Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon

As I said I'm a storyteller. In fact publishers say my writing style is similar to Mark Twain's (Sameul Langhorne Clemens) art of storytelling 1835-1910. Because of this a few publishers won't publish my stories, but alas, other smart ones did and yes, I'm a published author of many fine historical stories. That's not in my own books, but in other published works. Twain though was the brilliant American writer famous for his action packed adventure books based upon his life upon the Mississippi River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Roughing It. James Michener who wrote Alaska and Hawaii immersed himself in the geography and cultures of the states. This shaped his destiny as a famous 20th century author and like a magnet he drew you into his world for adventure.

As a river boat pilot Twain immersed himself in the minute' details of making a living on the ole' Mississippi in the book Life on the Mississippi. The geography of river travel and the fact he was immersed willingly in his pursuits made him a powerful presence in the minds of his readers. Twain's storytelling was like a powerful magnet, too, drawing you into the story so that you could experience the thrill of discovery. He was fulfilling his own destiny and his storytelling made him a legend and one of the most widely read of all American authors.

I read his books as a child and with fellow friends tried to duplicate Huckleberry Finn's ride down the Mississippi. We used the Grand River above Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our raft crunched upon a boulder, splintered and sank within a quarter mile, but at least the adventure was short lived and we saved ourselves by knowing how to swim. Another hastily built raft sank on Dean Lake in Plainfield Township, a lake known for its aquatic mud sports, where the water is only three feet deep, the bottom ooze five feet deep. Those who live or play in water should be taught how to swim surface water so as not to sink or tread bottom mud. The muddy water tasted awful. That's experiencing real adventure and adventure that carried over into the cannon story.

Had we told our parents about our exploits they'd have grounded or tied us to trees with chains to save our lives so we'd reach adulthood. Our thought was "What parents don't know won't hurt them or their pride for raising dumb adventurous children?"

Through the writings of Twain we sought out the adventures of the Finn and Sawyer characters. No doubt Twain got many ideas for his famous books, because he penned dreams in his sleep, his pen, paper and lantern at arms reach near his headboard bedstand. Lots of work can be accomplished in dreams. Case in point is J.K. Rowlings books and videos on Harry Potter. She dreamed of Harry and spent sleepless nights rehashing scenes in her mind only to rise and write in the silence of her room. She immersed herself in her subject matter and shut out the present world. Search for Secrets of a Sunken Cannon may at times rival Harry Potter fame, but this story is real and we'll explore some things you might be squeamish about learning. You'll learn things nobody taught you in school. Simply reading without benefit of life experiences makes one life stupid. Not everything in life can be learned by reading.

Well, Bob Alcumbrack of Cannonsburg had such a wild dream he couldn't shrug it off and his enthusiasm for finding the lost Cannonsburg cannon sure infected the mind of this writer and his band of cannon hunting friends. Bob couldn't finish his dream until he uncovered 101 years of dirt and changed geographical landscapes. So here's what started Bob's search for the missing or lost Cannonsburg cannon.

A sad accident occrred on the fourth (1885) at Cannonsburg by which Walter Tompsett, a young man aged 26 years and brother of the Tompsett's, at Edgerton, lost his life. He in the company with others was engaged in firing the cannon during the celebration there, when it was prematurely discharged, striking young Tompsett in the leg, tearing it off at the knee so that it hung only by the skin. Physicians were summoned and used every effort to stop the flow of blood, but to no avail. He died between one and two o'clock Sunday morning (5th).

The italic story above was published in the Rockford Register on July 8, 1885. It describes the accidentaldeath of Tompsett. You got the picture - gruesome. This was Robert Alcumbrack's biggest clue to dispelling the criticisms by community skeptics that the cannon was a hoax. However, those who witnessed the accident swore themselves to secrecy about the cannon and never expunged to Bob any details. The town's silence formed the ultimate secret society.

No comments:

Post a Comment