Saturday, November 21, 2009

Healy & Steel; Resting Together in Peace

Before we traveled off to Washington, New Hampshire, I had discovered, or been discovered by another descendant of the Steel family through Between information the two of us had, we were able to verify that Church Tabor's wife, Elizabeth Steel, was the daughter of John and Jane Steel. There are a few sources that have Jane as the wife of James Steel, but we think that Patricia, James' actual wife, would have some complaints about this idea. Jane is buried next to Church Tabor, her son in law (see previous post about them) in South Hero, Vermont. I found records that John had died and been buried in Massachusetts. That information had him dying about a month after his wife. That seemed odd to me but the discovery that Jane and John had four other children besides Elizabeth and their youngest (married) daughter lived in Massachusetts cast some light on this situation. It is likely that after Jane passed away, John, who was likely living there in South Hero as well and in fact might have been the first of the group to move to South Hero, probably decided to go to either live with his daughter Sarah or to visit her before the harshest part of winter set in. He was apparently taken ill and died there a month after Jane had passed away in South Hero. He was buried in Massachusetts either for convenience of those in Massachusetts, or because winter was setting in and it would have been difficult to transport him to South Hero to rest by his wife. Of course, there could be other skeleton's in the closet and maybe husband and wife had separated years before. Maybe we will find out some day -- or not.

But back to Washington, New Hampshire. Church Tabor and Elizabeth Steel were married in September of 1782 in Washington, New Hampshire. Perhaps they knew each other previously since the Tabor family came from Rhode Island and before helping to build the Meeting House at Washington, Church had helped with the original Meeting House (now gone) in Nelson, New Hampshire. Or perhaps all the families moved there for one or another reasons and they met there. Regardless of how they met, John Steel, Jane's husband and Elizabeth's father, was the brother of William Steel who was well known in Washington, NH. William had a major dispute with John Healy (husband of Mary Wight formerly of Dedham, Massachusetts). John & Mary Healy and family had moved from Newton, Massachusettes to Washington, New Hampshire in 1778. John lived in the south of the town, right on the border of Stoddard, New Hampshire. William Steel lived closer to the center of the town and both men had strong opinions about where the Meeting House should be built. William apparently stirred things up quite a bit and finally John and other members of the community decided to try to annex the south part of Washington and create another town. This got William's wind up and he invoked the state legislature and once they got involved they determined the meeting house would be built where it now stands (neither John nor William's first choice) and everyone could just live with it -- and no new town -- and so they did.

So Church Tabor and colleagues got to work on the Meeting House and one could say they all lived happily ever after. Perhaps after that big brouhaha things settled down and John Healy (my great X 5 grandfather) and William got along for the rest of their lives. John lived until August 19, 1810. William died on October 26, 1810, apparently falling off his horse and drowning in a stream. Some descendents have wondered if he was helped along to drown, but since John had passed away previously, we know he did not help him along. Why is it important that these men lay down their differences? Well, John Healy's son, Nathaniel, married Church Tabor and Elizabeth Steel's daughter Jane Tabor (my great X 5 grandmother). So William is stuck with the Healy family because Nathaniel, John's son, married William's niece.
Whether or not they could get along well in life -- which they probably did except for having strong and differing opinions on various topics -- they now lie near each other in the Old Washington Cemetery. In the photo above, the large Healy monument marks the final resting place of 13 Healy's of three generations; next to that monument is a row of Steel slate headstone (not the closest two, but the further back line of 6), including William, Hannah his wife, Sarah Putnam Steel, William and John's mother, and a few others. All together they lie silently as the seasons cycle through year after year. In 2010 the two strong pioneer men who helped build New Hampshire, the Washington Meeting House and whose children and grandchildren helped to settle Vermont and later Wisconsin and Minnesota and beyond, will have rested only feet apart for 200 years. It looks like the children and great grandchildren have had the last laugh. And a good reminder why we need to treat all people well -- you never know who will end up on the branch next to you on your family tree.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Other Washington

Over the past couple years I have gotten heavily into family history, as anyone who reads this blog would be aware. The past two fall's we've taken a trip back to visit places in Vermont where ancestors had lived and died. This year we continued the tradition, but moved back a generation. We discovered the town where so many of my family trees met, merged and moved on. In Washington, New Hampshire (named in late fall 1776 for George Washington who was then quite busy! -- the first town named for him) several of my family lines moved a decade or so before the turn of the century. Church Tabor, who had served in the Revolutionary War and who had a family history of carpentry work, moved with his father and brother, maybe two. He ended up being one of the main builders of the Washington Meeting House. It is one of the few Meeting Houses of it's time that has survived and has the even more narrow distinction of STILL being the Town Hall of Washington after all these years.

This is the Meeting House in Washington. When it was originally built (between 1787 to 1789) it did not have the bell tower that can be seen on the left side facing it. It would have looked the same on both sides with the little porch on the end. The pulpit -- since the meeting house was both the town hall and the church meeting place -- would have been opposite the front entrance. When the building was built it also had a main floor and a gallery above for additional seating but would have been open to the ceiling in the center. It has been remodeled a bit over the years and now it is two stories on the inside with the upstairs now a stage for local plays and productions. The Meeting house remains little altered on the outside; but is completely different now on the inside. Gone are the box pews that families paid for and had priority to use. I used to think that was odd, but having read about this now, I have discovered that the pews were "sold" as a means of purchasing them since the town didn't have the money left over for that when the building was done.

In the photo here you can see the original meeting house (on the right), next to it and in the center is a school that was later built, and the closest building is the "newer" Congregational church which was built when the governmental and religious functions of the town were a little
more separated than they had been initally. They say that this is now one of the most widely photographed town greens in New England because of its picturesque trio of buildings.

Our trip was so much fun. We were able to talk to Gwen, a town historian, who shared all kinds of information on various family members. We were able to meet with Grace, the town archivist and were able to see the actual birth and marriage records of various family members and to take flashless digital photos. Another historical society member, Tom, was able to point out the farms of family members on the south end of town. Fortunately we visited that area on Sunday after we had talked my brother and sister-in-law and some of the nieces into visiting Washington as well. Without his four-wheel-drive we NEVER would have made it and the rental car company would have had a stroke had we tried!

Church Tabor (named Church because that was his mother's maiden name) was one of the prime carpenters on this meeting house as noted above. He helped with the general construction, specifically built the roof, constructed the window frames and transom above the door and also built the original six pillars (three of which are left) that supported the structure on the inside. I'll try to add a few more photos soon of the interior. And photos of our walk through the cemetery where we surprising found adversaries resting in peace together.

We are looking forward to another trip to the Other Washington again next fall if we can manage it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The "Lady Washington"

Truly youth is wasted on the young! Whoever said that must have had many opportunities to observe kids in action ~

Due to her illness (including salmonella) in Mexico, I had to make a quick round trip to San Diego to pick her up. I spent my birthday flying full fare and paying massive extra baggage fees and got her home in one piece! Five days later she's not only up and about, but off signing on to be a volunteer and get trained to sail a tall ship. So you can see why I have more gray hair at the end of the month than I had at the begining!!
But fortunately she kept them appraised of her past health issues; they had an emt on board and so off she went with our (hesitant) blessing. What an opportunity! She said it was fabulous being on deck looking at the giant sails snapping in the wind. She got to be steering the ship when they went by our old Lighthouse home away from home -- New Dungeness where we had stayed seven or eight times while the girls were growing up. She told her shipmates all about the lighthouse and the fun staying there for a week at a time. When visitors are on board, the crew all wear costumes. Sometimes they fight battles at sea with their sister ship the Hawaiian Chieftan. While no balls actually blast off the sides of the ships, there is great noise and smoke as the cannons are fired.
I can assure you that I had an emergency evacuation out of Mexico at the beginning of a week, I would not have been off to sail in the ocean five or six days later. If only I had her energy and my experience!! But we do applaud her sense of adventure and hope that she has other wonderful and amazing experiences throughout her life.
For more information on the Lady Washington, check out their website at:

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Incredible Traveling Bible

What an amazing week! Last Tuesday August 4th, I received an email through from a woman who wanted to know what my relationship was to James R Vandervort. I wrote her back and explained that I was James' great-great-great granddaughter (mom, grandma, g-grandpa Charles Lorenzo, GG James Baker, GGG James R - fyi). She informed me that she had acquired a Vandervort family Bible which she had bought on Ebay. She also said that she belonged to a geneology group that had a project of acquiring "orphaned" family Bible and returning them to their families. Once I had assured her of my connection, she said that she would send the Bible to me. To my surprise as well, I had already planned a trip to California because I needed to get my daughter to LA by the 9th. So we arranged to meet on Sunday the 9th. In the meantime, I notified a group of other Vandervort descendents. We all email each other with information! Then Jackie, our internet angel, sent nine photos taken of the Bible and its content. I forwarded them on to the group and Arlyn began working on making those photos even more legible and sent them back around. No one could believe our fortune! It was simply amazing.

So Thursday evening we began our road trip to California. We had fun driving down and visitingfriends. On Sunday we (my other daughter and I) said goodbye to Ash and she and her group left for Mexico. Beth and I then headed down to meet our orphaned Bible contact.

What a fun afternoon! We followed the directions to Scott and Jackie's house and "met" the Vandervort family Bible. There are pages of information, most of which centers on cousins. The entries in the Bible began with the marriage of William E Vandervort and his bride Katie Katura Medd and includes births, deaths and marriages that occured during their lifetime and after. There is also other geneology information on the family and even a photo of the lovely Nina Vandervort Murphy taken in 1904. What a treasure trove!

Not only did Jackie and Scott refuse payment for the Bible -- which they got for a bargain of $26 on Ebay!, but in addition they took us to a terrific and authentic Mexican lunch! We visited Old Temecula and wandered through antique stores and even visited the old town jail which was covered by a cascade of brilliant bouganvilla. What a delightful afternoon. After we went back to their house, we chatted a little longer. Jackie had taken all the additional papers that had been scattered through the Bible and put each item in a protective plastic sheet and put them all in a three-ring binder.

I can't say thanks enough to Jackie and to the Orphaned Bible project! They write "We buy old familiy bibles and then research each family to find living descendants of the original owners of the bible. When we find a home for the bible, we send the bible to the familily. We do not expect anything in return. Knowing that the bibles have returned home to their families is very rewarding to us." For more information they do have a website listed for more information -- .

Following our time with Jackie and Scott, we visited other friends and then began the long trek homeward on Monday morning, arriving Wed morning at 1:00 AM! Back to work and squeezing in fun projects between responsibilities. I'm now in process of scanning everything so that I can pass the best copies possible on to my VDV (Vandervort) Gang!

I have begun posting my family tree on Ancestry because altho I have a personal family tree computer program, I am hoping that the information, photos and letters posted will be always available to family members in the decades ahead. It is so easy for information to disappear as our older generations pass on and are no longer available to answer our myriad questions. Jackie has contributed much to our family tree by rescuing this old, fragile Bible and returning it to those of us who care. Perhaps we will know someday how it came to migrate from California to Oaklahoma where it was bought at a garage sale and later offered for sale on Ebay. We are so grateful to Doug -- who and wherever he is --that offered it for sale and did not leave it silent and neglected.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Old Glendale Farm

Today while going through some of my great-grandmother's letters and memorobelia, I came across this poem that she had cut out of a newspaper nearly a century ago. Edith Minter wrote of going home to Glendale. My grandparents also lived on a farm in what now is Kendall, but in years past the farm had been in Glendale, before Kendall gained prominance. In fact, the story goes that the original farm house had been built from the wood of the general store in Glendale that had been dismantled and carried to its new location.

This summer while visiting in Wisconsin, I drove past the old Kendall/Glendale home which now looks new and updated with fresh siding and paint. I thought about all the wonderful summers we cousins had played in the creek, "helped" to milk the cows, had wandered through the fields, and had been recipients of my dad's great skill as a willow whistle maker from the tree by the barn that hung over the road. The old barn in gone, the horse barn, built in 1916 is beginning to slip off it's foundation. The rutted driveway has been updated and the old path is fading. But I still know the way to Spring Brook Farm (later known as Pine Terrace and after that the Old Weber Farm), the home of four generations of Sherwoods since 1868. A cousin still owns the land, but a few acres containing the house were sold off, so the heart and soul is gone from the old place. But I walk there in memory, hearing the lowing of the cows, the meowing of the hungry barn kittens and watching the evening shadows turn to lightening bugs. As I sat in the car along the road, I thought of the old phrase, "You can't go home again" and knew that it was true. I can though, carry home with me in my heart. And I love Edith Minter's words evoking the old days in roughly the same place.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Great-great-Aunt Susie Sherwood Pratt

The flyleaf of this very small Bible (less than 3 X 5 inches) pictured below notes that it was a gift for Susie (Susannah Mary) Sherwood from her father just past her 11th birthday. I have not yet discovered what her health condition was, whether or not she simply had consumption, or if she had had some childhood illness like rheumatic fever that had left her an invalid. I don't know how she, living up in Monroe County, Wisconsin met Arthur Pratt who lived in Johnstown Center, in Rock County Wisconsin, but the connection seems to have been the (previously unknown to me) cousin Ella Wheeler who married a Wilcox.

The little note above the Bible was found inside and provides the connection. I think the note was added by Ella Jane Stevens Sherwood, mother of Susan Rosina Sherwood Weber who is the 2nd recipient of the tiny Bible . I am currently in possession of the Bible which belongs to my mother, but I like the idea that it has visited me, me whose middle name is Susanne (sort of in between the Susan of my grandmother and the Susannah of my great-great-aunt.

I like the letter that Susie wrote below and her description of Arthur makes me appreciate him so many decades later.

Johnstown Center [Wisconsin]
Oct 16, 85

Dear Aunt Grace,
It is some time since I received your last letter. I have been waiting so that I could tell you some news. I am keeping house! I thought maybe I never should, but I am, and have been now four weeks. I was a little fearful that I might not be able to stand the work and thought before writing I would make sure. I think I feel even better than when I was doing nothing. Through the summer I could be out with my flowers and help Arthur and my life was tolerable, but when I thought of passing another such winter as I did last, I could not endure the mere thought of it. If the Lord gives me strength and health for only this year it will pay me. I think I am better in all aspects by having my mind taken up with something. My work is not hard just for us two every thing is real handy for me. We have the west part of the house and I have a nice cupboard and my room has a carpet with oil cloth all around the stove. My flour barrel is just off the head of the stairs in the dark chamber and the cellar is no farther for me than it is for them. Arthur is just splendid about helping me and says I’m a boss cook. I used to often say if I should die Arthur wouldn’t miss me much for I never had any chance to make myself necessary to him. I tell him if it was not for that horrid trouble I should be perfectly happy, but it is not wise for us poor mortals to have no trouble. I only pray that I may have my strength a while longer and maybe then I could oversee and have it easier than I have done. I hope you are all well as usual. I would so much liked to have seen you all this summer but will wait now till next if we are all spared. I shall not go to Milwaukee either. I could have gone very cheap at one time, $2.75 there and return and a Ticket to the Exposition but we did not have the money and the Exposition’s closed now so will not go. I had a letter from Clara last week, she was real well and getting fat, she said. I have not heard from Grace but twice since she went home. I had lots of things to write to her but guess she don’t want to hear them. She has given up coming back of course, or would have been here before this. I saw Mrs. Kent Fair here (that was six weeks ago). She was very anxious then to hear from her as there were so many calling for Grace and she wanted to answer them but I presume Grace has seen to it. I have sent her Delinator to Kendall. I did not know where she was. I wrote and asked her to tell me where to send them, she must have known there was one due long since, but I kept waiting thinking I should hear from her. I have to repost them anyway so took it out for Mother to look at. The PM won’t forward them. I will now tell you why I did not write yesterday as I intended. I went over to see Edith. Al said he had written to Pa so perhaps told you that she had broken her arm about five weeks ago. It is broken right in the elbow and Tilly’s second one broke hers in the same place about ten weeks ago. Edith looks for thin and pale. I wanted to bring her home with me but Al had got to take her to the Dr. again today. I guess Uncle Billy’s folks are well but do not see any thing of them they are out with us. I’m sorry but can’t help it. Mattie has been very poorly awhile ago but is better now, was down to see me this afternoon but I had gone into one of the neighbors and she went back home. Myra is working down on the Prairie now at Mr. Godfrey’s. Give my love to Auntie when you see her and all the Elroy friends, with a large share for you all at home.

Your affectionate niece, Susie

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bird Haven - My Secret Garden

I love the "secret garden" that my husband has been laboring over for the six years that we have been living here. When we moved in there were two small trees, a couple of roses and maybe a half dozen ferns with NOTHING ELSE in the entire back yard. He views the yard as a "canvas" on which he can work his plant magic. We also try to give a variety of birds a welcoming habitat. I've been enjoying all my little bird friends who have been coming around this spring. We feed the birds and have nest boxes hanging in the trees and we have been rewarded with baby birds just finding their way in the world. I've particularly enjoyed all the newly minted little pine siskins taking baths in the bird bath, watching the humming birds bathe in the bubbler of the fountain and poke their beaks through the sides of the unopened irises to get a head start on the nectar. I was thinking that the chicadee I saw two days ago bathing in the top level of the fountain was a baby since it's feathers looked like he had hooked a toe in a live electric socket, but having seen a house finch today that looked about the same, I think they may be adults in process of molting. It's really pretty funny!
Here is a little montage of some fun little bird moments.

This photo is a little fuzzy looking due to having been taking through a screen when the sun was getting lower on the horizon. My little house finch friends.

One of my little hummingbird friends snacking at the golden iris.

You can't really tell because of the motion and the screen, but this is the chickadee that I thought must be a fledgling at first. Feathers were sticking out all directions! Looked more like a cartoon character than a little bird.

Little pine siskin getting a clean-up! Boy can they splash ~

My favorite little friend again, getting ready for a dip! I adore my little hummingbird friends!!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Caspian Hard at Work

A few posts ago I demonstrated with Duncan, our gray cat, the occasional trials of working from home. I'm not actually complaining you understand, because I love walking downstairs to go to work. It has a few minor disadvantages and a myriad of spectacular advantages such as padding around in slippers, taking breaks when most convenient and being able to listen to music at whatever volume desired throughout the day. But there are a few minor issues that come up every now and then in addition to the lack of social interaction opportunities, such as standing and chatting around the water cooler with co-workers.
Duncan, one of our two masculine feline's, demonstrated his printer sleeping capabilities a few posts ago, an ability he still excells in at inconvenient times. At the moment I need to print nothing, so the printer lies quiet and empty.

Since our daughter, Caspian's "mom," has been out of town for three months, Caspian, four years older than Duncan and much more tabby looking, has determined that the antidote to his lonliness is watching over me as I work. He does make it difficult at times to get through tasks in a timely manner. But at least this not-so-little, but always-decorative work impediment is soft and generally moveable when necessity arises!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Lines to an Absent Husband

Lines to an Absent Husband

Dearest Husband, Friend, Companion
Solace of my earthly joys
None so near in heart communion
None like this each grief destroy.

Absence us has separated;
Days like weeks they seem to be.
Time I have not overrated
Thought the weeks are only three.

From your presence I’m absented
Though in spirit feel thee near
Cannot from you be contented
Though I mingle with friends dear.

Could your presence be demanded
Swift I’d call you to my arms
But this boon must be suspended
Enjoyment seek in other charms.

Love hath bound us in affection
May this ever be our theme
When we can on retrospection
Glance with pleasure on life’s scenes

Heaven lend thee richest blessing
Scatter flowers in your way
Those immortal worth possessing
Wreathe thy brow in endless day

Heaven keep thee dear companion
In the path of duty go.
May our souls enjoy reunion
If we meet no more below.

Mary W. H. R.

*Mary Wight Healy was one of the daughters of the Nathaniel Healy -- of yesterday's post on the death of his brother. Mary Wight Healy was born on 10 Aug 1822. She married Abiel Graham Richardson in 1843 or thereabouts. They apparently had two children, Clarence, who shows up in the census records and Carona H Richardson, born in the 1850's of whom I have so far found out little so don't know how long she lived. Abiel Richardson worked as a carpenter and also as a farmer, but his first love was being a minister. He died in 1892 and Mary lived at least until 1900 when she shows up living with her son Clarence, his wife Eva and their three children in the 1900 US Census. I am always a little surprised by Mary's hairline in this photo, but I've always heard that this is what happens when you wear your hair tightly tied back, and apparently it is true!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Musings by Nathaniel Healy on the Death of his Brother Samuel Healy

At the top of this poem is written, "Copy of a letter from Nathaniel Healy to his friends on the death of his brother Samuel"

Haverhill, NH
Sept 18th 1807*

I to the office came this eve
A letter here I do receive
Whose contents causes me to grieve
Though welcome information
My brother’s dead a solemn sound
What words more painful can be found
He’s dead and buried in the ground
Where he must turn to dust
God’s ways are equal he is just
Though he take our relation

Though he was active brave and smart
Death’s haggard arrow pierced his heart
‘Twas far beyond the Surgeon’s art
To give him respiration
Yet though the grave his body binds
And death his active limbs confine
We trust in glory still he shines
Nor does know grief or woe
Or any pain he felt below
How blest his situation

My reason bids me not to weep
Faith says Death’s not an endless sleep
This glorious hope my soul does keep
From bitter lamentation
By Charity I am inclined
To think that he with all mankind
Will be so happy as to find
That reward which was stored
In Heaven’s archives by the Lord
Before the worlds foundation

Let thoughts like these dry up each tear
Our grief assuage our bosoms cheer
He now in Heaven does appear
How blest his situation
We all believe this is the case
And that the time rolls on apace
When we again shall him embrace
There remain free from pain
Nor shall we ever part again
Or know a separation.

My sister Lydia well I know
This is to you a heavy blow
It fills your soul with grief and woe
And sad solemnization
The frailty of our race we see
Not long ago he seemed to be
As healthy and robust as we
Now grim Death takes his breath
And he a lifeless corpse is left
The grave is now his station

Methinks in tears I hear you say
I’ve lost my comfort and my stay
My Partner dear has turned to clay
How sad a dispensation
Where ‘ere my weeping eyes I place
I there behold his empty space
No more on earth I see his face
None can guess my distress
I bid adieu to happiness
Till I again embrace him

Cease my dear sister to lament
Had you a life of hatred spent
This would your sorrow much augment
And be an aggravation
If you to quarrel were inclined
Or if you treated him unkind
A cause for mourning there you’d find
But you know, ‘twas not so
Your heart was ready to bestow
Relief on each occasion

Why should we murmur or complain
That he has left this world of pain
And has gone home with Christ to reign
To reign throughout duration
Though we with tears bedew his urn
We would not wish him to return
From seraphs which adore and burn
Where his mind is refined
Far more than those who are left behind
Of any sect or nation

My parents dear I you address
My soul does feel for your distress
In pangs too poignant to express
On this most sad occasion
Though you in age are called to mourn
The loss of one whom you have borne
Whom death has lately from you torn
Do not grieve but believe
God has a right him to receive
He lends us our relations

Though of a child you are bereft
Which like a limb was from you cleft
Remember you’ve eleven left
In healthful situation
Though you have lost a hopeful son
Yet he of six is only one
Whose labors o’re whose work is done
He is not dead only fled
To Jesus Christ our living head
There to receive Salvation

When Hannah for a son did sigh
Remind her partner’s kind reply
Far better than two sons am I
The nearest of relations
God does you each to other spare
Your woes in union you can bear
Your mutual joys together share
There we find God is kind
We yet have blessings left behind
Suppressing calculation

His character death chose to place
Beyond the reach of foul disgrace
Where slander daren’t show his face
And vice can never enter
From Virtue he on earth could fall
The sphere he moved in was too small
His maker him vouchsafes to call
To that good where his soul
Did aim as magnet to the pole
Or matter to the center

My brothers and my sisters all
This is to us a solemn call
‘Mongst old and gray, great and small
Death spreadeth devastation
We to the level must be brought
The plumb must try each act and thought
How diligently then we ought
To prepare since we are
To come to that all trying square
Which knows no deviation

May wisdom from the East direct
The West to strengthen and protect
May Beauty cover each defect
By speedy reformation
That when the Angel’s trump shall sound
To call the dead from underground
We may be tried and worthy found
To be blessed with the rest
Which Paul in Beauty has expressed
Unto the Hebrew nation

Nathaniel Healy

*Most geneologies have Samuel listed as having died on September 30th of that year. So I do not know whether the person who copied this (which I believe was Evalina Richardson Thompson from the handwriting) wrote the wrong month or if he died rather the end of August instead of September. I haven't seen documentation for date yet but will attempt to ascertain that in the future. This Nathaniel Healy was born July 10, 1785, married Jane Tabor a few months after this was written, and died on 19 Feb 1841. Samuel was born 11 June 1783 and so was two years older than Nathaniel. Samuel's wife in various family histories is reported as Lydia Barker and this poem confirms that his wife's name was Lydia. It also confirms the number of children of their parents, John Healy and Mary Wight. They actually had a total of 13 children, but one, a girl, Katherine, had died nine years earlier in 1789 at 34 years of age.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Keeping Life in Perspective

At the end of March my neighbors and I took a road trip to the Redwoods. I think I gabbed about that with a post on Heceta Head Lighthouse in Oregon, BUT the real reason for the trip was to see the Redwoods and the lighthouses were secondary. The five of us do dinner or some variation at birthdays each year, but on the big "0" or "5" birthdays we do something special. what I want to do at my next one is travel to Greece, but that may be a long ways off.
So on a Friday at noon we headed out in my little Mazda5 (appropriately named, now that I think of it since there are 5 of us!). Mary took the photo above and it's such a great view of us heading off on our adventure.

We stayed in Grant's Pass Friday night and left the next morning to see the redwoods. How totally magnificent they are! I had seen the redwoods years ago when I was a kid, but hadn't been there in decades. We didn't go far enough south to drive through the tree (I remember seeing photos of us doing that before), but other than that we had a great view of the magnificent trees. Looking at these trees, the length of their lives as well as their magnificent stature, just puts life in perspective.

My folks were Jim Reeves fans while I was growing up and while walking through these magnificent woods, I could hear "My Cathedral" in the background of my memory. We also rode a cable car up through the woods and enjoyed a fabulous Native American museum. We walked on the beach and ate every meal out and had latte's across the state. What a fun, fun trip!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Family Signs

One of my many sets of grandparents about 7 generations back was Church and Elizabeth Tabor. Church Tabor was the son of Joseph Tabor and Hannah Church. Church got the lion's share (or would that be a "double portion") of the family names it would appear. Church and Liz had a daughter, Jane Tabor (probably named for Liz' mother Jane Steel - maiden name unknown) who married Nathaniel Healy -- but that's a long and different story.
Last fall when my husband and I spent out 25th anniversary "visiting Kathy's dead relatives" (his laughing description), we visited the cemetery in South Hero VT where Church Tabor and Jane (his mother-in-law, not Elizabeth his wife) Steel were buried along with two of his grandchildren, Jane's son and daughter Church and Sally. We had thought that maybe Nathaniel and Jane would have been there as well . . .but they weren't.
We haven't found the graves of Jane and Nathaniel yet, but while in South Hero we visited a used bookstore above a hardware store. Browsed through some old history books including a history of South Hero that was too pricey to purchase, but there was a reference there to a Tabor Cemetery in West Swanton.
After visiting Church and Elizabeth, and with the goal of maybe finding Jane and Nathaniel, we headed off north. We were staying at a wonderful bed and breakfast in South Hero so we had time to wander to our hearts content. Actually, what we were looking for was Hog Island (so the book said) by West Swanton.
So off we tootled and had a great drive. As we drove onto Hog Island we saw a little gift shop ahead on the left. We figured we'd see if anyone there knew where a Tabor cemetery might be and it was our lucky day. The proprietor told us that if we went back out the way we came in to the very first interesection (we're talking 100 feet maybe), we would find Tabor road to the left and down that way a ways would be the Tabor Cemetery.

We went back and sure enough, there was Tabor Road to the left. To our surprise, there was Church Rd to the right. We were right there at the intersection of the roads which pretty well demonstrated the intersection of the families as well.

We drove down the road a half a mile or so, perhaps a little more, and there was a fenced are with a few tombstones. And among them was Elizabeth Steel, wife of Church Tabor, resting along side James Madison Tabor and a few lesser known Tabors.
Elizabeth Steel Tabor's headstone notes that she was the wife of Church Tabor, but also notes --"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord." You can see the white fence surrounding the small Tabor cemetery, which in turn is surrounded by fields.
We still haven't found Jane and Nathaniel's final resting place. The Healy History says he died in Topsham, and I know she died in E Topsham because she was living with her daughter Rosina Healy Richardson at the time. So -- where did they end up????? Another mystery for another day. I can't wait for my next trip back to Vermont and New Hampshire. There are so many places I want to go!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring Tulips

Last Thursday I met my sister and mom at the tulip fields in Woodland, Washington so that we could do a trade off of my kid and I could bring her home from her visit to Portland. Here are a few of the wonders that we saw ~ what a treat it was. Nothing says spring more than tulips!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hard to Get Work Done

It's hard to get work done when the "helpful" cat (Duncan, affectionately known as Dunkin' Punkin' or Dudley Doofus depending on who is speaking) has made himself quite at home on the printer! This is one of his favorite spots - no doubt because it is often warm.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Surprise Visit to Heceta Head Lighthouse

I started this blog initially because of my love of lighthouses and they were featured quite a bit at the beginning. Then I received all those family letters and my interest in those has superceded many other things. But last weekend I and my neighbors (5 of us women friends) went on a birthday trip for Mary to the Redwoods. What a fun, fun time we had. We rode, talked, ate, toured, relaxed and wined here and there. We five all stayed in one hotel room each night -- Grants Pass, OR; Crescent City, CA and finally Florence, OR on our way home. Beautiful weather, fabulous spring scenes -- so different from home where we got word that it had snowed while we were gone. Fancy that! Talk about being gone at the right time.

One of the highlights for me was a little side trip north of Florence to see the Heceta Head lighthouse. It's not that I don't see it every day as a photo on my office wall, but I'd never before actually seen it in person. Alas, the light had broken (not the fresnel lens, I believe, but some mechanism) and it had been off for a couple of weeks. A store cashier said that apparently if they let it continue operating it would have needed more repairs, so off it went. This is heresay, but as a matter of fact, the light was off. We stopped across the mouth of the river and took the first photos (alas, I had the camera on portrait for some reason) and then we drove over to the parking lot and hiked up the hill to see the lighthouse up close and personal. It was so much fun!

(I also got to see the Yacqina ligthouse from a distance, but as I had been there before I was willing to give up going off the beaten path for that one since not everyone loves lighthouses and wants to stop at every sign.) And, besides, by the end of the trip we were a bit like horses on the way to the barn. Well, that's not quite true. It wasn't the barn at the end of day that was the lure, it was the Woodburn Outlet Mall ~~!
In this photo you can see the edge of the Fresnel lens (which, alas, I didn't get to watch in operation on this trip) as well as the curtain which protects it from the sun during the day. It was nice to see it was being cared for in spite of being off for awhile. There is a lovely former keepers house adjacent to the lighthouse that is a bed and breakfast! It looks fabulous! You can check it out at I went there and it also says they have a seven course brunch on Easter Sunday and Mother's Day. Well, it looks like we did pick the wrong weekend to visit - altho I can't imagine being away from our families on those two days anyway.

But if we didn't get to eat a seven course breakfast at the lighthouse, we did get to eat clam chowder and other yummy things at Mo's both in Florence and in Newport so we had a culinary delight anyway. I love their garlic cheese bread! And I discovered Mo is a she. Go figure - why else would the food be so good. I don't know what Mo is short for, but likely "MOGNIFICENT"!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Welcome Home George Sherwood on USS Harrisburg

What a treat to discover among the family letters a postcard from Uncle George letting Herman and Susan as well as Will and Ella Jane that he had arrived at last from "Over There." And along with that postcard, a booklet of photos of the USS Harrisburg, all looking nearly as they did when they were printed