Friday, October 4, 2013

Missing Gems from the Emerald Isle

This is not a beauty entry, some of the photos and the story are dark. Ever since I can remember, I have been told how unfair the white man has been to the Asians, the Africans and the First Nations. This entry is to show you that these "minorities" aren't the only ones who have suffered.
A New York small pox victim, 1881.



German officers are inspecting these Polish children to see if the qualify as Aryan and therefore should be allowed to live.
In 1948, a penniless mother has no choice but to sell the children she can no longer support. In shame, she hides her face.



Sitting in the ruins of her bomb damaged home in 1940, the little girl in London comforts her doll.

Ireland was a tough place to live in during the early 1830s. Poverty was rampant, forcing many Irish to leave their homes and travel to the new world.

This was good news for people like Philip Duffy who needed to hire workmen for the construction of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad (later incorporated into the Pennsylvania Railroad). Duffy, himself an Irish immigrant, had a contract to level a patch of land on Mile 59 of the line.

57 Irish immigrants from Londonderry, Donegal, Leitrim and Tyrone had just disembarked the 401 tonne barque sailing out of Londonderry, the John Stamp and were immediately hired by Duffy. These men, and one woman, must have thought they were so fortunate. First few hours on the soil of the new land and they had jobs. It was back breaking work, making a "cut" into the area's heavy shale and clay and the new immigrants were paid 50 cents a day, plus whiskey.
Joseph Stalin's 1911 mugshot, taken by the Tsarist Secret Police.


This is the last known photo of Adolf Hitler, taken on April 30, 1945 - the day he died.
The inside of Hitler's bunker. Photo taken by Allied forces in 1945.




Man catching up on his reading in London at bombed out book store in 1940.

On October 3, 1832, it was apparently reported in the West Chester Village Record that people had died of cholera at Duffy's Cut. We say apparently because this particular instalment of the paper is missing. Researchers can't find it anywhere. A later edition - November 7 - retracted the missing report and said that only 8 men had died. What happened to the other 49 people though?

Cholera was an epidemic at the time. From the summer of 1832 to the spring of 1833, the disease ravaged the U.S.'s east coast, claiming as many as 80 lives a day in Philadelphia. No one knew anything about this terrifying epidemic and many blamed the newly arrived, decidedly different, dirty and poor Irish immigrants.

A 1961 photo of the building of the Berlin Wall.


Christmas dinner during the depression - turnips and cabbage.
A 1941 photo of Hitler's officers and cadets celebrating Christmas in 1941.




In 1964, this hotel manager poured acid into the pool because black people were swimming in it.

Three men in the camp died within a few days of each other and records show that Duffy gave them a proper Catholic burial. However, more men got sick. Others fled, looking for help, but the locals turned them away - perhaps violently. Only Malachi Harris, a rail road blacksmith, and four nuns from the Philadelphia Sisters of Charity would visit the camp to help. 

I should say they tried to help. More men died and the blacksmith put the bodies in a mass grave in a ditch dug at the side of the tracks. The nuns would then walk the 30 miles back to Philadelphia in the hot August sun; no one would stop to give them a ride for fear of catching cholera. 

But Philip Duffy was safe. It appears that he was working at a section of the West Chester Railroad at the time. He ordered the blacksmith to burn the camp and the worker's possessions. Was that to limit the spread of cholera or to hide what happened? Duffy lived to be an old man, dying in 1871 in his West Philadelphia mansion.


Abraham Lincoln's hearse, 1865.
In 1963, the last prisoners leave Alcatraz.



April 1912, recovering bodies from the Titanic.
This mother and son are watching the mushroom cloud after an atomic test 75 miles away, Las Vegas, 1953. 

It sounds like that would be the end of the story but it's not. The story is that all 57 workers died of cholera but the death rate of this disease is only 30-60%, which means that some of the workers should have survived. Monday, I will tell you more about this story, introduce you to the Watson brothers and tell you how they fit into this story.

I want to thank the television show Secrets of the Dead for inspiring this entry and to the website for the information. And thanks goes to my mother and her friend for the photos.

Have a great weekend and I hope you find the beauty around you.


Testing new bulletproof vests in 1923. (Not a job I would want!)
Evelyn McHale jumped from the 83rd floor of the Empire State Building and landed on the roof of a United Nations limousine on May 1, 1947. Most suicides don't look this good.



Vietnam soldier, 1965.

I threw this one in to give you a little laugh. These are actually melted mannequins from a fire at Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum in London, 1930.

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18 comments:

  1. Thanks Karen for an interesting read. I always enjoy what you come up with; there is always something that entertains.

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Lee. I know it is different from what I usually write but I think it is important to know.

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  2. That was powerful Karen....wooooooooohhhhh!!! Nice job! What images!

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    1. Thanks Brenda. It is an interesting story.

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  3. Very interesting, Karen.
    Thanks for your effort and for sending us something to ponder about.
    Godofredo Hernández. Tijuana, Mex.
    ghv101154@gmail.com

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    1. De nada Senor Hernandez,. Gracias for reading. (My Spanish isn't that good.)

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    2. Su Español es muy bueno, según puedo apreciar.
      Saludos y que tenga un excelente día

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    3. You do know that I had to use google translate for your last message! LOL. I am happy that you liked the blog.

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  4. "This entry is to show you that these "minorities" aren't the only ones who have suffered."

    What kind of nonsense is this? "minorities" suffered from smallpox, suicide, WW2, boats sinking, famine and death. These are universal suffering, race doesn't play a factor. But for some twisted reason you decided to make this about whites suffering. You are an embarrassment to Vancouver.

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    1. Thank you for reading. You realize that every nationality can claim the same suffering you mentioned - that was my point.

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    2. Actually I thought the photos were fascinating. I never give much credence to posts that are signed "Anonymous".
      I've found the Vagabond entries to be interesting and I don't think anybody is showing Vancouver in quite the same way.

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    3. Thanks Martin. I try to write things that may interest my readers

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  5. They say that forgetting history is a sure-fire way to repeat it. Thank you, Karen, for not letting us forget.

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    1. It is too easy to forget. Thanks for reading and commenting Nicole.

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  6. I beg to differ. Karen, I believe is an asset to Vancouver. She shows all sides. Not just one. She can’t cover every side with every article. I think being so critical towards someone who is just showing an opinion, a story, or a time period should be praised, not criticized. I personally, can’t help being offended by such harsh comments. I am not an expert in any area but I know a good thing when I see it. I think Vancouver Vagabond is enlightening, entertaining and most of all done with heart. You don’t have to know Karen Magill to see her passion for the city and for people as a whole.

    I applaud you Karen Magill. You, in my opinion (yes, it is just an opinion) does Vancouver proud!

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    1. Thank you Brenda for your support. I hope you keep reading.

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  7. I found this post interesting and informative, Karen. It sent me into research mode, once again. Thank you for sharing. I always enjoy your posts.

    With every issue, all information has to be included for one to understand our history. It's not always pretty, and we're not always going to agree, but it is imperative that we do the research so that we are informed when we state our opinions, especially in public.

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    1. Sometimes reported history can be wrong because our sources are wrong. But researching and finding the answers to some of these questions is fun. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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