Des Moines

Major Events During the Life of Carl Weeks (Part 1: 1870-1900)

Carl Weeks lived during an innovative and quickly evolving time, seeing major wars and technological inventions. The late1800s and early 1900s saw humanity change drastically, and so this post is split into several sections to look at the significant world moments in the life of Salisbury House creator, Carl Weeks. The first of these sections to be discussed are the early life years (1876-1900).

Carl Weeks in 1879

The 1870s-1890s – Born in 1876, Carl’s grew up in the years directly following the U.S. Civil War – known as the Reconstruction years. The deadliest war in U.S. history took five years after the Civil War’s end to recover and reunite the deceased with their loved ones. The whole country required a rebuild of economy and infrastructure. The Reconstruction also saw Black Codes introduced, later known as Jim Crow laws, laws put in place to restrict and segregate the recently freed African American community. An unfortunate reality from the Reconstruction phase is that the racial injustice and violence present during those years persists to this day.

A saloon warning its customers that will only serve whites – Atlanta, Georgia 1908
New York Public Library

Carl’s youth and young adult life saw the United States engaged in numerous battles and wars with the Native American peoples of the country in its quest for Westward expansion. These events, later to be known as the American Indian War, would include – the Apache Wars (1851-1900), Great Sioux War of 1876 (1876-1877), Buffalo Hunters’ War (1876-1877), Nez Perce War (1877), Bannock War (1878), Cheyenne War (1878-1879), Sheepeater Indian War (1879), Victorio’s War (1879-1881), Pine Ridge Campaign (1890-1891), and the Yqrui Wars (1896-1918).

American Indian Wars
American Indian Wars – By the Office of the Chief of Military History

In 1898, the U.S. went to war with Spain after the USS Maine explosion in the Havana Harbor in Cuba. Cuba was engaged in the Cuban War of Independence, fighting against the Spanish colonial rule. After just 10 weeks of fighting, Spain called for peace. After two months of negotiations, the war was over, and the U.S. had gained Spain’s colonies – the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.

Political cartoon about the Spanish-American War

Following the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, the United States engaged in the Philippine-American War (lasting from 1899 through 1902). Conflict arose in the Philippines after the First Philippine Republic (a government established by Filipino nationalists) objected to the Treaty of Paris. The treaty, which concluded the Spanish-American War and gave the Philippines to the U.S, had not taken the population’s wishes into account. They wanted their independence from yet another colonizing force. Fighting broke between the Philippine Republic and the U.S. on February 4th, 1899, at the Battle of Manila. After years of brutal fighting, General Miguel Malvar surrendered to the American government on April 16th, 1902. Guerrilla-style fighting would continue for several more years, but the U.S. would consider these soldiers as little more than bandits and not a threat to U.S. rule. America would hold control over the Philippines until after the conclusion of World War II.

Political cartoon about the Philippine-American War.

While the first few decades of Carl’s life are rife with domestic and international conflict, we do not have accounts from him regarding an impression or impact on day-to-day life. Iowa has had only a limited amount of fighting done within its borders and of the battles fought in Kansas, only a handful were during Carl’s lifetime, and the loss of life was minimal. In fact, the only war that has a known link to Carl is the Philippine-American War as Carl’s sister, Della, served as a nurse during the conflict.

The next installment will look at the early years of the 1900s, focusing on the impacts of tech advances, the sinking of the Titanic, and World War I.

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