(SlpW: t. 566; 1. 117'; b. 32'; dph 15'; a. 16 32-pdrs.)
The second Preble, a sloop-of-war built by the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard, was launched 13 June 1839 and commissioned the following year, Comdr. Samuel L. Breese in command.
On special duty off Labrador from June to November 1840, Preble sailed for the Mediterranean, 12 January 1841. Returning 13 August 1843, she departed the following year for the African enast where she served from 5 September 1844 to 25 September 1845. A year later she sailed from New York for the Pacific. Arriving at Valparaiso 26 January 1847, she eontinued on to serve with the Pacific Squadron off the west coast for the remainder of the Mexican War.
In the summer of 1848 she sailed west to cruise in the East Indies. During the spring of 1849 she moved north arriving at Nagasaki 18 April, to negotiate the release of survivors of the ship-wreeked whaler Lagoda, held prisoners by the Japanese. Aecomplishing her mission, she sailed on the 26th to rejoin the East Indies Squadron at Shanghai. On 1 November 1850 she got underway for the United States. Arriving at New York 1 January 1851, she served as a practice ship for midshipmen until 1858.
In late 1858, Preble sailed for Paraguay to take action against that country for firing on Water Witch. She arrived at Asuneion with 18 other vessels 25 January 1859, but the payment of an indemnity and an apology settled the affair peacefully.
She returned to the United States in September 1860, and ten months later joined the Gulf Blockading Squadron to assist in implementing the Union blockade of the South's coast. Initially at the mouth of the Mississippi she later shifted to Pensecola to aet as guard and store ship. On 27 April 1863 she was aceidently destroyed by fire.
Preble II SlpW - History
Henry Horn from Lewisburg, Virginia, now West Virginia, was an early and successful land speculator and business promoter in our area. He made several business trips here at an early date and on one of them established a distillery where Hoops’ apartments now stand, placing his son, George, in charge. Mrs. Horn refused to accompany Henry on his trips because of ill health and fear of Indians. After her death, he immigrated here with five of his children three older ones with their families already having preceded him. His first real estate deal on record was the purchase of 118+ acres in the S. E. 1/4 of Section 28 from Zachariah Hole, July 4, 1816, for approximately $15.255 per acre. Hole had acquired the land from Nicholas Buck, who had purchased it from the Land office September 9, 1805.
Other ventures followed and in 1818, Horn took an option on Martin Rice’s S. W. 1/4 of Section 27 for $10 per acre, closing the deal on March 18, 1819. With Alexander McNutt as his surveyor, he platted a village of twenty-eight lots named it Lewisburg for his former Virginia home and had the plat recorded September 7, 1818 six months before he owned the ground.and recorded the following statement:
To all who shall see these presents, greeting: Know ye, that I , Henry Horn, of Preble county, in the State of Ohio, having laid out a town in the county and State aforesaid, on sections number twenty-seven and twenty-eight, in range three (East), on the southeast and southwest quarters of said sections which the town contains, twenty-eight in-lots, with one street running north, five degrees east, namely: Greenville Street with three streets running parallel with each other and crossing Greenville Street at right angles, namely: Dayton Street, Twin Street, and Water Street. Greenville Street and Dayton Street are each four rods wide Water Street and Twin Street are each two rods wide. There are two alleys crossing Greenville Street at right angles, running parallel with Dayton Street, and one alley crossing Dayton Street at right angles and running parallel with Greenville Street, with alleys extending around the town. The alleys are each eight (8) and one-fourth feet wide. The town shall be called Lewisburg.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this seventh day of September, in the year of our Lord 1818. Henry Horn, [seal] Jacob Werts, Alexander Airman.
Lewisburg was the eighth village to be platted in Preble County. Greenville Street was the sole north-south street and Water, Dayton and Twin were the three east-west streets. Greenville and Dayton streets were each four rods wide and Twin and Water streets were two rods in width. Alleys were one-half rod wide and each lot was four rods wide and eight rods long. Errors in establishing lot lines and later additions of unsurveyed and unrecorded lots have been the cause of much controversy through the years.
Hard times followed the inflation of the war years and it was September 15, 1821 before’ Horn sold his first lot. That one was Lot 13 which John Galbreath bought for $6.00. It may appear to have been a rather low price, but the U. S. Land Office was selling land for $1.25 per acre at that time.
Sales continued slow and it was on October 15, 1839 when Philip Hinkle paid $12.00 for Lot 20, that the last of the original twenty-eight lots were sold. Meanwhile though, Horn had added and sold a few other outlets on the fringes of the village.
When Henry Horn took his option on Martin Rice’s S. W. 1/4 of Section 27, there were about a dozen squatters located along the Greenville road near the “Big Spring”. Where possible, surveyor McNutt placed each location in one of the town lots. Four of those squatters had established stores and/or shops and Horn, by some now unknown arrangement, turned the ownership of the ground over to them, but the others had to pay rent or leave. Either way they probably were recompensed for the improvements they had made on the properties for that was a common procedure of the time.
The four mentioned businesses and the lots which were assigned to them were: Peter F. Verhoff & George Jasperson, merchants on Lot 3 Francis Revel, Eaton trader Cornelius VanAusdal’s manager and partner on Lot 5 John Mills, blacksmith on Lot 10 and James cook, cooper and carpenter on Lot 12. Mr. Horn dedicated Lot 25, the location of the “Big Spring”, for perpetual use of the public. (It is now our town hall lot).
The buyers of the remainder of the original village lots and the amounts paid for them were, in order of purchase, Philip Hess No. 7, $50, Camel Agniel & James Bolens No. 4, $35, Samuel Kesler No. 28, $25, Henry Nealeigh No. 9, $25, Simpson Albright No. 8, $23, Samuel Kesler No. 27, $25, Daniel Rex No. 19, $20, Eben, Jacob & Benjamin Homan, Nos. 1 8t 2, $400, Henry Beane No. 23, $140, Francis H. Revel No. 6, $700, William Hapner Nos. 17 & 18, $60, Daniel Rouse No. 15, $25, William Burke No. 11, $25, John, Mary & Andrew Watt No. 14, $105, Samuel Aikman No. 24, $300, David Evans, 1“. D. Nos. 21 & 22, $175, Lauson Laughlin No. 16, $100 and Abney & Garland Harris N o. 26, $450. The great difference in costs was due to the squatters’ homes standing on some of the lots and it could be that some of those squatters bought back their own homes.
Going ahead of our story, we find there have been nineteen additions and/or annexations to Lewisburg though some of them were just developments within the village limits. Those additions and annexations in order are three by Henry Horn none of which were officially surveyed nor recorded, two by Michael Horn in 1839, Andrew Kizer’s 1840 addition, Alloway & Michael Horn in 1841, Michael Horn in 1849, John Singer 1854, Daniel Hapner 1893, Michael Horn 1896, Horn 8: Trimble 1900, Gay, Horn & Aikman 1901, E. C. Crider 1902, Waldo Moore 1906, annexation of Euphemia 1916, Ward Hypes 1947, Frank Mattis 1965 and Twin Creek Heights annexation 1965.
Lewisburg was the first village in Preble County to secure self-government by incorporation, that not taking place on February 9, 1830. The population at the time of incorporation was 144. There were 48 inlote in the village and on them were 44 homes, stores, and shops. Village officials were the mayor, five trustees, recorder, treasurer , and marshal. Who first occupied those offices may never be known because all village records went up in flames in the “Big Fire”.
New Ordnances were adopted and new minutes were begun immediately following the fire. Several interesting items from those minutes are: “To John Kizer, 18¢ for candles, Homan & Crane, 21¢ for candles and paper”. Another item running continuously through about a year’s minutes was about the village “coolers”. Said “coolers” were several large stone spring houses which the village had built along the “Big Spring” on Lot 25. Space for dairy products, etc. in the spring houses was rented to villagers at an annual auction.
When auction time came one year, it was discovered that several “ chislers ” had been using space in the spring houses gratis. A ten month’s hassle followed that was finally settled by the marshal locking the doors and then an annual auction of keys by the council with each successful bidder paying cash down and in return receiving not only a key but also an official receipt bearing the village seal and mayor’s signature.
In 1840, Andrew Kizer, one of Henry Horn’s grandsons, acquired 7.95 acres from his grandfather’s estate and made the first large addition to the village plat. It contained 27 lots and extended the southwest part of the town west to Hapnet Street. It was bounded south and north by Clay Street and Dayton Street. North Floyd Street had already been established and Kizer’s plat added a third north-south street which he named Main.
Market Street was laid out as a west extension of South Water Street and where it crowed Main Street, Kizer provided for a large market square with a dimension of one hundred and six feet each way.
William Schleiger soon built an open-sided market house in the center of the square and sold farm produce there for many years. Schleiger’s home was on Lot 87 at the N. W. corner of the square.
In the next year, 184l, William Alloway made an addition to the village containing twenty-one lots. It became known as the Alloway & Horn addition and was bounded north and south by No. Water and Dayton Streets and extended west to Horn Street.
There was cause for this sudden expansion for a rival Village, Euphemia, was mushrooming up immediately north of Lewisburg.
[Photo: A full parking lot at New England Shipbuilding Corporation during World War II. While there won’t be a packed lot like this, the South Portland Historical Society invites residents with vintage cars to bring them down to the museum at Bug Light Park on the 4 th of July, from 11am to 2pm.]
We hope that residents will come and enjoy the festivities at Bug Light Park on Saturday. The South Portland Historical Society will be hosting its 8 th annual 4 th of July celebration with South Portland’s own “Benjamin Franklin” reading the Declaration of Independence at noon at the museum. The day starts at 10am when the museum opens a fundraiser barbecue will open at 11am with hamburgers, veggie burgers, hotdogs, sausage sandwiches and more, all to benefit the museum.
Do you have an old car? The historical society is inviting anyone with an old, vintage car to bring it on down to the museum on the 4 th of July where we will have classic cars lined up for everyone to enjoy. If you have a vintage car (1960s and ‘70s models are encouraged), please arrive by 11am and we’ll have a spot for you. The cars will be on display from 11am to 2pm.
After the reading of the Declaration of Independence, we’ll have final bids accepted in the Summer in Maine Auction. Bidding is expected to end by 1pm. Old-fashioned games for kids will take place in the field around 1pm, as well.
Throughout the day, we will be joined by members of the NorEasters Kite Club who will be flying their patriotic and other fanciful kites. A large variety of kites is available for sale in the museum gift shop.
We’d like to thank historical society member, John Kierstead for lending his talents as Benjamin Franklin again this year. His fiery reading of the Declaration of Independence is a great way to get in the spirit of the day. Hope to see you there! For more information, call the museum at 767-7299.
A Window on the Past - July 10, 2015
Mill Creek in the 1950s
By Kathryn DiPhilippo, director
South Portland Historical Society
This week’s Window on the Past is an aerial view of the Mill Creek area, circa 1955. At the top left and center is the large field where a circus was occasionally set up. One of the first buildings to go up in that area was the Bowl-a-Rama, around 1960. The Shaw’s Plaza that is there today wasn’t built until the early 1970s.
The large building at center-left is the Mill Creek Shopping Center, which helps us date the photo. This shopping center, which was the first strip mall to appear in Maine, was built and opened in 1955. Some of the first businesses to open in those storefronts were Shoppers Hardware, Slade’s Shoe Center, Watkins Cleaners, and Maine Savings Bank.
Just to the right of the Mill Creek Shopping Center is Shaw’s Supermarket, which opened there in 1951. The opening of Shaw’s and the Mill Creek Shopping Center were significant events in South Portland history. Up to that point, every neighborhood in the city had its own small grocer who provided residents with most of the food and supplies they needed they could either walk to the store or the shopkeeper would deliver the products right to the home. It was a marketing feat to get residents to change their shopping habits and get into their cars to go to Mill Creek. But the “one-stop shopping” convenience and various fun promotions did get people to head down to the shopping center with their cars and over the next 20 years, virtually all of the small neighborhood grocers in the city closed.
Just above Shaw’s in the photo are two buildings. The small building housed the Do-Nut Hole. Mike Eastman once told me about the sign that used to hang in that shop, “Wherever you may wander, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the doughnut, and be sure it’s Do-Nut Hole.” The larger building was built in 1953 and was first home to Henry Boland’s auto dealership, and later Hodges Furniture the building is now home to Back in Motion Physical Therapy.
A Window on the Past - July 17, 2015
By Kathryn DiPhilippo, director
South Portland Historical Society
[Photo, caption: Army barracks at Fort Preble.]
Originally built in 1808, Fort Preble was one of several military installations guarding the approach to Portland Harbor. The fort was named for Commodore Edward Preble. Preble was born and raised in Portland (then known as Falmouth) and served with the Massachusetts State Navy as a young man during the Revolutionary War. After that war he spent many years in the merchant marine his rise to fame, though, came as an officer in the United States Navy – he served with great distinction during the first Barbary War. Commodore Preble died in 1807 at the age of 46 and was buried in Eastern Cemetery in Portland.
Fort Preble was built on the site of Fort Hancock, a wooden fort that was constructed and garrisoned during the Revolutionary War. Both Fort Preble and Fort Scammell (on House Island) were first constructed in 1808 as small stone, brick and earth forts. After the War of 1812, these forts were determined to be most inadequate for harbor defense and several plans emerged in subsequent years to enlarge these forts and expand the defense system around Portland Harbor. The construction of Fort Gorges didn’t start until 1858, however, and work proceeded slowly until the Civil War broke out in 1861. Only then did fort construction around Portland Harbor really show some progress, with Fort Gorges in 1861, Fort Scammell improvements and enlargements in 1862 and finally Fort Preble in 1863.
During the Civil War, Fort Preble was home to the 17 th U.S. Infantry Regiment. This was the Regular Army, not to be confused with the 17 th Maine Volunteer Infantry that was stationed over at Camp Berry. The 17 th U.S. Infantry would enlist and train men at Fort Preble when enough new recruits were trained, they would be sent to join the regiment in the field in Virginia.
The fort underwent many physical changes and reconstructions over the years. It was last in use during World War II and deactivated in 1950. The State of Maine acquired the fort in 1952 and it became home to the Maine Vocational Technical Institute (moved there from Augusta) which had formed to help WWII veterans learn new career skills. MVTI was renamed in the 1960s to Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute (SMVTI). The name would change again in the late 1980s to Southern Maine Technical College as the evolution of the college continued and, in 2003, the school name and function changed again, to its current Southern Maine Community College.
Although the military papers of Fort Preble are held by the United States National Archives, the South Portland Historical Society is also a noted repository of Fort Preble photographs and documents. From the site’s first use as a garrison during the Revolutionary War, the history of activities at Spring Point and Fort Preble is significant to our city, the state and the country. The society continues to seek out additional materials that are in the hands of private collectors, adding them to the historical society’s collection so that they may be made available to the public.
A Window on the Past - July 24. 2015
Trolley Tracks on Preble Street
By Kathryn DiPhilippo, director
South Portland Historical Society
[Old photo, caption: A coastal defense gun being transported to Fort Williams.]
In this week’s Window on the Past, we see a very interesting sight – a large cannon being transported via trolley tracks on Preble Street, headed to Fort Williams. In this undated photo, the cannon is moving down Preble Street at the intersection of Day Street. The accompanying photo of 393 Preble Street, from a similar angle, was taken this past December as part of our architectural survey of the Willard neighborhood.
[New photo, caption: This house at 393 Preble Street, on the corner of Day Street near Willard Square, has undergone quite a change compared to the older image a full dormer was added along the front which gives the house a very different appearance.]
The trolley tracks in South Portland were sometimes used to haul items other than people on trolleys. During a research project with Brown School students this past year, we discovered that the trolley tracks were put into use during World War I to haul material to the shipyards in Ferry Village (this would have been to the Cumberland Shipyard at the end of Broadway and possibly to the Portland Shipbuilding location on Front Street, as well). The freight switching service began in 1917, providing for the movement of freight on the trolley tracks. The trolley tracks were used for freight from 1917 up to World War II, when a rail line was extended all the way to the Liberty shipyards at Cushing’s Point. The eastern section of the Greenbelt Walkway now covers the site of the rail line that went in during WWII.
A Window on the Past - July 31, 2015
New Garden Improves Museum and Park
By Kathryn DiPhilippo, director
South Portland Historical Society
[Photos, captions: Before and after photos of the new garden area. The crew from Gnome Landscaping installing the new garden at the historical society’s museum.]
It has been a few years since the South Portland Historical Society had its sign constructed and installed on the museum grounds. The whole process of opening the museum at Bug Light Park has been one of slow and steady improvement. Upgrades to the interior of the museum have continued each year, but sometimes exterior improvements have been a little more challenging when it comes to funding.
This month marks another step forward for South Portland’s local history museum. The plans for the garden started last year and became a reality this spring when Gnome Landscape & Design in Falmouth agreed to donate their services to make it happen. The first step was for a garden design to be made that would include low-growing plants that would not hide the museum sign. We also had a desire for flowers throughout the season and for the garden to be as low maintenance as possible, as weeding would require additional volunteer hours in future. Margot Levy, a landscape designer with Gnome, came up with a great design that would include all of our goals for the garden and would incorporate an anchor which was already on the lawn near the museum sign.
With this design now in hand, we thought we had a donor for the plants and other materials, but, as sometimes happens, the pledge fell through and we were left with no plants and no money to purchase them, although Gnome was willing to install them if we could find a way to make it work. Due to the size of the garden and the number of plants, the amount of money needed was not insignificant. Step in the incredibly generous members of the historical society, many of whom made additional donations to purchase the plants for the garden.
Last week, Gnome Landscaping arrived with a crew to prepare the site with loam and compost. They sent another crew to the museum this past Monday and completed the installation of the first round of plants. Another round of spring-blooming plants will be added to the garden later in September.
Our thanks to everyone involved in making this garden come to life. Next year, we should see bluebells emerging in the spring with a great flower display that will then die back and the summer garden will emerge. This will be a long-lasting improvement to the museum and park that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for years to come! To reach the museum, take Broadway east to the ocean, turn left onto Breakwater Drive, then turn right onto Madison Street that leads into the park. FMI, call the Society at 767-7299 or stop by for a visit. The museum is open daily from 10am to 4pm with free admission.
To the Mediterranean [ edit | edit source ]
On September 10, Constitution was approaching Cadiz on a black, moonless night. Suddenly, the dim silhouette of a warship loomed out of the hazy darkness close aboard. Preble immediately ordered Constitution cleared for action. Taking his speaking trumpet, he asked the stranger, "What ship is that?" The unknown ship returned the question, to which Preble responded, "This is the United States frigate Constitution. What ship is that?"
The other ship then asked again, "What ship is that?"
Preble identified himself again with "This is the United States frigate Constitution. What ship is that?"
Preble, whose roaring temper had a very short fuse, then told the other ship to stop playing games in no uncertain terms: "I am now going to hail you for the last time. If a proper answer is not returned, I will fire a shot into you."
"If you fire a shot, I'll return a broadside," replied an Englishman on the other ship.
Preble demanded, "What ship is that?"
"This is His Britannic Majesty's 74-gun ship of the line Donegal, Sir Richard Strachan commanding. Heave to and send a boat."
Simply put, an 74 would crush a mere frigate within a broadside or two. Surely the "old man" would have to back down.
But the Commodore wasn't having any of it. Leaping up to the mizzen shrouds, Preble roared, "This is the United States Ship Constitution, 44 guns, Edward Preble, an American Commodore, who will be damned before he sends his boat on board any vessel!" As he turned, staring flinty-eyed down the spar deck at the spluttering slow-burning fuses held by the gunners, he told his men, "Blow your matches, boys!"
A few minutes later, a British lieutenant came aboard from the other ship. He told Preble that the ship he had been arguing with wasn't the 74-gun ship of the line that the British had claimed rather it was the 32-gun frigate Maidstone. Nevertheless, the story that Commodore Preble stood up to a British ship of the line was galvanizing, and it spread quickly throughout the Mediterranean.
Philadelphia aground off Tripoli, in 1803.
After signing a peace treaty with Morocco, Preble established a blockade off Tripoli. Stephen Decatur, William Bainbridge, Charles Stewart, Isaac Hull, Thomas Macdonough, James Lawrence, and David Porter served under his command at Tripoli.
While commanding in Tripoli, Preble masterminded the burning of the USS Philadelphia by Lieutenant Stephen Decatur on February 16, 1804, preventing the captured frigate from falling into enemy hands. Had Tripoli gained the use of the Philadelphia, the entire blockade would have been wasted. Stephen Decatur and his younger brother, James Decatur, led the actual operation.
James Decatur was killed in the fighting later that year aboard one of the squadron's attack craft.
EDWARDO PREBLE DUCI STRENUO COMITIA AMERICANA. (The American Congress to Edward Preble, a valiant officer.)
Reverse of Congressional Medal. VINDICI COMMERCII AMERICANI. (To the vindicator of American commerce.) Exergue: ANTE TRIPOLI MDCCCIV. (Off Tripoli, 1804). Representing the bombardment, by the American fleet in the foreground, of the forts and town of Tripoli in the background. The American vessels are drawn up in line, and several boats manned are seen in the water casting off to the attack of the enemy's shipping and batteries.
Over the course of his career, Preble helped establish many of the modern Navy's rules and regulations. Described as a stern taskmaster, he kept high discipline upon the ships under his command. He also dictated that his ships be kept in a state of readiness for any action while under sail, something many US naval officers at the time did not insist upon. Future sea captains such as Decatur, Lawrence, and Porter took his procedures to heart at a time when the US Navy was highly unregulated. Many of Preble’s procedures became doctrine after the establishment of an official US Navy. The officers serving under him during his career also went on to become influential in the Navy Department after his death, and together they proudly wore the unofficial title of "Preble's Boys". (When Preble took over command he discovered that his oldest officer was 30 and the youngest 15 years old. He therefore grumbled the Secretary of the Navy had given him "just a pack of schoolboys".) Ώ]
Preble's Mediterranean cruise led directly to the US government's firm anti-negotiation stance. Many Mediterranean states, including Tripoli, had been pirating American shipping vessels, ransoming the sailors, and demanding tribute to prevent future pirate attacks. The tribute rose after each successful payment, as did the brutality and boldness of the attacks.
End of career
In September 1804, Commodore Preble requested relief due to a longtime illness. He returned to the United States in February 1805 and became engaged in the comparably light duty of shipbuilding activities at Portland, Maine. By congressional resolution in March 1805, a gold medal was struck and presented to Commodore Preble for the "gallantry and good conduct" of himself and his squadron at Tripoli. President Jefferson offered him the Navy Department in 1806, but Preble declined appointment due to his poor health. He died in Portland of a gastrointestinal illness on 25 August 1807. He is buried in Eastern Cemetery, Portland, Maine.
Maine Voices: As need for shelters in Portland grows, so does resistance to them
Opening a new emergency shelter – or, I should say, trying to open a new emergency shelter – is perhaps the most challenging thing a social service agency can do. The politics are terrible, the neighborhood response can be vicious, the funding is woefully inadequate to both build and operate it year after year and the work itself is challenging, draining and at times traumatizing for staff. This is true in Brunswick, in Bangor and across the country. And it’s certainly true in Maine’s largest city, Portland.
In the past 25 years only two new shelters have opened in Portland, while eight small shelters – spread throughout a few different neighborhoods – have closed. The two new shelters – Florence House and the Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter – were successfully opened by Preble Street only after bruising battles, including a lawsuit filed to stop one of them. A third shelter we’re opening at 5 Portland St. went through a similarly grueling process.
As if opening and running an emergency shelter isn’t already an incredibly difficult process, three different efforts are now afloat in Portland that will only add to the challenge: new licensing requirements for shelters a moratorium on new shelters, and a citizen initiative to limit the size of any new shelters.
It’s heartbreaking that during a public health emergency, when the need for safe, professionally run, accessible, public health-informed shelters has never been more acute, there is increased energy to actually hinder, slow or stop entirely the development of new shelters.
It’s a lot easier to stop things than it is to create solutions. Negative power is so much easier to wield than working toward productive and attainable measures. To propose only to block or hinder the development of shelters without doing anything simultaneously to create the necessary pathways (zoning, funding, etc.) to establish those small shelters does nothing to promote the well-being of individuals experiencing homelessness. Nor does it serve the community at large.
The story of Commodore Preble is, in itself, not only exciting but amusing and the gravest histories of him have not been able to keep the vagaries of the commodore's celebrated bad temper in abeyance. Preble was, unquestionably, one of the very greatest sea officers this country ever produced and however ridiculous the outbursts of his fiery temper might make him, they never made him contemptible. "The old man has the best heart, if he has the worst temper, in the world," was always said of him by the junior officers who were the victims of his wrath. Preble seems to have come naturally by his impetuosity. His father before him, General Preble, brigadier in the provincial army, was one of the same sort, and it was commonly said by their neighbors and friends that "Ned has a good deal of the brigadier in him." The father and son were deeply attached to each other, although they often came in conflict. The last time was when Edward was about sixteen years old, in 1777. Men were so scarce, owing to most of them having enlisted in the continental army, that the old brigadier set his boys to hoeing potatoes on his farm near Portland, Maine. Edward had not worked very long when, throwing away his hoe, he declared he had no taste for such work, and walked himself off to the seacoast, where he entered the first vessel that would take him. The brigadier did not seem to regard this as wholly unjustifiable, and, seeing the boy was bent on the sea, got him a midshipman's commission in the infant navy of the colonies. In almost his first engagement Edward was taken prisoner, but was given his parole at New York. There is in existence a letter written to him at that time by his father the brigadier, which shows great affection for the boy, and the strongest possible desire that he should conduct himself honorably. The old man, then over seventy, reminds his son "not to stain his honor by attempting to escape." And another recommendation is followed by the utterance of a great truth which it would be well if every human being acted upon. It is this: "Be kind and obliging to all for no man ever does a designed injury to another without doing a greater to himself."
Before this, an event had occurred which Preble occasionally alluded to in after life, and which, marvellous as it seems, must be accepted as true, for Preble was too close an observer to have been deceived, and too sensible a man to have assumed that he saw a thing which he did not really see.
In the summer of 1779 young Preble was attached to the Protector , a smart little continental cruiser, under the command of Captain Williams, a brave and enterprising commander. The Protector was lying in one of the bays on the Maine coast, near the mouth of the Penobscot, when on a clear, still day a large serpent was seen lying motionless on the water close to the vessel. Captain Williams examined it through his spy-glass, as did every officer on the vessel. Young Preble was ordered to attack it in a twelve-oared boat, armed with a swivel. The boat was lowered, the men armed with cutlasses and boarding-pikes, and quickly pulled toward the serpent. The creature raised its head about ten feet above the surface, and then began to make off to sea. The boat followed as rapidly as the men could force it through the water, and the swivel was fired at the serpent. This had no apparent effect, except to make the creature get out of the way the faster. Preble, however, had had a complete view of it for some time, and said, in his opinion, it was from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet long, and was about as big around as a barrel. This account must be accepted as exactly true in every particular, coming from a man like Edward Preble and when he says he saw a sea-serpent from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet long and as big around as a barrel and got close enough to fire at it, it must be absolutely true in every particular. It must be remembered that Preble died long before sea-serpent stories became common.
Preble saw much service in the Revolution, and was the hero of a very daring achievement not long after his onslaught on the sea-serpent. He was then serving as first lieutenant on the Winthrop, a small cruiser. Captain Little, of the Winthrop, heard there was an armed brig lying at anchor under the guns of the British breastworks on the Penobscot. He gave per mission to Preble to cut the brig out, if possible. It was determined to steal in upon her at night, and carry her by boarding. On a dark night, therefore, Preble, with forty men, ran in unperceived, and the Winthrop got alongside her enemy. They all wore their white shirts over their jackets, so that they could tell friends from foes when once on the British vessel. The officer of the deck of the British ship mistook the little Winthrop for a tender of their own, and called out, "Run aboard!" "I am coming aboard," answered Captain Little, as his vessel shot along-side. Preble, with only fourteen men, leaped on the brig's deck, when the Winthrop caught a puff of wind and drifted off. As they passed ahead, Captain Little called out,
"Shall I send you some more men?"
"No," coolly answered Preble "I have too many already."
He had then secured the few men on deck, and soon had possession of the brig. The British batteries on shore opened fire on him, but Preble managed to take the vessel out without serious damage and without losing a man.
At the end of the Revolution the navy practically ceased to exist, and Preble went into the merchant service, as so many of the officers were forced to do. But in 1798, when the quasi war with France took place, he re-entered the navy, which had been created anew. He was commissioned lieutenant in 1798, and was lucky enough the very next year to get the Essex , frigate of thirty-two guns. In her he started on what was then the longest cruise ever made by an American man-of-war. He went to the Indian Seas, to give convoy to a valuable fleet of merchant vessels engaged in the China and India trade, and which were liable to be attacked by French cruisers. He had no opportunity to distinguish himself especially in this duty, although he took care of the ships and got them all safely to New York. Soon afterward, the United States and France having come to terms, Preble went ashore and remained for two years. His health was bad in the beginning, but being much improved, in 1808 he reported for duty, and was assigned to the Constitution , forty-four guns, then preparing for a Mediterranean cruise.
At that time the relations of the United States with the piratical powers of the Barbary coast were most unsatisfactory. After years of sub-mission to their exactions,—a submission which seems almost incredible now,—the United States government determined to do in the end what it should have done in the beginning. This was to send a powerful squadron to attack these pirates of the land as well as the sea, and to force them to respect the persons and liberties of Americans. Preble was given the command of this squadron, with orders to punish Algiers, Morocco, Tunis, and especially Tripoli, so that it would not soon be forgotten. He hoisted the broad pennant of a commodore on the Constitution , and had under him the Philadelphia , a heavy frigate of thirty-eight guns, and five small vessels,—the Enterprise, Argus, Nautilus, Vixen , and Siren . It was a remarkable squadron in many ways. The Constitution was probably the heaviest frigate afloat, and able to withstand a cannonade as well as any line-of-battle ship. In Preble she had a commander worthy of her.
Preble was then about forty years of age, and his temper had not been sweetened by dyspepsia, of which he had been a victim for a long time. The Constitution was destined, under his command, to win for herself the famous name of "Old Ironsides" from the way in which her stout timbers resisted the tremendous cannonade of the forts and fleets at Tripoli. It was in this splendid cruise, too, that she gained her well-maintained reputation for being a lucky ship. In all her great battles she never lost her commanding officer, nor did any great slaughter ever take place on her decks, nor was she ever dismasted or seriously injured by war or weather, nor did she ever take the ground. Up to this time the Constellation had been the favorite frigate of the navy, but, beginning with Preble's great cruise, the Constitution became, once and for all, the darling ship, not only of the navy but of the nation.
The only other heavy frigate in the squadron was the Philadelphia , thirty-eight guns, commanded by Captain William Bainbridge. Her tragic fate and the glorious manner in which it was avenged is one of the immortal incidents of the American navy.
The five small vessels were commanded by five young men, lieutenants commandant, according to the rank of the day, of which three—Hull, Decatur, and Stewart reached the greatest distinction. Somers, the fourth, had a short but glorious career. The fifth, Captain Smith, was a brave and capable officer, but his name has been overshadowed by the four young captains, who made a truly extraordinary constellation of genius. Among the midshipmen in the squadron were two, Thomas MacDonough and James Lawrence, who achieved reputations equal to the three great captains.
In the summer of 1803 the squadron sailed, as each ship was ready, for Gibraltar, which was the rendezvous. On the way out, the young officers on the Constitution had a taste of the commodore's temper, which was far from pleasing to them but they also found out that he had an excellent heart, and even a strict sense of justice, as soon as his explosions of wrath were over. And before very long they discovered the qualities of promptness, courage, and capacity which made Commodore Preble a really great commander. While off Gibraltar, on a dark night, the Constitution found herself quite close to a large ship. Preble immediately sent the men to quarters, for fear the stranger might be an enemy, and hailing began. The stranger seemed more anxious to ask questions than to answer them. This angered the fiery commodore, and he directed his first lieutenant to say if the ship did not give her name he would give her a shot. The stranger called back: "If you give me a shot, I'll give you a broadside." Preble, at this, seized the trumpet himself, and, springing into the mizzen rigging, bawled out: "This is the United States ship Constitution , forty-four guns, Commodore Edward Preble. I am about to hail you for the last time. If you do not answer, I will give you a broadside. What ship is that? Blow your matches, boys!" The answer then came: "This is his Britannic Majesty's ship Donegal, razes, of eighty guns."
"I don't believe you," answered Preble, "and I shall stick by you till morning to make sure of your character." In a few minutes a boat came alongside, with an officer, who explained that the stranger was the Maidstone, frigate, of thirty-eight guns, and the delay in answering the hails and the false name given were because the Constitution had got close so unexpectedly that they wanted time to get the people to quarters in case she should prove an enemy. This one incident is said to have worked a complete revolution in the feelings of the officers and men toward Preble and although he was as stern and strict as ever, they could not but admire his firmness and cool courage in an emergency.
Arrived at Gibraltar, Preble met for the first time his five young captains. Not one was twenty-five years of age, and none was married. At the first council of war held aboard the Constitution there was a universal shyness on their part when asked their views by the commodore. The fame of the "old man's" temper and severity had preceded him, and his boy captains felt no disposition whatever to either advise him or to disagree with him. When the council was over, Preble remained in the cabin, leaning his head on his hand, and quite overcome with dejection and depression. To Colonel Lear, an American consul, then on board, Preble bitterly remarked: "I have been indiscreet in accepting this command. Had I known how I was to be supported, I certainly should have declined it. Government has sent me here a parcel of schoolboys, to command all my light craft!"
A year afterward, when the "parcel of school-boys "had covered themselves with glory, Colonel Lear asked the commodore if he remembered this speech.
"Perfectly," answered the commodore. "But they turned out to be good schoolboys."
After collecting his squadron at Gibraltar, Preble, with three vessels, stood for Tangier. The Emperor of Morocco pretended to be very friendly with the Americans, and sent them presents of bullocks, sheep, and vegetables but Preble, while treating him with respect, yet kept his ships cleared for action and the men at quarters day and night, lest the Moors should show treachery. On going ashore with some of his officers to pay a visit of ceremony to the Emperor, he gave a characteristic order to the commanding officer of the ship: "If I do not return, enter into no treaty or negotiation for me, but open fire at once." On reaching the palace he was told that the party must leave their side-arms outside before entering the Emperor's presence. Preble replied firmly that it was not the custom of the American navy, and that they should enter as they were,—which they did. The Emperor soon found what sort of a man he had to deal with, and Preble had no further trouble with him. A few weeks after the arrival of the squadron, Preble heard the news of the loss of the Philadelphia . Nothing better shows the steadfast and generous nature of the man than the manner in which he accepted this misfortune. No regrets were heard from him no railing accusations against Bainbridge but a prompt and determined grappling with the terrible complication of having a great part of his force turned against him and the most tender consideration for the feelings as well as the rights of Bainbridge and his men.
Preble was enabled to provide himself with bomb-vessels and gunboats by the aid of the King of Naples, who, like all the other European sovereigns, wished to see the nest of pirates exterminated. The first one of the "schoolboys" to distinguish himself was Decatur who, in February, 1804, crept by night into the harbor of Tripoli, and earned immortality by destroying the Philadelphia as she swung to her anchors, in the face of one hundred and nineteen great guns and nineteen vessels which surrounded her. The destruction of the Philadelphia not only wiped away the stain of losing her, in the first instance, but was of the greatest advantage to Commodore Preble in the bombardment of Tripoli, as the frigate would have been a formidable addition to the defence of the town.
In the summer of 1804, his preparations being made, Commodore Preble sailed for Tripoli, where he arrived on the 25th of July. He had one frigate,—the Constitution ,—three brigs, three schooners, two bomb-vessels, and six gunboats. With these he had to reduce an enemy fighting one hundred and nineteen great guns behind a circle of forts, with a fleet of a gun-brig, two schooners, two large galleys, and nineteen gun-boats, all of which could be maneuvered both inside the rocky harbor and in the offing.
On the morning of the 3rd of August the four hundred officers and men of the Philadelphia , confined in the dungeons of the Bashaw's castle, were gladdened by the sight of the American flag in the offing, and soon the music of the American guns showed them that their comrades were battling for them. On that day began a series of desperate assaults on the forts and war ships of Tripoli that for splendor and effect have never been excelled. Preble could fire only thirty heavy guns at once, while the Tripolitans could train one hundred and nineteen on the Americans. During all these bombardments, while the gunboats, in two divisions, were engaging the Tripolitan gunboats, running aboard of them, with hand-to-hand fighting, sinking and burning them, the mighty Constitution would come into position with the same steadiness as if she were working into a friendly roadstead, and, thundering out her whole broadside at once, would deal destruction on the forts and vessels. In vain the Tripolitans would concentrate their fire on her. Throwing her topsail back, she would move slowly when they expected her to move fast, and would carry sail when they expected her to stand still, and her fire never slackened for an instant. It was after this first day's bombardment that the sailors nicknamed her "old Ironsides." She and her company seemed to be invulnerable. Escapes from calamity were many, but accidents were few. One of the closest shaves was when, in the midst of the hottest part of the action, a round shot entered a stern port directly in line of Preble, and within a few feet of him. It struck full on a quarterdeck gun, which it smashed to splinters, that flew about among a crowd of officers and men, wounding only one, and that slightly. Had it gone a little farther, it would have cut Preble in two.
After one of the fiercest of the boat attacks a collision occurred between Preble and the scarcely less fiery Decatur, which is one of the most remarkable that ever occurred in a man-of-war. At the close of the attack Decatur came on board the flagship to report. Preble had been watching him, and fully expected that all of the Trion gunboats would be captured. But, after taking three of them, Decatur found it impossible to do more. As he stepped on the Constitution's deck, still wearing the round jacket in which he fought, his face grimed with powder, and stained with blood from a slight wound, he said quietly to Preble: "well, Commodore, I have brought you out three of the boats." Preble, suddenly catching him by the collar with both hands, shook him violently, and shrieked at him: "Aye, sir, why did you not bring me more?" The officers were paralyzed with astonishment at the scene, and Decatur, who was scarcely less fiery than Preble, laid his hand upon his dirk. Suddenly the commodore turned abruptly on his heel and went below. Decatur immediately ordered his boat, and declared he would leave the ship at the instant but the officers crowded around him and begged him to wait until the commodore had cooled down. Just then the orderly appeared, with a request that he should wait on the commodore in the cabin. Decatur at first declared he would not go, but at last was reluctantly persuaded not to disobey his superior by refusing to answer a request, which was really an order. At last he went, sullen and rebellious. He stayed below a long time, and the officers began to be afraid that the two had quarrelled worse than ever. After a while one of them, whose rank entitled him to seek the commodore, went below and tapped softly at the cabin door. He received no answer, when he quietly opened the door a little. There sat the young captain and the commodore close together, and both in tears. From that day there never were two men who respected each other more than Preble and Decatur.
For more than a month these terrific assaults kept up. The Bashaw, who had demanded a ransom of a thousand dollars each for the Philadelphia's men, and tribute besides, fell in his demands but Preble sent him word that every American in Tripolitan prisons must and should be released without the payment of a dollar. The Tripolitans had little rest, and never knew the day that the invincible frigate might not be pounding their forts and ships, while the enterprising flotilla of gunboats would play havoc with their own smaller vessels. The Tripolitans had been considered as unequalled hand-to-hand fighters but the work of the Americans on the night of the destruction of the Philadelphia , and the irresistible dash with which they grappled with and boarded the Tripolitan gunboats, disconcerted, while it did not dismay, their fierce antagonists.
Sometimes the squadron was blown off, and sometimes it had to claw off the land, but it always returned. The loss of the Americans was small that of the Tripolitans great. One of the American gunboats exploded, and a terrible misfortune happened in the loss of the ketch Intrepid and her gallant crew. Reinforcements were promised from the United States, which did not come in time, and Preble met with all the dangers and delays that follow the making of war four thousand miles from home but he was the same indomitable commander, feared alike by his enemies and his friends. On the 10th of September the President , forty-four guns, and the Constellation , thirty-eight guns, arrived the John Adams had come in some days before. By one of those strange accidents, so common in the early days of the navy, Commodore Barron had been sent out in the President to relieve Commodore Preble by the government at Washington, which, in those days of slow communication, knew nothing of Preble's actions, except that he was supposed to be bombarding Tripoli. The season of active operations was over, however, and nothing could be done until the following summer. Meanwhile the Bashaw had a very just apprehension of the return of such determined enemies as the Americans another year, and gave unmistakable signs of a willingness to treat. To that he had been brought by Commodore Preble and his gallant officers and crews. Knowing the work to be completed, Preble willingly handed over his command to Commodore Barron. He had the pleasure of giving Decatur, then a post captain, the temporary command of the Constitution . Before leaving the squadron, he received every testimonial of respect, and even affection, from the very men who had so bitterly complained of his severe discipline and fiery temper. It was said at the time, that when the squadron first knew him he had not a friend in it, and when he left it he had not an enemy. At that day dueling was common among the privileged classes all over the western world, especially with army and navy officers but so well did Commodore Preble have his young officers in hand that not a single duel took place in the squadron as long as he commanded it.
The younger officers were supplied with an endless fund of stories about "the old man's "outbursts, and delighted in telling of one especial instance which convulsed every officer and man on the Constitution . A surgeon's mate was needed on the ship, and a little Sicilian doctor applied for the place and got it. He asked the commodore if he must wear uniform. To which the commodore replied, "Certainly." Some days afterward the commodore happened to be in the cabin, wearing his dressing-gown and shaving. Suddenly a gentleman in uniform was announced. Now, in those days flag officers wore two epaulets, the others but one, and the commodore himself was the only man in the squadron who was entitled to wear two. But the stranger had on two epaulets besides, a sword, a cocked hat, and an enormous amount of gold lace.
The commodore surveyed this apparition silently, puzzled to make out who this imposing personage was, until, with a smirk, the bedizened Sicilian announced himself as the new surgeon's mate. Furious at his presumption in appearing in such a rig, Preble uttered a howl of rage, which scared the little doctor so that he fled up on deck, closely followed by the commodore, his face covered with lather, and the open razor still
n his hand. The little doctor ran along the deck, still pursued by the commodore with the razor, until, reaching the forward end of the ship, the poor Sicilian sprang overboard and struck out swimming for the shore, and was never seen on the ship again.
Preble transferred his flag to the John Adams, and visited Gibraltar, where he was received with distinction by the British officers. He had many friends among them, especially Sir Alexander Ball, one of Nelson's captains and the great Nelson himself knew and admired the services of the Americans before Tripoli. The Spaniards and Neapolitans, who had suffered much from the corsairs, rejoiced at the drubbing Preble had given them, and at the prospect that the Americans imprisoned in the Bashaw's castle would soon be released. The Pope, Pius the Seventh, said: "This American commodore has done more to humble the piratical powers of the Barbary coast than all the Christian powers of Europe put together."
Preble sailed for home in December, 1804, and reached Washington the 4th of March, 1805, the day of President Jefferson's first inauguration. The news of his success and the early release of the Philadelphia's officers and men had preceded him. Congress passed a vote of thanks to him and the officers and men under him. President Jefferson, although of the opposite party in politics from Preble, offered him the head of the Navy Department, but it was declined. Preble's health had steadily grown worse, and soon after his return to the United States it was seen that his days were few. He lingered until the summer of 1807, when at Portland, Maine, near his birthplace, he passed away, calmly and resignedly. He left a widow and one child.
Preble was in his forty-seventh year when he died. He was tall and slight, of gentlemanly appearance and polished manners. He left behind him a reputation for great abilities, used with an eye single to his country's good, and a character for probity and courage seldom equaled and never surpassed:
The years after World War II witnessed what sociologists call the "second great migration," in which millions of African-Americans abandoned the South for economically prosperous cities elsewhere in the U.S. As luck would have it, many Delta blues musicians wound up in Chicago, where they adopted amplification and electric instruments and began attracting a wider urban audience. If you want to get a good feel for the Chicago blues, just listen to Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy," which was itself inspired by Willie Dixon's classic "Hoochie Coochie Man." Waters, Dixon, and fellow Chicago blues artists like Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson were all born and raised in Mississippi and were thus instrumental in adapting the Delta blues sound to modern sensibilities.
Around the time Muddy Waters and his fellow musicians were establishing themselves in Chicago, executives in the music industry were putting their heads together and created the genre known as "rhythm and blues," which embraced blues, jazz, and gospel music. At the time, rhythm and blues was basically a code phrase for "music recorded and bought by Black people." Inevitably, the next generation of Black performers, like Bo Diddley, Little Richard, and Ray Charles, began taking their cues from R&B—which led to the next major chapter in the history of the blues.
War On Workers
In 2000, when the China deal was broker, the Dayton Daily News ran an unrelated feature that sheds light on the perfect storm brewing in rural Preble County. The piece was an interview with the Prosecuting Attorney, the late Rebecca Ferguson. In the piece, she reminiscences about simpler, more carefree days in the attorney’s office.
“…there were days when I first started (mid-1970s) that when we got our (court) work done, there was nothing to do.”
But that changed over the course of her career.
The change correlates with Reagan’s War on Drugs. In 1981, the year Reagan took office, Ohio had an overcrowded prison system with a population of 17,795, in a system designed to hold 12,499. Possibly anticipating what studies were projecting — that prison populations would rise with Reagan’s intensified attack on communities — Ohio legislators decided the solution was not reform, but more beds. So they approved a $433 million dollar prison-building spending spree. Within a decade the jail-building spree would follow. And, in a world where empty beds equals lost revenue, clients were funneled through local courts. In 1983, when Ferguson was still somewhat bored at work, Ohio county jail population was 7,934. By 1999, when Boehner spoke in Eaton, it had jumped to 17,796.
Ohioans were becoming less free.
Jeffery A. Jenkins is Provost Professor of Public Policy, Political Science, and Law, Judith and John Bedrosian Chair of Governance and the Public Enterprise, Director of the Bedrosian Center, and Director of the Political Institutions and Political Economy (PIPE) Collaborative at the University of Southern California. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy (JPIPE) and the Journal of Historical Political Economy (JHPE). He was the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Politics for six years (2015-2020).