Henry Morton Stanley, Samuel Morse

(Frank) Today on Around Kansas we start with the story of Henry Morton Stanley, the explorer who famously uttered the words “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.” Next learn how a tragedy inspired Samuel Morse to develop the telegraph. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with a look at hats and how they helped define some of our most iconic images over the years.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) Good morning. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Good morning to you. It’s early Wednesday morning. Nearing the end of April. (Deb) Nearing the end of April. And Frank, had I realized I tried to plan for this and I realized this was our last April show before May Day. I would have brought you a May basket. And maybe I will bring you a May basket after the fact for our first show in May. Because I know how much you’ve been looking forward to the May basket all year long. (Frank) That’s right. It’s something from my childhood that I loved; it was making and giving away May baskets. (Deb) Maybe you should just make and give me a May basket. Will that make you happy, Frank, to make a May basket and give it to me? (Frank) You got construction paper and you made a little cone. And you colored on it. And then you made a little handle. And then you picked some dandelions. And put some candy in it and took it. Hung it on your friend’s door, rang the doorbell and ran away. (Deb) Candy and dandelions. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Yes. That’s what everybody wants, open their door and find candy. And construction paper, can you still buy construction paper? (Frank) Eight years ago. [Laughs] (Deb) Can you still buy construction paper? (Frank) I believe you can. (Deb) And what did you put it together with? Rubber cement? (Frank) Well, staples or gel or glue, remember? Of course, now we’re really going back. I don’t think you have that any more. (Deb) The way, way back we’re saying. (Frank) We used to have this, they were about that tall and they had a rubber stopper on them, they were full of glue. (Deb) Yes. I thought that was the coolest stuff ever, because unlike kids today, we didn’t have all that stuff at home. You went to school and you had all that cool stuff. (Frank) Yes, you did. You have that list of stuff and you had to have glue and pencils and rulers and of course Big Chief Tablets. Old Big Chief Tablets. (Deb) I love those. (Frank) That’s today’s iPad. [Laughs] You see that every now and then on Facebook or some place. This was my iPad when I went to school and it’s one of those Big Chief Tablets. (Deb) We were filming our documentary the other day and we had the kids filming the scene that was supposed to be 1850. We’ve got Carson Norton’s two children, Carson and Ashley’s kids and my grandsons. They’re all five to seven, all four of these kids. And we gave them all slates. They’ve got chalk and they’re writing on their slates. And it was an ad-lib scene, but we tell them, now you can’t say the word “cool”, but they’re talking about seashells and sea monsters, but you can’t say “cool”. They didn’t have that word back then. And they’re drawing on their slates. And they’re just having the best time with that, but after a day of filming, when you ask, “What did you learn?” “They didn’t have the word “cool” back then.” (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) That’s just, “They didn’t have the word “cool”.” (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) It was funny. But the slates, they loved. They loved the chalk. And it was white chalk too. Didn’t have colored chalk. It’s just white chalk on the black slate. (Frank) Oh, my. (Deb) Pretty backward. (Frank) Anyway, yes. May Day is coming up. (Deb) May Day is coming up. (Frank) If you have a May basket- (Deb) Top it off with Frank’s. (Frank) -and it’s made out of construction paper and has dandelions and candy, there is a good chance it’s probably not mine. (Deb) I’m coming up the one. I promise. We’ll be right back.

(Deb) Okay. This is one of my favorite people in history, because when you talk about it you can’t make up this life. Henry Morton Stanley and there’s a wonderful biography, I don’t remember the guy that wrote it, but it’s a wonderful biography that’s that big on Stanley, the adventure when he found Dr. Livingstone. And that’s why most people know him today, but Henry Morton Stanley I think was actually born in Wales. He comes to America; he winds up in the American Civil War. He’s in the confederate army. He gets captured, sent to a Yankee prison. And they did what the called “galvanizing Yankees”. They basically come in, if you will join the Union Army you can get out of prison and we will send you to fight somewhere different. Mostly they were sent out West. And they we’re called “galvanized”. Well he became a “galvanized Yankee”. He then wound up in the Union Navy. And sources say, he may be the only man to serve in both the Confederate Army, the Union Army and the Union Navy. You really can’t make this stuff up. And then he had a career as a journalist. And that’s where we pick him up in Kansas, but if there were a historic marker for every place Henry Morton Stanley was, you couldn’t turn around in the world without bumping into a marker where Henry Morton Stanley was. And one of my favorite stories about him, other than the one we’re going to share with you, there was a Bill Thompson shot, stabbed and scalped on the UP line in Southern Nebraska. And he is the only survivor of this attack, picks up his scalp, walks back to Palm Creek Station seven or eight miles and then takes a train to Omaha trying to find the doctor to reattach his scalp. Who sees him in the train station? Henry Morton Stanley. (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) And it’s like, really? The man was everywhere. Everywhere. And he’s got a really cool Kansas connection we’re going to tell you about right now. “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Noted explorer Henry Morton Stanley uttered these words in 1871. He had undertaken an expedition to relieve Dr. David Livingstone who was searching for the source of the Nile. He had not been heard from since his departure in 1866. Stanley’s exploration was financed by the New York Herald. It might have been high adventure but it was grueling travel. During the 700-mile trek through the tropical forest, his thoroughbred stallion died within a few days after a bite from a tsetse fly, many of his porters deserted, and the rest were decimated by tropical diseases. Nonetheless, Stanley found Livingstone in November of 1871 in present-day Tanzania, and the two entered the realm of legend. Only four years earlier, Stanley had found himself in another landscape, the vast and dangerous high plains of Kansas. Stanley was a correspondent for the Missouri Democrat Newspaper in St. Louis to cover the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty. There was, in fact, a true press corps covering the event. He was already a veteran reporter, having spent considerable time on the Plains covering military operations. Of particular note is this encounter with the Kiowa chief, Satanta: “A number of Indians walked in, led by the redoubtable Satanta himself. Satanta seemed beside himself with joy on recognizing your correspondent, and gave him a gigantic bear’s hug… other members of the press…looked upon him with some awe, having heard so much of his ferocity and boldness.” Stanley’s reports are an important piece of this momentous gathering. His exploits made him a household name throughout the world. But next time you hear the words, Dr. Livingstone, I presume? you might mention that before he met Livingstone he met Satanta, of the Kiowa Nation, and, that Satanta gave him a bear hug. There is no mention that Dr. Livingstone was as glad to see him.

(Deb) What’s that? (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) Timmy is in the well? Is that what you’re trying to say, Lassie? (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) Okay. Well, Dr. Jake is going to kill me. He’s been working on this telegraph, getting these pieces to work, because he wants to set up a telegraph demonstration in July. And we’ve got these telegraph parts and I swear he had it all working, so that if you actually tapped here, it would come over here. I was going to say, “Am I just moving it?” But, no. It’s just my touching it, it’s just being in my presence. Okay, that obviously is not right. All right. I don’t know. I’m sorry, honey. I blew it, but you get the picture. Can you imagine relying on this to get a message to somebody? (Frank) [Laughs] Yes. Well, it was. (Deb) It was the iPhone of its day, wasn’t it? It was. (Frank) That was high-tech. (Deb) It was high-tech. (Frank) I haven’t seen one of these in a long time. (Deb) Is that how you got messages when you were a kid Frank? (Frank) Yes, it was. Please come home now. [Laughter] (Deb) I swear. Okay, that’s obviously connecting. I don’t know. Well anyway, Dr. Jake knows how to work it, but the telegraph of course was a big deal. And especially in the middle of America, you’re connecting both coasts and you’re connecting the telegraph of course follows the railroads across America. And it is very important for a long time, until what? Steve Jobs and all this stuff came along, but you got a pretty cool story coming up about the telegraph. (Frank) Yes. Well, Western Union, of course everybody knows Western Union. They were a company; they were in communication for many decades. When I started in radio, every radio station had a Western Union clock in the studio. And that was kind of like the atomic clock now. They are all set the same time to come up to the hour and reset itself and the whole thing. And that’s how we would know how to join the network and all that. (Deb) Sure. (Frank) But everybody had a Western Union clock you depended on. I’d like to find one. If you have one, let me know. [Laughs] (Deb) That would be really cool. And you know the first transatlantic telegram? That was worldwide news, when they actually laid a cable through the ocean. It’s just wild. What a history. All right. That’s a pretty cool story. (Frank) [Laughs] We can speak to anyone around the world, see them while we speak, and it happens instantly and cheaply. In this era, it is difficult to imagine how miraculous the telegraph was. The telegraph was a machine invented in the early 1800s. It made use of electricity, which was still somewhat of a novelty at the time, to transmit messages. A very early version, created by a German inventor was an electrochemical telegraph. It was a very complicated machine, and required the analysis of bubbles that were released to correspond with certain letters. Other versions followed, until 1837 when another American inventor, Samuel Morse, developed a new model of an electric telegraph along with a very unique way of communicating with it. There were several other inventors at the time who were also trying to get recognition for their telegraph prototypes, but in the end it was Morse who succeeded in the legal battle. Morse, a native of Massachusetts, was heavily involved in math and science studies, specifically those relating to electricity. When he received a note delivered by a messenger one day, he was horrified to read that she was seriously ill. By the time he arrived to see her, his dear wife had already died. Despite the tragedy, this grave incident inspired Morse to develop a better and faster system of communication. After learning about electromagnets, Morse used them to develop a telegraph system. He filed a patent for it and also came up with a system of Morse code to communicate through his new machine. Unlike earlier languages and codes, Morse code was so simple that it could be duplicated in audio, light flashes, or print. It was essentially a system of dots and dashes – in print – that corresponded with each letter of the alphabet. Morse code became such a successful way to communicate that it became the main way that telegraphs functioned around the world. When World War II broke out, telegraph systems experienced a massive surge as they allowed troops and leaders to communicate discreetly over very long distances. Many post offices were also outfitted with a telegraph machine so that they could receive and deliver telegrams for citizens. However, by the time telephones started to come into public use, the need for telegrams started to decline and eventually the technology was largely phased out.

(Ron) Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. Those of us who live out here in the middle of the country get used to one thing and that is the weather’s going to change. This poem is entitled Just Wait a Minute, It’ll Change. We’ve had lot’s of winter weather so when we got a thaw, the chance to get outside was really quite a draw. It felt like cabin fever so I was glad to get outside, cleaned a feeder, built some fence and managed to get in a horse ride. I stripped down to my shirtsleeves and got a whole lot of good work done and found it was the spring’s first exposure to the sun. The next day I was in the house paying some ranch bills when I heard a clap of thunder roll across the nearby hills. I tuned into the weather and they proceeded to inform that a wave of snow might follow a local thunderstorm. I just shook my head and went back to working on the books when what I saw at the window made me take a second look. Big fat wet snowflakes were falling from the sky, it looked like a full-fledged blizzard passing by. I finished up by paperwork and bundled up to do my chores and found the sun shining brightly across the great outdoors. It made me think about the weather pattern in this Kansas land, it will change so doggone fast that it is hard to understand. And I said to my wife as the weather made its turn, You know you live in Kansas when it snows on your sunburn. Happy Trails.

(Frank) We’re back. The hat reminds me of the Nat King Cole song Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer. (Deb) Something always reminds you of a song doesn’t it Frank? (Frank) Yes, it does. But it looks very summery. (Deb) Thank you. It does look very summery. I love hats. I really do. And I was probably born in the wrong era. Hats just aren’t as big of a deal as they used to be. But they’re still a fashion statement and they protect us from the hot sun. And they serve all kinds of cool purposes, advertising and everything else. Everybody that want’s to advertise buys a cap, don’t they and put their logo on it and all that cool stuff. When did you start wearing hats? (Frank) I don’t know. It’s been a few years now. There really is hair under here folks. But the thing is not much. I think that was part of it because I had heard that in the wintertime that you lost a lot of the heat out of the top of your head. I started wearing a hat. Well, the thing is then it’s just like, “Well, that I like this hat too and that one and that one.” Pretty soon, I had this incredible collection of hats. (Deb) Do you remember when you were a kid that everybody wore hats? (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Ladies and gentlemen, on Sunday especially. (Frank) All, yes. All the men wore fedoras. (Deb) Yes, and my grandfathers wore a hat all day, every day. They took it off when they came into the house. (Frank) Do you know when that ended? (Deb) No. (Frank) When John Kennedy became President, he didn’t wear a hat. True, it killed the hat industry. (Deb) I didn’t know that. Of course, Harry Truman was a big hat guy. My goodness. (Frank) But John Kennedy did not wear a hat. (Deb) That was the whole new young generation and everything. But Jackie Kennedy made the pillbox hat. (Frank) And more. (Deb) Yes, but John Kennedy, I did not realize that. Even Ike wore a hat for his inaugural, even though he didn’t wear– You learn something every day. Let’s take a look at hats. Easter is the unofficial beginning of spring, the signal of renewal and rebirth, the official okay to begin wearing white shoes and slacks. Traditionally, Easter has also been marked by the donning of a new outfit, or at least a new hat. References to new hats, or at least, newly refurbished hats for spring, go back for centuries. Hats may not be the fashion staple they were, but they remain an important part of not only our wardrobe, but our status, and a real clue to where we are from. Lots of cowboy hats, for example, in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport; not so many in at JFK in New York. From hardhats to army caps, they announce how we make a living. Hats have helped define some of our most iconic images over the years: Davy Crockett in the coonskin cap; Napoleon in his bicorne; Queen Elizabeth in her color-coordinated, floral adorned, somewhat sensible head pieces; Jackie Kennedy’s iconic pillbox; Carmen Miranda’s fruit-baskets turned hats; Lincoln’s stovepipe; the Cat in the Hat; John Wayne’s ever present Stetson; Audrey Hepburn’s elaborate and large swooping hat from My Fair Lady; the Samurai’s kabuto, the Vaquero’s sombrero, the Viking’s horned helmet; the Wicked Witch’s pointy headgear; Oddjob’s deadly bowler from James Bond’s Goldfinger; Sherlock Holmes familiar deerstalker; the all powerful sorting hat that decided to place Harry Potter in Gryffindor Hall rather than Slytherin; and the list goes on and on. The right hat makes or breaks an outfit, changes the mood, commands respect or invites laughter. While the milliner’s job may not feature as much custom work as once upon a time, the variety of hats that hit the market for spring and summer are endless, the prices are just as infinite, and their ability to transform the mundane into the magnificent, as strong as ever.

(Frank) Okay, a tip of the hat, I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Deb) We’ll see you somewhere… (Frank and Deb) …Around Kansas.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

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