Long before 1961, when Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shephard became the first humans to journey beyond Earth's atmosphere, writers envisioned spaceflight and life on other planets. These authors, all born before 1900, took their readers to the moon ... beyond ... and into our future.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Polly Cabell (1769-1858)

Mary Hopkins "Polly" Cabell, daughter of Joseph Cabell and Mary Hopkins, was born in Buckingham County, VA on 22 Feb 1769. In 1785 she married John Breckinridge with whom she had 9 children: Letitia, Joseph Cabell, Mary Hopkins, Robert, Mary Ann, John, Robert Jefferson, William Lewis and James Monroe. She died in Jefferson County, KY on 26 Mar 1858.

In her story "A Trip to the Moon", which was Published in Electra; A Belles Lettres Monthly for Young People (February 1884), a Dutchman who is preparing a giant cask of beer for the forthcoming Cambrinus' Congress is hurled out into space with the cask explodes. He reaches the moon, landing safely in a snow drift on the sice of an extinct volcano. As he wanders about, he sees that the moon is barren of life and he anticipates death from hunger and thirst. He shudders with horror, and awakens in bed back on earch. He had simply been knocked unconscious by the explosion. As the author states, "His beer was not his bier* after all."

*A bier is a movable frame on which a coffin or a corpse is placed before burial or cremation or on which it is carried to the grave.