Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Lego Christmas

It does not seem that long ago (of course it is), that Mattel Toy Company ruled Christmas. The Sears & Roebucks' catalogue arrived sometime after Labor Day, and you spent weeks going through the toy section trying to find that perfect Santa request. Mattel this, and Mattel that, even Ken and Barbie got into the action. Having just read my first book about John Paul Jones, "...I have not yet begun to fight...", I had decided that joining the Navy was the next adventure, and the Mattel Toy Company had just the thing...a three foot long Navy destroyer! It had a large single, gun at the bow (that's the front for those who don't have their Navy lingo), and could be rotated electronically 180 degrees from the bridge controls. (The bridge is the place where the captain of the ship gave all his commands.) It then had anti-aircraft guns on the sides, plus depth charge launchers ready for any of those submarines unlucky enough to get too close. In the stern (back) there was a landing craft which hung over the water ready to rescue any sailor who had fallen overboard. To sail the seven seas, yes sir...all seven were located on the living room carpet that Christmas, and for many months to come.

This past Christmas, I watched my six year old grandson open his presents. Lego's seemed to be the toy of choice. Out of a box less than 8 x 10 inches came a sack of very small pieces which seemed to multiply before your very eyes. What in the world, I thought. It would take a rocket scientist to put this together! A twelve page booklet accompanied the pile of pieces. Block one, to block two, to block three, to block one thousand six hundred and fifty four! [You get the picture.] An "alien" space ship it was to become. Star Wars seemed to be the theme. The deep blue sea had been exchange for the darkness of space. At least I could take my Mattel toy out of its large box and begin to become John Paul Jones, "the second"! [That is, after you figured out how to get those D-sized batteries in place.]

At any rate, my second daughter, who has a degree in mathematics, helped assemble the space ship, while my grandson ran around her playing with the pieces. A true Lego Christmas it was!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Later Days

Ten days shy of her 95th birthday, Granny Ewen (Stella Morton Ewen) died March 1, 1994. At my present age of 60 years, that means she lived longer than my childhood, high school, college years, medical school years, residency, 2 year fellowship, and a few years faculty, as if I were just now starting them! Wow, that is a long time.

"Granny", as we usually called her, lived in a log cabin as a child. She grew up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, and saw the world change as we never knew it. I once asked her what she thought was the most amazing change she had experienced during her life time. "The light bulb", she said. Who would have thought?

She birthed 12 children, mostly all at home. She lived in Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Indiana, and moved the family roughly 35 times. She loved flowers, cooking, and making fruit cakes for Christmas. She was a Kentucky Colonel!

The picture to the right shows Granny at my Mom's home during the last years of her life. She was very hard of hearing, and refused to wear one of those ear gadgets. My Mom, and her Mom shared these later days. At my very last visit to Granny's bedside, she did not really recognize me, and thought I was a minister. I held her hand, and we prayed, thanking God for these later days.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Adolescence provides a great many opportunities to grow and change the perception of the world around us. About 2 years before maturation, the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis kicks in, and away we go! [How do you like that doctor talk.] We would call this puberty to adulthood. Linear growth, increased muscle mass, voice changes, facial hair (and all those other places), acne, and a host of emotional changes are all taking place. We suddenly discover that our parents don't know anything about anything! Who am I is often the question of the day.

The picture to the right shows such a group of guys, going though this process. Peer influence and conformity would certainly seem to be at the highest levels. All dressed up the same. All standing with arms to the side, and all with some sort of smile. Eight Boy Scouts from Winchester, Troop 84. Together, they were receiving the "God and Country" award. Each worked a minimum of 100 hours over a two-year period to earn the award. What a thought it is. Two years of your adolescence with over 100 hours thinking about "God and Country". Who would have thought of such a thing?

The magnitude of change that has taken place in our society since this picture would want to question the value of this activity. Computer games would certainly challenge the priorities! Besides, it would probably just be called the "Country" award today.

For those interest, from right to left in the picture starting the back row: Henry Jones (my older brother), Ray Scott, Jr., Gary Taylor, George Brooks, and John Farmer...from right to left on front row: Steve Gillaspie, Van Graham, and me. Rev. Allen Garner is the one all dressed up in the robe. Close friendships, a goal of late adolescence to young adulthood.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

World War II Victory Medal

World War II ended a chapter in American history that was to change us for all time. We came together as a people to defend our freedom.

The medal shown is called "Victory Medal, World War II". It was authorized on July 6, 1945 for members of the United States armed forces who served on active duty at any time between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946.

The front shows a figure of Liberation, her right foot is resting on a war god's helmet. She has broken the sword of war, holding the hilt and broken blade in her hands. Rays of light glow from behind.

On the back of the medal is inscribed the phrase "Freedom from Fear and Want" and "Freedom of Speech and Religion", separated by a palm branch. It is then circled by the words "United States of America 1941- 1945".

The final figure shows the back page of a "War Ration Wallet". During this war, victory was also won at home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

With Love, Henry

The world had changed in 1945-1946. Most of this world had been involved in a war that was to impact many, many lives for generations to come. Indeed it did.

It was the picture to the right that caught my attention. It was taken in 1946 below one of the most famous mountains in the world. To the French it was "Mont Cervin". To the Italian it was "Monte Cervino". To the Swiss, it was just called "Matterhorn". Straddling the frontier between Switzerland and Italy, all 14,691 feet stands proudly. No war was going to change me it seems to be saying. My Dad stands here. The picture has in his hand writing, "With Love, Henry".

What? Love in the mist of all this mess? How was one to deal with all the hatred, death, killings, destruction, war...war...war! Some thought it would never end. But, here is my Dad, sending a picture to his family, with love. The folks below would have received it.

This picture shows Dad's younger sister, Ray. She is recording a picture with her Mom, my Mam maw... that shared moment in time caught by the camera of life. Ray was still in high school, and Mam maw was working outside the home. There were three younger siblings some ten years younger, but I guess this picture was one of those mother-daughter adventures, known only to moms and the oldest daughters.

The world goes on...1945-1946...With Love, Henry.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Life and times at Granny Ewen's was always an adventure. Lots of cousins to play, lots of uncles and aunts to ask questions, and lots of places to explore were all part of the activities. Finding an unclaimed bottle of "ALE-8-One" was always an unexpected treat.

Ale-8-One (a soft drink) had been part of my families' drinking choice well before I was born. In fact, it had been around since 1926, when a man named G.L. Wainscott first made his brew. Mom and I would walk past his bottle making place on our way to Kroger's. It was located on West Broadway behind the old post office. The large doors would be wide open, and you could watch the racks of green bottles run their course from one side of the building to the other. It made all sorts of clanking, and bumping, noises that provided an interesting side line to our trip for groceries.

Now "finders, keepers" was an acceptable saying around Granny Ewen's house. That is unless you got caught. The picture to the right shows Granny and me with that look. Hand on the hip, grim reaper type expression, and my "oops" got me look on my face. [It must have been early in this adventure since my shirt tail was still tucked in!] I have the Ale-8-one bottle in my hands, and I suspect that I had downed most of the unique mixture ginger and carbonation. Birthing and raising 12 youngins', keeping watch over more than 30 grand kids, and especially watching out for me would, gave her extra knowledge and know how to keep my findings to a minimum. Anyway, who would want to take such a picture of Granny and me...well...busted.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Blog on Cadwallader Jones

Cadwallader Jones [ca. 1650 - 1703] has been a legend throughout the genealogy world. Interestingly for me, he ends up being my 10th generation grandfather! With this in mind, and having researched him for many years, I wanted to tell his story. His story is part of my own family's story. If interested, join me for the tell of my heart's blood. The link is:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pickin' and Grinnin'

Family reunions were a big deal in my growing up years. The Ewen side was perhaps the largest get together, but the Morton side was not far behind. Granny Ewen's side were the Mortons, and there were plenty of them. We would meet on one of the farms up in the hills, and enjoy some of the best cookin' around these parts. [ I kept my priorities straight, and would head to the homemade chocolate pies at first chance!]

After eating [two to three pieces of chocolate pie], we would gather around the folks who played the banjo, fiddle, and guitar. I don't know if it was called Bluegrass music at that time, but it was interesting to watch the family clap, slap one another on the back, and a few did that type of dance I believe was called clogging. Lots of smiles, lots of laughs, and the troubles of the world would seem so far away. [The "Arms Race" was just beginning and we were practicing that "duck and cover" in school. Anyway, if an "A-bomb" hit, I figured that dancing would be just as good an activity to end this life!]

Pickin' and Grinnin', yes sir, they called it...the adults did the pickin', and we did the grinnin'.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Memories - Trick or Treat

It is that time of year again when those little ghost and goblins show up on your steps and front door asking for goodies. Just how this all got started is certainly a mystery, but it was a favorite time of year for me. Dressing up in all those different costumes, running from house to house, and looking at all those carved pumpkins made for an interesting evening.

French Avenue was the best place in Winchester to "trick or treat". [I got better with the tricks as age increased.] This was the part of town that had all those old houses with the very large porches, and many single, old women, who would invite you into their houses. The tables were often set with all kinds of candies, and you were allowed to help yourself. [A hand full or two was certainly possible!] They would laugh, and admire your costume, and make over the excitement of event. Of course you always had to say "trick or treat" several times.

The picture above shows one of the cousins in their skeleton costume. It had to be one of the cousins since I do not remember every wearing a coat while going about the business of collecting all those goodies. [It would usually take me two weeks or so to get through my sack!] Plus, I would have never stood so still having my picture taken in such a getup. At any rate, such was the times...mask, sack, and outfit. Trick or Treat...they say...what memories.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

A family reunion was always a big deal in my growing up years. This was especially true on the Ewen-Morton side of the family tree. We would often gather at Natural Bridge State Park which was just a hop, skip, and a jump up the road from Slade and Nada where Mom had spent most of her growing up years. This natural wonder had a trail to the top which had "fat man's squeeze". This of course was one of my favorites since I was small and skinny and well, many on my Ewen-Morton side were a littler larger than I.

The picture shows a boat load of cousins. The autos in the background suggest this was taken around 1956 and my brother Henry is sitting high in the stern. [That's the back of the boat.] I am the one leaning over the side with my hand in the water, feeling the coolness, wanting to jump right into the clear stream. [On the most part, this was pre-pollution days.] Water was to play an important part in my life yet to come, being a swimming instructor for many years. [I taught most of Winchester how to swim.] At any rate, on this summer day, my cousins and I shared an adventure on the waters of time...row, row, row your boat.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Calling Uncle

For most of us upon this earth, we grow up around uncles. The brothers to our mom's and dad's who may or may not play an important role in our early childhood development. [Husbands to our aunts are also called uncles, but somehow they seemed not as involved.]

Six uncles were involved in my childhood. Four on my mother's side [Ewen], and two on my father's [Jones]. The picture to the right shows my two uncles on my father's side in their own early school days. Both red headed, uncle Gayle was six (extreme right), and uncle Gene was eight years old. They were attending Hickman Street School, where many of my Jones family had walked the halls. World War II was about to end, and I suspect they had their own struggles during their growing up years.

Uncle Gayle looks a bit disturbed by all this first grade picture taking. That horizontal Jones smile (or frown) is in place. I have had a bad hair day so lets get this over with, he seems to be saying. Uncle Gayle introduced me to scouts and taught me to tie square knots.

Uncle Gene has a little different look. Almost smiling, his hair is carefully combed, and his expression seems confident. Here I am world, make way, he seems to be saying. He was the story teller of our family, and I spent many hours soaking in the verbal acrobatics that made, well Gene, Gene. I was not always sure I could believe every story that was told, but the laughter and joy in the telling covered most of my suspicions. He opened many doors to my childhood imagination. Laughing so hard sometimes, I had to call...Uncle.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


A sibling is defined as one of two or more individuals having one common parent. A brother or sister considered irrespective of their sex. Unless you are an only child, you are a sibling.

In life, a sibling plays an important role in the growth and development of his brothers and sisters. Older siblings take a role of decision making and leadership. Middle siblings take a role of communicator and conflict control. Younger siblings take just about everything left over from the above. These roles sometimes vary, but on the whole the pecking order is established in most families.

The picture to the right shows my brother and me...two siblings. I would guess that I am about eight months of age, and Henry is about two years of age. At first glance you might guess that we certainly did not come out of the same oven! Just look! Me...a round face, chubby cheeks, dark eyes , and black hair is showing. Henry...oval face, blue eyes, thin cheeks, and light brown hair is showing. Did someone get these siblings mixed up?

Life certainly produces differences in siblings. That first union of the egg and sperm is where life begins, when the set of chromosomes [23 from Dad, and 23 from Mom] join together for the first time. A new combination in this set of genes! What a difference the outcome can be. Just look at the picture of the siblings above.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Linda Carol and Ghost Stories

The first baby sitter I can remember was Linda Carol. We always called her "Linda Carol". Not "Linda" or "Carol", but her full name was used. The reason for this was not clear since there was not another Linda in our family to get her confused with. Besides, when my middle name was added to my first name, "Jerry Edward!" usually meant that I was in some kind of trouble. [Mostly Mom and Dad used this word combination to tell me to begin to examine my ongoing activities.]

Linda Carol was the baby sister of my Dad with some sixteen years between them. She was one of my favorite aunts. The picture to the right shows her at the summer of her "horse picture" around 1947-48. Her red hair and easy smile shows through, and it was her continued smile that brought my brother and me through many baby sitting episodes. She was very good at telling ghost stories... and at night, on the side porch, with the street light streaming dancing shadows along the stone steps, was the ideal area. Just as my heart started to pound, and just as the ghost started to arrive...Boo!...she would say, laughing from ear to ear.

Linda Carol, thank you for all those baby sitting days, and all those ghost stories...enjoy your ride.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Twenty Years Before

The last post showed a picture of the "Ewen Clan" at the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Grandad and Granny Ewen. The picture to the right shows pretty much the same clan some 20 years before.

My Dad had just starting dating Mom, and the year would be about 1947 plus or minus a year or so. The family was taking another picture which always seemed to be part of the gatherings. Dad is standing at the far right with his hands in his pockets. Not many smiles in this picture. Maybe this was just before eating time, and every one was a bit hungry? Maybe they had just finished a round of horse shoes and the losers were a bit upset? At any rate, Dad was making his required family visit with everyone else making their judgement about this left-handed, red head who wanted to marry Myrna Jean. There was even Junior's wife Juanita standing between Mom and Dad! Everyone seems tightly packed except Dad, who is leaning a little to the left. Mom has a young one before her and I am not sure who this little girl is. Dad was not quite a member of this family yet!

J.C. (John Clarence) does not seem to be in the picture, but he appears to be the only one missing. [Maybe he was taking the picture.] Wow, some 20 years before, how we change.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Good Celtic Mixture

The last post showed a picture of my Dad's brothers and sisters with their mother. [Pap paw had died before this picture was taken.] All six of them with their distinctive red hair, fair skin, and freckles showing through [before they turned gray].

The picture to the right shows the brothers and sisters of my Mom, with their black "Ewen" hair, dark skin, and dark eyes. This was taken at the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Granny and Grandad Ewen. [March 21, 1968.]

From left to right: Sidney Brent Ewen, b. 1924 [we called Junior]; Kenard Darrell Ewen, b. 1942 [the baby of the family]; Myrna Jean Ewen, b. 1930 [my Mom!]; Charles Ronald Ewen, b. 1939 [we called Charlie, who took me on my first tree climbing experience!]; Eva Faye Ewen, b. 1928; John Clearence Ewen, b. 1922 [we called J.C.]; Cordius Allene Ewen, b. 1926 [we called Allene, and it was at her house I watched the landing on the moon 1969!]; Edith Delorese Ewen, b. 1934; and Wanda Bernice Ewen, b. 1937.
Nine of twelve children to have survived. All are standing behind their parents, Sidney and Stella. [We called Grandad and Granny.]

Scottish and Welsh would meet in the Bluegrass of Kentucky, resulting in my brother and me. A good Celtic mixture.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Carrot Tops

Red hair is considered fairly rare among the human race. Overall, that Celtic gene seems responsible for most of those lucky enough to be born with this hair color. Scotland seems to have the highest rate, being around 13% of the population. Ireland follows. Thus, most of those displaying this crown, are generally judged to be from Ireland or Scotland.

Genetically, red hair is considered an autosomal recessive trait. The gene is carried on chromosome 16, and is tagged MC1R. A mutation of this gene is felt to have occurred, which caused it not to be able to breakdown certain chemicals. [Conversion of pheomelanin into eumelanin, for those who want to know.] When the genes (alleles) from mom and dad come together, they each provide one side of this gene. The outcome of this combination produces hair color. If one parent carries this mutated gene, it will be expressed when it is joined by another who transmits this mutation.

The picture above shows a bunch of red heads. They are all brothers and sisters who seem to have parents who had nothing but red head genes! [Mam maw is in the middle.] My Dad (b. 1926) is of course was grey headed at the time the picture was taken, but he often told me he would not wear red because of the "carrot top" jokes he received growing up in Winchester, KY. Aunt Thelma Rae (b. 1928) , uncle Eugene Turner (Gene, b. 1936), uncle Gayle Lynwood (b.1938), and aunt Linda Carol (b. 1941), all show expression of this phenomena. Not sure how rare it is that a family has all red headed children! Welsh and Scottish genes, you can imagine the childhood stories.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Caught on Film

My last picture showed my brother and me with Grandad Ewen. This picture shows my first cousin, David; my brother Henry, and me. It was taken about the same time period, late 1950s, and represents most of the pictures taken during this time. [Although more 1st cousins are usually around.]

We are standing just inside the front door. Granny is holding David's hands, and I seem to be glad that I have the "prize" held high in my left hand. [Being left handed of course.] Not sure exactly what this is, but I seem happy that I have it. David seems a bit upset, and Henry seems his usual calm self, with some kind of object held in his mouth. My dress again is outstanding. Shirt disheveled, only one suspender showing, cuffs opened, and most of my shirt tail about to join the outside world. What joy on my face.

Granny Ewen seems to have become the sheriff, waiting patiently [or not so patiently] for this adventure to pass. What adventures there are in childhood. Grannies being the sheriffs, and the grandchildren being the "Cowboy and Indians". Lock 'em up says the sheriff. This one caught on film.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

With Grandad Ewen

Not many pictures were taken with Grandad Ewen. The men in the family seemed to dissolve into the shadows when that picture taking time arrived. Most of the pictures were with Granny Ewen, aunts, and those of the XX-chromosome type.

Not this one. It shows my brother and me standing behind Grandad Ewen. It was taken on one of those Christmas days when the Ewen side all got together. I am a little surprised that my brother and I got a picture taken by our self, since there were usually a boat load of first cousins around. [Nine Ewen aunts and uncles all having their share of the next generations.]

It looks like the presents have been opened, and a few piles of discarded wrapping paper lies about. My brother is neatly dressed, and I my usual state of attire. T-shirt hanging out, jacket sleeves unbuttoned, and that sheepish grin that tells I must have been up my usual activities.

I remember that Grandad Ewen always gave me a silver dollar. This was at a time when the silver dollar was worth a dollar! Most were the "Peace (1921-1935)" design, and belonged to the era that saw the great depression. [What a silver dollar must have been worth then.] My favorite however, was the 1890 Morgan (1887-1921) with two small "cc" on the back. It had an image of a woman on the front, and that of an eagle with its wings spread out on the back. Not like the Peace silver dollar where the eagle on the back had its wings closed tightly. I liked my eagles flying.

I do not remember having this picture taken with Grandad Ewen, but I still remember and keep in my possession the silver dollars.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nose Art

Combat planes were often given an identity through nose art.

The art took a variety of expressions, but a common form was the female form. All that testosterone and such kept many a nose artist active.

The following pictures show such expression.

At the close of WW II, my Dad had a chance to record such art. He was part of the army of occupation of Germany, 9th Air force. He tells me that his major activity was to destroy the planes that were left after the War ended. He would help remove all materials felt valuable, the parts and stuff, and place charges to dynamite the remaining metal. Hundreds and hundreds of planes were destroyed for scrap metal.

It appears that he had some time to take a few photos of these planes. The first shows Dad in winter garb, standing before a "blond bombshell". He certainly looks happy.

The next shows a group of guys (Dad the tallest) removing ammunition and such, with another picture of the female form clearly on display. No names can be identified, and I am uncertain the type of plane. Perhaps it was a bomber, with apparent bomb bay doors opened along the belly.

The last pictures show Dad in front of another type of nose art. This art was the one that counted.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Army of Occupation

On Thanksgiving Day 1945, a young man just out of high school left for Germany on the troopship West Point. This ship was actually the "Luxury Liner America", but who was to tell these fellas what they were about to see and experience. The War in Europe had just ended, and there must have been a lot of guys who felt left out of all the action, and a lot of guys who felt relieved that the war was finally over.

Two of these guys are shown in the picture. One is my dad, Private First Class (PFC), Henry E. Jones, USAF - 15364821. He is the one standing with his hand on the shoulder on the unnamed fellow sitting. He tells me that he spent most of his time there driving prisoners of war to various tasks, which involved mostly blowing up planes that remained after the war. Germany had been destroyed, and much rebuilding was taking place.

The "Army of Occupation Medal" is shown in the next picture.

This medal was designed by the Army Heraldic Section, and shows the Remagen bridge abutments, symbolic of Europe. This medal was given for service in Germany or Austria starting after May 9, 1945. The ribbon is made of equally broad stripes of black and scarlet with narrower white edges. Black and white stand for Germany, and scarlet and white for Japan. [This medal was also given for the occupation of Japan starting after September 3, 1945.]

Dad has a lot of pictures, taken during this time. Hopefully, I will be able to share many more.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Encounter

My genealogy days are thought to have started some 51 years ago while playing hide and seek in Granny Ewen's closet. [See post "50 Years of Genealogy", July 7, 2010.] That was until I found this picture of my brother and me at Nada cemetery standing with Granny Ewen. It seems that I was about four, and my brother about six years of age. Granny has her arm around Henry's right shoulder, and I have my hands folded respectfully. Henry is holding the flowers which I guess were to be placed among those already evident. It must have been mid-summer since our summer attire was in place, [See post "Shorts and Nothing Else", Dec. 30, 2010.], except we needed to wear shoes so we didn't mess our feet up. This might even had been that same summer we had our picture taken on Danny!

We must have been facing the head stone of George Washington Ewen. I do remember seeing a headstone with some kind of funny markings on it. This must have been the Mason's symbol faintly seen now in the picture to the right. The headstone clearly shows the wear and tear of time, and vandals, since it was placed more than a century ago. This is also where three daughters of Granny had been buried so we could have been saying hello to them. I certainly seem to be standing stiffly which means I must have been unsure as to what to do around these dead folks. Making silly faces would not seem quite right. [Pictures of the head stones are shown in the post "Nada cemetery", Aug. 14, 2010.]

The last picture shows the church that was standing behind our backs. This picture taken at just about the same angle, and just about the same position. It was our family's Sunday go to meeting church shown in the post of January 25, 2011. The fence line has grown, and crowded out the front. It seems that many other things have crowded out this small structure used by my family so many years ago. Only the graves remain.

George Washington Ewen and his wife Susan Francis (nee Cole) are buried there...just beyond the gate.

My brother and I were there some 50 years ago...saying hello.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Holding On

Holding on to things can be tricky at times. Things important to us are often placed in keep sake boxes, pressed between pages of books, or placed in a special hiding place known only to us. Perhaps a necklace , a ring, a flower, a picture, or a four leaf clover, or any number of unusual things that represent a special event or memory. Keep sakes they are called.

Wanda Bernice Ewen, born 20 April 1937, seems to be holding on to a cookie. Perhaps caught in the "cookie jar". What? Me? Not mean you want some? Well maybe one bite. The expression on the face seems to be saying.

How many times have we been caught in the cookie jar? Have to eat fast or someone will find out. I will share a bite or two with the one I have in my hand...but not the one I have behind my back.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Our Home is Gone"

Devastation has been part of many lives this past year. Forces of nature have taken much toll all around the world. The actions of wind (tornadoes), earth (earth quakes), water (tsunami and floods) , and fire (wild fires) continue to remind us that no matter how much we think we are in control of our lives, some things are beyond our control.

The first picture to the right shows our home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We lived, fought, and loved as a family in these four walls for just about 10 years. The front of the house is shown at springtime, when the azaleas were in full bloom. A welcome sight coming home in the evening.

2001 1st Avenue, it was called. It was built by Edward Montgomery who owned a wood working business. He put a lot of his skill as a wood worker into the details. He even had a bomb shelter built during the "cold war" thinking this would provide some form of protection from that thing called the "A-bomb". We were the second owners to live in the home. Little did he know that a different type of bomb would hit. This bomb could be called a "T-bomb".

Several families have lived in the house since we sold it, when we moved back home to Kentucky. My youngest daughter still lives with her family in Tuscaloosa, and experienced the "T-bomb" first hand. The day after the tornado, she called and said, "Our home is gone".

The last picture shows what she meant. Not much of the house still stood, and large, black letters now identified the property. Complete devastation, what more can one say. The house is gone, but the memories will remain.

Forces beyond our control. Good bye 2001 1st Avenue. Anyway, home is where the heart is.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pointing The Way

Older siblings often take the roll of the leader. Here... go this way, go that way, get up, set down, and all the other directions that give the younger siblings that sense of "just let me do it"!

The picture to the right hung over Granny Ewen's bed. It shows May Millicent Ewen, born 7 December 1920, holding the hand of her younger brother, John Clarence Ewen (J.C.). [born June 16, 1922.] Both seem to be in a dress, but I guess in those days you used what you had. The oldest Ewen daughter, Minnie Thelma Clay Ewen, had died some seven months before May Millicent was born. J.C. came along some two years later, and May Millicent certainly had several years experience over the younger brother. She seems to be saying, "look, life is ahead, and you need to go this way". In this picture, she seems to be around four years of age, and J.C. would be about two years of age. "Now are you sure about this?", he seems to be saying.

May Millicent Ewen was to die December 25, 1925. Granny Ewen records in her own hand writing, "May Millicent Ewen - born Dec 7, 1920 Died Dec. 25, 1925. age 4 yr. & 6 mo.". To die on Christmas day. Who would every wish that? At least on this day, she is pointing the way.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sharing Tree Climbing

Just a little more than a year ago, the first post entitled "50 Years of Genealogy" was written. The story begins in my Granny Ewen's closet at age nine [Some 51 years ago!], finding the doctor's saddle bag of my great grandfather, George Washington Ewen. The next post tells of finding the Ewen family cemetery titled: "True Tree Climbing". The picture to the right shows this cemetery.

Just celebrating my Dad's 85th birthday, I found this picture among his collections. It would have been taken many years after my first "tree climbing" experience, but it does show the edge of the ridge that my uncle and I climb so many years ago. A few of the "towering pines" can still be seen, with the ridge dropping down just beyond the tree line. I do not have the name on the grave stone shown, but the first Ewen's buried here were born around the 1820's. To find this picture on the first anniversary of this blog was special. Happy Birthday Dad, and Happy Birthday to The Jones Genealogist blog...sharing tree climbing these many years.

The first two posts: Wednesday, July 7, 2010, "50 Years of Genealogy"; Thursday, July 8, 2010, "True Tree Climbing".

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Best Friends

The world would never be the same after M. Daguerre took his first photo. It appeared in the Gazette de france, Jan. 6, 1839 edition, and since this point, an untold number of images have been caught. These images have been called "Daguerreotypes".

By 1856, a quickly made, inexpensive product, was produced ultimately called a tintype. [At first they were called ferrotype or melainotype but who could say these words.] They came in various sizes from a whole plate (6 1/2 inches x 8 1/2 inches) down to a 1/9 plate (2 inches x 2 1/2 inches). They were produced on very thin sheets of iron involving certain chemicals which gave a very sturdy surface. These images could be carried easily and mailed easily. They captured the Civil War period in America in amazing fashion. They became the "folk art" of the day.

The picture above shows such a tintype from my families' collection. It is a 1/2 plate, measuring 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches. [An inch scale and millimeter scale are shown.] It has a plain back ground and dark surface common to the tintype. It shows a man with his dog. [I have been unable to identify his name, but I believe him to be a Ewen.]

The picture to the right is an enlargement of this tintype. You needed to sit still around 30 seconds to capture the image. Not much showing on this fellows face. Coat and tie are in place. Sitting stiffly. He seems to be holding his dog comfortably, and the dog has his paws upon the right knee. What an experience. Holding a dog still for any amount of time is a challenge. I wonder who he was.

A man and his friends.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


"X-Men" the movie has recently appeared describing a group of folks who represent the future of mankind. After watching this flick, I came to realize that I had my own folks who represent my future. They are my "X- WOMEN".

The picture to the right shows these folks in my arms. My X-chromosome to them. They seem to have gotten a lot, being dark haired, brown eyed, and mostly round faced. [All my Ewen traits.] But reality is that half is really the amount from me, and half from my wife. [Blond headed, blue eyed, and the mitochondrial DNA !] These mixtures of traits will go forward, passed on to the next generations. What the future holds for them will also be my future for my branch of mankind. Things are well in hand.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Moment in Time

In my growing up days, "Snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails" were the words to describe boys. In my family, snakes, especially Blue Racers, seemed to play a roll among the females as well. [see posts : The Blue Racer", July 13, 2010 and "Ms Blue Racer and Family", Sept 28, 2010.]

"Sugar, spice, and everything nice", was used to describe the girls. Having left my X-chromosome in three daughters, I am not sure that sugar, spice, and everything nice were often the best words.

The picture to the right shows my middle daughter Lesley and me catching our first fish together. The one that didn't get away! Her face shows the moment in time that expresses her delight. How proud she is to have succeeded in hooking this monster. Nothing sugar, spice, and all that other stuff. In this case, worms, hooks, and fish! How proud I am of her. A moment in time that sugar, spice, and everything nice seemed not the right words.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Posing For a Memory

Faintly written on the back of this picture is: "this is the 5 Dolls at Lexington, Ky". Five numbers are given with the names (left to right) 1 = J.C. Ewen, 2 = J.B. Bam..ehan ?, 3 = G... Ewen, 4 = T.S. Jackson, and 5 = J.B. Goldon? They are standing proudly, each touching down the line from J.B. Goldon to J.C. (called Jake), posing for a memory.

I would take it that J.C. Ewen (b. 1887) was the anchor of the crew since they all seem to be leaning on him. He was an older brother of my grandfather, Sidney Brent Ewen (b.1899), who would have been a young child when this picture was taken. The middle person was Green Ewen, a younger brother to J.C. and another older brother to my grandfather Ewen. Both Ewen boys had mustaches just like their father George Washington Ewen. [See post and picture "The Sod Rest Lightly", August 17, 2010.] All wore hats except Mr. Goldon who seems to be wearing an apron, and certainly did not want to get his carefully combed hair disrupted. [Perhaps a bartender who served the boys on their big trip to Lexington, KY.] The second in, J.B. [could not make out the spelling] shows his pipe, a symbol of manhood. [See post "Brothers", March 16, 2011, for my great grandfather Jones, E.T.] What a crew. It must have been mother Susan [who else would have called them "Dolls"?] who scribbled lightly on the back of the picture hoping to keep this event and memory alive. The boy's big trip to Lexington from the hills of Eastern Kentucky. Friends, posing for a memory in time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jones Genealogy

Genealogy has become a shared activity for many. Who are my ancestors? Where did we come from? What skeletons are in my family's closet? Who was the first to take my family's surname? Questions that are frequently asked.

A basic assumption underlying genealogy is that the family comes from a shared ancestor. This "Adam", the first to take the family's surname, is the foundation of my family tree. Thus, if another shares my surname, then we must be related somehow out the family tree. This is certainly true for many, many, surnames. But, for those who have a surname derived from the Welsh, this may not always be the case. Jones genealogy is such a case.

Genealogy for those who have a common surname, like Jones, is often a difficult process. Making it more difficult is the realization that most of those who share the surname [JONES] are not genetically related! This comes from the fact that many Welsh surnames were produced during a period of English history that required the Welsh to take an English surname. [The period of Henry VIII called the "Act of Union", 1536.] The English refused to recognize the Welsh system of naming, and forced the Welsh to utilize the English surname. More often then not, when a Welshman entered the required English legal system, the clerks of court registered their Welsh name [Peter ap Thomas ap Edward] by taking the first name [Peter], putting it with the second Welsh name [Thomas], to become the "new" English name, "Peter Thomas". If a first cousin came to court on the same day [or another day for that matter] named David ap John ap Edward [shared the same grandfather], the clerk of court would record David Jones. Thus, the surname Thomas would share the same Y-chromosome with the surname JONES. After a few generations this becomes a real tossed salad!

Jones genealogy, does anyone have some dressing?

For a discussion of these issues see under :

"Impact, The Act of Union 1536", Feb. 24, 2011.

"Early English Records and the Jones Surname", March 21, 2011.

"The First JONES Surname in English Records", March 28, 2011.

"Ancient Petitions A Transition Period", April 18, 2011.

"Welsh Names in English Records 1301 AD", April 23, 2011.

"Welsh Birth Names 1301 AD", May 12, 2011.

"Jones Surname 1273-1500 in England and Wales", May 17, 2011.

"Jones Surname in Wales after 1500 AD", May 21, 2011.

"Jones Surname in England and Wales 1500-1700", June 2, 2011.

"Phonetic Not Genetic", June 6, 2011.

"Genetic Bowel of Spaghetti", June 10, 2011.

"Jones Surname By English Monarch 1485-1714", June 14, 2011.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Off With His Head

On Tuesday, 30 January 1649, Charles I took his last breaths. His head was separated from his body around 2 p.m., and those who had supported his cause scattered. Some royalist, as they were called, retired to the continent of Europe. Some came to Virginia. Richard Jones (JS-165) , the father of Cadwallader Jones (JT-143), came to Virginia.

On page 190, Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. I, is recorded 13 March 1649:

"Thomas Dale, son of Nicholas Dale, dec'd, 800 acs. on S. side of Rappa. Riv., some 8 mi. up lyeing E.N.E. upon sd. river from the mouth of Wadeing Cr. to mouth of Marsh Cr. 13 Mar. 1649, p. 211. Trans. of 16 pers: ...Richd. Jones,....". [along with 15 others].

Richard Jones (JS-165) has a story all his own. He is titled "of Eastcheap" in a few documents, thus identified with that part of London busy with markets [Especially the butcher's market.] By 20 March 1653, he had died, leaving his land to his wife Francis Jones (JS-166). This land was identified as "abutting" Col. Richard Lee upon the north side of York River in Glocester Co. On page 241, Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. I, it states:

"Col. Richard Lee, 300 acs. Glocester Co., 20 Mar. 1653, p. 27. Upon the N. side of York Riv. abutting upon land of Richard Jones dec'd, now in possession of Francis Jones, relict of sd. Richard Jones, & E.S.E. upon land of Robert Todd."

It would take a number of years to sort through all this genealogy. The ping-pong balls were flying. [see post: "Ping-Pong Genealogy", Friday, December 17, 2010.]

References are:

"Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623-66", by Nell Nugent, Volume One, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1969.

"The Last Days of Charles I", by Graham Edwards, Sutton Publishing, 1999.

"Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell, 1625-1660", by Wilcomb Washburn, Clearfield Co., 1993.

"London, the biography of a city", by Christopher Hibbert, William Morrow & Co., NY, 1969.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Western Cowboy Tonight

Dressing up and pretending is often a part of life. One day a cowboy, the next day an Indian... is all possible. We learn about what it is to "make believe".

The picture is that of my great grandfather Cordilus. This picture has been in our family's stack for years, but I did not figure out who it was until recently. On the back there is very faint writing, hard to read. It seems to say: "Well Zana Western CowBoy tonight how do I look, Cord." Zana Bell Morton (1887-1977) was the baby sister of Cordilus (Cord) Morton (1873-1948). He dressed up as a cowboy this picture, thinking to give it to his baby sister. Some signs read: "Snake Medicine", "His Girl", and "You D. Fool". A gun and holster are in place. Hands on hips. A sheepish grin. Where's the cows? For that matter, where's my horse. He looks about 18-20 years old which makes the picture taking about 1890s. [Probably just before his marriage in 1892?] Pretending, dressing up...maybe it was his last fling before adult life was to catch up with him.

Well Cordilus, as Roy Rogers would say, "Happy trails to you".

Friday, June 3, 2011

Maps from History

Maps from history will often help the genealogist understand the geography of their ancestors. The names, locations, and description of the land that was once occupied by the family, help bring to life the collection of facts. Peumansend Creek is shown on the map of Fry and Jefferson, 1754. [Here spelled Pumansend.] It is located below Fredericksburg on the Rappahanock River. Port Royal is the closest city identified, being just up river. Port Tobacco is just down river. Almost due north across the Rappahanock is located Chotank Creek. It empties into the Potomac River just across from Maryland Point. These landmarks are important in the life of Cadwallader Jones of Peumansend Creek 1673! [His code in my Jones family is JT-143, important to keep all these Joneses numbered.] Understanding the geographic relationship of the rivers, creeks, streams, and landmarks are often vital to breaking down many brick walls.

The figure is taken from: "A Map of the moft Inhabited part of Virginia containing the whole Province of Maryland with part of Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina", by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, 1754. [Remember, you can click on the figure to enlarge it. It makes it easier to read.]

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Tall and Short of It

Scouting was part of growing up in Winchester, KY during the 1960s. Every guy worth his weight in salt would start out in the Cub Scouts around age nine. A "Den Mother" she was called. That woman who lassoed a group of wild Indians each Thursday afternoon after school. A special badge of courage she earned during my days!

The picture to the right shows my brother and me at this Cub Scout period in our lives. Getting to wear that blue uniform to Hickman Street School once a week was special. At this point, Henry was just half a head taller.

At age 11, you got to move on up to that group called "Boy Scouts"...with a "Scout Master". Our troop 84 was the largest in Winchester. We would collect 50 - 60 boys each Thursday night at the large Christian Church just across the road from Hickman Street School. There was a large meeting room in the basement with lots of space to run around. Of course we did not do a lot of running being in a church and all. The Scout Law was: A Scout is - Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Wow, what a list!

The picture to the right shows my brother and me at this "Boy Scout" period. I guess you could say we were at least clean and cheerful. Henry had started his growth spurt now being head and shoulders above. My white tennis shoes show that my feet at least had started to grow. The "Tall" and "Short" of it I guess.

Our "Scout Motto" was "Be Prepared"! To do this we learned all sorts of things about first aid, safety, nature and the environment. Camping, hiking, fishing, wildlife, and the great outdoors were our laboratory. What more could a guy growing up ask for? [This of course was before my growth spurt and girls came into the picture!]

The "Scout Oath or Promise" began with the words: "On my honor I will do my best...". What a group of guys to grow up with when honor, and to do your best, was expected.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cadwallader Jones of Peumandsend Creek

A name like Cadwallader certainly catches your attention. It is a Welsh name that has attracted much attention along the genealogist highway. A little of the name's history is given.

Cadwallader is a Welsh name with a distinctive history and significance for the ancient Welsh people. The name Cad means "battle" and wallader means "king". Thus the name means "battle king" or "war king". The name appears among the Welsh kings as early as 617 AD, and the last "King of Wales" was named Cadwaladr Vendigaid (the blessed). After his defeat by the Saxons, the Welsh rulers were referred to only as "princes" instead of "kings". [Some feel that he died of the plague.] At any rate, after his death [ca. 682 AD] the Welsh bards began a political campaign which included a series of prophecies foretelling the return of Cadwalader and the defeat of the foreign invaders. In the Welsh:

"A phan del Kadwalader y orescin mon dileaur Saeson o tirion prydein"

"And when Cadwalader comes to seize Anglesey, the English will be driven from the lands of Britain".

One can understand why Welsh mother's and father's would want to name their sons Cadwallader! Thus, the name appears frequently in the Welsh, particularly among the ruling households looking to claim the fulfillment of the prophecies lingering in Welsh lore and culture. A "War King" who would set his people free!

This account is abstracted from: The Jones Genealogist, Vol. XI, No. 5, Jan/Feb, 2000, pp. 1-2.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Old Kentucky Home

The snow shines bright on my old Kentucky home? No, no...the sun shines bright...let's see, both snow and sun shines bright. Anyway, the picture is of our home at 25 Vine Street, taken around 1965. You can faintly see the number 25 in the middle of the space above the front door. The picture window to the right faced west, and I sat many a day looking out this window doing school work. A small concrete front porch is shown, with cedar bushes all around. The snow is about three feet deep, and this winter was a doozy. Lots of shoveling, lots of snow ball throwing, and lots of days to make up for school. Some winters, not so much, some winters a lot of snow fell. There was a saying in Kentucky that went: "If you don't like the weather, just wait, it will change". For almost 18 years we lived the four seasons in this abode...My Old Kentucky Home.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Along Pewmansend Creek 1673

Simon Miller was the first to be named among the freshes on "Pewamanesee Cr.". On November 5, 1673 it was recorded in Cavaliers and Pioneers, p. 138, "SIMON MILLER, 817 acs. Rappa. Co., in the freshes & on S. side the Riv., on the head of Pewamanesee Cr., adj. Cadw. Jones; lands of Talliaferro, Buckner, Prosser & Royston, 5 Nov. 1673, p. 490." [Patent Book No. 6]

Wow, there you have it, Talliaferro, Buckner, and Jones next to each other in 1673!

On the next page is recorded:

"CADWILL. (Cadwallader ?) JONES, 1443 acs. on S. side & in the freshes of Rappa. Riv., adj. Warwick Camock (Cammock) 5 Nov. 1673, p. 492, 625 acs. granted Symon Miller, who sould to sd. Jones; 818 acs. for trans. of 17 pers:..."

Cadwallader Jones, the first Jones along Pewmansend Creek. What a name I thought. Who was this guy? After 20 years of research, I got to know him pretty well.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Birthday Boy

Our senses provide us with information about life. Touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste assist us in exploring the world around us. Having someone help lead the way around this experience helps most of the time. Older bothers tend to guide younger brothers.

The picture to the right is of my older brother Henry. He is using sight and touch to decide if this green stuff is good enough to eat? I know he chose wisely.

Today is his birthday. Many years later of course than when this picture was taken. He certainly help lead me through many investigations involving this life. Happy Birthday Henry, and thanks for helping me explore this world.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Name That Creek

Two previous post discussed the methods of drawing and using maps in genealogical research. The map to the right shows the end product of such an endeavor. Pewmansend Creek remains outlined in yellow (first 3 miles), then the "north branch" in pink (roughly a 5 - 6 mile extension), and the "south" branch in green (4-5 mile extension). The landmarks of the day were creeks. [Used as street signs.] They are shown listed across the top starting with a) Port Tobacco Bay, b)Madam Lomx, c) Taliaferro's Creek, d) Roy's Warehouse, e) Presser's [Prosser] Creek, f) Passitank, g) Wier [Ware] Creek, h) Harrison's Creek, i) Conway's Warehouse, j) Snow Creek, and k) Nussopanax Run. A rough location of many of the early land owners are shown. Taliaferro, Buckner, Cattlett, Battialle, and Thornton are identified in the "freshes" along this section of Rappahannock River. Who was the first JONES? Was there a JONES along this Pewmansend Creek? Well indeed there was!

Friday, April 29, 2011

For Darla

Just a few days ago, my cousin Darla placed a comment on the post titled "Life Not Lived", February 17, 2011. She records her mom's memory of a sister named Flossie Mae Jones. Here is the only picture I can find in dad's family picture book which shows Flossie Mae, 2 1/2 months of age. To the right is Thelma Rae, 1 3/4 years, and my dad is to the left. The picture is dated 27 April, 1930. Thelma Rae is Darla's mom. Hello Flossie Mae Jones, we do have one picture of your life.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Life is not so simple, yes?

Life is, pictures, pictures...growing up...lots more pictures...growing out...lots less pictures...growing old...looking at growing up pictures...death. Life is not so simple, yes?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Life is simple, yes?

Life is...birth....growing up.....growing out......growing old.......death. Life is simple, yes?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Picture in Profile

Family pictures have a way of telling our family's stories. The picture to the right shows Granny Ewen, with her second child May Millicent born December 7, 1920. The picture was taken March 26, 1921, which would make Millicent around four months of age. The lady she is sitting with is not identified, but I would guess it is Granny's mother, Malaha Morton, nee Howell. The most striking thing about this picture is that Granny is sitting in profile. Almost every other family picture that I have show the folks sitting forward and facing the camera. Here Granny is gazing at Millicent who seems a bit shaken at this picture taking experience. Malaha is looking to the camera with a gaze that seems to say, don't you hurt my girls, or your life will be forfeited. The date of this picture gives the context. Granny had just lost their first child, Minnie Thelma Clay Ewen. In Granny's hand writing, she records "Minnie Thelma Clay Ewen - born March 24 1919 - Died March 11, 1920. age 11 mo. 16 days." Therefore, this picture would be taken around the anniversary of the death of her first child, and holding the hope of her second. No wounder Granny's gaze is to her daughter, and not to us. Her contented look seems to say, life goes on, and she is sitting in my lap...a picture in profile.

Monday, April 11, 2011

In The Freshes

To understand terms used in land patents, it is often necessary to get a grip on certain words that often have a different meaning than we would think. In early Virginia settlement, the rivers and streams played an important part in the establishment of boundaries and patent landmarks. A term used frequently was "the freshes". The drawing to the right tries to show this concept using the map already presented in a previous post. The orange color outlines the "ridge path" that separated the watershed that formed two patterns of water flow. Now if you were a rain drop that fell along this path, you have to go down on either side. The flow toward the major rivers[the blue lines]; in this case ,the Rappahannock River, would then flow into the Potomac River. This water would then flow into the Atlantic. The water drainage would be "the freshes". Thus, in early land patents there would be the statement "Coll. Nicholas Spence, 500 acs. in Potomack freshes, 6 Nov. 1666,...N.E. upon a cr. above Coll. Speaks land..." In effect, this would mean that Spence's 500 acres would be within the bounds of the ridge that formed the water runoff to the river that was the road to his patent. Of course you would then need to find out where "Coll. Speaks" land was located. You also know that 640 acres would be a square mile, thus this 500 acres would roughly one square mile [.78 mile square] from the river's edge to the ridge that drained the water. The blue lines in the figure about place you in the freshes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Passing of Time

Time passes and life goes on with us or without us. Pictures catch the days of our lives at different times and in different places. Edward Turner Jones as a young man is shown. He was born 10 August 1873, at a small rural settlement called Science Hill, Madison Co., KY. Posture straight, hair carefully combed, suit and tie are in place, and shoes are clearly shinned. A hat is carefully placed to show how much a man of the day is represented. I would guess this picture would have been taken around 1890. Manhood has arrived, and life awaits. The picture below shows Edward Turner (called E.T.) some years later. I would guess about 30 years. The same confident look is present. The coat has been removed, the hat remains on the head titled upward, and a bow tie is in place. A pipe is held showing what many "older" adults of the day took up as a fine art. Posture has shifted, looking much more relaxed, with legs crossed. The passing of time can not be stopped, but it can be captured by a picture. I am certain that E.T. would have something to say. He died 5 May, 1938 at his home in Clark Co., KY...the passing of time continues.