Edited by Allan Mornement and Beau Riffenburgh
For a century, little has been known about Belgrave Edward Sutton Ninnis other than that he was a member of Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), who was tragically lost down a crevasse with the best dogs and most of the food, while he, Mawson, and Xavier Mertz were more than 300 miles from their quarters at Commonwealth Bay. This led to Mawson’s remarkable journey back to base – much of it solo after Mertz died as well.
Now, for the first time, Ninnis’ diary – which covers his years in the Royal Fusiliers, his determined efforts to join expeditions led by Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, and his participation in the AAE – provides details of the young officer’s life, hopes, and passions. It also gives important insights into Shackleton, Mawson, other members of the AAE, and life in the Antarctic at the windiest place on Earth. Through it is revealed how a rather self-centred youngster matured under the influence of Mertz – a Swiss ski champion – Mawson, and other members of the expedition into a popular young man with great promise, only to have his bright future tragically and suddenly terminated.
Wednesday, May 1st
An unprecedented May Day, for, whilst at home they will have been revelling in the approach of summer, with the Annual Cart Horse Parade of gaily chaparisoned beasts to day, the bluebells, lilac and may coming out, on the eve of the opening of cricket and tennis seasons, and the hundred and one odd signs of summer, we here, 67º South, have been facing one of our worst days. For twenty four hours the hurricane has averaged 73 miles an hour, whilst for many hours it has been blowing at over 86 miles an hour, with a temperature of from 44 to 48 degrees of frost. It is impossible to convey any impression of the weather we are daily experiencing. Some of the gusts to-day we[re] terrific, and caused the hut to crack and groan as if a rock had suddenly struck the roof.
The drift was thick, and minor face frost-bites many.
I was slushy to Close to-day, and had an amusing time; he is so fearfully fussy, and in a constant state of panic over the next meal. ‘Dux Ipse’ frequently came to the rescue and their altercations over bread making we[re] highly diverting. Once again ‘D.I’ showed Close the method of light kneading of the Self-Rising flour, and again, as always, old Close punched and pummelled the offending dough as if he had been at a boxing match. At length Mawson lost all patience and exclaimed ‘You’ll never learn, Close’. ‘But, Doctor,’ said J.C. ‘I do not properly comprehend the manner of manipulation’, interlacing his speech with the usual lengthy words. This sort of thing went on all day. …
After tea, we rigged up a tin of calcium carbide and water at the head of Close’s bunk. After a while the lid, of course blew out, and simultaneously we extinguished the acetylene burners, with exclamations of alarm, whilst Correll rushed up the ladder to the generator with every appearance of consternation. Old Close for the moment expected we would be blown sky high, whilst we, in the dark, could hardly choke down our laughter.
In October 1873, Allan Pinkerton, the head of the legendary detective agency that carried his name, picked an unknown, twenty-nine-year-old operative named James McParland to infiltrate the Molly Maguires, a mysterious Irish-American organization responsible for sabotage and at least sixteen murders in the anthracite coalfields of Pennsylvania. Dressed as a tramp and posing as a fugitive from a murder charge, McParland set out for the Molly Maguires’ home territory in Schuylkill County, knowing he faced certain death if he were discovered to be a Pinkerton’s agent. For almost two years, McParland worked undercover, eventually being drawn into the Molly Maguires’ inner circle before bringing them to justice by testifying in a series of nineteen trials. But that was only the beginning of a career that earned him international fame.
Pinkerton’s Great Detective investigates McParland’s most challenging cases: from his infiltration of the Molly Maguires, to his hunt for the notorious Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, to his controversial abduction of the leaders of the Western Federation of Miners to bring them to trial for the assassination of Idaho’s former governor – a case that saw McParland match wits with the great lawyer Clarence Darrow, both in and out of court.
So thrilling were McParland’s cases that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle invented a meeting between him and Sherlock Holmes. He was referred to by those seeking his services, by newspapers around the country reporting his cases, and even by criminals as “The Great Detective.” Filled with the outlaws, undercover agents, detectives, and lawmen who populated the Old West, Pinkerton’s Great Detective shines a light upon the celebrated secretive agency and its premier sleuth.
Appendix A. Molly Maguire Murders
Appendix B. Molly Maguire Trials
Notes and References
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McKenna knew his life could end at any moment. Each day that passed pieces of the puzzle were being put together, and soon the inevitable conclusion would be reached by the “bodymasters” – and they knew all too well how to eliminate problems. He realized that his every move was being watched, his actions scrutinized, and that he might soon be given the “black spot,” marking him for murder.
No one understood better than the rough brawler known throughout the less salubrious parts of Schuylkill County as Jim McKenna how easy it was to kill a man. His life could be snuffed out at home in the dead of night, or in the street on a dark evening, or even in a crowded, well-lit place that had seemed secure until it was too late. McKenna would not go easily – he was well armed and could hold his own with a pistol, knife, lead pipe, or his fists – but he could feel Death looking over his shoulder.
The premonition had started a week or so before, in mid-February 1876, when Mary Ann Higgins, whom he was courting, told him about the rumor that he was an informer – accused of being behind the arrests of several men from the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), an Irish fraternal society with a large local membership. McKenna was convinced that the AOH was actually more than that. He believed it was essentially the same as the Molly Maguires, a shadowy and brutal Irish American brotherhood responsible for sabotage, beatings, and at least sixteen murders – some said more than fifty – in the Pennsylvania coalfields.
But it was not the notion of killing and violence that aroused Mary Ann’s disgust; it was the thought that McKenna might be a spy. For in a region heavily populated by immigrants from the turbulent northern counties of Ireland, few were detested more than informers. And few could expect shorter life spans.
McKenna’s friend Frank McAndrew and the friendly Pottsville saloon keeper Danny Hughes soon added to his worries. Each indicated that John Kehoe, a handsome, charismatic, steely-eyed Irishman who ran a tavern in Girardville and was the Schuylkill County delegate of the AOH, had sent a warning for “every one to beware of me [McKenna]; that I was a detective; that such was the report, and that he, John Kehoe, had it from responsible sources.”
Outwardly incensed that after two years as an officer of the AOH he should be accused, McKenna went to Kehoe to protest his innocence, and to demand an opportunity to prove his case. Kehoe agreed to set a “trial” for early March, near McKenna’s lodgings in Shenandoah, a grimy little mining town in the anthracite coal region about twelve miles north of Pottsville, the Schuylkill County seat. In fact, so convincing had McKenna’s protests been that he was allowed to spend the night in Kehoe’s house. But in the ensuing days, away from his smooth talking, Kehoe’s suspicions returned.
Kehoe saw McKenna in Pottsville on the day before the scheduled trial and urged him to accompany him on the train back to Shenandoah that evening. McKenna agreed, but when he boarded it, there was no trace of Kehoe. Mrs Kehoe was there, but she said that her husband had left in the afternoon.
“The suspicion struck me, then, just at that time, that all was not right,” McKenna later testified. “I began to see then where I stood.”
Concerned that trouble might be waiting at the little crossing where he usually jumped off because it was close to his boardinghouse, McKenna stayed on the train. He was glad he had when he saw several suspicious figures in the shadows around the usually deserted track.
After disembarking at the main station, he made his way toward McAndrew’s house through dark streets encrusted with oft-thawed and refrozen mud and snow. He exchanged greetings with a few friends and was alarmed when one pointedly ignored him. When he popped into a tavern, another offered him a drink, but the man’s hands shook so violently that he could barely pull the stopper from the bottle. McKenna wryly asked if he had the ague, although he knew the man was simply terrified to be with him.
A fellow named Edward Sweeney fell into step with him after he left the tavern, and McKenna innately sensed danger: “I got him to walk in front of me. I said my eyes were bad, and I could not see; that the pavements had holes in them … I got him ahead of me, and I made up my mind to keep him there.”
At McAndrew’s house, McKenna was unable to prise any information from his friend, so he waited until several others who were there left, and then, listening intently for sounds of pursuit, slipped out again. He ignored the direct route to his boardinghouse and crept through the edges of a swamp to avoid an ambush. Once inside his tiny bedroom he laid out his weapons and sat awake through the long, freezing night, keeping anxious watch between the tattered curtains into the moonlight for the men he was certain planned to kill him.
Early the next morning, his hand tucked inside his old brown coat gripping the cold butt of a .36 caliber Colt Navy revolver, McKenna entered a smoky Shenandoah saloon with McAndrew. “My God, man, don’t you know why you’ve been summoned here?” an acquaintance blurted before hurrying away.
McKenna did know. Only a couple of bodymasters – the heads of the AOH lodges – had arrived, and it was obvious that judgment had already been passed: There would be no hearing. McAndrew, the only person now willing to be seen with him, suggested they go for a ride in a “cutter,” a lightweight, open sleigh. Following them in another cutter were two AOH men. Once they were racing across the deep snow, McAndrew informed McKenna that one of them had been charged to kill him. “Have you got your pistols?” he asked.
McKenna answered in the affirmative, and McAndrew continued, “So have I, and I will lose my life for you. I do not know whether you are a detective or not, but I do not know anything against you. I always knew you were doing right, and I will stand by you. Why don’t they try you fair?” McAndrew then informed McKenna that he had saved his life the night before.
“He told me that John Kehoe had came to Shenandoah upon the afternoon previous, and that he had assembled … all the Mollies who were in town,” McKenna stated, “and that he told him, McAndrew, for God’s sake to have me killed that night or I would hang half the people in Schuylkill County; and McAndrew said that he consented, and Kehoe and the men were satisfied, and they assembled just a little below the depot, twelve or fourteen of them.”
But the men had been flummoxed when McKenna failed to alight at his usual location. They had been armed with iron bars, axes, and tomahawks, because shooting him would make too much noise and bring the police. “If you had stepped off the train, at that place, you would surely have been killed, cast into a wagon, which was in waiting for the purpose, and then tossed down a deserted shaft.”
Frightened himself, McAndrew paused to calm his voice. “You were in queer company then, and you will find you are in queer company now,” he said. “What will you do?”
“I do not give a cent,” spat McKenna, furious and indignant. “I am going down to Kehoe’s.”
It was four miles from Shenandoah to the rough-and-tumble borough of Girardville, where Kehoe ran the Hibernian House. Six feet two inches tall in his stocking feet, with “jet black, curly hair, bushy eyebrows, and bright blue, piercing eyes,” Kehoe was an intimidating figure. As well as being a publican, he also served as the town’s high constable. But McKenna was satisfied that Kehoe was something more – he was also the kingpin of the Molly Maguires.
McKenna knew that entering Hibernian House was akin to walking into a lion’s den, but he felt that he had no choice but to brazen out the situation – because, despite all his denials, he actually was an undercover detective.
Explore Britain’s Castles
Elizabeth Cruwys and Beau Riffenburgh
Britain’s turbulent heritage of castle-building through the ages is uniquely rich and absorbing, and has left the country with a magnificent legacy of castles. Their picturesque ruins – which can be found over the length and breadth of the land – provide important clues to the past. Built to intimidate and designed for defence, most now stand empty and many are in ruins. Yet they continue to hold their aura of power and mystery, and each has its own tale to tell. Explore Britain’s Castles takes a closer look at castles all around the country, and traces their history through the centuries, including special features on the great castle-builders. More than 115 castles are included and illustrated, from the mighty fortress of Dover to the picturesque moated ruin of Caerlaverock. Edward I’s famous castles at Caernarfon and Harlech are covered, as well as more humble landmarks such as the island tower of Castle Stalker and the legendary stones of Tintagel.
Cathedrals of the World
Elizabeth Cruwys and Beau Riffenburgh
Although the greatest building man can design will eventually crumble and fall, that did not deter cathedral-builders, who strove to create structures of such immense height and splendour that they would point human beings to heaven itself. This is a glorious journey to more than 80 of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals, ranging from the great and famous centres of worship, such as St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and Notre Dame in Paris, to others less well-known but no less fascinating – the exciting new cathedrals of San Francisco and Manila with their adventurous architecture, or the tiny ‘Little Metropole’ in Athens, possibly the smallest cathedral in the world.
Cathedral builders have always believed that the highest purpose demands the finest skills in art and architecture, and they displayed remarkable ingenuity in devising means to support the massive weight of the soaring stonework. The superb full-colour illustrations in Cathedrals of the World convey the astonishing visual impact of this architecture and art, including the clustered pillars, the richly coloured stained glass and painted ceilings, with dramatic external views showing the cathedrals in their settings. Included are the fascinating stories of the people whose lives have been bound up with the building of the cathedrals down the ages, – perhaps the motive of ‘Earthly glory’ played a part in the making of these buildings, but the overwhelming sense is of the joy of the builders in their work, done to the best of their ability for the greater glory of God.
Great Ones: NFL Quarterbacks From Baugh to Montana
Beau Riffenburgh and David Boss
Professional football is, as much as any athletic endeavour, a team sport. Yet one solitary playing figure stands out – often as the hero, just as often the scapegoat. He is the quarterback. In Great Ones, the memorable men who have played NFL football’s most celebrated position are presented in classic word and photographic portraits. All of the great arms and minds from the NFL’s history are here: the ground-breaking athleticism of Sammy Baugh and Bob Waterfield, the unparalleled passing ability of Sonny Jurgensen and Dan Marino, the fiery competitiveness of Norm Van Brocklin and John Elway, the rebellious charisma of Bobby Layne and Joe Namath, and the brilliant craftsmanship of Otto Graham, Johnny Unitas, and Joe Montana. Quarterbacks of disparate eras, sizes, styles, even abilities, all are brought together in a book that includes the obscure as well as the obvious.
This is not simply the tale of individual characters, however. Quarterback controversies, the evolution of the position, college football hot beds, famous quarterback trades, and numerous other aspects of the position all receive attention. Which quarterback would you want on your side for one big game? For a season? How about one crucial drive? All the candidates are here, depicted not only in print, but in hundreds of archival photographs, all submitted for your passing fancy.
The Official NFL Encyclopedia
From its inception, The Official NFL Encyclopedia has been regarded as the ultimate sourcebook for information on the history of pro football. The 542-page, oversized volume has been the indispensible book for every observer, student, chronicler, and lover of pro football. In one volume it includes:
- A year-by-year history of the NFL, including a review of the stars, the games, and the on- and off-the-field evolution of the league.
- A history of the teams, including those now extinct, with complete data on owners, players, coaches, and record-holders.
- The NFL’s ‘second season’: an account, including individual and team statistics, of every playoff game ever played in the NFL, with game summaries of all Super Bowls, championship games, divisional playoff games, wild card games, Pro Bowls, and Chicago College All-Star Games.
- The first-ever all-time roster of all players from the National Football League, the American Football League, and the All-America Football Conference.
- The first compilation of every player ever selected in the NFL, AFL, and AAFC drafts.
- The all-time alphabetical roster of coaches with their career records, compiled for the first time.
Note: All this material was later incorporated as the major part of the Encyclopedia’s successor, Total Football.
From sticks and stones to satellite technology, cartography has travelled almost as far as man has in order to develop the maps we know and use today. The Men Who Mapped the World tells the story of the philosophers, travellers, artists, and scientists who brought together their skills and knowledge to produce some of the most intriguing documents in our history. Lavishly illustrated with charts and plans compiled from the information brought back from expeditions led by such notable figures as Sebastian Cabot, James Cook, Lewis and Clark, and David Livingstone, the book not only tells stories of some of the unsung heroes of exploration history but also examines how we have moved from Prehistoric hidden maps in cave paintings to NASA Landsat maps in the twenty-first century. With stunning examples of early Roman stone maps, the stylised formations of medieval charts, hand-coloured scientific projections of the eighteenth century, and the fine detail of Ordnance Survey maps in the nineteenth, it is possible to see how maps have played a part in everything from claiming new territories to winning wars and establishing transport and communication networks. Included are more than 300 illustrations and 15 removable facsimile maps of historic importance.
Co-editions of this book available on Amazon include:
La grande aventure de la cartographie [French]
On 10 April 1912, Titanic began her first and final voyage. For more than 1500 people this would be the last time they would ever see land. Published to coincide with this centenary, Titanic Remembered tells the complete history of this magnificent ship, from its conception as the most luxurious vessel in seafaring history, to the tragedy of its sinking and its enduring legacy. Included throughout are extracts from first-hand accounts of those who designed, built, and sailed on Titanic, as well as those who lost their lives when she sank. This luxury commemorative edition comes in a presentation case with a DVD featuring footage of this unsinkable ship and authentic accounts from Titanic survivors as well as 40 beautifully reproduced facsimiles of Titanic memorabilia, including:
- Fold-out original blueprints
- A rare first-class ticket for the maiden voyage of Titanic
- Letters and postcards sent from the ship
- The landing card issued to survivor Edwina Trout on her arrival in New York aboard Carpathia
- A sketch of the sinking drawn by one of the survivors
- A handwritten letter by Stanley Lord, captain of Californian, defending himself against criticisms from the British inquiry into the disaster
- The official registration of Titanic as a shipwreck
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth, explorers from around the world navigated the Northwest and Northeast Passages, attained the North and South Poles, crossed the Arctic Basin, and flew airships and airplanes in the Arctic and Antarctic, conquering nature’s last closely guarded bastions. Through beautifully recreated facsimile items, Polar Exploration narrates the famous stories of Ernest Shackleton, Robert Falcon Scott and Captain Oates, Roald Amundsen, Robert E. Peary, and those less well-known, to tell tales of bravery, sacrifice, triumph, poisonings, disappearances, false claims, near misses, and the first Antarctic wintering that drove men to madness. Included are more than 200 illustrations and many rare and newly researched removable facsimile documents of historic importance, such as:
- A plan of Fridtjof Nansen’s ship Fram
- An extract from Roald Amundsen’s diary for the day he reached the South Pole
- Robert Falcon Scott’s famous diary entry describing Captain Oates heading to his death
- Pages from Douglas Mawson’s diary relating the death of his colleague Xavier Mertz
Co-editions of this book available on Amazon include:
Explorations polaires [French]
Exploraciones polares [Spanish]
Hailed as ‘unsinkable’ and the ultimate in luxury, within five days of beginning her maiden voyage, Titanic had sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of more than 1500 lives. A century on, the fate of the tragic ship remains the worst disaster in seafaring history and still horrifies and enthrals. This book provides a unique and compelling insight into Titanic by charting her life from the initial concept and the excitement of the first voyage to the dramatic collision and sinking, culminating with recent investigations and salvage missions. Complete with more than 200 photographs and two stunning gatefolds, which take the reader from the glamorous ballrooms and restaurant down to the submerged grandeur of the wreck, this book is accompanied by a CD containing evocative first-hand accounts from survivors and readings performed by actors, and is the first work to contain 30 facsimile items of Titanic memorabilia, including:
- A magazine advertisement celebrating the magnificence of the new ship
- Original plans, blueprints, and a safety report for Titanic
- An ice warning issued by the US Navy on the night of the tragedy
- A ticket for the voyage and the clearance form allowing Titanic to leave Southampton for New York
- Written reports of distress calls sent from Titanic as she sank
Co-editions of this book available on Amazon include:
Toute l’histoire du Titanic [French]
Titanic, Historia y Secretos [Spanish]
Filled with names that have made, and changed, the course of history, Exploration Experience takes one on a voyage of discovery. From the time of Erik the Red through the journeys of Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, the Spanish conquistadores, as well as French and Portuguese pioneers, to the heroic attempts of such renowned explorers as David Livingstone, Roald Amundsen, and Robert Falcon Scott, this beautifully illustrated book travels around the world with explorers who have dedicated, and in some cases sacrificed, their lives to expand our knowledge of the globe. Included are a CD with 35 colour maps from the Royal Geographical Society and, in the text covering every section of the world, more than 200 illustrations and over 30 rare and newly researched removable facsimile documents of historic importance, such as:
- Ernest Shackleton’s hand-drawn map of his planned trip across Antarctica
- David Livingstone’s watercolour of the Victoria Falls
- John Hanning Speke’s sketchbook of African animals
- An extract from the Treaty of Tordesillas
- Alexander von Humboldt’s map of part of the Orinoco River.
Co-editions of this book available on Amazon include:
National Geographic Society Exploration Experience [US]
Die Entdeckung der Welt [German]
Les grandes Expéditions [French]
Wielkie odkrycia geograficzne [Polish]
Los Exploradores y Sus Descubrimientos [Spanish]
A Felfedezés Élménye [Hungarian]
Douglas Mawson is often considered the greatest figure in the history of Antarctic science. He participated in a dangerous but record-setting sledging journey on Ernest Shackleton’s first expedition, on which he and two companions became the first men to reach the vicinity of the South Magnetic Pole. He thereafter organised and led the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), consisting of three bases and, at that time, the most intensive scientific effort ever planned for the far south. On this expedition, Mawson, Belgrave Ninnis, and Xavier Mertz sledged more than 300 miles from their quarters at Commonwealth Bay, but first Ninnis’ death and then that of Mertz left Mawson alone to make a remarkable journey back, which has been described as ‘the greatest survival story in the history of exploration.’ Fifteen years after the end of the AAE, Mawson returned to the Antarctic in charge of the British, Australian, New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, which claimed the regions today recognized as the Australian Antarctic Territory.
Amazon.co.ukScott Polar Research Institute
Roald Amundsen was a giant in the history of exploration – the most successful of all polar explorers. He participated in the first wintering in the Antarctic, was the first man to navigate the Northwest Passage, became the first person to reach the South Pole, then was the first to attain the North Pole, and finally became the first to cross the Arctic Basin. He accomplished these tasks with a wide range of transport – using ships, dogs, aeroplanes, and even a dirigible. This booklet overviews the life, expeditions, and remarkable achievements of this most accomplished Norwegian explorer.
Amazon.co.ukScott Polar Research Institute
Terra Nova: Scott’s Last Expedition
Robert Falcon Scott’s British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition included some of the most famous events in polar history. Beaten to the South Pole by Roald Amundsen, the tragic deaths of Scott, Edward Wilson, ‘Birdie’ Bowers, L.E.G. Oates, and Edgar Evans on the return journey still resonate today. The Terra Nova Expedition was also one of the first great scientific efforts in the Antarctic; its Northern Party spent the harshest winter in the history of exploration; and the first long trek executed in mid-winter was so terrible that it became known as ‘the worst journey in the world.’ This booklet examines the context and events of that fateful expedition.
Amazon.co.ukScott Polar Research Institute
The Photographs of H.G. Ponting
Beau Riffenburgh and Elizabeth Cruwys
Herbert Ponting was one of the greatest camera artists of the early twentieth century. He is best known for his work in the Antarctic, where he portrayed in vivid detail the lives of the men who went south with Captain Scott. But Ponting was also a world traveller, and he produced classic photographs of the American West and the Russo-Japanese War. His particularly exquisite studies from Japan, China, and India allow a tantalising glimpse of cultures long since changed. This book is comprehensively illustrated and offers a fascinating account of the life and work of this incomparable artist.
With Scott to the Pole
Beau Riffenburgh, Elizabeth Cruwys, and H.J.P. Arnold
The triumph and tragedy of Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition of 1910–13 make a majestic and revealing tale of the British Empire in the early twentieth century that today continues to touch the hearts and stir the imaginations of those who hear the story. With Scott to the Pole celebrates the achievements of Captain Scott and all the members of his expedition, not only carefully detailing the story, but showing it in the photographs taken by Herbert Ponting. The camera artist’s meticulously executed and perfectly composed images capture the sublime landscape of Antarctica as well as the bravery and endurance exhibited by those on the exhibition. Ponting’s photographs include exceptionally finely crafted images of the rough sea journey, Terra Nova’s breaking through the pack ice, the setting up of the base camp and building of the hut at Cape Evans, exploratory scientific trips, day-to-day life at camp, the laying of the depots, and the final push to the Pole. It is a fitting tribute not only to Ponting’s monumental aesthetic vision, but also to a magnificent story of heroism at the extremes of survival.
Amazon.co.ukScott Polar Reseach InstituteAmazon.com