I am certain that my great-grandparents are finding my heart-pounding excitement incredibly amusing. But we in suburbia do not get wild beasts bigger than woodchucks or more troublesome than rabbits. So the sighting of the resident Mama Bear, reported to be parenting two cubs, is a source of glee and concern. Birds call frantic alerts. Parents hustle little kids off swings. Deck-bound neighbors share amazed exclamations and lawn-cutting husbands are alerted to potential company–after a few documentary shots.
The message, ma’am. Just the message.
NOW I have a multi-tasking toy! I send messages by SMS text which pulls on the voice plan. I text messages by Blackberry Messenger (BBM) which pulls on the data plan. I check and respond to my emails, and I update my facebook status. Anywhere there is a Verizon-friendly tower I can tether my smart phone to my smart computer and download maps that I can actually read or upload my cemetery Blackberry-captured photos straight to my footnote pages. No more hunting for the nearest WiFi hotspot! I can have internet access anywhere I roam!
And I find myself growing increasingly annoyed by the ring tone, ignoring it, forcing real voices to leave messages to be retrieved later or convert their sounds into megabytes of text for immediate consumption.
I bought a smart phone and it made me dumb.
Someday, when the lion lies with the lamb and neighbors everywhere love their neighbor, we humans will no longer need soldiers. But on this day I call to mind all those who died serving a greater cause; all those who witnessed the horror of war, returned home and lived their lives with grace and courage; and all those who set out today, on my behalf, to defend and protect our nation’s freedoms.
Abia Minor Pennsylvania Revolutionary War
William Rowlett Virginia Revolutionary War
John Bradford Virginia Revolutionary War
William Wills Green Virginia Revolutionary War
John Pearson Minor Pennsylvania War of 1812
Greene Dodson Virginia Civil War
Ira Sayles New York Civil War
Anderson Strickland North Carolina Civil War
George Strickland Virginia World War I
Sidney Strickland Virginia World War II
Clifford Strickland Virginia World War II
Michael Strickland Alabama Vietnam War
John Minor Pennsylvania Vietnam War
Michael Hanlon Pennsylvania Currently Serving
(my daughter’s childhood friend since Kindergarten)
On one day we stop to remember the courage and sacrifice of these Americans, and the support and perseverance of their families. Thank you.
Thank God for menial chores. ~A. Florette Strickland, 1901-1981
The broom whisks back and forth
chasing particles of dirt and leaf litter back outside.
Thank God for menial chores.
Memories cradle my sorrow
In the quiet space where there is no silence.
Thank God for menial chores, my grandmother said.
Sweep the floor, cook the rice, pay the bill, fax the letter.
Choreograph emotion into a dance of grace
in spite of,
the fact that I am still standing among the living.
On to my menial chores,
where I can meet my grandmother and my father
in the quiet.
How did they get to Mecklenburg County, Virginia? What resources could they count on? How did they meet prospective spouses? Why did they stay when so many residents of southside Virginia were moving on west?
Discovering an online source of original documents has been one of the most important moments in my budding genealogical life. Footnote.com has diverse collections with new offerings being added regularly. The footnote viewer is by far the best image viewer anywhere. Stumbling onto this digital archive I whimsically started searching the Dodson side. Lo! and behold! A pre-Civil War document popped up in the Revolutionary War Pension Records. When viewed it became clear that this was just one piece of a 75 page file, filled with family information from the 1840s and 1850s.
Here’s what you can find out:
A pension for Revolutionary War soldiers and their widows was granted by Congress in 1832. Young men fighting in the Revolution were by then elderly men needing lots of neighborly attestation and official witness. Elderly men died and their widows petitioned to receive the awarded funds; their claims of marriage also needed neighborly attestation AND male family intervention since women could not own property or evidently handle money.
In the pension application pulled by my Dodson query were details about William Rowlett and Rebecca his wife–both mentioned in my Grandmother Strickland’s family history as the parents of Sarah Jane Rowlett Dodson who married James H. Dodson in 1844. The Edward Dodson attesting to the validity of William’s claim of service and Rebecca’s identity was both neighbor and Justice of the Peace in Mecklenburg County. Further footnote documents, newspaper articles and register reports suggest that this Edward Dodson is my great-great-great-grandfather. In later papers James H. Dodson acts as agent for his mother-in-law, Rebecca Rowlett. These are my peoples! This file records some keystone information, in addition to personal details.
I LOVE footnote! The site’s multiple collections can be sorted by time frame, name, place, and date; and the search engine, though requiring some patience, is quite good. Within the viewer an historian can read documents and make annotations and/or comments so that subsequent readers get even more from the document. The site also has the capacity to store, organize and share your family’s documents, including your uploaded photos and documents.
Follow me to footnote.com! But be prepared to get lost in time!
I have found many online genealogical resources, and I truly value having all of these digital records at my fingertips. But sometimes I long to flop on my living room floor with a hard copy, flipping through pages of records and ideas. AbeBooks is my new go-to site for finding such treasures. Check it out! Their passion for books–both new and used–makes your passion for family history easy to follow.
Author’s Note: What began as a mere dabbling into my family roots has become a robust investigation of my family history. Slowly the search has become centered on the lives, decisions and events of the Civil War era, 1850-1880, as they shaped the physical and mental landscape in which my grandparents and parents lived. Here I repost an essay from last summer, in which I first grapple with how those past lives reached out to touch my childhood, my mental landscape.
I am American by birth, Virginian by the grace of God.
And like many southern white children of the 1960′s I grew up in a culture that wore its defeat like a thick woolen cloak draped around one’s shoulders, adorned by the tales of our brave soldiers J.E.B. Stuart and Stonewall Jackson. To be Virginian was to represent your family and your state with honor, as demonstrated by that great leader Robert E. Lee. You may not believe in the cornerstone argument BUT you must honor your duty to the motherland and your family, and rise to their defense!
While the institution of slavery was mentioned, pro-slavery racism and its sibling Jim Crow segregation were not discussed. Ever so subtly children inherited their parents’ mistrust and loathing of all things Yankee, and even with a Yankee mother I could not escape this net.
I remember walking the hall of my high school, surrounded by my black and white friends, laughing and taunting the plain clothes police officer lurking in the dark corner–present to protect any little white child from unruly mobs. Discussing the latest desegregation violence in Boston, one of my gang cried,”Ain’t so easy, is it, Yankee Boy!” We all hated the hypocrisy of the Yank, whose finger pointed to the South as the crucible of all American sin and never at himself, ignoring the seeds of racism within his factories, cities, and governments.
All this anti-Yankee sentiment persisted into my adult discussions of the Civil War, and I continued the tradition of defeat. The Civil War was about states’ rights, far more than it was about slavery. Most southerners didn’t even OWN slaves, and many who did were right kind to them. Yankees always think they are so moral and pure, but even they didn’t like free blacks and took drastic measures to ensure that freedom and liberty to the emancipated did not equate into white men’s jobs. And so it was until I began my genealogical journey.
In census documents, deeds and wills, slavery became slaves–people that my people owned, like the trees they sold for lumber and the hogs they raised to butcher. My people participated in one of history’s slave cultures, using the commodity of bonded labor to produce commodities like tobacco to be sold in a global economy. To ignore the stories of slaves, even if they are only names found in documents, is to ignore black pioneering in the United States. What is contained in my family’s papers, documents and stories will be shared whenever and wherever possible.
For me, it is time to drop the cloak of defeat, and be a true Virginian, honoring all the people who contributed to the development and promise of that state, and to all of these United States.
In April of 1908, six year old Donald C. Minor received this Gartner and Bender feline.
Postcard collecting was a favorite hobby in the early 1900s and many creative entrepreneurs entered the printing industry. German publishers set the standard for early postcards and produced beautiful inexpensive cards that were imported by the thousands. American publishers like Gartner and Bender of Chicago, felt the pressure of this competition and implored the federal government to set tariffs on their European counterparts, to stabilize and grow the American business.
This excerpt from 1908 Congressional Tariff hearings states the case succinctly.
Source: Hearings, Volume 17, By United States. 60th Congress. 2d session., 1908-1909. House. Accessed from Google eBooks 26 April 2011.