Book Review: “The Supply for Tomorrow Must Not Fail”

“The Supply for Tomorrow Must Not Fail”: The Civil War of Captain Simon Perkins Jr., a Union Quartermaster. By Lenette S. Taylor. (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2004. xvi, 264 pp. Cloth, $35.00, ISBN 0-87338-783-x.)

A curiously neglected sub-genre within the abundant body of Civil War literature is that which recognizes the important, indeed critical, role played by logisticians in support of the land armies that ranged across a continent from 1861 through 1865. A modern military axiom declares boldly that “amateurs study tactics, while professionals study logistics”. Even so, there are scant comprehensive scholarly works devoted to Union or Confederate supply systems and even fewer that examine the efforts of individual quartermaster, commissary, or ordnance personnel whose existence was essential to the conduct of successful military operations. Lamentably—though perhaps inevitably—the trumpet blast and the roar of musketry continue to trump the army invoice, the railroad schedule, and the bill of lading as topics ripe for serious historical inquiry. Lenette S. Taylor, in “The Supply for Tomorrow Must Not Fail”, details the day-to-day activities of a heretofore-anonymous Federal quartermaster officer; in so doing she has created an important study in what remains a fledgling field. Continue reading Book Review: “The Supply for Tomorrow Must Not Fail”

Book Review: Ohio’s First Peoples

Ohio‘s First Peoples. By James H. O’Donnell III. (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2004. ix, 176pp Cloth, $17.95, ISBN 0-8214-1525-5.)

Ohio University Press, a noted publisher of works on Ohio and regional history, has recently added James H. O’Donnell’s Ohio’s First Peoples to their collection, which includes Religion in Ohio, Buckeye Women, and Civil War memoirs by Ohioans. Professor O’Donnell who has written several works on American Indians is uniquely qualified to bring this significant aspect of Ohio’s history to the general public, especially with the continuing celebration of the state’s bicentennial.

Although there are no Indian reservations in the Buckeye State in the twenty-first century, the Indians did leave their imprint before their forced departure in 1843. O’Donnell points out not only the remnants of ancient civilizations that inhabited the region like the Hopewell and the Adena, but the numerous Indian place names that dot it. He proves to us that European settlers were not the only ones who would have agreed with the English traveler of 1817 who declared that Ohio was “a country beautiful and fertile . . . affording all that nature decreed for the comfort of man.” For several millennia Ohio has been a magnet for settlers with water, mineral deposits, and fertile land in abundance. In this slim volume of 128 pages of text, O’Donnell tantalizes us with an overview of the rich history of the often forgotten, first peoples of Ohio. This is a project that is not designed for the specialist, but for the general public who want to explore further the achievements of Ohio’s Indians and the disturbing challenges that they faced with the arrival of the Europeans, especially during the eighteenth century. Continue reading Book Review: Ohio’s First Peoples

Book Review: American Grit

American Grit: A Woman’s Letters from the Ohio Frontier. Edited by Emily Foster. (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2002. vii, 368pp. Cloth, $45.00, ISBN: 978-0-8131-2265-6.)

In 1826, Anna Briggs Bentley, her husband Joseph, and their six children left their home in Maryland for the frontier of Columbiana County, Ohio . Anna Bentley was from a wealthy and well-connected Quaker family, her father was closely associated with President Thomas Jefferson, and when President James Madison fled Washington D.C. just ahead of the British army he took refuge with members of the Briggs family. However, with the death of Isaac Briggs, the family patriarch in 1825, the family fell upon difficult times. In the hope of making a better life for themselves and their family Anna and Joseph Bentley joined countess other pioneers in moving west, eventually settling on a farm they named Green Hill in the wilderness of Ohio . From her new home, Anna Bentley wrote long letters to her family back in Maryland. These letters detail farm life on the frontier, her struggles to raise her growing family, the generosity of her neighbors, and her desire not to be forgotten by her Maryland family.

Emily Foster’s American Grit is a collection of those letters, written from 1826 to 1858 thatFoster, a director of research and writing services specializing in public affairs communications, allows Bentley’s natural storytelling ability to shine. Continue reading Book Review: American Grit

Book Review: Terrible Swift Sword

Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown. Edited by Peggy A. Russo and Paul Finkelman. (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2005. 228 pp. Paper, $24.95. ISBN: 0821416316.)

This collection of twelve essays by scholars from various fields examines the legacy of John Brown, the abolitionist zealot whose raid in 1859 on the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, further inflamed sectional hostility and helped ignite the Civil War. Drawn from a symposium on Brown at the Mont Alto campus of Pennsylvania State University in 1996, these essays focus for the most part on how people then and now have thought of Brown and how they have portrayed him—as a martyr, madman, criminal, or terrorist. The conference organizers and the editors sought multidisciplinary contributors in hopes of overcoming the “habit of specialization” among academics in an effort to garner fresh insights into Brown’s legacy. These essays, for the most part, succeed in their goal. Continue reading Book Review: Terrible Swift Sword

Book Review: British Buckeyes

British Buckeyes: The English, Scots, & Welsh in Ohio, 1700-1900.By Warren E Van Vugt. (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2006. xiii, 295 pp. Cloth, $55.00, ISBN 0-87338-843-7.)

British Buckeyes. The English, Scots, & Welsh in Ohio, 1700-1900 by Warren E. Van Vugt of Calvin College is a survey of the influence British immigrants had on the development of Ohio over the course of two centuries. The arrival, settlement, and impact of British immigrants in the United States after 1775 is virtually ignored in academic literature, so this examination of them in one state is to be welcomed. The first premise of the work is that the history of Ohio cannot be told or understood without the British immigrants. The second premise, asserted in an often repeated phrase, is that British immigrants had a significant impact because of their cultural affinity with the Americans as well as a common language and religion. This fact is perhaps why British immigrants are so often overlooked: before 1775 they helped create American culture, but afterwards they simply blended in, not having as many obstacles to overcome or barriers to break through as other immigrant groups. Van Vugt, following heavily on the heels of Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fischer, believes that British immigrants coming to Ohio were simply reinforcing the folkways of earlier arrivals from Scotland, England, and Wales. Provocatively, in his conclusion he wonders when Ohio stopped being British and started being American. Although he admits many changes occurred between “early” and “late” British migrants, he does not seem to regard the differences as significant. Continue reading Book Review: British Buckeyes

Lucy Markerly: A Case Study of an Englishwoman’s Immigration to the Western Reserve in the 1830s

By: John T. Nelson

Contending that women have been marginalized in the historical record investigating immigration, historians Donna Gabaccia and Suzanne Sinke have addressed this bias in the scholarly literature. Scholars Sydney Stahl Weinberg, Maxine S. Seller, and Susan Jacoby have called for changes in the study of immigration by integrating the female view into this important field of United States history. They assert that social history will be incomplete until the historiography includes both genders in a uniform study.[1. Donna Gabaccia, “Immigrant Women: Nowhere at Home?,” Journal of American Ethnic History 10 (Summer 1991): 61-87.; Suzanne Sinke, “A Historiography of Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries,” Ethnic Forum9 (1989): 122-145.; Sydney Stahl Weinberg, “The Treatment of Women in Immigration History: A Call for Change,” Journal of American Ethnic History, vol. 11, no. 4, (Summer 1992): 25-67.; Maxine S. Seller, “Beyond the Stereotype: A New Look at the Immigrant Woman, 1880-1924,” The Journal of Ethnic Studies 3 (Spring 1975): 59-70.; Susan Jacoby, “World of Our Mothers: Immigrant Women, Immigrant Daughter,” Present Tense 6 (Spring 1979): 48-51.] This paper will argue that Lucy Markerly, an English woman immigrant, provides a case study to examine questions and issues faced by women immigrants. As a widow who outlived two husbands, this educated woman’s life and writing, speak to the motivations behind immigration in the 1830s. The research will assess her actions, as well as the economic, political, and spiritual beliefs revealed in her journal, poetry, and family library.[2. See Appendix A for examples of Lucy Markerly’s verse.] Continue reading Lucy Markerly: A Case Study of an Englishwoman’s Immigration to the Western Reserve in the 1830s

In This Issue: Spring 2007

In The Current Issue:

In studying great themes in history, it is all too easy to forget that the United States is made up of individuals, and that these individuals were people not entirely unlike ourselves. An understanding of the lives of individuals—the sentiments and motivations of those people who “made history happen”—is crucial in understanding the greater events of U.S. (and Ohio) history. Our feature article in this edition of the Northeast Ohio Journal of History helps us to remember this simple truth. In “Lucy Markerly: A Case Study of an Englishwoman’s Immigration to the Western Reserve in the 1830s,” John Nelson uses the individual experiences of one of the multitudes of people who flocked to the United States in the early 1800s to draw attention to such larger themes as the immigration experience, gender roles, religion, and assimilation. In so doing, this single story helps the reader keep sight of the fact that there is no single story to the history of immigration.

While you are visiting the journal, please take the time to drop by our new discussion board. Taking advantage of the technology available to us as an electronic journal, we believe this new feature will make our journal more interactive and serve to engender substantive debate, discussion, and exchange of information for all people interested in the history of Ohio.

In addition to the usual book reviews, we also encourage the reader to explore the other features of our site. For those who missed earlier issues, please visit our “Archives” link, which contains the entire contents of previous volumes. We have expanded our “Research Links” feature, adding not only more primary sources but also more links to local historical agencies. We strongly encourage the reader to suggest or send new links for this page. The same is true for items in “Current History,” which is a clearinghouse for information on events of a historical nature in Northeast Ohio . Because we update this section constantly, please feel free to send announcements for it at any time.

We would also like to remind our readers that printer-friendly versions accompany each article and review. These PDF files are not only easier on the eyes when printed, but also contain basic issue data and page numbers for convenience in citation.

As always, please address any inquiries about this project (or about any other aspect of the journal) to the editor at kkern @ uakron. edu. We welcome all comments and suggestions.

Kevin Kern

Continue reading In This Issue: Spring 2007