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...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

History of Newport, RI home of Swaseys (part 1)

Several members of my family have birthdays in the next few weeks.  Here is some interesting (to me anyway) info about the Alexander G. Swasey's home town before, during and after the Revolution.  The connection to me is that my dad's mom was a Swasey.

LONG history follows:
Most of the following are excerpts from:
"The Politics of Pluralism in Newport RI 1760-1800"
by Crane

The colony of Rhode Island, unlike its neighbors Massachusetts and Connecticut, never had an official religion. Rhode Island's founders, made up of Baptists, Quakers, and others fleeing persecution in neighboring colonies, specifically intended the new colony to be a shelter for persons of distressed conscience. [6] In 1647, the General Court, which represented a central administration over the four separately founded towns of Providence, Warwick, Portsmouth, and Newport, laid out a body of laws, which concluded with the statement all men may walk as their consciences perswade them, every one in the name of his God." [7]

      In January 1769,  Ezra Stiles (minister of Newport's Second Congregational Church, and librarian of the Redwood Library. [23] ) began to keep a diary, which he would maintain for the rest of his time in Newport. The early years of Stiles' diary provide evidence about how the elite of Rhode Island reacted to the looming political crisis: they avoided it at least in the social sphere. While many members of Stiles' social circle, which constituted a large portion of the elite members of Rhode Island society, involved themselves in politics in the public sphere, Stiles diary indicates they strived to maintain a sense of normalcy within their social lives. Those who held the most wealth and power in Rhode Island likely had a large motivation to hold their social network together for economic reasons, but more than that, they seem to have enjoyed the chance to interact socially with people from diverse backgrounds.

     In this respect, the diary is most interesting for what it does not include. The near lack of political discourse before 1773, coupled with documentary evidence outside Stiles' diary of a very active political discourse in the public sphere, suggests that the residents of Newport were certainly conscious of the looming political schism, but they also knew that Newport's economic success depended on maintaining strong social ties between the members of the city's many religious and political groups.

  The clear separation between church and state left room for another force to take the central place in Rhode Island life: commerce. Rhode Island had almost no hinterland, but it did have an abundance of well-formed harbors. It did not take long for Rhode Islanders to realize that if the colony was to be economically viable in the long term, it would need to rely on what the sea could provide.[8] Fortunately, many of the Quakers and Jews who had fled from Europe to Newport in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had strong connections with other Jewish and Quaker refugees in the Caribbean. Rhode Island's colonial economy was founded upon these pre-existing networks. [9]

  By the second decade of the eighteenth century, the city of Newport had become the center of Rhode Island's economic life.[10] The secular nature of Rhode Island's founding principles were deeply integrated into the physical plan of this city. Newport curled around a wide and deep bay whose fortuitous geography allowed for both an easy exit to the ocean and protection from storms on three sides. Numerous docks thrust out into the harbor, and at the central point of the harbor's arc, an earth-work pier called the Long Wharf stretched more than a third of a mile into the bay, providing moorings for the large trade vessels that frequently docked at Newport.

Source: Hand-colored engraving. Geography and Map Division, G3774 .N4 1777 .B5 Am 6-5 (9). Charles Blaskowitz. A Plan of the Town of Newport in Rhode Island (London: Faden, 1777).

      For the convenience of these traders, a large two-story brick market stood at the point where the Long Wharf met the land. A wide cobbled square was laid out on a gentle incline between the Long Wharf and the Colony House, the seat of Newport's government, creating a striking contrast to the typical grass-covered common and white church that could be found at the center of most towns and cities in colonial New England. [11] From the moment visitors stepped onto the Newport docks, they would have been acquainted with the character of the town. There was not a church in sight. It was clear that secular politics and profit ruled this city.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Our Studebakers

A wonderful connection to my family is the car we drove...or rather all the cars of a certain make.
My father and mother, the year they married, on a camping/hunting trip in Texas.  Not sure if this is a Studebaker.

I don't know when they first came about, but before I was born, the Rogers guys were driving Studebakers.  OK, to be a good historian, I'll check over on the web.

 The Studebaker family had originally made wagons after immigrating from Holland in 1736.

The brothers Studebaker
My father in center, with Ada Phillips Swasey Rogers and George Elmore Rogers Sr. in front of their car.  They drove to Dallas Texas from either San Antonio or Houston when my sis and I were born in 1942 and 46.

After making an electric car, the Studebakers switched to gas, and for about 50 years made the cars that were well known for quality.  The troubles of car companies didn't miss theirs, even when they merged several times with others, and they closed in 1966.

Studebaker Champion first generation, 1939
 1949 Houston Texas, on my grandfather's birthday.

The battleship Texas at San Jacinto Monument.

Barbara's eighth birthday, Aug 23, 1950, St. Louis, MO

Studebaker four-door sedan

Our new Studebaker, 1955  Grandfather (Poppy) with Mary Beth and Barbara on left photo.  Barbara pretending to drive on right.

This was probably our last Studebaker, around 1957, St. Ann Missouri.  I'm on left, and dear Dad on right.

1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner, showing the streamlined design of the 1950s Studebaker

Since I didn't learn to drive until 1958, that meant I learned on a car that was several years old, and by the time I was in college, my father had found another brand to drive, but I learned on a Studebaker.

So when my friend, Phil,  posted this picture on FaceBook of an old (not refurbished) Studebaker in New Jersey, I had moments of my early car memories!

I also included the family Studebaker in a picture last week from our visit to Wisconsin cousins.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Who likes a beach?

OK, I did dig back a bit, and here are photos from a visit to Galveston Beach with my family. Top photos show Uncle Chauncey on left, me and sis on inner tube, and my dad, George Rogers making sure nobody tumps over into the water. The next pair of pics show Grandmother on log with myself and little sis (looks like I was around 6 thus 1948.) Love my Gummy's hat and dress! And gloves?

I'm sharing my beach photos with Sepia Saturday, as one of the keepers of the family mementos,  I thought it would be a nice collection.  Swim on over to see the rest of the Sepians' selections related to beaches HERE.

OK, having a granddaughter who's a gymnast kind of takes my own love of beaches in spirit and blows it - right out of the water!

Now this sheet of scanned photos says it is from 1954, but I'm pretty sure my little sister doesn't look 8, much closer to 4, in which I would have been around 8, thus placing it around 1950. Since we moved from Texas to Missouri that year, it's pretty likely we had one last visit to the beach.  I like that my grandmother and mother allowed their photos to be taken along with us.  This is by a pier which no longer exists in Galveston, TX.

Fast forward a few years, and here's the Atlantic rolling onto the shores of Florida...and what are those big blocky shadows?  Well, try 14-story condos.  That's where I was standing several years ago as a guest.  I sure enjoyed the visit.

My oldest son and 5 of my grandchildren (2 of whom are his)  OK, I admit it's not the beach.
There are frequent thunderstorms in beach areas.

But once the storm is past, the sun returns and it heats back up again

This is one of my favorite beaches, even in February, Myrtle Beach, SC

Another favorite beach is St. Augustine, FL
Don't miss the hardy surfer, this was taken in November, 2011

St. Augustine Beach attracts tourists, a few blocks from where I lived for 4 years, (many moons ago.)

Here is my gymnast granddaughter, all cool and cleaned up for dinner-out with the family, and sharing a lovely sunset over the inland waterway...(in 2012)

Poppy's birthday

Born August 28, 1877.  Died Feb. 1960. Age 82-1/2

George Elmore Rogers, Sr. was my beloved grandfather. He is survived by 8 grandchildren who are living as I write this, and most of them have children and even grandchildren of their own.  I celebrated his life a bit last year, (HERE) but wish to add more this year. 

I'm in an Easter bonnet here, with Poppy, (George Rogers Sr) then Gummy (Ada Rogers, then Uncle Chauncey.  Site is our home in Houstone, TX.  About 1946-7.

George Rogers Information
Listed in 1880 Willis, Montgomery County Census as age 2. George's father, William Sandford Rogers, died at the age of 29, leaving the family with some money, but at about the age of ten, they moved from Willis to Galveston and he had to leave school to go to work as an office boy to help support the family. Some land in Tennessee that Micajah Clack Rogers had owned and had been passed down to William Sandford Rogers, was sold at the time for his widow to live on. Ironically, the people who purchased it, later found coal deposits on this land, making them quite wealthy. Anyway, George learned bookkeeping and became one at the Gulf Fisheries Company in Galveston. After the Galveston Storm in 1900, which he survived, he was pressed into service to stop the looting and pick up the dead. This was about five years before he met Ada. He was a small man, a good dancer, loved to hunt, fish, and sail, but was not considered "suitable" by Ada Phillip's Swasey's family to marry her, but they did anyway.,.

George and Ada were married at the home of the bride's parents in Galveston, Texas, by Dr. Black, Episcopal minister of Grace Episcopal church. They resided in Galveston until 1918, at which time they moved to Meadowbrook Drive in Fort Worth, Texas, where he was employed by the Fort Worth Packing Company as office manager. This began a friendship with the company Manager, Norman Dumbel (sp) that lasted twenty-five years. The family home burned in about 1927, during a re-roofing project. Unfortunately, the insurance had lapsed and the house was a total loss. Among the cherished items lost was a silver-handled walking stick given to Micajah Clack Rogers by Sam Houston and had been handed down in the family. George did rebuild, but the new house as of stone with a slate roof! When the Swift & Co. bought out the Ft. Worth Packing Co. in 1933, Mr. Dumbel started a new Packing Company in San Antonio, and asked George to be his office manager, and so they moved to San Antonio, Texas and lived there until 1942, when they moved to Houston, Texas.

He never joined his wife's Christian Science Church, but he was a Thirty-Second Degree Mason. Source: cousin Patricia Rogers published 2001 on Ancestry DOT com.

 George Rogers Sr, 70th birthday in 1947, Houston, Texas.  Site, Brockton St. home of the Rogers. Some references to this photo say it's his 72 birthday, but that would have occurred in 1949, and I think this big crowd probably came out for a 70th.

This was an ablum of records that I believe was the Ferde GrofĂ©, Grand Canyon Suite.  As you can see, when you have a lot of relatives and friends for a party in Houston in 1947 in August, you gather outdoors, in the shade.  (Everyone must have been standing behind the camera at this shot)

But Houston wasn't always hot, as seen here the same house in 1949 while Poppy sweeps his steps of snow.

Cousins, Sandra, Barbara, Mary Beth, and Claudette, in 1949 snow in Houston at Gummy and Poppy's home
George and Ada Rogers in San Antonio in the 1930s.

Christmas Dinner, back row: George, Alex, Chauncey, James, and Poppy, front row; Mataley with eyes closed, Donah V, and Gummy (Ada Rogers) Site probably the Rogers home in San Antonio, probably 1930s.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A real treat

Two nights ago I was invited for a rare (only every 20 years) blooming event of a Night-blooming Cereus that belongs to a friend of mine, Linda Metzner.

  She told me it would be after dark.

 But I ended up being on the phone till 9:30 and then was about to go to bed, when I thought, what was I going to do this evening?  OK, better go see that flower of Linda's!

So off I go. There are no selfies in this post!

 Was I ever glad to join some friends and see the 4 different blooms over the next hour, in their glory as they opened fully.

  By the next day they all were closed.

We were a camera crazy bunch that evening!

My first picture with natural lighting...

This lone bloom was hanging off the porch over the railing, out in the wilds...

These three beauties opened before our eyes, getting wider and wider as we watched.  The closed one on the left had opened the night before, and didn't reopen.  This is indeed a once every 20 years bloom occasion!

Because it was night, we were trying every kind of setting with and without flash on different cameras.  We found a really neat technique of using the flashlight setting on one smart phone to illuminate, while another phone could take pictures.

The colors changed from natural lighting to the illuminated photos, or the ones with flash.

Besides my smart phone (used above) I had my trusty Nikon Coolpix L810.  I tried macros, but couldn't get them to work, night portraits, night landscapes, flowers, scenes, etc.  All the strange titled setting combos, and must have finally come up with something that satisfied.  The following are with different settings, and I think I deleted most of the out of focus ones.

What a wonderful experience!  Hail to the Cereus!