Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Synopsis: 2012 September 30th

A quickie post to remind myself that I really accomplished something this week. Sent 181 pages of Uncle Ralph's letters to L.  My sis has done her edits through the end of the book and between the two of us we have cross-checked from page 182 thru 250.  Although we only have another 50 some pages to go, I am feeling the need to check our edits against the actual letters and send them on to L.   I also have several commentaries that I need to re-write and I want to do those re-writes while the changes are still fresh in my mind.

About a month ago, I had made a commitment to myself that I would write at least 3,000 words a week.  I had felt badly that I really hadn't  made that goal.  Then yesterday, as I was writing in my journal, I realized that I wrote a minimum of 300 words a day which makes 3,500 words per week;  in addition, I use much of the journal writing in other writing pieces.  It's sort of like my pre-writing think tank.  So I don't feel like it is "cheating" if I use my journal writing for the word-per-week goal, though I may have to up my word-per-week goal.   I am having an ethical battle with myself as to whether I can the actual piece of writing that I have lifted from my journal  --- feels sort of like double dipping.  I tell myself, "Well, you did put a significant amount of rewrite into this piece."  Hmmmm,  weird arguments  that go on in my mind, eh???

And finally, I realized not only is tomorrow the 1st of October, but the deadline for  the "School Humor" COG.  Yikes, I dinna know if I can pull that off .......

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 © Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Friday, September 21, 2012

Open Letter to Brian, GGGrandson of Jabez Burns, The Coffe Roaster

Brian, O, Brian, Happy I was to finally hear from a Burns relative.
Long and hereto unsuccessfully,  I've searched,
called several an unsuspecting Burns
(unrelated, I might add),
posted to Facebook & blog,
and even wrote a letter or two.

And finally, out of cyberspace a response.
A GGGrandson reads of the Coffee Roaster
and teases me with cousin-like thoughts,
but no email listed, no blog to follow,
no, oh,  no way to contact you.

---  I meant no disrespect by the short-hand history-based name,
it just that with so many Jabezes in our family
I  needed a way to differentiate one Jabez from another  --
You know, Jabez, the coffee roaster and Jabez, the minister,
then the sons and grandsons of coffee roaster or  minister,
And then on to their equally confusing cousins, the Jabez Burns McPhersons,
of which there were quite a few. 

Now, one more favor to ask of the  newly found GGGrandson of Jabez Burns:
Please send me an email.  Look to the top right-hand side of this blog,
 CONTACT should catch your eye.
Then an email  will open the way,
for you and I to share pictures, stories,
and perhaps, a new-born friendship based
on this most interesting family (at least to me).

Looking forward to hearing from you,
and telling you of your GGGrand Aunt,
Mary Burns McPherson  --- and hearing
stories of Great Grandpa Robert,
and your grandmother, mother and you.

Please, oh, please, do send an email
on its way to me.

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

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Synopsis: 2012 September 18th

Head down, nose to the grindstone, editing, editing, editing the Uncle Ralph's letters.  I think this is the 5th time that I have been thru these letters.  Our editor friend says at least one more time.  Sending edit pages to her in batches for her to format, set up, and design cover and section pages.    Also have a  bit of writing to do, as well as deciding which pictures and such.  Head down, nose to the grindstone, editing, editing, editing......

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Synopsis: 2012 September 9th

Here in southern Oregon, these last days of summer treat us to warm days and cool nights, and the goldening of the foliage.  And for me, these days bring on my favorite time of year, autumn.  I think this is my favorite writing time of the year as well.  On the way out is the craziness of summer's squelching heat,  combined with the overwhelming need to keep checking on my deck plants, watering, plucking, and fidgeting.  Make way for the cool, clear days of fall.  Wa-Hoo.

This week has brought some new adventures and possibilities.  I have previously noted that I had found a treasure trove in the online Chronicles of Bentley.  This week I received my very own copy of Bentley and District Early History.  The third paragraph of the book starts with the words
 "In 1899, Major Wm. B. McPherson, a veteran of the American Civil war,
 and his sons,  filed on land in   ... the present site of Bentley..." 
 In fact, most of the first page tells about my great-grandfather's brother, Wm. B. McPherson and his sons.  Then paging on through the book, I find pictures of  cousin James Percy and his niece Vera in the 1911-12 Amateur Dramatic Society, the McPherson 1913 Creamery, family picnics, McPherson sawmills and crews, and, possibly my favorite, a picture of Stena and Vera McPherson (wife and daughter of Wm. M. McPherson) having a cup of tea in front of their log cabin (1905 vintage).  I will be happily perusing these stories and pictures again and again.

This week also brought a change in direction in the Uncle Ralph's letters project.  A long time family friend who has just retired has offered to help my sis and I finish up the project.  She has the skills and ability to take this ponderous mass of letters and shape it into book form.  This project has been weighing on me because my skill set would only allow me to plunk it into "sort of a book form" but not really what I had envisioned.  So my sis and I are going to focus on the final edit of the letters, and our friend will take it from there  --- and I trust her implicitly.  What a wonderful world.

Last week's writing and blogging resulted the COG entry of the Discovering the Diary, a Sunday Synopsis, and a Sadie Hawkins Day Dance memory (about 1500 wpw).  For this week, I am working on the introduction to the Uncle Ralph's letters, the 8th of the Jabezes series, a Ranch years piece for crit group on Tuesday, and hopefully another Sharing Memories piece.   I do love these days that usher in the cool crispness of fall --  clears and energizes the brain and body.

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 © Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sharing Memories: My First Sadie Hawkins Day Dance

       Thank you to Lorine McGinnis Schulze over at Olive Tree Genealogy,  for her ongoing series about Sharing Memories.  She has been posting a topic every Sunday since December 8, 2009, which gives me lots of food for thought and writing. In addition, the only rule is to share one's memories for whomever, but no rules about what, when or how often to write.  My kind of series,  since I dinna seem to do to well under hard and fast rules. Lorine's current topic of Sadie Hawkins Day Dances is just too good to pass up.

My First Sadie Hawkins Day Dance

      I remember my first Sadie Hawkins Day Dance --  a junior high school dance.   Everyone seemed to be excited about the dance and the girls were all a twitter about who to ask, who had been asked, and who was left to ask.  It was a small country school, so we all knew the answers to these important questions.  I was a just a seventh grader and too shy to ask a guy to a dance.  Besides,  I was much happier playing softball and riding my horse than this  "girlie"stuff" - or so I told myself.  Even so,   I went  to the dance.  My mother French-braided my hair from the nape of my neck up to two short braid that crossed the top of  my head, almost like a coronet tied with pink ribbons. The  new pink flowered dress that mother made had a flared skirt and I thought I looked beautiful.

     My parents dropped me off at the school gymnasium with the instructions that I would be at the gym door at  10 o'clock.  Quick kisses and a mumbled "yes, yes", and I darted in to the school, sure that my current heart throb would be there.  He might have been, but I hung back at the edges -- just too shy to say "hi" or anything.  The eighth and ninth graders seemed so much older than me -- they were having FUN.  Not many of the seventh graders were there, except those who were close friends with the older kids.   My stomach clenched with an unfamiliar fear, my eyes glued on the big clock hung on the wall across from the grandstands.  When the hands showed it was almost 10 o'clock.  I slid out into the night air and waited for the familiar roar of the  Oldsmobile 98, signalling my dad's arrival.

"Did you have a good time, honey?" asked my dad as I opened the door and climbed into the comforting familiar front seat.

"Oh  yes, Daddy,  I had a wonderful time.  Could we go for a Coke before we go home?"

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

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Synopsis: 2012 September 2nd

A quick look at this past week:  a lot of clean-up of photograph files.  Yuck, not much organization there, but an inkling of an attempt.  And finally, got Part 7 of the Jabezes  off of my desk, out of my computer and winging its way in cyberspace.  Also wrote a fanciful story about a civil war guy headed to Canada, could be the start of a longer fiction piece  -- or maybe it will just stay as a little vignette -- what will be will be.

That all she wrote .........

Jabez Burns McPherson, son of William Burns McPherson: My Story of Jabezes, Part 7

Children of William Burns McPherson
Wm. Miles, Sara E.,Clara A., Charles C., Victor Allen,  James P., Mamie, & Jabez B.
Courtesy of the Margaret B. McPherson Burmeister Family
and JGH Roots'n'Leaves Archives

Sons of William Burns McPherson
Wm. Miles, James Percy, , Victor Allen, ,Charles C., & Jabez B.
Courtesy of the Margaret B. McPherson Burmeister Family
and JGH Roots'n'Leaves Archives

The above two family photos show the family in which Jabez Burns McPherson was raised.  The photos appear to be taken  a couple of years apart.  Although the names were written on the back of each photo, there are some questions in my mind.  William Miles and Charles C. have rather different looks in the two photos.  In some respects  picture of all of the children appears to have been taken a couple of years before the picture of the sons.  James Percy, Jabez B., and Victor Allen are all quite recognizable. In the family photo, William M. looks like a young man in an ill-fitting suit of  his father.  In the photo of the sons, William M. looks like he has filled out, but Charles C. appears younger than in the family photo.  Odd to my way of thinking.

Jabez Burns McPherson, circa 1888
Son of William Burns McPherson
Courtesy of the Margaret B.McPherson Burmeister Family
and the JGH Roots'n'Leaves Archives

Jabez Burns McPherson, born 8 January 1878, was fourth of five sons born to William Burns McPherson and Emmeline Rozetta Miles McPherson.  The family lived Sherman-Marshfield area of Clark county, Wisconsin,  until the children were grown.  When Jabez' mother, Emmeline,  died in 1890, she left eight children ranging in ages from 26 year old Clara, to 7 year old Victor Allen.   Jabez B.  was about 12 when his mother died.

 Between 1896 and 1914, Canada's new Homestead act opened the prairie land with the lure of free land.  Jabez' father William B. McPherson answered this call of free land and by 1899 he headed to Canada with his sons Willie (Wm. Miles) James Percy, Jabez  and Victor Allen.  They  settled in the Blindman River Valley, Alberta, in what was then known as The Territories. The picture below is the first house that the family built in Alberta, Canada.  Folks around Bentley say that in the first years in Alberta, W.B. and his two younger sons, Jabez and Victor Allen, shared the house with families of  two of the older sons, Wm. Miles and James Percy McPherson.  This was the first "stopping house" on the road from Lacombe to Rimbey, a place where travelers could get food and a place to stay..

Courtesy of Bentley, Alberta, Museum's Chronicles of Bentley
By 1901, according to that  Census of Canada, Jabez had moved out on his own.  It was likely that at this time he was building his first sawmill, and also had come to know the Osgood and Whitezell families.  The vivacious, blonde,  fifteen year old Zella, the eldest daughter of Elijah and Elenora Osgood, must have caught the eye of the 28 year old Jabez.  By  1906, Jabez not only had married Zella, but also had  farm in Bentley and owned and operated a sawmill.  According to the Bentley Chronicles, Jabez ran the sawmill until the area was logged, then sold the equipment and retired from operating a sawmill.  Then one day, while on a picnic, he saw a good stand of timber and decided to build and operate another sawmill.

One of Jabez McPherson's sawmills
Most likely the second, judging by the cars
Courtesy of Bentley, Alberta, Museum's Chronicles of Bentley

 Jabez' wife Zella and friend Gertrude Whitezell shot a bear
Courtesy of Bentley, Alberta, Museum's Chronicle of Bentley

The picture below shows brothers,  James Percy and Jabez Burns McPherson, with some friends at an early Calgary Stampede.  Astraddle the donkey are old time Bentley folks, C. F. Damron and G. Williams.  The fellow holding the tail of the donkey was the husband of Gertrude Whitezell (of bear shooting fame), and a  long time friend of Jabez.

McPhersons & Friends at early Calgary Stampede, 1900s
James P. and Jabez B. McPherson, C.F. Damron, G. Williams  & Web Whitezell
Courtesy of Bentley, Alberta, Museum's Chronicles of Bentley

Although Jabez' brothers and father left the village of Bentley by the mid 1920s, Jabez and Zella stayed and made their home in Bentley.  They built a home in the center of Bentley, which is shown below. Although they had no children, their circle of friends included Web Whitezell and his wife, and Jabez' cousin, also from Wisconsin,  Charles C. Miles and his wife.

Jabez Burns McPherson house in Bentley, mid 1920s
Courtesy of the Bentley, Alberta,  Museum's Chronicles of Bentley

Jabez and Zella lived in Bentley until in their old age when they  moved to a home in Lacombe, a larger town a few miles east of Bentley..  Jabez Burns McPherson died on the 21st of May 1961 at the age of 82.  He was brought home to Bentley for burial.

1880 Fed Census, Sherman, Clark, Wisconsin
1890 Death Record for Emmeline R. McPherson
1901 Census for Canada, The Territories, Alberta
1906 Census for Canada, Red Deer, Alberta
1911 Census for Canada, Red Deer, Alberta
1916 Census for Canada, Red Dear, Alberta
Chronicles of Bentley, Bently, Alberta, Museum
1920 Fed Census, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Margaret B. McPherson Burmeister Family Photo Collection
JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archives

Jabezes, Part 1
Jabezes, Part 2
Jabezes, Part 3
Jabezes, Part 3, Addendum
Jabezes, Part 4
Jabezes, Part 5
Jabezes, Part 6
Sad and Untimely Death Of Mary Housel McPherson
Housel family in Springdale
Burns Brass Band

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 © Joan Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications