The Religious Roots of America’s Love for Camping

How a Minister's Accidental Bestseller Launched the Country's First Outdoor Craze

Summer 1868 passed as an unremarkable season at Saranac Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The weather was fine, the scenery delightful, and the usual array of 200 to 300 recreational hunters and anglers passed through the small settlement on their way into the wild lands beyond. The summers of 1869 and 1870, however, were an altogether different story. The weather was more or less the same, and the scenery continued to entrance, but instead of a handful of sportsmen came a multitude of men and women from points …

How Charleston Celebrated Its Last July 4 Before the Civil War

As the South Carolina City Prepared to Break From the Union, Its People Swung Between Nostalgia and Rebellion

In the cooling evening air, Charleston, South Carolina’s notable citizens filed into Hibernian Hall on Meeting Street for the traditional banquet to close their July 4th festivities. The year was …

The Civil War General Whose Godly “Mission” Went Astray

Oliver Otis "Uh Oh" Howard Was a Crusader for Ex-Slaves and a Scourge of Native Americans

When God first visited him in 1857, Oliver Otis Howard was a lonely army lieutenant battling clouds of mosquitoes in a backwater posting that he described as a “field …

Were the Bald Knobbers Law-and-Order Folk Heroes or Murderous Thugs?

In the Lawless Post-Civil War Ozarks, the Vigilante Bald Knobbers Took Government's Place

When I was seven years old, in 1983, my family took a road trip from Stillwater, Oklahoma, to Branson, Missouri, a family-oriented resort town deep in the Ozark Mountains. …