Monday, February 28, 2011

William Clarke Quantrill

Good Monday Morning to you all. This morning we feature a photograph of William Clarke Quantrill of the famed Quantrill Raiders of the Civil War. He is remembered for his escapades along the Missouri-Kansas border during the Civil War, and more specifically the raid on Lawrence, Kansas. He was one of effective of the Raiders of that day, and was a particular thorn in the side of the Union. He was killed in a Union ambush in Kentucky, 1865. Brilliant horse soldier, or blood thirsty bandit? . . . the debate continues to this day.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Welcome to Gentleman Raider Week

We kicked off Gentleman Raider Week yesterday with the Mystery Person contest, which featured Rebel Raider John H. Morgan. Today, we feature the Confederate Raider General John S. Mosby, the famed "Gray Ghost" of the Civil War. Mosby raised a regiment of Confederate Raiders (or rangers, depending on your perspective) which was one of the most effective of the Civil War. He could operate deep behind enemy lines with impunity. He once kidnapped a Union General from his residence, and on another occasion visited Washington DC, and had a lock of his hair delivered to President Lincoln. Mosby lived up to a ripe old age, and did not die until 1916. In his later years he lived in California and enjoyed telling stories of his exploits to the neighborhood children. One of the those neighborhood boys was George S. Patton.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mystery Person Contest

Today is Saturday, and that can mean only one thing. It is Mystery Person Contest day! Ready, Set, Go!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pauline Chase

Today's picture is from 1910, and shows Pauline Chase. She lived from 1885 to 1962. She is best remembered for her role as Peter Pan in the British stage production of that play.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maude Fealy

Our featured actress today is Maude Fealy. She lived between 1883 and 1971. She started as an actress in silent films, and then later performed on stage and in talking movies.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mary Pickford

Actress week would not be complete without a picture of Mary Pickford. Mary was one of the first real Mega-Stars, and first became famous in silent films.

Mary is pictured above with her second husband, Douglas Fairbanks. She was married three times in all. So, the Hollywood lifestyle appears to be filled with glamor, but maybe not so much happiness.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lotta Crabtree

This is a picture of Lotta Crabtree. She lived between 1847 and 1924. She was one of the most popular actresses of the 1800's. Her career spanned from about age six to the end of the 1800's. She lived the remainder of her life in seclusion. She was never married, and preferred focussed on her work instead of sorted affairs with men. She required payment in gold for her acting, and carried her gold with her. When the gold became too heavy, she would buy property. She amassed a sizable fortune over her career. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lillie Langtry

What better way to start a week than with a picture of Lillie Langtry. Lillie lived from 1853 to 1929. This picture as taken in 1912, which would put her in her late 50's. She was an accomplished actress, and was considered a strikingly beautiful woman. Her nickname was the "Jersey Lily". 

She if perhaps most remembered as the subject of Judge Roy Bean's romantic infatuation, although I don't think the two ever met.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lillian Russell

Good Sunday Morning to you all. From yesterday's Mystery Person Contest, you might have guessed that this week is going to be Famous Actress Week. Each day we will feature a beauty of a bygone era. Today's celebrity is Lillian Russell. The picture was taken in 1898. Lillian lived from 1861 to 1922. She was an accomplished stage actress, singer and performer.

Lillian was married four times, including once to Diamond Jim Brady. I find it interesting that failed marriages is a legacy for entertainers going way back.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cotton Wagons

We wrap up Cotton Week with this picture. It shows a long line of wagons filled with cotton, being taken to the gin. 

I have to say I am sad to see Cotton Week come to an end. I enjoyed spending the last few weeks in the land of Dixie, and am not sure yet what our theme will be next week.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cotton Gin

Today's picture shows a Cotton Gin at Dahomy Mississippi. The picture was taken in the late 1800's and shows cotton being delivered for ginning, and finished cotton bales being taken away.

The cotton industry has changed a lot since then, and continues to change. In the old days, raw cotton was taken to the gin, and the gin took the husks off the cotton bolls, took the seeds out of the cotton, and then compressed the cotton fiber into bales. Now, the first stages of ginning are actually done in the field. Modern cotton strippers remove the cotton husk from the boll, and then there are "Module Builders" which compress the cotton into large cubes, with one cube fitting on an 18 wheel semi truck. These large modules are then moved to the gin to have the seeds removed. It would not surprise me if we one day see the entire ginning process done in the field, from picking to finished bales.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weighing Cotton

When people picked cotton for pay, they were payed based upon how much they got picked. At the end of the day, their bags were weighed, and they were paid accordingly.

The picture above shows cotton pickers having their bags weighed. It was taken in 1935 in Pulaski County, Arkansas.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cotton Picker

Good Tuesday Morning to you all. I hope your week is off to a good start. This morning we feature this photograph of a cotton picker in a cotton field. The picture was taken in the 1930's. Hand picking of cotton died out quickly after that, as you simply could not compete with the large mechanized pickers and strippers. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Plowing Cotton

This morning's picture is from 1937, and it shows a sharecropper plowing a field for cotton. The picture is from Greene County Georgia.

It is my impression that most sharecroppers were pretty much gone by the 1940's. With the increase of mechanization on the farm, it became necessary to have a tractor and other such equipment to compete.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


OK, the picture of Eli Whitney yesterday should have clued you in that this was going to be Cotton Week here at OPOD. You see, all those riverboat pictures yesterday really put me in a Southern State of Mind, and I was taken back to the days of my childhood. Most of you probably don't realize that I grew up on a Cotton Plantation, and I spent the earliest days of my childhood picking cotton.

Now, it is a little bit of an exaggeration to say that I grew up on a Cotton Plantation. Really, I grew up on a Farm/Ranch that grew cotton. Also, by the time I came along, most of the cotton was picked with a combine. However, there still was a little cotton picked by hand, and I did go along a row dragging a big bag picking cotton bowls, but I think it was not so much that my help was needed as my dad wanted me to learn early in life that there were better things to do than pick cotton.

Anyway, I really love the picture above, showing women sorting some cotton. I am really not exactly sure what they are doing. There are bales in the background, which tells me that they are at or near the gin. The cotton gin can take the raw cotton bolls in at one end, and then strip the hard covering off, take the seeds out, and then compress into bales. I am not sure what the manual sorting is that the women appear to be doing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stern Wheeler

Today's picture shows a fine stern wheeler riverboat. This picture was taken in New Orleans. I have to admit that I am really sad to see Riverboat Week come to an end. I must say that the old riverboat pictures really put me in a Dixie state of mind.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Loading Riverboats

Today's picture shows a Riverboat being loaded in Vicksburg, Mississippi. I do believe I see a few bales of cotton being readied for loading. Now, as a professional courtesy, I tend to shy away from criticizing the riverboat captaintry of others, but I do feel like the captain of the middle riverboat brought her in a wee bit close to the riverboat on the right. If I were the riverboat captain, I would always try and leave at least three feet between me and the next riverboat when parking. I have always felt that such a courtesy tends to help avoid conflict and harsh words between the crews of the two vessels.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Loading Cotton

Finally, the picture I have been looking for . . . a scene showing cotton being unloaded from a Mississippi Riverboat. The picture was taken at a landing near Memphis, Tennessee. I am concluding that one of the most interesting things that you could have done in history was being a Riverboat Captain on the Mississippi River. If you look at the picture above, the cotton and other cargo is on the lower level. What is on the second and third decks? Are those passenger cabins?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Riverboat Landing

Good Tuesday Morning to you all. I hope you are having a good week. I have come down with a cold, so I am pretty miserable this week. Hopefully I will get it cleared up soon. In the mean time, I will keep posting pictures. Today's picture shows two riverboats making a landing in Memphis, Tennessee. I keep looking for a picture that would show cotton being loaded or unloaded, but I have been unable to find one. I feel that ht ideal riverboat picture would need to show some bales of cotton.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Riverboat Week continues here at OPOD, with this fine picture of two riverboats landing in Mississippi. They look to be loading hay onto them. I like how the riverboats carried their loading dock along with them, and could land and load/unload anywhere that there was a flat spot on the riverbank. On the sidewheel of the boat it says "Vicksburg and Greenville Packet Co.". You can click on the picture to get a better look.

I am happy to see by reading the comments yesterday that I was not the only one that had been bothered by the fakery going on in modern Riverboat Tours. I say before taking one, you first determine that the boat is actually powered BY the paddle wheel.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Riverboat Week

Good Sunday Morning to you all, and welcome to Mississippi Riverboat Week here at OPOD. We start with this marvelous picture of riverboats, taken near Cincinnati, Ohio. The picture was taken around 1900, and has two, count them, two riverboats. Most of you know that I have always secretly dreamed of being a Gentleman Farmer. My other secret dream is to be a Mississippi Riverboat Captain. With my keen sense of direction, steady nerves, and calm under fire, I feel I have what it would take to captain one of these majestic vehicles. OK, I really don't have a very good sense of direction, but none-the-less, I still feel I could make it in the high flying world of Riverboat Captaintry. 

On many occasions, I have been somewhere that offered a "Mississippi Riverboat Tour". Since I aspire to be a captain, I have always signed up for the ride, as there are still some of these riverboats around. However, on all that I have been on, which have been many, they have all been fakes. By fake I mean that while they have a smoke stack and a paddle wheel, they are just for show . . . there is no steam, and the paddle wheel is not connected to an engine, it just turns in the water as the boat moves. If you ever go on one of these boats, go back and stand by the paddle wheel . . . is it connected to a drive mechanism? . . . usually not, it is just for show, and turns in the water as the boat moves. There is a normal propeller and rudder down under the waterline moving the boat forward. What I have found is that when I take such boat rides, and stand back by the paddle wheel and point out to other people on the boat that the paddle wheel is fake, that there is no steam engine, and it it really just a normal boat dressed out to look like a river boat . . . when I do that, people get mad, and say I "ruined" it for them. It never stops amazing me how people would prefer to believe the lie, rather than know the truth, and have the fantasy they are living in "ruined".

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mystery Persons Contest

OK, your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to identify BOTH men in this picture. Ready, Set  . . . . wait for it . . . . wait for it . . . . GO!!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Union Square

Today's picture shows a scene in New York City in 1903. A street vendor can be seen selling flowers in Union Square. What a peaceful scene this is. This would have been a wonderful time to live. I guess if you think about it though, these people would have then lived through World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. I hope they enjoyed this tranquil moment, and it makes me ponder what might lay ahead in our own future.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Atlantic City

Good morning to you all. Today's picture was taken in 1905, and it shows the boardwalk in Atlantic City. I am not sure what the little carts are that they are pushing people around in. It looks like a beautiful day.

I enjoyed reading all your weather reports in the comments yesterday. It is cold in West Texas again today, and yesterday we never got above freezing. The peacocks are freezing, and you can see that they are starting to get stressed by the cold weather. The chickies are doing better, as they sleep in their little coop, which has a heat lamp for nights like the last one. Today the forecast calls for temperatures in the high 20's, and then hopefully tomorrow things will begin to thaw out.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Train Station

Good Wednesday Morning to you all. Today's picture was taken in 1905, and it shows the train station in Lackawanna, Pennsylvania. Notice there are no cars in the picture . . .just carriages, and the train.

I don't know about you, but it is sure cold where I am this morning. It is 13 degrees here, which is very cold for West Texas. It only got up to the low 20's yesterday, so things have been frozen for two days now. How cold is it where you are? No including Wind Chill, which we all know is a scam.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New York Street Scene

Today's picture is from the early 1900's. It shows the corner of 5th avenue and 42nd street in New York City. I love how the streets are shared between carriages and motorized vehicles. In this picture, it looks like there are still more carriages.