My parents, John Stahr and Elizabeth Dempster, were married sixty years ago today at Stanford Chapel.  The minister was my mother’s uncle Milen Dempster. Milen was a remarkable man:  educated in divinity at Harvard, briefly serving as a Unitarian minister, but then running for governor in 1932 as a Socialist, and working thereafter as a…

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On December 25, 1860, the New York Tribune reported that there was “intense excitement” in Pittsburgh the prior day because of reports of the imminent “shipment from the Allegheny Arsenal of seventy-eight guns to Newport, near Galveston Island, Texas, and forty-six more to Ship Island, near Balize, at the mouth of the Mississippi River, the…

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