One of my siblings — my older brother John — invited me to go on an impromptu road trip last night. Destination: Harrisburg, Illinois (about 60 miles away.)
We went to hear an historian, reenactor, and storyteller extraordinaire Seth Graves as George Rogers Clark.
Mr. Graves brought the Great Invincible Long Knife and founding father of Illinois to life.
Georges Rogers Clark was an amazing Carpe Diem Life guy. Clark is best known for his celebrated captures of Kaskaskia (1778) and Vincennes (1779) during the Illinois Campaign which greatly weakened British influence in the Northwest Territory. Because the British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, Clark has often been hailed as the "Conqueror of the Old Northwest".
He did all that before the age of 30. Unfortunately, after that, it was all down hill from there. Most people outside of this area probably haven't heard much about old George; however, I bet you’ve heard of his brother. George’s little brother was none other than William Clark — of Lewis and Clark fame. Siblings.
Back to our sibling road trip.
On the way to Harrisburg we passed through Eldorado, Illinois (population 4,122). That’s where my brother tossed out a bit of trivia about another set of siblings involving another George and another invasion involving the British: George and his sister Louise Caldwell.
This story takes place 184 years after George Rogers Clark captured Vincennes. In mid-September of 1963, this British George takes some time off from his busy life in England to pay his sister Louise Caldwell a visit at her home in Benton, Illinois.
Known across the pond as a pretty good musician, he’s asked to sit in for a set with a local four-man band called The Four Vests, playing a gig at the VFW club in Eldorado.
According to several accounts on the internet, after being introduced to the large crowd as "the Elvis Presley of England," George took over the lead guitar for the band's second set. George sang and played lead guitar on Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" and Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart." According to his sister Louise, the crowd, who had previously been quiet, stomped their feet, applauded, and whistled wildly as George played.
After the 40-minute set was over, someone in the crowd came over and told George that "with the right breaks, you could really go places."
That George was none other than George Harrison: The first Beatle to play a gig in the United States.
Carpe Diem Life Lesson: If one of your siblings ever invites you to go on a road trip to some small town, enjoy a beer with fresh fried pork rinds, and take in some local history. . . Carpe Diem!