This series explores the stories behind historic sites, artifacts and tall tales told in cities across the country, with the help of an inquisitive team of fact-finders with an uncanny talent for uncovering the truth.
History Detectives Previous Broadcasts
Lee's Last Orders, Natchez House, Napoleonic Sword (Episode #105Z)
KQED World: Fri, Jun 29, 2012 -- 6:00 AM
* Lee's Last Orders - Beech Island, South Carolina--In the archives of a gentleman's club in this rural town is what is believed to be a signed copy of one of the most famous documents in the history of the Civil War - Confederate General Robert E. Lee's farewell address, " General Order #9," composed at Appomattox, Virginia, upon the surrender of his troops in April 1865. The Beech Island Agricultural Club, a social organization formed by local plantation owners in the 1840s, has owned this copy for almost 120 years. Now, Milledge Murray, the group's membership chair and a descendant of one of the club's founders, has asked History Detectives to find out if local lore is true - is this really the "original" copy of "General Order #9?"
* Natchez House - Natchez, Mississippi-- On the "Spanish Esplanade" overlooking the Mississippi River, there is a magnificent home that for years was believed to be the original home of one of the Spanish dons who colonized the area. Recently, this story was discovered to be a myth. The original owner was actually a free man of color named Robert D. Smith, who built it himself in 1851, 14 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. The new homeowners, Ruth and Jim Coy, have been actively pursuing the history of Robert Smith and they have a question. According to a recently discovered record, Smith arrived in New Orleans on a slave ship. How did Robert Smith go from traveling on a ship full of captive individuals destined for servitude to owning a luxurious home? The Detectives trace the rise of this unique individual.
* Napoleonic Sword - St. Martinville, Louisiana--A magnificent sword that has been handed down for generations in a St. Martinville family has a mystery around it. The sword belonged to their great-great- grandfather, who was a doctor/soldier in Napoleon's battle for Austria in Wagram. Family lore has it that Napoleon was injured and their great-great grandfather treated his wound. He was rewarded with this sword. Is this really the sword of Napoleon?
- KQED World: Fri, Jun 29, 2012 -- 9:00 AM
Portrait of George Washington, Patty Cannon, Trumpet (Episode #104Z)
KQED World: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 -- 6:00 AM
* Portrait of George Washington - Washington, DC--Could a portrait passed down through a Washington, DC, family for generations actually be an authentic portrait of the nation's first president, George Washington? That is the charge for the Detectives in this fascinating episode. The investigators attempt to prove whether or not the famed artist Gilbert Stuart, whose resume includes the portrait of Washington that appears on today's dollar bills, was the artist behind the painting in question. Might this painting prove to be a national treasure?
* Patty Cannon - Frederick, Maryland-- Could a Maryland family's home once have been the headquarters for the slave trade of Patty Cannon, coined "the most wicked woman in America? " Legend has it that she was a villainous woman who stole slaves and kidnapped free African- Americans to sell them back to plantation owners. Now the Detectives team investigates to see if they can prove once and for all that this is in fact the former home of Patty Cannon. Will they be able to draw long-sought- after conclusions or will the mystery remain?
* Trumpet - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--Is a Philadelphia man's trumpet, which he bought at a local auction, somehow tied to the Revolutionary War? That is the mystery the Detectives solve this time around. Inscribed with the name "Captain Lewis," the trumpet appears to have been used by the aforementioned captain during the battles that won America's independence from England. Will the trumpet prove to be a valuable piece of American history?
- KQED World: Fri, Jun 22, 2012 -- 9:00 AM
Charles W. Morgan Whaling Ship, Witch's House, Jigsaw Puzzle (Episode #103Z)
KQED World: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 -- 6:00 AM
* Morgan Whaling Ship - Might a whaling ship docked in Mystic, Connecticut, hold secrets to the Underground Railroad? That is the basis for the Detectives' investigation in this episode. The team speaks with the grandson of the last captain of the ship, known as The Morgan, in an effort to shed some light on the role of these kinds of ships during that period. Does The Morgan prove to be an integral part of the Underground Railroad?
* Witch's House - Could a house in Essex County, Massachusetts, have once belonged to an accused witch? The Detectives head to New England to research the likelihood with local historians and a descendant of the accused witch, Martha Carrier, who was executed by hanging in 1692 during the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Might the woman who was called the Queen of Hell have owned this home?
* 1909 Jigsaw Puzzle - Were women playing contact sports in the late part of the 19th century? That is the question asked by Bob and Hildegard Armstrong of Worcester, Massachusetts. A quirky jigsaw puzzle depicting women in the midst of a game of rugby or football has led to a History Detectives investigation, which begins with a visit to a jigsaw puzzle expert and continues with a sports historian, a magazine expert and finally to the Society for the Preservation of New England's Antiquities. Will the Armstrongs be able to put the pieces together once and for all?
- KQED World: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:00 AM
Bonnie & Clyde, Al Ringling Theater, Sears Home (Episode #102Z)
KQED World: Fri, Jun 8, 2012 -- 6:00 AM
* Bonnie & Clyde - Brodhead, Wisconsin--Could bullets owned by a woman in a small Wisconsin town be responsible for the demise of the notorious Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow? The Detectives travel to key cities throughout the country in an attempt to link the bullets to the murderous twosome. Along the way, they chat with various experts and run extensive ballistics tests. Are these really the bullets that ended one of the most infamous crime-sprees in American history?
* Al Ringling Theater - Baraboo, Wisconsin--Is it possible that a theater in the small town of Baraboo, Wisconsin, could have been the country's first great movie palace? The exquisite theater, which was designed in 1915 by Chicago architects C.W. and George Rapp, is a masterpiece designed in the style of the great French opera houses. The Detectives enlist the help of the Theatre Historical Society of America to solve the mystery of this grand edifice. Why was such an ornate theater erected in such an obscure location, and how has it stayed relevant throughout the years?
* Sears Home - Akron, Ohio--Might an Ohio couple's residence be a long- forgotten Sears home? The Detectives head to Akron, Ohio, to investigate whether or not Sears & Roebuck could have built the home in question at a time when communities were springing up almost overnight during the industrial boom. Does this couple live in a relic from years gone by?
- KQED World: Fri, Jun 8, 2012 -- 9:00 AM
Fire Station, Face Artifact, Pop Lloyd's Baseball (Episode #101Z)
KQED World: Fri, Jun 1, 2012 -- 6:00 AM
* Fire Station - Morristown, New Jersey--Did President Ulysses S. Grant stop by a Morristown, New Jersey, firehouse on the Centennial of America? The Detectives are on the case to determine if and why such a visit might have occurred. By scouring old records and speaking to various experts, they hope to uncover the truth. Is the signature in the logbook authentic and if so, why was the Commander- in-Chief in town on such a historic date?
* Face Artifact - Mantoloking, New Jersey--Is it possible that a rock found along the beaches of the Jersey Shore could be an artifact left behind by Native Americans? The Detectives head to the home of Mrs. Betsy Colie, the woman who stumbled upon the treasure, in an attempt to unlock the secrets held inside this stone with an etched face. Is it really a link to an ancient civilization or just another pebble in the sand?
* Pop Lloyd's Baseball Field - Atlantic City, New Jersey-- Why was a baseball field in Atlantic City, New Jersey, named after an African- American ballplayer in a time of intense racial tension? The Detectives go to the park to unearth the explanation. John Henry "Pop" Lloyd was one of the greatest athletes of his time. A famed shortstop in the Negro Leagues throughout the first three decades of the 20th century, Pop was honored with a field in his name in 1949. What was the reasoning that led to this unlikely honor in a time of blatant prejudice and racial division?
- KQED World: Fri, Jun 1, 2012 -- 9:00 AM