Chabon should have explained this myth. It would have made the book moe interesting, though finding out about it on my own was cool, but I'd bet most people never did and missed a cool aspect of the novel. HS
I did what you did, HS; I looked it up! That is your task as a reader, and that is what Chabon expected you to do. There other historical events referred to in this text that made me look up additional information.