Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Suppose You Were the Only One

Suppose You Were the Only One

Suppose you were the only one who knew:
Your father liked to listen to freight trains passing his house when he was a boy.
At night he’d lie his blonde head down & listen to the trains rattling along the tracks
and he’d count the long line of cars until he became drowsy and dreamed of trains.
Would you tell your son?

Suppose you were the only one who knew:
Your mother was a fearless freckled girl who loved to roller skate.
She lived in New York City and raced along the neighborhood sidewalks
with her long red hair flying as she jumped the cracks and laughed.
Would you tell your daughters?

Suppose you were the only one who knew:
Your tall dark haired grandfather liked to do magic tricks.
He kept shiny coins ready in his vest pocket and a smile on his face,
ready to make those coins appear & disappear and make children laugh.
Would you tell your grandson?

Suppose you were the only one who knew:
Your grandmother had long strawberry blonde hair.
She washed it with rainwater and brushed it one hundred strokes every night
and when she told you your hair was just like hers it made you feel very special.
Would you tell your granddaughter?

Suppose you were the only one who knew:
Your Irish great grandfather loved St. Patrick’s Day.
He’d throw open all the windows of their New York City apartment
and he’d pound out Irish songs on their piano as he sang along & music floated out to the street.
Would you tell your nieces and nephews?

Suppose you were the only one who knew:
Your great grandparents in Ohio wrote love letters to each other.
She wrote about sewing and stringing popcorn for the tree & he wrote of planting and carpentry,
And love spilled out between the words.
Would you tell your cousins?

Suppose you were the only one who knew the family stories.
Would you pick up a pen?

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Wishing you always...
Walls for the wind, 
A roof for the rain
And tea beside the fire.
Laughter to cheer you, 
Those you love near you, 
And all that your heart may desire.

An Irish Blessing for you
on St. Patrick's Day!

P.S. - Raise a glass for me. It is my birthday!

Related Posts:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Report: Revolutionary Mothers

Revolutionary Mothers: 
Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence
By Carol Berkin
NY 2005; Alfred A, Knopf

1.       Englishwomen’s Place in Colonial Society
2.       Women Join the Protest Against English Policy
3.       The Challenge of a Home-Front War
4.       Women Who Followed the Army
5.       General’s Wives and the War
6.       Loyalist Women in Exile
7.       The Revolution in the Lives of Indian Women
8.       African American Women and the American Revolution
9.       Spies, Saboteurs, Couriers, and Other Heroines
10.   The Legacy of Revolution

I am interested in discovering more about how the women in my past took care of their families when their husbands marched off to war. This is one of several books recommended to me by Michael Aikey who lectured at our local community college. The topic of his lecture was ‘Women in War’ and the reading list he shared included books related to several wars.

As you can see this book focuses on the Revolutionary War. I was especially interested in the home front activities during the war. The author wrote:

 “While men faced the enemy, women faced the challenge of managing on their own. With small children to tend, with prices quickly spiraling upward, with shortages of everyday necessities such as pins and medicines, and above all with the loss of the family members who normally tilled the fields, ran the shops, or worked the docks, women did their best to ensure that there would be something to come home to when the soldiers came home.” [page 31]

The women did their best with whatever they had at hand.

 “Women everywhere improvised when household materials ran out. In rural South Carolina, women used thorns for pins. In other regions, they made tea from herbs and flowers. Lacking salt, they preserved foods with a concoction made of walnut ash.” [page 31]

Of course, these brave women were taking care of their homes and children as war raged around and sometimes intruded upon them.

“Women’s efforts to save the family resources were made more difficult by the demands of the military. Whether they were victorious armies or armies on the run, they could destroy in a moment what women of all social classes had labored to preserve. Women were asked, or ordered, by British, patriot, and loyalist commanders alike to bivouac soldiers on their property and officers in their homes. Parlors and kitchens were taken over, and the ‘hostess’ was expected to provide food and do laundry for the military men who had commandeered their houses. These occupying troops drained more than a woman’s energies; they depleted much-needed resources. Farm fences were destroyed, furniture burned, and storerooms emptied. Departing redcoat and Continental officers often ordered a woman’s livestock slaughtered for the march ahead, drained her farm’s supply of grain, and reaped the harvest of her gardens.” [page 34]

There are many examples of women from various parts of the new country who not only took care of their families but helped the soldiers in any way they could.

“If the army needed saltpeter, women made saltpeter, boiling together wood ash and earth scraped from beneath the floors of their houses, adding charcoal and sulfur to produce the powder. If the army needed clothing, women like Mary Fraier of Chester County, Pennsylvania, went door-to-door, soliciting clothes from their neighbors, then cleaned and mended them before delivering them to nearby troops. When the word spread that the military needed metal to produce bullets and cannon shot, women melted down their own pewter tableware, clock weights, and window weights, and solicited their neighbors to do the same.” [page 43]

At the war’s end not only were many of these strong women able to keep their family safe and their homes intact, they clearly demonstrated that women were the equal of men.

“The mental and moral inferiority of women had been attacked before the Revolution, of course. But the war did more than provide additional fodder for philosophical arguments over gender. Women’s participation in the war had given concrete, empirical evidence of their ability to think rationally and make ethical judgements.” [page 151]

Read this book for many more examples of the role women played during America’s struggle for independence and you will find yourself in awe of your maternal ancestors.

To view the reading list of books read my post on Women in War. 


At the top of this blog, click on My Library for many more books that I have found useful for genealogical & historical research.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Report: Cemetery Records of Louisiana

Cemetery Records of Louisiana
Volume I
Documented & Compiled by
Zuma F Magee, Franklinton, LA
Thelma S. Bateman, Baton Rouge, LA
From: Louisiana Archives, Baton Rouge, LA

Ott Cemetery

“Located in Ward 2 of Washington Parish, La. 1 mile north of Mt. Herman, La. Copied March 1962 by Mrs. R. A. Magee, Franklinton, LA.”

Martha Leggett Ott                                         Sept. 14, 1865 – Jan. 30, 1950
Elbert Weston Ott                                           Sept. 17, 1855 – May 15, 1924
Bertha Maric, Daughter of Mr.   mrs. N. D. Ott   1918 – 1919
Margaret A. Tate, Wife of Charles Ott, Born Clarksburg, VA
                                                                   June 20, 1813 – June 7, 1887
Malcolm Ott, Son of Wes Ott                                      1891 – 1899
Earl Ott, Son of Wes Ott                                  1898 – 1900
Maric Ott                                                      1890 – 1898
Infant son of Wes Ott                                                1900 – 1900
Serepta Ann Ott                                              1838 – 1921
Edith M. Ott                                                  Mar. 18, 1962 – 82 years, 5 mos., 24 days
Walter Thomas Ott                                         Apr. 22, 1850 – Jan. 29, 1948
Leah Magee Ott                                              Dec. 25, 1855 – Jan. 31, 1913
David Jackson Ott                                           Sept. 23, 1845 – Dec. 21, 1905
Rosa Powell, Wife of D. J. Ott                          Dec. 20, 1857 – Apr. 16, 1921
John Ott

These people are most likely all “mine” although I cannot yet place them all.
I know that Charles Ott & Margaret Ann Tate are the parents of Elbert Weston Ott, Serepta Ann Ott, David Jackson Ott & Walter Thomas Ott. I believe the others are spouses & children but those details are a work in progress.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tranquil Tombstone: Brady & Winston, NJ

Morris Winston
22 May 1905 – 20 July 1998

Eileen Brady Winston
6 Nov 1914 NJ – 19 July 1993 

Immaculate Conception Cemetery

30 North Fullerton Ave., Montclair, New Jersey