Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Earlier Colonial Ancestors in Rhode Island

OLD COMMONS BURYING GROUND - Little Compton 
On our way home from Cape Cod the beginning of June, it was a must to do a little family history and cemetery searching in Rhode Island. My family was in this state very early before the Revolutionary War. Our first stop was Little Compton which is on the south-eastern shore; Massachusetts borders on the east. The day we were there it was beautiful but a little windy.
Beautiful day in Little Compton shore.
All along the roads in Little Compton we saw these wonderful stone fences.
The town of Little Compton isn't very big; it was easy to find the Old Commons Burial Ground where there are many Brownells who are connected to our family, too. 

The four-square Old Commons Burial Ground is across Commons St. street from the
triangular United Congregational Church cemetery.

This time we were looking for my 6x great grandfather's grave dating to early 1700s. Jonathan Blackman, b. 1688 and died 1717 at age 29. He married Susannah Palmer in 1713. She was his second wife. They are the parents of two (known) children, one of which is my 5x great grandmother, Mary b. 1715 who married Thomas Brownell in 1734.

Forth great grandmother, Mary Brownell, born about 1746 to Thomas and Mary (Blackman) in Little Compton married Abel Fowler, Sr. 3 June 1770 in Exeter, Kent Co., Rhode Island. My last posting shows where Abel and Mary are buried in Center White Creek, New York. And, Mary's mother Mary was buried in North Pownal, Vermont. I have yet to discover and prove where Thomas was buried in 1756.

We didn't find Jonathan's headstone, so I went on the web and found the Rhode Island Historic Cemeteries website where there was a nice image of it. I don't know when this image below was taken, but most of the headstones in this cemetery weren't a nice and clean when we were there. I thank whoever took the time to clean the stone and image it for others to see.
"Here lyeth the Body of Jonathan Blackman who dyed October the 8 1716 aged 28 years."
[Found on Rhode Island Historic Cemeteries site.]

RHODE ISLAND HISTORIC CEMETERY #187 - South Kingstown
Our next stop took us straight west of Newport to southeastern South Kingstown, Washington County. This is where we the grave of my oldest (proven) Fowler ancestor is buried. Isaac Fowler was born around 1696 in South Kingston. He married Mary Hopkins in 1720 and we know of six children being born to them. One of those children was Simeon who is buried in the Fowler Private Burying Ground in Center White Creek, New York. Cousin Kevin and I have speculated, but not proven, who Isaac's parents could be. That is the next quest in our research -- is John or Christopher his father? Or could it be a Thomas or Simeon? What fun is in store for me. What an interesting little adventure it was that started out in the courthouse.

I knew from several accounts, the little cemetery was situated on private land in some one's backyard. One such account was written in the South County Independent on 18 May 2000.
SOUTH KINGSTOWN GRAVES LAW ALREADY AFFECTING HOMEOWNERS
South County Independent, May 18, 2000
By Linda C. Baily, Independent Staff Writer
SOUTH KINGSTOWN- Dan Martin was simply clearing some brush in his backyard in Tefft Hill when he stumbled onto a cemetery. As many Rhode Islanders know, this is not an uncommon event.
 But with the town's new graves ordinance, property owners who find remains must immediately stop any work in the area and take steps to protect the remains, which can include paying for a consultant to conductan archaeological investigation.
 According to John Sterling, author of "R.I. Historical Cemeteries," Rhode Island differs from other New England states in that it did not have many large town cemeteries. Instead, the state is littered with many small family cemeteries, which has caused problems for homeowners and developers alike. Town and state legislation tackling the issue places the burden of excavation and more on the property owner.
 Martin discovered the small cemetery in the spring of 1992 in the rear third of his half-acre parcel marked off by wire and a broken-down wooden fence. Inside the marked-off area he discovered four roughly cut stones,which appeared to him to be Quaker in style.
 Curiosity got the better of Martin, who began to investigate his discovery. He invited state Rep. Leona Kelly (R-Dist. 49) of South Kingstown to look at the site, and then contacted Craig Anthony afterlearning of his work with the oldest gravestone in Rhode Island. Martin even registered the cemetery as an unknown historical cemetery, No. 187, unknown because at that time there was no reliable way to fix a name tothe occupants, though there was substantial belief that the remains were members of the Tefft family who lived in the area for many years.
 Martin sent a bone that he had found to Anthony, who confirmed with the state medical examiner that it was, indeed, a human femur. The Tefft family had a reunion in South County and reburied the bone with a smallceremony.
 The real problems started for the Martins, however, when they wanted to sell the land and move. According to Dan Martin, the property was on the market for only two days when they got a bid that was acceptable from apotential buyer. The sale was going along smoothly until two days before the closing when the buyer backed out because the Martins could no longer offer a clear title on the land because of the cemetery. Martin'sdiscovery had placed restrictions and easements on the land so that the ground could not be disturbed within 25 feet and any ancestors of the remains could come onto the property to pay their respects.
 Martin was forced to hire an archaeologist to excavate the site and delineate the boundaries of the burials. "They dug up my entire yard," said Martin. "They found no additional evidence of remains or graveshafts."
 When Sterling was invited to the scene he discovered a headstone with "I.F. April 20, 1773" carved into it, the first real clue as to who was interred there.
 With a little research, Sterling discovered with relatively high certainty that the remains are that of Isaac Fowler, the grave to his left is his wife Mary Hopkins and at her feet is probably one of theirchildren. Fowler had purchased the property from Steven Tefft of Newport for 3,000 pounds. His son, Simeon Fowler, inherited the land at his death. Simeon turned around and sold the property back to the Tefft family for only 150 pounds. Martin was relieved to determine who was there and "to put a name to historical cemetery No. 187."
 Sterling was also able to find Isaac Fowler's will, with all sorts of interesting revelations about the man and his family. According to Sterling, "This is a classic case where the crude lettering on afieldstone-marked grave led to the records that led to the records that prove who is buried in an early burial ground."
 "We're very happy, regardless of the difficulties we had," said Martin, whose home has finally been sold after three or four deals fell through because of the cemetery. "As a result of the town ordinance and statelaw, we know who there," said Martin, adding, "I would expect the same in future years."
 Although it turned out to be a happy ending for the Martins, it was an extremely expensive process. They had to pay two mortgage payments, taxes and insurance on two houses and a home equity loan for nearly half a year because the house wouldn't sell with the restrictions of the cemetery. The archaeologist cost about $1,700, the backhoe to excavate cost $650 and the Martins are paying $1,200 as part of their purchase agreement to fix the landscaping in the back yard where the property was excavated.

The town clerk showed us an index of the historic cemeteries. Isaac Fowler is buried in historic cemetery #187, but she couldn't tell us where it was located. So we went to another office where a very nice clerk got out the city plat map which had all the historic cemeteries marked on it. She also printed off an assessment sheet giving the address and name of the current property owners. We set our GPS in the car, and off we went. I was tingling with excitement.

Isaac Fowler is buried in historic cemetery #187 in the backyard on lot #32.
We drove into a nice well-manicured subdivision and found the house on lot 32. Bob went up to the door and a woman answered. She thanked us for asking to see the little cemetery and told us it was around back. We were welcome to go back there. Her husband was in the yard, too and he came over to talk to us. I thanked him for taking such nice care of this ancient burying ground. 


There were several "stones" marking graves. None of the stones had any writing on them except the one leaning up against the tree which very faintly I could see 73. This was the stone mentioned in the account by Linda C. Baily, staff writer, in 2000.


The stone's image was found on Rhode Island Historic Cemeteries website. Whoever took this picture did a wonderful thing for us family historians. Seeing this small cemetery was really a thrill to me. I have been wanting to visit for quite a number of years after seeing it on the web so many times in my searches.


South Kingstown was the priority stop. I can check that off on my To-Do list, yet I wish I had time for more research in Rhode Island. I have ancestors in Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Providence, and who knows where else in this little state. We needed more time, but not to be had on this trip as we had to get back home to Illinois. We did what we could in the time we had. 




Friday, July 1, 2016

Visiting Colonial Ancestors' Cemeteries

[All photos are by me - Karen Porteous Glass - I hold the copyright except for those labeled otherwise. Please ask permission to use my images. If used, please also credit me properly. Thank you.]


ON THE ROAD TO UPSTATE NEW YORK
Recently my husband and I drove out to Chatham, Cape Cod from our home in Oak Park, Ill. for a 70th wedding anniversary dinner and a small family gathering. As I mapped out our route to and from Cape Cod’s elbow, I focused my attention on visiting cemeteries in the areas of New York State, Rhode Island, and Connecticut were Bob’s and my colonial ancestors lived. There was no way I would pass up the opportunity to visit ancestral land and cemeteries going and coming home! I've waited too long already.

On our second day of driving, we headed north of Syracuse, New York, to Oswego County to visit the Coit Cemetery in Hastings — our first ancestral stop. This is where my 3x great grandparents, Abel Fowler, Jr. and his wife Lydia (Fuller), are buried. An image of her headstone is also on Find A Grave, but I wanted to be there to pay my respects and get my own images. It took a while, but we eventually found Lydia’s headstone with the help of a man across the street who takes care of the cemetery. We could only take a picture of Lydia’s stone as there is none for Abel, but I’m sure Abel is next to her; there is enough room. Lydia died in 1834 and Abel in 1847. Perhaps since Abel died years later that is the reason he had no headstone…no one left to arrange for one.

These old cemeteries containing graves from the 1700s and some in the 1600s are remarkable. Sometimes when you find one ancestor you look around at other stones nearby, you see related-families’ graves. I didn’t take pictures of stones with recognized allied surnames because most of them are remotely related. I have to quit somewhere…I’m not in a race to collect the most names in a tree like some people who are on Ancestry.com.

Coit Cemetery located in Hastings, Oswego County, New York. 
Lydia (Fuller) Fowler, wife of Abel, Jr. died 13 May 1834 at age 60.

Not too far from the Coit Cemetery is the land Abel and Lydia had a farm on, so Bob and I drove about a mile west to where it used to be in the early 1800s. There were no early 19th century buildings standing; all are modern. Having no old buildings didn’t discourage me; at least I got to be there and could contemplate on Abel’s farming life. The area was very rural, but nice. It kind of reminded me of Wisconsin with the rolling hills and lots of woods and farms sparsely dotting the countryside. 

The farm was located in the left box, at the "T" in the road. Coit Cemetery is
in the little box on right. [Google Maps, Satellite View]
Abel and Lydia (Fuller) Fowler's farm land (on right of road) just west of Coit Cemetery.
[Google Maps, Street View]
We didn’t stay long. I got what I came for in the Hastings area. It was Saturday and we had to continue to push on to several more ancestral stops on our way to the Cape by Monday afternoon to check into our B&B.

FOWLER PRIVATE BURYING GROUND AND FARM HOUSE
Sunday started out to be pleasantly cool and nice. As we approached our second and somewhat major ancestral area — Cambridge, New York, it started raining. We decided to visit the Woodlands Cemetery; we took almost 20 headstone pictures of collateral Fowler lines we found without getting drenched. 

The rain was letting up and we drove about four miles south of Cambridge to where the family cemetery was on the Frazier Farm. I was most excited to visit the Fowler Private Burying Ground. I’ve visited it online many times and wanted to experience it on my own — in person.


The Frazier farm is located on Rte. 22 near Center White Creek which is a couple miles north of Eagle Bridge where Grandma Moses and her husband homesteaded. The Frazier farm has a large 18th Century white house and yellow out buildings including the large barn. It is a working farm. This is Abel Sr.'s house he built in the late 1700s. It is still standing and in very good shape. My 5x great grandfather, Simeon, built his house south of Abel's.



Frazier farm today. Abel Fowler, Sr.'s in the late 1700s. The house he built is still standing. All the out buildings are painted yellow. I don't know how old they are. I think the well house is original.
From Rte. 22, we look at the back of the house. There is an old road which is really just a
partial stretch of concrete which the house is facing.
BURYING GROUND
The family plot of about 15 graves is on the property of the Frazier Farm. The little historical cemetery is located about two football field lengths south of the house. Nearer to the cemetery is where Simeon and Mercy (Jones) house was located. (Scroll down to the "long" image to get an idea of distance.) We couldn't walk out there because of the wet field. So I don’t have any individual headstone images, but they are on Find A Grave. I did zoom in the best I could from the road.

It stopped raining long enough so I could get an image of the Fowler Private Burying Ground from the road. 
I zoomed in best I could. The first burial was Mary "Molly" Fowler,
Simeon's daughter who died at age 12 in 1792.
[
The individual headstones can be found on Find A Grave, photographed by someone else.]
Getting pictures of the graveyard was exciting. A bonus would be pictures of the house, but we found no one home when we knocked on the door. I didn’t want to take pictures without permission. We would try again on our way back home from the Cape. I did finally get pictures when we stopped again almost a week later. No one was home then either, so I left a note explaining what I did, who I was, why I wanted the images, and gave my blog and email addresses. A few days after being back home, I got a nice email from the owner who said she appreciated the note and if we are ever in the area again, to contact them so we could meet. That was a wonderful offer for sure! Maybe we will be able to see the inside of the house!

I thought it was interesting the house didn’t face Rte. 22. It actually faced the "old" road which is defunct. All that is left of the road is about 70 yards of broken concrete and weeds. In the next image you can see an arrow pointing to the old road and the circle showing where the house is. As you scroll to the bottom of that image you will see another circle, that shows where the Fowler Private Burying Ground is.

The original house built in late 1700s by Abel Fowler, Sr. my 4x great grandfather.
The image below shows the old road and house positions; scroll down and the family cemetery
is circled. You can see the distance the cemetery is from the farm house.
My 5x great grandfather Simeon Fowler 
built his house not far from the
burying ground where his daughter Molly was buried in 1792.
The circle at the bottom of this image is the position of
the Fowler Private Burying Ground. [Google Maps - Street view]
I'm not sure if this little well house is original to the farm, but it sure looks like it.
I thought it was really neat anyway.
A little window on the backside of the house.
I took this picture because it also looked neat, but lonely.

CENTER WHITE CREEK CEMETERY
Not far from the farm is an old cemetery where the fence is tumbling down and stones are blackened by some sort of fungus or moss. Many stones are broken and some look like they will be once they fall over. It is in sad shape. We thought as long as we were in the area, why not stop and visit where my 4x great aunt Mercy (Fowler) (1786-1874) and husband Jared Shed (1778-1843) are buried. Bob walked the cemetery, but the biting little black flies were out in droves and made it very uncomfortable for searching. Their monument is on Find A Grave. Mercy is the daughter of Abel, Sr. and Mary (Brownell) Fowler and the second wife of Jared.




NEXT STOP WAS A QUICKY IN NORTH POWNAL CEMETERY
We were off on our way to overnight in Massachusetts, but not until we stopped in Pownal, Vermont, for a look around that cemetery for the grave of 5x great grandmother Mary (Blackman) Brownell, wife of Thomas. They were both born in Rhode Island in the early 1700s. Mary was born in Little Compton, Rhode Island. I believe Thomas (d. 1756) is buried in Rhode Island. Mary, a widow, must have followed her son to Vermont.

By the time we got to the North Pownal cemetery it was raining pretty hard, but Bob braved the elements and walked through a good portion of the older section while I stayed in the car watching the rain come down. He found her grave and ran back to the car; the rain stopped and we took a picture of the monument. 




My 5x great grandmother, Mary B. Brownell, died 1783 at age 60.
Blackman Brownell – her son – died May 16, 1801 at age 49;
his wife Eunice (Greene) 1841 age 84, and their daughter 1825 age 30.
Then the rain came again and stayed with us as we drove through the Berkshires down to Springfield, Mass. where we stayed over night. The next day was a travel day to check into our B&B in Dennis Port on the Cape. It didn't rain again until we came back to this area on our way home.



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Where There's a Will...August F. Buschick Set His Hand 14 Dec 1883

I was excited when I found my great grandfather's will and two other documents pertaining to his death on Ancestry.com. Yet, when I started reading, the hope of getting a lot of information from the will didn't come. Usually there are names and relationships, but August Ferdinand Buschick didn't mention siblings or children except for his daughter from his first marriage, Catherine W. Norris. She was the only one left of three children born to August and Catherine his first wife. He mentioned his current wife, (my great grandmother) Susan A., but didn't mention any one I didn't know about. Bummer...


August F. Buschick
I August F. Buschick of the City of Chicago, in the County of Cook and State of Illinois, aged fifty eight years and being of sound mind and memory do hereby make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament hereby revoking any and all wills by me heretofore made.~
First: It is my wish that my Executrix hereinafter named shall pay my debts and funeral expenses as soon after my decease as conveniently maybe. 
Second: After the payment of said debts and funeral expenses I give, devise and bequeath to my daughter Catherine W. Norris the sum of four thousand dollars in cash to be paid out of my estate by my executrix as soon after my decease as conveniently can be.~ 
Third: Subject to the fore going provisions I hereby give, devise and bequeath to my wife Susan A. Buschick all my property real personal and mixed of whatever name and nature and wheresoever situate including all partnership interests, her heirs, executors, administrators and assigns Forever.~ 
Fourth: I hereby nominate and appoint my wife Susan A. Buschick Sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament and it is my wish and I hereby direct that she be allowed to administer my estate without giving Bond or Surety of any kind. 
In testimony where of I have herewith set my hand and seal this fourteenth day of December A.D. 1883August F. Buschick {seal}
August signed his will on the 14th of December and died on the 15th of Pleuro-Pneumonia. By the 21st, the Letters of Testamentary were filled out and signed. This is a document granted by the court which simply states Susan as the legal executor/executrix and she has the ability and responsibility to act as such.



On the same day two more documents were filled out and signed: The Executor's Oath which makes sure Susan will carry out the provisions of the will as specified.



The other is Executor's Bond which is a specific type of probate/fiduciary bond that ensures estates are handled appropriately after individuals pass away. In the "fourth" point of the will, August specifically requests that his wife "be allowed to administer my estate without giving Bond or Surety of any kind." But here is one. Could that just be a formality? I have no idea. On this bond, there is a "penal sum" of $16,000 which is the maximum amount the surety will be require to pay in the event of any default by Susan. At first I thought it was the amount of money left to Susan, but I had to look it up to find out what it really meant.



It is interesting on this Bond, Susan's residence is shown: 394 Orchard Street which today would be 2217 N. Orchard St. which is on the first block north of Oz Park. There is a three-story apartment building numbered 2215 where I think the house should have been. Since there is no number 2217 there must have been some more changes made since 1909 when the city's house numbers were renumbered. This residence isn't too far from an earlier residence of 1870 when they lived near Hurlbut (now Cleveland Ave.) and Lincoln Ave. located east of Oz Park. Funny thing...a few years ago, I was on a bus touring the highlights of the Chicago Fire of 1871, and towards the end of the tour our bus went through this neighborhood where both residences were but I didn't know my Buschicks lived in the area until recently when I started my research on them.


[Google maps image]

There may be other papers/documents, but I haven't found any so far. If I do, that will be on another post.

August and Susan had eight children between 1864 (when they got married) and 1883 when August died. Of those eight, at the time of his death, my grandfather, Edwin Luther, (age 18) and his sister Jennie Maude (age 12) were left, so why didn't he mention them?  

I was hoping great grandfather would have named his siblings possibly just as token receivers in his will, but to my dismay he did not. One sibling I know of is Gustavus Emil who was his partner in the steam boiler business. Gustav lived until 1902. There is a possibility of at least three more, but only two I'm aware of were also alive at the time of August's death, but none were mentioned in his will. That makes it hard to be sure they are part of the family.

Maybe the other two siblings had enough money they didn't need to be named. Maybe there wasn't really that much money left since August had gone through bankruptcy in 1875 and he was still recovering. Who knows.

At this time, I'm in the process of researching this Buschick family and have some clues, but the trail is starting to go cool. I won't name any names because I don't want anyone to put them on their family tree as if they were proved. All I can say is one of them seems to be on the same immigration index card. Curious? Me, too. I'll save it all for another blog post when I am more sure of my puzzle pieces.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Coffee Drinkers - It's All in the Family

I like and drink my coffee black. 

As far back as I can remember I wanted coffee black. My mom drank hers black -- no sugar, no cream, but occasionally a dollop of vanilla ice cream would find its way into her cup of coffee when we could afford ice cream. I guess I wanted my coffee to be like my mom's. Children often mimic one parent or another. I occasionally put vanilla ice cream in my coffee, too, and think of my mom.

We lived with my grandma, dad's mom, and she would always drink her "milchkaffe" which is what could be known as Boston-style, i. e. more cream or milk then coffee. When I was too young to make my own decisions, grandma would fix me a milchkaffe. I think all children who wanted coffee at a very young age were given this type.

I never liked more milk in my coffee, but grandma insisted. She would say if I drank black coffee, my feet would turn black! I didn't want that to happen, so I drank what she fixed.

I swore to myself when I was old enough to make my own coffee, I was GOING TO DRINK IT BLACK! And I have done just that, except when it comes to "instant" coffee. Then I have to put a little bit of sugar in it. I think that stems from the 1950s instant type; it was horrible. It was best to stay away from it. Sugar was my salvation when someone would offer me a cup of instant. Now the instant coffee is much better, but I still put a bit of sugar in it out of habit.

My dad drank is coffee with sugar. Well, actually he drank my mom's coffee with sugar. He didn't like the way she made it. I guess it was too weak. He liked strong coffee. I like strong coffee. He would drink the coffee black which I would make.

My husband, Bob, now drinks his coffee black. I got him to switch, no calories added with black coffee. He sometimes falls back on his old "just cream" habit, but not often. 

Both he and I love the coffee we get in Germany. The only problem with ordering coffee in Germany...you have to pay for a refill! Their coffee is dark and rich, but not really bitter. Try duplicating that particular taste here in Illinois. The closest I've come has been Whole Foods' Pleasant Morning Buzz and another is Tim Horton's. Even their decaf is good.

My son and daughter drink their coffee with sugar and artificial creamer. That's how their father and his mother drank theirs. 

I haven't noticed which way my grandchildren drink their coffee (if they do at all). I just hope at least one of the three will take after me!




Monday, March 21, 2016

Aunt Annette Buschick Stapleton: Revisited

Please ask permission to use these images.

POSTED: Aunt Annette Buschick Stapleton - Monday, April 28, 2014 – it has been quite awhile since my blog post about my aunt Annette Buschick. I have been waiting that long to get a picture of her headstone. Finally my young cousin Kristin, who lives out in California, took the picture and sent it to me; it is now on Find A Grave memorial #158134266. Earlier Kristin had found uncle Cluese's headstone in a military cemetery. I also put his on Find A Grave memorial #3755322. Aunt Annette wasn't buried with him, so we had to find hers and that is why it has taken so long to have both images.
Annette Matilda [Buschick] Stapleton
Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, California.
Photo by cousin Kristin.
Cluese Isaac Stapleton
Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles, California

Photo by cousin Kristin.
The silliest thing, actually it is more like a "dah!" thing, occurred last weekend. I was looking at the picture I had posted on the first blog about aunt Annette and it dawned on me "Bob" is her son! DAH! Where was my brain? It was so so obvious if I had paid attention to the scope of the family! DAH! 
Back from left: mystery man, aunt Annette Stapleton, Linda, Juanita [Stapleton], and Harry Stockwell, Sr.; front from left: Sharon Stockwell and Bob Stapleton; boy with the doggie is Harry Stockwell, Jr.  (family photo)
As for the handsome young man standing next to my aunt... I still don't know who he is and neither does Annette's great granddaughter! I would suspect this picture was taken in the very early 1950s. I don't think the mystery man can be Annette's husband because Cluese passed away in 1947. Besides mystery man really looks too young to have been born in 1885, but I could be wrong, too.

I really didn't know much about Robert (Bob). I found he had passed away December 21, 2007 and his memorial is on Find A Grave memorial #72889107. Robert was in the Navy during World War II and his father was in World War I. Robert is buried in the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Santa Nella, California.

I found and contacted the owner of an Ancestry.com family tree which included the Stapleton family. She sent me a link to Robert's obituary which then lead me to finally know if he had married and had children. Robert and his wife Adele had three children. I know it is a good tree because there is information on it I got from another Stapleton descendent (not on Ancestry.com) still living in Georgia where Cluese was from.

Robert's sister Jaunita S. and her husband Harry M. Stockwell are buried side-by-side in the Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California. The headstone image is on Find A Grave memorial #1225430. All three of their children have also passed away.

So now I have been able to fill in several blanks and I will stop now with this family's history. If I come across more bits and pieces, I will certainly add them. It was good to get as far as I did since I knew all these people when I was much younger. It is good to get reacquainted and finally know what happened to them.



Monday, February 15, 2016

Thoughts on Trees in Lincolnshire, and the County of Norfolk, England

It's been awhile since I last posted, but I haven't been doing much research lately and I have had the lack of something to write about -- just plain couldn't think of anything! Then I thought of our last couple trips to England. 

My husband and I have visited parts of England in search of ancestral haunts and visiting friends and cousins. We usually try to do a little sightseeing, too, which kind of breaks up the monotony of so many churchyards, parish churches, archives, etc., -- mostly in Lincolnshire.


Beginning of one trip, we visited with Porteous friends in Aylsham, Norfolk. While there we were thrilled with a visit to Blickling Hall. It's possibly the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, the wife of King Henry VIII, but no one knows exactly when she was born, so if she were born before 1505, then Blickling would be the place. 


The building which now stands was built on the ruins of the original standing during the reign of James I. The Boleyn family owned the original hall around 1500. No matter, the house, as it is now, was being restored when we visited. You can see the scaffolding on the center tower. In back of Blickling Hall there are remarkable gardens which seemed to go on forever and a nice-sized lake. We were there in early spring when it was cold and dreary, but color was starting to fill the gardens as the spring flowers were coming out. The hall's beauty didn't suffer in our eyes either.


Blickling Hall, Norfolk, England a Tudor house.





TO DODDINGTON HALL
We had a wonderful few days with our friends and then we went on to Lincolnshire to do the priority reason for the England visit -- family history. We were in Lincs for a little over a week. A day or two before we left for our trip home, we visited Doddington Hall which is just west of the city of Lincoln. This building (below) was completed around 1600. It is considered an Elizabethan house with walled courtyards and a gabbled gatehouse. The inside had been updated around mid-1700s. It has always had a family living in it. The gardens are in the back and are quite stunning. Besides the formal knot garden, there were extensive "wild" gardens to explore. We were there when the trees were in blossom; birds and bees filled the air with a wonderful sound of their activities. Ducklings paddled around on the little pond next to the kitchen garden; their mom watched as they were showing a little independence.


Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire, England an Elizabethan house.










IMAGINATIONS COULD RUN WILD
These two "halls" are certainly stately and each is distinctive in its own right, yet, the thing that most fascinated me and sticks in my mind from visiting these stately mansions were the very interesting, old, huge trees with giant limbs stretching out from the trunk like serpents in the sea. I guess one wouldn't think that is something to remember, but my imagination still lingers over there.

What dreams the children of these houses must have had. Those kids didn't have tv or videos to rob them of their imagination. Their fingers weren't attached to a smart phone either. Can you imagine what a small child would have seen looking out a window during a thunder storm? Those trees would be moving up and down, swaying in the wind with lightning flashing like fire from a dragon's mouth!

Were there monsters coming into a child's bedroom as the moonlight casts shadows through the window? Just look at that tree in the picture below...can't you see a dragon or a giant serpent? 


Trees or monsters in the gardens of Blickling Hall.


I wonder what kind of scary story came out of this hedge interior?

COULD THE TREES AT DODDINGTON HALL SCARE A CHILD? 
I think a child's imagination could run wild looking at these trees. In the moonlight they could look like monsters or giants. Maybe one of those low branches is a witch's boney finger. How many children over the many years wouldn't go near the edge of the wild garden for fear of the three witches? 

I can't begin to tell you what all a child's imagination could conger up, but I'm sure if there were, mom and dad would hear the stories in the morning! How many of these children grew up telling about what was lurking out their bedroom windows? 

Witches in the gardens of Doddington Hall?

Think of the stories a children's storyteller could come up with, too. How many adventures have we read about that possibly started with trees similar to these? No one knows, but I'm sure there must have been a few. We might have seen the animation of some trees in Disney films of the old classic fairy tales...hmmmm.

MY IMAGINATION
When I was a little girl, we had a standalone stove in the next room from where I slept. My dad would get the fire going on the cold nights -- just to "take the chill off" before we went to bed. I remember there was a small door on the burn chamber with a little window for monitoring the flames inside. Well, those flames would cast a shadow that looked like a bear walking towards my bed. It was very frightening indeed. I stayed as still as I could and before the bear had a chance to reach me, I'd quickly yank the covers over my head hoping the bear wouldn't see me and he would go away. By morning the bear was gone. Only the thought of a warm kitchen would get me up and out of bed and downstairs away from my chilly bedroom. At breakfast I'd tell my parents about the bear and  my dad would always promised to chase him away before I went to bed again.




Friday, January 1, 2016

Clarification on Boom Boom...





CANNON CAPER
For years the cannon was only shot off to bring in the New Year, but one summer’s night it was another story...




Family stories always have a "shred" of truth and the previous story I told "They Called Him Boom-Boom" is how I "thought" it happened from what I remember. Most of it did, but today my brother told me the cannon wasn't normally used to bring in the new year.  I thought it was.

My brother did verify that dad shot off his shotgun to bring in the new year. 

Another thing he mentioned...he didn't remember being called Boom Boom. To this I said, I remember our neighbor who called the cops dubbing him that and my dad saying that, too. But after all it was almost 60 years ago, so anything could be true as we "remember it."  Maybe it was the way I wanted it to have happened. Anyway, I just wanted to clarify.

Thanks to my brother for clarifying also.