there were fishermen who took advantage of the situation, but more who refused pay, acting without regard to personal gain. Boats were used for some 7,000 Danish Jews who fled to safety in neighboring Sweden. Passage was a terrifying ordeal. Jews gathered in fishing towns, hid on small boats, usually 10 to 15 at a time, giving their children sleeping pills and sedatives to keep them from crying, and struggled to maintain control during the hour-long crossing. Some boats, like the Gerda III, were boarded by Gestapo patrols. Gas came from strange sources. Careful rationing by groups like the “Elsinore Sewing Club,” a resistance unit, helped a few hundred Jews make the crossing.

There were failures sadly. In Gilleleje, a small fishing town, hundreds of refugees were being cared for by locals, when the Gestapo arrived. A collaborator had betrayed a group of Jews hiding in the town church’s attic. Eighty Jews were arrested. Others never got word of the upcoming deportations or were too old or incapacitated to seek help. In the end, about 500 Danish Jews were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto. Of the 500 who were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto, only 51 did not survive the Holocaust. Still, it was the most successful action of its kind during the Holocaust. Some 7,200 Danish Jews were ferried to Sweden.

The rescue was not without German help either. God can reach people even in such a corrupt government. Werner Best, the German who had been placed in charge of Denmark, apparently tipped off some Jews to the upcoming action and subtly undermined the Nazis’ attempts to stop the Danes from helping Danish Jews. Another helpful factor was that Denmark was one of the only places in Europe that had successfully integrated its Jewish population. Although there was anti-Semitism in Denmark before and after the Holocaust, the Nazis’ war on Jews was largely viewed as a war against Denmark itself.

We all have them. Days when we really miss a loved one who has passed away or even a love one who lives far away. These are days when thoughts of our mom, dad, spouse, sibling, child, grandparent, or even great grandparent, so fill our minds that it brings us to tears. We push through the sadness and try not to let the tears spill over, but it is so hard, because our heart has a mind of its own sometimes, and those tears just won’t listen to our pleas to stop. Reaching out to others does little to help us, and even posting on social media doesn’t help, because it is our own sadness, our own sorrow, and we have to live it alone. Truly, our only help comes from God, who sees our every tear, and has sent the Comforter to us for just such a time as this.

The thing is that we know where our love one is, and that they are happy, but that doesn’t make it easier for us to move out of our own sadness, because the true sadness of losing someone is not sadness for them, but rather for us. And for those who know someone who is going through this sadness, there is a feeling of helplessness. We love the grieving family member or friend, but we don’t have the words or the ability to make it better for them. All we can do is to pray over them and let them know we love them, and hope it is enough to ease their pain. Of course, for many of us, their pain is shared by us because we love both them and their loved one.

No matter how painful those “miss you” days are, we must understand that they are also important, because we would never want to forget our loved ones. Their memory, while painful considering the loss, is so important considering our love for them. Unfortunately, once a loved one is in Heaven you can’t have one kind on memory without the other kind.

Missing the loved on who lives far away is different, but when you suddenly realize that it has been a year since you saw that parent, grandparent, sibling, or child, your heart goes through that same pain and sadness. The heart somehow doesn’t fully understand the difference between a loved one being in Heaven and a loved on being across the country. Yes, the heart understands that the one who lives far away will be seen again on Earth, but it still feels that pain of missing that loved one terribly…especially when you had lived so close before, even in the same house. The heart just doesn’t totally understand the feeling, it just knows that it is painful, and it brings those dreaded tears. It’s all a part of “miss you” days.

Valentine Trant O’Connell McGillycuddy was born on February 14, 1849 in Racine, Wisconsin to Irish immigrants Daniel McGillycuddy (1821–1892), a merchant, and Joana (Trant) McGillycuddy (1813–1892). His brother, Francis was 6 years older than he was. The McGillycuddy family moved to Detroit when Valentine was 13. At 20 years of age, McGillycuddy graduated from the Detroit Medical School. He began working as a doctor at the Wayne County Insane Asylum and practiced medicine for one year, a job that nearly drove him crazy…literally. Next, he began teaching at the medical college. His longstanding love for the outdoors eventually led McGillycuddy to leave the city medical field. At the request of Army engineer, General Cyrus Comstock, McGillycuddy surveyed and mapped the Great Lakes and Chicago’s devastation after the Great Fire. He probably could have stayed and continued working for the Army in the Great Lakes area, but his heart was in the West.

In 1875 he joined the US Geological Survey sponsored Newton-Jenney Expedition to the Black Hills. This trip would set the course for the rest of his life. Part scientific exploration, part treasure hunt, the expedition was fueled by the trip George Armstrong Custer made into the land of the Lakota and the reports of gold he brought back. Following that trip, McGillycuddy was appointed as the Army surgeon at Nebraska’s Fort Robinson and later administrator at Nebraska’s Red Cloud Agency in 1877. That appointment led to a friendship with Crazy Horse, and antipathy toward Red Cloud, both powerful leaders of the Dakota plains.

McGillycuddy had an uncanny knack for being at the right place at the right time, which put him right in the middle of things during the most consequential era of the American frontier. He met, treated, befriended, or opposed some of its most iconic figures including Little Big Horn principals, George Armstrong Custer, General George Crook, and Major Mark Reno, as well as Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane Canary, the legendary Sioux chiefs Sitting Bull and American Horse, and John Wesley Powell…the man who mapped the Grand Canyon.

It also placed him squarely in the middle of a deadly struggle between the young upstart, Crazy Horse and the dominant chief of the Oglala Lakota, Red Cloud. The two were on different sides of just about everything. Crazy Horse resisted Anglo-American incursion at every turn, taking part in nearly every important battle including the Little Big Horn and the subsequent Dakota War. Red Cloud, who signed the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, was deeply disappointed in the outcome. After having his own war named for him, Red Cloud’s War of 1866, he was finally willing to go along to get along. He and his band settled on the reservation, where he squabbled with Dr John J Saville, the government’s agency man.

McGillycuddy was at Fort Robinson when Crazy Horse surrendered in 1877. The move may have partially been prompted by his wife’s illness. McGillycuddy successfully treated Black Shawl. Some say she had tuberculosis and others claim it was cholera, which killed her three-year-old daughter. Whatever her ailment, saving her life brought about a close bond between Crazy Horse and the doctor. Six months after he surrendered, Crazy Horse was dead. Many people think he was assassinated, stirring a controversy that remains unresolved to this day. McGillycuddy spent the the wounded Crazy Horse’s last hours at his bedside. Varying accounts of the incident were provided by eye witnesses. Army Private William Gentles, an Irish immigrant soldier with a sketchy military career is a prime candidate for the killing of Crazy Horse, stabbing him with a bayonet. The Army’s retelling has Crazy Horse challenging the guards with two concealed knives as they attempted to lock him up, however. In the struggle, he fell on his own weapon. This version was attributed to Charging Bear, the real life “Little Big Man.” He is depicted as either a Crazy Horse lieutenant and “Shirt Wearer,” or a jealous rival who sought to curry favor with his Army captors. A number of Lakota genealogists lean heavily toward the latter, describing him as manipulative. He received a medal for his involvement in the incident.

McGillycuddy certified that his friend, Crazy Horse died near midnight on September 5, 1877, saying his killing “absolutely inexcusable.” Little Big Man was just part of the conspiracy. Crazy Horse was surrounded by shadowy characters. French and Lakota translator, William Garnett, thought that Little Big Man was the killer, but more than a dozen witnesses say an Army guard, perhaps Gentles, stabbed Crazy Horse. In the aftermath, Garnett was labeled a spy. Supposedly Garnett had no connection to Red Cloud, but Nellie Larrabee did. It was speculated that perhaps married to Crazy Horse, Larrabee, known as Chi Chi and Brown Eyed Woman, was sent to the Crazy Horse, Black Shawl household by Red Cloud. It was thought that she was there to act as a spy. Red Cloud was definitely not a fan of Crazy Horse. He thought his resistance to US forces was detrimental to the Lakota cause, but Red Cloud may have also been jealous of the attention the Army gave him. And then things got complicated. Red Cloud and Spotted Tail, a relative of Black Shawl, joined forces against the government’s attempts to seize tribal lands. Spotted Tail approved the Fort Laramie Treaty but continued to fight for sovereignty when the terms of the treaty were not met. Like Red Cloud, he believed it was a fool’s errand to oppose the government on the battlefield.

Along with Garnett, many Lakota deeply mistrusted Larrabee, calling her an “evil woman,” who helped lead Crazy Horse into a “domestic trap” that eventually caused his downfall and placed Spotted Tail in a Red Cloud conspiracy, as well. Others say Spotted Tail was unaware of any plot against Crazy Horse. After Crazy Horse died, McGillycuddy was named the Indian Agent on the Pine Ridge. His old enemy, Red Cloud had a hand to his downfall, accusing him of mismanagement and wrongdoing. A number of investigations were launched into the claims. Still McGillycuddy did his job, and amid charges of “tyranny” and fraud, he established a reservation police force and a boarding school. The breaking point came when the doctor was ordered to fire an otherwise blameless clerk. Rather than do so, he resigned his position in October of 1882 and moved with his wife Frances “Fanny” (Hoyt) McGillycuddy to Rapid City.

It was the end of an era. McGillycuddy served as Dean of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and was appointed South Dakota’s first State Surgeon. He was elected Rapid City mayor in 1897, but when Fanny died, he moved to California. Later, he married Julia Blanchard and enlisted at the start of World War I, serving Alaska and the western states during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. His nemesis, Red Cloud, the last and one of the best known Lakota leaders, outlived nearly all of them. He died on the Pine Ridge Reservation, December 10, 1909 at 87 after converting to Christianity. He claimed the government had made many promises, but kept only one, saying, “They promised to take our land…and they took it.” There are 128 known photographs of Red Cloud, none of Crazy Horse, save a latter-day image found in a derelict photo studio in Chadron, Nebraska. It is still unverified. Black Shawl died in 1927, presumably of influenza. Helen “Nellie” Larrabee is believed to have died in about 1880. One source lists her burial in Charles Mix County near the present day Lake Andes, South Dakota.

Valentine McGillycuddy died on June 6, 1939, at the age of 90. Flags were lowered to half staff on the Pine Ridge at the news of his passing and his ashes were interred on Black Elk Peak in the Black Hills. Formerly known as Harney Peak, he had scaled the mountain as a young surveyor with the Newton-Jenney expedition. A simple stone monument reads “Valentine T. McGillycuddy, Wasicu Wakan, (Holy White Man) 1849-1939.” Valentine McGillycuddy’s grave site, Custer State Park, South Dakota, is accessible only by hiking trails, the most commonly used is Trail No. 9, from the Sylvan Lake Day Use Area. It is a site my husband, Bob and I have visited 15 times over the years. The three-mile hike through the ponderosa pine leads to the former fire tower atop what is now Black Elk Peak.

Moving away from family is both exciting and hard. Sometimes the people you thought would never move are the ones that end up moving, and with that move comes a bit of a shock for the family left behind. That is the situation, my sister, Allyn Hadlock and her husband, Chris, and their family, find themselves in today. After knowing it was coming for several months, their daughter, Jessi Sawdon; her husband Jason; daughter, Adelaide; and their dog, Daisy; are moving from Casper, Wyoming to Cheyenne, Wyoming today. It isn’t a great distance, just a little over two hours away, but our hearts still feel like that is so far away. the good news is te Jessi and Jason will now be just 52 minutes from doorstep to doorstep from her sister, Lindsay Moore, her husband, Shannon, and daughter, Mackenzie. It has been many years since anyon lived that close to Lindsay and Shannon.

Jessi and Jason would not be moving, but Jason has been promoted to a Sergeant’s position within the Wyoming Highway Patrol!! This is a wonderful event in their lives. Not only is Jason being promoted, but with his new rank, comes a new position. It also bring a change to no more shift work. Jason will work days, and have nights, weekends, and holidays off. What a wonderful change for them. Jessi works from home, so this will be an amazing change for their family, and while we will miss them, we are very, very happy for them.

This has been just as bittersweet for Jessi and Jason as it has for the rest of the family. They loved living in Casper and they love their house here. God has been dealing with their hearts, to encourage them to explore Cheyenne and the surrounding area. Jessi said, “I believe we will find many exciting places to explore there.” One of the big things is Cheyenne Frontier Days, which several of our family members love to attend. Now they will also be able to spend time with Jessi, Jason, and Adelaide too. When Jessi mentioned that they plan to explore the area, I decided to see what there is to explore there. I was rather surprised at just how much there is. When I have got through Cheyenne, it is usually the pit stop between Casper and Denver. Among the things I found in Cheyenne, I found the Wyoming State Museum and the Cheyenne Depot Museum, the Terry Bison Ranch (they also raise camels), the Curt Gowdy State Park (which has a number of hiking trails, lakes, and even play areas for Adelaide), Big Boy Steam Engine (Old Number 4004, which has been retired), Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, the famous Cheyenne Big Boots (giant Cowboy boots), the Historic Governors’ Mansion (which you can tour), Happy Jack Drive (a scenic drive), the Wyoming National Guard Museum, and many more exciting places. I am excited for the Sawdon family, because it looks like there is something for each of them.

It is Jessi and Jason’s intentions to come back to Casper at some point. They are keeping their house in Casper, so that one day, they can return. They really love that house too, and it is where they want to be. They love their neighbors and the house, and are not ready to sell…yet. I suppose that could change if they find that they love Cheyenne more, and it could happen. There would be nothing wrong with that, except that the family would love to have them back home. I am glad they didn’t move far away, and I know we will see tham as often as they can make it. Plus, when we go to Denver now, we can stop for lundh with them, so that will be cool too. Jessi, Jason, Adelaide, and Daisy, we love you all, we will miss you, but we wish you the very best in this wonderful new adventure.

When inflation spirals out of control, as in post-World War I Germany, the country’s money soon becomes almost worthless. In 1923, when a battered Germany was struggling to recover from the war, the country was beset with hyperinflation and the German Mark became just that…virtually worthless. At one point, 4.2 trillion German marks was worth just one American dollar. Germany gradually spiraled into such an economic catastrophe that, by November 1923, the German Mark had so degraded that it took 200 billion Marks to buy a loaf of bread. No one in Germany had that kind of money. It was a disaster, and it brought about a number of bizarre events that would shock anyone who has never lived through it.

At some point people began to realize that they couldn’t buy anything with the money, so maybe the money needed to have a different use. One woman decided that since she didn’t have enough money for material to make a dress, she would use money to make the dress. Children were allowed to use stacks of banknotes to play with like blocks, and children made kites out of cash. Some people had an even better use for the money. They burned it for fuel. While all that might seem “funny,” not every effect was “funny.” One effect of the disaster was the destruction of middle class people’s savings, and Adolf Hitler exploited that one. He wasn’t having any financial difficulties, because he had control pf everything.

The crisis began during the First World War, when the German government printed unbacked currency and borrowed money to finance its dream of conquering Europe. It is always dangerous to print money with no gold to back it up. The government had an ingenious plan, however. They planned to pay off the debts by seizing resource-rich territories and imposing reparations on the vanquished Allies. I suppose that might have worked if they had not been beaten into submission in 1918. Then, Germany ended up with enormous debts alongside huge, punitive reparations owed to the Allies under the Treaty of Versailles. Inflation crept up slowly at first, before accelerating rapidly in late 1922. By autumn 1923, the country was in full economic collapse. The rate of inflation was 3,250,000% a month and prices for daily commodities doubled in a matter of hours.

During the crisis, workers paid by the hour found their wages were essentially worthless, because the prices had risen since they began their shifts. Pensioners on fixed incomes were the most badly hit and people’s life savings suddenly became worth less than a loaf of bread. Farmers eventually refused to bring produce into the city as the requirements to calculate and recalculate commercial transactions in the billions and trillions made it practically impossible to do business in cash. Storekeepers couldn’t do business fast enough to protect their cash receipts, so shops were abandoned. As people went through more and more panic situations, it led to uprisings. A far-left workers’ revolt in the industrial Ruhr region led to a 50,000-man ‘Red Army’ which took control of the area before being put down by the army. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party also attempted a failed government takeover in Munich, which became known as the Beer Hall Putsch.

The fever of hyperinflation finally broke in late 1923, when the government began issuing the new Rentenmark. The Rentenmark was a currency that was backed by mortgages on agricultural and industrial land, which was introduced with the old exchange rate of one US dollar to 4.2 Rentenmarks. It was a much more manageable difference for the people. The new currency’s foundation was shaky at best, but after going through years of terrifying instability, the German people were just desperate enough to trust it. Still, the German middle-class had been essentially ruined by the fiasco. The worst side-effect of the hyperinflation fiasco was that many members of the ruined middle classes ultimately became receptive to extremist propaganda, with many flocking to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, as well as other anti-human ideologies like Communism. Sadly, when the system that they had been comfortable with failed because of the corruption of its leaders, they made the biggest mistake of all, they turned to the worst alternative as their new form of hope. That would prove an even bigger disaster in the coming World War II.

How does love grow? Sometimes people start out not liking each other, and later, things change. Other people like my Aunt Dixie Richards and the love of her life, my Uncle Jim Richards, it was pretty much love at first sight. Uncle Jim lost his dad at the young age of seven years, and when his family moved from Bassett, Nebraska to Casper, Wyoming, following the job search, Jim found himself befriending the Byer family. Because Jim had lost his dad, my grandpa George Byer became a father figure to Uncle Jim, who had never really had a dad in his life.

When Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim fell in love, it was settled in their minds. The were married on June 3, 1961 and they never looked back. Over the years they helped many family members when they needed a hand or a place to stay. No one was ever turned away. Uncle Jim’s mother lived with them until she passed away. They always had extra mouths to feed, but God always made sure there was enough food to go around. He does that for those with a generous heart…and they definitely had generous hearts. I think that when two people are of like mind, and agree to be generous, helpful caregivers, they will be blessed. During the time when they were taking care of Uncle Jim’s family, they were also taking care of her parents whenever that was needed too. In reality they were lifelong caregivers, and that is a hard job that brings great blessings.

All during the years that they were helping so many people, Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim were also raising their own family. They have three children Jeannie Liegman, James Richards (who passed away on February 16, 2021), and Raylynn Williams. They also have 6 grandchildren, Jacob Liegman, Gabriel Williams, Gideon Williams, Noah Williams, Jonah Williams (who passed away at birth), and their lone granddaughter, Mayme Williams. Their life has been greatly blessed, especially in that their children all live very close to them and they see them every day. Their children have always been there for them and to help with any other family members that needed their help too. Their children learned their loving and caring ways from their parents.

Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim have lived quite a life, but there has never been a day that they thought it was all a mistake. They loved each other then and they love each other now. They saw each other all those years ago, and they never had eyes for anyone else. Sixty years is a long time to be married to someone. Many marriages don’t make it that long and those that stay together, often don’t live long enough to be married sixty years. It is a rarity. Today is my Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim’s 60th anniversary. Happy anniversary Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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