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"The little-known secrets behind the men & women who shaped America"

It's time to once again test your knowledge of United States history

By Paul Niemann

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[April 17, 2008]  Every three months we present you with a quiz as a way to mix things up a bit. Personally, I think the quizzes are interesting, but two of my toughest critics always protest. OK, I'll admit it: It's my brother and sister who protest.

So, as I'm about to incur the wrath of two of my siblings, we present you with 10 questions to test your memory. This is one of the easier quizzes that we've run, which means that the beatings from my siblings should be gentler this time. As always, the answers are at the end.

1. True or false: The name of the doctor who set the broken leg of President Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was Samuel Mudd. This is where the expression "My name is Mudd" comes from. (Article)

2. True or false: Black Bart, the notorious Old West outlaw, never once fired a shot at any of his victims. (Article)

3. Possible trick question No. 1: A January story in this column mentioned three people with famous first and middle names. They were George Washington Carver, Thomas Jefferson Taylor and Napoleon Bonaparte Buford. Which one was the father of Claudia Taylor, who became known as Lady Bird Johnson once she married Lyndon Baines Johnson? (Article)

4. True or false: Writer Edgar Allan Poe was kicked out of West Point. (Article)

5. True or false: During World War II, Maj. William Martin was outfitted with fake invasion plans to throw off the Germans, even though he was dead at the time. (Article)

6. Ted Healy produced a show starring three slapstick comedians whose real names were Moses Horwitz, Sam Horwitz and Louis Fienberg. The group has entertained audiences for more than 70 years and counting. What was the name of this comedy team? (Article)

[to top of second column]

7. Which of these 18th-century figures once wrote under the pen name of Ms. Silence Dogood? (Article)

  1. Thomas Jefferson

  2. Ben Franklin

  3. Patrick Henry

8. Possible trick question No. 2: The detective agency that Allan Pinkerton founded was called the __________ Detective Agency. (Article)

9. Harry Longabaugh and Roy Parker became known as:

  1. Part of the Jesse James gang

  2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

  3. Part of the Dalton gang


10. The U.S. president who helped create two major highway systems -- the interstate and the Internet -- was:

  1. Harry S. Truman

  2. Dwight David Eisenhower

  3. Richard Nixon


Answers: 1. True; 2. True; 3. Thomas Jefferson Taylor; 4. True; 5. True; 6. Moe, Larry and Shemp -- The Three Stooges; 7. B. Ben Franklin; 8. Pinkerton Detective Agency; 9. B. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; 10. B. Dwight David Eisenhower

You probably noticed a pattern among the true or false questions. Each one is true -- which shows that sometimes truth is more interesting than fiction.

Hope you aced this quiz. We'll do it again in three months.


Paul Niemann may be reached at

Copyright Paul Niemann 2008

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