History at Rock Valley College

Page for History faculty and students at Rock Valley College, or anyone else who loves History!

Operating as usual

New Research Rewrites the History of American Horses 04/04/2023

New research changes the narrative on the introduction of the horse. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/native-americans-spread-horses-through-the-west-earlier-than-thought-180981912/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_term=432023&utm_content=new&fbclid=IwAR1UvWP5ppoZix0wev0TAFM2T7Rhm8xCsDC6fJWi6rqja80p6hTCjnTDe2g

New Research Rewrites the History of American Horses Native Americans spread the animals across the West before Europeans arrived in the region, archaeological evidence and Indigenous knowledge show


Very interesting discovery.

Jamestown Rediscovery is proud to work with incredible researchers from across the globe. Ariane's work to understand European and indigenous dog populations in North America turned up a surprising find - the dogs at Jamestown in the early years were indigenous, not European.

Read more about her work and the changing story of dogs in North America in The Washington Post!



A new National Park site in Illinois.

New Philadelphia National Historic Site has been established as the newest national park to commemorate the history of early 19th century Black pioneers in Illinois. Located near Barry, Illinois, New Philadelphia is the first town known to be officially registered by an African American. Frank McWorter, once an enslaved man, bought his freedom and the freedom of 15 family members by mining for crude niter in Kentucky caves and processing the mined material into saltpeter, by hiring his time to other settlers, and by selling lots in New Philadelphia, the town he founded.

The New Philadelphia site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places - NPS, designated as a National Historic Landmarks Program, and included in the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. New Philadelphia National Historic Site is now the 424th park in the National Park System.

Learn more at: https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/new-philadelphia-national-historic-site-new-national-park.htm

Image: Burdick House located in New Philadelphia.


Remembering the 81st anniversary of Pearl Harbor!

National Park Service announces new American World War II Heritage Cities - Office of Communications (U.S. National Park Service) 12/05/2022


National Park Service announces new American World War II Heritage Cities - Office of Communications (U.S. National Park Service) WASHINGTON – The National Park Service announced today the designation of 18 new communities across the United States as American World War II Heritage Cities. These new additions follow the inaugural designation of Wilmington, North Carolina in September 2020.

Photos from Burpee Museum of Natural History's post 12/05/2022

North Michigan Avenue (1925)


Inside Southside Chicago Regal Theater (1941)


The opening of the Southwest Expressway (1964)


An autumn scene along Slocum Avenue on Culp’s Hill. Preserved beside this stretch of the park’s driving tour route are the remains of the Federal breastworks that were defended over July 2-3, 1863 — GETTYSBURG


You may have heard of Toys for Tots, but have you heard about the Butte Doll Club?

Started in 1946, the Butte Doll Club was an informal network of Montana women who made dolls for children throughout Montana.

The annual toy drive started each spring. Women from Montana and neighboring states crafted dolls and submitted their creations to a central location, typically Butte, for distribution to children in hospitals, schools, and state institutions. Prizes were awarded to outstanding dolls in a variety of categories.

During her tenure as Montana’s First Lady, Betty Babcock served as the drive's co-chairwoman and helped judge the dolls. The Butte Doll Club was active until the early 1980s.

This 1975 photo, courtesy of the Montana Standard, shows Whitehall resident B.J. Casagrande with a homemade doll at St. James Hospital.

Jamestown shores up seawall to fight flood threat 11/25/2022

Climate change and historical preservation.

Jamestown shores up seawall to fight flood threat Rising sea levels and climate change are threatening historic Jamestown, Virginia. Kris Van Cleave has an update on the race to save history. ...


Ashland, Montana, a small town on the Tongue River near the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation began in 1881 as a Northern Pacific Railroad tie manufacturing camp. The Ashland Ranger District of the Custer Gallatin National Forest contains the largest adjoining block of federally-owned land in eastern Montana. Interesting local sites include a buffalo jump, the Cheyenne Indian Museum, and Saint Labre Indian School.

Fun fact: Ashland was previously known as Straders. In 1886, the community took the name Ashland for the Wisconsin home of the trading post operator Sam O’Connell.

[MHS , 981-1164, L.H. Huffman photographer, “Ashland,” Between 1886-1930]



Battle of Cedar Creek
October 19, 1864

Heater House

Built around 1800, this log house was once the center of a large farm owned by Solomon and Caroline Wunder Heater. Although two of her sons died in Confederate service, Mrs. Heater, a native of Pennsylvania, was a Unionist and frequently provided shelter and supplies to Federal forces. Her loyalty was ultimately repaid in 1901 with a grant for wartime damages.

Photo by Matthew Holzman

Online Master's in World War II Studies | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans 10/24/2022


Online Master's in World War II Studies | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans Through a partnered effort to offer learners the opportunity to discover new insights into the most significant event of the 20th century, The National WWII Museum and Arizona State University offer an online World War II Studies master’s degree program. Consisting of 30 hours of coursework taught...


Battle of Antietam
September 17, 1862

Throughout most of the morning, General Robert E. Lee was forced to shift units from other sectors of his line. The fighting around the Cornfield and the Sunken Road had demanded it. To the south, approximately 3,000 troops under Brigadier General David R. Jones were left to stand against any other advances by the Federals. Another stone bridge over the Antietam, known as the Rohrbach Bridge (Lower Bridge), had to be defended. Built in 1836, the structure is often looked at by many as being the icon of the battlefield.

In order to take the span, steep bluffs running down to the creek had to be scaled. Adding to the difficult task was the lack of any good ground to place supporting artillery. Any direct fire would have to be delivered by infantrymen.

Using the cover of a stone wall and the fence lining the road, hundreds of Federals were finally able to deliver fire at the Georgians on the bluffs. After defending this area for nearly a few hours, the Southerners began to pull back from the heights above the bridge and check their lines toward Sharpsburg. When walking the ground and taking in the terrain around the bridge, one can begin to understand why an entire Union Corps could not just instantly funnel across the 12-foot-wide bridge. While it seems hard to imagine that a force of several hundred could delay a larger force of over 10,000, this portion of the battlefield alone can demonstrate the difficulties and realities of the necessary logistics and communication.

For the visual appeal that compliments the history and the man who commanded here, this structure is forever known as the "Burnside Bridge." It is certainly a favorite among visitors.

Photo by Matthew Holzman


Western Women’s history.

In 1868, 19-year-old German immigrant Augusta Kruse married Conrad Kohrs and headed west to Deer Lodge, Montana. She embarked on a 77-year journey, helping to develop one of Montana’s largest and best-known cattle ranches – the Grant-Kohrs Ranch. Though she is touted for bringing Victorian style and culture to her ranch house and Helena mansion, her contribution to the business is often overlooked. Following the death of Conrad, Augusta guided ranch management for decades, grooming grandson Con Warren to eventually lead the operation. He remembered her role in the business, saying that “Grandfather wouldn't have dared to leave her out of the decision-making."

Learn about Augusta’s contributions to the Kohrs cattle empire at:

Learn about women’s role in Montana’s agricultural development at:

Photo credit. Augusta Kohrs in 1882. Courtesy of Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, Photo Number GRKO 15891. Available online at https://www.mtmemory.org/nodes/view/91566.


September 15 to October 15 is celebrated nationwide as National Hispanic Heritage Month. It traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries. More than 500 years of Hispanic and Latino history and heritage can be found in national parks or shared through National Park Service programs and partners in communities across the country.

During this month and throughout the year, we, and our partners, share history, heritage, and accomplishments of Hispanic and Latino Americans of past and present. Learn more at: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/hispanic-heritage-month.htm


On This Day in History > September 4, 1780
The Swamp Fox wins the Battle of Blue Savannah

"On September 4, 1780, the Swamp Fox wins the Battle of Blue Savannah. Lieutenant Colonel Francis Marion was a continual thorn in the side of the British who occupied South Carolina. After a successful invasion captured Charleston in May of 1780, and much of the Continental Army's southern division was captured or killed at Camden in August, South Carolina was securely in British hands.

Marion, a 5 foot tall veteran of the Cherokee campaigns of the French and Indian War, led a guerrilla style offensive against the British in the area. With only a few dozen men, Marion led one of the few pockets of remaining resistance in the colony, staging numerous attacks on British troops and their Loyalist co-conspirators. Marion earned the nickname, the "Swamp Fox," for his ability to elude British troops through the swamps in his home area around the P*e Dee and Santee Rivers.

After the overwhelming defeat at Camden, Marion and his men freed 150 Maryland prisoners who were being taken back to Charleston. The soldiers believed the war was over, however, after their overwhelming defeat, and refused to join Marion. Marion then hid at a camp near Port's Ferry and learned that Loyalist troops under Major General Micajah Gainey were pursuing him.

Rather than flee from Gainey's 200 Loyalists, Marion and his 60 men decided to attack them head on. On September 4, Marion's advance scouts ran into Gainey's advance troops and routed them. Marion then performed a pretend retreat to trick Gainey into advancing and quickly routed Gainey's main body of men.

Gainey's troops scattered and Marion regrouped at Port's Ferry. The Battle of Blue Savannah, as it is called, served to break the back of Loyalist recruitment and military action in the P*e Dee and Santee Rivers area. It also encouraged the South Carolina militia to stand up and begin resistance again after the dreadful defeat at Camden.

By the way, a "savannah," in the local South Carolina vernacular of the time, referred to a depression in the ground filled with water to make a small lake or bay. There are several of these depressions, surrounded by ridges of sand in this area of eastern South Carolina. Geologists believe the features may have been created by meteorite strikes in the distant past. The shallow depressions would fill with water which had a blue hue, hence the name "Blue Savannah."

Today, the savannahs have largely disappeared due to agriculture and irrigation, but some of the depressions can still be seen by satellite, including the one where the Battle of Blue Savannah was fought. It sits roughly at the intersection of Highways 501 and 41 to the south of present day Marion, South Carolina."
The Rescue This 1876 drawing by Currier & Ives depicts Marion and his men rescuing 150 captured Maryland troops from the Battle of Camden, causing the British to go after Marion and leading to the Battle at Blue Savannah.


For the 20th time in modern history, members of the Chumash Indian community will paddle across the Santa Barbara Channel on a 24-mile journey to Santa Cruz Island in a traditional Chumash tomol plank canoe called Muptami, or “Deep Memories.” This crossing, planned for Saturday, Sept. 10, will continue the cultural tradition of crossing the channel in a tomol to the Channel Islands as the Chumash did for thousands of years.

Learn more at: https://www.nps.gov/chis/learn/news/pr090622.htm

Photo credit: Robert Schwemmer, NOAA

Photos from Hampton Roads Naval Museum's post 09/06/2022

One of Dr. Quirk’s favorite alternative history movies.


in 1781, the French fleet defeated the British fleet in the Battle of the Chesapeake, leaving British troops under Lord Cornwallis in Virginia with no reinforcements or means of escape. A besieged Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown six weeks later.


John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government directly inspired the American Declaration of Independence. When Locke published it (anonymously) in 1689, he did so at great risk to himself. The ideas that a government derives its just powers only from the consent of the governed, and that when a government infringes natural liberties the people have the right to overthrow it, would probably have gotten him executed if his authorship had become known.

Locke died in October 1704. Now rightly regarded as one of the greatest philosophers to emerge from the Great Enlightenment, within a hundred years of his death, Locke’s reputation was still a subject of dispute. Blaming him for the American and French revolutions, Christ Church College at Oxford took down his portrait. Meanwhile, Thomas Jefferson said he was one of the three greatest men ever to live (Newton and Bacon being the other two).

John Locke was born in Somerset, England on August 29, 1632, three hundred ninety years ago today.

Timeline photos 09/02/2022

On this day in

1945: Japan formally surrenders to the US on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, marking the end of World War II.

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Dr. Beth Ingle opening the annual History Awards.




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