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Archive for the category “JFK+50 Celebrates 1st Anniversary”


 November 9, 2011


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) One year ago today JFK+50 began posting on Blogger.  Over the past year we have published 352 postings & since adding the “NEOCOUNTER” on December 17, 2010, JFK+50 has had more than 78,000 visitors from 176 countries & 12,175 cities.

We have been most gratified with the response to JFK+50 & attribute most of it to the genuine affection & interest in President John F. Kennedy.

We would like to thank each of you who have visited & hope you will come back often.  

We would also like to encourage those who have visited JFK+50 many times to consider signing on as a FOLLOWER.  We would be so proud to have you on board.

With the format of JFK+50 being “On this day in history”, we will make every effort in the coming year to write about different events than we did this last year.*

*As always, your comments & suggestions are welcome, but if you prefer privacy feel free to email us at jrwhite21@hotmail.com.

Thanks again for visiting JFK+50.

John White

November 9, 2011


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) JFK+50 had the pleasure to attend a lecture today given at the East Tennessee Historical Society in downtown Knoxville by nationally renowned Civil War historian Edwin C. Bearss.

                      Edwin C. Bearss
  East Tennessee Historical Society
                   November 9, 2011
              Photo by John White

Mr. Bearss, who is chief historian emertus for the National Park Service, spoke last night at the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable.

Edwin C. Bearss served in the USMC during WWII & was stationed in the Pacific.  

After the war he began his career with the NPS at Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi.

The topic of today’s lecture was “Bleeding Kansas”, the term coined by NY Tribune’s Horace Greeley for the border war over the issue of Kansas Territory being free or slave during the years 1854 to 1858.

We found Mr. Bearss’s lecture not only interesting but riveting.  He speaks as if he lived through that period of history.

To pull his audience into the topic, Mr. Bearss began by saying that Abraham Lincoln’s “Spot” Resolutions were intended to embarrass Tennessee’s President James K. Polk.

The “Spot” resolutions were presented by Illinois congressman Lincoln on December 22, 1847 in response to Polk’s assertion that Mexican troops had “shed American blood on American soil.”

Since the area of the attack was in the disputed territory between the Rio Grande & Nueces Rivers, Mr. Lincoln wanted to know where exactly the “spot” was where “American blood was shed on American soil”?*

*The Spot Resolutions were not debated or passed by the Congress. Lincoln biographer David Herbert Donald wrote that “nobody paid much attention to (Lincoln’s) resolutions.”

                Abraham Lincoln (1846)
              Library of Congress Photo

Another interesting point brought up by Mr. Bearss is that while Kansas Territory had 2250 residents, 6,200 voted in the election.  The reason, of course, was that a large number of pro-slavery residents of Missouri crossed the border & voted illegally.

While the term “Border Ruffians” is generally attributed to this group, Mr. Bearss said that the anti-slavery settlers, called Jayhawkers, referred to them as “Pukes”.*

*The Chicago Tribune described “Pukes” as “slightly resembling human beings, but more closely allied to wild beasts.”

Mr. Bearss went on to give a detailed description of the abolitionist John Brown’s attack on the pro-slavery Doyle family who lived on Pottawattomie  Creek.

Brown & his small band killed John Doyle (who was from Tennessee) & 2 of his sons, hacking them up with swords in the process.*

           John White & Edwin C. Bearss
      East Tennessee Historical Society
                       November 9, 2011

*At the end of the lecture, I asked Mr. Bearss if, in his opinion, John Brown was “a good man who did evil deeds or an evil man who did good deeds?”

Mr. Bearss gave a detailed answer but in summation said that John Brown was a “zealot & as such a man to be considered dangerous.” 

 In the lecture, Mr. Bearss said after the events in Kansas, John Brown became “a saint in New England & the devil incarnate in the South.”

                  John Brown in Kansas
          Photo by John Bowles (1856)

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