Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in 1819, a deed that meant so much to him that he had it carved on his tombstone when he died. No mention of his having been President, or of sending Lewis and Clark westward, or of doubling the size of our fledgling nation with his “Louisiana Purchase.” Only this:
Here was buried
Author of the Declaration of American Independence
of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom
& Father of the University of Virginia
Memphis, Tennessee was founded in 1819 by James Winchester and his even more famous friend, Andrew Jackson, who, to defend the honor of his bride, took a bullet in the chest from a famous duelist, then carefully aimed his pistol and planted a bullet in that man’s heart.
And then we elected him President.
The third founder of Memphis, Tennessee in 1819 was John Overton, the brother of Thomas Overton who served as Jackson’s second in that duel.
Meanwhile, in 1819 England, John Keats wrote a letter to his brother and sister.
“The greater part of Men make their way with the same instinctiveness, the same unwandering eye from their purposes, the same animal eagerness as the Hawk. The Hawk wants a Mate, so does the Man – look at them both they set about it and procure one in the same manner. They want both a nest and they both set about one in the same manner – The noble animal Man for his amusement smokes his pipe – the Hawk balances about the Clouds – that is the only difference of their leisures. This it is that makes the Amusement of Life – to a speculative Mind. I go among the Fields and catch a glimpse of a Stoat or a fieldmouse peeping out of the withered grass – the creature hath a purpose and its eyes are bright with it. I go amongst the buildings of a city and I see a Man hurrying along – to what?”
“This is the world – thus we cannot expect to give away many hours to pleasure – circumstances are like Clouds continually gathering and bursting – While we are laughing the seed of some trouble is put into the wide arable land of events – while we are laughing it sprouts it grows and suddenly bears a poison fruit which we must pluck….”
Two years later, John Keats contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 25. Keats is remembered today as one of the greatest poets of the English language.
And those are just a few of the things that happened in 1819, exactly one hundred years before Covid-19 swept 7 million lives off the earth.
Oh, and Denis Johnson invented the kick scooter.
Roy H. Williams