The Fifth Sunday of January
As we have in the past, on every Fifth Sunday of the year, Postcard History features short articles on unique postcards – cards that are as rare as Fifth Sundays. This month the topics are as diverse as ever.
Andy D-day, a Bull born on June 6, 1944
The caption on the card reads: ANDY D-day bullwas born on D-day, June 6, 1944, at Fort Smith, Arkansas.
He has four horns, four eyes and a double nose and breathes through both noses.
He has two undeveloped eyes, one in the front of his forehead which has eyebrows on both sides and another on top of his head.
He has a double-horn coming out of the front of his head, one side black the other white.
The much-maligned freak of nature was born sickly on a farm owned by Henry Douglas. Quite soon afterward, Farmer Douglas took Andy to a prominent Tulsa veterinarian under whose care and treatment the bull grew to face his many disbelievers.
In time Douglas sold Andy D-day to W. A. Rasor, of Brookville, Ohio, who owned a menagerie of freak-animals that he exhibited at state and county fairs throughout the mid-west. Andy was billed as the World’s Greatest Freak Bull alive.*
* See advertisement: Eagle-Gazette (Lancaster, Ohio: 6 Oct 1946. Page 2.)
The Double-barreled Cannon
The idea was, if a one-barrel cannon could create so much damage, death, and mayhem as it seemed to, a two-barrel cannon could do twice as much! Wow, God help us all! This lamebrain idea was first conceptualized in 1642 by an Italian arms maker who thought that if two cannon balls fastened together by a chain could be fired simultaneously the projectile would cut down everything in its path like a scythe cuts wheat.
The diabolical machine was tested over and over again, but no solution could be found to make the gunpowder behind each round ignite at the same instant. That seldom happened and the idea was scrapped. At least until 1862 when a Georgia dentist named John Gilleland discovered the original research and vowed to make it work. He was funded by a citizens’ group from Athens, Georgia who believed the cannon to be a weapon that would quickly end the Civil War in their favor.
It was built for $350 and tested on April 22, 1862. Eyewitnesses recounted the results: it was aimed at a target of two upright poles. Uneven combustion of the powder and casting imperfections in the barrels gave the connected balls a spinning movement in an off-center direction. The first firing resulted in the projectile plowing up about an acre of ground, tore up a cornfield, mowed down saplings, and then when the chain broke, the two balls went in two entirely different directions. Subsequent tests killed a cow that was no where near the intended target.
Aside: there is a treatise in the Royal Armory at the Tower of London that details the Italian efforts to build the weapon; Gilleland’s cannon can be found on the city hall’s lawn in Athens, Georgia.
The John Charles Silkworm Farm
If you have no knowledge of the Sericulture business you’re far from alone. In ordinary words, sericulture is silk worm farming. An “industry” that was long believed to have started in China, millennia ago, but recent research has found evidence that sericulture has been practiced worldwide for centuries in other places such as India, Korea, Russia, Brazil, Italy, and in the backyard of the Charles family in Ocean County, New Jersey.
Postcard History has a postcard to prove this claim, but it seems that there is very little evidence that it was successful or profitable.
The only source of valuable information is the Barnegat Historical Society. A representative has assured Postcard History’s editor that there was such an endeavor “down along Route 9” in the early part of the nineteen-hundreds. Actually, the very enjoyable talk included the fact that the silkwormers lived very near a mink farmer named George.
It is unclear if John and George ever collaborated on their “pet” projects, [pun intended] or if they even knew each other, but if you drive south along the road near the edge of town and look back a hundred yards or so to the west, you can still see some of the mulberry trees from which the worms were fed. There are no records of what the mink ate, but there are some newspaper accounts that detail the atrocious odor they emitted.
Happy Fifth Sunday, sorry these aren’t exactly Sunday dinner conversation topics.