September 30, 2008: Barry Cauchon

I thought it would be fun to let you know what the TOP TWELVE (12) articles are from my blog based on statistics gathered from your visits during the last 4-1/2 months. Many of my articles have been very well received while others, not so much. Oh well, can’t win them all.

Here are the articles and their stats.


1.  Lincoln Penny Turns 100 Years Old in 2009 ………….. 747 views

2.  Gettysburg National Military Park & Historic Area …….. 366 views

3.  Lincoln Photos. Real, Fake or ‘Who Knows’! ………….. 357 views

4.  Did You Know (Parts 1 – 10) Abraham Lincoln ………… 264 views

5.  Bockscar … The Forgotten Plane that Dropped the Atomic Bomb ………….……………………………………………………… 264 views

6.  Lincoln Assassination Artifacts (where to find them) ….. 235 views

7.  Lincoln in Death…A New Photo…Research Project ….. 194 views

8.  Did You Know (Part 1) Abraham Lincoln ……………….. 187 views

9.  Did You Know (Part 10) Abraham Lincoln …………..….. 169 views

10. New Lincoln Photo … A Very Special Announcement … 112 views

11. D-LZ 129 Hindenburg … “Just the Facts Ma’am”! …..… 110 views

12. Lincoln at Gettysburg Photos Discovered in 2006 ……… 98 views

Some of my favorites:

Here are some of my favorite articles that you may not have read yet. Enjoy.

a. The Fame of Major General Lew Wallace

b. The Lincoln Life Masks

c. Hangman Christian Rath: Incompetence, Complicity or Just Common Practice

d. Harold Holzer Comments on ‘Lincoln in Death’ Photos

e. The Lincoln Conspirators – How Old Were They at the Time of the Assassination?

f.  King Tut’s Mummy on Public Display in Egypt

g. Did You Know (Parts 11 – 14) Abraham Lincoln

NOTE: For those of you who don’t know, I keep a summary of all the DID YOU KNOW postings and have created pages for them. So if you don’t want to go through each and every posting, you can see the exact copies of the articles under “DID YOU KNOW (Parts 1 – 10) Abraham Lincoln” and “DID YOU KNOW (Parts 11-14) Abraham Lincoln”. Both are linked here in this article.

Let me know what your favorite article is and tell me what you think.





If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:


“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 


  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 



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1. Did you know … that Abraham Lincoln was ripped, buff and a very muscular stud muffin! It’s true. Considering his height and posture, one would think this was not the case. However, based on observations by Gideon Welles, the Secretary of the Navy, who spent the last hours with the mortally injured President at the Peterson House …

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy

“The giant sufferer lay extended diagonally across the bed, which was not long enough for him. He had been stripped of his clothes. His large arms, which were occasionally exposed, were of a size which one would scarce have expected from his spare appearance….”.

2. Did you know … that Robert Lincoln, who died in 1926, was not buried with Abraham Lincoln, his mother, and three brothers. Instead he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.




To see the entire series, click here “SUMMARY OF THE “DID YOU KNOW” ABRAHAM LINCOLN SERIES (Parts 1-15)”         



If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by three Lincoln experts:


“An Awesometalk With” ROGER NORTON, Webmaster of the ‘Abraham Lincoln Research Site’ (posted on December 30, 2008)


“An Awesometalk With” DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian (posted on December 08, 2008)


“An Awesometalk With” HAROLD HOLZER, Lincoln Scholar (posted on November 10, 2008)




September 15, 2008: Barry Cauchon

Hi all: With so many fantastic exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the world, it’s sometimes hard to keep on top of what is going on out there. The article below covers an event that occurred late last year. It did not happen in a museum or a gallery but rather in a tomb. If you missed this one now’s a good time to catch up.


King Tut's mummy on public display in the Valley of the Kings.

King Tut's mummy on public display at the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

In the 85 years since the tomb of King Tut was discovered, the body has never gone on public display. Although all the treasures from the tomb have been removed, the mummy itself has been kept in it’s original sarcophagus in the burial chamber. In late 2007, the boy king was finally brought out of hiding and put on public display for all to see.


On November 4, 1922, Howard Carter and his team were excavating the tomb of Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt. The plan was to excavate the ground beneath some ancient huts, found near the base of the tomb. While digging the ground beneath these huts they came upon the first of twelve steps that would eventually lead into the undiscovered tomb of King Tut.

Unlike most of other tombs in the Valley, which had been robbed of all their treasures, the tomb of Tutankhamun was almost completely intact. Evidence showed that it had only been broken into twice in it’s 3300 year existence. Very little had been removed (although definitely some treasures were taken). However, the golden treasures within the burial chamber, such as the Golden Mask and other jewelry which covered the body, could not be reached by tomb raiders due to the construction of the burial tomb itself. Carter was ecstatic when he reached the walls of the chamber and discovered that the seals had not been broken meaning the mummy and it’s contents were still 100% inside. This proved to be true.


Carter and his financial backers had far more interest in the golden treasure rather than the mummy itself. When they first started examining the contents of the sarcophagus, they noted that the entire mummy was encased in a hardened resin which had been poured over the body during embalming. To remove the jewelry and other treasures buried with the body, they had to dismember it. The mummy was cut in half at the pelvis and then separated into 18 pieces.

If this initial damage was not bad enough, years of tourists entering the tomb created high levels of trapped humidity and heat. This created an ideal environment for mummy-damaging bacteria and mold to grow.

1968 & 1978 X-RAYS

The mummy has been X-rayed twice. Once in 1968 and again in 1978. Other than these two events, the mummy had remained undisturbed until 2005. It is estimated that only about 60 people have viewed the body since the time of it’s discovery.

2005 – CT SCAN

Move ahead in time to 2005. As part of an initiative to bring King Tut back into the public eye, and to prepare for the upcoming US tour of the Tutankhamun exhibit, the Egyptian government and National Geographic planned to take a CT scan of the mummy to determine if the king had been murdered or not. The scanner was brought to the tomb and the body scanned. During the operation, the Egyptian specialists noticed that Tutankhamun’s mummy had decayed far faster than anyone had expected. At the rate it was deteriorating, they believed it would be completely consumed within the next 50 years.

The Egyptian government not only wanted to save the mummy from further damage but also wished to find a better way to bring in the critical tourist dollars. So they decided to put the mummy on public display, within an environmentally controlled showcase, inside the tomb.


On November 4, 2007, exactly 85 years to the day that Carter’s men found the first step, a team of Egyptian specialists from several institutions removed the body of Tutankhamun from his sarcophagus and carefully transferred him to his new home in an adjacent antechamber.

The mummy was placed inside a high-tech display glass case made by Glasbau Hahn of Frankfurt, Germany. I had the pleasure of working for Glasbau Hahn for twelve months in 2005-6 and they are one of the leaders in museum showcase fabrication in the world. This showcase is airtight, with humidity and temperature control. It is also filled with a nitrogen-rich mixture that is lethal to bacteria and mold. These features will protect the mummy from further decay and allow the public to get it’s first look at the boy king since his discovery so many years ago.

If you get over to Egypt and get a chance to visit the tomb of King Tut, please let us know what you thought.



Published in: on Monday, September 15, 2008 at '12:55 pm'  Comments (22)  
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September 13, 2008. Barry Cauchon

Well, here I am, writing this report to tell you that I never did make it down to Springfield, Illinois for the “Blaze Your Own Trail in Illinois-Bloggers Meet Up” event (see posting from Sept 12, 2008 entitled “Blaze Your Own Trail in Springfield, Illinois”). Despite my best efforts, Hurricane IKE was an unexpected factor in my travel itinerary, and I never even got off the ground.

The organizers of this event had gone way out of their way to make me feel special. They had set me up for two nights free accommodation at the State House Inn in Springfield. As well, a reporter from the local newspaper, The State Journal Register ( (Illinois’ oldest newspaper), was writing a story about the event and asked to interview me (why, I’m not sure but it would have been nice to find out). All I had to do was show up…and that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the plan fell apart.

My strategy was to drive from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Buffalo, New York and then fly from there to Chicago. I had a rental car set up at that end which I would use to drive the additional 3-1/2 hours south to Springfield. This would all have been done yesterday so I could be fresh to spend the day at the event on Saturday.

“Oh my, how these things can go astray”! LOL.

To start with, my drive from Toronto to Buffalo, which is normally about 1-1/4 hours took almost 2 hours due to the weather (rain, rain, rain), road construction, rush hour and Friday evening traffic. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I also followed the ‘wrong’ airport signs that are posted just beyond the Canadian border. I was headed for the Buffalo Niagara Falls International Airport. However, these signs (symbols only) directed me to the Niagara Falls International Airport. Sorry folks from Niagara, but I can’t figure out why your tiny commuter airport is called an International one? It was not only very small, but the doors were locked and no one was there (except for cars in the parking lot). What’s all that about?

So it was now 5:00pm, with no map in hand, and being lost somewhere on the backroads of Tonawanda in Erie County. My flight was scheduled for 7:07pm. So much for checking in two hours prior to my flight!

I placed a call to a good friend that I knew was still at work. She looked up my location and the real Buffalo Niagara Falls International Airport. It turned out that I was only about 15 miles away. I still had to fight standstill traffic and rainy conditions for the next hour but eventually I arrived at the airport just after 6:00pm (1 hour before my flight). At check in, I was invited up to the counter by some very tired looking United Airline reps. It seems that air traffic all across North America had been affected by IKE and their airport was no different. They had been run off their feet since 11:00 that morning. Then they gave me the news that my 7:07pm flight was delayed until at least 8:45pm. So, all my rushing and panicking to get there on time meant …. SQUAT!

I passed through security easily with no waiting (go figure!) and then proceeded to wait it out. The flight was listed as delayed (and that never changed). By 10:00pm, I checked on it one more time and was told that the flight would not be happening tonight. Hurricane IKE had personally cancelled my flight. Bastard!

The airline did offer to fly me out first thing in the morning. However, if I took that one I would never make it to the event in time and would have ended up missing at least half of it. At this point, I pulled the plug on the trip, tipped my hat and bowed in defeat to the Mighty IKE! He had won the battle for now. However, it was comforting to know that in just one-weeks time, Hurricane IKE would be but a sprinkle of its former self and end up dying a slow death somewhere out over the North Atlantic. So with patience, let’s see who gets the last laugh! Ha ha….ha ha haaaaaaa! Bastard!

I’d like to mention one nice act of kindness that happened for me this morning. I had informed everyone that I would not be attending and I received an email back from Mr. Thomas F. Schwartz, the Illinois State Historian who was scheduled to give the opening remarks today at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. I had particularly wanted to meet this man and enjoy a good chat. He told me that his wife’s travel plans had also been affected by the storm. She was stuck at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport most of last night and didn’t get home to Springfield until after 2:00am. Thank you Tom for the note. It was very much appreciated and made me feel a little less isolated by the circumstances.

To sum up, I am sorry that I missed this event. Everyone that was involved made to feel very welcomed and I would have loved to have met the organizers, fellow bloggers and of course, Thomas Schwartz.

Despite my disappointment, my story is of little consequence compared to those who have actually been affected by the storm itself. Thousands of people have had their lives turned upside down by IKE, and other storms like this. My problems are miniscule compared to theirs. So don’t forget them! Many of these people need our help so do what you can. Mostly, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. They need to be our priority right now.

Stay safe!





If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:


“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 


  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 




September 12, 2008: Barry Cauchon

About one month ago I received an invitation to attend a one-day, special event on Saturday, September 13 in Springfield, Illinois. It is called “Blaze Your Own Trail in Illinois – Blogger Meet Up”. The event is sponsored by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism and has been organized by Edelman Digital out of Chicago.

Well, today is the day I fly down to Chicago and then drive the additional 3-1/2 hours south to Springfield. It’s my first trip to Springfield so I am really pumped about it.

Bart Simpson. A resident of Springfield, ???

Bart Simpson. A resident of Springfield, ???

Most people think of Bart Simpson when they hear about Springfield. And although the show has a running gag about what state Springfield is actually in, I can assure you that I’m headed to Springfield, ILLINOIS, the Land of Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield for many years, marrying and raising his family, practicing law, serving in the Illinois House of Representatives and eventually, running his campaign for President of the United States. So for me, this is the place to be right now.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois

The event has been nicely organized with the morning being dedicated with a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). I am really looking forward to spending some time here.

As some of you may know, I am a Senior Project Manager in the business of planning and building exhibits for museums, corporate environments and touring events. I spend a great amount of time in museums, 90% of them usually under construction when I am involved. So it is always a pleasure for me to just enjoy the artifacts and content of the finished exhibits without worrying about the showcases, the climate control systems, the audio visual and multimedia presentations, the graphics, the artifact mounts, the shipping and installation, etc.

There is an incredible infrastructure that goes into building a museum and I absolutely love the process. What you finally see as a visitor to one of these places, probably took several years to plan and execute. Be proud of the museums in your towns or cities. They are works of love and the people who bring them to you really know their stuff.

OK, enough preaching about how wonderful history and museums are (BUT THEY ARE!!!!). Let me get back to my trip to Springfield.

Thomas Schwartz during construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Thomas Schwartz during construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Mr. Thomas Schwartz, the Illinois State Historian, will be giving opening remarks at the ALPLM. I have had the opportunity to correspond with Mr. Schwartz recently and look forward to meeting him and discussing some topics of personal interest to me. Look for some of these discussions in later postings here. Stay tuned.

Anyway, after our visit to the museum, we will have a brief trolley tour of downtown Springfield and then a hosted lunch. Awesome!

The afternoon offers several optional tours. Of course since this is my first time in Springfield, I want to do them all!

Option 1 will allow us to visit Lincoln’s Home and the Lincoln Herndon Law Office.

Option 2 will cover the Illinois State Museum and the Dana-Thomas house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright).

In both options, a visit to the old State Capitol will be possible if time permits.

Option 3 will be a Lincoln History Walk.

“Oh my, oh my, what shall I do, what shall I do!”

Since this is my first time to Springfield, I want to soak up all that I can about Abraham Lincoln and his early history here. So Options 1 and 3 are calling out to me. But I hate to miss out on the visit to the State Museum and the Dana-Thomas House. The old State Capitol building is a must along with my own side trip to Oak Ridge Cemetery to visit Lincoln’s Tomb.

That’s a full day for sure. After dinner, it is probably an early night for me as I’ve got to get on the road by 3:00am Sunday morning to get back to Chicago’s O’Hare airport to catch my morning flight back home. It’s a whirlwind tour but I’m ready to rock.

Upon my return, I will write a full report on this exciting trip. Who knows what other things will happen while I’m there. I look forward to the visit and to meeting all the attendees and our hosts.

Have a great weekend and enjoy history!





If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:


“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 


  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 




September 8, 2008 – Barry Cauchon

I know, I know! Talking about a Heart concert on a history blog may be considered ‘uncool’ but hey, such is life, it was a good concert and in the end, it’s my blog. So there….Hah! LOL. Just havin’ some fun with you all.

On Friday, September 5, 2008, I attended the Cheap Trick, Heart and Journey concert at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The weather prediction for the night was rain. But by the time the show began at 7:00pm, with Cheap Trick leading off, the skies were looking better and the first set went off without a hitch.

The second act featured Ann and Nancy Wilson’s band HEART. This was the band I really wanted to see and I was pumped up about it. I had already seen Cheap Trick before and would have loved to see them again, but traffic was brutal and we missed their entire show. Journey was good but I wasn’t as familiar with all their music. Still they were fun to watch.

Without getting into an in-depth concert review about Heart, I will say that they were terrific from start to finish. These ladies and their band mates can belt out the tunes!

It was about half way through the show when an amazing thing happened for me (and about 15,999 other fans in attendance). Heart launched into a cover of “Love, Reign o’er Me” from The Who’s 1973 Quadrophenia album. Sometimes the song is referred to by fans as “Love Rain on Me”, “Rain On Me” and “Rain”.

As Ann Wilson started singing the words (and she did a great job!) to this ‘plus’ six minute song, the skies opened up and it began to rain on the crowd. It rained on us, no kidding, for the entire song and then stopped for the rest of the night. One song, one rain shower. Rain on me! Rain on!

So whether it was “Love Reigning O’er Me” or “September Showers Raining On Me” I can’t be sure. But for those few minutes, something magical did happen, and in my opinion Heart became a far better weather forecaster than 99% of the meteorologist out there today.

Yes, I know it’s a stretch equating REIGN with RAIN but at that moment in time it was pretty cool. I guess you just had to be there……AND … oh, didn’t I say … I WAS! Ha ha! Yippee skippee!

The night was filled with great entertainment and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I’m 50 and grew up with these bands. Like many parents there, I took my daughter (age 16) to the concert and she loved the show. Age makes little difference when the music is good.

The concert is now history (hence why I can include it on my ‘history’ blog without feeling guilty).  And now, all I have left are my memories and soggy running shoes to remember it by.

Strange by true!  ♥♥♥



PS. Here is a clip on YouTube that was posted from the concert. Enjoy.



September 1, 2008: Barry Cauchon

Civil War Union army officer, Major General Lewis “Lew’ Wallace is well known to historians for his involvement in many high profile events. But the one that he is most famous for will come as a surprise to you.

Brigadier General Lew Wallace

For much of the Civil War, Wallace acted as division commander under Ulysses S. Grant. He commanded troops in several battles, the most high profile being the Battle of Shiloh. Regrettably, due to a communication mix up between Grant and Wallace, he led his troops away from the fighting and did not get back until the battle was almost over. Grant blamed Wallace for the mix up. For the rest of his life, Wallace would try to clear his name with the Union military commanders (including Grant) but with little success. 

UPDATE: February 11, 2009: I received a comment from Bernie O’Bryan who professionally portrays General Wallace at events and he advises me that Wallace and his troops only missed part of the battle rather than when it was almost over. Bernie stated the following, “Well, actually almost over for the first day, but the Battle of Shiloh was a two day battle, Wallace’s troops arrived in the later part of the first day, but opened the battle the next day and saw more than their share of fighting on that day”. Thank you Bernie for the clarification. I really appreciate it.

But by the end of the war, Lew Wallace began to become a visible public figure in other arenas.

Event #1: In 1865, after President Lincoln had been assassinated, eight conspirators were arrested and put on trial in a military court. Wallace was chosen as one of twelve men to sit on the military commission responsible for trying the one female and seven male defendants.

After a two month trial, they would find all eight conspirators guilty of various offenses. Four would be sentenced to hang, three would be given life sentences and one would receive a 6-year sentence.
Preparing the Lincoln conspirators for hanging
Four conspirators in the Lincoln assassination are prepared for hanging on July 7, 1865

Event #2:Then in late July, 1865, Wallace would again sit on another military commission. This one for the war crimes trial and court-martial of Confederate Henry Wirz, the commandant of the notorious Andersonville Prison Camp.

With over 12,000 prisoners dying while under his watch in 1864, Wirz was held responsible for the deaths and put on trial for war crimes. Although Wirz’s culpability was highly controversial, he was still found guilty and sentenced to hang in Washington DC on November 10, 1865.

Wallace resigned from the army on November 30, 1865 and entered politics, holding several positions over the next 20 years.

Event #3:From 1878 to 1881, Wallace served as governor of the New Mexico Territories. On March 17, 1879, Governor Wallace met with, and attempted to offer amnesty to, the notorious outlaw, Henry McCarty a.k.a. William H. Bonney a.k.a. Billy the Kid for his involvement in the Lincoln County War. Unfortunately, Billy the Kid did not follow through with his part of the deal, and Wallace withdrew his offer. Billy the Kid would be shot and killed on July 14, 1881 by Sheriff Pat Garrett. 

Event #4: In contrast to his military and political careers, Lew Wallace was also a gifted writer. He would write and publish three novels during his lifetime. However, it was his second novel that would bring him untold fame. On November 12, 1880, Wallace released Ben-Hur, A Tale of the Christ”.

The novel became a tremendous best-seller. It soon out sold Harriet Beecher-Stowe’s 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin as the best selling American novel. It would remain the top selling American novel for over fifty years until 1936 when it was finally overtaken by Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind.

One stage play and two films were made of Ben-Hur. The most memorable film being the academy award winning movie from 1959 starring Charlton Heston.

Many believe that much of Ben-Hur was a semi-autobiographical account of Lew Wallace’s life.

Lew Wallace died February 15, 1905 at age 77.






If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:


“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 


  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008)