The Lost Tomb of King Arthur


Having spent many years reading all that I can find on the historic Arthur, I have to say that Graham Phillips has the best, possibly provable, theory on who was the historic Arthur, and where he might be buried. This site, gives his ideas, along with some wonderful photos

The story of King Arthur is known throughout the world. The fabled Camelot, Sir Bedivere casting Excalibur into the lake and Arthur’s secret burial at the isle of Avalon: these are just a few of the enchanting themes in the ancient saga that historians have long considered to be pure fantasy. Now, in The Lost Tomb of King Arthur, Graham Phillips presents compelling evidence that such legends were actually based on real events. During a quest lasting over twenty-five years, he has followed a fascinating trail of historical clues showing Arthur to have been a living warrior who led the Britons around the year 500. He has discovered that the legendary Camelot, Excalibur and Avalon were based on a real city, a real sword and a real island. And, most astonishing of all, Graham has found what he claims to be the location where Arthur was finally buried. An ancient manuscript still persevered at Oxford University, Graham believes, reveals the whereabouts of King Arthur’s long-lost tomb. Not in the South West town of Glastonbury, as the popular myth maintains, but at an ancient site in the isolated countryside of central England. With the help of archaeologists employing the very the latest scientific equipment, Graham now has what he is certain is the final proof that this disregarded Dark Age text really does reveal

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Rosa May

I often tell people that most of my friends are dead, and this is what I mean…I love this woman. Don’t ask me why, except she was a good woman and had a wonderful life, but I have read everything I can about her and she has a place in my heart.

This chapter is excepted from “the Story of Bodie,” by Ella M. Cain…Rosa May was a prostitute in the town of Bodie, which is now a ghost town protected by the State of California…her story is charming, and I think it would be of interest to anyone interested in the life of the Old American West. Visit my photo gallery of the ghost town of Bodie, CA here

rosa may2

Story of Rosa May

Virgin Alley had a new sign, “The Highgrade.” It swung back and forth in the breeze over the latest house of ill repute on that long street inhabited by the demi­monde of the camp.

The newly arrived occupant of the Highgrade was a dark-eyed, curly headed, petite French girl by the name of Rosa May. She had lived at 18 D Street in Virginia City, and later at No. 1 Ormsby Street in Carson City, Nevada. Then Bodie beckoned with its golden, and what turned out to be, its diamond-studded hand, and Rosa answered the call.

In a short time she became the idol and toast of all the men who frequented the sporting district of the town, and they were many.

One miner was heard to remark, ” She was a gal who had a smile you’d go to hell for, and never regret it.” Yes, Rosa was the undisputed queen of Bodie’s under­world !

It was most natural that Ernest Marks, owner and proprietor of the Laurel Palace Saloon, should fall head over heels in love with her. That was no surprise to anyone; but the surprise and disappointment was that Rosa seemed to have a “hankerin” after Ernest.

Ernest wasn’t bad looking. He was tall and dark, with a slight mustache, and, true to the Hebrew blood in his veins, had inherited the traditional trait of making money. He lavished plenty of it on Rosa, in diamonds and furs. He allowed the other girls from the Red Light to frequent his place at night, and dance to the tunes that the old fiddler played, but Rosa was never there. A shade of jealousy and rage would pass over his face if her name was mentioned lightly by any of his drinking customers. One evening a Cornishman named Billy Owens, who had come into some money on the death of his mother, called “Fire in the Head !” and the whole house rose up for a drink. “Make it champagne, Ernest,” he ordered; then, mounting a chair, with his glass raised in his hand, he shouted : “Here’s to Rosa May, the darlingest, sweetest little bunch of loveliness that ever came into this camp. She’s mine!” Ernest turned as white as a sheet, and, reaching down behind the bar. He grabbed the pistol that he had kept there for emergencies. He pointed it straight at, Billy, and coolly and deliberately said, “Don’t drink to that toast, Billy—or I’ll fill you full of lead. No other man but me can toast Rosa at this bar, or any other bar in this whole damn camp.” Billy was raising his glass to drink, when suddenly pistol shots sounded from behind him—and the lights went out, for some level headed customer knew Ernest meant what he said. From that time on bad blood was known to exist between Ernest and Billy.  Continue reading

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The Oldest Cowboy

Born on February 12, 1898, in Waxahachie, Texas, Tom Blasingame was made for a life on the range. As a child, the restrictions of school and family life soured his temper; for every whipping he received at school, he’d get two more at home, but the belt only made him grow tougher (and, he claimed, cuss louder). The sole cure for Blasingame’s unrest seemed to be working from the saddle, and at age 7, he began hiring out to help drive cattle to market for two bits a day. When he turned 18, he spent the $125 he’d earned on a tall iron-grey gelding, and together they rode off.In 1916, Blasingame signed on with JA Ranch, originally founded by Charlie Goodnight and John Adair and now known as the oldest cattle company in the Texas Panhandle. With 1,335,000 open acres, the JA was Blasingame’s paradise. In addition to working cows, Blasingame discovered he had a knack for training horses and every spring was a part of breaking 40 wild and woolly 4-year-old colts each year.

After two years, Blasingame moved on from the JA and spent the 1920s working his way across the West, seeing the country by hiring on with every cattle company that would have him. He moved through Arizona and New Mexico all the way to California, making up to $50 per month for his work in the rougher territories. Like most cowboys, Blasingame frequented the local saloons whenever he had time off, but not to drink or gamble (both of which he felt distracted men from their work). Instead, the music of the saloons drew him to town, and he claimed to have seen some of the greatest talents in the United States singing in small frontier bars. After seeing most of the Western territory, Blasingame returned to the JA, where he worked the remainder of his life. After a day in the saddle, he would return home to a camp house without electricity or a telephone. On weekends, Blasingame would visit his wife Eleanor and their two children in Claude, a town north of the ranch. Eleanor once said of Blasingame: “His life was a better life than what you and I live. He doesn’t worry about more than one thing at a time, and that’s what he is doing right then.”

Two days after Christmas, in 1989, Blasingame stepped off his horse, stretched out in the Texas grass, crossed both arms over his chest, and died in perfect peace. He was buried in the JA Ranch cemetery where Eleanor now lays beside him. At the time of his death he was considered the oldest cowboy in Texas, having committed 73 of his 91 years to ranching. –

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Bassett Family Cemetery

Bassett Ranch house area, cabin is not original, was not at Bassett Ranch (2)

Bassett Ranch House area, house is not original.

Bassett Ranch (2)

Bassett Ranch

Basset Family Cemetery p1 (2) Basset Family Cemetery p2 (2) Bassett Family Plaque, Bassett Cemetery, Brown's Park (200x116) (200x116) Bassett Family Plaque, Bassett Cemetery, Brown's Park (200x116) Bassett Family Plaque, Bassett Cemetery, Brown's Park Bassett Family plot, Brown's Park Eb Bassett headstone (2) Frank Willis, Josie Bassett's husband's gravesite (2)

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Tom Collins’ Journal

Biographical Note:

Tom Collins was the ancestor of a friend of mine, Dave Collins. I spent my early years visiting Dave on his farm farm, eating at his table, and never knew about Tom, until Dave’s house burned down. While I was commiserating with Dave about the loss of his house, he told me that the worse part was losing all his ancestor’s relics. Apparently, Dave had Tom’s original uniform, all his medals, papers, his Sharps Carbine…I never knew, and could kick myself today (and I do often). This fragment from Tom’s journal is the only remnant to survive that fire.

The bare facts are this: Tom Collins was a private in the 143rd NYSV, raised in Sullivan County, New York, in 1862. He served as a scout for General Sherman, was given a Medal of Honor in 1864 for bravery at Resaca. Local history is that he was a very close associate of Sherman, that Sherman had Tom by his side during the Grand Review at the end of the war, and mentioned Tom in his farewell address. I have no independent confirmation of this fact, and have never heard Tom mentioned in any later writings of the Civil War or Sherman’s life.

These last pages of Tom’s journal show him carrying several of the war’s important messages, including the message of the surrender of Johnson’s army in April of 1865.

Bentonville, NC March 18th 1865 – Slocum to Sherman Stating to him that Johnson’s whole army was in his front Strongly entrenched. That he needed assistance at once. Sherman gave him help by concentrating his army on Bentonville; on the 19th Johnson assaulted our lines, Sweeping the 4th Corps from the field. The 20th Corps came to their relief, turning the tide of Battle in our favor, and Johnson was as usual in full retreat towards Goldsboro.

March 19th – Sherman to Schofield and Terry, who were Supposed to be Somewhere in vicinity of Goldsboro Stating to them the wherabouts of Sherman’s Army..Under cover of Darkness I started out with 75 Picked men well mounted. Guided by a trusty citizen, we rode through Johnson’s lines and by 8 O’clock the next morning we came in sight of Goldsboro, tired and worn out by the hard riding. But at the Sight of the Stars and Stripes waving over the Principal Public Buildings of Goldsboro repaid us for our Trip and risks.

Raleigh N.C. April 26th 65 – From Sherman and Grant to Gen. Mower commdg 20th Corps That Johnson had Surrendered, to cease hostilities and march his Corps back to Raleigh. The distance of 16 miles I rode in one hour and twenty minutes, this being the happiest hour of my life all offered up thanks to almighty God and tears of joy were Shed by many gallant men.

Lost 4 horses killed in action and a fifth one from Eating hardtack.

Presented Medal of Honor for most distinguished Gallantry in action at Resaca, Ga May 15th 1864 in capturing a Regimental Flag of the enemy.

Promoted 1st Lieut 20th Corps for distinguished Conduct at Battle of Aikeu Creek, N.C. But could not be commissioned on account of my age. Here with 75 picked men I kept two Regts of Rebel Cavalry from destroying Akeu Creek Bridge. My little band of heroes kept them for 12 long hours when my own gallant Regt, the 143rd and 123rd NY came to our assistance and made the Capture complete. Here I lost my 4th horse being hit in head by musket ball and received serious injury myself.

Was Present at Surrender of Major Gen. Joseph E. Johnson’s Army C.S.A. April 26th 1865 which took place near Durham Station, N.C.

Made homeward march from Raleigh N.C. via Richmond, Va to Washington D.C. and on 24 May, 1865 Rode down Penn Ave at the head of the line of Grand Review of the Gallant army of our beloved leader and commander General Sherman: — amid cheers from thousands upon thousands of American Citizens who completely covered us with wreaths and flowers – and called us the defenders of their houses and firesides. We were honored and respected there by the Nation, and after the lapse of 34 years, that love and respect has not ceased and will not cease until the last Soldier of the army of Grant and Sherman shall have passed away. We are leaving (one by one) to our final rest. But surely the heart of the true soldier Stands in the Same Place today as it did in the sixties. Though his Eye has Grown dim, his form less Erect, his Step less firm, He did his duty then as it came to him and as he saw it. He might did better under more favorable circumstances. This is the case of the writer of ths Sketch. But in conclusion I beg pardon of the reader when I here record for the Eyes of future Posterity to Gaze upon years after this soldier has Passed away from Earth to return no more that the Soldier of this sketch was never known to turn back until the duty assigned to him was performed to the full Satisfaction of his Superior Officers, however ardurious or trying the Same might be.

Thomas D. Collins
Dated Livingston Manor, NY
April 26th 1899.

For Gold the Merchant Plows the main
the Farmer plows the manor
But Glory is the Soldier’s Prize
The Soldier’s wealth is Honor.

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Was It Jackson? A Close examination of Capt. Charles H. Weygant’s Mysterious Horseman, May 2d, 1863


A Close examination of Capt. Charles H. Weygant’s Mysterious Horseman, May 2d, 1863

By Steve Haas

On the evening of May 2, 1863, the 124th New York had a meeting with a group of Confederate horsemen. The regiment fired on those horsemen, and the horsemen disappeared into the woods.

For the rest of their lives, the men of the 124th believed they had shot at Confederate Major Thomas J. Jackson, who was killed that night by his own troops. The 124th believed that they had either killed Jackson, or caused him to turn back into his own troops, causing his death by the hands of his own men. This belief was held by many other men and regiments in the III Corps, and formed a good part of the lore of the survivors of this Corps.

This article is meant as a critical analysis of that event, a detailed look at a mystery in one regiment’s archives. Hopefully, this will clear up the mystery.

The account of Charles Weygant, author the 124th’s regimental history, reads as follows: ”

…..A moment later, my attention was drawn to a slight rustling in the road, just in front of me, and a horseman rode up and asked, in a tone of authority, ‘What regiment is this?’ and added, ‘Colonel, don’t fire into your own men,’ for at that juncture, in reply to another slight shower of bullets which passed over their left, our regiment, without waiting for orders, opened a straggling fire. Colonel Ellis, who at the time stood talking with me, stepped toward the questioner and replied, in a loud voice, ‘This is the One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth New York, and by —— we will give them shot for shot, friend or foe.’ Meantime several other horsemen appeared, and drew rein in the shadow of the trees. At Colonel Ellis’ gruff answer, this unknown officer whirled and put spurs to his horse, and the whole party dashed in the woods on the farther, or north side of the road, followed by a ball from Colonel Ellis’ revolver and a volley from Company A….”[1]

Weygant then gives several quotes from Professor R.L. Dabney, of the Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, from his book, “Life and Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Thomas J. Jackson,” and some officers of General Jackson’s Staff to show that Jackson did indeed utter those words, was in the locale, and gave actions similar to those described in Weygant’s account. He concludes thusly, “Again I ask, was the officer who rode out of the woods and asked, ‘What regiment is this,’ Stonewall Jackson? Let others answer as they may, in my mind there is not the slightest doubt if it; but as to whether his mortal hurt was caused by one of the bullets the 124th sent after him as he rode away, or by that of one of his own men as he returned to them is not so clear.”[2]

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They Did Their Job


Don Troiani Print

The 124th New York Volunteers at Houck’s Ridge,
Gettysburg, 1863

On the afternoon of July 2, 1863 a titanic struggle took place at Gettysburg between Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s First Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General James Longstreet, and elements of ultimately five Corps of the Federal army, led by Major General George Gordon Meade. The final defeat of General Longstreet’s attack was due as much to the skill and heroic sacrifice of tens of thousands of Federal soldiers as it was to any great feats of generalship on the part of the Federal officers. The 124th New York State Volunteers were one regiment that contributed to the defeat of the Confederate attack. Their story, and the story of the fighting that occurred at Devil’s Den on that hot afternoon, illustrates the fine fighting qualities of the Federal Army of the Potomac which were a primary cause of the ultimate Federal victory at Gettysburg.

Major General George Gordon Meade, commander of the Federal forces at Gettysburg, had hard choices to make on the evening of July 1, 1863, regarding the dispositions of his forces for the next day’s battle. He had present on the battlefield three of his seven corps, the I, XI and XII Corps. Yet of these three, two, the I and the XI, had been shattered by the first day’s fighting while the XII Corps was the smallest Corps in the Army, numbering little less than 9,000 men. Meade was expecting two other corps shortly, the II and the III Corps, while his remaining two corps, the V and the VI, should be up in the morning and afternoon of the next day. It seemed obvious to Meade, from information gained during that day’s fighting, that the Confederates were concentrated in front of him, while his own army was scattered and still coming onto the field. And the Confederates had the initiative, having driven the Federal troops from the field on the 1st of July.

Nevertheless, the Federal army was formed in an excellent defensive position. This position has come to be known as “the Fish Hook”, starting at Culp’s Hill on the Federal right, curving west and then south around Cemetery Hill in the center, and then continuing south to Little and Big Round Top on the southern part of the line, the Federal Left. Big Round Top was unsuitable for defense, due to its height and heavy tree cover, but Little Round Top was an excellent defensive position, and should serve to anchor the left of Meade’s line.

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