Who Cut The Cheese and Whose Baby Is It?

Was Thomas Jefferson A Cheesehead?

Was Thomas Jefferson A Cheesehead?


On This Date in History:

In 1801, Charles Wilson Peale unearthed a previously un-named prehistoric skeleton. It became known as a Mastadon but, at the time, it got the nickname Mammoth for its size. So, the term mammoth became popular in early 19th century America to describe something very large.

On this date in 1802, President Thomas Jefferson received a “mammoth” hunk of cheese from a bunch of Baptist

Monument To John Leland's Cheshire Cheese

Monument To John Leland's Cheshire Cheese

from Massachusetts in appreciation for his advocation of religious tolerance. Remember, the Baptists weren’t always welcome in many corners of early American society, but they had been an effective thorn in the side of the Brits in Colonial America, particularly in places like Williamsburg.  Now, the farmers in Massachusetts were rather poor so the Baptist minister John Leland got creative with his gift ideas.  Sorta like you might do around Christmas if you find yourself unemployed.  Over the summer, the Baptist congregation in Cheshire, Massachusetts milked 900 cows at one time and then processed the milk in a cider press.  Jefferson said that the cows must have all been Republican.     The result was a 1235 pound round of cheese that was 4 feet in diameter and 15 inches thick.  When it arrived at the White House on New Year’s Day 1802 on a cart pulled by six horses, it came with a sign that said, “The greatest cheese in America for the greatest man in America.”   Jefferson knew the farmers were poor so, instead of just accepting the cheese, he gave them $200 in exchange for the gift.

Re-enactment of 1804 Senate Party?

Re-enactment of 1804 Senate Party?

The cheese lasted a long time and was used on March 26, 1804 when Jefferson attended a public party in the Senate that featured a “mammoth loaf” of bread. The big ole loaf of bread was baked to go along with what was left of the two year old cheese….and a giant portion of roast beef….and an ample supply of alcohol. The occasion was to show support for Jefferson’s use of the US Navy to go after the Barbary Pirates. The Barbary Coast was an area of Northern Africa which was supposed to be part of the Ottoman Empire but was really controlled by local powers in Tunis, Algiers and Tripoli. It was a region controlled by Islamists. They had been impairing US commerce so Jefferson sent the US Navy to enforce and, if need be attack, the bad guys. Numerous battles ensued against those dubbed the Barbary Pirates.

One note of interest….this military action of the United States against these Islamic states was funded by Congress, mammothcheesebut was an undeclared military action by the United States that lasted for some 4 years. Those who think the Iraq situation is unprecedented need to look more at Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. There are differences but the similiarities are worth noting….oh yes..its also worth noting that written observations say that the event with the “mammoth loaf” and the leftover “mammoth cheese” turned into a drunken, noisy affair…something some folks might say has been going on in the Senate ever since.  But even the “mammoth party” was not enough to use up all of the Baptist cheese.  It is said the efforts from the 900 cows lasted into 1805.

A New Queen For Canada?   So, on New Year’s Eve Day, there’s a flight from Holland to America.  It arrived with one more passenger than it left with as a woman had a baby girl in flight.  Since the baby was born over Canadian airspace, it is now a Canadian citizen.  Wouldn’t it be great if she became Prime Minister of Canada someday simply because she arrived into the world while flying the friendly skies?  Here’s the story with video.

Weather Bottom Line:  It got pretty cold on New Year’s Eve with temperatures falling into the teens.  The dewpoints were also pretty low.  Consequently, as a little front comes through early Friday morning, there really isn’t going to be much moisture available so there will be clouds and that’s about it.  Okay…maybe a flurry or two but nothing worth getting worked up over.  We warm up for the weekend into the 40’s and 50’s with rain on Sunday.  Now, our snow scenario for midweek is a bit up in the air.  Recently, the models seem to want to come into agreement with the low tracking farther to our southeast so there isn’t much precip with it around here.  Two things to note…there are still several days to go before we get a clear picture of how this guy rounds the bend out of Texas.  If it cuts a bit sharper of a turn then it still may track closer to us.  The other thing is that I spied a GFS solution on Wednesday night that wants to take the low into Virginia but  then form a second low over us.  That would create a snow situation…not sure how plausible that is but I suppose that its possible given that the parent low would probably be on its last legs and a new low would form somewhere to the east or northeast.  We’ll have to wait and see.  Either way, the milder air for the weekend won’t last.  If it’s going to be cold..I want snow.  I figure that if we stay cold long enough, sooner or later we’ll get our chance.  It’s just not clear right now if next week is that chance.


2 Responses

  1. cool blog! i am always game for some interesting facts. On the subject of Thomas Jefferson, I recently watched the John Adams miniseries (and visited Philly) and came away with a new found respect for our founding fathers, but they make me feel like such an underachiever.

    drew from dumbworld

  2. One of the things that I have pointed out over time is that Jefferson, who is always held up as the paradigm of constitutionalism, probably violated the Constitution more than any other President and he did so on purpose but sometimes in a stealth-like manner.

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