The Kitchen Table Historian

I am an author and historian who writes about long-forgotten and out of the way events and places. I love the bizarre, the unusual, and the downright weird. I write a regular blog at my website, www.johnbrassardjrcom.wordpress.com, and also manage a facebook page about things of historical interest called The Kitchen Table Historian.

Priests and Farmers – What Makes A Father?

With Father’s Day rapidly approaching, I’ve been thinking a little about what it means to be a father. Do you have to have children in order to be a father? As I ponder that question, my mind turns to a particular individual – Father P.J. Maher. Irish Priest in Rural Iowa                 P.J. Maher was …

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Lack of Respect: Souvenir Hunters in an Unmarked Cemetery

                I have not been shy or quiet in my opinions about cemetery desecration. I have spoken about it, and I have written about it. Cemeteries are monuments to those who have gone before. They are places that honor the people on whose shoulders we stand, who built the towns and cities that we have …

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Hell at Sea: Iowa’s Connection to One of the Worst Maritime Disasters Before Titanic

                Davenport, Iowa has a lot of iconic landmarks, both historic and otherwise. There are many in the downtown area, where the city has, for several years, been making a tremendous effort in beautifying the area. Largely, they have been successful. The area is now home to several upscale restaurants, businesses, art venues, and museums. …

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Cautionary Tales of the Midwest’s Roadways

               Writing is my passion. I enjoy sharing the stories that I collect along my way with whoever cares to listen, and more than a few that don’t sometimes!                 However, like many people out there, I work a day job. Like musicians and writers before, I haven’t yet broken into that mystical land where …

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Cold Anger: The Malone, Iowa Murders of 1929

   The town of Malone was originally a train depot founded in the mid-1860’s. It soon developed a general store, stockyards, and a post office. Like many rural areas, it was quiet and peaceful. Who would have thought that an event would take place there would forever mar that peaceful landscape?    Edward Crampton was …

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A City Stands Still: The Death of William Bettendorf

Last week, I told the story of the Joseph Bettendorf mansion and how its history is forever intertwined with the history of the city of Bettendorf. This week, I’d like to share with you all the story of when the very same city came screeching to a halt – the day William Bettendorf died. Early …

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The Joseph Bettendorf Mansion

               All places have history. What deems that particular history important is largely subjective, depending upon the person who is viewing it. Do they have a personal connection? Do they have a connection to the event that took place there? Any variety of factors can determine how interesting a place is to an individual.                 …

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The Final Word: The Clinton County Feud Over a Courthouse – and a Bell

              Have you ever been on the losing side of an argument? Not just any argument, but one that you felt so strongly about that no matter how things turned out, you still felt that you were right? It sucks. Most of us have probably been there, but even though you don’t like it, you …

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Sitting in With the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association

                This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the quarterly meeting of the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association. As some of you who follow my blog know, I’ve written some about the Lincoln Highway in the past, mostly about a stretch of road that passes through Clinton County, Iowa. This length of road includes …

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