Nat Turner’s first vision was a striking one: the Spirit appeared to him and told him to take up Christ’s cross and suffer in his place, metaphorically. Turner interpreted this as a call to arms, and began laying plans for a rebellion (which would eventually bear fruit in August of 1831).
For the meantime, Turner continued to work in slavery, building his forces and biding his time, and growing ever stronger in his faith. How much he suffered we can only guess at, but based on the events of the slave rebellion he led, it must have been a great amount.
Franz Peter Schubert was only 31 when he died of what doctors diagnosed as typhoid fever (although others claimed that it was tertiary syphilis). The Austrian was one of the most prolific composers of his era, writing more than 600 songs, 7 symphonies – not including his famous “Unfinished Symphony” (of which he wrote two movements before his death) – 5 operas and 21 sonatas.
His 600 songs were primarily Lieder, and Schubert’s greatest influence is found in this form – understandably, as in doing so many of them he explored nearly every possible variation of them. There is no telling what he might have accomplished had he lived longer – even in his relatively brief span, his style changed and evolved markedly. His epitaph reads “Here music has buried a treasure, but even fairer hopes” – and rarely has anyone had a more accurate epitaph.
His first recorded appearance was on this day in 1828, on the streets of Nuremberg, Germany. He would barely talk; when a cobbler named Weickmann took the boy to the house of Captain von Wessenig, to whom a letter carried by Hauser was addressed, his only utterances were “I want to be a cavalryman, as my father was,” and “Horse! Horse!” Further attempts to get him to communicate brought forth only crying, or the obstinate proclamation of “Don’t know” from Hauser.
The only identification he carried was the letter to von Wessenig, the captain of the 4th squadron of the 6th cavalry regiment. It was dated “From the Bavarian border / The place is not named / 1828”. The anonymous author said that the boy was given into his custody, as an infant, on the 7th October 1812, and that he had instructed him in reading, writing, and the Christian religion but had never let him “take a single step out of my house”. The letter stated that the boy would now like to be a cavalryman; and that therefore, the captain should take him in or hang him. There was another short letter enclosed, purporting to be from his mother to his prior caretaker, but later discovered to have been written by the same hand as the other one. It stated that he was born on April 30, 1812, and that his father, a cavalryman of the 6th regiment, was dead.
Hauser later became more communicative, but the puzzle of his origin was never solved, and his death, in 1833, was scarcely less mysterious.