Sunday, July 11, 2010

Like A Good Mystery?

Me too.

Like stuff about USS Constitution?

Me too!

So that must mean you will be watching "History Detectives" on PBS tomorrow. All my fav stuff; history, Navy, Old Ironsides, politics, hooliganism.... I wouldn't miss it.

In USS Constitution's long and storied history there are many interesting stories, but really none so odd as the beheading of her figurehead in 1834. Constitution was just coming back from a low ebb. Her popularity was surging in the wake of Oliver Wendell Holmes's famous poem. Many credited President Jackson with aiding in the effort to save her. Jackson was after all, a hero of the War of 1812 himself.

Some thought there should be a gesture toward President Jackson....but not everyone. In a port city full of mariners, some considered it sacrilege to put the figure of an Army hero on the historic naval vessel. And Jackson wasn't all that popular with the Boston Brahmin and one of their rank, Captain Sweeney allegedly hacked off the head just around this time of year in 1834.
The head made the rounds through various clubs and maritime families and even museums here and in other countries. Some parts here and some parts there.

Recently someone came upon the mouth and checking it's provenance is the focus of this week's "History Detectives" episode. I will be watching tomorrow night at 9 pm on WGBH. Since Boston is the know center of the universe....all times here on this blog are EST, lol.

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