Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The largest cities of the region are Rostock, Neubrandenburg, Wismar and Güstrow; the name Mecklenburg derives from a castle named "Mikilenburg", located between the cities of Schwerin and Wismar. In Slavic language it was known as Veligrad, which means "big castle", it was the ancestral seat of the House of Mecklenburg. Linguistically Mecklenburgers use many features of Low German vocabulary or phonology; the adjective for the region is Mecklenburgian. Mecklenburg is known for its flat countryside. Much of the terrain is boggy, with ponds and fields as common features, with small forests interspersed; the terrain changes as one moves north towards the Baltic Sea. Under the peat of Mecklenburg are sometimes found deposits of ancient lava flows. Traditionally, at least in the countryside, the stone from these flows is cut and used in the construction of homes in joint use with cement and wood, forming a unique look to the exterior of country houses.
Mecklenburg has productive farming. Mecklenburg is the site of many prehistoric dolmen tombs, its earliest organised inhabitants may have had Celtic origins. By no than 100 BC the area had been populated by pre-Christian Germanic peoples; the traditional symbol of Mecklenburg, the grinning steer's head, with an attached hide, a crown above, may have originated from this period. It represents what early peoples would have worn, i.e. a steers's head as a helmet, with the hide hanging down the back to protect the neck from the sun, overall as a way to instill fear in the enemy. From the 7th through the 12th centuries, Germanic Mecklenburg was ruled by Western Slavic overlords, newly arrived from the steppes. Among them were the Obotrites and other tribes that Frankish sources referred to as "Wends"; the 11th century founder of the Mecklenburger dynasty of Dukes and Grand Dukes, which lasted until 1918, was Nyklot of the Obotrites. In the late 12th century, Henry the Lion, Duke of the Saxons, reconquered the region, took oaths from its local lords, Christianized its people, in a precursor to the Northern Crusades.
From 12th to 14th century, large numbers of Germans and Flemings settled the area, importing German law and improved agricultural techniques. The Wends who survived all warfare and devastation of the centuries before, including invasions of and expeditions into Saxony and Liutizic areas as well as internal conflicts, were assimilated in the centuries thereafter. However, elements of certain names and words used in Mecklenburg speak to the lingering Slavic influence. An example would be the city of Schwerin, called Zuarin in Slavic. Another example is the town of Bresegard, the'gard' portion of the town name deriving from the Slavic word'grad', meaning city or town. Since the 12th century, the territory remained stable and independent of its neighbours. During the reformation the Duke in Schwerin would convert to Protestantism and so would follow the Duchy of Mecklenburg in 1549. Like many German territories, Mecklenburg was sometimes partitioned and re-partitioned among different members of the ruling dynasty.
In 1621 it was divided into the two duchies of Mecklenburg-Güstrow. With the extinction of the Güstrow line in 1701, the Güstrow lands were redivided, part going to the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, part going to the new line of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. In 1815, the two Mecklenburgian duchies were raised to Grand Duchies, the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, subsequently existed separately as such in Germany under enlightened but absolute rule until the revolution of 1918. Life in Mecklenburg could be quite harsh. Practices such as having to ask for permission from the Grand Duke to get married, or having to apply for permission to emigrate, would linger late into the history of Mecklenburg, long after such practices had been abandoned in other German areas; as late as the half of the 19th century the Grand Duke owned half of the countryside. The last Duke abdicated in 1918; the Duke's ruling house reigned in Mecklenburg uninterrupted from its incorporation into the Holy Roman Empire until 1918.
From 1918 to 1933, the duchies were free states in the Weimar Republic. Traditionally Mecklenburg has always been one of the poorer German areas, the poorer of the provinces, or Länder, within a unified Germany; the reasons for this may be varied, but one factor stands out: agriculturally the land is poor and can not produce at the same level as other parts of Germany. The two Mecklenburgs made attempts at being independent states after 1918, but this failed as their dependence on the rest of the German lands became apparent. After three centuries of partition, Mecklenburg was united on 1 January 1934 by the Nazi government; the Wehrmacht assigned Mecklenburg and Pomerania to Wehrkreis II under the command of General der Infa
Harrison Howell Dodge was the third resident superintendent of George Washington's estate at Mount Vernon. During his 52 years overseeing the estate, he doubled the facility's acreage, improved the grounds and added many historic artifacts to the collections there. Dodge was born on March 31, 1852, in Washington, D. C. and graduated from Columbian College, renamed George Washington University. After graduating from college, Dodge worked in the Wall Street banking house of Jay Cooke & Company, until that firmed collapsed in the Panic of 1873, he returned to Washington, D. C. where he spent 1874 indexing the Congressional Record. He worked from 1874 to 1877 with commissioners of a sinking fund and at Riggs & Co. from 1877 to 1885. In 1885, he was appointed as the third resident superintendent by the regents of The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and as postmaster of Mount Vernon by President of the United States Grover Cleveland and was reappointed as postmaster by successive Presidents until his death.
Dodge reviewed George Washington's writings about the estate, visited other Colonial-era gardens, traveled to England to see gardens there dating from the Georgian period. Using this knowledge, Dodge oversaw the restoration of the site and put in place a number of improvements that Washington had planned but never implemented. Dodge and then-assistant superintendent Charles Wall, hired in 1929, rotated turns sleeping as guard in the manor house. Dodge's 1932 book Mount Vernon: Its Owner and Its Story, with an introduction by Owen Wister, told many stories about Washington and his home, including details of a mechanical roasting spit that Washington had designed and of finding a pocket-knife that had belonged to Washington in his youth; the knife was said to have played a role at Valley Forge in convincing the General to continue as leader of the Continental Army in one of its darkest days. George Washington University recognized Harrison Howell Dodge in 1931 with an honorary LL. D. degree. Dodge died at age 85 on May 20, 1937, at Garfield Hospital in Washington, D.
C. He was survived by the former Elizabeth Knowlton, as well as by two of his four daughters, he was succeeded as resident superintendent in 1937 by Wall, who continued many of the improvements to the grounds and buildings that Dodge had initiated. He is buried in the cemetery of Pohick Church, at which he served for many years as vestryman
William Riley Dunham, "the man known by name by more men and children than any other one man in Tipton County," according to a 1912 issue of the Kempton Courier, was a member of the Indiana General Assembly, representing Hamilton and Tipton counties from 1913-1915. William Riley was born to Samuel Goodnight Dunham and Eliza Matilda Reese, President Barack Obama's great-great-great grandparents, making him President Barack Obama's great-great-great uncle. William Riley died in 1921 of "traveling sickness." The 5,000 sq ft farm house that Dunham built in Tipton County, Indiana in the 1880s, The Dunham House, still stands today. The original 120 acres of land upon which the house was built was purchased by Jacob Dunham and Catherine Goodnight Dunham, President Barack Obama's great, great, great grandparents as a land grant in 1849 and remained in the Dunham family until 1969; as local legend recalls, William Riley was an acquaintance of President Grover Cleveland, who may have spent the night in the home.
He named one of his sons Grover Cleveland Dunham a physician, who would inherent the property from his father. The Dunham file that the Heritage Society maintains mysteriously contains an obscure newspaper article giving details of a secret medical procedure that President Cleveland underwent while in office; the Dunham family, the Goodnight and Stroup families that they married into, served the public in the region in politics, medicine and agriculture. Candidate Barack Obama visited the house with his wife and daughters in May, 2008. A historical marker now graces the property. Stanley Armour Dunham, maternal grandfather of Barack Obama, great nephew of William Riley Dunham Ann Dunham, American anthropologist and mother of Barack Obama, great-great niece of William Riley Dunham Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, great-great-great nephew of William Riley Dunham