Total Pageviews

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cold War Spy Activities

I just finished out another term of grad school. I am coming off of Cold War. Like every term, we have to write a paper at the end. For my capstone, I am leaning toward focusing on the use of Women and African Americans as spies in the American Wars. This terms paper was on Cold War Espionage. There is a story that I would like to tell you about, Aldrich Ames.
 One of the other well-known controversial cases that has been extensively written about is that of Aldrich Ames. “Aldrich Ames, a veteran CIA officer who betrayed scores of American agents to the Soviet Union, wanted fancy cars and a nice house and had no compunction about betraying anyone and anything to obtain them.”[1] One has to wonder why you would want to sell your country out. Ames worked in counter intelligence. Tod Hoffman in his article “The Mystery of Aldrich Ames” points out: “DRAWN to what will probably stand as the last great Cold War espionage case, journalists and intelligence watchers have scrambled to produce books about [Aldrich H. Ames], a CIA officer who spied on behalf of the KGB for nine years.”[2] (The KGB is Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti. This is a group was a military service to the Soviets.) Ames was convicted in 1994 – towards the end of the Cold War. Americans seemed to be watching with anticipation of the trial of an American who betrayed his own. Interestingly enough, his wife was also convicted of Spy activities. He got life in prison w/o the possibility of parole. His wife got 63 months. Ames was a counter espinoge intelligence agent. He had been assigned to try and recruit agents. However, the KGB was able to flip him. He betrayed scores of Americans. He had spied against America for over 9 years. He was one of the last trials after the end of the Cold War.

[1] Haynes, John Earl, and Harvey Klehr. Early Cold War Spies: The Espionage Trials That Shaped American Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Pg. 232
[2] Hoffman, Tod. "The Mystery of Aldrich Ames." Queen's Quarterly 103, no. 2, 384-97. DOI:Summer 1996.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz Book Review

Disclosure  I received an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review and post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

As a future military historian, I love reading Christian Historical Fiction. I was very excited to receive and review a book set after the American Revolution. "The Mistress of Tall Acre" by Laura Frantz is a perfect blend of history and romance. The book casts it's grips on you within the first 20 pages. This was the first novel that I have read by her, and I am left hoping for a sequel or a follow up. Her writing provides a glimpse into a story of two people trying to recover after the American Revolution. 
The book was one that took many twists and turns, kept my heart pounding and was one that I could not put down. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a good history and romance read. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Deborah Sampson Gannett - Woman revolutionary Soldier.

This term I am working on a paper looking at women’s roles in the French and American Revolution.  I have stumbled upon many great stories of heroines. For this week, I would like to tell the story of Deborah Sampson Gannett. Born on December 1, 1760 in Massachusetts, she was born into a life of poverty and indentured servitude. Her mother had sent her and her six siblings to various households. Once her servitude was over at the age of 18, she started teaching school.
On May 20, 1782 Sampson enlisted into the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army at Bellingham as a man named Robert Shurtleff. Other soldiers teased her about not having to shave. She performed her duties as well as the rest of them. Sampson was wounded in the leg during the battle near Tarrytown. She was able to perform self-care on her wound, and her true identity was kept a secret. However, she was placed in the hospital due to a fever and a doctor discovered the truth. She was able to discreetly make arrangements to become honorably discharged West Point on October 25, 1783 by General Henry Knox.
Deborah returned home met Benjamin Gannett, a farmer, and they married and had three children. She was awarded a pension nine years after her discharge in the amount of 34 pounds (approx. $53.04 in US dollars). This was awarded in one lump sum. Some of the later information has been questioned by historians, especially her service dates. Whatever dates it was, she was brave and fought for her country.

Works consulted:

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Presidential Spotlight: George Washington

George Washington
Birthdate: February 22, 1732 in Pope’s Creek, VA
Death: December 14, 1799 in Mount Vernon, VA

George Washington was the first to serve in our nation’s highest office. How much do you know about one of the first founding fathers? Here are some fun facts and tidbits you may not have known that are featured in the first Presidential Spotlight.

Washington was a huge dog lover. He had more than 30 dogs. A few of their names were: Drunkard, Tipler, Sweet Lips, Tarter and Tipsy. I am a huge dog lover. I own two German Shepherds. I do not know if I could own 30 at one time.

Washington liked to chow down on: peanut soup, mashed sweet potatoes with coconut, and string beans with mushrooms. These are very different menu items then what our presidents eat today.  

Washington did not have a middle name. His name is simply George Washington.

He married at age 26. Martha Dandridge Custis was a widow with two children when they were married. They do not have any children of their own. Some historians think that he may be infertile. His step-children, Jacky and Patsy died at young ages. Jacky died at age 27 due to camp fever. He had traveled to work as a civilian aide to his step-father. Pasty, died eight years earlier as a teenager after suffering from a seizure.

Washington also holds the highest rank in the US military. No one will ever outrank him. His official title is: General of the Armies of the United States.  He was also the only sitting president that went into battle. On September 19, 1794, George Washington led the militia on a march west over the Allegheny Mountains to the town of Bedford.

He inherited 10 slaves after his father’s death. Washington was just 11 years old. When he died, he owned more than 300 slaves.  

He did not wear a wig. His hair appeared white due to being powdered. You can see a picture of Washington’s Hair here:
There is a hair sample that is in possession at The State Museum in Pennsylvania.

George Washington stood at 6’2 and weighed about 174 pounds.

We owe a thank you to his mother, Mary Washington. George had wanted to join the Royal Navy when he was 14 years old. His mother, after talking to neighbors and others decided this was not a good move for him.

Mount Vernon was where parts of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets was filmed.” I visited Mount Vernon while it was being filmed. If you ever get a chance to visit Virginia, this is one place that is worth the stop. Mount Vernon is very unique when it comes to places to visit. 

Book Recommendation: 
  1. His Excellency: George Washington  - Book by Joseph J. Ellis
  2.  George Washington By:  James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn

Works Consulted:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Playyyyyyy Ball!!!!!

My husband, my 13 year old daughter, and I visited Texas in April. We originally went to see the Duck Commander 500. I also wanted to take in sites and see some tourist attractions. One of my favorite pastimes is BASEBALL!!!! I am a huge Cleveland Indians Fan. Win or lose, I will always be a Cleveland Sports fan. While we were there, we visited the George W. Bush Presidential Center. They were offering an exhibit that was based on America’s favorite past time. This exhibit is entitled: Baseball: America’s Presidents, America’s Pastime. Two of my favorite things – presidents and baseball. So, Thursday after a nightmare commute from the airport Wednesday night we were rested and ready to go. Off to Dallas we went. I have never visited a Presidential library before. I would love to see as many as I can. It was easy to find – and easy to access. If you are in Dallas, it is a cool place to visit. The baseball exhibit starts with a short video about different Presidents and throwing first pitches out. The one that gave me the chills is the pitch that George W. Bush threw out after September 11. It was nice to reflect on how America had come together and exhibited Patriotism. There are giant pictures of various President’s throwing the first pitch out. Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, Taft, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, and Ford threw the first pitch from the baseline in the Presidential box. Regan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush, and Obama all sent hurlers from the pitching mound. I do like seeing our President doing normal things. The exhibit also had jumbo size baseball cards that had the president’s picture on the front, and fun facts on the back. It was fun to walk through the past and see President’s enjoying a good ballgame. They even had a exhibit for the All American Girls Professional Baseball. I LOVE “A League of Their Own” and it was cool to see the pictures and items that became familiar thanks to the movie.  My husband was very excited to see George W. Bush sporting his favorite baseball team – Cincinnati Reds.

My favorite baseball player of all time is probably Jim Thome – who is yours?


Hi! I am Connie Tillman. I am a 30 something mother of 4 wonderful children. I am married and live in a suburb of Cleveland Ohio. I am a huge Cleveland Sports fanatic. I am starting this blog to reach out to those who may like history, may hate it, want to know more about it, etc. I am currently working on my Masters in Military History. I would like to teach college level when I am done. I am also working on two books. One is a Christian Historical Fiction book, based in the Civil War. The second is a book focusing on Warren G. Harding and the good that he did during his presidency. I hope to post book reviews, reviews on apps, documentaries, short articles, and blog about my historical journey. Invite your friends. Let's look back and explore. I can be emailed at: