Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I have been listening to Uncle Tom's Cabin on the way to and from Flagstaff and to and from work. Finished it yesterday. Interesting story, albeit the constant blathering about Jesus and the ludicrous passivity of Uncle Tom made the story irritating at times. Of course, there are plenty of people willing to kill themselves (and others) in the retarded belief that this will grant them entrance into some make-believe heaven. However, I doubt that many slaves would willingly submit to being whipped to death.

Anyways, so I have always felt somewhat superior because my family was from the north and was not involved in slavery. Seven of my direct ancestors fought on the Union side during the Civil War (one died).

Imagine my surprise as I was researching the likely father of one of my brick wall ancestors, Amasa Ransom of Colchester, New London County, Connecticut. So far I have found a few census records, his birth record, announcements of his death, and a photograph of his tombstone. And then I found this advertisement:

And there on the 1800 census, is the tickmark for poor Rose in the household of Amasa as a slave in the household. Colchester was in New London County, Connecticut and that county had the most slaves in the state in the late 1700s. By 1810 there was a free non-white person in the household, so perhaps Rose was re-captured and freed, or perhaps this is someone else.

The history of slavery in the northern states (legal in Connecticut until the late 1840s), is not well known. Today it is inconceivable to me that someone could even think that they could own another person, so fucking bizarre. But I guess people have always been able to find valid reasons for truly heinous things. Much like fundamentalist Christians picking shit out of the bible to defend their bigotry towards gays and lesbians.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I had decided I needed to take Mummy some place that she hadn't been, so we drove north to Flagstaff. I parked her in the Motel 8, and Evan met us and we went and had pizza for supper (the pizza place made a gluten free one for Mummy).

By the next morning my eyes were burning from the pollen. Evan was nice enough to drive us as we excursioned east to Petrified Forest National Park.

A bazillion years ago this corner of Arizona was a swamp and a bunch of tree fell down and became petrified. There were some crocodiles, some dinosaurs, and some pretend dinosaurs too. I learned this while blinking away the stuff coming out of my eyes, at the visitor center. I then made Mummy walk the trail to see some of the aforesaid namesake trees.

Mummy and tree.

There were many enormous fallen down petrified trees.

This one is about four feet tall and 40 feet long.

Also many signs telling visitors not to steal pieces. Apparently this is a big problem. I really don't want some old stones cluttering up my house, so I obeyed as one should.

Some of the pieces lying about were pretty.

In other places there was impressive geology.

Lavender rock!

Evan forgot his sunglasses.

At the Puerco Pueblo ruin we got to see some impressive petroglyphs.

Ibis catching a frog.

Click on this picture to see the designs, often seen on pottery.

We had a lovely day together.

To the north of the Petrified Forest is the aptly named Painted Desert, which was in many different hues of lavender, blue, gray, white, cream, black, and so on.

Painted Desert.

At the overlook I asked three European or South American ladies if they wanted their picture taken together. They were delighted I asked. Then they returned the favor. One had a cute dog that had a sign stating is was for "emotional assistance." It sat on my lap and posed better than the rest of us. I guess this is why it is for emotional assistance.

Mummy was more interested in the dog than in posing for a group photo.

At home I am weary and I attempted to nap, but a coughing spell and the hijinks of several naughty kitties prevented said nap. It was a lovely weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My last English ancestors came to the United States in 1829. The Pierces lived in the little town of South Lopham in Norfolk, England. They had worked as linen weavers and in the 1820s the linen industry crashed, as cheaper sources of fabric became available. The Pierces had to figure out what to do- become farmers in an area where farming was marginal, move to a big city, or strike out to America. They chose the latter.

The father, James, was born in 1790 and was married to Elizabeth, born in 1798. They married in the St Andrew's church in South Lopham on New Year's Day in 1818, a year after the picture below was drawn of the slightly dilapidated church.

South Lopham church.

The couple had seven children- William, James, Robert, Henry, Richard, John, and Ellen. As they prepared to leave the community, they doubtlessly went to the church one last time to pray they would survive the sailing voyage across the broad ocean (it took 10 weeks).

1825 baptismal record for Robert and Henry.

They settled in Jefferson County, New York and took up farming. At least three more children were born- Melvin, George, and Elizabeth. In 1848, James decided to move the family to Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, where he and Elizabeth lived out the rest of their lives.

My great-great-great grandfather Robert remained behind in Jefferson County. He had married Julia Ann Sprague sometime in 1849 or early 1850. In September 1850, the couple was living with Julia's brother Daniel and his family in the town of Theresa. Julia's widowed mother lived next door.

1850 census.

By 1860, the couple had four daughters- Sarah DeEtte, Bertha, Florence, and Frances. They moved to Wisconsin sometime between 1862 and 1864 and Robert enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War, serving for 10 months in 1864 and 1865.

After the war, the family moved to Grand Traverse County, Michigan, where Robert worked as a farmer. A son Charles had been added to the family, and a fifth daughter, Fannie. However, she died when she was four years old in 1869.

1870 census.

Wife Julia died in 1878, and Robert never remarried. In the 1880s, he was badly injured in a logging accident, when a large log rolled over him on the side of a hill. He received a disability pension for his Civil War service, one of the contributing factors being chronic diarrhea. He died in 1904.

Robert Pierce.

A few years ago I happened to be in a small history museum in Fife Lake, near where the family had lived. There was a photo album in the front window and I opened it, unexpectedly finding many pictures of the Pierce family, none of which I had ever seen. Among these were photos of Robert and two of his daughters.



I have a handful of photographs that were passed down in my own family.

DeEtte and her husband David, circa 1875.

Among the other family heirlooms I have is DeEtte's bible. She died unexpectedly from a stroke in 1898, at age 46 (younger than I am now).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Let me tell you, I am tired of pollen. My eyes itch and burn and I catch myself rubbing them.

Red and puffy.

It makes everything less wonderful.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Two days of yardwork and I have hands covered in scratches and filled with little thorns. But at least the yard looks nice. Snowball comforted me afterward. He is awful snuggly.


Mummy and I traveled to Sweetwater Wetlands to examine assorted wildfowl and turtles.

Ruddy duck and Moorhen.

Turtles (I don't know what kinds).

American coot.

Cinnamon teals.

It was a fine time.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Difficult to concentrate with such wretched news ongoing- tsunami, nuclear meltdowns, that fuckwit Quaddafi and his plagiarizing fuckwit son. Etc.

I come home from work every day and I've been doing yardwork. I cut off the dead parts of the fig tree and I've been pulling weeds and cutting back all of the dead stuff. Unlike last year, there aren't any wild flowers. It is crazy how everything froze and died back. The yard is just ugly. Sad face.

It is spring time and I just want to be outside and play.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saturday was a day of adventure. In the morning, Evan made me TOAST. It has recently come to my attention...

We then went out to examine an archaeological site. It was a small, walled pueblo.


In one area, where someone had been pot-hunting (nasty, loathsome people), the rib from a small child lay on the ground. I put some soil over it.

Nearby was a skeletonized elk.

Cervus elaphus.

I insisted we climb to the top of Winona Hill. We passed by a coyote or dog skeleton, a scattering of prehistoric ceramics, and some lava tubes. At the top were a couple of small rock-lined rooms.

I am bigger than most prehistoric folks.

I sat on the ground and picked up all of the sherds that lay within reach.


After photographing them, I returned them to their original place. I am not a loathsome pothunter.

An unfortunate event was taking place- the junipers were making pollen and their sex act inflamed my eyes terribly. That's disgusting.

Notice the puffiness.

We drove north to see the Vermillion Cliffs.

They are indeed reddish in tone.

We had lunch and I enjoyed the beer-battered onion rings a lot. Later, at one spot the Navajo Bridge has been replaced by a new bridge, and you can go out onto the old one and look 486 feet down into the Little Colorado River.

The new bridge.

I am a wretch about heights, and after walking down the center of the old bridge, I literally had to scoot on my butt to the edge to take pictures and admire the view. I begged Evan not to go to close to the edge, because I have an over-active imagination.

I am scared.

Down below, the water ran green.

If I worked in a skyscraper, I would have a parachute in my office.

This morning Evan made me blueberry pancakes. We went on a bumpy ride and then looked at some more sites. On the drive back to Tucson I listed to Uncle Tom's Cabin and cursed at the evils of slavery, which many Southern ministers said was justified by the Bible, just as modern ministers use the Bible for nefarious purposes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A couple of 1000-year-old sherds.

Dancers holding hands.

Body and back legs of an animal (horny toad?).

I'm driving up to Flagstaff for the weekend. Hopefully Mummy behaves herself.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Spring time in Tucson- I look at the window at work and see Cute Ground Squirrel scampering around. It looks so happy, occasionally chasing away another ground squirrel coming in too close.


So it was nice to get away today and to head south to a Spanish mission site, which we are mapping. There are standing adobe walls, slowly melting away. There are also mounds of disintegrated rooms, along with areas where dirt was mined for adobe bricks.

The mission.

Scattered about were artifacts left behind by residents of the mission.

Blue on white majolica.

Native American folded rim plainware.

There was evidence of the prehistoric occupation of the site- sherds, flaked stones, and a few pieces of grinding stones. In the eroded road leading to the mission we found charcoal-stained soil areas. Two were probably pit structures- large oval stains. One was a smaller circular stain with many rocks, a roasting pit.

Roasting pit.

It was a nice day, and the mapping information we collected helps document the site for future archaeologists. We located a number of new features, I was especially pleased to see the prehistoric features, which point to the site having been occupied for several thousand years.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Evan helped me buzz my hair. It is spring time, and I wanted to be free of shampoo and combs for a while.

Blue door.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

At Patrick's house, little Horace was scared of me at first, but later on he sat in my lap and watched us play Scrabble and Mexican Train dominoes.


I came from behind and won the first game.


We had a nice time, meanwhiles, Brady was attending a Lady Gaga concert out east somewheres.

Evan is making a word.

This morning many errands ensued. Mummy needed exercise so we went to Sweetwater Wetlands. It was nice and sunny.

Evan and Mummy.

Lots of ducks, including a rarer one that I don't often see there.

American widgeon.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Post 2,222. Mummy and I have been feeding the birds at the front porch and this small hawk showed up looking for a supper. It sits on the fences that surround my front yard and stares at the feeder. When I was taking pictures of it, it chirped lightly, perhaps telling me to go away.

I think it is a Cooper's Hawk.

Our beloved State Legislators, led by Herr Pearce, are cranking out bills that are guaranteed to bring thousands of jobs to our esteemed dictatorship:

- a bill that makes the Colt Revolver the official gun for the state.
- the official Tea Party license plate.
- only straight married couples get first dibs on adoptable children. Those kids with problems (mental or physical handicaps, older, minority) will probably end up with single parents or same sex couples.
- all government offices must allow guns in unless they have a security guard and a metal detector.
- Herr Pearce has created a blacklist of Mexican-Americans who are not allowed inside the Capitol building.
- it is very likely that these astute legislators are going to pass a bill allowing guns to be brought into schools and colleges.

And so on.

Oh, they also gave a 500 million dollar tax break to rich business owners. And are using that as an excuse to cut medical care for 280,000 people. Since most other states are busy passing similar laws, I doubt that companies will be flocking to the state with such rabid racists and extremely poor educational funding. But hey, only greedy people want more than minimum wage, right?

What is remarkable are the number of other Republican-run states busy following in Arizona's footsteps. Welcome to the third-world America!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Tap-tap-tap-tap. A Gila woodpecker decided that the telephone pole next to the office contained something worth eating.

High up.

I stood below and took a picture so I could figure out what kind it was. I have one of these drilling holes in my tree in my front yard.

Gila woodpecker.

I made Mummy cole slaw (pre-shredded!) from scratch and she really liked it. She had picked out sweet potato fries last night at the store, but when I looked at the ingredients tonight I discovered they had wheat in the coating and so she can't have them. We had crinkle cut fries instead.

I am working my way through one of my genealogy projects. I need to make a list of projects to finish. This will probably entail a visit to Pittsburgh to look at some church records, Buffalo to look at a tombstone, and Salt Lake City to look at a bunch of microfilm. I can probably afford to do a Pittsburgh/Buffalo trip this year or one to Salt Lake, although not so pleased about going to Mormonville.

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