From Real-Life Rapunzels to Indian Givers, this week’s roundup of news stories has something for everyone. I hope you find them as interesting and informative as I do.
We start off with a story about real-life Rapunzels. The seven Sutherland sisters, Sarah, Victoria, Isabella, Grace, Naomi, Mary, and Dora each had long, flowing, locks: emphasis on the long. Collectively their hair measured 37 feet. The Cambria, New York, septet (born in the 1850s and 60s) were pushed into show business by their minister father to get the family out of destitute circumstances. Read more in The Real-Life Rapunzels, How Seven Sisters with Tresses Measuring 37Feet Between Them Tantalized Their Audiences to Make Their Fortune . . . And Patented a ‘Miracle’ Hair Tonic.
Imagine taking your daily constitutional by the water, and one day you come across a glass bottle in a sand dune with a letter inside of it. Sounds like something out of a movie, right? Well it actually happened to Steve Thurber on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Through the glass he was able to read the envelope, which said that it was thrown into the ocean from the steamer Rainier in 1906. What does the message inside the bottle say? Read about Steve’s incredible will power in Message in a Bottle Found 107 Years Later on Vancouver Island Beach.
It is the kind of story that comes straight out of a 1940s film. A wealthy heiress with no close family dies at a very old age. She originally leaves her estate to distant family members, then changes her mind to create a foundation. The family, of course contests the will – even though no one has talked to her in decades. This is the real-life story of Huguette Clark, daughter of a copper magnate and United States Senator. Her only sister died at the age of 16. All of the “heirs” (whom she intentionally disinherited in the second will) are descendants of her half-siblings, from her father’s first marriage. With hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, the battle is now in the courts, with testimony certain to be filled with salacious details. Read more in The Two Wills of Huguette Clark.
In 1974, a small gravestone was found by a construction worker during the building of the Genessee Country Mall in 1974. It was turned over to the police and eventually was put into storage. Retired police chief Mark Robinson took it with him when he left. After taking a genealogy course at the local library, he started looking for the story of the 9-year-old girl whose stone it was. And what a story he found. Find out more in Tombstone’s Origin a Cold Case Mystery That’s Finally Solved.
We end this week with a story from National Public Radio (NPR) news. The schoolyard argument over being an “Indian giver” is used to describe people who take their gifts back or expect something in return. But how long has this offensive saying been around? And where did it come from? Find out more in The History Behind the Phrase ‘Don’t Be an Indian Giver.’