Author Archives: Rory Tettemer

Our Connection to Seicheprey

Over the course of our school year, our class has had a deep connection with the town of Seicheprey in France. We first learned about Seicheprey through our research about Sergeant Stubby, the war dog of the 102nd US Infantry. After learning about Stubby’s heroic tales and service, we developed a curiosity to learn more about this significant battle for Connecticut history. Due to this battle being significantly historic for the Connecticut veterans specifically, the importance of this battle gradually faded in memory and history when the Connecticut veterans passed away in the 20th century. Our class discovered several interesting facts and stories from the Battle of Seicheprey, such as one of our Suffield veterans at the battle serving as a cook. When we learned of the details when the German storm troopers overwhelmed the trenches, we were shocked to learn that the cooks responded by picking up their knives and fighting off the Germans with hand-to-hand combat. Along with these facts we found new events that were happening in the town of Seicheprey today. We took the liberty to spread our findings across the social networks of our class blog and twitter. Our posts were immediately recognized by many WWI historians and eventually by Stéphanie Trouillard, a French journalist studying the history of WWI.

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More details on our academic network: https://twitter.com/Stbslam/status/957705999690936322

We reached out to Stephanie to find out if the town of Seicheprey was doing a commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Seicheprey. She took the initiative to reach out to the town hall of Seicheprey and received a response from Gérard Andre, the Mayor of Seicheprey. From this information we discovered that Seicheprey was honoring this historic battle on April 21st, 2018 and intend to make a fountain with several representatives from Connecticut in order to honor the 102nd division and Sergeant Stubby. After this interaction from Stéphanie, we were able to continue communications with the Mayor and other citizens from Seicheprey as well as students from the nearby school of architecture. While we were not able to attend the commemoration, these architecture students shared their local history project with us. Then we shared slides from our presentation with them. It was great to get positive feedback from students doing the same type of work that we were doing here.

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An interactive exhibit from the commemoration

Pauline, a student from Seicheprey reached out to us and gave us a very detailed overview of what the town presented and the different activities that were going on in the town to commemorate this battle. These connections to Seicheprey have been the foundation of our class and we are extremely thankful to everyone who has helped spread the story of this forgotten battle.

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An invitation to the commemoration of April 21st.

 

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Connecticut Before and After The Great Migration

During the 1910’s and 1920’s, African Americans participated in the Great Migration, and Connecticut served as a safe area where “Negroes” migrated to after leaving southern areas, such as, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, according to our research. This historic event changed Connecticut’s landscape forever and was etched into history as “The Great Migration.” While Georgia was the main area that most of the African American people migrated from, other states such as Florida and Virginia also saw a large decrease in African American population during this time. Other Caribbean countries like Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands also had populations that were part of the Great Migration as most of their population was dispersed throughout the northern states in the US, with Connecticut being one of the most popular. This information can be tracked by comparing the 1920 US Census to the 1910 US Census. A census is defined as, “an official count or survey of a population, typically recording various details and statistics of all individuals inside the US.” The 1920 census shows a bar graph of the increase of the African American population in the northern and western states between 1910 and 1920. The north saw a 26.6% increase in their African American population as it changed from a mere 16.7% to a whopping 43.3%. The total amount of African American’s in the northern states in 1920 was 1,472,309. Connecticut counted for 21,046 naturally born African American citizens, and the Hartford region alone counted for 4,199 of that total population. The 1920 census does not list individual cities and towns, but instead graphs the regions of the state. This means that all Suffield information and statistics are included in the Hartford region of the bar graphs.

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*Graph from the 1920 census showing the population of Negroes in the Northern states during this time*

Censuses also list other valuable information besides just the populations of specific areas. When government officials are asking for information for the census, they also ask questions like, “What is your average source of income?” Due to the effect of the Great War, Connecticut actually saw a dramatic increase in their salaries and wages between 1914-1919. This was largely due to the fact that industrial changes needed to be made in order to accommodate the production needed for the war. From the information that government officials receive from the census, they are easily able to calculate other valuable information just from the population. For example, they are able to tell the difference in gender varying from state to state. In the US as a whole, there were more female African Americans than there were male African Americans, specifically 5,253,695 people to 5,209,436 people respectively.

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*Graph from the 1920 census showing the population of Negroes in Connecticut regions during this time*

When researching the 1920 census in Suffield, I took the time to target individual people, specifically African Americans who migrated from southern states to Suffield, CT. Two of the people that I found, Virginia Rice and Barbara Jesse, were originally born in Georgia and then migrated to Virginia, before meeting with the same family that claimed them and brought them to Suffield. Interestingly enough, the family that claimed Virginia Rice and Barbara Jesse in 1920 was the headmaster at Suffield Academy, Hobart Truesdell. Virginia Rice is listed as a servant in the 1920 census meaning she worked for the headmaster presumably performing whatever duty for which she was tasked with; perhaps she was a maid. Barbara Jesse is listed as a boarder in the 1920 census, which is strange because a boarder is usually as student and it is uncommon for a student to be living in the headmaster’s house, especially if she was attending the Suffield School. This could be some sort of scholarship type reward or based off a distant family connection to the headmaster. I will continue to investigate her situation more.

Sources:

https://www.archives.gov/research/census/publications-microfilm-catalogs-census/1920

Unacknowledged Heroes of the Lusitania

I examined the role that Connecticut played in the Sinking of the Lusitania on May 7th, 1915, the tragedy that is widely perceived to have persuaded the USA into entering WWI. While there is llusitania-hero-ABittle information connected to Suffield during this event, the state of Connecticut does have a rich history with this famous sinking. Aboard the Lusitania there were 1,960 passengers, and out of that group, twenty of the residents were from Connecticut. Among those twenty Connecticut residents involved in the Lusitania sinking, two of them are nationally perceived as heroes for saving ten percent of around seven hundred survivors. Elizabeth Duckwork, a weaver from Taftville, assisted in the rescue of forty passengers, and James Ham Brooks, a salesman in a Bridgeport manufacturing company, helped save 33 people. Another Connecticut survivor aboard the Lusitania was Theodate Pope, a Farmington citizen, who went abroad the Lusitania in hopes of reaching Liverpool to continue her research of “spiritualism”. Pope traveled with her colleague, Edward Friend, a philosopher who graduated from Harvard University. Pope survived the tragedy by clinging to the oar of a lifeboat for three long hours in the freezing waters in the Irish Sea [a true Titanic story!]. Edward Friend jumped off the side of the Lusitania before Pope did and was never seen again after the sinking. Pope is known for being the first female architect in Connecticut and for her architectural structures spread out around New York and Connecticut. Impressively enough, Pope created and founded Avon Old Farms, a single-sex boarding school in Avon, CT. Pope died at the age of forty-six in her home in Farmington, CT, which is now a museum dedicated to Theodate Pope herself. It would be very interesting to visit the museum in Farmington in order to learn a little more about a local survivor.

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Sources:

goo.gl/2ZnZP3

This source comes directly from the Hartford Courant and it is an article in remembrance of “The Sinking of The Lusitania” on its 100 year anniversary.

You’ve Got Mail

How I Built This: AOL [Steve Case] PODCAST

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/national-public-radio/how-i-built-this/e/49632182?autoplay=true

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The creator of the American Online Inc. [AOL], Steve Case, sits down with Guy Raz to discuss how he created the first American Online social media network. AOL was created to connect users to one another over the Internet by means of email and instant messaging. This invention in the mid-80s shocked the US and became an instant sensation with users across the nation.

 

(5:00) A large part of PBL is learning from failure; many great innovators succeed after going through consistent failures. How did Steve Case fail during his first stint with a marketing company?

 

(6:20) As a millennial, It is hard to imagine life without connection to the Internet. Before AOL started, how many people were actually connected to the Internet and what was the average amount of time spent per week on the Internet?

 

(9:00) As this new addition to the Internet is being discussed, music begins to play in the background. Why do you think this music is being played and how does it make you feel?

 

(18:00) Why did Steve Case use the term “You’ve Got Mail” to symbolize the notification of when a user received a message from a different user?

Espionage in WWI

First Hot Log December Unknown2017: If there is one thing that can be said bout every war, it is that espionage will always be used in a strategic manner in order to gain an advantage on the opponent. Espionage is the practice of spying or of using spies, mostly by governments in an effort to obtain political and military information. I am very interested in learning more about what role espionage took in WWI, and what impact Suffield may have had on espionage during this time. Espionage tactics in WWI took place in the form of eavesdropping, cryptography, and sabotage of enemy infantry. The Secret Service was the main intelligence agency for the United States during WWI, so it would be very fascinating to find out if any citizens from Suffield who were in the Secret Service during this time.

Espionage has always been a fascinating topic to me and that originates from the very first time that I researched my family history. My father and I found out that my seventh great grandfather, John Honeyman, was a spy for George Washington during the American Revolution. Honeyman first met Washington at a Continental Congress meeting, then again in the Continental Army. At these moments in time Honeyman and Washington’s friendship sparked into a bond of loyalty and trust, and this led Washington to be certain that Honeyman was the absolute best choice to help him cross the Delaware River. The way Honeyman spied was quite unique as he spied while being held as a prisoner to the British and studied camps in the town of Trenton. On December 22nd, 1776 Honeyman was captured by Americans to “talk” to Washington. When Honeyman returned, he told the British of his prisoner adventures and assured them no attack was imminent. This, obviously not being true, led Washington to attack the Hessians by complete surprise. From this, the Battle of Trenton was won by the American colonies and introduced a spark of hope in our darkest hour.

Source:

https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/espionage

http://www.centenarynews.com/article?id=161