Archive for History

Action Needed to Save Columbus Day in Baltimore

Columbus Day
The following email about city legislation affecting Columbus Day was sent today to local members of the Knights of Columbus by the national KofC – please share it with your friends and call Friday:

The Baltimore City Council is voting on Monday, Dec. 5, on a proposal to eliminate Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ and Italian-Americans’ Day.

We urge you to call the city hall operator THIS WEEK at 410-396-3100 or the Office of the City Council President at 410-396-4804 to respectfully express your support for preserving Columbus Day.

The following points may be useful in your conversation:

  1. October 12 should continue to be celebrated as Columbus Day. We strongly object to and oppose any efforts to abolish or diminish this holiday by repeal, dilution or replacement. Such actions are unfair to Columbus himself and to those who celebrate his holiday.

  2. The legacy and accomplishments of Christopher Columbus deserve to be celebrated. He was a man ahead of his time and a fearless explorer and brilliant navigator whose daring discovery changed the course of history.

  3. Columbus has frequently been falsely blamed for the actions of those who came after him and is the victim of horrific slanders concerning his conduct.

  4. Long-time Stanford University Professor Carol Delaney has done extensive research debunking many of the negative myths about Columbus. In fact, she paints a positive portrait of a man who had generally benign relations with the Native Americans and has been unfairly blamed for everything that ever went wrong in the New World after his arrival.

  5. Advocating the addition of a new holiday is one thing, but it is something else altogether to lobby for the diminishment or elimination of an already well-established holiday that is celebrated by Americans year after year.

  6.  Because Columbus Day has special meaning — including to many Italian Americans and Catholics — efforts to repeal, diminish or replace Columbus Day are unfair and hurtful to those communities, regardless of what substitutions are offered.

More on Columbus Day

In 2014,  I wrote about Carol Delaney and her research that debunked many myths about Columbus. She also found that Columbus was searching for gold to help fund a new crusade to retake Jerusalem from Muslim invaders.

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

thanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving from The Quinton Report

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

More on the Thanksgiving Proclamation

The Library of Congress has an image of the original document online as well as the text.

You can also read Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving online.

Saint Margaret, Pearl of Scotland

Saint Margaret of ScotlandNovember 16 is the feast day of Saint Margaret of Scotland, who is a direct ancestor of mine. She is also the Patron Saint of Scotland.

Margaret of Wessex was born around 1045 in what is now Hungary. Her parents were Prince of Edward (the Exile) of England and Princess Agatha of Hungary. Her brother and sister were also born in Hungary.

When there was a chance her father might become successor to the throne, they returned to England. She was 10 years old at the time. Her father died and her family later fled in 1066 following the Battle of Hastings in 1066 that resulted in a victory by William the Conqueror.

On their way back to the European continent, their ship wrecked on the coast of Scotland. She later married King Malcolm of Scotland in 1070 in Dunfermline. They had eight children.

As a bio from Catholic Online notes:

She constantly worked to aid the poor Scotland. She encouraged people to live a devout life, grow in prayer, and grow in holiness. She helped to build churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, where a relic of the true Cross is kept. She was well-known for her deep life of prayer and piety. She set aside specific times for prayer and to read Scripture. She didn’t eat often and slept very little so she would have more time for her devotions. She lived holiness of life as a wife, mother and lay woman; truly in love with Jesus Christ.

Malcolm supported Margaret in all her endeavors and admired her religious devotion so much he had her books decorated in jewels, gold and silver. One of these decorated books, a gospel book with portraits of the four evangelists, is now kept in Oxford at the Bodleian Library after it was miraculously recovered from a river.

In 1093, her husband and oldest son were killed in battle and she died four days later.

Pope Innocent IV canonized her as a Saint in 1250 and her body was moved to Dunfermline Abbey. Mary Queen of Scots reportedly acquired the relic of her head after that, but it was later lost during the French Revolution after being in possession of Jesuits in France.

More on Saint Margaret of Scotland

Margaret was the mother of three kings of Scotland. She was the granddaughter of King Edmund Ironside and her infant father was exiled by Canute. Saint Margaret is my 24th great grandmother.

Ellison Baxter Quinton, 1838-1899

Baxter QuintonI originally posted this about Baxter Quinton on Facebook on September 30, 2016.

Ellison Baxter Quinton, my great-great-grandfather was born on September 30, 1838 in Chester County, SC.

He enlisted in Company F of the 23rd SC Volunteers (Hatch’s Coast Rangers) in 1861.

Via SCIWAY:

After being stationed in South Carolina, the regiment moved to Virginia and during the war served in General Evans’, Elliot’s, and Wallace’s Brigade. It participated in the conflicts at Second Bull Run (Second Manassas), South Mountain, and Sharpsburg, then was ordered to North Carolina and later to Mississippi. The unit skirmished at Jackson, was sent to Charleston, and in the spring of 1864 returned to Virginia. It continued the fight in the trenches of Petersburg and around Appomattox. During the Second Manassas operations, August 6-20, 1862, this regiment lost sixty-eight percent of the 225 engaged, and all its field officers were wounded. It reported 10 killed, 22 wounded, and 5 missing in the Maryland Campaign, totalled 297 men in October, 1863, and had 49 killed or wounded at the Petersburg mine explosion. The 23rd had many disabled at Sayler’s Creek and surrendered 5 officers and 103 men.

The unit surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse along with the Army of Northern Virginia. He received his parole there.

A full list of battles the regiment fought in include:

  • 1862: Malvern Hill, Rappahannock Station, 2nd Manassas (Bull Run), South Mountain, Sharpsburg (Antietam)
  • 1863: Siege of Jackson, Charleston Harbor
  • 1864: Bermuda Hundred, Siege of Petersburg, The Crater
  • 1865: Fort Stedman, Five Forks, Appomattox Court House

More on Baxter Quinton

He married Elizabeth Hudson, a direct descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. They had several children including William Baxter Quinton, my great-grandfather.

E. Baxter Quinton died on August 21 in 1899 in Chester County.

Maryland’s Crossland Banner

Crossland bannerThe Maryland state flag‘s alternating quadrants consist of imagery from the Coats of Arms of the Calvert and Crossland families. William Cooke has blogged extensively about Maryland flags and banners, including the Crossland banner.

The Maryland state flag is one of only four state flags that doesn’t contain the color blue. It’s also the only one based on English heraldry.

At left is the Crossland Banner. You can purchase your own Crossland banner here.

The two symbols were first put together in 1648 by the second Lord Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert.

Here’s what Wikipedia notes about historical usage of the Crossland banner:

The red and white colored arms of the Crossland family, which belonged to the family of Calvert’s (Lord Baltimore’s) paternal grandmother, gained popularity during the American Civil War, during which Maryland remained with the Union despite a large proportion of the citizenry’s support for the Confederacy, especially in the central City of Baltimore and the counties of the southern part of the state and the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Those Marylanders who supported the Confederacy, many of whom fought in the Army of Northern Virginia of General Robert E. Lee, adopted the Crossland banner, which was red and white with the bottony (trefoil) cross (seen as “secession colors”) and often used a metal bottony cross pinned to their gray uniforms or caps (kepis). The black and gold (yellow) colors with the chevron design of the Calvert familywere used in the flags and devices and uniform pins of the Union Army regiments in the northern Army of the Potomac.

After the war, Marylanders who had fought on either side of the conflict returned to their state in need of reconciliation. The present design, which incorporates both of the coats of arms used by George Calvert, began appearing.

The current state flag with both the Crossland and Calvert heraldry include was first flown publicly in 1880 at a parade honoring the sesquicentennial of Baltimore. It was also flown in 1888 at ceremonies marking the erection of monuments at Gettysburg honoring the Union regiments from Maryland who fought there. The new state flag was officially adopted in 1904.

More on the Crossland banner

More from Cooke:

It is interesting to point out that the Crossland Banner has not attracted the negative attention that other Confederate flags have. I believe that this is because the design was created centuries before the Civil War and should not even be considered a Confederate flag, on its own. Rather it was just one symbol that Confederates in Maryland adopted. Hate groups have not used the Crossland Banner, thankfully. Flying the Crossland is not seen as controversial as it has such a rich history and has a prominent place on our State flag. Indeed, ultra-liberal Howard County, uses the Crossland Banner on their county flag.

Don’t forget to purchase your own banner here.