Wedding of the Century
February 10, 2010

Wedding of the Century

Young General Thumb with Barnum

On This Date in History:  At the outset of the American Civil War, many people thought it would be a brief skirmish.  When hostilities initially broke out, President Lincoln asked the governors of the Northern states to provide their respective militias serve as part of just a 75,000 man army to put down the insurrection.  Presumably, Mr. Lincoln was at the very least hopeful that the violence would be of minimal duration because his initial request was for only 3 months of service.   However, it is possible that it was merely a political calculation to make an intial call for just 90 days to better assure the public and also to have the political support to raise troops.   By 1863, it was painfully obvious that the war would be much longer and destructive than many people initially thought and so he changed the objective of the war from merely preserving the Union but added the destruction of slavery as he issued his Emancipation Proclamation effective January 1, 1863.  Morale in both the North and South was low as the war dragged on and the bodies count rose.  Leave it to PT Barnum to lift the spirits of the nation with just a temporary diversion from the misery of the war news.

 

A Match Made in Heaven or by Barnum?

 Phineas T. Barnum was one of the great showman and promoters in American history.   He constantly was looking for new attractions, regardless of his project, but in particular for his circus.   One of his great attractions was a man named Charles Sherwood Stratton of Bridgeport, CT.  For some reason his growth became stunted at age 7 months and he eventually only rose to a height of 35 inches.  Barnum met Stratton and taught him to sing, dance and immitate historical figures.  Once Stratton had developed these skills, Barnum introduced General Tom Thumb to the world.   There is a bit of duplicity here because, clearly, Barnum was exploiting Stratton’s stature for his own gain.  But, the other side of the coin is that Stratton was rewarded handsomely.  By the time Tom Thumb was 25 years old, Barnum had made him a millionaire and Thumb determined it was a good time to retire.  So, Barnum needed a new act to promote.

Barnum American Museum 1858

Well, it just so happened that Barnum had “discovered” Lavinia Warren in 1862 and found her to be a charming and elegant woman.  He signed her to a contract, bought her jewels and clothes that was appropriate for a woman of her status and put her on display at the Barnum American Museum in New York.   Now, there were lots of elegant women in New York, so what was so special about Ms. Warren?  She was but 32 inches tall.  Barnum introduced her to Thumb who told Barnum, “That is the most charming little lady I ever saw, and I believe she was created to be my wife.”  Barnum was more than happy to oblige as he, no doubt, had the best interest of both the General and Warren in mind when he helped them arrange the wedding when cupid struck the couple.  It just so happens that the event also helped fill Barnum’s coffers.  On This Date in 1863, the dark days of the Civil War were brightened when General Tom Thumb married Lavinia Warren.

General Thumb had put on some pounds shortly before his death

The guest list included 2,000 people that included “the elite, the creme de la creme.”  The streets of New York filled with people, hoping to get a glimpse of the tiny silver wedding carriage provided by Tiffany and Co. that, of course, was highly publicized by Barnum.  The ceremony and following reception were both a smashing success.  They received extremely lavish gifts and their honeymoon was not a secret private getaway, but instead a “honeymoon tour” that included a visit with President Lincoln.  It was perhaps the wedding of the century and for a short time, the nation was able to forget the horrors of war.  The pair remained married until Thumb’s death in 1878 from a stroke.  Ten-thousand people attended his funeral so he was a star even in death and apparently thereafter, though its unclear exactly how many people had ever heard of Charles Stratton.  Barnum had died in 1891, his spirit must have been alive and well when Lavinia Warren died in 1919 and was laid to rest next to her husband in Bridgeport, CT.  Or maybe the circumstance surrounding her  final resting place had nothing to do with Barnum but instead was retribution for her marrying another man two years after Thumb’s death.   You see, Lavinia Warren’s headstone simply says “his wife.”    Either way, no one upstages Tom Thumb.

GFS claims Over 5 inches by Monday morning

GFS around an inch by Saturday Evening

Weather Bottom Line:  There seems to be some agreement on our near term future with those maginficent machines in the weather world.  We stay cold. duh. We don’t need a computer for that.  I still say that Friday morning that the clouds will be at least broken enough and the wind so light that we will get into the single digits and it’s a no brainer that if we do clear out completely or close to it only for a few hours, then we get to zero with some places below.  Either way, at those levels only your thermometer will know the difference.   Graphically we still don’t get above freezing but now there is numerical data suggesting a degree or two above freezing on Saturday or maybe Friday for an hour or two.  Again, not really significant or noticeable. 

NAM Snow about an inch by Sat. Evening

Now, what about the agreement.  I’m talking about the next snow chance.  Both the GFS and NAM only have about an inch or less for late Friday and/or  Saturday.  It’s the next one that is of interest.  Late Sunday into Monday the GFS tosses out over 5 inches.  That has been pretty consistent with this model.  The Japanese model is similar.  The NOGAPS is a US Navy tropical model and not meant for this type of thing but it has snow but not much.  The European has the same feature for Monday morning and its quite robust but the snow being tossed out is not as impressive as the feature might indicate.  Then there is the Canadian model. It has the same feature but takes it just to our south.  The point is, the feature is on every model in one form or another and the only variations in the track is just to our south which still keeps it in the ball park for being a snow producer for us.  I’d plan on snow for Sunday and or Monday with the amount being up for debate at this point.  I heard someone on the radio today claim we’ve had over 18 inches of snow this year.  But the NWS officially has us at 15.6 inches, which is about average for the entire year.  I am confident that we will go above average and maybe surpass the erroneous 18 inch mark by Monday evening.

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