Remember Sacagawea?

james k white

Toussaint Charbonneau is not a name that is known to many except history buffs. However, his wife was quite famous for aiding American explorers Lewis & Clark in the early 1800s. Her name was Sacagawea and her likeness is on one version of a U.S. one dollar coin.

Sheridan, Wyoming is a western town named after General Philip Sheridan of Civil War fame. For decades, the population has been steadily hovering around 17,000 and those inhabitants got a mostly unexpected thrill in 1984 when the Queen of England and her entourage came into town. Elizabeth II dined at a local restaurant and those close to her said that event marked only the third time in her life that she had eaten food ordered from a menu.

Herbert Hoover had never held any elected public office prior to being elected president in 1928.

Approximately 100,000 people die from snake bites each year. That total is dwarfed when compared to deaths inflicted by mosquitos which cause more than 700,000 fatal diseases per annum. Mosquitos thrive on all earthly continents except Antarctica. Most mosquito related deaths occur in Africa.

The world’s most expensive colored gemstone is likely a Burmese stone named the Sunrise Ruby which sold for $30,000,000 in 2014. I used the descriptive “likely” because I hear that truly rich folks (oil sheiks, plumbers, newspaper editors, etc.) sometimes conduct very private transactions for rare pieces of jewelry.

The longest freight train ever was a 682 car affair that transported iron ore 170 miles in Western Australia in June of 2001.

Life in London during the 1850s was tough for the poor. Central areas of the city averaged 8 people to a room and 40 to a house. Filth and disease worked in tandem to affect high rates of infant deaths and short lifespans for adults. Charles Dickens used the era and various sites as settings for several of his novels. Conditions were even worse than he portrayed.

Perhaps a chuckle for you baseball fans: Disgusted announcer described his favorite team’s new relief pitcher’s performance “he has been throwing a ‘nudist ball’ – it has nothing on it.”

One of the most famous and most expensive swords in the world is the superb sword of Joyeuse. Said to have been owned by Charlemagne, the weapon has been used in numerous coronations and is currently housed at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Well, be alert when you have lunch in Wyoming – you never know who you might see.

James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at