Maine

Massasoit, John Quincy Adams and Early Welfare in Today’s History Highlights

Have you had your John Quincy Adams fix yet today? The son of Braintree (now Quincy) and America’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams was a prolific diarist. The Massachusetts Historical Society has been good enough to present his diaries in a variety of forms, including digital images of actual pages and a day-by-day twitter feed of the events in Adams’ life. One of our favorite pages is his discussion of President George Washington’s visit to Newburyport. While on a tour of the country, Washington visited the city (yes, he slept there in a building that is now the Newburyport Public Library). Adams, then a young law student, was living in Newburyport at the time and read a welcome letter to Washington.

Where would you be without Massasoit? It's a reasonable question. The leader of the Wampanoag negotiated an alliance with the English colonists in 1621 to help defend them both against the Narragansett. The deal held for 40 years. Now blogger and artist Gerry Biron has published a fascinating look at the lives of three descendants of Massasoit. Zerviah Gould Mitchell and her two daughters Teweelema and Wootonekanuske left their home in North Abington, Mass., in 1879 and reclaimed a 15-acre plot of ancestral land at Betty’s Neck in Lakeville, Mass.

Welfare in early America? What, didn’t everyone pull themselves up by their own bootstraps? Apparently not, as blogger Gabriel Loiacono explains: “One evening, chatting with friends from church, one asked me what kind of history I focused on. I told him: the history of welfare in early America.  He said: what welfare in early America? I find myself having a conversation like that one more and more these days...”

Today’s Flashback Photo is the Maine-built USS Maddox. On Aug. 4, 1964, America was edging closer to all-out conflict in Vietnam, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident famously added new fuel to the pro-war movement. It was the USS Maddox, built at the Bath Iron Works in Maine, that was at the center of the action 49 years ago. A small skirmish between the ship and three North Vietnamese torpedo boats, the details of which are hotly debated to this day, prompted Congress in its wisdom to grant President Lyndon Johnson the power to go to war without declaring war. To read more, a good starting point is the archives at The George Washington University.

Today's Flashback Photo...

Maddox

USS Maddox in 1953 Source: U.S. Naval Archives

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