Gleanings From The Past #13



Dr. Beeton, in a letter to Dr. Mitchill of New York, dated 19th of July, 1824, states, that the beech tree (that is, the broad leaved or American variety of Fagus sylvatiea,) is never known to be assailed by atmospheric electricity. So notorious, he says, is this fact, that in Tennessee, it is considered almost an impossibility to be struck by lightning, if protection be sought under the branches of a beech tree. Whenever the sky puts on a threatening aspect, and the thunder begins to roll, the Indians leave their pursuit, and betake themselves to the shelter of the nearest beech tree, till the storm pass over; observation having taught these sagacious children of nature, that, while other trees are often shivered to splinters, the electric fluid is not attracted by the beech. Should farther observation establish the fact of the non-conducting quality of the American beech, great advantage may evidently be derived from planting hedge rows of such trees around the extensive barn yards in which cattle are kept, and also in disposing groups and single trees in ornamental plantations in the neighbourhood of the dwelling houses of the owners.

The New Monthly Magazine, July 1, 1827


An author, as too often happens, was very irritable in his disposition, and very unfortunate in his productions. His tragedy and comedy had both been rejected by the managers of both theatres. “I cannot account for this,” said the unfortunate bard to his friend; “for no one can say thatmy tragedy was a sad performance, or that my comedy was a thing to laugh at.”

— The Cincinnati Literary Gazette, September 4, 1824


The following laconic, but significant notice, is copied from a provincial paper: — “I give notice to one and all, hunting, shooting, or trespassing on any of my lands in the parish of Hearn, — Let every one and their friends hunt on their own lands.” — Richard Hilder

— The Olio, Vol. 6, October 23, 1830

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

17 thoughts on “Gleanings From The Past #13

  1. Hi, have you come across any vintage articles pertaining to medical knowledge from back in the day? Highly entertaining, and terrifying, particularly the ones with respect to blood transfusions! I know every scientific field had to start somewhere but I am glad that was long before my time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have read a lot about them. Many of them were in old medical journals.

      Today’s medical knowledge had come a long way, though of course, there’s still a long way to go. A hundred years or so later, people would say the same thing about our current medical knowledge and procedures :).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to wonder about this idea about the beech tree after I read this, so googled a bit (the extent of any of my research anymore) and found that the beech inside apparently doesn’t conduct electricity well but the bark does so the tree remains appearing relatively unscathed when struck by lightning as the electricity passes through to the ground, as opposed to most other trees. So don’t hide under a beech in foul weather!

    I love reading the vintage articles and quotes you post. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

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