Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Synopsis: 2012 July 29th

June came and went in a thither ---and July just slipped away, or perhaps just dried up and blew away.  However, that happened  -- July is almost a thing of the past, and this the 2nd Sunday Synopsis.During this month, I have posted four articles on the Jabezes or related to the Jabezes series; a 4th of July post and the 120 COG post.  As I listed these meager accomplishments, I cringe  --- then I have to remind myself of the research, updated FTM, phone calls, emails, and FILING that went into these posts. Arghhhh.

Also, had two critique group meetings and associated writing, plus I hosted one of the meetings, which I  love, but takes time and energy.

Also granddaughter and I are back in the routine of editing, hopefully for the last time, the letter project, which has gone on way, way too long.

For this next week, besides excavating my desk and surrounding areas, I need to produce writing for the Critique group on Tuesday.  Also more on the Jabezes series;  The next in the series will probably fold in Jabezes from the William Burns McPherson family, of which I believe there are two --- but of course, that too will take a bit of research.  Then, a piece on my grandfather,yet another Jabez Burns McPherson,who was a son of James Burns McPherson and a grandson of James Peter McPherson.  The last piece of the series with be a short (at least I hope it is short) wrap-up on the Jabezes.

My plan is to then focus on the family of Jabez Burns McPherson, i.e., his wife (my grandmother) and children (my dad, aunts and uncles).  Considering that there are 10 children in the family, I figure this little project will take me well into October.

I rather like this format of the Sunday Synopsis --- a conversation between me, myself and I  --- and without the hard cast deadlines and to do lists.  Accomplishes my intent of a certain amount of "oversight" and "planning" without the whip hand so obvious.  Took awhile to get to this point, but the view is nice.

~ ~ ~
 © Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Saturday, July 28, 2012

120th COG's Business and Commerce:A Life To Be Dreamed

The following is a story that I wrote several years ago about a dear aunt. It's a "true story" in that it has been told and retold over the years.  I have changed the names, but the crux of the story remains basically the same over the years.  Granted, many times the tellers of the story exaggerate or minimze, depending upon their own feelings about the events.  Nonetheless,this is a true story and  there are important lessons to be garnered from this family story:  
1) In my family, folks don't ask if they can start a buisness;  they just assume that they can --- and they do.
2)  Leone (in this story) has all of the insecurities of a girl, who was raised in a home will little extra money for luxuries and yearned ever so much for more, more and more. . She also has all the "moxie" taught by a family that moved back and forth across the country without much fear of the unknown.    She might be afraid of stepping forward, but she never lets it  keep her from her goal.
3) Success requires hard work and dedication.

My aunt, the subject of this story, was not the only McPherson who started, built, and nurtured a business.  The older sister who loaned "Leone" the money for beauty school, also had a successful dress shop in Calipatria for many years.  She and her husband also had a garage, and a couple of grocery stores.  Another McPherson sister and her husband had a very successful grocery store in Anderson, California.  Two of the brothers, at one time or another, had their own trucks for long haul trucking.  My Uncle Ralph was a gypo lumberman, which meant that he indeed worked for himself -- in addition to setting his own terms.  

Before my father's death,  he  ran a succeful potato farm for Zuckerman Farms, as well as building his own farm and creating the McPherson Brothers Farms.  When he needed to spray/dust his crops, he created Midland Air Service which provided airplane crop dusting/spraying for his own crops as well as for other farmers in Klamath County and in Heppner, Oregon.  

The next generation has gone into business as restaurant owners, independent providers of service, and successful farmers.   My McPherson's seem to enjoy building their own business, calling their own shots, and making their own way.

And now, on to a very specific business to be dreamed and built.

A Life to Be Dreamed

“Show time, Babe,” Rex said as he pulled the long, sleek, new 1960 Lincoln convertible to a stop. They were just a few blocks from their destination of one of San Diego's largest schools. “Time to put the top down and make our entrance.

“And then we can drive slowly onto the campus - to give the kids a good look at success,” replied Leone as she gave a flick to her gleaming flame of red hair.

“That, and you won't get your hair all windblown,” he chuckled.

She tapped his leg and smiled. He was such a tease and always could put her at ease when she was getting nervous. She shook her head in disbelief --- all those dreams in her head when her oldest sister loaned her $25 for tuition to beauty school.

“Rex, does it ever seem like a dream to you. You know, from where we were when we first met - to now?”

“You mean when we were still struggling to make ends meet? Me, working in the meat market just down from your beauty shop? And now we are making money beyond what I ever imagined? And married to my beautiful red-headed soul-mate?” He glanced at her and smiled. “Just bloody amazing is what it is!”

“Do you remember how irritated I was when I came back from my session at the LaJolla conference?”

“O, yeah, Babe. You were expecting a more intimate greeting,” he smiled, his eye cocked provocatively. “Not a bed covered with brochures, articles, and handouts – to say nothing of the applications. Yeah, I remember.” Rex covered her hand with his. “That was the beginning.”

“You were so excited. I am so glad that you went to that business session – though I was surprised you gave up pool and lounge time to sit through one of those sessions.”

“Good thing it was too early to be interesting at the pool – or the lounge, for that matter. Those two hours in that stuffy lecture room, sitting on those metal, straight-backed chairs may have been the most important two hours of our lives.”

“True. This gorgeous convertible, The Morgan School of Beauty, our wonderful house in El Cajon – none of it would be, if you hadn't gone to that workshop.” Leone's mind replayed that day. She had been in workshops all day and smugly thinking that she could have been leading most of the sessions. Then, when she returned to the room expecting hugs and kisses, what she got was Rex's unexpected greeting.

“Honey, we need to start a beauty school.”

“What are you talking about? I have my hands full with my beauty salon, as well as the three franchises we have here in San Diego.”

“I couldn't believe the look on your face when I told you, 'No, we need to do this now. It's where the money is.'”Rex chuckled at the memory.

“Well, I would never have thought that we could do anything that the government would provided training money for. We are just regular people – not a big school or something,” replied Leone as she brushed a strand of hair back from her face.

“It was just a perfect fit for us. I have a knack for business and sales, and you, my love, have all the great hands on experience. Perfect,” he murmured as he reached across and stroked her cheek.

            Thoughts of their amazing journey flitted through their minds. The first night that they talked into the wee hours of the morning,  planning their beauty school, then they jumped in with both feet. Long, hard weeks of filing and bird-dogging the paperwork for accreditation, finding that great location in downtown San Diego, locating staff and creating a super curriculum. Even when the school opened, it was hard with only eight students. Now, in great part due to their outreach program – like the one they were presenting today, they were filling a new class every four months. A hard, but heady six months.

A group of students gathered around the sleek convertible, the guys talking about how many horses under the hood, and the girls dreaming of riding with their beaus, their hair blowing in the wind, just like a movie star. In the school's admin office, a few teachers and clerks watched as Leone and Rex made their way up the walkway.
A pudgy, pony-tailed clerk nodded approvingly. “They do make quite an entrance, don't they?”

“Well, he is absolutely a hunk,” agreed the Principal's secretary. “He looks just like a movie star – dark, swarthy good looks. Ymmm.”

The office staff smiled and greeted Leone and Rex when they walked into the office. Mr. Cookerill, the principal came out of his office and boomed, “Leone Morgan, we are so glad to have you here today.” He shook her hand, and held it just a bit too long. Rex smiled. He knew the effect that his vivacious wife had on people, especially men.

Leone smiled, “I always look forward to meeting with your students. Will we have about 50 students, as we usually do?”

“Your presentations have been quite popular. Over 60 girls have signed up – and I wouldn't be surprised if there were more.” The principal ushered them out of the office and down the hall. “I have moved you to a larger room,and hope that will be suitable.”

           Rex and Leone moved the classroom chair-desks around into a comfortable, double-rowed semi-circle, placed brochures, business cards, and applications at each seat. Then the bell rang throughout the hallways, and the room soon filled with eager young women, looking for a career and a dream. The high school seniors eagerly examined the brochures and applications as they waited.

             Leone stood. Her heart was in her throat – no matter how many times she did this, she still felt like a scared little girl in hand-me-downs. Then she smiled.

“Hi, my name is Leone Morgan and I have a story to tell -- about a young girl from a very poor family. A girl who didn't even finish high school. I want to tell you about the dream that this girl had and how she made it happen. She … .”

~ ~ ~
 © Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jabez Burns McPherson, Jr.: My Story of Jabezes, Part 6

circa 1910  Jabez Burns McPherson "Dude"
Rockford, Illinois
Courtesy of the Margaret B McPherson Burmeister Family

 Jabez Burns, Jr., born on the 18th of November, 1873 in Mt. Vernon, Wisconsin, was the first-born of Jabez Burns McPherson, grandson of James Peter McPherson, and great grandson of Peter McPherson of Scotland.  He was also the grandson of Mary Burns McPherson, great gandson of William Gibson Burns, the  great-great grandson of Joseph Burn and the grand nephew of Jabez Burns, the Baptist minister.

As previously noted, his mother Mary Housel McPherson died shortly after the birth of his baby brother James Berdetta McPherson.  Jabez, Jr.at nineteen and as pictured below, was the oldest of the six children.  He was closer in age to his aunt Margaret Burns McPherson than he was to his younger siblings, Furman and LeRoy, eight and ten, respectively.  His aunt Margaret, who was just seven years older, referred to him fondly throughout her life as "Dude."

circa 1891 Jabez Burns McPherson, Jr.
Dodgeville, Wisconsin
Courtesy of the Margaret B McPherson Burmeister Family

Although very little information survived concerning the family's whereabouts after the mother's death, we do know that by 1900, Jabez, Jr.,  was living in Rockford, Illinois.  He married a young woman by the name of Lula Dunham on July 12.1897 in Kane, Illinois.. In the 1900 Census Report he was listed as being 26 years old, and Lulu, 22;  they had been married for three years and they had no children..  Jabez was working as a barber.

California called Jabez to it's warm climate.  Jabez, Jr., registered for the WWI draft on September 12, 1918 while living  in West Imperial, California.  At that time he listed his wife as Leila J. McPherson and his occupation as a laborer for the Imperial Water Co. #5.   It was during this period in the Imperial Valley that Jabez, Jr., met up with another Jabez Burns McPherson (my grandfather).  As the story was reported by my Uncle Ralph Jabez McPherson,  Jabez, Jr., stopped Ralph on a dusty street in Calipatria and asked if he was related to Jabez Burns McPherson.  "Yeah, that's my dad," replied Ralph.  "Well, I'm Jabez Burns McPherson too, and I got a letter here, but it's not for me.  So I figured I had kin nearby," replied Jabez, Jr, "so I started lookin."

I don't know if there was much contact between these two Jabez Burns McPherson cousins.  My  grandfather and his family stayed in Calipatria for several more years and Jabez, Jr., appeared to move further west..  By 1920, Jabez, Jr., lived in San Bernadino, California with his wife Leila J., who was born in Kentucky, and was 10 years younger than Jabez; her being 26, to his 36 years of age. Apparently, Jabez's Illinois marriage to Lulu did not last, for whatever reasons.  In San Bernadino, he again worked as a barber and she as a dressmaker.  It is also interesting to note that Jabez, Jr.'s father Jabez Burns McPherson, was also living in San Bernadino, while working as a placer miner.  I would assume that father and son made contact during these years, but perhaps that is just wishful thinking.

By 1930, Jabez, Jr., and Leila had moved to Los Angeles.  In 1930, Jabez still worked at his barbering trade, while Leila worked as a merchant in dry goods.  They would live out their rest of their lives in Los Angeles.

Jabez, Jr., died on March 25, 1954 in Los Angeles, California.  Leila died on March 5, 1979 in Los Angeles.  They had no children.

Obituaries for Mary Housel McPherson
1880 Federal Census, Dodgeville, Iowa County, Wisconsin
1897 Illinois marriage record for Jabez McPherson and Lulu Dunham
1900 Federal Census, Rockford, Winnebago, Illinois
1918 WWI Registration Card, West Imperial, California
1920 Federal Census, San Bernadino, San Bernadino, California
1930 Federal Census, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Pictures, courtesy of the Margaret B. (McPherson) Burmeister Family and the JGH/Roots'n'Leaves Archives. 

Jabezes, Part 1
Jabezes, Part 2
Jabezes, Part 3
Jabezes, Part 3, Addendum
Jabezes, Part 4
Jabezes, Part 5
Sad and Untimely Death Of Mary Housel McPherson
Housel family in Springdale
Burns Brass Band

~ ~ ~
 © Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Monday, July 23, 2012

The First Jabez Burns McPherson:My Story of The Jabezes, Part 5

Note: In the past, I have written about the Housel family in Springdale, and then about the Sad and Untimely Death of Mary McPherson; both stories relate to this Jabez {Jabez Burns McPherson> James Peter McPherson>Peter McPherson}, the third son of James P. and Mary B. McPherson. In fact, this Jabez was the genesis of The Story of My Jabezes because I found myself in a tangle of Jabezes. The original piece on Jabez Burns McPherson {Jabez Burns McPherson> James Peter McPherson>Peter McPherson} was quickly done, in part to complete the story of the family left by Mary Housel McPherson's death. Now, I am only focusing on this the first Jabez Burns McPherson.

Jabez Burns McPherson (1847-1924)
{Jabez Burns McPherson>James Peter
McPherson>Peter McPherson}

1906 Jabez Burns McPherson
Courtesy of Margaret B. (McPherson) Burmeister Family

        Jabez Burns McPherson, the first of this name, was born in New York City on August 12, 1847, five years after James Peter (J.P.) and Mary stepped off the sailing ship Medora and onto the soil of their new land. He joined his two older brothers, William Burns McPherson, now five years old, and James Burns McPherson, three years old.

        By the time Jabez was two years old, his mother, pregnant with the first sister of the three boys, was busy helping her husband plan for their trek westward from New York City to Wisconsin. They left New York City on April 1st, 1850 and after spending two months going up the Hudson River by steamer, through the Erie Canal by horse drawn canal boats, and on the steamship Globe across lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan to Milwaukee, they finally reached their destination of Springdale, Wisconsin.

        The first year was difficult; no money reserves meant their mother and father had to do whatever jobs came their way, so they barely had time to get their log house ready for occupancy by coming of winter. The family moved into this log house, or one very much like it, on December 17th, 1850. They had a fire pit dug into the dirt floor of the cabin for heat and cooking; Smoke drifted out through the thatched roof. The family had been in the house less than a month, when a fierce Wisconsin storm hit, and at a freezing cold wind blew off a good portion of the thatched roof . Jabez was just over three years old,when he, his brothers and baby sister were taken in, along with their parents, by neighbors until the roof could be repaired.

This may have been the original McPherson
log house; According to J.P. McPherson's diary
Tom and Ann Adamson did not
arrive in Springdale until the early 1860s and
by that time McPhersons were living in a
frame house.
Courtesy of Margaret B. (McPherson) Burmeister Family

        J.P. McPherson kept a diary which provided an insight into how the family lived and how the farm grew.  However, there were very few times when he. mentioned his boys by name, at least until they reach a working age.  He mentioned them a few times when he made clothes for the boys. The first winter of 1850-51, he noted that he "mends the children's clothes,” which meant the three boys' clothes. In 1852, the November 27th entry, reads, "Making pants for Jabez,"  who was then 5 years old.  In fact, up through the late 1850s,  J.P. carefully noted for whom he made clothing, including neighbors, friends, the boys, and himself. However, most of the time, he just referred to them as "the boys,"  By the time each son turned 10 or so, J.P. sometimes mentioned them by name and the job they are doing, and for whom.

        Billy, the oldest, and then James, helped their father clear land, plant, tend and harvest crops, and care for the farm animals they began to acquire. Billy, grew to manhood and prepared to move out and on his own, but was called to serve in Co. E, 8th regiment of Wisconsin Infantry, the Eagle regiment, in the Civil War. After he returned from the war he married Rozetta Miles,. the daughter of their neighbor. Then James and Jabez shouldered most of the farming, until, in 1872, these two brothers marry two Springdale girls;  James Burns McPherson marries Henrietta Elizabeth Ireland; Jabez Burns McPherson marries Mary M Housel.

        Jabez and his wife Mary stayed close to their Springdale families in the first year of so of their marriage and their first born, Jabez Burns McPherson, Jr. {Jabez>Jabez>James Peter>Peter} was born in Mt. Vernon, about 10 miles from their family homes in Springdale. By the time of the 1880 Federal Census, Jabez and his wife Mary lived in Dodgeville, Iowa County, Wisconsin where they would make their home for the next decade. They are listed with their two oldest children,  Jabez, Jr., age 6, and Margaret, age3.  Jabez reported working in a grist mill.

1890 Jabez Burns McPherson Family
Furman, William Phillip, Jabez, May, Jabez Jr., Mary, LeRoy
Courtesy of Margaret B. (McPherson) Burmeister Family
        Jabez' wife Mary Housel McPherson died after the birth of her sixth child, on July 20, 1891. Understandably, not much was said about Jabez in the obituary, except that he was left to mourn her death, a "beloved companion who has borne the joys and sorrows for so many long years together ..."  His McPherson family came to the funeral in love and support. In attendance were Jabez' parents and brother James and his wife coming from Verona; younger sisters, Mary Jane Blair coming from Brooklyn, Wisconsin, and Emma Ireland and Maggie (Margaret) Burmeister from Madison.

       A sad time for this family, and little information survived the next decade, leaving more questions than answers. At the time of Mary's death, Jabez was 42; their son, Jabez Jr.,19; Maggie May,14; William Phillip, 10; LeRoy, 8; Furman, 5; Baby James Berdetta died four months after his mother.  The children marry and can be followed in later census reports, but there is no indication of what happens to them between the death of their mother and 1900. Who cared for them? Where did they live? Were they all together, or parceled out amongst relatives? What part did their father Jabez play in their lives after their mother's death? All, as yet, unanswered questions.

        However, this first Jabez Burns McPherson seemed to be rather alone after the death of his wife. There was little evidence to indicate his role with his children. In 1900, he worked as a miller and boarded in the home of Allen Storrs in Fennimore, Wisconsin. 1905 found him back in Dodgeville, working as a miller and boarding in the home of John F. Johns. By 1920, Jabez had made his way to the West Coast and worked as a placer miner. He boarded with Charles and Lula Blake, who lived in San Bernadino, California. Blake also worked as a placer mine and he and his wife were both from Vermont.

1921 Gathering of McPherson Siblings
Peter, Margaret B. Burmeister, Jabez, Ann A. Foye, James B., & William B. McPherson
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archives

        In about 1920, Jabez was at a family gathering, as seen by the above widely disseminated family picture of the four McPherson brothers (Peter, Jabez, James and William), and two of their sisters (Margaret Burns McPherson Burmeister and, most likely, Ann Adamson McPherson Foye). The picture must have been taken in about 1920, and was a last gathering of this group, as Ann Foye died in 1921, Jabez B. died in 1924 and William B. McPherson died in 1926. This family gathering most likely took place in Madison, Wisconsin, as Peter and Margaret's homes were there, and Ann Foye often visited her son who lived in Madison.

       Before or by the spring of 1924, Jabez  made a trip east to Vermont.  It appears that he went to visit, and perhaps stay with, Charles and Lula Blake, whom he met and boarded with in California.  Jabez Burns McPherson died in Windsor Hall, Bethel, Vermont,  on April 7, 1924.  He was only at Windsor Hall, but 2 days before he died of liver cancer.   . According to the locals, Windsor Hall was a hotel, but the Death Certificate indicated that Windsor Hall was a "hospital or institution."   So maybe he had been staying with the Blakes and then admitted to the hospital/saniforium.  Or perhaps he had just arrived in Bethel and checked into the hotel. 

       At this point and with the information available, there are some perplexing questions:  When did Jabez arrive in Vermont?  Did he just come to visit or did the Blakes invite him to stay during his last days?  Did he live with the Blakes?  If so, how long?

     We do know that the Blakes returned to South Royalton,Windsor County, Vermont, by 1920 and remained in Vermont for the rest of their lives.  Also Charles Blake provided fairly detailed information for the death certificate. 
        Jabez Burns McPherson {Jabez Burns McPherson>James Peter McPherson>Peter McPherson} died in Bethel and was buried in South Royalton, Vermont, far from his Wisconsin roots and family.

Centennial History of the Town of Springdale, Dane County, Wisconsin, 1848-1948
Funeral card for Mary Housel McPherson
Obituaries for Mary Housel McPherson
1880 Federal Census, Dodgeville, Iowa County, Wisconsin
1900 Federal Census, Fennimore, Grant, Wisconsin
1905 Wisconsin State Census, Dodgeville, Iowa County, Wisconsin
1910 Federal Census, San  Bernadino, San Bernadino, California
1920 Federal Census, South Royalton, Windsor, Vermont
1924 Bethel, Vermont, Death Certificate for Jabez Burns McPherson
Pictures, courtesy of the Margaret B. (McPherson) Burmeister Family and the JGH/Roots'n'Leaves Archives. 
~ ~ ~
 © Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jabez Burns' Addometer, Patent Issued 24 August 1858

Jabez Burns,Coffee Roaster & Inventor

A few weeks ago, in Part 2 of The Story of My Jabezes, I mentioned that Jabez Burns, the Coffee Roaster, had also invented an Addometer. At the time,  I spent quite a bit of effort trying to run down something substantial about Burns' number adding device, but to no avail.  Today, I was going over some previously mined information and the following article from the online History of Computers,Hardware, Software, and the Internet showed up on an internet search:  Jabez Burns Addometer  

In the profound words of my grandson, "Cool!"  

              Indeed, how "cool" is this? 

                           Way Cool!!

1858 Patent Model for Burns Addometer,
 Property of Smithsonian National Museum

~ ~ ~ 
© Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012 July 4th:The 4th of July -- from J.P. McPherson's Diary

My great-great grandfather James P. McPherson,  his wife Mary, and four young children arrived in Springdale, Wisconsin, on the 30th of May, 1850.  After eight years in New York City, the couple had fully embraced  this new land of theirs and were preparing to build their own home on their own land in Springdale.  Tailoring for friends, as well as working in the fields for himself, friends and neighbors left J.P. precious little time for relaxation.  However, the following entry for his first July 4th in Springdale, where he was to make his home for the next half century, presents a interesting view of this new citizen* of the United States of America:

1850   July 4th,  Thursday  At home all day  -- dullest 4th of July I have passed in America.  Thus I wish to be this time next year will observe the day in a more fashionable way.

However, for the next two years, the Diary reflectes that he would  spend yet another quiet, uneventful 4th of July at home and then visiting his neighbors, the Andersons.  It wasn't until 1853 that James P. McPherson fulfilled his promise of that first July 4th in Springdale.  His diary for that Independence day in 1853 reads as follows:

1853  July 4th, Monday   At Celebration of Independence at Mount Vernon -- made short speech.

Later,   J.P. became quite well known for his political speeches, complete with his sons playing patriotic songs from the back of the wagon,  Eldest Billy played the trumpet; my great grandfather James, the flute; young Jabez, on the drums.  All the while J.P. waved the American flag and made speeches --- wearing his Scotch hat with black ribbons down the back and a thistle emblem on the front.  He knew from whence he came, and  the new land he now called home.  Reportedly, and appropriate for this day,  James Peter McPherson ended his speeches with these words:

Hip Hip Hoo Ray for the USA!!

*Naturalization papers for James P. McPherson signed and issued on 23 October 1849 in NY City.  Witnessed by Alexander Gordon.

~  ~ ~
© Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 July 2nd: Been a'Thinking -- About Religion and such?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about my Religious Melting Pot  and most people after reading this would not think that religion would be a topic that would engage me.  However, after spending the last month or so delving into the religious background of  the devout Wesleyan Methodist Mary Burn, her son, Jabez, a Temperance preaching Baptist minister, I've been thinking about how they affected the lives of their descendants, right on down to my generation.

Jabez  preached Temperance as early as sixteen years of age, and continued right up to his final years at the pulpit.  Then his son Dawson Jabez Burns took up the Temperance ministry of his father.  I have often wondered "why?"  Was old Joseph, the basket and skip maker, the vendor of worm medicine, also an alcoholic?  Or perhaps, Mary's family was marked by the "ole debil rum", or more likely good stout English ale?   Or did they just witness the detrimental effects on the men who worked long hours in the mills and mines and to whom employers plied with ale just to get them through 12, 14, 16 hour work days.  Church and parish documents, or even census reports,  are not much help in these kinds of questions.

I can surmise that Jabez the minister, as well as his ardent Chartist brother William Gibson Burns, had an effect on young James Peter McPherson, a flax dresser in the Dundee mills.  Now, McPherson may have been more smitten with the pretty black-haired Mary Burns than he was with the religion and politics of her father and uncle.  On the other hand, he was known to be politically involved in the Chartist movement, and when arriving in New York City in 1842, he quickly joined The Sons of Temperance.  The membership in Caledonia Division of The Sons may have been expedient and beneficial to the young Scots couple. On the other hand, James McPherson appeared to be a fervent member.

When I started transcribing his diarly, I expected to find some mention of church attendance --- but not one word.  He did make a pulpit cushion for the new Presbyterian church that was attended by most of his Scots friends.  However, on a Sunday, J. P. McPherson, was a home receiving guest, or visiting friends.  In fact, I only found a couple of times that he attended a meeting of The Sons after moving to Springdale, Wisconsin.  I found this strange, but was oddly comforted by his work with the Poor, as well a serving in positions of service within his community.

As I have followed his progeny through the years, religion in the family was generally dictated by the spouses.  For instance, J.P.'s son Jabez's wife, Mary Housel was an ardent Primitive Methodist, one of Daniel's Band. The Burmeisters were catholics and some, such as my great grand parents and grandparents, just dinna seem to be too interested in religion.  The family of Mary Burns McPherson, J. P.s wife, appeared to follow the Baptist teachings of her uncle Jabez Burns.  The family of the second generation Jabez were high church Episcopalians.  I don't know how this change came about; perhaps the wife Ella May Spedick Burns was Episcopalian; or perhaps as the family became more wealthy and influential, life as an Episcopalian suited their position; or perhaps there was a  religious epiphany that took place.  Whatever the reason, the Burns and McPhersons drifted away from the Baptist and Temperance teachings of the early 1800s.  How I wish I knew more ...... 

Of course, if I have misspoken, misread, or misinterpreted, I hope that I shall be apprised of such.

~  ~ ~
© Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Synopsis: 2012 July 1st

     Today is a turning point of sorts: half of 2012 has zipped by and time for not only a review of the past week but also the past 6 months --- and even more importantly a look toward the future.

     As far as this past week, I reached a bittersweet landmark. My Jabezes of the surname Burns is complete. My "Book" of Burns is fat with census reports, pictures, copies of old documents. And in a way, only my eldest daughter really understands, each family is separated by their own tabs, and all the relevant information encased in plastic protector sheets --- and in deference to her organizational skills, there is a bit of color coding. I also have some historical reference info tucked in at appropriate places --- i.e., writings on the Chartists, Peterloo Massacre, Corn Laws, Poor Laws,and Temperance movement; maps of the Five Points area of NYC, maps of London and Lancashire; a few short biographical pieces on folks that interested me along the way.

     Now the sad question to be answered: Who cares? I have inundated the cyberspace with the names of my Jabez Burns folks, hoping for someone of that family of Jabezes to contact me. To date, I have not heard from those Jabez Burns descendants who says, "Hey, I was looking for you, my cousin (or something)and I have tons of stories and pictures to share.!"

     I have had a few queries of tangential relatives, but none that have had my passion and my peculiar obsessive-compulsive tendencies in this area --- so I keep waiting, with my fat Book of Burns, waiting to share --- or someday to toss aside with it's hours and hours of research, reams of paper, and way to many plastic protector sheets.

     As far as the first half of 2012, I have consistently plugged away at the Ranch Years stories. I even shared my entire folder of stories of that era with my eldest --- and she even sat down and read the whole thing. Always a good way to please a mother with latent writing tendencies. By autumn, the Ranch Years should be my major project ---and I believe I know where the story is going -- and I have my old friend as a secret weapon to keep my writing as clean as possible.

     The last big project, outside of blogging, is the completion of the Uncle Ralph's Letters, which has been hanging around way too long. I have unearthed the box in which I stashed it before Christmas; and now is it's time. I am dialing back the project to a manageable effort. It is what it is, the transcription and publication of the letters of my dear Uncle to his sisters. It is not the entire compendium and history of my McPherson family.
     Lastly, blogging -- which keeps me focused and yet unfocused -- which is par for the course of my life. Plans for blogging include, completion of the Story of My Jabezes; then from my grandfather Jabez Burns McPherson, I'll segue into short biographies of his children -- my dear father, aunts and uncles. I'm thinking that will make a nice little Blurb Book -- and doable.

      I also want to be a more active participant in the COG (I had a great idea for the swimsuit edition, but just dinna get around to it. Also, I have been greatly impressed with geneablogger friends who have participated in challenges and series. And then there is my dear blogger friend from "Reflections from the Fence" who has such great times reading great stories from old newspapers --- whoa, wait a minute, this plate of mine is getting way too full -- but then that's the way I like it. Life overflowing.

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© Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications