Monday, May 17, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: McPherson History, Letters from Uncle Ralph - New Blog

For the last several years, I have been fussing about what to do with my Uncle Ralph's letters so as to make them accessible to family and interested persons. When Amanuensis Monday started, I said to myself, "Hallelujah.' I had found the answer. However, as I counted up the letters, I realized that one letter a week would take three years or so. I was resigned. Then Heather at Nutfield Genealogy told us all about making a book from her blog, using blurb.com. At last, a way to get the letters out to family, without turning my life upside down while printing copies from my computer. Elated!

Quickly it became apparent that a new blog dedicated to the Letters would make the job easier. I am now posting a letter a day, at least with a goal of 30 letters posted a month. At that pace, the project will be done by the end of September --- plenty of time to get the letters "slurped" out of the blog, final edits, indexed and printed before the end of the year. The very thought of starting out the new year with a clean slate (for this project) makes me a happy blogger.

If you are interested in the letters, please stop by and visit at Roots'n'Leaves - Letters of Ralph Jabez McPherson. I love sharing this history, not only the family history that Ralph relates, but also the history of his life and times.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Think I Might Cry

Now mind you, I hate a sniveler ---- but tonite I am sniveling.  More than half of the time my pictures don't upload, whether I am in basic blogger or blogger-in-draft ( or as I am wont to say, "in-daft-mode");  my comments fall off or don't even come through;  I can't see the pictures that you all so carefully post to your sites.  I am feeling alone and bereft  --- and snively. I regularly check to see what Blogger is doing  --- "working on it, thanks for your patience."  Apparently, I am in a subset of "affected" bloggers, who are impatiently patient --- or some such snivelly, drivel.

Oh, my, now I got that off of my chest.  Do I feel better?  Not really, but maybe I will if I get a comment that stays on my blog --- see a lovely picture of a tombstone -- just to know I blog not alone.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: A Woman Called Nana (Eva Philpott)

My first contact with FindAGrave was comparatively recent, as in last fall. I was looking for a specific Burns relative, which showed up in FindAGrave. After that I registered to do volunteer lookups in my area.  A  couple of weeks ago, my first request showed up in my "inbox." It took me by surprise when I read the name -- Eva Philpott. Memories came flooding back to me of a time when my children were small and we lived in a quaintly, though aptly named place --- Hungry Hollow in the Hildebrand area in eastern Klamath County.

I never knew her by Eva, or even Mrs. Philpott. She was Nana, Nana not to only her granddaughter , but all of the people in the area. We were the “young newcomers” trying to “make it” in Hungry Hollow, and Nana and her son, D, befriended us. They invited us to their home regularly. We would all sit around their very small living room watching Lawrence Welk on television. (We didn't have a television in Hungry Hollow. In fact we didn't have electricity, except from the gas-run power plant, which was too expensive for us to run except when absolutely necessary.) The Philpotts lived in a small house in the little community of Dairy.  They were not well-to-do and careful with their money, but Nana always had “something” to serve guest, cookies and milk, or popcorn.  Every once in a while she would make a pie when she knew we were coming to their home.

Nana was a tiny, quiet and somewhat wizend woman of nearly 80 years when we knew her. I loved to hear her tell stories of when she, her husband, and children homesteaded a 160 acre dry land farm a few miles south of Bonanza. The first years were rough for the Philpotts, as Nana would relate how they had to drive a wagon, or a sled in the winter, down to Lost River, which was their only source of water.  They filled barrels of water to haul back up hill to the homestead. Nana, even when we knew her some 50 years later, still watered her flowers with dish water. Some habits die hard.

She taught her children to think and do for themselves. They would make intricate toys – wagons, tractors, plows,  cars, or anything they could imagine - out of tin they cut from their fathers tobacco cans. Her son D was a gifted mechanic and could make anything run  that had wheels, tracks, and/ or an engine  – and usually at a cost far less that the city mechanics in Klamath Falls.

At one time with their frugal ways and hard labor, Nana and her husband had increased their ranch to a couple thousand acres. They ran some stock, raised some fruit, and dry land grain. After Nana's husband died, over a decade before, the ranch was sold, debts paid off and she went to live with D and his daughter.

Nana was the mother figure for her granddaughter as the mother was not a part of the household. I remember how loving and gentle she was with her granddaughter, as well as my young children. Those evenings spent in the Philpott home were a gift  to us then, and now the memories are indeed special.

About the same time that we left Hungry Hollow for a new life as college students at Washington State University, Nana's health was failing and she went to Portland to live near or with her youngest son. We lost contact with those good people in Hildebrand and never saw Nana again.

. . . 

I went to the Mt. View Cemetery with a mission, a final gift for Nana. Having looked at the cemetery map with the Sexton, I knew the location of the graves of Nana, her husband James, and their oldest son James, as well as the graves to either side. I then headed out with my flowers, soft brush, and camera. I walked the area a couple of times, not wanting what I found to be true. There were no gravestones for the Philpott family. My heart broke as I remembered that strong, resilient but gentle woman, now all but forgotten in an unmarked grave next to her husband and son. But the sun was shining on the lovely setting, and the nearby marble Mausoleum had a  lovely luminous glow the shaded light.

I took the best picture that I could and said my goodbye to a woman called Nana.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: McPherson History, Letters from Uncle Ralph, Sep, 14 & 24, 1980

Amanuensis: a person employed to take dictation or copy manuscripts.

I read about Amanuensis Monday in Heather Rojo's blog "Nutfield Genealogy," who read about it in  Randy Seaver’s blog “GeneaMusings” and he read about it on John Newmark’s genealogy blog “TransylvanianDutch”.  That said,  for me this is a great way to transcribe and post my Uncle Ralph's letters.

I am changing my plan for posting the letters that my Uncle Ralph wrote to his sisters.  I started out with his letters to his youngest sister Olive Lorraine  - mainly because I had fully transcribed each of those letters. I decided that it made more sense to post the letters to both Verna and Olive in a chronological orders, which means that I now have to do a complete transcription of the letters to Verna, rather than just the family highlights.

The following two letters, written by my Uncle Ralph to his sister Verna, has his usual daily health, weather and sports reports, as well as his views on local San Diego issues.  He also expresses his concern and worry for his dear older sister Bertha.  Bertha's is probably in the early stages of Alzhiemer's and her daughter has moved Bertha so she is closer to the daughter, Cleona.  Bertha has been placed  in Osage Manor, a nursing or retirement home, which is worrisome to Ralph. He also mentions his sisters, Olive, Betty, and Helen.  Ralph as the eldest son seemed to take on the role of a watchful brother when they were children and continued that role through out his life.


Dear Verna & Rowe,

Just sitting here & listening to the ball game so thought I'd drop a line to you also. Hot in the desert as you know mostly around 110 but has been up to 117.

The races at Del Mar are drawing record crowds this year & I guess owners like to bring there nags down here also because they have stables for 1875 horses. They had over 5000 applications They call the 5/10 set up the pick 6 – 2nd thru the 7th race 120,00 to 200,000 in the pot each day 1st day 3 winners 36,000 a piece 2nd day 1 winner 89,000 & yesterday 27 winners 89,000 a piece of course the usual numbers of consolation prizes.

Was a little worried abut Bertha with that heat wave but she said she had air conditioning so guess she will make it altho as we get older we dehydrate more. I know I do so a person has to be carful.

Wrote Helen, that should surprise her, tell Olive will write soon & not to leave Betty out I'll surprize her one day.

I see by todays paper a lot of the Dept stores have gone on shorter hours to save money as business has really dropped off & forgian banks are absorbing the banks here this last week theyve taken over 1st National & Crocker banks.

Well have to go see the Dr the 15 Aug but I feel fine in fact better then I have the last couple of years, but if that urologe clinic is making as much off the rest of the patients as me they will get wealthy. Take the 1st time in there was 1280.00, this last time was over 1700.00 pretty good pay. The Hosp wasn't behind either, they sent me a copy of there bill 138 a day for the room, 450 for the operating room so much for the recovery room & those pills about 10 a day with price of Vit C tablet @ 4.00, 2200.00 total. Good thing I'm not paying it.

Not much to write about, hope you guys are getting a lot of work done would like to of came up but couldn't this year, Say Hi to everyone,


Ralph & Sally


Dear Verna & Rowe,

Nice to get your letter & also to hear your voices. I could hear Olive real plain but Helen & yours it was a little hard to pick up especially Helen as over the phone she has a soft voice. Its hard to understand her sometimes.

Verna, no I don’t remember any of us being sick out of the ordinary except for colds s& so forth, you were sick for awhile when you first had the skin disease on your legs but here nothing serious, of course I was gone quite a bit of the time in the 1920s, but surely if you had contracted it thin it seems in 50 years time, you would of known about it. The only time we were real sick was in 1918 when the whole (before your time) family had the Spanish flu. I may of told you Sallys papst smear showed positive & also the xrays but the lab tests showed negative.

How is Rowe, I hope feeling OK guess if you had a house warming the house must be just about complete & of course with only one channel to choose from it cuts down on the football games. Had a full complmint of San Diego teames Sat and Sun. The sockers, Padres, Aztecs & Chargers were all on TV & all lost except the Chargers & it wasn't decided until overtime. You may have seen the Chargers & Aztecs they were both on reginal network TV.

It got a little chilly last nite so there is a touch of fall in the air & we haven't had any Santa Anas yet this fall.

Went to the Dr the 9th & he said everything was looking good. I won't have to go back until just before Xmas. Those scopes are not pleasant & I have to take pain pills for a week or so, but I feel a lot better & it doesn't bother to sit down, so maybe I will be able to come up next summer if everything is OK.

While I think about it, a person with TB never has a weight problem – only & always look kind of drawn out & emaciated.

Glad Helen has quit smoking. Maybe she will get to feeling better, I sure hope so, I know its hard to quit but Helen is smart enough to know whats good for her even if she doesn’t like Drs any more than I do you have to take their advice.

Guess I've said enough so better quit for this time

Love and say hi to all

Ralph & Sally