Stereotypically, when one thinks of Philadelphia during the 19th century, an image comes to mind of a sophisticated urban area, filled with scientific, educational & cultural institutions, legacies derived in part from the preceding century, when such enlightened events as the signing of the 'Declaration of Independence' and the 'Constitutional Convention' transpired, a city which at at one time served as the capital of our nation, a metropolis blessed with famed citizens like Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Benjamin Rush.
One of the earliest Colonial families in the Philadelphia area was the Bonsall family, deriving from Richard Bonsall & his wife Mary, who immigrated from Derbyshire, England (ca. 1683) to what is now Upper Darby. Many of their descendants became prominent citizens in Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties.
The subject of undiscovered aquatic, subterranean or terrestrial animal life throughout the world is a topic receiving an increasing amount of attention by scientists and the lay public alike. New species are constantly being discovered from remote areas in such familiar places as Vietnam, to the depths of the Amazon River in South America, resulting in the verification of local legends, oral traditions and myths of various indigenous peoples.
On May 31, 2004 at the age of 97, Alberta Martin, the last surviving widow of an American Civil War soldier passed away at Enterprise, Alabama. She was only one of many young women who had married much older men who fought as soldiers in America's greatest military conflict.
The presence of Native-Americans in Europe, as a result of European contact, is of course a well attested fact of history. From the time of Columbus forward, many went as guests, some as slaves, and others resided on the European continent as servants throughout the days of early exploration in the Western Hemisphere as well as during the period of Colonial-American history.
There are many sayings still current in modern English, in reference to being in an unwanted position or predicament, such as the following: 'stuck between a rock & a hard place; hanging by a thread; between the Devil and the deep blue sea; or 'the wolf is at the door,' the latter usually mentioned in reference to someone's dire economic conditions.
During the Civil War in September of 1863, one Margaret Tinney, age 23, a native of New Jersey residing on Trout Street in Philadelphia, committed suicide by taking a large "horse pistol," which she promptly placed within her mouth, then "pulled the trigger," after which the "upper part of her head was almost entirely blown off." A few days later she would be buried in Lafayette Cemetery, with her 'official' cause of death being listed as: "suicide by shooting."
In June of 2004, in Monmouth County, New Jersey, a man decapitated & 'dismembered' his grandmother and girl friend, purportedly "acting on orders from God," though he referred to the home where the heinous acts transpired, as "the gateway to Hell," while a mother of five in 2001, drowned her five children in a bathtub in Texas, stating later that "Satan was talking to her. ..She had seen images of Satan in the walls, in the cinder blocks of her cell."
During the Colonial period and well within the 19th-century, as the early American pioneers plowed their land, cleared trees from property containing vast virgin forests, dug wells and explored the frontier, numerous ancient works of the former inhabitants of North America were continually brought to light in the form of burial mounds, fortifications, skeletons and mysterious artifacts.
In an 1818 publication, by famed Philadelphia physician & Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush, entitled, Medical Inquiries & Observations, Upon the Diseases of the Mind, he included the account of a patient, who "believes he has a living animal in his body. A sea captain, formerly of this city, believed for many years that he had a wolf in his liver. Many persons have fancied they were gradually dying, from animals of other kinds preying upon different parts of their bodies," (p.80).