Monday Meanderings: Are you a “Carto(graphy)-phile”? (and other musings)

MondayMeanderingsCarto(graphy)-phile — my made-up word for someone who loves maps.  I’ve recently run across some great web sites for historical maps.  If you love maps as much as I do, you’ll enjoy perusing these sites:

I’ve already downloaded several and printed them out to study.  Some of the sites offer the option of purchasing a copy of the map in case you’d like to have a frame-able version.

TexasMapA few weeks ago I found some historical maps of Jack County, Texas where some of my ancestors settled in the 1850’s.  The county map clearly showed me where their land was — my next goal is to try and locate their cattle brands (I found one already belonging to a great uncle in an historical newspaper on The Portal to Texas History).  By the way, The Portal to Texas History is a GREAT site for all things Texas — maps, books, newspapers, photographs and more.

Sunday afternoon I was researching some possible topics for future articles and got side-tracked a little (what else do you expect when you’re researching something for a column entitled “Monday Meanderings”!).  I especially enjoy reading through historic newspapers and my subscription to affords me the opportunity to get more information for historic events. is a subscription site that I added to my account recently (along with Fold3), but the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” website is free and searchable for years 1836 to 1922, plus you can clip articles or save an entire page as a PDF or JPEG (same for

Any-who .. back to where I got side-tracked.  I had come across an article about some rather strange medical treatments used on patients in decades gone by, including cutting part of one’s tongue off to cure stuttering (ouch!).  Turns out it wasn’t such a good idea because the patient was at risk for bleeding to death (ya think?!?)

So I started searching newspapers for references to “stuttering” — either stories or advertisements — and received almost 50,000 hits dating all the way back to 1758!  The first one in 1758 was an advertisement in a London paper for curing “Stuttering or Stammering”.  Interestingly, I ran across ads placed by slaveholders looking for their runaway slaves — often one of the identifying characteristics would be stuttering.

While looking for more stuttering advertisements I ran across the inevitable “quack” ads that were prevalent especially in the 1800’s — a cure for anything and everything.


I think I need to re-introduce a theme I originally was writing on Saturdays (now supplanted by Surname Saturday) entitled “Home Remedies and Quack Cures” (you can read those here, here and here).  Perhaps a new one for Mondays on medical history which encompasses the aforementioned as well for days when maybe a good laugh is in order to start the week off.

bignews_sm Have you heard?  After one hundred and twenty-six years we now know the for-sure identity of “Jack the Ripper”.  According to today’s London Evening Standard, DNA evidence has been uncovered which undeniably identifies a twenty-three year old Polish immigrant by the name of Aaron Kosminkski as the notorious killer who terrorized the East End of London in 1888.  Kosminkski, who died in an asylum, had long been suspected as the perpetrator.

All of this reminds me of another “side-track” this afternoon when researching stuttering cures — the murder of “Stuttering Jack”, a sensational murder which occurred in 1878.  Stories mentioning it were still being written into the 1930’s.  So much history, so many possible Diggin’ History articles to be written!

Tune in tomorrow for a Tombstone Tuesday article — more stories from Johnson County, Tennessee (see last week’s Tombstone Tuesday article on “The Ocean Sisters of Johnson County, Tennessee” here).

Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!

© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2014.


  1. Book Review Thursday: The Map Thief | Diggin' History - […] have always been fascinated with maps (and have written about it here).  Author Michael Blanding tells a compelling story…

Leave a Comment