Update about blog

Summertime in Black Mountain

My other blogs: Alchemy of Clay
Three Family Trees...the Swasey, Booth and Rogers families, now being published every other day or so...

Monday, September 30, 2013

The winter New England storms

Recently I wrote of a hurricane in Galveston TX in 1900.  It was before storms were given names.
But there was a weather bureau established already.

Let's look back another century or two, to the 1700's. 

Winters to Remember---1778, The North Shore certainly has seen its share of "Winters to remember," and many of these were chronicled by historian Sidney Perley in his "Historic Storms of New England." (1891)

One of the most devastating snowstorms in local history occurred in a few-month period beginning in December 1716 & ending in late February the following year.  A series of December snowstorms left five feet of snow on the ground, & by mid-Feb. a base of three feet still blanketed the area.  But the worst was yet to come.  On Feb. 18, a heavy  snowstorm enveloped New England & lasted for four days.  It abated briefly on the 22nd. & 23rd., but resumed on the 24th. with a vengeance.  By the end of the storm, the North Shore lay under 10 to 15 feet of snow.
Many single-story homes were covered.  Residents dug tunnels beneath the snow between their homes & their barns or neighbors' houses.  Those wishing to walk on top of the snow needed snowshoes to do so.The impact of the storm on livestock & wild animals in the area was devastating.  Flocks of sheep & herds of cattle & horses were buried under the deep snow & suffocated.  Miraculously, nearly a month after the storm ended, two sheep were found alive under 16 feet of snow.  They had survived by eating the wool of their dead companions.Starving bears, foxes & wolves hunted down equally hungry deer & ate them. Perley notes that 19 out of every 20 deer in the region were killed in this period.
Perley recounts the plight of two Marblehead men, Thomas Hooper & Valentine Tidder Jr; during a blizzard that hit New England in early Dec. 1876.  The men left Salem on foot for home after dark on a Saturday night despite the fact that it had been snowing heavily for nearly 24 hours.  The two became disoriented & eventually got separated from each other.  Their bodies were found in open fields far from the Salem-Marblehead road.
Two other area men fared better during that same storm, Samuel Pulsifer & Samuel Elwell were trapped near Hog Island in Ipswich & took refuge in the middle of a haystack.  The hay kept them warm & dry for a time, but eventually the haystack was carried away by rising waters.  The terrified pair floated for hours atop the pile, & were headed out to sea.  Eventually, though, they were able to summon enough strength & courage to jump onto a passing cake of ice which eventually took them to an island very close to shore.  There they were rescued by Maj. Charles Smith of Ipswich.
Snowstorms were equally treacherous to mariners.  In a terrible blizzard in Feb. 1802, three Salem ships--The Brutus, the Ulysses, & the Volusia were aground in the shallow waters off Cape Cod.  The crew members of the latter two vessels were fortunate enough to be rescued by local inhabitants.  The seamen on the Brutus were not so lucky as nine of the 14 crew members perished.  One of the survivors, Benjamin Ober of Manchester, came to be buried up to his neck in sand & snow.  He was too weak to dig his way out & his voice was way too hoarse to yell to potential rescuers.  Finally after 36 agonizing hours, he was rescued.  Sadly, he expired shortly thereafter.

 At Ancestry.com this is the source listed, but obviously there are editorial comments of a more recent nature, so I can't say what part of this came from...Geneology of the Swasey Family 1910 by Benjamin Swasey an ebook that is available on line.

I was caught by the name Samuel Pulsifer, because a few generations before, some of the Pulsifer family moved to Louisiana and Texas...and Lucy Pulsifer, who was born in 1807 in Newburyport, MA moved to the area that would become Beaumont Texas.  Well, I don't know how she was related to the poor man in the haystack in 1876 near Ipswitch.

I am reminded that storms are a force of nature, which make humans feel so small and insignificant.  And there are many that happen and aren't recorded and noticed by humanity.  I wonder if in pre-historic days there were ever cave-paintings or carvings to indicate these forces.  I have never heard of them if they existed.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gen. John Archer Elmore

Born on 21 Aug 1762 in Prince Edward County, Virginia, this Revolutionary War hero died on 24 Apr 1834 in Wetumpka, Autauga, Alabama, age 71.

Gen John Archer Elmore 1762-1834

Shall I tell you how I'm related first, or his story?

My father's middle name was Elmore.  He never told me (and I did ask) who he was named after.  Well, for him he just said he was named after his father, because he was Junior.  So how did his father get Elmore for his middle name, when there were no Elmores anywhere in his family ancestry?

Go WAAAAY back, and John Archer Elmore is actually our ancestor through a cousin.  (His descendent married the sister of one of my ancestors)

He had 19 children, which means lots of people are his descendents!  Thank heavens they had 2 mothers.    His first wife's third child, Sophia Saxon Elmore at 15, married George W. Ross (age 31 and probably a doctor).  They lived in Laurens, South Carolina, and then Mississippi.  Their grandson, John Elmore Ross, married Alice Luella Rogers, (see Here for more on Alice Rogers Ross) the daughter of my3X great grandfather, George Washington Rogers.  So we're cousins, several times removed, because the Elmore Ross line went off in another direction...no blood coming my way.  (Incidentally, my post about Alice Rogers Ross isn't entirely accurate!)

So why were these people in the Rogers family named after this Revoluntionary War hero that was a cousin's ancestor after all?  Probably because the matriarchs of the family wanted them to.  We have traditionally had strong women in the Rogers family.  

And my grandfather's best friends were the Ross's, who lived in the same areas many times, but did not raise my grandfather and his sister as I thought earlier  (they lived with their mother, a widow much of their childhoods).  For all I know some of the Ross children were named after famous Rogers ancestors.  I don't think I'll chase that story however.

OK, you've patiently waited to hear about General Elmore.

Here is the way ancestor searches turn out: backward.  We start with where he remains, his tombstone.  From Mrs. P. H. Mell in (1904) Transactions, of the Alabama Historical Society, Vol. iv, pp. 541-2.
 Elmore county was named in honor of Gen. Elmore. He was deservedly popular for his "candor, good sense and sociability."
He was buried in the old family burying ground at the old homestead, "Huntington," in Elmore county. The following inscription is upon his tombstone:
In Memory of Gen. John Archer Elmore, who was born in Prince Edward County, Va., August the 21st, 1762, and died in Autauga County, Ala., April 24th, 1834, aged 71 yrs. 8 mos. & 3 days. He was a soldier of the Revolution in the Virginia Line and afterwards a member of the Legislature of So. Ca., and a General in the militia. He was a member of the Legislature of Alabama and filled various other offices of Honor and Trust in both States. He was an affectionate husband, a kind and indulgent father, a humane master, A devoted friend, and a patriotic citizen.
He entered the Revolutionary service, a mere lad, in Greene's command in the Virginia line; was with him in his tour through the Carolinas, and with him at the surrender at Yorktown. This is shown by the archives in Washington; O'Neal's Bench and Bar of South Carolina, vol. ii, pp. 85, 88, and Brewer's Alabama, p. 109. After the Revolution he settled in Laurens district, South Carolina, and resided there many years, during which time he was often a member of the legislature. He moved to Autauga county, Alabama, in 1819 and served one term in the house of representatives from this county.
His first wife was Miss Saxon, by whom he had two sons: Hon. Franklin H. Elmore, of South Carolina, who succeeded Mr. Calhoun in the United States senate, and Benjamin F. Elmore, treasurer of South Carolina. His second wife, Miss Ann Martin, was a member of the famous Martin family of South Carolina, and descended also from the Marshall family of Virginia, and from Lieutenant Nathaniel Terry, of Virginia. By this second marriage there were five sons and several daughters."
Mrs. Mell didn't have all his children in her list, see below for more details of them.

In his later life:
C M Stanley article in The Alabama Journal, Sept 13, 1959: 

"He removed to Alabama in 1819, the same year the state was admitted to the Union, settling in Autauga County and in 1821 served in the Alabama legislature. When Elmore County was created, largely out of Autauga County, the new county was named for General Elmore as was the town of Elmore in the new county."

Continuing backward, here's more on how he came to Alabama...with some different dates given.
From "Elmore Family -p. 17:
Gen. John A. and Betsy --  "Reuben Jourdan came to Alabama about 1812 to 1814, with his father, sisters and brothers and children, and was followed next year by Gen. John Archer Elmore and family." 

Pickett, from Alabama also give this picture of the Justice of the courts:
"The legislature was exceedingly anxious to see the laws enforced; and, for
that purpose, selected magistrates from among the most respectable and
prominent men throughout the State. They discharged the same duties which
the Judges of the County Courts had done previous to the adoption of the
present Probate system, and as was the practice of Virginia. A few of those
now selected must be mentioned merely to show the determination of our then
infant State, to give tone and dignity to the administration of the laws,
even in inferior courts. For the county of Autauga, for instance, John A.
Elmore, John Armstrong, Robert Gaston, James Jackson and William R. Pickett
were elected magistrates.
    General John A. Elmore, one of these justices, was a native of South
Carolina, of the legislature of which State he had often been a respectable
member. Not long after his removal to Alabama, he represented the county of
Autauga in our legislature which then sat at Cahawba. He was a man of
firmness and much good sense, and always delivered his opinions, even in
common conversation, in a distinct and loud voice, with that candor and
honesty which characterized his conduct through life. He had a commanding
appearance, was large in person, and, altogether, an exceedingly fine
looking man. He delighted in the sports of the chase, being a most
successful and spirited hunter, and an agreeable companion in the many camp-
hunts in which he engaged with his neighbors and friends. Towards the close
of his life, we remember that he presented a dignified and venerable
appearance, and we saw him preside as chairman of several large and
exciting meetings in the town of Montgomery during the days of nullifi-

(1) Albert James Pickett, History of Alabama and Incidentally of Georgia
and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period, (Birmingham Book and Magazine Co.: Birmingham, AL, 1962), pp. 662-663. 

Another mini-biography gives this family information:
Biography of John Archer Elmore - Autauga/Elmore Co.'s, AL
John Archer Elmore. An officer of the American Revolution, he was born
August 21, 1762, in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and died April 24, 1834,
in Autauga, now Elmore County. He was the son of Archelas and Susannah
(Morris) Elmore, the former a Quaker. He was a grandson of Thomas and Cicely
(Ellison) Elmore, of New Kent County, Virginia. General Elmore entered the
Continental Army while still a youth, and served under General Greene.
    General Elmore settled in Laurens District, South Carolina, after the
Revolution, resided there for many years and served in the legislature. In
1819 he removed to Alabama, settling in Autauga County, and in 1821,
represented the County in the legislature. When Autauga County was
subdivided the new county was named in his honor. The station of that name
being also named for his family.
    General Elmore was married to (1) Mary Ann Sarah Saxon, on March 1,
1788. He married (2) on March 14, 1805, to Mary Martin, a descendant of the
noted Martin family of South Carolina, also of the Marshall family of
Virginia, and of Lieutenant Nathaniel Terry, of Virginia.
    Children by his first wife were: l. Benjamin F., treasurer of South
Carolina, married Sarah Aurora Brevard. 2. Narcissa. 3. Sophia Saxon,
married George Ross
. 4. Charlotte Perry, married Abner Crenshaw. 5. Franklin
Harper, who succeeded Calhoun in the U. S. Senate, married Harriet Chestnut.
    By his second wife, General Elmore was the father of: 6. Elizabeth S.,
married Dixon H. Lewis. 7. Sarah Terry, married Benjamin Fitzpatrick.
8. John Archer, married Laura Maria Martin. 9. Morris Martin. 10. William
Augustus, married (1) Mary Ann Morrison, (2) Julia Minor. 11. Luther Alfred.
12. Henry Marshall, married Elizabeth Harris. 13. Laurence Ludlow. 14.
Physick Rush, married Susan T. Nesbitt. 15. Winfield Scott. 16. Infant. 17.
James Scott. 18. Albert Standhope, married Mary Jane Taylor. 19. Ann
Harriet, married Joseph T. Hearn.

[Source: Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume III, page 558] 
 Sorry, I don't have the war records, which probably tell all about the battles in which Gen. Elmore took part.  That will have to be for other historians to research.

OK, this record is my supplement to what's on Ancestry.com, and perhaps will help me or my descendents find the correct information. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

What do you do when?

I used to think of all the wasted time while waiting in lines.  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
At the bank window. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Of course in the grocery store. ()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

and so on.

Things that could change the world if all that womanpower were harnessed for world peace...or ??

Now I think of what I could do while waiting for the computer to update.  While something that is supposedly my servant, a simple program (soft-ware, who ever thought up that silly term anyway?) is being upgraded.  And why is it always being upgraded anyway?  Can't my geek friends make it right the first time?

So while iTunes newest version is downloading, at least now I can listen to their radio, and Rachmaninoff's concerto in G, which I once played myself.  That is a definite consolation.

Other than that, I'm typing my blog to you.  So there you are, breezing through your own life, a day which will indubidibly be filled with great ideas.  And I've just given you one.  So the next time you're waiting for whatever (traffic jam?) watch what you're thinking.  See if you can contribute to the great unknown well of thought that will change the world.  Anything's possible!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My home

Second house on the right, with an small yard, and some greenery to look at.  A nice large living room, large bedroom, small kitchen, medium bath, medium studio/porch.  Just right for me.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumnal Equinox greetings

The way I've looked it up, Gaia, our glorious globe the earth, will be standing upright at 4:45 EDT this afternoon...with the sunlight balanced perfectly as she tilts away and towards her poles, like a lovely blue top.

Not my photo, from Wikipedia images

Isn't it fascinating to think of her core of molten magma, full of magnetic fields which somehow align with the poles, which somehow help birds and insects and maybe everything else, migrate in the right direction, finding home.

Everything else? Well, how about the compasses??  Simple that iron (or even a steel needle) points north...when floated on a non-metalic surface...and thus Columbus got to our shores.  Of course knowing the stars helped navigation, and having a sextant too.  And having a clock that could keep working in order to tell correct time over 24 hours.  Well, so some TV show led me to believe, all these things together helping men (sorry women, it really was men) navigate the seas and thus civilized (i.e. Western Europe) people took over the Americas.

Just think if they'd gone straight to India as they intended...

Ah, what do you intend to do today?
I intend to just be.
Happy first day of Autumn for my friends in North America.

The delightful French Broad River, Asheville, NC

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Chauncey Sweet Rogers.1912-1974

My Uncle Chauncey Rogers was born on 21 SEP 1912 in Galveston TX.  This would have been his 101st birthday, but he died in  December of 1974, in Escondido, San Diego County, CA, age 62.

Alexander, George Jr, (mislabled), James and Chauncey Rogers, Fort Worth house

On the Fort Worth Census of 1930, he was 18 and his occupation was listed as "none."  His older brother Alexander was a "drafter for the telephone company" and his father was an accountant for a packing company.

In 1940, his parents had moved to San Antonio, and at 27 he was living at home as well as his 18 year old brother, James.  My father had married by that time, as well as the oldest brother Alexander.  Again, the young men living at home had no occupation listed on that census, and their father was listed as an auditor for Commission Co (which I know nothing about.)

In 1942 he was in basic training in the Navy, in California.

He married when he was 41 in 1953, Eunice --   , who had been divorced.  He and my grandfather built a house for Chauncey and Eunice on the same property as my grandparents, but facing the side street.  I don't have a record of Eunice's name before her marriage, nor her son who I believe may have been grown by the time she married Chauncey.

Eunice and Chauncey, George Sr. and Ada S. Rogers

George Jr, Chauncey, James Rogers at funeral of George Rogers Sr. 1960

I don't know if Chauncey and Eunice moved to California after my grandmother's death in 1964, but it's likely that they did sometime soon after that.  My parents moved back to Houston in the early 70's, but I don't remember seeing Uncle Chauncey during my visits to them.

I had no idea what Uncle Chauncey's interests were, nor his occupation.  How can I have missed knowing anything about him?  It happened.  A reminder to ask questions about relatives while they are around.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

failing relatives

I'm part of a generation that has moved about, as well as my parents.
So our roots are kind of stretched long and thin.
I think I've failed to have connections to the relatives I have.
So that's why I want to stitch together a family of ancient ancestors.

I found someone that was very dear to me the other day on Ancestry.  But I don't wish to put his life here, because he is still living, and is no longer in  my life.  And I really don't know much about his life or his family either.  He influenced me greatly for a while, and is now gone from my existence except as a fond memory.

I am amazed at how little I knew about the people I was related to in my parent's generation, or even the cousins of my own generation.  I don't even have their children's names, more often than not.  And now they are grown and I have no idea of their children's children's names.

So I confess to feeling like I'm fabricating relatives to replace the ones that I really have, but have lost touch with.

Maybe this is a sign of aging, to want some fabric that includes my own life woven with others.  Up till recently I was happy with friends to be that cloth of my life.  Mmm, they are certainly interesting, but I listen to them tell stories about their families, and I have none to share.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

River blessings 2013

 Drummers and dancers
 Byron Ballard reads a poem to the river Sept 15, 2013

Linda Metzner leads the Sahara Peace Choir by the French Broad River

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gaia and my own life

A good talk in church yesterday.

I'd recommend listening to anything Pana Columbus says.  Her Website here.

I will be looking to see her elsewhere, and am also looking for her book, She Wore Blue Invoking the Water. her memoir, which is available at Malaprops bookstore in Asheville.

Here's her TedX talk at Arcadia University a year ago.  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/21528895
This isn't the same as what she said at church today...but her article Heaven on Earth is pretty much it.

So go listen to your heart, and discover your passion.

Me, I went to the river to honor Oshun, the Orisha goddess of water energy.  French Broad River just north of Asheville, as it travels north and then to the Smokies. My Rogers ancestors lived at the junction of the French Broad River and the Little Pigeon River in Pigeon Forge, TN back in 1794. But with yesterday's event, I wasn't thinking of ancestors at all. Lovely singers of the Sahara Peace Choir.  Lovely day. Drumming women (12 or so I think) and yes, I took lots of pictures.  Tomorrow I'll share.

Today I'm just in bliss.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ada Pulsifer Phillips Sweet 1860

She was finally born (see her mother's letter below) in Beaumont, Tex, on a plantation.  Orphaned by Civil War, her mother, Mary Phillips died within year she was born. Ada was raised  by the Granger family with sister Zulieka who was mother of my paternal grandmother.  Ada married her cousin, son of her mother's sister, Chauncey Sweet who became a well-to-do banker in Galveston.

Little Ada is mentioned in letters written by her mother Mary Phillips to her mother Mary Granger, or her mother-in-law, Mary Gainer.

This letter was written before Ada was born on Sept 15, 1860.  Her poor mother thought she had been pregnant since October of the past year, thus my grandmother believed that Ada Phillips was an 11 month baby.  (I have heard this usually means the first pregnancy was lost as another one began and the mother never knew because she continued with pregnancy.)

Addressed to her own mother, Mother Granger, who was living in Galveston at the time.  However she also calls her mother-in-law,"Mother," Mary Gainer, who was close enough to give pregnancy advice apparently.

Town Bluff, July 30th/60

My Dearest Mother

        Your dated July 12th I received this morning & most thankfully you may be sure for it is a long time since I heard from any of you.  I had begun to be considerable anxious for fear some member of the family were sick.  Now did you ever hear of anyone making such a mistake on their scheming as I have and still what else or how else would I judge the time for me to look for my confinement than when I last was sick and most surely it was the third week in September but I am now completely lost cannot tell only I am constantly expecting I suffer extremely from the heat.

(next page)

I have most wretchedly restless nights no little sea breeze but so oppressive it seems to take all my strength  the perspiration seems to pour from every pore.  I am in very good health otherwise.  William will write you as soon as I am through.  It is Zulie’s birthday and we had an extra dinner for her and sat the Lady up to the table for the first time.  She behaved very well.  I know you would be much amused could you see her ways and her back and forward!  She wiggles and swings like a girl sixteen.  Mother gave her a very pretty pink chamber tucked the shirt and she strutts (sic) well in it.  If a stranger comes in she directly comes to me and says Mama play she is never quiet but busy all the time scouring the house or sweeping, has a rag baby I made

(next page)

her which she named herself Lula and she shows up bread and feeds her with a perfect slight of hand and then gives her most awful whipping and gets her to sleep.  I think she is going to love a book for she will stand and listen just as long as you describe a picture and express her anger and sympathy on each subject.  Lucy would be in shakes of laughter all the time were she here  she is a perfect mimic must try to do all I do even in the sewing line  Mama I want to too, me, Mama and no peace till she has it.

        I have written this letter by spells you may find trouble to read it.  I have done my best, it tires me very much to write  I am much more clumsey than I was with Zulie.  Mother says I will go she is positive until the first week in September.

(next page)

        The weather is very dry and extremely hot.  The crops are all burnt up and if we make our bread it is all we expect now such a disappointment to Mother & myself as it will prevent our coming to see you.  I fear for there are so many to provide for and it will take ready cash to do it another year.  There are twenty six blacks and six whites still if we could get rain even now we should make enough as we planted late.  There is above us in other countys much poverty familieis soley dependent on their crops and cannot get anything to eat but milk.  I believe they are going to make some provision for such from. (sic) I see I must close write me soon again.  I am anxiously looking for Lizzies’ letter love to all,

                Yours affectionately,


(more written in margin of this last page)

Mother – William desires much Love to you all  I still find my piano good as ever  it __(?) so well.  Mother do not over exert yourself because you are in better health  try to get strong  I wish I could see you  I should be so glad quite old times


(undated letter without heading, written to her Mother-in-law, Mary Gainer, by Mary Granger Phillips.  Town Bluff is probably Beaumont, Texas.)

The children are quite well.  Zulie often talks of you all.  She is growing very fast and talks us nearly crazy.  Is very curious must know and understand every thing she hears and sees.  She is pretty, bad and smart and I am I regret to say entirely unable to control her never having seen ever  such a temper.  I often wonder how Lizzie would manage her, although Zulie has been much spoiled (--?--) everyone, she is very affectionate, child loves me dearly  but does not want to mind.  Ada is different more mild the sweetest and caring little thing will let you kiss her all day and not get mad.  Pa Gainer says Zulie is the worst child he ever saw and Ada the best now if they do not spoil her.  She began to walk a little past nine months it is so cunning to see her walking her hair curls and she goes round

(on back page)

jabbering to herself you all would eat her up.  I have not had a pair of shoes to fit her since those you sent and they are all worn out.  I have let her go barefooted this Summer on account of not being able to get any for her.  I do hope some goods will come to Town Bluff.  Zulie too wears anything for shoes.  I am very much troubled about getting everything.  There are no goods any near us.  I expect we shall see sights to get things to wear this Winter.  I think you will find a letter of winds if nothing else.  I will try to write often as I can.  I have on hand a monstrous pile of sewing though, but will answer all who write.  All desire Love keep a cheerful heart dear Mother. I think of you much and often.

        Your affectionate Daughter,


Notes: Pa (Samuel) Gainer is Ada Phillips grandfather,  step-father to her father, William Phillips, and Mr. Gainer has traveled from their home in Georgia to Texas, to have seen both granddaughters.  His words are being relayed to his wife, Mother Gainer, by Mary Granger Phillips.  Since the Grangers seem to live in Galveston within the next few years, they may have already moved there.

I will try to include more letters from this family as their birthdays come along.

Ada Phillips had Pulsifer as her middle name, after her mother's mother's maiden name, Lucy Pulsifer Granger. The Pulsifers had surveyed Beaumont, Texas, and donated central land for it's downtown.  

Ada Phillips grew up in the same household as her cousin and eventual husband...since she was a war orphan and lived with Aunts. She was 35 before she married. She and Chauncey Sweet had no children of their own, but in several census reports from Galveston, there are nieces and nephews listed in their household.

She lived a long life, dying at 71.  Her husband, who was five years younger than she was, remarried within the year, and moved to San Francisco.  He died there at age 82.