American History in Real LifeMovies in the past have often shown characters that were touched by historical events. Yet sometimes, the truth is often more fantastic than anything Hollywood can devise. These stories of real people show how the events of the past touched their lives. Some times the stories are dramatic, sometimes simple, but all in all they weave a tapesty of the richness of the American experience.
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© John Norvell
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Category Archives: Detroit History
Every family has a skeleton in the closet. In our family, Willard Smith Norvell and Bayard Boyd Norvell fit the bill. They were the sons of my great uncle Edwin Forrest Norvell, who had served in the Civil War, as … Continue reading
When John Norvell was elected one of the first U.S. Senators from Michigan, he was faced with a serious problem. Although he was a lawyer, his income came mainly from his position as postmaster of Detroit in the early 1830s. … Continue reading
Some families have names that seem to be handed down from one generation to the next , such was Stevens Thompson Norvell. Stevens rather than Steven or Stephen might seem to be an odd first name; well there is a … Continue reading
Although his time during the Civil War was marked by controversy, in the years after the war things seemed to settle down. About 1866, my great-grandfather Colonel Freeman Norvell and his brother-in-law, Henry Nelson Walker assumed the ownership of the … Continue reading
We often see politicians as living exciting lives today filled with much media attention. It wasn’t always so. In a letter dated December 18, 1835 John Norvell, soon to be a US Senator, wrote to Kate Mason commenting on his … Continue reading
Yellow fever was a major killer in the 19th Century. It was often called the American plague. New Englander Cotton Mather described it as “turning yellow then vomiting and bleeding every way.” It was spread by a species of the … Continue reading
There is a somewhat forlorn battlefield to the east of Gettysburg that few visit. It is located near a shopping area off the route 30 corridor. It is the East Cavalry battlefield. The East Cavalry Field fighting was an attempt … Continue reading
For the past few days I walked the battlefields at Antietam and Gettysburg. I have studied these battles for many years. I have seen movies about them. I have read novels about them. But these battles cannot fully understood … Continue reading