Sunday, September 09, 2007

It's not a mystery it's history and here's how it go

Thanks to a reader for sending me this tidbit about the namesake of Upshur St. Let us learn from our mistakes lest we repeat them...

"Upshur St. is named after Sec of State Upshur, who was
tragically killed along with the Sec of the Navy and
other dignitaries when they went with Pres Grant or
Taylor (can't remember) to see the USS Princeton,
which had some new cannon everyone was very excited
about. They had this big party on the ship, and the
whole Cabinet went, and everyone had a grand time.
Then after the party was over, the Sec of the Navy
(who was very taken with the cannon) asked for it to
be shot one more time. It exploded, and killed him,
Sec of State Upshur, and ten or eleven other people.
The whole city closed in mourning for a few days, and
that's how Upshur st got it's name."


wayan said...

The Wikipedia says:

Princeton was sent to Washington, D.C. in late January 1844, arriving 13 February. Washingtonians displayed great interest in the ship and her guns. She made trial trips with passengers on board down the Potomac River February 16, 18 and 20, during which the Peacemaker was fired several times.

On February 28, she departed Alexandria, Virginia on a pleasure and trial trip down the Potomac with President John Tyler, his Cabinet and approximately two hundred guests on board.

Upon the final firing of Stockton's Peacemaker, the defective gun finally burst, instantly killing Secretary Upshur; Secretary Gilmer; Captain Beverly Kennon, Chief of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment and Repairs; Virgil Maxcy of Maryland, Charge d'Affaires to Belgium, 1837–42; David Gardiner of New York, the father of Julia Gardiner who later married President Tyler; and the President's valet, a black slave named Armistead. It also injured about 20 people, including Captain Stockton.

wayan said...

As to Upshur, Wikipedia says:

Abel Parker Upshur (June 17, 1790 – February 28, 1844) was an American lawyer and political figure from the U.S. state of Virginia. Upshur was active in Virginia state politics and later became Secretary of the Navy and then Secretary of State during the Whig administration of President John Tyler.

Upshur was instrumental in developing the secret treaty that led to the annexation of Texas to the United States and played a key role in ensuring that Texas was admitted to the United States as a slave state. He was among several people killed when a gun exploded during an official function on board the steam warship USS Princeton.

These places have been named in his honor:
* Upshur County, West Virginia
* Upshur County, Texas
* Upshur Street in northwest Washington, D.C.

odentex said...

The Republic of Texas never died!!

I've seen a few of these yayhoos in Texas state court... quite a show.