So, you think you can cook…

Clarence Metz: Army cook

 

I admit it. I’m a Top Chef fan.   

Not that I can whip up such amazing creations myself, but I really enjoy seeing how these talented chefs pull off the seemingly impossible in such a limited amount of time. And under some really difficult environments.   

But did you ever see those episodes where the contestants are told they must cook a gourmet meal for 300 people? And even though the serving portion usually ends up being some spoon-sized, artistic dollop on a tiny plate, the contestants usually all have the same freaked-out expression on their faces.   

One meal for 300 people?   

Oh. My. God.   

(Cue the laughter from all those current and ex-military cooks)   

Let’s look at this challenge from a military perspective.   Continue reading

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Military Veterinarians: Then and now

Rudolph Celinas: World War I horseshoer

 

World War I irrevocably changed the view of warfare in a number of ways. The trench bogs, the introduction of tanks, weapons of mass destruction (mustard gas) and the last-gasp reliance on horses for either hauling artillery or cavalry officers through the endless mud and muck.  

Animals were integral to the war effort. According to the RootsWebAncestry.com website, the US Army had six classes of animals to fulfill military hauling requirements. These were:  

• For the cavalry: Active horses from 950 to 1,200 pounds  

• For hauling light artillery: Strong active horses from 1,150 to 1,300 pounds  

• For hauling siege batteries: Powerful horses from 1,400 to 1,700 pounds  

• For hauling wheelers above 1,150 pounds or leaders above 1,000 pounds: pack and draft mules  Continue reading

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Where there’s a war, there’s a nurse

Blanche Hackett: WWI Army Nurse Corps

 

The Army Nurse Corps.    

In the U.S., the need for nurses was recognized as early as 1775 when General Washington requested that the fledging U.S. government send nurses and matrons to care for injured Revolutionary War soldiers. Thankfully, such assistance wasn’t limited to behind-the-lines facilities. For example, take volunteer Molly Pitcher who carried water under fire to help keep her husband’s artillery gunners hydrated.    

By the time the Civil War erupted, nursing support had become more official.    

According to the Army Nurse Corps website, “Approximately 6,000 women performed nursing duties for the federal forces…often performing their humanitarian service close to the fighting front or on the battlefields themselves.” One of the most famous personalities from this time, was Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.    

The Spanish American War in 1898 proved to be one of the deadlier arenas due to typhoid and yellow fever contagions. While less than 400 American soldiers were killed in combat during this war, more than 2,000 contracted yellow fever during the campaign.    

Among the nurses, fifteen died from typhoid, one died from yellow fever.    Continue reading

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Remembering our veterans…

…and the history they’ve made. 

Private Koester: Born 1833 - Died 1918

 

May is a great month for remembering our veterans and our sometimes forgotten history. Over the next few weeks, Beyond The Ghosts… will be posting a variety of interesting memorial headstone snapshots and stories from the photo archives. In the meantime, here are four links to some previous military postings to get us started. 

And lest we forget…To those who have served, or who are currently serving, thank you! 

World War 1 Tank Corps 

Marching with General Sherman down through Atlanta 

The Siberian Front – World War I 

Before the Air Force, the Army had things well in hand…

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Auburn Pioneer Cemetery: A tiny cemetery with many stories

Auburn Pioneer entry way

 

“One of these days, I’m going to check that place out.”     

Everyone has an Auburn Pioneer Cemetery in their life. It’s that one place we see every day that piques our interest as we drive to and from work. Sometimes the traffic or red light gives us a chance to look more closely as we pass by. We take a moment to admire the archway’s elegant carving and idly survey the rows of moss-covered stones. Then we wonder how a cemetery ever got sandwiched between a boat seller and a major thoroughfare.     

The boat seller's shop

 

But then traffic speeds up or the light turns green and suddenly, the day’s demands crowd everything else out. Work, grocery runs, children, or upcoming project presentations block out everything but the daily necessities. The idea of visiting a non-descript cemetery disappears until the next time we’re held up and need to kill two minutes worth of time before moving on.     

And once again, the intriguing entry way beckons.     

The demarcation line     

For those who do manage to finally get to Auburn Pioneer, a number of intriguing perspectives compete for the visitor’s attention almost immediately upon entering the site. Continue reading

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Lakeview Cemetery Part II: Elegant memorials to an eccentric past

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Part II: The travels of Nora Johns Hill

        

In The Pioneers of Lakeview, Robert Ferguson details one such cemetery relocation story, proving that just because you’re dead and buried, doesn’t mean you won’t be moving.           

A Tree of Life carving

 

 Nora Johns Hill may have been the first recorded death of a white American in Seattle, but her real notoriety began only after she passed away. For 31 years after her death, her body meandered from one cemetery site to another, until finally finding peace in Lakeview Cemetery.            

A Woodworker's memorial

 

Nora was first laid to rest in 1855 on the east side of Maynard’s Point next to a tidal lagoon and now, present-day Occidental Avenue, South. Then a real estate boom happened and Nora’s grave was removed to The White Church on the corner of Second Ave and Columbia.           

Up until that time, Nora had managed 10 years worth of peace and quiet.           

Woodmen of the World

 

  Continue reading

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Lakeview Cemetery Part I: Elegant memorials to an eccentric past

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The treats     

The Denny family plot

 

Scattered throughout the immaculate grounds of Lakeview Cemetery, classic Victorian sculptures pay homage to Seattle’s pioneer fortitude and frontier savvy. Most of Seattle’s founding families (Denny, Renton, Mercer, Boren, Yesler, and others) are buried in the western hill section, offering a ‘one-stop shopping’ approach for local history buffs.          

Capt. William Renton

 

The stylish memorials act as a seemingly prim contradiction to neighboring Capitol Hill’s stated irreverence.          

Austin Bell's mausoleum

 

The tricks     

However, the founding families’ elegance smoothly glosses over the scruffy reality of a frontier town’s robust approach to living. With few niceties available to soften the harsher edges, unconventional allowances were sometimes made in Seattle that might not have been tolerated in other, more established cities.         Continue reading

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