October 29, 2018
We learned a lot of history in high school, but there's a lot they didn't teach us. Here are a few fascinating facts about the States that you probably didn't learn. Like...
Uncle Sam was a real person. Popular legend goes that Michigan meatpacker Samuel Wilson's friendliness earned him the nickname "Uncle Sam." He went on to provide meat for the troops in the War of 1812, and local Michigan troops joked that the "U.S." stamp on their supplies stood for "Uncle Sam" instead of "United States." This joke spread to all military items marked with "U.S.," and a government figurehead was born.
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Today's Random Fact:
When people talk about the War Between the States, they probably don't mean the Toledo War or the Honey War - two disputes that pitted U.S. states or states-to-be. The Toledo War was fought in 1835-36 over the Toledo Strip, claimed by both Michigan territory and the state of Ohio. Hundreds of men took up arms, but only one fighter was wounded and none killed. Ohio got the strip; Michigan received the Upper Peninsula instead.
The Honey War, an 1839 dispute over how the border was drawn between Iowa territory and the state of Missouri, was even less bloody, with no casualties except for three trees containing beehives, which were cut down by Missouri tax agents. Iowa prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Few Americans are aware of the Battle of Blair Mountain, one of the largest civil uprisings in U.S. history. In 1921, a coal-mining strike in West Virginia led to the 10-day clash pitting at least 7,000 armed miners against about 3,000 deputies, hired guns and volunteers. Federal troops stopped the fighting after a death toll estimated at 30 to 100 miners and 10 to 30 on the other side.