May 27, 2010

Long spans

After my father got an x-ray in early 2010, it struck me as interesting that his father had been present at the creation in 1895 of the x-ray machine, 115 years before. My teenage grandfather worked as a delivery boy for a lens company in Germany in the 1890s, and one of his customers was the physicist Roentgen, who won the very first physics Nobel Prize in 1901 for his great invention, which used glass plates my grandfather had lugged in. (If the x-ray machine were a movie in 2010, there'd be a ten minute long Credits reel with my grandfather's name in the 8th minute as Delivery Person.)

Not surprisingly, my grandfather later became an x-ray machine salesman, introducing the device to hospitals in China and South America on long, profitable trips in the 1920s. He developed an long-lasting ulcer on the back of his hand from all the hours he held it in x-ray machines with the power blasting during his demonstrations for doctors. Surprisingly, he lived in fine health until 1965.

I thought of that when reading this week that in the Vulcan Society fireman's disparate impact case, to crack down on the bad boys who gave 343 lives on 9/11, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis has appointed as "special master" of the Fire Department of New York the former NYC district attorney Robert Morgenthau. (The very old first DA during early years of Law & Order was modeled on Morgenthau.) 

Morgenthau is 90.

Morgenthau's father, Henry Morgenthau Jr., became FDR's Secretary of the Treasury in 1934, a mere 74 years ago. His grandfather, Henry Morgenthau Sr., was U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nobody. Cares.

jimbo said...

My first son was born in Febuary, and we decided to continue the family tradition and make him the fourth (I'm the third). The first James (my grandfather, who died before I was born) was born in 1900 - and he was the last of 8 children, so his father (who came over from Northern Ireland) was in his forties when he was born. So in my family, you go back 4 generations and you're fighting the Civil War...

Anonymous said...

http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/

New education documentary from the creator of "An Inconvenient Truth."

Steve, I look forward to your comments on it's manifest shortcomings.

Black Death said...

According to the Nobel Prize web page, Röntgen won the first, not the second , Nobel Prize in physics in 1901.

Anonymous said...

Another way to think of it is the short, Kevin Bacon-ish links we can make with the past. I'm only four handshakes away from George Washington, and I suspect most people reading this aren't that much further distant. (One of the octogenarian professors emeriti at my law school was one of Justice Holmes' last clerks, Holmes interviewed an ancient officer of the Continental Army, and that officer embraced Washington at the Fraunces Tavern farewell).

There's something fascinating to me about the longevity of old
soldiers. Check out the recently re-released film (you can probably find it somewhere on youTube) of Czar Nicholas II's coronation in 1896: if you look on the main platform, in addition to assorted Russian nobles and royals, you can see a handful of *very* old bearded men, commoners, but allowed on center stage because they were the last surviving veterans of the Battle of Borodino in 1812! There is something very spine-tingling (to me at least) about someone who may have seen Bonaparte on horseback living to be recorded on video media.

Through a time machine darkly. Time, tide, and history touching
our imaginations and just out of reach.

Anonymous said...

As to striking bits of personal continuity, another favorite bit: about ten years ago in The Times of London, there was an article by a veteran elderly journalist who was telling the story of how, as a young boy, he had been telling his grandmother about his day at school, and how they had had been covering the crimes of the Cromwell regime. He was firmly rebuked by the old lady: "I'll have none of that in this house" she said. "My husband's first wife's first husband was Mr Cromwell's secretary, and always said he was a very nice man." The journalist was writing around 1999, and recalling a conversation he'd had with his grandmother in 1923. A personal connection going back 330 years...

Of course, in a letter to editor, a reader suggested for that this to work, the grandmother might have been mistaken and was talking about Cromwell's son Richard (who lived many years after his brief Protectorate. Richard Cromwell died in 1712, so assuming his secretary was ~18 in 1712, and then at around 85 in 1779 he married an 18 year old, when that woman was ~85 in 1846 she married an 20 year old gent (such things did happen, for inheritance reasons) and then died, that gent could then marry a 20 year old in 1860, making the journalist's grandmother 83 in 1923. In other words, not likely but just within the realm of possibility.

Felix Ungar said...

I wonder if the long spans between upper class generations is shrinking today.

Anecdotally, I've witness elite college grads marry and have babies in their early 20s. This is something that seems a complete reversal delayed marriage/childbirth of the previous several generations.

Dutch Boy said...

Morgenthau Sr. was the author of the (partially implemented) Morgenthau Plan to commit genocide against the Germans. Lotsa luck to the firemen.

Anonymous said...

Your father's x-ray burns case (and others like it) were noted. I had eczema on my hands when I was a kid. Our doctor thought I might grow up to be a doctor so she wouldn't prescribe x-ray treatments. As I remember x-rays were the treatment of choice at the time. But she was concerned that the cumulative x-ray load to my hands was the real danger.

My mother - convinced that female doctor's were not to be trusted - sought another opinion. A male doctor took one look at me and put me in the hospital - blood poisoning had set in in my unhealed hands. I lived through it, but it was close.

I went to a shoe store when I was about ten. They had a fluoroscope in the waiting room. I stood on the low platform and stuck my feet
into the machine. I could see my feet right through the leather. It was cool. I could see myself wiggle my toes.

Fluoroscopes are very much out of favor these days. I think all dentists and medical doctors started using much lower doses of x-rays for their diagnoses at least thirty years ago. There is still a controversy about chiropractors who like to run full body fluoroscopes at full power so as to get a better picture.

There has been some web speculation that radiation promotes longevity. I wouldn't go so far as to say your father lived as long as he did because of his x-rays not despite them, but Hiroshima survivors did live longer than those who were bombed by conventional weapons.

Albertosaurus

SGOTI said...

Maybe it's my own advancing age, but I'm finding ties with past eras increasingly interesting (and my wife increasingly boring, and wants me to shut up!). "We're not many years fewer along from Desert Storm than we were from WWII when you were born honey."

A few years back, I visited my paternal grandfather's grave in a National Cemetery for the first time. He served in World War I, and his father fought with Stonewall Jackson in the Civil War. I always knew my father was a bit of an oops- "Whew. For a minute there I thought you said you were pregnant dear. . ." with his father in his late 50's when he was born. But three consecutive generations of late fatherhood really spans some historical eras.

Anonymous said...

"Morgenthau's father, Henry Morgenthau Jr., became FDR's Secretary of the Treasury in 1934, a mere 74 years ago."

And he went on to formulate the genocidal Morgenthau Plan ten years later later.

Dave said...

The NY Times published a letter to the editor by Robert Morganthau last week, Dangers of Autopilot:

To the Editor:

“As Attention Wanders, Second Thoughts About the Autopilot” (Business Day, May 18) reminds me that the problem is at least 67 years old.

In May 1943, I was the sole passenger on a freight-carrying Naval Air Transport Service DC-3 en route to Georgetown, British Guiana, from Belém, Brazil. The pilot, a United States Navy lieutenant, came back to the cargo area and challenged me to a game of cribbage, leaving the plane on automatic pilot with the co-pilot in the cockpit.

More than an hour into the flight, with the plane over the jungle, both engines quit, having run out of gas and the co-pilot having fallen asleep. The pilot bolted to the cockpit, put the plane in a dive and restarted both engines on fresh gas tanks.

Even today, when I am a passenger on a commercial airline, and a pilot comes out of the cockpit and sits in the first row of seats, I still say to myself that I hope that the co-pilot is awake.

This problem spanning at least seven decades should be resolved before it results in serious loss of life.

Robert M. Morgenthau
New York, May 19, 2010

The writer is the former Manhattan district attorney.
A version of this letter appeared in print on May 23, 2010, on page WK7 of the New York edition.

Morgan Thaw said...

Morganthau's plan wasn't "genocidal". There was nothing in it about killing Germans. Even monetary reparations (as after WWI) were explicitly renounced. Morganthau's plan was simply to dismantle Germany's heavy industry, so that the country which started the two most calamitous wars in history couldn't start a third.

Anonymous said...

I find these kinds of 'long span' connections fascinating.

I worked for a older woman whose father was a prominent industrialist; she answered the family's telephone in December 1941...it was Roosevelt on the line, calling to discuss wartime production ramp up capability with her father, since the US was about to declare war.

My g-g-g-grandfather (who died in the late 1940s; my father knew him well) was a Civil War veteran who watched Lincoln's funeral train pass by. He wanted to see Roosevelt's, but didn't live anywhere close and so settled for listening to coverage of it on the radio.

Robert said...

I heard that in 1939, when Gen. Douglas MacArthur entered a movie theater in Atlanta to see "Gone with the Wind", half the audience walked out because his grandfather had been one of the Union generals who participated in the burning of Atlanta during the Civil War. Long memories, indeed!

David said...

I'm 4 handshakes from Churchill, and 5 from Stalin. This disappoints and bores me as much as it does anyone else.

Re. the awful Morgenthau, society should impose a retirement age on its influential people. (The way Churchill got sacked after WW2, a good move.) Andy Warhol's crack about "15 minutes of fame" names a good limit to start with.

Anonymous said...

Morganthau's plan was simply to dismantle Germany's heavy industry, so that the country which started the two most calamitous wars in history couldn't start a third.



Don't they teach history in the schools any more? I guess not.

Dutch Boy said...

Morgan Thaw: If that were the only feature of the Plan it would still be genocidal - you can't de-industrialize a heavily populated land which lost much of its agricultural land to Poland and Russia without causing starvation (esp. when you don't allow emigration, fertilizer production or food imports). As it was between 2/12 and 10 million Germans died of disease and starvation (depending on which authority you believe).

Anonymous said...

Two of Pres. John Tyler's grandsons are still alive. Tyler was born in 1790 and served as the 10th president (1841-45).

Glossy said...

As per the French Wikipedia, Marshal Philippe Petain, who led Vichy France during WWII and who died in 1951, recalled his great-uncle telling him stories about his service in the Napoleonic Wars.

jody said...

long spans? i once went 21 days without taking a shower. top that!

Rebelyell said...

I was 37 when my son was born. My dad was 38 when I was born. His father was 33 when he was born. His father was around 47 when he was born. His father was 35 when he was born. His father was 54 when he was born. His father was at least 30 when he was born. It gets sketchy after this, but at this point you are almost to 1700.

I can remember my uncle reciting (and laughing at) lines from speeches by Theodore Bilbo (1877-1947), heard at political rallies. My father grew up when there were still Confederate veterans, and my great-grandfather fought in the War.

It just provides an entirely different viewpoint of history. I sometimes see photos with six generations of a family. Of course, everyone has had a child before age 20 and often much younger. For me to pose in such a photo, in my paternal line, I would have to pose with someone who was born 22 years before the American Revolution.

Just thought I would throw this out there as food for thought. Clearly there are differences in how people form their families, and these differences do have consequences.

Antioco Dascalon said...

My roommate and I were watching the Sisi trilogy, about Elisabeth of Bavaria, Emperor of Austria. I realized that since he was a business associate of Otto Hapsburg and had met him many times, and Otto has a famous photo of him as a young boy with Franz Josef, he was connected to a main character in the movie (and world history), set in the early 1850s, by only 2 degrees.
It is just bizarre to me that the freaking Crown Prince of the Austrian-Hungarian empire is still alive, and that he has legitimate claim as heir to Poland, Germany, etc, etc. And as Hapsburg, he is related to basically every European royal ever.

sj071 said...

'...but Hiroshima survivors did live longer than those who were bombed by conventional weapons.'

Incredible, isn't it?

Four years later; despite the deadly radiation...
http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/virtual/VirtualMuseum_e/exhibit_e/exh0708_e/exh070807_e.html

Floyd succumbed to radiation illness early on...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Schmoe

Anonymous said...

My father, b. 1921, remembered well his great-grandmother, b. 1826. She lived to be 103 years old. Both her grandfathers served in the American revolution; her paternal grandfather witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, and lived until 1841.

Anonymous said...

The Morganthau Plan also had a negative effect on the Americans doing the fighting.

From Wikipedia: General George Marshall complained to Morgenthau that German resistance had strengthened.[41] Hoping to get Morgenthau to relent on his plan for Germany, President Roosevelt's son-in-law Lt. Colonel John Boettiger who worked in the War Department explained to Morgenthau how the American troops that had had to fight for five weeks against fierce German resistance to capture the city of Aachen had complained to him that the Morgenthau Plan was "worth thirty divisions to the Germans." Morgenthau refused to relent.

Anonymous said...

The anti-semites live (instigated by Steve as he manages to bring hints of nefarious semitism into every post).

Despite what nonsense you might have read on Moldbug, Morgenthau (the middle one by the way Dutch But****ker) proposed a wholly reasonable plan that was actually quite moderate by the standards of American sentiment toward Germany at that time.

Does it grate against the ears when imagining it imposed upon the Germans of 2010? Of course, but only a moron like one of them neo-paleocon antisemites would imagine it thusly.

Instead of everyone piping up about the thing, why not just go read the goddamned thing yourself? And if you're lazy (and you are) then read the cherry-picked MOST EVIL PARTS quoted at length by moldbug in his post on the subject. Any semi-normal person who knows a damn thing about history will have a hard time understanding moldbug's absolute and pure hatred for Morgenthau EVEN when reading the cherry-picked most supposedly evil parts of Morgenthau's plan.

In fact, the only reason why Morgenthau's plan became irrelevant and obsolete is because the Russians got there first and implemented their own plan - one which every East German (minus the stazi) would happily have exchanged for the apropos and kindly Morgenthau plan which really is just about the nicest settlement any victorious power had EVER imposed upon a hopelessly belligerent and militant authority-fellating people who had instigated an absolute all-out war against hundreds of millions of unsuspecting people.

Steve Sailer said...

Basil Fawlty: Is something wrong?
German Guest: Will you please stop talking about the war?
Basil Fawlty: Me? You started it.
German Guest: We did not!
Basil Fawlty: Yes, you did, you invaded Poland.

Anonymous said...

The people here who are defending Morgenthau and claiming the criticism is from neo-Nazis who simply hate Jews need to pick up this book: http://www.amazon.com/Gruesome-Harvest-Ralph-Franklin-Keeling/dp/1593640080

While it is plausible that Morgenthau was motivated by a Jewish ethnic resentment against Germans (just as much as, say, many Jewish settlers in Israel have a sort of fierce hatred of Arabs), many goyish American WASPs did too and it would have been just as wrong if it were some American white goy who hated the krauts.

In other words, being Jewish does not excuse Morgenthau from what was essentially a deliberate plan for genocide, partially carried out, as some posters here would want to have it be.

rast said...

Here's the youtube, steve...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb7K_KUJqoQ#t=8m17s

Enoch Was Right said...

The Fawlty Towers clip is pure gold. Love the silly prop bandage on Cleese's head during the episode.
My question is, does anybody out there in the Steve-o-sphere have access to Art Linklater's shows? I'd love to see the young iSteve.
If anyone comes up with the footage, please post it! I'm pretty sure most of your fans would be interested in watching the clip.

buck said...

"Morganthau's plan wasn't "genocidal". There was nothing in it about killing Germans. Even monetary reparations (as after WWI) were explicitly renounced. Morganthau's plan was simply to dismantle Germany's heavy industry, so that the country which started the two most calamitous wars in history couldn't start a third."

He's right. I saw this on the History Channel.

Anonymous said...

Despite what nonsense you might have read on Moldbug, Morgenthau (the middle one by the way Dutch But****ker) proposed a wholly reasonable plan that was actually quite moderate by the standards of American sentiment toward Germany at that time."

Actually I think "the reasonable plan" was from Morgenthau's assistant, a guy named White as I recall who was of Russian Jewish extraction. I think the Venona papers later disclosed he was actually a soviet spy...wait was the previous anti-semitic? Back to the gulag for me.

josh said...

Many Gentiles of Moldbug's great protestant conspiracy were not big fans of the Germans going back before WWI.

About the author:

[As] "World War I erupted, Herron severed all political ties with the movement and relocated to Geneva to be better able to support the Allies. There he played the role of mediator among contending minorities through his network of friendships and soon became employed by the U.S. State Department as a secret negotiator and an unofficial diplomatic adviser, keeping in close contact with British and American foreign offices."

Herron had found his new enemy in Prussianism, and in Woodrow Wilson, his new hero. In a stream of letters and articles, he presented the American president to Europe as one who, at the right moment, would lead the United States into the struggle. By the time his book Woodrow Wilson and the World's Peace (1917) appeared, his explanations of Wilson's actions before the American entry into the war proved to be quite accurate, and he became known as "Wilson's man of confidence."

This book is bat-shit insane and only 100 or so pages.

http://books.google.com/books?id=GXvRAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=menace+of+peace&source=bl&ots=p0Pic4PojN&sig=lvnPKrxcnVqPQYKz8-9abbqnhTw&hl=en&ei=uaz_S4a6F4Kclgfnk_zmCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Ray Sawhill said...

Fun posting, fun tales in the comments. The long view, eh?

In the '90s I once spent an hour with the famous Delany sisters, African-American gals who were both over 100 years old (and who'd just brought out a memoir together). When these two old gals talked casually about "The War" (in the same way I might have referred casually to "The War" meaning WWII, which my dad fought in), they were talking about the Civil War, which their parents had lived through.

Took me a few days to digest that experience. Wish
I'd had the presence of mind to snap a photo of myself with the two ladies ...

David Davenport said...

In his recent book *The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945*, historian Michael Beschloss says that President Harry Truman thought that Morganthau's plan would result in mass famine in Germany, and that Truman did not like the Morganthau plan.

This book also says that Truman met with Morganthau shortly after moving in to the Oval Office. Truman thought that Morganthau was patronizing him, ( "patronizing" -- Beschloss' word and description ) and Harry T. decided to usher him out of the Truman adminstration.

David Davenport said...

Bonus post -- real life too corny for the movies dept.:


Adviser to Stars Named in Fraud
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ and JAMES BARRON


Published: May 27, 2010

He was the moneyman to the stars, entrusted with managing fortunes for the likes of Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone and Annie Leibovitz.

...

When Mr. Starr, 66, was arrested Thursday morning, he was found hiding in a closet, betrayed when agents spotted his shoes under the door.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/business/28sec.html?pagewanted=1&hp&adxnnlx=1275055384-h40qZ/IDGYs3cF7ST93XSg

Anonymous said...

OT. No racial differences?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6161691.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4155390.stm

Charlie said...

"the apropos and kindly Morgenthau plan which really is just about the nicest settlement any victorious power had EVER imposed upon a hopelessly belligerent and militant authority-fellating people who had instigated an absolute all-out war against hundreds of millions of unsuspecting people."

The Morgenthau plan explicitly advocated slavery (which was used on a large scale) as a form of "reparations".

Moreover, it's only idiots on the Internet who think that "the Morgenthau plan" consists of the words he submitted to Roosevelt; the real Morgenthau Plan is the political action that America carried out in Germany.

Some of this is summarized here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_food_policy_in_occupied_Germany

They forced out the Red Cross. If you read the article, Gen. Clay is quoted first as saying "I feel the Germans should suffer from hunger and cold" and later:

"The death rate in many places has increased several fold, and infant mortality is approaching 65 percent in many places. By the spring of 1946, German observers expect that epidemics and malnutrition will claim 2.5 to 3 million victims between the Oder and Elbe."

Another quote, this time from the wikipedia article on the Morgenthau Plan - just illustrate how nice we were: "Roosevelt's response was 'Let them have soup kitchens! Let their economy sink!' Asked if he wanted the German people to starve, he replied, 'Why not?'"

Morgenthau's weaselly language hints at such a policy (which is, yes, genocidal):

"The sole purpose of the military in control of the German economy
shall be to facilitate military operations and military occupation.
The Allied Military Government shall not assume responsibility for
such economic problems as price controls, rationing, unemployment,
production, reconstruction, distribution, consumption, housing, or
transportation, or take any measures designed to maintain or strengthen
operations. The responsibility for sustaining the German economy and
people rests with the German people with such facilities as may be
available under the circumstances."

Meaning: it's not our job to feed them. They can see to that themselves - oh, but they can't buy food with any manufactured goods, because we're going to completely destroy German industrial capacity.

That was the plan. If you're stupid enough to think that transforming 1940's Germany into a "pastoral state" was anything but an insane fantasy used as cover for theft, destruction, impoverishment and forced starvation, you don't understand anything at all about economics. And you don't seem to remember that the worst atrocities of the 20th century didn't come from war, they came from central economic planning.

As for the idea that it was still mild "considering what they deserved" I find it interesting that some people think an entire nation is morally responsible for the decisions of its government - or that they become so if the government is able to propagandize them into "agreeing" with its programs.

asfaasfadsf said...

"Morganthau's plan was simply to dismantle Germany's heavy industry, so that the country which started the two most calamitous wars in history couldn't start a third"

Can we have such a plan for Wall Street and Harvard Business School so they don't cook up any more calamitous economic policies?

Mencius Moldbug said...

Persons interested in a firsthand view of what Harry Dexter White's Morgenthau Plan turned into may also consult Freda Utley's High Cost of Vengeance. Utley, a former Communist, is a very reliable source.

Wikipedia is also remarkably good on the subject. Which I guess is proof that, indeed, "Nobody. Cares."

White was a Jew, I believe. Unfortunately, this doesn't make Hitler right about the Jews. (It doesn't even make Steve right about the Jews.) It would be nice to have some big heroic leaders from the 20th century, but no such luck. Well, okay, maybe Deng Xiaoping...

Anonymous said...

Actually, historians have studied the Morganthau plan for post war Germany and compared it to the German plan for post war Ukraine.

the Germans planned for the death of more than half of the Christian Ukranians, in order to provide land and space for ethnic German settlers. It was not made clear in the German plans how these Christian Ukranians were to die.


the Morgenthau plan, even if fully implemented, would have led to a comparatively small death rate among Germans in Germany.


It is ironic that so many of the white nationalists champion the policies of Germany during that time period. If the Germans had truly been white nationalists, they would have extended friendship towards the Christian Ukranians when they occupied the Ukraine. The result would have been hundreds of thousands of strong young Ukranian men volunteering for the Wermacht.

Instead the Germans acted as German supremacists, and alienated most of the white Christians in the territories they occupied.

In sum the Germans launched a war and faught it with too narrow a coalition.

Perhaps there is a lesson there

Dutch Boy said...

On a happier note, my father's father was born in 1860 and sired my dad when he was 50. I am continuing the trend with a ten and seven-year old at age 60 (to go with the other 3 I procreated at age 40+). It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it!

Him Again said...

Back in the nineties I went to a craft beer expo in Washington DC and met Gary F. Heurich, the head of the Olde Heurich Brewing Company. He appeared to be no older than his mid-forties tops. Old-time Capitol residents know the Heurich Brewery was DC's top brewery throughout the 20th Century. The old brewery was on the site of the present day Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts along the banks of the Potomac River. The brewing dynasty was started by German immigrant Christian Heurich who was born in 1843. I asked Gary F. Heurich how many generations removed he was from Christian and was stunned when he said he was his grandson. Christian had his son when he was in his sixties and Christian's son had Gary when he was in his sixties. I don't know Gary's age but you can find his picture on the web and he is most decidely not old, yet his grandpappy was born in 1843!

Morgan Thaw said...

"Can we have such a plan for Wall Street and Harvard Business School so they don't cook up any more calamitous economic policies?"

That would be great, we could turn Harvard into a land grant style ag & tech school and send the quant finance faculty to teach basic math in public high schools.

"It is ironic that so many of the white nationalists champion the policies of Germany during that time period. If the Germans had truly been white nationalists, they would have extended friendship towards the Christian Ukranians when they occupied the Ukraine."

Never mind the Ukrainians -- by the end of the war, the Nazis had contempt for the German people. Hitler had his own plan to destroy what German industry and infrastructure that hadn't been destroyed already by the war. See the German film Downfall which covers this, or read any history about the end of World War II. Hitler and the Nazis felt the German people deserved to suffer for not living up to Nazi standards in getting defeated by the Russians and the West.

Mikey said...

My grandparents were born in the 30's - all too young for WW2-, lived a normal life span, then died. These stories, reading posts from people whose grandparents were around when the modern world was forming, these are incredible to me. But I can think of a case even more incredible: the composer Richard Wagner, born 1813, has grandkids still around today. 200 years later! Unbelievable!

Melykin said...

Mikey wrote:
"My grandparents were born in the 30's - all too young for WW2-..."
=======================

Wow. You must be a kid. My grandparents were too old for WW1. My grandfathers were born in 1874 and 1879, and my youngest grandmother in 1893. I must be older than dirt. But I've still got 10 years 'til retirement.

Antioco Dascalon said...

Of course, no conversation like this would be complete without mentioning that the last Union widow died 7 years ago and the last Confederate widow died 6 years ago.

Jack said...

"Two of Pres. John Tyler's grandsons are still alive. Tyler was born in 1790 and served as the 10th president (1841-45)."

Tyler had 15 children by two wives, more children than any other U.S. President. One grandson, Harrison Tyler, is still living in Sherwood Forest, the Virginia Plantation purchased by his grandfather in 1842 and occupied continuously by the Tyler family since then.

ben tillman said...

"Morganthau's plan wasn't "genocidal". There was nothing in it about killing Germans.

Genocide isn't about killing people. It's about killing a group. By preventing group members from reproducing, you can kill a group without killing a single person.

Jim O said...

OK, can you top this: the last veteran of the Crimean War died only six years ago.

BamaGirl said...

On my Dad's side of the family all my great-grandparents were born in the 1890s, and my grandmother and grandfather were both born in the 20s. Their grandparents were born around the time the civil war started (and my 3 of my grandmother's grandparents were actually still in Western Ireland at that point.) My oldest uncle is in his early 60s and has a 14 year old son. Its pretty crazy. My dad is 13 years younger than that uncle.
However on my maternal side everyone has reproduced fairly quickly I suppose. My grandparents on that side of the family were only born in the 40s! They live in a rural conservative area where even today half the locals are married before age 20.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly, the turtle Darwin picked up in 1835 in the Gallapagos only died at a zoo in Australia in 2006.

keypusher said...

Tyler had 15 children by two wives, more children than any other U.S. President.

So "Idiocracy" holds true even among U.S. presidents?

Alticor said...

I am one handshake away from Marilyn Monroe by at least three ways, and therefore two from Carl Sandburg and therefore not more than four from Abe Lincoln.

I also met Percival Spencer, and discussed the Spencer Rifle which I had fired, whose father Christopher invented it and took one to the White House to demonstrate to Abe Lincoln in 1862 or thereabouts. (Not recommended today.)