Story of soldier who died in hollow oak haunts reader | The Col...

It seems to me that Halloween is as good a time as any to relate a story that a tipster just passed on to me. Full Story
Carl Whitehall

AOL

#1 Oct 11, 2009
For an oak tree to be large enough for a man to climb into it and drop down into a hollow it must have allready been 90 to 100 years old.
And if there was a hollow in the tree far up enough for a man to have to climb up to it , the tree must have been very rotten.
For it to last an additional 82 years ( meaning the oak was approximatly 180 years old), is very doubtful.
Probably just an early American example of an urban legend.
Good story though, thanks !
Happy HOLLOWeen !!!!!
James L Murphy

Grove City, OH

#2 Oct 11, 2009
Carl Whitehall has used common sense to dismiss John Switzer’s tale of Roger Vanderburg’s tragic death as the “pre-urban legend” it is. No Captain Roger Vanderburg ever existed, the story is a 19th C. example of plagiarism, and columnist Switzer has swallowed a fantastical fiction made out of whole cloth. In addition to common sense, a little research would also have sufficed to dismiss the story out of hand.
The origin of the tale goes back to a fictional story (“Lost Sir Massingberd”) written by James Payn (1830-1898) and first published in Chamber’s Journal, a Scottish literary magazine, in 1864. Some years later the story immigrated to the United States and was embellished by a J. F. Clark, in a letter to the Piqua Miami County Democrat newspaper. As Payn relates in his autobiography,“Some Literary Recollections,” published in 1884, this plagiarized version was reprinted in the Philadelphia Ledger. Although clearly amused, Payn cared enough to quote the entire letter in his autobiography.
To underscore the lack of evidence, no Roger Vanderburg(h) served in the American Revolution as Captain or at any other rank, nor is he mentioned anywhere in George Washington’s papers.
It just underscores the old adage,“Don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers”—at least not in the Piqua Miami County Democrat, the Philadelphia Ledger, or the Columbus Dispatch.
Bill Sampson

Columbus, OH

#3 Oct 11, 2009
HOW DARE YOU CARL WHITEHALL?!!?!?!?!! This is a story about a soldier. We are supposed to respect and admire all soldiers!!!!

Carl Whitehall, why do you hate America?
Thinker

Columbus, OH

#4 Oct 11, 2009
facinating story.
Loki

Hilliard, OH

#6 Oct 11, 2009
Bill Sampson wrote:
HOW DARE YOU CARL WHITEHALL?!!?!?!?!! This is a story about a soldier. We are supposed to respect and admire all soldiers!!!!
Carl Whitehall, why do you hate America?
It is NOT a story about a soldier. It is an urban legend about a soldier. It could as easily been a rancher or a frontiersman, but a soldier might make more sense. I don't think anyone really got Switzer's point, it is an oddly spooky story appropriate for Halloween.

And as for showing disrespect for soldiers, during my military career I have seen soldiers die or go missing under far more unusual conditions than this. There was no disrepect at all in their messages.
pjqdc1

Arlington, VA

#9 Oct 24, 2009
History tells us that the US government did not provide proper support to St. Clair or his troops prior to this battle -- this wasn't St. Clair's defeat -- it was an American defeat. I'd be interested to see the journal entries from Vanderburg. Hope they are located and put on display.

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