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Stories of America’s Past

Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of regular people who made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around and see what inspires you! — Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly

Rose Knox: Businesswoman Ahead of Her Time

Rose Knox started the Knox Gelatine Company with her husband, Charles, in Johnstown, New York, in 1890. (Gelatine was the preferred spelling at that time.) When Charles died unexpectedly in 1908, Rose stepped in as president and CEO. She made numerous changes that established Knox Gelatine as a company ahead of its time. She knew women made the grocery decisions, so she re-targeted the company’s marketing to reach that audience. She also made many changes …

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Abraham Lincoln’s Childhood: Growing Up to Be President

Abraham Lincoln’s childhood was filled with challenges and sadness, but he was always resourceful. As a young boy, Lincoln coped with the death of his mother when he was only nine. The family moved frequently as his father sought better places to farm, and even then, there were many periods when the family did not have enough to eat. Though his mother and stepmother both valued education, the Lincolns lived in such remote areas that …

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Sgt. William Carney, Former Slave and Medal of Honor Recipient

William H. Carney, a former slave, was bought out of slavery as a boy and sent north. When the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment formed for Black soldiers in 1863, he joined. In the Battle of Fort Wagner, Carney took decisive action to save the flag, for which he received the Medal of Honor. Most medals awarded to Civil War veterans were not given until long after the war. William Carney received his medal in 1900. …

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Chief Standing Bear’s Victory for Civil Rights

Standing Bear (Ma-chu-nah-zha), a chief among the Ponca Tribe in the mid-19th century, found himself imprisoned illegally for leaving Indian Territory to take his only son’s body home. The tribe was moved from their homeland by military force in 1877, though the Ponca had full ownership of their land in what is now Nebraska. The Ponca people were a law-abiding, intelligent people who met most governmental requests with some form of accommodation. But the government …

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On
This
Day

On February 1, 1861, Texas became the seventh state to secede from the Union after Abraham Lincoln’s election. Governor Sam Houston was an ardent Unionist, but pressure mounted on him to call a convention so that secession could be discussed. The vote was overwhelmingly to secede (166-8), so Houston resigned his position as governor and Texas left the Union. It was part of the first wave of states to secede.

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Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of regular people who made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around and see what inspires you! — Kate Kelly


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Part of the inspiration for this site comes from this remark: “People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things – simply told.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
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