(13) Rhode Island || (14) Vermont || (15) Kentucky || (16) Tennessee || (17) Ohio || (18) Louisiana || (19) Indiana || (20) Mississippi || (21) Illinois || (22) Alabama || (23) Maine || (24) Missouri || (25) Arkansas || (26) Michigan ||
intended as a supplement to u.s. history 101.2, a textbook
Nevada (1864, #36)
ACHILLES HEEL: Sin City
HOMETOWN HERO: Henry Comstock, because of the image he conjures from the minute of uttering the words “Comstock Lode,” which summons an illiterate, foul-mouthed reckless drunkard at the cusp of unimaginable riches by sheer luck and grit, who manages nonetheless to emerge penniless, due to a collection of missteps and enemies nurtured, culminating in an early demise officially ruled “suicide.”
New Hampshire (1788, #9)
ACHILLES HEEL: Vermont marble
HOMETOWN HERO: Eunice “Goody” Cole, because of our fascination with the persecution of so-called witches; and because this woman was made to endure three trials for her unorthodox beliefs and practices, making her a standout in the annals of state history with respect to white, formerly indentured servants.
New Jersey (1787, #3)
ACHILLES HEEL: New York
HOMETOWN HERO: Katherine Walker, because although all lighthouse keepers have a mystique of romantic, dignified desolation associated with their chosen profession, in her case this aura is magnified considerably by the fact that she retained her post for three decades, raising two children, all the while completely surrounded by water (her tiny, five-room domicile was moored off the coast of Bayonne, with no connection to the mainland).
New Mexico (1912, #47)
ACHILLES HEEL: nativity
HOMETOWN HERO: Susan McSween, because she was a successful cattle driver in the rough and tumble of the wild, wild west, in which she rose above what can only be characterized as an indisputably male-dominated environment to establish for herself a thriving, prosperous empire and lively ranch home, upon the death of her husband (an upstart businessman who lost his life as a primary instigator of the infamous Lincoln County War).
New York (1788, #11)
ACHILLES HEEL: Albany
HOMETOWN HERO: Cornelius Vanderbilt, because he was descended from Dutch indentured servants; because he became filthy rich beyond what any regular person might ever conceive; because he openly married a first cousin, who bore thirteen children from the pairing; because the advent of the steamship, followed closely by the era of industrial rail, had such peerless impacts on America’s coming-of-age; and because the Vanderbilt name, with all its opulent legacies, endures with prominence, especially in the “city that never sleeps.”
North Carolina (1789, #12)
ACHILLES HEEL: etymology of Chickahawk
HOMETOWN HERO: Virginia Dare, because of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of this first young child born of Europeans in the new world, vanished so mysteriously alongside all the others left behind for those three long years with scant supplies and no leadership, at that earliest of English outposts — Roanoke, which predated charter of the Colony of Virginia with its inaugural Jamestown settlement, and has riveted our collective imagination for so many generations.
North Dakota (1889, #39)
ACHILLES HEEL: partition
HOMETOWN HERO: Antoine Amédée Marie Vincent Manca Amat de Vallombrosa (aka the Marquis de Morès), because despite the foreign-sounding, fancifully long names, royal titles, elaborate, elegant costumery employed for contrived, expensive commissioned portraits, we understand that those sent to hotly contested territorial claims in faraway, hostile lands must not have been the most beloved of their relatives and, more often than not, had been cast away as “black sheep,” thereby igniting a new mission of proving worth and capacity, or simply pure revenge.
Ohio (1803, #17)
ACHILLES HEEL: peaking early
HOMETOWN HERO: Annie Oakley, because she rose from the depths of poverty and servitude, using her sharpshooting talents to make a name and (most importantly) a livelihood from which she would be freed of obligations to forever kowtow to self-described "wolves" from whose employ she fled, who would have her breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then rouse her early morning for more service.
Oklahoma (1907, #46)
ACHILLES HEEL: Indian territory
HOMETOWN HERO: Lulu M. Hefner, because she became a successful oil maven on her own, without the help, inheritance, or undue influence of a father, brother, or husband; and because she overcame not only the handicap of sex, but was also born of Cherokee heritage.