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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Marian Loretta Ridgeway and her descendants

Marian is my husband's Great Aunt Marian Loretta Ridgeway who married Robert H. Beach.  Marian's sister was Ruth Alice Ridgeway, our ancestor.    Marian passed away in the 1980's and her obit tells quite a tale about large families and their descendants.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Saving the passengers and the pets on the Ship Susan Gilmore in 1884

My 4th Great Grandparents are Capt. Phineas Pendleton (1780-1873) and his wife Nancy Gilmore Pendleton, daughter of Lt. Peleg and Ann Park Pendleton. Phineas and Nancy had a daughter Mary who married Capt. Woodburn Carver.  Woodburn and Mary had Nancy Pendleton Carver who married Capt. Andrew Sherburne Pendleton and they had daughter Marietta Park Pendleton, who never married.

Andrew and Nancy's daughter Marietta Pendleton was born on July 4th, 1868 on the Bark Thomas Fletcher in the Bristol Channel off Cardiff Wales.  Her father Andrew was the bark's captain.

Interestingly, Nancy Pendleton Carver Pendleton's brother, William McGilvery Carver, was captain of the Ship Susan Gilmore in 1884 when it was shipwrecked.  Capt. Carver swam to shore through the surf and carried a rope which he then tied to a tree.  With this small rope he pulled a larger line to shore, fastened it to a tree, and a breeches buoy was set up and hauled to and from until every person was saved, and then he went back and saved all the pets.  Our kind of man!

Note: Winslow Homer painting of a Breeches Buoy in 1884. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

My Great Great Grandmother's Recipe for a Very Good Sponge Cake

·        Three eggs
·        One and One-half cups sugar
·        Two cups flour
·        Two cups cold water
·        One teaspoonful cream tartar
·        One-half teaspoon Bird's soda
·        Salt
·        Flavor to taste

·        Take one cup of flour and sift the cream tartar well into it
·        Beat the eggs lightly and stir in sugar
·        Add flour and cream tartar mixture
·        Dissolve the soda into the water
·        Add water/soda, and salt and flavoring
·        Add the other one cup of flour
·        Bake slowly
·        Sprinkle sugar over the top when the cake has been in the over a minute or two
·        When done, the cake will have a light color and a sugary crust

This 1913 recipe is thanks to:
Emily Jane Pendleton Beach, my great great grandmother whose husband was Orin Utley Beach, Jr..   Emily was Esther Beach Eaton Bennett Homer's grandmother!


This is my great great grandmother's recipe.  It was published in the Knyvetta Cookbook in 1913, four years before she passed away in 1917 in Searsport. 

My mother used to talk about Emily' Jane's son, Capt. James Hervey Beach who worked for Standard Oil Company as a Captain and later a pilot on the rivers in China.  When Jim was 27, he married Eugenie Ella Staples who was born in Havre, France in 1875 and died in 1914 in Shanghai, China.  Their children were well liked by my mom. The three daughters were Ella, Doris and Helen, all of whom never married! My mom, Marjorie Emma Bennett, was named after Doris “Marjorie” Beach!

This photo is of my grandmother, Esther (Nana) being held by her mom, Emily Prudence, sister of Capt. Jim.  Looks like Capt. Jim's photo on the wall may be the one on the left.  This picture was taken on the family farm on Turnpike Road in Searsport.  Interesting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Mom's Budget-Friendly and Easy Goulash

q     In 1 tblsp oil, cook (about 10 minutes) and drain:
q         1 1/2 pounds of hamburger
q         1 small onion chopped
q         1 green pepper chopped

q     Add: 
q         2 cans of Franco- American spaghetti
q         1 can spaghetti can of water
q         Season with Salt/Pepper

q      Simmer ingredients in the large fry pan for about 10 minutes
·                                  Serves about 4                                                 
This family recipe is thanks to:

My mom, Marjorie Emma Fuller, who never liked to cook really. 

Mom did easy stuff...often bland stuff like we tend to think of New England
boiled dinners  - not spicy!

This is her very easy, and I loved it always, goulash made with Franco-American 
spaghetti.  I never knew this; thought it was from thin spaghetti pasta. 

My sister knew her secret though!

Not sure Franco American Spaghetti in cans is still available, 
but anything similar would do - maybe even Spaghetti-Os!


Bond Bakery and Nanny

Bond Bakery and Nanny

 My sister and I spent many an hour watching Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger, all in glorious black and white on the small screen – quite small screen at home.  Bond Bread sponsored Hopalong, and I believe it also sponsored The Lone Ranger.  Great times.

 Interestingly enough, this was the period in which milk was delivered to your door by the milkman and bread by the Bond Bakery truck driver.  We got the milk that way, but I don't recall the bread deliveries. 

 Not a problem though!

 Our grandmother, Alice Edith Southworth Healey, worked for Bond Bakery in Hartford CT in the 1950s or so.  On occasion we would pick her up after her shift ended.  Just approaching the Bond Bakery would cause drooling.  The aroma, oh my, so very wonderful. 

 Nanny would come out with her white bakery cap still covering her white hair.  She smelled wonderful to cuddle up to on the trip to her home or ours.  We likely ate a lot of Bond Bread when growing up, although I remember Wonder Bread as well.

 Our great grandmother Alvra, our Nanny Alice, Aunt Jane and “Uncle” Eddie had goodies when we would come to visit or spend the night.  One treat was the Bond Bridge Cookies.  We would play a game called auction bridge with Nanny and Jane and they occasionally served these cookies which were cut in the shape of clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.  So appropriate.  So memorable.

        Alice with her Great Grandson Joseph efef

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Public Schools in the 1800s in America

This was a time when demographics were changing America from localized rural schools to more city schools. During this time children did not always go to school because of responsibilities to help the farming family or the family business and when poor children and orphans had to work in factories that paid them for their cheap labor. School was not mandatory. In 1852, Massachusetts passed school laws that required students to attend. Shortly after that New York did the same. Within 50-60 years all states had such laws on their books to at least get America's pupils through the elementary school years. Catholic schools emerged as private schools. The Supreme Court in 1925 allowed children to attend public or private school, stopping any legal battles over compulsory public schooling.

Localized schools were small and tended to have boys on one side of the room; girls on the other side. Some schools had individual desks in neat rows. Others used tables and benches. Students of all ages were often in the same classroom and the older students would help with the care and teaching of the younger ones. Students tended to be gathered by subject, and not by age, so the children learning a math assignment, for example, might be younger students as well as older ones. Chalkboards were common, and inkwells or quill pens were the norm.

The August 17, 1999 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch shared with its readers that patriotism and citizenship were taught in schools, along with the three Rs. The Pledge of Allegiance was a daily practice. Teachers were often strict, and discipline was routine. Actually, the parents would not be pleased if a teacher was lax in disciplining the children for misbehavior. Whipping a child was banned in 1830s, but not the use of switches or paddles. Children were well trained to pay attention to the teacher, rather than the kids sitting around or next to them. Each was expected to know their lessons well. Children learned from others in the room too because as they would be working on their assignments others might be learning a different subject from the teacher that interested them too. Classrooms were noisy and children spent a lot of time memorizing lessons from textbooks and the Bible. They often recited their learnings before the teacher. Older children tended to the woodstove in the classroom to offer some comfort from the exterior cold. Some parents still felt that school was a waste of time for their students. Most of the learnings a person acquired were from textbooks, family and schooling as most families did not travel and have new more worldly experiences.

Black children were not allowed to attend school. Any teachings for them were done secretly. Some were taught by the white town members or missionaries who wanted them to know how to read the Bible. Even this was dangerous as the teachers were subject to being jailed or fined, and the students to being punished or whipped.  After the Civil War ended, many blacks chose to go to new schools as Freedmen.  

Today we go to school, typically, year round except in the summer. To help with the farming, children in the 1800s would work the fields in the spring and fall and go to school in the summer and winter. Some of the older boys helped on the farms in the summer too. Teachers might be tested, but often were just grown students now hired to teach the next generation. Teachers might have their own place to live, but could well be boarded by various student families throughout the year which was known as being "boardround."

Children walked to school, or rode horses. They might bring their lunch or might not eat at all. They did get recess. At about age 10, boys might be "apprenticed" to learn a job, which could stop their schooling days. Girls might be married by 15 or so and no longer in school. Penmanship was a course that was given serious attention, along with the reading, writing and arithmetic.

This look back more than 100 years makes me curious as to what schools will be like in the next 100 years. No doubt they will still be centered around the 3 Rs, but I find it hard to truly imagine the vast amount of future technological advancements that will enrich schooling and lifelong learning experiences.

October is "Family History Month." Add Ghost Tales to Your Family Yarns

I am the family genealogist, and my passion for this hobby is never ending. October is designated as Family History Month in the United States. 

Our family collected stories of ghostly happenings and weird coincidences a few years ago and I created a family book on my computer.  If you encounter such stories, and you probably will if you ask or if it has happened to you, this is a very interesting way to celebrate Family History Month.

Here is an example of one of my stories:

Searsport Maine: Cold Rooms of Family Farm on Turnpike Hwy.

I was born in Bangor Maine but lived in Connecticut for most of my youth. Nana and Grandpa's farm was in Searsport, my favorite place to visit.

On winter visits my sister and I slept under a flurry of quilts in an icy room that allowed us to witness and amuse ourselves with each visible breath. Our Mom and Dad slept in the guestroom down the hall which overlooked the Penobscot Bay. Beyond their room is a small bedroom where Mom used slept as a child.

Her brother Gerry scoffed at her stories of cold chills and ghostly rattling of her bed, which caused her great aggravation and sleeplessness far too often. Being a very brave child, Gerry decided to swap rooms with Mom. He was so certain he could prove his sister was just making up stories to scare him.

That night was fraught with eeriness, at first conjured up in a lad's ever active mind; then it happened to him too. Cold! Rattling! And maybe something else?

Gerry tore the bedding apart. He even pulled some floorboards (imagine my grandmother's fury), but he could find no reason for the unruly rattles. He never again slept in Mom's room. And, never again did he rib my Mom about the cold and rattling.

As years passed and Mom grew up to marry Dad, her stepbrother Jimmy slept in this tiny room on his visits to the farm. Years apart, Mom and Jimmy independently experienced the presence of a spirit in this room.

One day Mom casually asked Jimmy if he sensed anything unusual when he was in her old room. He chuckled and shared with her that he did indeed. They now shared the same secret knowledge: No matter how hot a steamy summer's eve might be, or how chilly the winter night might become, this room would grow cold or colder as the sleeping person became aware of a ghostly presence who spoke no words, jiggled the bed, and caused the sound of a rhythmic heartbeat thumping in the chattering cold.

How I wrote my book on ghost stories:

As we gathered each story, I used my Word program to write them and to include photos whenever possible of the persons in the stories or the homes, etc.  When thoroughly edited and the final work approved by each family source to me, I printed the small book on 8 1/2 by 5 inch paper. I used 32 lb. HP paper because it feels more like a book and will easily run through my Kodak printer. For the back cover I used card stock. For the front, I used a clear heavy-duty plastic and then bound with spiral binding combs to neatly hold the book pages together. I have a paper cutter and a spiral binder machine. You can also take your book on a jump disk, etc. to a printer such as Staples or Office Depot and they will do this work for you. Another way to capture the stories is on DVD, giving each person their own personal disk of the book.

Capture your ghost stores to become a part of your family history now.