Monday, January 31, 2011

Go Fish

As children proceed through life, there is a progressively increasing reliance on memory. Children must become efficient in their use of both long-term and short-term memory. Rules, facts, concepts, procedures, language, and all sorts of social skills are to be learned and placed in memory. Oh...those childhood memories...some are good, some are bad...and some are just there.

It is certainly a rare occurrence that a child has a chance to store memories of his great-grandfather. I suspect that it very few who can remember meeting and talking to theirs. The picture to the right is my oldest grandson, Sam, playing cards with his great-grandfather, my Dad. I believe they are playing a game called "Go Fish". Sam showing his card, asking Dad if he had one like it. If not...go fish! You then had to draw cards until you got what was asked. The one with the most cards at the end would lose. Lose, win, one of those things one must learn. Go fish, I thought. A Chinese proverb tells that if you give a man a fish, he will eat one day...teach him to fish and he will eat for a life-time. Here, great-grandfather is teaching great-grandson how to fish. [Or maybe it is the other way around!] May Sam store this in both his short-term and long-term memory.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Silver Penny

Money has played an important role in most cultures. For the genealogist, understanding how, how much, and why, will often help make decisions regarding our ancestors. For the English around 1600 the silver penny played an important role. The following outlines its use around 1600 England:

12 silver pennies = 1 shilling

240 silver pennies = 1 pound

160 silver pennies = 1 mark (two thirds of a pound)

Shillings, marks, and pounds = terms of accounts/account records

1 silver penny = a days labor wage.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Daughters' Drawings

Coloring books are often a large part of learning to keep within the lines. All those choices, and shades, and shapes, can keep one occupied for hours. However, sooner or later you are given the freedom to draw on your own. [Walls, floors, and refrigerator doors are often the objects of this expression.]

Two of my most precious keepsakes are the drawings made by my daughters. Lisa, my oldest, was the first to put on paper her drawing of our "Jones Famly". At around age seven, here we are through her eyes. A rainbow arches over head, a sun with rays is in the sky, and lots of green grass. A swing set is drawn [we spent a lot of time swinging] and a car is drawn [we spent a lot of time traveling], and our family is drawn with smiles. My wife (and Mom) is drawn to my left, and the girls are drawn from youngest to oldest on my right. My glasses are in place. Dresses are in order, and this may have been one of our "Sunday Go to Meeting Days" with the car just ready to be loaded.

My second daughter's drawing follows. Her "Jones Famliy" is more organized according to rank. Dad first, Mom second, Lisa third, Lesley forth, and Ellen fifth. All smiles on the faces are drawn. She must have liked bows, for every sister has a large bow in place. Glasses on me, full dress on Mom, and carefully drawn dresses with fluffy sleeves on the girls.

Both drawings have me with glasses and black hair. Special memories are these. What a treasure these drawings... bows and a rainbow...and smiles...what joy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hickman Street School

Hickman Street School was the home of my family for at least three generations. Mam maw would have attended around 1910, Dad around 1930, Uncles Gene and Gayle around 1940, and my brother and I in the 1950s. The picture to the right shows the building as it stood before the 1940s. Large and impressive from the street, and stately to the onlooker. It had changed quite a bit before my brother and I attended with the front, back right, and sides much different looking. The lower left of the picture shows the bell tower of our main street church, and the top of Brown-Proctor Hotel just beyond. This drawing would have been made before the large Presbyterian Church was built and after 1873 when our Main Street church was built. No clear date is given on the drawing, but 18-- something is shown in the upper left.

The second picture shows my brother's first grade class of May, 1956. The picture is taken on the steps of the large Christian Church which stood on the hill across the street from the school. Here, the steps provided an ideal stage for class alignment, and provided the photographer a way to get all the faces in the picture. Four rows, equally spaced, and about equal shoulder to head ratio seems the pose.

My brother, Henry, is third row up, second from the right with that Jones straight line smile. Little did he know that the pretty little girl, Marcia, second row up, second from the left, would prove to be more than just a first grade classmate. For it was in this very church that some 14 years later they would come down these very steps as husband and wife. What a deal! Hickman Street School brought more than one family together.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday go to Meeting

Going to church on Sunday was always a part of life for many of those living in my family's past generations. To get away from the daily tasks of life, and feed the spirit and soul was generally thought a good thing. The whole family; dad, mom, children, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends would share time catching up with one another. [It was more common for the moms than the dads.] Coats and ties for the guys, hats and dresses for the gals, allowed for a general family clean-up and dress-up. The first picture shows such a gathering outside the home church at Nada. Lots of children of course, more women than men, and lots and lots of white dresses stage the picture. One little girl on the front row is looking down at the shoes of the fellow standing next to her..."wher'd you git those shoes"...she seems to be saying. It must have been one of those "hell", "fire", and "damnation" sermons for there does not seem to be a lot of happy faces. I would guess the preacher man is the one standing at the upper right, since it appears that he is holding the Bible. I roughly count about 100 souls this Sunday picture...a "Sunday go to Meeting".

This is a picture I took of that very church as it stood this past summer. Windows boarded up, locked, and falling apart, it looked mighty empty and alone standing there. All the folks in the first picture must be dead by now, or at least close to it. No coats, no ties, no hats, and no white dresses...only boarded windows and broken down steps. Where have the Sunday go to meeting days gone?

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Bearded Ones

Granny Ewen's nee Morton family sure believed in beards. [Nee is used by genealogist to mean the maiden surname.] Of course only on the men, for almost every picture I have of the Morton family, the men have beards. The first picture is of Granny Ewen's Uncle William Morton. His beard extends down to his shirt. The second picture is of Granny Ewen's father Cordillis Morton, who's beard is fairly short considering the Morton standard. The third picture is of Granny's grandfather, Moses Morton. His beard seems to fill the picture. By the time this was taken, he had pearly white hair. The last picture is me. I must have inherited the Morton's beard gene and the white hair gene.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Virginia Land Laws : Cabin Rights

It was during the Revolutionary War that Virginia addressed the land expansion to the west for the first time under its own laws. "Taking up Land" meant building a cabin and raising a crop of grain of any kind, however small. This entitled the occupant to four hundred acres, and after 1779 the pre-emption right to as much as one thousand more adjoining acres. [Most of the first patents of Kentucky were under these laws.] This pre-emption right was to be secured by a land office warrant which became known as "Cabin rights". The word "patent" as used here means the official certificate of a government grant or franchise. [No longer under the King!] As an adjective it means protected or conferred by letters patent.

"Tomahawk Right" was claimed from deadening trees about the head of a spring and marking the bark of some trees with the initials of the one who made the improvement. Unless followed by a settlement these rights were held invalid. If some one else desired to make a settlement on the land and secure a title, he would buy up the rights rather than quarrel with the one who made them.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Desert of Waters

It would only seem fair to Mom (16 Candles) and Dad (True Grit) to post my picture around the 16th birthday. Head titled a little to the right, black hair, brown eyes, and thick eyebrows come through. [Black hair and brown eyes were Ewen.] A thin narrow tie reveals the 60s. My smile looks a bit forced, but by this time in history you often had to smile on demand.

I can remember early on, that I was always fascinated with the stars. The constellations had their own stories from Greek mythology, and my favorite was the "Queen's Chair". [She was placed by the gods to stand on her head part of the year.] Asking for a telescope one Christmas, Santa brought me a microscope. A new idea...looking at the world from a different angle...looking inward instead of looking outward. Hum...I would become a doctor instead of an astronomer?

I often wonder if my life would have been different if I had gotten a telescope that Christmas. Becoming a doctor took a lot of determination and true grit. A little from Mom and a little from Dad, and a new idea. Carl Schurz said:

"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, & following them you will reach your destiny."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

True Grit

Not to be out done, I thought it would be appropriate to show a picture of Dad. This picture is dated "School Days 1938-1939". Dad would have been a few years short of his 16th birthday, but this is the closest picture I could find to the age of 16 years. Rough and ready I would call slightly disheveled, collar raised on the right, suspenders showing. Don't mess with me and let's get this picture taking over.

Dad often told some of his childhood stories like jumping off the top of a boxcar while flipping onto a pile of sawdust, swimming across the Kentucky River to Boonesborough Beach because he did not want to pay, and hitch hiking to Lexington to enjoy Joy Land Park. You can sort of see this determination and independence in his face...left eye focusing, because he was left handed. True grit at 12-13 years of age. He often told that he was "passed around" a lot as a child. Pap paw had lost his right eye in an explosion, Mam maw was working full time, and Dad was pretty much left to his own design. One aunt taught him potty training by peeing on chickens. Too bad today that we do not have enough chickens to go around.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Granny Ewen's Childhood

Having pictures of your grandparent's childhood is special. I just can't imagine what it would have been like to have spent the earliest part of your childhood in a log cabin. The picture to the right shows Granny Ewen (Stella nee Morton) and her brothers and sisters. She is the oldest daughter, b.1899, standing to the left in the dark skirt. Lemon Morton, b. 1896, is the oldest, standing in the dark cloths to the right. Between are Myrtle Morton, b. 1901; Bruce Morton, b. 1907; and Moses Morton, b. 1905 all dressed in white. Bruce seems to be sitting on a small chair which is sitting on a larger chair, which is used to make everyone about the same head level. All those standing have shoes, which they seem to be carefully displaying. All seem to have a sad look about them, uncertain about this picture taking business. Caught in time, around 1907-1908, is this picture of Granny Ewen's childhood. How many childhood memories are caught in time but never passed down to the next generations.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Laws of Gravity

After multiple falls, knots on the head, bruises on the knees, and lower legs, gravity ultimately teaches us which way is up and which way is down. The laws of nature they are called...gravity being one of the first. We fall down, we get up. We fall down, we get up...on and on it goes until we finally figure out that standing and walking is usually a better way than crawling. Sometimes running and swimming might even be better! No one has to tell us. Innately we learn to stand, walk, run, and many other things that help us grow and become who we are today.

The picture to the right shows my middle grandson Will, as I teach him about the law of gravity. Which way is up? Which way is down? Grandpas are often good at teaching the law of gravity.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Land By Rank - Virginia Land Laws 1763

The Proclamation of 1763 officially approved a proclamation made by the governor of Virginia 19 February 1754. This act granted land for military services. The number of acres received was based upon the rank of the individual. The following table gives the allotments by rank:

Major-General..................15,000 to 17,500 acres.
Brigadier-General..............10,000 acres and upwards.
Colonels.......................5,000 to 8,888 acres.
Lieutenant-Colonels............4,500 to 6,666 acres.
Majors.........................4,000 to 5,333 acres.
Captains.......................3,000 to 4,666 acres.
Surgeons and Surgeons' Mates...2,666 to 8,000 acres.
Lieutenants, Ensigns, Cornets..2,000 to 2,666 acres.
Every non-commissioned officer...400 acres.
[Had to serve throughout war.]
Every soldier and sailor.........200 acres.
[Had to serve throughout war.]
Every non-commissioned officer...200 acres.
[Enlisted for three years.]
Every soldier and sailor.........100 acres.

Where any officer, soldier or sailor was killed or died in service, his heirs or legal representatives became entitled to receive the same quantity of land as would have been due such officer, soldier or sailor.

Many of these "Military Warrants" were allocated land in what was to become Kentucky. These grants are recorded in "Kentucky Land Warrants, for the French, Indian & Revolutionary Wars", compiled by Samuel M. Wilson. This book is published by Southern Historical Press, Inc. [1st edition 1913.] This reference is very helpful in following any folks coming from Virginia to Kentucky before Kentucky was a state...before 1792. The above table is taken from this source.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Land Laws Virginia - Meritorious Service

The method of granting land for "meritorious service" was adopted to encourage military services in the Indian wars. [1754-1763] Governor of Virginia Robert Dinwiddie, on February 19, 1754, announced a Proclamation granting land to those who provided military services. Known as "military grants", these became official under the King's Proclamation of October 7, 1763 which stated:

"And whereas we are desirous, upon all occasions, to testify our royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery of the officers and soldiers of our armies, and to reward the same, we do hereby command and empower our governors of the said three new colonies, and all other our governors of our said provinces on the continent of North America, to grant without fee or reward, to such reduced officers as have served in North America during the late war, and to such private soldiers as have been, or shall be disbanded in America, and are actually residing there, and shall personally apply for the same, the following quantities of lands, subject at the expiration of ten years, to the same quitrents as other lands are subject to in the province within which they are granted, as also subject to the same conditions of cultivation and improvement..."

What a deal! Pay all the soldiers with land that was not already occupied. This would not cost the British government. This would not cost the colonies. As it would turn out, many large tracts of land ended up in Central Kentucky. At the time of this "Proclamation of 1763", the land grants were considered to be part of the colony of Virginia. All the grants were under the same conditions of "cultivations and improvement" given the previous post. This would be the foundation for much of the western expansion into the wilderness. More to come.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

16 Candles

Our sixteenth birthday is usually remembered. For me, I could not wait to get my drivers license; on the road, free at last! Perhaps for others the saying "Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed" was the order of the day. For most, it was a mile stone of life, this sixteenth birthday.

The picture to the right shows my Mom at the age of 16 years. What was to be her mile stone? She had just moved from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky (Slade) to of all places Winchester. She started a new school, Clark County High School. She had to make new friends, new teachers, new everything!

Determination...that's it. Her eyes are fixed in that real real frown. Hazel eyes that seem to say I am looking right through you. Jet black hair with natural curl that settles on the shoulders. A small chained necklace hugs the neck. I will make at my 16 candles...indeed she did.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Casting Shadows

Dad and his folks standing together. How many times does it happen? Standing with your folks (or family) for a picture. The picture to the right shows Mam maw and Pap paw holding Dad. Well it looks as though Pap paw is really holding Dad and Mam maw is holding Pap paw's arm. It must have been early morning (or late afternoon) since the shadow is cast at a fairly sharp angle. Mam maw has her watch on her left wrist, and Pap paw has his pocket watch chain on his belt. Keeping time must have been a part of their lives. I guess this is around 1927 - 1928. Dad, maybe a little more than a year old. Pap paw has his hat titled slightly to the left and glasses firmly in place. This picture must also have been taken before Pap paw's dynamite explosion and loss of his right eye. Ironically, there is a telephone pole showing in the back right of the picture.

Dad almost looks like he is about to smile. Pap paw has his horizontal mouth position in place, and Mam maw seems to be saying..."hurry up and get this over with, my arm is killing me!" Dad cast no shadow. Only the shadow of the parents reach the ground. Parents cast shadows in our lives, sometimes only for seconds...sometimes for the rest of our lives.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Virginia Land Laws after 1713 (Part II)

The failure to seat and plant the lands granted according to prescribed conditions, or to pay the quit-rent reserved, was declared to be a forfeiture both of the grant and the rights on which it was founded. In case of a petition for lapsed land, the patentee was required to appear and make sufficient proof that he had sufficiently seated and planted the land.

Surveyors for the frontier counties were required to reside in their respective counties, in order to be acquainted with the territory and avoid conflicting entries and mistakes in the surveys.

Certain steps were necessary in order to secure a title, or patent, to a tract of vacant land, and unless those necessary steps were taken, the claimant would eventually find himself dispossessed of his holdings. These steps were as follows:

1) A definite tract needed to be selected.

2) Some marks showing the intended boundaries needed to be established, either in designating natural objects such as springs, forks of streams, points of hills, cliffs, piles of stones; or the setting up of stakes, marking trees or planting stones.

3) Some improvement needed to be made to show signs of occupation.

4) A report of intention needed to be made to the county surveyor, and assurances that he understood the intention and made an entry of the same in his entry book needed to be fixed.

5) The entry and quit-rent fees had to be paid by someone (back taxes), either by the prospective owners or by the settlement promoter.

6) The surveyor needed to make a survey of the land and record the survey with a plat.

7) The surveyors report needed to be filed with the secretary for the colony.

8) The report needed to lie two years to see whether a conflicting claim would be filed.

9) The petition for the grant needed to be considered by the Governor and Council in executive session and an order made for the patent to be issued.

10) The patent itself was a grant from the King for the certain tract or parcel of land described in the survey written on parchment by the secretary and signed by the then acting Governor of the Colony.

11) The complete description in duplicate was then recorded in a patent book and the parchment delivered to the person named in the grant.

Every tract of land whether large or small had its patent, which in the Colony of Virginia was a grant from the King. While the King personally had no hand in the ordinary procedure, these original papers were important documents. In case of an inclusive survey, the patents to the smaller individual tracts were supposed to be surrendered for the larger one.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Virginia Land Laws after 1713 (Part I)

An act was passed that in the future all surveys should be made by a surveyor duly sworn and commissioned. {By William and Mary College} The breath of each tract (survey) taken up should be at least one third its length, except where the courses were interrupted by streams, swamps, or bounds of previous patents. Next, this act stated that the surveyor should note on the plat how much of the tract was plantable and how much was not. For all previous grants [prior to 1713], one third should be accounted plantable, the remainder not. The grantee should be obliged to clear and tend three acres at least, for fifty acres of plantable land, and so proportionately for the whole tract. This was to take into account to reclaim three acres for every fifty acres of swamp, sunken ground or marsh, if any such was found to be in the survey. When three acres for every fifty acres in the tract was improved, the grantee was to put and keep on the land three head of neat cattle for every for every fifty acres of barren land. If the whole tract were barren and unfit for cultivation, the grantee was to erect a dwelling house, twenty feet by sixteen and to put and keep thereon three head of neat cattle for every hundred acres. If the land was fit for neither cultivation nor pasturage, to put and keep thereon one able hand for every hundred acres, to be employed in mining or quarrying stone. Thus, every three acres cleared and tended, or reclaimed should suffice to save from forfeiture forever, fifty acres in any part of the survey.

Wow, you can see that the colony of Virginia wanted the land to be used in the most effect way. This principle, improvements for valid patent became the standard process for land expansion westward for generations to come.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Like Father, Like Son

Going through some old family photographs this morning I found a picture of my Dad. It was amazing to me, that the picture was taken just about the same age as my own picture shown in the post "Life's Challenges" [Friday, Dec. 31]. Dad had a picture taken with the very same challenge that faced me..."to assume a sitting position without help and to be able to maintain it with the back straight." Wow I thought, father - son caught in the act at around the same age!

Dad tells us that he was around 10 pounds at birth. It is hard to imagine that Mam maw popped him out since she was a small lady, but I do not doubt the 10 pounds. My mouth and eyes are pretty much identical. Dad has a little less cloths on, and he might be trying to support himself with his left hand. Our legs are almost in the identical position. His seat certainly looks more comfortable than my hard floor.

What a picture it is. Dad and me taken around the same age a generation son.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lost your Marbles?

"Have you lost your marbles?" A question stated frequently in my growing up days. I always took this saying as coming from the generation before, since playing marbles seemed to be during my Dad's generation. You could still buy a bag of marbles at J.J. Newberrys on Main Street, but this section of the toys was gradually replaced by sacks of army men, cowboys and Indians, fire trucks, and all the real boy toys.

At one point, I even tried to play marbles, but the rules we never quite clear, and my thumb hurt after trying hard to flip those little round, glass, balls. In the real marble playing days, I guess that if you really lost all your marbles, you could become sad, angry, and feel a loss. Coming home dejected, I could see where your mom might ask, "Have you lost your marbles?"

The picture to the right shows some of my Dad's marbles. They have been placed in a "Lamb Mason" jar with the tin lid. Various shapes and colors...various sizes...various game playing would you know which one to pick as your shooter? Perhaps a "cat eye" would work. I suspect that most of the expert marble players are gone. Someone should write the rules down for future generations. At any rate, if you have lost your marbles, I have some.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

His Father's Place

Family pictures are always fun to see, especially if they are over 100 years of age. Can you imagine what it took to round up 15 folks, get them dressed, and seated for a photograph taken in 1900! George Washington and Susan Cole Ewen appear to have accomplished this task, for the photography to the right is of such a gathering. It shows the family; husband and wife, children, and a couple of folks that have not been identified. There are numbers written above the Ewen children starting with the oldest male child Clifton (Cliff) at number one, and moving to number 9, my grandfather Sidney Brent (Brent). The daughters, numbers 10 and 11 follow the males. There were 11 children, thus by 1900, Susan Cole Ewen would have spent at least 11 years of her life pregnant. [roughly 46% of her married life!]

G.W. and Susan Cole were married 5 Dec. 1876. Their oldest son "Cliff" stands proudly between and behind the sitting parents. Robert (Bob) stands directly behind his father, and his birth year 1881 is known. Cliff looks a number of years older, making him born around 1878. Asa Books is number 3 [b.1883-d.1943] standing somewhat awkwardly leaning to his right. Moving to the other end of the line, Green Ewen stands slightly bend to his left with a hand held on his shoulder showing some affection from the unidentified women to his left. [She has that Ewen look about her, and I suspect she was a sister to G.W.?] On down the numbers: 5) Jake (J.C.) b.1887, 6) George Earl, 7) Carlton, 8) Edward, and baby Sidney Brent Ewen held on his mother's lap. Grand Dad Ewen a little baby! Never thought I would see a baby picture! The two daughters, 10) Earsef (Ursula) and 11) Minnie were numbered youngest to oldest. Who ever numbered this family picture sure wanted to count the boys.

George Washington Ewen was to die some six years after this picture was taken. My grandfather would never get to know his father. I wonder how his life was lived with eight other older males to help take his father's place.