July 23, 2015
Professor Seeks To Get Death Certificate For Billy The Kid
Santa Fe, NM (AP) A retired Arizona State University professor is taking his pursuit of a death certificate for Billy the Kid to New Mexico’s highest court.
Historian Robert J. Stahl filed a petition Friday with the New Mexico Supreme Court to order the state’s medical examiner to create the document for the legendary outlaw, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Stahl says he hopes the court will order the Office of the Medical Investigator to consider the evidence and determine whether William H. Bonney’s death can be certified. According to most accounts, the Kid was fatally shot by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner in 1881. But some claim Garrett shot someone else and the Kid took up ranching or escaped to Texas under an alias.
Stahl is a member of the nonprofit Billy the Kid Outlaw Gang, an organization formed to protect the “true” history of the Kid. He wants to silence rumors that Bonney escaped the sheriff’s bullet.
An official death certificate would end the attention that has been given to impostors claiming they were the Kid, like Ollie “Brushy Brill” Roberts of Hico, Texas, said Stahl.
William H. Bonney (c) PBS
No one in Fort Sumner ever denied that the Kid was shot by Garrett, said Stahl, and six members of the jury appointed to investigate the case knew the Kid and saw his body. The jury unanimously found Garrett’s shooting of the Kid to be “justifiable homicide.”
The retired professor also wants to correct the coroner’s report on Bonney’s death. Stahl has been researching frontier topics since 2003 with help from his wife and sister and believes the date on the report is wrong.
An English translation of the coroner’s report says the Kid died minutes after being shot, around midnight on July 14, 1881. But Stahl believes the Kid actually died at about 12:30 a.m. on July 15, citing an account by George Miller, who was staying in Fort Sumner that night.
Miller wrote in the Las Vegas Optic on July 18 that the shots woke him and he immediately checked his watch. Stahl’s previous efforts to get the Office of the Medical Investigator to create a death certificate have failed. He submitted a written request that was denied earlier this year.
Stahl was told he’d need a court order for a death certificate to be issued.
The medical investigator did not return calls seeking comment on Stahl’s latest efforts.
Lost Colony’s Baby Dare Was
Not The Only One Born There
By JEFF HAMPTON
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk
Manteo, NC (AP) Thousands of Outer Banks visitors this summer will spend an evening getting a history lesson at the outdoor theater where ``The Lost Colony’’ is produced.
If they pay attention, they’ll leave the drama knowing plenty about Virginia Dare, the first English baby born in the New World. She disappeared—like the rest of the Roanoke Island settlement—in a mystery that remains unsolved.
What the theatergoers won’t learn is that had the little girl been born just a week or so later, Dare County might have been Harvie County instead. Had that been the case, there likely would be no Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge, no Virginia Dare Trail.
Depiction of the baptism of Virginia Dare
Those, too, might have carried the Harvie name.
Virginia Dare was born Aug. 18, 1587, less than a month after the settlers of what became known as the Lost Colony arrived. A short time later came another baby, the only other known to have been born in the colony.
To say that he or she has been forgotten would be an understatement. The child’s sex isn’t known. Nor is his or her first name, assuming he or she was given one. Only the surname ``Harvie’’ survives in records.
That hasn’t provided ``The Lost Colony’’ much to work with, so it’s no wonder that baby No. 2 hasn’t had much of a role in recent incarnations of the drama.
Baby Harvie has appeared sporadically over the past 50 years and was last portrayed in 2012, said associate producer Lance Culpepper. In one version, the child’s mother went mad, repeating the line ``My baby,’’ Culpepper said.
All paper trails lead back to John White, the governor of the expedition and Virginia Dare’s grandfather, for documentation on the Harvie baby’s existence. Before he departed Roanoke Island in late August 1587 to fetch supplies from England, White recorded the birth of the baby, according to an online history by the First Colony Foundation. The mother and father were possibly Dyonis Harvie, an assistant to the governor, and Margery Harvie; both were listed as part of the colony.
However, records don’t confirm that the two were the baby’s parents or that the man and woman with the same last name were married, said Jami Lanier, cultural resources manager for the National Park Service and the group of Outer Banks sites that includes Fort Raleigh, the location of the colony.
``Not much is known about them,’’ she said.
Dyonis may be related to London merchant James Harvey, who is buried at St. Dionis Backchurch in London, said Phil Evans, president of the First Colony Foundation.
Depiction of the baptism of Virginia Dare
The name Dyonis is rare enough for a possible connection, he said. Harvey was an ironmonger, or the equivalent of a hardware merchant, he said.
Theories on what happened to the colonists range from intermingling with Croatan Indians on Hatteras Island to dying of starvation, disease or an attack by the natives.
Virginia and the Harvie child may have grown to adulthood.
A map at the British Museum in London shows a small patch placed at the west end of the Albemarle Sound covering a landmark possibly related to the Lost Colony. Archaeologists had already found ceramic pieces from the 16th century in that area.
On the other hand, researchers are still trying to solve the mystery of a stone found in 1937 near Edenton, N.C., with an old English inscription supposedly attributed to Eleanor Dare, the mother of Virginia. It says Virginia and Eleanor’s husband, Ananias, were killed and buried in 1591 four miles east of where the stone was found. It also says there would be a stone at their burial site. It describes sickness, battle and misery for the colonists. Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga., houses the stone now.
``I think it is real,’’ said Fred Willard, president of the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research.
He continues a search for the burial stone.
The colonists’ fate may never be known.
White was not able to return to Roanoke Island until 1590 on the third birthday of his granddaughter. He found the word ``Croatoan’’ carved into a fort post and the letters ``CRO’’ carved into a tree. Nothing else indicated what had become of the colony. White returned to England, never to see Eleanor or her baby again.
Virginia did live on as the founding spirit of Dare County, formed 280 years later. Over the years came the bridge, the trail and numerous other landmarks named in her honor.
As for the Lost Colony’s other baby: There still is no Harvie County in North Carolina, or anywhere else in that New World into which he or she was born.
Russian Billionaire Launches
Extraterrestrial Life Search
By Gregory Katz
London (AP) The search for extraterrestrial life received a major boost Monday with the launch of an ambitious $100 million program, backed by famed physicist Stephen Hawking and tech billionaire Yuri Milner.
Combining unprecedented computing capacity with the world’s most powerful telescopes, Hawking and the Russian-born Milner seek to intensify the so far fruitless search for life beyond the planet Earth.
It is a coordinated plan to use the latest scientific methods to solve one of mankind’s enduring riddles: Are we alone?
Hawking, who speaks using a computer-generated voice due to the effects of motor neuron disease, explained the reason for the project: “We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”
Milner, who made a fortune through investments in companies like Facebook, said the power of Silicon Valley technology and innovation would be used.
“The scope of our search will be unprecedented: a million nearby stars, the galactic center, the entire plane of the Milky Way and 100 nearby galaxies,” Milner told a packed press conference at the Royal Society in London.
Parkes Telescope In New South Wales
Organizers say the “Breakthrough Initiatives” project, also endorsed by other prominent British scientists, is the biggest ever scientific search for alien life. It includes a “listening” program - the effort to analyze vast amounts of radio signals in search of signs of life - and a “messaging” program that will include $1 million in prizes for digital messages that best represent the planet Earth.
The messages will not be sent, however, in part because some scientists - including Hawking - fear messages sent into space could possibly spur aggressive actions by alien races.
It will be supported by the 100-meter Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia in the United States and the 64-meter Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia.
In addition, the Lick Observatory in California will conduct a deeper-than-ever search for optical laser transmissions.
The project will be 50 times more sensitive than earlier searches, and will cover 10 times more of the sky, organizers say.
It will also make use of SETI(at)home, a University of California, Berkeley project that uses some 9 million volunteers throughout the world who donate computer power to search astronomical data for signs of life.
Milner said the search will be entirely transparent and will rely on open-source software so findings can be shared throughout the world.
“Our approach to data will be open and taking advantage of the problem-solving power of social networks,” he said.
The researchers say the focused computing power and the use of some of the world’s most powerful telescopes will allow them to collect in one day the same amount of data that would have taken one year to collect before the program began.
Milner plans to back the program for at least 10 years although scientists agree it may take longer to find proof that alien life exists.
Hawking said the new program should succeed because it has ample resources: access to time on major telescopes, a huge data capacity, and a long-term financial commitment that will not be withdrawn.
“If a search of this sophistication finds no proof, that is an interesting result,” he said. “It will not prove that we are alone but it will narrow the possibilities and it is likely to produce data that is fascinating in its own right.”
Based on new information about the number of other worlds where life could have taken hold it is “quite likely” humans are not alone, he said.
“There is no bigger question,” Hawking said. “It is time to commit to finding the answer to search for life beyond Earth.”
Author Details Finding Grave Of First Slave Freed By Lincoln
By Steve Karnowski
Minneapolis, MI (AP) Researchers believe they found the grave of a man who could be considered the first black male slave freed by Abraham Lincoln, tracking his final resting place to the cemetery of a former Minnesota psychiatric hospital.
William Henry Costley was just 10 months old in 1841 when Lincoln, who was still a young lawyer, won an Illinois Supreme Court case freeing Costley’s mother from indentured servitude—a status that historians say would have been akin to enslavement for the black woman and child at that time. That was 22 years before Lincoln, as president, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves in rebel states not under Union control free.
Nance Legins-Costley and her son William were from Pekin, a central Illinois community about 130 miles southwest of Chicago, which is what drew the interest of a local amateur historian, Carl Adams. Adams, who now lives in Stuttgart, Germany, spent years researching her and her children’s lives . Last year he published ``Nance: Trials of the First Slave Freed by Abraham Lincoln—A True Story of Nance Legins-Costley.’’
In his book, Adams writes that after winning her lengthy legal battle for freedom, Legins-Costley, who had been born to slaves and sold twice before Lincoln took up her cause, lived to a ripe old age in Pekin. Military records helped Adams retrace her son’s steps, but finding his gravesite required the help of a curator at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, and a historical researcher in Minnesota.
Lincoln a few years after freeing the Costleys
``We are 99.9 percent certain that this is William H. Costley,’’ Adams said of the gravesite.
William Costley enlisted as a private in the 29th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops from Illinois in 1864, three years after the Civil War started following the election of Lincoln as president.
Costley was wounded during the war, and after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered in April 1865, Costley’s regiment was dispatched to Galveston, Texas. Adams said he may have witnessed Gen. Gordon Granger’s June 19, 1865, declaration there that the state’s 250,000 slaves were now free. That date is now celebrated as the holiday Juneteenth.
In 1870, an all-white jury acquitted Costley of murder in the fatal shooting of a man considered disreputable in the community. Costley’s defense was that he killed him while protecting a woman.
Costley moved to Iowa and later to Minnesota, where his health declined. A war wound, a head injury he suffered as a teenager and a case of sunstroke in 1887 eventually left him an invalid. He died in Minnesota in 1888, Adams said.
Adams said Costley’s pension records show that he had been sent to an insane asylum in Rochester, but he couldn’t determine where he had been buried so he enlisted the help of Rich Arpi, a staffer with the Ramsey County Historical Society who also does independent research. Arpi found the Rochester State Hospital’s records for a black patient named ``William H. Crossley,’’ whose grave was marked by a number at the institution’s cemetery in what’s now a city park until it was replaced recently by a ``Crossley’’ headstone.
Besides spellings that varied even within the pension and hospital records, there were other discrepancies that Adams needed to clear up. The dates of death were slightly different _ Oct. 1 in the hospital records, Oct. 2 in the pension records. But the birth years were five years off. The researchers eventually concluded it had to be Costley’s grave. Adams said Costley was illiterate, and may have been incoherent when admitted, so the spelling apparently just got jumbled along the way.
``I think it is so likely that it’s nearly a sure thing,’’ said James Cornelius, curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Lincoln Library and Museum, who consulted with Adams.
Cornelius said Adams has done a remarkable job of pulling together the history of Costley and his family and resolving the discrepancies to locate his grave given that ``vanishingly few records’’ exist on most people who lived on the margins of society because they were slaves, poor or illiterate, as Costley was.