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Andrew Jackson’s Battle Against the Native Americans

Hymn Before Action

(by: Rudyard Kipling)

                                  The earth is full of anger,

                                   The seas are dark with wrath;

                                    The Nations in Their Harness

                                      Go up against our path!

                                      Ere yet we loose the legions-

                                       Ere yet we draw the blade,

                                       Jehovah of the Thunders,

                                        Lord God of Battles, aid!…

                                         Lord, grant us strength to die!

     This poem was written in 1896, when war was thought to be honorable and necessary.  Rudyard Kipling also wrote a poem to honor the machine gun, because it made the business of colonizing that much easier.  I do not list the verses to that poem because it is so vicious.

     Before we get into Andrew Jackson and his battles against the Native Americans, we should point out one historical discrepancy.  Many have heard of the Battle of Hastings in the early Middle Ages.  In it, King Harold the Saxon is killed by an arrow through his head, which is listed in history as being launched by the hands of King William the Conquerer, who shot the arrow in the 1100’s.  The Saxon people are part of the group that invaded England in the 500’s AD.  Over the 500 years of their occupation, they merged with the Anglo’s and succeeded in taking over the nation, which was, under King Arthur, believed to be formed when the eighteen kingships of the Knights of the Round Table, were decimated in battle.

     Enter the Plantagenet era.  The Plantagenet line was a line of kings who emanated from the loins of King William the Ist.  It was a family that was to rule England for five hundred years.  Where am I going with this.  Well, about ten years ago they found the remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, who was defeated in the War of the Roses, by Henry Tudor, the bastard son of the sitting Plantagenet king.  Henry Tudor fought against Richard, if my memory serves me correctly, and killed him.  He then made himself the King of England.  He declared the Tudors to be the Kings of England.

     Here is my problem.   In order to identify the remains of King Richard III, it was necessary to do a DNA test by finding a member of the royal line of the Plantagenets.  The Windsors, who currently occupy the throne, had to find a direct descendant of William the Conqueror, and they were not it.  The man they found was a direct descendant of the Plantagenets, and as such, in my opinion, is the rightful King of England.  His line is directly connected to Richard III.  The Windsor’s have no direct line to the rightful Kind of England, William the Conqueror.

     I just thought some of you might find that fact to be interesting.

Andrew Jackson and his Treatment of Native Americans

     The current president likes to compare his presidency to that of Andrew Jackson and there are parallels.  Both spoke directly to the people, both thought that they were speaking for the people.  Both had a low account of their poorer people, and both were probably, in history, the lowest ranked presidents in History.  Andrew Jackson debunked the Bank of the United States because he felt that it was too powerful, much like Mr. Trump and his protection of the wealthy.  Mr. Jackson felt that President of the Bank of the United State, Mr. Nicholas Biddle, had too much say over the banking processes of the federal government.  He was fired.

     What Jackson replaced the bank with, was a slew of smaller banks, including National Banks, which were empowered to make their own national bank currency.  There the comparison ends.  We have no real idea where Mr. Trump is taking us.  President Jackson was very clear in his stated goals.  Most of his term was dedicated to furthering the manifest destiny of the United States.  He wanted to move the Native Americans and found room for them in the  Southwest.  Now, early Eastern nations, and they were not tribes, they were nations.  They should have been treated as such.  Instead they were treated like non-citizens.  They had no rights.  Jackson just moved them west, leading the Cherokees to travel their “Trail of Tears.”  That is how great the deaths were in the forced march out of the Cherokee nation in the Eastern United States.  Jackson’s actions killed thousands.

     Conversely, the Creek nation in Florida and southern Georgia was wiped out by Jackson militarily.  He attacked the Creek towns and villages in force.  From November 1813 to March 1814, he had nine separate battles with the Creek people,  and many of the dead Creeks were women and children.  Native American towns were burned to the ground and hundreds of Creeks were killed.  “The end came at the battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River.” (History of the American People)  On March 27, 1814, he fought the Battle of the Tallapoosa River, where he killed, or had killed, over one thousand men, women, and children of the Creek nation.  The Mississippi Valley was finally open to American trade.  But the cost was too high.

     As a result of his victory, he became the head of the American Army in New Orleans.  In New Orleans he successfully turned back the British invasion by utilizing the cover of a dried canal and using the muskets like they were automatic rifles.  As each soldier readied his musket to fire on the British, he stepped off of the dirt mound in the canal, readied his rifle, and fired when it became his time to fire into the British wall of soldiers.  His commanders even told the soldiers to fire at the part of the British uniform that crossed the chest.  With such an easy target, he was able to have his men severely kill almost every soldier.

      It was a battle fought after the cessation of the war, but it was a decisive victory.  The Americans took the ground by doing what they learned to do in the Battle of Concord, Massachusetts.  They fought from behind trees, the canal bed, and a brick house in the middle of the battlefield.  The victory eventually made the simply dressed General President of the United States.  As President, he invited on Inaugural Day, the common man to the White House, much to the chagrin of the people who used the White House as their place of employment.  He fired most of them over time, and had the positions filled with friends or friends of friends.

     As President, and this is why he is considered a great one, he oversaw the hiring of people that he knew, but who were not tested, as his administration.  He used patronage to its greatest level.  He worked with President of Texas, Samuel Houston, to solidify the desires of certain Texans, including President Houston, to make Texas a state.  Texas became a state by one vote, the vote of the Indiana Senator to the United States Senate.  The effort quickly became a movement to include the southwestern states and California as the Manifest Destiny of the United States.  What that meant is that the United States, without caring about the Native Americans in its way, was to occupy the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.  It was a popular move at the time, and the first cross country railroad was built under the eyes of Abraham Lincoln.

     By taking the banks and turning small banks into banks that could do everything, including printing money, he destabilized the banking system to the point that Woodrow Wilson had to start the Federal Reserve System to make the economy solid once again.  He was a brilliant general, a far-reaching President, but his administration was filled with holes.  That is why I do not share the view that he was a great President.

Reporting Versus Reviewing

I like to say that CityLife does not just report the news, it also makes the news.  As an example, I use George Anthes’ statement that we need a City Architect, while I agree with him.  But, I often say to George that we are not reporting a news item, we are trying to change the structure of the city administration.  That is not reporting news, that is making the news.  It is a very sensitive area.  The Lowell Sun on Sunday, the twenty-second of October, did the same thing.  There is no doubt that the Lowell Sun does this type of thing, headlines often are not what we would like to have them be, instead they are goals that the reporter tries to acheive.  Someone at the newspaper makes a decision to headline a story and it is not worthy of a certain type of exposure.  In that case, the news organization “makes the news,” and does not just report it.

In my opinion, that is what happened in the Sunday Sun on October 22, 2017.  The Sun did put it on the front page, but saved the largest title for an innocuous story about whether or not students from the high school are attending after-school programs in the various programs that are available to them.  The main headline in the Sun was pushing an aspect of support for the Cawley option.  It read, “LHS Near Services, but Usage Not Great.”  Then the article is about the number of students who do not go to after-school programs available to them.  This is a direct swipe at a major point that the Downtown group makes, the swipe being that downtown is not necessarily used by a great many students from the high school.

In reality, it is probable that no students would take the time to go to those after-school programs if the high school was outside the perimeters of the downtown.  It would just be too much trouble to go back downtown to attend a program offered after school hours.  The Sun contradicts itself when it says “There appears to be at least dozens of students who walk after school to programs at places like the Lowell Community Health Center or the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Lowell.”  The Sun then goes on to say that that is “a small number in relation to the school’s student body…but a significant number to the agencies that provide them services.”

You cannot have it both ways, Lowell Sun, dozens of students is a significant  number.  Even the Superintendent of the Lowell National Park is quoted as saying, “If you’re just across the street, it’s a quick transit.”  Obviously Cawley would not be across the street.  It would be about two miles away.  That is a significant walk.  Especially in bad weather.

As I said, a real tragic thing happened in Lowell that  same edition, and it should have been the main story.  Instead, the Sun made a main story out of “Easy downtown access, but survey indicates no clear flood of students.”  Surveys are easy to make up,  I use to audit and come to conclusions for Wang all of the time.  I have completed hundreds of surveys.  They  are just pieces of paper that carry virtually no weight.  In my opinion, the Lowell Sun wanted to find survey results that echoed the premise that students were not attending after-school programs at various provider’s locations.

So, they did.  I could write a directly opposite survey result by talking to the students who attended these after-school programs.  It would be a valid survey and I could conclude that many students visited the National Park or the Boys and Girls Club, or some other place.  I could conclude that students were attending those after-school programs in droves.  And they are, it just was not published in the Sun.  Because, and this is just speculation, the Sun has come out for the Cawley option.  They want to win and they will do what they can to do that.  Isn’t politics fun?

Interesting Historical Educational Facts – Lowell, Massachusetts

I found these historical facts among some of my papers on my desk.   You do not want to go searching on my desk.   Heaven knows what will emanate from the stacks of papers.

In an early carnival, in 1911, there was the “Golden Balloon” ride, where you would ride in a balloon and look over the terrain below.  It was a very popular ride.  The Mayor even would sing “Up in a Balloon Boys.”  There are no records of harrowing adventures or people hanging on the outside of the balloon.  It was a very safe ride.

At about the same time, the Lowell schools were finally built.  The jewels were the new High School consisting of one well-built building with the capability, in what became known as “Coburn Hall,”   of holding up to 1,000 students in the hall under the eye of one solitary teacher sitting on a perch above the students.  They sat at tables throughout the hall.  When I went to Lowell High School, Coburn Hall was still there.  My father knocked it down by replacing it with six normal sized schoolrooms.

Outside the high school, the plan was for President Taft to tour the first automobile racetrack and start the festivities attached to the holding of the first automobile race of its size.  That was in 1911.  The high school was already filled to capacity and in a decade, the larger old building, referred to as the 1922 Building, would hold students in relative comfort for the next eighty years.  In 1983 a new building would be built across the canal, over the Locks and Canals Corporation’s claimed “air-space.”  That building is at the center of the current controversy on the building of a new high school.

In 1893, successive buildings were added to the Lowell School system.  The Bartlett, Moody, Butler, Pawtucket Memorial, and smaller schools would be described as the jewels in the throne.  Around this time, Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes said that the First Amendment did not mean you had the right to yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater.  He also said you could take all of the medicines in the United States, put them on a ship, sail it as far as it could go, sink it, and not be any the worse for the lack of medicine in the country.  There is no information on what Lowell’s patent medicine industry had to say about this.

Most medicine, he pointed out, was alcohol.  Medicine was to become very popular during the exercise called Prohibition.  That was because of its alcoholic content.

At the time, an injunction against auto racing would not pass muster.  Drivers got ready for Lowell’s answer to what would become the Indianapolis, Indiana’s “Indy 500.”    Meanwhile, in education, in Lowell at the time, the Directors of the Greek community opened a Greek school.  Teachers were at the Greek School and would be taught in Greek and English.

On the racing circuit, Al Poole ran the oval in eighteen minutes  and twenty-eight seconds.  We know that the mills closed for the race, it is assumed that the schools did too.  There is no verification for that, though.

Students were not overlooked by the race officials.  In 1911, there were no licenses apparently because the race officials put aside a new car for a lucky boy or girl.  It is unknown who won the drawing, or which lucky boy or girl walked away with the prize.  But, he or she could legally drive it home.

On an earlier note, the Irish School, which was opened by the early Lowell School Committee, was closed because all of the Irish distrusted the English and Americans so much that they refused to enroll their children in a Protestant-oriented school of the city’s making.  They went to Catholic Schools.  There was a test of basic skills which was to be coordinated by publishing the times it was to be held in the “papers of the time.”  Each of the above examinations would take place at two o:clock.  Ten Primary Schools were included.  The unfortunate Irish School was still funded at the amount of eighty dollars per year, which it was not to exceed.       Around the year 1834, long before the Lowell Auto Race, Lowell High School was to occupy a spot on Merrimack Street at the Concert Hall, which was rebuilt to hold the students from the high school.  The School Committee paid $95.00, a princely sum, to Mark Rogers to make desks and seats for the students.  It was largely because of the expense of making seats and desks, that students were soon acquainted with the fact that education was seen as a feeder system for the mills and their projects.  Now, meaning today, in education, it is believed that the reason for such regimentation was to keep the students ready for the discipline and rigor of millwork.

The high school was not omitted.  William Dauncey was to be “admitted to (give) examinations for admission to the high school.”  The seventh grader, at this time, was old enough to be a school teacher so she or he did not need a high school education.  The mills put so much time into this effort that it was noted that the Hamilton Corporation had three primary schools, with paid teachers.  To give you a better sense as to how much the aforementioned money amount of $95.00 was, the man who was hired by the Hamilton Corporation to sweep and clean  the stoves in the school received fifty cents per week. (School Committee Minutes)

There was a proposed rhetoric to be used in the high school.  The city was growing and had seventeen schools organized by twenty eight instructors.  A comparision was made to Charlestown, which had 9,000 inhabitants, with 1581 students; compared to Lowell’s 2,300 students who were supported by the schools.

The School Committee of 1834, was determined to be ready to open the high school on the 25th. of August.  A “Committee of Two (to) be appointed to make the necessary inquiries respecting a Master for the High School.”  They “recommended to the Committee some suitable power for the appointment.”  (of the Master of the High School).  The Committee recommended that Members Austin and Barnaby “be a committee to ascertain what suitable room can be obtained for the use of the high school.” (Committee Minutes)  They settled on someone and voted that the salary of the Master of the High School be “One thousand dollars.”  (July 23, 1834).

They also voted that “Mr. William Hale of Millbury be the Master of the High School.”   Rent of the Concert Hall was decided on being $120.00 per annum.  They further decided that Messrs. Barnaby and Austin be a committee to prepare the hall for the use of the high school.

“The town voted to choose a general superintending School Committee to consist of seven and that Theodore Edson, James Barnaby, John W. Graves, Joshua Merrill, Eliphalet Case, and Samuel F Hueun, and William Austin were elected to fill”… “the vacancy on the Board.”  Samuel A. Coburn was the Town Clerk, and Theodore Edson, pastor of St. Anne’s downtown was the Chairman of the School Committee.

Around the same time, at the Third Grammar School, they elected Mr. Isaac Whittier  as Assistant Master.  No salary was given.  At the North Grammar School Mr. James Bean was voted in as “Assistant Master to fill  the term of Mr. Healey.”

In a remarkable move, they voted for a woman as “Assistant Master also at the North Grammar School.”  The South Grammar School had a woman as Assistant too.  Her name was Mrs. Marsha B. Daves.

Not all of the schools were ready by the end of August.  They voted that Mr. Austin “be a committee to provide a stove for the Third Grammar School room.  Make the necessary arrangements for its commencement.”  (School Committee Minutes)

The purpose of this exercise was to put into some perspective the lives of the average person of the time.  I started with the 1911 race because those notes were more in depth than those related to 1834, although, as you have seen, the 1834 notes were very voluminous.  So I could have reversed it a bit, but I wanted to show the school department as it existed in 1834.  Hopefully, I did that adequately.   The race information was recently discussed on a television show called “Lowell Remembers.”

This document is Copyrighted by James A. Peters.  No aggrandizement will be tolerated.

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

I spent twelve years working as an auditor and accountant.  I took accounting courses at UMASS-Lowell, as well as Suffolk University.   I do not talk about it because I loved teaching, but did not care for my previous work.  But I think I can use my experiences to make a simple statement about the Cawley site.  It makes no sense.

We have a useful building for a high school.  The 1922 building by itself is worth millions of dollars if used as an academic building.  The 1893 building further accents the argument.  It is in very good structural shape, and is a useful academic building.  The problem is that we are, if we choose another site to build on, throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Now, that saying comes from an old Pioneer custom, hot water on the Plains was hard to come by, so the first bath went to the head of the household.  After he was done, the second bath went to the mother.  As the water slowly cooled down the third bath went to the oldest child, and that continued until the water was so dirty that the baby was the last one washed in it.  It was easy to lose the baby in the muddy water.  He or she was the last one to use the by then, muddy water.  Losing the baby in the bathwater was a real possibility.  Thus the saying.

The baby in the high school argument is the 1980 building, it is perfectly useful but not currently in great shape.  That will come if we choose the right option.   It  will end up empty if we choose the Cawley option.  The 1922 building is the mother using the father’s dirty water.  She has to be utilized or the bath was a waste.  Finally, there is the 1893 building.  It can handle students but gets closed down while being perfectly useful in its handling of students.  The Freshman Academy is just out there.  Nobody wants to move it but it cannot, with the Cawley option, stay in the educational loop.  Each building can be used, we have just given up on them.  I know more about the history of those buildings than most people.  There is no logical reason to throw them out.  They are useful and pragmatic.

We are asking too much of the Cawley building.  It cannot do all of the things the current high school can do.  It will be too small and we are going to have to put in multi-millions of dollars to make it useful.  As is, it is too small for a swimming pool.  We have to be prepared for the building failing.  Millions are going to be spent to keep the aging building, and it will be aging in just a few short years.  It will not be new for long, because the constancy of  being like the 1980 building is great.  Leaky roofs are probably being factored in by the earliest architects. The Cawley will have problems from the beginning.  John McDonough  has a bunch of sheets on which are the need for maintenance of every school, including the newest ones, and the list is massive.  The Cawley building will be old before its time.  That is not being pessimistic, that is being realistic.

We have a full campus at the existing high school.  If you placed an educational value on the current high school, it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Let’s say 250 million dollars.  If you add the 336 million dollars offered by the state, we could have one heck of a building adding those two sites together and keeping the Freshman Academy where it is.  The minimal value would be 586 million dollars.  We would have a new high school for slightly over a half a billion dollars.  That means that the new building, which will cost approximately 336 million dollars, will be one heck of a building.

As I said, I was an auditor at Wang.  I once, working by myself for a day, found one million dollars for the corporation in maintenance costs which were not being billed.  That is one million dollars per year.  If Wang was still in business, and simply had that one audit intact, times twenty years since the inception of the audit, Wang would have an extra 20 million dollars.  We have some City Councilors who pride themselves on being able to add and subtract.  They should spend a lot of time adding and subtracting the cost of having Cawley as the high school.  I think that they would  be as surprised as I  was when I decided to determine the cost of not using the current buildings.  It is very sobering.

That is just my take on it.   I am using life experiences to come up with my arguments.  But they are good experiences.

The Advent of Lowell’s High School in 1834

Meeting on 3/10/1834

Present:   Theodore Edson, Pastor and School Committee

President

Messr’s. Barnaby, Graves, Merrill, Case, Haven

and Austin

The School Committee voted for Mr. James M.

Graves as Secretary

The School Committee’s business ended with the vote for Miss Esther Lew’s as the Instructress at the Lawrence Primary School in Lowell.  Edson and Austin were given the task of being “a  committee to  make the necessary arrangements.”  Clearly this group was bent on controlling education in early Lowell.  “The town voted to choose a general superintending School Committee to consist of seven (men) and Theodore Edson, James Barnaby, John W. Graves, Joshua Merrill, Eliphalet Case, and Samuel F. Haven were chosen on Tuesday the 4th. day of March.  William Austin was elected to fill the vacancy on the board.”  Samuel A. Coburn, Town Clerk.

In this important meeting, they “Voted that a third grammar school be established, (and) they “adjourned to meet in the Selectman’s Room on Monday next at 2 o:clock. ”  They bought books on 3/17/1834.   Third Grammar School elected Mr. D. Healey Master and Mr. James Whittier as Assistant Master.  At the North Grammar School they elected Mr. James Bean as the Assistant Master to fill out Mr. Healey’s term.

In important news, they appointed “Miss Abigail B.M. Barnaby Assistant for the North Grammar School.”  There were many female teachers in the One Room Schoolhouses of  Lowell, but this was the first female administrator in the town.  It was not yet a city.  They also appointed Miss Mary Sawyer as Assistant for the South Grammar School.”  Finally, they appointed Miss Martha B. Davis as the Second Assistant for the South Grammar School.  Two female appointees for the same school.  In that day, a woman could not be married and serve as a school teacher, much less an administrator.  That was because a married woman was believed to be in danger of getting pregnant and the school district did not want to explain pregnancy to the general public, especially the children.

They agreed to meet “tomorrow morning.”

At that meeting, they appointed “Mr. Austin as the Committee to Provide a Stove for the Third Grammar School room.”   He was supposed to “Make the necessary arrangements for its commencement.”

“They voted that the third Grammar School commence on Wednesday March 24, 1834 at the North Grammar School House.”  They also “voted to proceed to the election of teachers for the Primary Schools.”  Those schools consisted of the “Irish, Suffolk, Swamp Locks, the Baptist Meeting House, Central Street, Hamilton,  Power District, Chapel Hill.” schools.

They also voted at that meeting that the Committee proceed to the appointment of the salaries for the several Instructors.”  A School Master made $600.00 per year, while Assistants made $350.00 per year, female teachers made $175.00 per year, while the mysterious Writing Master made an elegant $400.00 per year.

They appointed Mr. Edson to supervise the North Grammar School, Pound District, and the Merrimack Primary Schools.”  Others were also appointed, while Belvidere  exercised its influence by getting two new schools (Primary) in its geographic area and having their charter state that graduates of the Primary Schools in Belvidere could attend the Grammar and High Schools but they had to make the High School in the Concert Hall on Merrimack Street.

Speaking of high schools, Lowell did not have one at this time.  The Committee was destined to make up for that oversight.  “Resolved as the sense of the Committee that it be expedient to establish a high school according to the laws of the Commonwealth and we will establish such school as soon as practicable.  Adjourned to Friday, April 11th. at  2 o:clock.  It had been a busy meeting and Belvidere got its two schools.

“Voted that Messr’s. Edson and Barnaby be a committee to receive of instructors in the High School.”

In the meeting on 4/14/1834 they fired Mr. Bean and replaced him with Joseph L.J. Crane.  They found that coal for the entire district for the last winter had cost $29.53.  They had to order blinds for the school houses.  Invoices for paying for the teachers salaries were paid for $35 teachers.  The town was growing.

They voted to “suspend the Irish School.”   That occurred on 8/3/1834 and was probably partially due to the insistence by Irish parents that their children attend Catholic schools.

They appointed Mr. Egan as subcommittee of the high school.  They started, in 1834, centralized testing and “That the Secretary publish the time of examinations in the Papers of the Town.”  Then they adjourned.

When they met again they stated that “Each of the above examinations will take place at 2 o:clock PM.”  There were ten Primary Schools  examinations.  The Irish School was back but it was relegated to hold its rent stipend to $80.00 per year and not to exceed that amount.  They voted that the High School room in Concert Hall on Merrimack Street “be used for no other purpose than for the High School.”  They even paid a carpenter named Mark Rogers for desks and seats at the high school.  The high school was not lightly dealth with.  “William D Dauncey be admitted to (give) examinations for admission to the high school.”   Custodians at the high school were paid fifty cents per week  “for sweeping and cleaning the stoves in the high school.”  In curriculum, “Approved rhetoric and review be used in the high school.”

The high school would become a major educational magnet in certain circles.  It was noted by the board that there were seventeen schools requiring twenty eight instructors.  In comparision Charlestown had 9,400 inhabitants wheras Lowell had 14,000 inhabitants.  Charlestown had 1,581 students to Lowell’s 2,300 students.

Lowell petitioned in early 1834 with the state to certify their new high school which was located in the Concert Hall on Merrimack Street.  Massive work was done to the Concert Hall to make it into a high school.  At one point the School Committee was forced to admit that “The High School had been closed since January last for lack of funds…to open the High School as soon as they should be able to save money enough to carry it through the year.”  {John W. Graves – Secretary Lowell School Committee, July 23, 1834}.

Again, you can check my conclusions by taking out the School Committee Minutes from 1834 to 1838.  It is available in the Memorial Library Research Room.  In my opinion, and based on my readings, the High School did not exist until 1834.  There was a three year high school educational program  which might have explained a graduation late in 1834.  All you needed at the time to be a teacher was a 7th. grade education.  A High School education was frosting on the cake.  A college education was unheard of at the time.  Even lawyers were not required to go to college.  They  just studied under other lawyers.  Thus, we have come a long way.

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

I spent twelve years working as an auditor and accountant.  I took accounting courses at UMASS-Lowell, as well as Suffolk University.   I do not talk about it because I loved teaching, but did not care for my previous work.  But I think I can use my experiences to make a simple statement about the Cawley site.  It makes no sense.

We have a useful building for a high school.  The 1922 building by itself is worth millions of dollars if used as an academic building.  The 1893 building further accents the argument.  It is in very good structural shape, and is a useful academic building.  The problem is that we are, if we choose another site to build on, throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Now, that saying comes from an old Pioneer custom, hot water on the Plains was hard to come by, so the first bath went to the head of the household.  After he was done, the second bath went to the mother.  As the water slowly cooled down the third bath went to the oldest child, and that continued until the water was so dirty that the baby was the last one washed in it.  It was easy to lose the baby in the muddy water.  He or she was the last one to use the by then, muddy water.  Losing the baby in the bathwater was a real possibility.  Thus the saying.

The baby in the high school argument is the 1980 building, it is perfectly useful but not currently in great shape.  That will come if we choose the right option.   It  will end up empty if we choose the Cawley option.  The 1922 building is the mother using the father’s dirty water.  She has to be utilized or the bath was a waste.  Finally, there is the 1893 building.  It can handle students but gets closed down while being perfectly useful in its handling of students.  The Freshman Academy is just out there.  Nobody wants to move it but it cannot, with the Cawley option, stay in the educational loop.  Each building can be used, we have just given up on them.  I know more about the history of those buildings than most people.  There is no logical reason to throw them out.  They are useful and pragmatic.

We are asking too much of the Cawley building.  It cannot do all of the things the current high school can do.  It will be too small and we are going to have to put in multi-millions of dollars to make it useful.  As is, it is too small for a swimming pool.  We have to be prepared for the building failing.  Millions are going to be spent to keep the aging building, and it will be aging in just a few short years.  It will not be new for long, because the constancy of  being like the 1980 building is great.  Leaky roofs are probably being factored in by the earliest architects. The Cawley will have problems from the beginning.  John McDonough  has a bunch of sheets on which are the need for maintenance of every school, including the newest ones, and the list is massive.  The Cawley building will be old before its time.  That is not being pessimistic, that is being realistic.

We have a full campus at the existing high school.  If you placed an educational value on the current high school, it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Let’s say 250 million dollars.  If you add the 336 million dollars offered by the state, we could have one heck of a building adding those two sites together and keeping the Freshman Academy where it is.  The minimal value would be 586 million dollars.  We would have a new high school for slightly over a half a billion dollars.  That means that the new building, which will cost approximately 336 million dollars, will be one heck of a building.

As I said, I was an auditor at Wang.  I once, working by myself for a day, found one million dollars for the corporation in maintenance costs which were not being billed.  That is one million dollars per year.  If Wang was still in business, and simply had that one audit intact, times twenty years since the inception of the audit, Wang would have an extra 20 million dollars.  We have some City Councilors who pride themselves on being able to add and subtract.  They should spend a lot of time adding and subtracting the cost of having Cawley as the high school.  I think that they would  be as surprised as I  was when I decided to determine the cost of not using the current buildings.  It is very sobering.

That is just my take on it.   I am using life experiences to come up with my arguments.  But they are good experiences.

I Am Tired of the President at This Time

I have had it with Donald Trump.  Charlottesville was my final spot.  “The many…” outdistanced the few.  Pence got it right the next day when he said that the United States was too grand for neo-Nazis, and racists.  Trump said no such thing.  According to his book, Konrad, Heiden stated that Hitler realized he was speaking to “The Aryans and anti-Semites of France.” {Der Furhrer” by Konrad Heiden, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston  in 1944.}  At some point this President has realized how important to his political future are those who espouse facism.  His reluctance to condemn an act that was horrific was hopefully based on the idea that the act was vile and murderous, but it says an awful lot about where this man is emanating from, and how far he will go to maintain his power base.

A year ago, I got the chance to watch Trump in action at a rally in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.  Our camera was there capturing Trump as he worked a crowd estimated at four thousand for one and  one-half hours.  Much of what he said was repetitive, to the point that my editor threw out an hour of his recording.  When I irately asked why he left so much on the edit room floor, he told me that he was just leaving that recording that was a repetitive statement by Trump.  In other words, my editor took it upon himself to leave an hour’s worth of Trumpisms on the floor.  What was Trump calling for at that time?  A wall in America paid for by the Mexicans.  He did not ask the Mexicans if they would pay for it.  He just assumed that they would.  He wanted to beef up our defensive strategy and that played well in a town that had had losses to defense contracts.  He said anything he could to get the largely blue-collar audience to cheer for him.  By sixty minutes, I was also pretty tired of the repetition.

I think the thing that people do not understand is how frightening the Russian hacking, if it in fact took place, was to the voting patterns in the United States.  No one would argue that Hilary Clinton was hurt by her own mistakes.  But, if there was collusion with the Russians and Trump knew about it, and we have no proof currently that he did know about it, he should be impeached.

Mr. Trump has a nasty habit of speaking down to his audiences.  The press, when he disagrees with it, which is a daily occurence, is guilty of spreading “fake news.”  But he speaks at a fourth or fifth grade level.  We are trying to “Make America Great Again,” but great for who?  I think the United States of America is pretty great presently.  We have a nation that states that natural-born Americans are equal to anyone else in the country in multiple ways.  Ways that are sometimes off of the spectrum.  I did not believe the Republican Party was able to do it but they have succeeded in separating White from other ethnic groups.  Two-thirds of America’s white men voted for Donald Trump.  Over one half of the white American women voted for Donald Trump.  How that could happen with that tape on the bus is well beyond me.

I have a sticker with a picture of former First Lady, Hilary Clinton which has two words on it which show how misguided she was in her effort.  That saying is “Madame President.”  Just a little premature, wouldn’t you say?  Hilary Clinton lost this one because of plenty of mistakes.  Included in those mistakes was the assumption that she would win, and kissing off the battle-ground states of Michigan and Ohio.  Another mistake  was not allowing her strong Democratic foe, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, to speak to his supporters at the convention.  He could have delivered a marvelous speech ending with his promise to support Hilary Clinton.  His people would have brought their incredible skills and practices to the election.  How do I know that?  Well, I am Senator Paul Tsongas’ brother-in-law and in 1992, I was asked to speak at various functions, and at the end, when we had clearly lost, Bill Clinton called Paul Tsongas to tell him that he would not have him  speak to his supporters at the convention.  Paul played hard-ball and told Clinton that he would be activating his delegates to vote for Tsongas  on the first vote.  They would force Clinton to win on the second vote, a major embarassment.

That would have placed Clinton in the unenviable spot of being the presidential candidate who could not control his delegates.  He quickly changed his mind and allowed Paul to speak to his many delegates.  Niki stood at his side as he spoke.  I watched on television.  Paul was a better man than Clinton, I believe.

So, Hilary Clinton made the mistake her husband did not make.  She shut out Bernie Sanders.  That was her major mistake.  Her other major mistake was not taking on James Comey, the FBI Director who shot her campaign through the chest and nobody was there to demand the man’s resignation.  Obama should have done that, but the assumption was that Trump could not win and the shot was not mortal.  It was mortal.

Those are just my opinions on the mistakes of Hilary Clinton.  I have a card in my wallet that I keep just to maintain my composure.  It says, “2016 Presidential Leader” with a picture of a smiling Hilary Clinton.  That is obviously not how it worked itself out.    Too much was assumed.

“Fake News” is now in our lexicon.  We say it.  It was started by Mr. Trump to excuse poor press releases.  He even coaxed, apparently, the American people to overlook bad press.  He wanted, it is said, loyalty.  As a Democrat, I refuse to be loyal to a man who denies the maxim of fairness.  He was said to have stated that the Boy Scouts of America praised him in some way.  The Boy Scouts denied it.  He was said to have stated that the Mexican President gave him credit for some act.  The Mexican President said that the conversation never took place.  In this case I believe the Mexican.  In most cases, I would believe the American, but the Boy Scouts are supposed to be sworn to telling the truth.

I believe that Mr. Trump is  sorry that he won.  Why does he keep on sending out “tweets” when his top five advisors have left him?  Why use “tweets” anyway?  Is it the Trump equivalent of FDR’s “Fireplace Chats,” given every Saturday morning on the radio?  I believe it might be in that genre.

I do not believe that this man thinks that beating up his own party supporters is a good idea.  But he seems to do it, especially to John McCain.  The two are not friends.  But, if I was not a Democrat I would be voting for Mr. McCain when he ran for President.  A man with his track record and time spent in the Hanoi Hilton, deserves respect and quiet admiration for his contributions.  The fact that Trump is attacking him as he is ill is not even American.  My mother and father taught me to respect those who are ill.

My father used to take me to the Veteran’s Hospital in the city next to ours.  There I saw Veterans in wheelchairs and guerneys brought to morning Mass.  The image of those WWII and Korean veterans still is etched in my mind.

Well, I have pretty much said what was on my mind.  I am scared for this country.  We are at a crossroads, and we have to live by the Constitution and its Amendments.  It is very difficult to get an Amendment through, so we should not be afraid of Amendments.  Obamacare is no longer and I am taking lethal medication for five ailments.  My drug prices are on the rise, thanks to Donald Trump who obviously had no idea how to fix Obamacare.  But blame it on the Democrats and the media.  The visceral, or deeply embedded, sensations will overtake you.  I do not watch CNN, or WNBC.  I come to my conclusions on their own.  I am very bothered by this President, and I remember having high hopes for him.  His conservation stance is enough to rattle me.  His other stances will apparently not pass the Congress.  We have a lame duck President who could serve eight years.  It is scary.

Steam Engines and Other Facts

Back about 1957, when I was three years of age, I was visiting my grandfather and grandmother in Barnum, Iowa next to the tracks for the Rock Island Railroad line.  One day I heard an awful noise coming from down the tracks.  I was so scared I started to cry.  My father, on the other hand, was taking me by my hands and pulling me towards the railroad tracks.  He was not trying to kill me, he wanted to teach me a little history.

The noise was so great that I continued crying.  He told me to stand next to the tracks and watch what was coming down the tracks.  I looked to my left, because that was where the awful noise was emanating from, and I was frozen in sheer terror.  To my left coming down the tracks, was the largest black machine I had ever seen.  It was, as I said, amazingly loud.  It was a steam engine, progressing under its own power towards the spot that I stood next to, and it scared me to death.  It passed extremely slowly, and blew its whistle to  tell us to stay away.  I learned about the fact that train’s whistles meant something, stay away was the sound of this one.

I was frozen in my spot, having no desire to get hit by this massive machine.  It spewed black smoke.  It was, my father later told me when I had gotten a little older, a working locomotive going to Omaha, Nebraska to be melted down.  It was the last steam engine I ever saw on that line.  I was still scared but my father gave me some courage by speaking of it in logical terms and telling me it was going to Omaha.  It was the last steam engine, he said, that we would see and it indeed was the last one we did see.

I never got the chance to thank my father for letting me stand and watch that engine go on its way.  Later, he took me to a steam engine tractor pull, and the weighted steel wheels on those old steam tractors tore up the ground.  Those engines were much less loud and driven by their farmers who were vying for a monetary prize.  But nothing could match that steam  engine.  It was monstrous.

Years later I rode in a tractor picking corn.  We stood, a couple of my buddies, my brother, and I, in the wagon where the shelled corn was being thrown.  It was fun.  Much later than that, I climbed to the top of a five story corn container.  It was filled with soybeans and we ate soybeans and told stories about school, and hunting, and fishing.  That was enjoyable too.

Years later, I ended up in Lowell.  No corn cribs, no soybeans, no stories of charcoal burnt pigs.  We were in the settled part of Massachusetts.  Little did I know, but one of my best friends was a farmer.  We raised pigs, grew raspberries, and walked through his barn, which one day collapsed while no one was in it, including no animals either.  We butchered the pigs at Blood Farm in Groton one morning.  It was hard work, and kind of gruesome but it taught me how hard farmers worked to bring their wares  to market.  We stopped after a couple of years because you grew too close to the pigs.  They were very smart animals, as you learned in “Charlotte’s Web.”

Another steam engine story happened right in downtown Lowell, and I believe that no one remembers this one because I was alone with my small son.  Lowell was given the steam engine that occupies the railroad tracks at the National Park Service.  The newspaper kept  telling everyone how heavy that engine was, and I have a picture of the crane next to the steam engine, which hopefully I printed in this blog.

The engine arrived a little early and I had my  entire family lined up to see it.  The problem was that the crane had to drop it exactly in place on the rails and it kept missing the rail.  By a quarter of an inch, they said in one case.  It was heavy and the crane strained to control it.  It kept landing, all day until dark, on that rail and it was not going to drop easily into place.  The remarkable thing was the brainchild of an elderly worker who had been there all day until dark.  I stayed until dark.  I could not leave, it was so fascinating.  Engineers, the slide ruler kind, could not get  that crane to properly place that train.

Finally, the elderly worker was asked for his advice.  He told them that he could place the train but he needed some pieces of wood.  They looked at him like he was crazy, but they got him the wood.  He proceeded to build a tower from the rail to the top of the wheel, and it stood there, doing nothing.  Then the elderly worker asked for one last piece of wood, placed it on top of the wooden pile and jacked it into the space between the rail and the rim.  He asked for a sledge hammer, complaining that the railroad wheel was off by one quarter of an inch.  He proceeded to pound that last piece of wood into the space between the tower of wood and the engine wheel.  On his last swing, the piece of wood caused the engine to lift itself and push itself over by one quarter of an inch.  The train fell onto the tracks, placed there by  a force of wood strategically placed in the wood pile.  I cheered, but I was the only person still watching and the story seems incredible.  I know it happened.  The man responsible is probably with his Maker now.  But he leveled that train on the rail.

You can believe that if you want to, you don’t have to if you do not want to, the fact is that it happened and it was only witnessed by myself, my son, and a small cadre of workers.  The man did what the crane could not do.  He personally saved that project.  There is no one left to tell his story except me.  So that is the story.  I hope you believe it because is happened exactly that way.  But I know there are skeptics.  And, if I did not see it myself, I would have never believed it.  It did not make the newspaper, because it was just an old man with a better idea.

So that is the story of the steam engines.  What most people do not realize was that the steam engine put the water power wheels out of business.  Next to the Market Mills is what is left of the steam building.  You can still see where the poor overworked individuals shoveled coal all day under that vat of water which was steam controlled by a company.  The advent of steam was the end of the use of the waterwheel.  That happened in the 1880’s and steam was used for years thereafter.  I remember it hissing and appearing in the tubes going towards what used to be Sullivan Brothers Printing.  But that is another story.

I can sell you pictures of the steam engine and the heavy crane, but they are 8″ by 10″ and that is too big to put in this space.

The Real Start of Lowell High School

For my entire life, the starting year for Lowell High School has been 1831.  Even the cup I use for my coffee has the year showing the start of the high school as being 1831.  While doing research for a book I surmised that that date was incorrect.  In fact, the starting date, or starting year, is 1834.  Where do I come up with that date?  It was in the 1834 School Committee Minutes.  The starting date for the high school was 1834.  Specifically, the Minutes state that it is “expedient to establish a High School according to the laws of the Commonwealth; and that we (Lowell) will establish such a school as soon as practicable.”  (Spelling dictated by the Minutes).  After making that incredible observation, the School Committee “Adjourned to Friday April 11th. at 2 o:clock.”  Before they adjourned however, they passed a raise for the school teachers salary. (Minutes – Page 139)

The School Committee was determined to have influence over the Irish Catholic community at this time.  The Reverend Barnaby was commended for running the “Irish Primary School.”  “Miss Hanrah Dyar (will) be appointed teacher for the Irish School.”  It is fair to say that few of the Irish immigrants sent their children to the Irish School.  The problem would exist for the next twenty years as more and more Irish mothers saw their children attend Irish Catholic Schools run by nuns and priests.  Their lack of completion of the children in the public school system spoke volumes to the desire of the Irish to educate their own.

In other business, in 1834, the School Committee voted that “two Primary Schools  be established in Belvidere Village, with the right of such scholars to attend the Grammar and High School, once it was accredited by the State House.  In other business, Messr’s. Barnaby, Merrill, and Graves chose Mr. Barnaby Chairman Pro Tem.”  It was their duty to make certain that Belvidere Village got its two Primary Schools.

This was a controlled School Department.  It was controlled by the School Committee.  In one vote it saw a motion passed that “No book or apparatus but such as the Committee approve be used in any of the schools.”  That one passed on 3/18/1834.

The Committee did not have a place to carry on its business so it met in the Selectman’s Room, much as it does today.

Chairman Theodore Edson went out to observe the North Grammar School; the Pound District; and the Merrimack Primary School.  I have not found out what his reactions to his observations were as of now.  I intend to find out.

I encourage others interested in the school system at this point to check my understanding of the actions of the School Committee, especially as it pertains to the establishment of the high school.  It is possible that the year of 1834 was the first year for graduation, which puts the starting year in 1831.  But this is the oldest book I have seen on School Committee Minutes, and it is very exact on its observation of the start of the high school.  The high school, according to the minutes of the year 1834, states that the high school was not even recognized by the State government in the first part of 1834.  It was a very interesting observation and I hope to be doing more reading on it in the immediate future.

Interesting Facts About Lowell’s School System over the Past Century

I thought I would record some interesting facts about Lowell’s unique educational system.  I am privy to some interesting facts about the system due to my review of items of interest in the period from 1826 to 2017.   That seems like a better use of my time than what I have been doing.

The course of study for Primary Schools shows that the grammar schools were supposed to use Munroe’s Charts and Franklin First Reader.  “Begin with words written upon the blackboard, using the names of familiar objects, and words expressing familiar acts.”  Thus read the “Course of Study for  Primary Schools.”  “Spell the words in columns, by sounds.”  That seems pretty much the same thing as that which happens now.  In addition, it was said that the teacher should, “Develop the idea of number to ten, by the use of objects.  Count to one hundred on the numeral frame,” which was, I believe, a chart that showed all of the numbers from zero to 100.

“Teach the construction of letters and figures…using slate and blacboard.”  It was pretty clear that the teacher was supposed to teach the students according to the patterns used in the ‘Course of Study.’  There was not much room for interposition.  In the Second Half of the year you again were supposed to use “Munroe’s Charts,” again and “spell by sounds.”  You were supposed to write words or groups of words and sentences upon the blackboard, and “require the pupils to copy upon the slate.”  The slate was a small, handheld blackboard which each student had.  Students were supposed to have familiarity with numbers up to “L.” (fifty)

By the time they were in the Second Grade, they were supposed to be able to do Roman Numerals up to “M.”  And you were to “Practice Object Teaching,” using objects that are familiar to the child.  Again, there is very little room for spontaneity.  You were doing “Enunciation Exercises daily.”  You were learning the simplest form of script letters.  You were learning Arithmetic orally.  You continued the enunciation exercises in the last half of the second year.  You were still doing Roman Numerals up to M.

In Arithmetic, in the Second Grade, you were to teach the multiplication tables to 8 x 8.  Your progress was only measured by your determination and desire.  Obviously, parents had to be part of the learning process.  By the time you got to high school you were immersed in American History, although not that dealing with the Native Americans.  Your grammar schools included:

Ames Street

Central Street

Chapel Street

Charles Street

Training School

and

Cottage Street

and that also included the

Edson School on the corner of Favor and Summer Street.

This was standard for the school system in 1881.  The School Committee included Chairman Frederic T. Greenhalge; Charles H. Allen as Vice-Chairman; and Charles Morrill as Secretary.  The current Greenhalge School was named after Frederic T. Greenhalge.  He was also the Mayor, who, by his assumption of the title was bound to be the Head of the School Committee, a practice used until the present day.

Spelling was taught using Worcester’s New Pronouncing Speller.  During the first half of the year, they went to page 29, or so it was dictated; while by the second half of the year they went to Page 47.   Arithmetic in the Fourth Grade included multiplication tables up to, but not to exceed one million.  They were supposed to do their mathematics from dictation, including the practices associated with numeration and notation.  In Division they could not exceed the Divisor of 25.

By the Seventh Grade they were supposed to  be reading the Franklin Intermediate Reader, “with drill on exercises to secure distinct articulation and correct pronunciation and expression.”  They were also supposed to know their Geography, History, and Mental Arithmetic.

They started high school in Grade 10.  As it is now.  They were to do “Algebra, Outlines of History, English Lessons, English History, and English Lessons.”  The inclusion of English Lessons may have made it clear that the United States, from the 19th. Century on, was English Speaking.  By the end of the Second Year, they were supposed to know Geometry, Natural Philosophy, Physical Georgraphy, and French.  Inclusion in the second semester saw Chemistry, and English Grammar.  French was continued as a pre-requisite.

It is interesting to look at salaries, which were determined by the school district and the School Committee.  The High School Principal (not a Headmaster yet), made a sweet 2,200 dollars.  Male Assistance made 1,800.00.  Female Assistants made $600.00 to $800.00.  Primary School Principals made 1,800.00 dollars.

The Principal of the Powell Street School made a meager $600.00.  The Middlesex Village Principal made an even less fair $500.00.  William S. Greene, the master of the Moody School made $1,800.00 in 1883.  No woman could touch that amount.  Mr. Greene was expected to be in charge of the primary schools in his area, as an assistant Superintendent per se.  He fulfilled the role given to him and took care of the Primary and Grammar Schools in his pervue.

There is a lot of information about the Middlesex Village School, the Moody Grammar School, the Pond Street School (which remained a school until the 1970’s), the High Street School, the Fayette Street School, and the Pawtucket Grammar School – as well as others too numerous to mention.  The Varnum Grammar School had its $1,800 Master and ten teachers.  The days of the one room schoolhouse were numbered.

On Kirk Street, the new high school was destined to be built.  It was a commanding building, three stories tall and the third floor was one large room, that was there when I moved here from Illinois.  It was literally one large room with seating for up to 1,000 students who were expected to study for courses under the eye of one lone teacher who occupied the raised dais.  The Worthen Street School used to stand on Worthen Street, down the street from the famous pub, between Market and Broadway Streets.  That would place it close to the Whistler House.  It is no longer there.

The Franklin School, between Middlesex and Branch Streets is still a well-used building.  Most people do not know it as the Franklin School however.  It is the building between Pailin Plaza and the grocery store.

The Lowell Training School had a woman who was Principal and she was well-paid at $1,500.00 per year.  Her name was Julia M. Dewey and she lived at 12 Middlesex Street in Lowell.  The school was located on Charles Street, close to Lawrence Street in South Lowell.  She had a staff of fifteen teachers.

The Greene Grammar School had been next to a tannery for years and it was finally moved due to parental complaints.  It smelled disgusting.  It was moved across from what would be the City Hall and the Memorial Library.  Not the Pollard Memorial Library because that did not exist.  It was named the Memorial Library after those men from Lowell who had lost their lives in the Great War.

The High School had Frank F. Coburn as Principal, not Headmaster.  The term Headmaster is relatively a recent phenomenon.  Getting rid of it should be easy.  Mr. Coburn made $2,200.00 per year, and was the highest paid Principal.  He had a Language, Science, Mathematics, Literature, and other curriculums to tend to, with a total of fifteen paid teachers.  Many doubled as Mathematics and Language teachers.  Their pay was high, by the standards of the day.  Most were paid $700.00 per year.  A few made $600.00.  The high school was definitely the jewel in the crown of the School Department.

What do these facts tell us.  Well, first is that the curriculum was close to what it is today.  The most popular foreign language was French, and the most popular English language was Literature-based.  Grammar was insisted upon, as it is now, and the most used language  was English.  No matter where the immigrants working the mills came from, their children in school learned in and of English.

I will have more facts and figures for you in later blogs.  Have a good week.