Cheryll's Writing Journal

Musings, rants and ravings, plus gems of insight nobody wants to hear now that I've finally got them. Also neat stuff I found on the 'Net when I should have been updating this blog....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Did You know...

...that a woman opened the new age of communication in 1844?

Me, either. Seems that Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, and his good friend, Henry L. Ellsworth (son of Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth) had been trying since 1838 to get a $30,000 grant from congress to finance a trial telegraph line between Washington DC and Baltimore .

The bill eventually passed but not until the last five minutes of the 1843-44 session. Talk about a cliff hanger! Guess they didn't have money to invest in a good lobbyist...

Henry's seventeen year old daughter, Annie Ellsworth Smith, carried the news to Professor Morse the next morning, and he promised that she would send the first message. Imagine her dilemma! Her mother suggested the words from the Psalm, "What hath God wrought?" and history was made on May 23rd, in 1844.

"What hath God wrought? Well, he wrought a 1844!"*

* from the parody, 1844, by Chris Ruhe (? Can't find my copy of the words from 1967 or thereabouts. Anybody?)

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