This week in Memphis, 11/25-12/01 2018


Pelosi is still on the ropes and the opposition is TBA.  Across the proverbial pond, Ms. May may not be as lucky for her Party controls her life line.  The Ascendant this week is  27 Gemini,  has a nice springtime theme of seven blue birds moving to another tree and transition is the byword.  Maybe this is a bad harbinger for the ladies in waiting?  Votes are still be exchanged and berths offered; its too soon to tell.

The twelfth house though is rocking.  The Ascendant at 27 Scorpio to start the week off, giving us the Hyperion Symbol of “the Fate of the Old King.”  McClung writes that there is a bright strand in human affairs that accepts that which is handed down through culture and society.  His keyword is tradition and that does seem to be problem with both Mme. Pelosi and May, no one likes the tradition that they represent.

The Moon is at 18 Cancer in the eighth house while the Sun is travelling jauntily in Sagittarius in the 12th.  Technically the Grand Trine is at Poseidon at 14 Scorpio going to Neptune at 14 Pisces and back to Mother  Moon, but that  may import more about the weather than the emotions this week.  Still, it does hint that there are some lessons to be learnt from all this fracas but Uranus in Aries opposite Venus in Libra seems to be blocking them from being realized.  Saturn the point focus of that menage a trois  recommends patience but then it’s in its own power struggle with the Moon as the two lords seem to be rather uptight and before you know it a Grand Cardinal Cross has materialized and everything is locked down waiting for more resources.

So this week we have bucket with a Moon handle, nostalgically reminding  us that we are in Elvis’s own Memphis and  Graceland, our header shot,  is just down the street.  Perhaps we can catch him croon Blue Moon over Kentucky when he, like us,  was young & green. 

Next week it’s the Show Me State.  Hope the snows are over by then.

                                       History of Memphis

1900 picture of downtown Memphis

Memphis is a port of entry and the largest city of Tennessee, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Shelby county, on the Mississippi river, in the S.W. corner of the state. Pop. (1860), 22,623; (1870), 40,226; (1880), 33,592; (1890), 64,495; (1900), 102,320, of whom 5110 were foreign-born and 49,910 were Negroes; (1910 census) 131,105.

It is served by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, the St Louis & San Francisco, the Illinois Central, the Southern, the Louisville & Nashville, the Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis, the St Louis South-Western, the St Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern and the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley railways, and by steamboats on the Mississippi.

Cantilevered bridge c. 1911

The river is spanned here by a cantilever railway bridge 1895 ft. long, completed in 1892. The city is finely situated on the fourth Chickasaw Bluffs, more than 40 ft. above high water; the streets are broad, well paved and pleasantly shaded; and a broad levee overlooks the river.

In Court Square, in the heart of the city, are many fine old trees and a bust of President Andrew Jackson who helped found the city. In 1909 Memphis had about 1000 acres of parks besides two race-courses. Memphis is the see of a Protestant Episcopal bishopric. The city is supplied with water from more than eighty artesian wells, having an average depth of about 400 ft.

Owing to its situation at the head of deep water navigation on the Mississippi, Memphis has become a leading commercial city of the southern states; its trade in cotton, lumber, groceries, mules and horses is especially large.

Chickasaw Bluffs today from the National Park

Chickasaw Bluffs were named from the Chickasaw Indians, who were in possession when white men first came to the vicinity. Late in the 17th century the French built a fort on the site of Memphis, and during most of the 18th century this site was held either by the French or the Spanish. In 1797 it passed into the possession of the United States.

By a treaty of the 19th of October 1818, negotiated by General Andrew Jackson and General Isaac Shelby, the Chickasaws ceded all their claims east of the Mississippi, and early in 1819 Memphis was laid out in accordance with an agreement entered into by John Overton (1766-1833), Andrew Jackson and James Winchester (1752-1826), the proprietors of the land.

Its name was suggested from the similarity of its situation on the Mississippi to that of the Egyptian city on the Nile.

Memphis was incorporated as a town in 1827, and in 1849 was chartered as a city. Near Memphis, on the 6th of June 1862, a Union fleet of 9 vessels and 68 guns, under Commander Charles Henry Davis (1807-77), defeated a Confederate fleet of 8 vessels and 28 guns under Commander J. E. Montgomery after a contest of little more than one hour, three of the Confederate vessels being destroyed and four of them captured  the city was then in possession of the Union forces. In August 1864, however, a Confederate force under General Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, who hailed from Chapel Hill, Tennessee 128 miles away,  raided it and captured several hundred prisoners.

Battle of Chickasaw Ridge

The decrease of population between 1870 and 1880 was due to the ravages of yellow fever in 1873, 1878 and 1879. The epidemic of 1873 resulted in over two thousand deaths, and that of 1878 in a total of 5150, of whom 4250 were whites and 900 Negroes.  At the return of the fever in 1879 better care and strict quarantine arrangements prevailed, but there were 497 deaths. During the epidemics of 1878 and 1879 fully two-thirds of the population fled from the city, many of whom died of the fever at other places, and a still larger number did not return.

In 1891 a new city charter was, obtained, and in 1907 the “Houston plan” ) was adopted for Memphis by the state legislature. The act, however, was declared unconstitutional by the state supreme court, on the ground that it would force elected officers out of office before the expiration of their constitutional terms; and in 1909 a new charter on the Houston plan was adopted by the legislature, to become effective on the 1st of January 1910, providing for a government by five commissioners, each having charge of a separate department.


See J. M. Keating, History of the City of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee (Syracuse, 1888); James Phelan, History of Tennessee (Boston, 1889).

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, 1911

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